Sanctions Stop Food Getting to Syria but Not Arms

The United States is reportedly developing a plan to vet members of the Free Syrian Army before Arab nations transfer arms to them. It hopes to avoid arming muhahideen who turn against America should they succeed in bringing down the Assad regime. The US does not want another al-Qaida on its hands. The race to arm Syria is heating up as Saudi arms shipments are said to be getting through now. Russia reportedly also has an arms shipment en route to Syria.  The UN is asking both sides not to send arms to Syria, but in vain. A new U.N. report blamed both sides for human rights violations, but explains that the Syrian army is killing many more people than the opposition. This also includes arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearance and summary execution of activists, opponents and defectors.”To underline this, Syrian activists said government troops killed at least 50 people in the town of Houla in Homs province on Friday.

As Syrians begin to suffer from the lack of food, oil and gas products, they are questioning the wisdom of sanctions, which are a blunt weapon imposed to bring about regime-change and not improve human rights or relieve suffering. A new book on the Iraq sanctions demonstrates how destructive they were to the most vulnerable Iraqis. L.C. Brown, my adviser at Princeton, writes in Foreign Affairs that most studies estimate that “at least 500,000 children under age five who died during the sanctions period would not have died under the Iraqi regime prior to sanctions.” Joy Gordon, the author of the new book, also punctures holes in the argument that the Iraqi suffering was due to the abusive manipulation of the sanctions by the Saddam Hussein regime.This is not to mention that they decrease the likelihood of Syria making a democratic transition in the future.

Haaretz writes that Israeli intelligence believes that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, and several other senior officials were indeed poisoned, just as the Free Syrian Army claims. But prompt medical treatment saved their lives. “There was an attempt to poison Shawkat and the other senior officials, but it failed, and all those who were at the meeting are still alive,” an Israeli official said.

What one fears is political money – an interview with Samir Aita – Read the whole interview – Very good

The regime cannot survive. But what is to be kept in society?

BI: Can you speak some about the impact of international sanctions in Syria? Whom are they affecting?

Aita: They are affecting–in two major ways–the population more than the regime. ….

BI: What is your vision of the exit in Syria and are you optimistic about the opposition?

Aita: These days are very bad days for the opposition. They are very bad days for the Syrian National Council. It became a hope for the uprising for the people inside, but it failed to build democratic rules inside itself.

A few guys controlled the Syrian National Council completely from the beginning. There are [other] oppositions that are weaker. They have been hit first by campaigns of denigration by al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, the Gulf media that supported the SNC, but also they failed on their own [to answer the needs of Syrians].

The opposition is somehow discredited–all of it. The situation is becoming not talking politics but talking weapons; the outcome of this will be determined by the weapons. No one knows who controls the armed opposition and what it wants, except overthrowing the regime. But the question is not only [one of] overthrowing the regime, it is what other regime should be built.

BI: You sound very pessimistic.

Aita: Some other path has to be found, built on international experience with conflict resolution, to get out of this messy thing. The US should be involved, but peacefully not militarily. My information is that the US will not intervene but is encouraging the flow of weapons into Syria. If Syria enters civil war, the image of the US will be [very] bad, like after Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. It brought war, not peace, stability and democracy.-Published 24/5/2012 ©

Samir Aita is a writer, editor in chief of Le Monde Diplomatique Arabic Edition and president of Cercle des Economistes Arabes.

Jihad Yazigi in Bitter Lemons

a reduction in agricultural input subsidies accompanied by a severe drought forced tens of thousands of farmers from their lands and reduced the contribution of agriculture from around 25 percent of GDP to 19 percent in less than a decade.

In addition, in order to respond to its dwindling revenues, the government drastically reduced its investment and spending and applied what in practice was a copy of the structural adjustment programs imposed by the International Monetary Fund on emerging countries. This contraction of the government’s role in the economy was most obvious in rural areas, where the core constituency of the Baath party resided.

In the midst of all these difficulties and state divestment, there was one positive consequence: the government managed to accumulate billions of dollars in foreign currency reserves and save them for future generations, thanks to its short oil boom that lasted most of the 1990s.

This is exactly what Syria is set to lose through the international sanctions imposed on its crude exports. The loss of billions of dollars incurred by the government in the last few months because of the sanctions will render the reconstruction of the country and future investment requirements more difficult to fund.

The issues highlighted above point to the tremendous economic problems faced by Syria’s society. There must, indeed, be no illusions. A happy end to the current protest movement, including the establishment of a democratic political system, will not mean an end to Syria’s economic woes. Syrians must recognize the challenges ahead and adopt a new economic strategy that puts economic development and employment at its center.

-Published 24/5/2012 © – Jihad Yazigi is the editor of the Syria Report.

Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions
Joy Gordon

“The devastation of much of Iraqi society between 1990 and 2003 through [UN economic] sanctions … is a story that has been buried for the most part under layer on layer of diplomatic technicalities, obfuscation and sheer indifference … Her book deserves to be read and discussed widely.” —Eric Herring, Times Higher Education – In a powerful, original book, Gordon offers the most sophisticated and comprehensive analysis of the origins, administration, and impact of the Iraq sanctions regime. This is a damning account of how international administration was used by the U.S. and the UK for policy ends. Despite the rhetoric of humanitarianism, the sanctions were, in Gordon’s term, a humanitarian catastrophe.

This profoundly troubling story about U.S. foreign policy under three administrations reveals the shameful manner in which the United States relentlessly subverted the UN sanctions regime for Iraq, twisting it toward a purpose not approved by the Security Council. It is time Americans knew of the cruelty inflicted on Iraqis in our name behind closed doors at the UN in one of the morally most disastrous foreign policy decisions in American history. Gordon has documented it, calmly, courageously, meticulously, and convincingly.
–Henry Shue, University of Oxford, author of Basic Rights

She reports, most studies estimate that “at least 500,000 children under age five who died during the sanctions period would not have died under the Iraqi regime prior to sanctions.” She also punctures holes in the argument that the Iraqi suffering was due to the abusive manipulation of the sanctions by the Saddam Hussein regime. –L. Carl Brown (Foreign Affairs )

Provocative and sure to stir debate, this book lays bare the damage that can be done by unchecked power in our institutions of international governance.

Foreign Policy

As the United Nations’ observer mission has neared its full deployment of 300 monitors, international envoy Kofi Annan is preparing to travel to Syria to meet with the government to discuss the failing peace plan. The mission’s mandate is for 90 days and is set to expire in July. However, demonstrations and extensive violence continue throughout the country. Protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, and Deir el-Zour. According to the activist Local Coordination Committees, about 40 civilians were killed across Syria Thursday, and eight more on Friday. Prominent opposition member, Brigadier General Aqil Hashem, spoke to Britain’s House of Commons Thursday, appealing for an international intervention, in the form of targeted air strikes, to halt the fighting in Syria. His comments, however, highlighted the increasing divisions within the opposition. Meanwhile, Syria’s diplomatic mission in New York has been prevented from opening a bank account, and has complained that the United States, as the host country of the United Nations, is adopting “discriminatory” practices.

Russian arms shipment en route to Syria: report
By Louis Charbonneau | Fri May 25, 2012

Reuters) – A Russian cargo ship loaded with weapons is en route to Syria and due to arrive at a Syrian port this weekend, Al Arabiya television said in a report that Western diplomats in New York described on Friday as credible.

Syria is one of Russia’s top weapons customers. The United States and European Union have suggested the U.N. Security Council should impose an arms embargo and other U.N. sanctions on Syria for its 14-month assault on a pro-democracy opposition determined to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But Russia, with the support of fellow veto power China, has prevented the council from imposing any U.N. sanctions on Syria and has refused to halt arms sales to Damascus….. Western diplomats and officials said the report was credible.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had seen reports of countries supplying arms to the government and rebels. He urged states not to arm either side in the Syrian conflict.

“Those who may contemplate supporting any side with weapons, military training or other military assistance, must reconsider such options to enable a sustained cessation of violence,” he said.

Russia has defended its weapons deliveries to Syria in the face of Western criticism, saying government forces need to defend themselves against rebels receiving arms from abroad. [ID:nL5E8GEE2G] Damascus says Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Libya are among the countries helping the rebels…..

Israel steps up security ties with China
Associated Press, by Josef Federman – May 25, 2012

JERUSALEM — After a prolonged chill, security ties between Israel and China are warming up. With Israel offering much-needed technical expertise and China representing a huge new market and influential voice in the international debate over Iran’s nuclear program, the two nations have stepped up military cooperation as they patch up a rift caused by a pair of failed arms deals scuttled by the U.S...

(Reuters) – Syria is struggling to meet its grain import needs because of sanctions, raising the risk of bread shortages.
By Jonathan Saul and Michael Hogan. Fri May 25, 2012

Trade sources said a reluctance among foreign banks, shipowners and grain traders to sell to import-dependent Syria – even though food is not itself subject to sanctions – has forced Damascus into an array of unusually small deals, many arranged by shadowy middlemen around the Middle East and Asia.

“The main producer regions are very much at the centre of the civil war and although it is difficult to evaluate the impact this will have on the harvest, a significant disruption seems certain,” the firm said in its latest report last week.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, a benchmark for global grains traders, estimated last year’s wheat harvest at 3.85 million tonnes and barley at 700,000 tonnes. It estimates total annual grains consumption in Syria at 6.9 million tonnes.

U.N. officials have estimated at least a million Syrians need help with food and other essentials but have failed to agree a supply deal because the Syrian government wants to have control of the distribution of the aid.

“Food security of vulnerable populations in Syria is currently fragile,” said World Food Programme spokeswoman Abeer Etefa. “Overall poverty levels are also increasing and access to basic supplies and services is deteriorating.”….

“The middle men are driving this trade and can make serious money. Syria is making cash payments in euros or dollars through foreign exchange bureaux in places like Lebanon and the middle men will make the transactions from their accounts,” one trade source said. “They need to conceal deals.”

Private entrepreneurs, many previously unknown to major traders and based in Lebanon, Turkey, India and elsewhere, have been appearing to make purchases on the international market.

One Middle Eastern grain trader said the unusually small vessels arriving at Syrian ports with shipments of grain a fraction the size of a normally commercially viable shipment was an indication that Syria was losing the trust of major operators.

“Syria is in big trouble and can no longer call the shots on terms and conditions,” the trader said. “So they will try and take whatever they can even on tiny vessels.”

Port and ship tracking data, indicated three ships this week docked at Tartous carrying respectively from Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt: 27,000 tonnes of wheat; 8,000 tonnes of soybean; and a cargo of animal feed of 2,000 tonnes. Typical commercial grains cargoes are around 60,000 tonnes apiece.

Further up the Mediterranean coast at Latakia, Syria’s main general cargo port, just a single vessel, carrying less than 10,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat from the Black Sea port of Mikolaiv, or Nikolayev, made a delivery in the past two days.


In better times, Syria has been a net exporter of grain. But intensive, state-sponsored production drives since the 1990s have drained the water table in areas like the Hauran plain, where the uprising began last year in the southern city Deraa among a population hit hard by drought and crop blight.

On Friday, an Agriculture Ministry official gave estimated harvest figures for this year that were a quarter lower than targets cited by the state news agency SANA. A production forecast of 3.7 million tonnes of wheat and 843,000 tonnes of barley compared to targets of 4.6 and 1.6 million respectively.

Independent analysts suggest state statistics may be optimistic. Influential French forecaster Strategie Grains said it had slashed its harvest estimate for Syria’s 2012 crop for soft and durum wheat by 900,000 tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes. That compared with a harvest of 3.3 million tonnes in 2011.

Divided Syrian Opposition to Choose New Leader
By: Khaled Yacoub Oweis | Reuters

The main Syrian National Council opposition group said it had accepted the resignation of its president, setting the stage for a showdown between the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and its political rivals over who will be the new leader.

Top Assad intelligence official said killed
march 27th:

Opposition sources said Col. Iyad Mando was killed in an ambush by Sunni rebels on March 26 near Damascus International Airport. They said Mando, identified as commander of a key unit in Air Force Intelligence, was shot to death after a rebel search that lasted several months […]
Reports of Mando’s death were published on several opposition web sites. The Assad regime did not confirm the reports.

Love in the Time of Syrian Revolution
Justin Vela – Thursday, May 24, 2012 – The Atlantic

A story of two young students, torn apart by one of the world’s most brutal regimes and reunited by the uprising against it

When Farah said goodnight to her boyfriend one evening in January 2007, she had every reason to expect to see him the next day. Though she’d only been dating Omar for a month, the two students at Syria’s Damascus University already shared a special connection. Their first date had been over coffee. Soon, they were wearing matching clothes. “See you tomorrow,” they told each other that evening. But that “tomorrow” would not come for five turbulent years…..He was angry, he told me. He had been tortured, his family virtually deserted him, and classmates informed on him. He wanted to “hurt” the regime. Compiling the reports were one of the few ways he could use its crimes against it.

“That’s the maximum that we could do,” Omar said of the reports. “There was no revolution. You were alone.”

When Omar met Farah, she, like most Syrians, was working neither for nor against the regime. He cared for her, but knew that bringing her into his activist world would put her unfairly at risk. So, when he disappeared, she had no way to know what had happened. “She was upset because she thought I had left her with no words,” Omar said. ….

Farah knew nothing of Omar’s life as an activist, his time in prison, or his struggle to find meaning until, four years after their last conversation, she flipped on the London-based Syrian satellite news station Barada TV and saw an interviewer discussing Syria’s burgeoning revolution with her one-time boyfriend. “It was a shock to see him on TV,” Farah said. “I was happy to know that he is a real activist and I said to everyone that he is my boyfriend, although me and my friends called him a bastard before and it was illegal to mention his name in front of me. But his attitude towards the revolution made me forgive him.”….

When Farah called him the next day, Omar did not answer. She looked for him in the dormitory and asked his friends, but no one would tell her where he was. She began to suspect that Omar, who was several years older and claimed to occasionally “travel,” had been playing games with their relationship. “I was angry, hated him a lot, and did not forgive him,” she recalled.

What she only learned later was that, in the early hours of the morning, eight Kalashnikov-wielding mukhabarat state police had arrested Omar in an Internet café where he had been chatting on MSN with a Syrian opposition member outside the country and e-mailing reports on detained students to international human rights organizations and Western embassies. At the time, Farah didn’t know he was involved in opposition activities, which had gotten him arrested before. Omar had so internalized his awareness of the regime’s reach that he’d kept this part of his life even from her.

“He never told me that he had been arrested, but I noticed that he had ideas [that were] anti-regime from his speech,” Farah told me after we first met in Istanbul this past February. “But in general he was a cold man that did not express everything to me.” His demeanor could be so cool, she said, that she and her friends would teasingly call him “Iceman.”

Omar was released from the feared Sednaya prison in 2008, having completed most of his three-year sentence. He looked for Farah, but she no longer lived in the university dorms, and he’d kept touch with few mutual friends who might be able to help. His time was also short. State security forces had kept his identity documents, which would only be returned when he reported for compulsory military service. But Omar had resolved to never join in service of the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad. He needed to go underground and assume a new identity, and quickly, even if that meant leaving Farah behind.

Syrian Crisis Spreads to Lebanon, Carnegie

Paul Salem argues that the international community needs to recognize the danger of using Lebanon as a proxy battle for another Arab country.

Uneasy New Players in a Precarious Lebanon
by Rudy Sassine

Recent events in Lebanon have reinforced a widespread belief that civil war is imminent. As the uprising in Syria has spilled over to the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, with clashes erupting between Alawites and Sunnis, and a number of Salafist factions turning increasingly belligerent after the arrest of one of their militant members by general security agents, some have begun to wonder how long Beirut will remain immune to the kind of sectarian conflagrations that will pit Sunnis against Shiites and plunge much of the country into mayhem.

There is no doubt that the answer lies in a number of interrelated domestic and regional factors. Key factors determining the course of events in Lebanon are Hizballah’s alignments with the Assad regime’s interests in addition to its domestic electoral calculations in anticipation of Lebanon’s 2013 parliamentary elections….

Charles Glass in the National
May 23, 2012

The rebellion against tyranny is turning into a sectarian and class war that could destroy Syria for a generation and drive out those with the talent, education or money to thrive elsewhere. Neither side speaks of conciliation. The end game for both requires the destruction of the other. Foreign backers appear to encourage confrontation, when they should seek agreement to save Syria from the fate of its neighbours Lebanon and Iraq.

Colonial threads combine to strangle a sectarian Syria
The National 23/5/12

Twenty-five years ago, I travelled by land through what geographers called Greater Syria to write a book. I began in Alexandretta, the seaside northern province that France ceded to Turkey in 1939, on my way south through modern Syria to Lebanon. From there, my intended route went through Israel and Jordan. My destination was Aqaba, the first Turkish citadel of Greater Syria to surrender to the Arab revolt and Lawrence of Arabia in 1917. For various reasons, my journey was curtailed in Beirut in June 1987. (I returned to complete the trip and a second book in 2002.)

Beyond Bashar, Syria’s Rebels Are Facing Far More Significant Resistance
By: Charles Rizk | The Daily Star

the Iranian leadership still unreservedly supports its Syrian counterparts again the domestic uprising. On July 15, 2011, Iran and Syria signed a $10 billion gas agreement. And soon thereafter, in August, Tehran allocated $23 million for the development of the Syrian base in Latakia. Fighters from the Iranian Al-Quds militia have also taken part in the repression, alongside a Syrian force generously supplied with Iranian weapons.

Today, it is this powerful Iranian-Syrian bloc, with its Iraqi extension, that is covering Bashar Assad’s back and confronting the Syrian rebels. That explains the regime’s capacity for endurance and its indifference to international pressure. This indifference is all the more pronounced in that it is sustained by the backing of Russia, which has been able to reconstitute itself and stage a strong comeback in the Middle East by taking advantage of events in Syria….

For Russia, the restoration of the state and the domestic economy is a precursor to restoring its influence worldwide. This determination, coinciding with the revolt in Syria, gave Putin the opportunity to display his country’s new diplomatic assertiveness. Russian intransigence over Syria could be explained by the fact that the relationship with Damascus is all that remains from the Soviet era, which were built on three pillars: Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

…. In 2010, Moscow signed an arms contract with Damascus worth $700 million. This was followed by the delivery of Yak-130 aircraft worth $550 million.

The inflexible Russian position on Syria in recent months has also reflected a general sense of unease towards the United States, notably since NATO began installing an anti-missile shield stretching from Poland to Romania, at Russia’s doorstep.

… If Western objections to the indefensible character of the Assad regime carry little weight in Moscow, it is because they are taken out of context. Russia is not worried about Assad; it is largely indifferent to his personal fate and to the nature of his regime. What counts most for Moscow is to impose a multilateralism that turns to its advantage, on the ruins of America’s global hegemony.

The main factor driving the convergence of views on Syria between Russia and China at the Security Council is China’s mainly economic interest in Iran, the third main source of oil for China. This situation assumes even greater importance in that international sanctions on the export of Iranian oil have made the Chinese market indispensable for the Iranians. If China decides not to go along with these sanctions, its share of Iranian trade will grow and Beijing will benefit from highly advantageous prices. Iran’s objective, as announced by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September 2010, is to raise the level of this trade to $100 billion by 2015.

China, Russia and Iran support for Bashar Assad makes a Western military intervention in Syria impossible, given the likely catastrophic repercussions for all concerned. In the eyes of this coalition, Assad is a tool and pretext. He is the façade against which the courage of the insurgents will continue to collide as long as Russia and its allies on the one side, and the United States and its allies on the other, fail to dispassionately settle their differences, therefore reach agreement over their contending interests, through negotiations.

Is there really a Saudi – Turkish divide?
25/05/2012, By Adel Al Toraifi. As-Sharq al-Awsat

….What about the Syrian crisis? Anybody observing the Saudi-Turkish talks must realize that they are in perfect harmony regarding the necessity of ousting Bashar al-Assad. One side may be issuing stronger statements than the other, but practically speaking, there is no difference between their view and handling of the crisis. As for the claims that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are making different demands of Syria, this discourse is lacking in evidence. Of course, there are differences, but we have not seen Saudi Arabia or Turkey backing one opposition party over another. Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood constitutes an overwhelming majority of the Syrian opposition abroad, however this is in accordance with the fact that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is the largest established political party for Syrians abroad, therefore it is not wise to disregard it when considering the forthcoming period.

Developing Saudi – Turkish relations is important, because there is more that unites these two countries than divides them. However, like bilateral relations between any countries, the language of interests is the natural gauge regarding rapprochement. Of course, there are natural differences between the two countries, but to describe them as “frenemies” is an over-exaggeration.

NetApp Investigated by U.S. on Syria Surveillance System Sale
2012-05-25,   By Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver

May 25 (Bloomberg) — U.S. regulators are investigating how a multi-million-dollar storage system from NetApp Inc. came to underpin a sweeping Internet-surveillance system being built last year for the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad….

NetApp Investigated by U.S. on Syria Surveillance System Sale
2012-05-25 13:23:37.883 GMT

By Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver
May 25 (Bloomberg) — U.S. regulators are investigating how
a multi-million-dollar storage system from NetApp Inc. came to
underpin a sweeping Internet-surveillance system being built
last year for the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Comments (333)

Ghufran said:

I repeatedly,with others agreeing and some disagreeing,stated my personal opposition to universal sanctions, I and few others,sent letters in that regard to US Congress,the trouble is that those sanctions are sexy and they give their advocates a false sense of relief because they show that “we are doing something to hurt the regime”.
Give me any reason to believe that those sanctions do anything except making Syrians poorer and hungrier and I will stop writing against those sanctions and criticizing those who support them. Western governments went too far when they moved from targetting officials to targetting random Syrian companies and every thing that moves.Frankly speaking,those sanctions strengthen the view that the west never cared about the little guy,those western politicians are only in the business of self gratification, it is an obscene case of political masturbation when dictators on one side are considered bedfellows,and others are vilified ,and those citizens who happen to live in the same countries of those ‘bad” dictators are out of luck,electricity and natural gas !!

May 26th, 2012, 12:52 am


ann said:

“Established groups” may have been behind recent bombings in Syria: UN chief – 2012-05-26

UNITED NATIONS, May 25 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday said that “established terrorist groups” may have been behind the recent bombings in Syria, where “the overall situation remains extremely serious.”

The secretary-general made the statement in his 12-page letter to the president of the UN Security Council, Agshin Mehdiyev, Azerbaijan’s permanent representative to the UN who holds the rotating council presidency for May. The UN Spokesperson’s Office announced on Friday that the letter, which reported the latest situation in Syria, was distributed to all the 15 council members.

“There has been an increase in the number of bombings, most notably in Damascus, Hama, Aleppo, Idlib and Deir-Ez-Zor,” Ban said in the letter obtained by Xinhua. “The sophistication and size of the bombs point to a high level of expertise which may indicate the involvement of established terrorist groups.”

“The (Syrian) Government asserts that such groups are active in the country, as do some opposition groups. The al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for at least six of the recent bombings.”

The recent attacks included the May 10 twin bombings in Damascus, when two vehicle-borne Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs) estimated to weigh over 1,000 kilograms each were detonated in proximity to government security installations.


May 26th, 2012, 1:14 am


Adam said:

To add to Ghufran’s point, are we to follow Landis’s reasoning that Ghalioun deserves an immense amount credit for doing the “heavy lifting” of convincing western governments to impose sanctions, which we’ve known for decades, is actually, when taking everything into consideration, is more harmful than helpful? I know that was a run-on sentence, but I didn’t want to avoid bringing the two ideas together.

This was a topic of discussion during the period when the West was imposing similar sanctions on Iraq, and the general consensus was that they were working. “Working” meant that they were causes serious harm to the country’s economy as well as the social fabric. Of course this was considered success because the goal was to bring down Saddam. Of course we’re (well, at least some of us are….neo-con war hawks not included) now looking at Iraq in hindsight, and questioning the wisdom of destroying all of the country’s institutions in the name of toppling the regime.

To me this seems to say that Ghalioun deserves praise for producing sanctions that are in actuality bad for the future of Syrian society. Sounds to me like he deserves criticism for in fact being short sighted. Giving credit for taking the easy road of getting western politicians to do what they do best (that’s not a compliment!) instead the more difficult challenge of bringing the different visions within Syria together seems misguided.

Maybe I’m missing something

May 26th, 2012, 2:59 am


Adam said:

Let me add that western politicians aren’t actually unique, and the vast majority of the rest of the world would be happy to do the same if they either had the resources (GCC, etc..) or were looking at this from a different perspective (Russia, China, etc…). Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t “picking on” western politicians, and spreading the blame to rest of them, that deserve the same criticism. I despise almost all of them equally. Just so you know.

May 26th, 2012, 3:22 am


Uzair8 said:

The children! The children!

Are our innocent and defenceless children not worth defending? Will anyone come to their aid and respond to their cries and screams? Have people no shame? Silent ‘majority’ will you break your silence? If our children are being exterminated then what benefit in preserving our own lives?

Rabbit of Golan, it’s over. You’ve crossed the redline of redlines. People from across the region if not the world will drop their work tools and head for Syria just as during the Spanish civil war.

I’m reminded of the Manic Street Preachers song about the spanish civil war.

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

So if I can shoot rabbits
Then I can shoot fascists

Gravity keeps my head down
Or is it maybe shame


May 26th, 2012, 5:05 am


Mina said:

Very strong post, thank you.
Let’s remind us that Maleh and Rifaat al Asad have been talking weapons all along.

By empovering the Syrians even more, some will be happy to see anyone with a brain or a craft comes to the neighbouring countries and work for a cheap salary without ever asking for political and social rights.

Some want the MB to win in Egypt, even in the West: of course, this will provide an excuse to the Swiss not to send back the money stolen by Mubarak on the ground that “their programme does not fit with the UN rights charter”…!

May 26th, 2012, 6:01 am


Uzair8 said:

As Damascus and Aleppo stir, this vile crime is a desperate attempt to send a message to those thinking of joining the revolution and opposing Assad. They understand clearly this is a warning that their children will be exterminated if they oppose Assad.

At the same time Assad will deny responsibility and condemn this blaming it on armed gangs. Unfortunately this will be enough to keep the ‘silent’ majority onside.

May 26th, 2012, 6:05 am


Uzair8 said:

It’s not the first time Assad has decided the name for Friday demonstrations.

We all know what next friday’s demos will be called.

May 26th, 2012, 6:09 am


Halabi said:

Not one word of outrage or condemnation about the Houla massacre from the regime or its supporters, even though the slaughter is equal to the bombings in Damascus and Aleppo. Where is the state funeral? In Assad’s Syria we are only allowed to mourn the victims of alleged Al Qaeda bombings.

Karm Al Zeitoun was initially denied (Shabi7a media said it was in Libya) and then they blamed the armed gangs. This will probably happen in Houla as well, or it will just be ignored.

As for those who are still silent, the truth is that the opposite of love is silence. The “silent majority” – a euphemism for apathetic humans who have witnessed pogroms throughout history and continued their lives as if nothing happened – isn’t virtuous and shouldn’t be respected. Those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict deserve to suffer their worst nightmares.

