Pro Bashar Demonstrations in Aleppo; Shooting in Latakia; 20 Dead in Deraa; 10 Shot in Sanamin

Sa'd Allah al-Jabiri place, downtown Aleppo, around 6pm today (Friday).

I was just told that there has been shooting in Latakia. Syrian security forces have closed roads leading to Latakia city, Al-Jazeera reports. Some believe that it demonstrates a level of organization that suggests more than Facebook opposition. More killings in Deraa; ten people were killed today in clashes between protesters and security forces in the southern Syrian city of Sanamin, a high-ranking official told AFP news agency.

This note comes to me from a German friend in Aleppo, who knows Syria well. I will not use his name unless I get permission from him. He writes:

Hi Josh, Hope this finds you well. I’m in Aleppo this year,  and as always enjoying your blogue, particularly in these heady times.

There was and still is a big demonstration in progress in Aleppo today (Friday 25th), pro-regime of course. There was apparently a small one of some 200-250 people early this morning, basically in support of the wage hikes announced yesterday, and around 12h30 a bigger one started brewing around Sa’d Allah al-Jabiri place, which just kept growing throughout the afternoon. Now (21h00 local) it’s spread out into the residential areas; Mogambo place is absolutely packed with people dancing and a band standing by. I’d send you pictures except that internet is so terribly slow that I can’t upload anything at home.

Obviously it’s orchestrated to some extent, the usual slogans, the usual underclass youths, the usual black leather clad security guys watching from a distance. But everyone we’ve talked to in the last weeks seems genuinely pro-regime, and now doubly so in light of the reform announcements. Guys I was watching Al Jazeera coverage of violence in Sanamayn today were only muttering “kazzab, kazzab” [lies, lies] under their breath.

The Kurds are of course a different matter; the Ashrafiyya and Shaykh Maqsud suburbs were completely sealed off last Monday (21st, Nawruz)–but that’s true every year and nothing special happened this year to my knowledge. Otherwise every one here that I’ve been able more or less to gauge is delighted over Egypt, Libya, you name it, but sees no parallel to Syria, invokes arguments you already know (Dera’a is being led by families with older antipathies to the Asads and allies of Khaddam), and wouldn’t remotely think of calling for Bashar’s removal.

On your blog today you mention reports of demonstrations in Aleppo, by which I understand are meant anti-regime demonstrations. Do you have more information on this, like where exactly they were? Certainly didn’t see anything and have trouble imagining it.

Anyway, it promises to remain interesting here. Talk to you again, all the best,….

The head of CET, a language program in Aleppo sent this today

Although the media has reported on protests in several cities today, our staff and contacts in Syria report that Aleppo and Damascus are calm. They have only witnessed small, peaceful, pro-government gatherings. Our Resident Director is in daily communication with all CET students during this spring break week. CET staff continue to advise students to stay away from any protests or public gatherings they encounter, and they are encouraging them to keep in close touch as the news develops.

At this point, we are optimistic that the program will continue as scheduled as Aleppo has remained safe and calm. We are also confident that our summer and fall programs will run as planned.

8:38pm:  Anas al-Abda, the chairman of the Movement for Justice and Development in Syria, tells Al Jazeera that the pro-regime protests in Damascus are “most probably fabricated and organised by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad”.

8:15pm:  Maamoun Al-Homsi,a leading Syrian opposition figure, called on the international community to intervene to stop “the massacres against civilians by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime” in protests across Syria. “There are killed and wounded and those who are arrested in all the provinces,” he told Reuters by telephone from Canada, referring to protests that spread beyond the southern town of Daraa on Friday challenging Assad’s rule.

7:58pm: The United States calls on the Syrian government to stop violence against demonstrators and the arrests of human rights activists, White House spokesman Jay Carney says.  We strongly condemn the Syrian government’s attempts to repress and intimidate demonstrators.

10:54 (EDT) DAMASCUS, March 25 (Reuters) – Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters in the town of Sanamein, killing 20 people, a witness told Al Jazeera television on Friday. “There are more than 20 martyrs …. they (security forces) opened fire haphazardly,” the witness said.

10:22 (EDT) DAMASCUS, March 25 (Reuters) – Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters in the town of Sanamein, killing 20 people, a witness told Al Jazeera television on Friday. “There are more than 20 martyrs …. they (security forces) opened fire haphazardly,” the witness said.

10:10 (EDT) DERAA,

Syria, March 25 (Reuters) – Protesters in the southern Syrian city of Deraa shouted slogans on Friday denouncing Maher al-Assad, brother of the Syrian president and head of the Republican Guard, a Reuters witness said. “Maher you coward. Send your troops to liberate the Golan,” thousands chanted as they headed to the main square in the city after the funeral of at least five protesters killed by security forces this week. Israel occupied the Golan Heights in 1967.

Maher al-Assad, who keeps a low profile, is the second most powerful man in the country after Bashar. Criticism of Syria’s ruling elite was taboo until protests erupted in Deraa a week ago demanding political freedom and an end to corruption. Up until now, protesters had directed their wrath mainly at Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Bashar al-Assad who owns large businesses and is under specific U.S. sanctions for what Washington terms as public corruption. On Friday, protests erupted in other Syrian cities in support of Deraa, including in Hama, a city in which late President Hafez al-Assad had sent in troops to quell a 1982 armed revolt by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing thousands. FT Editorial: Gates calls for Syrian forces to move aside.

Gates: The Syrian people should follow Egypt’s lead and the country’s army should “empower a revolution”, Robert Gates, US secretary of defence, said as thousands marched in a southern city. Mr Gates made his comments – some of the toughest …

US Senators Call for Revolution in Syria – The Cable

“Two GOP senators opened another line of criticism of President Barack Obama’s approach to the Middle East on Thursday, this time calling on the administration to more strongly criticize the Syrian government for its deadly crackdown on popular demonstrations and begin engaging the Syrian opposition…. Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) want to know if the Obama administration is reaching out to Syrian opposition leaders and offering them support, as it did in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
“The Syrian people must know that the United States stands with them against the brutal Assad regime.  We can ill afford another timid embrace of a democratic uprising,” the senators said in a Thursday statement. “We urge the President, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Ford to publicly condemn the murders committed by the Assad dictatorship and to demonstrate their support for the Syrian people.” By invoking Ambassador Robert Ford, Kyl and Kirk are calling for the administration to make good on its argument that the United States needed an ambassador in Damascus to have maximum influence with the Syrian government. Kyl and others Republicans held up the Ford nomination for 10 months because they saw the appointment of any ambassador as a reward to the Syrian regime, and they wanted the administration to more clearly spell out its Syria policy…
“Ambassador Ford should begin a sustained campaign of outreach from the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to the Syrian opposition movement,” they said.
It is still unclear who has organized the demonstrations in Syria, so the Obama administration may find it difficult to engage with opposition figures, even if it wanted to. Pressure on the administration to get tough with the Syrian regime is growing…That’s why it is essential that the United States and Syria’s partners in Europe act quickly to punish Mr. Assad’s behavior. Verbal condemnations will not be enough.”

Syrian crackdown on protest seen scaring investors
Wed Mar 23, 2011
* Foreign companies reluctant to commit capital-businessman
* Ample foreign currency reserves at central bank
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS, March 23 (Reuters) – The Syrian pound has fallen 4 percent and Damascus stock prices have tumbled since protests against Baathist rule erupted last week, threatening efforts to attract foreign investment to improve Syria’s infrastructure.

The government had hoped to use the bourse to raise capital as it opens sectors such as electricity generation and transport to foreign investors, ending decades of state control.

But a violent crackdown on nearly a week of protests in Deraa and other southern towns, in which security forces have killed 10 people, has been a severe setback for the drive to attract badly needed foreign investment.

On Wednesday alone, security forces killed six people in an attack on a mosque in Deraa, site of unprecedented protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist rule and demands for an end to corruption.

A Syrian businessman who has met Western companies to discuss forming joint ventures to bid for government projects said the projects could well be viable, but the rising political risk had prevented the talks from moving forward.

“There is reluctance to put big money into Syria now,” he said, referring to a billion dollar metro line project and the planned expansion of a highway to Iraq.

Foreign direct investment fell to $1.4 billion in 2009 from $2.4 billion in 2008, according to the World Bank — a fraction of the $85 billion the government says it needs to overhaul the transport system, power, health and communication network.

“Officials are talking about technicalities of projects as if political discontent does not exist,” another businessman said. “They have not figured out that an open political system and rule of law are powerful investment magnets.”

On the 20-company Damascus Stock Exchange, which opened two years ago, every stock that has traded since the protests erupted in Deraa on Friday fell by the 3 percent limit. The main market index has fallen 14 percent from its Jan. 26 2011 peak.

Even before the latest protests, foreigners were deterred from buying Syrian shares by extensive security checks, and by the U.S. sanctions imposed on Syria in 2004 for its support for militant groups, a bourse official said.

“The risk of holding the Syrian pound has gone up. There is demand for foreign currency and people are reluctant to part with their dollars,” said a currency dealer in Damascus.

The Syrian pound, which is not fully convertible — a legacy of Soviet-style economic policies — was trading at 48.75 to the dollar at exchange dealers on Wednesday, though the official rate remained stable at 47 to the dollar.

News Round Up

BBC MidEast: Scholar says problems in Syria “more economic in nature than political”, 2011-03-24

Doha Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel Television in Arabic at 1448 gmt on 23 March carries a live satellite interview with Nabil al- Samman, a Syrian academic and university professor, from Damascus to comment on the situation in Syria. He says: “What happened in Dar’a is a local problem but it became political. In my opinion, the security authorities and the governor were not able to deal with the situation properly.” He added: “Violence from the demonstrators is unacceptable

and violence from the authorities is also unacceptable. Problems can be resolved peacefully. However, I underline that what happened in Dar’a is a local issue as a result of tension, which I will not term as political in nature but rather local tensions among the governor, the security authorities in Dar’a, and the people.”

Anchorwoman Nuran Sallam interrupts Al-Samman and says: “The demands are not only local. Demands, such as lifting the state of emergency, are not tied to a single city or governorate in Syria, neither is releasing political detainees.”

Al-Samman says: “The demonstrators did not raise political banners. Some of them did. These demonstrations began by calling for releasing children who were detained. Some children were detained in an inappropriate way in Dar’a by the security authorities without the approval of the security authorities in Damascus. The demonstrators called for releasing these children.”

Responding to Sallam who points out that the demands have now expanded to involve the whole of Syria, such as lifting the state of emergency, Al-Samman says: “There is no doubt that there are political and economic problems in Syria. Actually, the problems are more economic in nature than political.”

Al-Samman notes that the shift from a socialist-based economy to a capitalist-based one caused the rise of a corrupt segment of society, adding: “This caused a gap in salaries, income, and social statuses, which caused tension in the society. However, I assure you that there will be a batch of reforms that will be implemented soon.” He continues: “Naturally, there are some individuals in this corrupt segment of society that have ties to the ruling Ba’th Party and we cannot blame President Bashar al-Asad for what is happening in Syria as he inherited a heavy burden from the 40-year rule of the Ba’th Party.”

