Opposition National Council Formed; Opposition Gets Armed; Building Boom in Syria as Sanctions Bite;

The Opposition National Council: Imad Eldin Rasid, a Jordan-based Syrian opposition member, speaks at a press conference held in Istanbul on Sept. 15, 2011. For the last three years he has been teaching in Jodan. Before that he taught at the Sharia College iat Damascus Univ. (Thanks to Thomas Pierret)

The Opposition announced a National Council. Increasingly, the opposition is getting organized. Opposition members are scrambling to get their house in order. A number of differences have been put aside in order to make up the National Council on Thursday. But many differences remain and a few opposition groups within the country are trying to put together a National Assembly. The best article on the National Council is by Khalid Oweis of Reuters. He writes:

President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents have taken a step toward unity by forming a national council to represent Syria’s uprising but have a long way to go until they create a broad-based alternative to his rule….

the council has yet to produce a credible leader who can command wide respect on the street. Other groups may still try to set up alternative leaderships both inside and outside Syria.

“They have not brought together everyone, and there are varying objections on the members, but the fact is that they finally formed a council after months of bickering over the names, while the regime has been killing 20 Syrians a day,” prominent Syrian writer Hakam al-Baba told Reuters.

“A main objective now is to address the international community, and I think the council can do that. They have also left the door open for the rest of the opposition to join,” said Baba, a dissident who lives in the Gulf.

The opposition is also still far from forming a front similar to one set up in the past by Iraqi opposition groups which campaigned for Saddam Hussein’s removal and was well connected in the West, especially Washington.

One opposition figure not in the council said Islamists were over-represented on the newly announced body.

“The National Council has taken an Islamist flavor at the time we need to assure all minorities and the ethnicities more of their future in a post-Assad Syria,” said Thamer al-Jahmani, a prominent lawyer from Deraa who took refugee in Jordan last month after the assassination of a fellow activist….

The council will broadly be based on the principle of representing different sections of the Syrian society. For example, 30 percent of the council members are said to be from Islamic-leaning groups ( Muslim Brothers ), 30 percent left-leaning groups and 40 percent from various ethnic groups present in Syria; although, there is no rigid percentage system.

Yasser Tabbara, an independent member of the council, said “Everyone who is committed to our basic principles is welcome to join the council.” The council is made up of 65 people who live outside Syria and 70 from inside at the moment, although this number will be open to expansion as new figures will join the council.

Tabbara told Xinhua news agency that the basic principles of the council consist of toppling Bashar al-Assad’s regime, commitment to peaceful nature of the revolution, opposition to any foreign intervention and maintaining the national unity of Syria. He also said the council would not work with anyone who negotiated with the Assad government. The various positions in the National Council will be determined after an election process is completed in the next few weeks, said Tabbara.

See Tabbara on al-Jazeera debate the efficacy of the new council with Nadim Shehadi and Naim Salem – a good discussion by smart people.

“The council sees three stages in the near future consisting of changing the regime, post-regime transition and then the future political path,” said Bassmah Ghodami, a Paris-based Syrian opposition member. Ghodami said each stage is expected to last six months but the time frame is flexible depending on events on the ground.

Another aim of the council is to create a political umbrella for Syria’s rebels, according to Ghodami.

Syria’s internal opposition is getting armed and dangerous. Ugarit News reports that “a unit of the Free Officers’ Movement ambushed a Syrian security convoy on the Road to Hama, killing more than 30 and wounding more than 20. If true, it underlines Anthony Shadid’s recent contention that Syria’s opposition is increasingly becoming armed and lethal: “Syria’s Protesters, Long Mostly Peaceful, Starting to Resort to Violence.

Ausama Monajed, a leading activist and member of the National Council, insisted to me that the opposition is against taking up arms because they believe that a “tipping point” will be reached by peaceful action in which the regime “collapses,” due either to a coup inside the military or increased defections.

Many in the opposition believe this is unlikely. Some officials in the US also are beginning to fear that Syria has reached a stalemate: US worried Assad will weather storm, according to the Wall STreet Journal.   The armed opposition does not seem to be taking orders from the new National Council.

New OFAC Rules make it illegal for Americans to work in Syria.

I have asked experts whether this means that American-Syrians with duel citizenship are also forbidden to work in Syria as well, and await a more precise answer. It seems the State Department figure who can answer such questions is being reassigned so we must awaiting his replacement to take up his new post. So far the answer provided by one lawyer was: “tricky. Some argue that Syrian citizenship allows you to be treated as Syrian inside Syria…This needs clarification.”

STOCKS IN EGYPT last week reached a new low. They are now down 34%.
STOCKS IN SYRIA are now down 48%.

Nidal Maalouf, founder of Syria News, decided to immigrate after being harassed by security. He evidently was harassed because the site was not far enough in the pro-Assad camp. Last heard he is in Turkey.

Education School Year Begins in Syria: 5.6 million Syrian children entered school on September 18, the first day of the academic year – 1/4 of Syria’s population.

Imad Moustapha interview on CNN

Turkey Predicts Alliance With Egypt as Regional Anchors, By ANTHONY SHADID


Observations about Aleppo and the Economy

1- The areas outside aleppo have changed recently and have become more restive.

2- mazot is very hard to find. you cannot get anything at the official price of syp 15. You need to pay 23 and even then you get it in very small quantities. some who want to store for the winter cannot get it because the govt has forbidden mazot deliveries to home till October.

3- people in the city are very pissed off with the shabiha.

4- people are also very pissed off with the lawlessness and the illegal building that is taking place.

5- Tough boys are in control of the city.

6- Christians are very very pro-regime and that is surprising some Sunnis and creating some tensions.

7- winter is going to be key with mazot etc. also the upcoming sanctions are likely to impact Aleppo.

8- while Aleppo and Syria suffered in the 80’s , its not the same now. over past 10 years they have gotten used to things that will be hard to do without .

9-he feels that Aleppo was a fire wall from day 1 in Tunisia. it is not that the they were unprepared but the places the troubles started at came out of nowhere. no one thought of daraa, banyas or homs.

10-feels that just like every other place, it will be small villages outside Aleppo and then the poor areas of Aleppo that may see the action.

11- religious establishment has been totally embraced by the regime so that they don’t push the people. that worked. same for the business guys. the latter group does not feel that the regime is falling yet so they don’t want to pay the price of jumping ship now. they will stick with it but once they are convinced its going down they will do it fast.

12- when and if Aleppo does break , it will be uglier than anywhere else.

13. Many in the business community and among the elite have, over the past 2 months, started to get the feeling that things in Aleppo are not heading in the right direction and are thus trying to get family out of the country. Some are enrolling them in schools in the West, if they have family members there. The shabiha and their thuggish behavior is making people really mad. Mazzot prices will also be a barometer of public opinion.

Another view from a Syrian-American visiting Syria

None of the Syrians I met was panicking – including all of my first cousins who make their living entirely in Syria. Frankly, I was shocked. I was certainly more concerned than they were.

They seemed to indicate that we, as Syrians, have been there before and there is nothing new. And their survival confidence is higher than I have ever seen.

One prominent doctor from Aleppo whom I met in Istanbul told my that his wire transfer to his son in FL to purchase a condo was rejected by the US and returned to his bank in Beirut. Why? Because although his account was in Lebanon and it is in US dollars, the US does not accept or allow wire transfers from Syrians regardless whether they are on the sanction lists or not.

So, I sounded concerned and issued one of my famous (mainly fake) “sigh” in front of him in solidarity with his dilemma and in disgust with the US. He laughed. He said the money was re-transferred successfully the same day, under a different name and it cost him just $100 extra to do so.

His words: “Stupid Americans, they have no clue”.

So I asked how is Shihabi now going to get raw materials for his drug manufacturing factories in Aleppo. He laughed again (this time at me and my stupid question). Answer: “As he always did.” He buys raw materials from India. India gets it from all over.

The merchants of Syria – mainly in major cities will not be hurt in any meaningful way. They survived the Umayyads, the Abbassids, the Mongols, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, the French, the Baathists. They are survivors and they are there to stay. It’s just us who left and are scared for them.

Construction business? It is booming. They can hardly find enough workers to meet the demands – one prominent builder told me. In one story, he said his master tile guy was arrested because he was in a demonstration. The day after his arrest, his brother came in to fill the need. He was as good and there was no interruption.

An explanation by another reader

1- The construction business is booming because there is welcomed lawlessness in Syria. Aleppo is a construction site because no one is watching. You have an open roof on your building? you can turn it into a 2 bedroom apartment in a month. no permit. no baladiye to ask. our next door building did just that. You have a mazraa and you have always dreamt of a villa and a pool in the middle? No problem. in 3 months its done regardless of the fact that it is zoned as agrictultral land. my sister has one. she has 2 floors. her builder said i can add a third in 2 weeks. no need to ask anyone. basically over the past 6 months, syrians created their own tanzeem. once the f…ed up local govt was removed from the scene, your kids’ dream homes were quickly built. why the rush? because as soon as things return to normal , govt will come back. for now, they come , take a picture of what you have done and say goodbye.

2- Fares Chehabi can of course get raw materials from india, china, angola or burkina faso. 50 years of baaath have produced best smugglers in the world. every taxi driver can qualify. Every moukhales jumruki can import anything and produce documents to prove that it is something else. 3- money transfers in amounts that get wired in syria is a joke. of course you can always find someone. back in the days when a money transfer was subject to life in prison did not deter people. it just meant that you get charged more for the transfers. 4- the wealthy will always find a way. it just means a bit more expensively than the past but then again he can always charge more now because of the hardship in getting his wires and raw materials in.

Another Reader

I talked to a contractor friend of mine in Damascus and he says his business is back on track workers are more disciplined now, roads are opened and prices of cement are still up (very heavy building in the unplanned developments)

Another Reader

They are indeed enjoying the outdoor dining to the max! In Nadi Halab, the Gemini club and Swiss house in Damascus you can’t find a place to sit if you have no reservations. The sushi place and the 6 other cafes/restaurants in the four seasons boulevards are full every night. Same thing in the 10 restaurant complex near Pulman hotel in Aleppo. Even in Homs in eid the cafes near the malaab were half full! In revolting Douma, a guy there told me that during the early days of the uprising cafes used to close down immediately once a one of the daily demos start marching in the street where they are at. Now people continue to smoke argileh while watching the demonstrators there march 10 meters away, then order more drinks while watching the demonstrators run back while the security and shabbiha run behind them!

Syrians are now like the Lebanese. They adapted and decided to live their lives to the fullest despite everything. They will continue to adapt going forward.

Syrian Prometheus:

I am actually quite baffled by the stories denoting a construction boom. I have it on very good authority that the previously lucrative imports of timber, marble and other construction-related materials have slowed down dramatically. One major importer is keeping minimal inventories in this space while keeping food imports at relatively high levels.

The Harmoush Interview on Syrian TV – He is the leader of the Free Syrian Army who was captured by Syrian authorities

جميع أقولنا عن عدد المنشقين تمثيلية .. هرموش: تم التنسيق مع برهان غليون و رفعت الاسد وزهير الصديق ومحمد رحال و خدام والعرعور والشقفة-

Article in Sham Press about Harmoush’s TV interview. Harmoush explains that every opposition personality called him and asked Harmoush what his plan was. Harmoush would respond by asking them to present a plan and he would accept the most reasonable and the one that had financial logistics backing. Everyone promised and no one delivered.
جميع أقولنا عن عدد المنشقين تمثيلية .. هرموش: تم التنسيق مع برهان غليون و رفعت الاسد وزهير الصديق ومحمد رحال و خدام والعرعور والشقفة

According to Youth Syria for Freedom, Colonel Harmoush was conned by officers that he knew. They deceived him into believing that they needed to meet him inside the border to defect to Turkey. He went in and was trapped by security forces. Turkish Authorities have nothing to do with the incident.

Here is the complete video of the Harmoush interview on TV

حركة سوريا شباب من أجل الحرية Youth Syria For Freedom

أموي مباشر #syria ◄ هذا الكلام منقول عن أحد الشباب الذين لهم اتصال بالمقدم حسين هرموش وبمرافق له .. ونرجوا قراءة هذا الكلام بدقة .. :: :: :: :: :: تنبيه تنبيه مهم : تركيا ليس لها علاقة بإختقفاء المقدم حسين هرموش هو الذي هرب من المخيم للدخول الى سوريا ويبدو ان كمينا ما للمخابرات وقع به والنظام يقوم على بث اشاعة انه تركيا قامت بتسليم المقدم لضرب العلاقة بين الثورة وتركيا وحتى تخرج الناس تحجرق العلم التركي في الشارع مما سيجعل الشعب التركي يقول بعد أويناهم يحرقون علمنا الهدف من ترويج اشاعة ان تركيا هي من قامت تسلميه نؤكد لضرب العلاقة ببين الثورة وتركيا ول!
دق اسفين بينهما ولو تركيا ارادت تسلميه لقامت بتسليم غيره من قبل من الناشطين والنازحين وكل ما جرى نقله عن مبادلته بسبع من حزب العمال الكردستاني هي فبركة مخابرات وهذا النص الحرفي لما وردني من شخص مرافق للهرموش بتركيا اضعه لكم كما ورد بالرساله (((اخي شلونك طمني عنك؟تركيا ليس لها علاقة بموضوع حسين هرموش ولكن كان متواصل مع بعض الضباط الانذال وخبروه انهم يريدون الانشقاق ولكن عندما تكون انت با الداخل وعندما دخل كان كمين له والرجاء يا اخي ان لا احد ينشر اي خبر عن تركيا لانه يوجد اناس نخاف على حياتهم هناك ولو ان تركيا كانت تريد تسليمه كانت فعلتها من !
The Chief Commander of  the Free Syrian Army, Colonel R AlAs3ad, says:

Turkish Government is not to blame in the arrest of Colonel Harmoush by Syrian Forces. The Turkish authorities are investigating Harmoush disappearance and bringing him back. We hold the Syrian regime responsible for the well being and the life of Colonel Harmoush and we demand his release to the custody of the Turkish Authorities.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime will likely live through the anti-government uprisings despite sanctions levied by the US and its European allies, according to Jay Solomon in the Wall Street Journal.

