The Armed Gangs Controversy

The Armed Gangs Controversy

I have taken up the “armed gangs controversy” in my last two posts. In the comment section, Syrians have debated whether the opposition has produced militant elements that are killing Syrian soldiers. A number of analysts, such as Majd Eid, who joined in the debate on France 24 yesterday, continue to argue that there is not a violent side to the uprising. They insist that Syrian soldiers are killing fellow soldiers, not opposition elements. This killing is carried out when security personnel refuse orders to shoot at crowds, they insist. So far, no evidence has surfaced to demonstrate that Syrian military have shot their fellow soldiers for refusing to carry out orders. Most evidence supports government statements that armed opposition elements have been shooting security personnel.

This controversy arose in April during the protests in Banyas, when nine soldiers were killed while traveling down the main highway in two transport vehicles outside of the city. Activists claimed that soldiers in Banyas were executed by fellow soldiers for refusing to shoot at demonstrators. This story turned out to be fictional, but was carried by most of the Western Press and never corrected. I wrote about this controversy on April 14 under the title: Western Press Misled – Who Shot the Nine Soldiers in Banyas? Not Syrian Security Forces. The reason I took an interest in this story is because my wife’s cousin, Lt. Col. Yasir Qash`ur, was one of the nine soldiers killed on April 10. We know him well. We spoke with Yasir’s brother-in-law, Colonel `Uday Ahmad, who was sitting in the back seat of the truck in which Yasir and several of the nine soldiers were killed. `Uday told us that two military trucks were ambushed as they crossed a highway bridge by well armed men who were hiding behind the median of the highway and on the tops of buildings at the edge of the road. They raked the two trucks with automatic fire, killing nine. The incident had nothing to do with soldiers refusing orders. His description of what happened so contradicted the reports I was reading in the press that I began to dig around. Later video footage of the shooting surfaced and was shown on Syrian TV. It corroborated Uday’s story. Western press and analysts did not want to recognize that armed elements were becoming active. They preferred to tell a simple story of good people fighting bad people. There is no doubt that the vast majority of the opposition was peaceful and was being met with deadly government force and snipers. One only wonders why that story could not have been told without also covering the reality – that armed elements, whose agenda was not peaceful, were also playing a role.

In the bloody battles at Jisr ash-Shaghour most of the Western Press again repeated opposition claims that some 100 Syrian soldiers were killed not by opposition elements but by their own colleagues. The Western press insisted that Syrian military elements were killed in the city by fellow soldiers for refusing orders to shoot. Government claims that the soldiers were killed by armed elements who ambushed and overwhelmed them, were dismissed. Today, teh video footage that has surfaced is fairly conclusive in corroborating the original government version of events: the soldiers stationed in the town were overrun by armed and organized opposition.  Here is a video of some of the soldiers before they were killed. The first minute or two of this video shows the soldiers after being shot. This is unedited footage of the bodies before they were carried away on trucks.

In the Hama fighting, the video depicting dead bodies being thrown off a bridge into a river has been the subject of controversy. This video made by comparing Google Earth footage of the bridge to the actual video seems fairly conclusive in proving that the footage is new, is from Hama, and does depict opposition elements throwing the bodies of soldiers from the highway bridge into the `Asi River just north of Hama on the highway to Aleppo.

So what is the meaning of the emergence of armed opposition elements?

A prominent anti-government activist speaking on CNN said it best. Here is the CNN report by Arwa Damon and Nada Husseini of Aug. 2, 2011:

One prominent anti-government activist, who asked not to be named because of the dangers that could arise from the release of the information, told CNN the state TV account was correct. The bodies are those of Syrian secret police killed by Syrian fighters from Iraq who have joined the anti-government fight, said the activist, who gets information about the goings-on in Syria from an extensive network of informants.

That same activist stressed that the antagonists are not representative of the protest movement. Violent fringe elements have appeared during the Syrian tumult. One study last month from the International Crisis Group said some anti-government elements have taken up arms. However, that report said, “the vast majority of casualties have been peaceful protesters, and the vast majority of the violence has been perpetrated by the security services.

The activist said the emergence of this video is a double-edged sword for protesters.

On the one hand, the peaceful demonstrators need to become aware of the existence of fringe elements, he said. This would encourage more people to reject both the regime and these types of attacks and maintain the aims of peaceful protest, he said. At the same time, he added, the incident gives credence to the Syrian government’s assertion that it is targeting “armed gangs.” Such violence, he said, could cause the international community to hesitate in continuing its mounting pressure against the Syrian regime.

Most of the supporters of the revolutionary movement have responded to these videos by asking, “What does anyone expect? Are Syrians to simply wait to be killed? Of course violence will be met by violence. It is natural and the only surprise is that it has been so long in coming.”

This is a compelling argument. The Syrian opposition has been slow to arm in its effort to overthrow the Baathist state. The Free Officers Movement is gathering steam. The most recent video statement by the FOM shows that its membership is growing, although it is still only in the earliest formation. The leader declares that they will defend civilians against the “barbaric actions of the regime and their Shabbiha.” Other armed organizations are taking to the streets but none have officially declared their existence and set out political goals. This will undoubtedly happen in the coming months.

From the outset, this has been a war of videos. This video of a wife saying goodbye to her husband, killed in Hama on Aug 2 is heartbreaking. Such videos act as a call to arms.

The regime will battle to the end and still has much fight in it. The military has many advantageous over the fragmented opposition. It is unlikely that the regime will “collapse,” as some activists suggest or just fade away Ceausescu-like. If it is to be defeated, it will be on the battlefield and by force. It is hard to imagine any other ending. Of course, should both Damascus and Aleppo come out to demonstrate in large numbers, the breakdown of order will be hastened, but the military and Baath Party will not give up. Syria’s divisions are too deep. The fear of revenge and ethnic cleansing will galvanize those who have backed the present order for decades.  Had the Syrian leadership been willing to hand over power peacefully or establish some sort of constitutional convention, it would have done so already.

The poverty and loss of dignity for so many Syrians is a crushing part of Syrian reality. Thirty-two percent of Syrians live on two dollars or less a day. That is a scary figure. It will get much worse as the loss of jobs and economic hardships begin to multiply. Syria is filled with people who have little to lose, who have little education, and few prospects of improving their chances for a better and more dignified life. The potential for violence and lawlessness is large. Most worrying is the lack of leadership among opposition forces.

News Round Up follows

Why Damascus, Aleppo are silent for now
The business elite in these Syrian cities have myriad overlapping interests with the political elite
By Sami Moubayed, Special to Gulf News, August 2, 2011

To date, most residents of Syria’s two main cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have tried to look the other way vis-à-vis the uprising that has broken out in every town and city across the country since mid-March. In these two cities, the markets are still open, banks are still in operation, merchants are still trading, entire families are dining at restaurants, young couples are getting married and, in many cases, enjoying the summer in complete denial of what is happening throughout the rest of Syria. So long as Damascus and Aleppo remain quiet, or neutral at best, the Syrian authorities believe the situation will be under control.

A closer look, however, shows that this argument — although applicable four months ago — is now nothing more than wishful thinking. First, it is wrong to compare Damascus to Aleppo because sympathy with the Syrian uprising is high in the Syrian capital, but low and close to non-existent in Aleppo because of the city’s distance, its relative immunity from the economic crisis (thanks to flourishing business relations with Turkey), and the unique relationship the city has had with President Bashar Al Assad, who has paid it plenty of attention since coming to power in 2000. Additionally, Aleppo paid a terrible price for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood uprising of 1982, and sees how the state is retaliating in other cities today, like Hama and Deir Ezzor. It does not want to suffer a similar fate.

It would be wrong to imagine that residents of the old quarters of Damascus — Shagour, Bab Sharki or Bab Srijeh — would be seen on the streets of the Syrian capital, demonstrating against the regime. This is not French Mandate Damascus, after all, where these quarters are filled with swashbuckling quarter bosses like the ones we see in the popular TV series Bab Al Hara. The reason, basically, is that these quarters in the Old City are now empty; the original residents sold their property years ago, transforming their homes into trendy restaurants and boutique hotels. They collectively moved to the suburbs of Damascus, and today, the original inhabitants of the Syrian capital reside in hotspots like Muadamiyeh, Zabadani, Qaboon, Harasta and Duma. It is the Damascenes then who are demonstrating in these districts, in addition of course, to the original inhabitants of these districts. The sameapplies to Aleppo and its suburbs.

Within the new districts of Damascus and Aleppo, the business elite has been staunchly pro-regime although, ironically, it was the business community of both cities that suffered most from socialism of the Baath Party when it first came to power in 1963. That will likely remain the case for now, due to the weight of their clerics (who are allied to the state), along with the political, social and economic interests of their nobility and business community. In many cases, that nobility is “new money” and rose to power and fame only after the Baathists took over in 1963. The have overlapping interests with the political elite and are often allied to them through business partnerships and marriage, giving them no reason to demonstrate against the existing order.

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Historically speaking, however, both cities can make or break any political movement — but rarely have they been part of anything that threatens stability and their commercial interests. In 1925, for example, rural Syria erupted in revolt against the French Mandate. Damascus very unwillingly joined the revolt of 1925, and when it did, suffered punishment greater than that of all other Syrian cities combined. It was shelled continuously for 48 hours and entire neighborhoods were set ablaze and looted. And Aleppo was not even part of the revolt of 1925. To be fair, although we make reference to the “Aleppo Revolt” in history books, it was the suburbs of Aleppo that revolted against the French. Aleppo itself remained silent. When the revolt calmed in 1927, it was the business elite of both cities that devised the theory of “honorable cooperation” with the government—diplomacy to extract political change, rather than armed revolt.

In Damascus, the merchants used to moan and groan whenever political parties, or youth movements, called on them to close down their shops for anti-government protests in the 1950s. Simply put, as far as the businessmen were concerned, all that meant was financial losses. That mentality still prevails in the old bazaars of Damascus and in the new posh and trendy corporate culture that has mushroomed around banks, insurance companies, advertising and media firms all over the Syrian capital.

The silence of both cities, however, won’t last for too long, for three reasons.

1) Unemployment: The moment rising unemployment kicks in, young people will take to the streets in both Damascus and Aleppo, regardless of what city elders tell them. Many young people are already jobless since March, and if the stalemate continues, they could start finding themselves penniless as well. Ramadan, no doubt, will be a turning point for these two cities.

2) Lack of community leaders: Back in the 1980s, for example, community leaders like Ahmad Kaftaro (the Grand Mufti) and Bader Al Din Al Shallah (doyen of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce) used their influence to pacify angry citizens in Damascus when they sympathised with the Brotherhood. People respected them, listened to them, and often carried out their without any questions. When Shallah famously asked shopkeepers to break the Damascus strike of 1982, they immediately answered his call. Today there are no community leaders with similar clout and standing in Damascus and Aleppo because the Baathists have not allowed any such independent leaders to emerge.

3) Demographics: Damascus, more so than Aleppo, is a melting pot for all Syrians. It is packed with people from rural Damascus, Daraa, Homs, Hama, Idlib and rural Idlib. It is those people who are likely to demonstrate in Damascus, rather than the Damascenes themselves, and those people, naturally, do not take their orders from the business community of Damascus.

Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Damascus, Syria

Sheila said:

[Moubayed’s] article is on the money. I am originally from Aleppo and come from a big family. I can assure everyone on this blog that Aleppo is boiling under the calm surface. It is only a matter of time before the city erupts. Mark my word.

Look at the pattern in this revolution: it starts with one stupid act by the regime in one of the villages, the village is up in arms, the surrounding villages come to the rescue and then the central city starts demonstrating.

U.S. Boosts Syria Pressure With Sanctions Plan
By Nicole Gaouette and Victoria Pelham – Aug 2, 2011

The U.S. is stepping up the pressure on Syria, ….“Our goal here is to isolate Assad both politically and deny” the regime revenue, Mark Toner, the State Department’s acting spokesman, said yesterday. “We do plan to move forward with additional sanctions under existing authorities, and we’re exploring the scope of those sanctions,” he said.

Ford, who met with Obama two days ago, told senators at his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday that backing the forces of change could give the U.S. a chance to reshape the region.

“We have a real opportunity with change in Syria to see both Iranian influence and Hezbollah influence in the region diminish,” said Ford, a career diplomat who has been serving as ambassador under a December 2010 recess appointment by Obama.

Syria is Iran’s chief ally in the region and both support Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim political group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization. … Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, Senator Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican, and Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, introduced the Syria Sanctions Act of 2011 to target the one-third of the country’s revenue that come from oil and gas exports.

U.S. law bans most trade with Syria. The sanctions bill would extend those restrictions to foreign companies. The measure would require the president to block access to U.S. financial institutions, markets and federal contracts for those who do business with the Syrian energy sector.

Companies that falsely claim not to do business with Syria would be subject to a three-year ban on government contracts. …Sanctions with allies that have greater trade ties with Syria would be more effective, Ford said. He added that “Europeans and Canadians have greater investments in Syria’s energy sector” and that conversations about sanctions with those countries are under way.

“The Syrian government’s latest action will help trigger action, frankly,” Ford said of the recent violence and the international outrage it has generated.

Asking for More

The Syrian activists asked Clinton to have the U.S. do more to rally that kind of international pressure on the Assad regime.

Aoun defends Syrian regime’s crackdown August 2, 2011 Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday defended Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, saying that security forces have the right to suppress “chaos on the streets.”

“It is clear that the intentions of the [Syria] opposition are not good,” he added following his bloc’s weekly meeting.

Syria opposition leader Seif held at Damascus airport

Syrian security agents briefly detained opposition leader Riad Seif at Damascus airport on Monday and prevented him from traveling to Germany to seek treatment for cancer, opposition sources said.

Killing of Libyan rebel commander strengthens resistance to UN condemnation of Syria

By James M. Dorsey

The failure to identify the perpetrators of last week’s mysterious killing of a senior Libyan rebel military commander threatens to undermine fragile unity among Colonel Moammar Qaddafi’s NATO-backed opponents and complicates Western efforts to secure United Nations condemnation of Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The killing highlights the pitfalls of backing a ragtag armed opposition movement, in which former jihadists together with defectors from Mr. Qaddafi’s forces constitute the primary groups with military experience.

It has also – coupled with allegations that NATO military backing of the rebels violates a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya – made countries like India, China, Russia and Brazil weary of endorsing a council resolution being pushed by the United States and the European Union that would condemn Mr. Assad’s brutal efforts to quell demonstrations in his own country.

Critics like China and Russia, concerned about the spillover effect in their own countries of the Arab revolt that has swept the Middle East and North Africa for the past eight months, worry not only that condemnation of Syria could lead to Western efforts to covertly or overtly topple Mr. Assad but that Libya if repeated in any form or fashion could create a legal precedent for intervention across the globe.

Egyptians Turn Against Liberal Protesters

CAIRO—Mobs of ordinary Egyptians joined with soldiers to drive pro-democracy protesters from their encampment in Tahrir Square here Monday, showing how far the uprising’s early heroes have fallen in the eyes of the public.

Egyptian security forces tear down tents of liberal protesters who had camped in Cario’s Tahrir Square to press military rulers for political reforms.

Six months after young, liberal activists helped lead the popular movement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the hard core of these protesters was forcibly dispersed by the troops. Some Egyptians lined the street to applaud the army. Others ganged up on the activists as they retreated from the square that has come to symbolize the Arab Spring.

Squeezed between an assertive military and the country’s resurgent Islamist movement, many Internet-savvy, pro-democracy activists are finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant in a post-revolutionary Egypt that is struggling to overcome an economic crisis and restore law and order.

“The liberal and leftist groups that were at the forefront of the revolution have lost touch with the Egyptian people,” says Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “These protesters have alienated much of Egypt. For some time they’ve been deceiving themselves by saying that the silent majority is on their side—but all evidence points to the contrary, and Monday’s events confirm that.”

The Last Stand of Bashar al-Assad?