Originally published by Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1448 23 Mar 11.

The number of killed people reached now 45 while media is reporting 15 apart from BBC

here are the names in Arabic, if you want them in English will send soon.
also listed the name of the village for each person.

1-    معتز ابو زايد – خربة غزالة
2-    فادي المصري – خربة غزالة
3-    حيان حاج على – خربة غزالة
4-    منذر رنس حواش قنبس الشمري – مدينة الحارة- 17 سنة
5-    صلاح عبد الرحمن الحريري
6-    محمد عبد الرحمن الحريري
7-    عيسى محمد الكردي
8-    معاذ نايف الأبازيد- قرية الصورة
9-    محمد أحمد السلامات- البانوراما
10-جمال الجربوعي- الحراك
11-مهاب نايف أبازيد
12-مالك محمود مفضي الكراد
13-علي غصاب المحاميد
14-عباس سعد المحاميد
15-خالد عبد الله المحاميد
16-نايف حسين الأبازيد
17-ابتسام مسالمة
18-رائد أحمد الحمصي
19-منذر عمرو- 22سنة عسكري
20-عمر عبد الوالي مسالمة
21-خالد المصري
22-محمد أبو نبوت
23-حميد أبو نبوت
24-بلال أبو نبوت
25-عزيز أبو نبوت
26-أيهم حريري – 18-3-2011
27-حسام عبد المولى
28-مؤمن منذر مسالمة- 14سنة، 20-3-2011
29-ماهر المسالمة
30-أكرم جوابرة، 18-3-2011
31-  محمد رشراش الجراد (الجرادات) – مدرس- 47 سنة- الحارة
32-  أشرف عبد العزيز المصري- حوالي 40سنة
33-  طلال الفاضل- الحريك
34-  الشيخ وهيب العدوي- الحريك
35-  عبد الغني الأكراد
36-  علي الرواشدة- طفس
37-  عبد الناصر مسلماني- قرية علما
38-  سمير قمبس- 21سنة
39-  محمد قمبس
40-  عبد الله الجراد
41-  وسام عياش- 18-3-2011
42-  …….. أبو عون- 18-3-2011
43-رائد الأكراد
44- محمود دياب داغبر- قرية علما
45-عمر أحمد الحريري- قرية علما

Comments (73)

nafdik said:

Thanks Joshua for the good coverage.

Especially printing the names of those killed in the protests.

March 25th, 2011, 4:45 pm


SOURI said:

I read repeatedly on revolutionist websites calls from Wahhabis to the revolutionists to attack ammunition depots and steal them. Those Wahhabis are not peaceful demonstrators, they are attacking security, military, and government buildings. They have been burning Assad’s portrays. This is not peaceful demonstration, it is an organized Wahhabi-led rebellion.

The war time has not come yet since that the demonstrators remain too few. However, should the Islamists pour in large numbers into the streets, the war plan must be implemented without hesitation. No surrender. Surrender means the end of Syria, and the end of Alawis before anybody else.

March 25th, 2011, 5:34 pm


Aldendeshe said:

بأمر من محافظ حمص عبد الرؤف الكسم ممنوع التبويل على الحيط

This demo like another Homsi joke.

عندنا ثلج بارد

March 25th, 2011, 6:18 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

is there a split between Maher and Bashar Assad?

March 25th, 2011, 7:55 pm


jad said:

رأى ديبلوماسيون اميركيون من الذين عملوا في السابق في العاصمة السورية دمشق انه من الصعب جدا ان تؤدي الاحتجاجات الشعبية في درعا إلى اسقاط النظام السوري ، ورأي ادوارد دجيردجيان في حوار نشره موقعه الشخصي معه بان ما يحصل في سوريا هو ارتداد طبيعي لما حصل في مصر وتونس حيث ان سقوط الانظمة الديكتانورية في البلدين شجعا فئات من السوريين على تحدي النظام
لكن تيم بيرنز وهو الضابط السياسي السابق في السفارة الاميركية في العاصمة السورية يرى بان السلفيين المنتشرين بكثافة في قرى دوما والمعضمية والقابون وغيرها من المناطق القريبة من دمشق ، هم دوما في حسبان النظام وهؤلاء سيدفعون الثمن غاليا عقابا لهم على استغلالهم الاوضاع وقيامهم بالتظاهر وبالاستعراض العسكري المسلح الذي قاموا به ايضا في مدينة حمص حيث أطلقوا النار
على نادي الضباط العسكري قبل ان تصل القوى الامنية وتفرقهم
دجيرجيان المعروف بفهمه العميق للاوضاع السورية شكك في امكانية سقوط النظام لان لبشار الاسد قاعدة شعبية عابرة للطوائف السورية و يمثل السنة العلمانيون اربعين بالمئة من تلك الطائفة بينما لا يعارضه اكثر من عشرين بالمئة من السنة الذين لا يهمهم امر الحكم بل امر التجارة ، وأما الباقون فهم المتأثرون بالطائفية وافكارها المتزمتة وهؤلاء ليسوا جميعا من المسيسين ، بينما على جبهة المسيحيين والدروز والعلويين فان الاسد يتمتع بتأييد غالبية عظمى منهم قد تصل إللى التسعين بالمئة من بين تلك الطوائف
وعن الجيش يقول السفير الاميركي السابق في دمشق
إن لبشار الاسد جيشا من مليون مقاتل يمكن رفع عديده إلى المليونين وكلهم ممن إختيروا لولائهم للنظام كما أن مليونا آخر من ميليشيا الحزب ومنظماته الطلابية سيشكلون سدا منيعا في وجه أي محاولات للسيطرة على الارض في المدن السورية
وحول ما جرى اليوم في درعا وفي حمص من تلفت للامور قال دجيرجيان:

إن الاسد رجل متعلم ويحب الحفاظ على صورته كإصلاحي لذا هو لم يصدر حتى الساعة الاوامر لسحق الانتفاضة لا في درعا وفي باقي المدن ولو فعل فسيحصل حمام دم بين الجيش وبين السلفيين المسلحين على ما يبدو ولكن بشار الاسد سينتصر في النهاية وسيقمع التحركات
وفي حال فشل في ذلك لأي سبب يقول دجيرجيان فأن اقصى ما سيحصل عليه المنتفضون هو دويلة سنية في دمشق وحمص يتنازعها عبد الحليم خدام مع الاخوان المسلمين ودولة أخرى في حلب يتنازعها السلفيون مع الاكراد واما دولة العلويين في الساحل ودولة الاكراد في الشمال الشرقي فستنعمان بالازدهار وبالشماتة باهالي حلب ودمشق اللتان ستغرقان بالدماء التي ستجري بين طالبان معتدلين وطالبان متزمتين

March 25th, 2011, 8:05 pm


Shami said:

Let them here leo ,Souri’s comments sound the same than to those of the regime.(and similar in one way or other to Dr Landis’s last comments)
The “‘salafi,ekhwani,israeli,cia ,kurdish ,wahhabi'” plots of the regime do not work anymore .
They even used this trick when they killed their enemies like Sheykh al Khaznawi.
Another song for Deraa.

March 25th, 2011, 8:09 pm


Daniel said:

The Americans really know how to screw up: they take ages to say anything when their allies are beating their people (Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain) but start jumping around like crazy as soon as a country they don’t support does the same thing.

Yankees! Don’t you realise that being outraged about Gaddafi and Bashshar whilst dilly-dallying about Zayn and Mubarak and Ali and Khalifa you look like the hypocrites that you are?

Just shut up and let the revolution happen!

March 25th, 2011, 8:15 pm


Revlon said:

The time has come for the Syrian Peoples Revolution, to form The Syrian interim governing council. The blood thirsty regime should not be left to continue representing its victims.

The regime has proven untruthfulness to its people’s aspirations and calls of wisdom, and irreverence to protection of human lives.

The council needs to represent the rainbow spectrum of the rising public. The main core should be the movers on the ground aided by agreeable, active citizens in exile.

The council needs to issue a mission statement and a work-plan.
It should lobby for recognition by the Arab league or the Freed Arab Nations, and support from the international community.

March 25th, 2011, 8:17 pm


Shami said:

An alawite syrian sister:

March 25th, 2011, 8:22 pm


SOURI said:

Commenting on #5 Jad’s comment:

Well, I wish if there were an English version of that post here. I am glad that there are some objective Americans who don’t fear saying things as they are. This is not a “democracy revolution,” it is a sectarian insurgency launched by Wahhabis. This is what we have been saying all along and I am glad that some American diplomats have the courage to say things as they are.

I just don’t agree with some of the details they mentioned, especially those related to the Kurds and their potential state.

March 25th, 2011, 8:24 pm


NK said:

This has been on youtube for a while, I hope it will bring a smile to your faces in these dark times Syria is going through

March 25th, 2011, 8:25 pm


Revlon said:

#6, Shami: Defacing of H Asad’s large portrait, at the entrance to the Officer’s club in Homs says a lot! Fear no more.

A vdeoclip is worth an entire book of history!

The revolution in Homs is there to stay, and grow.

Dear Shami, thank you for the link, you made my day!

March 25th, 2011, 8:36 pm


Shami said:

Dear Revlon,
Indeed ,i’m very proud of my homsian heroic brothers,so is the law of history,these statues and menhebak posters conflict the logic of history.

March 25th, 2011, 8:52 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“وفي حال فشل في ذلك لأي سبب يقول دجيرجيان فأن اقصى ما سيحصل عليه المنتفضون هو دويلة سنية في دمشق وحمص يتنازعها عبد الحليم خدام مع الاخوان المسلمين ودولة أخرى في حلب يتنازعها السلفيون مع الاكراد واما دولة العلويين في الساحل ودولة الاكراد في الشمال الشرقي فستنعمان بالازدهار وبالشماتة باهالي حلب ودمشق اللتان ستغرقان بالدماء التي ستجري بين طالبان معتدلين وطالبان متزمتين

Edward Djerdjian always falsely presents himself as someone with deep knowledge about Syria and Syrian affairs, when in fact he is an Armenian and knows very little about real Syrian society and politic. For sure nothing compare to Landis, not even remotely. SNP always thought of him as bad player and one that say things just to make an impression on others and present his superficial expertise image. But he is really way off the mark to the point most Syrians wave him off as foreigner.

He was relied on for some time by policy makers in the U.S. and worked for Baker, another Texan with stereotyped views of Syria. It was that reliance, specifically on his opinion and faulty assessments that SNP considered him a negative impact on relation between Syria and United States. It is also his obsolete ignorance of the Syrian oppositions and their possibilities that the United States never considered any support to them for decades. We disrespect him and his opinion strongly. As he stated above, it shows his utter ignorance of the Syrian situation and could happen should Assad lose Syria? The numbers he presented about millions of this and that is also junk data. At best Bashar can muster 300,000 in total support, should things get nasty down to civil war case.