The Obama administration is planning for a protracted confrontation with Assad as the revolt in Syria enters month seven.

The U.S. and EU have slapped oil sanctions on Damascus that could threaten up to one-third of the government’s revenue, but many experts believe they lack adequate “bite”.

Not to mention, the upper ranks of Mr. Assad’s military, dominated by members of his Shia Alawite religious sect, remain impressively unified in their support for the president and his family.

Meanwhile, an opposition that has been fragmented across religious, ethnic and geographic lines has failed to make much headway against the brutal violence employed by Assad’s security forces which have killed over 2,400 protesters.

Why Many Syrians Still Support Assad
The Christian Science Monitor

The Arab League yesterday called on Syria’s Assad to stop his ‘killing machine’ as the uprising enters its seventh month. But Assad, still backed by key groups, is unlikely to bow to such calls….

EU Sanctions on Syria Oil and Gas Industry Come Sith Loopholes
By: Paul Richter and Henry Chu | Los Angeles Times

As Syria’s foes intensify pressure on Bashar al-Assad, its friends are adopting a new tune, appealing to the president to embrace reforms and buy time for his embattled regime.

The most curious call for political progress is now coming from Iran, Syria’s main strategic ally in the Middle East.

Political analysts say the change of rhetoric reflects Iran’s nervousness over Mr Assad’s management of the six-month popular uprising. It is also a tactical move designed to limit the damage to Iran’s image in a region where it styles itself as a champion of the oppressed.

Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the president who was himself accused of stealing the 2009 election, sparking an unprecedented wave of street protests, has spoken of “needed reforms” in Syria. More explicitly, Ali-Akbar Salehi, the foreign minister, has called on Mr Assad to “be accountable to his people’s legitimate demands”.

Mr Assad has waged a relentless military campaign to crush the revolt, leaving 2,600 Syrians dead so far, according to the UN. Western diplomats say he has been receiving advice and logistical support from Iran, a claim Tehran denies.

The campaign continues to intensify, with killings reported every day, but it shows no sign of breaking the will of the protest movement and is increasingly eroding the authority of the government.

Analysts in Tehran say Iran will support Mr Assad until his last day but is growing concerned about his increased weakness and ability to survive. A collapse of the Damascus regime would deprive Tehran of a vital ally and strike a blow to its ambitions for greater influence in the region at a time of historic change.

Syria’s uprising has been dominated by Sunni Muslims, the majority population that has been ruled by Mr Assad’s minority Alawite regime, an offshoot of Shia Islam. If the protest movement eventually prevails it is unlikely to produce a government that maintains as tight a relationship with Iran.

Some reports suggest that an Iranian official recently met activists from the Syrian opposition, in what could be an attempt to push for a dialogue between the opposition and the region in Damascus.

“Iran sees no other choice but to support reforms in order to buy time and also not to look like it is standing against Arab public opinion,” said a former Iranian official.

The Syrian uprising has exposed blatant contradictions in Iran’s attitude to Arab revolts. Tehran has hailed the Arab spring as an “Islamic awakening” inspired by its own revolution in 1979 but when it comes to Syria it has backed Damascus’s claims that the revolt is a foreign conspiracy designed to benefit Israel.

In Syria and across the region, however, Arabs who have risen against autocracy have more in common with the Iranian opposition crushed by the Islamic regime in 2009 than with current leaders. Their battles are driven by domestic considerations rather than a global struggle against America or a regional struggle against Israel.

Some of the slogans in Syria’s protests have directly targeted Iran and Lebanon’s Hizbollah, the Shia militant group backed by Tehran and Damascus, and expressed approval of Turkey, an ally of the regime which has been far more vocal in condemning Damascus’s actions.

“Iran cannot afford to be against Syrian public opinion any more because anger against Iran is getting really serious,” said one former Iranian diplomat.

More broadly, a recent survey of public opinion in six Arab countries, conducted by the Arab American Institute in Washington, found that Iran’s popularity has been in dramatic decline while that of Turkey has soared.

A political analyst with links to the ruling establishment in Tehran said Iran was pushing for more visible but still cosmetic reforms in Syria because drastic steps would spell the end of the Assad regime.

“The [Iranian] regime is steadfast in helping to keep Assad in power,” says the political analyst. “If there are real reforms, Assad has to leave power and that is not acceptable to Iran.”

The Arab spring is an Arab disaster – 15.09.2011, – Haaretz opinion

The choice in Syria will be either a bloodbath, an Alawite dictatorship or a Sunni dictatorship

The picture is clearing up. The Arab spring is an Arab disaster. In the coming years there will be no democracy in Egypt. The choice in Egypt will be either chaos, Islamic dictatorship or military dictatorship. In the coming years there will be no democracy in Syria. The choice in Syria will be either a bloodbath, an Alawite dictatorship or a Sunni dictatorship. In the coming years there will be no democracy in Jordan. The choice in Jordan will be either weakened Hashemites, the Muslim Brotherhood or Palestinians. In the coming years there will be no democracy in Libya. There the choice will be disintegration, disorder or renewed despotism. Perhaps in Tunisia a real change for the better will occur.

But the bottom line of the Arab spring is that the lives of hundreds of millions of Arabs will be worse. More poverty, more crime, more fear in the streets. More oppression of women, more persecution of minorities, more hatred of the West. Monarchies like Saudi Arabia, which thwarted the Arab spring – are now emerging as responsible states. In contrast, the republics defeated by the Arab spring are turning one after the other into failed states. They are tainted with fanaticism, spreading misery and creating unprecedented instability.

The picture is clearing up. The Palestinian September is an Israeli-Palestinian disaster. The Palestinian September was conceived by two European statesmen – Bernard Kouchner and Javier Solana. Those two naive men figured if they grant international sponsorship to Salam Fayyad’s Palestinian-state plan, they would force Israel to make a final-status arrangement.

But the Israelis did not cave in to the pressure. The Palestinians fell in love with the plan.

Syrian TV Station Accuses Al Jazeera of Fabricating Uprising – NYTImes Lede Blog, September 14, 2011

A YouTube channel called the Syrian Interpreter has posted a subtitled recording of the Syrian television station Addounia TV claiming in a Sept. 9 broadcast that the news station Al Jazeera has built enormous “cinematic replicas” of Syrian cities and squares in the Gulf state of Qatar in order to fabricate the uprising in Syria.

These replicas were built “with the help of some French and American directors” and are “exactly like the ones set up of the Green Square for Libya, with which they duped the Libyans and the world that Tripoli fell,” according to the channel’s English translation.

“With those replicas,” the subtitles read, “Al Jazeera will continue media fabrication and cinematic tricks by shooting scenes of big defections from the Arab Syrian Army and shooting scenes of clashes. Those scenes would be done by directors from the U.S., France, and Israel.”

A spokesperson for Al Jazeera said: “This is wackiness of the highest order which no one will be taking seriously. Many other journalists were in Tripoli reporting the same events, so it is telling that such is Al Jazeera’s influence in the region that supporters of these regimes are targeting Al Jazeera specifically for covering the uprisings.”

Erdogan’s Remarks Irk Muslim Brotherhood – SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 – Wall Street Journal

CAIRO—The Muslim Brotherhood objected to statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan telling Egyptians not to fear building a secular state, in a rare clash that exposes the gap between the so-called Turkish model for building a Muslim democracy and what Islamists in the region believe when they invoke it.

For much of Mr. Erdogan’s two-day visit to Egypt this week, members of the Muslim Brotherhood made up much of the fan club that followed Mr. Erdogan around Cairo. They championed his tough stance toward Israel and his promotion of Muslim solidarity.


The U.S. Department of State urges U.S. citizens in Syria to depart immediately while commercial transportation is available. Given the ongoing uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens who must remain in Syria are advised to limit nonessential travel within the country. U.S. citizens not in Syria should defer all travel to Syria at this time…..

WSJ [Reg]: Sanctions Won’t End Syria’s Repression

On Sept. 2, the European Union, supported by the United States, imposed an embargo on exports of Syrian oil. The EU buys some 95% of Syria’s oil output, accounting for almost a third of Syria’s national income. By hitting the regime of Bashar Assad …

Writing a New Syrian Constitution | By Sami Moubayed

…. A hard reality is beginning to sink into the upper echelons of power in Damascus; that the Baath Party can no longer survive with the same regime, methods, tools and personalities that it used for nearly 50 years.

The Baathists need to dismantle their monopoly on power at will, because they are going to have to do so anyhow under increased pressure from the angry Syrian street. At any rate, Baath Party control — if not mandated by a true democracy — cannot survive in a new Syria. Article 8 and a democracy — which is the ultimate goal– can never go hand in hand.

Syria’s ports suffer as unrest hits economy
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Reuters

…Shipping sources say traffic in general cargoes, dry and liquid bulk cargoes, and containers at Latakia and Tartous has been slipping since the uprising broke out in March. They estimate volumes shrank an average 35 to 40 percent from a year earlier in the first eight months of 2011.

“Importers and exporters are being very cautious, and that has led to imports of raw materials falling sharply as production slows down in many industries due to the troubles,” a Syrian transportation official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters from Damascus.

Shipping agents and industry experts said container volumes, the vast majority of which are handled by Latakia, dropped in June alone by 36 percent from a year earlier to 33,527 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

Official Latakia port figures for the April-June period show a drop of 16 percent from a year earlier, but industry sources said this data was misleading because it included many containers with empty space.

In Tartous, which handles most of Syria’s bulk cargoes, or nearly 9 million tonnes of annual traffic in normal times, shipping sources said some European operators were avoiding the port after the European Union announced sanctions on Syrian oil exports at the start of September.

They said they were also seeing less business from Iraqi and other Arab traders who were deterred by the increasing checkpoints and roadblocks in many parts of Syria.

“We had 25 to 30 vessels daily arriving. This has dropped to between 10 to five daily,” said a major shipping agent based in Tartous, referring to vessels between 8,000 and 35,000 tonnes.

So far, major regular shipping lines such as Danish firm Maersk, French-based CMA CGM, Geneva-based MSC, and Germany’s Hamburg Sud have largely maintained normal vessel calls to Syrian ports despite lower cargo volumes, industry sources said.

Shipping agents say the companies are reluctant to pull out of a transit market that has served the whole region and still has great long-term potential because of its location.

New Party Formed

Syrian opposition members Hassan Kamel, Louai Hussain, Mona Ganem and Bahaa Al Deen Erkad at a press conference in Damascus to announce the formation of a party called ‘Building the Syrian State’. This is the first party to be announced in Syria since the endorsement of the multi-party law by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad last month.

Syrie : un officier supérieur parle
Le Monde Diplomatique, mercredi 7 septembre 2011

« L’armée de la Syrie n’est que l’armée des services de sécurité syriens (jaych amni). » Mon interlocuteur a prononcé ces mots gravement. On l’appellera Mohammed, c’est un officier supérieur sunnite.

Comment en est-on arrivé là ?

Il faut remonter aux années 1960 où, en quatre coups d’Etat, se mettent en place les cadres de l’actuel système politique syrien : la ruralisation des villes et du régime, l’arrivée au pouvoir de la minorité alaouite et la domination du parti et des civils par l’armée. Le dernier putsch, celui de Hafez Al-Assad, père de l’actuel président, en 1970, va parachever la construction du système autoritaire. Il instaure un maillage complet de la société syrienne autour de l’armée et des organes de la Sûreté, du parti et de la bureaucratie. Le régime utilise aussi les liens de solidarité familiaux, claniques, communautaires et régionaux pour se constituer une clientèle (qui est évidemment rémunérée par les postes de la fonction publique). Le croisement des liens communautaires et de l’obsession du contrôle sécuritaire produit la prédominance alaouite dans les hautes charges de l’armée et des organes de sécurité. Le ciment de l’édifice sécuritaire, c’est la culture de la peur que la révolte vient de mettre à bas. Sous M. Bachar Al-Assad (depuis 2000), le parti, la bureaucratie et l’armée sont passés directement sous le contrôle des services de sécurité, eux-mêmes entièrement aux mains de la famille Assad. Les Syriens considèrent même que le parti est le sixième service de sécurité.

