Recapitalising the Syrian Banking System: Costs and Challenges

Andrew Cunninghamby Andrew Cunningham with Darien Middle East

It is hard to think about reconstructing Syria and its economy at a time when there is so much uncertainty about how the civil war will develop in the months ahead, but, as the fiasco of Iraqi “reconstruction” in the months following the overthrow of Saddam Husain has shown, failure to plan for the days when the conflict has ended will not only delay the process of reconstruction but may also lead to a continuation of bloodshed and violence.

It is in this context that Darien Middle East has developed an analysis of the costs and challenges that will likely be involved in the reconstruction of the Syrian banking system, building on our June 2013 analysis “Deconstructing the Syrian Banking System” (on Syria Comment; also available on the Darien website).

In terms of costs, we estimate that $10.5bn – $16bn will be needed to recapitalise the state-owned banks. This is about 20 – 30% of pre-civil war GDP. It is an amount of money that would not preclude a rapid recapitalisation, if western powers are willing to provide financial and technical support for the process.

As for the principal challenges that will be faced, much will depend on whether a strong government emerges from the conflict – one that is able to take and impose decisions reasonably quickly; or whether a post-conflict government is characterised by factional fighting. In the former scenario, reconstruction, including bank recapitalisation, will be a largely technical affair and can be achieved fairly quickly; in the latter scenario, reconstruction will be a hostage to political interest trading and is unlikely to progress quickly.

Three Stages to Quantifying the Scale of Bank Recapitalisation

The process of rebuilding the Syrian banking system falls into three areas:

  • First, we must take a view on the level of losses in the banking industry prior to the conflict.
  • Second, we must consider the extent to which such losses will have been increased by the conflict.
  • Third, we must consider the medium and long-term capital requirements of banks in post-conflict Syria.

Our analysis addresses only the state-owned banks in Syria. Private sector banks are likely to have been more solvent than state-owned banks going into the current crisis, since they are able better able resist pressures to lend to poorly performing state-owned enterprises. Private sector and Islamic banks accounted for only 6% of lending to state-owned enterprises at the end of 2010, although their share of banking system assets and of capital funds was nearly 30%.

Furthermore, private sector shareholders tend to take a more realistic approach to potential losses. Those that are subsidiaries of foreign banks will have been required by regulators in their home countries to make adequate provisions against losses.

Recapitalizing Syrian banks table 1

Table 1 – click for full-size image

Recapitalizing Syrian banks table 2

Table 2 – click for full-size image

If private sector banks need to be recapitalised, the funds will come from their owners and not from a future Syrian government or the international community.

The six state-owned banks account for nearly three quarters of all banking assets in Syria. The Commercial Bank of Syria accounts for about half of the combined assets of these six state-owned banks, and the Real Estate Bank about 15%.

Estimating the True Level of Non-Performing Loans

Estimating the cost of bank recapitalisation entails making some bold assumptions, the most important of which is about the level of losses that banks will be facing when the conflict ends.

The IMF’s 2009 Article IV report on Syria gives the ratio of non-performing loans (NPLs) to total loans at the state-owned banks as 5.9%. This figure, which the IMF sources to the Central Bank of Syria, is not credible. One must assume that the state-owned banks began the civil war with substantial undeclared credit losses on their balance sheets.

By way of comparison, the World Bank estimates that about a quarter of loans extended by Egyptian banks (both public and private) were non performing in 2005 before the Egyptian Central Bank began to clean up the banks’ balance sheets. The World Bank estimates that the NPL ratios of Tunisian banks were about 12% before the overthrow of Ben Ali, and puts the current ratios of banks in Jordan at about 8% and Morocco at about 5%. Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco have well-supervised banking systems and powerful central banks.

The Iraqi banking system provides a demonstration of how difficult it can be to estimate the extent of losses in a post conflict society. Work to rehabilitate the Iraqi banking system began soon after the overthrow of Saddam Husain in 2003 and picked up pace when the World Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Bank of Iraq in 2006. Efforts focused on the two commercial banks, Rashid and Rafidain, which accounted for 90% of banking activity in Iraq. Yet seven years later, in its July 2013 Article IV Report on Iraq, the IMF was acknowledging that the net worth of the two banks remained difficult to estimate due to lack of transparency and the continuing presence of pre-2003 items on their balance sheets.

So, what is a reasonable estimate for loan losses in Syrian commercial banks?

At the end of June 2013, the median non-performing loan (NPL) ratio for privately owned banks that had published their full financial statements either on their websites or with the Damascus Securities Exchange was 43%. This compared to 21.5% for all such banks at the end of December 2012, and 7.5% at the end of 2011. Private sector banks can be expected to display stronger asset quality (i.e. lower NPL ratios) than the state-owned banks.

By way of comparison, Commercial Bank of Syria, the leading state-owned bank, reported a non-performing loan ratio of 3.5% at the end of 2011 (stating NPLs at S£12 billion, $227mn), compared to 1.6% at the end of 2010. The Real Estate Bank, reported an NPL ratio of 6.5% at the end of 2011 (stating NPLs S£685mn, $13mn) compared to 3.6% at the end of 2010. None of these figures is credible.

Taking into account the published non-performing loan ratios for the private Syrian banks; the figures from other state-led economies in the Middle East, such as Egypt; and the probable impact of a drawn-out civil war in Syria; it is reasonable to assume that between one half and three quarters of all loans extended by the state-owned banks will be impaired.

Of course, not all impaired loans entail a write-off of all funds owed. Loans can often be rescheduled, customers can be coaxed into repaying a proportion of what they owe in return for forgiveness of the rest, and sometimes banks can seize and then liquidate collateral. The recovery rate on impaired Syrian loans is likely to be low, but it will not be zero, especially in the case of loans to sate-owned monopolies that are likely to remain in business after the fighting ends.

In the past, the level of provisioning by state-owned banks against their non-performing loans appears to have been modest. The IMF estimated that provisions covered about one sixth of the gross non-performing portfolio in 2008 and 2009, and about 1% of the gross loan portfolio – in simple terms, about $200mn.

Syrian Banks Will Need Extra Capital to Raise Lending Rates during Reconstruction

Having predicted the unrecoverable portion of non-performing loans at the end of the conflict, and written those amounts of against existing capital funds, one needs to look ahead to the capital levels that banks will need to operate safely in future and also to meet the huge demands for finance that will arise during the reconstruction phase. Our analysis assumes the need for an un-weighted leverage ratio of 8%. This is high by international standards, but fair for Syrian banks.

As for the level of future lending, one must assume that after the conflict has ended Syrian banks will need to provide large amounts of money to fund reconstruction projects and enable new businesses to be established. Historically, Syrian banks have not lent as much to Syrian businesses as banking systems in other Middle Eastern (or other) countries have been lending to businesses in their own countries. Throughout the Middle East, bank lending is generally equivalent to about 55% of a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the IMF. In Syria, this figure was about 40% in 2010, according to our calculations. So if Syrian banks are to play a full role in the country’s reconstruction they will need to increase their rate of lending, and to do this they will need more capital.

Based on these assumptions – the likely level of loan losses (50% – 75% of the loan portfolio is impaired and a significant proportion of that is unrecoverable), a capital requirement that can be considered prudent (an 8% un-weighted capital ratio), and a convergence by Syrian banks to the lending levels seen elsewhere in the Middle East (55% of GDP), we estimate that the cost of recapitalising the state owned banks is likely to range from $9bn to $16bn.

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Syrian coins, image property of Darien Middle East

Supplemental: Steps to Recapitalise a Banking System

Recapitalising a banking system is not a fundamentally hard thing to do. It entails reaching a realistic valuation of the assets on banks’ balance sheets, deciding who is going to pay the difference between that valuation and the value at which the banks have been holding the assets on their books, allocating the funds to pay that difference, and then passing any regulations or laws necessary to execute the plan.

Difficulties and delays usually arise as a result of a lack of political and bureaucratic nerve or as a result of institutional obstruction by those who are vested in the status quo ante.

Finding the money necessary to recapitalize a banking system should not be a problem. In emerging markets, it is usually stateowned banks that need to be re-capitalised, and new capital can be provided in the form of government bonds and guarantees.

Issuing such bonds and guarantees increases the level of a government’s debt (as we have seen in Europe, as national governments moved to bail out insolvent banks), but robust analysis should already have factored in a government’s contingent liability to insolvent state-owned banks, with the result that a government’s economic debt ratios (as opposed to published debt ratios) change little after a bank bail-out is executed.

In the case of Syria, injecting $10bn into the banking sector would approximately double the country’s public sector debt. (Pre-civil war GDP was about $50bn and pre-civil war debt to GDP was about 20%.) When viewed against the cost of other emerging market bank bail-outs, such numbers are not prohibitive. Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume that as a result of sanctions the Syrian government’s obligations to western countries have been diminishing – so making the assumption of new debt easier to bear; and also that western governments would financially support the recapitalisation of the Syrian banking system under a post-Asad secular government.

That said, experience tells us that the key factor determining the extent to which the Syrian banking system can be transformed after the civil war, and the pace at which such transformation will occur, will be the political environment in which such transformation begins, rather than the financial cost of bank recapitalisation.

Efforts to recapitalise and modernise the Iraqi banking system began fairly soon after the overthrow of Saddam Husain in 2003. In their first years, such efforts achieved little and even now the Iraqi commercial banking system remains hugely dysfunctional and a weak engine for economic growth. (At the end of 2012, Iraqi banks’ loans to the private sector represented about 17% of their assets and were equivalent to about 8.5% of Iraqi GDP.)

There have been three key reasons for the slow improvement in the quality of the Iraqi commercial banking sector.

Firstly, efforts to reform the commercial banks had to start from a very low level – the Iraqi economy had been subject to wide ranging international sanctions for 13 years before the overthrow of Saddam in 2003 and prior to that the banks acted primarily as the tools of government rather than as commercial enterprises.

Secondly, the Central Bank’s ability to act decisively was constrained by rivalries and conflicts within the Iraqi government. In particular, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance had a difficult relationship. (In 2012, the incorruptible Dr. Sinan al-Shabibi, who had fought to maintain the Central Bank’s independence, was removed from the Governorship by Prime Minister Maliki.)

Thirdly, the high level of violence and insecurity throughout the country hampered day to day work, particularly of foreign experts trying to provide advice and guidance – if a visit to a bank is only possible when one travels by armoured convoy, the number of such visits will be limited and the quality and quantity of time spent advising local bank staff will be compromised. The security situation also prevented experienced Iraqi expatriates from returning to Iraq to work in banks.