May 26th, 2012, 6:46 am


Antoine said:

Well said, Halabi.

I think the name of next Friday should be ” Friday of silent Damascenes killing our children”.

May 26th, 2012, 6:57 am


Antoine said:


Does SNP have a plan to convince this man to defect and joun the revolution ? Why is this man and thousands others like him still not joining the revolution ? What is SNP analysis of this ? How can they be brought into the revolution ?

May 26th, 2012, 8:05 am


Juergen said:

Khaled Khalifa, syrian writer was imprisoned yesterday. No news about his whereabouts until now.

May 26th, 2012, 9:09 am


Observer said:

My reading of the events and my thoughts on today’s post:

1/ The massacre can be explained by the following

a) Someone prominent died and as is the usual modus operandi of the regime, they exact massive revenge just as thousands were killed in the prisons when an attempt on the life of the father happened once.

b) There is cracks in the Alawi community and this will create such fury among the people that they may very well take revenge on an Alawi village or more simply the Alawi will understand that these atrocities will force the sect to side with the regime as they will be identified as supporters of this regime

c) There are uncontrolled elements of the regime troops which may be due to a breakdown of command and control or the crisis management group is truly disabled.

d) A sign that the regime will take the country down with it on the eve of the Annan Visit.

Now why would Russia send weapons to Syria and what kind of weapons?

If ammunition then the regime is running out of it. If it is new weapons then there may be an intervention in the offing. I believe it is a signal to the US that Russia is willing to go further to counter the arms smuggling to the rebellion.
This means that the Russians are now fearful of a Kosovo, without the use of airpower and NATO air campaign but an on the ground campaign with more weapons to the rebellion.

As for sanctions; they are clearly biting but the question is whether the elite is feeling it or not. The regime has been masterful in using front companies and forged documents, For example, several regime figures have real estate in Vienna; and the late Sunny Corleone was married post humous to reduce Austrian taxation on his fortune there. Some have made sure that their children are born in the US. The leaked e mails clearly show that Fredo has used proxies to access luxury goods and to continue his life style. J’amuse Jaffaari has complained that no bank would honor doing business with the Syrian mission; he blames the US for it but my take on it is that the US must have found some mischief and therefore shut down the J’amuse accounts.

Finally would the sanctions hurt the repressive regime apparatus? The regime has no scruples and has used all and every means to enrich itself and to use the oil revenues for its Presidential Prerogatives. If it cannot feed its thugs and their families then it is doomed.

An abscess is best treated surgically; this is what Syria needs.

May 26th, 2012, 9:46 am


Juergen said:

De Standaard has published this article about Pierre Piccinin last trip to Syria, where he had his Paulus event.

“Assad Regime lapses into barbarism ‘
In Syria arrested Belgian teacher released

“I thought that Assad was better than chaos. I think differently now. ”

May 26th, 2012, 10:14 am


zoo said:

Will we know who is doing what to who and why?

UN Monitors Probe Reports of 90 Deaths in Syrian Town

May 26, 2012
A team of U.N. observers has arrived in the Syrian town of Houla, where activists say intense government shelling has killed at least 90 people since Friday, including 25 children.

The attacks could further strain a fragile six-week-old cease-fire between government and opposition forces.

The observers arrived in the region Saturday. Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA the government raids had prompted residents to flee from their homes, and also prompted an anti-government protest in Damascus Saturday.

A reaction from an activist in Houla

“One Houla activist said the observers’ visit would not help and could cause the government to attack again.

“As soon as they came we asked them to leave because many areas they go get attacked,” said Abu Suleiman, via Skype. “We don’t want them to get near us.”

May 26th, 2012, 10:18 am


omen said:

nobody here would stab women & children, right? right?

May 26th, 2012, 10:19 am


bronco said:

#3 Adam

Ghaliun bears a responsibility in the killings and the crimes that are a direct consequences of the wrong strategy of the SNC that lead the country to the chaos.
As Labwani said in the talk with Landis:
“Ghaliun should not resign , he should commit suicide”

May 26th, 2012, 10:28 am


Tara said:


I am not so sure…

People here find righteous in wrong and virtue in vice…and faith to them has no feelings

May 26th, 2012, 10:32 am


MM said:

Oil Sanctions are not the whole pie of the Syrian economy, but a good portion. The remaining sanctions are levied against individuals connected with the regime, which will have no effect on the population by and large. Grain and other food items can make its way through, and are:

Items listed include: Bananas, Wood/Steel(I am suspect – its coming from Romania), Onions from Egypt, Wheat, Ceramics, etc.

How will the Syrian population benefit from the lifting of Oil Sanctions? You cannot direct the monies from Oil sales to legitimate purposes. (i.e. Buying grain and providing for Cooking Gas, v. paying the Shabiha, buying weapons). It will fund the killing machine.

The current sanctions framework can and should be supplemented by a policed weapons embargo enforced by the UN. All ships should be subject to search. Oil could be traded for food, medicines, and if necessary — cooking gas.

There is no reason in my view as to why there is a shortage of cooking gas. To my knowledge, this is an indigenous industry. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the gas is not imported — its from the Syrian fields. This appears to be collective punishment meted out by the Regime to demonize the sanctions. (Anyone know what the source of “Ghaz, Ghaz” is?)

May 26th, 2012, 10:40 am


son of Damascus said:

We already know who is guilty of unleashing the barbarity in Syria, they are even doing the same in Lebanon…

Not only are they killing and maiming our children, they are releasing ONLY ISLAMISTS from jails!

Syria: children slaughtered as regime unleashes 18-hour attack on town

United Nations peace monitors fail to stem violence as nearly 100 die in biggest mass killing for months

Two UN observers arrived in the central Syrian town of Houla early on Saturday to inspect the aftermath of an 18-hour regime assault, which activists claim has left close to 100 people dead.

Residents had sent a series of urgent pleas for assistance from midday on Friday as Syrian military positions which had encircled the town for months launched a full-scale assault using heavy weapons and tanks. Activists and rights groups inside Syria claimed that at least 33 of the dead are children.

Videos uploaded to the internet and purported to be from Houla show many dead and mangled infants. Residents say some victims were killed with knives, while many more died from relentless shelling at that left buildings splintered and homes destroyed in a large residential area near the centre of town.

Events took a new twist on Wednesday when Lebanese soldiers in the heart of west Beirut were involved in a shoot-out with what officials described as a terrorist cell which it said had been trying to draw a pro-Syrian political headquarters located nearby into a firefight.

Two of the men killed in the seven-hour gun battle were identified as Islamic extremists who had been freed from a Lebanese jail in November. Syria also freed a large number of alleged militant Islamists from its key security prison around the same time.

“Things are never as they seem here,” said a senior Lebanese member of parliament. “Al-Qaida in Beirut very much fits the storyline for Syria itself and the pro-Syrian parties in Lebanon. If the Assad regime let these people out of prison, they must have had a use for them — even an unwitting one.

“I don’t doubt these were men who thought they were on a jihad. But the question is who sent them and did they really know who their masters were?”

May 26th, 2012, 10:43 am


irritated said:

MM #19

An intelligent explanation for the cooking gaz shortage:

“This appears to be collective punishment meted out by the Regime to demonize the sanctions.”

I am sure they have setup a ‘Demonizing committe’ to look for new ways to demonize the sanctions. It’s a ‘diabolical’ regime after all.

May 26th, 2012, 10:49 am


Tara said:

Annan should be held morally responsible.   He can’t continue to advertise any success to his mission.  Plan B must be activated.  Arm the FSA and .et the cleanse Syria fro this regime.  Time has come.

UN observers rushed on Saturday to a town in central Syria where scores of civilians were reportedly massacred, including 25 children, as the opposition renewed calls for air strikes on regime forces.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the massacre and said he was “making immediate arrangements for a Friends of Syria group meeting in Paris.”
He spoke after the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) again called for Friends of Syria nations to launch air strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Turkey-based General Mustafa Ahmed al-Sheikh, head of the FSA’s military council, urged “an appropriate stance after the heinous crime committed by Assad’s assassin regime in the Houla region.”
“We are calling urgently on the Friends of Syria to create a military alliance, outside of the UN Security Council, to carry out targeted strikes against Assad’s gangs and the symbols of his regime,” he said.

Amateur videos posted on YouTube showed horrifying images of children lying dead on a floor. Some corpses were badly mangled, with at least one child’s head partly blown away.
The Britain-based Observatory accused the international community of being “complicit” in the killing and standing “silent in the face of the massacres committed by the Syrian regime.”

Earlier, opposition Syrian National Council spokeswoman Basma Kodmani said “more than 110 people were killed (half of whom are children) by the Syrian regime’s forces” in Houla.
“Some of the victims were hit by heavy artillery while others, entire families, were massacred.”
“The Syrian National Council urges the UN Security Council to call for an emergency meeting to examine the situation in Houla and to determine the responsibility of the United Nations in face of such mass killings, expulsions and forced migration from entire neighbourhoods,” she added.
State news agency SANA blamed “armed terrorist groups” for the killings, adding that “clashes led to the killing of several terrorists and the martyrdom of several members of the special forces.”


May 26th, 2012, 10:50 am


AIG said:


Isn’t Assad much more responsible than anybody in the SNC for the horrible situation? Are you calling also for Assad to commit suicide or are you a hypocrite?

May 26th, 2012, 10:51 am


irritated said:

#20 SOD

When the Syria government keeps militant in jail, activists shout and scream until they are released. When the Syrian government releases them it’s criticized for unleashing ‘islamists’.

“Syria also freed a large number of alleged militant Islamists from its key security prison around the same time.”

May 26th, 2012, 10:57 am


AIG said:


I agree that the Syrian regime is beyond redemption at this point. But allow me to challenge you a bit. Why not also create an army of diaspora Syrians? Why not raise money in the Syrian diaspora to buy weapons for the fighters? If you think the military course is the right way to get rid of Assad, why don’t you take constructive measures yourself instead of insisting that governments do it for you?

You know very well that any non-Syrian support comes with a price. At this point most people would welcome Saudi bought weapons but let’s not fool ourselves that there will not be a cost later to pay. The way to mitigate this cost is to have the Syrian diaspora lead the effort to arm the FSA.

May 26th, 2012, 10:58 am


bronco said:


“Are you calling also for Assad to commit suicide or are you a hypocrite?”
First let Israel withdraw for occupied land and stop persecuting the Africans, then we’ll talk about who is hypocrite and who should commit suicide.

May 26th, 2012, 11:05 am


Tara said:


I agree had the Syrian diaspora been as strong, rich, and influential as the Jewish one. I just do not know even the estimated wealth and strength the Syrian diaspora have.

May 26th, 2012, 11:05 am


Son of Damascus said:


You see unlike some on here I don’t view activist, human rights advocates, citizen journalists and anyone that protests against the regime to be 3ar3ouri salafists.

Jihadi Islamist deserve to be in jail if indeed they are guilty of wanton terrorism, and they should NOT be freed (which is WHAT the regime IS DOING), who SHOULD be freed are the intellectuals, human right advocates, children, activists, doctors and many others that this criminal regime is locking them up in their dungeons all for one reason, because the dared to utter the word Hurreih.

May 26th, 2012, 11:07 am


AIG said:


Ah yes, the strategy of the Arab dictators to keep their people down, point a finger at Israel to mask their ineptitude. And as for Israel and the Golan, again, where are you and your regime? Why are you not fighting Israel? Why are you killing children in Houla instead of fighting Israel in the Golan? Do you have one moral bone or one honorable bone in your body?

I asked you a simple question: Are you calling for Assad to commit suicide or not? Why is it so difficult to answer?

May 26th, 2012, 11:11 am


zoo said:

No UN emergency meeting in New-York but another emergency FOS in Paris.

France calls for urgent meeting of the Friends of Syria over ‘Houla massacre’

­France has called for an emergency meeting of the Friends of Syria group after activists claimed 90 people were killed in a shelling of Houla city on Friday night. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said it was a “massacre” and that he would contact the Friends of Syria working group immediately to arrange a meeting in Paris. Fabius also said he would talk about the situation in Syria with the UN peace mediator Kofi Annan directly. “UN observers need to be able to complete their mission and the UN-Arab League’s joint special envoy’s exit plan has to be implemented immediately,” Fabius said.


May 26th, 2012, 11:11 am


bronco said:


“Why is it so difficult to answer?”

Sorry I don’t give any answer to an Israeli, there is no point.

May 26th, 2012, 11:13 am


AIG said:


Well, isn’t it time then to start organizing the Syrian diaspora and finding out the information you lack about it? Why not do something concrete?

May 26th, 2012, 11:13 am


AIG said:


Right, if an Israeli would say he doesn’t give answers to Arabs or Syrians he would be called an arrogant racist. I wonder what that makes you.

Your problem is simple, your logic is false, one sided and hypocritical. You call on the opposition to do things that the Assad regime never did, like fight honorably and accept dying for their cause while Assad and his regime were cowards in the Golan and never even thought of ever “dying honorably” to save it.

May 26th, 2012, 11:17 am


zoo said:

The imminent failure of the peaceful revolution in Egypt?

‘Neither runoff candidate belongs to the revolution’ – Egyptian activist
Published: 26 May, 2012, 04:26
Egyptians are to choose between an Islamist and a former Mubarak loyalist in the runoff of the presidential election. Human rights activist Dalia Ziada told RT that the result of the first round is a disappointment to those who backed the revolution.

­The Muslim Brotherhood claims that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, has the lead in the polls, and is to face Ahmed Shafiq, the country’s former prime minister and minister of civil aviation under President Mubarak, in the runoff, scheduled for June.

Dalia Ziada, a human rights activist and blogger, believes that people expected Egyptians to vote for these candidates, and that there is a general sense of disappointment throughout the country.

“The two candidates that have been chosen for the runoff now are Shafiq, who belongs to the former NDP party and the former Mubarak regime, and Morsi, belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood,” she told RT. “Neither of them belongs to the revolution. Unfortunately, revolutionary candidates did not win, which means that people are looking for something that we cannot understand as people involved in the revolution.”

Ziada expects Shafiq to outperform his Islamist rival in the second round despite his pedigree.

“Ahmad Shafiq was involved in beating people in Tahrir Square during the revolution, and he was the prime minister that Mubarak used to beautify his image in his last days. The fact that people are choosing him is probably because they want to give him a new chance, or they selected him as a vote against Mursi, who represents the Muslim Brotherhood,” she noted.

She pointed to the fact that many have become disappointed with the Muslim Brotherhood after it became the largest faction in parliament several months ago.

“They started speaking about things that don’t really relate to the people,” she said. “So I think they voted against them by selecting Shafiq.”

May 26th, 2012, 11:25 am


zoo said:

China counter attack the US on human rights

It said violations of civil and political rights have been “severe” in the US, and that the country was “lying to itself” when referring to itself as the “land of the free”.

China issues report on human rights in US
Last Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012, 15:22

The “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011” was released by the Information Office in response to the US State Department’s “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011” issued on May 24, the People’s Daily reported.

The Chinese report said that the American one was “full of overly critical remarks on human rights conditions in nearly 200 countries and regions, as well as distortions and accusations concerning human rights causes in China”.

“However, the US has turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and remained silent about it,” the report said.

The US human rights report was intended to reveal the “true human rights situation” in the US to the world and “urge the US to confront its own actions”.

The Chinese report covered human rights issues related to six topics — life, property and personal security, civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, racial discrimination, rights of women and children and US violations of human rights in other countries.

It said violations of civil and political rights have been “severe” in the US, and that the country was “lying to itself” when referring to itself as the “land of the free”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Friday described the US State Department report as “biased”, and urged the US to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other nations.

“It’s a solid fact that remarkable, well-recognised progress has been achieved in China’s field of human rights over the past 30 years and more,” Hong said.


May 26th, 2012, 11:33 am


AIG said:

“U.N. mission head Major General Robert Mood said that around 38 children were massacred by regime forces in the Syrian town of Houla.”

Yes Bronco, go spin that. Should Assad commit suicide or just the opposition heads? Wait I know your answer: “Bla, bla, bla, Israel. Because Israel is in the Golan and the West Bank Assad can massacre the kids of his fellow countrymen.”

Welcome to the logic of the regime supporters.

May 26th, 2012, 12:03 pm


Hopeful said:

Re: #1 Ghufran & #3 Adam

By definition, the goal of any exile opposition group is to rally international support to change a regime (what else can one ask of them?). This support can take the shape of one or more things:

1. Political/diplomatic support
2. Economic sanctions
3. Money and arms to rebels inside
4. External invasion

The problem in Syria is that options #1,2 are not enough to make a change and options #3,4 do not have a broad base support among the people inside and outside of Syria (even option #2 is controversial). Mr Ghalioun is a “consensus leader”, and therefore he was doomed to failure once he realized he needed to escalate his efforts towards options which people did not agree on.

By contrast, Mr. Chalabi in Iraq, who is a goal-focused person and not a consensus leader, worked tirelessly for years to execute options #3,4 once he realized that #1,2 are not enough to depose Saddam. The results were tragic for Iraq (and the region), but he did accomplish his exile group’s goal of removing Saddam from power.

May 26th, 2012, 12:04 pm


Halabi said:

An anonymous “source” tells Sana that Al Qaeda is behind yesterday’s massacres in Homs.

Great, no need for an investigation, just destroy the evidence, kill any remaining witnesses and focus on wiping out the millions of other Qaeda members who magically appeared in Syria after people decided they had enough of Bashar and the criminals running the country.

Of course Burhan Ghalioun, the SNC, Qatar, Bandar, Israel, and really everyone except Assad’s soldiers and security gangs are also responsible. That’s the other theory.

Here are some of the victims buried in a mass grave. Again, they didn’t receive a state funeral like those who died by Al Qaeda attacks in Damascus in Aleppo. No explanation why this discrimination is occurring, maybe Syria Truth can explain that.

In Assad’s Syria, which is much better than every other country in world according to its odious supporters, killers roam free because the state is too busy tracking down and torturing the likes of Salameh Kaileh and Mazen Darwish.

May 26th, 2012, 12:19 pm


zoo said:

Contrary our local Israeli propagandist who gives no link to his alleged quotes, General Mood did not make any accusation directed to the Syrian forces. Instead he referred to “Those using violence for their own agendas”

Chief UN monitor in Syria condemns ‘brutal tragedy’ in Houla
Published on May 26, 2012

DAMASCUS, May 26, 2012 (AFP) – The UN mission chief in Syria Major General Robert Mood on Saturday condemned the “brutal tragedy” in Houla, where he said 92 bodies, including those of more than 32 children, had been counted.

Mood said he condemns “in the strongest possible terms the brutal tragedy” that took place in Houla, in central Homs, adding that UN monitors visited the area and counted 92 bodies, including “more than 32 under the age of 10.”


May 26th, 2012, 12:31 pm


AIG said:


You can choose to remain blind to the obvious facts if you want. Mood clearly is denouncing the massacre and it is clear that is was done by regime forces, so who do you think he is denouncing? How can anyone with one ounce of brains not see that he is criticizing the regime?

May 26th, 2012, 12:49 pm


bronco said:

Coincidence? The major events in the last few days:

– The SNC in dismay after the resignation of Ghaliun
– UN acknowledgement that Al Qaeeda is operative in Syria
– The US is been pressed to help militarily the FSA.
– False declaration of the death by poisoning of Syrian key officials
– Turkey increased violence attributed to Syria’s support to the PKK
– Kofi Annan is coming imminently to Syria
– A massacre in Houla. The opposition accuses the regime forces
– The UN chief monitors accuses ‘those using violence for their own agendas’

We have seen similar escalation and massacres with large media coverage during the AL observers mission that precipitated the AL to cancel the mission.

I am sure that Annan and the UN observers will not bow to such pressure, they’ll stay.

May 26th, 2012, 12:58 pm


zoo said:

AIG #41

I am just copy-pasting what the news says and I put the link I used.

Please give the link to the quotes you attribute to General Mood on #37 or it is your own hallucination.

May 26th, 2012, 1:06 pm


zoo said:

“Saudi Arabia and Qatar want Jordan to allow weapons to move across the border to supply the rebels.”

Syrian regime, rebels put pressure on Jordan

Suha Philip Ma’ayeh
May 27, 2012

RAMTHA, JORDAN // At the lush border with Syria, Jordanian soldiers occasionally conduct their own foreign policy.

Despite Jordan’s determination to avoid taking sides in the Syrian revolt, the border guards don’t remain neutral when people fleeing across the border come under fire from Syrian soldiers.

Syrian watch towers dot the distance in an open valley near the Jordanian border town of Ramtha. Syrian rebels and refugees often flee through the valley.

In November, an army officer saved a pregnant woman who was fleeing with her husband and eight-year-old son. She had been shot by a Syrian guard and was struggling to reach the border. Jordanian soldiers fired at Syrian troops to provide cover and the family was saved.

“We saved her in our own way,” said an officer, refusing to elaborate because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

But helping the opposition is not official Jordanian policy. The kingdom is trying to remain neutral despite pressure from Syria to crack down on the refugees and pressure from Gulf states to help the rebels.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar want Jordan to allow weapons to move across the border to supply the rebels. Jordan, of course, is worried that President Bashar Al Assad will survive the uprising and punish Jordan for aiding the opposition.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s offshoot in Jordan, the Islamic Action Front, had elections this month and hardliners emerged with more power within the movement.


May 26th, 2012, 1:13 pm


Son of Damascus said:



You failed to mention the part in the UN report that attributed MOST of the violence being perpetrated on the REGIME.

Also what you keep failing to see is that there are witnesses to the massacres that survived and they blame the regime for the violence, not the SNC or the opposition.

Another thing that is plainly obvious is that the regime is only releasing Jihadist from jail, while the secular and influential Syrians keep rotting in there.

The regime is solely to be blamed for all these massacres, violence and destruction. It is their callous behaviour that got us to this point, not the actions or inactions of the opposition.

May 26th, 2012, 1:15 pm


zoo said:

Egypt’s showdown: Brotherhood vs a Mubarak man

Bradley Hope
May 26, 2012

CAIRO // With nearly all the votes counted yesterday in Egypt’s first free presidential election, it appears the race will come down to a run-off between a former member of the regime of Hosni Mubarak and the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that has long opposed the establishment.


May 26th, 2012, 1:23 pm


Hopeful said:

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the massacre was carried out by terrorists, not regime forces. Why isn’t the president speaking to the people of Syria, condemning the massacre, promising to bring those responsible to justice, and assuring the people that the government will do all it can to bring security to them? Isn’t that what EVERY other leader in the world did when terrorists attacked his countrymen? Is this some special style of leadership that is unique to Syria?

Isn’t this a perfect example of incompetence and failed leadership? I can understand that people (regime supporters) are worried about the potential “aftermath” chaos if the regime falls, about the Islamists taking over, about foreign intervention, etc. But how can anyone continue to argue that the current Syrian government is competent and that Bashar is fit to lead? Seriously? 20+ million people and we cannot produce better leadership? Don’t we deserve better? Come on!!!

May 26th, 2012, 1:37 pm


bronco said:

#46. Son of Damascus

Thus jumping to hasty conclusions at every single murder or massacre in the country?

In the case of Houla, only the activists jumped to conclusion, the UN chief was much more circumspect and have accused “people using violence for their own agendas”. I don’t see in this sentence an accusation to the regime, in the contrary.

The regime was accused by the opposition for several massacres based on videos and eye witnesses. None was probed because there were no independent observers.
In the case of Houla and well as Khan Shaykhoun, I expect the UN Observers to probe the claims.
If the UN observer mission stays and do not make the result of their probes public, it would mean that they do not have any proof of the direct implications of the Syrian government in these killings and that they want to proceed with their mission in cooperation with the government.

If they decide to halt the mission, it would mean that they have convincing proofs of the regime deliberated killing of innocents and that would suffice to bring the issue to the UNSC where the Russians would not be able to veto a UNSC resolution condemning the regime.

While the media can lynch the regime just on allegations, the UN is not doing that.
Curiously, while the SNC has called for an urgent meeting of the UN security council, France has just called for a FOS meeting. France is cautious as well, not wanting to discredit itself by rushing to the UNSC if the allegations of the guilt of the regime turn out to be wrong.

Let’s wait a few days for the outcome.

May 26th, 2012, 1:53 pm


Observer said:

Did you all notice that whenever news of regime incompetence or brutality become public and full we have ZOO and ANN and JAD running to a variety of web sites to talk about
Egypt’s failed revolution
Islamists threatening to take over
Minorities under duress
Turkish opposition blabbering about Erdogan
Russia launching a missile
China power rising.

This is distraction and spaming at its worst. Just as hopeful said, if you go to Sana or to Cham Press or to RT or to Addounia you do not see any mention of any official explaining condemning or even any attempt by any member of parliament to ask for an investigation or for an accounting of who did what who failed to protect who abused their power etc….

Perhaps in the face of 14 months of a situation where the armed forces under the command of Doctor Marshall Commander in Chief General Secretary Head of the Supreme Court Decider of the Parliament Producer of Decrees iPad Fanatic E mail Joker Fredo Corleone should ask for the help of Russian Special Forces and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps under the command of Batman & Robin (Creecher of Harry Potter ) Putin & Prop Up Medvedev in consultation with the Supreme Infallible All Knowing All Seeing Ayatollah Death to America Khamenei. But but but we are against intervention are we not?

Somaria Alassad the germs are multiplying and they are becoming resistant to fear mongering tactics and in alliance with the Rats of Benghazi are coming to help “stabilize” the situation.

How is your shopping lately? Any new shoes? Perhaps some spam on the latest shoe fashions of Damascus would distract us a bit eh?

May 26th, 2012, 2:07 pm


Juergen said:

Khaled Khalifa is freed today, his arm got broken though in prison. I assume smart folks will say he trippled on the way home…

May 26th, 2012, 2:31 pm


Uzair8 said:

Assad and his regime have no redeeming features. None.

Assad, this revolution is not for stopping. The train is due to arrive anytime now.

May 26th, 2012, 2:37 pm


Alan said:

Viral Violence from Syria to Lebanon-News Analysis-05-23-2012
Webster Tarpley: West is Behind Syrian Violence

More bombing in Damascus; Is Syria headed to a civil war in spite of the UN ceasefire. Clashes have erupted between pro and anti Assad groups in northern Lebanon and news of a group of Lebanese pilgrims abducted by anti-government armed groups in Syria. Is Syrian violence spreading into the neighboring country and is the a deliberate attempt to do just that?

West’s Undermining of UN Paves Way for NATO Syrian Intervention

May 26th, 2012, 2:43 pm


Alan said:

Russian arms shipment en route to Syria
A Russian cargo ship loaded with weapons is en route to Syria and due to arrive at a Syrian port this weekend, Al Arabiya television said in a report that Western diplomats in New York described on Friday as credible.

May 26th, 2012, 2:45 pm


Alan said:

UN finally realizes terrorist groups responsible for Syrian bombings
Since the violence in Syria first broke out, Syrian President Bashar al Assad stated that the attacks focused on civilians were the work of foreign agents and terrorists, an assertion which the Western media regularly mocked.