– Z. : « Combien d’hommes travaillent dans l’armée et les services de sécurité ? »

– M. : « Leur nombre total dépasserait 700 000 personnes : 400 000 hommes dans les forces armées régulières, 100 000 hommes dans la police et les services de renseignement, et plusieurs dizaines de milliers employés à temps partiel par les organes de la Sûreté. »

Ce sont ces derniers qui forment les bataillons de chabbiha et de francs-tireurs. Les chabbiha sont des ruraux et sans doute des prisonniers de droit commun libérés au début de la révolte. On estime à plus de 100 000 le nombre d’Alaouites dans les services de sécurité, sans compter l’armée et la Garde présidentielle, forte de plusieurs dizaines de milliers d’hommes, qui est totalement alaouite. Les Alaouites représenteraient en 2011 quelque 10 % de la population. La moitié des fonctionnaires serait employée dans l’appareil de sécurité.

A ces hommes, il faut ajouter plus de 60 000 civils employés par le ministère de la défense (notamment dans l’établissement du logement militaire, mouassassat al-iskan al-askari, dirigé par un cousin d’Al-Assad). Ces hommes, comme d’autres agents de l’Etat, sont obligés, sous peine de perdre leur poste, de venir assister le pouvoir dans la répression : ce sont eux qu’on voit munis de bâtons électriques ou de barres de fer, souvent placés à la sortie des mosquées. Ils sont aussi mobilisés dans les manifestations de soutien au régime…

– Z. : « Mais cette armée est bien chargée de la défense du territoire ? »

Mohammed sourit, sa main qui allait prendre la tasse de café s’arrête, comme suspendue. Il la pose sur la table et me regarde.

– M. : « Certes, mais on peut s’interroger depuis les années 1990 : une grande partie du budget national est affectée à l’armée. Or, il n’y a plus de réel renouvellement de matériel pour la majorité des divisions et unités militaires. Alors, où va l’argent ? De plus, une brigade a été créée à la frontière avec Israël (liwa nitaq al-hita) mais elle n’est dotée d’aucune capacité militaire, elle n’a même pas de chars… Enfin, la direction militaire semble très occupée ailleurs comme, par exemple, écarter de l’armée et du service militaire les Damascènes : ainsi, un jeune Sunnite damascène peut payer une sorte de salaire mensuel à un officier responsable pour valider son service en restant chez lui ou en travaillant à Damas »…

– Z. : « En ce qui concerne les appartenances confessionnelles au sein de l’armée ? »

– M. : « On est arrivé à cette situation hautement symbolique où il n’y a plus que deux appartenances réelles : l’alaouite et la sunnite (fi alawi wa fi sunni) mais par sunnite, il faut entendre toutes les autres communautés » [sunnite, druze, chrétiennes, etc., soit 90% de la population, NDLR]. « En principe, poursuit mon interlocuteur, quand un commandant de division, de brigade ou autre unité militaire est sunnite, son adjoint est alaouite et vice-versa. »

C’est d’ailleurs le même principe qui dirige l’attribution des postes de ministres dans le gouvernement, chaque ministre non-alaouite étant chapeauté d’un adjoint alaouite qui détient la réalité de la décision politique. On notera que la récente nomination d’un chrétien à la tête du ministère de la défense, vise sans doute à impliquer plus encore les chrétiens du côté du régime.

– M. : « La décision dans l’armée (comme dans la Sûreté) revient toujours aux officiers alaouites, les sunnites n’ont pas de poids. Un lieutenant alaouite pistonné par la Sûreté peut exercer un pouvoir complet (kamel al-sulta) dans son secteur et avoir plus d’importance que son supérieur sunnite. Par exemple, ces officiers alaouites pistonnés, quelle que soit leur ancienneté dans l’armée, auront à leur disposition une belle voiture neuve et les officiers supérieurs sunnites poursuivront leurs déplacements à bord de vieilles Jeep… Les sanctions prévues pour les officiers en cas de faute grave ne sont pas appliquées avec la même sévérité aux uns et aux autres… De plus, les officiers sunnites peuvent faire l’objet d’enquêtes ou de surveillances internes pour s’assurer de leur loyauté au régime. D’ailleurs, il est très difficile pour un sunnite de s’élever au grade de général [amid], il est généralement mis à la retraite avant… »

– Z. : « Le principe confessionnel apparaît-il sous d’autres formes dans l’armée ? »

Mohammed prend sa tasse de café avant de répondre.

– M. : « Le principe confessionnel est généralisé mais relève du non-dit. L’armée syrienne est composée de sept divisions (firaq), chacune dirigée par un général de division (liwa). La quatrième division, commandée par Maher, frère de Bachar Al-Assad [et qui dirige aussi la Garde présidentielle], est la plus importante, elle compterait de 40 000 à 50 000 hommes, tous alaouites, et c’est la section qui reçoit l’équipement militaire le plus sophistiqué. C’est cette division qui a été impliquée dès le début dans la répression à Deraa. »

Mohammed boit une gorgée de café et ajoute :

– « Tous les officiers des services de sécurité viennent de l’armée. Dans la nomination des officiers, et leur promotion, c’est la Sûreté (amn) qui donne à l’Etat-major les noms des officiers à promouvoir… D’ailleurs, dans la répression de la révolte, toutes les décisions sont prises par les officiers de la Sûreté. Même lorsqu’il s’agit de déplacer un tank… L’armée syrienne incarne, si on veut, le pouvoir exécutif (al-sultat al-tanfiziyya) de la sûreté et pas de l’Etat-major. »

– Z. : « Et les officiers et soldats tués pendant la révolte ? »

– M. : « Il est difficile de savoir ce qui se passe exactement. Aucun militaire syrien ne doute de la capacité de la Sûreté à liquider ceux qui refuseraient d’exécuter un ordre. Dans la logique sécuritaire du régime, la Sûreté préfèrerait certainement abattre quelques alaouites pour pousser ou faire croire à un conflit confessionnel, c’est bien plus rentable pour le régime que d’abattre un sunnite ! Ceci dit, il n’est pas impossible que les militaires envoyés sur le terrain de la répression soient tous alaouites, on peut même penser que ce sont des éléments alaouites des quelque 100 000 agents de police et de la Sûreté que l’on a habillés en soldats pour les envoyer abattre du « sunnite ». Ce serait bien dans la logique de ce régime confessionnel qui ne dit pas son nom. Mais la mort de militaires ou de membres des services de sécurité peut aussi être liée à des actes de vengeance individuels, à des initiatives locales. Ainsi à Deraa en mars dernier, les gens ont repéré un sniper sur le toit d’un immeuble, ils ont brûlé l’immeuble pour se débarrasser du sniper… A Jisr al-Choghour, des habitants ont attaqué le poste de police avec un bulldozer. La répression est si violente, si barbare, qu’elle peut produire des réactions inattendues ! »

Il reste tout de même que l’on n’a aucune image de la mort de ces militaires alors que pour ce qui est des manifestants, on les voit tomber quasiment en direct…

J’ai dû penser tout haut, Mohammed me regarde avec un air ironique cette fois-ci.

– Z. : « Que faut-il penser de “l’armée syrienne libre” (al-jaych al-suri al-hurr) et peut-on envisager une éventuelle fracture au sein de l’armée ? »

– M. : « Il s’agit de dissidences individuelles et pas de la scission d’une unité militaire complète ! Ces dissidences isolées ne peuvent pas délivrer un quelconque message fort au pouvoir. La composition communautaire de chaque unité militaire empêche toute homogénéité pour les sunnites (mais pas pour les alaouites comme la quatrième division le prouve). La répartition des postes de commandement dans l’armée est organisée de telle sorte que même si un ordre dissident venait d’un officier du groupe sunnite, il serait bloqué à divers niveaux par des officiers et sous-officiers alaouites ou alliés du régime. Il ne faut pas attendre de cette armée le moindre soutien aux manifestants. Je le répète c’est une armée de barbouzes, jaych amni », dit-il en prononçant distinctement chaque syllabe…

– Z. : « Alors, quelles sont les perspectives de la révolte ? »

– M. : « Difficile à dire sinon qu’elles sont sombres. En même temps, le régime s’est perdu lui-même. Si les manifestants sont bien décidés à ne pas se soumettre, le régime n’est pas prêt non plus à céder quoi que ce soit. Les Assad n’arrivent pas à imaginer qu’un jour ils ne seront plus là ! C’est pourquoi la répression est allée en s’aggravant. Aujourd’hui, l’armée et le régime ont déclaré une véritable guerre aux manifestants pacifiques et aux civils syriens en lançant contre eux les hélicoptères, les blindés et la marine de guerre… La seule possibilité du côté militaire ne pourrait venir que d’une scission, peu probable, au sein de la direction des services de sécurité, qui pourrait alors entraîner d’autres secteurs de l’armée… »

Mohammed pose sa tasse de café, son regard se perd dans le vague.

En attendant, le régime diffuse un numéro de téléphone pour que les citoyens puissent dénoncer ceux qui le critiquent. Délation de triste mémoire…


أعلن القائمون على تشكيل المجلس الوطني الانتقالي اليوم عن أسم 71 عضواً من أعضاء المجلس الوطني، الذين يبلغ عددهم 140 عضواً، حيث يمثل الحراك الثوري وشباب الثورة 52% من مجموع أعضاء المجلس الوطني

The Names of the Opposition National Council.

1. إبراهيم اليوسف

2. أحمد رمضان

3. أحمد شاكر

4. أديب الشيشكلي

5. أسامة الشربجي

6. أسامة المنجد

7. أسامة قاضي

8. أنس العبدة

9. أنس عيروط

10. بدر الدين بحرو

11. بدر جاموس

12. بسام جعارة

13. بسمة قضماني

14. بشار العيسمي

15. بشار حسن الحراكي

16. جان عبد الله

17. جمال الوادي

18. حسام القطلبي

19. حسان الشلبي

20. حسان الهاشمي

21. خالد الحاج صالح

22. خالد خوجه

23. خليل كرو

24. رامي نخلة

25. رضوان العلمي

26. رضوان زيادة

27. رياض الحسن

28. ريمون معجون

29. ريمون يوخنا

30. ريناس سينو

31. زِيوَر العمر

32. سالم المسلط

33. سامر كيلاني

34. سداد عقاد

35. شادي جنيد

36. عبد الإله ثامر الملحم

37. عبد الباسط سيدا

38. عبد الباقي يوسف

39. عبد الرحمن الحاج

40. عبيدة نحاس

41. عفراء جلبي

42. عماد الدين الرشيد

43. عمار الحداوي

44. عمار قربي

45. عمر إدلبي

46. عمرو العظم

47. فداء المجذوب

48. كاميران حاجو

49. لؤي صافي

50. مأمون نقار

51. محمد العبد الله

52. محمد ثامر المهيد

53. محمد سرميني

54. محمد ياسر تبارة

55. محمد ياسين النجار

56. محمود الكيلاني

57. محمود عثمان

58. مصطفى الصباغ

59. مصطفى كيالي

60. مصطفى محمد

61. مطيع البطين

62. معاذ السباعي

63. منى محمد

64. موسى موسى

65. نجيب الغضبان

66. نذير حكيم

67. هبة الفوز

68. هشام مروة

69. هيثم رحمة

70. وائل مرزا

71. وجدي مصطفى

This is a video of the declaration on the National Syrian Council.

Another video clip with the names of the members of the council

On the Regime and the Opposition in Syria by Nabil Fayyad

Despite my very negative position on the regime for private and public reasons, the truth is that the regime is very strong, and neither the outside nor the inside were able to make it change its usual stances. This strength does not come from a vacuum. The regime has a broad popular base that supports it at home and abroad, whether out of conviction or opportunism. And ignoring this issue on the part of the Transitional Council is the first indication that the opposition does not know yet the true meaning of democracy. . . .

Nabil Fayyad, an expert in comparative religion and biblical criticism, is a Syrian intellectual who is an outspoken critic of the Syrian regime. He has been arrested and detained by the Syrian authorities in the past. The original Arabic note by Fayyad was first published on a Facebook page administered by Fayyad’s supporters on 29 August 2011. The English translation above was adapted from Sate Hamza’s translation published in his blog Syrian Musings on 30 August 2011….

Turkey and the Syrian Kurds by Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Nuances are needed in understanding Christian-Kurdish relations in Syria by Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Christian-Kurdish tensions emerge by Wladimir van Wilgenburg


Comments (99)

Aboud said:

The Christian Science Monitor article makes for sobering reading. It seems that Besho has no real friends, just hostages to circumstances.

September 19th, 2011, 1:51 am


haz said:

Why the obsession with finding a national leader for the opposition? So that there can be a new President for Life? So the government has someone to assassinate?

September 19th, 2011, 1:55 am


Mohamed Hamwi said:

Thanx for the articles josh 🙂 Thank GOD i was in syria to witness the truth to the story. Life in syria is as normal as life is in any other middle eastern country. And yes construction is boooooooooooomingggggggggg. People have grown accustomed to these little rodents roaming the streets and protesting. They would just sit n watch and nod their head in shame. SOURIA BI KHEIR.

September 19th, 2011, 2:33 am


Aboud said:

@3 And yet in the week since we last heard from you, according to SANA, there have been numerous attacks on military personal. If that’s your idea of “normal”, then you really should hold your head in shame.