Egypt provides a contrasting picture, albeit one which provides an inexact comparison. When the Central Bank of Egypt began its bank reform programme in 2005, there were already well-performing, privately-owned banks operating in Egypt that could provide examples of good practice, and occasionally supply experienced commercially-minded staff to the state-owned banks. Furthermore, the Central Bank enjoyed the full support of the Ministry of Finance and the highest levels of government. And of course, Egypt was peaceful. The biggest constraints to getting advice into the banks seemed to be the Cairo traffic jams! (The author speaks from personal experience!)

Why does capital matter?

Capital is a bank’s cushion against unexpected losses; as opposed to provisions, which are its cushion against loan losses that have already occurred or which are expected to occur. When a bank recognises loan losses, it writes down the value of those loans in its financial statements. If the losses so great that they overwhelm the bank’s loan loss provisions, the only way to balance the accounts is to write down the value of capital. If a bank depletes its entire stock of capital then it is deemed to be insolvent and should be closed down by its regulator (because having depleted capital, it will only be able to balance its books by defaulting on deposits or bonds). Even if a bank has positive capital, the regulator may still have reason to close it down, since all banks should maintain a minimum level of capital today to protect against unexpected losses in future.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which sets international standards for banks, has called for regulators in require a minimum leverage ratio (that is, a ratio of capital to unweighted assets) of 3%. However, it is widely expected that regulators in underdeveloped or risky banking systems will require leverage ratios significantly above 3%.

Comments (84)


zoo said:

Teeth are grinding in the “Guided and Demented Kingdom” as well as in Israel

Iran and UN atomic energy agency agree to strengthen nuclear cooperation

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46462&Cr=nuclear&Cr1=#.UoFwDVMiy9Y

11 November 2013 – The United Nations atomic watchdog and Iran today signed a joint statement in Tehran in which they agree to strengthen their cooperation and dialogue to ensure the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear programme.

“This is an important step forward to start with, but much more needs to be done,” said the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, at a news conference after the signing.

“Under the Framework, Iran and the IAEA will cooperate further with respect to verification activities to be undertaken by the IAEA to resolve all present and past issues.”

Iran’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Iran’s cooperation will include providing the IAEA with timely information about its nuclear facilities and in regard to the implementation of transparency measures. For its part, the IAEA agreed to continue to take into account Iran’s security concerns, including through the use of managed access and the protection of confidential information.

The Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation, signed by Mr. Amano and Iranian vice-president Ali Akbar Salehi, includes an annex that lists practical measures to be taken as a first step by Iran within three months.

These include providing mutually agreed relevant information and access to the Gchine mine in Bandar Abbas and the Heavy Water Production Plant, providing information on all new research reactors, providing information regarding the identification of 16 sites designated for the construction of nuclear power plants, and clarification on the announcements made by Iran regarding additional enrichment facilities and with respect to laser enrichment technology.

Mr. Amano said that outstanding issues that are not contained in the annex will be addressed in the subsequent steps under the Framework for Cooperation.

“The IAEA is firmly committed to resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue and cooperation,” he added.

November 11th, 2013, 7:13 pm

 

Syrialover said:

All very nice. But what about the substandard, corrupt and chaotic nature of banking Syria has known for decades under the Assad regime?

The long list of Iraq’s problems in establishing a workable banking system would be mild compared with Syria.

A fragment of reality about Syrian banking – this story is about events happening well into last year:

“Rami Makhlouf: Buying Syria One Bank At a Time” http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/9621

Maybe instead, international banks could operate virtual Syrian branches with ferocious governance, loan assurance and transparency standards?

November 11th, 2013, 7:17 pm

 

Syrialover said:

ZOO, can’t you even fake some interest in anything else but the Iranian “leadership” and its pathetic interests?

November 11th, 2013, 7:31 pm

 

Tara said:

Dear Syrialover,

” can you fake some interest…”. Funny!  I will be borrowing the line in the future.

Here is some more of the Iranian ” leadership and its pathetic interests ” if you are able to bear.  

Read the comment for a reader too.

تصريحات روحاني جاءت بعد ساعات من إعلان فشل التوصل لاتفاق بمفاوضات جنيف (أسوشيتد برس-أرشيف)
قال الرئيس الإيراني حسن روحاني إن حق بلاده في تخصيب اليورانيوم “خط أحمر” لن يجري تجاوزه، وإن بلاده تصرفت بما وصفها عقلانية ولباقة خلال المفاوضات الأخيرة إزاء برنامجها  النووي مع مجموعة “5+1” التي تضم الولايات المتحدة وروسيا والصين وفرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا.

وخلال كلمة ألقاها اليوم أمام مجلس الشورى (البرلمان) بيّن روحاني أن المفاوضين الإيرانيين الذين شاركوا في المحادثات الأخيرة بجنيف أكدوا لأطراف التفاوض أن طهران لن تقبل “بأي تهديد أو عقوبات أو إذلال أو تمييز، وأن إيران لم ولن تحني رأسها أمام تهديدات من أي جهة”.

وأضاف روحاني أن الحكومة تعتبر أن هناك خطوطا حمرا لا بد من اعتبارها من بينها المصالح القومية، موضحا أنه بموجب القواعد الدولية فإن تخصيب اليورانيوم حق لإيران على غرار ما تقوم به دول أخرى، على حد تعبيره.

وأكد على أن بلاده تشارك بالمفاوضات النووية جراء قناعة وإيمان بأن الحوار سبيل لحل المشاكل السياسية، وأن المشاركة بالمفاوضات لم تأت نتيجة ضغوط أو عقوبات مفروضة.

ونقلت قناة العالم الإيرانية عن روحاني القول “لقد خضنا المفاوضات النووية عام 2003 قبل أن يفرض علينا الحظر وواصلنا المفاوضات رغم قرارات الحظر”.

واعتبر الرئيس الإيراني أن نجاح المباحثات النووية من شأنه أن يؤدي إلى تعزيز الأمن والاستقرار في المنطقة والعالم، مشددا على أن إيران ستواصل تخصيب اليورانيوم في الداخل. 

وقال مراسل الجزيرة في طهران عبد الهادي طاهر إن روحاني أراد إرسال رسالتين أولهما للغرب بأن طهران لا تنوي ولن تتنازل عن حقها النووي وطالب الغرب بالتعامل بمنطقية وعقلانية، أما الرسالة الثانية فهي للداخل لطمأنة بعض الأطراف التي تعارض مسيرة التفاوض النووي.
..
وجاءت تصريحات روحاني بعد ساعات من إعلان فشل الأطراف المتفاوضة بشأن الملف النووي الإيراني في التوصل لاتفاق، إلا أن المتفاضين قالوا إنهم تمكنوا من تضييق الخلافات، وإن المحادثات ستستأنف خلال عشرة أيام.

Aljazeera

الفرق بين العرب وإيران شيئ واحد الايرانيين يحولون هزائمهم إلى إنتصارات عن طريق الاعلام إنتصارات النظام الايراني تكون بجيوبهم حتى قبل أن تبدأأي معركة ومهماتكن النتائج عند أنتهاءأي جولة من الحروب ضدالعرب أو مباحثات يخرجون علينا بالانتصارات الوهمية الكل يعرف أن الشعب الايراني أصبح بالحضيض ولا يجد كسرة خبز يأكلها والرواتب أصبحت قيمتهاالنصف فلم يعد بإستطاعة إيران الاستمرار فلا ضرر عند هؤلاء ببيان على الشاشات يعلنون فيه إنتصاراتهم الوهمية التي لا تنتهي
 

November 11th, 2013, 7:55 pm

 

Heads-up said:

Just so you may know, our well informed and highly reliable sources who work very hard, around the clock and behind the scenes authorized the release of the following very important heads up, in order to keep you up to date with current events.

Our patrons reviewed the material presented in this latest post posted by the owner of the site and his helpers. Our well informed benefactors once again came to the unavoidable conclusion that the material presented in the main post is sheer propaganda seeking in essence to polish the ugly face of the murderous regime, implying in the process a clear desperate attempt to spread propaganda on behalf of the falling and desperate regime of outlawed perverted criminals of the outcast so-called Assad. In particular, our patrons cite the pictures shown in the post depicting Syrian coins with the head of Ass-head still present on them which will not be the case in the new Syria. Our patrons also pointed out that no one is interested in reconstructing Syria as long as Serpent head of Ass-head is still roaming unpunished for crimes committed against humanity. In general, the material presented has no bearings whatsoever on the interests of Syria and its people who are fighting the most important war on behalf of all Mankind, the existential fight against humankind archenemy, the Serpent-Head and its proxies. Needless to say, the acts of fabrication and propaganda of this site’s administrators fall squarely and evenly under the definitions of aiding and abetting of criminals of the worst kind in human history. Our benefactors firmly believe that any new posts will only reinforce the same cheap propaganda fueled by the site owner and others who write on his behalf.

As a result of their assessments, our benefactors decided to keep the site on the blacklist. And they would strongly urge readers to exercise extreme caution, sound judgement and critical analysis when reading anything written by the owner or associates of the this clearly suspicious and much-below standards site.

November 11th, 2013, 8:17 pm

 

zoo said:

SL

For any one with a normal brain, it is clear that the Iranian nuclear situation and the Iran-Saudi Arabia antagonism are very closely linked to the situation in Syria.
If you stop your navel-gazing, maybe there is a chance that you see how it can affect the resolution of the Syrian crisis much more than the ridiculous declaration of the opposition or your dreams of ‘toppling’ Bashar al Assad.
Yet, after reading the stuff that you and your likes repeat as nausea, I have strong doubt that you are capable of seeing beyond your petty world of hatred and frustration.

November 11th, 2013, 8:54 pm

 

zoo said:

Heads up

It appears that this site is bothering you a lot because instead of ignoring it, you give it an enormous importance by putting it on your blacklist and you continue to post your usual propaganda for the “Guided and Demented Kingdom”.

November 11th, 2013, 9:14 pm

 

ziad said:

9 children died 27 wounded mortar attacks Old City Damascus. Some kids who waited hours, crying & scared, til safe to go home.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.390208237748562.1073741829.383534111749308&type=1

November 11th, 2013, 9:28 pm

 

zoo said:

Ziad

It is no surprise that the killing of 9 christians kids in their school is met with total indifference by the “good-hearted” supporters of the Sunni terrorists.

November 11th, 2013, 9:48 pm

 

zoo said:

Accord with Iran would help drain the poison of sectarian strife

By David Gardner
Getting Iran inside diplomatic tent could ease regional problems

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/30ba7d06-4a21-11e3-9a21-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2kOdgsnx2

November 11th, 2013, 9:59 pm

 

zoo said:

Headsup

Inpressive! Your hacker team and your ‘benefactors’ are doing a great job in propping the thumbs up for your garbage and your friends garbage posts!