I have repeatedly pointed out that large sections of the opposition, such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), are nothing more than terrorists, evidenced by their willingness to brag about carrying out terrorist attacks.


May 26th, 2012, 2:48 pm


irritated said:

#50 Observer

I prefer reading news about Timbouctou to gibberish emitted by a brain seriously affected by TV germs:

“Doctor Marshall Commander in Chief General Secretary Head of the Supreme Court Decider of the Parliament Producer of Decrees iPad Fanatic E mail Joker Fredo Corleone should ask for the help of Russian Special Forces and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps under the command of Batman & Robin (Creecher of Harry Potter ) Putin & Prop Up Medvedev in consultation with the Supreme Infallible All Knowing All Seeing Ayatollah Death to America Khamenei. But but but we are against intervention are we not?”

May 26th, 2012, 3:00 pm


Amjad said:

Well, obviously Khaled Khalifa broke his own arm while in jail. And Salameh Kaileh tortured himself upon arriving in Amman. And Pierre Piccinin tied himself to his own bed when he was in the detention centers.

If Bashar gets an STD, the pro-regime crowd will blame Al-Jazeera.

May 26th, 2012, 3:07 pm


Tara said:


What other web sites you write at?

May 26th, 2012, 3:11 pm


Ghufran said:

I do not think that in a “kill or be killed” battle fighters will pay attention to civilian casualties, there is definitely an element of revenge in most of the bloody stories from Syria with one side blaming the other for killing children. It is civil war in a number of areas,and people are getting killed because of who they are and not because of what they did. Armed rebels are clearly operating in heavily populated areas,and the army can not win no matter of how they respond: if they shell populated areas,civilians will get killed,and if they let armed rebels continue their campaign more grounds will be lost and less trusting loyal areas will become,areas that still support the regime are publically criticizing the army for doing too little,anti regime people are saying the opposite,and at the end,the army can not win this battle,without a political settlement,the country will advance faster than what we think into a full scale civil war,and some areas will try to form semi independent enclaves,ethnic cleansing,which has already started,will certainly intensify if this vicious cycle of violence continues. Armed rebels and many on the regime side,had no intention to respect a cease fire,please do not act surprised and pretend that it is a simple David and Goliath battle,it is not,Syria is in a limited civil war,it just happened that this war is so far limited to certain spots,you either stop it now,or be ready to see another Lebanon.

May 26th, 2012, 3:13 pm


Amjad said:


“and the army can not win no matter of how they respond”

Well the answer to that quandary is contained in that very sentence. Why was there a need to use the army at all? Was there an FSA when the regime massacred over 80 people in Homs on April 18th 2011? Was Hamza Khatib a rapist like the Syrian media claimed at the time? From day one, the regime and its co-religionists in Lebanon and Iran saw the demonstrations as a declaration of war, to be put down with tanks. Bashar was too unoriginal, too mentally clumsy and too unsophisticated to come up with any other solution.

When the FSA gains control of an area, people come out and demonstrate in their tens of thousands. When the Syrian army invade an area, people flee in their tens of thousands.

May 26th, 2012, 3:27 pm


zoo said:

Qatar and Turkey may get their candidate elected in their first political victory in Egypt.
Will they win in Syria too?

Anger grips Egypt over Mursi-Shafiq runoff

Abu Al Fotouh to back brotherhood against Mubarak-era premier

By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
Published: 00:00 May 26, 2012

Islamist candidate Abdul Moneim Abu Al Fotouh, who failed to get enough votes in Egypt’s presidential race to make the run-off, yesterday said he would back the Brotherhood in its bid to defeat Shafiq.

Mursi collected 26 per cent of the vote count in 25 of Egypt’s 27 governorates, according to preliminary results released yesterday. Shafiq followed with 24 per cent, with the leftist contender Hamdeen Sabahi getting 20 per cent.

May 26th, 2012, 3:28 pm


Tara said:


Where else do you write? Can you please not ignore the question?

May 26th, 2012, 3:32 pm


Alan said:

US prepares multi-front proxy war against Syria
Since the Washington Post’s May 16 report on an influx of arms to Syrian opposition forces, the Obama administration’s plans for a proxy war against Syria have become clearer still.

The Post wrote of “significantly more and better weapons” reaching oppositionists, “paid for by Persian Gulf nations [Saudi Arabia and Qatar] and coordinated in part by the United States,” based upon a perspective that “an expanding military confrontation is inevitable.”

Saudi Arabia and Qatar were sending weapons with approval from Washington, which has “expanded contacts with opposition forces to provide the gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.”

An additional source of weaponry is the Muslim Brotherhood, which has “its own supply channel to the rebels, using resources from wealthy private individuals and money from Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said Mulham al-Drobi, a member of the Brotherhood’s executive committee.”

The Post concluded by noting, “The Pentagon has prepared options for Syria extending all the way to air assaults to destroy the nation’s air defenses.”

In the Daily Telegraph of May 22, Michael Weiss, Communications Director of the Henry Jackson Society, writes that “Rebel sources in Hatay told me last night that not only is Turkey supplying light arms to select battalion commanders, it is also training Syrians in Istanbul.”……………

A Secret War in 120 Countries: The Pentagon’s New Power Elite

May 26th, 2012, 3:32 pm


irritated said:

Amjad #60

“When the Syrian army invade an area, people flee in their tens of thousands.”

Are people in Hama and Zabadani fleeing now that the army is in control?
I think it is quite the opposite.

May 26th, 2012, 3:32 pm




It is customary in tragic events for high diplomats and heads of state to call the head of state befell by tragedy to offer condolences. Now, Burhan Ghalyoun is no head of state, but nonetheless, he received a call today from none other than Kofi Annan, who offered Ghalyoun his condolences for the Houla Massacre. By coincidence, Annan did not offer condolences to Assad, why didn’t he call the Syrian President? Ever heard someone offering condolences to someone they know to be responsible for the murder?

I agree that Annan will not bow to pressure. Thanks Bronco for the lead on this, and before I forget, have you asked Assad to commit his suicide today?

May 26th, 2012, 3:34 pm



A mild dose of sense of humor can cure irritability

I bet you cut-off many of the honorific and titles of the great honorable president, didn’t you?

May 26th, 2012, 3:35 pm



114 dead by Assad Criminal Forces in Al Hawla, 32 of them children.

Assad to the International Court right now. Where are today Assad supporters who defend the killing of arab, shawaya, fallaheen, and bedouins like rats?

May 26th, 2012, 3:36 pm


irritated said:


“Rebel sources in Hatay told me last night that not only is Turkey supplying light arms to select battalion commanders, it is also training Syrians in Istanbul.”

If this is true, then the FSA are good actors in front on the media, crying that they get no weapons from Turkey. Or someone is lying.

May 26th, 2012, 3:36 pm


Amjad said:

“you either stop it now,or be ready to see another Lebanon”

Yes, the country cannot continue on like this. As the most recent bombings have shown, there is a third party that would love for Syrians to keep killing each other. That third party would like to see the disintegration of the country. In that, they share this goal with the regime, who would sooner burn Syria and the Middle East than relinquish one iota of power.

And what happened to that truck bomb the regime supposedly discovered in Aleppo last week? I’d have thought that it would have been a God send to anyone serious about cracking down on Jihadist terror cells. Imagine what an abundance of leads, clues and information a 1000kg truck bomb could provide. It should have provided enough clues to blow away every Jihadist from Damascus to Basra. No? Not enough clues? Not enough evidence? Would Bashar recognize a Jihadist terror cell if they had instead planted the 1000kg of TNT up his wazoo?

Remarkable, the regime can put the blame on Al Qaeda with a speed that would make even CSI:MIAMI look realistic, but give them a fully functional truck bomb, and they are as clueless as Maher in a Turkish bath. Nah, I’m sure arresting Palestinian writers must be taking up their time.

May 26th, 2012, 3:37 pm


irritated said:

#65 Syrian Hamster

Did Hillary and Sarkozy called him too?

May 26th, 2012, 3:40 pm


Ghufran said:

I was not comfortable with the idea of using the army to police the streets and control anti regime demonstrations,my position was stated here on SC,but that is the nature of the regime,and that is one reason why this regime must go. On the other hand,it is naive to believe that security forces and police will be able to stop massive attacks when ROGs and similar weapons are used. The army is being dragged into this bloody confrontation,and that is not good for the army or Syria. Those of you who think that either side can dominate militarily are wrong,it is either a political deal or civil war,simply put.

May 26th, 2012, 3:41 pm


irritated said:

#68 Amjad

“the regime can put the blame on Al Qaeda with a speed that would make even CSI:MIAMI look realistic”

The opposition beats that. It blames the regime before the event even happens.

May 26th, 2012, 3:43 pm


Amjad said:

“have you asked Assad to commit his suicide today?”

Har har har, I’d be happy to see someone just ask Bashar to take down a few of his pictures. Now THAT would be a revolution.

Elections, referendums, elections. Never in the field of human electioneering have so many elections changed so little for so many.

May 26th, 2012, 3:44 pm


zoo said:

#61 Tara

Sorry, I do not reply to such questions.

May 26th, 2012, 3:46 pm



I am ignorant

I don’t know, did they call Mr. Assad?

Also, Hillary is on her way out. Sarkozy is no longer a head of state. I thought you read RT, it was on their website. Sana even attributed Sarkozy’s failure to Assad’s resistance…. so that also was on another site on the reading list.

If the armed gangs killed these poor people, why hasn’t Nasrallah call Assad to give his condolences?

May 26th, 2012, 3:48 pm


zoo said:

Islamists in Kuwait call for arming the Syrian rebels

Kuwaiti rally condemns Syria ‘massacre’
(AFP) – 2 hours ago
KUWAIT CITY — Hundreds of Kuwaitis including several MPs rallied outside the Syrian embassy on Saturday to condemn a reported massacre in the Syrian town of Houla and to demand the arming of the rebel Free Syrian Army.

Islamist MP Jamaan al-Harbash urged Turkey and all Arab states in the Gulf to act to provide protection for Syrian civilians, warning that if the governments cannot do so “they should open the door for people to fight.”

Falah al-Sawwagh, another Islamist MP, called for weapons to be sent to the FSA, and urged Kuwaitis to apply pressure on the government to provide more aid to the Syrian people.

May 26th, 2012, 3:50 pm


amjad said:

“If the armed gangs killed these poor people, why hasn’t Nasrallah call Assad to give his condolences?”

Or why hasn’t Assad or one of his cronies visited the area? Why is it left to a Scandinavian general to assess the situation? At least Ambassador Ford attended a funeral in Damascus. Which until very recently, was one more than Bashar or Asma or Buthaina or Maher or Waleed Mu’alem all did combined.

May 26th, 2012, 3:53 pm


AIG said:


So the UN and international law are not important? If so, why do you keep quoting these institutions when it comes to the Golan? Perhaps you think international law is only to be used when it is in your interest. Next time the Syrian regime or any regime supporter mentions international law, people will laugh.

May 26th, 2012, 3:53 pm


irritated said:

Hamster #74

Ghaliun is also gone and irrelevant.

Did Annan or Qatar or Turkey called Riad Al Assaad who is now the last visible representative of the Syrian opposition?

If they didn’t, I guess they prefer to wait for an official probe.

May 26th, 2012, 3:55 pm



He is irrelevant and he gets a call from Annan, what does that say about Mr. Assad? is he sub-irrelevant? and will you kindly join BRONCO’s campaign for his suicide due to such abysmal failure to project Syrian official might?

As for #78, why would they call a military leaders… when did diplomat call heads of armies to express condolences?

An no, calls by Syrian diplomats to Syrian Generals to inform them that a new exotic dancer was in town don’t count, they are not called condolences, there is another name for that, it starts with the letter P.

May 26th, 2012, 4:02 pm


zoo said:

Ban, Annan joint statement on Houleh / Syria
at 1:23 PM

Statement on behalf of the Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy for Syria
The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing, confirmed by United Nations observers, of dozens of men, women and children and the wounding of hundreds more in the village of El-Houleh, near Homs. Observers from the UN Supervision Mission in Syria have viewed the bodies of the dead and confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighbourhood.
This appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and violence in all its forms. Those responsible for perpetrating this crime must be held to account.
The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy extend their profound sympathies to the families of the victims and to the wounded, and underscore their grave concern about the lack of protection for civilians in Syria.
The Secretary-General and the Joint Special Envoy demand that the Government of Syria immediately cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres. They reiterate that all violence in all its forms in Syria must cease.


May 26th, 2012, 4:02 pm


AIG said:

So now it clear that the un thinks it was aliens not the regime. You were right zoo.

May 26th, 2012, 4:16 pm



#80 In diplomatic language, what the heck, I don’t know much about that. In polite language, this is a clear indictment and condemnation of the Syrian regime.

By the way, it seems that while the two mentioned all forms of violence, somehow the word “opposition” was mysteriously absent. Does that say anything? wasn’t Imad Mustafa a friend of Syria Comment?, can the diplomat give us a hint.

May 26th, 2012, 4:27 pm


Tara said:


I am going to be honest here to the level of naivety. I was hoping that the answer was you simply don’t post anywhere else. I certainly am not interested in knowing what and where people post. I just wanted to reassure myself that by spending time on SC, I am having a genuine exchanges of thoughts not paid ones. At my current level of distrust and paranoia in regard to everything Syrian, it just increases in my mind the odd that bloggers are “on a mission of some sort” to serve certain agenda when they hop from one blogpost to another blogpost. And that why I asked you…..As far as Ann and Jad are concerned, I really don’t read anything they say but I do read you.

Sorry for being painfully direct. It sounds silly but I do hope that you reassure me..

May 26th, 2012, 4:47 pm



Art Lover
And speaking of Imad Mustafa, I understand that he was an art buff. If anyone is in contact with him, can you kindly forward This work of art to him. I would like to hear his critique. The man is a damn good writer and critic. This may help him get China to be even more friendly.

I feel generous today, Please also send him this one . It is by an artist going through rehabilitation. Nothing serious, just a disease called Assad Thugs that prevented him from working for a while.

May 26th, 2012, 4:47 pm


Alan said:

Turkey has 3 seas: Mediterranean, Aegean and Black can any of them drink!!! no one from neighboring countries shall enjoy rest if this rest in Syria isn’t present, especially Turkey. It is a political stupidity! Syria has opened heart to Turkey, Turkey responded with a knife in the back! Knows Mr. Bernard Lewis, that the fire could devour from the inside Turkey in a few weeks! Turkey and then become a 33 grain rosary in the Greater Middle East

May 26th, 2012, 4:58 pm


Amjad said:

“As for #78, why would they call a military leaders… when did diplomat call heads of armies to express condolences? ”

Since the head of the armies also held the post of head of the airforce, first admiral, head of state, first judge, glorious leader, best teacher, doctor numero uno, father of the nation, beloved brother, and great resistor (we are talking mega Ohms here).

May 26th, 2012, 5:01 pm


omen said:

9. MM said:
The current sanctions framework can and should be supplemented by a policed weapons embargo enforced by the UN. All ships should be subject to search. 10:40am


they tried to put in an arms embargo in the un security council resolution but russia and china vetoed the measure.

a reminder from an earlier posting:

The same day, the diplomat in Damascus told me that it was too late to stop Syria from sliding into civil war […] He had hoped that there could be a negotiated settlement, similar to the recent one in Yemen—a “soft landing, whereby the Assads can get in a plane with all of their toys and fly to Dubai or wherever.” But Russia was stubbornly opposed

bashar does what he’s told.

May 26th, 2012, 5:29 pm


Halabi said:

The UN observers say tank shells were used in Houleh and Sana reports that Al Qaeda is responsible. Al Qaeda in Syria now have tanks: this is the fiction that Assad supporters have to believe.

Imad Mustafa would be flabbergasted, which is a term that he used repeatedly during his shameful mukhabarati posting in the U.S. I hear that he is enjoying his time spying on the 12 Syrians in China.

May 26th, 2012, 5:33 pm


zoo said:

#83 Tara

Be reassured, I don’t post in any other political blog. Anyway, there is too much to read here already.

May 26th, 2012, 6:02 pm


Uzair8 said:

The Spanish civil war came to mind earlier so a few minutes ago I decided to have a look at Picasso’s Guernica.

Perhaps Imad Mustafa should be sent this alongside the suggestions by Syrian Hamster (#84).


PM Erdogan warned last June that Maher Assad was bent on brutality and the Syrian intelligence was heading for a massacre.

May 26th, 2012, 6:03 pm


Amjad said:

Is it true that is blocked in Syria? Not something you’d expect from a great “reformer”. Isn’t reading encouraged in Assadstan?

No wonder Syrians won’t stay at home despite this unprecedented level of repression. Living another day under such a closed minded dictatorship is worse than death.

May 26th, 2012, 6:09 pm


zoo said:

The Houleh Massacre.

While it is clear to the UN observers that the Syrian army used artillery in residential areas in Houleh, violating their agreement within the Annan plan, the circumstances of the killing of the children is still unclear and is been probed.
When Mood says that some people are using violence for their on agendas, he seems to imply that there may more than shelling behind the Houleh massacre. Some reports say that most of the children were killed with guns and knives, not shells. That there were 32 children dead seem deliberated and not accidental. There seems to be a sinister story behind these horrible deaths.
I am glad that for the first time in a year, there are reliable observers who can get some truth out of the pack of lies and deceptions we’ve heard for months.

Mood confirmed that artillery and tanks had pounded Houla and called “on the Syrian government to cease the use of heavy weapons and to all parties to cease violence in all its forms.”

“Fighting in one of Houla’s residential neighbourhoods started during the night. The circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear,” he said, adding that UN observers were investigating the deaths.

“As we speak now, I have other teams on the ground in Houla trying to establish more of the facts.”

May 26th, 2012, 6:15 pm


irritated said:

#91 Amjad

Aren’t you surprised that Internet is still working in Syria? I am.

May 26th, 2012, 6:20 pm


Amjad said:

The Internet only came back to Syria when the blue berets landed there. By March, the Internet, mobile phones and international calls were cut off from Homs, Homs province, Hama, Hama province, Idlib, Idlib province, the Damascus countryside, the Aleppo countryside, Dar’a and its countryside and Deir el Zour; areas the regime considered “rebellious”. With so much of the country under collective punishment, the only surprise is that anyone still thinks this junta has a shred of legitimacy.

Anytime you want a real indicator of a regime’s popularity, see how much of the country it deems it necessary to cut off basic services to, and not retarded Facebook poll analysis.

May 26th, 2012, 6:30 pm


Uzair8 said:

Aragorn: It is an army bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men.


What does Anisa Makhlouf have to say? Is she really the matriarch making the decisions?

These people are not human. Does anybody remember Zelda from Terrahawks?×400.jpg

May 26th, 2012, 6:47 pm


Amjad said:

Joke. How many shabihas does it take to change a lightbulb? None, the lightbulb is fine! All that darkness is Al-Jazeera blocking out the sun to make you THINK the lightbulb needs changing!

Slightly less ridiculous than disgraceful suggestions that the people of Houlla massacred their own children to score some propaganda points. People are risking their lives for the sake of their children, so that in 30 years time they won’t have to demonstrate against yet another pathetic specimen of an Assad despot, mini-Hafiz. Witness the kind of demented thinking that “madrasat al-assad” turns out, where we are expected to believe that yeah, the army indiscriminately shelled a town, but the kids killed their own selves. Like Faisal Al Qassem famously said, ya zalami haj tashbeh!

May 26th, 2012, 6:47 pm


omen said:

90. Uzair8 said:
PM Erdogan warned last June that Maher Assad was bent on brutality and the Syrian intelligence was heading for a massacre. 6:03pm


did the kurds calculate allowing the sunnis to stagger into endangered status and waiting for opposition’s desperation to be at its peak – will strengthen the kurds’ eventual hand?

what’s the tipping point for the kurds? is there a number they are waiting for before they’ll step in? 25,ooo? 50,ooo slain?

such self serving calculations are despicable. there is no such thing as being “neutral.” inaction is complicity.

May 26th, 2012, 7:27 pm


Uzair8 said:

97. Omen

It was frustrating seeing the Kurds play hardball and I felt they would end up regretting not backing the revolution. They’re making a big mistake. The revolution will succeed with or without them.


I’m thinking what may going thru the minds of Sheikh Buti and Mufti Hassoun. Deep down they know what is going on even though they dare not say it. Surely with massacres like this something has to give? Surely their conscience will force them to make some sort of move?

May 26th, 2012, 7:42 pm


Halabi said:

Why bomb Al Houla and surrounding villages? How could they be so dangerous yesterday but safe enough for unarmed observers to enter today?

Assad supporters should stick to the Al Qaeda line rather than admit that their criminal army is violating the cease-fire agreement. But there is no harm in confessing to the slaughter of women and children by the shabi7a – I’m sure Jaafari will note that the cease-fire agreement doesn’t forbid the use of knives to slit the throats of babies. It’s a sovereignty issue, and the Saudis and Qataris kill far more children than us…

Imagine if the children in Al Houla were Alawites or Christians, what would the reaction be. Mine will be the same, but I’m certain those who are silent today would be screaming. I hope this theory will never be tested.

May 26th, 2012, 8:03 pm


Uzair8 said:

A statement on the massacre by Sh. Yaqoubi in arabic.

Also follow on twitter:!/Shaykhabulhuda

May 26th, 2012, 8:15 pm


Tara said:


” I’m sure Jaafari will note that the cease-fire agreement doesn’t forbid the use of knives to slit the throats of babies. It’s a sovereignty issue, and the Saudis and Qataris kill far more children than us…”

And we should not get freedom because Moza has a yacht.

Very well said.

May 26th, 2012, 8:25 pm


Ghufran said:

The regime is certainly losing the PR war,after all,they are in charge,they are the ones with a real army and real heavy weapons and they have a history of using excessive force against their opponents,however,the explanation provided here and elsewhere about why children are being killed is not satisfactory. At the core of the Houla tragedy and many other tragedies is violence and revenge,every time people die on one side,a revenge attack is launched against the other side,armed Syrians,and non Syrians too,are implicated in those crimes,only animals can murder children,but the excuse given is that ” their children are not more valuable than our children”. The opposition sees the army as taking sides and acting as hit men against those who oppose the regime,but claiming that soldiers went inside homes and slaughtered children,some still in diapers,has not,and will not,receive the required scrutiny, the truth seems less important than the fact that many children were killed,pity a nation that kills its own children.

May 26th, 2012, 8:29 pm


Observer said:

Thanks Hamster for your post. As for the one who has a scratchy spot that keeps him irritated he does not seem to have the minimum intelligence to understand that the titles of Fredo reflect the abysmal nature of the new reform constitution; the unblemished elections of the great Parliament etc….. There is no ability to understand that division of power and checks and balances are the minimum modicums of a modern state and nation and that wearing Ray Ban glasses and have your picture taken staring into the distance with a firm jaw does not make Fredo modern. It rather reminds me of a medieval disgusting blood thirsty power drunkard.

Now if this regime is oh so important for our stability and the stability of the region it clearly failed to stem the tide of a wave of terrorism that is overtaking the country or so SANA tells us every day. Is there anyone out here that would be calling for the resignation of the interior minister, let alone for his questioning in Parliament?

Are you there those who continue to support this brutal medieval barbaric regime?

It is really bad very bad when such brutality is also associated with such stupidity.

Break up the stupid big prison that is called Somaria Alassad. Let all those who still want to support this regime to go and live together and get them out of our hair once and for all.

May 26th, 2012, 8:56 pm


Halabi said:

Tara – I forgot about Moza’s yacht. Hamad is definitely using it to ship arms to the FSA – it’s also a time machine that brought back the Ottomans.

NYT is reporting that Obama and Putin will discuss the Yemen model, which will surely bring on lots of debate and futile diplomacy. The revolutionaries have called for this plan for months, mostly because the first step is the burning of the president.

Even if this works and saves Syria from more bloodshed at the hands of Assad and his henchmen, Russia can’t expect that it will have any influence in a post-Assad Syria. Russians will not be able to operate in a free Syria, they will be harassed wherever they go. Their naval base will at best be the scene of a permanent protest and at worst will be constantly hit with mortar and other weapons.

If Putin is willing to talk about the polonium solution then we might be able to do some business.

U.S. Hopes Assad Can Be Eased Out With Russia’s Aid
WASHINGTON — In a new effort to halt more than a year of bloodshed in Syria, President Obama will push for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad under a proposal modeled on the transition in another strife-torn Arab country, Yemen.

In the past year, Russia has blocked any tough United Nations Security Council action against Mr. Assad, arguing that it could lead to his forced ouster and the kind of fates suffered by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, who was killed, or Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, who was imprisoned and put on trial. But Russia is facing intense international pressure to use its influence to bring about the removal of Mr. Assad as the killings in Syria continue unabated.

The Yemen example has been widely discussed in Moscow, so much so that the option has become known by its Russian term, “the Yemenskii Variant,” even in the United States. In part, that reflects Russia’s desperation for a solution to the crisis in Syria, where, the United Nations says, thousands of civilians have been killed since protests began there in March of last year.

Mr. Obama, administration officials said, will press the proposal with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia next month at their first meeting since Mr. Putin returned to his old post on May 7. Thomas E. Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, raised the plan with Mr. Putin in Moscow three weeks ago.

May 26th, 2012, 9:06 pm


Observer said:

Moderator NoteLink Added:

Here are Ban and Annan statements

” International envoy and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning the killings. “This appalling and brutal crime involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centers and violence in all its forms,” they said.

“Those responsible for perpetrating this crime must be held to account,” they added, calling on President Bashar Assad to end the use of heavy weaponry in populated areas and end all violence in the country.”

May 26th, 2012, 9:21 pm


Tara said:

Zoo @89

Thank you.

May 26th, 2012, 9:30 pm


Katamon said:

Sorry, but the analysis provided above is simplistic. If the Russians agree to a transitional government and secure their rights to keep the naval base under any agreement, they are going to keep the base. The idea that a new government, assuming a negotiated solution, will be anti-Russian or anti-Iranian is just the hopeful dream of the rebels and their supporters. Were such a government to come about it would look like something like a Mikati or Hariri government in Lebanon – that is, bland bureaucrats that have little centralized power and try to not piss anyone off too much. Think Lebanon, with the Shabiha transforming into a Hezbollah lite while the Iranians also provide support to anyone else who wants weapons, while the Sunni Arab States provide support to their own proxies. That is the kind of government that the US+whoever are proposing when talking about a Yemen model transition.

May 26th, 2012, 10:17 pm


ann said:

Houla massacre ‘indiscriminate and unforgivable’ – UN mission chief – 27 May, 2012

“We announce that unless the UN Security Council takes urgent steps for the protection of civilians, Annan’s plan is going to go to hell,” a statement by the FSA said, as cited by AFP.

Initially the massacre was reported by opposition activists, including the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who claimed that the city was shelled by government forces during an anti-regime demonstration. Reports also suggested that troops entered the city and butchered dozens of people.