But for now we trust that President Assad he will continue his drive to modernize Syria, introduce reforms, and maintain Syria strategic alliance and depth with Iran, the hallmark of SNP Syrian security strategy.

March 25th, 2011, 8:52 pm


NK said:

سورية: وعود ومجازر
عبد الباري عطوان

جرت العادة، عندما يواجه ‘بلد ما’ ازمة خطرة، داخلية او خارجية، تهدد وجوده واستقراره، يخرج رأس النظام فيه لمخاطبة مواطنيه، مباشرة او عبر شاشات التلفزة، لاطلاعهم على مخططات حكومته لمعالجتها، وشرح الخطوات التي سيتخذها في هذا المضمار.
سورية تواجه حالياً انتفاضة شعبية، انطلقت شرارتها الاقوى من مدينة درعا الجنوبية، وامتدت ألسنة لهبها الى مدن وبلدات اخرى في الوسط والشمال، طالب المحتجون خلالها بالاصلاحات السياسية، واعلاء سقف الحريات، فجاء رد الحكومة فورياً باطلاق النار بهدف القتل، فسقط اكثر من اربعين شهيداً في يوم واحد فقط.
الشعب السوري الوطني الشهم، صاحب التاريخ الحضاري العريق لا يستحق هذه المعاملة من حكامه، فقد صبر اكثر من اربعين عاماً على امل ان يأتيه الفرج، ويرى بلاده واحة من الازدهار والتآخي والعدالة والعيش الكريم، ولكن نفد صبره في نهاية المطاف ولم يجد وسيلة اخرى يعبر فيها عن مظالمه المتراكمة غير النزول الى الشوارع ومواجهة رصاص الطغاة بشجاعة واباء.
ناشدنا الرئيس بشار الاسد من هذا المنبر اكثر من مرة، ومنذ عدة سنوات، بان يستمع الى نصائح الشرفاء من ابناء شعبه، وان ينفذ وعوده بالاصلاح الشامل، خاصة ان الشعب يحبه ويثق بحسن طويته، ولكنه لم يفعل للأسف الشديد، ربما لعدم القدرة، او اعتقاداً بان هذا الشعب لن يقدم على الثورة، وسيستمر في قبول اهانات الاجهزة الامنية واذلالها.
بالأمس خرجت علينا الدكتورة بثينة شعبان مستشارة الرئيس في مؤتمر صحافي، تحدثت فيه عن العديد من الخطوات الجديدة التي سيقدم عليها النظام تلبية لمطالب الشعب السوري ‘المشروعة’ في الاصلاح السياسي. حيث بشرتنا بان النظام ‘يدرس’ الغاء حالة الطوارئ، و’يدرس’ وضع قانون جديد للاعلام، و’يدرس’ قانوناً للاحزاب.
السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه بقوة اولاً: هو عن عدم مخاطبة الرئيس بشار الاسد للشعب السوري بنفسه، وترك هذه المهمة الى الدكتورة بثينة، وليس رئيس الوزراء او وزير الداخلية او حتى الخارجية، وثانياً: هل هذا الوقت هو وقت دراسة قوانين، ام هو وقت التنفيذ الفوري لامتصاص غضبة الشعب، وتهدئة الاوضاع، وتجنب الانفجار الكبير الذي قد يغرق سورية في حمامات دماء لا يعلم إلا الله متى تتوقف؟
الشعب السوري سمع كثيراً مثل هذه الوعود بالاصلاح من الرئيس نفسه، طوال السنوات العشر الماضية، خاصة اثناء المؤتمرات الحزبية، او في دورات افتتاح مجلس الشعب، ولكن ايا من هذه الوعود لم ينفـــــذ، ربما لانها مازالت قـــيد الدراسة. ولذلك لا نعتقد ان وعود الدكـــتورة بثـــينة سيكون لهـــا اي اثر ايجابي في اوساط الشعب، فاذا كانت وعود الرئيس لم تر النور عملياً، فهل سيكون حال وعود السيدة بثينة مختلفة؟
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المسؤولون السوريون يقولون انهم يرفضون الاقدام على اي خطوات اصلاحية تحت ضغوط الشارع، وعبر مظاهراته الاحتجاجية، وهذا منطق يعكس ‘مكابرة’ ستودي بأهلها الى الهلاك حتماً، لان الحاكم الذكي هو الذي يلتقط اللحظة المناسبة، ويتحرك فوراً لاطلاق مسيرة الاصلاح، ويتجاوب مع مطالب المحتجين دفعة واحدة، هكذا فعل العاهل المغربي في خطابه الذي وجهه الى شعبه متعهداً فيه باصلاحات دستورية كاملة، وهكذا فعل السلطان قابوس بن سعيد عندما حل الوزارة وطرد المستشارين، وقرر وضع دستور جديد للبلاد.
كان جميلاً ان نسمع السيدة بثينة شعبان تقول ان مطالب الشعب بالاصلاح ‘مشروعة’ فاذا كان الحال كذلك، فلماذا اعتقال المئات من السوريين والزج بهم في السجون لسنوات دون محاكمات لانهم طالبوا بأقل كثيراً مما
طالب به المحتجون المنتفضون في درعا والمسجد الاموي بدمشق وباقي المدن السورية الاخرى؟
واذا كان تحسين معاملة المواطنين السوريين في المطارات والمنافذ الحدودية السورية هو من بين القرارات التي اعلنت السيدة شعبان عن البدء في تنفيذها فورا، فان السؤال هو عن اسباب اهدار كرامة هؤلاء طوال السنوات الاربعين الماضية، واذلالهم من قبل اجهزة امن قمعية تتلذذ في تعذيبهم نفسيا وجسديا، وتبتزهم ماليا؟
رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب اردوغان قال انه نصح الرئيس السوري بضرورة اجراء اصلاحات اقتصادية وسياسية واجتماعية بسرعة، والافراج عن المعتقلين السياسيين، ولكن نصيحة هذا الرجل الحليف والصديق لسورية لم تجد آذانا صاغية اسوة بنصائح الكثيرين مثله من محبي هذا البلد.
نخشى على سورية من عناد اهل الحكم فيها، مثلما نخشى عليها من اجهزة قمعية امنية ما زالت تتبع عقيدة جهاز المخابرات السري السوفييتي البالية التي لم تحم النظام بل ساهمت في اسقاطه وتفتيت الامبراطورية السوفييتية.
هذه الاجهزة الامنية المتغولة التي ترتكب المجازر في حق شعبها الطيب ستجر البلاد الى هاوية الفتنة الطائفية، وربما الى حرب اهلية تستمر لسنوات، تزهق فيها عشرات ان لم يكن مئات الآلاف، من الارواح البريئة الطاهرة.
النظام في سورية لن يرحل بسهولة ويسر مثل نظيريه المصري والتونسي، رغم ان القمع هو القاسم المشترك بين الانظمة الثلاثة، فهذا نظام بوليسي لا يضاهيه الا النظامان الليبي واليمني. فلا توجد طبقة وسطى في سورية، ومنظمات المجتمع المدني جرى سحقها، ووسائل الاعلام مرتبطة بالدولة وتحكمها عقلية الحرب الباردة، ولكن الشيء الوحيد المؤكد ان الشعب السوري، مثل كل الشعوب العربية الاخرى، لا يمكن ان يتراجع بعد ان انطلقت مسيرته المعمدة بالشهداء نحو التغيير الديمقراطي.
الذين يطالبون بالاصلاح في سورية ليسوا عملاء امريكا والصهيونية، مثلما يطلق عليهم النظام وابواقه الاعلامية في محاولة متعمدة لتشويههم، فشهداء مدينة درعا، واطفالها الذين اعتقلهم رجال النظام، لا يعرفون اين تقع الولايات المتحدة، بل ان معظمهم لم يغادروا مدينتهم الى العاصمة نفسها مطلقا.
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الوقوف في خندق المقاومة اللبنانية، واستضافة امناء الفصائل الفلسطينية في دمشق بعد ان اغلقت في وجوههم العواصم العربية الاخرى كلها مواقف مشرفة، نعترف للنظام السوري بتبنيها، بل ودفع ثمن باهظ نتيجة لها، ولكننا لا نرى اي تناقض بين اتخاذ هذه المواقف، وتلبية مطالب الشعب السوري بالاصلاح، واذا كان هناك اي تناقض، فاننا نفضل ان يؤجل النظام السوري دعمه للشعب الفلسطيني وقضيته من اجل تلبية مطالب شعبه في اطلاق الحريات ومحاربة الفساد، واقامة المؤسسات التشريعية المنتخبة، وتكريس دعائم الحكم الرشيد. فالشعوب المقهورة لا يمكن ان تحرر ارضا مغتصبة، وجيوش الديكتاتوريات لم تنتصر في اي حرب خاضتها.
الاسابيع والاشهر المقبلة ستكون خطيرة جدا على سورية، لان النظام فيها يقف حاليا امام خيارين، فاما النموذج الليبي حيث التدخل العسكري الاجنبي الذي قد يقود الى دولة فاشلة او التقسيم بل احتمال التفتيت ايضا، او النموذج العراقي، اي الاحتلال الاجنبي، وربما يمكن تبلور نموذج ثالث وسط بين النموذجين المذكورين.
اعداء النظام السوري كثر، في الداخل والخارج، واصدقاؤه قلائل للأسف الشديد، وخاصة في داخل سورية نفسها، والحصانة الوحيدة لتجاوز كل سيناريوهات الرعب المرسومة التي من الصعب تصورها هي الدعم والالتفاف الشعبي.
السؤال الاخير هو: هل هناك فرصة للانقاذ من خلال تطبيق سريع وفوري للاصلاحات؟ الاجابة بالايجاب صعبة، والامر يتطلب معجزة، وممارسات امن النظام الدموية تدفع في الاتجاهات الاخرى، نقولها بمرارة شديدة.

March 25th, 2011, 8:57 pm


trustquest said:

There are much much more than what you covered in this post, I have followed the events on face book minute by minute. The events were fast like a fire work. The events covered the whole country, my heart for those who killed by the security apparatus after what Shaaban said yesterday. I saw videos from, Amooda, Dier Alzore, Aleppo, Damascus, Sanamines, Daraa, Swedaa, Al tal, Dooma, Homes, Hama, Latikia, Banias and Tartoos. Many killed there is no final figure, while official media is lying and using different audio for anti government protests in Daraa. The people of Daraa, asked the regime to speak the truth but they insist not to, this will inflame things and I wonder if this a policy or just a chaotic state of the regime (government). To me it seems the regime is not one voice, the doves make decisions and the hawks do something else.

March 25th, 2011, 9:00 pm


trustquest said:

Yesterday I posted for you the video for the elderly man, he is like an administrative Shiekh, represents the whole town of Daraa, he talked about some Iranians secret service, stepped out the buses, sent by the government, stepped out the buses and started firing life ammunitions at protesters, the Shiekh said of them that they did not speak Arabic. Also, today in the attached video, the speaker talk about the same issue and accuses the regime of inciting sectarian divide by using foreigners with religious sensitivity against people of Daraa.