DOHA, Qatar — As Bashar al-Assad’s shock troops storm cities and towns across Syria, leaving a death toll in the triple digits that has only stoked the fires of rebellion even hotter, Barack Obama’s administration is stepping up measures aimed at fatally weakening the Syrian dictator’s regime.

Critics of the U.S. president’s policy, particularly on the right, have long charged his administration with being soft on Assad. But the United States is now unequivocally committed to his ouster, having lost whatever little faith it had in the Syrian leader’s willingness to reform. “He is illegitimate,” a senior administration official says flatly. “We’ve definitely been very clear that we don’t see Assad in Syria’s future.”


Shaikh also advocates putting together an informal “contact group” of concerned countries — as with Libya — with a core group perhaps consisting of the United States, France, Qatar, and Turkey. But the all-important Turks, who share a border with Syria and have hosted thousands of refugees and several opposition meetings, are still hedging their bets. Sunday’s statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the Syrian government to “end the operations and resort to political methods, dialogue and peaceful initiatives in order to reach a solution” — options that the protest movement explicitly abandoned several weeks ago.


But few analysts think words will do much to damage the deeply entrenched Syrian regime, and some, like the Century Foundation’s Michael Hanna, worry that Assad could limp on far longer than anyone expects. Nor would multilateral sanctions, even if they do somehow pass the Security Council, have an immediate effect. “It’s unlikely that, short of massive defections within the security services at an elite level, outside pressure is going to change the calculus of the inner circle of the regime,” says Hanna. Instead of being toppled, he cautions, Assad could become another international pariah, like Saddam Hussein or the Burmese junta.

Washington has made its decision, though nobody can say when Assad will go. “He’s on his way out,” says the senior administration official, stressing: “This is about the Syrian people, not about us. They’re the ones that say that they want someone else, and they should be able to choose the government that they want.”

The New Hama Rules By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, August 2, 2011

…. It worked for a long time in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, etc., until it didn’t. Today, Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, Hafez’s son, is now repeating his father’s mass murdering tactics to quash the new Syrian uprising, again centered in Hama. But, this time, the Syrian people are answering with their own Hama Rules, which are quite remarkable. They say: “We know that every time we walk out the door to protest, you will gun us down, without mercy. But we are not afraid anymore, and we will not be powerless anymore. Now, you leaders will be afraid of us. Those are our Hama Rules.”

This is the struggle today across the Arab world — the new Hama Rules versus the old Hama Rules — “I will make you afraid” versus “We are not afraid anymore.”

Good for the people. It is hard to exaggerate how much these Arab regimes wasted the lives of an entire Arab generation, with their foolish wars with Israel and each other and their fraudulent ideologies that masked their naked power grabs and predatory behavior. Nothing good was possible with these leaders. The big question today, though, is this: Is progress possible without them?

That is, once these regimes are shucked off, can the different Arab communities come together as citizens and write social contracts for how to live together without iron-fisted dictators — can they write a positive set of Hama Rules based not on anyone fearing anyone else, but rather on mutual respect, protection of minority and women’s rights and consensual government?

I think the former foreign minister of Jordan, Marwan Muasher, has the right attitude. “One cannot expect this to be a linear process or to be done overnight,” he said to me. “There were no real political parties, no civil society institutions ready to take over in any of these countries. I do not like to call this the ‘Arab Spring.’ I prefer to call it the ‘Arab Awakening,’ and it is going to play out over the next 10 to 15 years before it settles down. We are going to see all four seasons multiple times. These people are experiencing democracy for the first time. They are going to make mistakes on the political and economic fronts. But I remain optimistic in the long run, because people have stopped feeling powerless.”

New sanctions worry Turkish businessmen

Growing turmoil and violence in Syria have the European Union rolling up its sleeves to play a more active role in solving the problem by imposing asset freezes and travel bans. But economic sanctions by countries including Turkey might leave its business interests in the Arab republic in a tight spot

The prospect of more economic sanctions against increasingly strife-torn Syria have Turkish businessmen worried, leading business figures told the Hürriyet Daily News on Tuesday.

Growing turmoil and violence in Syria have the European Union rolling up its sleeves to play a more active role in solving the problem by imposing asset freezes and travel bans. But economic sanctions by countries including Turkey might leave its business interests in a tight spot.

“Sanctions imposed previously on other countries have not brought many sustainable solutions to problems,” Rona Yırcalı, the board chairman of the Foreign Economic Relations Board, or DEİK, told the Daily News in a phone interview Tuesday, though he noted that there was not yet much information available about the content of possible sanctions.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is among the top European figures calling for tougher sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. “The sanctions have to come from both Western nations, Arab countries and regional powers like Turkey,” Hague said in an interview Monday, according to the Associated Press. “The sanctions decision could not be made and applied by only Turkey. If the UN decides to apply sanctions, it is a different thing,” Tolga Uçak, the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s information department told the Daily News on Tuesday. “It is not that easy to unite Arab nations to impose international sanctions against Syria,”

Rızanur Meral, the chairman of Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey, or TUSKON, told the Daily News. “Arab countries would know that a similar sanction might be imposed on their countries in the future.” According to Meral, the imposition of international sanctions against Syria does not seem possible at this time.

It would be “impossible for Turkey to step back from humanitarian help and sending food and medicine” to Syria, Meral said, adding that other trade items might be discussed according to the context of the sanctions. “It would be hard to control the borders for illegal trade,” he added, noting that Turkey shares its longest border with Syria.

Syrian money rushing to Turkey’s safe harbor

Comments (176)

Aboud said:

“This video made by comparing Google Earth footage of the bridge to the actual video seems fairly conclusive in proving that the footage is new, is from Hama,”

This controversy could have been resolved days ago by the simple act of someone going to the bridge itself and filming it. The fact that not even the sycophantic Dunya TV has been to Hama speaks volumes.

Professor Landis, you do your readers a disservice. Twice now you have neglected to post opposition explanations as to how the bridge in the video could not possibly be the bridge in Hama. The Orontes has been dry for over a month, and there is no such bridge anywhere near Hama.

However, the conclusions in your article about the inevitability of armed conflict is too pessimistic. No one could have foreseen the attempted assassination of Ali Saleh. Not that I expect such a thing to happen to junior, but it just goes to show that in incredibly complex situations such as Syria, there are too many actors and too many variables, that making predictions of any sort is a futile game.

After all, people on this blog were po hoing the very idea of a revolution in Syria, or that it could possibly last this long. Unlike Egypt and Tunisia, every resource at the state’s disposal was, for the past 40 years, oriented to preventing just such an occurrence. The opposition in Syria are prepared for a protracted struggle.

But as we have seen, every day that goes by, the regime loses more international support, military capability, and staying power.

By the way, recently I’ve always been the first to comment on a new post. I think I deserve a cookie.

August 3rd, 2011, 4:58 pm


Aboud said:

“Syria is filled with people who have little to lose, who have little education, and few prospects of improving their chances for a better and more dignified life.”

I myself am not someone with little education, or few prospects at improving my chances for a better life. I have much to lose if Syria turns into another Iraq, and yet I am the first person to reject the idea of “peace at all costs”, which was my very first comment on this website.

The opposition’s demands were at first modest, but the regime’s increasingly bloody response has made its continued existence impossible for the rest of the country to stomach. What people in the world would accept a government that have Dar’a and Hama to their record?

Professor Landis, I will say this for the third time. If a regime deploys tanks to a civilian population, the burden of proof is on *them* to prove it was warranted, and the force used was justified. Have they even come close to doing so? We have all seen how regime supporters on this very website even deny the existence of tanks in Hama.

August 3rd, 2011, 5:13 pm


Pirouz said:

I’ve been going through the videos looking for clues on the SyA response, particularly the recent moves into Hama.

I don’t find conclusive evidence of artillery indirect fire. The (scant) evidence points to AFV direct fire, suggestive of combat against armed opposition elements (such as direct fire into urban level two positions). I believe the term “shelling” which is being applied actually refers to AFV main armament fire, likely by MBTs.

It is certainly a challenging situation for the SyA to be countering armed opposition elements amidst throngs involved in unlawful assemblies. It is a sure fire recipe for relatively high casualty rates.

The SyA response to the Hama uprising in 1982 took place over a time span of nearly four weeks. It will be interesting to see the duration of the current SyA response.

August 3rd, 2011, 5:17 pm


Aboud said:

“It will be interesting to see the duration of the current SyA response. ”

They stayed in Dar’a for three months. As a military mission, did it achieve its objective of silencing all demonstrations there? Nope.

August 3rd, 2011, 5:24 pm


Pirouz said:

A lot of political capital is being expended on these current military ops. Territorial integrity appears vital for the regime, so much more so on the peripheries.

August 3rd, 2011, 5:32 pm


Abu Umar said:

\”161. hsyrian said:

How many innocent peaceful people were killed by these terrorists between 1975 and 1982 ?\”

How many innocent peaceful people in the tens of thousands were killed, jailed, disappeared, tortured by your criminal regime? How many male prisoners were raped with rubber hoses in the dungeons of your regime, taught to them by East German intelligence, so it can maintain its grip on power. Why do you menhebek lunatics expect those whose relatives were killed to be pacifists when your regime has unleashed its arsenal on the people.

Of course, there will be armed groups when the regime slaughters thousands of unarmed protestors. Don’t expect people to go to their graves like sheep. The scumbag Hafez didn’t come to power peacefully nor did his regime maintain its grip on power peacefully. This is war menhebek lunatics and shabeeha khanazeer and those fake jihadists and Salafis will become a reality.

August 3rd, 2011, 5:34 pm


Youssef said:

Thanks for the excellent article about armed gangs. It is incredible that you have to do such deep digging yourself to emphatically prove the bias and the superficiality of the western media coverage as well as that of al Jazeerah.

The next major debate that requires deep investigation and is unfortunately being ignored, is “outside interference” that support armed gangs and that may be manipulating protesters from inside and outside Syria. The Iraq war and the Iraqi regime change are an obvious factor, as Iran’s regional hegemony after the Iraq war can only be stoped by changing the regime in Syria. This suits the US, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, millions of Iraqi sunni refugees in Syria, Lebanon’s billionaire Harriri and of course jihadists and al Qaeda who see an opportunity to displace a secular regime and potentially gain a foothold in Syria.

The US should look in the mirror before condemning Syria’s government 1) The Iraq war created the Iranian regional hegemony that now they feel must be stopped through regime change in Syria 2) it dumped millions of Iraqi refugees on Syria 3) Instead of compensating Syria for absorbing the millions of refugees they added fuel to the fire by imposing sanctions which is hurting the Syrian economy 4) on human rights the Maher Arrar rendition case demonstrates the extent of hypocrisy. Was it ok to outsource torture, to the Syrian secret service, of an innocent Canadian Syrian engineer?

Patrick Seale’s voice needs to be amplified, as an authority on Syria and the region, his analysis and conclusions are very well though out but unfortunately completely ignored by the west, exposing the indifference of the western powers to the welfare of Syrian people. In truth they are obviously playing realpolitik, what has changed since the treaty of Versailles and subsequent treaties? P Seale argues eloqeuntly that dialogue with the regime, encouraging and supporting the progress of the Regime offer of dialogue with the opposition, towards a peaceful and gradual transition to Democracy and a multi party system is the only sensible solution to stop blood shed. Any honest person who cares about Syrian blood, Syrian society and Syria’s future prospects must find his logic compelling.

But first things first, who is really capable and willing to dig deep, investigate and uncover evidence of outside interference?

August 3rd, 2011, 5:42 pm


AB said:

You do deserve a cookie, Aboud. Landis conclusion is one of many scenarios that can happen. If two million Syrians march towards Junior’s palace, he will flee to Tehran. Syrian people control their destiny. It is matter of how many of them are tried of humiliations and indignity they suffer on a daily basis from the regime.

I have always suspected Landis has connections to this regime. Now we know that his in laws are part of the repression unleashed of the Syrian people. His desperation to vouch for the regime through is in laws is despicable.

[Comment from Joshua Landis: Dear AB. Your suspicions are unfounded. I do not have connections to the regime. My wife is an Alawite, so to the extent that this regime is associated with Alawites, I do have an association. As for her family, none of her direct family is connected to the regime.

My father-in-law, Shaaban Kash`ur, was a Liwa in the Navy, who graduated from the naval academy in Egypt in 1961 under the UAR and retired sixteen years ago in 1995, long before the present uprising. A number of commentators have accused him of participating in the killing of Syrians at Hama in 1982. This is not true. He remained an officer in Syria’s 5,000 man navy throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. He was at sea and not in Hama.

My sister’s brother, Firas, works for a small private import-export company based in Aleppo and Latakia. Her two sisters both live abroad. Maha is an officer working for the UNHCR in Iraq, helping re situate refugees. Dima lives in Rome, where her Moroccan husband is an official with the UN’s World Food Program. They last served in Yemen.

My mother-in-law’s family were Jadidists. Some went to jail and others fled the country. Her three brothers all fled Syria.

August 3rd, 2011, 5:50 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

Pirouz #3 says of the situation in Hama: “The (scant) evidence points to armoured fighting vehicle direct fire [by the Syrian army].” I’m glad you said the evidence is scant, because I haven’t seen evidence that the army’s undertaking in Hama has even started yet. Recall: after the dissidents attacked and killed about 100 security people in Jisr al-Shughur, the army promptly moved to Jisr al-Shughur but stayed outside doing nothing for five whole days before moving in. When they moved in, the armed dissidents had left and thus the army was able to regain control of Jisr without bloodshed. Hama is a bigger nut to crack, but in the present situation, from a military tactics point of view, the army needn’t rush in here either. It can put Hama under seige, and make it clear who’s going to be the winner in a fight, so that the dissidents will slink away without putting up a real fight. Why put Syrian army men’s lives at risk, where the risk of army lives lost can be reduced by having the army dawdle outside the city, saber rattling, for five or so days.

August 3rd, 2011, 5:55 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

Joshua says: “There is no doubt that the vast majority of the opposition was peaceful and was being met with deadly government force and snipers.” That’s asserting that the Syrian government has been lying and lying. I assert on the contrary that the Syrian government has been telling the truth and telling the truth.

Joshua says: “Had the Syrian leadership been willing to hand over power peacefully or establish some sort of constitutional convention, it would have done so already.” The Syrian leadership is in no way willing to hand over power to an empty void or to a rabble of dissidents. The leadership has the sincere willingness to revise the Constitution and have free and fair elections in Syria, together with a more independent mass media. There’s no urgency about holding elections soon because opposition parties need time to be born.

Joshua says: “If it [the Assad regime] is to be defeated, it will be on the battlefield and by force. It is hard to imagine any other ending.” Okay. Yet, it is even harder to imagine that the regime could be defeated on the battlefield. Thus the regime just isn’t defeatable. Therefore every civilized Syrian should get on board with the reforms that are coming. When evaluated by the democratizing propositions of the dissidents, there’s nothing about the government’s reform propositions that’s incomplete or inadequate — once the imminent revision of the Constitution is carried through (which they’re indicating will be happening in the fourth quarter of this year).

August 3rd, 2011, 5:58 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I agree with Aboud (and not for the first time. 😉 ). So many baseless axioms and groundless premises. “…both cities (Dimashq and Haleb) can make or break any political movement”. Really? Says who? Do you have a lot of experience with uprisings in Syria, that you can base your definiteness on facts or on previous experiences from an uprise in Syria? Or, “…The regime will battle to the end”. How do you know that? Same experience with earlier uprisings in Syria?

The truth is that no one knows what is next. We can wakeup one sunny morning, and find out that Bashar was assassinated during the night, or he’s in Tehran or he’s in London, or he’s in jail. No one can be certain about what’s going to happen in 8 hours from now.

August 3rd, 2011, 6:10 pm


Tara said:


I urge you to please reconsider your statement in regard to professor Landis. I am very much anti-regime and that is a well known fact on SC. Yet, I find him fair and balanced. He is an academic and always behaved as such. Please Feel free to disagree and be vocal about any specific statement or concept you may have in regard to his analysis but let’s refrain from unfounded accusations. This revolution has maintained for the most part superior moral ground and we the revolution’s supporters need to do the same.