Syrian state TV meanwhile reported that the attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups who exterminated several families in the Homs province.

They also burned several houses in order to push blame on the army, SANA news reported.

So far, there were no official statements blaming any particular party for the deadly attack.

Although there was no confirmation of the Syrian government’s involvement in the attack, international media and world leaders rushed to accuse the Assad regime of being behind the bloodshed.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was the first to condemn the massacre, saying that “with these new crimes, this murderous regime pushes Syria further into horror and threatens regional stability.” He also urged the Friends of Syria working group to immediately arrange a meeting on the issue in Paris.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague meanwhile is calling for an urgent session of the UN Security Council. “There are credible and horrific reports that a large number of civilians have been massacred at the hands of Syrian forces in the town of Houla, including children,” Hague said as cited by the BBC.

The White House also vehemently condemned the Houla massacre. National Security Council spokesperson Erin Pelton said the attacks serve as a “vile testament to an illegitimate regime.” The White House stated that the Syrian government responds to peaceful political protest “with unspeakable and inhuman brutality.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms” and demanded that the perpetrators be identified and held to account.

“The United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end,” she said.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he was “shocked and horrified” by the massacre.

The Arab League also censured the attack, with Secretary General Nabil Al-Arabi urging the UN to take immediate steps to stop the killings being perpetrated by both armed gangs and army soldiers in Syria. In the wake of Houla tragedy, the United Arab Emirates has called for an emergency Arab League meeting.

‘A huge misleading campaign’

­There is a huge, misleading, well-planned campaign to distort the facts on the ground and mislead the people, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad said in an exclusive interview with RT.

Mekdad claims that the Human Rights Commission and UN observer mission chief Robert Mood admitted that many of the government’s moves are indeed “provoked” by armed groups, and when “the authorities do any action it is only in self-defense.”

“The ball is not in the court of the Syrian government now or the Syrian people,” Mekdad said. “It is in the court of those who do not want to see peace and stability and security in Syria.”

The Human Rights Commission also admitted to occasionally having been “misled by the opposition to say what they said,” Mekdad added.

The minister believes that the main duty of the UN mission is to deliver the true message about the situation on the ground to the Security Council, and make it accept and voice this truth. When the first Arab mission came to the UN with its report, “they did not like it, they dismissed and sacked the whole [observer team],” Mekdad said.


May 26th, 2012, 10:44 pm


Adam said:

Hopeful #38 & 47,

#37: I’m not sure I understand how your post corrects anything said by Ghufran or myself. So, then Ghalioun didn’t learn much from the Iraqi experience? For a often-praised intellectual I’m not overly impressed in that case.

#47: Why would they do that? They certainly don’t need to; the bombings do that for them. They aren’t a truly democratically elected administration, so why would they need to act like western policitians. When the FSA and/or any other militias kill, kidnap and rape innocent people and are caught lying, in essence they are doing the regimes job for them.

Frankly, neither side seems to really care about earning the trust of the entire population.

May 26th, 2012, 10:52 pm


bronco said:

The Houla Massacre

If the UN is convinced that the Syrian government perpetrated the massacre in Houlah, there is no reason why it should wait longer to call for an urgent UNSC meeting.
Such cold blood massacre cannot be tolerated further and the culprits must be hunted and brought to justice.
To ensure the credibility of the UN mission, Ban Ki Moon must find exactly what happened and not rely on suppositions.
The sequence and the protagonists involved in that massacre must be publicly revealed.
I am expecting some moves in that direction very soon, so such massacre cannot be repeated.

May 26th, 2012, 11:28 pm


Ghufran said:

As more details become available,the picture of a civil war in Homs starts to emerge. I knew there are holes in the story about Houla,the facts that are undeniable are:
1. There are, and continue to be, a strong presence of anti regime forces in Houla
2. Shelling did take place in Houla
3. More than 90 civilians were killed,some by using knives,not bombs or bullets
4. Two villages nearby,with alawi majority ,were attacked,close to 30 civilians were killed and two entire families were exterminated in cold blood.
Death in Syria is now the great equator,nobody is immune and no side can claim innocence, I have doubts that those who were unjustly killed will see justice served.
There is a civil war in Homs,denying that does not make this fact goes away,thinking that in a civil war you have saints on one side and devils on the other is a form of denial,denial,my friends,is not a river in Egypt.

May 26th, 2012, 11:32 pm


Adam said:

I don’t always agree with As’ad AbuKhalil but here’s his thoughts on the Houla massacre, and I’d tend to agree, although I might’ve worded it a little differently:

“I received videos of the Hula massacre. Yet, I don’t believe any media of the Syrian regime and I don’t believe any media of the exile Syrian opposition. Both the Syrian regime army and the gangs of the Free Syrian Army are war criminals who are capable of murdering women and children. They both are on the same level and either could be responsible. Certainly, the regime that still holds the authority bears more responsibility as it is obligated to protect the lives of its citizens. I reiterate my position that neither the Syrian regime nor the gangs of the Free Syrian Army should be part of any future solution in Syria. Both should be excluded from power, forever.”

May 26th, 2012, 11:36 pm


bronco said:

Ghufran #112

It seems that villages are getting caught in a vendetta escalation. Who is supposed to police them and stop that vicious cycle? The Syrian army? The FSA? The UN observers?
As long as the priority is the fall of the regime on one side and the preservation of the regime on the other side, no one will stop villages killing each others, in the contrary these killings will be used by each side to blame the other, while claiming that their aim is to protect the civilians.
It’s a time of madness.

May 26th, 2012, 11:51 pm


Adam said:

Katamon #108,

While your criticism of a Yemini style arrangement maybe correct (in fact, I agree…I don’t think anything will change in Yemen as a result of the agreement, but that’s a different discussion for the upcoming blog, you seem to assume that a bunch of bureaucrats “with little centralized power” is clearly worse than the alternative. So you have a better solution? One with say a powerful central government which metes out justice in a fair and unbiased manner? Where alawites, sunnis, christians, kurds and druze all participate and everyone’s voice is heard? Where a majority doesn’t rise to power violently and abuse the rights of anyone who opposes them or their ideas?

Please explain how this works when you have a free moment.

May 27th, 2012, 12:02 am


Adam said:

Moderator NoteAdam confusion sorted out, I changed the names for you.

SC Moderator

#110, I meant to say “So then, Ghalioun didn’t learn much from the Iraqi experience?”, not Ghufran. Sorry for any confusion.

May 27th, 2012, 12:05 am


omen said:

now i know how the denial of the holocaust came into being.

May 27th, 2012, 1:26 am


Amjad said:

#113 Adam.

That’s like saying that since both the Lebanese Christian militias and PLO committed atrocities in Lebanon, the women and children of Sabra and Shatila deserved what they got.

Angry Arab is a person who hates to see others succeed. His entire life has been one miserable political failure after another. He was a communist until that ideology imploded. He supposedly champions the Palestinian cause which has gotten nowhere. He complains about Saudi and Qatari moves to fund the SNC but hypocritically forgets that the PLO was funded by Gulf oil money for decades.

He calls Abdulrazaq Tlass a terrorist, when in fact Tlass has proven a better and more committed leader than Arafat ever was; Tlass is still inside Syria, AK-47 in hand, while Arafat fled from and ruined numerous countries; the West Bank, Jordan dressed as a lady, and Lebanon.

No, Angry Arab champions nothing but holds a grudge against everyone. He only supports the Bahrain uprising because it failed. Syrian activists have proven far more sophisticated and intelligent than their Palestinian counterparts like Abu Khalil; alienating everyone and having a man-obsession about Thomas Friedman is not a way to win a cause. This is a person who lives in his own fantasy world where Israel is going to disappear next year and Russian TV is more popular than Al-Jazeera. This is a person who claimed that Syrian protest banners were written in a rebel training camp in Maryland, based on his “civil war sixth sense”.

And the visual-vomit that he calls a website is a reflection of the utter contempt he has for his own readers; this is 2012, not 2002, and a monkey could apply a professional and free theme in minutes, unless that monkey had such utter contempt for its own online visitors that it doesn’t even allow comments on its website.

Finally, let’s recall one particularly juicy tidbit. Abu Khalil’s once said that he was so glad he didn’t have to win any votes, since it meant he wouldn’t have to pamper to anyone. Which is like a homeless man being glad he doesn’t have to pay a mortgage, or a jobless one glad he doesn’t have to “pamper” to a boss. Abu Khalil doesn’t need to win votes because Abu Khalil knows that he is utterly unsuited to holding any position of responsibility, unless there’s one for stalking Thomas Friedman.

May 27th, 2012, 2:17 am


Amjad said:

Well, it’s been 48 hours since the Houlla massacre, and not one regime crony has even visited the town. Regime supporters are too busy whining that it’s all a “conthpirathy againth the prethident”. Same reason that not one official visited Ali Ferzat in hospital; you don’t pay condolences to people you consider your enemy.

Parallels with the massacre at My Lai in Vietnam are inevitable. In 1968 American soldiers went on a rampage and murdered over 400 civilians in the village. It was a known stronghold for the Viet Cong, which the Americans had been fighting for years with little to show for it. Just like the present day regime, the American army was putting out fires only to have new ones flare up. Just like the regime, the moral of the rank and file troops was abysmal. Unlike the regime, several American soldiers tried to prevent the massacre, and their actions in informing their superiors on what was happening prevented an even larger massacre there and in other villages.

And unlike the regime, someone was held accountable for the My Lai massacre and sentenced to life in prison with hard labor, although that was commuted later by Nixon, the biggest crook to ever sit in the White House.

May 27th, 2012, 2:31 am


Badr said:

Gen. Mood said his team visited Houla after a request from the residents/opposition, and not from the Syrian government.

May 27th, 2012, 3:30 am


Juergen said:

Amjad 91

Amazon is not allowed to operate legally in Syria, under the sanctions fall that no US company may deal with Syria. Thats why Asmaa had to buy the latest Harry Potter through Dubai.


I must say that you are among very few who keep up the discourse, who enjoys having an personal opinion. If the regime would live up to their commitments already agreed, we would have never learned the name of a village through this barbaric crime.

May 27th, 2012, 3:31 am


ann said:

Roadside bomb targets security men in Syrian capital, injuring 5 – 2012-05-27

DAMASCUS, May 27 (Xinhua) — A roadside bomb tore through a security forces’ vehicle in the Syrian capital of Damascus Sunday morning, injuring five security members and setting the vehicle ablaze, local media and witnesses said.

The bomb went off at Southern Motahleq highway in Damascus, witnesses said.

Details surrounding the incidents are still forthcoming, but such incidents have become daily occurrences across Syria.

On Thursday, a report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said unlawful killing, torture and ill-treatment and violation of children’s rights have continued at the hands of the Syrian government and armed opposition groups. The commission has also taken note of an increased use of improvised explosive devices by anti-government groups.

It noted a series of large explosions in which scores of civilians were killed and pointed out the explosions appear to be by suicide bombers or by explosives hidden in vehicles and detonated remotely. However, “the commission was not able to ascertain those responsible for these criminal acts,” the report said.

Meanwhile, witnesses said that a shootout occurred in Damascus’ central Midan neighborhood at early time Sunday, sending people to rush to schools to take their children out of fear of escalating violence.

The source of the shooting was not immediately clear.

Al-Midan has witnessed two large suicide bombings that targeted security patrols and killed dozens of them and civilians since early this year.


May 27th, 2012, 4:39 am


Juergen said:

“The world is not threatened by people who are evil, but of those who allow evil.”

Albert Einstein

May 27th, 2012, 6:32 am


Uzair8 said:

“Makdissi says the Syrian crisis will come to an end if the opposition outside Syria and countries who have provided the opposition with weapons accept dialogue. He says President Assad has the support of a majority of Syrians


The ‘majority’ can go to hell IF they still support him after this massacre.

May 27th, 2012, 6:32 am


Juergen said:


I think its a waste of time to think that people will change their mind about their beloved leader. How can a Godlike figure make such a bloodbath, impossible. Doubts dont exist in the mnhbak universe, and if there are some with doubts they most likely will say, if only Bashar would know what is going on.

May 27th, 2012, 6:43 am


Mina said:

dont tell the western press…
Amr Moussa’s campaign has called for investigations into voting fraud, after reports emerged of police officers issuing fake identification cards, which security force members used to vote under false identities. In a statement Saturday, Moussa’s campaign said that over 900,000 national cards were issued.*

Hamdeen Sabbahi is also filing a lawsuit calling for the suspension of Egypt’s presidential election because of alleged voting irregularities and a pending case over the right of former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to stand, Sabbahi’s lawyer said Saturday.

May 27th, 2012, 6:49 am


Alan said:

when the person tell something then they trust him ! when he deceive for a first time that they trust him for last time!!!

May 27th, 2012, 7:08 am


Alan said:

Alan Please refrain from copying and pasting material in its entirety as per the rules and regulations of the site.

SC Moderator

Oil engineers kidnapped in Syria


May 27th, 2012, 7:13 am


Uzair8 said:

#129 Jeurgen

I agree. However there are those who are silent out of fear but they will have their redlines.


128. Alan

I came across the image on Shiachat (see below). Studying the image I wasn’t sure if everything added up so I tried to look for the source. It looks like it is from the same site as the bloodied toys image Syrian Hamster shared with us.

I’ve just checked on Google Images:

“This image – which cannot be independently verified – is believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial”

Edit: Arabic and Urdu number fonts are similar. It seems ‘4’ and ‘7’ differ. In the image ‘4’ is in the arab form.

May 27th, 2012, 7:16 am


Alan said:
Al-Qaeda-linked rebels massacre families in Syria
Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups committed two massacres against several families in the town of al-Shumariyeh and Taldo in the countryside of Homs province, SANA news agency says.

Women and children are among the victims.

The agency notes that the massacres took place days before a UNSC meeting on Syria scheduled for Wednesday and the visit of the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan.


May 27th, 2012, 7:25 am


Alan said:
Syrian authorities deny carrying out Houla massacre
Syrian authorities on Sunday denied carrying out a massacre that opposition activists said killed at least 109 civilians in the central town of Houla, among the worst carnage in the 14-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad./../,,

May 27th, 2012, 7:28 am


Juergen said:


Thank you, we all waited so long to receive communiques like those from the Syrian regime.

The syrian authorities deny carrying out the massacre, but blame Al Quaida for it, without an proper investigation, regimes like the Syrian are pathetic.

Yesterday was the Eurovision song contest in Baku/ Azerbaijian. The supreme ruler of Aserbaijian Ilham Aliyev made sure that his show to Europe isnt spoiled by political oppositionists, in the last week almost 150 opponents ended up in prison, many fear that after the show, once the interest is gone, the opposition will face an “hot” summer.

Have a look how the country hosted this big eveht, just watch the opening ceremony until min: 7:00. I believe thats what make regimes so popular among some, this big pictures and gestures they offer, democratic countries tend to more modest signs of self shoulder tappings.

The daughter of the “President” has been in charge of operating the event, the family of the “President” has control over the key industry and controls the biggest Oil company, who was a main sponsor of this event.

Aliyev who inherated his presidency from his father Heydar Aliyev in 2003, sounds familiar doesnt it? The funniest moment came when the son in law of the “president” had his own performance in the show, he is the best known singer in the country. Emin then employed more than 60 dancers, musicians and singers for his act, in which he flew through the air top the stage…

watch from 2hours 17 min onwards…

May 27th, 2012, 8:15 am


Adam said:

#118 Amjad,

I’ve got a few problems with your post, despite my opinion that some of your complaints about AbuKhalil are correct.

1. The quote said nothing about “Syrian women and children”, so the comparison simply doesn’t hold up. No one, and I mean that in the fullest sense of the term, will convince anyone with even the slightest sense of decency to agree that woman and children, regardless of location (i.e. in Houla or anywhere else) “deserve what they got” (your term not mine….or anyone else that I’m aware of). So please don’t attack an argument that is not being presented.

2. Please re-read my post and take special note of the opening sentence where I specifically state that I don’t always agree with him. Your list of dis-qualifications you give has to do with the argument given. If he is such a moron, is worthless, etc… then let’s stick to the actual statement, which if you’re correct about him, should be easy to dismantle. If the argument is fallacious provide the reasons, rather than telling us that the writer is so bad (in your opinion) that no one should ever listen to him or read his opinion. I often find his opinion either simple snarkiness or quite a stretch of reason, sometimes taking someone else out of context. However, here I agree with the principle of his statement, although, as I stated, I would’ve written it differently.

May 27th, 2012, 8:28 am


Osama said:

Sorry to all the oppositionists…

Who ever committed the crime in Alhoula, you have to admit that either side could have done it!

Instead insisting that the regime did it, insist that the UN investigates it properly, this is the least the poor people deserve. I don’t think it is right to use this crime to further your 1 dimensional agenda – “get rid of Bashar!” as if he is personally carrying out everything.

Suppose for a moment that he leaves, and the regime collapses, what then? Libya has oil to buy acquiesce from the disparate groups, Syria will just go the way of Lebanon… I think all Syrians need to step back from the brink and look for a way out that does not involve regime collapse, followed by a bloody free-for-all. The Kurds don’t want to stay, the minorities will fight on without the regime, the Salafi’s will start killing those that are not religious enough, Rifaat and Khaddam are waiting in the wings to try and recover what they view as their rightful places…. time to get real or everybody loses!

If you choose to follow this dead-end road, you in one of two situations, to emulate Lebanon or to emulate Iraq, either way its bad or worse. Reform that takes many years is surely more attractive than losing an entire generation to civil war, anybody who says otherwise deserves what they get for being insanely stubborn about it!

May 27th, 2012, 8:40 am


Observer said:

So here we go again with MINA directing us to the formation of a new coalition in MALI !!!!
Oh I am so scared that there is now a new coalition in MALI that is about to threaten the world.
How relevant is this posting? This is spam at its worst.

ALAN quotes the Russian media; as if that country is a beacon of freedom of the press or of freedom in general. Russia is a country without ideology and is actually has become xenophobic and ultra nationalist as it is slowly and surely being relegated to a lower ranking in the world. In these days it exports weapons, gas, and very unfortunately women. With its birth rate it will be ranked similar to Italy in the next 10 years.

ANN quotes the Chinese as if their control of the internet and of search engines and their record in Tibet is a beacon of inspiration to the oppressed in the world.

All of these quotes are a distraction. Now the Jack in a Box Makdisi announced an inquiry which he insisted is going to give its report in three days.

How can he be so certain that the commission will finish its work in three days?
Did he name the members? Who do they report to? To Fredo? Do they report to the new shining Parliament? WIll the Parliament have its own commission of inquiry? Will it by the Justice Miniser? Will it be independent?

By the way Makdisi what happened to the inquiry about the death by torture of the boy Hamza Alkhatib? Can you produce that report?

Makdisi is caught as he claims that the regime is doing all it can to protect civilians and puts the blame squarely on terrorist groups. If the regime has failed in protecting civilans it should resign at the very least. If it is terrorist elements and he knows it why the commission of inquiry then? We know the results.

Incompetence or brutality or brutal incompetence or incompetent brutality these are the choices of the current state of this regime.

Now not even Russia is capable of covering for this unbelievable stupidity and this horrendous narrative. China at least looks embarrassed.

I want to take bets:
The commission will publish its report in less than three days: ” Under the direction and the steady gaze of the Doctor President Commander in Chief Head of the Supreme Court and Proposal of Legislation to the Majlis and using the latest iPad and e mail technology the commission of inquiry concluded that:
Al-Qaeda was behind the tank shelling of the villages
FSA members killed families to provoke a civil war.
Mossad-CIA orchestrated all of this and Satellite Networds fabricated the videos.
The world wide conspiracy to destroy the resistance has failed and the steadfast position of Somaria has earned it the enmity of the forces of evil around the world”.

Any other conclusions about the report of the infamous commission of inquiry are welcome.

May 27th, 2012, 8:44 am


Tara said:

There have been few people who survived The Houla massacre.  The UN observer mission should give them and their family a protected status and perhaps grant them asylum somewhere so they come forward and spell what happened.  I don’t know what other evidences the mission is looking for except for witness accounts.  There can’t be possibly DNA evidence for a crime like this.  Few Youtube videos of survivors have surfaced incriminating the regime.  The UN mission should find the survivors, give them the needed protected status and document their accounts.

I am glad that the UN mission documented the number of the dead, otherwise the SC pundits would have tell us the video of the slaughtered babies was fabricated, the bodies were larger than life dolls, and the massacre never happened.
Syria denies Annan’s deputy permission to visit
By HAMZA HENDAWI | Associated Press – 25 mins ago

CAIRO (AP) — A senior Arab League official says Syria has denied permission for a deputy of U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to travel to Damascus.
The official says Syria made clear that the decision against former Palestinian foreign minister Nasser al-Kidwa is not personal, but rather because it did not want to deal with the Arab League.
The official spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Annan is due in Damascus on Monday. The Arab League named Al-Kidwa as his deputy in March.
Syria, where nearly 10,000 have died since a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began last year, says the League became a tool of the West. The group suspended Syria’s membership and approved sanctions against it late last year.

May 27th, 2012, 9:34 am


zoo said:

Since Syria has been suspended from the Arab League and submitted to sanctions, the Arab League envoy rebuffed from visiting Syria with Kofi Annan.

CAIRO (AP) — A senior Arab League official says Syria has denied permission for a deputy of U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to travel to Damascus.

The official says Syria made clear that the decision against former Palestinian foreign minister Nasser al-Kidwa is not personal, but rather because it did not want to deal with the Arab League.

May 27th, 2012, 9:39 am


Tara said:


Tara 141# Zoo142

Never too late …for what? Did not get it.

May 27th, 2012, 9:55 am


Mina said:

Calling people names is the only thing you excel in, it seems to me.

May 27th, 2012, 10:00 am


irritated said:

Observer #140

I think you better calm down by watching The Godfather or Batman for the nth time with a popcorn or too.
You’ll still be able to learn something, but please don’t share it with us. We have enough of teenagers rantings around here

May 27th, 2012, 10:16 am


zoo said:

#143 Tara

I did the same with your #141. Just wanted to put the context in perspective.

May 27th, 2012, 10:20 am


Tara said:


Honestly, may be when you have an unfulfilled desire to discuss Mali or Cambodia, you want to find yourself a Mali comment and shine there? A massacre of 32 children below age 10 is committed in Homs and you bringing up Mali can be easily misunderstood as spam, distraction, and bankruptcy of thoughts. There must be some unspoken code of conduct that bloggers must adhere to in respect for other bloggers.

If you are incapable of feeling humane towards the slaughtered babies, then please do not show it to us.

Sorry for being a bit aggressive, not my nature…but the truth needs to be heard.

May 27th, 2012, 10:22 am


AIG said:


90 people have been massacred, including 38 people, and what you think is important are irregularities in Egyptian elections and how the Western press reports them. Don’t you understand what Observer is telling you? Don’t you see how callous your post is?

May 27th, 2012, 10:22 am


Ghufran said:

With the regime being unable to secure certain parts of Syria and reduce blood shed,and with fighting parties refusing to stop violence,a third party with teeth not just blue hats may be needed,at least in certain areas,without improving security no peaceful solution can be found,pride and other issues have prevented the deployment of peace keeping forces in Syria,but that option may be the lesser of two evils especially that the government army is absolutely unwanted and distrusted in a number of towns and cities.
I am more worried about a large scale civil war than the feelings of hardline nationalists because those nationalists will have no country to call home if Syrians become victims or dead men walking. Such deployment if done on a limited basis targetting certain spots is much better than what those spots are going through,I can think of at least two areas that must be arms-free zones where nobody except an international peace keeping force is allowed to carry arms,this option will be bitterly opposed by regime supporters for political reasons,but I wonder what other solutions are available now if the regime seems unable to stop the bleeding after 14 months.

May 27th, 2012, 10:42 am


Norman said:

many of president Assad supporters are blaming him not for doing too much but for doing too little to safeguard the civilian population from being stuck in the cross fire between the Syrian Arab army and the FSA that is using the civilians as human shield and hiding behind them, what the Syrian army needs to do is to ask the UN to force the FSA to let the civilians leave so the fight will be between the combatants.

May 27th, 2012, 10:49 am


bronco said:

Tara #147

As long as there is no result on the probing by the UN observers, I think there is no point in repeating at each post that children were killed. It is a terrible tragedy but hammering it won’t neither bring them back nor prevent more children to be killed by hatred. The real culprits must be hunted and stopped, that is what counts.

Are you now asking people to stop commenting on any other subject than these killings? Then we should all stop relating the events in the region that are indirectly or directly affecting the situation in Syria and we should just mourn indefinitely and feel good by reading accusations on the Syrian army when proofs are still absent.

If you want to do that, it’s your choice, but let others report what they feel is important, and just skip them like I do with the commenters that I find childish, hateful, unproductive or just boring.

May 27th, 2012, 11:03 am


bronco said:

150. Norman

The FSA and the armed gangs without the civilians have no chance to survive.
That’s why they hide among them so the civilians protect them instead of the other way around. Many civilians are dying while FSA soldiers and criminals are surviving.
Even if the civilians realize they are been used as humans shields, they are trapped.
As you said, the only option is for the Syrian Red Cross to offer to the civilians the opportunity to leave temporarily these villages, so the FSA and other armed gangs will have no choice than to leave ‘tactically’, like they did in Baba Amr when all civilians were gone.

May 27th, 2012, 11:12 am


AIG said:

Norman and Bronco,

You guys are hilarious. What should be done is to make the Syrian army and the regime move out of civilian centers and then Nato can fight them without civilians being hurt. But the fact is that Assad and the regime supporters are hiding behind civilians. Let’s see them come into the open and not hide behind civilians.

And next time there is a war between Israel and Syria, we will be happy to use your logic and demand that Damascus be emptied of its civilians so that the regime can be bombed without creating collateral damage. I wonder what you would say about that.

Again, your rhetoric is pure hypocrisy. You would never dream of applying it to yourself in similar situations. But what can be expected from people that believe aliens with Russian tanks are responsible for the massacre?

May 27th, 2012, 11:22 am


Tara said:


People are free to post what they find relevant. I don’t own this blog. I still though find it extremely inappropriate for a self-proclaimed Syrian tourist to not offer a word of condolences in regard to the killed babies while crying us a river in regard to any atrocity committed against a Copt or a Bahraini, and I am not trying here to lessen the sanctity of any human life. Additionally, I am not asking anyone to point a finger at the regime. I am asking for people to acknowledge the death of the innocents and the babies with even a single phrase before they continue on with their mission of enlightening us with their preferred news.

And may be I am missing something but can you help me understand how an event in
Mali or Cambodia is relevant.

May 27th, 2012, 11:27 am


AIG said:

Norman and Bronco,

Your whole attitude towards this massacre is nauseating. Who are you fooling with the “let’s wait for the investigation to end” facade. We all know what your excuses will be when the UN blames the regime. You will say it was local and Assad did not condone or command this. You will say that because of what a few people did you cannot condemn the whole regime and that it is the best alternative given the options.

