Syrians Must Be Encouraged And Not Discouraged to Talk About Sectarianism – By Ehsani

This is what a Syrian commentator wrote on one of the social media outlets this morning:

“Anyone that mentions the name of sect or religion in Syria, in any context, and all those who incite sect or religion in Syria, in any context and all those who try to show a range as a victim and a look executioner in any context is a traitor to Syria and Syria is innocent of it. All intolerance for other than Syria is betrayal. Martyrs have one religion and one sect and that is Syria. Blood flowing on the soil of Syria have a single identity and that is the identity of Syria.”

كل من يذكر اسم طائفة أو دين في سوريا بأي سياق و كل من يحرض على طائفة أو دين في سوريا بأي سياق وكل من يحاول أن يظهر طائفة بمظهر الضحية و طائفة بمظهر الجلاد بأي سياق هو خائن لسوريا و سوريا بريئة منه فكل تعصب لغير سوريا قدس الأقداس خيانة.
للشهداء دين واحد و طائفة واحدة هي سوريا فالدماء التي تسيل على تراب سوريا لها هوية واحدة هي الهوية السورية

While it is hard to argue with pleas to ignore religious and sectarian tendencies that may incite more killings and hatred, ignoring the obvious demons we face does not strike me as a credible solution.

It should be obvious to all of us by now that fake stability is an unsustainable model that is unlikely to last for long. Societies cannot advance and prosper unless they openly face their demons and discuss their long held taboos.

I, for one, want every Syrian to openly discuss everything that ails our society. This covers the role of religion and sectarianism.

We must stop pretending that our nationalistic ideals trump our religious and sectarian tendencies.  The country must embark on a national soul searching exercise that helps us define who we are, what we want and how best to achieve it. Such discussions must be credible and achievable. It is high time that we do away with empty slogans and hollow idealism.

It is obvious to all by now that what we are witnessing in our country is akin to a house of cards that has come crushing down in front of our eyes. The myth of Syrian exceptionalism must be exposed. Asking people to put the lid on their inner sectarian feelings is not the solution. Taboos must be discarded. Honest and open discussions of everything that ails us must now take precedent. Indeed, rather than asking people not to discuss religion and sectarianism, we must encourage and promote such dialogue.

Comments (222)

Peter Hofmann said:

Until they are paid for by foreigners.

May 28th, 2012, 4:38 pm


hamoudeh said:

Syrian sectarism is skyrocketing thanks to the syrian regime. Why ? Coz all victims are sunni, even baby were not spared, i would like to understand this hatred how is it possible!!??
Anyway, the true sectarian nature of syria regime is revealed, and it wont take a lot of time for the few remaining sunni siding with the regime to quit the sinking boat

May 28th, 2012, 5:26 pm


omen said:

naturally. we don’t want to focus on human rights abuses or crimes against humanity.

instead, let’s shape the conflict as a sectarian one or a “civil war.”

changing the focus to this further discourages (thus far, non existent) inclinations towards foreign intervention.

this must be a preview of the new meme of the week: “it’s a sectarian problem. we can’t do anything about it. these people have to settle their problems amongst themselves.” (never mind russia is sending wmds and iran is sending in death squads.)

May 28th, 2012, 5:33 pm


Syrian Prometheus said:

As the writer of the post asserts, the Syrian commentator articulates some very admirable sentiments regarding sectarianism.

Unfortunately, such infantile statements do not survive contact with reality.

Syria is in a state of civil war. A civil war that was entirely avoidable had the Assad regime acted humanely instead of its usual, thuggish approach to solving problems.

Syria faces three disastrous problems. The first is societal in nature due to its explosive population growth at the same time the the ruling regime was busy perpetuating its corruption and theft of the Syria’s soul and treasure.

The second problem is economic in nature; the existing framework is bankrupt! the mythology of worker and peasant rule is just that. Mythology. Its spill over effect only exacerbates the first problem.

The third problem is the absence of a civic code. The Assad family worked very hard to construct a cult of personality to suit its self-serving needs. Syria has not held a national dialogue in 50 years.

So, once the regime is changed, you may have 20 million sunnis out for blood. This could have been avoided had the regime not done what it did to our country. There is still a chance this horrible outcome can be avoided.

A national reconciliation is needed. Such a reconciliation can only be accomplished through honest dialogue about problems and issues.

You don’t believe me? Just ask a marriage counsellor.

May 28th, 2012, 5:42 pm


omen said:

chalking this up as a sectarian conflict is another way of blaming the victims.

go ahead, smear the martyrs.

May 28th, 2012, 5:46 pm



I agree with commentors above who disagree with centering the debate on a sectarian conflict. Sectarian conflict is the consequence of the stupidity and barbaric acts of a mafia regime. Cancel the regime, stop wild atrocities from the state power and then analyze if sectarianism remains a problem or not. I bet not. Sectarian politics as militant islamic fighters in other places like Palestine or Afganistan are simply tools used to ideollogically unify the resistance against a power that seems too hard to destroy.

But this is the falacy. The more the regime employs brutality the more the resistance goes radical to keep unity. And in this way the regime discredits the opposition as brainless and Al Qaeda followers.

Assads are not eternal and at the end we will discover once again the real nature of syrian people.

May 28th, 2012, 6:16 pm


Sami Othamni said:

As promised a few months ago and after numerous calls for the Alwaite sect in syria to act, in vain of course; the countdown has started. The Civil war is taking place at full swing and the Assad regime’s days are numbered. The Alwaites miscalculated the situation and they will pay a price. I cannot give you a time scale for the overthrow of Assad but I can say that he is losing control rapidly. We are waiting for the “straw” to break the camel’s back.

Hope that you do not have a lot of the shabiha commentators here any more.

May 28th, 2012, 6:49 pm


Aldendeshe said:

What is happening in Syria has nothing to do with sectarianism. The Alawites lived in Syria for more than a thousand years and no one hurt them, they always tried to hurt Syria and Syrians. When Syria gained independence, they were given free access to all national sectors of the economy, army, education, and were free to elect representatives to the Syrian parliament in a fair and free election.

What this conflict has to do with, is that a minority Shia sectarian regime ruling the majority of all other sects. Not only that, it is ruling them dictatorially and oppressively, indignantly, and that is not even the worst part of it all. This sectarian minority, monopolized all means of living, working, wealth, education, welfare, natural resources, property ownership as well as the military and its advancement and ranking, representation, Politics and political Parties, local and national leadership from provincial to the highest state offices, and all the national economic, social and political policies. Even worse of all the above, is that this Shia sect, ruling cunningly under slogans and motto’s that they do not observe. They lost Syrian territories and even given some away as if Syria where like Iran, a shia farm house.

I share Mr. Ghallioun call for an all out revolution and even a mission under chapter 7 to put and end to this unfair and illegitimate and murderous, typically bloody, Shia sectarian rule in Syria, as well as in Lebanon, and free the Persian people from suffering.

May 28th, 2012, 6:52 pm


873 said:

There would be no conflict- sectarian or otherwise if Mossad, MI6 and CIA werent fomenting the upsrising with Qatar and Saudi-backed Al Qaeda. Look at the atrocity photographed of the “Syrian Regime Crimes”

May 28th, 2012, 7:09 pm


Tara said:

Aldendeshe @7


I only add that this murderous regime robbed the Alawis of their identity and USED them, by playing into ancient historical fears, rendering the vast majority of their young men into worthless shabeeha to protect the one mafia family and by doing so hurt them for many generations to come.

I also agree with Omen. Any conscious or unconscious attempt of tainting this struggle as sectarian struggle, ie Sunnis wanting self determination from ruling Alawite elite is only playing into the regime’s narrative. This is not about the religion of the president. This is about 40 some years of depriving the Syrians (the decedents of the oldest civilization in the world) of the simplest rights people the world over have. The right to live freely and with dignity. The right to not be enslaved…

May 28th, 2012, 7:11 pm


Syrialover said:

Sectarianism flares when there is terror and no protection. When there is a central collapse of trust, order and security.

People cling for protection and advantage to whatever identity they have. It’s an instinctive means of survival.

It’s a normal by-product of dictatorship and state terrorism.

May 28th, 2012, 7:12 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

لقد حان الوقت للشعب السوري العظيم واهل جبال اللأرز لرفع راية النصر معاوية يزيد لنا النصر لاشيوعية ولاشيعية نصرة معاوية ويزيد وبس

May 28th, 2012, 7:14 pm


Aldendeshe said:

what you and I said pretty much in totality sums up the Syrian conflict in a nutshell. All other narratives from any side, are just ploys.

May 28th, 2012, 7:25 pm


Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

BBC Arabic هذا المساء devoted most of the newshour to the Syrian situation with a good 15 minutes on the sectarian side of the issue. Fadwa Sleiman participated from Paris, M. al Dugheim from Istanbul and Malak Jaafar led the discussion.
It will be repeated at 02:00 GMT Tuesday.

May 28th, 2012, 7:41 pm


Syrialover said:

Many Syrians are shocked and traumatised by the vicious hatred and contempt towards the Syrian people shown by the Alawi regime and its apparatchiks when challenged.

This is not Syria, this is not Syrian culture and society. This is an alien barbaric clique who terrorised and thieved their way to power, and are violently destroying Syria to stay there.

FACT: The Assad regime regards at least 80% of the Syrian population as expendable and irrelevant – just a nuisance to be shelled, tortured, crushed and disposed of.

May 28th, 2012, 7:49 pm


Observer said:

Talking about sectarianism at this juncture is irrelevant to the core of the issue in Syria.
Ehsani has rightly pointed out and I have followed his advise on this that the regime is a failure. He showed failure in the economic sphere, in the political sphere, he showed how the new reforms and constitution are nothing more than a dress up to fit the current regime needs and wants.

All Syrians are victims of the mafia at the helm. Most of all the Alawi community in particular is the worst for it for in reality it is being held hostage to completely support the regime under the pretext of revenge and destitution in case the regime collapses.

Nothing could be further from the desires of the vast majority of the people of Syria. They want freedom from fear and oppression and freedom to pursue their dreams without having to pay in pride and humiliation as well as in their hard earned labor to a parasitic mafia. They want their children to get an education and to be able to afford to start a life without having to become a member of this or that party or to spy on your neighbors and friends.

What the people want is the rule of law, the right to property and personal safety, the right to representation, and the right to question and change the laws of the land for ALL and not for a group or family.

It is precisely because in the past some sects or rural areas or urban centers or tribes were disenfranchised or favored in an economy that was still feudal that those of us asking for change want to go beyond this narrow mentality.

I have deplored and argued before about the lack of a national identity in Syria and in the Arab world. I see this coming finally to the fore and I look at it historically and with observations about others who forged their national identity through several stages of liberation. Remember Syrians never used religion to liberate themselves from France precisely because of the mosaic of the society. Now we will also ask to forgo any religious affiliation in forging the national identity of Syria through this liberation struggle from the thugs at the helm.

Some will continue to object and to vociferate about a “conspiracy” or as J’amuse Jaffari tells us of a “tsunami” of lies. Now the version from the regime’s side speak of hundreds of Salafists committing this crime in Houla.

It is the regime that wants to make it a sectarian civil war because its base of support is shrinking daily.

Again Brutal Incompetence and Incompetent Brutality or simple Brutality will not save the regime from its demise.

May 28th, 2012, 8:18 pm


873 said:

Just a sectarian fight among Syrians who hate their regime. NO outside infiltration and no western help. Its all just the brute regime. The west is not involved (despite openly and repeatedly announcing to the media how they are sending weapons to their proxy “freedom fighters” in Turkey). Give me a break

May 28th, 2012, 8:51 pm


sheila said:

Dear Ihsani,
There is no doubt that Syria and Syrians need to have an open and constructive dialogue about religion and sect, however, I would like to assert that this is not the time for this. The problem that we are having today is not sectarianism; it is rather stereotyping and bigotry.
Here are the facts:
1- The ruling mafia is not religious at all.
2- The regime never advanced the Alawi sect as a religion.
3- In pure numbers (not percentages) the largest group supporting the regime is Sunni.
4- Even though many Alawiis benefited directly or indirectly from the regime, many Alawiis are under the poverty line.
5- Many Sunnis and Christians also benefited directly or indirectly from the regime and partnered with it.
6- There are quite a few Alawiis who are very active against the regime.
7- There are many Alawiis who are rotting in the regime prisons.
Yet, many people keep blaming Alawiis for all the massacres and killings. It really upsets me when I hear and read all the accusations. Bashar Al Assad is a murderer who happens to be a Alawii, this does not make all Alawiis murderers.
We have to stand by the Alawii community that is being taken hostage by this mafia. They are in effect stuck between a rock and a hard place.
To all the Alawiis who happen to be reading this, Please know that there are many out there like me, who do not blame you for what the Syrian regime is doing.
I understand the anger and despair that many Syrians feel today. The massacre in Houla (according to reliable sources) was perpetrated by young Alawiis from the surrounding villages, who happen to be very poor. They were given weapons by the regime and prompted to carry out the atrocities. This still does not mean that all the Alawiis are murderers. The 19 men, who hijacked the planes and destroyed the World trade center, were all Muslims. Does this mean that all Muslims are terrorists?

May 28th, 2012, 9:00 pm


Glike said:

I wonder is Judge Goldstone will investigate or if special UN tribunals are reserved for Israel.

May 28th, 2012, 9:05 pm


Ed Jazairi said:

Mr. Ehsani: The Syrian society was an exceptional society all the way up to the dreaded day of March, 8-1963. Please take a very good note of that, because Syria was an exceptional country, exceptional culture and exceptional society until the advent of Al-Baath/Al-Assad Crime families who took control of this beloved country and turned it into a Banana Republic and worse. Sir, I grew up in a Damascus neighborhood with Muslim Families, Christian Families, and yes we have had a Jewish Family as well. Non of us knew what kind of Muslims they are nor did we care about what kind of Christians we had in our Street. Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants who cares…we were a very big family. It was not until the total assumption of power by Hafez Al-Assad in the 1970’s that we realized that something was amiss. First, a Kurdish family vanished overnight, then the Jewish family was relocated, then an Armeninan family forced to leave to Lebanon and what not. Hafez Al-Assad and his Baathist cronies forced a DIVIDE & RULE concept on the Syria society and culture. That way, he thought that he and his decendants will rule Syria forever. Syria since its inception 8.000 years or so ago did not give a hoot about sects and sectarianism. Every Syrian all the way until this juncture of history acknowledge this fact, A lovely mosaic of people and cultures. What ails the Syrian society these days is not sects and sectarianism!!!??? What ails it, is the continuation of Al-Assads rule and their organized crime family.

May 28th, 2012, 9:28 pm


ss said:

“We have to stand by the Alawii community that is being taken hostage by this mafia. They are in effect stuck between a rock and a hard place”

As an Alawii myself I would like to thank you for your big compassionate heart towards us. I assure you that I am not getting paid by anyone and I am a simple person with no ties to any group. I do not write on daily basis and when I did I was accused of being an agent of Mukhabarat. I am not!. Your assumption that we are taken hustage is a big delusion because we do not feel that at all. We are all; Alawii, Christians, sunnis, and Druz united against Terrorism. Unfortunately, some MB and Alqaeda sympathizers on this website are united and focused to attack Syria and its people.

“The massacre in Houla (according to reliable sources) was perpetrated by young Alawiis from the surrounding villages, who happen to be very poor”.

Reliable sources???would you please share it with us.

May 28th, 2012, 9:48 pm


ss said:

This is Rafiq Lotf take to what happended in Houla.

May 28th, 2012, 9:53 pm


mjabali said:

Syrians are sectarian in general. They grew up like that.

It the the tradition they inherited from consecutive sectarian rule that never tried to reconcile the different sects.

Each Syrian is aware about his/her own sect and that of others. People always want to know where you are from before anything else. By insisting to know where you are from, they want to know which sect you belong to. This is no secret. I have lived this all of my life.

You have a little class that does not buy into sectarian logic, but this class is dwindling due to the high sectarian tensions these days. Nevertheless this class is around and still believe in non-sectarian terms.

You could read this from some of the comments here. People are very conscious about each other religion or sect. Relations most of the time are based on religious affiliation. Of course each insist on their own version of history. There is and was no real dialogue between Syrians from different sects about this issue. All want to shove this problem under the rug pretending this elephant is not in the room.

To talk about sectarianism in the open has always been a taboo. People want to tell you to shut up and things are alright while in reality they, as I mentioned earlier, base their whole relations based on sect.

The history of the small sects in Syria has always been that of oppression, disdain, contempt, and of course violence all directed at them. During the years of al-Assads, there was a reversal in terms of violence directed.

Sectarianism in Syria is the product of the long years under the rule of dictatorships starting with al-Assad now and going back a thousand years at least. There was not one leader in the history of the area that is called now Syria, who tried to make people from different sects like or at least respect each other.

The failure to built bridges between sects is the fault of many. The success to built bridges between sects is yet to be seen.

May 28th, 2012, 9:56 pm


ss said:

SS the old Moderator had you under moderation, I was not aware of that fact. You are free to post without further Moderation.

SC Moderator

Drea moderator,

I would like to thank you for deleting my comments without even alerting me. I surprized why you did that. Did I breach the rules of SC this time??? I wish you reply me, bring the text back and show me what you did not like or approve about what I said. It seems that you cherry pick???that is called bias. Good night!

May 28th, 2012, 10:07 pm


Tara said:

The world looks the other way.  Will you?

“They [the pictures] were of such awful proportion that they spoke not just 1,000 words, but 2,000 words, 10,000 words and I wanted immediately to use them; I felt we had a responsibility to use them in fact,” Mullin told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One programme on Monday.

Independent on Sunday editor defends using images of dead Syrian children
John Mullin says he had a responsibility to publish the harrowing images of children killed in the Houla region
Monday 28 May 2012 13.23 EDT

The editor of the Independent on Sunday has defended his decision to publish graphic pictures of dead Syrian children killed in the Houla region on Friday.

John Mullin said he had a responsibility to use the harrowing images – which appear to show the badly beaten bodies of at least nine dead children laid side by side – despite strict Press Complaints Commission (PCC) guidance on the potential intrusion into grief and shock.

The Independent on Sunday editor said he printed the pictures on page three rather than on the front page to avoid distressing children. The paper carried the front-page headline “Syria. The world looks the other way. Will you?”


May 28th, 2012, 10:22 pm


Katamon said:

It is always funny to me to see dominant groups in society trying to weave a narrative of inclusion and equality. It is a very common motif that exists around the world. For those that are dominant their country really is always progressive, inclusive, equal, etc.. For everyone outside the elite the picture is of an elite dominated by certain groups to the visible and obvious exclusion of others. It is like a rich white person arguing that there is no race problem in America, or a white Frenchman arguing that the Muslims are not discriminated against. This is what the comments here sound like.

Get off your high horse. You might think that sect, religion or whatever had never been important in Syria before al-Assad. Yet any cursory study of the history of the region would find a history of Sunni dominance over the other religions and of Arab dominance over the Kurds. Yes, sectarianism is real. The fears of the Alawites and Christians are real and have a basis in historical memory. The anger of many Sunnis is real and to them the current situation is a historical abomination. The Kurd demands for more rights is real and has a basis in being forced to participate in the ‘Syrian Arab Republic’, often with forceful suppression of their own identity.

Talk about it or not, it is there. Sectarianism is deep and the status quo that allowed the conversation about it to be paved over in the interest of internal stability is dead.