If you remember in your posts two days ago, you were asking why the people in the street shouting sectarian slogans, I think if what the speaker is saying true, then this is the reason for their anti Iranians slogans.

March 25th, 2011, 9:22 pm


Norman said:

This is what they preparing for us , we stupid Arabs, We should wake up or we do not deserve to exist,

دول عربية جديدة ستظهر بعد انقشاع غيوم الثورات

صحف عبرية
الثورات والحروب في الدول العربية لن تؤدي فقط الى تغيير الانظمة، بل والى اعادة تصميم خريطة المنطقة. منظومة الحدود بين الدول، إرث القوى العظمى الاستعمارية التي تقاسمت في ما بينها افريقيا وقطعت اوصال الامبراطورية العثمانية، توشك على التغير. صراعات البقاء لمعمر القذافي، بشار الاسد ورفاقهما تبشر بالنهاية القريبة لاتفاق سايكس ـ بيكو من الحرب العالمية الاولى، والذي نشأ عنه التقسيم السياسي للشرق الاوسط.
في السنوات القريبة القادمة ستظهر على خريطة المنطقة أعلام دول مستقلة جديدة، او متجددة: جنوب السودان، كردستان، فلسطين، بل وربما كورنايكا في شرقي ليبيا، الصحراء الغربية التي ستنفصل عن المغرب، جنوب اليمن المستعاد وامارات في الخليج تنفصل عن الاتحاد. يحتمل حتى انشقاق في السعودية بين ‘دولة الاماكن المقدسة في الحجاز والقوة النفطية العظمى في الشرق، وانشقاق سورية الى دولة سنية، دولة علوية ودولة درزية. الاساس للانشقاقات سيكون مبدأ تقرير المصير للشعوب والقبائل، التي حتى اليوم ادخلت دون خيار ودون رغبة الى ذات الرزمة الوطنية مع خصومها.
الخريطة الجديدة ستؤدي الى بناء منظومات علاقات جديدة بين دول المنطقة، وتكمن فيها فرص كبيرة لاسرائيل. السياسة الخارجية الاسرائيلية بنيت دوما، حتى قبل قيام الدولة، من الخصومات بين الجيران العرب والمسلمين. الوحدة العربية والاسلامية تعتمد بقدر كبير على العداء لاسرائيل، التي فضلت لهذا الغرض الوطنيات المنفصلة لجيرانها. فكلما كانت دول أكثر في المحيط، سيسهل على اسرائيل المناورة بينها.
الحدود في الشرق الاوسط تقررت في المفاوضات بين القوى العظمى الاوروبية، والتي ادارها موظفون بربطات عنق في قصور يلفها المجد. اعادة ترسيمها في القرن الواحد والعشرين تم بالقوة، بالحروب وبالثورات الشعبية. وقد بدأ مع الاجتياح الامريكي للعراق، قبل ثماني سنوات، والذي حطم الحكم المركزي في صالح الجيوب العرقية. وتواصل مع الانسحاب الاسرائيلي من قطاع غزة، والذي أدى الى اقامة دولة بالفعل تحت سيطرة حماس؛ ومع الاستفتاء الشعبي على تقسيم السودان، في نهاية حرب داخلية طويلة ووحشية. وقد تسارعت المسيرة مع الثورات في الدول العربية، والتي لا تزال توجد في بدايتها وقد ادت منذ الان الى حرب في ليبيا.
فرج قانا، باحث في صندوق امريكا الجديد في واشنطن، توقع تكاثر الدول واقترح على القوى العظمى السير في تياره ومساعدة الدول الجديدة. في كتابه ‘كيف يدار العالم’ الذي صدر عشية الثورات في تونس وفي مصر، توقع قانا منظومة دولية يكون فيها 300 دولة مستقلة وسيادية، مقابل نحو 200 اليوم.
في أساس الانشقاقات يقبع ما يصفه قانا بانه ‘ظاهرة ما بعد الاستعمار’: العديد من الدول نشأت من مستعمرات سابقة، ومنذ استقلالها تعاني من نمو سكاني غير قابل للتحكم، دكتاتوريات مفترسة، مؤسسات متفككة واستقطاب عرقي وقبلي. بالضبط ذات الاسباب التي تعزى اليها اليوم موجة الثورات في العالم العربي.
في حالات عديدة، كتب قانا يقول، الحدود القائمة هي سبب المواجهات الداخلية. مثلا، في دول فاشلة مثل اليمن، باكستان والكونغو، وحسب نهجه فان الحروب في افغانستان وفي العراق ليست ‘حروب امريكا’، بل نوافل بقيت في ميدان المعركة للحروب الاوروبية القديمة، خطط لالغامها أن تتفجر بعد سنوات طويلة.
الولايات المتحدة ليست مذنبة في ان الكونغرس في برلين قسم في 1985 افريقيا دون مراعاة سكانها، او في التوقيع على اتفاق سايكس بيكو أو في التقسيم البريطاني لباكستان وافغانستان. ولكن الولايات المتحدة، الى جانب الدول العظمى الاخرى، يمكنها وينبغي لها أن تساعد اليوم في الحل. ليس فقط في اعادة ترسيم الحدود، او في التصويت في الامم المتحدة، بل وايضا في اقامة بنى تحتية تمنح سندا اقتصاديا للدول الجديدة وتحررها من التعلق بجيران أقوياء مثل تركيا واسرائيل.

يفهمون القوة

في القرن السابق بدت الامور مختلفة تماما. الامبراطوريات الغربية سيطرت على آسيا وافريقيا ولاحظت غنيمة باهظة القيمة في الشرق الاوسط. موظف بريطاني وموظف فرنسي، مارك سايكس وفرانسوا بيكو، اتفقا في بداية 1916 على التقسيم التجريبي للامبراطورية العثمانية، التي قاتلت ضدهما الى جانب ألمانيا. الوثيقة التي اتفقا عليها والخريطة التي رسماها كانتا نظريتين، واحتمالات تحققهما بدت طفيفة. الاتراك كانوا بعيدين في حينه عن الهزيمة، والجيوش الغربية كانت تنزف في الجبهة في اوروبا. ومع ذلك، فقد سعى سايكس وبيكو الى تسليم سورية ومعظم بلاد اسرائيل لفرنسا، والعراق المستقبلي لبريطانيا.
في كتابه ‘السلام الاخير’ (الذي صدر بترجمته الى العبرية عن دار زمورا بيتان) وصف المؤرخ الامريكي دافيد فرومكن كيف صممت القوى العظمى خريطة الشرق الاوسط في الحرب العالمية الاولى وبعدها، مع الوعود المتضاربة التي اعطيت للعرب وللحركة الصهيونية، والخصومات وصراعات القوى بين بريطانيا، فرنسا وفي المراحل الاولى ايضا روسيا القيصرية. وحسب فرومكن، فان الايمان اللاسامي بقوة ‘اليهود’ على التأثير على القوى العظمى ونسج المؤامرات قبع في الخلفية الدبلوماسية للدول الغربية، التي سعت الى ربط القوة اليهودية بمصالحها.
بعد أن حقق الاتفاق مع بيكو، كان سايكس يوشك على التوجه الى بتروغراد، عاصمة الامبراطورية القيصرية، ليعرض التفاصيل على الروس، الذين سعوا دوما الى السيطرة على اسطنبول والتمتع بقدرة على الوصول الى البحر الابيض المتوسط. وفي طريقه التقى سايكس مع الكابتن رجيلاند هول، رئيس استخبارات الاسطول الملكي البريطاني، واراه الخريطة. هول قال له ان بريطانيا يجب أن تنزل قوات في بلاد اسرائيل. وعندها فقط سينتقل العرب الى تأييدها في الحرب. ‘القوة هي الدعاية الافضل في اوساط العرب’، شرح ضابط الاستخبارات للدبلوماسي (او بالترجمة للاسرائيلية، ‘العرب لا يفهمون الا القوة’). لم يتغير كثيرا منذ ذلك الحين: يمكن ان نتخيل هذا الاستعراض، مغلفا بسلامة سياسية حديثة العهد، يقدم على لسان قادة امريكيين وبريطانيين في طريقهم الى العراق والى ليبيا.
سايكس كان واثقا من أن الاتفاق الذي عقده مع الفرنسيين سيرضي الشريف حسين من الحجاز ـ أبا السلالة الهاشمية ـ الذي طلب الاستقلال عن الامبراطورية العثمانية، مقابل تأييده للبريطانيين. وعندها فاجأه هول بطرح عنصر جديد في معادلة القوة: ‘لليهود مصلحة مادية ومصلحة سياسية كبيرة في مستقبل بلاد اسرائيل’. وكان سايكس مذهولا. فهو لم يسمع حتى ذلك الحين عن الصهيونية وتطلعاتها. وسارع الى لقاء مع وزير الداخلية اليهودي في مجلس وزراء الحرب، هربرت صموئيل، كي يشرح له عما يدور الحديث.
هكذا بدأت المسيرة التي أدت الى تصريح بلفور، احتلال البلاد واقامة الانتداب البريطاني، وتعيين صموئيل مندوبا ساميا أول. عندها زرعت أيضا بذور الغضب العربي على القوى العظمى الغربية، الذين فعلوا في الشرق الاوسط وكأنه لهم دون ان يسألوا سكانه، فككوا وركبوا شعوبا ودولا ووعدوا بلاد اسرائيل للصهاينة. الحدود النهائية قررها وزير المستعمرات ونستون تشرتشل، في مؤتمر القاهرة في 1922، والتي اخرجت شرقي الاردن من حدود الانتداب. اليمين الاسرائيلي يبكي هذا ‘التمزيق’ حتى اليوم.
عندما انسحبت القوى العظمى الاستعمارية من المنطقة، بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، ابقت الحدود السياسية الجديدة. وقبع الحفاظ على الحدود في أساس الترتيب الاقليمي، ولكنه ترك الكثير من الشعوب غير راضية، الاكراد، مثلا، الذين وزعوا بين العراق وسورية وتركيا وايران. رد فعل على الاستعمار كان قومية الرئيس المصري جمال عبدالناصر والتي وصلت ذروتها في الوحدة بين سورية ومصر في نهاية الخمسينيات، ولكن الوحدة لم تصمد وتراجعت الدولتان عنها نحو القومية البروتوكولية.