And as Norman said, his cousins have run away from Homs. Is that normal?

Quite ironic, considering that I’m still in Homs, and go out every night to swear at Besho, his brother, and his father 🙂

September 19th, 2011, 2:53 am


Aboud said:

You see people, only someone really sheltered like cookie cutter menhebak @3 thinks that just because people have learned to filter the background news, nothing is going on. Even at the height of the civil war in Lebanon, some people always made time to go out. People get used to anything.


So Alawites are not getting beaten up and kidnapped and killed and raped and robbed and mutilated? So SANA’s accounts of the past few weeks have been…dubious?

September 19th, 2011, 2:59 am


Mohamed Hamwi said:

ABOUD – who are u trying to fool[Edited for insult]. Everyone knows that you are not in Homs. You are hiding in your corner with your 1 metre long unshaven cockroach infested beard in some western country, whilst getting social welfare payments. Just read Josh’s readers comments on life in damascus and aleppo. That will give u some insight into life on the ground in every city in syria. Im sorry to tell u ABOUDAJEEN that [Edited for insults and foul language]

September 19th, 2011, 3:00 am


Aboud said:

Hehe, keep that up, I love seeing the menhebaks keeping their perfect score for getting themselves banned (although it is Sunday, the moderator might take a while) 🙂

Meantime, what kind of construction is “booming”? Hotels? Factories? Industrial projects? Nope, no one dares invest the money. All we read about in terms of a construction boom are the odd room or two, or the illegal swimming pool or garage.

Even in Baathist Syria, building regulations exist for a reason. Those illegal constructions are dangerous. Areas are zoned for a purpose. With every building that comes up, electricity, roads and water has to be provided.

Any addition has an affect on the integrity of the building and the supply of essential services. Building over land set aside for agriculture is chaotic. Digging a well deeper than it is meant to go is catastrophic, and severely depletes the water supply available year to year.

What this construction boom tells us is that the writ of the state has all but disappeared in anything except extreme security matters (ie chasing down protestors). If the demonstrations were really “like flies in the summer”, the state could spare the manpower to go after traffic violations, stores that sell expired goods, the rampant over pricing of mazot (as was mentioned in the first article).

But the sad fact is, it is taking every single ex drug smuggler and car thief the regime can hire to keep Damascus and Aleppo barely in line. Only a short sighted menhebak would cheer at the breakdown of the rule of law. But in menhebakstan, that constitutes a “victory”.

Sad. Very very sad 🙂

September 19th, 2011, 3:28 am


Aboud said:

Hehehe, the post has been up barely an hour and I’ve already turned the menhebak’s glee over rampant illegal construction into a source of concern. Daaaaaaaaamn I’m good 🙂

Repeat after me menhebaks; thanks to the revolution, the regime does not have the manpower to enforce the rule of law 🙂

September 19th, 2011, 3:32 am


some guy in damascus said:

only in assadistan: mohammed hamwi takes a boom in illegal building as a positive development for the country.
note to mohammed: i hope they illegally built a swimming pool over your house. take the water leaking from your ceiling as a positive development.

September 19th, 2011, 3:45 am


Aboud said:

LOL SGID! And they say Homsis have the best sense of humor? No way 🙂

I mean, what’s the big surprise that Landis’ “sources” seem to have sprung here? That people still feel the need to eat and go out? Honestly, seem to be highly sheltered sources if you ask me, they have never seen a city that ever hosted a riot. Even during the London riots, you could see people going about their normal business.

Even though there is a revolution going on, people still feel the urge to sleep, eat, walk, sc*ew, paint the house, water the garden, wash the car, etc etc. Only the menhebaks would think that a mass psychotic breakdown in people’s habits is a prerequisite for any revolution.

“Look! Salma the Baathist is going to the hair salon! The revolution has faaaaaaaaiiiiiiiled”

Sad. So, so sad. It’s sadder still that Landis thinks this is *news*.

September 19th, 2011, 4:08 am


annie said:

This was on today’s menu when nothing happens :

20:08 Night protests erupted in Baraza near Damascus calling for the fall of the regime. (S.N.N.)

20:06 Syrian security forces attacked night protests that erupted in Houran town of Mseyfra calling for the fall of the regime. (S.N.N.)

18:28 Anti-regime protests broke out in Aleppo’s Tal Refaat and the Homs city of Rastan calling for the regime to fall. (S.N.N.)

17:53 A rally broke out in the Houran town of Neaimeh calling for freedom and the regime to fall. (S.N.N.)

17:39 The Syrian regime’s bloody crackdown on protestors is intensifying, the UN human rights office said Monday as it called for a global response to alleviate the “dire situation” in Syria.

17:07 Syrian Security forces arrested an activist at the Lebanese-Syrian border. (S.N.N.)

17:01 An anti-regime protest began in the Latakia town of Tabiyat. Protesters are chanting against the Baathist educational system. (S.N.N.)

16:12 French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says Syrian regime committed crime against humanity and its leaders should be held responsible, Al-Arabiya reports.

16:02 Syrian security forces raided the village of Iblin in Edleb, heavy gunfire heard. (S.N.N.)

16:01 A You Tube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows hundreds of people marching in a funeral in the Damascus town of Seqba. Mourners are chanting for freedom.

16:00 A You Tube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows dozens of protesters in the Homs neighborhood of Al-Dablan. Protesters are chanting, “The people want to execute the president.”

15:41 Syrian security forces wounded one person in Edleb’s Maarzita on Monday while entering the village. (S.N.N.)

15:38 Syrian security forces arrested opposition figure Dr. Mohammad Yaacoub Abou Houayeh upon his return from Saudi Arabia. (S.N.N.)

15:37 Security forces arrested the Red Crescent crew in the Homs town of Al-Houla while they were helping injured people. (S.N.N.)

15:35 A You Tube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows dozens of school students protesting in the city of Maddaya near Damascus. Protesters are chanting, “No studies will be held until the president is toppled,” and, “The students want the president to be executed.”

15:00 Security forces shot a four-year old boy in the leg in the Homs town of Al-Houla. (S.N.N.)

14:59 A You Tube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows dozens of students protesting in the Damascus town of Kaswa. Protesters are burning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s picture and chanting, “Schools will be closed until the regime falls,” and, “The people want to execute the president.”

14:53 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows students protesting and burning their books in Hama’s town of Khatab. Protesters are chanting, “No studies will be held before the regime falls.”

14:50 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows dozens of students protesting in the Hama town of Taybat al-Imam. Protesters are chanting, “Syria wants freedom.”

14:46 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows dozens of protesting students in the Homs neighborhood of Inshaat.

14:40 A YouTube video purportedly filmed on Monday shows students protesting against the regime in Houran’s town of Al-Harak. Protesters are chanting that they will not “learn” until President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is toppled. They are also chanting in support of other Syrian cities that have been raided by security forces.

14:35 Activists said that security forces killed five people in the Syrian flashpoint city of Homs, AFP reported on Monday.

14:20 An anti-regime protest began in Homs’ neighborhood of Al-Dablan. (S.N.N.)

14:13 Students protested against the regime in Daraa’s neighborhood of Al-Sabeel. Protesters chanted for Homs and for execution of President Bashar al-Assad. (S.N.N.)

14:00 Students protested against the regime in Houran’s town of Adwan and Al-Gheryeh al-Sharkeyeh. (S.N.N.)

13:22 Syria’s secular opposition on Monday urged the international community to protect civilians against Bashar al-Assad’s government repression, in an implicit call for foreign intervention, AFP reported.

13:10 Students began an anti-regime protest in the Daraa neighborhood of Al-Arbaeen and were attacked by members of the Syrian security forces. (S.N.N.)

13:05 The Russian parliamentary delegation visited Daraa, Homs, Hama and Edleb’s Jabal az-Zawiya. (S.N.N.)

13:03 Security forces stormed the Edleb towns of Naqir, Maarat Horma, Arnaba and Jabal az-Zawiya. (S.N.N.)

11:38 Army aircraft have been hovering over northern Hama and Southern Edleb. (S.N.N.)

11:33 Security forces killed two people and injured more than 20 in the Homs town of Al-Houla, Al-Arabiya reported on Monday.

11:23 Security forces massed in the flashpoint province of Daraa, where demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime first erupted six months ago, activists said on Monday.

8:45 A number of soldiers have defected from the Syrian army in Homs, and security forces injured five civilians while pursuing the defected soldiers. (S.N.N.)

8:30 Heavy gunfire was heard in Homs’ neighborhood of Al-Khalidieh. (S.N.N.)

8:11 Sounds of explosions and gunfire were heard in Homs’ Deir Baalba. (S.N.N.)

To read more: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=253828#ixzz1YQ8VPjQo

September 19th, 2011, 1:31 pm


Some guy in Damascus said:

What’s going on with the comment section?

September 19th, 2011, 1:37 pm


Some guy in damascus said:

Thank you for assuring us snp, will besho do all he can to correct rami’s effect on the economy…..think about it.

September 19th, 2011, 1:46 pm


jna said:

US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies



“The test of every policy the Administration develops in the Middle East is whether it is consistent with the goal of ensuring Israel’s future as a secure, Jewish, democratic state. That is a commitment that runs as a common thread through our entire government.”

“The test of our policy – that it advances Israel’s status as a secure, Jewish, democratic state – also explains our commitment to vigorously battle against those who would attempt to isolate or delegitimize Israel in the international community.”

September 19th, 2011, 1:52 pm


Abu Umar said:

6. Mohamed Hamwi said:

Menhebek cockroach, go back to the gutter that you crawled out of.

10. Aboud said:

What do you think of menhebek psychopaths like Ali Shu’aybi, Talib Ibrahim, Khalid Aboud, Shareef Shihadi, Wi’am Wahab, Jimmo?

September 19th, 2011, 2:22 pm


EHSANI said:

Please make sure to vote on the poll on the top left side of this page

September 19th, 2011, 2:51 pm


Mina said:

The only way not to get desperate is to read the Le Monde’s readers comments section here

where amazingly today, everybody is pro-Palestine!

I’ll listen to a Marcel Khalife song to feel in the mood.

September 19th, 2011, 2:54 pm


Mina said:

Here is the link for the Marcel Khalife’s song i chose for today.

September 19th, 2011, 3:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Don’t Act Surprised

US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies


Would it be a secret if we made the following statement:

“Arab League: Support for Palestinians Drives All Mideast Policies”?

September 19th, 2011, 3:48 pm


N.Z. said:


“US Ambassador: Support for Israel Drives All US Mideast Policies” Assads are indispensable for israel, the ousting of this disgraceful family will take time. The infamous Makhlouf was not embarrassed to say, “israel’s stability is linked to Syria’s stability”

But thanks for sharing the article, and Syrians fight for dignity and social justice for all, will go on.

The battle has just started, we will soon achieve victory, first by ending the savagery rule, and second, liberating the Golan Heights, the first is the key to the second.

September 19th, 2011, 4:04 pm


Aboud said:

Syria through the sniper’s sights

By Hugh Macleod
Created 8736-09-19 14:16

Global Post

Middle East [1]

Syria through the sniper’s sights

Hugh Macleod and Annasofie Flamand [2]September 19, 2011 06:38
Defected sniper tells of shoot-to-kill orders given to soldiers cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in southern Syria.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — “Being told by officers to kill peaceful and unarmed civilians is the most brutal thing that ever happened to me.”

Speaking by phone from his exile in neighboring Turkey, a defected Syrian sniper has described to GlobalPost details of his deployment to Izra, 30 kilometers northeast of Daraa, the southern Syrian city that has been the cradle of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

GlobalPost spoke twice to the defected former sniper, a member of the special forces of the army’s Division 47, and has seen his military ID and other personal details. The soldier asked to remain anonymous fearing reprisals by the regime against his family, which still lives inside Syria.

His testimony has been corroborated by that gathered separately by Insan, a leading Syrian human rights organization and Avaaz, the global campaign group.

“The decision to desert the army was a life and death decision for me,” said the former sniper. “It was impossible for me to continue watching people dropping dead in front of my eyes every day — even if they were not killed by me.”

On Sept. 18, a Jordanian official confirmed for the first time that the Kingdom had offered sanctuary to 60 defected Syrian military personnel.

The sniper told GlobalPost that he and fellow soldiers were told by their commanding officers that they were being deployed from Damascus to Daraa province on April 25 in order to protect civilians there from “terrorist gangs.”

“We were told that there were demonstrations in Daraa and we had to protect the demonstrators from terrorists and foreign elements who were threatening them,” he said.

“The week before we arrived in Daraa our officers gave us strict orders to spend every evening from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. watching Al Dunya TV. They said we would hear about the conspiracy against Syria,” he said.

Al Dunya TV is Syria’s only private satellite channel and is majority-owned by President’s Assad’s first cousin and the country’s wealthiest businessman, Rami Makhlouf. In June the station hosted the pro-regime analyst Dr. Taleb Ibrahim, who called on Syrians to kill protestors [4].

“We all believed what we saw on Dunya TV and we were eager to go and kill those people, especially after watching the reports from Daraa,” the former sniper said.

“It was propaganda showing gangsters and salafis [Muslim fundamentalists], opening fire on the army, the secret police and civilians and we were told that they were being paid by foreign forces to kill civilians.”