May 28th, 2012, 11:06 pm


Ghufran said:

Sheila,as always,comes through as more moderate and reasonable than many posters here,I ,however,have to admit that ignoring the sectarian element in Syrian politics,including the uprising,is not going to help Syria get out of this mess.
The problem with sectarian politics did not start in March,2011 and it is even older than the life of this regime. Much of that is due to economic factors but the problem got bigger in the late 1960s and is now at the center stage because of the blood shed and the tension with Iran and the chaos in Lebanon and Iraq.
Refusing to share power,trashing the rule of the law, and insisting on giving loyalty a much bigger role than qualification is the mother of all evil in third world countries,religious and tribal affiliation is a tool used by most dictators to cement their hold on power and financial resources of those countries.
A quota system ,Lebanese style,is a sure way to tear apart a nation,but the answer is not majority rule either at least not until free and clean elections can be held in Syria. Some think that such elections are doable now but I disagree. I hope that syrians manage to agree on a transitional period that satisfies most grievance on all sides by assuring that the interests and fears of Syria’s diverse population are addressed in a calm and calculated manner instead of the exclusionary talks we hear from hawks on both sides.

May 28th, 2012, 11:25 pm


zoo said:

Obviously no one has any leverage on the rebels

Ankara still trying to locate abducted Lebanese shia pilgrims
Asked about reports claiming that the Syrian opposition group that abducted the Lebanese pilgrims was demanding the release of detained opposition members in Syria, the official said Turkey is not playing any role in such negotiations, if any exist.

May 28th, 2012, 11:36 pm


zoo said:

Damascus close to Houla massacre probe announcement

­Syrian authorities will soon announce the results of an investigation into the events in the town of Houla, the Russian Foreign Ministry said after a Monday meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Syrian Ambassador in Moscow Riayd Haddad, Itar-Tass reports. More than 100 people, including many children, were the victims of a massacre in Houla on Friday. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Damascus blames the violence on terrorist groups. “The Ambassador of Syria stressed that within the next few days the authorities would announce the results of the investigation of this and other criminal acts aimed at inciting an inter-confessional conflict in Syria,” the ministry said.

May 28th, 2012, 11:39 pm


zoo said:

Russia: both sides are to blame for Syrian atrocity

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, insisted on Monday that “both sides” in Syria’s conflict were responsible for the Houla massacre, and gave little sign that the Kremlin will use its leverage to rein in President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Lavrov and William Hague, Foreign Secretary, called for renewed efforts to implement Kofi Annan’s Syria peace plan after a meeting in Moscow on Monday, yet offered no concrete steps for how to achieve it.

Both men condemned the massacre of at least 108 people in the Syrian town of Houla on Friday, but Mr Lavrov stressed that both government forces and rebel troops had done the killing.

With Russia facing mounting pressure to join global calls for the Syrian leader’s removal after the horrific massacre in Houla, there was little outward indication, as suggested in US media reports, that Russia was warming to the idea.

Mr Hague said he was pleased that Russia had reiterated its support for the Annan plan, which calls for a ceasefire and a pulling back of troops.

After the press conference, he said he urged Russia to put more pressure on the government of its Soviet-era ally to keep to the terms of Mr Annan’s six-point proposal. He said Syria was at risk of descending “closer and closer to all-out civil war and collapse” if the Annan plan was not adopted.

May 28th, 2012, 11:52 pm


Alescander said:

To Shiela

Thanks for the objective narrative . Although I disagree with you 100 % on many issues,but I appreciate that you distance yourself , and try to advise others , to avoid stereotyping .
The opposition cares only about itself, not Syria. I wish I can see one figure who have reasonable popular support INSIDE Syria , who can give us a plan for the future, that does not annihilate the Syrian stability.

May I know your source on the details of the Houla massacre? Is it independent?
I doubt seriously that any person have any evidence , just like with all of the horrific nightmares unfolding thus far , we have no solid evidence.

The solution is in our own hands, painful yet peaceful dialogue , honest and transparent , objective, just like Shiela’s approach . No accusations , no victimization . The goal is the interests of the Syrian people , all of them .

May 29th, 2012, 12:15 am


nafdik said:

I agree with Ehsani that we should discuss this issue.

Syrians have an interesting brand of sectarianism where sects have lived together in relative harmony for generations but never truly mixed together except in rare settings.

They have developed rituals that have kept a respectful distance from one another. One of these rituals is avoiding discussing their sects (except when they are in a uni-sectual environment).

I believe that deep down the Syrian people have much more tolerance than we credit them for.

Imagine if the Muslim minority in France had full control of army and government and operated torture cells where the victims were mostly Christian French. Imagine the Muslim led army converted Lyon into rubble and killed thousands of its citizen in one day to keep their position.

Imagine if the Muslim president then established a secret Imara and made his son the next president.

What would be the feeling of Christians? Would they be as tolerant as they are now?

May 29th, 2012, 12:17 am


Syrialover said:

The Assad family has made beautiful Syria a token word around the world for vicious, sordid terror.

They have dirtied its history with their filthy claws.

And the “leaders” of Russia and Iran are adding dirt and shame to the history of their own countries.

May 29th, 2012, 1:35 am


Juergen said:


How can one opposition member enjoy popular support by the Syrians? There is no place for an popular opposition in an Assad-Syria, they never accepted anybody to come near to their rule. After Assad and his clan is ousted, the Baath party closed, then we can talk about popular opposition figures who can enjoy a wide support.

The other day i was talking to an old men who was in syrian prisons for almost 16 years. He told me that he used to work with a friend. For almost a year he did not know of his religion, just as ramadan came his friend invited him for ifar. He told me that to many Syrians the religion is a sparred subject, out of respect. Its seen unpolite to ask directly. “We as young people did not care a minute” he told me.

May 29th, 2012, 1:42 am


Son of Damascus said:


“The opposition cares only about itself, not Syria. I wish I can see one figure who have reasonable popular support INSIDE Syria , who can give us a plan for the future, that does not annihilate the Syrian stability.”

Actually it would be better to argue how little the regime cares about Syria, since you know the regime is the one guilty of using disproportionate force against civilians, and dishing out collective punishment for anyone that dared to think that Syria does not belong to Assad.

Can you please provide me with the Assad plan to improve Syria? Is he using his tanks and artillery as a way to show reforms? Are 14 thousand dead Syrians part of the plan to move Syria forward? Or how about the over 200,000 detained Syrians, is that part of the plan to move forward?

“May I know your source on the details of the Houla massacre? Is it independent?
I doubt seriously that any person have any evidence , just like with all of the horrific nightmares unfolding thus far , we have no solid evidence.”

While I am not Sheila I can easily direct you to her sources, lets examine the BBC/Channel 4/Human Rights Watch and see what they have to say:


This tallies with UN accounts of tank and mortar shells in civilian areas. The UN Security Council issued a statement saying that “such outrageous use of force against civilian population constitutes a violation of applicable international law”.

Mr Makdissi said that the army did not send tanks into the village and security forces remained in their defensive positions.

First lie by the spokesperson of the regime Jihad Makdissi.

Any civilian deaths, he said, were the result of “armed terrorist gangs” going house to house and killing men, women and children.

But according to activists and eyewitnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch, British broadcaster Channel 4 and others, army shelling paved the way for a concerted ground attack by the Alawite-dominated pro-government militia, the shabiha.

Second lie by Jihad Makdissi (notice how he is laying the blame on “armed terrorist gangs” without providing a single piece of evidence to back up his callous lies, as oppose to TESTIMONIES of the surviving victims, UN report, and the work of two international media outlets and a Human Rights organization).

Channel 4:

And that is the story that they heard elsewhere. In the town of Houla they questioned people repeatedly and the story was always the same, that at approximately 12.30pm on Friday after prayers there was a sustained barrage lasting in the region of two hours from the Syrian army.

This was followed by concerted attacks on foot led by the Shabiha, and this is when the masacre occured. The killings, these sources say, happened some time in the period from 3pm on Friday to approximately 1-2am on Saturday.

Late this afternoon we passed the United Nations and Red Cross convoy as they exited the town heading towards the now peaceful city of Homs.

They will attempt further investigations inside Houla tomorrow to get a more rounded and comprehensive picture of just what happened and how scores of people came to be dead – many of them women and children – last Friday after prayers.

Human Rights Watch:

All of the witnesses stated the armed men were pro-government, but they did not know whether they were members of the Syrian army or a pro-government militia, locally referred to as shabeeha. Houla’s towns, overwhelmingly Sunni, are surrounded by Alawite and Shia villages, and sectarian tensions have been high since last year. At a press conference on May 27, a spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry categorically denied the army’s responsibility for the killings and announced that the government had formed a military judicial committee to conduct an investigation.

“There’s no way a Syrian military commission can credibly investigate this horrendous crime when so much evidence suggests pro-government forces were responsible,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Annan should insist that Syria grant access to the UN commission of inquiry to investigate this and other grave crimes.”

So let me ask you, should we take the word of the UN, Human Rights Watch, Channel 4, BBC or the word of a professional regime liar in the name of Rafik Lutf (Whom I am guessing was put in charge of the “investigation” because AlAkhbariah seems to know exactly what happened even though all the evidence points to the contrary.

“The solution is in our own hands, painful yet peaceful dialogue , honest and transparent , objective, just like Shiela’s approach . No accusations , no victimization . The goal is the interests of the Syrian people , all of them .”

How can you call for dialogue with a regime intent on MURDERING Syrian children, how can you call for no victimization when Bashar is turning our country into a massive grave yard? Yes the goal is in the interest of the Syrian people, but not to the benefit for one family and their sadistic interests.

May 29th, 2012, 2:17 am


Son of Damascus said:



There is a saying in Damascus (I think it is attributed to Ali, but I am not sure):

لا تسألني عن ذهبي و ذهابي و مذهبي

Translates roughly to don’t ask where I make my gold(income), where I am going, and what my religion is. (All words share close spelling in Arabic)

Those are things that generally it is impolite to ask directly unless you are very close (friends, family).

May 29th, 2012, 2:35 am


ann said:

The Houla Massacre as Pretext for Regime Change in Syria – May 29, 2012 – by Jeremy R. Hammond

The Syrian government is being blamed for the massacre in the area of Houla on Friday, May 25, where at least 108 people, including 34 women and 49 children were killed, yet circumstances indicate that rebel forces or terrorist groups with backing from the U.S., NATO, and its regional allies may have actually been responsible, and the atrocity will likely be cited as a pretext in increasing calls for military intervention to overthrow the Assad regime on “humanitarian” grounds.

The Western media have since the beginning of the unrest in Syria relied heavily on anti-regime sources, such as the so-called “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, which is Rami Abdel Rahman operating out of his home in London to relay information (and disinformation) from his sources within (and presumably also without) Syria to the outside world. Even prominent human rights organizations like Amnesty International have been taken in by disinformation propaganda campaigns of anti-regime forces, who are backed by the U.S. and its allies.

The U.S. has been providing to the Syrian opposition what the State Department has called in Orwellian newspeak “nonlethal assistance”, which effort is coordinated with those of U.S. “friends and allies in the region”, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are funding and arming the rebel forces, including with antitank weaponry. The U.S. coordination effort includes directing arms shipments to “worthy rebel recipients”, according to the Washington Post.

According to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. has been providing “communications equipment that will help activists organize, evade attacks by the regime, and connect to the outside world”—the word “activists” here again being used euphemistically, newspeak for “armed rebels”.

The U.S.’s NATO ally Turkey has provided a base of operations for the Free Syrian Army, where they are supplied with surplus weapons from NATO’s campaign to oust the Gaddafi regime in Libya. The arms are “being shipped on NATO aircraft”, according to former CIA military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi. Turkey is “taking the lead as US. proxy”, Giraldi wrote last December, in a clandestine NATO effort with the ultimate goal of another military intervention that would be based on the pretext of “humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya.”

As Giraldi also noted at the time, “Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false”, that truth of the matter having since been openly admitted by the U.S. government.

Author and journalist Pepe Escobar has also commented on how rebel forces “have access to a wealth of weapons plundered from the Gaddafi’s regimes military depots or gently ‘donated’ by NATO and Qatar.”

And as Daniel McAdams has observed, “as soon as the U.S. began supplying the rebels with specialized communications equipment enabling them to more accurately target government forces and institutions, some of the most deadly and gruesome bombings have taken place.”

According to the U.N., terrorist groups may be responsible for recent bombing attacks, including in Damascus, Hama, Aleppo, Idlib, and Deir al-Zor, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged states to arm neither government nor rebel forces. “The sophistication and size of the bombs point to a high level of expertise, which may indicate the involvement of established terrorist groups,” Ban has said, suggesting that al Qaeda was responsible for two suicide car bombs earlier this month that killed at least 55.

“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,” said Ban. Alluding to the role of the U.S. and its allies, he added that “The government reportedly continues to receive military equipment and ammunition from other countries, and there are also reports of weapons being sent to opposition forces.”

Back in February, Secretary Clinton cautioned against arming rebel forces. “We really don’t know who it is that would be armed,” she said. “Are we supporting al-Qaeda in Syria?” she asked hypothetically. Such concerns seem to have lost the day as the U.S. has openly sided with al Qaeda in providing material support for the rebels.

The media continues to be taken in by propaganda hoaxes, such as earlier this week when the BBC featured an image alleged to show dead children from the Houla massacre. The BBC ran the image under the headline “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows” and with the caption, “This image—which cannot be independently verified—is believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awating burial”.

The photographer who actually took the photo, Marco di Lauro, was shocked to see his image, taken in Iraq, being used without his copyright permission by the BBC, which was provided the photo by opposition members. “What is amazing is that a news organization has a picture proving a massacre that happened yesterday in Syria and instead it’s a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different massacre. Someone is using someone else’s picture for propaganda on purpose.” The photo is featured on his website, which explains that the bodies were found in a mass grave outside of Al Musayyib, 40 km south of Baghdad.

Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, acting as a special envoy for the organization, has attempted to mediate and get both sides to adhere to a peace plan that includes a cease-fire, which has been ignored. The rebels have blamed the violence in Houla on government forces and declared it would no longer commit to the cease-fire if the international community refuses to intervene. “We announce that unless the U.N. Security Council takes urgent steps for the protection of civilians, Annan’s plan is going to hell,” the Free Syrian Army said in a statement.

The Syrian government has denied responsibility for starting the violence and for the massacre of civilians. “We categorically deny the responsibility of government forces in the massacre,” said foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi. “There were no Syrian tanks or artillery in the vicinity,” he said, adding that “Syrian troops retaliated in defense of their positions.” Of the massacre, he stated, “Children, women and other innocent people were killed in their homes, and this is not what the Syrian army does. The method of killing was brutal.” He also said that three soldiers were killed and 16 wounded in the violence that resulted from rebels armed with machine guns, mortars, and antitank missiles attacking government positions.

U.N. observers confirmed that the massacre took place, and also “confirmed from an examination of ordnance that artillery and tank shells were fired at a residential neighborhood.” But the U.N. did not indicate whether the massacred civilians were killed by government this tank and artillery fire. On the contrary, the head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) General Robert Hood said, “The circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear”, and Secretary Ban sent a letter to the Security Council saying 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” (emphasis added).

On Saturday, the Security Council issued a statement condemning the killings of civilians “in attacks that involved a series of Government artillery and tank shellings on a residential neighborhood” (emphasis added). The statement also called for the cessation of “all violence in all its forms by all parties”.


May 29th, 2012, 2:38 am


Darryl said:

When it comes to sectarian thinking, we hear so many stories even Jeurgen has to add his two cents based on hearsay. The common theme is that sectarian thinking is new and the Assads and Bathists are to blame.

However, not even one person put on his or her reflection and thinking cap to say what all those petro-dollar satellite channels have been doing by broadcasting non-sense and making the younger generations sectarian so that the Hajj business is protected when oil runs out.

May 29th, 2012, 2:50 am


omen said:

i didn’t do the doctor justice. on the anniversary of the discovery of his death, his story deserves to be told:

The Murder of Sakher Hallak by the Syrian Security Apparatus

The chronology of events:
• After visiting the USA to attend a medical conference, Dr. Sakher Hallak was arrested by the Syrian secret police, the Mukhabarat, on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, on his way home from work, at 11:30 at night.
• On Thursday, May 26, his wife called a person she knew, a relative who worked in the Syrian Congress, named Adnan Alsokhneh. He assured her that the Mukhabarat had him, and that he will ensure that he is released soon.
• On Thursday, Sakher’s office manager/nurse contacted one of his patients who has connections in Damascus. He told her that someone form the intelligence service wrote up something against Sakher, and that he was in deep trouble. He promised to check on his status at the Mukhabarat, and to call her back with any new information.
• Dr. Sakher Hallak called his best friend, a psychiatrist, on Thursday morning to tell him that he is at the Mukhabarat and that he is well, and that he would be released in a couple of days. The Mukhabarat wanted to ask him about his recent visit to the USA, he said. He visited the USA from April 15 to May 05, 2011 in order to attend a medical conference in Miami, Florida. Later that morning, his friend visited Sakher, and he told the family that Sakher was well.
• On Friday, May 27, the Mukhabarat interviewed Sakher’s wife and daughter. They were told that everything would be OK, and that he would be released on Saturday.
• On Saturday, his wife called again, and she was told that he should be on his way home, but he had to stop at the courthouse to sign some documents.
• His body was found freshly dead Friday at 6 PM, in a village 20 km from Aleppo. It was dumped in a ditch in an out-of-the-way area.
• On Saturday evening, May 28, the coroner’s office called family, and told them that they have a body in the morgue, and that it might belong to Sakher.
• Indeed, the body was that of Sakher. There was evidence of multiple injuries, consistent with torture and direct trauma to the head. His eyes and his penis were mutilated. Most of the bones in his body were broken, and marks from different types of boots were imprinted on his body. He died by strangulation. There were handcuff and rope marks on his fingers, suggesting that he was trying to dislodge the rope off of his neck.

May 29th, 2012, 3:06 am


omen said:

38. Darryl said: what all those petro-dollar satellite channels have been doing by broadcasting non-sense and making the younger generations sectarian

tv is a good answer, darryl. rwanda genocide was fomented by hatred spread on radio from inside the country. what has regime media been saying, i wonder. all sweetness and light and inspiring unity?

an other answer is this medieval tactic practiced by the regime.

an interview with a noted activist:

Q: Many of the Alawites seem to be fearful about their security amid the unrest and their position if Assad’s government falls. We have been hearing reports from state-sponsored media, and sometimes from opposition figures, about the killings and kidnappings of residents in Alawite-dominated districts in Homs by armed groups. Shouldn’t they worry about the prospects of the uprising?

A: Look, this is a very important question. I want to answer it frankly because I do not care anymore. What happened in Homs is that the regime formed a 200-member group of security forces present in the districts where minorities live. They kill people and throw their bodies in other districts to create a sectarian turmoil. We have evidence of this and we released many statements warning people from those criminals living among them.

May 29th, 2012, 3:25 am


Syrialover said:

OMEN #40

I was very moved by the account by the murdered doctor’s brother in the US, marking the one year anniversary of his death (posted in an earlier thread by you) –

This could happen to any innocent normal person in Syria who has any connection with the outside world.

We will hear of other cases like this post-Assad, when families are no longer too terrified to talk about it.

May 29th, 2012, 4:03 am


Antoine said:

38. Darryl said:

When it comes to sectarian thinking, we hear so many stories even Jeurgen has to add his two cents based on hearsay. The common theme is that sectarian thinking is new and the Assads and Bathists are to blame.

However, not even one person put on his or her reflection and thinking cap to say what all those petro-dollar satellite channels have been doing by broadcasting non-sense and making the younger generations sectarian so that the Hajj business is protected when oil runs out.

So you assume that people go to Hajj influenced by the petro-dollar staellite channels ?

Btw during the MBs uprising in Syria in 1978-1982 and the subsequent “incident” in Hama, there weren’t any satellite channels around, leave alone petro-dollar channels.

May 29th, 2012, 6:44 am


Antoine said:

8. ALDENDESHE said :

“I share Mr. Ghallioun call for an all out revolution and even a mission under chapter 7 to put and end to this unfair and illegitimate and murderous, typically bloody, Shia sectarian rule in Syria, as well as in Lebanon, and free the Persian people from suffering.”