August 3rd, 2011, 6:17 pm


Abughassan said:

The only controversial aspect of the armed thugs story is that both sides are lying about it.
The regime exaggerates and the opposition underestimates,or even denies,the size of the problem. The main problem in Syria is still the regime and how to change it without driving the country into a civil war. I have to seriously doubt the integrity of anybody Syrian or not who can now say with a straight face that the only side that is killing people is the regime. However,most of us know that the majority of those who died were actually killed by the regime,and many of them,or most according to certain sources,were unarmed.
The key is in the hands of top Generals and community leaders who can influence the army and assure them that there is life after Bashar and that minorities in Syria will be ok if he leaves. Getting to this point also requires political initiatives by Sunni leaders and certain guarantees that are given to those Generals. When I spoke of good news coming from Syria,that was the story but as always,when violence breaks out,only guns are allowed to speak.I can only say this much before I am being accused of spreading false info: there will be no dialogue with senior army/community leaders and the opposition as long as violence and lawlessness persist,the coming days will tell if I was wrong or is sad that foreign diplomats get this simple fact but many Syrians do not.there is a decision not to allow Ramadan to become the month when street kings create their own protectorates and safe havens and establish a new norm in Syria which will kill any future attempt for this regime to withdraw peacefully. Bashar was asked to draw a plan for his exit from politics along with top baathi figures,he seems willing to leave if a timetable and certain guarantees are given. I am not bluffing here 🙂
People who wants him to run again may have to get used to seeing him running away,but I am absolutely against any effort to remove him by force or use the army in a future power struggle that may be brewing (aboud)..

August 3rd, 2011, 6:20 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

Joshua says: “Had the Syrian leadership been willing to establish some sort of constitutional convention, it would have done so already.” The National Dialog Initiative was and is a sort of constitutional convention by another name. The new constitution will be written by today’s leadership. The leadership has been listening to advice about it from all quarters. As I’ve said a dozen times before, the Assad party is going to win by a wide margin in free and fair elections and today’s leadership has nothing to fear from full modernization of electoral politics. Here’s one of the reasons why the Syrian leadership finds full electoral representation to be desirable. The words of Bashar Assad on 20 June 2011:

I aimed, through these [recent] meetings [with citizens], to have a more in depth knowledge of reality, but I found myself at the heart of genuine national dialogue. National dialogue is not restricted to specific elites. It is not a dialogue between the authorities and the opposition, neither is it necessarily limited to political issues. It is a dialogue between the different sections of society about all national issues…. There is no doubt that I was part of a national dialogue; nevertheless, I cannot claim to have accomplished it, because in the end I am only an individual and those I met were hundreds or thousands, and the country includes tens of millions. Hence, the basic idea was to launch a national dialogue in which the widest social, intellectual, and political stakeholders take part in an institutional forum.

…. [The current phase of the national dialog forum] will push forward the political, social, and economic dynamics in our country until political parties can play a wider role in public life after a new party law is passed.”

It’s an easy extension of the above language to say that a full-fledged democratic parliament would be a good institutional forum for national dialog on an ongoing basis in Syria.

August 3rd, 2011, 6:31 pm


AB said:

Tara, I was not trying to attack Landis. I do object to him using statements made to him by his in laws in the military as proof of the governments version of the story. His in laws were sent to crush the protestors and can’t possibly be considered independent observers.

August 3rd, 2011, 6:34 pm


beaware said:

The Internationalist
The Egyptian impasse raises a sobering question: whether a revolution can succeed without violence
July 31, 2011|By Thanassis Cambanis

CAIRO – When Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned after 18 days of public demonstrations here last winter, Tahrir Square instantly took its place in the world’s iconography of peaceful protest. Young men and women brandishing nothing more lethal than shoes and placards had toppled a dictator. One subversive slogan – “The people want the fall of the regime” – in the mouths of a million people overpowered a merciless police state.

It was not bloodless; some 846 people were killed by police and regime thugs, according to an Egyptian government inquiry. But for the protesters, and for people watching around the world, Egypt’s uprising appeared a heartening entry in the history of successful nonviolent movements stretching from Gandhi and Martin Luther King to the “velvet revolutions” that unraveled the Iron Curtain in 1989.

That was half a year ago. Today, Mubarak’s military council runs the country, wielding even more power than before when it had to share authority with the president’s family and civilian inner circle. The military has detained thousands of people after secret trials, accused protesters of sedition, and issued only opaque directives about the country’s path toward a constitution and a new elected civilian government.

As time passes and revolutionary momentum fades in the broader public, a new current of thought is arising among the protesters who still occupy Tahrir Square, demanding civilian rule and accountability for former regime figures. Many are now asking an unsettling question: What if nonviolence isn’t the solution? What if it’s the problem?

“We have not yet had a true revolution,” said Ayman Abouzaid, a 25-year-old cardiologist who has taken part in every stage of the revolution so far. At the start, Abouzaid wholeheartedly embraced nonviolence, but now believes that only armed vigilante attacks will force the regime to purge the secret police and other operatives who still retain their jobs from the Mubarak era. “We need to take our rights with our own hands,” he says.

Among the dedicated core of Egyptian street activists who have been at the forefront of the protests since the beginning, an increasing number have begun to argue that a regime steeped in violence will respond only to force. Egypt’s revolution appeared nonviolent, they argue, only because it wasn’t a revolution at all: it was a quiet military coup that followed the resignation of the president. They cast a glance at nearby Syria and Libya, still racked by sustained violent revolts against their authoritarian leaders, and wonder if that may be what a true revolution looks like.

August 3rd, 2011, 6:35 pm


Aboud said:

“I assert on the contrary that the Syrian government has been telling the truth and telling the truth.”

For someone that’s been telling the truth so much, they have provided scant little evidence to back up their truth. It is unprecedented in the history of truth telling.

“The Syrian leadership is in no way willing to hand over power to an empty void or to a rabble of dissidents.”

You mean like how Egypt and Tunisia did? The opposition has clearly stated that what they want is a transitional period. Without junior.

Say what you want about Mubarak, but at least he had the good sense to go when he knew he wasn’t wanted and save the country more lost lives. Just how incompetent a leader must junior be to make even Mubarak look good?

“Thus the regime just isn’t defeatable”

It is most definitely defeatable. Put aside the fact that, historically, much stronger militaries than the Besho Brigade have been defeated by a determined and dedicated rebellion, its track record so far is atrocious.

How can you seriously believe the regime’s claims that it is fighting a Salafi insurgency, while also being content with the fact that in five months it has not managed to overcome or subdue this alleged insurgency. After five months, you cannot tell us the name of one leader or group of this armed insurgency. It defies belief.

“Therefore every civilized Syrian should get on board with the reforms that are coming.”

Why is Najati Tayara still in jail if your president’s reforms are so genuine?

August 3rd, 2011, 6:37 pm


beaware said:

Velvet Or Violent: What Makes A Successful Revolution?


Many have praised the non-violent protests that pushed Egyptian Hosni Mubarak from power this year. But some activists in Cairo’s Tahrir Square say the revolution hasn’t resulted in the democracy they wanted, and violence may be needed.

Thanassis Cambanis writes in the Boston Globe: “Among the dedicated core of Egyptian street activists who have been at the forefront of the protests since the beginning, an increasing number have begun to argue that a regime steeped in violence will only respond to force.”

* Thanassis Cambanis, journalist and author of “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel.”
* Mahmoud Salem, blogger known as Sand Monkey

August 3rd, 2011, 6:38 pm


Tara said:

I find Lebanon dissociating itself from the security council statement today to be despicable. I am not pro-Harriri at all but it is a known fact that the ordinary Lebanese have suffered too tremendously from the oppression of the Syrian regime and their attitude today is very hypocrite. If they like Bashar so much, they can keep him. Will be very happy to give him up.

August 3rd, 2011, 6:51 pm


Abughassan said:

Thanks Josh for reminding your readers that there is always two sides for any story. There are people on this blog who only use one ear and are not ready to listen to the other side.
I know as a fact that there are armed anti government thugs in Syria ,however,I still blame the regime for oppressing citizens for over 40 years and failing to prepare Syria for the huge demographic,political and economic challenges that we are facing today.
People who speak the truth should not fear criticism.keeping discussion civil is not always possible when emotions are high.
You have to give Josh credit for sharing the fact that he is married to a Syrian and that two of her relatives are in the Syrian army, he did not have to reveal this info to his readers if he was working for the regime. The poster who quickly decided that two soldiers in the Banyas story were oppressing Syrians and are part of a sinful campaign must be ashamed of himself,but then you can not install shame into somebody’s psyche..

August 3rd, 2011, 6:57 pm


Aboud said:

“You have to give Josh credit for sharing the fact that he is married to a Syrian”

It’s common knowledge, these days it’s impossible to hide such information on the Internet. No Klue made a joke in very bad taste about it.

“I know as a fact that there are armed anti government thugs in Syria ”

Then kindly fire off an email to CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya with your proof, because Al-DUHnya haven’t provided a shred of reliable evidence.

“People who speak the truth should not fear criticism”

and yet you then go on to say this

“The poster who quickly decided that two soldiers in the Banyas story were oppressing Syrians and are part of a sinful campaign must be ashamed of himself,”

You are quite hypocritical. The guy was speaking his mind. It’s called free speech, and completely acceptable unless someone calls someone’s mother a whore.

“I find Lebanon dissociating itself from the security council statement today to be despicable.”

Tara, in most of Syria, the regime has been overthrown. I look forward to the Lebanese finally gaining their independence from junior…a full six years after the last Syrian soldier withdrew from there. Geeeesh, Lebs. Seriously…..

August 3rd, 2011, 7:10 pm


beaware said:

Syria Sends In Tanks to Storm Center of Rebellious City
Published: August 3, 2011
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Ignoring mounting condemnations, the Syrian military deployed tanks, armored vehicles and snipers Wednesday into the symbolic center of Hama, a rebellious city that has emerged as a linchpin of the nearly five-month uprising, in what appeared a decisive step by President Bashar al-Assad to crush opposition to his rule.
The military’s assault on Assi Square, the scene of some of the biggest demonstrations against Mr. Assad’s leadership, marked a moment that many activists and residents had thought impossible: The government’s determination to retake by force a city that suffered one of the most brutal crackdowns in Syrian history in 1982.

But the government, whose calculations continue to mystify its own people and run the risk of invigorating the uprising, seemed to view the momentum of demonstrations there that numbered in the hundreds of thousands last month as a threat to its survival. The critical mass of the uprising there has spread to Deir al-Zour in restive eastern Syria, and together, the locales represent two of Syria’s five largest cities.

“The regime wants to finish with Hama as soon as possible,” said Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University in Beirut.

Activists and residents in Hama said the city was under nearly continuous gunfire since the early hours of the day, with the tanks heading toward Assi Square before dawn. Amid scenes of confusion, they reported many casualties, adding to the toll since Sunday of more than 100 people, by activists’ count. They said some residents had tried to stop the advancing armored columns with barricades, many of them built of furniture, iron railing, rocks and cinderblocks, but stood little chance against the military’s might.

“The army is now stationed in Assi Square,” read a post on the Syrian Revolution Facebook page. “The heroic youths of Hama are confronting them.”

The government’s calculus — tentative efforts at reform made meaningless by a relentless escalation of violence – has plunged Syria into its deepest international isolation in decades. A crackdown that has killed more than 1,500 people, according to the United Nations, citing human rights groups, has given more resilience and fervor to an uprising that, for weeks, managed to turn out protests only in the thousands.

That the assault came during Ramadan, a holy, usually festive month on the Muslim calendar when the observant fast from dawn to dusk, made the violence even more egregious in the view of the Syria government’s critics. The government appeared to fear vows by the opposition to escalate the uprising, taking advantage of crowds that assembled in mosques for nightly prayers.

“Hama is under the fire for three days in this holy month of Ramadan,” said an opposition leader in Damascus, who asked not to be named. “Syrians are still in shock and they will wake up and protest against the Assad regime. No one can imagine that people there cannot find bread to eat, water to drink and electricity when it’s so hot.”

Mr. Assad’s attempt to seize Hama came despite growing world opprobrium of his suppression of a movement that has so far remarkably defied his military and security forces. Activists have managed to get their message out despite the government’s ban on most foreign journalists, often through grisly homemade videos of its victims.

The Hama assault was a catalyst for some action by the United Nations Security Council, where members agreed for the first time since the uprising started on a statement condemning the violence in Syria. The council’s statement placed the blame on Mr. Assad’s leadership while calling for restraint on both sides.

Though still stopping short of calling for his departure, the United Nations and Western nations led by the United States and European Union have grown increasingly critical of Mr. Assad, who inherited power from his father, Hafez, in 2000. Turkey, once one of Syria’s closest allies, and even Russia have expressed anger over the crackdown.

“What’s going on in Hama today is an atrocity,” said Arinc Bulent, the deputy prime minister of Turkey, in some of the strongest comments yet. Those responsible, he said Wednesday, “can’t be our friend. They are making a big mistake.”

The occupation of Hama coincided with the start of another captivating event in the Arab world — the televised trial of Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president whose fall from power and prosecution have resonated throughout the Middle East as a reminder to Mr. Assad and other autocrats to the limits of uncontested power.
“Today Egypt’s Mubarak is in the court for accusations that he was behind the killing of protesters and tomorrow the officials of Assad regime will face the same destiny,” the opposition leader said. “The world won’t forget what’s happening.”

There was widespread speculation that the Syrian forces deliberately timed the invasion of Hama to coincide with the trial of Mr. Mubarak, which was being held in Cairo and covered live by most satellite news channels, some of which have given heavy coverage to the Syrian popular uprising that started in mid-March.

“It’s obvious that they used the Mubarak trial to distract the public from the attack,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human rights, reached by phone in London. “We might be witnessing another massacre in Hama.”

Omar Habbal, an activist with the Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group involved in organizing and documenting protests, said that three tanks took positions in Assi Square, and that snipers were positioned on rooftops surrounding the square. Online posts and social networking sites said water, electricity and communication lines were cut in Hama and its surrounding villages and towns.

“They entered the city from all sides,” said Mr. Habbal, reached by phone in Hama, which is in central Syria. “We don’t know where the fire is coming from, but despite that, people in their neighborhoods are still shouting anti-regime slogans.”

Mr. Habbal said that at least one resident died when a bomb hit his house.

Shaam, an online video channel sympathetic to protesters, posted a video dated Aug. 3 that showed at least one tank attacking a neighborhood. The narrator says it is Hayy al-Hader in Hama. Heavy plumes of smoke could be seen in the video rising into the sky. In other videos, smoke curled over the city, and gunfire ricocheted off streets.

The Local Coordination Committees said in an e-mail that the shelling was concentrated in two neighborhoods that have witnessed large protests, Janoub al-Mala’ab and Manakh. The group said security forces were firing at residents attempting to flee the city, and that one building and several houses had collapsed from heavy shelling.

The army has surrounded Hama since Sunday when it carried out a predawn attack on the city, which had largely been free of armed troops since June.

To its residents and other Syrians, Hama carries a special resonance. In 1982, under the orders of Mr. Assad’s father, the military attacked the city to crush an Islamist uprising there, killing as many as 10,000 people, and perhaps many more.

Reporting was contributed by Hwaida Saad from Beirut, Anthony Shadid from Cairo and Neil MacFarquhar from the United Nations.

August 3rd, 2011, 7:11 pm


Tara said:


I like very much Aljazeera Album Madina about Homs. Have you watched it? What is happening with Omar Al Ferra, the poet? Please don’t tell me he is mnhebak.

August 3rd, 2011, 7:13 pm


Tara said:


Yes. Politics aside, I feel bad for ordinary Lebanese. Their country is still enslaved one way or the other by Jr. Atassi linked a disgusting video few weeks ago of a Baathist shabeeh terrorizing a girl pharmacist.