So why are you BSing us? Just tell us up front that you really don’t care who is responsible and that anyway you will continue supporting this murderous regime.

May 27th, 2012, 11:30 am


Akbar Palace said:

Academic Brain-Lock Alert

A new thread posted by Professor Josh!

How exciting!

Let’s take a gander at the articles our dear Professor has posted and the corresponding implications.

The Thread: Sanctions Stop Food Getting to Syria but Not Arms Implication: sanctions hurting Syrians not Assad

Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions Implication: see above, deflect blame from Assad

Russian arms shipment en route to Syria: report Implication: none, neutral

Israel steps up security ties with China Implication: certainly not the Baathist murderer

(Reuters) – Syria is struggling to meet its grain import needs because of sanctions, raising the risk of bread shortages. Implication: evil Assad sactions

You guessed it. Professor Josh is being awfully careful not to disparage the President he supported for so many years…

May 27th, 2012, 11:40 am


AIG said:


Let’s start making the list of excuses Norman and Bronco will use when the UN blames the regime.

1) Assad didn’t order this. Where is the proof that he did?
2) There are rumors that the local commander was planning to defect and he did it to make Assad look bad.
3) The UN investigation was influenced by the West and cannot be trusted.

What else will they say?
Aren’t they so predictable?

May 27th, 2012, 11:41 am


bronco said:

Tara #154

I understand your point of view, but often relevance is subjective. As I mentioned before, when I find many posts irrelevant and stupid, I just ignore them. Recently I have been ignoring a lot though with the influx of new zealous commenters.

Syrian tourists are sometimes more keen about Syria than some Syrian expats posting here, whose culture is apparently heavily brainwashed by US TV and movies.

May 27th, 2012, 11:44 am


AIG said:


Of course relevance is subjective. Only a brainwashed American would think that what two militias in Mali are doing is not relevant to a massacre in Syria.

And of course the people in Syria are so much smarter than those in the US. In the US people are “brainwashed” even though there is a free press while in Syria they can see everything clearly because they have a direct connection to SANA.

Your posts are getting more hilarious by the minute.

May 27th, 2012, 11:57 am


zoo said:

The Yemen “solution” back on the table

U.S. Hopes Assad Can Be Eased Out With Russia’s Aid

WASHINGTON — In a new effort to halt more than a year of bloodshed in Syria, President Obama will push for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad under a proposal modeled on the transition in another strife-torn Arab country, Yemen.

The plan calls for a negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Mr. Assad’s government in place. Its goal is the kind of transition under way in Yemen, where after months of violent unrest, President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down and hand control to his vice president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in a deal arranged by Yemen’s Arab neighbors. Mr. Hadi, though later elected in an uncontested vote, is viewed as a transitional leader.

The success of the plan hinges on Russia, one of Mr. Assad’s staunchest allies, which has strongly opposed his removal.

Mr. Obama, administration officials said, will press the proposal with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia next month
While Mr. Medvedev did not knock down Mr. Obama’s recent suggestion to seek a political transition based on the Yemen model, he did not exactly sign on, either.
And even if Mr. Putin does agree to the Yemen model, it is unclear if he and Mr. Obama have the same definition of what that model is — or how to put it into effect.
In Syria, by contrast, Mr. Assad oversees a security state in which his minority Alawite sect fears that if his family is ousted, it will face annihilation at the hands of the Sunni majority. That has kept the government remarkably cohesive, cut down on military defections and left Mr. Assad in a less vulnerable position than Mr. Saleh. Even if he leaves, American officials conceded, there is no obvious candidate to replace him.

“The Assad regime is galvanized against these kinds of splits,” said Andrew J. Tabler, an expert on Syria at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “That’s one reason it has been so hard to crack this regime.”

May 27th, 2012, 11:58 am


AIG said:

AIG Please check your email.

(this is an answer to a post that was removed)


Is that the best you got? Why don’t you come to free the Golan and “die honorably” as you have been advising the FSA?

Or do you have any additional hypocritical advice that you want to share with us? Advice that you would never follow yourself of course.

May 27th, 2012, 12:08 pm


Uzair8 said:

Assad gambles on the world ignoring his brutality
Richard Spencer , London
May 28, 2012.

[Selected quote]

“Earlier this month in Damascus I listened to cosmopolitan people I liked and trusted tell me that agents of Gulf countries had laced the food of demonstrators with drugs, driving them out of their minds. It had not occurred to them that the television reports which told them this were lies, drawn from the Arab Spring boilerplate, and they seemed shocked when I mentioned that Colonel Gaddafi’s henchmen had told me exactly the same of his Libyan opponents a year ago.”

Read more:

May 27th, 2012, 12:11 pm


Antoine said:

Antoine It is not my job to edit your post. Self moderate or I will trash your comment, same goes to anyone else.

SC Moderator

SC Moderator,

Several of my comments on the first page were simply trashed, despite the fact that I felt they didn’t contain any objectionable material.

I would request an explanation as to how they contravened the rules.

I request you, next time, please edit out the objectionable parts you feel like, but please publish the comment.

May 27th, 2012, 12:16 pm


Tara said:

AIG @154

CC: Bronco

Sorry…  The truth is that I find Bronco intelligent, sophisticated, informative, and a real gentleman; and I miss his contributions tremendously when he takes a vacation.  While I feel at ease disagreeing with what he says at times, I do not like it when someone else tries to personalize the discussion about him.


May 27th, 2012, 12:17 pm


AIG said:


We will have to disagree, I find Bronco’s views pretentious and hypocritical to the max. His views are also childish and contradictory. For example, he calls to boycott me but in fact he did answer me but his post was removed.

May 27th, 2012, 12:22 pm


Uzair8 said:

Apparantly a documentary is airing on Channel 4 (UK) on monday night, called ‘Dispatches: The Real Mr & Mrs Assad’. In it there will be defectors testimony and footage not previously seen on UK TV.

Here is a related article:

Syrian defectors accuse Assad relatives of ordering crimes against humanity

Jonathan Miller
Sunday 27 May 2012

New evidence has emerged that members of Bashar al-Assad’s family and inner circle are directly ordering the commission of crimes against humanity in Syria. Experts in international law consider it “preposterous and completely implausible” that the president himself would be unaware of the systematic and widespread killing and torture.

May 27th, 2012, 12:23 pm


zoo said:

The Moslem Brotherhood is not so bad after all.

Egypt’s Brotherhood would keep Israel treaty: Carter
By Tom Pfeiffer | Reuters – 8 hrs ago

CAIRO (Reuters) – The Muslim Brotherhood may seek to modify, but will not destroy, Egypt’s 33-year-old peace treaty with Israel, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Saturday.

But some of the election contenders said the peace treaty should be reviewed, partly because of perceptions the deal Carter brokered was biased in Israel’s favour.

Carter said the treaty had not been violated by either side since its inception and that any problems had been resolved peacefully, including a flare-up of tension last year over the killing of some Egyptian border guards.

“The Israelis apologised for that. They see great value in preserving the treaty,” said Carter.

The Camp David accords were also supposed to guarantee the rights of the Palestinians, at Sadat’s insistence, but that aspect had not been honoured, Carter said.


May 27th, 2012, 12:29 pm


bronco said:


I am the one who removed the reply to AIG. It was just an offensive small drawing and I thought he would’nt understand it anyway

May 27th, 2012, 12:36 pm


mjabali said:

Stop your blame game to see the real picture for once: The Syrians are killing each other with more death to come and all what you do are personal insults and I am right and you are wrong.

Could any of you present any real reliable information about what is taking place? Could you generate a conversation that does not try to exclude the other part of the dialogue? This is what many deserve to see here on this great blog, not, who is right and who is wrong? The number of the dead Syrians makes most arguments on this board a wast of time.

Most of you are sitting in the comfort of your homes in the West. But, you still claim to know what really happened 12000 miles away. Syria is at a dead end right now. Blaming mixed with this insane violence are not solving matters. The products of this logic are death, more death and increase of hatred.

May 27th, 2012, 12:44 pm


Antoine said:

Antoine Please check your email.

SC Moderator

SC Moderator,

I thought it is the job of the Moderator to edit offensive comments. I’m sorry if I’m mistaken, but I’m sure a Moderator does edit comments.

I still haven’t received an explanation as to why my comments were trashed. Another comments I made just a few minutes ago was trashed.

I feel I deserve an explanation as to which portions exactly were objectionable. Otherwise, it will be difficult for me to self-moderate, without knowing exactly what required moderation and what is objectionable.

Failing which, I will make a representation to the owner of this Blog, Joshua Landis, seeking to clarify SC Rules, Moderation Policy, interpretaions of those rules, and especially, the way they are currently being implemented by SC Moderation.

May 27th, 2012, 12:48 pm


Badr said:


Could you please tell us not how to reach, but what you think the salvation for Syria should be.

May 27th, 2012, 2:08 pm


Osama said:

To all oppositionists 

I appreciate that you have a great enthusiasm for change in Syria, but this should not come at the expense of Syrian lives, especially not children.

I also appreciate your self righteous attitude, it’s hard not be self righteous when your against a dictatorial regime. But don’t let this blind you to that fact that innocents are dying on this chess board, most of them don’t even have a view one way or the other. I suspect that many of those who have died and will die have no ambition beyond making an honorable living and being able to make ends meet and making sure their children have it better than themselves.

Bottom line is that no one needed to die, but that some people of equally (or even more so)dubious moral standards as Assad, have decided that a change is needed to suit their interests and are taking advantage of naive Syrian to do their dirty work for them.

This is real life, with real bullets and real dead children. So get of your high horse and smell the death around you. 

The US/NATO is using the oppositionists and it’s not because they love you, it’s because it serves THEIR interests. Hmmmmm…. Let’s see, what could those possibly be….

Wake up, you could have gotten everything you wanted and probably more, if you stuck it out. And now, instead you’ve lost all credibility and thousands more will die because you believe getting rid of Assad will magically bring about some sort of Nirvana… Oops! Big mistake.

There is no vision beyond “kill Assad.” your probably so afraid to bring it up because you know as soon as you achieve your goal, you’ll start killing each other!

May 27th, 2012, 2:08 pm


Alan said:


once again i am not a voice of Syrian regime .
concerning Azerbaijan: there are two types of bitch’s son one is our and other stranger! it was not difficult to notice them sitting near the madam Clinton in security council of the United Nations in one maestro the young representative of Azerbaijan and the representative of Colombia!! close friends of the USA

May 27th, 2012, 2:14 pm


Tara said:


Please stop lecturing us. The solution is for Assad (and the crisis management cell directly responsible for orders to kill) to die, vanish, disappear, exiled, slaughtered, or arrested then the rest if the regime and the opposition sit around one table with Annan observing and form a transitional unity government until a fair election. Anything less is delusional.

This is not rocket science. It is common sense.

May 27th, 2012, 2:21 pm


Alan said:
Syria: It Is Getting Urgent For Assad To Act

Some 90 people, 30+ of them children died yesterday night near Houla in the Homs countryside in Syria.

The rebels claim that government forces shelled the area ellegedly in revenge for the killing of some government soldiers. The Syrian government’s news agency Sana claims (graphic pictures) that these were two attacks by “Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups”. It also reports that 27 army and law enforcement members were buried today.

The UN monitors found debris of tank and artillery ammunition in Houla that would be consistent with the use of government weapons.

Yesterday’s status report (pdf) by the Annan mission speaks of continued violence by rebel groups, government forces and by established terrorist groups. It notes attacks by opposition forces on UN monitors.

May 27th, 2012, 2:23 pm


Uzair8 said:

Didn’t Assad recently say that they (regime) had lost the media war. Are they no longer bothered about PR/media reaction hence the escalation?

A massacre to deter opposition (or revenge for poisoning plot) followed by a diversion. Didn’t Assad recently say they would display to the world captured foreign fighters?

May 27th, 2012, 2:33 pm


Juergen said:


by quoting the Assad family media outlets you send to me that impression, but no offence if otherwise. I always was keen to the fact that each of us are able to have an opinion of their own. To many of us SANA and AL Dunia state propaganda ( and thats what it is, just read the account of an journalist friend of Yazbek, she wrote that all news comes directly from the ministries.)is an insult of our intelligence. If you have doubts about this regime or want to give some insights why you seem to tolerate brutal military force against unarmed sivilians, go ahead. See, I dont blame anyone who profits from the status quo, just share your own thoughts, your ideas why Syria is better ruled the way it is.

Azerbaijan is pampered by the west like Assad was pampered, but the difference is that they are sitting on the worlds biggest gasfields, apparently that makes a difference in world perception of dictatorships. I know that governments are as misguided and show the lowest integrity just like individual persons would do.

May 27th, 2012, 3:04 pm


Uzair8 said:

Hmm…I wonder?

Did the regime carry out the massacre in order to shake off this UN monitoring mission (Annan plan). The FSA is now saying that it cannot abide by the mission any longer. We also have the SNC making a call to arms and calling for a ‘battle of liberation’.

I always felt that Annan was going to remain engaged and not let setbacks get in the way making it difficult for the regime to shake him off if it wanted to. It would take something off-the-scale to achieve this whilst provoking the opposition to abandon the plan ensuring they get the blame for the failure of the mission.

May 27th, 2012, 3:37 pm


Juergen said:


I feel reminded alot of what has happend by actions committed by government forces in Algeria in the late 90s, may be Bouteflika sent in some experts to his buddy Assad.

Kafranbel posted again

May 27th, 2012, 3:40 pm


Uzair8 said:

176 Jeurgen

Absolutely! I have wondered that too. It’s very possible.

May 27th, 2012, 3:44 pm


Tara said:

Bashar is ruling by murder.  Unless the regime feels threatened by imminent air strikes against it, the Houla massacre is destined to happen again.  Condemning the massacre with the strongest possible terms ( or not that strongest terms) isn’t going to deter the regime from perpetrating another pogrom.  Having Sweden or Hawian observers staying at the Sheraton and reporting what they observe is not a deterrent factor either.   There is no stick there.  The world must stand up to its responsibility with or without Russia.  The FOS must meet and threaten Bashar with an air strike against him unless he accepts a Yamenite kind of solution.  A smart drone to the presidential palace would suffice…I personally would offer him no prayor for the dead.

May 27th, 2012, 3:50 pm


Juergen said:

Could someone explain me why this blue/white sportsdressmen can shoot in Damascus inmidst the military?

May 27th, 2012, 3:59 pm


Tara said:

A new massacre is in the make. Now in Hama.., how many babies are going to be slaughtered this time? 30 are reported killed.

May 27th, 2012, 4:04 pm


Uzair8 said:

123. Uzair8

There is reason to believe the image could be from Iraq and not Syria.

On a forum someone pointed to a site. Third picture down. There may some gruesome images lower down. I didn’t scroll down all the way:

May 27th, 2012, 4:05 pm


Juergen said:

DER SPIEGEL on the Houla massacre

“My Lai. Sabra and Shatilla. Srebrenica. And now hula. Measured against the international outrage that caused the recent massacre in the village in the north-eastern Syria, whose name could soon be as a symbol for the murder of civilians as the place names are from Vietnam, Lebanon and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The news of the attack on the village, where on the night of Friday to Saturday after the UN expressed at least a hundred people were killed, was acknowledged on the weekend around the globe with disgust.”

Thank you Uzair, you show integrity.

May 27th, 2012, 4:19 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Juergen 179,

Because he is a shabbiha. Shabbiha are above the law in the land of mn7ebaks.

May 27th, 2012, 4:19 pm


Observer said:

No one among the love stricken pro regime supporters responded to my critique of the regime.

Either the regime is responsible for the massacre or it is incapable of protecting the people there is no other explanation.

There is no excuse for incompetence or brutality or incompetent brutality or brutal incompetence.

There is complete blindness to both the incompetence and the brutality.

Who was responsible for Hamza Alkhatib? Where is the result of the investigation promised by Fredo/

Even Russia cannot deny the massacre. It cannot provide any cover and is using a pretext of smuggling arms to continue to give license to kill to this murderous regime.

If Putin of the Kremlin thinks that he can do a Chechnya in Syria he is a fool.

May 27th, 2012, 4:24 pm


Tara said:

The UNSC is making a mockery out of itself.  It is making itself irrelevant.  They are better enjoying Sunday afternoon in NYC than to waste their times and ours.  The statement is going go be an impotent one.  I can hear the butcher of Damascus giggling in ecstasy amidst the slaughtered babies, the body parts, and the impotent UNSC.  Where are the Arabs?  Why aren’t they arming the opposition?

May 27th, 2012, 4:26 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


What is the message that you want to convey by posting the Mali news? That there is an Islamic awakening in the Arab/Muslim world? We already know this. That there is a global US-MB conspiracy? You read AngryArab too much.

The Islamic awakening is a reaction to the tyrants and dictators that you admire. No tyrants, no Islamic awakening. As simple as that.

May 27th, 2012, 4:30 pm


Juergen said:


this giggling is so out of place with this batta butcher…


Good you are around! Missed Israel yesterday at the ESC.

There must be an style store for them, all of those thugs look like they buy their dresses from the same store.

May 27th, 2012, 4:31 pm


Uzair8 said:

#185 Tara:

UNSC, Assad giggling. Reminded me of a former British commanders comment today:

“…anything short of military intervention will be relatively ineffective, because I think President Assad and his henchmen feel propped up and supported…”

Thank you Russia and Iran.

May 27th, 2012, 4:34 pm


Observer said:

Here are four sites that are pro regime describing a version of the massacre.

If you are to give them credence BEFORE the UN report comes through and BEFORE the result of the investigation which will give us their findings according to Makdisi in three days; there is complete incompetence at the very least on the part of the regime to protect the people of Syria.

Wouldn’t this require “helping” the regime to combat these terrorists? I challenge therefore any one who refuses to demand the deployment of Brasilian Maylasian, Indonesian, Nepali, New Zealand, Norwegian, Austrian, Swedish, Estonian, Lithuanian, Sudanese, Algerian troops to Syria to help the stretched thin troops to stem the terrorist storm that is engulfing this poor country.

I chose those nationalities because they have a tradition of neutrality including those from India

May 27th, 2012, 4:36 pm


zoo said:

Israel sees Iranian hand in Syria killings
AFP – 1 hr 32 mins ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday voiced “revulsion” over the bloodshed in Syria, while accusing Iran and its Lebanese militia ally Hezbollah of being accomplices.

He was “revolted was by the incessant massacres conducted by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against … civilians … which continued over the weekend in the town of Houla,” the premier’s office said.
“Iran and Hezbollah are an inseparable part of the Syrian atrocities, and the world needs to act against them too,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying


May 27th, 2012, 4:41 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


I call the sneakers-shabbi7a. They always look as if they are on their way to, or from the gym.

I liked the Albanian song!

May 27th, 2012, 4:42 pm


Osama said:


Excuse me for pointing out the obvious. It’s clear that you need to step out of the echo chamber your living in and realize that Bashar is not the problem and his going away will not end in your pitiful and delusional expectation that fair elections will result.

What will happen is what happens everywhere you have humans in control, their will be a fight to fill the vacuum and that depends on which factions the Turks, GCC, Iran, Israel/US back. You can’t be that naive to think they will leave you alone to fix things… They have not so far …. The flood of weapons were pouring in at the same time all the opposition was screaming that they are not for foreign intervention a year ago.

May 27th, 2012, 4:44 pm


zoo said:

Syria defiantly denies killings, UN council meets

BEN HUBBARD | Associated Press – 29 mins ago

Britain and France had proposed issuing a press statement condemning the massacre, but Russia told Security Council members it could not agree and wanted a briefing first by Norwegian Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, the head of the U.N. observer team inside the country.
A video released by the U.N. team in Syria on Sunday … also showed two destroyed armored personnel carriers — suggesting that local rebels put up more of a fight than the activists acknowledged.

At U.N. headquarters, Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Alexander Pankin told reporters as he headed into the closed-door Security Council meeting that “there is substantial ground to believe that the majority of those who were killed were either slashed, cut by knives, or executed at point-blank distance.”

“We have to establish whether it was Syrian authorities … before we agree on something,” he said.
The U.S. hopes Russia can use its influence with Damascus to press for a political transition similar to that seen in Yemen.

U.S. officials say Russia does not oppose a political transition in Syria in theory, but has not agreed to specific terms.


May 27th, 2012, 4:46 pm



We want Assads hanging at Marje Square, their palace and properties burnt down and his allies judged for life in prison. Even old Assad supporters are beginning to turn sides. Assads go away. Go Away. GO AWAY.

May 27th, 2012, 5:03 pm


Uzair8 said:

The Stephen Nolan show is starting now on BBC Radio 5. The first discussion is on the Houla massacre. There is an award ceremony going on so there may be some back-and-forth:

Or go straight to radioplayer:

May 27th, 2012, 5:04 pm


bronco said:


The people who are calling for Bashar to step down before securing a viable alternative are mostly living in the West. They and their family in Syria are well off and protected. They will not feel much of the hardship and pain the average or poor Syrian will go through. They live in a bubble and want to win the ‘game’ at any cost.
Their solidarity with the Syrians is limited to the ones who think like them. The others, as some commenter said should be ‘deported’ or ‘eliminated’.
I wonder what they have learned in the west besides self-righteous conviction.

May 27th, 2012, 5:06 pm


Juergen said:


I was quite upset the dutch got kicked out so early.

I wanted to see Quardaha by myself, but failed to find a taxi in Latakia to take me there. I went to the airport and found a driver who agreed to take me there and back. After approching his car I saw that his back window had an big black bumper sticker with daddy hafez,womanizer basil and the eyedoctor. They call it the syrian trinity. This fellow had his iranian made car pimped up with an eqally sized front window picture of Bashar. While driving to the village on a 5 lane highway i noticed the many tatoos this guy had on his both arms, usually still a good sign in Syria for more or less shady folks.
BTW the village itself is a dull place, one would have expected an golden 50 m statue of Hafez turning around with the course of the sun…,r:6,s:12,i:18)

May 27th, 2012, 5:38 pm


Tara said:

Bronco @196

Number one, What is considered a “viable alternative” in your mind that if Syrians to secure, you would call for Bashar to step down?

Secondly, are you having a memory issues? Did you forget that the LCC, the FSA, and all those demonstrating who are located in Syria are calling for Bashar to step down or die which render your comment about us who are sitting behind our computers in the west inaccurate? Do I really need to remind you with the banners shown in almost every demonstration that say “the people want the execution of the president”

May 27th, 2012, 5:40 pm


Uzair8 said:

Some worrying assessments and predictions from Fawaz Gerges and Prof Joshua Landis:

May 27th, 2012, 5:50 pm


Tara said:

Condemnation by the UNSC using “the strongest possible terms”, then what?  Awaiting the following massacre?

Security Council condemns mass Syria killing by government artillery, tank shelling
Monday, 28 May 2012

The U.N. Security Council on Sunday unanimously condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the Syrian government for heavy-weapons attacks on the town of Houla, the site of a massacre of at least 108 people, including many children, the council president said.

A statement agreed by the 15-nation council, including Syrian ally Russia, said the attacks “involved a series of government artillery and tank shelling on a residential neighborhood” and again demanded that President Bashar al-Assad withdraw heavy weapons from Syrian towns.

“The Security Council also condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse,” said the statement, which was read out after the council’s three-hour emergency meeting by Azerbaijan’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Tofig Musayev.


May 27th, 2012, 6:16 pm


Tara said:

Where is Buthina Shaaban? I have been a long term admirer.. Did Batta the Wahsh finally cave in to Shehrazad and replaced her completely with the young more charismatic Jihad Makdisi? Was jihad hand-picked by Shahrazad or by Hadeel? I would like to know. I must ask auntie.

Just for fairness purpose, I think Jihad is more representable than Buthina. No age or gender discrimination here. It is just an overall assessment.

May 27th, 2012, 6:24 pm


Halabi said:

We will see some “terrorists” confessing to the Houla massacres on Syrian TV soon, then Jaafari will wave a CD claiming that this is proof that Assad’s soldiers and militias weren’t involved. No one will believe it, and in a few months another “terrorist” will confess to the same crime, just like they did with the Saria Hassoun killing. Of course we have more massacres in the works, so the shabiha in state TV have lots of stories to make up.

Perhaps someday there will be a real investigation and a legitimate government will capture and try the killers. Of course this suggestion is considered radical and seditious by Assad supporters who are content with forced confession theater.

May 27th, 2012, 6:44 pm


Ghufran said:

The UNSC’s statement did not satisfy those who wanted a stronger position from it and a clear indication that it will take actions against the regime. Again,I am surprised that some people are surprised,the council has two members who will not sign on any decision that is seen as aggressive or one sided,furthermore,Mood indicates in his report that many civilians were assassinated by using knives and bullets and not bombs,this clearly points to the fact that the story of 90 civilians dying from tanks and mortar shelling is not credible.
Anti regime forces now have to explain how shabeehas and army officers managed to get in heavily populated areas that have a strong presence of armed revels, did what they did,then got away. Alhoula massacre,my friends,is the ugly face of a civil war that has been brewing in Homs for months,neither the army,nor the FSA can stop people from killing each other,a third force is needed,and in Homs,it is needed now.
Bashar aljafaari in his press conference dodges questions about whether the army shelled Alhoula,I personally think that shelling took place,but that alone can not explain the type of injuries seen,please put your emotions aside and wait for some concrete facts,it is essential that the truth comes out and when it does,it will be too hard for both sides to swallow because they are both guilty.

May 27th, 2012, 6:56 pm


Tara said:


I disagree. Contrary to my own expectation, the statement is pretty damning to the regime. This constitutes a major shift in the Russian attitude that was expressed before the closed-door meeting. This shift in few hours is probably related to the video-confernced account of the head of the UN mission. This is probably why Annan expressed condolences to Ghalioun last night.

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of Batta’s regime?

May 27th, 2012, 7:05 pm


Halabi said:

From day one we demanded the truth. The truth about the killings in Daraa, Homs, Hama, and almost every town and village in Syria. We want a government that has institutions that investigate crimes, tries the suspects and punishes them in humane prisons. Instead the regime tortures Giath Matar, Salameh Kaileh and Mazen Darwish.

The Assad regime has failed in this basic responsibility for decades. If the heroes of the revolution are found to be the killers of children in Houla then they should be punished (individually, not the Assad way of killing their families and torching their homes). Those who shelled residential neighborhoods should also pay for their crimes.

None of this will happen and for the foreseeable future all we will have is the word of Assad and his cronies. As for waiting for a report, what’s the use? The regime already said it was Al Qaeda and denied the shelling. The children were Alawites, and the adults were regime supporters, according to the new member of parliament Sharif Shehadeh.

Elections, equality, rule of law, freedom of the press. These aren’t slogans, they are some of the building blocks of accountable democracies. They are also antithetical to the current dictatorship in Syria, which is why we never could and never will have them in Assad’s Syria.

That’s the truth that some can’t swallow.