But SNP is on record saying that they do not want any “stupid dog trick” played on Syria. They are on record saying that Syrian Scud-D and Tochka missiles are pointed at Israel, Turkey and GCC, and SNP is happy about that. Not only that, SNP is waiting for the day when will Assad’s Tochka and Scud-D slam into GCC oilfields and Turkish cities, because they have conspired against Syria. There is also talk about unleashing an insurgency against Turkey, GCC and Jordan that will cost them 500 Billion a year and dry up the World’s Oil.

I mean isn’t SNP happy that Assad will unleash all his missiles, and probably Rusia and Iran too, if any attempt is made to help the revolutionaries ? I thought according to SNP understanding, Mr. Putin won’t abandon “Syria” in the next 100 years, and SNP is happy about this, moroever there is going to be an Islamist insurgency in Jordan and Qatar, and SNP happy about this too.

So is AlDendeshe opinion different from SNP ?

So make up your mind, what is SNP final stand ?

Syria is being torn apart, SNP claimed they can reach Damascus within 2 weeks, please do it quickly, its about time. Or the country will never be able to recover.

May 29th, 2012, 6:57 am


Amjad said:

So the regime announced that their investigation would take three days. I would like to ask the regime…what have you people been smoking? How on Earth could anyone know beforehand how long an investigation of a massacre is going to take? In all the Law and Order and CSI episodes ever broadcast, when did the detectives ever say “yeah, this John Doe will take until Tuesday, then we’ll do Jane Doe until Friday, and that leaves the weekend free”.

Of course, the regime timed the length of their “investigation” until after Annan’s visit is over. Three days. More time has been spent investigating American Idol voting discrepancies.

May 29th, 2012, 6:57 am


Antoine said:

This type of Syrians are the only heroes :

al-Baab, eastern Reef Halab :

May 29th, 2012, 7:01 am


Antoine said:


The regime mouthpeice Jaafari already announced the results of the investigation : Houla was crawling with armed Al-Qaida terrorists, it was they who slaughtered the 116 people, the Syrian Arab Army went there to fight them, the Syrian Arab Army did not have even a single Tank in there. ( lol when even the footage released by the UN shows two burned-out Tanks) . All the victims were Alawites, they were killed with knives, which “proves” that Al-Qaida was behind it.

I have always wondered why the shabbiha took the sudden turn to knives, it started in Karm al-Zeitoun….this was a worrying trend, now we all know why.

May 29th, 2012, 7:05 am


Alien In Syria said:

Alien in Syria please don’t use Caps Lock to write your entire post, it is considered in bad taste on the internet.

SC Moderator

Syrians must be free to talk about everything, not only sectaris, but politics, economy, religion ETC… Everything!!! But that means freedom of speech, and its not possible in this regime!

May 29th, 2012, 7:11 am


Antoine said:

France has announced the expulsion of the Assadist Ambassador.

Not too long ago , one commentator on SC claimed that “Hollande has no option but to cooperate with Russia and China”.

May 29th, 2012, 7:48 am


Antoine said:

What Syrian revolutionaries need are some good old 61 mm and 81 mm Mortars, and Anti-tank Guided Missile systems, like Kornet.

Apparently, the FSA has managed to locate and secure sources for more heavier weapons, mainly from Azerbaijan and Georgia, but the problem is smuggling them inside the country and delivering them to hotspots. Turkey and Jordan are adamant about not allowing any significant degree of weapons smuggling into Syria. Sectarian Lebanon is cracking down as well.

What revolutionaries need to do is intense lobbying with Turkey and Jordan Government to allow these weapons into Syria.

We should start with Jordan, everyday there can be huge crowds in front of the King’s Palace, holding posters of King Abdullah and King Hussein, waving Jordanian flags, and shouting ” For the sake of the House of Hashim, allow us to get weapons to our borthers inside Syria, for the sake of your gradnfather O your Hashemite Majesty, the people of Syria are dying and helping them is in your hands”

May 29th, 2012, 7:54 am


Antoine said:

For example, what these heroes need are a few Mortars. They really need it, we should really lobby Turkey and Jordan to allow them isnide Syria.

To hell with Assad and all those who support him.

May 29th, 2012, 8:02 am


Alescander said:

Take the truth from the mouth of Prosecution , in the court? All of the channels are the worst witness, in fact they themselves state they cannot verify any events,
if you ignored the fact that western media stands side be side with opposition from A to Z

Popular support in these times will show , the sad examples would be العرعور ، اردوغان ؟!!

the regime is stating a plan : Dialogoue, refrom ,it could be lying , however “الحق الكذاب ” for the chance of saving lives and the whole nation .

All of the above is wishful thinking, things have gone out of control, it is now not up to you or me , it is up to US and it’s ” friends” and the Russians , brgainaning on our behalf , while we continue to kill each other,

May 29th, 2012, 8:42 am


Halabi said:

There is nothing to be learned from the Rafiq Lutf “evidence” posted by Nazi/Assad worshiper SS. Ten minutes of highly edited, gruesome video where most of the natural audio is dubbed over with sentimental music and the unavoidable, unauthorized use of the Prison Break soundtrack. (Syrian TV likes to use the Lord of The Rings).

This video will probably form the basis of the government’s “investigation.” Of course they also need a confession video and I’m sure Lutf, who revealed the secrets of Baba Amr, is working on that. This “journalist,” who claims to be a member of the Arab Journalists Union in America, an organization that appears to have one member, can only be taken seriously by those who think its acceptable to be a fan of Hitler.

As for sectarianism, I agree with some here that without freedom of speech it’s a little bit disingenuous to call for an open debate on such a charged topic, necessary as it is. This issue is being discussed on Syrian TV and Addunya all the time – every time you hear people taking about Wahhabis, terrorists, fundamentalists, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, Pakistanis, Al Qaeda, etc., these are all seen as code words for the Sunni opposition. (George Sabra has somehow found himself in that category according to some regime apologists here).

With all due respect to Ehsani, I don’t think that everyone is pretending that ideals trump religious or ethnic identity, and I know it’s not just me. So I will stick with my “empty slogans” of freedom, democracy, rule of law and leave the sectarianism to the experts. Except when it comes to Zoroastrians. Those fire worshipers have had a free ride for too long. Maybe I will team up with Rafiq Lutf to do a 50 hour documentary on their evil ways…

May 29th, 2012, 8:55 am


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………

…..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.”


So where are all the shouts about Syrian sovereignty now ? Iranian army commanders themselves admit their men are in Syria, this is an obvious breach of Syrian sovereignty.

May 29th, 2012, 9:01 am


Amjad said:

Western gov’ts expel Syrian diplomats over Houla massacre

France, Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia and Canada all expelled whatever regime diplomats were still in their capitals.

For years, all we heard is what evil people the westerners were. But the West has proven a better friend to the Syrian people than the so called “resistance front”. Syrians are discovering who their true friends are, and they aren’t Palestinian mad hat(t)ers living it up in California, nor are they ex-KGB thugs.

May 29th, 2012, 9:13 am



Dear Halabi,

My ” empty slogans” comment does not in any way include what you referred to as “freedom, democracy and rule of law”. These are not the empty slogans I am referring to. My comment specifically refers to slogans touting that syrians are not sectarian and are somehow exceptional in this regard.

May 29th, 2012, 9:32 am


Tara said:

I would like to welcome the expelled Syrian diplomats from Britain, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France back to their mother land. I do encourage them to join their brothers and sisters, past expelled diplomats. The expelled diplomat’s fraternity now with many members should establish a headquarter at the Nawfara cafe in the old city and branches across Syrian towns. Their mission is to offer comfort and solace to current members. The vision is to establish a protocol of how to defect before you are expelled. Looking forward to welcome Mr. Jaafari and daughter (pseudo diplomat) into their rank. The addition of Shahrazad would be a big asset to their PR department.

May 29th, 2012, 10:07 am


Observer said:

This is from informed comment today. His analysis is excellent

The Syrian government massacre at Houla has probabaly killed the faltering Annan peace plan, which envisioned a ceasefire between the Syrian Baath army and the rebel Free Syrian Army that would be monitored by UN observers. The ceasefire not only has not held, the fighting has intensified as the regime has insisted on using tank and artillery barrages against urban quarters that the FSA controls. Having UN observers watch the carnage isn’t useful. Syrian armor is controlled by Maher al-Assad, the brother of the president, who clearly is not interested in any ceasefires and is willing to bombard civilian areas despite the certainty of killing e.g. children. Some 36 children were among the 108 estimated dead at Houla. Increasingly, you could see the al-Assads on trial at the Hague for war crimes not so long from now.

Even after Houla, the regime did not take a breather, going on to kill dozens Sunday into Monday with artillery barrages in Hama and sniping at protesters elasewhere.

The Free Syrian Army warns that it can hardly afford to maintain Annan’s supposed ceasefire if the UN can’t stop the massacre of civilians.

Even the Russians and the Chinese did not stand in the way of a UNSC condemnation of the use of artillery on civilian neighborhoods. Since only the Syrian army has artillery, the party being blamed was clear.

Annan was in Damascus Monday but it is unclear what further he can accomplish.

Even the current international sanctions have driven the Syrian economy toward full collapse and put in doubt the government’s ability to import enough grain and foodstuffs. Syria’s own grain crop this year is disappointing. It is not clear that Syrians will put up with this situation much longer, and they only have two choices– to acquiesce in the Baath dictatorship or to rise against it.

Regional intervention to counter Russian and Iranian arms and support is not impossible. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which dominates that country’s parliament and is in the running to hold its presidency, called on the international community Monday to do something in the wake of Houla. Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both with links to the Brotherhood, want to smuggle arms in to the Free Syrian !army.

The Baath regime seems incapable of real reform. Early in the crisis they could have demoted themselves to a political party and then contested elections, as Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen did in the 1990s. His national Congress still dominates the Yemeni cabinet. Likewise, the dissolved National Democratic Party in Egypt is reforming around Ahmad Shafiq and has a shot at the Egyptian presidency. The Syrian Baath wasn’t doomed, only the one-party state and the al-Assad cult of personality. By acting like Muammar Qaddafi, the al-Assad’s are risking his fate.

The question is now not what new peace plan can be proposed but how the Syrian Civil War will end.

May 29th, 2012, 10:16 am


Tara said:

“All of these areas that have been attacked like this are geographically and demographically close to Allawite areas,” said Wissam Tarif, the Arab world campaigner for the global rights group Avaaz. “There have been 13 neighbourhoods of Homs emptied,”… The common denominator in these areas is that they are close to Allawite communities. There are hundreds of thousands of people on the move.

“This is not just some angry guys who went and killed these families. This is a state policy, a regime policy, spreading sectarian tensions. People in Houla are going to retaliate. They will enter into yet another cycle of violence.”

At noon on Friday, they gathered for their familiar and increasingly futile weekly ritual – an act of peaceable defiance against the regime they loathe. The chants resounded far and wide, audible to the army troops menacingly nearby and to the adjoining Allawite villages largely sympathetic to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. “The Allawites have been hearing our chants for many months,” said Houla resident Abu Jaffour. “And neither they, nor the army have liked what we’ve been saying. Maybe that’s why they did what they did.”

Three hours later, vengeance rolled into town with a savagery rarely paralleled in the 15-month Syrian uprising. When the shelling and gunfire stopped early on Saturday, more than 90 people had been killed, at least one-third of them children. Some appeared to have been killed at close range as they cowered in barricaded homes.

In a few short hours, the town of Houla joined the sorry list of localities whose names have become synonymous with the merciless slaughter of civilians. Srebrenica. Nyarubuye. My Lai. Up to now, the Syrian conflict has killed 13,000 people. But until this weekend, it had yet to include the mass slaughter of nursery-age infants.

“The shelling started around 3pm,” said Abu Jaffour. “I was in the fields at the time and we tried to reach the area being bombed. It took us three hours to get there. When I reached the houses it was dreadful. I was carrying babies’ bodies that had parts of their heads hanging out.”

A second Houla resident, Imm Mowafik, said that nightfall brought more brutality. “The Shabiha [pro-regime civilian militias] came into town from the direction of the Allawite villages. They entered from five to seven checkpoints and were killing people in their homes. We could hear the shots and nobody could help them.” Abu Jaffour said: “We have buried around 110 martyrs and there are still some people under the rubble. Twenty-two of the children are nursery age.”
“Al-Qaida hiding in the mountains?” asked Abu Jaffour. “They expect people to believe that? These mountain areas are the Allawite villages and Houla is full of the families of the Free Syrian Army [FSA].” Like much of the rest of Homs province in central Syria, Houla had become a hub of armed opposition to the Assad regime, which is trying to repress the most sustained challenge to its four decades of rule.

Houla residents claim that 600 defectors are in Houla. If true, the small town of 35,000 residents would be a stronghold of the opposition militia, in the area now known as the heartland of the Syrian revolution.


May 29th, 2012, 10:31 am


son of Damascus said:

A great piece by Yassin Hajj Saleh (translated into english) about the history and state of mind of the Shabiha, and shabiha of past vs. the shabiha of today.

The Syrian Shabiha and Their State

Even as the word shabiha emerged from Syria, to take its place in the languages of the world, the phenomenon to which it r eferred was surfacing in Syria’s streets, terrorizing, murdering, and mouthing obscenities.

Thus a term hitherto unknown outside Syria entered the Arabic language. Indeed, it was not widely known within Syria itself,and it soon spawned derivatives: shabbah, yushabbih, tashbih; i.e. “to act like the shabiha/to be thuggish”. Used primarily to refer to those loyal to the regime, (the young revolutionaries prefer the term al-mundasseen or “collaborators”), it was also used then found itself deployed with admiring overtones: the “shabiha of the pen” for Rana Qubani, the “shabiha of the opposition”, and a Syrian accolade bestowed on French thinker Bernard-Henri Levy as “the shabih of the philosophers”.

Its origins are obscure. Is it perhaps derived from ashbaah (“ghosts”), because the shabiha operate outside the law, living in the shadows, both figuratively and literally, materializing and vanishing with bewildering speed? Is it taken from the shabah, the once popular Mercedes model, which senior members of the shabiha were said to favour for their operations and to set themselves apart? Or perhaps it is related to the idea of extending and widening privileges and powers, as when an individual broadens his shabh, or shadow, by standing tall and holding his arms out. In this analogy, the “privileges” or “shadow” would refer to official compensation or reward for undertaking some task or other, while the act of stretching and widening would be the task itself, as performed by the shabiha.


The term shabiha first became current in the late 1970s, after Syria’s intervention in Lebanon in 1976 and the corresponding rise in smuggling from an open country like Lebanon to its economically isolated neighbour.

Up until the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011, the term was used in a relatively narrow sense, to refer to bands of young Alawite males from the Syrian coastal regions and their leaders, all of whom came from influential Alawite families: first the al-Assad family itself, and later the Deeb family (related to the al-Assad clan) and the Makhlouf family (maternal cousins to the children of Hafez al-Assad). They made their living from smuggling (electrical goods, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, antiquities, etc.) and imposing “taxes” (extortion). They were noted for their brutality and cruelty and their blind devotion to their leaders, usually referred to as mu`allim (“boss”) or khaal (“uncle”). In this respect they were similar to mafia organizations, which they resembled also by being well known to both the central authorities, who turned a blind eye to their activities, and the local authorities, who collaborated with them and granted their leaders immunity from prosecution. It is worth noting that if there were a conflict of interests between the shabiha and these local authorities, the authorities would not dare defend themselves.
By the 1980s the shabiha were untouchable and operated with impunity in the coastal city of Latakia. The late respected Syrian intellectual Elias Marcos, once recalled that he had been sitting in a cafe in Latakia when shabiha members entered and amused themselves by forcing patrons to lie on the floor beneath their tables. They killed a young man who objected to their insults; they used threats to obtain property and possessions for reduced prices or for free; their leaders raped attractive young women; and they offered to resolve disputes in exchange for a hefty commission from both sides, ensuring victory for the party that paid the most.

Their victims were from all backgrounds and more than a few were Alawites. Several stories from the early Nineties refer to a young woman by the name of Hala Aqel, who was abducted, raped, murdered and her corpse dumped outside her relatives’ house. Around the same time, a university professor by the name of Samir Ghafar was killed for refusing to pass a young female student in his class, who turned out to be under the patronage of a senior shabih.
The shabiha tended to live in areas that were either predominantly or partially Alawite and the first to suffer at their hands were their neighbours. The shabih Abu Rammah would force his neighbours in one quarter of Latakia to work for him, before bricking up the entrance to his alley and erecting swings for his children and a large tent to receive guests.


(much more to read)

May 29th, 2012, 10:34 am


jna said:

19. Glike said: …

Can you refresh us how the world forced regime change in Israel after it’s massacres in Sabra-Shatilla and Qana camps? Was that why Ariel Sharon was made Prime Minister?

May 29th, 2012, 11:38 am


jna said:

53. Antoine said: Syrian army being aided by Iranian forces…So where are all the shouts about Syrian sovereignty now ? Iranian army commanders themselves admit their men are in Syria, this is an obvious breach of Syrian sovereignty.

I think you would have a hard time compiling a list of countries who have no foreign military advisors or intelligence presence.

May 29th, 2012, 11:44 am


irritated said:

The Shabbiha Vs Al Qaeeda

The new buzz word in the media, conveniently replacing the ‘Islamist extremists’ or “Al Qaeeda”.
Reality for some, fabricated for others.

May 29th, 2012, 11:46 am


Dawoud said:

I agree with Ehsani’s opinion that we should discuss sectarianism. We all can pretend that it does not matter, but in reality it DOES! It is not hidden anymore that most Sunni Muslim Syrians oppose Bashar, and that the majority of Alawis and other sects are either supportive of the murderous dictator or neutral. No, neutrality is NOT an option when a hereditary murderous regime is slaughtering as many Syrians as necessary in order to perpetuate a four-decade brutal dictatorship.

Healing, unity, equality, and civil rights for ALL require Syrians to openly talk about this unfortunate sectarian divide and to find ways to overcome it.

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

May 29th, 2012, 12:03 pm


Amjad said:

“Can you refresh us how the world forced regime change in Israel after it’s massacres in Sabra-Shatilla and Qana camps”

Here we go again. When the regime commits the indefensible, trot out Israel.

Let’s make one thing clear. I would sooner be caught red handed by the Israeli police, knee deep in my own murder victims, in an apartment where I run a pedophilia and drug smuggling ring, with plans for a new 9/11 in my bedroom, then be arrested by the Syrian police on the mere suspicion of writing graffiti on a school wall. And no one else here would prefer a Syrian prison to an Israeli one.

May 29th, 2012, 12:15 pm


irritated said:

Amjad #64

Only Israelis and Israel’s sympathizers always elude Israel’s crimes

May 29th, 2012, 12:23 pm


Amjad said:

Dawoud #63

“and that the majority of Alawis and other sects are either supportive of the murderous dictator or neutral”

Nothing could be further than the truth. Alawites are the ones worst off in this sorry state of affairs. They don’t like what is going on, but no one jumps off a burning ship if there isn’t another one around.

Alawites wants what everyone else want; security, assurance for their children’s future. We will not allow a minority of psychopathic bloodsuckers, some of who may very well be from Iran or Iraq, determine how Syria communities feel towards each other for the next 40 years.

Did anyone seriously expect Alawites to come out and demonstrate shoulder to shoulder with people from Baba Amr and Khaldia? Then the political opposition should have made it alot more clearer what it planned for a post-Assad Syria. The bigger the risk someone is being asked to take, the clearer the reasons should be for taking those risks.

At the very worst, Alawites believe that they will be slaughtered in a way that would make Hama ’82 look tame. At the very least, they are afraid that they will get thrown out of their civil servant jobs to make way for others. If those fears are unfounded, then the political leadership of the opposition did a crappy job of laying to rest those fears.