August 3rd, 2011, 7:18 pm


beaware said:

UN Security Council Condemns Syrian Violence

The United States and European members had pressed for a resolution, which is stronger than the presidential statement that was adopted. But their efforts were blocked by Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, who feared a resolution could lead to a similar situation as the one in Libya, where the Council authorized a no-fly zone and targeted bombings to protect anti-government protesters from attack by leader Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces….

As Syrian tanks shelled the flashpoint town of Hama Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council overcame months of division and strongly condemned the on-going violence. The U.N.’s most powerful body expressed “grave concern” at the deteriorating situation in Syria, where some 1,700 people have died and thousands more have been arrested or disappeared since the government began a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in mid-March. It was not easy for the Council to reach consensus.

In its statement, the Security Council condemned the “widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities.” The Council also called on the Syrian authorities “to fully respect human rights and to comply with their obligations under international law,” and warns that those responsible for the violence should be held accountable.

The Security Council also demanded the immediate end to all violence and urged restraint on both sides, including attacks against state institutions – a reference to violence committed by demonstrators and included to satisfy Russia and other members who felt blaming the government alone was unfair. But Western diplomats have stressed that one cannot equate what protesters have done in self-defense to what the government has perpetrated against its own people.

The Council also stressed that the only solution to the crisis is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that aims to “address the legitimate aspirations and concerns” of the Syrian people. And it notes that the Assad government has promised reforms, but has failed to make progress in implementing them and urged the government to fulfill its commitments.

But after the full council adopted the statement, Syria’s close ally and neighbor, Lebanon, employed a rarely used procedural loophole and “disassociated” itself from the statement.

Deputy Ambassador Caroline Ziade:

“And while we express our deep regret for the loss of innocent victims and we offer our condolences to their families, we hope for Syria, the people and country, we hope that reform will lead to progress and prosperity,” said Ziade. “But since Lebanon considers that the statement being discussed in our meeting today does not help in addressing the current situation in Syria, therefore, Lebanon disassociates itself from this presidential statement.”

But British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said that Lebanon’s disassociation was neither unprecedented nor does it detract from the Council’s unanimous and clear message to the Syrian regime.

“Barbarous acts must cease in Syria,” said Lyall Grant. “The country must find its way onto a path of stability. This will only be achieved through the immediate cessation of violence and the implementation without delay of profound political reforms, respect of human rights and fundamental liberties, and genuine accountability for atrocities against protesters.”

The United States and European members had pressed for a resolution, which is stronger than the presidential statement that was adopted. But their efforts were blocked by Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, who feared a resolution could lead to a similar situation as the one in Libya, where the Council authorized a no-fly zone and targeted bombings to protect anti-government protesters from attack by leader Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has been very vocal in calling for a cessation of violence in Syria, said the intensified military crackdown of the past several days has been “brutally shocking.”

“Once again I call on President Assad and the Syrian authorities to immediately cease all violence against their people, to fully respect human rights and implement reforms they have already announced,” he said. “I further urge them to comply with the Security Council’s demand to allow independent and unimpeded access to international humanitarian agencies and to cooperate fully with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

Mr. Ban told reporters that all killings should be investigated fully, independently and transparently, and those responsible should be held accountable.

Under the terms of the Security Council statement, Mr. Ban must update the Council within the next seven days on the situation in Syria.

August 3rd, 2011, 7:23 pm


Tara said:

Just heard on Aljazeera that Abu Remane is out demonstrating asking for Isqat al nizam.. Finally, the upper middle class in Damascus starting to get mobilized. I am glad they have finally woke up. Post Taraweeh demonstrations are everywhere. Deir al zour appears very big.

August 3rd, 2011, 7:33 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

The best way to understand Joshua’s “armed gangs controversy” is to watch the video of the armed gangs firing their guns in Hama — the one that Joshua linked to on Monday, namely

If you’ve seen that already, you’ll remember that for most of it, and for all of the best parts of it, the scene is rotated by 90 degrees, meaning you have to bend your neck out sideways to watch it at youtube. Tonight on Syrian State TV there was a 45-minute talk program dedicated to “armed gangs in Hama”. It replayed much of the same footage, but rotated by 90 degrees. You can see tonight’s program at but you won’t see any new footage from Hama in it.

Speaking for myself, I found the original video was worth watching properly, which I did in two steps:

(1) downloaded the video from youtube to my local machine using the free program at (you could also use the free program at or various others).
(2) I watched the video on my local machine with a video playback program with the feature to rotate the video image by 90 degrees, such as the free programs “VLC Media Player” downloadable at and “SMPlayer” downloadable at

A policeman in Hama testified that his police station was attacked by “about 500 armed men” (that’s an overestimate, I hope) at 6 o’clock in the morning (either on Sunday or Monday of this week, I belive). “Those armed men do not want the homeland to be secure. All they want is sabotage as they cut the streets for more than 15 days and no one can move or go to get some bread.”

August 3rd, 2011, 8:04 pm


Observer said:

Professor Landis i find this report about violence to be disingenuous for the following reasons:
1. SANA and the organs of the regime press are not independent and are part and parcel of the regime’s structure.
2. The ability to fabricate stories is tilted in favor of the regime whereas the opposition has cell phone cameras only at its disposal.
3. The use of force from the outset was meant to crush the opposition and in case of resistance to lend credence to the stories of armed gangs and infiltrators a story line that was present from day one.
4. Attempts to create sectarian strife on the part of the regime were evident for some time now with the aim of dividing the opposition, buy time, paint them as of one color that of the MB, and consolidate the support of the Alawi community around the inner circle.
5. Aleppo and Damascus have not been able to show dissent because in part of the very heavy security presence in cities very close to the presence of the inner circle.
6. All of these interpretations that are offered today are just that interpretations without real independent and objective verifications as the UN human rights commission has not be allowed in. The Red Cross has a tradition to keep its reports confidential for the sake of being able to function without hindrance. Allowing outside press and independent observers and human rights organizations access is the answer to these speculations offered here today.
7. Hama is an irrefutable demonstration of the peaceful nature of the protests if left alone and the response of the regime is an irrefutable demonstration of the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force and collective punishment. Cutting the electricity and water supply on cities is akin to the Nazis in Warsaw and to the Israelis in Genin and Gaza and arguable crimes against humanity.
8. The regime may or may not collapse and it may do so from within or from without meaning from the people or from the power brokers within the regime; nevertheless the country will not return to a previous state of affairs before 3.15.2011 and it is clear that this desire for return to this status ante is the only vision that the regime has for itself and for Syria. The regime is responsible and is alone responsible in my opinion for the descent into civil war if genuine and long lasting reforms do not occur immediately.
9. As in military jargon, no plan survives intact once the first bullet is fired meaning that numerous variables are in play when it comes to the final outcome of any conflict including the following important elements
a) the regime may lose control of the armed forces
b) the predicted responses may not be foreseen
c) the point of no return may be reached without any one being able to pull away from the brink
The scenarios are numerous, but a return to status ante means Syria becoming North Korea.

August 3rd, 2011, 8:31 pm


PeacefulReforms_J said:

There is no more denying to the extreme violence committed by what seems to be left-over salafis from the Iraq war.
In this video a human butcher shop in Homs: Warning(Very Graphic)

August 3rd, 2011, 8:53 pm


Sheila said:

The Armed Gangs Controversy
Dear Dr. Landis:
I am still trying to figure out why you think “The Armed Gangs Controversy” has any relevance in the grand scheme of things. There are certain facts that no sane person can deny:
1-The Syrian regime have no credibility non whatsoever with the Syrian people. Never had. Never will.
2-The Syrian TV has always been a propaganda machine for the regime.
3-If the “Armed Gang” scenario is widely prevalent, the Syrian regime would be served best by allowing foreign reports to roam the country free and uncover all these criminals. It is clear that there is a lot more criminality being perpetrated by the regime that needs to be concealed from the prying eyes of the media.
4-When you say:”. So far, no evidence has surfaced to demonstrate that Syrian military have shot their fellow soldiers for refusing to carry out orders.” you are ignoring all the video clips that we all watched on youtube of soldiers who claim that they have witnessed this happen in front of their own eyes. You are also ignoring the many families that received the corpses of their sons with bullets in the back. One could argue that the “Armed Gangs” killed them. Unfortunately for those, some of these young men had talked to their parents before they were killed and told them that they were ordered to shoot unarmed civilians and informed their parents that they are going to be killed if they disobeyed the orders.
5-It is an established fact that Syrians are afraid to speak their minds even behind closed doors. Till this day, when I call my parents, they praise our “beloved” president for protecting the country. My brother, who came to visit me recently, reassured me that my parents, along with almost everybody else we know, are completely behind the people. So, when you describe: “`Uday told us that two military trucks were ambushed as they crossed a highway bridge by well armed men who were hiding behind the median of the highway and on the tops of buildings at the edge of the road. They raked the two trucks with automatic fire, killing nine.”. Did it ever occur to you that poor ‘Uday who happens to be a Colonel in the army, really has no other choice but to say this?. Did you think that he would tell you the truth, knowing full well who you are and what you do?.
6-This is for me the most important fact: the Syrian regime is a mafia that managed to completely destroy Syria over all these years.
In conclusion, I would like to argue that whether the armed gangs exist or not is utterly irrelevant. Because, even if you feel that the Syrian regime is conveying some truth, (I believe that there are definitely some armed individuals or “gangs” among the people), you have to admit that in light of all the established facts overwhelmingly supporting the lack of credibility for this regime, this does not change anything.

August 3rd, 2011, 9:25 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Hot Under the Collar

Professor Josh,

Tell us again why you think Assad is the best “choice” for Syria.


Alex said at the beginning of Obama’s presidency:

Syria will wait patiently until that change takes place, during the Obama administration’s term hopefully, but there is no rush.

And this gem from our resident “brain trust” owner:

“US-Syrian relations have been deteriorating for some months now, and Syria is losing hope in any peace deal, and that means that there’s gong to be conflict between Syria and Israel,” says Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. “Syria’s strategy is going to be to try to isolate the US in the Middle East, and to hang Israel around America’s neck.”

August 3rd, 2011, 9:44 pm


Dale Andersen said:

From the EU/CIA/Jew/Saudi/Salafist/al-Qaeda press

RE: The UN Rebuke of Besho

“…In an odd voting twist, Lebanon joined the 15-member consensus required to pass a presidential statement, but then “disassociated” itself from the result. The statement “does not help in addressing the current situation,” said Caroline Ziade, Lebanon’s deputy permanent representative, in a widely anticipated move given that Syria has held sway over the Lebanese government for decades…”

So Lebanon is still a colony of Syria, complete with toadies and lackeys like Caroline Ziade doing Besho’s bidding. I guess she doesn’t want the al-Mukhabarat assassinating any more Lebanese prime ministers…

August 3rd, 2011, 9:47 pm


Syrialover said:

If you want to break your heart over Syria and break it again study the video of the soldiers at Jisr ash-Shaghour before they were shot. Think about who they are, where they come from, their families, their home town friends,their neighbours. How little say they have in their own destiny. Those who shot those healthy, strong young men are killing Syria itself, the heart of Syria. They have no sound rationale, they are just adding and adding to the suffering and damage.

Those murderers have no moral high ground over the vile Asads. In a sense, they are even worse for killing people who are in a role where they are pawns in this conflict.

Joshua is right, the idea that these men were shot by fellow soldiers is stupid and implausible and those who spread this claim can share guilt with their killers.

After the fall of Asad, may the day also come when every Syrian who has a family member who has done military service can see justice against those killers.

August 3rd, 2011, 9:48 pm


Aboud said:

The bigger the lie, the more convulsed and complicated the story must become to sustain it. The regime would have the world believe that undefined, unknown armed gangs, financed by undefined, unknown foreign powers, have overnight sprung up in every single province in Syria.

Here is the simple truth;

Massive demonstrations in Dar’a, the military gets sent in.
Massive demonstrations in Homs, the military gets sent in.
Massive demonstrations in Telkelakh, the military gets sent in.
Massive demonstrations in Hama, the military gets sent in.
Massive demonstrations in Deir el Zour, the military gets sent in.

Keep it simple, stupid. Stop trying to muddy the crystal clear waters. The truth is simple, the lie is complicated.

A few posts ago professor Landis himself stated that the military option had failed. What does it say about the competence of the Baathists, that they keep doing the same thing, and expect a different result? That’s the classic definition of insanity.

August 3rd, 2011, 9:51 pm


Ali said:

abu umar

(edited for personal insults. This is your first warning)

have a nice day

August 3rd, 2011, 9:55 pm


Aboud said:

The shabiha ekhwat el sharmouta attacking a wake in Sarmen. I want every single (edited for insult) baathist (edited) on this forum to tell me where are the armed gangs in this clip? When all this is over, we will turn Hafez’s grave into a public toilet.

Part 1

Part 2

And you pussies whine if someone fires back? To hell with every shabiha scum shit, may they all rot at the bottom of every river in Syria.

@34 I will personally piss on the next shabiha that gets caught, and jam a picture of junior down his throat and up his ass.

@32 May the scum who shot up a funeral burn in the lowest depths of hell, right next to Hafez Al-fassad. Tha tha tha tha.

August 3rd, 2011, 9:55 pm


Sheila said:

I want to share this paragraph by The talented Amal Hanano with all of you who still support the Syrian regime:

“One of the most moving chants of this revolution is al-mawt wa la al-mazalleh, “We would rather die, than be humiliated.” They chant against humiliation, not murder, not torture, not rape, not imprisonment, just against the shame of submitting to live with heads bowed low. For the deluded Syrians who still believe their karameh, dignity remains intact: as long as you need a bribe to get anything done; as long as you fear to speak your mind; as long as his picture hovers above you by force; then all of you, no exclusions, from the powerful to the marginalized, experience daily humiliation. It is the one trait that unites us all.”

August 3rd, 2011, 9:56 pm


Abughassan said:

Armed thugs killed a second leader of the SSNP in Idleb using the same car when they killed Samir Qantari. The SSNP is not very popular among the jihadists nowadays …
A gruesome video surfaced on YouTube showing the mutilation and beating of an already dead security officer in dayr alzour with insulting slogans in the background and few people saying : الديريه دبيحه
I condemn violence from all sides, those who overlook violence committed by people who share their political beliefs are not trustworthy but morally corrupt. If you want the higher moral grounds,you do not assassinate,mutilate and destroy. A loss is a loss whether the victim is an army officer or an ordinary citizen.
This Ramadan will be bloody unfortunately.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:04 pm


Aboud said:

@37 Prove it was people in the opposition, or spare us your self righteous blah blah blah.

“A gruesome video surfaced on YouTube showing the mutilation and beating of an already dead security officer in dayr alzour with insulting slogans in the background and few people saying ”

(edited, you made your point, unnecessary insult)

August 3rd, 2011, 10:07 pm


MM said:

Clearly, you are drinking the Kool Aid, Dr. Landis.

You have choosen to believe there is an armed element to the opposition, one that somehow apparently resulted in the deaths of 180 security forces in Jisr al-Shughour. Could they have possibly been that effective? Where are these people, who killed the security forces, today? If this was the case, I would have expected Maher to level the city. 180 security personnel, killed by persons till today unknown – albeit “armed gangs” – Sorry, not buying it. If you told me 10 – OK, I can see how that is possible. A few here, a few there. But 180 in one night? This was a coordinated force that would exact this level of casualty, one only maintained by the government itself. We still don’t know who it is.

We do know that there are civilians that are armed by the government and baathists, the shabiha. So yes, there are armed gangs in Syria. No doubt about it. In fact, State TV is right – the gangs are deployed everywhere. Are they a part of the opposition? No. They are fighting for the status quo.