مناطق فاصلة

الآن، بعد نحو مئة سنة من محادثات سايكس بيكو، الرزمة التي اعداها كفيلة بان تفاجىء من جديد. انسحاب الولايات المتحدة من العراق سيمنح الاكراد فرصة للاستقلال رغم معارضة تركيا. الفلسطينيون يعملون على اعتراف دولي بدولتهم منذ الصيف القريب القادم، رغم الرفض الاسرائيلي.
‘دول مصطنعة’ اخرى مثل ليبيا، التي تشكلت من ثلاث مستعمرات سابقة لايطاليا، وكذا اليمن، سورية، الاردن، البحرين، عُمان والسعودية كفيلة بان تتفكك. فيها جميعها يوجد توتر داخلي شديد بين القبائل والجماعات، او سلطة الاقلية التي فرضت على الاغلبية. الفصل الجغرافي ليس حلا سحريا. اليمن كانت منقسمة في الماضي وهي كفيلة بان تنقسم من جديد الى شمال وجنوب. في السعودية المسافات واسعة ولكن كيف يمكن تقسيم الاردن، الذي يختلط فيه الفلسطينيون والبدو؟
الحرب في ليبيا تشقها عمليا بين كورنايكا في الشرق، معقل الثوار، وطرابلس بسيطرة القذافي. ليس واضحا اذا ما ومتى سيعاد توحيد هذين الجزأين، واذا كان هناك مبرر ومعنى لتوحيدهما. انضمام القوى العظمى الغربية الى الحرب الى جانب الثوار يدل على انها تريد خلق منطقة فاصلة تحت تأثيرها، بجوار الحدود المصرية التي قد تصبح جمهورية اسلامية معادية للغرب، نوع من الصيغة الدينية لمصر الناصرية. من الصعب ايجاد منطق استراتيجي آخر في دخولها الى المعركة في ليبيا.
هذه المصلحة ايضا غير جديدة. المعارك بين البريطانيين وقوات الجنرال رومل في الحرب العالمية الثانية دارت بالضبط في ذات الاماكن وكانت تستهدف ذات الغاية، حماية الجناح الشرقي لمصر وقناة السويس. رومل ومونتغومري تقاتلا هناك قبل وقت بعيد من اكتشاف النفط في ليبيا. في تلك الايام، في ذروة المعارك، ولد القذافي في خيمة بدوية بين بنغازي وطرابلس.
الغرب، مثل اسرائيل، يفضل شرق اوسط منقسماً ومتنازعاً ومتصارعاً في عدة جبهات ضد القومية العربية والامة الاسلامية، التي يقودها اليوم اسامة بن لادن (وباسلوب آخر، محمود احمدي نجاد ورجب طيب اردوغان ايضا). وعليه فيمكن التقدير بان القوى العظمى لن تحاول احباط عملية الانشقاق لدول المنطقة، بل ستساهم فيها.
لاسرائيل سيكون دور مزدوج في العملية. فهي ضالعة مباشرة في النزاع وفي اقامة فلسطين المستقلة وتصميم حدودها، وستتأثر بقدر كبير من تفتتات الدول المجاورة وعلى رأسها الاردن، سورية والسعودية. سياسة اسرائيلية صحيحة تلتقط الفرص التي ينطوي عليها ظهور دول جديدة وتعرف كيف تستغلها، يمكنها أن توجه المسيرة المحتمة نحو زيادة قوتها وتوسيع نفوذها في المنطقة.

هآرتس 25/3/2011


March 25th, 2011, 9:32 pm


Jad said:

Dear Norman,
The new “Napoleon” say it today, the west will use the Libyan way as the norm in dealing with the Arab world. He was commenting about Syria, اللبيب من الاشارة يفهم

March 25th, 2011, 9:51 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Old News, we got the actual map more than a year ago. It includes division of Saudi Arabia to 3 states. As Syrian Nationalists, we don’t giva a damm what they do in Egypt, Libya or Arabia, as long as they leave Lebanon (3 states on the map) and Syria, (5 states design) out of the coming war. Do you understand SNP position now.

We can accept 3 Lebanon States and 5 Syrian States if both sets of 3/5 joined under one Federal Government.

Forget about Moslems and Arabs Norman, drop them, looooosers.

March 25th, 2011, 10:03 pm


Norman said:

That is hard, i will always dream of the day that we have a one united state of Arabia where all states as in the US have their own constitution but part of the United states, we have a lot more in common than the people of the United states of America,and i do not know why we can not join one day together but Democratic reform is essential, thing might be moving in that direction GOD WILLING,

March 25th, 2011, 10:17 pm


Ziadsoury said:

An open letter to Asma Asad,

Dear Asma,

I am writing to you as a parent. I am also a parent. You have beautiful kids and inshalah byerbouh b3ezkem. Just like the rest of my fellow Syrians, we want the best for our kids and work very hard to make that happen. I have 3 kids and I am very proud of them. I want them to be impendent, free, self sufficient and proud of whom they are and their country. I also lose a lot of sleep if one of them is sick or just half an hour late for dinner. I am sure you go through the same. Every parent does. No exceptions.

Can you imagine one day one of your kids not coming home at all? No one knows why. He has been arrested and beaten for saying I want to be free. Can you imagine a bunch of teenage boys being shot and killed because they immolated something they saw on TV?

You lived in England and you were honored and respected as a person in that country more than the average Syrian in Syria. You were given ample opportunity to prove yourself and earn a very respected income as a professional. Why a Syrian (a foreigner) gets respected and treated well in England while our Syrian system treats the people as subjects at their mercy.

Look around you and you see mothers, sisters and daughters with tears and sadness in their eyes, hurt in their hearts and no more dignity left in their souls. Would you have come back to Syria and be one of them if you did not marry the president? How could these women raise the next generation of Syrians? Why did this happen and how could we change that? Is killing the men and the boys in their life will get us their? I doubt it.

Just like you, I want Syria to be the best place on earth. I want the west and the rest of the world to immolate us. I want our scientist, doctors, engineers, artists, teachers, universities, hospitals and businesses to be second to none. But how could get there if these mothers are crying and weeping? How are we going to get there if these mothers tell their children not to think and be independent and just obey the Mukabarat’s orders?

Asma, we need your help. You are a simple of our hope and aspirations for our Syrian mother, sisters and daughters. Be there for them.

Thank you,

The people of Syria

March 25th, 2011, 10:22 pm


saint.seif.homs said:

Those damn Wahhabis. Nothing but neo-cons in turbans.

March 25th, 2011, 10:28 pm


SOURI said:

Syrian unity can be maintained. The Syrian military is strong enough, it just needs to act decisively when the time comes.

Until now, we have not reached the point of no return with the Islamists. Actually from what I am seeing so far it looks like the Islamists are not falling for the Wahhabi temptation to revolt. The Wahhabis are isolated and they have failed to draw anybody to their side, even their fellow Islamists, at least so far.

The best scenario now is if the Wahhabis definitely fail to draw other segments of society to their cause. The Wahhabis have good geographical distribution (they represent a big proportion of the people in at least 5-6 Syrian governorates, including Deraa, Rural Damascus, Deir az-Zor, Raqqa, rural Aleppo, and Homs). However, the Wahhabis are not very large in number, and they don’t have important presence inside the two Islamist strongholds of Damascus and Aleppo. Damascus and Aleppo contain half of the Syrian people, and most of the non-Wahhabi Islamists live in these two cities. The Wahhabis have pockets inside these two cities but they are not very significant.

The non-Wahhabi Islamists are mostly non-politicized. This is the reason why they have a very high threshold for action. They don’t know how to act and they don’t know what will happen after they act. Also, their leaders are still loyal to the regime.

The non-Wahhabi Islamists don’t look right now like an imminent threat. Most of the new towns that joined the revolution today are Wahhabi. People who are joining the revolution are still mostly Wahhabi. If Deir az-Zor and Raqqa join the revolution tomorrow, I wouldn’t be surprised because these two governorates are largely Wahhabi.

If the revolt continues to be pure Wahhabi, it will be relatively easy to quell. However, if non-Wahhabi Islamists start to join (for example, if we start to see big demonstrations in central Aleppo and central Damascus), then that is another story and the army then must take control of the situation and prepare for the war.

March 25th, 2011, 10:49 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

OK, What is your final recommendation robotman, what action should be taken now right away? We are confused, how many Wahabbis we sould kill, 138 or 10,000,000?

March 25th, 2011, 11:01 pm


Shami said:

Norman ,do you believe that there is a choice other than:chaos or totalitarian criminal regimes ?

March 25th, 2011, 11:01 pm


Leo said:

Thank you for the letter ZiadSouri. Do you approve I send this letter around?

March 25th, 2011, 11:04 pm


Norman said:

Yes,YES, Yes ,
accept the government initiatives, praise the president and give the government 3 months to see them through, with faith and trust that you believe that the president will deliver,

Remember what i said before, the violence will give the president the argument for speedy reform,

Just remember that when you want your opponent to do what you want you do not try to surround him from all sides, you leave one side open otherwise he will fight to the end.

I hope that will save Syria

ALAFO END AL MAQDRA is something we should all follow,

March 25th, 2011, 11:18 pm


Ziadsoury said:


Please do.


Please do not lobby to ban anyone. Every one has the right of free speech even if they are way out there.

March 25th, 2011, 11:25 pm


SOURI said:

Wahhabi headlines for tomorrow:

سورية: أقلية علوية تحكم أكثرية سنية

الشيخ القرضاوي: الأسد أسير لدى الطائفة العلوية

March 25th, 2011, 11:37 pm


Revlon said:

The Ruling Trilogy shares the same goal, while pursuing naturally dissimilar, yet very complementary interests.
The goal is to stay in power.

B Asad sits on top of the hierarchy.
His ideological fanaticism, and love for pedantic exposees , provide a platform for a governing authority, while satisfying own narcissism.

M Asad and R Makhloof are his proxies.

M Asad does what he does best: The safeguarding of trilogy, by brutal elimination of dissenting voices, while enjoying it.

R Makhloof’s business savvy satisfies his own aspiration; To own a business empire. It guarantees respectable levies to the others.

The “virtual” demise of one of them would fatally expose the others.

Such logical, working relationship would explain their seemingly dissimilar reaction to ongoing events.

B Asad would have preferred to have had the media blackout of His Father’s reign. It enabled him then, to brutally massacre thousands of civilians in 7ama, under similar fabricated pretexts.

The chants of dar3a demonstrators against R Makhloof and M Asad should not be read as approval of their master, B Asad.
It is intended to provide the least of pretexts to Security forces for firing on protestors and to avoid casualties.

B Asad fully understands that Dar3a’s chants, are undermining the credibility of both of his proxies. It is a threat to the very existence of their trilogy.

March 25th, 2011, 11:48 pm


Majhool said:

Seriously the regime is really stupid. The Aleppo pro demonstration is only going to Anger Aleppo people. Saret Jakar Ya3ni

Whoever gives advise to the president is an idiot. From the Ommayad Mosque bullshit, to Vouge, to Wall street journal…

March 25th, 2011, 11:52 pm


Norman said:

Who are the richest men in Syria and what is their religion.

March 25th, 2011, 11:53 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Not 6 month , not 3 month, releasing prisoners must be done immidiately,if the regime is serious about reform,they would release all political prisoners today,instead, the regime arrested more people,how can we trust them?
The crisis will continue , may be for more than a month.