Ambassador Robert Ford turned out to have had the clearest picture of events in Syria. Months ago, he advised the opposition to forget the idea of a military confrontation with the regime, and instead build bridges and alliances with communities still ambivalent about the revolution.

Human nature being what it is, it is unfortunate that even wholesale massacres like the ones the regime have committed, isn’t enough to sufficiently move some people who don’t have a clear idea of what they can do about it, or what awaits them afterwards.

If it were up to me, this is what I would have said. Any person with a government job will not only keep it after Assad is deposed, but he or she will even get to pass along that job to someone else. Let anyone with a civil servant job know that they and their children will get to keep it for the next 30 years. What’s the big deal, the size of the civil service will only expand after Assad is gone. Jordanians have lived with just such a system for years; Jordanians in the civil service, and Palestinians dominating the private sector. The problem in Syria is that you have one mafia family controlling both.

Even the notorious shabiha, alot of them signed up because they saw it was a way to protect their own villages. Fine, in fact bravo I say. Stay in your villages, keep your families safe, that’s what a man does. But don’t let the regime use you as cannon fodder to raid universities or other villages. Only a klutz allows himself to be used like that.

Assad is the worst thing to have ever happened to Syria, for all its communities. And there is no doubting that there are some sick, twisted elements among the army and security services, but they do not get to define their communities, and neither do internet-shabihas on this or any other website.

May 29th, 2012, 12:34 pm


Amjad said:

#65 Irritated

Let someone go into Jerusalem, and say the worst possible things you can think of about Israelis, Jews or Netanyahu’s womenfolks.

Now let them go to Damascus, and hold up a sing that just simply says “Stop the killing”, and let me know when the mukhabarat let them out, I’ll be happy to bring them the wheelchair they will be in for the rest of their life.

May 29th, 2012, 12:38 pm


Uzair8 said:

The other day (Friday 26th May) I posted a radio phone-in show in which Fawaz Gerges was a guest. I loved his comments which were a slap in the face to those propagandists and spin-doctors who are attempting to distort the sequence of events in Syria from the beginning of the uprising till now.

The radio show is available for several more days so I decided to make a permanent record (in text) of the comments by Fawaz Gerges. Perfect for spreading across the internet and exposing the false narrative.

I’ve triple checked it with the radio comments for accuracy. If you find errors please let me know. I’ll give the radio link below if people want to verify.


Fawaz Gerges speaking to BBC Radio 5’s Nicky Campbell

Presenter: Fawaz Gerges we hear this’s an uprising, it needs to be put down…it’s a civil war. There are terr…these are people… the forces in opposition are the people President Assad refers to as terrorists.

Fawaz Gerges: The political uprising essentially 15 months ago was an essentially poliical conflict. Peaceful conflict. Protestors were calling for reforms as opposed to the toppling of the Assad regime. The reality is it was the Assad regime that forced it’s own reality on an essentially political conflict. And the reality is also that more and more protestors have taken arms into their own hands to defend their communities and to defend themselves.

Now the political conflict has become an armed struggle. And not only it has become an armed struggle, a sectarian layer, a sick sectarian layer has been imposed on this conflict that is between the dominant Sunni community, a majority of Syrians are Sunni, about 65 percent, and the minority are Shiite, Alawite, about 15 percent. The Assad regime is an Alawite based regime. So this is a very clear point to keep in mind. Yes the opposition now is basically going on the offensive because it was forced to do so by the Assad regime itself. And yet, the questions of massacres in syria is so complicated because you have dozens of armed groups now taking actions into their own hands. There is no centralised command. The Massacre in Houla from everything we have known, not only has taken place because of shelling by government forces. We know that the Syrian government has been arming its own militia, the so-called Shabeeha militias basically and unleashing its own militia on certain protestors and urban populations.

Presenter: What does unleash mean? Does unleash mean give direct orders?

Fawaz Gerges: Well this is the question. We don’t have the information. All we know is that the militias basically are armed by the Syrian authorities, have basically committed some horrible horrible attacks and massacres against some of the urban centres in Syria. In Homs, In Deraa, In deir al-zour, in Houla, in Zabadani and other places. This is why, how do you basically, really establish a connection, a causal link between the Assad regime itself and the militias. My take on it based on everything we know from international law I believe that the syrian authorities are first and foremost responsible for maintaining law and order. Even if some armed groups commit horrible massacres the Syrian authorites have a moral and legal duty to protect the citizens and that is what the Syrian authorities have not been doing so in the last 15 months. In fact they have used massive force in order to suppress the essentially political struggle in Syria.

Listen from 25 min 50 sec.

May 29th, 2012, 12:40 pm


bronco said:

UN: The largest number of dead in Houla is not due to heavy weapons fires but to criminals who “entered” the town and massacred whole families.
The question is now : Who are these criminals?
The second question: How did they get in without facing any resistance when the FSA is said to control the town at 100%

The ‘activists’ repeat without giving any serious proof that they are militias under government control.

The ‘governement’ insists without showing any proof that they are ‘terrorists militias’ close to the FSA that perpetrated this massacre after attacking the Syrian army that is close by.

The UN says “We don’t know yet”
The media says: “It’s the Syrian regime, it did that before”

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the conclusions were based on accounts gathered by U.N. monitors and corroborated by other sources. He said U.N. monitors found that fewer than 20 of the 108 people killed in the west-central area of Houla were killed by artillery fire.

“Most of the rest of the victims were summarily executed in two separate incidents,” Colville told reporters in Geneva. “At this point it looks like entire families were shot in their head.

May 29th, 2012, 12:40 pm


zoo said:

Will Syria reciprocate or it is judging that it is a temporary show of “solidarity” from some western countries?,0,2947437.story

Syrian diplomats around the world expelled
Cranking up the pressure on increasingly isolated Syrian President Bashar Assad, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said they were kicking out Syria’s ambassadors in their countries.

May 29th, 2012, 12:49 pm


irritated said:

#67 Amjad

“Let someone go into Jerusalem”
Can that someone be a Syrian?
Unfortunately no Arab is allowed to share like you the ‘freedom of expression’ Israelis think they enjoy within their ghetto walls.

May 29th, 2012, 12:53 pm


norman said:

Is it possible that the FSA committed the crime to attract world support?,

May 29th, 2012, 12:56 pm


AIG said:

“Unfortunately no Arab is allowed to share like you the ‘freedom of expression’ Israelis think they enjoy within their ghetto walls.”

Hundreds of thousands of Arabs live in Jerusalem and enjoy freedom of speech. Egyptians and Jordanians visit Jerusalem without any problem.
Your are just full of propaganda.

May 29th, 2012, 1:04 pm


AIG said:

Why I said will happen is happening. The regime supporters are in complete spin mode. Of course for them all the testimonials of the Western press like the guardian are nothing. If it doesn’t come from SANA, how can it be credible?

Hey Norman, when is the regime starting the “long war” against Israel? Right after it finishes the “long war” against its own people?

May 29th, 2012, 1:07 pm


jna said:

64. Amjad said: Here we go again. When the regime commits the indefensible, trot out Israel.

Amjad, please read comment #19 above which I specifically responded to, to see who was trotting out what.

May 29th, 2012, 1:15 pm


Hopeful said:

Here is what “really” happened in Houla:

Al Qaeda fighters trained by the Mossad and the CIA, smuggled by Turkish secret service across the Turkish borders, using communication equipment from Germany, Britain and France that are paid for by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, entered the town and killed Syrians randomly.

Cause Syrians will never do that to other Syrians (they are born civilized, educated and tolerant), and Syrian government never kills its people (its leaders are all smart, professional and know it all – they do not need advice from anyone). This is all part of a global conspiracy aimed at Syria because of its resistance stance against Israel (the plan is plotted by three smart rich Jewish people sitting in the basement of the Pentagon). Not to mention regional countries are very jealous of the economic development, prosperity and political freedom that Syrian citizens have enjoyed since its beloved leader came to power 12 years ago! These countries are so envious that their leaders are so focused on figuring out how to bring down the Syrian regime as it is making them all look very bad in front of their own people.


May 29th, 2012, 1:19 pm


Alan said:

ان الوصول بفكرة نقل اسلحة الدمار الشامل الى هذه الهزلية هو أمر خطير ! و ماذا اذا وزعتها سورية الى من تريد و أصبحت بمتناول الماك دونالدز ؟ هل هي نكتة ؟ لقد طفح الكيل !

Syrian rebel leader to Haaretz: Assad’s opposition will secure chemical weapons
The Syrian opposition has plans to take control of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons depots and secure them in the first hours after the regime collapses, a senior figure in the opposition told Haaretz.

The opposition leader, a former senior officer in the Syrian Army, spoke to Haaretz on conditions of anonymity. “I personally have no problem speaking to Israelis,” he said, “but our countries are still officially at war, and there are too many people who would try to use an interview to an Israeli paper to harm the opposition.”

The former officer fought in Syria’s wars against Israel and is still intimately connected with senior officers in the army, including many who have defected to the opposition Free Syrian Army.

May 29th, 2012, 1:25 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, 1:36 pm


Alien said:

Can you image a day when Syrian people will be free to speak out without fearing to be arrested or killed? When people will be free to demonstrate against and for everything without fear to be imprisoned and tortured? When politicians (president included) will be accountable and re elected or not depending on the people’s judgment? Can you image a day when people will be discussing real problems and not if you are Alawi or Sunni or Christian? When the police, shurtat ul murur, baladie, tamween, mallie and all corrupted governments employees will be put in jail when discovered taking bribes? Can you image a day when in the University, in the Army and in every private or public sector you will get a job for your qualifications and skills and not for your wasta or sectarian appartenance? Can you image a day when Syria will became a modern developed Country and its best people will not be forced to go abroad? Can you image a day when Syria will be open to foreigners (investments and people) and they can come live and work here if they want like London, Tokyo, Barcelona etc.? Can you image a day when Syrians will be proud of their government, their institutions and pride of themselves? Can you image a Syria with freedom, justice and love?

May 29th, 2012, 1:37 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, 1:37 pm


irritated said:

#73 Amjad

“Egyptians and Jordanians visit Jerusalem without any problem”

Who else?
Palestinians? Lebanese? Kuwaitis? Saudis? Yemenis? Algerians, Tunisians etc…

Easy! Quickly sign a peace treaty with Israel so you can enjoy the ‘freedom of expression’ dear to welcoming Israelis, but please don’t be black African.

May 29th, 2012, 1:45 pm


Tara said:

… this massacre a sign of things to come? It certainly did not come out of the blue. Most of the 13 neighbourhoods of Homs that have been emptied of residents by the fighting are close to Allawite communities, from the Shia sect forming the backbone of the regime. For months, the adjoining Allawite villagers heard the chants of defiance from Houla, which had become a stronghold of the opposition militia and home of many of the families of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Perhaps that is why, when men in uniform appeared in the enclave after the shelling had largely stopped on Friday evening, they killed men, women and children alike, some of them infants. Some of the victims had their wrists bound….

Syria: horror of Houla
Monday 28 May 2012 16.50 EDT

Barely had Kofi Annan’s feet touched the ground after Friday’s massacre in Houla, when reports came through of another mass killing from an artillery assault on Hama. The war Bashar al-Assad is waging against his own people does not pause for the arrival of a UN envoy. It carries on simultaneously and often in the same area. Annan is getting no more and no less than the treatment reserved for a growing list of foreign intermediaries.
Nor, when reporters enter rebel-held areas, is there evidence of Assad’s claims that the opposition groups are foreign terrorists. The Guardian found on its latest foray into rebel-held territory that the FSA were not flush with ammunition – every bullet seemed to count. Nor was there any trace of foreign jihadis. It was not difficult to find them in Chechnya. Rather, they found you.


May 29th, 2012, 1:46 pm


Aldendeshe said:

“………Syria is being torn apart, SNP claimed they can reach Damascus within 2 weeks, please do it quickly, its about time. Or the country will never be able to recover……”


SNP is not paying a dime for it now. Have the Qatari Emir or Abdullah cut a check to cover for it all.

It was an easy campaign, a flick of a finger and now it is a major military operation. It is not SNP fault, it is those who ignored SNP and plotted own losing sectarian schemes, they failed. We can free Syria in 2 weeks, but it does take six months to a year to plan the move. We are calling for Chapter Seven now, because we have not that much time anymore and betting that competing foreign interests will not permit a unified Syrian opposition. Back in 05′ we sent Farid Ghadri to beg Busch for cash, we only needed 5 million Dollars, we got MEPI instead. It is a good program but should have been step two, back then it was ahead of it’s time, now is the time to expand this program in freed countries. Back in 05, we were 8 years younger, that is a big difference for over 50 persons and even bigger for over 60. Those were critical years for us and Bush plundered it.

May 29th, 2012, 1:48 pm


irritated said:

#79 Alien

Yes, I can

When there would be a big earthquake and Syria will be detached from its geographical location and become an island like Australia.
Keep praying.

May 29th, 2012, 1:49 pm


Alan said:

Blackwater agents involved in Syria unrest: Political analyst
the agents of the US company Blackwater are operating inside Syria and are involved in the deadly turmoil in the Arab country that began in March 2011, a political analyst tells Press TV.

“We have real evidence now that the Blackwater company is working in Syrian territories,” said Taleb Ibrahim, a political analyst from Damascus, in an interview with Press TV on Monday.

Ibrahim also stated that there is a “third party” inside Syria that “wants to undermine” the six-point peace plan put forward by UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan in March.

“I accuse directly the Turkish intelligence and the Saudi intelligence and the Qatari intelligence.”

Over the past few months, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have expressed support for arming of the Syrian rebels. .//..//..

May 29th, 2012, 1:49 pm


Amjad said:

#81 If I post, I will do so under my own name. Sorry, I’m not qualified to cure the pro-regimist predisposition to see multiple conspiracies behind every forum comment.

“Do Shabbihas usually name themselves openly when their perpetrate hideous crimes or it is a make believe?”

Yes, they know no one will hold them to account. Or have you missed the zillion confirmed and uncontested phone-camera videos of the shabihas torturing people?

May 29th, 2012, 1:50 pm


Juergen said:

Finally a day to be proud that our politicians did a brave move to expel the diplomates, in Berlin basically the embassy is closed with the removal of the ambassador.

“Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he had decided to refer the Syrian ambassador Lutfi Radwan off the country. “We are confident that our strong message to Damascus does not fall on deaf ears,” Westerwelle said. The Syrian regime is responsible for carrying out the terrible events in Hula. Who involves there and elsewhere in Syria in violation of Security Council resolutions by using heavy weapons against its own people, must face serious diplomatic and political consequences.”

A friend asked me to post this link to an very interesting account of an Christian who was imprisoned because he made a joke about Hafez Al Assad and was jailed for being a member of the ichuan.

Its a strong text, quite shocking and will give some insights that even the christian faith will not save you in Assad Syria if you oppose the regime.

This is a whole book by Mustapha Khalifa, but as I was told very worthwhile to read. One could use google translate to export the text into English.

مصطفى خليفة

(( يوميات متلصص ))

جلست وسوزان في كافيتيريا مطار أورلي بباريس ننتظر إقلاع الطائرة التي ستقلني إلى بلدي بعد غياب دام ست سنوات.
حتى ربع الساعة الأخير هذا، لم تيأس سوزان من محاولة إقناعي بالبقاء في فرنسا، أخذت تكرر على مسامعي نفس الحجج التي سمعتها منذ شهور عندما أعلمتها بقراري النهائي بالعودة إلى الوطن والعمل هناك.
أنا ابن عائلة عربية تدين بالمسيحية والمذهب الكاثوليكي. نصف العائلة يعيش في باريس، لذلك كانت الأبواب مفتوحة أمامي للدراسة في هذا البلد، دراستي كانت سهلة وميسرة وخاصة إنني كنت أجيد الفرنسية حتى قبل قدومي إلى باريس، درست الإخراج السينمائي وتفوقت في دراستي. وها أنا أعود بعد تخرجي إلى بلدي ومدينتي.
سوزان أيضا ابنة عائلة عربية، ولكن كل عائلتها كانت قد هاجرت وتعيش في فرنسا، أصبحنا صديقين حميمين في السنتين الأخيرتين من دراستي، وكان يمكن أن نتزوج بمباركة العائلتين لولا إصراري على العودة إلى الوطن، وإصرارها على البقاء في فرنسا.
قلت لها حسماً لآخر نقاش في الموضوع ونحن في المطار:
– سوزان .. أنا أحب بلدي، مدينتي. أحب شوارعها وزواياها. هذه ليست رومانسية فارغة، إنه شعور أصيل، أحفظ العبارات المحفورة على جدران البيوت القديمة في حينا، أعشقها، أحن إليها. هذا أولاً، أما ثانياً فهو أنني أريد أن أكون مخرجاً متميزاً، في رأسي الكثير من المشاريع والخطط، إن طموحي كبير، في فرنسا سوف أبقى غريباً، أعمل كأي لاجيء عندهم، يتفضلون علي ببعض الفتات … لا… لا أريد. في بلدي أنا صاحب حق… وليس لأحد ميزة التفضل عليّ، بقليلٍ من الجهد أستطيع أن أثبت وجودي، هذا إذا نحّينا جانبا حاجة الوطن لي ولأمثالي.
لذلك قراري بالعودة نهائي، وكل محاولة لإقناعي عكس ذلك عبث.
ران صمت استمر بضع دقائق. سمعنا النداء. آن أوان صعود الطائرة، وقفنا، شربنا ما تبقى في كؤوسنا من بيرة دفعة واحدة، نظرت إليها متأثراً، لمحت مشروع دمعة في عينيها، ألقت بنفسها على صدري، قبلتها سريعاً. ” لا أطيق هكذا موقف ”
قلت : أتمنى لك السعادة.
– وأنا كذلك، أرجو أن تنتبه، حافظ على نفسك.
وصعدت الطائرة.