As to who killed your wife’s cousin, don’t expect his relative to implicate the government while he is in Syria, while he is a member of the Army. Till this day, my own family is denying anything at all is occurring in Syria. Everything is “normal” and Al-Jazeera is “lying.” They are saying this, obviously, out of fear. I have no doubt he saw armed civilians attacking them, but who gave them the orders? Who armed them? You provide no evidence that they were opposition members. The fact that they were well armed should ring alarm bells – who in Syria would have this capacity? The fact that this took place very early on in the revolution should serve as a spark to the mental lightbulb. Is this part of the greater overall strategy that the Syrian Government concocted in response to protests, to justify escalation? (Remember that memo – you said it was fake, no reason why it’s fake, you just concluded it was!). I have chastised you on several occasions that you are making conclusory statements without any evidence of support. Not even a scintilla. If you were litigating this case, it wouldn’t survive a motion to dismiss. You immediately linked these armed men to the opposition without even blinking. How did you do that? In fact, I read the paragraph several times over, trying to read between the lines. You made a seamless transition to establishing that it was a armed element in civilian garb, to saying that they were the opposition elements. Is there not a question in your mind, otherwise?

You do acknowledge that the Shabbiha are a civilian force that is armed by the government. Yes or No? Or do you deny their existence?

How can we differentiate between the Shabbiha and “legitimate” government forces?

Given that there are civilians armed by the government operating on their behalf, how are you differentiating between this fighting force and the opposition?

I’d like to ask you some tough questions. Please explain:
-What, if any, connections you have to the Syrian government?
-What is the nature and extent of your familial connections in Syria? How does this color your outlook on the situation?
-Does your family in Syria land on the “beneficiary” side of Syrian society? Are they Allawite?
-It seems that you had/have family members in the Army. How has this colored your outlook?
-Have you ever been threatened by the Syrian Government, or received communications which have influenced your ability to report on the situation?

Thank you.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:12 pm


Sheila said:

#32 to my dear Syrialover who should actually be called Partial Syrialover since his heart seems to break only when watching the army getting killed. This breaks my heart too. These are our people and we do not want to see them die, but I would like you also to Think about Hamza Alkatib. ” who he is, where he comes from, his family, his home town friends,his neighbours. How little say he had in his own destiny. Those who tortured and shot this healthy, strong young boy are killing Syria itself, the heart of Syria. They have no sound rationale, they are just adding and adding to the suffering and damage.

Those murderers have no moral high ground over the vile Asads. In a sense, they are even worse for killing people who just have the bad luck of being born Syrian.

After the fall of Asad, may the day also come when every Syrian who has a child can see justice against those killers.”

I have used your words Syrialover. I hope you have children and I pray they will stay safe.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:14 pm


Tara said:

Whether armed gangs are present or not, it is not very relevant at this time.  Let’s not deny the obvious.  The vast majority of the opposition was peaceful and the vast majority of the killings occurred by the regime against peaceful demonstrators.  It is natural consequence for sinister elements to infiltrate the peaceful revolution and it is also expected that at some point people may take up arm to defend themselves but that does not change the reality.  This is oppressed people revolution against a brutal dictatorship.  This revolution has absolutely taken moral high ground by remaining peaceful in it’s most part for five month and Bashar can claim no morality whatsoever because there is no lower than killing one’ own people.     

August 3rd, 2011, 10:20 pm


Ali said:

38. Aboud

the first link showed me absolutely nothing but a few light blubs and a couple of heads… so gruesome!
the second on the other hand was a lot more helpful. it showed absolutely no army officers, no victims, a bunch of chairs piled up in one very neat stack and a very unsteady camera. yeah yeah, i heard gun shots that could have been fired by anyone or just thrown in for more blockbuster entertainment.

“I will personally piss on the next shabiha that gets caught, and jam a picture of junior down his throat and up his ass.”

by posting these wicked comments you are waking up sleeping elephants… so prepare to be trampled

Allah y2owe aljaysh

August 3rd, 2011, 10:22 pm


beaware said:

Syrian Uprising Expands Despite Absence Of Leaders
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 NPR By Deborah Amos

Syria’s uprising has been called the YouTube Revolution. The protest videos from cities across the country are a guide to how the movement works.

The banners and the slogans are remarkably similar, from the city of Dera’a in the south, to Hama on the central plain, to the eastern desert town of Deir Ezzor. Even in the capital of Damascus, the chants are the same: “It’s time for President Bashar al-Assad to go.”

Yet there are no leaders directing the chants at these rallies. There is no national leadership, even behind the scenes, says Rami Nakhle, a spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees, the LCC, the most well known of the groups opposing the regime.

“Actually, we are doing our best not really to have leaders, because the classic leadership concept is really not working with this uprising,” said Nakhle, who is operating from Beirut in neighboring Lebanon.

The reasons are practical. The Syrian regime has targeted anyone who is seen as an organizer of the protests.

“If we name them, we are really putting them in grave danger,” said Nakhle.

But there is something even stronger at work, said Nakhle. This Syrian generation has grown up under an authoritarian system and distrusts any kind of leadership.

“If some leader or some person starts to behave as a leader, the crowd will knock him down,” he said. “Everybody really feels anger towards leadership and authority on them.”

The result is an uprising that appears improvised, locally based, and driven by young activists who are backed by large numbers of angry citizens.

“We don’t need anyone. It’s our freedom and we have to fight for it. We are not afraid,” said Mohammed Ali, an activist in Damascus who connects with other activists through Facebook.

Another Damascus-based activist, Amer Sadeq, uses an assumed name, and communicates in code on Internet sites. “You cannot trust anybody,” he said. “If you trust anybody and he makes a mistake, then you are detained, that means almost certain possibility that you will be tortured.”

While the groups in different cities are in touch through Internet chat sites, they can take a week to decide on the Friday slogan and tend to coordinate little else. They agree on ousting the Assad regime, but so far, there is no grand structure or strategy beyond keeping up the pressure on the street.

“It is a strategy,” says Rami Nakhle, “making it look to (President) Bashar al Assad that every day is worse than that day before and to keep pushing until something cracks.”

But as the international community distances itself from the Assad regime, one question has become more urgent: Who is the opposition and can get their act together?

“I think the international community wants a list, a list of 20 people whom they can check their background, and then they can talk with,” said Wissam Tarif, head of a Syrian human rights monitoring group. “Well, there is no list and there will not be a list.”

Political organizing is new for Syria, especially under an autocratic system that prohibits any meetings not sanctioned by regime.

“There is an internal process, a process that is taking place in the street, which we will have to wait to see what happens there,” he said. “No one can control that. The real show is taking place on the ground with the protesters. And they will decide. No one else.”

Still, some activists feel they need a transition plan that answers the crucial question: What next?

At a meeting in Beirut, Nakhle, one of the founders of the LCC, opens his laptop and explains a complex chart that he’s been working on for weeks. Every city has what he calls a central committee. There is an LCC parliament, and a list of “advisers.” For the first time, the grassroots movement is reaching out to Syria’s older generation of dissidents for help to map out a transition plan should the Assad regime fall.

It may look great on the screen, but Nakhle admits that less than half of it is actually in place.

“Today we are … playing with politics, we need to be more mature,” he said.

But the Syrian government is not playing at repression. And the protest movement may need to mature quickly in a country where the violence is growing greater by the day.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:23 pm


aboali said:

I can not for the life of me understand how you can equate the systematic, methodical, regimented violence of the military, para-military and Security forces of the this regime, with the tribal justice vengeance of the rural clans in Syria.

Even in times of peace, tribal justice was rife in many parts of Syria. If you killed someone’s cousin, you can expect one of your relatives to be killed in return. There was even the infamous feud between Bari and Hamideh in Aleppo, in which dozens from both families were killed, including innocent bystanders at Alarabi Hospital, all over a feud over a dancer at a night club. Get real people, there’s a huge difference between an armed insurrection and revenge attacks.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:25 pm


Abughassan said:

The regime for obvious reasons is exaggerating the number of security officers killed or the number of armed thugs firing on them,but it is too late to deny the obvious: this uprising is not as pure as we want it to be,just move on,admit the facts and focus on a way out.
The peaceful opposition is those who did not carry arms but protested for freedom and dignity and were arrested or fired on by the regime thugs,these are my heroes.
One poster here is firing verbal bombs and using improper language which reflects his or her background and lack of class. The editor must delete that post and warn or ban the blogger for violating basic rules. We have enough bullies in Syria,we do not need more here.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:26 pm


True said:

The first video depicts some mentally disordered people chanting while enjoying the scenery of torturing a dead body!!! It shows bunch of people dragging a semi-naked body covered with blood till one of the crowds comes out with a machete and chops the hand.

The second one depicts the harvest of Besho’s thugs & gangs in Hama, very horrific and heartbreaking for normal people (not “Menhebk” group) watching these minutes will just increase the rage in your heart

Those criminal minds (shabiha & Jihadists) have been incubated and fed for long by Besho and his chief security officer “Ali Mamolouk” to be used against neighbour countries and now guess what? “Surprise”

That’s when an opportunist like “ Besho” puts himself and his ancestors first, he does not give a damn about the country!! his attitude like “me to rule or leave nothing to be ruled”

August 3rd, 2011, 10:40 pm


PeacefulReforms_J said:

On the first day of Holy Ramadan, the peaceful demonstrators of Dair Alzour mutilating a dead body while praising God “God is Great” right in the middle of a square, so holy and so peacefully

Keep on denying the obvious

August 3rd, 2011, 10:41 pm


Abughassan said:

Most of the bloodshed is caused by the regime thugs,but armed thugs on the opposition side are more than just tribal justice. There are no tribes in Banyas and there was not any major offensive that took place before killers fired on soldiers who were going back home at the end of a regular day and murdered nine. A similar story took place in aljisr with many more killed. In many instances,the killing was not a simple act of revenge but those people want to make a statement,terrorize,steal weapons and control,they even videotaped their victims and cheered. The number of army and security officers killed is more than 25% of total victims with names, place of birth ,place of death and even pics from their funerals available to those who are not scared of the truth . Syria is a third world country with a brutal government,and the evidence is all over.
The lesson is,violence brings more violence and there is no military solution to this conflict,and the regime can not be toppled by force as much as it can not subdue Syrians by force. We are all Syrians and we need to talk and live together or call our country syriaghistan..

August 3rd, 2011, 10:41 pm


Ss said:

The security and army officers deserve some respect as well. They lost their lives for our safety, stability, and for better Syria. The armed gangs must be chased, brojght to justice, or killed. We have no tolerance for thugs and radicals, and we welcome any peaceful measure to bring us out of this mess. I believe the army should continue doing their job but I do not believe that war will solve any problem. At the end it has to be political solution for this mess. Unfortunately the opposition is disorganized, and the available figures are asking encouraging the gangs to escalate their attacks instead of sitting on the table and trying to solve issue

August 3rd, 2011, 10:43 pm


Abughassan said:

My last post today,
Tara,I can add to your last post but I can not disagree ,this regime must go.
SS,you hit it on the head,the army is the last hope in my opinion,and there is no military solution to this crisis.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:50 pm


Revon said:

Dear Joshua, I do not envy you for the position you are in, trying a chieve balanced reporting when the weight of evidence of each side’s is difficult to measure.

Logic says, a liar can not be trusted to be telling the truth, even if he seems to be doing so! Hard evidence is required!

First: The Baniyas truck massacre was probably carried by a blackshirt unit.
The incriminating video was circulated by AlDunia TV and you probably posted it on this blog then.
The video clearly showed civilians in plain cloths taking cover on the roof a a low building while a few black shirt thugs were barraging them with gunfire.
As the truck approached they turned back and strafed the convoy and ran away!
The government have had over three months to come up with the hard evidence. It would have settled the case fairly and squarely. They have not done that. Why?
Had the government been truthful the regime should have at least let the perpetrators appear before independent media for verification.
They have failed to do so. Why?

Second: the bodies of the militery intelligence in Jisr AlShghour.
As I recall, Colonel Harmoush declared his responsibility for what happend in the city at that time. It was a matter of infighting between defecting and loyual forces. Both sides lost lives in the process.
Again, the regime has failed to produce any incriminating hard evidence, that can be corroborated by an independant team of investigators! Why?

The Orantis river in Hama is a swamp. It hardly has running water in it. I talked to a relative there yesterday and he confirmed the river to be semi-dry now.
The bridge, with such hight is not in Hama city either.
Wherever the incident took place, the bodies thrown were those of civilian clothed bodies.
I ask the question; is it to difficult for the thugs to stage such a video and blame it on the revolution?
There is no evidence as to who committed the murders.
There is no verification of who was throwing the bodies over into the river.

Smearing is part of the tactics used by the regime to discredit the revolution. Such tactics were explained in detail in the famous General Mukhabarat document leaked at the begining of the revolution.

August 3rd, 2011, 10:51 pm


Tara said:

I can’t agree more with this paragraph in #44

“If some leader or some person starts to behave as a leader, the crowd will knock him down,” he said. “Everybody really feels anger towards leadership and authority on them.”

I think the new generation has a real trust issue in any one who behaves as a leader. It is like having a psychological complex towards any potential authority figure. That is why the internal or external traditional opposition will not be able to affect the street. I personally can’t trust no one except one of those youth activists. I hope they will learn and mature into the political process and a young savvy activist would eventually emerge as a leader.

August 3rd, 2011, 11:05 pm


Ss said:

True, there is no military solution and I do agree that a polical solutions is needed. But let us review what has been proposed so far:

1. The regime must go: Many would argue against that. The regime is supported by a significant manority groups, moreover, a significant minority, I do not want to be exagerating, from sunni are with him. Let us say Assad is upported by only 50% of the syrian people. Still this is a significat percentage and I see no reason for him to step down. People on the opposition side have the right to wish and dream of the regime going, but come on, let us be realistic, a regime as solid as the syrian one, which has been built over the last 40 years with well rooted and strong alliance in the region is not going to simply walk away. So foget this solution

2. Political solution: great, in order to do that you need people with leadership who are williong to sit down and discuss future Syria and transition of power. Well where are these people, who is the leadership of the opposition. On the copntrary, the leaders of the oppositions are screaming for more violence, mo unrest, more killing, so the regime can be thrown away. The opositions has no leadership

3. Lastley, how do you want to reach political solution where the streets and people are under the attack from gangs who acts in full autonomy and are suported by the oppositions. The order must be stored and the opposition has to elect a leader who is willing to negotiate not kill.

So to sum up
The regime will not step down
The oppositions lacks leadership
The streets are under attack by gangs and armed people whose acts a cheered and supported by the opposition
With the mounting international pressure, the regime was left with one and only one option, whic

August 3rd, 2011, 11:13 pm


Darryl said:

Will the Arabs ever have a George Washington?

Reading all these posts of Syria’s violence and watching last night the trial of Mubarak and his sons, this thought occurred to me. Arabs seem to only hold in high esteem leaders who always use force to crush anything in their path and sit on the chair forever. Americans had strong willed people too but what makes George Washington even more regarded the things he did not do when he could have.

George Washington could have made himself King George I of America as he commanded respect, the Army and was wealthy. He limited himself to two terms in office and set an example for future presidents until congress passed into law term limits in the 1940s (150 years later). All previous presidents honored that trend and bowed out of office after two terms, no revolutions, no coups, no demonstrations or killing.

So is there any hope that Arabs will ever have a George Washington, or even a John Adams, or perhaps a Thomas Jefferson?

August 3rd, 2011, 11:15 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

After five month of revolution, with 5000 dead or missing(missing presumed dead) and 25000 jailed, anyone who expect this revolution to stay peaceful,is not thinking right,we will hear more about violence by the protesters,since the regime is using violent crackdown, who to blame, I am sure the regime to blame.

AbuGhassan said that Bashar is willing to leave, so far there is no evidence of that,to the contrary,there is every evidence that he is not,only force will evict him.

Damascus and Aleppo,will participate,Ramadan will make a difference,Ramadan is the turning point.

UN will review Ban Ki Moon report about Syria next week,it will be bad,since Syria will not co-operate.