Those who scare us that Syria will be divided, they should look and see, the demonstrations are all over Syria,this will unite them , not divide them, this argument does not make sense.

there are reports that Bashar will speak to the nation tomorrow,if no tangible decision is mentioned, we will see more demonstrations.

March 25th, 2011, 11:55 pm


Majhool said:


The richest men are Bashar, Maher, Shalish, and many less important assads
After that Sunni mortazakand partners in crime. I say murtazaka because no matter how rich they are, a junior officer in Mukhabarat would scare the shit out of them. I personally know many of them.

Notice that the revolt is happening in sunni areas. very poor.

Anyways, dont be sectarian. Your point is not valid.

These non tax payers will pay a price.

March 25th, 2011, 11:59 pm


SOURI said:

The soldiers who fought the vicious and well-armed Ikhwan rebels in Hama were about 12,000.

Bashar Assad now can very easily muster 120,000 loyal troops, that is, 10 times the troops that eradicated the Ikhwan from Hama.

In other words, Assad now can deal with at least 10 Hama’s simultaneously.

Of course, no city in Syria now has neither the weapons nor the skilled fighters Hama had in 1982. So the reality is that Assad does not need 12,000 troops to subdue any rebel town now. He can do with much less number for each rebel city.

Assad does not even need to use the military. His security forces are very strong. He can even just use the huge Baath militias he has. He can distribute weapons on those nearly 1 million-man-strong militias and send them out to hunt the Wahhabis in the streets.

Those Wahhabis are very stupid. It is good for us that they revolted now. Perhaps we will get rid of them once and for good.

March 26th, 2011, 12:05 am


SOURI said:

If I were Bashar and I had to use force to subdue a large-scale Wahhabi insurgency, you couldn’t expect me to give you any political concessions after I kick your ass.

If you want reforms, you can have them by dialogue and by becoming a civil human being first. But to be a Wahhabi and try to extract reforms from me by force, well that does not work.

March 26th, 2011, 12:11 am


Zenobia said:

Leo, before you send that letter of Ziad’s around…you should probably change “immolate” to emulate…:) cause I don’t think he meant to say that he wants the West and the rest of the world to kill Syrians by burning them up…
just saying..

March 26th, 2011, 12:16 am


NK said:


You and I might be willing to wait 3 months, but do you honestly think he will wait 3 months ?

Those were in Homs not in Daraa, which says a lot about the situation in Syria.

The time for the regime to act is right this instance, Shabaan said yesterday, the reforms will take effect immediately and next week there will be more reforms/laws/decisions, so I think the regime has one week to deliver on those promises, that is until next Friday, and every passing day the pressure will mount even higher.
What needs to happen effective immediately is

1- Stop the charade taking place on state TV, it’s adding more anger towards the regime, IT’S NOT HELPING. They showed “Daraa” and people chanting for the president (Nafdik) when people were watching this on youtube :

2- For the love of God and all that is holy, stop killing people, one Syrian official had the audacity to go on Al Jazeera and say that everything is fine and all the demos were in support of the president and that no one was killed today or in the past 3 days since the president ordered the cease fire. He said foreign news agencies are creating news instead of reporting it, while the Syrians were watching this one youtube

If the regime really had any intent of delivering on the promises he made yesterday, they wouldn’t have resorted to lies and deception today and more Syrians wouldn’t have died.


“You are a simple of” towards the end, I believe he meant Symbol.


The letter was beautiful, I hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears 🙁

God watch over our families, friends and all Syrians.

March 26th, 2011, 12:16 am


Revlon said:

Souri, SNP, all other wahhabi-phobiacs,
Be carefull of what you are drinking!
It is tained with “Q” pills!
Slipped in, by the invisible wahabies!

March 26th, 2011, 12:30 am


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

@ Majedkhaldoon
@anyone else

Two posters here made threats about banning SNP. Doing so, or anyone else making such threats in the future, will subject you to a lengthy and very costly First Amendment based lawsuit, Discriminatory Practice and few more legal infractions and Liabilities. The blog owner will be served by Federal Court Subpoena for information and interrogatories to force release of your email, IP address and any information the blog owner and/or administrator maintains or known to him, to be released under penalty of perjury. (the cost of this is $260 that is all). As you know, an email address is required to post comment here. We can do a lot; in fact, all we need is an IP address or Email address to get your whole life story, including what you eat for lunch, through private investigator. I am sure there are others that may be interested in your data as well. SO BEHAVE. I have zero tolerance for silliness. I don’t care what you say, it agonize me to have to view your silliness and childish crappy posts, but will not even think of banning anyone and denying his /her free speech rights. Considering how rudely you asked that SNP must be banned, I consider you all unworthy of being Syrian leaders. Syrians do not need your MUNAFEQ way of freedom, who needs this crap all over again. If you think that you can arbitrary deny others expressing their views, maybe you should go back to the hell hole you came from, I have people that can deal with you effectively. Have a cold day or I will make you have one.

March 26th, 2011, 12:54 am


NK said:

Syria Comment: Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations
Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Disclaimer: Syria Comment is administered by Joshua Landis, with the help of Alex and several participants who wish to remain anonymous. Syria Comment has no connection to the University of Oklahoma. The views expressed on it or in the comment section are those of the authors themselves.

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* Personal attacks against other contributors;
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Finally, we ask that commentators bear in mind that even well-intentioned humor or sarcasm can be “lost in translation” on an online discussion forum. As such, commentators should maintain a respectful tone with others and be tolerant of opinions that may differ from their own.

March 26th, 2011, 1:09 am


Syrian said:

Yesterday, we wanted reform! Today, we want to take the regime down!! 41 years of Al Assad’s regime more than enough. Scaring the people with the civil war, is not going to pay off this time. مقاومة و ممانعة are the biggest jokes. The Syrian regime did not fire a single bullet against Israel, سنرد في الوقت والمكان المناسب Israeli airplanes flow over the presidential palace in Lattakia and destroyed the nuclear project, Please remind me of the Syrian response, may be I missed it!! The Syrian regime did not hesitate to kill his people, and lie by calling them عصابة مسلحة في درعا, الصنمين و حمص!!

March 26th, 2011, 1:54 am


Jad said:

Not sure who start this but there is a rumour that Maher and Asef did a coup against the President and this is the reason that the President hasn’t been around for the last couple days.

This is a comment about this rumor:
يجب ان نجد طريقة نحرج فيها بشار الأسد للخروج على الإعلام لنتأكد من هذا الخبر ولكني لا اعرف بعد ما هي الطريقة ارجو ان نفكر في هذا الموضوع بجدية لأن الاعلام المقدس لبشار الآن ان ثبت له انه تحت الاقامة الجبرية فلن ينافق لماهر بسهولة ستكون ضربة قاضية

March 26th, 2011, 1:57 am


NK said:

I’m not sure how much power Asef has, the real power is in Maher’s hands, but he needs his Brother to rule, I really don’t think Maher would turn on Bashar, that would be suicide.

March 26th, 2011, 2:21 am


Leo said:


This is very far-fetched. Maher and Assef do not get along very well. Maher tried to kill Assef a while back and ended up shooting him in the stomach. Unfortunately, Assef was able to come back from this.


I’ll make sure your absurd claims will be thrown out of court under a 12b6 motion, before trial even starts. In addition, I’ll make sure whichever stoned lawyer you will hire (I doubt anyone stoned enough to take your case) will be fined and disbarred for wasting the court’s time with filing such frivolous claims. So I dare you.


Thanks for posting the rules. SNP and Souri in their previous posts, for the past 3 days, violated 4 out of the 5 prohibitions that ought not to be tolerated in this forum. By insulting and calling for the death of Muslims, they violated:
* Personal attacks against other contributors;
* Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;
* Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;
* Threats of death or violence;

I am for free speech, but inciting death threats against Muslims is way beyond any reasonable, even liberal discretion to freedom of speech. It definitely ascertains to criminal charges in most countries with strong likelihood of conviction.

March 26th, 2011, 2:43 am


Ziadsoury said:

All, let me correct a couple of things in the letter and I will post it again tomorrow. I did it on my phone during my commute and copied it.

March 26th, 2011, 2:59 am


Revlon said:

#3 Al Dandashi Talkalakh: Yesterday, you had demonstrations in your backyard buddy!

March 26th, 2011, 4:58 am


Revlon said:

Dar3a demonstrators, contrary to what the Syrian media said, did not spare B Asad yesterday.
They chanted : Get out Bashar (Ir7al Ir7al Ya Bashar) and, the traitor is he who kills own people (Yalli Byuqtol Sha3boo Khayen).

March 26th, 2011, 5:14 am


LeoLeoni said:

I heard from a source that a dozen or more were killed in Duma, I hope this is not true. Anyone has any info on this?

March 26th, 2011, 5:41 am


why-discuss said:

International Crisis Group :

Conflict Risk Alert: Syria
Brussels/Damascus | 25 Mar 2011

Syria is at what is rapidly becoming a defining moment for its leadership. There are only two options. One involves an immediate and inevitably risky political initiative that might convince the Syrian people that the regime is willing to undertake dramatic change. The other entails escalating repression, which has every chance of leading to a bloody and ignominious end. Already, the unfolding confrontation in the southern city of Deraa gives no sign of quieting, despite some regime concessions, forceful security measures and mounting casualties. For now, this remains a geographically isolated tragedy. But it also constitutes an ominous precedent with widespread popular resonance that could soon be repeated elsewhere.

The regime faces three inter-related challenges. First is a diffuse but deep sense of fatigue within society at large, combined with a new unwillingness to tolerate what Syrians had long grown accustomed to — namely the arrogance of power in its many forms, including brutal suppression of any dissent, the official media’s crude propaganda and vague promises of future reform. As a result of events elsewhere in the region, a new awareness and audacity have materialised over the past several weeks in myriad forms of rebelliousness, large and small, throughout the country.

Secondly, at the heart of virtually any locality in the nation is a long list of specific grievances. These typically involve a combination: rising cost of living, failing state services, unemployment, corruption and a legacy of abuse by security services. In a number of places, religious fundamentalism, sectarianism or Kurdish nationalism also form an integral part of the mix. In others, the depletion of water resources and devastation of the agriculture sector add to the tensions.

The third challenge relates to the regime’s many genuine enemies, all of whom undoubtedly will seek to seize this rare opportunity to precipitate its demise. Authorities have ascribed much of the strife to the exiled opposition, home-grown jihadi elements, local “aliens” (notably residents of Palestinian and Kurdish descent) and hostile foreign parties (notably U.S., Israeli, Lebanese and Saudi).

As a result, the regime claims to be fighting critical threats to national unity, such as foreign interference, ethnic secessionism and sectarian retribution. It also stresses the illegitimacy of exiled Syrians they accuse of stirring unrest — some of whom, in fairness, are suspected of crimes no less deserving of investigation than those of the officials they seek to replace.