* يوميات متلصص:
إن التلصص الذي مارسته لم يكن تلصصاً جنسياً – وان لم يخل الأمر من ذلك.
هذه اليوميات كتبت معظمها في السجن الصحراوي، وكلمة ( كتبت ) في الجملة السابقة ليست دقيقة.
ففي السجن الصحراوي لا يوجد أقلام ولا أوراق للكتابة.في هذا السجن الضخم الذي يحتوي على سبع ساحات إضافة إلى الساحة صفر، وعلى سبعة وثلاثين مهجعاً، وعلى العديد من المهاجع الجديدة غير المرقمة والغرف والزنازين الفرنسية (السيلول ) في الساحة الخامسة، والذي ضم بين جدرانه في لحظة من اللحظات أكثر من عشرة آلاف سجين، في هذا السجن الذي كان يحتوي على أعلى نسبة لحملة الشهادات الجامعية في هذا البلد، لم ير السجناء – وبعضهم قضى أكثر من عشرين عاماً – أية ورقة أو قلم.
الكتابة الذهنية أسلوب طوّره الإسلاميون. ” أحدهم كان يحفظ في ذهنه أكثر من عشرة آلاف اسم، هم السجناء الذين دخلوا السجن الصحراوي، مع أسماء عائلاتهم، مدنهم أو قراهم، تاريخ اعتقالهم، أحكامهم، مصيرهم …..”.
عندما قررت كتابة هذه اليوميات كنت قد استطعت بالتدريب تحويل الذهن إلى شريط تسجيل، سجلت عليه كل ما رأيت، وبعض ما سمعت.
والآن أفرغ “بعض” ما احتواه هذا الشريط.
– هل أنا نفس ما كنته قبل ثلاثة عشر عاما ؟! … نعم … ولا. نعم صغيرة، ولا كبيرة.
نعم، لأنني أفرغ وأكتب “كتابة حقيقية” بعضاً من هذه اليوميات.
ولا.. لأنني لا أستطيع أن أكتب وأقول كل شيء. هذا يحتاج إلى عملية بوح، وللبوح شروط. الظرف الموضوعي والطرف الآخر.
20 نيسان
وقفت على سلم الطائرة قليلاً أتملى أبنية المطار. أنظر إلى الأضواء البعيدة، أضواء مدينتي. إنها لحظة رائعة.
نزلت، أخذت حقيبتي وجواز السفر في يدي، إحساس بالارتياح، إحساس من يعود إلى بيته وزواياه المألوفة بعد طول غياب.
طلب مني الموظف الانتظار. قرأ جواز السفر، رجع إلى أوراق عنده، بعدها طلب مني الانتظار، فانتظرت.
اثنان من رجال الأمن استلما جواز السفر وبلطف مبالغ فيه طلبا مني مرافقتهما.
أنا وحقيبتي – التي لم أرها بعد ذلك – ورحلة في سيارة الأمن على طريق المطار الطويل، أرقب الأضواء على جانبي الطريق، أرقب أضواء مدينتي تقترب، ألتفت إلى رجل الأمن الجالس إلى جواري، أساله:
– خير إن شاء الله ؟ .. لماذا هذه الإجراءات ؟!
يصالب سبابته على شفتيه، لا ينطق بأي حرف، يطلب مني السكوت، فأسكت!
رحلة من المطار إلى ذلك المبنى الكئيب وسط العاصمة. رحلة في المكان.
ومنذ تلك اللحظة ولى ثلاثة عشر عاماً قادمة! رحلة في الزمان.
“عرفت فيما بعد أن أحدهم، وكان طالبا معنا في باريس، قد كتب تقريرا رفعه إلى الجهة الأمنية التي يرتبط بها، يقول هذا التقرير إنني قد تفوهت بعبارات معادية للنظام القائم، وإنني تلفظت بعبارات جارحة بحق رئيس الدولة، وهذا الفعل يعتبر من اكبر الجرائم، يعادل فعل الخيانة الوطنية إن لم يكن أقسى.
وهذا جرى قبل ثلاث سنوات على عودتي من باريس”.
ذلك التقرير قادني إلى هذا المبنى الذي يتوسط العاصمة – قريباً من بيتنا هذا المبنى الذي أعرفه جيداً، فلطالما مررت من أمامه. كنت حينها مُثاراً بالغموض الذي يلفه، وبالحراسة الشديدة حوله.
رجلا الأمن يخفراني، اشتدت قبضاتهما على ساعديّ عندما ولجنا الباب إلى الممر


May 29th, 2012, 1:51 pm


Amjad said:

““The Syrian Army is powerful,” Mr. Fabius said. “No state is ready to consider ground intervention at the current time.””

Enough with the “big powerful Syrian army” excuse. We are told time and again that the Syrian army is more powerful than the Libyan one, and yet Gadafi was three hours away from crushing the Libyan revolution were it not for the grace and mercy of NATO. Even with NATO support, it took a year to bring Qadaffi down. And yet the Syrian army that was created to be operate as the world’s biggest riot-police outfit, still can’t subdue a revolution that isn’t getting any arms or support from any other country. Bashar isn’t even close to subduing the revolution. “El ma3raka el hasmi” turned out to be a big dud.

May 29th, 2012, 1:55 pm


Tara said:

Syrian Alawis are heavily demonized in western press after the Houla massacre. Time for their elder to step up to the plate to defend their sect and distance themselves from the practice of Bashar al Assad. While the circumstances of the massacre leave no doubt in my mind that Shabehat al Assad perpetrated the massacre, I can’t not feel bad for honorable Alawis such as Yazan (our Yazan) and our kheder and I am sure many more who from day one distanced themselves from what Batta is doing.

May 29th, 2012, 1:57 pm


VOLK said:

Syrian National Council leader incites civil war – Lavrov

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described a recent statement by the Syrian National Council leader, Burhan Galioun, as direct incitement of civil war.
Burhan Galioun urged the entire Syrian opposition in his statement to continue fighting the Damascus regime until the UN Security Council decides on a military invasion of Syria.
Lavrov was speaking during a news conference following the talks with his Peruvian counterpart, Rafael Roncayolo in Moscow earlier today.


May 29th, 2012, 2:09 pm


Alan said:
Syria: The terror operation of Jeffrey Feltman
Syria, Lebanon and Iran: Jeffrey Feltman, the modern and more horrible Lawrence of Arabia.
Formally, the U.S. regime has agreed on an UN observer mission of up to 300 UN observers in Syria, which use is initially limited to 90 days, which also means that the United States agreed that the UN Observers monitor the ceasefire from all sides and the UN Security Council Resolutions 2042 and 2043rd for a peaceful political process of the situation in Syria.

With the adoption of the UN resolutions on Syria, the Zionist-Wahhabi U.S. plan has failed. The plan included to force a “regime change” in Libya and Syria, implemented through propaganda, terror, sanctions, and an ultimately genocidal-bombing of the resistance. These steps should prepare the long-planned military regime change in Iran.

The terrorist gangs, which are subordinated to the Zionist U.S. Secretary of State Jeffrey D. Feltman, and which terrorize the Syrian population in fancy names like “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), “Al Qaeda”, or “Farouk Brigade” by bombings and death squads, have in the ongoing democratic process in Syria, despite the massive support of Zionist propaganda and Wahhabi networks, no chance to come to power in Syria, because they are all rejected by the overwhelming majority of the Syrian population.

But behind the scenes, the Zionists and the U.S. government continue to work hard to destabilize Syria, together with the loose combination of the “enemies of the Syrian people” (“Friends of Syria”), in order to fomenting terrorism and the armed violence, because they want to undermine the so-called UN peace plan for Syria.

The recent talks by Jeffrey Feltman with his fascist-Wahhabi friends from the “March 14″ in Lebanon (Beirut) reveal the calculus behind it./../..

May 29th, 2012, 2:11 pm


Alan said:

Uzair !
Slaughter Slant: Houla massacre sparks media blame-game

May 29th, 2012, 2:22 pm


Juergen said:


good joke, try an other one. I read once something on that blog, its like angryarab, its a waste of time to read it.

May 29th, 2012, 2:25 pm


Uzair8 said:

#52 Halabi said:

(Syrian TV likes to use the Lord of The Rings).

That is just disgusting.

May 29th, 2012, 2:26 pm


Uzair8 said:

#93 Alan.

I hold my hands up. You got me. Credit where credit is due. No getting past Alan. Been trying to avoid you since yesterday.


May 29th, 2012, 2:31 pm


Osama said:

I love how, whenever you disagree with the the self appointed opposition spokespeople, I suddenly become pro-regime.

I don’t want to see anymore people die, and I m sorry if that bothers anyone.

The investigation is not showing the “right” kind of evidence, the NATO F/UK/US have quickly started repeating the “use of heavy weapons”, where as the initial report from the UN tells us something quite different than that. MSNBC reports:

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier said its
monitors found that fewer than 20 of the victims died from
artillery fire. It was first thought the majority of the deaths were
caused by artillery fire.

Ouch… No matter …. Keep going…

Now the MSM will now say that it was “Militiamen” i.e. Shibeha. That did the “execution” style killings….

Let’s me try one more time, the UN must do a proper investigation, it’s clear that neither the opposition nor their foreign backers are interested in the truth. They are perfectly happy having blamed the syrian government and trying to take advantage of it politically and militarily.I say this fully expecting that the shibeha committed the crime, but whomever did actually commit this must be held to account along with everybody that took part!!

May 29th, 2012, 2:33 pm


Alan said:

Interview with Christoph R. Hörstel
In 2011 the world with the Arabian spring experienced the rebellion of the people. Or, nevertheless, not? Middle East expert Christoph R. Hörstel is sure that in all countries in which the people go out into the streets against the prevailing regime the USA had her fingers with in the play. Clearly this becomes, for example, in the Nato air force exercises the forthcoming war in Libya which already 14 days took place before the first uprisings in Libya.

Also during the topical conflict with Syria, it is anything but a chance that just now the Aufständigen move against Damascus. As can be proved it concerns with some of the rebellion leaders who allow to attack simple-minded Syrians by the dozen as a cannon fodder Assads the military, around “Aufständige” installed by the CIA which already stated the Libyans some months before.

And where Russia and China abstained with the UN resolution against Gaddaffi still of her voice, they gave to ienem renewed action of NATO a clear no and inserted her veto against the planned attack on Syria. Approximate from 60,000 to 80,000 Libyans have died by the NATO bombs. More than the overthrown dictator could be had got into debt be able to do.

After Syria should soon be fallen, the next opponent stands already before the door. Iran. The fact that a military conflict with this country shows, however, quite an other dimension than against Afghanistan, Iraq or Liyben, the least know in this country. A war against Iran could escalate quite fast to the 3rd world war and we face up in 2012 just alarmingly near this danger.

May 29th, 2012, 2:40 pm



Assad´s ambassadors ousted from Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Canada, Britain, US, Germany, Switzerland. Assad is finished internationally. Go to Al Qardaha ya Assad. Qardolloh.

Russian mafias will have to look for another bussiness away from Syria.

May 29th, 2012, 2:55 pm


Mina said:

For sure, it is not because they made a mess in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and (add at wish) that they are not ready to recreate exactly the same mess. Farewell secular state.

It hitches some relaxed brains to read that?
Liberal Syrian opposition
Haytham Al-Malih, a liberal Syrian figure tells the mouthpiece of Prince Salman, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat, that he approves of the kidnapping of Lebanese pilgrims and that he told captors to not release them. You want me to support those types? You must be kidding me.
Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 8:20 AM
or that?
Mubarak trial
” Why are Mubarak and other high-ranking former government members being tried in ordinary civilian courts while political activists are being tried in military courts?”
Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 8:59 AM

May 29th, 2012, 3:03 pm


Alan said:
Snapshots of Obama’s visit to Australia
By Hamish Chitts
Partners in war crime:
Prime Minister Gillard and US President Obama leaving a press conference in Canberra. For the sake of world domination by US capitalists these two have supported and implemented plans that have cost the lives of millions of people. Once you get past the dazzle and celebrity of Obama’s recent visit it seems these criminals are planning more slaughter.

More war:
Not satisfied with waging war on the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Obama announces, on behalf of his corporate masters, to the Australian Parliament and the world that the Asia-Pacific region is now in US sights. To a standing ovation he vowed to expand US influence in the Asia-Pacific region and “project power and deter threats to peace” (Obama speak for, “if you impede US corporations’ pursuit of profit we will attack you.”). In a message that threatens the entire Asia-Pacific region Obama declared, “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay!” ../../..

May 29th, 2012, 3:03 pm


Uzair8 said:

The channel 4 documentary aired last night. I’m assuming and hoping the video on the channels youtube page is available outside the UK. This is not the case with the channels main website.

I caught the last 10 minutes of it last night. Gonna watch the first part now.

Channel 4. Dispatches: The Real Mr and Mrs Assad.

~28 minutes long.

May 29th, 2012, 3:16 pm


Alan said:

102. UZAIR8
Your hope that the video on the channels youtube page is available outside the UK is not real ! it is not available !

May 29th, 2012, 3:23 pm


Amjad said:

Amir #104

*high five*

May 29th, 2012, 3:47 pm


Hopeful said:

Anyone knows anything about Basel Shehadeh and the circumstances of his death?

May 29th, 2012, 3:49 pm


anwar said:

Thank you for this article. Yassin al-Haj Salih does a superb job at breaking down this regime and what’s it all about: money and absolute power. all facilitated through the shabihah. We should exterminate these rapists and child killers down to the very last one of them.

May 29th, 2012, 3:50 pm


Uzair8 said:

103 Alan

You sound disappointed.

May 29th, 2012, 3:52 pm


bronco said:

#72 Norman

I don’t think the FSA did the crimes. I think they have been used by criminals with a violent agenda infiltrated among them who used the shelling and the panic ensuing to perpetrate these crimes. These criminals thought that by chanting : “we are the Shabbiha”, their crimes will be easily attributed to the Syrian government. How would an eye witnesses recognizes a Shabbiha in the middle of the night without electricity?

In my view, the FSA is suffering internally from the same deep divisions the SNC suffered of, members with different agendas and different sources of funding.

The events in Khan Shaykhoun and Houla showed that the FSA is itself polluted by islamists extremist with their own agendas operating freely in their ranks. While the FSA succeeded in protecting in extremis the UN observers in Khan Shaykoun from the ‘armed gangs’ that intended to kill them, they failed to protect the civilians in Houla. Houla’s massacre is a humiliating failure for the ‘moderates’ within the FSA.

AS the SNC became irrelevant, the FSA is now perceived as the only “organized” opposition interface left. The FSA has accepted the Annan plan, therefore its has accepted the future dialog with the regime that the SNC rejected. Therefore Russia has been willing to allow the FSA to move forward as a partner in the dialog provided it shows determination and discipline in containing violence initiated by its elements.
The FSA know very well who are the criminals in Khan Shaykoun and Houla, but as they are too weak and lack leadership, they prefer to remain silent. By doing so they are loosing their credibility even further.

For the UN observers who witnessed Khan Shaykhoun, the internal fights between the moderate and extremists factions of the FSA umbrella has become obvious.
After the Houla massacre, the Russian accused both the opposition and the regime of responsibility. It was a direct warning to the FSA. If the FSA does not abide to the ceasefire and does not fight the extremists elements among them, it will desintegrate by internal rifts, just as the SNC.

The moderate elements of FSA are in bind now. The have to decide what they want to do with the extremist among them. Will the FSA go through a civil war within itself? Houla may the first round.

May 29th, 2012, 4:17 pm


Uzair8 said:

Throughout the documentary they showed clips of an interview with Asma Assad. Near the end I noticed a picture of a rose on the mantle place a little behind and to the right of her. It looked like a childs painting and I assumed possibly by one her children.

Then a cynical thought crossed my mind. Was this an attempt to subliminally further associate Asma with the word ‘Rose’?

Can find an image at the moment.

Those watching Amir’s link should look out for it.

May 29th, 2012, 4:23 pm


zoo said:

#86 Amjad

“uncontested(???) phone-camera videos of the shabihas torturing people?”

Speak for yourself.

May 29th, 2012, 4:26 pm


Amjad said:

#109 An elaborate structure of an argument, but as weak as a house of cards in a moderate wind. This argument assumes that the people of Houla who survived the massacres are all in on a conspiracy of silence. I don’t know about you, but if the guy with the AK-47 who I’ve been feeding and sheltering for weeks and months suddenly butchered my neighbors, I wouldn’t stay one moment in that town.

Guerrilla movements can only operate when there is a civilian population to facilitate it and shelter it. No guerrilla movement can hope to last for long if it acted in the absurd way you describe. What would be the motivation for “extremist” elements of the FSA to massacre the very people that were sheltering the FSA for months?

It is amusing to see the mental gymnastics that the die hard regimists will go through to excuse the barbarity of their president.

No, the parallels with My Lai are all to similar. In both cases, you have a conventional army, frustrated at its repeated failed attempts to stamp out an illusive foe. Morale plummets, discipline all but evaporates, all norms of human behavior are tossed aside as the raging apes take out their frustrations on helpless civilians.

“How would an eye witnesses recognizes a Shabbiha in the middle of the night without electricity?”

I cannot believe that a thinking person would believe that the shabiha murderers would go about without some sort of illumination. And the assault wasn’t only at night. Shabihas are instantly recognizable with their faux-military trousers and white sneakers. It’s the uniform the regime has put them in. Jaysh abu shahata.

Now, we have to ask ourselves, who benefits the most from the current chaos in Syria? None of the countries bordering on Syria, that’s for sure. And yet someone wants to make sure Syrians keep killing each other, and that Syria is left internationally isolated and weak, always in need of a crutch, always in need of weapons to buy, and always in the news to keep the price of oil sky high. In Tehran and Moscow, they are grinning from ear to ear as the unfortunate Alawite community gets the worst of it in Syria. Fall guys for the benefit of those who would use them.

May 29th, 2012, 4:34 pm


zoo said:

A glimpse of what to come if the Moslem Brotherhood looses the presidency.

Angry protestors in Cairo attacked and set fire to the home of presidential candidate Ahmad Shafik Monday night. Thousands of raging Egyptians gathered at Tahrir Square to protest last week’s first round of the country’s presidential election.
Shafik and his advisors were in his residence at the time of the assault, one of his aides said. The candidate’s headquarters also saw attacks.

The results of last week’s vote were released on Monday, triggering a new wave of disappointment. The runoff scheduled for June 16-17 will now pit former Mubarak supporter Ahmad Shafik against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi.

The polarizing choice between the two candidates appears to have protestors asking “what happened to the revolution?” While one candidate is viewed as a return to Mubarak-era rule, the other is seen as potentially putting the country on the road to becoming an Islamic State.

May 29th, 2012, 4:37 pm


Amjad said:

#111 Yes, I suppose some people still believe after all this time that Al-Baida was actually in northern Iraq. Where’s that fatso Abu Shadi these days? Still shabihing? Nope.

May 29th, 2012, 4:38 pm


zoo said:

A glimpse of what’s to come if the Moslem Brotherhood gets the presidency

Egypt to revive female genital mutilation in the name of Islam?
Get short URL
Published: 16 May, 2012, 14:11
Reuters/Amr Dalsh

Egyptian human rights groups and female activists are alarmed at renewed parliamentary calls to revive the practice of female circumcision. They appeal to the authorities to stop advocating what was officially banned in 2007.

­Recently a Salafi MP, a member of the second-largest party in the country’s parliament, Al Nour, which holds 28 per cent of seats, has urged to renew the practice saying notable Egyptian scholars justified it as part of the “prophetic” Sunnah [a holy work of Islam]. The politician has previously proposed a bill that would allow the practice, also known as female genital mutilation.

Egyptian media say MP al-Shaker remarked that former first lady Suzanne Mubarak was the driving force behind banning it and, as everyone is well aware, the Mubaraks are long since personae non grata in Egypt.

May 29th, 2012, 4:38 pm


bronco said:

#112 Amjad

“I wouldn’t stay one moment in that town.”

You’ll fly to the USA?

May 29th, 2012, 4:43 pm


zoo said:

Iraqi mark on Houla massacre?

While the investigation into the Houla massacre is ongoing, former British intelligence officer Alastair Crooke told RT these attacks are not characteristic of the cultural region to which Syria belongs.

“This type of killing, beheadings, slitting of throats (of children too), and of this mutilation of bodies, has been a characteristic not of Levantine Islam, not of Syria, not of Lebanon, but what happened in the Anbar province of Iraq. And so it seems to point very much in the direction of groups that have been associated with the war in Iraq against the United States who have perhaps returned to Syria, or perhaps Iraqis who have come up from Anbar to take part in it,” he says.

Crooke believes the Al-Qaeda connection is misleading, as the massacre has its tactical and ideological roots in the Iraq war.

“I think the attack is more close to Musab al-Zarqawi [who declared an all out war on Shia in Iraq], than Al-Qaeda as we know it, in the sense that Zarqawi and Iraq gave birth to this very strong, bigoted, anti-Shia, anti-Iranian rhetoric. Much of that came into Syria when fighters from Anbar returned to their homes around Homs and Hama.

“So yes, we’re talking about Al-Qaeda like groups that are at the very end of the spectrum of the opposition. They may be a minority in terms of the numbers of the overall opposition, but they are defining the war,” Crooke maintains.

May 29th, 2012, 4:47 pm


Amjad said:

#116 Haha, obviously you haven’t seen what a ghost town Damascus Airport has become. I’ve never witnessed such a lifeless and inactive airport in my life. Even the clocks are wrong there.

No, there are still some pockets of places someone could go to inside Syria still. Even in Homs and Hama, some places are *relatively* better than others. Much to the frustration of the Iranian and Russian troublemakers, most Syrians still have an open heart and hospitable attitude towards their fellow Syrians, regardless of sect. Syrians as a people have always been generous, sharing what they have with others.