The sniper said his barracks in Izra were in a remote location and the soldiers were kept isolated from the outside world.

“We had orders not to talk to civilians. We had no access to TV, newspapers, radio or the internet. Our only source of news was our officers. During the morning meetings they would repeat the conspiracies against Syria, such as people being planted by foreign forces among protesters to kill civilians and soldiers. They would tell us about Bashar’s achievements and the good things he has done for country.

“They would say: ‘Of course we will not accept protesters calling for the toppling of our beloved President Bashar al-Assad. Those people chanting like this are hired by foreign forces and we should get rid of them.’”

Four times each week the men would drive south from their base in Izra into Daraa with orders to crackdown on the protestors. The 47th Division was composed of about 100 men, he said, including six snipers who were told to take to rooftops of tall buildings around key protest areas of the city.

GlobalPost in Daraa: How it all began [5]

Other divisions joined the 47th, he said, including the Fourth Division under the command of Maher al-Assad [6], who the sniper said was in overall command of the military assault in Daraa.

“All the divisions in Izra and Daraa were under the direct leadership of Maher al- Assad. All officers took orders directly from him. I know this because I often overheard officers asking each other if they had received this or that order from Maher and asking each other what he said about this or that.”

The sniper said that during the early days of the deployment, while the regular soldiers were told to shoot in the air to break up protests, the snipers were given orders to shoot to kill.

“We were ordered to aim for the head or heart from the beginning. We were not given specific numbers but told to kill as many as possible as long as there were protests,” he said.

However, what met the sniper on his first mission to Daraa was in stark contrast to what he had been told to expect.

“It took us a couple of days to understand that the people we had been told were terrorists were just normal citizens protesting peacefully and we discovered that it was our officers that were the criminals,” he said. “When I got there I didn’t see anything except peaceful protesters. So I decided I would not shoot at them.”

The consequences of not following orders were dire. The sniper described how a soldier he knew as Wael had refused to shoot at unarmed protesters, disobeying a direct order.

“He had an argument with his officer saying that he would not point his gun at unarmed people,” the sniper said.

“During the night something happened. The next morning we were told that Wael had been killed by terrorists who had snuck inside the barracks. It was strange because the barracks are closely guarded and we had never heard about a terrorist attack on barracks before. We all knew he had been killed by our commanders.”

By mid May, the sniper had seen enough. He began to discuss the possibility of defecting with a group of soldiers he discovered were also from his home region of northeast Syria.

“In the military the soldiers given orders to kill are never from the region the orders are given in,” he said.

“We discovered we all came from roughly the same area and since they used to send us together on missions in Daraa we started to trust each other and to talk to each other about the situation. And then we began to discuss defecting.”

SYRIA: Soldiers in Syria defect [7]

But the soldiers’ barracks at Izra was under the close scrutiny of the secret police.

“Whenever they [secret police] would come and join our group, when we sat around talking after the missions in Daraa, we would always change the subject or answer them with what they wanted to hear,” he said.

There had already been defections from the Daraa deployment, said the sniper, even before he began discussing it.

“I heard about many soldiers who defected from Daraa. Maybe around 100 to 150. Usually soldiers would defect during their missions in Daraa city. They would just drop their weapons and run towards the protesters. Some also fled the barracks at night.”

The defected soldiers were all privates, not officers, he said.

Officers slept in separate barracks and got the best food. By contrast, the sniper said, the regular soldiers would receive only bread and water and sometimes not even that. One time the water had worms in it, he said.

With no end in sight to the killing, the sniper said he agreed with 20 other soldiers that the time had come to flee.

At 10 p.m. on the night of May 25, the men handed in their weapons as usual and retired to their beds. But after lights out the men gathered at an agreed location and sneaked out of the barracks onto the road.

A small group, including the sniper, went ahead to flag down a vehicle. The first to pass was a truck, driven by an old man. At first reluctant to pick up his dangerous cargo, the old man relented after half an hour of tense negotiations, driving the men the 100 kilometers north to Damascus, where the group split up.

A few days later the defected sniper was in Turkey, where dozens of other defected soldiers, including senior commanders, have sought refuge.

“I feel better now with my friends in exile, but not as good as I would if I was with my own family,” he said.

“I call them every day to see if they are OK. No one has asked for me yet but I am so afraid for my family because of what I did. But it was the only decision I could take.”

Copyright 2011 GlobalPost – International News
Source URL (retrieved on 2011-09-19 16:07): http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/110919/syria-through-the-sniper%E2%80%99s-sights

September 19th, 2011, 4:09 pm


Aboud said:

France slams UN silence on Syria unrest


19 September 2011
NEW YORK — French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe accused the Syrian regime Monday of “crimes against humanity” and slammed the UN Security Council for failing to take a strong stand on the unrest.

“Crimes against humanity are committed in Syria. The silence of the Security Council is unacceptable,” Juppe told the Council on Foreign Relations, at a talk held on the sidelines of a week of UN summits.

Syria has been rocked by protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that began on March 15 and triggered a brutal crackdown in which the United Nations says 2,600 people have been killed.

A delegation of Russian lawmakers is in Syria in a bid to broker an end to the violence.

Assad told them on Sunday he welcomes the “balanced and constructive Russian position toward the security and stability of Syria,” the state-run SANA news agency reported.

But Assad, who has blamed “armed terrorist gangs” for the violence rocking his country, also warned against “any foreign intervention that threatens to divide states in the region.”

September 19th, 2011, 4:10 pm


Aboud said:

Red Crescent worker killed in Syria
Published: Sept. 19, 2011 at 11:26 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 19 (UPI) — Violence against volunteer medical workers in Syria is completely unacceptable, the international Red Cross said after a volunteer died from gunshot wounds.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said last week that volunteers with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were wounded, one seriously, when their ambulance was fired upon after it ran over downed power lines. One of the volunteers died of his injuries during the weekend, the ICRC said.

“It is completely unacceptable that volunteers who are helping to save other people’s lives end up losing their own,” Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, the ICRC’s head of operations for the Near and Middle East, said in a statement.

Two other Red Crescent volunteers were injured when their ambulance was hit with heavy fire as they tried to evacuate an injured person to a hospital in Homs. The ICRC said the attack on Red Crescent workers last week wasn’t an isolated event in Syria.

Human Rights Watch said its investigation into the incident determined the ambulance was hit with 31 bullets from all four sides of the vehicle. A volunteer from the organization told the rights group that there was no fighting in the area when they came under attack.

Syria is in the midst of a bloody uprising against President Bashar Assad.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2011/09/19/Red-Crescent-worker-killed-in-Syria/UPI-10331316446002/print/#ixzz1YQmZ9Ywp

September 19th, 2011, 4:11 pm


annie said:

Third Another reader : “people continue to smoke argileh while watching the demonstrators there march 10 meters away, then order more drinks while watching the demonstrators run back while the security and shabbiha run behind them!

How funny, indeed ! And if those people could have a first row view of the torture the demonstrators get at the hands of the thugs, they would really crack up.

September 19th, 2011, 4:17 pm


Aboud said:

Syria’s crimes against humanity: the selling of organs

By Aimée Kligman, Foreign Policy Examiner

Using video content uploaded to YouTube, as well as photos uploaded to the Internet, the Syrian Human Rights Committee accused the Syrian regime’s militia today of not only resorting to torture of government opposition civilians, but also of stealing their organs, which they, in turn, sell at premium prices on the black market.

Videos reveal the bodies of youth under the age of 18, as well as adults under the age of 30 scarred by torture wounds, together with long sutures, presumably made by practitioners, around vital organ areas. Secret expert medical examinations confirm that organs were removed from the bodies. Mediarabe.info related that the Syrian Human Rights Committee called on the international community to take action in order to prevent continued human rights abuses, including the barbaric practice of organ theft for profit.

Simultaneously, on Monday, the UN set up a three-member commission to investigate reports of human rights violations in Syria. While the number of civilians killed varies according to sources, al-Jazeera reported yesterday that over 3,000 have died since the onset of demonstrations against al-Assad’s regime in March of 2011.

Western nations have called for more rigorous sanctions against the Syrian regime, a move rejected by Russia.

In spite of the most recent brutal crackdown by Syrian security forces, opponents of the regime show no signs of abating their protests.


September 19th, 2011, 4:18 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

I believe that is the first time I’ve ever read of a building boom amidst a civil war. Positively dumbfounding.

Prohibiting US citizens from travel to Syria is block-headed (I’d expect no less from State-> 1-dimensional-thinking-r-us). I’m surprised there is no Constitutional challenge to such fiats. If Bashar is to be pressured, US reporters’ stories and videos are crucial to the struggle (world opinion).

September 19th, 2011, 4:48 pm


TRUE said:

Brainstorming session:

Please try to put Syria ahead of your feelings and suggest a practical solution to save Syria.

What would you do if you were in Betho’s shoes?

What would you do if you were walking in the opposition’s shoes?


September 19th, 2011, 5:05 pm


uzair8 said:

The full story behind the abduction of a defecting officer of Syrian army
Monday, 19 September 2011

According to information posted on the social networking website Facebook, Turkish intelligence officers who, like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, belong to the Alawite sect, took part in the mission of bringing Harmoush, the most senior defector in the army, back to Syria. Their role, however, was reportedly unofficial and the Turkish authorities were not aware of the abduction. The disappearance of Harmoush from its territories and his subsequent appearance in Syria embarrassed the Turkish government, which has launched an investigation into the matter.

(Read more:)


September 19th, 2011, 5:19 pm


Demonstrations in Syria - Updates & Discussions - Page 888 - The Orange Room - forum.tayyar.org said:

[…] Originally Posted by baleha Do not be surprised if Erdogan is helping the regime as well. They could be playing both games. Who knows … I think Israel wants Assad to stay as well. Erdogan is simply pushing what the West secretly want, which is Israel's stability. Qatar is also playing the MB card in Syria against Assad, but, now pay attention, in his favor. Now KSA is another issue. They are backing the Salafis and the extremists, who in their turn are secretly working for Bashar n order to scare the Christian community. Because they know that even though the Christian community is vocally supporting the Baath regime, they are only doing it so that the regme gets more invigorated, thus brutal and in consequence speeds it own downfall. North Korea is doing nothing because they have their own problems but the Russians will eventually block every UNSC resolution because they don't want Assad to break his energy ties with them. But get this, according to Almustaqbal newspaper today, in the hush hush section of gossip, they said that a Muscovite diplomat openly derided Buthayna Shaaban's statements in Russia and likened them to communist MPs speeches during the final days of Gorbachev. Now that is very telling as to where Moscow secretly stands. they want Assad out eventually but i am still trying to figure out why. Now Obama, he wants to spread democracy and liberal values all over the place, including Syria, even though it may be on the US and Israel's expense (like what is unfolding in Egypt) but the US foreign policymakers have always acted with a tremendous amount of idealism and altruism that they are weighing Assad's downfall to thei unbearable pity to the suffering of the Syrian people. They don't like to see massacres, instability and all the horror that comes with chaos. Remember Allbright's altruism? I am yet to figure out what the Chinese want or Denmark. i will get back to you as soon as something comes up. But listen, all in all, i am sure that the average Omar in Syria is so terrified of the Baath now that he actually went on a construction frenzy. […]

September 19th, 2011, 5:29 pm


uzair8 said:

A tragedy of errors for which the Syrian people pay the price
By Jihad el-Khazen

Monday, 19 September 2011

The President had the support of a clear majority of his people: all minorities are on his side, along with a majority of Sunnis. For this reason, we saw that the least amount of trouble, protests and confrontations has taken place in Damascus and Aleppo. However, the President lost in two months what he had built in ten years and there is no point in denying this. For one thing, I am not writing to gloat, but rather because I am sad and concerned for the future of Syria, its people and Lebanon, as well as the entire region if daily (and nightly) killings continue on the streets of Syrian cities, towns and villages.

(Read more:)


PS Even if we assume Assad had the support of all minorities and the majority of Sunnis I think this is no longer the case. His brutality against protestors will have turned many Sunnis against him angered at the horror inflicted upon their brethren. His support amongst the minorities will have been eroded too.

We talk about the silent majority. Somebody else on SC comment put it better. ‘The silenced majority’.

September 19th, 2011, 5:30 pm


Aboud said:

Comment: Uh yeah, now I guess the MB have bought out the UN’s Human Rights Commission.


Death toll in Syria protests rises to 2,700: UN

Geneva: Syrian security forces have killed 2,700 anti-government protesters since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad started in March, including at least 100 children, the United Nations human rights office said on Monday.

Kyung-wha Kang, deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said her office was prepared to send its confidential list of 50 suspects linked to alleged crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court, if the Security Council refers the situation in Syria to the Hague-based court.

She called on Assad’s government to cooperate with an international inquiry into the bloodshed so as to ensure accountability for all violations and to “break the culture of impunity in the country”.

“As of today, 2,700 people, including at least 100 children, have been killed by military and security forces since mass protests erupted in mid-March,” Kang said in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council.

“Let me conclude by emphasising the importance of holding perpetrators of crimes against humanity accountable. The office has found that such crimes may have been committed in Syria,” she said, citing a UN report issued in August.