August 3rd, 2011, 11:29 pm


Majed97 said:

Madness is prevailing in Syria today at the expense of humanity, as the voices of reason have been fading away recently. Violence is spreading and getting uglier by the day, not only on the streets but also into our conversation, evidenced by the level of haltered and ignorance displayed by some people on this blog. There is no amount of evidence in the world that will convince some people of how ugly this “revolution” has become. Rational people have completely lost control of the streets. The streets are now in the hands of Islamists, using Ramadan and Mosques to manipulate people’s emotions and inflame the hate. As I’ve said before, revolutions springing out of Mosques and inspired by religious “Scholars” are destined to destroy us all, before getting destroyed by their own obsolete principles and poison of hate. It is time like this when I wonder if Syrians are ready to handle the responsibility of democracy and freedom. Order needs to be restored immediately and at any cost before any reform; otherwise, we all lose.

Souria Akbar!

August 3rd, 2011, 11:35 pm


Darryl said:


“Damascus and Aleppo,will participate,Ramadan will make a difference,Ramadan is the turning point.”

I hope this has nothing to do with the fact that all sins will be forgiven during Ramadan so that more violence will be instigated.

August 3rd, 2011, 11:44 pm


Aus4Syria said:

If all agree on the need to reform the political system in Syria then we should all agree that now is the time to de-escalate the situation and move the debate away from ‘the street’ and onto the ‘negotiating table’. In fact, the Security Council Statement expressly acknowledges this as the solution to Syria’s problem.

The ball is entirely in the court of the anti-regime movement as to the successful transition. Negotiation cannot take place until Syria’s territorial integrity is intact (another element of the Security Council statement), meaning no town can remain outside of the control of the State. The negotiation to reform The State implies tacit acceptance of the sovereignty and integrity of The State.

The consequences of failing to make this transition are disastrous for all. In the absence of a State a sectarian civil war is inevitable. Those claiming that the protest movement is not sectarian (whether rightly or wrongly) are missing the point: in the absence of the State, the population will naturally turn to the comforts of its sectarian roots. The end result is identical to the Iraqi outcome- a sectarian civil war.

Likewise, the military is not the appropriate body that should safe guard a transition. Military rule is diametrically the opposite to democratic rule. Military rule brought about disaster in Pakistan under Musharef (which saw the radicalisation of an otherwise democratic country) and is failing the Egyptians at present (which also appears to be radicalising).

Therefore, the only solution is to participate in the process of dialogue. This will not bring about changes instantly, but with time it will lead to the establishment of the institutions necessary for democracy: an independent judiciary, civilian control of the military and a government that is responsible to its people.

August 4th, 2011, 12:02 am


Norman said:

Apparently the army and the government reach a conclusion that the opposition want their heads as to speak and they are fighting back with all means necessary, even if they have to destroy Hama, they probably believe that history is repeating itself and that Hama is the source of all mayhem.

August 4th, 2011, 12:04 am


Shai said:

Dear Norman,

But do they not see that it is too late to adopt this kill-or-be-killed tactic? Good can’t come out of this for Bashar. Why couldn’t he find another option? Are the security services THAT strong in Syria? Even if he was trying to weaken them by forcing these clashes, the Syrian people are not going to absolve him of the responsibility, and he’ll pay dearly.

What do you think?

August 4th, 2011, 12:27 am


NK said:


Do you think we were born yesterday ? does “Damascus spring” remind you of anything ? because this will be the fate of all opposition figures and leaders if calm returned to the streets. BtB must go, once he announces when he plans to step down, other minor details can be discussed.
Let’s not forget the constitution was amended in 5 minutes to put him in charge, I wonder how long is required to make a simple change preventing him from running again ?.

As we say in Arabic حاج تستجحشو هالعالم, قرّفتونا

August 4th, 2011, 12:59 am


Aus4Syria said:


Your reply assumes that the sole problem in Syria is Bashar.

What about the rampant corruption? The need for ‘Wasta’? The outdated education system? The Soviet era economy? The lack of infrastructure? Lack of an independent judiciary? etc etc etc. These are more than ‘minor details’, these are the core issues leading to dissatisfaction.

Even worse, the President stepping down does not remove the ‘mukhabarat’, they just become somebody else’s ‘tools’. It won’t make the military any more accountable, they just become somebody elses military. It won’t remove corrupt public officials, they just become somebody elses parasites.

National dialogue and systemic reform must address these core issues for the benefit of the country. They are by far more important than the question of who is president and who is not, the Egyption situation proves this fact.

August 4th, 2011, 1:31 am


Dale Andersen said:

Memo To: SS

RE: “…the security and army officers deserve some respect as well. They lost their lives for our safety, stability, and for better Syria…”

No, they don’t and no, they didn’t

August 4th, 2011, 1:58 am


Real Syrian said:

The truth about what is named Syrian revolution that the rebels want to replace the president because he belongs to Alawaite group….. The rebels will be satisfied if they bring even a Sunni Monkey to be the president…….This basic truth is leading the radical street in Syria though the president is not acting in a sectarian manner and his wife is from a known Sunni family….Most of the ministers and governors are Sunni and even Albaath leaders.
Outsiders including US has planned well to weaken Al-Assad regime using all our society diseases like sectarianism and poverty……….These rebels should realize that in their fight to bring a Sunni leader to rule Syria they are actually acting like donkeys that has been used by the west who will get rid of them when a good result is obtained from the negotiations with Al-Asaad regime.

August 4th, 2011, 2:06 am


Real Syrian said:

The truth about what is named Syrian revolution that the rebels want to replace the president because he belongs to Alawaite group….. The rebels will be satisfied if they bring even a Sunni Monkey to be the president…….This basic truth is leading the radical street in Syria though the president is not acting in a sectarian manner and his wife is from a known Sunni family….Most of the ministers and governors are Sunni and even Albaath leaders.
Outsiders including US has planned well to weaken Al-Assad regime using all our society diseases like sectarianism and poverty……….These rebels should realize that in their fight to bring a Sunni leader to rule Syria they are actually acting like donkeys that has been used by the west who will get rid of them when a good result is obtained from the negotiations with Al-Asaad regime.

August 4th, 2011, 2:06 am


N.Z. said:

After reading Sheila comment, where she quoted Ms. Hanano:

““One of the most moving chants of this revolution is al-mawt wa la al-mazalleh, “We would rather die, than be humiliated.”

By reflecting on its meaning I came to this conclusion:

The revolutionist will rather die than be humiliated, while the supporters will rather live in humiliation under Assad jr. than regain their dignity.

As for Assad jr. criminality no one summarized it better than aboud:

“Say what you want about Mubarak, but at least he had the good sense to go when he knew he wasn’t wanted and save the country more lost lives. Just how incompetent a leader must junior be to make even Mubarak look good?”

Their despicable arrogance and unwillingness to see the sea of change around them is hastening their downfall. Their ending like all dictatorships before them, theirs will be the ugliest.

August 4th, 2011, 2:36 am




He had 11 years, going on 12 to address these issues, and he failed miserably. Then, and when confronted with public anger, he chose violence and disingenuous tricks. Non of what you have described can be resolved with him and his inner circle at the helm.

The removal of Bashar is important as a point of departure with a philosophy that accepts absolute rule and hereditary power. All of his actions signify failure and the times require joint efforts and not the reliance on an already shattered image of reformer.

Bashar is fake, he is not qualified, nor are those in his inner circle. A transition to democratic rule, a rule that will not fully stamp out corruption, inefficiency, fear, and brutality, but will definitely have a much better chance at that, requires a different mode of thinking and he has proven that he only has one mode, which reflect desire to remain in power and deep fear of losing it because of the abuses he and his gang have committed over the years of his father’s reign and his as well.

From day one, Bashar chose wrong. The moment he resorted to conspiracy theories and to violence was the moment he publicly declared himself more important than the nation, and by that put his rule and presence at the helm opposite to the legitimate aspirations of Syrians. Even when calling for dialog, his paramilitary forces and crime mafia were committing numerous atrocities against the protesters. All else is dishonest propaganda. Those professing fear on behalf of secularists, while insisting on codifying the personality cult, have proven to be nothing more than fearful sectarians in their own rights and we have many of them on Syria Comment. It is not secularism they seek, it is the suppression of legitimate desires and rule of law they advocate in the name of secularism, how could one be more sectarian than that.

His removal and the removal of few key figures in his regime is not a luxury, it is a necessity to end the stalemate. They are not the state, nor are they running the state. In fact, they are the ones responsible for bringing the state machine to a grinding halt as they have acted as a most corrosive agents of its machinery.

If he is in control, then he has ordered crimes and should be held accountable for his actions. If he is not, then he should step down and stop acting as a front for a criminal gang. No third option is available to him. The longer he and his gang resist, the more fake proposals for a constitutions that would allow him to continue, the more painful the inevitable transition would be. It is them who are prolonging the suffering of Syrians and risking the expansion of the current situation to Damascus and Aleppo. As it stands now, Damascus is getting out of the thugs’ control, and Aleppo is on its way, albeit slowly. Come to think of it, it has deemed itself irrelevant since other towns, including those surrounding Aleppo have not waited for the city to take decisive action.

As for your assertion that Mukhabarat will become be a tool in someone els’s hand. I fully agree. Intelligence agencies, particularly in autocratic regimes are non ideological. They are simply tools of power. However, the Syrian security apparatus has shed a tremendous amount of blood and caused immeasurable pain that must be answered for, and that is why it is essential that it is phased out within a very short time and that a completely different structure is erected in its place to ensure a level public safety, national security, and order conducive to the upcoming national dialog. Ideally, most of these agencies should be disbanded on the spot, but with the number of people and families whose livelihood depends on such dirty jobs, a well thought plan should be offered that provides for a short transition period to allow for placement of those who have not committed crimes and for identification of those who did. National reconciliation can only come after identifying those responsible for committing crimes and those who participated in such crimes otherwise it will be a fraud. You can only forgive an acknowledged sin. We are no better than god, and in all religions, acknowledging ones sin and ones responsibility for that sin is the first step towards deity’s forgiveness, and listening to Bashar’s speeches show that he has not reached that point yet, nor have his supporters here on Syria Comment and elsewhere, but quite the opposite. All I have seen are justifications, lies, equivocations, and moral bankruptcy, which saddens me greatly. It is obvious that some people, including Bashar and his inner circle are incapable of reaching that point.

As for solutions to security issues and public safety. I do not want to pretend that I know it all. But I am tired and sick of the regime gang and their privileged fearful supporters claiming that we in the opposition can not offer solutions. There are solutions at all scales and some are out of the box. Take for example as one of these potential solutions at the local level would be the possible removal of high ranking officers who are leading the bombardment and the murderous campaigns against Syrian towns and cities from their command post and their replacement with a temporary joint command consisting of second tier officers whose hands are not sunk in the blood of their brethren along with civilian representatives chosen by the community who must approve of any actions aiming to confront so called armed gangs. Think about it this way, if the regime claims that the army is guarding public safety, then the army must accept a temporary phase through which it acts as law enforcement under civilian control but with heavier firepower than regular law enforcement. The civilians would not interfere in the tactical military operations, but they are the ones to authorize such operations, define their objectives, and declare limits to what is acceptable or not. Such would criminalize tank shells, treacherousness sniping and assassins. In addition, and this is a must, all of the militias and paramilitary forces convened by the regime must be disbanded and disarmed immediately.

We have solutions, we are the more creative both inside and outside, we are the more determined, we seek progress and life, equal citizenship, and the rule of law and we are capable of controlling the urge for revenge among our bereaved as evidenced by the very law number of atrocities committed by those bereaved, and even those are of questionable authenticity. The regime and its supporters, on the other hand, seek to control us, to continue their suppression of our natural rights, and instead of controlling their fears, they unleash bloody mayhem. Dialog with them is a phantom and a series of charades. We will have our dialog, but among ourselves and only with those who show willingness to join us in our point of departure from a sad, corrupt, and murderous era of our modern history.

The regime and its supporters internalized brutality to a point that it now rules their options even in their written and spoken discourse. Even when using non violent words such as dear so and so, there remains in their writing and thinking a brutal assault on the intelligence of Syrians and on the values Syrians have held for countless generations. Insisting that the majority of Syrians are vengeful and incapable of ruling themselves and of being civilized is the utmost intellectual brutality against a people whose history speaks otherwise. Insisting that we need someone like Bashar to save us from himself and his gang is a most brutal assault on our common sense.

August 4th, 2011, 3:03 am


Shami said:

Real Syrian,historically this kind of assabiyah explains the mindset of the alikes of asad ,mindset which was always strong among some minority groups.This reality explains your attack against the majority of the syrians(arabs and muslims) ,as if they consider that the only reason of being against asad’s 50 years old failed criminal regime is his nusayri religion ,this is an insult to our intelligence.
The most sectarian people in syria are obviously the alawites who support asad.Those are marginals and they are aware that they will pay the price of their assabiyah when the regime will change.(this situation explains their assabiyah,what do they share with the other syrians ?)
Those cultivate a culture of hate towards the environment for centuries,this is not the case of the syrian people as whole.
I dont think that we can compare an alawite like Aref Dalila,Louai Hussain and many other intellectuals to Asad-Makhlouf-Shaleesh gang who are aware that their existence is that of a regime.

August 4th, 2011, 3:12 am


jawaher said:

i agree with these words of wisdom said above:
“There is no amount of evidence in the world that will convince some people of how ugly this “revolution” has become. Rational people have completely lost control of the streets. The streets are now in the hands of Islamists, using Ramadan and Mosques to manipulate people’s emotions and inflame the hate. As I’ve said before, revolutions springing out of Mosques and inspired by religious “Scholars” are destined to destroy us all, before getting destroyed by their own obsolete principles and poison of hate. It is time like this when I wonder if Syrians are ready to handle the responsibility of democracy and freedom. Order needs to be restored immediately and at any cost before any reform; otherwise, we all lose”
i ask every syrian to be clever and to think about our future together, and not to be the toy to destroy our unity and our country.
god bless all syrian and keep syria

August 4th, 2011, 3:28 am


Samara said:

First, as i have not been on for a while, i would like to say, Ramadan Mubarak to you all. And my this Ramadan bring prosperity for Bashar so he can rise above all that is happening, and destroy the terrorists.


“The most sectarian people in Syria are obviously the alawite who support asaad”

(edited for insult)The sectarian people are those like Abu Omar, who would rather see all that are not Sunni extremists dead. The sectarians are those who hate and loath people who do not belong to their sect. So, by that you should know I mean the MB and those on here who have nothing better to do than say Bashar and his supporters, Alawi supporters according to you, are sectarian. Why do you exclude the Sunnis who support Bashar? Why do you exclude the Christians who support Bashar? Now, is specifically extracting one sect for your benefit not sectarian to you? Is the fact that you
call “nusayri” religion not sectarian to you? Well, maybe its just me, but I think you are(edited for insult) Dude, get a life. Or, since I am an Alawi supporter of Bashar, i say, I hope you get stomped on, I hope you and all like you, religion wise get burnt in hell. How’s that for sectarian? (edited for insult)

August 4th, 2011, 3:45 am


Jasmine said:

Day in,Day out and with another article about the uprising in Syria with significant failure of objectivity on transmitting the facts.
The uprising had an element of grass root in the beginning but now it is clearly that it is hijacked by the Muslim brotherhood who are committing atrocities wherever is accessible for them,most of the demonstrators now are paid by Hariri and Bandar to go out in the street and shout for the fall of the regime.
The insurgency has reached the top,which indicates that the extremists are loosing their last breaths to decide to adopt these final measures(burning public property,killing allawites and throwing them in the river, mutilating and dismembering bodies,kidnapping soldiers)they are just asking the army to come and shoot at them.
The west still can not understand the complexity of the situation,and the culture of sectarianism which is leading this uprising.
Democracy is used as a slogan for the real demand which is:(we are sunni and we are the majority and we want to rule you,you the allawites you have been for too long on the throne,you have killed our fathers in Hama 1982, and we want our share now, and Saudi Arabia is our example for establishing a hypocrite nation where women are abused and society is living in the dark ages)they are using Islam as a political tool and of course they found enough ignorant,poor and unpatriotic people to recruit.
This country is hurt enough and doesn’t need any salt from the west to rub at his injuries,let them sort out their problems and it is not a struggle for Democracy ,it is an ugly religious fight and Europe had a similar one during the dark ages, the struggle between the church and royalty is very well documented.