It’s always the most psychotic rabble that get the most attention. But for every horrendous massacre, there have been numerous acts of kindness, and people survive thanks to each other, and no thanks to the disgraceful regime that hasn’t set up a single camp for the displaced, and in fact went out of its way to make sure no aid reached them. But as long as they keep buying useless training jets from the Russians, and make enough noise to keep oil prices high, their *cough* “friends” in Moscow and Iran will happily do all they can to keep the regime barely humming along.

May 29th, 2012, 4:52 pm


omen said:

it must be a hell of indoctrination program to get people so conditioned to believe the regime can do no wrong.

May 29th, 2012, 4:54 pm


Amjad said:

#119 Omen. I’ll repeat my light bulb joke from before. How many shabihas does it take to change a light bulb? None, the light bulb is fine, all that darkness is al-jazeera blocking out the sun to make you THINK the lightbulb needs changing.

May 29th, 2012, 4:58 pm


zoo said:

Were they any Shias among the killed women and children in Houla?

May 29th, 2012, 4:59 pm


Dawoud said:

NYT is reporting that Bashar’s Shabiha were chanting “We are your Shabiha, Bashar” while committing war crimes and killing children and women in al-Houla. Bashar is becoming the Arab version of Mladic and Karadzic, the Serbian war criminals in Bosnia-although he is worse than all of them.

let’s compare this massacre that Bashar’s Shabiha and army committed to the Israeli Zionist massacre of Palestinians in Deir Yassim in 1948.

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

May 29th, 2012, 5:02 pm


zoo said:

Were War Crimes Committed in Syria’s Houla?

Now, the rebels do not escape blame here. It is a fact of the war here that is going on that the rebels use civilian areas to fight their war in this war, as they did indeed in many occasions in Libya as well, for instance. So, they are using civilian areas.

They are not, I guess, deliberately using civilians as shields. But they are fighting in areas where there are civilians. Now, that’s a fact. Now, in reply to that, clearly, a conventional army fighting on conventional terms is using weapons, sometimes small-arms, but sometimes heavy weapons, in those areas.
If you’re going to do that as a means of warfare, you’re without question going to kill people.

May 29th, 2012, 5:07 pm


Uzair8 said:

Yesterday I had a look at the Socialist Worker (SW) and ‘Stop the War Coalition’ (STWC) sites for reactions to the Houla Massacre.
There was nothing on SW site. On STWC they unsurpringly had the Patrick Seale article.

From Socialist Worker:

Massacre in Houla marks point of no return for Syria’s regime
Tue 29 May 2012

by Simon Assaf

The terrible massacre of civilians in the village of Houla near the restive city of Homs marks a watershed for the Syrian revolution.

Despite Bashar al-Assad’s regime blaming the atrocity on rebels and “Al Qaida terrorists” it is clear that responsibility for the carnage lay at the feet of his security forces and his sectarian Shabiha militia.

It appears that the tragedy unfolded when troops fired on a protest that began after Friday prayers. There are scores of such demonstrations every Friday in Syria, and they attract many children and young people who join in the singing of revolution songs.

In response, armed rebels attacked regime positions on the edge of the village—triggering a deadly round of artillery bombardment that killed dozens of demonstrators.

That day the Shabiha militia targeted the edge of the Houla, murdering at least 62 people. Women and children were stabbed or shot at close range as they sought refuge in their homes.

The massacre in Houla marks a point of no return for the revolution and the regime. Revolutionaries in towns across Syria attempted to raid arms depots as news of the atrocity filtered out. Protesters are increasingly calling for arming the revolution.

Read more:

May 29th, 2012, 5:47 pm


Uzair8 said:

#124 Uzair8

Forgot to say in previous post that yesterday there was nothing on SW site but visiting today I did see an article (seein #124).

Btw I heard Fawaz Gerges on BBC Radio 4 after 10pm talking about ‘Shabeeha’. A short time later he was on BBC radio 5.

May 29th, 2012, 6:12 pm


zoo said:

No unanimity in the EU

Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries had failed to agree on a joint expulsion of Syrian diplomatic staff in the wake of the killings, Reynders said on television.

“Unfortunately we don’t have unanimity,” the minister said.

A diplomatic source told AFP that several countries with embassies still open in Syria opposed expelling Syrian diplomats, while other nations feared retaliatory measures.

May 29th, 2012, 6:31 pm


irritated said:

#124 Uzair8

“it is CLEAR that responsibility for the carnage lay at the feet of his security forces and his sectarian Shabiha militia.”

Is the writer an investigator or just carrying usual rumors and suppositions?

May 29th, 2012, 6:41 pm


zoo said:

Do Shabbiha wear military uniforms?

“Houla activists” repeated the Shabbiha were wearing civilians clothes.

Human Rights watch May 28, 2012

One resident of Taldou told Human Rights Watch:

At around 2:30 p.m., the army located on the outskirts of town started shelling the neighborhood. Initially, they used tanks, but after couple of hours they started using mortars. The shelling was coming from the direction of the Air Force military college located at the entrance of Houla. Around 7:00 p.m., the shelling intensified and whole buildings were shaking. The army started firing some sort of rockets that would shake an entire area.

At around 6:30 p.m., just as the shelling intensified on parts of Houla, ARMED GUNMEN WEARING MILITARY UNIFORMS attacked homes situated on the outskirts of town on the road leading to the Houla dam, THREE SURVIVORS of the attacks told Human Rights Watch. 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 29th, 2012, 6:47 pm


zoo said:

Do Shabbiha wear military uniforms (continue)?

More testimony of eye witness survivors contradicting the activists claim of the identity of the gunmen.

“A 10-year-old boy from the Abdel Razzak family told Human Rights Watch that he saw men WEARING MILITARY CLOTHES shoot his 13-year-old friend:”

Men wearing [uniforms] like ARMY SOLDIERS, green with other colors [camouflage] and white shoes, entered our house…
The same man shot at both of them more than once. Then the armed men left and the FSA SOLDIERS CAME.

Why didn’t the FSA soldiers chase the armed men?

Human Rights Watch

Survivors Describe Execution of Family Members

May 29th, 2012, 7:05 pm


zoo said:

The SNC attempts to utter their old song again is rebuffed coldly by Russia

Russia slammed a call on Tuesday by Syria’s external opposition for the UN Security Council to mandate military action, saying it would incite a civil war.

The Syrian National Council called on Tuesday for the UN body to authorize the “use of force” and welcomed the expulsion of top diplomats from several Western countries.

After economic sanctions and the diplomatic shutout, the UN Security Council should “adopt a resolution under Chapter VII (of the UN Charter) allowing the use of necessary force in order to put a stop to the genocide and the murders committed by the regime’s militias,” the SNC said.

The group also welcomed the expulsion of “the regime’s ambassador in Paris and its representatives in Australia,” adding that it “expects other countries to follow suit.”

Several Western countries – including France, Australia, Britain, Spain, Germany and Canada – announced the expulsion of Syria’s diplomatic representatives on Tuesday, in protest over ongoing repression in Syria and a massacre in the central town of Houla.

“Ending diplomatic relations and imposing economic sanctions on the regime is an essential part of the response to the horrific massacres that the regime is carrying out,” the statement said.

But Russia’s response immediately poured cold water on any hope the Security Council would authorize military intervention in Syria.

May 29th, 2012, 7:16 pm


Amjad said:

Do the pro-regimists even know anything about the country they claim to come from? (ask this several times and make sure it’s in bold).

“And the assault wasn’t only at night. Shabihas are instantly recognizable with their faux-military trousers and white sneakers.”

Let’s say it again.

“And the assault wasn’t only at night. Shabihas are instantly recognizable with their faux-military trousers and white sneakers.”

One more time

“And the assault wasn’t only at night. Shabihas are instantly recognizable with their faux-military trousers and white sneakers.”

Russia is like a sleazy lawyer, who gladly tells you that your lawsuit has merit, as long as you sign over a $10,000 retainer. Vladimir the Lawyer will keep representing you in your hopeless court case, as long as you have $10,000 checks to throw his way every month. And when your bank account is empty, he dumps you and makes an under the table deal with the other side. Vladimir has gotten rich, and you’ve wasted a year and all your money on a lawsuit that a retarded rabbit could have told you had no merit. That’s the relationship between Moscow and the white sneaker loving regime.

Madrasat el Assad. What a zoo.

May 29th, 2012, 8:10 pm


ann said:

Syria’s Assad says success of Annan’s plan depends on halt of terrorism – 2012-05-29

DAMASCUS, May 29 (Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated Tuesday that the success of the UN-backed six-point plan, brokered by the international envoy Kofi Annan, relies on halting the terrorist acts as well as the commitment of the countries that support and harbor the armed terrorist groups.

Assad made the remarks during his meeting with the visiting UN- Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan, who flew to Syria on Monday to discuss the prospect of his six-point plan that called primarily for the halt of violence and dialogue among all factions in order to resolve Syria’s 15-months crisis.

According to state-run SANA news agency, Assad underlined that the terrorist acts have been rampant notably lately in a number of Syrian provinces.

For his side, Annan hailed the “positive spirit” of coordination between the Syrian government and the UN observers, who started their mission in Syria last month to monitor the situation.


May 29th, 2012, 8:31 pm


Tara said:



I heard from a Damascene source today that the regimeآخد على خاطرو كتير من تجار الحريقة والحميدية after their strike on Monday.   Both Hamidieh and Hariqeh were totally closed.  I am sure you know Damascus business class as much as I know them.  Stores are usually kept open even when there is a death in the family… the strike of Damascus business class is a herald of the loss of another strong pillar of al Assad’s rule.  Damascus has already passed her judgement as to who committed the Houla massacre.  

May 29th, 2012, 8:38 pm


zoo said:

#131 Amjad

Can you put the link to the source of your quote?

May 29th, 2012, 9:05 pm


Son of Damascus said:


Allah Ye Salmek!

7allun yes7hou ba2a, maheek?

I was told that a large group of women went to Hamedieh yesterday and started yelling at any store owner that did open, yelling at them that their silence is enabling the regime. Many of those that opened closed shop after that, I guess they were shamed into it if you like (but most were closed, and not because of a religious holiday as one ill-informed commentator suggested).

Things are getting more serious in Damascus, and as you said Shami Merchants don’t usual just strike (especially in the dire economic circumstances that Syria is facing), this is a major challenge for the regime another pillar taken out from underneath them.

May 29th, 2012, 9:26 pm


zoo said:

#131 Amjad

Your baseless assertion that the Shabbiha have a uniform, fatigues and white shoes is in total contradiction with the information I have gathered.
If you have better information, please share with us the source of your affirmation.

All references point that the Shabbiha wear plain-clothes, nowhere white sneakers is ever mentionned. Therefore it is not possible to affirm they were the killers in Houla.

“The shabbiha are always in casual clothes or tracksuit trousers,

Those identified as Shabiha include not only local criminal gangs, but “members of the security forces in civilian clothes, informants or simply unemployed and impoverished youths

security forces or shabbiha (plain-clothes militiamen)

May 29th, 2012, 9:30 pm


Hopeful said:

Bronco # 109 says:

“The moderate elements of FSA are in bind now. The have to decide what they want to do with the extremist among them. Will the FSA go through a civil war within itself? Houla may the first round.”

I believe the same can be said about the moderate elements within the Syrian regime/government. What is their game plan? What would you do with a regime that is rejected by a large segment of the population, condemned by a large number of countries around the world, censured by most of the Arab and regional countries, and has clearly led the country into the abyss of civil war!

Isn’t it time to compromise and accept that perhaps there is a better way than blindly following the regime and its promised reforms; even if you believe it to be 100% honest and credible?

May 29th, 2012, 9:35 pm


irritated said:

#135 SOD

All restaurants in Damascus were open and working at normal capacity yesterday. No women showed up to shout at them.
When Hamidieh will finally go on strike to support protests, not out of respect for dead children, then you can say : Damascus is moving.
Until then, you can always imagine, it does not hurt.

May 29th, 2012, 9:36 pm


Hopeful said:

The Syrian regime IS responsible for the Houla massacre.

If its forces committed the crime, they should all be led to international courts and tried for crimes against humanity.

If its forces failed to protect the people from the criminals and terrorists who’ve committed the crime (fifteen months after they started the campaign to go after the “armed terrorist groups”, arresting thousands of them and parading hundreds on national TV), they should all resign in disgrace for the utter incompetence and mismanagement of the country’s crisis!

The argument of “who did what to whom” does not, and should not, relieve the regime from its responsibility. Period.

May 29th, 2012, 9:50 pm


bronco said:

#137 Hopeful

“I believe the same can be said about the moderate elements within the Syrian regime/government.”

It is quite different.
The moderate elements of the regime are hostage to the regime because they have been unable to regroup and unable to find a believable leadership in the opposition that presented itself in 15 months. They have no choice that to remain spectators until someone they trust reaches them.
The FSA is divided and armed. Their internal struggle for power may break them as it broke the SNC. The trouble is that their internal fights may turn violent and decimate them physically.
By remaining divided and undisciplined, they are playing into the hand of the regime.

The only chance is for the FSA to regroup, eliminate by force the extremists among them, reach for the moderate elements of the regime and build a strong coalition to face the regime in negotiations under the sponsorship of Russia for a transition.

If they fail to do that, the Annan plan will not stop but will drag for months with crimes and massacres. There is no plan B.
The ball is in the FSA hands.

May 29th, 2012, 9:51 pm


bronco said:

#139 Hopeful

“If its forces failed to protect the people from the criminals and terrorists who’ve committed the crime”

The Government forces cannot protect people who are under the control of armed rebels.
The only way it could is to attack these villages, but as the rebels are hiding among the population, there could be heavy casualties and blames from the international community.
If the FSA cannot protect the citizens they are using as human shields, they must as well leave.
All areas returned to government control, Baba Amr, Hama etc… have returned to normal.

May 29th, 2012, 10:01 pm


Tara said:

Jeugren  @87

Thank you for sharing some of Mustafa khalifa’s diary.  I enjoyed the writing style.  I find some Arab moviemakers mysteriously appealing…  I think I am going to be reincarnated in my future life into a moviemaker or a close relative of a movie maker. 

May 29th, 2012, 10:04 pm


zoo said:

JNA #143

Thanks so much for providing a strong proof on the possible identity of the killers and a rebuff to the stupid assertion of some.

Many photos corresponds exactly to the description the survivor children describes as the killer of his friend: ARMY CLOTHES WITH WHITE SNEAKERS. (

The photos do not belong to a Shabihha but to FSA commando brigades

One of the caption says
“In anticipation of an attack by government regime forces, members of the Free Syrian Army’s commandos brigade take position near the town of al-Qusayr in Syria’s central Homs province on May 10, 2012.

Read more:

Are these commandos dissident from the FSA? Is the FSA hiding and protecting the killers?

May 29th, 2012, 10:20 pm


zoo said:

JNA #143

I hope the children would be shown these photos to identify the criminals.
I think the FSA will do all it can to prevent such identification that could be uncover their fake scenarios of the Shabbiha.

In my eyes, I have no more doubts that some extremists among the FSA did the killing and that the FSA tried to cover them up by putting conveniently the blames on the Shabbiha. Were they drugged or insane? the investigation and the children testimony would determine it.

May 29th, 2012, 10:40 pm


Tara said:


I am glad to hear your implicit declaration that you would accept the result of the UN investigation in regard to the Houla. But has it occurred to you that there have been multiple damning reports incriminating the regime in summary execution, torture, and targeting civilians that you have declined to accept in the past.

With this selective credence suddenly bestowed on the UN investigation of the Houla massacre, I can’t not think about the definition of integrity. Kindly defend yourself.

May 29th, 2012, 10:41 pm


Tara said:


I am sorry but I find your strong assertions in exonerating the regime based on the color of the sneakers and trousers worn by the perpetrators are not worthy of you. Please quit this argument. You know it is not convincing.

May 29th, 2012, 10:49 pm


jna said:

Tara, I deny what you suggest. If you want to discuss it with me show me something specific I wrote here.

May 29th, 2012, 10:51 pm


zoo said:

#147 Tara

You prefer to deny the testimony of the children because it is pointing to the FSA? Because it does not fit the scenario that you prefer to hear? Because you prefer that elementary logic: they lied once so they always lie.
I think many proofs point to some members of the FSA being guilty of this massacre and until I am proved the contrary, that’s what I believe.
I am not intending to convince you as you have your strong opinions made based on emotions, prejudgement and media brainwash.
They don’t convince me either.

May 29th, 2012, 10:57 pm


Tara said:


Then correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying that you accept the results of the multiple damning reports of the UNHRW and Amnesty International investigations in regard to the heinous crimes committed by the reigme and their recommendations for referral to the ICC?

May 29th, 2012, 11:00 pm


jna said:

Tara, I believe generally that the security forces of the Syrian government have committed heinous crimes and human rights abuses such as torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and very excessive use of force. That does not mean that I believe every story that comes from the opposition (which appears to also to commit heinous crimes and abuses)and the media camp followers.

May 29th, 2012, 11:11 pm


zoo said:

It is maybe far fetched, but among the FSA ,as Alistair Crooke mentions it,

there are Syrians or Iraqis who might have fought in Iraq and who have joined the FSA. These elements are psychologically damaged. They have joined the FSA with their own agenda and sometime they go overboard in moments of extreme stress. When shelling fell on Houla, they might have panicked and ran Amok. That can explain the brutality, the cruelty and the randomness of the executions.
Maybe the FSA is not able to control these elements but they keep covering them up when they act brutally.
I hope the light comes out on this horrible and insane tragedy.

May 29th, 2012, 11:15 pm


Tara said:


The eyewitness testimony of the child that I read and linked on a previous thread pointed to the regime and its security forces. Did you not read that one? Additionally, pointing out that the color of the outfit is not an admissible evidence does not constitue lack of respect. Some commenter asked me before to quit an argument that he thought was not worthy of me and contrary to you, I thought it was very respectful way to say that he was not convinced by it. In any case, if you don’t want me to bring up any point with you, I won’t.

May 29th, 2012, 11:19 pm


Tara said:


HRW have on multiple occasion incriminated the regime in the killing of children.

If you believe the UN reports, at what point of atrocities you would consider the regime irredeemable? To rephrase, what is the number of dead children is your own threshold above which, you may join us in refusing to dialogue with Bashar al Assad?

May 29th, 2012, 11:34 pm


Syrialover said:

Let’s suppose the rumors about Asef Shawkat & his associates being murdered by opposition plotters are true.

Wouldn’t that inspire savage forms of revenge by regime-supporting militia, already out of control and looking for an excuse to go over the top? Would they then feel justified to go on a wild drug-fuelled rampage to massacre women and children?

It makes more sense than the idea that the FSA has the motive and will to carry out a large-scale gruesome massacre of non-combatants (and risk being identified, blamed and lose civilian support). And to do it mainly on the off chance that it might create more disgust with Assad.

As an aside, if the regime wants to deal a powerful blow to the morale and credibility of the oppposition, they only have to parade Shawkat and the other alleged victims on TV laughing at the joke. But they haven’t, have they? Interesting.

Poor Assad spin mistresses, maybe they are too swamped with their own tsunami of lies to have time to combat a trickle of truth.

May 30th, 2012, 12:15 am


Son of Damascus said:


The fact that the opposition called for a strike (like you said to pay respect to the victims of Houla) and the merchants followed through with it is a major testament to the changing attitude within the merchant community.

As for the restaurants I don’t doubt that most restaurants in Malki, Abu Rummaneh and other “chic” spot were open, I said nothing about restaurants I was talking about the merchants in the Souks not the restauranteurs.

May 30th, 2012, 12:45 am


Son of Damascus said:

While some are fixated over the “shoes” that the shabiha were wearing many countries have shown outrage over the heinous murderers that was committed by the Shabiha.