November 11th, 2013, 10:03 pm

 

zoo said:

Syria Lover

Get quick help from Headsup, his favorite and his hacker team as your thumbs down have reached a dangerous level.

November 11th, 2013, 10:08 pm

 

ziad said:

A Syrian lawmaker kidnapped by opposition jihadist fighters earlier this year was executed last week, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.

A parliamentary source in Damascus, on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Mujhem Al-Sahu from Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria had been executed, without specifying who was responsible.

The source said 50-year-old Sahu was killed in Deir Ezzor but gave no additional details.

Last month, the Observatory reported that another Syrian lawmaker, Mohanna Faisal Al-Fayyad, a Sunni, had been kidnapped by Islamist and jihadist opposition fighters.

The monitoring group said Ahrar Al-Sham rebel fighters and jihadists from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) abducted Fayyad on October 27.

He was kidnapped after two days of clashes between members of his tribe, which supports the regime of President Bashar Assad, and rebel groups.

http://gitm.kcorp.net/index.php?id=671885&news_type=Top&lang=en#

November 11th, 2013, 10:13 pm

 

ziad said:

210 days in captivity

Matthew Schrier’s kidnapping, torture and escape from Syrian rebels provides a rare first-hand look into the brutal ways of the extremist rebel factions battling the Syrian dictatorship. Scott Pelley reports.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50158866n

November 11th, 2013, 10:16 pm

 

ziad said:

عراك بالأيدي و تلاسن بين أعضاء الائتلاف .. و الجربا ” يصفع ” لؤي المقداد بعد خلاف على عدد مقاعد هيئة الأركان !

قالت مصادر إعلامية معارضة إن خلافاً نشب بين لؤي المقداد المتحدث باسم هيئة أركان الجيش الحر و أحمد الجربا رئيس الائتلاف المعارض، على هامش الاجتماعات التي يعقدها الائتلاف في مدينة اسطنبول التركية، تطور إلى صفع الجربا للمقداد.

و قالت المصادر إن المقداد طلب من الشرطة التركية فتح محضر تحقيق بالحادثة، مشيراً إلى أن رئيس الائتلاف اعتدى عليه، بحسب ما ذكر ” مركز حلب الإعلامي “.

و لفتت المصادر إلى أن الخلاف نشب حول تمثيل هيئة الأركان بالائتلاف و عدد المقاعد التي ستحصل عليها، لينتهي الخلاف بصفع الجربا للمقداد.

و تعقد اجتماعات الاتئلاف في اسطنبول للبت في المشاركة بمؤتمر جنيف 2 من عدمها، بالإضافة إلى التباحث بموضوع تشكيل الحكومة الانتقالية التي يترأسها أحمد طعمة.

و يأتي هذا الخلاف على عكس التصريحات و التحليلات التي تم تناقلها اليوم، و التي تتحدث عن أن الائتلاف لن يقبل المشاركة في جنيف 2 إلا بعد موافقة الثوار و الكتائب العسكرية في الداخل.

و قالت مصادر مقربة من الائتلاف لعكس السير إن ما يثير الاستغراب في هذه الحادثة هو أن المقداد و الجربا يميلان إلى قطب واحد و مسار مشترك، مدعوم من قبل المملكة العربية السعودية.

و يقول دبلوماسيون غربيون إن المعارضة السورية منقسمة إلى قطبين، عسكري تدعمه قطر و سياسي تدعمه السعودية.

و في سياق متصل قالت شبكة سكاي نيوز إن الاجتماع الذي من المفترض أن يكون انتهى الآن شهد عراكاً بالأيدي و تلاسناً بين أعضاء الائتلاف، في الوقت الذي تم فيه الموافقة على انضمام المجلس الوطني الكردي إلى الائتلاف و حصوله على ثمانية مقاعد.

http://www.aksalser.com/?page=view_articles&id=6a091beb57343e0089a2532a56f4e87e&ar=703834558

November 11th, 2013, 10:19 pm

 

ziad said:

درس في الاختزال

– المعارضة السورية ظاهرة تلفزيونية.

– «الائتلاف»المعارض : تجمع للأوبئة بدءاً بالسيدا وانتهاء بالجرب.

– الجيش الحر: الهزائم اختصاصنا.

– سعود الهزاز: ربي ابتلاه وطولو عمرو.

– بندر: كلب مسعور لفظه صاحبه.

– إردوغان: ماذا يفعل بائع البطيخ بعد انتهاء الموسم.

– حمدين: أمير متقاعد يعاني الفراغ وعذاب الريجيم.

– مرسي: ربطوه بمرسي وشنقولو الكرسي.

– جماعة الإخوان تفقد إصبعاً بعد ثمانين عاماً من الحفر السري ..

– جماعة «ثورة الكرامة» السلفية: يرسلون نساءهم للنكاح مقابل ثلاث تكبيرات وحفنة من الدولارات.

– بوتين: ترقى إلى مرتبة قيصر.

– نصر الله: من ينتصر على إسرائيل لا غالب له.

– الأسد: اسم على مسمى.

– الجيش: إعلان تفوق في أخطر وأشرس الحروب الحديثة.

– جنيف: مؤامرة أخيرة تنهي مؤامرات كثيرة.

– سورية: قبلة العالم ودين السياسة الجديد.

November 11th, 2013, 10:23 pm

 

zoo said:

Syria: Militants Capitulate in Damascus Countryside

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/syria-militants-capitulate-damascus-countryside

The progress made by the Syrian army in the Damascus countryside is “peacefully” bearing fruit. After liberating a number of towns around the capital in the past several weeks by force, there are hopes that deals reached with militants can be replicated in other regions, most notably the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp and Qudsia.

November 11th, 2013, 10:41 pm

 

Ghufran said:

Yes, there is a potential deal in the making in Qudsayya and Yarmouk around Damscus, if that deal goes through it will improve the life of hundred of thousands of Syrians and palestinians. Hardliners on the rebel side are worried that such a deal will increase pressure on fighters in other areas to follow suit.

November 11th, 2013, 10:48 pm

 

ziad said:

SYRIAN MINORITY WOMEN USED AS SEX SLAVES IN AL-SUFAYRA

SYRIAN MINORITY WOMEN FOUND IN TUNNELS IN AL-SUBAYNA WERE KIDNAPPED AND USED AS SEX SLAVES BY JIHADIST/WAHHABIST APES; NAMES HAVE BEEN WITHHELD BY REQUEST OF THE WOMEN.

Syrian Perspective has learned that with the liberation of Greater Al-Subayna and Lesser Al-Subayna came some shocking news that was deliberately kept secret by the Syrian security forces. During the cleansing of the area, SAA infantry discovered a tunnel complete with electricity and a field clinic. What they also found on that November 7th were hostages inside who had been kept in a state of terror for at least 5 months. The hostages were all women who were reported kidnapped by their families both in the eastern part of the country and the south. All the women were either Christian or Shi’i. Monzer reports that there were 16 of them, all between the ages of 14 years and 27. When they were saved by the army, Monzer says the women were in a frenzied state begging the military intelligence officers not to report to their families how they were used. Moreover, the Syrian government has agreed to keep their names secret.

Monzer says most of the girls were unmarried at the time of their abductions but that 2 were married with husbands in the military. They were forced to have sex with the denizens of this tunnel repeatedly, being subject to constant brutality if they did not comply. They were denied access to birth control on the grounds that such medication was “unholy” and “haraam”. Monzer says that 4 of the girls, including one who is 14 years old, have been subsequently determined to be pregnant. Abortion in Syria is illegal. However, an exception can be made for rape especially in cases involving minors. The length of time the fetus has been in utero will make a difference also.

What is even more amazing is that 3 Jihadist females from both Tunisia and Libya were assigned to control the women and to beat them if they became recalcitrant. They were constantly told it was an honor to serve in Allah’s army and that Jihad was the right path if they were to be saved from Hellfire. According to Monzer, the Jihadist females were evacuated by the terrorists but were killed as they tried to escape into Al-Hajar Al-Aswad. No more details available.

The girls have been reconnected to their families where the SAA is in control. We will keep you informed as to any new data on this.

I was informed by Monzer that the government preferred not to have this story revealed. I decided I would disclose it because these kinds of acts, as barbarous as they are, must be revealed to all civilized nations, especially those who pretend to be more civilized than others. This is the work of England, France and the United States. Without their filthy involvement, these girls would never have become Jihadist prostitutes. What a shame! I hope all English, French and American people will bring this matter up with their war criminal governments.

http://www.syrianperspective.com/

November 11th, 2013, 11:02 pm

 

zoo said:

Why France stood alone to scuttle Iran deal

Paris seeks a larger role in the region, and it has lucrative arms deals with the Saudis, but that’s not the whole story

http://www.timesofisrael.com/why-france-stood-alone-to-scuttle-iran-deal/

Paris aspires to play a larger role in world affairs; after the US, France has the highest number of diplomatic offices across the globe, she noted, adding that the Middle East is seen as a “high-priority” area. Since America’s clout in the region appears to be waning — following the Obama administration’s perceived serial weakness in dealing with Egypt, Syria and Iran — France is more than happy to step in and extend its sphere of influence, she said.

Furthermore, France has high stakes in Sunni countries in the region that are fiercely opposed to Iran becoming a nuclear power. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is the region’s foremost buyer of French arms. “In light of the current economic situation in France, which really does not look so bright, these weapons deals are very important to the country,” Hershco said.

In late August, Paris reportedly signed a €1 billion ($1.34 billion) defense contract with Saudi Arabia, which included overhaul work on four frigates and two refueling ships.

“The Saudis are investing heavily in French agricultural, defense and food sectors,” the Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported. “The farmers of Brittany have laid off thousands of workers of late and a Saudi firm is stepping in take control of 52% of Doux, a poultry firm based there. [This is just] one example of the massive spending spree the Saudis are on.”

France also has flourishing defense cooperation with Israel, as well as major trade relations. President Francois Hollande is expected in Israel next Sunday, and while that visit alone would not be a significant factor in Paris’s stance in the nuclear negotiations with Iran, it may have been one more reason for the French decision to play hardball.

November 11th, 2013, 11:58 pm

 

Juergen said:

An heartbreaking short documentary by the ARD, about the work of two children doctors who try to help in northern Syria.

The worst scenes start at minute 18, when a school was bombarded with a firebomb, many children are rushed to the clinic, many with wounds and fireburns beyond imagination.

http://www.ardmediathek.de/das-erste/reportage-dokumentation/syriens-kinder?documentId=18068046

November 12th, 2013, 12:59 am

 

Juergen said:

DER SPIEGEL brought an story from Lebanon stating that many refugees start to sell their organs in order to have enough money to survive.