May 27th, 2012, 7:22 pm


Halabi said:

So the Security Council met and condemned the Syrian regime well before France could convene a Friends of Syria meeting, contrary to the predictions of Assad supporters that the UNSC wouldn’t discuss Al Houla. Nothing surprising here, given that every prediction by Assad supporters, from the first khilsit to Assad is stronger than ever, has been false.

Of course the threats of Assad supporters have been 100% accurate. Torching the country and filling our streets with blood for opposing this criminal regime is happening as promised.

May 27th, 2012, 8:09 pm


zoo said:

Contrary to the ‘scoop’ headlines, the UNSC statement to the press failed to explicitly condemn Syria for the killings. It is condemning the killing without pointing its finger toward the Syrian government.
The UN is calling for further investigation.
In this statement, the Syrian government is explicitly asked to comply with the Annan Plan and stop using artillery even though it is not clear whether the artillery was actually used and whether the death of the civilians is attributed to the alleged shelling.

Overall, it is a mild statement and will just add a little more pressure for Syria to accept the ‘Yemeni’ solution the US is working on as a Plan B, if the UN investigation proves that it is responsible for the civilian casualties.


“The Council, in a statement to the press, condemned the killings “in the strongest possible terms” as well as the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse.”

27 May 2012 –
The Security Council, meeting in an emergency session on Sunday, added its voice to the condemnation by United Nations officials of the recent massacre of men, women and children in the Syrian village of Houla.

The Council was briefed in a closed-door session by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous as well as by video-link by General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), on the killings that took place on 25 May and in the early hours of 26 May of a reported 108 civilians, including over 30 children.

On Saturday UN observers went to Houla, a village near Homs, and confirmed the killings as well as the wounding of hundreds of civilians. They also confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired in the area.

In a letter sent to the Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that, “while the detailed circumstances are unknown, we can confirm that there has been artillery and mortar shelling. There have also been other forms of violence, including shootings at close range and severe physical abuse.”

The Council, in a statement to the press, condemned the killings “in the strongest possible terms” as well as the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse.

They also demanded that the Syrian Government immediately cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and immediately pull back its troops and its heavy weapons from in and around population centres and return them to their barracks.

Yesterday Mr. Ban, Gen. Mood and the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan, issued statements in which they strongly condemned the killings and urged that those responsible be held to account.

The killings have also sparked outrage from the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, who said in a statement that these “shocking” killings in a populated neighborhood are a flagrant violation of international law and the commitments made by the Syrian Government, and from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“This outrageous crime against such young children who have no part in these battles points to a new urgency in finding solutions to the Syrian conflict. Such a massacre cannot go unpunished,” said Sarah Crowe, spokesperson for the Executive Director of UNICEF.

The UN estimates that more than 9,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 14 months ago.

May 27th, 2012, 8:50 pm


zoo said:

Hezbollah “deplores” Houla massacre in Syria
Reuters – 7 hrs ago

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Shi’ite guerrilla group Hezbollah, President Bashar al-Assad’s main Lebanese ally, said on Sunday it deplored the Houla massacre in neighboring Syria.

Without assigning a blame for the killings of at least 109 civilians in Houla in central Syria, a statement by Hezbollah said it “strongly condemns the massacre and deplores those who carried it out”.

May 27th, 2012, 9:04 pm


zoo said:

Just an update. The UNSC deliberation produced just a press statement, that is not recorded and not binding.

“A press statement is weaker than a presidential statement, which becomes part of the council record, or a legally binding U.N. resolution, but it must be approved by all 15 members and therefore reflects strong Security Council backing.”

May 27th, 2012, 9:08 pm


Tara said:

Turkey is also using the “strongest possible terms”

The Houla massacre also angered Ankara, which condemned and deplored the slaughter in the strongest terms. “The international community should demonstrate that it will not condone inhumane massacres like the one committed in Houla anymore, and that its patience regarding the fulfillment of [Syria’s] obligations under the Annan Plan is not infinite,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement late on May 26. The statement came immediately after Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu spoke on the phone with Kofi Annan, discussing recent developments in the country and the apparent failure to implement the Annan Plan. 

“This massacre reveals that the Syrian administration regards the Annan Plan as a tool to procrastinate and to gain time. We call upon UNSMIS (the U.N. Supervision Mission) to examine the situation on the ground as soon as possible and to enlighten international public opinion about the massacre committed there accordingly,” the ministry’s statement read. 

Accusing the Syrian administration of disregarding the commitments it has assumed under the Annan Plan, the statement said “the shelling by a country’s official security forces of its own cities constitutes the most tangible proof that the government of that country has totally lost its legitimacy to rule.”


May 27th, 2012, 9:10 pm


omen said:

the regime is oppressing the region of the country that produces food:

Areeha, an agricultural city 50 kilometers southwest of Aleppo and 15 kilometers from the provincial capital Idleb is an important city in terms of produce output. Areeha’s residents grow olives, cherries, apricots and almonds, their produce sold across the country is also an important exporter to Turkey.


On May 6 a farmer walked up to checkpoint and asked permission to tend his farm. He was allowed through along with a young aide. He was discovered dead with a bullet wound in his head later in the day. Activists said that the same soldiers who allowed him to go his farm opened fire, killing him and injuring his aide. Such incidents still occur in Areeha but less frequently since the monitors’ last visit.

May 27th, 2012, 9:16 pm


Observer said:

Here is what the ministers of the interior and defense are doing today

They are visiting injured soldiers in Latakia. Not a single person from the regime went to Houla

J’amuse Jaffari has already told us that this the work of terrorists and yet in the same breath tells us that we should await the inquiry results.

All 15 members unanimously condemned the killings and this happened after a close circuit report by General Mood to the UNSC. Initially Russia expressed reservations and the statement came out condemning the use of force by the regime.

Zoo can spin all he wants about whether Syria was condemned or not yet why is J’amuse Jaffari making a statement accusing and deploring and denying and refusing this condemnation?

Incompetent brutality and brutal incompetence that is what the people of Syria have been subjected to for 4 decades now.

Despicable J’amuse and Despicable Jack in the Box and Despicable Fredo Corleone

May 27th, 2012, 9:25 pm


omen said:


For 1st time ‪Iran‬ military official confirms presence of Revolutionary Guards Quds force in Syria‬

iranian death squads were noted for wielding axes against protesters in 2009.

bbc news reported axes were used in the houla massacre.

May 27th, 2012, 9:26 pm


Tara said:

Zoo @207

This is the actual statement from the website you provided.  I put the “government” between brackets for you to see.  I really do not know how you could say the statement is not pointing a finger at the government.

27 May 2012

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Agshin Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the killings, confirmed by United Nations observers, of dozens of men, women and children and the wounding of hundreds more in the village of El-Houleh, near Homs, in attacks that involved a series of (Government) artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighbourhood.  The members of the Security Council also condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse. The members of the Security Council extended their profound sympathies and sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and underscored their grave concern about the situation of civilians in  Syria.

Such outrageous use of force against civilian population constitutes a violation of applicable international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government under United Nations Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012) to cease violence in all its forms, including the cessation of use of heavy weapons in population centres.  The members of the Security Council reiterated that all violence in all its forms by all parties must cease.  Those responsible for acts of violence must be held accountable.  The members of the Security Council requested the Secretary-General, with the involvement of UNSMIS [United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria], to continue to investigate these attacks and report the findings to the Security Council.

The members of the Security Council demanded that the Government of Syria immediately cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and immediately pull back its troops and its heavy weapons from in and around population centres and return them to their barracks.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to the efforts of the Joint Special Envoy for the implementation of his six-point plan in its entirety and requested him to convey in the clearest terms to the Syrian parties, and in particular the Syrian Government, the demands of the Security Council.

May 27th, 2012, 9:26 pm


Observer said:

From the UNSC web site here is the statement.

ZOO please read the word GOVERNMENT in the report.

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Agshin Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest possible terms the killings, confirmed by United Nations observers, of dozens of men, women and children and the wounding of hundreds more in the village of El-Houleh, near Homs, in attacks that involved a series of Government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighbourhood. The members of the Security Council also condemned the killing of civilians by shooting at close range and by severe physical abuse. The members of the Security Council extended their profound sympathies and sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and underscored their grave concern about the situation of civilians in Syria.

Such outrageous use of force against civilian population constitutes a violation of applicable international law and of the commitments of the Syrian Government under United Nations Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012) to cease violence in all its forms, including the cessation of use of heavy weapons in population centres. The members of the Security Council reiterated that all violence in all its forms by all parties must cease. Those responsible for acts of violence must be held accountable. The members of the Security Council requested the Secretary-General, with the involvement of UNSMIS [United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria], to continue to investigate these attacks and report the findings to the Security Council.

The members of the Security Council demanded that the Government of Syria immediately cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and immediately pull back its troops and its heavy weapons from in and around population centres and return them to their barracks.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to the efforts of the Joint Special Envoy for the implementation of his six-point plan in its entirety and requested him to convey in the clearest terms to the Syrian parties, and in particular the Syrian Government, the demands of the Security Council.

May 27th, 2012, 9:33 pm


zoo said:


Why no official went to Houla?
Simply because Houla is controlled and ‘protected’ by the FSA and armed gangs with the tragic results on the civilians we are witnessing.

“In a letter to the Security Council, Ban said villages in the Houla area have been outside government control but surrounded by a heavy Syrian military presence.”

May 27th, 2012, 9:37 pm


zoo said:

This is the usual subtle play on words by the UNSC.

Anyway as a result, contrary to the expectations of the SNC and the EOS, the UN peace plan is not called off. It it is re affirmed strongly by the UNSC and the UN observers mission stays on and grows.

Ja’afari said the 15-nation council misinterpreted the words of the head of the UN mission in Syria.

He referred to a part in the statement that condemned the Syrian government for the artillery and tank shelling of a residential neighborhood in Houla, saying that it was an interpretation of Western states such as Germany and the UK.

“If you go to the language in which the press statement was written, you will find that nothing in that indicates that the Council is blaming the Syrian government forces for the killings and the preparations of the massacres,” Ja’afari said.

He added that General Mood had said it was unclear how the mass killings had taken place and that the events needed to be investigated.


May 27th, 2012, 9:46 pm


omen said:

216. zoo said:
Why no official went to Houla?
Simply because Houla is controlled and ‘protected’ by the FSA


Sharif Shehadeh (MP): regime couldn’t have committed ‪HoulaMassacre‬ because Houla is pro-regime.


via cnn, channel4’s alex thomson, reporting from within houra, posed this rhetorical question: why do people flee the area held by the army but remain in the rebel held zone?

May 27th, 2012, 9:50 pm


Tara said:

“If you go to the language in which the press statement was written, you will find that nothing in that indicates that the Council is blaming the Syrian government forces for the killings and the preparations of the massacres,” Ja’afari said.”

Is Jaafari stupid or what? As we saw in the actual statement, the language clearly implicated the “government” forces responsibility for the killing….Or wait a second, may be I am missing something. May be the official UNSC language is hieroglyphic and the meaning lost in translation..into English that is.

May 27th, 2012, 10:03 pm


zoo said:

What really happened is yet not known.

UN Security Council issues statement condemning Houla Massacre
Published: 27 May, 2012, 23:00

There are concerns that most “civilians killed in Houla were victims of a blatant murder: they were either shot in the temple from a short distance, or their throats were cut,” Russia’s UN envoy deputy Aleksandr Pankin told journalists before the session began.
“Very few of the people who died in Houla were killed by artillery shelling,” he added.

Russian deputy UN ambassador Aleksandr Pankin underscored that according to Mood’s briefing, it wasn’t clear who was responsible for most of the deaths in Houla.

“It still remains unclear what happened and what triggered what,” Pankin noted. “Tanks were there and heavy artillery was used there, however he [Mood] did not link directly shelling with numbers of deaths.”
The massacre in Houla comes as the biggest incident since the observer mission began. Now the Free Syrian Army, the biggest opposition force fighting Assad’s troops, says it will pull out of the plan “unless the UN Security Council takes urgent steps for the protection of civilians.”

May 27th, 2012, 10:16 pm


jna said:

There must be a thorough, exhaustive UN investigation of the massacre in Houla.

If the government forces are proved to be responsible it is grounds for all countries to abandon support for the Assad regime.

If opposition forces are proved to be responsible it is grounds for all countries to abandon support for the the Syrian opposition militias.

May 27th, 2012, 10:45 pm


bronco said:

JNA #221

I agree. If it is proven without any doubt that the Syrian government perpetrated the murders of women and children in cold blood and lied to cover up, I think most Syrians who support the regime will change their mind. Otherwise the opposition already politically divided and discredited will be also discredited militarily and many anti-regime would start questioning their conviction.
I wish that this massacre is investigated thoroughly far from the media’s exaggeration and manipulation and the foreign countries agendas.
I worry greatly that the UN observers team might be threatened and attacked to prevent them from carrying that investigation as its resolution could be crucial to the future of the peace plan.

May 27th, 2012, 11:07 pm


AIG said:

AIG please refrain from personalizing your post.

SC Moderator

The usual weasel words by Bronco. Notice that he says “If it is proven without any doubt”. Practically nothing can be proven without any doubt. That is a standard no investigation can achieve especially given the current situation. The standard for conviction in US courts for example is “beyond reasonable doubt”. Nobody sets the standard to “without any doubt” except of course people who are dishonest and plan to argue in the future that there is no conclusive proof whatever the result is.

May 27th, 2012, 11:54 pm


omen said:

the un itself should be held accountable for refusing to intervene.

from bbc:

Activists have complained that they called for help as the massacre was taking place.

Abu Emad, speaking from Houla, said their appeals to UN monitors failed to produce action.

“We told them at night, we called seven of them. We told them the massacre is being committed right now at Houla by the mercenaries of this regime and they just refused to come and stop the massacre,” he said.

May 28th, 2012, 12:02 am


Ghufran said:

I thought I was re-reading a comment I posted on SC,however, i think Patrick Seale was too soft on the regime.
As for Tara’s comments,I disagree with her disagreement,the UNSC is just paying lip service by giving some angry dudes a gum to chew on,the failure of both sides to abide by Annan’s plan is good for the regime since that puts both parties on the same grill.
Syrians are not likely to see a break in the near future,they have to deal with the fire of the regime and the gun powder of the opposition. Without a third party separating the fighting forces in at least 2-3 provinces,no relief is likely to come.

May 28th, 2012, 12:59 am


omen said:

via reuters:

Trade sources said a reluctance among foreign banks, shipowners and grain traders to sell to import-dependent Syria – even though food is not itself subject to sanctions – has forced Damascus into an array of unusually small deals, many arranged by shadowy middlemen around the Middle East and Asia.

May 28th, 2012, 1:36 am


omen said:

damn, already in the blog. here is a quote to make up for the redundancy:

all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed. – machiavelli

May 28th, 2012, 2:14 am


Uzair8 said:

Tweet updates by Sheikh Yaqoubi overnight. One of which is:

We dare the Syrian regime to declare three-day national mourning over the horrific massacre in Houla.!/Shaykhabulhuda

May 28th, 2012, 2:47 am


Juergen said:

JNA, Bronco

Its good that you both share common sense. To call for an UN observation and fact finding team is overdue and the regime has rightly or wrongly never accepted foreign help in investigating crimes. This has given to all an suspicion which can lead to an assumption of Qui bono.

I never understood it, why after the bombing, if all is like the regime claims happend, they did not ask for forensic help. Nowadays a small amount of explosives can be tracked to the manufacturer, for me a true sign that they might feared exactly that.

Bassam Al Kadi has written this today:

سام القاضي
لماذا اصب كل ما أكتب مؤخرا على الإرهابيين وخدمهم الكتبة الثوريين؟ وأصمت عما يفعله النظام؟! يستغرب البعض، فيما يتساءل البعض الآخر وهو يعرف جيدا ما يفعل بقوله..

منذ ثمانية اشهر بدأت الإنذارات بالسلاح، والإرهاب، والظلامية.. ولم تجد هذه الإنذارات آذان مصغية من أي ممن خدم الإرهاب بأقلامهم مواقفهم..
هل كان ذلك مهما؟
لمن لديه الوقت الكافي ليعود إلى تطور هذا المسار، فلن يكون صعبا عليه اكتشاف كم كان بالإمكان صد العنف وقتها، أو تحجيمه إلى مستوى “عادي” لو اتخذ هؤلاء جميعا موقفا صارما وواضحا من هذا التحول. لكن كيف يفعلون ذلك وهم ينكرونه أصلا؟!

كم كان ممكنا أن تتحول حركة احتجاجات محلية إلى نهوض وطني ديمقراطي عام لو لم تتمتع “نخبتها” ومريديها باقصى حد ممكن بشريا من السقوط والانحلال بكل معانيهما..

واليوم، كل جماعات “المدنية والسلمية” المطالبين بإسقاط النظام لا يمكنهم التحكم، أو السيطرة، او قيادة شارع واحد في أي مكان من سورية.
ولا يمكنهم إلزام مجرم واحد بإلقاء سلاحه، بأي طريقة كان هذا الإلزام.
ولا يمكنهم مواجهة أي أجندة ظلامية حتى بالكلام المرسل…

لو كان الواقع يمضي كما نتوهمه، لكانت الحياة أصلا هي الجنة، ولما احتاج البعض إلى وعد بجنة في مكان آخر..

لكنه ليس كذلك، مثلما ليست المرة الأولى في التاريخ التي يتحول فيها نظام ديكتاتوري قمعي إلى الجهة الوحيدة الحامية لبلد ما، والضامن الوحيد لاستمرار بلد ما..

ولم يعد مهما كيف وصلنا إلى هنا، من المسؤول أولا أو أخيرا.. ليست مهمة كل المهاترات والاتهامات والتفسيرات والتأويلات..

ما هو مهم أن ما قاله النظام (وغيره) منذ البداية: سقوط النظام بهذه الطريقة يعني سقوط سورية والمنطقة، كان صحيحا دائما، واليوم هو صحيح بالمطلق.

ويعنيني اليوم، أولا وقبل كل شيء، بقاء سورية واحدة موحدة، وبعيدة قدر الإمكان عن أجندات الظلاميين.

May 28th, 2012, 2:49 am


Uzair8 said:

From the comment section of AJE Live Syria Blog. Can anyone confirm?

NMSyria ‏
62 of those killed in the #HoulaMassacre are from the Abdel Razzak family. The large family lives in 9 homes as neighbors in #Houla. #Syria

May 28th, 2012, 4:05 am


Alan said:
UN Security Council issues statement condemning Houla Massacre
There are concerns that most “civilians killed in Houla were victims of a blatant murder: they were either shot in the temple from a short distance, or their throats were cut,” Russia’s UN envoy deputy Aleksandr Pankin told journalists before the session began.
“Very few of the people who died in Houla were killed by artillery shelling,” he added.
UN Security Council statements are issued by consensus. These statements, presidential or to the press, are non-binding. Presidential statements are drawn if a resolution cannot be passed, and are meant as a warning that the Council is paying attention to the situation and further action may follow.
Russia opposes putting all the blame on forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, say sources in the Council. Moscow wanted to introduce references to “a third party,” implying terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda could be behind the attack in western Syria.
“The tragic events in Syria and the deaths of dozens of people deserve condemnation. However it is necessary to seriously examine the causes of what happened,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Twitter.
After the session was over, Martin Briens, France’s permanent representative at the UN, said the Assad government was plunging into horror and chaos, and was threatening regional security.
“Tanks and artillery cannons from the government shelled residential areas killing civilians,” he added, as quoted by Reuters.

May 28th, 2012, 4:42 am


Alan said:

Syrian government denies involvement in Houla massacre

May 28th, 2012, 4:47 am


Alan said:
Al-Holeh tragedy needs serious investigation – Russian diplomat
MOSCOW, May 27 (Itar-Tass) —— The causes of the tragic events in al-Holeh, Syria, must be investigated thoroughly, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Sunday.
“The tragic events in Syria and the dozens of deaths deserve condemnation. Yet we must thoroughly study their reasons,” he microblogged on the Twitter.
“There is information that the injuries could not have been sustained in artillery fire. Let us wait for an objective report of the UN mission,” Gatilov said.
The situation will be the subject of the Sunday briefing of UN Observation Mission in Syria head Gen. Robert Mood.


May 28th, 2012, 4:49 am


Juergen said:

text of the Security Council concerning the Hula massacre

May 28th, 2012, 5:26 am


Uzair8 said:

BBC Radio 5 ‘Your Call’.

On the hour-long, daily (weekday) morning guest and public phone-in show today the topic was the Houla massacre.

Fawaz Gerges and Michael Weiss are amongst the guests.

[Available for 7 days]

May 28th, 2012, 5:52 am


Osama said:

True to form the UN came out with a statement, that got the support of all the SC members, but I suspect that it is far from the slam-dunk that the NATO F/UK/US was pushing for. Each and every word in the statement is carefully selected, and the statement only condemns Syria for use of heavy weapons and is not an out right indictment of the Syrian Government.

It amazes me how the UN suddenly becomes “ineffective” when the NATO F/UK/US want to invade some country or bomb another and they can’t use it to rubber stamp their psuedo-imperial projects.

The UN is dead, it is only useful when the F/UK/US drag its corpse out to use it to justify what they are already getting ready to do.

All non-western people (or as we are known in the west “potential drone targets/collateral damage”) should all be perfectly happy to see Russia and China to keep it locked in its coffin.

There must be a UN investigation – the Syrian Government investigation will mean nothing to its opponents.

We should all be able to agree there was a horrible crime committed on the 26th of May and we can all agree that the perpetrators must be held accountable.

However, using this crime to justify escalation and further death and destruction is cynical and a crime of even greater magnitude.

May 28th, 2012, 6:20 am


Uzair8 said:

Bravo! Fawaz Gerges. Bravo!

I’m just listening to the radio programme (#235). Half way thru it.
So far Fawaz Gerges has said it like it is.

It has to be said that Prof Joshua Landis and Fawaz Gerges are probaly the most in-demand experts on the Syrian situation. For some reason Robert Fisk seems reluctant to comment as much. He should be at the forefront.

May 28th, 2012, 6:24 am


SimoHurtta said:

I never understood it, why after the bombing, if all is like the regime claims happend, they did not ask for forensic help. Nowadays a small amount of explosives can be tracked to the manufacturer, for me a true sign that they might feared exactly that.

Weren’t the Houla bodies in the hands of FSA? So asking for forensic help is FSA’s “business”. Inspecting such an massacre by UN should not be very “complicated” if both sides, especially the side who controls the bodies, let it be inspected.

A side which uses frequently suicide bombers among civilians certainly doesn’t hesitate to create bodies for propaganda reasons. Who benefits most of these massacres?

May 28th, 2012, 6:27 am


Uzair8 said:

238. SimoHurtta

The regime didn’t kill 12,000 syrians, right?. Why would it? Who benefits?

May 28th, 2012, 7:07 am


Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:


The horrible massacre reminds me of text I first encountered in German:

1. So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, for they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

2. Wherefore I praised the dead, those who are already dead, more than those who are still alive.

3. Yes, better is he than both of them, who hath not yet seen, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 4: 1-3

Ich wandte mich, und sahe an alle, die Unrecht leiden unter der Sonne, die Unrecht leiden unter der Sonne; und siehe, siehe, da waren Tränen.

Tränen derer, die Unrecht litten, und hatten keinen Tröster und die ihnen Unrecht täten, waren zu Mächtig, daß sie keinen Tröster, keinen Tröster haben konnten.

Da lobte ich die Toten, die schon gestorben waren, mehr, denn* die Lebendigen, die noch das Leben hatten; Under der noch nicht ist, ist besser als alle beide,

und des Bösen nicht inne wird, das unter der Sonne geschieht.

May 28th, 2012, 7:24 am


Syrialover said:

# 201.TARA said:” Where is Buthina Shaaban? I have been a long term admirer”

It’s likely she died of ugliness, choked on her own poison.

I hope you are making a huge joke about admiring Dr B.S.

She’s such an evil-looking witch, creepily croaking BS and sinister lies.

Her haggard face and cold-blooded propaganda have been a tragic insult to the Syrian people for years.

If children even see her picture they are too scared to sleep for weeks.

May 28th, 2012, 8:20 am


zoo said:

Are weapons for rebels flowing in Syria thanks to the rich expats or the FSA is just boasting?

“Ahmed Abubarri, a Free Syria Army field commander currently receiving medical treatment in the north of Lebanon told Maria Finoshina that “tons” of aid passes through his hands across the border into Syria every day.

“We have support from Syrian expats everywhere in the world, people from Britain, France, Saudi Arabia – they also send us money, we buy weapons, walky-talkies, satellites and smuggle them through the Syrian borders,” he told RT.

May 28th, 2012, 8:39 am


Syrialover said:

The hope is that the British UN observers are well-trained and determined to gather evidence from the survivors of the massacre.

So far, I have not heard of victims of the attack accusing
the “opposition”, just the regime.

I look forward to Jaafari’s lying theatrical performance being screened at a war crimes tribunal.

May 28th, 2012, 8:44 am


zoo said:

Annan arrives in Syria ‘shocked’ by Houla killings
UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan said he was “shocked” at the weekend’s “tragic events” in the central Syrian town of Houla as he arrived in Damascus on Monday for talks with top officials.
Speaking to reporters at a Damascus hotel, Annan described the Houla massacre on Friday and Saturday as “an appalling moment with profound consequences.”
Annan was to meet Foreign Minister Walid Muallem later on Monday ahead of talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, a Syrian official said earlier, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He will also meet with opposition and civil society representatives, his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said.

Annan will also review the work of a UN military observer mission in Syria, Fawzi said in an email.

May 28th, 2012, 8:45 am


bronco said:

#244 SL

“So far, I have not heard of victims of the attack accusing
the “opposition”, just the regime.”

The FSA controls Houla, do you expect anyone can say something against them?

May 28th, 2012, 8:47 am


zoo said:

Israel shows its intentions about Syria

UN troops to Syria now

Haaretz Editorial | May.28, 2012 |

The scope of the slaughter in Syria should be enough to justify purposeful action to show that the international community is not prepared to watch from the sidelines.


May 28th, 2012, 8:50 am


Visitor said:

I have decided to yet make another comment albeit reluctantly. But my motivation this time was the recent abhorrent acts of savagery perpetrated by the scourge regime that has long been proven to be a shame to have within the fellowship of the human race.

This time I want to address my comment to those Syrian commentators on this blog who consider themselves pro-revolution, and yet continue to engage in futile discussions with those who endlessly argue in favour of the barbaric regime. I am not going to mention specific names (monikers), but it is clear who I mean and I make no exceptions.

Dear pro-revolutionaries, have you considered that out of respect and honour for those innocent children and women who perished at the hands of the criminal regime, it is your duty to shun those you are discoursing with who shamelessly continue supporting barbarity? Perhaps you should consider that you should be shunning them to the same extent as a sane person would shun the horrors of a plague.

Just think about it for a minute before you make your next comment replying to someone of this sort, thus giving him/her the satisfaction of being considered worthy of belonging to humanity.

That’s the least you could do.

May 28th, 2012, 8:53 am


zoo said:

Killing children is not only in Syria. Any UNSC meeting planned to condemn NATO?