All this unquestionably forms part of the picture. But these factors are intertwined with others, far more difficult to define or to manage — a popular desire for long overdue, far-reaching change; the simultaneous expression of numerous legitimate demands; and a growing belief that the regime is incapable of shifting from a logic of entitlement and survival to one of accountability. The current blend of mounting repression, blatant disinformation, minor concessions and presidential silence is quickly hardening negative perceptions.

A window of opportunity still exists to change these dynamics, although it is fast closing. Unlike most of his peers in the region, President Bashar Assad has accumulated significant political capital, and many Syrians are willing, for now, to give him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, a broad range of citizens – including members of the security apparatus – are desperately waiting for him to take the lead and to propose, before it is too late, an alternative to spiraling confrontation. Although he has held numerous consultations and sent some signals of impending reform through the foreign media and other officials, he has yet to assume clear and palpable leadership.

Instead, faced with an unprecedented, multi-faceted, fast-paced and critical challenge, the power apparatus at best is implementing chaotic steps that convey a sense of confusion, at worst is reacting according to well-ingrained habits. Left to its own devices, it will send precisely the wrong messages to a population that will not wait much longer for the regime to get its act together and to put forward a comprehensive and credible vision. At this point, only one thing can change swiftly, dramatically and effectively for the better, and that is the president’s own attitude.

President Assad must show visible leadership and do so now. His political capital today depends less on his past foreign policy successes than on his ability to live up to popular expectations at a time of dangerous domestic crisis. Meanwhile, repression perpetrated under his responsibility is costing him dearly. He alone can prove that change is possible and already in the making, restore some sense of clarity and direction to a bewildered power apparatus and put forward a detailed framework for structural change. This should include several steps:

* The President should speak openly and directly to his people, recognise the challenges described above, stress the unacceptable and counterproductive nature of repression, offer condolences to the families of victims, order a serious, transparent investigation into the violence in Deraa, present a package of measures for immediate implementation and suggest an inclusive mechanism for discussing more far-reaching reforms.
* He should announce the following, immediate measures: release of all political prisoners; lifting of the emergency law; authorisation of peaceful demonstrations; opening of new channels for the expression of complaints, given lack of trust in local officials; and action on the many cases of corruption that already have been compiled by the security apparatus but lie dormant due to nepotistic intervention.
* Upcoming parliamentary elections should be postponed pending a referendum on sweeping constitutional amendments which should be discussed with a wide and inclusive range of Syrians. Deeper change requires broad consultation and cannot be arbitrarily implemented.

Many within the regime argue against such a radical course of action. Their points might appear logical, but none should carry the day:

The regime has never responded to pressure, and this time-honoured principle has always served it well over the years, particularly in times of crisis.

While this might have been true in the past, the current situation involves an entirely different and unprecedented kind of pressure, one that is relentless and grounded in deep-seated popular feelings. If resisted, it will only swell. This is not a time for business as usual or for standing still when all around is moving.

Any concessions are likely to be viewed as inadequate and only fuel additional demands.

This almost certainly will be the case. And it is why any initiative must go all the way, from the outset. Only by doing so might the president convince the people that change is real. The question, in other words, is whether the regime can accept fundamental change. If it cannot, it is headed toward a bloody confrontation.

People do not know what they really want and express endless demands, some of which are unacceptable.

Again, this likely is true and, after years of suppression, wide-ranging aspirations cannot but be expressed. But the lack of a clear popular vision for orderly change offers the president the chance to convince citizens of the merits of his own.

The regime’s enemies are stirring things up and must be subdued before they do more damage.

In reality, none of the regime’s enemies possess enough support or influence in Syria to mount a critical threat. At best, they can try to make use of broad popular anger and steer it to their advantage. But by focusing on “enemies”, the regime is giving them more space while deepening popular discontent.

There is, in short, reason to question whether a dramatic approach will prevail. But it is the only realistic way to avoid a perilous confrontation.

After decades of colonialism followed by authoritarian rule, the Middle East and North Africa are facing a new phenomenon: a demand for governments based on popular legitimacy. Rulers in Syria or elsewhere can pass this test of leadership, or they can fail it. Bashar Assad has important assets; he retains significant political capital measured by regional standards, and it is high time that he spends it. As each day goes by, repression will both dissipate that capital and increase popular demands, making constructive action all the more difficult. Hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass may have served the regime well in days past. But now, it must fight against those instincts if it wants to preserve the possibility of a peaceful outcome.

March 26th, 2011, 6:07 am


Revlon said:

Declaration of Revolution against the System by The Syrian Arab Tribes It was announced by Lawyer Ali Eesa Al3obaidi,
General Secretary
General assembly for the Syrian Arab Tribes

بيان : عشائر سوريا تعلن الثورة على نظام بشار الاسد
21 03 2011

Summary of the preamble:
The tribes of Syria are unified (he cited names of 60 tribes).
Their speaker is both a sheikh and lawyer.
They seem to have taken charge, from Dar3a tribes.
Their address and demands have become national
They have declared the revolution on the Syrian Regime, until victory.
They have become the largest, and most organised driving forces of the Syrian revolution.
The statement appealed for unity among all Syrian citizens, irrespective of their beliefs or ethnicities. (He named kurds, Christians Alawis, Shi3a, Druz, …)

Recommended list of peaceful actions to its descendants and the rest of the nation

1. All Baath party tribal members are to withdraw from the party membership and join the revolution.
2. Armed forces: You swore to protect the nation, not the dictator. Your duty today is to Join the nation. Traitors who side with the dictator will be punished by the coming court of people.
3. Religious leaders are to join the revolution. You are responsible before God and their people.
4. Students of universities to rise with colleagues the Kurds. Kurdish people are part of the Syrian people fabric
5. Raise the Syrian independence flag in your demonstrations

With Gods will, We shall be victorious.

March 26th, 2011, 6:24 am


Revlon said:

49. why-discuss,
Thank you for posting the Analytical report by International Crisis Group, titled: Conflict Risk Alert: Syria
Brussels/Damascus | 25 Mar 2011

I quickly read through the document.
Althought it was posted 25th of March, I belive its pertinence has expired a few days ago.
Events on the ground have become both unpredictable and unstopable.

History making on the grounhd, is out pacing today’s news!

The only way out now is for B Asad and his ruling circle to step down and hand over all powers to an interim governing council.

March 26th, 2011, 7:00 am


Norman said:

With this declaration of revolt, Is it OK with you for the Syrian government to fight back,

DR Landis put up eye witness testimonies from foreign residents in Syria supporting the government story,

It looks to me that the opposition are as bad as the government in their propaganda.


Do you know that Syriatel pays significant amount of taxes to the government
Are there any Syrian Billionaires ?m That is beside you!!.LOL

March 26th, 2011, 7:25 am



I have not written in a while because, like Jad, i was becoming disenchanted with the sectarian turn some of the comments have taken.

Joshua and Nafdik
Thanks for highlighting the International Crises Group web page. I am a subscriber to their briefings and find them reasonably thoughtful.

NK #40
And also thanks for reaffirming SC Rules.

LEO #44
Thanks for the well informed legal counter-action, but If I may intervene, i think that your last paragraph is the most important part. Inciting murder should not be tolerated, and you are absolutely right, there are legal remedies for that. Personally, I am against banning, and I recall calling only once, in very subdued manner for banning a character with similar incitement. Yes we do not have an ignore button, but we still can ignore, unless one finds deranged writings by a mukhabarat chief wannabe, entertaining.

To All Syrian Patriots on SC
At the same time, I would like to talk about some of our true compatriots here, Norman, Jad, and Alex. The last thing I would want is to lose their valuable contributions feeling unwelcome due to continuous derogatory remarks calling them “regime supporters” “bashar supporters” and so on. Please note that I am talking about the context in which these labels are sometimes packaged. I have very high esteem of all three, and I consider them all personal cyber-friends and outstanding Syrians who have tried, no less than anyone else on SC to make Syria a better place, to present the justice of the Palestinian cause, dear to all of us, to expose the hypocrisy of neocon and other enemies of Syria, and to envision creative solutions and advises to some of the most complex problems in Syria including issues ranging from health care in Syria, fighting corruption, all the way to election laws and governance. These are serious issues and I value their heartfelt, honest, and dedicated efforts. And I stand vehemently against marginalizing them or their contributions. I am sure that many on all sides are forced by these difficult events to reevaluate positions, exactly as I, thanks to other patriot commenters on SC, have done not long ago. They are as Syrian as I am, and I would even argue that they may have contributed to Syria far more than I have.

Our beloved Syria is entering into very tough times. I am sure all of us look forward to a peaceful path to change. And despite of what seems to be peace shattering response, there is no need to confuse calls for justice with calls for revenge, especially in sectarian terms. Things will never be as they were only three weeks ago. There will be polarizations, righteousness,and stupidity as well. We will need the contributions of every honest, intelligent, well meaning Syrians. Let no one’s voice be silenced and let us give peace a chance. Those on the ground, on both sides, are Syrians, their death is ours, their suffering is ours, and their mothers’ tears are our mothers’.

I have much more to say, but I felt, with all my heart, that the above was a high priority issue.

Love to all.

March 26th, 2011, 7:27 am


majedkhaldoon said:

There are news from Arabiya that the prisoners in Saydnaya has been released,this is good news.

March 26th, 2011, 7:36 am


Norman said:


Thank you and I am so glad to see you here again, you know what i mean,

I will continue to say that what we need is an evolution not a revolution, killing brings more killing and violence brings more violence,

I would rather be in prison for the rest of my life that see Syria broken up, but then, That is me,

March 26th, 2011, 7:42 am


majedkhaldoon said:

Gaddafi forces are retreating, and mean while suffering huge losses, rebels most likely will take over Ras Lanof in two days,Gaddafi has to realize that the end is comming.
In Yemen Saleh is facing pressure to leave and is about to do that, may be this weekend,this will leave us with few countries ,facing problems,Syria is one of them,all eyes are on Syria,so Bashar has to give concessions,and the more he gives the more demands he will face,unless he goes all the way.
Internal shaking in his regime is inevitable,this includes relieving Maher from his positions,and may be Asef too,they must leave Syria.
Small concessions will not work,we are entering a sharp turn in Syrian history,Bashar has to make major deicisions,if he want to play a role in the region in the future.

March 26th, 2011, 8:02 am


Solitarius said:

In the video at the Nadi al Doubbat in Homs.. The demonstrators’ accents do not sound Homsi at all.. They sound Palestinian. A Latakian friend also told me today that many demonstrators in Latakia were actually Palestinians..

How true is that? anybody got any information?

March 26th, 2011, 8:22 am


Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman
Like you, i would rather face jail than see Syria divided and broken up. But I would also rather spend the rest of my life in jail than see the dignity of Syrians continue to be trampled on, their resources stolen, and their freedoms stepped on brutally, (which has been the case for nearly half a century now).

I believe that Arab people are not revolting against rulers, they are revolting against conditions. In every single case, they gave the ruler a chance to change these conditions, and when failing, they acted.