They interviewed one boss of an organization which runs an secret operating room in Beirut. He stated that a new kidney cost now 15.000 Dollar, he claims that prices have fallen dramatically since the syrian refugees have came. Before the Syrians came, he usually had Palestinians from the camps who sold their organs. Because of many rival groups, the availability of kidneys now is higher than the demand.

Lebanon was due to its weak government already a focus for the international illegal trade for organs, no institution in the country cares if a reach Gulf arab left the country with a new nose or with a new kidney.

http://www.spiegel.de/gesundheit/diagnose/organhandel-syrische-fluechtlinge-im-libanon-verkaufen-ihre-nieren-a-932573.html

November 12th, 2013, 1:10 am

 

omen said:

cartoon geneva 1 & 2

November 12th, 2013, 6:28 am

 

ALAN said:

The fact that the United States and the CIA openly supported Syria’s armed opposition by supplying it with weapons and reinforcing it through sending in foreign militants, many of whom are closely connected with Al-Qaeda and its branches, has undermined the USA’s credibility in the region. Here it is increasingly understood that, instead of the declared fight against terrorism, the policy of the White House is only leading to a growing threat of terrorism in the Middle East and the consolidation of the positions of Islamists and radical fanatics.
……..
Yes, times are changing, and the lessons of the last year have not been in vain, especially for the countries of the Middle East. Many of them are already aware of the “sincerity” of the White House’s policy and now navigate through the international space without taking notice of the shouts from Washington. But has the United States learned any lessons from these events, or is it going to fight for world dominance “to the bitter end”, without worrying too much about the interests of the people who inhabit these regions?
http://journal-neo.org/2013/11/12/rus-ssha-egipet-i-uroki-soby-tij-na-blizhnem-vostoke/

November 12th, 2013, 7:05 am

 

ALAN said:

Andrew Cunningham : /according to our calculations/,
fundamentally is not coincides with Russian, Chinese, Iranian calculations!
Do not waste your time! Solutions can be found at the Syrians! And always are unusual

November 12th, 2013, 7:29 am

 

Observer said:

I like this post a lot: ” We sell the bust so that they can buy the boom” kind of post.

If Mr. Cunningham is interested I have a few bridges, towns, and villages to sell him in Syria and Iraq for that matter.

Banking system whereby the printing of the currency is done in some other country.

And then of course there is the ongoing discourse: defeat is victory, security is stability, control is freedom, corruption is free market and other myths that we have in this forsaken land.

Death to Sykes Picot, long live the new Sykes Picot

November 12th, 2013, 7:34 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Madam Omen working in the night-sift? From twitter

omen ‏@omen_99

suddenly hungry for popcorn.

5:49 AM – 12 Nov 13

The time Twitter shows is based on US East coasts time.

This sudden huger for popcorn happened at 2:49 AM in California. Hmmmmm … or at 12:49 PM in Tel Aviv.

Now the clock in California is 4:22 and madam Omen is still actively manufacturing essential interesting twitter information with the power of popcorns.

omen ‏@omen_99 1m

but corp media will ignore it because it doesn’t serve their interests.

7:22 AM – 12 Nov 13 · Details

Some people have strange hobbies. Especially Californian, nonMuslim, nonSyrian ladies. Is it a hobby and is she in California?

November 12th, 2013, 7:34 am

 

don said:

12:49 PM Tel Aviv time is most plausible

November 12th, 2013, 7:52 am

 

ziad said:

Lebanese pro-Hezbollah cleric killed in drive-by shooting

Gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed a Lebanese Sunni Muslim cleric who supported the Shi’ite militant Hezbollah group in the northern city of Tripoli on Tuesday, security sources said.

Saadeddine Ghiyyeh, an official in the Islamic Action Front, was shot multiple times in his car as he was leaving home.

A photo on the National News Agency’s website appeared to show Ghiyyeh lying face down in his car with a head wound.

Tripoli has seen on-off clashes between Sunni Muslim militants who support a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect, which is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.

Ghiyyeh was a Sunni, but supported Hezbollah, and was close to prominent pro-Assad figures in Tripoli. In September, he was wounded when his car exploded moments after he parked it.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/11/12/uk-syria-crisis-attack-idUKBRE9AB0ET20131112

P. S. My intuition tells me that this is a Mossad action

November 12th, 2013, 10:16 am

 

Uzair8 said:

In desperate times desperate measures become necessary.

The Rothschilds could be approached to help rebuild the Syrian banking/economic system. I hear they have vast experience.

However, be sure to get a second opinion from Alan.

November 12th, 2013, 10:19 am

 

ziad said:

Christian Vows to Convert to Islam if Al-Qaeda Releases Father Paolo

Mikhael Saad is a writer in Canada

A Christian writer has vowed to convert to Islam if Al-Qaeda’s main branch in Syria will release the Reverend Paolo Dall’Oglio, the Jesuit priest who was kidnapped in Raqqa, northeast Syria last June.

Mikhael Saad, a veteran Syrian dissident who lives in Montreal, Canada, announced the offer on his personal Facebook page.

Activists reported that Dall’Oglio was abducted in the eastern city of Raqqa by members of the ISIS on 29 July.

“Kidnapping Jesuit priests will not help you in your Islamic projects,” Saad said in a message addressed to the commander of ISIS in Raqqa, “as your state’s main goal is to implement rights and justice,” he added.

“I offer you to release Paolo and I will announce my conversion to Islam,” he said.

The prominent Italian Jesuit was an outspoken Christian supporter of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. He was expelled in 2012 by the Assad government for his support for the rebels.

Dall’Oglio, 58, lived for three decades in Syria, where he established an ecumenical community at Mar Mousa on the site of an early Christian monastery, engaging in interfaith dialogue with Muslims and forging close ties with the local population.

http://www.syrianobserver.com/News/News/Christian+Vows+to+Convert+to+Islam+if+AlQaeda+Releases+Father+Paolo

November 12th, 2013, 11:24 am

 

ziad said:

Israel leader: Rest of world soft on Palestinians

Israel’s prime minister on Sunday accused the international community of being too soft on the Palestinians, saying the world must understand that peace is a “two-way street.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his comments in the wake of heavy international criticism for plans to build thousands of new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. During a swing through the region last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the construction, planned in occupied lands claimed by the Palestinians, raised questions about Israel’s seriousness about peace.

In an address to Jewish leaders from North America, Netanyahu said that it was time for the world to turn a critical eye on the Palestinians.

“It cannot be that the Palestinians are forever pampered by the international community,” he said.

He claimed the world had ignored Palestinian incitement and a refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state, and said the world has accepted half-hearted Palestinian attempts to fight violence.

http://news.yahoo.com/israel-leader-rest-world-soft-palestinians-193640771.html

November 12th, 2013, 11:41 am

 

Sami said:

The assumption that the Assadi banking system is somehow viable enough to be recapitalized makes this post off the mark.

There needs to be at minimum a grand reformation but most likely start a new with the banking system. The Assadi thugs has devoured and left the Syrian banking system into an empty shell just like every other state institution except their insecurity services

To recapitalize as is will only fill the coffers of thugs and the people that most need it will receive non of it.

November 12th, 2013, 12:34 pm

 

Uzair8 said:

A couple of items from YS:

AboudDandachi
#Syria is what happens when a society doesnt have a political class worth a damn.We need proper political scientists,not more guys with guns

{A response to above}

robotnyck
The basic problem here is that the creation of a political class requires time and a political space within which that class can develop, conditions notably lacking in Assad’s Syria.

Link

*******************

ABarnardNYT

More g2 views: @AmalHanano: for every Syrian begging for Assad to stay bc they’re tired, 10 Syrians are terrified of him in power.

Link

November 12th, 2013, 12:39 pm

 

Sami said:

What is the word for stalker in Finnish?

November 12th, 2013, 12:39 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Is the World Soft on Assad?

Ziad,

Who do you think is suffering more, the Palestinians who have already been offered a comprehensive peace 13 years ago…

or

The Syrians, who have never been offered anything except death, homelessness, and disease which has far exceeded the Nakba?

November 12th, 2013, 12:39 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sami,

I think the word is “hypocrite”.

November 12th, 2013, 12:42 pm

 

omen said:

27. Simo Madam Omen working in the night-sift? From twitter

omen ‏@omen_99

suddenly hungry for popcorn.

5:49 AM – 12 Nov 13

The time Twitter shows is based on US East coasts time.

This sudden huger for popcorn happened at 2:49 AM in California. Hmmmmm … or at 12:49 PM in Tel Aviv.

wow, i’m back to being mossad again. in tel aviv no less.

simo, you are so funny. you don’t eve know enough to be embarrassed.

popcorn mention is a celebratory reference upon hearing news in the tweet previous that hezbollah & shia militants have turned on one another and are killing each other (ppl often make a comment about an earlier tweet. do you not know how twitter works?):

Though the Saudi al Watan isn’t a very reliable source, it seems there might be some truth to reports that Hezb and LAFA clashed in Damascus

Hezb largely Lebanese, LAFA largely Iraqi, among other differences. not impossible

IF true,this is likely the first such incident of foreign Shia militiamen fighting each other in Syria.And of course,it’s awesome.

popcorn reference not meant literally. the saying actually goes “pass the popcorn” often made in political discussion groups upon hearing the opponent has gotten him or herself into trouble. guess it’s hard for a finn to grasp american colloquialisms.

but don’t let me stop you from applying your own comically mistaken misinterpretation.

after all, i’m the naive one. so you must know better.

November 12th, 2013, 1:17 pm

 

Heads-up said:

Just so you may know, our well informed and highly reliable sources who work very hard, around the clock and behind the scenes authorized the release of the following very important heads up, in order to keep you up to date with current events.

Due to the pathetic and chaotic state the world finds itself in, it continues to seek much needed Guidance from the Guided Kingdom under the leadership of His Majesty, Commander of the Faithful, the Guided King of the Guided Kingdom.

The Guided Kingdom has been recognized as a pioneer and leader in human rights worldwide. For that reason it has been chosen by a whopping 140 countries for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council located in Geneva. It is expected that the Guided Kingdom will provide much needed enlightenment to the world as a whole when it comes to such an important issue as human rights.

The most recent victory for the Guided Kingdom comes at the heel of other recent victories the Guided Kingdom has achieved in area of technological and scientific innovations.

Syrians are looking forward eagerly to learn and be Guided by the Guided Kingdom in order to achieve the same level of human dignity the Guided Kingdom has achieved. The Syrians are also eager to join GCC as a junior member under the Guidance of the Guided King of the Guided Kingdom. Therefore, Serpent head of Ass-head must be destroyed.