Canada denounced the Syrian government’s “heinous and murderous acts”
Australia described the Houla massacre as a “hideous and brutal crime”
Spain talked of “unacceptable repression”
The Dutch declared Syria’s ambassador to the Netherlands, who is also ambassador to Belgium and lives in Brussels, “persona non grata”
Syria’s ambassador to Switzerland was declared “persona non grata”
Bulgaria said it was expelling Syria’s interim ambassador and two other diplomats

Even traditionally neutral Switzerland seems to think the Assad regime is guilty, I guess they must have missed the ground breaking analysis over the shabiha shoes…

May 30th, 2012, 12:50 am


hopeful said:

#141 bronco

It is also possible that the regime forces are sending the following message to civilian populations: you are never safe if you hide and support FSA fighters in your midst. Isn’t it?

May 30th, 2012, 12:55 am


chb said:

Maybe nor the shabihas neither the govt did the Houla massacre. Good idea to say so, though : it works rather well so far. Reminds me of Timisoara.

May 30th, 2012, 2:01 am


Juergen said:

So some here really thought when Sarkozy is out of the game, there will be no more hard responses to the crimes of the Assads?

Der Spiegel has just published some remarkable words by the newly elected french President:

“So far the West has responded to the massacre in the town of Hula with the expulsion of diplomats of the dictator Assad. But the French president François Hollande think at least after about massive means against the madness in Syria. It includes an international military intervention to end the violence in Syria is not enough. Similar to the fall of the Libyan despot, Gaddafi in 2011, such an approach is only possible with a UN mandate, Hollande, said to the television channel France 2.

The successor of Nicolas Sarkozy was responding to an open letter to the activist and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, to be published on Wednesday in several European media. The president is asked to “take the initiative in Syria.”
“It’s up to me and the other, to convince the Russians and Chinese,” so that they load the other hand, the UN Security Council veto against military action, said Hollande. He will speak on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to convince him of the need to tighten the sanctions still further. “You must be massacred Bashar al-Assad, not his own people.”

here is the open letter by Bernard Henri Levy:

May 30th, 2012, 2:05 am


omen said:

106. Hopeful said: Anyone knows anything about Basel Shehadeh and the circumstances of his death? 3:49 pm

why do you ask?

here is one account:

Shehadeh and four other activists were out filming recently when government troops began shelling an area where rebels had taken refuge inside people’s homes.

We reached Shehadeh’s friend Hassan by Skype. He was with Shehadeh that night.

When the shelling started, they all ran, Hassan says.

“I stayed back to lock my car. I saw the first shell fall. Then the second. We took Bassel and the others to the field hospital, but the doctor said they were already dead. They had shrapnel everywhere,” Hassan says.


a film he put together advocating non violent protest:


he was earlier interviewed on democracy now. the show noted his passing.

Bassel appeared on Democracy Now! in December. At the time, he asked to only be identified by his first name for security reasons.

the caption read “bassel – filmaker.”

that probably disclosed too much.

May 30th, 2012, 2:52 am


Out of the office said:

Is anybody working on a concrete, enforcable and credible plan to secure the minorities on the ground and prevent reprisals in a post-Assad situation? Assuming this would be possible, could such a plan change the game? It seems now the minoritarian side has most of the guns and absolutely no sensible reason whatsoever to ever back down. Widely expected ongoing sectarian killing is also the key reason for distaste for intervention by other powers.

South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Chile, amnesties and immunities backed by the military; Rwanda, lenient traditional courts… What could work in Syria?

May 30th, 2012, 3:40 am


Uzair8 said:

110. Uzair8 said:

“Throughout the documentary they showed clips of an interview with Asma Assad. Near the end I noticed a picture of a rose on the mantle place a little behind and to the right of her. It looked like a childs painting and I assumed possibly by one her children.

Then a cynical thought crossed my mind. Was this an attempt to subliminally further associate Asma with the word ‘Rose’?”


An image from the documentary. The interview was in 2009.

May 30th, 2012, 5:17 am


Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

Thank you Ibn Dimashq for the brilliant article by haj Saleh; I’m mailing it to all my friends. I don’t think there is a better characterization of the structure that Hafez built. Coming from the pen of someone who knows first hand what a Shabbih looks like, smells like , how he kills and tortures and maims and robs and bullies.

And I have to say hats off ويعطيكم العافية to all of my brothers and sisters here who valiantly and patiently deal with the lies, deception and spurious arguments that regime apologists try to peddle, shamelessly and brazenly, I might add. It is tiring enough to read the rubbish they spew, let alone respond to it.
Somehow they think they can pull the wool over the eyes of the whole world. Just how many more innocent lives will have to die for each day they prolong this immoral regime’s life with their lies?

One keeps hoping, expecting، that people’s consciences would wake up again…but it seems useless: you can’t wake or revive something that has died فلا حياة لمن تنادي.

May 30th, 2012, 6:00 am


Uzair8 said:

Fawaz Gerges on BBC Radio last night.

On Radio 4’s ‘The World Tonight’, the 45 minute nightly news round up programme, he talked about the Shabeeha. From 15min 24 sec. Starts with survivor accounts of the Houla Massacre.

If your interested, before this, from 7min 30sec the discussion is about the expulsion of the diplomats. This is followed at 11 min 40 sec by talk with a former Russian diplomat on whether it is time for Russia to increase the pressure on the Assad regime.


Shortly after Fawaz Gerges was on Radio 5.

Listen from 7min 30sec. [Available for 7 days]

May 30th, 2012, 6:03 am


zoo said:

Time for More Pressure on Syria
By Elliott Abrams
May 29, 2012 11:15 A.

Secretary Clinton’s “world opinion’ won’t scare Assad any more than Kofi Annan does. It is time to end the charades and stop hiding behind façades, and give the concrete help that will bring down this murderous anti-American regime.

May 30th, 2012, 6:16 am


zoo said:

Syria massacre unlikely to break U.N. deadlock
By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS | Wed May 30, 2012 5:51am EDT
(Reuters) – A massacre in the Syrian town of Houla has sparked international outrage but is unlikely to break a year-long impasse on the U.N. Security Council between Syria’s ally Russia and Western powers calling for President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster.

On Sunday U.N. officials said it was not yet clear who was responsible for the massacre. But U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous was much less ambiguous when he spoke to reporters in New York on Tuesday.

He said that the army and “shabbiha” militia supporting Assad were “probably” responsible for massacring 108 people with artillery, tanks, small arms and knives.

Despite his “strong suspicions”, he said the evidence was less clear about the shabbiha militia’s involvement in the close-range killings with knives and small arms. By saying that, he did not definitively clear the rebels of blame.

That lack of clarity gives Russia and China a chance to withhold judgment and leaves the deadlock in place until a full-scale investigation presents irrefutable evidence that the government was to blame – assuming that is what U.N. investigators find.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland welcomed the Russian acceptance of a full investigation and said Washington had no doubt irrefutable evidence will arrive.

“We think it’s indisputable what that investigation is going to show,” she said. “It is going to show that these were regime sponsored thugs who went into villages, went into homes, and killed children at point blank range and their parents.”

At the same time, Ladsous made clear that there is no “Plan B” to Annan effort’s, which Russia and China strongly support.

“There is no alternative, there is no other game, nobody has come out with any other plan,” he said. “This is the one that we support, the one that we work for.”

May 30th, 2012, 6:24 am


annie said:

URGENT AND BREAKING: the Syrian regime’s just blocked access to Facebook and Youtube in all of Syria! This is not a good sign at all, the regime may be preparing for something that may be worse that Houla massacre, and we will have no idea about it or prove it especially when communications may be cut off also! please spread the news!

Murdering in peace is what they want : no news, no outcry.

May 30th, 2012, 6:26 am


Antoine said:


If the regime uses extreme violence against the people of Damascus, I don’t think they will be able to cope. Damascenes generally are not exposed to high levels of violence, and very few if ever serve in the Army. They simply do not have stomach to give or take violence. They will be easily cowed down. Unlike the people of Reef Dimashq amnd eastern Ghouta.

However if the violence against Damascene middle class continues, maybe they will gradually become immune to it. In the beginning even the people of Inshaat in Homs became very scared and cowed down by the shabbiha, but gradually they became immune to it.

May 30th, 2012, 6:28 am


Antoine said:

167. ANNIE.

Thats strange, just 7 minutes ago a video was uploaded on YouTube from Aleppo, this one :

And just 11 minutes ago another video was uploaded, showing the defection of an ethnic Turkmen officer in the Army :

Of course, the reported blocking may have been enacted less than 7 minutes ago, technically speaking.

Anyways, keeping a close watch on YouTube for developments, if videos keep getting uploaded, obviously its a rumour.

May 30th, 2012, 6:35 am


annie said:

Antoine, thank you. I hope it was only a rumour

May 30th, 2012, 6:38 am


Tara said:


You realize that 5 hours of sleep is not healthy for anyone and I worry about “people’s” health.  I did not sleep either.  Any wayصباح الخير to you..  

May 30th, 2012, 7:06 am


VOLK said:

China and Russia reaffirm support for Syria

China on Wednesday restated its opposition to military intervention in Syria, as Russia sought to halt fresh UN Security Council action after a massacre of civilians sparked global fury.
The renewed support by Moscow and Beijing for the Damascus regime came as numerous Western nations, including the United States, Britain and France, expelled Syrian diplomats in the wake of Friday’s massacre and after France floated the idea of armed intervention to protect civilians.

May 30th, 2012, 7:06 am


irritated said:


“the Syrian regime’s just blocked access to Facebook and Youtube in all of Syria!”

I thought it was blocked months ago. I am surprised it has been on for such a long time.
It’s a diabolical regime after all, cutting Facebook and Youtube in time of boycott, sanctions and massacres, what a scandal.

May 30th, 2012, 7:08 am


zoo said:

#171 Tara

صباح النور
This tragedy in Houla is haunting me. I want to know who are responsible for such sadistic crimes. I don’t want speculations and ‘probably’ and ‘maybe’, I want the truth. Contrary to other crimes, it should not be too difficult for the UN to get to it this time since they are on site and have an easy access to the place and the witnesses. I just hope they do it, despite the opposition they will get from all the parties.

May 30th, 2012, 7:12 am


Antoine said:


Is Lobster and French wine available in Damascus restaurants nowadays ?

May 30th, 2012, 7:31 am


Uzair8 said:

Finally a Robert Fisk article on the recent events:

Robert Fisk: The West is horrified by children’s slaughter now. Soon we’ll forget

The Algerian FLN regime got away with it, after 200,000 dead – compared to the mere 10,000 killed so far in Syria’s war

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Bashar al-Assad will get away with it. He got away with Deraa. He got away with Homs. And he’ll get away with Houla. So will the armed opposition to the regime, along with al-Qa’ida and any other outfits joining in Syria’s tragedy. Yes, this may be the critical moment, the “tipping point” of horror, when Baathist collapse becomes inevitable rather than probable. And dear Mr Hague may be “absolutely” appalled. The UN, too. We all are.

But the Middle East is littered with a hundred Houlas, their dead children piled among the statistics, with knives and ropes as well as guns among the murder weapons. And what if Assad’s soldiers let their Alawite militia do their dirty work? Didn’t the Algerian FLN regime use “home guard” units to murder its opponents in the 1990s? Didn’t Gaddafi have his loyalist militias last year, and Mubarak his jailbird drugged-up ex-cops, the baltagi, to bash opponents of his regime? Didn’t Israel use its Lebanese Phalangist proxies to intimidate and kill its opponents in Lebanon? Wasn’t this, too, “rule by murder”? And come to think of it, wasn’t it Bashar al-Assad’s uncle Rifaat’s Special Forces who massacred the insurgents of Hama in 1982 – speak this not too loudly, for Rifaat lives now between Paris and London – and so who thinks Bashar can’t get away with Houla? The Algerian parallel is a frightening one. The FLN’s corrupt leadership wanted a “democracy”, even held elections. But once it was clear that the Islamist opposition – the luckless Islamic Salvation Front – would win, the government declared war on the “terrorists” trying to destroy Algeria. Villages were besieged, towns were shelled – all in the name of fighting “terror” – until the opposition took to slaughtering civilians around Blida, thousands of them, babies with their throats cut, women raped. And then it turned out the Algerian army was also involved in massacres. For Houla, read Bentalha, a place we have all forgotten; as we will forget Houla.

Read more:

May 30th, 2012, 7:33 am


Antoine said:


Activist channles on YouTube are still uploading videos. However most of these use proxies or upload from Lebanon, Turkey or Jordan. So obviously YouTube could still be blocked in all of Syria, but that won’t stop videos from filtering out one way or another.

And I doubt the regime would cut off YouTube and FB all over Syria with UN Monitors still there.

May 30th, 2012, 7:36 am


irritated said:


No lobster, anyway only foreigners eats them in Syria, but plenty of excellent Lebanese wines, the new Syrian wine Bargylus and of course local arak.
For the rich caviar lovers, the best Beluga caviar is available directly from Iran.
But maybe bread will be missing soon…

May 30th, 2012, 7:37 am


irritated said:

#177 Antoine

“And I doubt the regime would cut off YouTube and FB all over Syria with UN Monitors still there.”

Why not? Since when the UN observers have any influence of what the Syrian government allows or forbid?

May 30th, 2012, 7:40 am


Antoine said:


Fisk makes a very important point. We must not allow the regime to do an Algeria in Syria, though the parallels are striking ( both are inhuman, faithless, Godless, KGB trained torturing machines propped up by Russia and ruling in the name of Nationalism and Socialism).

And another important point is FSA will also get away with it, this much is apparent and has been proved. So FSA must also take full advantage of this and do whatever they want against regime personell. There are thousands of regime personell and supporters currently in FSA custody, not to metion the scores of Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese “pilgrims”. Its about time the FSA gave them some “treatment”, KGB style.

May 30th, 2012, 7:42 am


Antoine said:


Is life normal in Damascus ? Are people enjoying life ?

Do you think the wealthy inhabitants of Damascus serve in the Army ?

I mean do young people from rich professional and business background in Damascus, do they get conscripted in the Syrian Army ?

May 30th, 2012, 7:45 am


Uzair8 said:

Another piece from the R. Fisk article. The Bastards:

“And it’s worth remembering that, faced with their 1990s insurrection, the Algerians cast around desperately for countries from which they could take advice. They chose Hafez al-Assad’s Syria and sent a military delegation to Damascus to learn how the regime destroyed Hama in 1982.”

May 30th, 2012, 7:46 am


Antoine said:

“Why not? Since when the UN observers have any influence of what the Syrian government allows or forbid?”


Listen man, 14 million activists and 50,000 of FSA soldiers, have declared LONG WAR and WAR OF ATTRITION against the Syrian Regime, which means the Syrian State and all its military, paramilitary and Police instituitions except the Fire Service. So yeah there is a LONG WAR ( Mao style) and there gonna be for a LOOONG time, so better start to live with this, ain’t gonna stop until the regime dies from bleeding, so gonna bleed the regime by a thousand little cuts. Lets see if Russia can bandage the wounds in time. After the regime bleeds to death, there will be injection fresh gallons of blood and restart the machine and point the missiles at Iran. At the end of the day ANYBODY wanting to eat Lobsters or Caviar in Damascus will have to get permission for that from the people in HOMS and IDLIB.

And that is PUNISHMENT TO DAMASCUS for failing to support the children of HOMS and IDLIB and DARAA and DEIR.

Long Live Syria, Down with the Syrian Regime.

May 30th, 2012, 7:55 am


Antoine said:


Its all a network of repression. Stalin of Russia was the pioneer in the 1930s and he further developed it in the 1950s while repressing East Germany and Hungary. Later they tought it to East Germany’s STASI, and later in the 1950s-60s to Egypt’s Arab Hero GAMAL ABDLE NASSER and his criminal junta ( they got added help from the British and the Turks, one must admit). Later NASSER along with KGB trained and help the so-called Algerian Nationalists to set up their regime in 1962. One year later there were again “nationalist-socialist” coups in Syria and Iraq, and again KGB and STASI services were needed. Again in 1969 good ol’ Muammar Gaddafi launced another “nationalist-socialist” coup so again the bestial, inhuman, godless services of KHGB and Stasi was needed.

So its all like a study circle, KGB, Stasi, Algeria, Baathists, Nasserists, Libya.

However Nasserists did not manage to master the techniques, which was why the Zionists managed to con them, while Syria al-Assad and Algeria became experts in it.

However Syria al-Assad has more in common with STASI than with KGB. Algeria is closer to KGB.

Ask Juergen, he was born in East Germany.

May 30th, 2012, 8:02 am


Antoine said:


but the good thing is the Syrian activists and FSA are also well acquainted with these KGB and Stasi techniques, which is why they are being able to survive, not only survive, but thrive. But they do not turn these techniques against innoccent people, only against mass-murderers.

In the same way that Saddam’s infamous “techniques” came in handy to the Iraqi and Kurdish forces that crushed the Iraqi insurgecny.

Which is why Iran is sooo scared of a regime change in Syria….not only will it spell the end of their plans, but it will mean a ruthless system with all its firepower will be directed against them and their cronies. Which is why they are determined to destroy Syria and its institutions before it falls into the hands of the Syrian People.

May 30th, 2012, 8:06 am


VOLK said:

Russia to veto UNSC decision on military interference in Syria

Russia will vote down a UN Security Council decision on foreign military interference in Syria, said the Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in a comment on statements by some western politicians who leave this kind of possibility open.

According to Gatilov, Moscow sees any new moves with regard to Syria as premature.

The Russian diplomat pointed out that the statement by the UN Security Council emergency meeting, called on Russia’s initiative following the death of civilians in the Houla village, proved a strong signal to the parties to the Syrian conflict.


May 30th, 2012, 8:12 am


mjabali said:

The quality of writings about Syria is bad. We deserve better.

The origin of the word Shabiha in Yasin al-Hajj Saleh’s article is not correct to say the least.

His long and boring article is nothing but a collection of what he heard about al-Shabiha or what he thinks of Syria written while never leaving his room. He never seen any of the original Shabiha and does not know what they were like.

The incident where he claimed that the Shabiha forced people to lay under the tables, could be true, but that the Shabiha killed the man who did not comply: this is a lie. I lived in Lattakia in the 1980’s and seen how the Shabiha went up and what were their limits.

We are seeing many lies in the media these days. The stories I read about Syria mostly are jokes.

Maybe one day I will write what I know and have seen about al-Tashbee7 and al-Shabee7a.

May 30th, 2012, 8:21 am


DAWOUD said:

The Liberian war criminal Charles Taylor is receiving a 50-year jail term at the ICC trial in the Hague for his war crimes:

I can’t wait to see the war criminals Bashar al-Assad and Ehud Olmert/Barak receive similar sentences for their war crimes.

Free Syria, Free Palestine, Bahrain is Arab forever!

May 30th, 2012, 8:26 am


Dawoud said:

Suggestion to Mr. Landis and the editors of this blog:

Why don’t you have a full post on who is really sustaining and supporting Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime?! With the recent admission of the commander of the terrorist Iranian al-Quds force that his forces are already in Syria, why don’t you have a post on this? Money/arms from Iran/Iraq are sustaining Bashar’s bloody machine. Also, I take the southern Dahiyah cult of personality propagandist, Hasan Nasrillat of Hizbistan, at his words when he says that “Bashar’s regime would never fall!” Please post on this sectarian support for Bashar’s war crimes.


May 30th, 2012, 8:34 am


Halabi said:

Link Added:

This is how the uniformed Assad soldiers act. I’ve posted countless videos of soldiers taunting dead bodies and brutalizing the living. Here are a few of the we-love-you crowds heroes protecting Syria from terrorist cups and plates.

This clip ends with the trademark shabi7a phrase: بدكن حرية. Will these soldiers be punished for this abuse of power? Or will their enthusiasm be put to good use, perhaps torturing some men or executing terrorist 3ara3eer babies?