August 4th, 2011, 4:06 am


some guy in damascus said:

well, everyone seems to believe that there is an armed element to this uprising( justified or not)
many will argue that these “terrorists” infiltrate demonstrations and wreak havoc.
so it is the masses they require to carry out their objective.
i wonder what they were doing during the huge Besho rallies.

one of the biggest mistakes besho has made is not recognizing the genuine opposition that rejects him.

if ignorance is bliss, the menhebaks are having orgasms.

August 4th, 2011, 4:10 am


Shami said:

Samara ,in order to be more accurate,the majority of the alawites fear democratic change because of their strong sectarian assabiyah and thus any protest against their mukhabarati regime (their relatives) is presented as an attack against their community.

This mini-sectarian logic is not acceptable.
Samara you asked me:
Why do you exclude the Sunnis who support Bashar?

Do you mean Hassoun,Bouti ,Khaled Abboud and other corrupt tools?

You will see ,what kind of support it was in the future !

August 4th, 2011, 4:15 am


mjabali said:

Mr. Shami comment # 68

Again mr. Shami you fake history. You said that the Alawis hate the majority of Syrians and you made this majority of Syrians as “Arabs and Muslims.”

First of all, this means that the Sunnis are the only Muslims and the rest are not. What is written in your text is that the Sunnis are the true Muslims and the Shia, Alawis, Druz, Ismailis are not.

Secondly: What Arabs are you talking about in Syria? The Kurds constitute 10 percent of the Syrian populace and they are mostly Sunnis, and if you calculate them out of the Sunnis you get Kurds around 15 to 20 percent of the Syrian Sunnis. Also, as for the rest of the Sunnis you have at least ten percent of them Turks, and then you have about 3 to 5 percent Cherkes and another 3 percent of other ethnic origins brought by the Ottoman Empire and those who proceeded it.

The Arabic element among the Sunnis is mainly the Tribes/3Asha\’ir. Basically the city Sunnis are mostly ethnically from whatever the Ottoman and the Mongols before them brought. Notice that the Alawis and the rest of them Minorities are mostly in the Country Side and they are REAL SYRIANS.

The Assabiyah/fanaticism is a malady of all and not only happening to the Alawis mr Shami. The Sunnis these days are on the top of fanaticism. do you doubt this little fact too mr. Shami?

The Sunnis consider themselves Muslims and the others are not. This is the truth. The Sunnis think that they hold the truth as well as the keys to paradise, that fake place. They also believe that they are the swordsmen/سيافين at the service of Allah issuing people tickets to hell.

There are reasons to be against al-Assad, and these reasons are legit like corruption and nepotism, long terms of leadreship, no improvement in education…etc but let us say the truth here Mr. Shami: you hate al-Assads: father and son, because they are Alawis. If he was a Sunni it would have been a different story especially in a place as diverse as Syria.

There is no majority in Syria, but there is diversity. The law and the constitution should state this in plain letters separating religion from state making all Syrians equals.
If you calculate things like this you win Mr. Shami. But apparently you would not because you still think that the Alawis are infidels and the rest of the minorities as well as the Christians also lower than the Sunnis.

I asked you this question many times and you never answered it: do you consider the Alawis infidels or not?

The most sectarian people in Syria are not the Alawis mr. Shami but those who has decrees calling others monkeys, pigs and infidels. Those who believe in these decrees and live upon them is the one who is sectarian.

The Alawis as a whole are not sectarian, go ask the Sunnis who know them and lived with them and married from them. The Alawis are simple people, mostly poor and underdeveloped. You seem to never see this little fact and still demonize them and believe they do not deserve to live.

AS for the price you threaten some Alawis to pay is not showing anything but more death and mayhem. Do you mean you gonna cut them or throw them from the bridge or grind them and feed them to the dogs. These threats are not working. They are bringing more death from all sides. It is making al-Assad shoot with big guns and the demonstrators cutting people on the street like what we just saw from Deir al-Zur. Do you care about Syrian Blood here? do you care about a new generation that will see the same things my generation had seen? Why don\’t you call for forgiveness instead of revenge. You are pouring gas into the fire instead of putting off this fire.

What we need now is to cool things down and form political parties and enough with this tough talk. Look at this board today and see how many threats and curses from all sides are flying around.

What we need now is a bill of human rights so no one talks about revenge while the law makes sure all are equal and treated right.
WE need law and order and what is happening now is gonna bring none of the above and instead it will bring destruction and chaos.

August 4th, 2011, 4:28 am


some guy in damascus said:

HAHAHAHAHA look what i found on the SANA website.

i wonder what the menhebaks are going to do with those ” we thank chinese/russian nation for fidelity” posters and banners

@ mjabli
“Notice that the Alawis and the rest of them Minorities are mostly in the Country Side and they are REAL SYRIANS.”
1) im not going to discuss whos a syrian and whos not, but basically if you pay taxes, donate blood, served military duty( or had to get an exemption) gives you the right to speak your mind. the very fact that were paying taxes and theyre not being invested in something for the community is the only argument one needs.
2) there are sunnis in the country side , and on the coast. you didnt mention the dear armenians ( who are chrisitans)
3) please il be really offended if you use that definition again, you canno categorise some one like that, Syria is for all and there is no term as fake syrian or real syrian.
there are terms like circassians, armenians, caananites…but these are the wonderful gems that make the great syrian mozaic.

August 4th, 2011, 4:28 am


Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships (ASSAD) said:

#62 Dear NK

As the one who coined B-t-B (;-)) (Besho-the-Butcher) I have to ask you to please not forget the other half “& executioners” that refers to the forces of the regime(the mukhabarat, the sectarian army units under Maher, and the multitude of armed and mostly sectarian shabbiha as well as hundeds of thousands of free-lance informers) that protect and do the top circle’s dirty work, so in essence this agrees with #63’s point, his departure will not solve everything for we have to be rid of the whole police state structure that exists now.

However, I strongly disagree with many of AUS4’s other points in


The onus is on the regime to de-escalate, since they were and still are the stronger side and the ones to use violence on a large scale against mostly unarmed demonstrators. As to re-asserting control by the “state”, Hama proved beyond doubt in June and July that it can take care of itself without any security or government presence, despite the official fiction claiming otherwise.

There has not been a single actual and tangible regime action to show that they are serious about dialog or genuine reform as demanded by the people. Had the regime done anything to inspire confidence, the opposition could have been (fairly) painted as intransigent, but nothing came from the regime except talk and from its forces only more violence, more arrests, more torture, more rape and more daylight murders.

August 4th, 2011, 4:36 am


N.Z. said:

Samara, are you sure you wanted to wish SC Ramadan Mubarak or Bashar a prosperous Ramadan Massacre ? No doubt his account is prospering with the dead and maimed with you blessings.

200 massacred in Hama alone.

Rather than celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, Syrians are massacred, even, while mourning their loved ones. Ramadan is a month of thoughtfulness, soul-searching

August 4th, 2011, 4:41 am


Shami said:

Mjabali ,
You are proved wrong by the events :Ben Ali,Mubarak,Gadafi,Saleh…are not alawites.
And i dont care who is real syrian or not ,syrian nationalism is not my favorite ideology.

August 4th, 2011, 4:44 am


Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships (ASSAD) said:

Thank God (oops) Off The Wall is back! to help us out here, we were being snowed under. Thanks OTW, and for the arguments you detailed above, I just didn’t have the time to sit down and write AUS4 a complete rebuttal.

August 4th, 2011, 4:53 am



I do not want to get into the sectarian fight between you and samara on one hand and shami on the other. I am not seeing much difference in the language of discourse between the three of you as it remains grounded in ethno-sectarian axioms.

I believe that your arguments for rule of law ring hollow with respect to the Assad dynasty regime. Rule of law both requires and fosters legitimacy, and the regime with Bashar at its head have forfeited any pretense to legitimacy the moment they established illegal and criminal paramilitary units to intimidate and murder their opponents and to incite sectarian hatred. That off course notwithstanding their criminal use of the Syrian Army and law enforcement agencies.

Having a zillion pro-regime chanters and supporters like Samara and others does not change that reality of regime illegitimacy. Even those ruling by majority of votes are subject to impeachment and removal when committing illegal (and in Bashar’s case: war crimes)acts. Those who do not understand that have no clue what democracy and the rule of law are all about.

For your own mental well being, you may need to start getting used to living and acting without the eternal leader. Your wish is not only insulting, it is tasteless, meaningless, and i have no doubt that you have intended it as a provocation. Exactly as one would expect from regime paramilitary propagandists.

Please read my comment again and tell me if it blindly accepts the argument that this is a violent revolution. Consider the proposal and what it means for it to be rejected by the regime and its supporters, as I would expect it to be.

August 4th, 2011, 4:54 am


Samara said:


Then go search for your soul. The devil may get hold of it soon if you dont.

Go preach the true meaning of Ramadan to those vile malicious monsters who are dumping dead bodies into the river. Go preach the true meaning of Ramadan to those who are killing and mutillating innocent people. Go preach to those who killed and chopped up an innocent young girl and burnt her parts. Go preach to those who decapitated that innocent man and then took out his insides. Go preach to those who are dancing and singing “Ya Shabiha nehna al dabiha”. Go on. You have work to do. You have preaching to preach. Pft.

August 4th, 2011, 5:03 am


Samara said:


Im glad you got insulted. Actually, in all honesty, i did not intend it to provoke anyone, but i can say that i dont deny enjoying to hear that you got hurt by what i said. I really couldnt care less.

I will get used to not having Bashar as the Syrian leader as long as you promise me something. Thay you will jump off a cliff. Because mate, your comments dont mean crap to me.

Allah hame Souria ou Bashar.

August 4th, 2011, 5:12 am



I promise you nothing but a fair trial.

August 4th, 2011, 5:21 am


Aboud said:

Samara, go preach the meaning of Ramadan to the tin-pot tyrant who shells a city on the eve of the month.

Once more, the menhebaks have utterly failed to prove that the bridge video was even shot in Hama, or even Syria for that matter.

“Go preach to those who are dancing and singing “Ya Shabiha nehna al dabiha””

Tell me where they are, so I can go join them. Sounds like a dance I’d like.

August 4th, 2011, 5:23 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ off the wall
years of the Baathist rule has equated the Assads with Syrian nationalism. i would not be surprised if Bashar openly did something demonic, his supporters would rush to justifies his acts with pseudo-explanations. it is up to the constitution to show us where is the red line is for the president himself , sadly the Baathists have executed the amendments that please them and ignored the amendments that don’t.
the regime supporters argue that there is no alternative, not realizing that the very regime will wipe away any true alternative.
about the you accepting this is an armed revolution, i dont know what to say….its not the opposition that put a media blackout on the whole country.

i went to pray taraweeh in muhajreen yesterday, after the prayers i exited the mosque and saw 4 police cars and armed soldiers. they quickly set to breaking us apart, it angered many. i guess i’ll pray in midan today they cant get a strong foot hold over there.
@ samara
telling the shabeeha( who are mongrels) that they will be slaughtered offends you? i”ve seen these shabeeha attack innocent protesters in midan, they do deserve to be be punished( not by slaughtering, hmmm maybe by having a discussion with you, thats punishment enough)

August 4th, 2011, 5:26 am


Samara said:


Of course its a dance that youd like. Its with your overly exaggerated long bearded friends. When i get the exact address ill let you know.

And you [edit for insult] always fail to admit the evil of the revolution…=)

Now if youll excuse me ive got some studies to do. Dont miss me too much.

August 4th, 2011, 5:41 am


Samara said:

Guy in Damascus,

Actually, their words are insulting because i interpreted it differently to you. I belive they are expressing their overall malice and the fact that they have been killing and chopping people up.

And a discussion with me will not be punishment. On the contrary, they would learn a lot from me, and i from them. Just saying.

Bye now.

August 4th, 2011, 5:46 am


Samara said:


I already posted this to you, but seen as how it was not put up, i will say it again.

You will definately enjoy dancing with those animals. Because they are your overexaggerated, ungroomed bearded buddies. As soon as i get the exact whereabouts ill let you know.

And you hameer fail admit that your revolution is evil. You want democracy? Then why is it that an extrimist like yourself was saying recently that any real Muslim hates democracy? Huh? I suppose you and the Asshood would answer that. He was here in Australia saying that all real muslims hate democracy and that an islamist state with sharia law must take over. So why does the revolution hide behind the ideology if democracy? We know their true mentallity. Its only a matter of time before they go up in flames

Now if youll excuse me, im off to study.

August 4th, 2011, 6:00 am


hsyrian said:

Dear Joshua,

Your academic work is being wasted on this comment section where the concept of free speech is being abused.

You should remind the educated commentators that they are your guests on this blog and that it is YOUR right to ACCEPT any comment or not.

Not only bad words should be banned but also
– name calling ( men… , sh.. , tyr , dict.. , bes , animals
– outrageous word ( massacre slaughtering
– unsubstantiated ( false) facts and figures ( even dates !!! )
– analysis based on unsubstantiated facts and figures
– private comments between commentators
– personal attacks and responses
– anonymous pseudo feelings
– sectarian
– threats

What will be left ?
Not much I am afraid !

It takes one child with a few matches to start a fire but a complete fire brigade with courageous and intelligent adults is needed to extinguish it.

The only good thing about video games is that when the child gets ” game is over” because he lost all his lives , the child just had to push a button to start a new game with new lives.

August 4th, 2011, 6:38 am


syau said:

Security forces have arrested the terrorist group that murdered members of the military dispatch unit and threw them in the Orontes River in Hama. These arrests come after the driver of the pickup truck which transported the bodies was arrested.

August 4th, 2011, 6:46 am


ss said:

Reading the above I come to realize that sectarian is the real enemy here. Sectarian is the real and sole reason why the opposition wants the presedent out, as it is the reason why the minorities are more than ever around the president. We cannot deny this factor, although we hide it at time, but it gets out whenever we get emotional or angy. Actually this is the only factor that will keep Assad in his place> removing Assad will never happen unless the cuntry divides or gets into civil war. Since you are speaking Sectarian. There is no way Alawi will allow the president out for many reasons you have just listed, perhaps fear is one of them as Shami stated. The sectarian language will lead us only to civial war and country division.

The only way to solve this probles is by national dialogue and the opposition leaders (if there is any designated leader) have to come to the table and start negotiations. I believe the syrian goverment has to give many things that would not have happend otherwise. I think the opposition will have a great opportunity to get into dialogue and get their stamps in the political life and reform of Syria. War will not solve either side, but there will be no alternative to war and fight if the opposition will continue to move the street and support the armed gangs.

August 4th, 2011, 6:57 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ ss “sectarian is the real and sole reason why the opposition wants the presedent out,”
i guess atef najib, rami makhlouf dont ammount to anything,
the vicious security state
the huge corruption
apparently corruption,cronyism and sadism are sects we must respect?!?!

August 4th, 2011, 7:07 am


Aboud said:

“Then why is it that an extrimist like yourself was saying recently that any real Muslim hates democracy? ”

Yaaaaawn. Another Baathist reality-challenged menhebak heard from. Kindly point us to the post where I said real muslims hate democracy. Take your time, you can go back as many months as you like.

It is actually the menhebak scum who fear a free press, and free expression. Democracy is incompatible with Baathism, the most sectarian ideology ever to be found in the Arab world.

August 4th, 2011, 7:37 am


Norman said:

Hi Shai, Good to see here,

I think that the president and the government are moving on two tracks, the first one is security and prevention of civil war, they have to act strongly, otherwise the Alawat that are being killed for being Alawat will feel that the government can not or will not protect them so they will arm themselves and fight back, then will see what happened in Iraq and Lebanon before that repeating itself in Syria, in these two states the army was prevented from acting to secure the peace in Lebanon for fear of breaking up and in Iraq because the American with the insistence of the new Iraqi government disbanded the army,

The other track that they are working on is the political track that deserve more attention and faster pace than it is getting, as you know , in many countries the elections will be put on hold if there is no security, Syria is trying and i think they could move faster , i always said that moving to cancel article 8 that gives the Baath party the leading role in Syria will be the game changer as long as the American, Turks and others will come out and push the opposition to play and talk, any overthrow of the government in Syria by force will replace a dictatorship with another.