November 12th, 2013, 1:25 pm

 

ALAN said:

30. Uzair8 said:
/In desperate times desperate measures become necessary./
Who taught you this?
Is your Rothschilds school teach you that! School submission, subservience and reduce the head?
Say that quote on people like you!!!

November 12th, 2013, 1:30 pm

 

zoo said:

The mushrooming of “transitional governments” has started. After Al Qaeda in Al Raqqa, the NC expat opposition HQ in Gaziantep, now the Kurds in Northern Syria.

Syria Kurds announce transitional autonomous authority

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/syria-kurds-announce-transitional-autonomous-government-165840229.html#88grrsX

Syrian Kurds in the country’s northeast announced the formation of a transitional autonomous administration on Tuesday after making key territorial gains against jihadists in recent weeks.

But several major Kurdish groups have not signed on to the declaration, which had originally been mooted in July.

The latest announcement comes amid a general strengthening of Kurdish rights in neighbouring Turkey, and increasing moves towards independence by Iraq’s own autonomous Kurdish region.

“Today is an important day in the history of the Kurdish people,” said Shirzad Izidi, a spokesman for the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan, a Syrian Kurdish group.

“What has been announced today is the beginning of implementing an interim administration in the ares of West Kurdistan,” he continued, referring to the commonly used name for Syria’s Kurdish areas.

November 12th, 2013, 1:35 pm

 

zoo said:

Panic among the armed rebels in Aleppo

Boosted by foreign Shi’ite militia, Assad’s forces advance on Aleppo

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/12/us-syria-crisis-aleppo-idUSBRE9AB0YA20131112?rpc=401

(Reuters) – Syrian government forces backed by foreign Shi’ite Muslim militia advanced on rebels in the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, bent on recapturing districts from opposition brigades weakened by infighting, activists said.

They said that rebels saw the threat of President Bashar al-Assad wresting back Aleppo, Syria’s former commercial hub and once most populous city, as so grave that Islamist brigades, including an al Qaeda affiliate, had declared an emergency and summoned all fighters to head to the fronts.

November 12th, 2013, 1:38 pm

 

zoo said:

The armed terrorists continue their desperate and rageous efforts to ‘topple” Bashar al Assad by killing christian children, Palestinians militants and civilians in Damascus

Mortar fire wounds 16 in Damascus
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/mortar-fire-wounds-16-damascus-182427164.html#rklhdK3
Rebel mortar fire on several government-held districts of the Syrian capital wounded at least 16 people on Tuesday, state media reported.

“Mortar rounds fired by terrorists struck around Shallal Square in the Mazraa neighbourhood, wounding 10 people and damaging cars,” the official SANA news agency said.

A hardline Palestinian militant group allied to President Bashar al-Assad’s government said five of its members were among those wounded in Mazraa.

Mortar fire struck a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command office near the Central Bank of Syria, PFLP-GC spokesman Anwar Rajah said.

Elsewhere in the capital, mortar fire wounded six people near a Red Crescent hospital and a market, SANA reported.

The new casualties came a day after rebel mortar fire killed nine children and wounded more than 20 other people in two districts of the capital.

The rounds hit a school and a school vehicle in two majority-Christian neighbourhoods, state media said.

November 12th, 2013, 1:47 pm

 

zoo said:

The joke of the day ( Thanks Headsup)

“The Guided Kingdom has been recognized as a pioneer and leader in human rights worldwide.”

November 12th, 2013, 1:53 pm

 

zoo said:

Another ridiculous decision of the “coalition”, desperately attempting to stop the collapse of its legitimacy.
Headquarter of the ‘transitional’ government is not in Aazaz, Syria but in… Gaziantep, Turkey

Syrian opposition names cabinet for rebel areas

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syrian-opposition-names-cabinet-for-rebel-areas.aspx?pageID=238&nID=57825&NewsCatID=352

Syria’s main group has approved a partial Cabinet charged with administering rebel-held territories inside Syria. Members said the new Cabinet was unlikely to win international recognition

The Syrian National Coalition Nov. 12 named a provisional government for rebel-held areas, despite U.S. misgivings, members of the fractious Western-backed opposition grouping said in Istanbul.

Washington and its European allies hope a proposed peace conference in Geneva will produce an interim government that can help end the armed conflict raging in Syria since 2011, a scenario they fear the coalition’s decision could disrupt.

“The United States is against the provisional government because it thinks it will undermine the Geneva talks,” said an opposition official who was involved in naming the cabinet. “The feeling in the coalition is that even if Geneva convenes it will be a long process and we cannot continue to leave the liberated areas prey to chaos in the meantime.”

HQ in Gaziantep

November 12th, 2013, 2:05 pm

 

omen said:

an interesting oped that raises some questions. what kind of help did saudis get from iran?

Saudi Anger Masks Concern About Loss of Influence

Several fundamental contradictions underpin Riyadh’s public spat with Washington. They include Iran, the Palestinians, oil, and Syria.

Iran under the shah in the 1950s-1970s period was the key protector of the so-called security belt in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia, with the acquiescence of the United States and the United Kingdom, played the role of a junior partner in that arrangement.

During most of that period, Britain controlled the foreign policy and in many cases the domestic politics of Gulf Arab Emirates. While Kuwait became independent in 1961, the other Emirates did not follow suit until a decade later.

Saudi Arabia under King Saud solicited Iran’s help in thwarting the rising tides of Arab nationalism under Egypt’s President Nasser, of Ba’thism and socialism under Michel Aflaq in Syria, and of Communism under the Soviet Union and China.

Saudi anger over Palestine hides another contradiction in the Saudi position on Israel. While they chide the U.S. for seeming callousness toward the Palestinians, the Saudis have been working very closely with the Israelis, according to media reports, against the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and Iran’s military involvement in Syria. Over the years, media outlets have reported on active collaboration between the Saudi and Israeli intelligence services against Al-Qaeda and regional terrorist organisations.

As a hydrocarbon giant, Saudi Arabia is beginning to lose influence in the oil world. Economic reports in the past two years have postulated that by 2028 Saudi Arabia would become a minor oil exporter. The kingdom would need between six and eight million barrels a day for local consumption, mainly power generation and desalination, which would leave it with much smaller oil exports.

This means that in a decade and a half the Saudi leadership will not have at its disposal huge oil revenues either to spend on purchasing advanced weapons systems or to buy off potential opposition activists as they did in 2011 in response to “Arab Springs” upheavals.

Within the same period, the United States because of growing domestic energy production will no longer rely on Saudi and Gulf oil. The days when the United States would threaten to go to war to protect its access to Saudi and Gulf oil, as some U.S. leaders hinted at in the mid-1970s, are gone.

November 12th, 2013, 2:24 pm

 

Tara said:

Does going to Geneva oblige or force the opposition to settle for a transitional government that does not exclude Batta and his ilk?   What are the downsides of going to Geneva without preconditions?    Can the NSC and the FSA be forced into anything they don’t want to agree to once they are in?  What are they exactly afraid of?  If Batta is not excluded, can the opposition just call it the day and continue the fight?  

الجيش الحر والائتلاف السوري اتفقا على ضرورة استبعاد الأسد شرطا لحضور جنيف 2 (الفرنسية)
وضع الجيش السوري الحر شروطا للمشاركة في مؤتمر جنيف 2 للسلام في سوريا أبرزها تشكيل هيئة انتقالية بصلاحيات كاملة ومحاكمة “مرتكبي الجرائم بحق الشعب السوري”، في حين أقر الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة تشكيلة الحكومة الجديدة التي ستعمل في المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة المعارضة.
وقال مجلس القيادة العسكرية العليا لهيئة الأركان في الجيش السوري الحر في بيان أصدره أمس الاثنين إن “ما هو مطروح لمؤتمر جنيف 2 إلى الآن يفتقر للرؤية الواضحة وللآليات المناسبة ولكل ما يوحي بإمكانية التوصل إلى نتائج ملموسة”.

وأعلن المجلس -في البيان الذي نقلته وكالة الصحافة الفرنسية- ترحيبه بأي حل سياسي “يستند إلى توفير البيئة والمناخ المناسبين لنجاحه”، وحدد سلسلة من الخطوات الواجبة لقبول ذلك الحل، أبرزها الإعلان بشكل واضح وصريح أن هدف المؤتمر هو تشكيل حكومة وطنية انتقالية كاملة الصلاحيات على كل أجهزة الدولة بما فيها الجيش.

وطالب الجيش الحر بالإعلان عن وقف العمل بالدستور الحالي، وضمان موافقة أولية على تنحي الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد عن السلطة، ودعا إلى “وضع جدول زمني محدد” لمراحل التفاوض تحت الفصل السابع من ميثاق الأمم المتحدة الذي يجيز استخدام القوة.

كمت طالب بأن تنبثق عن المؤتمر “هيئة قضائية مستقلة مهمتها تقديم مرتكبي الجرائم بحق الشعب السوري إلى محاكمات تتوفر فيها معايير المحاكمة العادلة” وإطلاق سراح المعتقلين في السجون، وطالب أيضا بوقف “آلة القتل وقصف النظام للمدن السورية”، وفتح ممرات إنسانية إلى المناطق المحاصرة، و”خروج مقاتلي حزب الله اللبناني والجماعات العراقية والإيرانية من الأراضي السورية”.

وشدد الجيش الحر على أن تمثل المعارضة “بوفد واحد يضم أعضاء من الائتلاف وأعضاء من مجلس القيادة العسكرية العليا”.

من جانب آخر شكّل الائتلاف الوطني حكومة مؤقتة لإدارة المناطق التي تسيطر عليها المعارضة.
وتم اختيار تسعة من اثني عشر وزيرا تتألف منهم الحكومة التي يرأسها أحمد طعمة.

أولويات الحكومة
وقال عضو الهيئة السياسية للائتلاف الوطني كمال اللبواني إن الحكومة الجديدة مطالبة بالسعي لتدارك تأخر الائتلاف في التكفل بانشغالات المواطنين، وأوضح للجزيرة أن الحكومة الجديدة ستسعى للبحث عن مصادر تمويل عبر الاستعانة بالدول الصديقة.

وتحدث اللبواني عن غياب ضمانات بأن تحظى الحكومة الجديدة بدعم واسع من الدول الغربية، وأكد أن الائتلاف يراهن على الدول الخليجية لمساندة هذه الحكومة. وأوضح أن الوزراء مطالبون بمعالجة مظاهر الفوضى والفساد التي تعيق وصول المساعدات الإنسانية لمستحقيها.