NATO strike kills eight

A NATO air strike has killed a family of eight, including six children, in their home in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktia.

”[The family] had no connection to the Taliban or any other terrorist group,” local government spokesman Rohullah Samoon told AFP yesterday.

A security official in Kabul confirmed the incident. ”A house was bombed by NATO. A man named Mohammad Sahfee, his wife and six of their innocent children were brutally killed,” he said.

Read more:

May 28th, 2012, 8:53 am


Observer said:

So Russia is not wedded to Fredo. They want preservation of the regime not the leadership. This is the jest of what we have now with the SC being neutralized to allow for any intervention.

Now Russia can neutralize the SC but it cannot neutralize the opposition and it cannot neutralize the smuggling and it cannot neutralize the desire of the people to be free and it cannot neutralize the descent into sectarian civil war.

Peoples and countries in the ME have not been able for the last 200 years or so from preventing outside interference; however, every country that gets itself entangled in ME politics comes out bloodied and bruised and disengagement costs a lot of pain and suffering.

Russia was taught a lesson in Afghanistan; the US was taught a lesson in Iraq; Israel was taught a lesson in Lebanon; now Russia will be taught another lesson in Syria.

So the questions would be
1. How does Russia preserve the regime without the Corleone family?

2. Is the recent poisoning an insider job to prevent any alternative?

3. Is this latest massacre a message to even Russia that “the family” will bring the house of cards down on everybody?

4. Russia’s image as a superpower can be severely destroyed by this; does it have an alternative.

5. If the Annan Plan is the only one on the table; how does one implement it then; how do you give it teeth?

It is interesting how deafening the silence of some on this blog have become since the recent condemnation by the way.

May 28th, 2012, 8:55 am


Uzair8 said:

Anyone know who the ‘Abdel Razzak family’ are. My mind went to Abdul Razzak Tlas earlier but now I see there may be no connection to him. The Tlas family would also mean Assad Senior’s right hand man Mustafa Tlass and relatives. He is still loyal to Assad isn’t he?


From AJE:

“Most of those killed belonged to the Abdel Razzak family. Local activists provided Human Rights Watch with a list of 62 dead members from the Abdel Razzak family. According to survivors, their family owns the land and farms next to the national water company and the water dam of Taldou, and lives in eight or nine houses next to each other, two families to a house.”

May 28th, 2012, 8:57 am


Uzair8 said:

Sometimes I don’t know who I (and revolutionaries) dislike more. Bashar Assad or Bashar Ja’afari.

This may even have the potential to split the opposition further with a faction breaking away instead focused on demanding the removal of Ja’afari. Lol.

“Tsunami of lies!”

The greater the blame, the bigger the denial.

May 28th, 2012, 10:01 am


Uzair8 said:

#253 SHABBI7*

“I (and revolutionaries)”

* In case you’re referring to me.

May 28th, 2012, 10:22 am


Son of Damascus said:

Sick ironic joke of the revolution someone that chose to name themselves after a bunch of callous child murderers and rapists is giving lessons in morality, go figure!

Bita3ref shou ma3na elkhajal? I am not sure you do!

May 28th, 2012, 10:43 am


Tara said:

Obama can keep his solution to himself.  Revolution must mount to revolutionary changes…

Syria: why Russia changed tack
Moscow’s step towards backing Assad’s dethronement owes much to Putin’s unsentimental calculations of national advantage

Russia’s support for Sunday night’s UN security council statement condemning the Houla killings is the first positive news to come out of the Syrian crisis for months. It opens up the possibility, hitherto remote, that Washington and Moscow may find common cause in easing out Bashar al-Assad and defusing the rebellion against the Damascus regime.

Russian spokesmen moved quickly on Monday to suggest events in Houla, where the UN says 116 civilians including dozens of children died in a bombardment by government forces last Friday, were “murky”, that regime opponents carried much of the blame for the carnage, and that Russia’s opposition to regime change remained steadfast.

But there was no escaping the fact that the unanimous UN statement represented a breach in the diplomatic defences Moscow has erected around the Syrian regime. And it can be assumed with some certainty, given its importance, that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, will have taken the decision himself.

… by agreeing with the US and Britain that Assad is in violation of international law through his resort to “outrageous use of force”, Moscow has taken a both substantive and symbolic step towards backing the Syrian leader’s dethronement.

Russia has been under intense diplomatic pressure to shift position, pressure that has begun to damage its wider interests in the Middle East, …

A more likely explanation is the return to the foreign policy helm of Putin, reinstalled this month as Russia’s president. Putin is no dove, no cuddly peacemaker, as he has demonstrated repeatedly in conflict zones from Chechnya to Georgia. His approach is more that of a hard-nosed, unsentimental calculator of national advantage.
Under the nascent deal, Russia would agree to the removal of Assad and his replacement by a less controversial government figure, following the example of the transition in Yemen. The regime would remain largely intact, and so too would Russia’s Syrian sphere of interest, including its commercial relationships and its naval base.

For his part, under such a scenario, Obama would be able to claim that the Syrian boil had been lanced without resort to military intervention (which Russia strongly opposes).

Any such outcome would be hard for the democratic Syrian opposition to swallow and would fall far short of the regime-changing revolution many are seeking. It also implies an amnesty for Assad and his henchmen, and leaves open the question where the Syrian president might go if he were forced into exile.


May 28th, 2012, 10:44 am


Tara said:


Your post is unacceptable and you should offer an apology.

We are all revolutionaries. Like it or not.

May 28th, 2012, 10:46 am


Tara said:

Syria Lover@241

I was…in the ancient past. I saw something graceful in her face. Oh boy, how wrong was I. I only seeالساحرة الشريرة in her now.

“dying of ugliness”…what an expressive phrase. Brilliant!

Ugliness is the worst mental state anyone can have. It is a curse..

May 28th, 2012, 11:08 am


Uzair8 said:


Syria#FSA to suspend further poison plots for duration of Annan visit#

May 28th, 2012, 11:13 am


zoo said:

The “activists” always helping the media campaign with authentic photos…

The Houla massacre photo that was on the first page of many newspapers and was provided by the ‘activists’ is a 2003 Iraq photo.

BBC News uses ‘Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre’
The BBC is facing criticism after it accidentally used a picture taken in Iraq in 2003 to illustrate the senseless massacre of children in Syria.
Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw the image being used, and said he was “astonished” at the failure of the corporation to check their sources.

The picture, which was actually taken on March 27, 2003, shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.

It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows”.

The caption states the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but says it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial”.

A BBC spokesman said the image has now been taken down. –

May 28th, 2012, 11:32 am


irritated said:

260. Uzair8 said:

“Syria#FSA to suspend further poison plots for duration of Annan visit#”

Especially if the FSA poison just provokes a diarrhea

May 28th, 2012, 11:38 am


zoo said:

Russia: “Without Assad, the Annan plan cannot be performed. Who is the negotiating counterpart of the military opposition?” he said.

Russia seeks to deflect blame from Assad
By Charles Clover in Moscow, May 28, 2012

US and European officials say this process must lead to the departure of President al-Assad and new elections.

“We have said all the way back from last August that finding a solution to this involves [Assad] standing aside,” said Mr Hague.

However, Mr Lavrov firmly rejected this saying: “For us it’s not the most important thing who is in power in Syria. For us the main thing is to provide for an end to the violence.”
“They are waiting for the Annan plan to fail, so they can say Assad has deceived everybody, that he has not fulfilled his obligations and therefore we need to support the military opposition” said Mr Pushkov, adding that western support for the Syrian opposition destroys any incentive for them to negotiate.

May 28th, 2012, 11:44 am


zoo said:

Was Nasser al Kidwa, nephew of Yasser Arafat and Annan’s deputy finally allowed in Damascus? There has been no word in the press about him

“But a senior Arab League official said Syria has denied permission for Annan’s deputy to travel to Damascus. Syria insisted the decision against former Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa was not personal, but rather because it did not want to deal with the Arab League,”

Read more:

May 28th, 2012, 11:55 am


zoo said:

More details about BBC’s Houla “propaganda” photo


Posted on May 27, 2012

Italian photographer, Marco Di Lauro, has exposed the BBC which illegally used one of his photographs taken in Iraq as anti-Syrian Propaganda on their website’s front page.

May 28th, 2012, 12:00 pm


bronco said:

Uzair8 #251

“Most of those killed belonged to the Abdel Razzak family. Local activists provided Human Rights Watch with a list of 62 dead members from the Abdel Razzak family”.

If this true, that so many members of the same wealthy family be executed, appears to me more like a intra or inter villages vendetta that took advantage of the chaotic situation and using the possible shelling and the elusive ‘shabbiha’ as a cover up.
If this is the case, I expect retaliation from the Al Razzak family soon and escalation of violence in the area.

May 28th, 2012, 12:06 pm


Antoine said:

267. BROCNO said:

Uzair8 #251

“Most of those killed belonged to the Abdel Razzak family. Local activists provided Human Rights Watch with a list of 62 dead members from the Abdel Razzak family”.

If this true, that so many members of the same wealthy family be executed, appears to me more like a intra or inter villages vendetta that took advantage of the chaotic situation and using the possible shelling and the elusive ‘shabbiha’ as a cover up.
If this is the case, I expect retaliation from the Al Razzak family soon and escalation of violence in the area.


And what is the basis of your conclusion, ?

Btw family based vednettas do not take place in Syria. Syria is not a tribal based country. The last time there was a family based vendetta in the Middle east was betwen teo Beduin familes in Sinai, Egypt, 6 years ago.

Syria for the last 100 years has not seen 1 recorded case of clan and family vendetta bloodletting. I ask you to show me 1 news report from Syria in the last 100 years of any sucb incident. This is simply not part of Syrian society.

May 28th, 2012, 12:21 pm


Ghufran said:

Guilty parties are not likely to push for an independent investigation,all signs point to killing done by one side with counter killing from the other side,those massacres in Syria are not possible without the active participation of Syrians,we need to be honest enough to acknowledge this simple truth,some of you are worried that speaking about the sins of other Syrians means trying to get the regime off the hook.
Here is more on the Yemeni type solution being looked at by the US:

May 28th, 2012, 12:24 pm


Mina said:

Antoine 268
Since how many years you have not put a foot in the Middle East? Have you ever visited the Middle East, outside of its capitals and 5 stars hotels? To claim that there is no vendetta in Syria (or Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, etc…………) is…………….. delusional or a pure lie?
Could you provide the name and some details about this Sinai vendetta you claim to know for sure?

May 28th, 2012, 12:29 pm


Antoine said:

I am proposing that the LCCs and FSA in Daraa make a direct appeal to the tribes across the border in Jordan – like the Bani Hassan, etc. to help them with weapons. The Jordanian Army is totally dominated by the tribal people of Jordan, if the revolutionaries of Daraa – who must be sharing some links with Jordan – make a direct appeal to the tribes of Jordan to give them weapons from the Jordanian Army, that will be wonderful. The Jordanian tribes are the pillars of the Jordanian Monarchy and the Army, if they can be totally dedicated to the cause of the revolution, that means that we can count on the support of the Jordanian Monarchy.

So far the response of the Jordanian Monarchy has been very ineffective. They are not allowing the FSA to operate freely. What we need to do is to make a direct appeal to the tribes of Jordan to ask their sons in the Jordanian Army to give the weapons to the FSA and to help them smuggle those across the border.

Please discuss this idea.

Is there anybody on thus blog from Daraa ?

May 28th, 2012, 12:49 pm


Antoine said:

270. Mina said:

Antoine 268
Since how many years you have not put a foot in the Middle East? Have you ever visited the Middle East, outside of its capitals and 5 stars hotels? T

Mina al-ishtiraki ,

I visited Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt in the year 2009. I visited 45 towns, cities and villages across 14 Governorates of Egypt.

I visited 17 towns and 34 villages in 6 Governorates of Jordan, including the town of al-Ramtha, which is just across the border from Daraa.

I also visted Wadi Khaled in Lebanon, which is now a major hub of the Free Syrian Army.

It is more likely you don’t have much of an accurate idea about Syria.

I knew right away, when you claimed that Daraa was a hotbed of Islamist activity and that Deraa has always been a centre of cheap anti-Assad fundamentalism. Anyone who is aquainted with Syria knows this is not true.

Have you seen even 1 Salafi Mosque in Daraa ?

On what basis did you conclude that there are Islamists in Daraa ?

May 28th, 2012, 12:57 pm


Antoine said:

Btw, Mina, I do not have enough money to put up in a 5 star hotel in Syria or any other Middle Eastern Capital.

I prefer to eat along with factory workers.

May 28th, 2012, 12:59 pm


Juergen said:

Massacred Syrian children were ‘bound before being shot’
Some of the children killed in the Syrian town of Houla at the weekend were tied up before being shot, activists claim.

“Video of one group of the 49 children posted online showed some of them had their wrists bound with blue ties, a common substitute for handcuffs in the Arab world.
Though it was not possible to verify whether this had been done before or after death, one activist group cited a witness saying the Alawite “Shabiha” or militia accused of the massacre did it to punish the children’s father.
“One eye witness, who is a lady in her late 50s from Houla, confirmed that the Shabiha handcuffed the children of Abbara Family, and told the father to look at their children, how they will be killed in front of his eyes, before they killed him,” a spokesman for the Syrian Network of Human Rights told The Daily Telegraph.”

May 28th, 2012, 1:04 pm


Antoine said:

Syrian army being aided by Iranian forces

Iran confirms Quds force’s presence in Syria with Revolutionary Guards commander saying troops ‘helped prevent more massacres’


“A senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has admitted that Iranian forces are operating in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Ismail Gha’ani, the deputy head of Iran’s Quds force, the arm of the Revolutionary Guards tasked with overseas operations, said in an interview with the semi-official Isna news agency: “If the Islamic republic was not present in Syria, the massacre of people would have happened on a much larger scale.”

Isna published the interview at the weekend but subsequently removed it from its website.

It quoted Gha’ani as saying: “Before our presence in Syria, too many people were killed by the opposition but with the physical and non-physical presence of the Islamic republic, big massacres in Syria were prevented.”

The west has accused Iran of providing military and technical support to Assad to quell protests since the start of the uprising in Syria. Iranian officials in return played down the accusations by saying the country only supported Syria morally.

As the wave of protests swept across the Middle East, Tehran’s leaders found themselves in the peculiar situation of praising the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen but condemning them in Syria, its close ally in the region……………

…….Iran’s Quds force has been in the spotlight in recent years mainly for its activities inside Iraq.

Part of the responsibility of the Quds force is to protect the concept of Islamic revolution which the revolutionary guards view as being closely tied up with protecting Khamenei.”

May 28th, 2012, 1:06 pm


Antoine said:

Btw for those doubting the veracity of above article, Guardian is an Ishtiraki paper with a history of impartial coverage of Middle East politics.

May 28th, 2012, 1:08 pm


Antoine said:

“all signs point to killing done by one side with counter killing from the other side”


The vast majority of the victims are from Houla and are the victims of Government forces. While counter-attacks may have taken place, the victims of those attacks have been a very small percentage of the 116 people killed on Friday.

May 28th, 2012, 1:10 pm


Juergen said:


I would not be so sure that there are no “vendettas” in Syria, it may be less than in othre more tribal societies likewise in Yemen and the Sinai. I remember visiting one poor family who lives next to an ancient church called Mushabaq ( near Aleppo)
The mother told me that two of her sons are in prisons for shooting at an other family, the reason was that the other family took sheep from their stock, and painted their fur. As I mentioned before, honor killings( among all faiths) do exist ( about 400 cases a year) in Syria.

May 28th, 2012, 1:15 pm


Mina said:

Terrorists and Shabeehas are mass-killers. If the shabeehas of Fulla have decided to eliminate a whole family, it is called vendetta and probably followed the murder of someone among them. You won’t sell anyone that Bashshar calls the shabeehas and ask them to ruin the Annan plan.
Survivors testimonies
As usual in this one year long civil war, it is the narrative and the momentum which count. Everyone heard yesterday that the people died from army’s shelling… then a little later, it is the shabeehas and their personal interests and sponsors, just like Iraq…

May 28th, 2012, 1:18 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Yet another wonderful piece by Amal Hanano.

The armchair pundits were right, and Syrians pay for it

On Saturday, May 12, a group of activists held a candlelight vigil inside the Damascus Citadel, in honour of the victims of the twin bombings that shook the capital two days prior, killing 55 people, wounding dozens more on the busy street near the notorious “Palestine” Intelligence branch. The quiet vigil was soon broken up by security forces. At least 12 activists were detained.

Although these aggressive acts by Assad regime forces are predictable – expected even – this vigil should not have been problematic. In the aftermath of the bombings, an outpouring of outrage and concern had flooded Syrian television screens and social media platforms. It seemed that mourning this tragedy was allowed – encouraged even – but on condition that grief is expressed by only one kind of citizen: the regime loyalist.

Martyrs have become the new commodity in the “media” war between opposition and loyalists, in order to claim the right to grieve the innocent civilians caught in the explosion, one needed to exclusively claim the official narrative and no other. But two days after the severe breach to national security, and the shrill claims that the country is under attack by international terrorist groups – this time, specifically Al Qaeda – why was the regime threatened by an innocent candlelight vigil? Because it threatened to unite the people and undermine the regime’s divisive tactics with a simple but powerful message: “Stop the killing.” And as we know, the Syrian regime does not like to take orders from anyone – not from Kofi Annan’s six-point “ceasefire” plan, and definitely not from a group of youth carrying candles and flowers.

In the aftermath of this week’s deadly massacre of over 100 people in Hula, the victims themselves have been classified into groups. The UN has placed the responsibility of deaths by shelling on the regime but has left the question of who slaughtered children open – committed perhaps by unknown “armed gangs” – as if the regime is incapable of committing such atrocities. As if such brutality was too extreme for even the Syrian regime.

In a recent interview Bashar Al Assad declared Syria is “losing the media war” but “reality is what matters.” Really? That’s news to many in the opposition. After filming hundreds of thousands of videos documenting the regime’s shelling, destruction and torture, along with protests, funerals, mass graves and thousands of corpses, somehow, the conflict is still painted in the media as unclear, unverified, and always “complicated”.

“It’s complicated,” is the one thing everyone agrees. Nuanced, circular arguments were debated while analysing an “Arab Spring” country, while the people from these countries chanted for freedom and saw themselves mirrored in the same struggles unfolding across borders. But the regimes and media insisted: Egypt is not Tunisia; Libya isn’t Egypt; Yemen isn’t Bahrain; and Bahrain isn’t Syria. Of course, Syria is definitely not Libya. Syria’s future, at best, should be compared to Iraq’s present or Lebanon’s past.

Cynics on the sidelines belittle the number of dead. They claim the videos are fabricated and declare the truth as elusive. They ridicule claims that bombings and coordinated murder cannot be executed by the regime, because it would be stupid for a regime to attack itself. But they do not state the facts.

Apologies to the Syrian people were made months ago, along with predictions of the inevitable civil war. We were told that the ever-sectarian revolution would be weaponised and radicalised. We were warned that our infiltrated and hijacked revolution would spark violence and would “spill over” across borders.

And now, 14 months in, the armchair pessimists lean back and smugly say, “I told you so.”


May 28th, 2012, 1:33 pm


Son of Damascus said:

Ammar AbdulHamid

U.S. Hopes Assad Can Be Eased Out With Russia’s Aid

That this is indeed the essence of Obama’s Administration’s approach on Syria has been quite apparent for months now. That’s why when I finally had a chance to go to Moscow and meet with some of Russia’s policy people, I took it. The trip, which took place between May 18 and 25, gave me an opportunity to know for myself how hard of a challenge changing Russia’s position will be, especially considering how attached to the status quo its leadership seems to be.

Now, and after spending a week there, and while I wouldn’t necessarily judge the differences between U.S. and Russia’s positions over Syria as unbridgeable, let’s just say that there are quite a few circles that need to be squared first before agreement is reached. The Russians are not attached to Assad, but they are attached to the regime and their base in Tartous. What the “regime” means to the Russians is Alawite control of security and military apparatuses. If regime survival under this formula is not possible, than the powers-that-be in Russia would not be too opposed to the fragmentation of Syria so long as coastal areas remain under Alawite control, which is the likely outcome in this case. To ensure getting their desired outcome, the Russians will continue propping up the regime by supplying it with arms, which they claim are not meant to be used against protesters but against future western intervention, and by continuing to be a stumbling block in the way of any meaningful UN-led action or condemnation.

Still, believe it or not, that is not even the real problem. After all, and as the NY Times report indicates, and considering their growing disaffection with Syria’s fractious opposition, the Obama Administration is indeed seeking a deal that eases Assad’s way out but keeps the regime pretty much intact. But who can sell this plan to the revolutionaries? That’s the real question and the real problem. The off-switch to this revolution, if it exists, lies squarely in the hands of young protest leaders scattered throughout the country, and the arrangement sought by Obama and the Russians is simply too cynical to satisfy them. The protest, the crackdown, the defiance, the reprisals, and the massacres all will continue even with the Assads out of the picture so long as what gets put in place after his departure continues to lack popular legitimacy. And popular legitimacy cannot be given to a regime that is still dominated by military and security apparatuses that are still dominated in their turn by Alawite generals and officers. Pure and simple.

In other words, if the Obama Administration is pinning its hopes on squaring circles in order to reach an agreement with Russia on a deal that will be dead on arrival as far as most Syrians are concerned, then, Syria’s fate as a country has already been sealed. She will be no more. Russian policymakers insist that this is an acceptable outcome as far as they are concerned, but how about American officials? Is the dissolution of Syria as a state acceptable for them as well?

But then, perhaps Senator McCain is right in his assessment of President Obama’s policy at this stage. Perhaps, all that U.S. officials want to achieve at this stage is to kick this bucket until after the elections, without considering the serious consequences of further delays.

Note: It should be borne in mind that locals in Houla made clear from the beginning that most victims of the infamous massacre were slaughtered by pro-Assad militias who stormed into town after it was pounded by regular troops. For Russian officials to use this fact to deflect blame from the regime is grotesque. For the UN resolution to fail to name pro-Assad militias as culprits paves the ground for further acts of genocide.

May 28th, 2012, 1:37 pm


sf94123 said:

Throughout history, Middle Easterners were easily manipulated and persuaded by religion, money, and power to kill, conspire, lie, and deceive each other. The killings in Houla were no different. Pre-planned massacre. I am disgusted!

May 28th, 2012, 1:40 pm


Hopeful said:

There were many videos on youtube today regarding the strikes in Damascus. Here are a few:

What strikes me about these videos is that they were all shot with “hidden” phone cameras. People are afraid of being seen videotaping shops in public. What does this tell you about the state of suppression and fear in the capital? How can any intelligent person believe that people are behind the “reforms” when these same “people” are still afraid of carrying cameras on the street, fifteen months after these reforms started?

Yeah, sure, feel free to form a political party and register it with the state, but don’t you dare carry a phone camera around, Ok? Are you feeling free today?

There is no other country in the world today where citizens are afraid of carrying a camera. Oh wait, yes there is one: North Korea!

May 28th, 2012, 1:45 pm


Mina said:

Today is Monday, so hairdressers and many others don’t need to strike to be closed; plus it is a Christian religious feast.

Syrian strikes business as usual…

May 28th, 2012, 1:51 pm


Tara said:

A UN observer, Martin Griffiths, conclude Sabeeha committed the massacre.

Martin Griffiths, the deputy commander of the UN’s observer mission to Syria, on Sunday attempted to lead a small team of peace monitors and aid workers into the area where at least 90 people died on Friday, despite the firefights that continued to rage all the time they were there.

Mr Griffiths said both the Free Syrian Army (FSA) command in Rastan and civilian eyewitnesses in Houla itself had said the same thing.
Shelling of the town began at about 12.30pm after prayers and lasted about two hours.
Then, from around 3pm, groups of armed civilian militias — known as the Shabiha — began moving house to house and the killings, using knives and firearms, began.

According to both sources speaking independently, it went on for hours, family by family. Both groups say the killings continued until about 2am on Saturday.

The evidence is simply this: the fact that in Houla right now you still find civilians where the FSA control the ground. Yet there are none (except corpses) where the Syrian army is in control.
So you ask yourself this: why do people remain in one area and not the other? Why do civilians apparently feel safe with the rebels? Why have they fled the area controlled by their own government’s army?
We cannot be sure as yet. But since civilians do not feel safe under the protection of their own army it suggests they perceive a link between that army’s shelling and the murderous Shabiha who came afterwards on Friday in Houla and will surely come again.

Read more.

May 28th, 2012, 1:56 pm


Hopeful said:


Looks like you missed my point completely. I was referring to the fact that people are afraid of being seen carrying phone cameras in public.

May 28th, 2012, 1:59 pm


Mina said:

Hula would be a shabeeha revenge for Teldo?

Akram sent me this: “The “Arab” Syrian Army and the “Free” Syrian Army are exchanging massacres in what seems to be a fevered race concerning who can kill the largest number of Syrians. The match is taking place in the Province of Homs.
In Al-Houla (Homs), at least 92 civilians, 32 of them were children were killed in an artillery and tank bombing by the the Syrian Army (read here
and you can watch this video and more others)
In another two villages in Homs, Al-Shumaryiah and Teldo, the Free Syrian Army committed a massacre against many families
It’s worth to mention that the sole source of information regarding Al-Shumaryiah/Teldo massacres was the Syrian news agency Sana who in turn, turned blind-eye on Al-Houla one.
I’m writing this trying hard (for the first time) not to cry… Children bodies…. more than what I can bear…. ”

May 28th, 2012, 1:59 pm


mjabali said:

Juergen said:

“Some of the children killed in the Syrian town of Houla at the weekend were tied up before being shot, activists claim.”

Jurgen you are repeating a mistake I have been seeing in the news day after day.

There is no town in Syria called Houla, there is an area called Houla, or to be more exact it is the Valley of al-Houla سهل الحولة which contains a number of villages. The killing that happened recently happened in Talldo تلدو a village in the Valley of al-Houla.

Many made this mistake and this shows the level of true information we get.

So when you read in the news that al-Houla is being bombarded this makes no sense because of the simple fact that some villages are Alawis and considered pro Assad.

As for what had really happened no one knows, and I personally would not doubt any of the two parties of committing this.

So far there is not one single accurate account to what had happened. But for sure we saw dead Syrian kids that were paraded in front of cameras. Was this for a reason?

al-Houla is an area where Alawis and Sunnis exist in the same village (like Akrab for example). This incident has to be investigated correctly and not let go like many others.

May 28th, 2012, 2:02 pm


Tara said:

Angry Arab should commit suicide. He is pathetic. And I as Syrian do not accept his tears. I wish the images of the slaughtered babies haunt him forever.

May 28th, 2012, 2:05 pm


Tara said:

Ghalioun, the outgoing president of the SNC, remains the face of dignity of the Syrian people.  The battle of liberation of Syria has now begun.

Syria opposition calls ‘battle of liberation’ if UN fails

Syrian opposition head Burhan Ghalioun called yesterday for a “battle of liberation” against the regime until the United Nations takes action under Chapter Seven which allows military intervention.