Somehow all the death and destruction unleashed by the government is ignored, and blame is placed on the opposition. Here is Bassam Alkadi latest screed from his Facebook page.

إن القتلة الحقيقين للشعب السوري هم طائفة من المجرمين الخونة تضمن الكثير من الاسماء، هذه بعضها فقط:
برهان غليون، بسمة قضماني، صدر الدين البيانوني، رياض الشقفة، محمد مسلماني، عمار عبد الحميد، فرح الأتاسي، مرح البقاعي، عمار قربي، سهير الأتاسي، رياض الأسعد، محيي الدين اللاذقاني، جورج صبرا، ريما فليحان، غسان المفلح، فيصل القاسم..

هؤلاء الذين يعملون كل يوم، كل ساعة، كل لحظة، كخونة مجرمين لتدمير سورية..

وهؤلاء من سيسجل التاريخ، إذا سقطت سورية، أسماءهم كأقذر خونة شهدهم التاريخ..

وهؤلاء من لن أتردد بالرقص أبدا، وبمنتهى الإنسانية، حين أرى مشانقهم معلقة في ساحة العباسيين بدمشق..

May 30th, 2012, 8:52 am


habib said:

No foreign fighters among the FSA? LOL!

May 30th, 2012, 9:09 am


Son of Damascus said:

Hopeful and Omen,

Re: Bassel Shahade.

FreeSyrianTranslators have an obituary written about him:

Bassel Shahade, from Al-Qasa’a neighborhood in Damascus, a Fulbright scholar studying filmmaking at the University of Syracuse in the United States of America. Basel left his university at the beginning of the Syrian revolution and returned home to report on what is happening on the ground and convey it to the world. He moved to Homs three months ago, and became one of the most important and courageous photographers/filmmakers in Homs. He taught video-editing to the photographers in Homs and trained more than fifteen people during his stay there. One of his most prominent students is the heroic young reporter and director, Ahmed Al-Assam, known as Ahmed Abu Ibrahim.


May 30th, 2012, 9:14 am


Syrialover said:


You pick a wrong target to mock in Yasin al-Hajj Saleh!

It’s true he spent a lot of time never leaving his room, but it was because he was locked up in Syrian jails for years as a politcal prisoner, including the notorious Tadmor.

But now he doesn’t stay in his room because he is constantly on the run from the Syrian authorities. He knows the stakes, but he persistently criticizes and embarrasses them.

He is an extraordinarily brave and resilient man with a sharp mind. He is widely admired for his ideas and writings.

I believe he and his associates would know more about the shabiha than the average citizen.

Please, don’t make us wait for your promised writings about what you really know about Syria.

If Yasin al-Hajj Saleh is not scared to write while inside Syria on the wanted list, what is stopping you?

May 30th, 2012, 9:14 am


zoo said:

What is the common aspect of the kidnapping of the Lebanese Shia, the failed attempt to murder the UN observers in Khan Shaykhoun and the Houla massacre?

The released kidnapped Lebanese women declared unanimously that the armed kidnappers presented themselves as part of the FSA, while the FSA later denied it was involved. Turkey has failed to obtain their release. Obviously Turkey must either find a way to release them or admit publicly that there is a ‘third party’ present in Syria that no one can control. At least for this case, a rarity, the Syrian government has not be accused of the kidnapping.

In Khan Shaykhoun, the UN observers declared they were protected by the FSA. Protected from whom? Who was threatening them? The UN never release the description of what exactly happened there, in their presence. The FSA said that the UN Observers have seen too much and that the Syrian authorities will kill them to prevent them from talking, what did he mean?

In the killing of Houla, several survivors have described the killers as armed men wearing FSA clothes, while activists declared to the press they were dressed in civilians and were ‘certainly’ Shabbiha.

In my opinion the three events seem to have been perpetrated by ‘rogue’ elements of the FSA, a violent ‘splinter’ group, made of sadistic jihadists on which no one has any control.

By not releasing the confidential information the UN detains on the FSA internal rifts, the probability of more kidnappings, killings and attempts to murder the UN observers increases.

May 30th, 2012, 9:19 am


Son of Damascus said:


“If the regime uses extreme violence against the people of Damascus, I don’t think they will be able to cope. Damascenes generally are not exposed to high levels of violence, and very few if ever serve in the Army. They simply do not have stomach to give or take violence. They will be easily cowed down. Unlike the people of Reef Dimashq amnd eastern Ghouta.”

What is your problem with Damascus man?
You have repeatedly attacked Damascenes, are you that jealous of Dimashq?

Having gotten that out of the way, your assertions about Damascus are completely false. I would like to remind you (or inform you) that Damascenes lost over 5000 of its inhabitants during the Great Revolt 1926 against the French Mandate, not to mention the razing of Midan and air raid the Hamedieh suffered (hence the holes in the ceiling there)

My father a Damascene fought against the Israeli’s in 67′ and 73′, so did my uncles and many of my friends fathers. I lost a dear and loved friend recently also from Damascus (whom came from the same privileged background that I came from), as I told you before the Dareya Boys are Damascenes. Almost 300 sons and daughters from Damascus have died this past year, instead of showing indignation towards them, how about a little respect?

May 30th, 2012, 9:38 am


Syrialover said:

# 192. Son of Damascus

Let us never forget Bassel Shahade.

He died a shining hero and is a devastating loss not only for his family but for Syria.

And let us never forget who killed him and why.

In his short life he gave more value to his country than tens of thousands of those entwined with the Assad regimne.

May 30th, 2012, 9:39 am


Syrialover said:

Son of Damascus, I can understand your reaction to Antoine’s comments.

But I think it’s inevitable that alongside longterm inhabitants there are now large colonies of protected species and fat cats established in Damascus to feed at the Assad trough. People oblivious and indifferent to the rest of the country who share the Assadist view that most of Syria’s population is expendible

May 30th, 2012, 10:02 am


Syrialover said:

And while on the subject of shabiha and shabee7a, this revelation on Aleppo is worth re-reading:

May 30th, 2012, 10:10 am


Son of Damascus said:


While I agree with you regarding the fat cats, they don’t make up the entire population in Damascus, they are actually a minority in Damascus.

They hold considerable amount of influence for their relative size, however I think it is wrong to hold all of Damascus responsible for the act of a few. Furthermore Damascus probably has the highest amount of Security Forces in it, not only do many officials live there (and their entourage of guards) but the city is inundated with checkpoints (which makes the usual traffic that much more worse), all of which makes any sustained or large protests close to impossible (at the time being).

Having said that both Damascenes and Aleppines have a general disdain for anyone from outside of the “walls”, which I think is one of the biggest reasons why Aleppo and Damascus were late to the revolution. Had it started in Aleppo or Damascus instead of Dara’a I don’t think this regime would have survived as long as it did.

May 30th, 2012, 10:22 am


Ghufran said:

أعلن المعارض السوري هيثم المالح أن المختطفين اللبنانيين ليسوا سوى “ضباط” في حزب الله. وزعم المالح قائلاً في حديث لـ”الجزيرة” السعودية الى أن “اللبنانيين المختطفين في سورية هم ضباط في “حزب الله” وليسوا مدنيين كما يشاع”، وقال أنه “عثر بحوزتهم على أجهزة تشويش ومعدات اتصال عسكرية”.

May 30th, 2012, 10:33 am


Son of Damascus said:

13 people were found with their hands tied behind their backs and executed in DairElZour

The U.N. observers said the 13 dead men had been found on Tuesday evening in Assukar, about 50 km (31 miles) east of the city of Deir al-Zor.

Video footage posted by activists shows the bodies face down on the ground, hands tied behind their backs, with dark pools of what could be blood around their heads and torsos. Mood did not apportion any blame for the killings.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said in New York on Tuesday that the Syrian army and “shabbiha” militiamen supporting Assad were “probably” responsible for massacring 108 people in Houla with artillery, tanks, small arms and knives. Syria denied any responsibility and blamed Islamist “terrorists” – its term for rebel forces.

May 30th, 2012, 10:46 am


Alan said:
White House: Military Action in Syria Would Worsen the Conflict
The White House said on Tuesday it opposes military intervention in Syria because it would lead to greater chaos and escalate the humanitarian crisis in the country, but defended providing aid to the opposition.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told a press briefing that while military action is an option that remains on the table for Syria, such an intervention is not the right course of action at this point.

“We do not believe that militarization, further militarization of the situation in Syria at this point is the right course of action,” Carney said. “We believe that it would lead to greater chaos, greater carnage.”/../..

May 30th, 2012, 11:24 am


Uzair8 said:

186. Antoine

Thanks for the responses.

Syria is an Eastern Bloc country. It did seem out of place.

May 30th, 2012, 11:24 am


Alan said:

Video: UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt peddling what is now a confirmed fabrication, told for days to the public as the West maneuvered to leverage it against the Syrian government. The UN has now confirmed that artillery fired by government troops were not responsible for the massacre, and instead carried out by unidentified militants. Despite this, the UK has failed to retract earlier accusations and has instead expelled Syrian diplomats in an increasingly dangerous, irrational, aggressive posture.

West’s Houla Syria Narrative Crumbles, Expels Syrian Diplomats Anyway

May 30th, 2012, 11:38 am


Alan said:

Kill Syrian president and get $450,000
Saudi scholar announces reward after massacre in Syrian town
A prominent Saudi Islamic scholar has announced a reward of $450,000 for killing Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, who he branded a murderer.
Sheikh Ali Al Rubai said he would give the reward to any one who kills the Syrian leader following a massacre perpetrated by Assad’s loyalists in Houla neighbourhood in the central town of Homs this week. More than 100 civilians, including many children, were killed during the carnage.

“We announce a reward of $450,000 to any one who will take off the head of murderer Bashar Al Assad, the perpetrator of massacres against women and children that have horrified the whole world,” he said on his Twitter page, according to the Saudi Arabic language daily Ajel.

Saudi scholar, echoing their country’s official policy, have strongly attacked Assad and called for his death. Many of them described the people’s revolt against the Syrian regime as Jihad (holy struggle).

May 30th, 2012, 11:45 am


Alan said:

Russia will veto military intervention in Syria at UNSC – Foreign Ministry

military intervention in Syria = Play Thimble

May 30th, 2012, 11:56 am


Son of Damascus said:

SYRIA WITNESS: The Street Revolution Grows More Complicated

From the first day of the revolution I worked with the people I chose. They were wholly my friends and my countrymen. And when, at times, I was annoyed by some guys during one demonstration, I would stay in my house for days and refuse to take part in the daily rallies in my city.

Like when I was once denied the microphone to talk about an urgent issue. I knew that was wrong, but I am a sensitive man by nature. On the other hand, my anger would not last long because my heart would shake whenever I heard the slogans go high in the streets of my city. These were moments when I couldn’t control my feelings. In many instances, I suddenly found myself among the crowds again walking and chanting angrily at every new massacre committed by the regime.

But now, after 15 months, things have become organized, but more complicated. The arrival of the Free Syrian Army offered us revolutionaries, but it also came with a kind of work hierarchy. With this new bureaucracy you couldn’t move or act freely, of your own mind – following your emotions and feelings – without checking for permission from people in charge.

That did not appeal to a narcissistic person like me. I was especially annoyed when I had to ask the FSA officer every time I wanted to have some tranquil moments on one of the neighboring meadows.


May 30th, 2012, 12:32 pm


Alan said:

الإستخبارات العسكرية الاسرائيلية تتوقع صمود النظام في سورية
حسن حجازي
كشفت صحيفة معاريف انَ الاستخباراتِ العسكريةَ الاسرائيليةَ واجهزةً امنيةً اخرى في كِيانِ العدو تبنت موقفَ قسمِ الاستخبارات في وزارةِ الخارجية الاسرائيلية الذي يقولُ اِنَ الرئيسَ السوري بشار الاسد سيصمِدُ لسنواتٍ عديدةٍ واِنَ سقوطَهُ لن يكونَ سريعا. ونقلت معاريفُ اَنَ تقديراتِ الاستخبارات السابقة التي تنبأت بقربِ سقوطِ النظام كانت سابقةً لأوانِها.

May 30th, 2012, 12:35 pm


Jasmine said:

Dear Ehsani
One would be very optimistic if thinks that expressing sectarian feeling and prejudice will help solving the current political struggle in the ME.
I am very sad and pragmatic at the same time about the civil war in Syria, after all :religions have always played a very destructive role in the history of every nation .
Till we realise that we can exist, create,and love without having someone dressed up in funny robes and head gears telling us how to behave, we will be suffering from wars, invasion and misery.
Having said that, I can’t deny the role of dialogue and reconciliation in any political argument, and this need time and will to mature.
Unfortunately Syrians didn’t learn from the mistakes of their Lebanese neighbours after 17 years of civil war, they couldn’t see the trap ahead and were busy killing and persecuting each other.

May 30th, 2012, 12:36 pm


Tara said:

Dear Zoo @175

I hear you. I have never had any doubt of your affection towards Syria, not once! I also want the absolute truth. The crime is too much to comprehend. It really is very much not Syrian. I am hopeful that the truth will eventually come out.

May 30th, 2012, 1:33 pm


Uzair8 said:

An interesting NPR discussion with guests Prof Landis and Rami Khouri.

A choice of audio or transcript.

Few Good Options Remain To End Syrian Attacks
May 29, 2012

[Selected quote]

LANDIS: Absolutely. And you see, as the revolution have spread, the military has become too thin on the ground, especially in this area around Homs, where we’ve seen so much revolutionary activity. So what the regime has started to do is arm the villages. They’ve just passed out machine guns and other light arms to the villagers in the neighborhood. And we’ve had a series of tit-for-tat strikes now, and that’s undoubtedly what’s happened is that these shabihas – these irregular forces that are using local strongmen descended on this village and wiped it out.

May 30th, 2012, 1:52 pm


Hopeful said:

I have a confession to make.

At the beginning of the revolution, and especially after the massive Hama PEACEFUL demonstrations (, I was hopeful that good change was coming. Like what happened in Eqypt, I thought, the regime would step aside and freedom would come to Syria after 50 years of a suppressive authoritarian regime.

Then as things evolved and the violence started spreading (thanks for the most part to the regime’s brutality, but also to some religious fanatics), I started losing hope in change. In fact, I must admit that, despite the fact that I blamed the regime for most of the violence, and despite the fact that I wanted freedom for Syria, I was secretly hoping the regime would be able to crush the revolution and peace would come back to Syria. You see, I have family living in Syria. I am a middle class coward. Security comes first. Let security come back to Syria, even if it meant decades more of dictatorial leadership. After all, whom among the opposition leaders do I actually believe can lead Syria after the regime falls? No one. Ok then, let’s just keep what we have and get back to life! These were the thoughts that constantly crossed my mind!

But now, as it has become clear to me that the regime combines severe brutality with utter incompetence, I am convinced that it will not be able to silence the revolution, no matter what it does. I am convinced that this regime will go down. The question is: will it bring Syria down with it.

I am hopeful that it won’t.

I am hopeful that reasonable voices from both inside (regime supporters) and outside Syria (Russia) will convince the regime to still do the right thing and agree to step aside.

I am hopeful that the revolutionaries will agree to give up their quest for “justice” in return for a peaceful transition and saving Syria from more death and carnage.

I am hopeful that the FSA will only focus on defending the people and will reject sectarian violence and the urge for revenge.

I am hopeful that the Syrian opposition will realize that it does not have to “unify” to please the world, that it has the right to disagree, that it is enough to share one common goal: help Syria transition from a suppressive dictatorship to a liberal democracy.

May 30th, 2012, 2:46 pm


omen said:

195. zoo said:
In my opinion the three events seem to have been perpetrated by ‘rogue’ elements of the FSA, a violent ‘splinter’ group, made of sadistic jihadists on which no one has any control.

211. Tara said:
The crime is too much to comprehend. It really is very much not Syrian.

zoo, why do you not speculate, in your possible scenarios, about iranian forces who have been newly injected into syria? one never heard before about the use of axes in past killings. the iranian presence coincides with this new kind of butchery.

Iranian forces in Syria

“This is the first time that an IRGC senior officer has admitted that the Quds force is operating in Syria,” said Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli Middle East expert. “This could be due to the Iranian government feeling threatened by the increasing isolation of Syria and the dangers which such isolation and possible fall of Assad could pose to its interests in Syria, and to its Hizbullah allies in Lebanon.

“By making such an admission now, Iran may very well be wishing to send the message that when it comes to Syria the gloves are off and whoever wants to confront Assad will be confronting Iran’s most experienced and potent special forces operatives.”

May 30th, 2012, 4:37 pm


omen said:

140. bronco said:
#137 Hopeful
“I believe the same can be said about the moderate elements within the Syrian regime/government.”

It is quite different.
The moderate elements of the regime are hostage to the regime because they have been unable to regroup and unable to find a believable leadership in the opposition that presented itself in 15 months. They have no choice that to remain spectators until someone they trust reaches them.


in a million years, this regime will never find any one an acceptable alternative to their iron fisted rule.

the prophet himself could come back to earth and the regime would reject him.

no opposition will be ever be faultless and perfect enough for the loyalists. there is no lone hero riding on horseback coming to the rescue. there is only this:

the people versus the regime.

May 30th, 2012, 5:07 pm


Juergen said:


thank you for your honesty.

Article by SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, explaining the drift between the french and german position in the conflict

“Driven by fear”

May 30th, 2012, 5:55 pm



214.OMEN said: “one never heard before about the use of axes in past killings”

The killing of Nidal Jannoud in Banias was well documented, including video footage, where he was knifed and struck with axes (satour). The satour has been used by many sick sadistic Syrian criminals throughout the Syrian tragedy. Do we need to blame the Iranian ghosts for the Syrian madness?

215.OMEN said: “there is only this: the people versus the regime.”

From the latest news and analysis of the Houla tragedy massacre, the evidence is pointing towards this conclusion: the people versus the people. It is called civil war.

May 30th, 2012, 6:55 pm


zoo said:

The 13 men killed were Syrian army soldiers probably executed by the rebels.

“Syrian activists said the victims were army defectors killed by Assad’s forces, but it was not possible to verify their accounts.”

May 30th, 2012, 7:00 pm


omen said:

217. SALAH ADDIN said:
The killing of Nidal Jannoud in Banias was well documented, including video footage, where he was knifed and struck with axes (satour).

thank you for the correction.

Do we need to blame the Iranian ghosts for the Syrian madness?


yes we do. not all of the blame, of course, but they must have had a hand in this somewhere, somehow. perhaps even played a part as an influence to ratchet up the violence. what are they even doing in syria? others have noted their reputation for brutality. they’re not in the country to have tea.

May 31st, 2012, 12:01 am


omen said:

217. SALAH ADDIN said:
From the latest news and analysis of the Houla tragedy massacre, the evidence is pointing towards this conclusion: the people versus the people. It is called civil war.


you have evidence that average villagers had a hand in these massacres? people who aren’t military or part of the shabiha?

i’d like to see that evidence.

i find it hard to believe ordinary civilians, somebody who wasn’t hardened and used to committing murder, would have the capacity to torture and kill babies.


May 31st, 2012, 12:55 am


omen said:

217. SALAH ADDIN said:
The killing of Nidal Jannoud in Banias was well documented, including video footage, where he was knifed and struck with axes (satour).

i’ve seen footage of victims with their faces hacked up. at the time, i thought a sword or machete was used.

Do we need to blame the Iranian ghosts for the Syrian madness?

it’s not unheard of for oppressive regimes to supplement their security forces with people not native to the area.

in china, during the tiananmen square protests, officials had to replace part of their military force with soldiers from outside the district. the locals refused to shoot their own people.

bahrain security is staffed with immigrants from abroad who aren’t hampered by any feelings of affinity for the people.

now do you see how bringing in outsiders like the iranians would serve to ratchet up the violence?

May 31st, 2012, 1:15 am


omen said:

warning: the photo at 12:55am is graphic.

May 31st, 2012, 1:19 am


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