ترحيب عربي
وقد أبدت الجامعة العربية ترحيبها بنتائج اجتماعات الهيئة العامة للائتلاف الوطني، ووصف الأمين العام للجامعة نبيل العربي إعلان الائتلاف استعداده للمشاركة في مؤتمر جنيف 2 بالخطوة الإيجابية على طريق إقرار الحلّ التفاوضي للأزمة السورية وفقاً للأطر والأسس التي حددها البيان الختامي لمؤتمر جنيف 1.

ودعا العربي قيادات الائتلاف لمواصلة الجهود مع مختلف أطراف المعارضة السورية لتشكيل وفد موحد يتمتع بأوسع صفة تمثيلية للمشاركة في مؤتمر جنيف 2.

كما دعا الأطراف الإقليمية والدولية المعنية بالشأن السوري لتهيئة الظروف الملائمة والإسراع في عقد المؤتمر “باعتباره الحلّ الوحيد لوقف نزف الدماء والدمار والعبور بسوريا نحو مرحلة جديدة تحقق تطلعات الشعب السوري”.

November 12th, 2013, 2:41 pm

 

omen said:

a seeming contradiction or can both cases be true?
how can ksa both be against & support terrorism?
why does everybody bend over backwards to avoid supporting moderates?!

Over the years, media outlets have reported on active collaboration between the Saudi and Israeli intelligence services against Al-Qaeda and regional terrorist organisations.

[…]

What is most appalling about the Saudi support of Salafi jihadists in Syria is the unintended encouragement of terrorism.

November 12th, 2013, 2:45 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

35. SAMI said:

What is the word for stalker in Finnish?

Of course there is = “vaanija” or “ahdistelija”.

Sami the whole idea of Twitter is that people follow and watch what others write. I know that is a bit difficult to tolerate for a person like you as a member Saudi Religious Police and a active Al Qaida warrior. Maybe you should finally ask some expert in your Al Qaida cell to show you what Twitter is.

Omen (former Kill Assad) is stalking (following as we familiar to Twitter call it and can be noticed from her profile) 2,001 persons/organizations. 953 persons/organizations are stalking (= following as we Twitter experts call it) Omen (@omen_99), Why I do not understand. I only check occasionally if Omen has already achieved the 60,000 tweets astonishing landmark. Following 24/7 Omen’s eating habits and rather, how to say it politely – well less informative messages is a bit to challenging (to much laughing is not healthy). By the way Omen’s message amount is now 57,879 – still some work to be done and a couple of popcorn portions to be eaten.

Every twitter message has under it a very visible time stamp, same as in the comments of SC. One doesn’t have special skills to figure out how much the clock is in California, where Omen claims to be living, when the message was written. Even you could do that, if you would be allowed to use a clock and you would have learned about time zones. Well I am certain in your cell is one learned individual who can help. Ask him.

Do people there in Saudi Kingdom make popcorn and write tweets with pathological fury at three o’clock in the night? Well in USA old ladies do, but this admirable twitter-granny is allowed also to drive a car and own guns. That is US freedom at the best.

November 12th, 2013, 2:49 pm

 

SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Saleh Adnan Zeno from Kafar-Batna will not participate in re-capitalizing dog-poop athad corrupt money laundering drug smuggling murder inc. In fact, he refused to do so, and paid the price for that in torture to death.

To regime dog-poop sniffers, enjoy your handiwork.

November 12th, 2013, 2:55 pm

 

ghufran said:

reconciliatory words from Erdugang, I almost forgot that this is the same guy who flooded Syria with terrorists:
قال رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان “إنَّ من يفجر نفسه باسم الإسلام في الأماكن المقدسة لا علاقة له بالسنة ولا بالشيعة، بل لاعلاقة له بالإنسانية والإسلام من قريب أو بعيد، فمن يقتل المظلومين في العراق وسوريا واليمن ولبنان هو يزيد، والمظلوم هو سيدنا الحسين”.
وأضاف أردوغان في خطابه أمام كتلته الحزبية في البرلمان أنَّ سيدنا الحسين بن علي لم يكن سنياً ولا شيعياً بل كان مسلماً، مبيناً أنَّ زمن الحسين لم يشهد سنة ولا شيعة.
Edu was denouncing islamist terrorists who practice detonating car bombs in civilian areas, including mosques, as a sport.
Speaking of terrorists, anybody knows why ISIS is leaving parts of Raqqa?

November 12th, 2013, 3:09 pm

 

Tara said:

Simo,

Stop stoking and harassing Omen. Israeli or not, he is worth more than a million shabeehs ( minus one) in my opinion.. You’re crossing your limit. You need to stop.

November 12th, 2013, 3:13 pm

 

omen said:

49. oooo, someone is still smarting from being caught clueless. nobody is interested nor impressed whether or not you grasp of the concept of any subject. who cares what my stats are? only a lunatic with a fixation on numbers. what kind of a person has nothing better to do than to count each and every tweet i post that clicks across the counter? a loser, that’s who.

you know what? i want you to copy/paste every new tweet i post. go ahead, post my entire timeline onto the board. freaks like you don’t intimate me. if you had a real argument, you wouldn’t feel the need to stoop to psyche me out. this is more about your inadequacies than this is about me.

you’re creepy little freak who probably breaks into your neighbor’s house to rifle through her underwear drawer to count how many she has. my neighbor has a daughter with autism. she’s obsessed with counting dots on the wall. a higher form is asperger’s syndrome. that’s you. rain man simo is an excellent driver.

November 12th, 2013, 3:31 pm

 

ALAN said:

Nuclear Cruiser Leads Russian Task Force in Mediterranean
http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20131111/184645113/Nuclear-Cruiser-Leads-Russian-Task-Force-in-Mediterranean.html
MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Northern Fleet’s nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky was assigned on Monday to lead the country’s permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean.
“The Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser has joined warships in Russia’s task force in the eastern Mediterranean and is now leading the group,” the Northern Fleet’s spokesman, Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga, told reporters.
According to the official, the headquarters of the operational command of the task force, which includes warships from all four Russian fleets, was transferred to the Pyotr Veliky from the Black Sea Fleet’s Moskva missile cruiser on Sunday……..ДЖЩДЖЩДЖЩ

November 12th, 2013, 5:42 pm

 

zoo said:

Can’t be more clearly stated

New Syrian Opposition Coalition Initiatives Rejected by Jihadists

http://www.voanews.com/content/new-syrian-opposition-coalition-initiatives-rejected-by-jihadists/1788846.html

Fehim Tastekin, a Turkish columnist for the newspaper Radikal, says the SNC has been placed in a no-win situation, having to choose between either refusing to go to Geneva and face the loss of the support of the international community, “or agree to attend and lose Syria – that is, the armed opposition.”

The decision by the SNC to indicate a willingness to attend Geneva talks had majority support from the 114-members but was not unanimous. And an influential member of the SNC, Kamal Lebvani cautioned against optimism over the chances of reaching a negotiated settlement saying “It can’t be implemented because the fighters are the ones who decide things not us.”

November 12th, 2013, 5:44 pm

 

ALAN said:

Celente: France blocks Iran deal for Saudi arms sales
http://youtu.be/s5UU_PwXWN0?t=36s

November 12th, 2013, 5:45 pm

 

zoo said:

@Ghufran

Last week, Ayman al Zarqhawi has ordered ISIS to leave Al Raqqa to the control of Al Nusra and fighters to go back to Iraq. He ordered the cancellation of ISIL.

November 12th, 2013, 5:48 pm

 

ALAN said:

it is not surprising to come across periodic foreign media reports exposing Ukrainian smugglers’ maritime weapons deliveries to Iskanderun for shipment to Syrian terrorists. As Ediboglu noted, Ukrainian “businessmen” usually indicate Egypt as their destination. However, they unload their weapons cache in Turkey before proceeding on to Egypt. This is done with the complicity of the Turkish authorities. Continuing down the line, Turkish customs and police officials guide the shipments into Syria through border checkpoints. A likely example of such “commercial transactions” occurred near the Aegean island of Simi on Nov. 8, when the Greek coast guard intercepted a Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship sailing from Ukraine to Iskanderun with 20,000 AK-47 assault rifles and other military hardware on board.
Since so-called commercial operations like these have practically become regular events, how are they viewed by the authorities and law enforcement agencies of Turkey and Ukraine?
How does the EU react to all this, considering that the incidents happen in its bailiwick?
Might the illegal transfer of jihadists and weaponry for them through Turkey to Syria be some sort of secret test of EU loyalty administered to candidates for EU membership, which include Turkey and Ukraine?

November 12th, 2013, 5:55 pm

 

ALAN said:

Syria’s Kurds move towards autonomy with announcement of transitional government

The main Kurdish party in Syria has announced plans to create a transitional government in the areas dominated by Kurds in the north-east of the country.

The move is the clearest sign yet that Syria’s Kurds are moving towards a long-held ambition of autonomy in the areas they inhabit.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) – the largest Kurdish party in Syria – made the announcement following a meeting in the northern city of Qamishli that involved Christian and Arab groups from across the Kurdish-dominated areas of north-east Syria.

The plan calls for the creation of a parliament of 82 members elected from three cantons across the region, which will each have their own local assemblies.

“This administration will be democratically elected and we think it will be integral in the future for democratic Syria,” a PYD spokesman told The Independent.::::::::::::::ЖЖЖЖЖЖЖ
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syrias-kurds-move-towards-autonomy-with-announcement-of-transitional-government-8935441.html
————————————————————-
Syria: U.S. Starts Seeing The Real Alternatives
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/11/syria-us-starts-seeing-the-real-alternatives.html

November 12th, 2013, 6:02 pm

 

ALAN said:

Blowback from Turkey’s turn-a blind-eye policy on Syria’s jihadi opposition
The sons feared lost to al-Qaida in Syria
Parents in Turkish town of Adiyaman tell of anguish of searching for offspring recruited for jihad in neighbouring country
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/11/sons-lost-al-qaida-syria-turkey-jihad

November 12th, 2013, 6:20 pm

 

ALAN said:

When asked Mr Erekat what he plans to do in response to new settlement project, Erekat said he was going to “call FM of Qatar”, LOL.

Israel to build yet another 20,000 settler homes in West Bank
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/israel-build-yet-another-20000-settler-homes-west-bank?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlAkhbarEnglish+%28Al+Akhbar+English%29

November 12th, 2013, 6:24 pm

 

Tara said:

Simo follows Omen on Twitter. Simo is hard at work analyzing every word Omen utters. Simo reads about popcorn omen mentioned at 3AM and concludes based on the popcorn evidence and the timing that Omen is beyond reasonable doubt an ….Israeli Mossad.

Brilliance! Isn’t it? No no no . Beyond brilliance.

The spin is that popcorn reference as we learned from Omen was a political reference in colloquial American.

And yes, Simo does not know enough to feel embarrassed.

And Tara can’t stop laughing.