No longer should an Arab citizen be looked on and treated with contempt by security thugs. No longer should a group of mukhabarat appointed members of a single party control the destinies of countries, and no longer should Arabs be bound, to confuse a personality with a nation. Allah Freedom is all what count. And no longer they would tolerate being controlled for eternity by a single party. It seems that the last point has not yet made it to the Syrian regime.

Take for example the current situation in Syria. All decisions are now being made by the Regional Command of the Baath Party, bypassing a parliament ineffectual as it is, a seemingly popular president, and a very unpopular government. No one but their cronies elected them within the party system after being told to do so by the Mukhabarat, which makes them appointed and not elected. Is that a healthy situation?. Just now, the regional command of the baath party is meeting to decide the fate of the prisoners and the next step. From where I stand, this is insulting, for no single party, especially one so intermingled with ill reputed thuggish security apparatus should be able to control the conflict. Notice that they have not consulted anyone, not the opposition, nor the intellectuals or their adversaries. This is not how you resolve internal situation such as what we have. We need inclusion, and not exclusion. They should have called others into the discussion. On this issue, I have become a hardliner for I believe no serious reform can happen unless the legally enshrined monopoly on power by a single party is removed. If it is not, the best we can hope for is to evolve to what Egypt and/or Tunisia were and any opposition party, would be merely a regime-owned opposition party. Syria needs a new political life, and soon enough it should and will have one. The power monopoly has not been good neither for the country nor for the party itself. Of course, I am not calling for things to happen overnight, but I am sorry to tell you that while I do like evolution, you, having studied biology more than anyone of us, should be aware that an integral element of evolution is competition, and when there is no competition, such as the case of a single party (the national progressive front is a charade), what we get is a de-evolutionary overgrowth. This is what happened to the Dinosaurs, absent strong competition, they became too large to survive catastrophe. We are the result of their failure.

March 26th, 2011, 8:55 am


Syrian Patriot said:

Yesterday Al Arabiya, BBC Arabic, and France 24 claimed that a 1000 protestors were chanting anti government slogans in Al Tal. Lies. Not a single person was in Al TAl. I know people living there and I called them to check up on them. There was not one person protesting.
BBC Arabic, Al Hurra, Al Arabiya, and France 24 reported pro government demonstrations claiming that ‘HUNDREDS’ of Syrians were involved. In the last three days it has been almost impossible to drive around Damascus due to the cars and people on foot spread throughout the following areas: Jisr Al Raees, Omawayeen Square, Malki, Abu Rummaneh, and Abassiyeen. More lies.
BBC Arabic interviewed Al Bayanouni a week ago and asked him if he would accept women and/or Christian nominees in any government. After beating around the bush for a few minutes. The interviewer insisted that he answer straightforwardly. His answer was no. Is this the democracy that the people want? An Islamic Caliphate?
Khaddam robbed the Syrian people of billions of dollars and defected.
Protesters even chanted anti hizbollah and Iran slogans. What a joke!!!!!Since when do the Syrian people have a problem with Iran and Hizbollah???
When Dr. Buthaina held the press conference on Thursday and listed the reforms to be introduced in the next few days, I honestly thought that this country was out of the dark. However the ‘ANTI GOVERNMENT PROTESTS’ went on. The opposition claims that the governemnt has been making these promises for the last 11 years. They seem to have forgotten about Septemeber 11, the war on Afghanistan, the war on Iraq,the Hariri assasination, the war on Lebanon in 2006, the war on Gaza, the Hizbollah issue in 2008, and all of the above’s implications on reforms in Syria.They forget tha Colin Powell presented Dr. Bashar with a list of 8 demands in 2004, all of which were rejected. Everyone seems to forget history. Everyone seems to forget that the U.S., the most “Democratic” country in the world implemented “Emergency Law” in the form of the Patriot Act after 2011, as they saw themselves under threat. Whatabout the Guantanamo Bay prisioners that haven’t even been charged for the last 10 years, and don’t even have any rights to a fair trial. And now the US has a problem with Syria’s emergency law? What about the fact that in the UK the are 4 CCTV cameras for every individual there. Is that freedom? Whatabout the millions of people that have been killed in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan? Who gave Obamaa and the US the right to talk to Syria?
Here is the truth. Christians, Druze, Sunnis, Shiites, and Alawites have all been living in peace side by side in this country ever since the Assad government came to power decades ago. Prior to that Syria had been living through copu after coup after the Chees Eating and Wine drinking French left Syria.
People need to wake up. They need to realize that there is something big being brewed for Syria and the Middle East, something bigger than democracy. Something that was planned centuries ago by the Elders of Zion, being implemented today by blood thirsty mercenaries.
Stop listening to the lies, give a chance for these reforms to be implemented.
Wake up, this has the fingerprints of Israel, the US, France, Khaddam, Muslim Brotherhood (formed by the British during the British colonization era).
Remember, our leader, Dr. Bashar, is the last standing Arab leader who has the courage and presence of mind to say no to Israel and the US.

March 26th, 2011, 9:09 am


Off the Wall said:

In my post to Norman, third paragraph, please read the words

Allah Freedom is all what what counts

as being
Allah (Country name) Freedom is all what counts.

I had used the < (less than) before Country name, and the opposite direction sign (Greater than) after it, influenced by programming, but the system took out as an illegal Html tag.

March 26th, 2011, 9:11 am


Norman said:

Dear OTW,
I agree with everything you said, The reason that the changes are coming from the Baath party central committee is that whoever has the power has to give it or taken from and that is the Baath party until now I still believe that the Baath party will survive and be better in a multiparty system, I believed that in the late seventies and still believe it now, as i said before single party system brings opportunists to join the party and they give a bad impression of the party, so WE AGREE, i hope that you and others believe that Baath party should be able to compete not being guarantied a place, otherwise will end up with another single party system ,

March 26th, 2011, 9:21 am


Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman

Well Said my dear friend. YES We agree and I recall your comments about the Party. I do not doubt that some of Baath’s ideals will have a place in a future political debate in Syria, albeit with major evolution such as acknowledging the place of other ethnicities. I hope that they will, for the ideals do ground Syria to its larger Arab environment.

All parties should be able to compete.

March 26th, 2011, 9:46 am


Norman said:

Dear OTW,
The Baath party is not limited to one ethnic group and if you point to the name Baath Arab socialist party, That was adopted when the Baath party made of teachers and intellectuals joined with Akram Hourani Arab socialist party, The Baath party still believe in one Arab nation but all ethnic groups and religous affiliations who live in the Arab nation land can join and retain their culture and be equal, That is the real Baath party,

March 26th, 2011, 9:54 am


Off the WALL said:

Dear Norman
I meant a place in the state-country, not in the party.

March 26th, 2011, 10:00 am


Jad said:

Dear OTW, Thank you!

March 26th, 2011, 10:43 am


Ziadsoury said:

otw, thank you.

I agree with you. I was always and to this date believe that Bashar can still be the president. But the change has to be immediate. I also believe that Alex, Nrman (even though he questioned my intentions), jad, nour and the rest are all good Syrians. We all have the same goal in mind but differ on how to get there. That makes for a health debate. SNP on the other hand is just like AP. He is pure white noise and needs to be ignored but not silenced.

March 26th, 2011, 12:50 pm


Ziadsoury said:

All, you have my permission to send this letter out.

An open letter to Asma Asad

Dear Asma,
I am writing to you as a parent. You have beautiful kids and inshalah byerbouh b3ezkem. Just like the rest of my fellow Syrians, we want the best for our kids and work very hard to make that happen. As a proud parent of 3 kids, I want them to be independent, free, self sufficient and proud of whom they are and their country. If one of them gets sick or just half an hour late for dinner, I also lose a lot of sleep. I am sure you go through the same. Every parent does. No exceptions.
Can you imagine one day one of your kids not coming home at all? No one knows why. He has been arrested and beaten for saying I want to be free. Can you imagine a bunch of teenage boys being shot and killed because they emulated something they saw on TV?
You lived in England and you were honored and respected as a person in that country more than the average Syrian in Syria. You were given ample opportunity to prove yourself and earn a very respected income as a professional. Why a Syrian (a foreigner) gets respected and treated well in England while our Syrian system treats the people as subjects at their mercy.
Look around you and you see mothers, sisters and daughters with tears and sadness in their eyes, hurt in their hearts and no more dignity left in their souls. Would you have come back to Syria and be one of them if you did not marry the president? How could these women raise the next generation of Syrians? Why did this happen and how could we change that? Is killing the men and the boys in their life will get us their? I doubt it.
Just like you, every Syrian wants Syria to be the best place on earth. We want the west and the rest of the world to emulate us instead of making fun of us. We want our scientist, doctors, engineers, artists, teachers, universities, hospitals and businesses to be second to none. But how could get there if these mothers are crying and weeping? How are we going to get there if our society lives in constant fear. How could our children be the best when they are no allowed to think for themselves?
My kids can dream and have the right to become president of the US yet the average Syrian child can’t even dare to dream about being the president.
We do not want to lose any more of young people but the people want change and they are willing to die for it. You should be, as we are, proud of them. The people do not want empty promises. The people are not against Bashar, they are against the system he inherited. That system might have worked fine 50 years ago but we need to let go of it. We know change is hard but it has to happen and happen very soon.
Asma, we need your help. You are a simple of our hope and aspirations for our Syrian mother, sisters and daughters. Be there for them.
Thank you,
The Syrian PEOPLE

March 26th, 2011, 12:52 pm


Norman said:


If we do not question we do not learn.

March 26th, 2011, 1:22 pm


Syria Comment » Archives said:

[…] Aleppo, a hotbed of Muslim Brother support in the 1970s, was completely unaffected by the anti-government movement. Instead, Aleppines turned out in sizable numbers to support the government. […]

April 3rd, 2011, 11:51 pm


As quiet returns, Syrians ponder the future by Joshua Landis | The Middle East Channel said:

[…] Aleppo, a hotbed of Muslim Brotherhood support in the 1970s, was completely unaffected by the anti-government movement. Instead, Aleppines turned out in sizable numbers to support the government. […]

April 6th, 2011, 1:07 am


Latakian said:

So now people are accusing them of importing protesters. LOL
The protests in Latakia started in Tabiat and from Al Slaybeh and these areas are populated by syrians the palestinians live east from there. There is a video of them descending the stairs near Al Rahman mosque (Newly built mosque in Tabiat) and going through Slaybeh. Now during salat al Fajr the Al Rahman mosque is usually packed by the inhabitants of the Area. So your telling us that during the Friday prayers, Palestinians went from their places and prayed in the Al Rehman mosque and it had enough space for them All?
People must understand that the Syrian goverment is hated alot there. Of course they won’t tell you because you are foreigners and you don’t have their trust. But once you have their trust they will tell you how much they hate it. We have been listening to Syrian TV telling us not to fall into sectarianism now we have the goverment supporters telling us that it’s the palestinians’ fault. Talk about a piece of junk.

April 16th, 2011, 11:58 am


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