Kang, in response to questions about the office’s list of 50 alleged perpetrators, said of the ICC: “Should the court be engaged and request the office’s assistance at any stage of its investigation into violations in Syria, the office will be ready to provide them with the information, including the confidential list of names as appropriate.”

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, speaking in New York, also said that Syria must answer for crimes against humanity.

Crushing protests

Syrian security forces, “backed by tanks, helicopters and snipers” continue to crush protests in cities including Homs, Latakia, Deraa and Damascus, Kang told the 47-member forum.

A large-scale assault in Homs this month had left at least 23 civilians dead and scores injured, she said. “Syrian security forces are reported to have forcibly removed wounded people from hospitals, including from operating rooms, in Homs and prevented medical personnel from reaching the injured.”

In more violence on Monday, Syrian security forces killed at least six villagers and two rebel soldiers in a sweep on the countryside north of Homs, activists and residents said.

Syria’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, rejected as biased both Kang’s presentation and the findings of the preliminary UN report, drawn up by UN investigators who were not allowed to enter the country.

“There are many gangs in Syria, these gangs have responded by generating sedition, attacking innocent civilians, destroying police stations and killing a number of members of the police force,” he said.

Many have been arrested and confessed that they were “shooting at protesters in order to incite violence”, he said.

Syria’s government would continue to implement its comprehensive reform programme and to protect its citizens and their property, according to Khabbaz Hamoui.

Delegations speaking in support of Syria during the debate included Belarus, Iran and Venezuela.

US ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe denounced the Syrian government’s “continued campaign of repression” and reiterated Washington’s call for Assad to step down.

“The body count rises on a daily basis,” she said, citing allegations in the UN report which found Syrian forces responsible for arbitrary executions, detention and torture.

“Again and again, Damascus has blamed armed insurgents for the harm caused to thousands of their citizens who have bled on the streets of Syria. These assertions have no credibility,” Donahoe declared.

September 19th, 2011, 7:17 pm


ziadsoury said:

Dear Ehsani,

I personally do not care about if thumps are up or down. I care about the content of the message.

However, I would like to know who choose thumps or down. It would a great feature if there is a way to click on the icon (either up or down) and the system displays the SC Ids of the people who choose that.

Furthermore, if we can do some trending based on that data would be even better.

September 19th, 2011, 7:22 pm


Alex said:


This is a plugin for word Press that we are using as is, we can’t modify it and even if we could, I would imagine that most people who vote do not want to reveal their preferences to everyone.

As for analyzing the voting pattern … it is doable but you need someone (independent) to analyze each comment to somehow quantize its style and content into meaningful and relevant variables that are worth studying.

I worked last year on such a project but thanks to recent events, the topic (Syrian Israel peace) became irrelevant (for now).

September 19th, 2011, 7:29 pm


qunfuz said:

Landis, or whoever is running this thing now, treats seriously what the patriot Harmoush was forced to say on regime TV. As usual: repulsive. This is what is being done to Harmoush: http://www.facebook.com/notes/%D9%84%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%B3%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7/getting-revenge-from-harmoush-through-his-family-four-martyrs-under-torture-incl/286990097994800

Are you going to show us some ‘confessions’ from Abu Ghraib next, to prove that Abu Ali of Ramadi was contacted by Mugabe, Ahmadinejad, Kim il-Sung and Donald Duck, but that none of them followed up their promises?

September 19th, 2011, 7:42 pm


Tara said:


Hello. Why the hostility? Joshua has been humble and gracious enough since I have started reading SC to correct or add to the main post based on readers input and links. I do not believe there is a malicious intent on his or his designees part to highlight one side vs. the other. None of us can read everything published everywhere. It usually does not take more than a simple request for JL to correct or add the other point of view to the main post.

September 19th, 2011, 7:58 pm




This is why no one can blame the people in Syria if they took revenge.

These people (the Assad mafia and their goons) are some of the most evil people on the face of earth. The Spanish inquisitors had a lot more mercy. Devine justice will eventually catch up with them. If not in this world, then in the hereafter.

By the way, this is not new. This is what they did back in the Eighties. May God cleanse the earth from their evil.

September 19th, 2011, 8:01 pm



Is the moderator no longer working or what? Some filthy comments by the usual type of people are invading this blog. Can the moderator help?

September 19th, 2011, 8:09 pm


ziadsoury said:


First, good to see you here again. I know the last time you were I went hard after you.

As far as the thumps up/down I was just kidding. I really do not pay any attention to those numbers. SO I do not mind if they disappear.

September 19th, 2011, 8:15 pm


Abughassan said:

More on the meeting outside Damascus
This uprising is taking shape now,unless we witness a major earthquake in the region and Syria,we are likely to see a combination of low level violence,compared to a full-scale civil war,and a plethora of political initiatives that have very little chances to succeed as long as security forces continue their unopposed crackdown and brutality.
It may be useful to remember that the ascension of alawis in the army and security forces started in early 60s,got stronger after 1963,became a major force in 1966 and reached its peak after Hafez alasad became a defacto president in 1970. The first 12 years of Asad’s Sr rule went largely uneventful until the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the armed uprising of the MB,which was not a revolution by any standard. The defeat in Lebanon and the massive loss of lives in Hama would have led to the resignation of any president except in a country like Syria. What followed was a steady decline in Syria that was cemented by the appointment of Bashar as president in 2000 in a country that was supposed to be a republic and became a Kingopublic. It is true that Hafez Alasad in his early years helped
poor alawis climb up the socioeconomic ladder but that ascension was tainted by a level of corruption and nepotism then and was effectively non existent later after Asad et al gave their back to underdeveloped areas and only rewarded a small group of thugs who dominated economic life with the active participation of many in the Sunni business class.
Those of you who see this uprising as a war between Sunnis and alawis have a lot to learn or are deliberately distorting historical and current facts. The key to solving Syria’s problem is ending the Asad family rule and allowing all political forces to compete with Albaath in elections that are as clean as you can get in a third world country. Giving more weapons to Syrians,who are already armed,to kill each other is a major sin that equals that of criminal elements in the regime.

September 19th, 2011, 8:20 pm


Tara said:

Aboud @25 and all

Killing detained activists to sell their organs in the black market is beyond evil. I hope it is not true…It is however easy to prove by performing an autopsy. Ever wondered why the regime does not allow HR investigators into Syria? Killing activists to silence dissent is one thing but killing activists to sell their organs is completely different thing. The evil that we are seeing from some Syrians is beyond comprehension! What has happened to those Syrians? Have they lost the last drop of their humanity?

September 19th, 2011, 8:21 pm


Norman said:


At one time it was said that Israel is selling Palestinians organs, now they blame the Syrian government to demonize it,

I think that everybody should get only (( likes)) except for bad language or verbal attacks on others without debating the ideas,

We all and i am one who like to be liked, who doesn’t?

So like for every one except notes for bad language.

September 19th, 2011, 8:23 pm


Aboud said:

@41 I thought you were supposed to be a doctor? Haven’t you been paying attention to the videos of the murdered detainees all stitched up?

Also, did any accusation against Israel reach the High Commission for Human Rights? Or would you have us believe that this organization is part of an MB plot against the eye doctor? It has taken six months of verifying the credibility of these cases, but the world has finally learned what we have known in Syria for half a year.

September 19th, 2011, 8:29 pm


Aboud said:


“What has happened to those Syrians? Have they lost the last drop of their humanity?”

They never considered themselves Syrians. They are Athadians first, last and foremost, and they would murder their own son and daughter if either went out to an anti regime demonstration.

September 19th, 2011, 8:30 pm


Norman said:


I do not believe your vidio or anybody elses, they are fabrcated, pro and against,

here this is for you,
and this one .

this one too,


Being a doctor from Syria means you have the brain to think and not take thing at their face value as true.

September 19th, 2011, 8:39 pm


Aboud said:

@44 Rubbish. You are using whatever excuse you can find to justify your moral cowardice. Was the Red Crescent medic who was murdered by the army a fake as well? You seem to throw out your medical ethics when it comes to defending the regime.

These accusations took six month to reach the UN High Commission. In that time they verified the information made available to them, and it was more substantial than “Youtube videos”. If you are so stuck up on videos, why don’t you tell the Baathists to let in foreign media?

They never will. They have too much to hide.

Why don’t you go to Syria and try to provide medical aid to a wounded demonstrator, and see how long it takes your family to bribe a mukhabarat officer to get you out.

September 19th, 2011, 8:50 pm


Aboud said:

@44 My God, my respect for whatever medical institute gave you your degree just took a plummet. Because one sole Swedish newspaper back in 2009 made the claim that Israel was selling organs, that automatically absolves the Baathist regime of all its crimes?

That’s it, you made up your mind and decided instantly that the UN High Commission bungled an investigation of six month?

Some people will debase themselves to no end, and betray the medical ethics they swore to uphold, all to justify their moral cowardice. Disgraceful.

September 19th, 2011, 8:54 pm


Friend in America said:

Concerning the building boom:

There is another element to the building boom besides the disappearance of government regulators and their restrictions. In times of economic downturn cash becomes an undesirable investment. There are two options for those who wish to protect their wealth from losses resulting from currency devaluation: transfer money out of the country or invest in domestic assets that will have value even if the domestic currency becomes worthless.
For the past 5 months the wealthy in Syria have been taking their money out of Syria. With the sanctions blocking financial transfers (or most of them), investment in domestic real estate is now the best course of action. The more wealthy build estate houses (not hotels, factories, shopping malls, etc., as previously pointed out) while the less wealthy build an addition to their home. That is what is reported to be happening now. It is a sign of distrust in the future.
Another barometer is highly desired expensive foreign cars. How is the car market in Damascus?
When there is a run on food markets, watch out.

September 19th, 2011, 8:55 pm


Norman said:

Aboud said,

(( Why don’t you go to Syria and try to provide medical aid to a wounded demonstrator, and see how long it takes your family to bribe a mukhabarat officer to get you out.))


you claim to be in Syria, yet you said the above that indicate that you are not in Syria, otherwise you would have said ((why don’t you come to Syria)), not go to Syria, that indicate that you are not just mistaken on where you are but that you are not smart about it,

That is OK , you will learn that telling the truth is the best policy and if you do not want you then be smart and remember what you say and claim.

September 19th, 2011, 9:07 pm


Tara said:


We’ve seen few you tube clips of the dead returned to their families with long surgical stitches. There is no explanation for surgical stitches except organ harvesting. It is not plausible that the stitches are due to medically indicated surgery. The Mukhabarat would not send a detainee to a hospital to have an indicated surgery then receive him back to continue with his torture.

September 19th, 2011, 9:10 pm


Aboud said:

@48 *facepalm*

Ye so called medical doctor turned out to be no better than the cookie cutter menhebaks. Instead of answering the charge of moral cowardice, he obsesses over where Aboud is.

Aboud is out every night, demonstrating for Syria’s freedom. Aboud is risking alot with every post Aboud makes. Aboud, in other words, is a much more effective and patriotic Syrian than this ethically challenged “doctor”.

If you don’t believe I’m in Syria, I really couldn’t care less. It still doesn’t change the fact that your murderous Baathist regime has been accused by the UN HRC of selling organs. Instead of focusing your ethical fury against such barbaric practices, you, like the other unthinking, unsophisticated Baathist sheep, whine that “Aboud isn’t in Syria”

Maybe I’ll take a video of me pissing on a picture of your Besho LOL!

September 19th, 2011, 9:20 pm


Aboud said:

Hey ethically challenged “doctor”, what kind of a doctor can’t spell video or fabricated?

“vidio or anybody elses, they are fabrcated,”

Apparently knowing English isn’t a requirement for a medical degree where he got his.

September 19th, 2011, 9:27 pm


jna said:


Just to be clear, are you claiming that a UN commission found that the Syrian regime and/or authorities is harvesting organs of the opposition. Yes or no. If yes, please point to your evidence.

September 19th, 2011, 9:27 pm


Aboud said:


The New York Times

September 19, 2011
U.S. Is Quietly Getting Ready for Syria Without Assad

WASHINGTON — Increasingly convinced that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria will not be able to remain in power, the Obama administration has begun to make plans for American policy in the region after he exits.

In coordination with Turkey, the United States has been exploring how to deal with the possibility of a civil war among Syria’s Alawite, Druse, Christian and Sunni sects, a conflict that could quickly ignite other tensions in an already volatile region.

While other countries have withdrawn their ambassadors from Damascus, Obama administration officials say they are leaving in place the American ambassador, Robert S. Ford, despite the risks, so he can maintain contact with opposition leaders and the leaders of the country’s myriad sects and religious groups.

Officials at the State Department have also been pressing Syria’s opposition leaders to unite as they work to bring down the Assad government, and to build a new government.

The Obama administration is determined to avoid a repeat of the aftermath of the American invasion of Iraq. Though the United States did not stint in its effort to oust Saddam Hussein, many foreign policy experts now say that the undertaking came at the expense of detailed planning about how to manage Iraq’s warring factions after his removal.

Syria is sure to be discussed when President Obama meets Tuesday with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on the periphery of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, administration officials say. A senior administration official said the abandonment of Mr. Assad by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and European nations would increase his isolation, particularly as his military became more exhausted by the lengthening crackdown.