Thanks Simo for the entertainment.

November 12th, 2013, 6:43 pm

 

ALAN said:

SL – ALAN, are you just here to tease us?
hahahahahahaha 🙂
No feasibility of personifying Thread! Russia has always called for and still calls for cultural and diplomatic means to resolve the crisis of any kind!

November 12th, 2013, 6:44 pm

 

Tara said:

Ziad,

Your selective tears when minorities get killed are مثيرة للاشمئزاز

You spent no tears on the 100,000 Syrians killed by your dear leader.

Go and cry alone.

——

Sorry for being blunt. It is an honest sentiment and must be said.

November 12th, 2013, 6:48 pm

 

ALAN said:

US-Israeli computer super-worm hit Russian nuclear plant – Kaspersky
http://rt.com/usa/kaspersky-russia-nuclear-plants-612/
The CEO of one of the world’s foremost computer security firms says the Stuxnet worm that targeted Iranian nuclear facilities may have also infiltrated similar critical systems in Russia.

If accurate, allegations that Stuxnet snuck its way into Russia could implicate the United States and Israel in an even broader act of cyberwar than previously reported.

Since Stuxnet was discovered in 2010, the media has all but confirmed that the US and Israel collaborated on the computer worm to try and cripple machinery inside Iran’s nuclear power plants. Senior White House officials speaking to the New York Times have previously lent credence to that accusation, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed in a Der Spiegel interview earlier this year and the origin of the worm is nowadays hardly contested. Speaking in Australia last week, however, the head of the international IT firm, Kaspersky Lab, raised new questions regarding the actual scope of the secretive program…………………………ЬЪцщфыя.

November 12th, 2013, 6:51 pm

 

ALAN said:

@58
Greek coastguard commandeer cargo vessel, find 20,000 assault rifles

The Sierra Leone-flagged MV Nour M was detained in Greek waters on Friday. The 75-metre cargo is said to be a Lebanese general cargo vessel which left the Ukraine on October 25th. It made a stop in Istanbul on October 30th and remained there until November 3. There is some question as to what the ship did in the period it took to get from the Ukraine to Istanbul. For a ship of that class, it should have taken 30-40 hours to make the voyage. Instead, it took the Nour M 5 days. Once it left Turkey, its stated destination was Libya. Onboard, Greek authorities found 20,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, and “significant quantities” of ammunition and high explosives. The media is speculating that the shipment was on its way to Syria.

So, the question becomes what was the planned destination of the weapons. 20,000 assault rifles along with ammo and explosives would cause a significant amount of chaos no matter where they ended up. In Syria, it could significantly boost the ability of the rebels to launch attacks on government held areas of the country. However, the ship is Lebanese and had left the Ukraine. That would lead one to believe that it would not have gone to the rebels if it had a destination of Syria. Also, it seems unlikely that if it were to go to bolster the rebels who are in turn being supported by Turkey that Greek authorities would have been tipped off to stop the vessel. On the other hand, if it was meant for the Syrian government there are safer and more direct means of transport…….ПЧБ
http://tavernkeepers.com/greek-coastguard-commandeer-cargo-vessel-find-20000-assault-rifles/

November 12th, 2013, 7:17 pm

 

Ghufran said:

A war within a war, Isis versus everybody else:
محافظة اللاذقية – المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان:: اتهمت الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام عناصر كتيبة مقاتلة بقتل أربعة من عناصر الدولة الإسلامية، في بلدة ربيعة بجبل التركمان جميعهم من جنسيات غير سورية،وذلك بعد أن قاموا بإيقافهم على حاجز للكتيبة في بلدة ربيعة، ومن ثم أطلقوا النار عليهم، وكانت مصادر موثوقة قد أكدت للمرصد السوري أمس أن القيادي في الدولة الإسلامية أبو أيمن العراقي قام بقتل 6 مقاتلين من الكتيبة ذاتها، كانوا معتقلين لديه في جبل التركمان عقب سيطرة الدولة الإسلامية على مقر الكتيبة قبل ايام ، ما أدى لاشتباكات بين الطرفين سيطرت على إثرها الدولة الإسلامية على بلدة ربيعة.
Rebel sources said that they will send an envoy to Russia, if this happens people will start making wild guesses and assume that a new chapter in this war will be opened.

November 12th, 2013, 7:56 pm

 

jo6pac said:

Reading through this story my only thought was why in Hell would the Assad govt. take a dime from the western bank world. The imf, world bank, and all those wonderful ngo have only one thought. We couldn’t kill enough Syrian people with hired thugs raining down bullets on the citizens of Syria so let do what we did to Greece enslave it’s citizens to poverty.

Yep proud to be an Amerikan:(

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/organ-trade-thrives-among-desperate-syrian-refugees-in-lebanon-a-933228.html

As if the world isn’t mean enough to refugees.

November 12th, 2013, 8:42 pm

 

zoo said:

Al Qaeda “benefactors” operate openly in Kuwait
Private Donors’ Funds Add Wild Card to War in Syria

A sign outside Kuwait City directing donors to a house used by Sheikh Shafi al-Ajmi to raise funds for Islamist rebels in Syria.

By BEN HUBBARD
Published: November 12, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/world/middleeast/private-donors-funds-add-wild-card-to-war-in-syria.html?_r=0

AL SUBAYHIYAH, Kuwait — The money flows in via bank transfer or is delivered in bags or pockets bulging with cash. Working from his sparely furnished sitting room here, Ghanim al-Mteiri gathers the funds and transports them to Syria for the rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
Mr. Mteiri — one of dozens of Kuwaitis who openly raise money to arm the opposition — has helped turn this tiny, oil-rich Persian Gulf state into a virtual Western Union outlet for Syria’s rebels, with the bulk of the funds he collects going to a Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda.

One Kuwait-based effort raised money to equip 12,000 rebel fighters for $2,500 each. Another campaign, run by a Saudi sheikh based in Syria and close to Al Qaeda, is called “Wage Jihad With Your Money.” Donors earn “silver status” by giving $175 for 50 sniper bullets, or “gold status” by giving twice as much for eight mortar rounds.

“Once upon a time we cooperated with the Americans in Iraq,” said Mr. Mteiri, a former soldier in the Kuwaiti Army, recalling the American role in pushing Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991. “Now we want to get Bashar out of Syria, so why not cooperate with Al Qaeda?”

Outside support for the warring parties in Syria has helped sustain the conflict and transformed it into a proxy battle by regional powers, with Russia, Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah helping the government and with Saudi Arabia and Qatar providing the main support for the rebels.

November 12th, 2013, 9:03 pm

 

zoo said:

Who does the SNC represents in Syria?

Syria: Jaysh Al-Islam rejects Geneva II conference
Leaders of the Jaysh Al-Islam faction say the Geneva II conference does not address the main objectives of the Syrian revolution

http://www.aawsat.net/2013/11/article55322150

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Jaysh Al-Islam (Army of Islam) faction of the Syrian opposition, which includes 60 of the groups fighting against Bashar Al-Assad’s government, has reaffirmed its objection to plans for an international peace conference on the Syrian conflict in Geneva.

The conference, backed by the US, Russia and the UN and dubbed “Geneva II,” was originally planned to take place at the end of the month, but has now been put on hold for an indefinite period. It has also been criticized by several Syrian rebel groups, especially Islamists.

Jaysh Al-Islam’s political coordinator, Mohammed Alloush, told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that “any political solution should be imposed from the field, not from foreign parties,” and that the Geneva II conference was focused enough on the objectives of the armed opposition groups, including “toppling the regime and the trial of its members.”

Jaysh Al-Islam was formed in September under the leadership of Zahran Alloush, the commander of the Islamist Liwa Al-Islam faction based in the countryside around Damascus. The organization originally comprised 43 militia groups, but has since grown to encompass 60.

November 12th, 2013, 9:27 pm

 

ghufran said:

The FSA joint command said that arrangements are being made to send a military delegation to Moscow for “direct negotiations” to end the crisis, expressing its belief that the Geneva Conference will fail, said Fahad Al Masri, a spokesman for the joint command. He told Italian (Aki) that “there is a need to maintain the security and military institutions, restructuring the army to prevent the fall of Syria into a complete chaos.

Masri said “we believe that the so-called Geneva Conference 2 will be a failure by all standards, we also believe that a political solution for the transitional phase and the cessation of violence and the return of the country’s security and stability can only be achieved with the departure of Bashar Al-Assad and 52 other regime figures who gave the orders to kill and destroy and the formation of a Presidential Council by a joint civilian and military figures acceptable to both parties and the Higher Council for defence and security (approved list of candidates) to restructure the military and security institutions on a national basis”

“Bashar Assad does not want a political solution to the crisis, if he wanted it he would not have chosen the security solution at the beginning of the crisis, he now wants the opposition to surrender rather than negotiate with the regime, adding that “the international community is trying to push Syrians towards despair to accept whatever is offered. The military advances by the regime in some areas and blocking arms supply for rebels in other areas come within this standard”

The national coalition and other politicians are not true representatives of the people or the Syrian revolution and its demands.” “These formations established under alliances between the Muslim Brotherhood and the people’s Party (Communists) and others, is mostly a group of drifters, dreamers and amateur politicians.

(That was an edited Bing Translation. The piece has some interesting points but whether Al-Masri has any power over rebels is another matter)

November 12th, 2013, 10:16 pm

 

Sami said:

“Sami the whole idea of Twitter is that people follow and watch what others write…”

Something very essential that you seem too stiff to understand about Twitter, it is made so people can exchange ideas and debate right on it believe it or not (albeit in 140 characters or so). So the next time you see a Tweet on Twitter by Omen, why don’t you engage her(?) there. Who knows she(?) might even reply back.

“I know that is a bit difficult to tolerate for a person like you as a member Saudi Religious Police and a active Al Qaida warrior”

I think I would need to be Saudi to be a member of the Haya’at Al’A’mr Bil Ma’arouf wa Nahi A’An Al-Munkar, and usually many members come from a specific area of Saudi Arabia called Al-Qaseem (although not exclusively), and I would need to live in Saudi.

As for being an active Al-Qaeda Warrior, well you got me. I am known as the resident chef among my jihadi brothers in arms, they call me Osama Bin Cookin. Simo, my Tabouly will make you want to shake shake your booty! Guaranteed to make you shake twice or I chop your head off!

(If you’re wondering I look just like the Swedish Chef but with a beard)

Now if you don’t mind as I am sure these “issues” that are bothering you are of extreme importance to you, they have nothing to do with Syria. Can you please attempt to add to the debate about Syria, and not distract us with your temper tantrums about Twitter?