“I call on the Syrian people to lead a battle of liberation and dignity, relying on its own forces, on the rebels deployed across the country and the Free Syrian Army brigades and friends,” he told a news conference in Istanbul.

Ghalioun, outgoing leader of the Syrian National Council (SNC), said such action would be taken “unless the international community assumes its responsibilities under Chapter Seven” of the UN charter.

Read more

May 28th, 2012, 2:07 pm


mjabali said:


You are right in every word. Religion and power killed thousands of people throughout the years. What happened in the Valley of al-Hula recently is dirty. It is destroying the essence of the Syrian society. al-Hula Valley is a very mixed area. There are Sunnis and Alawis in the Same village. Christians live there. There are Ismailis. There are even Sharkas and Turkman villages in the area.

May 28th, 2012, 2:12 pm


Hopeful said:

Re: Mina #286

Unfortunately, this is the result of decades of suppressive dictatorial regime, combined with intolerant religious culture/teachings.

As I said before, Syrians must look inwards first to look for explanations, answers and solutions and stop blaming others. What creates massacres like this is “hatred” NOT weapons or money. Weapons and money are the tools, but hatred is the motivation/driver.

Shame! Shame!

May 28th, 2012, 2:13 pm


DAWOUD said:

I am checking back here on “Syria Comment” only to see if the supporters/apologists for Syria’s war criminal hereditary “president” are still supporting him, especially after the latest massacre. It looks like they are still doing so. No shame! No sense of any morality!

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

May 28th, 2012, 2:40 pm


mjabali said:


You asked me about my opinion about the solution for Syria. I am in no position to theorize first of all, but since you asked here are my two cents.

The solution I envision would entail a speedy end to all forms of violence first while allowing free press to investigate what really happened and will happen.

The situation now is so chaotic and is getting worse.

Super powers (US and Russia) are not doing enough to curb the violence done by the regime and the opposition. The US is playing catch in the Middle East that has been changing fast in front of our eyes. The US did not have any clear policy to deal with the situation. The Russians are more clear on the other hand. The Russian are supporting al-Assad. It is clear that they do not want to lose Syria also. These two super powers are needed for any solution.

The Arab countries are two camps based on Muslim sectarian affiliations. You have Sunni countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are helping the armed opposition. Also, you have Shii Iraq where the government is very worried about a Sunni neighbor with an ax to grind. The situation in the whole are could take a turn to the worst: major Shia vs Sunni war. See, all possibilities are on the table. Stopping violence and sitting on a table is one smart way.

As for Syrians themselves: We deserve better and what is going on is failure from all parties: government and opposition.

The Assad government is a failure because of the simple fact that thousands of Syrians are dead among them around 5000 soldiers and counting. This is a failure in the leadership. Syria is destroyed under this government: factories, businesses, schools, etc… The population under this government became more along their religious identity more than their Syrian identity. The list goes on…

The opposition is a failure because it is not elected, fragmented and as violent as the regime. I will say no more but I wish my country Syria peaceful times.

May 28th, 2012, 2:42 pm


Dawoud said:

288. TARA

I agree with you.

What do you think we should do to the al-Dahyiah al-Jounobiah propagandist, Hassan Nasr-illat of Hizb-illat, whose shabiha are clearly assisting Bashar’s murderous regime?

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

May 28th, 2012, 2:45 pm


Dawoud said:

280. SF94123

Although I proudly declare myself here as the most anti-Bashar/Nasr-illat/Israeli occupation commentator here, I sense a little anti-Arab racism in generalizing about “Middle Easterners.” The latest disgusting massacre was carried out by a minority war criminal regime! Please don’t GENERALIZE! Still, the “civilized” European Nazis and colonialists killed more innocents! It will take Bashar al-Assad and his murderous clan a few more years to catch up with Europe’s war criminals. In any case, Bashar is the worst Arab dictator in modern Arab history. He has surpassed Nuri al-Maliki, Moqtadah al-Sadr, and even Saddam!

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

May 28th, 2012, 2:56 pm


Dawoud said:

Final comment/though:

1) Where are the well-known pro-Bashar commentators here? Are they taking a break because it is getting harder defending a war criminal dictatorial regime?

2) BOTH Zionist occupiers and pro-Bashar shabiha think that they are above the law! My early comment and post regarding Jewish settlers shooting unarmed Palestinian peasants while the Israel army is doing NOTHING is a proof!

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

May 28th, 2012, 3:03 pm


Syrialover said:

#280. sf94123 wrote: “I am disgusted!”

And most here will be deeply disgusted by your foolish, ignorant and racist remark about “Middle Easterners”.

May 28th, 2012, 3:15 pm


Syrialover said:

It makes sense that Mina loves to quote Angry Arab. They share a completely confusing and inconsistent agenda, with hostility to the west and indifference to Syrians the main theme.

May 28th, 2012, 3:20 pm


bronco said:

#284 Tara

There is something I don’t understand in Martin Grifith’s report.

If Houla has been under the control of the FSA for a long time, why hasn’t the FSA tried to protect these families from the armed men who were rampaging from family to family killing them? Wasn’t the claimed vocation of the FSA to protect civilians in the villages they control?
There has been no FSA or ‘armed men’ reported killed. Where were they?

In any case I don’t not expect any eyewitness to accuse the FSA either or negligence or blind eye, since they they are under their control.
This is why the logic that the villagers feel ‘safe’ under the FSA control is debatable. Maybe they are too fearful to talk or move.

There are many unanswered questions.

This event needs a thorough investigation far from the media. We have here a single UN British observer reporting his ‘first impressions’ to a British newspaper who publish it as it was the conclusion of the investigation.
It’s a shame to play with such a subject to publish scoops, but anyway after the stolen Iraq 2003 picture published by the BCC under the title “Houla massacre” , the opportunism of the media trapped by tough competition is obvious.

May 28th, 2012, 3:33 pm


irritated said:

#269 Antoine

“They are not allowing the FSA to operate freely. What we need to do is to make a direct appeal to the tribes of Jordan to ask their sons in the Jordanian Army to give the weapons to the FSA and to help them smuggle those across the border.”

Why would they exchange so easily their loyalty to their country for a loyalty to the Syrian FSA? I just don’t see what’s would be the motivation?

May 28th, 2012, 3:42 pm


AIG said:

“This is why the logic that the villagers feel ‘safe’ under the FSA control is debatable. Maybe they are too fearful to talk or move.”

But of course this never applies to Syrians living under the Assad regime. When they say they love the regime it must be true because of course they are not afraid to say otherwise. It is becoming difficult to count the layers of hypocrisy displayed in the pro-regime arguments.

May 28th, 2012, 3:42 pm


Uzair8 said:

I sense Annan is becoming fed up and is on the edge. The wily old fox has been given the run-around by the elusive rabbit.

Annan is in Damascus as we speak. Annan can end this once and for all.*

*Godfather 3. Calo pays a visit to Lucchesi.

May 28th, 2012, 3:52 pm


bronco said:

#287 Mjabali

Thanks for clarifying the inaccurate information parroted by the medias about Al Houla.
The articles published with a rare speed are full of false, inacurate and misleading information.
They all implied that it is one village and that it is inhabited exclusively by sunnis.

An official and accurate investigation is necessary to dispel the rumors and the misinformation of the media

May 28th, 2012, 3:52 pm


omen said:

to my shock, someone i follow on twitter, someone i’ve had exchanges with, disclosed today, may 28th, marks the one year anniversary his family was told his brother had been murdered by the regime.

this is what happened to his brother.

there is a point of view that gets channeled on this blog. a worry that elites in syria will lose their privileged class if the revolution were to succeed. a narrative that pits the rich against the poor.
but when a regime is willing to kill well known and successful doctors for no good reason, then the regime is not the bulwark it sets itself up to be as all that is standing between high culture and the unwashed masses. the truth of the matter is, it is the regime itself who are the barbarians at the gate.

May 28th, 2012, 4:00 pm


zoo said:

Annan in Damascus for 3 days
He said that the Security Council has requested the United Nations to continue investigating the attacks in al-Houleh, stressing that those responsible for these brutal crimes must be held accountable, adding “I understand that the government is also investigating.”

Annan said the people who stand behind the incident should be held accountable, adding that Syria’s ordinary citizens are paying the highest price in the 15-month conflict.

Annan urged the Syrian government to take “bold steps” to signal that it’s in Syria’s intention to resolve the crisis peacefully, adding “this message of peace is not only for the government, but for everyone with a gun.”

“It is the Syrian people, the ordinary citizens of this great country, who are paying the highest price in this conflict… our goal is to stop this suffering. It must end and it must end now,” Annan said.

He also urged “everyone involved to help create the right context for a credible political process,” making it clear that his message “is not only for the government but for everyone, every individual with a gun.”

Annan said his six-point plan must be comprehensively implemented, “and this is not happening today.”

Annan added that he expects to have serious and frank discussions with President Bashar al-Assad. He said that he expects to have “serious and frank” discussions with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, , and that he also looks forward to speaking with a range of other people and actors during his three-day visit to Syria.

May 28th, 2012, 4:01 pm


AIG said:

If Ann or Zoo have already posted this, I apologize.

Damascus Merchants Strike Over Houla Killings
AMMAN (Reuters) – Sunni Muslim businesses closed in Old Damascus on Monday in the biggest act of civil disobedience by the capital’s merchant class, a backbone of support for President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s 14-month revolt, activists said.

The show of defiance was in protest against the massacre of at least 108 civilians in the town of Houla in central Syria, [ID:nL5E8GSF7O] and follows strikes elsewhere over the previous two days, they said.

“More than 80 percent of shops have closed in some areas. The army and police are going around the old city with microphones shouting orders for merchants to re-open their shops,” an activist called Nader said by phone from the area.

May 28th, 2012, 4:04 pm


Ghufran said:

The errors you see here about alhoula area is at times caused by ignorance. Those who do not know must look things up or ask before they make a claim or pass a judgement especially when they are 6,000 miles away. Other people are on a mission and they do not care about the truth,it is also “interesting” that a number of them are not even Syrian. This is not the time for thugs or dwarfs to inform the public, we need quality journalists,it is tragic that much of what is being said about Syria since March of 2011 is only fit for a trash dump.
Take this post at its face value,it does not target any particular poster.

May 28th, 2012, 4:13 pm


zoo said:

Tit for Tat 2, FSA VS PKK

Border tensions rise as Turkey says Syria is giving PKK free rein

Thomas Seibert
May 29, 2012

ISTANBUL // Turkish authorities say they have evidence that Kurdish militants enjoying increasingly free rein in Syria brought 40 kilograms of plastic explosives across the border into Turkey to stage a major attack last week.
The claim is a new sign of tension between the two countries that could trigger a military escalation at the border, analysts said yesterday.

“Tensions will rise further, and even an armed confrontation is possible,” Ihsan Bal, an anti-terrorism expert at the International Strategic Research Organisation (Usak), a think tank in Ankara, said yesterday.

May 28th, 2012, 4:15 pm


Osama said:

299 Bronco

You make a good point. There are many open questions that need answers.

On the political side, the Russians are look like they might be about ready to sell Bashar out, apparently the “Yemeni model” is back on the table. Lavrov did not provide a robust defense and instead, laid the blame equally between FSA and Regime. (see RT and ITAR/TASS)

Unfortunately, I suspect the revolutionaries will be very disappointed if that happens, because they will see their money and weapons dry up over night. Just when they were about to get their fight on…

Russia’s weak stand could be the tipping point and it could backfire and result in quick collapse (serious detections could result) and then we’re in full blown civil war, with ethnic, sectarian killing every where. Russia needs to grow a pair and keep it together if they want to get anything out of this, amateurs!

The next few days will be critical to see if the regime can keep it together. If they do manage to see out the week, expect more massacres to “keep the pressure on”

Stay tuned

May 28th, 2012, 4:24 pm


Juergen said:


See, I did not write that article, I just posted it. Dont worry you run into open doors when it comes to quality of journalism about the ME here in Germany. BTW to publish a good map of Syria would be a good business to start after the Assads, this silly map i have from Syria isnt worth any, streets are not registred, names are different and well thats due to the Assad cult, everything is related to the Assads, Assad lake, Assad damn, and the famous Djebel Druz is called Djebel Arab…

Ah before i forgot, many villages in Syria are big enough to be a town, what makes a syrian town for you? 2 Assad monuments?


In North Korea they are not even allowed to have mobile phones. I bet Bashar has second thoughts about introducing mobile phones and internet in the country.

May 28th, 2012, 4:27 pm


bronco said:


Russia’s strategy is working.

Russia has decided to change the international perception that it blindly supports Bashar Al Assad and his regime. It is now coming out with more ambiguous declarations that are immediately picked up and stripped from their context by the media to be presented in sentences like these” Russia condemn Syria’, “Russia ready to dump Bashar Al Assad”, “Russia is distancing from Bashar al Assad”

Russia’s strategy seems to work as now Russia does not appear as a biased and blind support of the Syrian regime and therefore could gain more acceptance from the Syrian opposition and the international community.

In perspective, Russia has succeeded in transforming the ‘regime change’ plan concocted by Qatar, Turkey and the SNC into a ‘peace plan’ under UN control that includes a dialog between the opposition and the Syrian regime.
Russia is now working on the next step which is to eliminate any opposition group that refuses the dialog with the regime.
The SNC is dead, The Friends of Syria too, the supporters of the hardline, France, is weaker. Turkey is isolated as even Qatar and Saudi have calmed down from verbal attacks on Bashar al Assad.

The aim of the Russians now is to evaluate the FSA capabilities and willingness to take over the opposition representation and move into the dialog part of the six-point Annan plan.
If the FSA shows its acceptance of that role, than Russia will lower its rhetoric on Bashar Al Assad as to gain the trust of the FSA.
In view of the new tone of Russia toward Bashar, I think the step two has started. More pressure is being applied both to the FSA and to Bashar to accept the dialog with the FSA as part of the opposition.
Of course elements loyal to the SNC and its sympathizers as well as some die hard within the Syrian regime are trying to prevent this dialog to happen. Bombs attacks and the massacre in Al Houla are part of these attempts to derail the plan.
Contrary to the USA, Russia’s strategy has been well thought and consistent. It is working patiently toward its aim that happens to coincide with UN Annan plan.

May 28th, 2012, 4:44 pm


Juergen said:

Financial Times Deutschland about the role of Russia

“Moscow must stop supporting the regime nor in any way. It may not provide more instruments of death to the Assad regime, and it must give the UN Security Council’s hardline attitude when it comes to a clear position and to harsh sanctions. The Russians are the only ones that the regime can not stop it.”

May 28th, 2012, 4:56 pm


Tara said:


The scenario is simple and plausible.  While the regime bombarding al Houla with heavy machinery, families taking shelter in their house, the shabeeha executed collective punishment, perhaps randomly  choosing 3 houses next to each others and slaughtered every one.  The goal is to teach towns and villages to not give moral or material support to the FSA otherwise, they may end up with a similar fate.  This happened in Karm al  Zaitoun too.  There are no FSA members assigned to protect houses.  There are FSA members fighting the regime, not watching out for massacres to happen.

I see no holes in this scenario whatsoever Bronco.  The Towns and villages support the FSA because the FAS members are their sons and nephews.

There has been no single account from any refugee implicating the FSA.  There are countless accounts incriminating the regime.

May 28th, 2012, 5:18 pm


Tara said:


Thank you for posting the link of Damascus strike. Time for Damascus proper to rise otherwise it should be put to shame for generations to come.

May 28th, 2012, 5:20 pm


Syria said:

305. OMEN

Thankyou for that post. That torture killing of an innocent young medical specialist displays the sickening, terrifying TRUTH about the Assad regime and how it has always behaved.

Evil stupidity. Waste. Filthy, pointless terror and violence.

Watch for more cases like this to become known when the families are no longer afraid to talk about them.

It’s revealing that professional liars here rush to give this story the red thumbs down.

May 28th, 2012, 5:46 pm


Syrialover said:

305. OMEN (4 pm)

Thankyou for that post. That torture killing of an innocent young medical specialist displays the sickening, terrifying TRUTH about the Assad regime and how it has always behaved.

Evil stupidity. Waste. Filthy, pointless terror and violence.

Watch for more cases like this to become known when the families are no longer afraid to talk about them.

It’s revealing that professional liars here rush to give this story the red thumbs down.

May 28th, 2012, 5:50 pm


Tara said:


In response to your question, Hassan Nasrallah has declared himself as an enemy to the Syrian people and we should simply treat him as such. The Iranian regime (not the Iranian people)has declared itself as an enemy to the Syrian people and we should treat it as such.

May 28th, 2012, 6:11 pm


omen said:

308. Ghufran said:

Other people are on a mission and they do not care about the truth,it is also “interesting” that a number of them are not even Syrian. This is not the time for thugs or dwarfs to inform the public, we need quality journalists,it is tragic that much of what is being said about Syria since March of 2011 is only fit for a trash dump. Take this post at its face value,it does not target any particular poster. 4:13 pm


i seem to recall you not long ago, throwing a few rocks at saudi royals. are you saudi?

i think it’s a safe bet that you’ve had some criticisms to make re the u.s. occupation of iraq and afghanistan. are you iraqi? are you afghan?

i don’t see you holding regime apologists to task for denigrating every other regime under the sun in a herculean but vain attempt to make the assad regime look marginally better by comparison.

try as they might, loyalists attempting to put lipstick on this regime isn’t very convincing. the artifice just makes it look more menacing.

May 28th, 2012, 8:13 pm


bronco said:

#315 Tara

“There are FSA members fighting the regime, not watching out for massacres to happen.”

I thought they claimed over than over that their purpose is to protect the civilians.. Obviously, as you said, their purpose is now to fight the regime. Then their supposed agreement with Annan peace plan is a lie.
Your scenario is exactly what you are meant to believe. I yet do not trust the ‘activists’ declaration and the assumptions the media does to convince the world that it’s time for a military strike on Syria.

I prefer to wait for the official UN investigation on the ground and not fall into the trap of wild speculations.

I am still convinced that both the FSA and the regime are been pressured to come to the dialog table.
Time will tell if they will do it soon enough.

May 28th, 2012, 11:27 pm


Tara said:


Is this not an evidence?  

Houla massacre survivor tells how his family were slaughtered

Syrian boy, 11, claims he played dead to escape pro-Assad gunmen who killed five members of family in Houla
Monday 28 May 2012 13.36 EDT

An 11-year old boy has described how he smeared himself in the blood of his slain brother and played dead as loyalist gunmen burst into his home and killed six members of his family during the start of a massacre in Houla, central Syria.

The young survivor’s chilling account emerged as Russia continued to blame both Syrian troops and opposition militias for the weekend rampage in the town that left at least 116 people dead and prompted fresh outrage against the regime’s crackdown.

Speaking to the Guardian, the young survivor said government troops arrived in his district at around 3am on Saturday, several hours after shells started falling on Houla.

“They came in armoured vehicles and there were some tanks,” said the boy. “They shot five bullets through the door of our house. They said they wanted Aref and Shawki, my father and my brother. They then asked about my uncle, Abu Haidar. They also knew his name.”

Shivering with fear, the boy stood towards the back of the entrance to his family home as gunmen then shot dead every family member in front of him.

“My mum yelled at them,” said the boy. “She asked: ‘What do you want from my husband and son?’ A bald man with a beard shot her with a machine gun from the neck down. Then they killed my sister, Rasha, with the same gun. She was five years old. Then they shot my brother Nader in the head and in the back. I saw his soul leave his body in front of me.

“They shot at me, but the bullet passed me and I wasn’t hit. I was shaking so much I thought they would notice me. I put blood on my face to make them think I’m dead.”

Apparently convinced their work was finished, the gunmen moved on to other areas of the house, from which they proceeded to loot the family’s possessions, the boy said. “They stole three televisions and a computer,” he said. “And then they got ready to leave.”

On the way out of the house, the boy said the gunmen found the three men they had been looking for. They killed them all. “They shot my father and uncle. And then they found Aref, my oldest brother, near the door. They shot him dead too.”

The Guardian contacted the boy through a town elder who is a member of the Syrian Revolutionary Council and is now caring for him. We are unable to independently verify the account and have chosen not to name the boy for security reasons.

The boy said he waited until the armoured personnel carriers had moved from his street, then ran to his uncle’s house nearby, where he hid. He said the same militiamen knocked on the door minutes later, asking his uncle if he knew who lived in the house that they just rampaged through.

“They didn’t know he was my relative and when they were talking to him they were describing six people dead in my house. They included me. They thought I was dead.”

Throughout a 15-minute conversation, the boy remained calm and detached until he was pressed on how he knew the gunmen were pro-regime militia men, known as al-Shabiha. The irregular forces have been widely accused by residents of Houla of entering homes and slaughtering families. At least 32 of the dead are children and many of them appear to have been killed at close range.

“They got out of tanks and they had guns and knives,” he repeated. “Some of them were wearing civilian clothes, some army clothes.

“Why are you asking me who they were? I know who they were. We all know it. They were the regime army and people who fight with them. That is true.”

May 28th, 2012, 11:34 pm


AIG said:


There is no better evidence than this, direct eye witness evidence.

Now wait for regime supporters to demand this boy come forward and give evidence to the regime investigation. May I suggest an answer? How about letting the Western press into Houla to talk to survivors. Will the regime allow that? They won’t of course, because they know who is responsible for the massacre.

I hope the UN investigators get to talk to the boy without endangering his life.

May 29th, 2012, 12:13 am


bronco said:

#323 Tara

“Speaking to the Guardian…. ” and
“We are unable to independently verify the account and have chosen not to name the boy for security reasons.”

That is what makes it a tabloid information.

I don’t need the Guardian to make the investigation. The UK press has proved to be unreliable and manipulative with the Murdoch scandal. The most recent is the BBC photos showing Houla massacre when it was a 2003 Iraq photo.
These articles supposedly interviewing eye witnesses are anecdotes for some readers looking for gory details. They are not reliable.

We need a formal UN investigation. Until then, there are only unanswered questions about this tragedy.

May 29th, 2012, 1:07 pm


zoo said:

France backs off from ground military intervention

“Mr. Fabius ruled out any ground intervention in Syria, which he said would carry the risk of a “regional extension” of the conflict.

“The Syrian Army is powerful,” Mr. Fabius said. “No state is ready to consider ground intervention at the current time.”

May 29th, 2012, 1:13 pm


zoo said:

Do Shabbihas usually name themselves openly when their perpetrate hideous crimes or it is a make believe?

“Witness accounts described how some militiamen went through houses chanting, “Shabiha for you, Assad,” Mr. Colville said in an interview, using a term for pro-government thugs.”

May 29th, 2012, 1:18 pm


omen said:

327. zoo said: Do Shabbihas usually name themselves openly when their perpetrate hideous crimes or it is a make believe?

“Witness accounts described how some militiamen went through houses chanting, “Shabiha for you, Assad,” Mr. Colville said in an interview, using a term for pro-government thugs.”


what’s your theory? that rebels waited for the regime to stop shelling? then rushed in to kill civilians while posing as shabbiha?

May 29th, 2012, 3:24 pm


omen said:

326. zoo said:
France backs off from ground military intervention

“Mr. Fabius ruled out any ground intervention in Syria, which he said would carry the risk of a “regional extension” of the conflict.

“The Syrian Army is powerful,” Mr. Fabius said. “No state is ready to consider ground intervention at the current time.”


when is the west going to stop giving the regime a green light to continue their slaughter?

May 29th, 2012, 3:30 pm


habib said:

No foreign fighters in Syria? LOL!

May 30th, 2012, 2:47 pm


habib said:

327. zoo said:

“Do Shabbihas usually name themselves openly when their perpetrate hideous crimes or it is a make believe?”

Typical false-flag operation. One of them could just as well had said he was Bashar al-Assad himself.

May 30th, 2012, 2:51 pm


Osama said:

312 Bronco.

Thanks for your reply. I agree with you that Russia is trying to achieve something and keep the current regime more or less intact. But I don’t think they planned or anticipated Al houla massacre. Therefore they could not have a prepared strategy and I believe that their response, as you rightly said, is meant to absorb the surge of negative publicity.

Unfortunately, the Russians are out gunned in this media war, so they backed off. When they saw that the story was not as it first seemed they quickly went back to their original position.

In regards to murders themselves, I still would like several questions answered:
1) what was the motive? Who was the Abdulrazzak family? What was their affiliation? Where were the men that killers were looking for? Where are they now? It seems only right that they need protection as it seems they were the primary targets?

2) what time did the murders happen? We are told the army fired at the town during the day, in which less than 20 people died? Who were the people who died in this incident? Were any of them women and children or were they all men? We are also told that the Army only fired at the town from a distance and the FSA attacked them AFTER this incident? Also, we are told that the executions happened in two rounds, why? Who controlled the town during all of this time?

3) why is the UN still saying they can’t say who committed the executions? If the FSA is in control, their should be plenty of witnesses, someone must have seen something and if everyone else abandoned this part of the town why did the Abdulrazzak family feel safe to stay, especially with their men gone?

Is it possible this was a local feud? Is it possible that some of the armed men somehow blame the Abdulrazzak’s for something that happened that day and they went looking for them to get revenge and things got out of control when they could not find the people they were looking for? Is it possible that these hot heads then told the rest of their gang and the boss came up with this plan to try and fool everybody….

Governments all over the Arab world are known for using the families of their enemies as leverage, if they can’t find the son they take the father into custody, haven’t the “activist” been telling us about this behavior?

In regards to the poor boy who survived, he cannot help, his testimony amounts to: he saw the perpetrators, and they could have been anybody?

Can the boy identify any of the men involved if he saw any of them again?

I don’t mean to offend anybody by the above, or to insinuate that the shibeeha did NOT do it… I feel strongly that the truth must come out and I don’t to just let this pass as another example of how evil the government is. These killers need to be found and it is the responsibility of the FSA, the Syrian government and the UN to act to reach this end?

Also, I am worried why the NATO F/UK/US are not calling for investigation, why are they just pushing the escalation agenda, a report from UN placing the blame on the Syria government will surely give them huge boost to their efforts?

They love to get reports from UN on Iraq WMD, or Iran Nuclear or STL, these have always helped them against their enemies… Surely these women and children deserve that much!

May 30th, 2012, 4:10 pm


bronco said:

Ossama #332

I agree that the Houla massacre has a lots of questions that no one seems to bother of acknowledging.
Russia was ready for such excesses. They lip condemnation of the Syrian regime will be useful to make them appear less bias for future negotiations. They have then reaffirm in force that both parties were responsible/
About the survivors and a possible investigation, ZOO has made an analysis of the declaration of the children survivors and there are some troubling elements that seem to point to some FSA ‘rogue elements’ as the killers rather than to the Shabbiha.

It is only a basic assessment but it adds doubts to the affirmation of the Shabbiha’s responsibility in the cold blood massacre that the media is spreading without any investigation or tangible proofs

If you missed them these are some of the links.

May 30th, 2012, 6:32 pm


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