Another Obama administration official said that with 90 percent of Syria’s oil exports going to Europe, shutting the European market to Damascus could have a crippling effect on the Syrian economy and could put additional pressure on Mr. Assad’s government.

“Back in the 1990s, if Syria wanted credit and trade and loans that they couldn’t get from the United States, they went to the Europeans,” said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Obama administration official. Now, Mr. Takeyh said, Europe has joined the United States in imposing sanctions on Syrian exports, including its critical oil sector.

Aside from Iran, he said, Syria has few allies to turn to. “The Chinese recognize their economic development is more contingent on their relationship with us and Europe than on whether Assad or Qaddafi survives,” he said, referring to the deposed Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Eight months ago, the thought of Syria without a member of the Assad family at the helm seemed about as far-fetched as the thought of Egypt without Hosni Mubarak or Libya without Colonel Qaddafi.

But intelligence officials and diplomats in the Middle East, Europe and the United States increasingly believe that Mr. Assad may not be able to beat back the gathering storm at the gates of Damascus.

Mr. Obama’s call last month for Mr. Assad to step down came after months of internal debate, which included lengthy discussions about whether a Syria without Mr. Assad would lead to the kind of bloody civil war that consumed Iraq after the fall of Mr. Hussein.

The shift moved the administration from discussing whether to call for Mr. Assad’s ouster to discussing how to help bring it about, and what to do after that.

“There’s a real consensus that he’s beyond the pale and over the edge,” the senior Obama administration official said. “Intelligence services say he’s not coming back.”

To be sure, Mr. Assad may yet prove as immovable as his father, Hafez al-Assad, was before him. Many foreign policy analysts say that the longer Mr. Assad remains in power, the more violent the country will become. And that violence, they say, could unintentionally serve Mr. Assad’s interests by allowing him to use it to justify a continuing crackdown.

Many factors may make his exit more difficult than the departures of Mr. Mubarak in Egypt and President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. For one thing, both the United States and Europe have become more distracted in recent weeks by their economic crises.

Furthermore, while Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and even Yemen all imploded, those eruptions were largely internal, with their most significant ramifications limited to the examples they set in the Arab world. A collapse in Syria, on the other hand, could lead to an external explosion that would affect Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and even Iraq, foreign policy experts say, particularly if it dissolves into an Iraq-style civil war.

“The Sunnis are increasingly arming, and the situation is polarizing,” said Vali Nasr, a former Obama administration official in the State Department and the author of “The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future.”

“Iran and Hezbollah are backing the regime,” Mr. Nasr said. “There’s a lot of awareness across the regime that this is going to be pretty ugly.”

That awareness is fueling the desire to plan for a post-Assad era, Obama administration officials say. “Nobody wants another Iraq,” one administration official said on Saturday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

At the same time, the administration does not want to look as if the United States is trying to orchestrate the outcome in Syria, for fear that the image of American intervention might do the Syrian opposition more harm than good. In particular, administration officials say that they do not want to give the Iranian government — which has huge interests in the Syrian government and is Mr. Assad’s biggest supporter — an excuse to intervene.

But one administration official pointed to the remarkable call earlier this month by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for Mr. Assad to ease up on his crackdown as a sign that even Iran’s leaders are worried about the Syrian president’s prospects.

September 19th, 2011, 9:30 pm


qunfuz said:

Tara – I’m afraid I disagree with you. I don’t think that taking Harmoush’s ‘confession’ seriously is objective reporting. (Landis is not alone here. the so-called ‘progressive’ asa’ad abu khalil had done the same. I don’t think ‘Valerie’ from Latakia was serious unbiased news. I don’t think that Landis was sensible or unbiased when in debate with Osama munajed the other day he explained 50 years of dictatorship by ‘the Sunnis couldn’t agree.’ this because there was an argument bewtween aleppan and damascene politicians in the 40s. this kind of essentialising, eternalising, overgeneralising would be unacceptable if applied to jews, alawis, blacks or whites, and it’s unacceptable when applied to syria’s sunnis. (he doesn’t mention that the first coup in syria was CIA-organised). he’s also on record encouraging america to help asad repress those scary sunnis. yes, he’s improved somewhat recently as he’s come under pressure and as it’s become obvious just how monstrous this regime is. that’s not enough for me, i’m afraid, not when children are being tortured to death. but i’ve said what i think several times before. I’m absenting myself again now.

September 19th, 2011, 9:35 pm


jna said:


From your link: “the Syrian Human Rights Committee”. I think this is a Syrian opposition group.

September 19th, 2011, 9:36 pm


Aboud said:

JNA, you are correct. In this case I stand corrected. I had mixed up the original article with this one, in which the UNHRC had said it was preparing a list of 50 suspects of war crimes in Syria


Would have been an easy thing for a menhebak to spot, if he had even bothered to read the article. Instead, we hear the usual whine that “Aboud isn’t in Syria”.

My mistake was that I said the UNHCR had confirmed the practice. However, the accusation has no similarity with the one the Swedish newspaper in 2009 made against Israel. In that case, the accusation was debunked. The one against the Baathist regime has held up even after six month.

September 19th, 2011, 9:41 pm


Tara said:


Why would you “absent yourself again”? You should stay the course and point to us where you disagree. This will further enrich the discussion and make it worthwhile. Lots of people have changed heart after witnessing the regime’s brutality. There is nothing wrong with that. It is however wrong to feel “pissed off” and therefore to get quite when the stake is very high. To the contrary, all of us, the mamnhebaks, should be as vocal as possible while refraining from personal antagonism. I was glad with the content you brought about Harmoush and I second your voice that it should go into the main post.

September 19th, 2011, 10:09 pm


sheila said:

To all,
Very important news. Please read:
“The judge decided to release Georges Sabra today after questioning on charges that were brought against him,” said the lawyer Khalil Maatuk.
Sabra had been charged with “undermining the morale of the state, wanting to create an Islamic emirate (in Qatana) and inciting people to demonstrate”.
Can you fathom what is going on in Syria? Can you understand the extent of the conspiracy against the Assad regime?
Give this news To Al Dounya with the impressive analytical skills of its staff and this is what you will get:
“ The conspiracy includes women getting pregnant with their Muslim children then naming them Christian names like Georges, raising these children for decades with the aim to create an Islamic Emirate. To prove this scheme, here is a confession form Georges Sabra”.

September 19th, 2011, 10:10 pm


Norman said:


It is obvious, you could not dispute the facts that i pointed out so you moved to attack my English and credibility, typical of you foreign born,
and yes my mother tongue is Arabic not English like you as i went to medical school in Syria and proud of it.

Please correct my English writing, so others can understand .

September 19th, 2011, 10:20 pm


Norman said:


These surgical scars that you see are from autopsies that are done on everybody who dies while in custody so there will be documentations of what happened, in case of criminal investigation, one other reason is that it was an attempt on saving whoever shot with surgery, surgeries leave scars, is it possible that they were for organs, i guess, but i really do not think that they are thinking about that now with all what is going on.

September 19th, 2011, 10:33 pm


TRUE said:


The email I got from an alias called “Dream” misspelled the word “video” as well, it makes sense all Menhebaks share the same symptoms of their disorder.

Now back the infamous Menhebak’s chicken or the egg question (Where is ABOUD?)

Why don’t you give them the ultimate kick in their bums and do something similar to what SGID did, just a short video (not vidio) in Homs which shows couple of stickers like “Up yours Menhebaks? With love ABOUD :)”

Alternatively, just keep them on their toes till Betho leaves to Iran and say the same lines while you’re commenting on CNN or Aljazeera Tv 🙂

September 19th, 2011, 10:41 pm


Aboud said:

@60 What “facts”? All you presented were stale Swedish articles about Israel, and then you tried to pull the OLDEST gotcyha on the Internet (“you said go to instead of come to wa wa wa!”).

“These surgical scars that you see are from autopsies that are done on everybody who dies while in custody ”

Rubbish yet again. Did Hamza Al Khatib have an autopsy performed on him? Show me proof that a single autopsy was ever performed on someone who died in mukhabarat custody. You have tons of videos to pick from, hundreds even. Be my guest.

I still don’t understand how a doctor could have such atrocious English. It’s not like video and fabricate are hard words.

“Why don’t you give them the ultimate kick in their bums and do something similar to what SGID did, just a short video (not vidio) in Homs which shows couple of stickers like “Up yours Menhebaks? With love ABOUD”

Excellent idea. Will do 🙂 Although remember that even after SGID gave that shout out to SpANN, she was still all “faaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!!!!!”

September 19th, 2011, 10:51 pm


Aboud said:

Oh and I forgot to mention that the ethically challenged menbehak didn’t even read the article I posted, otherwise he’d have caught on that I made a mistake. Typical of the Baathists though 🙂

September 19th, 2011, 10:53 pm


Norman said:

The Brits use the word Rubbish most often.

Do not let your frustration give you away.

September 19th, 2011, 10:59 pm


TRUE said:

Hehehehe I wonder if Menhebaks actually read the posts. I challenged ABOUD to confirm his residency and they still blindly clicking on “dislike” lol

Well it’s kinda make sense as most of the Mukhabarat division 225 recruits are illiterate peasants

September 19th, 2011, 11:01 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

These guys you are talking to are notمعارضه they are معارصه

September 19th, 2011, 11:21 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I think they should get the approval from the family before they perform autopsy.the important thing is that these people were in custody and they died there,so you can not deny that the cause of death of these young people are torture, please do not say they died of heart attack,or overdose or suicide,they were alive before they were arrested,and died of torture.that is inhuman,i hope you agree.

September 19th, 2011, 11:22 pm


TRUE said:

Qwrd lak ABOUD lak wen ra7 eldoctor?

Qwrd ana sho 3arafni ma ykoon ra7 yta3mi hal eljajat

September 19th, 2011, 11:24 pm


TRUE said:

“think they should get the approval from the family before they perform autopsy”

Mmmm not sure if they teach “Ethics” @ Teshreen University

September 19th, 2011, 11:26 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I believe that kidnaping and assasination of high ranking officers and supporters of Assad, will be the future, this should be easy,blackmailing will get us somewhere,there are many officers in the army who walk down the street,they are easy catch, and yes poisoning is possible.

September 19th, 2011, 11:33 pm


TRUE said:


Places like Ya’foor, Saboura and Demmas are excellent spots to catch those high ranking officers on their feet, especially when they’re trying to look contemporary and go for a run (walk) followed by their bodyguards.

You know these original peasants stole lots of land and turned it into their own heaven of villas and farms. I reckon these properties should be confiscated and redistributed between the martyrs families.

September 19th, 2011, 11:48 pm


Norman said:


Do you think that the government should kidnap and assassinate leaders of the opposition, I say no, but if army officers are kidnapped and assassinated, then i do not know how the government should respond, what do you think they should do.

September 20th, 2011, 12:24 am


NK said:

Norman #74

If that happens then Bashar should send the army to occupy Syrian towns and kill people indiscriminately especially children … oh wait, they’re already doing that! You see Norman the regime already hit rock bottom, well almost, since they haven’t used chemical weapons … yet.

September 20th, 2011, 1:25 am


MNA said:

Tara (from Previous post)

I m not an Alawi, but a suni by birth. I really don’t get what my religious affiliation has to do with anything. Any decent person should get repulsed by any sectarian comment directed to any religion or sect.
I do, however, welcome a dialogue.

September 20th, 2011, 3:32 am


qunfuz said:

Tara – I didn’t need to bring the news about Harmoush. It is quite obvious what happened to him. Anyone who thinks, or who knows anything at all about what’s going on in Syria, will know that his televised ‘evidence’ has been coerced out of him by threats and torture. We aren’t dealing with objective, disinterested people here on SC. What upsets me so much is that this site is the go-to site on Syria throughout the Western world. Now that it’s being run by someone who says ‘Syria is to Alawis what Israel is to Jews’ I expect it to get even worse. (That comment, by the way, throws new light on the attempt some months ago to start a dialogue between Syrians and Zionists). But I’ll bear in mind what you say, and I may comment here sometimes. You keep up the good work, by the way.

September 20th, 2011, 5:54 am


Joshua said:

Dear Qunfuz,

May I suggest that you are being too dramatic. Everyone knows that Harmoush was tortured, as you suggest yourself. I understand you believe that I was trying to conceal this, but it isn’t true. Everyone here has an advanced degree or two. They know Syria. I included the opposition article about how he was probably duped by Syrian intelligence into returning. People are smart enough here that I don’t need to provide a study guide for every article included in the “news round up.” I couldn’t possibly do it anyway. I don’t have that much time in my day.

The point of this site is to provide all sides and voices of the conflict and give a round up. That is why people come to read. SC provides an service that no one else does. Rather than look for the shortcomings – of which there are undoubtedly many – write. Post content. We copy and psste much of the news roundup directly from the comment section.

Getting Ehsani and Camille to carry on is the best way to ensure that all sides of the discussion are respected. The alternative was to shut it down. It would be a shame to do that with over 190,000 pageviews a month and 6,000 subscribers.

I like what you write, Qunfuz. I understand your zeal for a good cause. I hope you will contribute more.

September 20th, 2011, 1:02 pm


Alex said:


So you are dropping your previous charge that I hate Islam?