November 12th, 2013, 11:53 pm

 

zoo said:

U.N. denounces mortar attacks on schools in the Syrian capital

http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-un-syria-mortar-attacks-schools-20131112,0,7114650.story#axzz2kTR4tg7n

BEIRUT — The United Nations on Tuesday denounced as “barbaric” a series of recent mortar attacks on schools in Damascus, Syria’s capital, that have left at least four students dead and dozens others injured.

“These barbaric acts must stop,” Maria Callvis, director for the Middle East and North Africa for the United Nations Children’s Fund, said in a statement. “All those with influence in Syria have a moral obligation to respect the sanctity of children’s lives and ensure that schools remain a place of safe refuge.”

No one has taken responsibility for the attacks, but rebel forces based on the outskirts of Damascus daily fire mortar shells at the capital, which is firmly under government control. Civilians often are killed or injured.

The government blames “terrorists’’ — its term for armed rebels — for the mortar barrages.

It is not clear whether the attackers are aiming at specific targets or firing randomly into neighborhoods deemed to be largely loyal to the government of President Bashar Assad. Attacks Monday killed and injured schoolchildren in two mostly Christian neighborhoods, whose residents are generally regarded as pro-government. The mortar shells and home-made rockets being fired into the capital from rebel-held suburbs are not especially accurate, experts say.

Human rights groups have regularly condemned large-scale government bombardment of civilian districts under rebel control. The daily shelling of Damascus by rebels has not generated comparable levels of international censure. But the rising number of casualties among schoolchildren prompted UNICEF to voice its outrage.

The government said Monday that four children were killed and four were injured when a mortar round struck a school bus in the Bab Sharqi [Eastern Gate] district of central Damascus. The bus driver was also killed, and two school administrators were injured, according to official accounts. The bus was struck in front of the Risala school, the government said.

Also on Monday, mortar rounds struck St. John of Damascus School in the Qassaa district, injuring 11 children, the government said.

They were the latest in a string of mortar attacks that have hit school facilities in Damascus in recent weeks, injuring more than two dozen children, the U.N. noted.

November 13th, 2013, 12:05 am

 

Sami said:

Ghufran,

@ 71

Interesting proposal. and it is really harsh on the SNC (deservedly so). While the SNC has some great members within its ranks they are outnumbered and outmatched by those with their only political aspiration is the advancement of their own pockets, and getting facetime at so and so Satellite Station.

Getting the Russians to agree is something important and worth every effort. Get them to see that preserving the State over the regime is more important, and the more they preserve the regime the more Syria disintegrates.

Can you link the article if you don’t mind? Or is that the entire article?

November 13th, 2013, 12:09 am

 

zoo said:

While the SNC eternally debates with the FSA about uniting, the Syrian army is getting hold of rebels areas and may make Geneva 2 a simple formality to declare that the only future the opposition has got is to become opposition parties within a Baath dominated government.

Denoument in Aleppo – Serious attack on rebels in Syria’s largest city
By Michael Collins, on November 12th, 2013
– See more at: http://agonist.org/denoument-aleppo-serious-attack-rebels-syrias-largest-city/#sthash.CY6fTKkQ.dpuf

The recent gains by the Syrian Arab Army near Aleppo positioned the government for a major attack. It appears the attack has commenced. Syrian troops, Hezbollah fighters, and Iranian Revolutionary Guard are openly discussed as part of the battle. It is worth watching U.S. reaction to the presence of foreign troops on the Syrian side. If it’s muted and there’s no threat of a Western intervention, we can reasonably assume that the defeat of the jihadist dominated rebels is sanctioned by higher authorities, namely the United States and Russia. If Aleppo comes under government control, there is little left for the rebels to do other than counterattack. If they do so and fail, it should be all over except the rebuilding of the war torn country, care for the injured, and the mourning. – See more at: http://agonist.org/denoument-aleppo-serious-attack-rebels-syrias-largest-city/#sthash.CY6fTKkQ.dpuf

November 13th, 2013, 12:14 am

 

zoo said:

Ghufran

It took 2 years for the FSA to realize that the keys to Syria are Russia and Iran.
Now that they have lost all their illusions about France, UK and the USA, and that they see the SNC using KSA to promote a ‘legitimacy’ they never had, the FSA has no choice than turn to Russia that the SNC has snubbed several times.
Yet if they have the illusion that Russia will dump Bashar Al Assad just because they ask for it, they are going to face another shock.
If ever Bashar Al Assad leaves, it will be from his own will at the time of 2014 elections and only at the condition to find a person who can lead the country.
The FSA must finally deal with that reality.

November 13th, 2013, 12:24 am

 

Juergen said:

Black Market in Lebanon: Syrian Refugees Selling Organs to Survive

In the shadow of the Syrian civil war, a growing number of refugees are surviving in Lebanon by illegally selling their own organs. But the exchange comes at a huge cost.

“Lebanon has a tradition of illegal organ trading. The country has immensely rich people and a huge number of people living in poverty. And organ traffickers don’t need to worry about government controls. Those are exactly the ideal conditions for organ trafficking, said Luc Noel, transplant expert at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Every year, tens of thousands of rich Arabs from around the region come to Beirut for treatment in the country’s excellent hospitals. The authorities don’t pay attention whether a patient flies home with a new nose — or with a new kidney.”

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/organ-trade-thrives-among-desperate-syrian-refugees-in-lebanon-a-933228.html

November 13th, 2013, 12:31 am

 

Sami said:

The Russians might hold the key but the Iranians definitely do not. Iran and its agents are part of the problem and will never be part of the solution.

Only those parroting Iranian Propoganda and supporting thugs would find Iran a solution.

November 13th, 2013, 10:08 am

 

ziad said:

Syrian opposition leaders met Tuesday with Israeli Deputy Jacob Murjy in Turkey to coordinate positions.

قيادات من المعارضة السورية اجتمعت اليوم مع النائب الاسرائيلي يعقوب مرجي في تركيا لتنسيق المواقف.

كثيرون غرفوا بالخبر، وتيقنوا منه حينما اعلنته الإذاعة الإسرائيلية قبل دقائق… وأضافت بأن قيادات المعارضة السورية نقلت له امتنان السوريين لاسرائيل لاحتضانها اجرحى الثورة..
لكن كم منا يعرف يعقوب مرجي؟ كم منا يعرف تعصبه المقيت ضد العرب والمسلمين؟ كم منا يعرف توليه حقيبة وزارة الأديان في الحكومة الصهيونية؟ كم منا يعرف أنه نائب في الكنيسيت عن حزب شاس الذي لم يشتهر له شعار اكثر من شعار زعيمه ومرشده الروحي الحاخام عوفتديا يوسف الذي قال فيه: اقتلوا العرب كما تقتلوا الصراصير؟
المصيبة الكبرى ان بيننا من السوريين ومن العرب من يتحدث بلا خجل عن ذلك العار المسمى بالثورة السورية.

عمرو ناصف

http://www.alhadathnews.net/archives/104159

November 13th, 2013, 10:39 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

52. Tara said:

Simo,

Stop stoking and harassing Omen. Israeli or not, he is worth more than a million shabeehs ( minus one) in my opinion.. You’re crossing your limit. You need to stop.

Tara I make a couple of comments in a week, at the most. Omen has written here hundreds if not thousands of comments during the civil war time. Also you Tara are very active. I have writing comments to SC for years before you and Omen crawled up.

You and Omen are all the time criticizing others for their opinions if their opinions differ from yours, often in a very personal level and style. Why can we others not criticize Tara and Omen? Two sets of rules or what?


62. Tara said:

Simo follows Omen on Twitter. Simo is hard at work analyzing every word Omen utters. Simo reads about popcorn omen mentioned at 3AM and concludes based on the popcorn evidence and the timing that Omen is beyond reasonable doubt an ….Israeli Mossad.

I have not hinted now Omen being a Mossad operator. Actually now when I have seen what Omen produces, it is clear that Omen is too – well less talented – to be a such. Mossad certainly has some minimum demands. It was Omen herself who proudly mentioned Mossad in her comment, I mentioned only Tel Aviv which is not equal to Mossad. But the clock times when Omen is active are more “fitting” to Tel Aviv’s timezone than to the Californian timezone, meaning, that if Omen is a average granny who writes on daytime and sleeps when people normally sleep.

The point why I did rise the Omen popcorn comment was the TIME not popcorn. Eating popcorn is not in itself hilarious. But beginning to want and make popcorn at three o’clock in the night and telling it to the whole world is hilarious. The reason why I stumbled to Omen’s popcorn message was simply that it was then at that time her latest tweet and so on the top of the list. I did not search it.

You or anybody else are free to check the timestamps of Omen’s messages. Both SC’s comments and Twitter’s messages have a marked time (GMT+5). It is easy to “estimate” is a person who claims to be American really that. What is the likelihood, that a normal American writes massive amounts of tweets and blog comments through all the night and is still active during daytime? Is it more likely for a granny, to make popcorn during the day in afternoon or at 3 o’clock in the night? From there comes the ironic Tel Aviv “speculation”.

Reading and commenting Omen’s and Tara’s comments here and in Twitter is in no way harassing or stalking. Internet’s blogs and Twitter are not personal protected communication. If you both see commenting your behaviour and comments as stalking as such so please stop writing. If somebody in earnest believes, that I use more than one minute of my time reading Omen’s twitter and SC feed he/she must be nuts. Anybody is free to test, go to Twitter and choose @omen_99. I guaranty, that 15 minutes is the maximum. Also Tara your extreme Sunni comments with rather rare seen direct hate messages against Shia and Iran are a bit disturbing reading for all of us in the West. But you have the right to free speech, even you are not allowed to drive in your beloved divine kingdom.

November 13th, 2013, 3:40 pm

 

Tara said:

Simo,

Speculating that Omen is Israeli based on timing of eating popcorn in order to discredit his massage on the comment section is not only funny but bankrupt and personal. It adds no value. Value comes when you challenge the massage not when you speculate about the massager identity.

And why would him bring Israeli discredit him on SC? The humanity and knowledge he adds to the SC is indispensable.

Please do not teach me about hate when you yourself full of hatred. Trying to discredit omen by assuming he is Israeli is a hate massage. Don’t you think?

November 13th, 2013, 4:42 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sim –

Here’s your chance to help an arab in need (since you haven’t done anything else).

Please help “Yitzchak Rabin” join the IDF.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/173867

BTW – Tara is one of our most respected commentators here. She doesn’t “crawl”.

November 13th, 2013, 4:54 pm

 

Tara said:

Ah…

Message not massage.

Sorry. I often post waiting for red light to turn green.

And thanks AP.

November 13th, 2013, 7:20 pm

 

Sami said:

Tara,

Message vs Massage

November 13th, 2013, 9:41 pm