Now I am not patriotic, because again, you are too eager to misunderstand whatever I say.

I suggest you try harder to learn how to respect the rights of those who disagree with you to express their opinions without your Texas evangelist preacher style moral lecturing. If you are suggesting that you are advocating free speech in Syria, you’re not too convincing so far.

And if you check the names I invited to write at Syria Comment two months ago when Joshua was off, I invited two moderate opposition activists, Bassam elKadi and Yazan Badran. My personal opinion will still be as frank as it should be, but that will not affect accessibility to Syria Comment to all. And Ehsani will be more energetic than me I think, he will be here more often and I hope you feel more comfortable with him. Joshua will occasionally write too. I am not in charge and Syria Comment will not turn into Teshreen newspaper.

September 20th, 2011, 1:17 pm


Akbar Palace said:

I’m Qunfuzed

(That comment, by the way, throws new light on the attempt some months ago to start a dialogue between Syrians and Zionists).


What “attempt”? Unfortunately, the Arab street and the corresponding hate of Israel will prevent any “dialogue between Syrians and Zionists”. And that’s just dialogue.

The Arab Spring has a difficult road to follow. The first step is democracy, free elections, and basic human rights. Once that’s established, then and only then can each Arab country decide whether to dialogue with the Zionists (aka the Government of Israel).

However, today, we can see the region is moving in the opposite direction. It is too risky to even appear friendly to Israel.


Welcome back. After all that’s transpired this past half-year, can you clarify your position regarding the rule of Syrian Baathism and the Assad family? Thanks.

September 20th, 2011, 2:01 pm


ziadsoury said:


I would like to know your position and where you stand on the current situation in Syria. It does not matter to me where you stand but I would like to know so I can filter your input through that lense.

Here is where I stand:
1- Assad clan and their thugs need to go away
2- No NATO intervention
3- Justice needs to be served and done
4- Stolen money needs to be returned
5- Kurdaha needs to be declared safe zone for all alawis (not including people who need to be brought to justice)
6- New constituation based on equal rights for all

And the list goes on..

September 20th, 2011, 2:24 pm


Mina said:

Ziadsoury, I am just wondering if in a globalized world you can expect any such thing being delivered to Syria, with its strong Palestinian population, while it has not been delivered in Iraq nor in Afghanistan.

Did it pass unnoticed here that on August 30th, Wikileaks has released more than 25,000 cables including a lot from the Middle East (from Tehran embassy in the 70’s to Beirut and Damascus in 1985…)
Damascus, more than 1,500 cables:
Beirut, more than 2,500:
Indeed, enough to write several books:
30th August delivery, 5000 pages multiply 50 cables:

September 20th, 2011, 2:40 pm


amal said:

You see Alex if you don’t agree with this anti-Syrian cesspool of blood thirthty neocons on this board they’ll immediately threaten you personally and profile you as a monster against humanity. I say we should deny them the opportunity to spread their venom by shuting down this blog.

September 20th, 2011, 2:47 pm


Alex said:

Dear Amal,

I received so many threats on Facebook of the “don’t forget the internet will preserve what you are writing, when the revolution wins we will not forget”. I am not surprised.

Akbar Palace,

Thank you! … and I still disagree with the way you see the situation in the Middle East : )


I agree about need for a new constitution and charter of rights. The one we now have is customized for Baathist ideology. The negative parts of your wishlist I still hope we can do without.

I’m writing an exceptionally long article … Can’t express an opinion in a more concise manner. It is too complex …

September 20th, 2011, 2:58 pm


Mina said:

How Egypt was just the biggest colony in the ME:

How the Saud family (5,000 males, according to the already ancient cable estimation) of so-called “Saudi” Arabia pre-empts the army (well, it’s a business too, and you never know, better avoid a coup coming from this side):

A summary of Iraq’s politics?

“Democracy” and civil war in Mosul

Gloomy reality of wars: booming prostitution from Iraq

The Muslim brotherhood and the Hama events:

How the West needs some places to remain police-states, just to be able to monitor the pilgrims from other countries:

“Democracy” in Turkey 2010 or the beginning of the strife between MB-s and seculars

September 20th, 2011, 3:34 pm


qunfuz said:

Mr Landis – you avoid my point. I do not believe that anything harmoush says under torture and under threat is in any way reliable or news worthy. You don’t just report what he said, you appear to take it seriously. I do not agree that you are merely showing all sides. I believe your analysis of syria is sectarian. I’ve already explained why. I am by no means the only person who believes this. In any case, you are not reporting all sides. You didnt report the amnesty report on crimes against humanity. you do report any old piece of propaganda from Xinhua. Mr Otrakji – I don’t think I accused you of hating Islam. Perhaps I did. I don’t withdraw any charges in any case. I find your treatment of recent events to be deeply unpleasant and sectarian. Your comments about alawis and israel reinforce this. Your sneering at the patriots who are being killed was the last straw for me. I am angry with intellectual shabeeha, I really am. And this is your site, you two. (I have no problem with Ehsani). That’s why I don’t wish to participate, at least not very much. I certainly don’t wish to engage you in protracted argument. Last time your response was ‘how can you say I’m against Islam? I set up a websir=te about Islam. You didn’t contribute to my website. Therefore I care about Islam more than you.’ This kind of thing is just too stupid to engage with, especially when serious things are happening in the world.

September 20th, 2011, 3:40 pm


Alex said:

Adding “Mr.” is not making your comment more respectful Qunfuz. A real indicator that you are able to respect views that are not to your liking is when you stop classifying everything I say as stupid, silly, immoral, outrageous, despicable …

Try to engage in a discussion without these primitive defense mechanism tactics if you are so sure you and your side have monopoly on morality and intelligence.

September 20th, 2011, 4:11 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Thank you! … and I still disagree with the way you see the situation in the Middle East : )


OK. Glad we can disagree strongly and still be civil. I look forward to your stewardship here.

Qunfuz said,

Mr Landis – you avoid my point. I do not believe that anything harmoush says under torture and under threat is in any way reliable or news worthy. You don’t just report what he said, you appear to take it seriously.


I agree with your claim against Professor Josh. Any words uttered by a political opponent of an autocratic regime cannot be taken seriously. The man could be killed and injured w/o the government being held responsible for his welfare. There is no independent judicial system available for opponents of the government.

Mr Otrakji – I don’t think I accused you of hating Islam. Perhaps I did. I don’t withdraw any charges in any case. I find your treatment of recent events to be deeply unpleasant and sectarian. Your comments about alawis and israel reinforce this. Your sneering at the patriots who are being killed was the last straw for me. I am angry with intellectual shabeeha, I really am.


Your accusations against Alex would carry a lot more weight if you weren’t just as guilty of the same hate against Zionists and Israelis. Hate is a blight in ALL cases, not just those promoted by Baathists.

September 20th, 2011, 4:19 pm


Tara said:


Can you explain what the statement “Syria to Alawi is what Israel to Jews” means exactly?

September 20th, 2011, 4:23 pm


qunfuz said:

Otrakji – I’m not trying to be respectful. I have no respect for you at all. I consider your views and statements to be stupid, silly, immoral, outrageous, despicable. Is that clear now? Enjoy your high horse about ‘respecting views’. I don’t respect your views at all. I don’t respect Imad Mustafa or Buthaina Shaabaan either. Just as you don’t respect the people being murdered for calling for a democracy.

AP – your racist views about my monobrow would have disqualified you from being a serious interlocutor if you weren’t already disqualified. I see no point talking to Zionists. Zionists will need to be greatly weakened so that they think again. Then post-Zionist Israelis and Arabs will have a conversation. There’s been too many decades wasted talking to thieves and murderers. Thank God, the region is now changing very rapidly.

September 20th, 2011, 4:33 pm


Alex said:


I will explain in my article. But I should clarify that a more accurate statement would be “Syria for MANY Alawites is what Israel is to Many Jews”.


And now you are resorting to another primitive defense mechanism … distortion.

Glad you feel better about your self by distorting my views about the extent to which I do NOT respect those demonstrating.

Yalla … go pick one sentence here or there and take it out of context to prove to your self that you have proof I do not respect demonstrators.

September 20th, 2011, 5:01 pm


ziadsoury said:


First, Why do you have to bring Jews into the picture? Is that to make an excuse for the Asad clan and their thugs for their crimes. Are you comparing the Alawits to the Zionist? I do not believe the majority of the Alawi community, which is under oppression just like the rest of Syrians, wants you.

I can not wait for the explanation. Meanwhile can you please provide simple yes and no answers to these questions:
1- Is the regime responsible for the violence?
2- Is the regime responsible for killing over 2600 Syrians
3- Has the regime tortured and killed people under the age of 15 in the last six months?

Now, what would you do if the Canadian government kidnapped your child, tortured and mutilated the child and delivered him/her to you in a body bag just because the child said “Yasquet AlNizam” or “Badna 7ourya”?
Would one of your demands be the removal of the government?
Would another demand to have justice done and served?

September 20th, 2011, 6:32 pm


uzair8 said:

‘First Jewish global 24 hour news channel set to launch’

Jewish News One unaffiliated with political movements, will be broadcast in Europe, America and Middle East, according to EJP report.

(Read more:)


Starting broadcast today (Wednesday 21st September)

September 20th, 2011, 7:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Waiting for The Post-Zionist Weakness NewZ

AP – your racist views about my monobrow would have disqualified you from being a serious interlocutor if you weren’t already disqualified. I see no point talking to Zionists.


Oy vayizmir. My comment about your “unibrow” was a joke. There’s nothing racist about it. Plenty of people have a unibrows, including me! So if it makes you feel any better, please accept my apology for commenting on your eye-brows.

BTW, your heroes/buddies in Hamas and Hezbollah are not only racist anti-semites by charter, they are also thugs who have killed more arabs than Jews.




Zionists will need to be greatly weakened so that they think again. Then post-Zionist Israelis and Arabs will have a conversation. There’s been too many decades wasted talking to thieves and murderers. Thank God, the region is now changing very rapidly.

Define your terms: How will you know when Israel is “greatly weakened”? And what exactly is a “post-Zionist Israeli”?

The problem with you Qunfuz is that most people, including the UN do not have a problem with the notion of a “jewish people” and their respective state, which has done fairly well these past 63 years.


REAL thinking people who aren’t brainwashed by madrassas and the arab government-controlled media can actually wrap their minds around the concept of a Jewish state and a Palestinian state living side-by-side in Palestine.

The State of Israel recognizes that the Palestinians should have self-determination leading to an independent state. The State of Israel recognizes Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and every other nation in the world. But there are still a few who prefer to live in the past. Oh well. Israel is the only nation that has given land back to the Palestinians. Jordan and Egypt never did when they had the opportunity.

September 20th, 2011, 8:16 pm


Akbar Palace said:


cc: Alex

I agree with you. I don’t see the relationship. Jews also make up 75% of the population of Israel. Alawis make up what, 10% of Syria? So with democracies, it is the majority that steers the country, not the other way around.

It seems Jews and Israel always enters the discussion when no one wants to face an unpleasant issue. The Arab thugs who lead the ME understood this formula. Hitler understood it too. IMHO, those on this website who have a need to mention Jews and Israel in their posts (5 Dancing Ahmads, Spann, etc) just means these people have a need to redirect reality from actual scrutiny and reflection.

This “formula” is going to be tested now that the arab spring has sprung.

September 20th, 2011, 8:28 pm


qunfuz said:

on reflection I realise that I am projecting some of my anguish at what is being done to the Syrian people onto Joshua and Alex (or Landis and Otrakji, with or without ‘Mr’), and that my responses to them are therefore too emotional. My distaste for their commentary remains.

September 20th, 2011, 8:55 pm


Maysaloon - ميسلون: "This is Landis, Signing Out...For Now..." said:

[…] is a real mud-fight taking place in Syriacomment and in which I don't intend to participate. It seems that Joshua Landis is handing over the […]

September 20th, 2011, 9:02 pm


Alex said:


Part of “the regime” is responsible for part of the violence and killing. Part of “the opposition” is also responsible for violence and killing. Outsiders with interest in weakening Syria are also responsible.

I do not think the more reasonable parts of the regime are doing enough in trying to prevent those who prefer using oppression to regain full control. And I do not think the good intentioned among the opposition are doing enough to reject violence on their side.

Comparisons to the Jews are to be explained later. They are much more limited than the way some of you read them, but I take responsibility for that, I should have expressed myself in more detail on that point.

September 20th, 2011, 11:00 pm


Darryl said:

93. AKBAR PALACE said:

“The problem with you Qunfuz is that most people, including the UN do not have a problem with the notion of a “jewish people” and their respective state, which has done fairly well these past 63 years.”

Yes, this is due to the fantastic salesmanship of the Israeli governments and lobby in the last 63 years. This way they can milk the “Christian west” to prop Israel as a Jewish state because the Messiah will not come back again until Israel is formed and complete. As usual, the “Christian west” focuses on the least common denominator whilst ignoring every other teaching of Christ.

I love the scene of all these American Gringos carrying their crosses up and down on their back doing hard labor and paying for it. BTW, has that project been completed yet where these gringos can also walk on the sea of Galilee just like Christ did?

September 20th, 2011, 11:22 pm


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