August 4th, 2011, 7:43 am


majedkhaldoon said:

Samara says:” and you hameer”, or,”Im glad you got insulted”,or “but i can say that i dont deny enjoying to hear that you got hurt by what i said”.and” I really couldnt care less.your comments dont mean crap to me”.

How could a person like this dare to make such comments,it really sumerize what this regime is thinking and behaving,this is what is called itellectual brutality,or lack of intelligence that disqualify them of commenting in itellectual forum

August 4th, 2011, 7:48 am


Tara said:


Samara reflects the same class and same intellect that prevail in one fabric of the Syrian society, namely, the Mukhabarat. One can argue that this level she demonstrates should disqualify her from commenting on an intellectual forum as you stated but perhaps she should be kept to give a tiny flavor to the outside readers of that particular fabric.

August 4th, 2011, 8:24 am


syau said:


I would be interesting in hearing your opinion on comments such the ones posted by Aboali (previous thread at #16) which says… “I say screw you, 150 people were massacred by the sons of bitches which, if your video is true, and I doubt it, now reside at the bottom of the Assi being turned into fish shit, which is a step up for them.” And “If mukhabarat and shibiha were killed, then it was for revenge, and they damn well deserved it.” Or “so I say slaughter all those sons of bitches.”

And then Abouds comments at #55 which say “Aboali, I absolutely agree with every word of your sentiments. The atrocities of the shabiha scum have long since crossed the line. If some people have the ability to fight back, let them do so as a warning to the next little shit who thinks he and his friends can terrorize Syrians.”

Wouldn’t you consider their comments as “intellectual brutality” or “lack of intelligence that disqualify them of commenting in itellectual forum”?

Would you agree that comments such as those made by Aboali, Aboud and ones posted by Shami summarise the revolutions thinking and behaviour? I didn’t see you comment on how people like Aboali, Aboud and Shami would ‘dare’ make such comments. Why is that, could it possibly be because they support and reiterate the thoughts of this terrorist revolution?

August 4th, 2011, 8:25 am


Tara said:


I will answer. There is a big difference between expressing a political opinion in regard to a group of people including Besho and sabeeha describing them as scum, thugs, …etc, and even ask for revenge against them and between targeted personal attack to a commenters. Don’t you agree?

August 4th, 2011, 8:33 am


Aboud said:

Damn, Tara beat me to it.

For the menhebaks who still consider an insult against Besho to be a more grievous sin than one against their own parents, there is indeed a difference between singling out a commentator by name on this forum, and calling junior a geek necked hafez wanna be tin pot little slug that one scraps off one’s boots.

Aboali stated it eloquently, and I agree with every word he said. The next time the shabiha scum think they can invade a village or neighborhood, don’t whine if they come back with their AK-47s up their asses and Besho posters stuffed down their throats.

August 4th, 2011, 8:45 am


syau said:

Syrian army and security personnel arrested 230 armed gang members in Hama. Assistance from the citizens of Hama led to the arrest of the gang members.
During the arrests, they seized weapons,‘Thuraya’ satellite phones, video cameras and high tech transmission devices.

Security forces also discovered mines planted in sideways leading to the Sukelbieh town, which they dissembled.


Thanks for your answer, but I am actually interested in Majedkhaldoon’s answer regarding the questions I posed.

I believe if you re read posts by Aboud and Aboali, you will find numerous personal insults or ‘targeted personal attacks’ aimed directly at those who oppose this terrorist revolution.
Why do you think that their insults or ‘targeted personal attacks’ belong on this forum if others don’t?

August 4th, 2011, 8:52 am


Tara said:


Personal attacks does not belong on this forum no matter what the source is. It bothered lots of people in the past and it bothers me tremendously.

August 4th, 2011, 9:02 am


norman said:

What is the punishment for threatening the life of the president of the US ?.

The people that threaten the president of Syria deserve no less than in the US.

August 4th, 2011, 9:08 am


syau said:


I totally agree with you.

August 4th, 2011, 9:13 am


Aboud said:

@99 What a silly comparison. Utterly idiotic. In the USA people can go outside the White House and call Obama all sorts of names. In Syria, not loving junior enough will land you in jail.

Who was the last US President to commit genocide against his own citizens?

And if someone is suspected of threatening the president’s life, he is investigated, with the due process of the law. At most, he is punishable by 5 years in jail. In Syria, just being the brother of someone wanted for demonstrating can land you five years in jail.

August 4th, 2011, 9:16 am


AIG said:


There is concept you don’t understand. It is called “consent of the governed”.

It is the basis of functional states.
And that is what Bashar Assad lacks and nothing can repair it except if he wins free multi party elections.

August 4th, 2011, 9:27 am


Aboud said:

Forget it AIG, the Baathists love to put down Western democratic systems (even when they live there), but apparently want to imitate only those parts of it that sanction a person for insulting the head of state 🙂

August 4th, 2011, 9:32 am


AIG said:

From the NY times
August 3, 2011
Who Will Help the Syrians?
As many as 1,600 courageous Syrians have been slaughtered since pro-democracy demonstrations began in March. On Wednesday, after three days of shelling, President Bashar al-Assad ordered his military to storm Hama, the city where his father killed up to 20,000 people three decades ago.

Where has the international community been? Shamefully paralyzed.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council finally issued a statement condemning “widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities” — but with no threat of sanctions. For two months, Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa had blocked any action at all. They have allowed Mr. Assad to believe that he can keep killing and pay no price.

The statement, of course, is better than silence. We would like to believe that even this faint change of heart by Moscow — a longtime military supplier and patron — will grab Mr. Assad’s attention. But we suspect that he will instead focus on how Russia managed to water down the language in a ridiculous bid for evenhandedness.

The Security Council’s statement unfairly blames the protesters when it urges “all sides to act with utmost restraint, and to refrain from reprisals, including attacks against state institutions.” And it gives Mr. Assad — who needs to be gone — a lifeline by urging his government to implement its now thoroughly discredited “commitments” to reform.

It is going to take a lot more pressure to persuade Mr. Assad that his time is up — or to persuade those enabling him to switch sides. The Council needs to impose tough sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes on Mr. Assad and all of his top aides. It should refer the Syrian leader and his thugs to the International Criminal Court for a war crimes investigation and direct states to halt investment in Syria’s government-run energy sector. More dithering will only mean more killings.

The United States and the European Union have done a much better job, although not as clearly and swiftly as needed. They have imposed several rounds of travel bans and asset freezes on Mr. Assad and his henchmen — Europe added more names to its list on Monday. They need to ratchet up the pressure.

One idea is for the top consumers of Syrian oil — Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands — to stop buying it. The exports are small enough that a suspension would have little effect on world prices but would still have a big impact on Damascus. There should be no new investments in Syria’s energy sector.

Turkey, once one of Syria’s closest allies and now a critic, needs to use all of its leverage. Washington, the European Union and Turkey should also be pressing the cowardly Arab League to stand with the Syrian people.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met Syrian opposition members. Washington and its allies should do all they can to help lay the groundwork for a democratic, post-Assad Syria. Right now, they need to marshal every possible diplomatic and economic pressure to help the Syrian people topple this brutal regime.

August 4th, 2011, 9:47 am


Revlon said:

This is the closest any demonstration has gotten to the lion’s den!
Jaddet AlHasan, Abu Rummaneh, Damascus

The demonstrators roar while chanting “Bashar Ma Minreeedoh” could be heard,
– 1 block away, at the Air Force Command Center
– 3 blocks away, at the cental military complex housing the Chief Army Command center, Ministry of defense, and the Military “Sub-Intelligence”
– 1 mile away, at the lion’s den!
أموي – ‫مظاهرة في دمشق بجانب قيادة الأركان العامة

August 4th, 2011, 9:54 am


Revlon said:

Halabies are rolling

حلب مظاهرات حي صلاح الدين 3-8-2011

3 8 Aleppo أوغاريت حلب مظاهرة حاشدة من بستان القصر مرورا بالملعب البلدي

August 4th, 2011, 10:03 am


Revlon said:

The regime is up to something sinister!
Army units staionted at 3aqrabiyeh strafed a civilian bus whose passengers come from Haweek which is a pro-regime village!
Two injuries have been reported thus far.
Alqsair, Homs Governorate.

Ugarit News | أوغاريت الإخبارية
أوغاريت || القصير حمص :: عاجل :: قامت قوات الجيش الموجودة على حاجز قرية العقربية باطلاق الرصاص عشوائيا على حافلة محملة بالركاب ولدينا أنباء عن اصابتين حتى هذه اللحظة , علما بأن الركاب من قرية حاويك التي معظم سكانها من الموالين للنظام …

about an hour ago ·

August 4th, 2011, 10:12 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ revlon
there have been protests in muhajreen, but i dont know where exactly. i would be really glad if you told me i really want to demonstrate there.
oh and refrain from calling it a den….call it a zoo

August 4th, 2011, 10:14 am


Samara said:


LMAO!!! That is all ive got to say to your… I wont say anything because you ppl are a little too touchy. But saying that i should be stopped from commenting on here just shows what babies you are. “if you dont do what i want, go away!” That is exactly what my 7 year old sister said to me when i told her to stop being a brat. She hated that word, so her retaliation was what all children would say. Just like you just did. Go away. You shouldnt be allowed to comment. Waawaawaa! Oops, now i sound like Aboud. And Aboud, if you were able to comprehend what i wrote ealier, i said an extrimist LIKE you. I did not say YOU. And if you read properly, i said the guy was in AUSTRALIA.

SYAU said it all. I need not go further.


August 4th, 2011, 10:19 am


Revlon said:

#168 Dear some guy in damascus,
You have a point!
Unfortunately I have no direct contacts with ground activists.
I merely follow their news on their facebook blog!
I am eager to know which Jaddeh in Muhajereen featured the demonstration and how far it was from Jr’s!

August 4th, 2011, 10:27 am


Aboud said:

This is a tiresome habit we have been seeing time and again from menhebaks like Samara. They make outlandish statements, and when challenged, backtrack and flip flop.

“Then why is it that an extrimist like yourself was saying recently that any real Muslim hates democracy? ”

*Extremists*. Seriously, I still want someone to explain how is it that every single menhebak here all make the same spelling mistakes. It’s so bizarre.

Your meaning is clear to everyone here. Have the guts to stand by your words. I challenged you to show me one post where I said that real Muslims hate democracy. In typical Baathist fashion, you chicken out like all menhebak chicken-shits.

But then, what do you expect from supporters of a regime that sends thugs to trash embassies, and then has Mammoth-Guts Mu’allem begging the USA’s pardon and forgiveness the next day. Pathetic.

August 4th, 2011, 10:28 am


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

Off-the-Wall, a dissident crank, says (#67): “All I have seen [from the regime and its supporters] are justifications, lies, equivocations, and moral bankruptcy…. We will have our dialog, but among ourselves and only with those who show willingness to join us in our point of departure from a sad, corrupt, and murderous era of our modern history.”

In every Western country you can find alienated dissidents who think that most large-scale private enterprises are riddled with corruption, that the whole capitalist system is corrupt, as well as immoral, and that the Establishment ought to be radically dismantled. The educated dissidents in Syria are another flavour of the same kettle of fish, with an equally small constituency of support. The Syrian Establishment is fundamentally honest and virtuous on the whole. Those people in Syria who think they see the contrary are dissident cranks, and the outsiders who believe them are bigots.

Here’s a dissident crank, who’s a qualified lawyer in the USA, talking about the USA, dated 22 July 2011: “Never in the history of this country [USA] has there existed such widespread corruption, incompetence and weakness…. Our political leaders are spineless; petty; self-serving; and corrupted puppets of the moneyed interests that own them. The divisive bickering that passes for political dialogue is pathetically shallow…. In short, there is such widespread graft and immorality amongst those who run and control our society as to prevent any meaningful change in the self-destructive course the nation is taking.”

August 4th, 2011, 10:30 am


Aboud said:

“The Syrian Establishment is fundamentally honest and virtuous on the whole. ”

Which just goes to show how seriously we should take everything else you say, Mr “There are no tanks in Hama!”

August 4th, 2011, 10:34 am


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

@ SYAU # 87, #97: Thanks for that info and for other info you’ve posted. I ask that in future you also tell us your source for the info. If the source will be on the Net, give us the link, please.


Under the new elections law (not the parties law), “elections campaigns should not include any racial, sectarian, ethnic or tribal indications.” Thus Kurdish parties are banned under the elections law (not the parties law).

August 4th, 2011, 10:36 am


Samara said:


(deleted for personal insult. This is your second warning)

Im a menhebaki. And im proud. Menhebak ya Bashar.


August 4th, 2011, 10:40 am


Khalid Tlass said:

Why the constant recourse to religious and sectarian rhetoric on the part of regime supporters ? Is this what secularsim has taught you ? You are the ones who are badmouthing an entire sect calling it extremist. You really think religion is at the root cause of the problem ?

If that is indeed so, then if all ‘Alawis accepted Abu Bakr, ‘Omar and Othman as Khalifa al Rashida, then the problem would have been over and all Sunnis would be happy.

Its actually not so simple. And no, the protestors don’t have anything aaginst the Army. I myself come from a suppodedly “military family”. But for the opposotion, military service means serving Syria. And for us, Syria is not related to Assad. The Assad name does not relate to naything related to Syria. Those knobheads who always equate Assad name with Syria, whether in the military or outside , are pure psychophants (pun intended). And their psychophancy is costing lives.

@. Samara – Expect undercover Iranian agents who are roaming the steets of Homs and Aleppo to be lynched if they are ever caught by the people.

August 4th, 2011, 10:42 am


Aboud said:

No need to get all emotional Samara. All I asked was that you point to one post that I made, to back up your claims about me. Instead of admitting you made a mistake (or outright lied), you get as hysterical as Reem Hadad (aka Comical Sally) or the other regime trumpets on the satellite channels 🙂

Instead of having the guts to stand by your words, like so many other menhebakites, you backtrack, and whine that you were misunderstood. Man, how many times have I heard that one….

“Havent u heard of something called typos? ”

First time I saw one of the menhebaks say “Ramadan Kareen”, I generously thought it was a typo. I’m not so generous the second time round.

“Oh, thats right, your too slow. ”

Oh, that’s right, you’re too slow. I’m always curious as to the educational level of the menhebaks. What I’ve seen so far has not been very reassuring.

“Im a menhebaki. And im proud. Menhebak ya Bashar. ”

Well, sadly, even after all this time, even Hitler has his admirers. These days, Baathism has become as discredited as Nazism or Fascism. To be identified as a Baathist is to be a social outcast, a freak, as outdated and irrelevant as flying the flag of the old Soviet Union.

“Samara – Expect undercover Iranian agents who are roaming the steets of Homs and Aleppo to be lynched if they are ever caught by the people. ”

I second that. Iran should not expect their scum to be treated kindly once caught.

August 4th, 2011, 10:52 am


syau said:

Khalid Tlass,

Please refer to posts of pro revolution commenter’s and open your eyes as to who is posting sectarian comments.

‘Badmouthing an entire sect’ and exposing the actions of fundamentalist extremists is totally different. The Islamist extremists does not equal the entire Sunni Muslim sect, when people refer to the terrorists, they are referring to the radicals who are a minority, not the whole sect.

August 4th, 2011, 10:57 am


Khalid Tlass said:

Reem Haddad and Comical ‘Ali would make a pretty couple.

August 4th, 2011, 10:59 am


Khalid Tlass said:

@SYAU 118 – No its you guys who’ve been sectarian. Yoi very well know the presence of radical Islamists within the Sunni Muslim community in Syria is very nearly negligible. The AQ terrorists who have been infiltrated into Iraq were done so by the Mukhabarat. in 2007, the Mukhabarat armed and funded the fatah al Islam terrorists in Nahr al Bared in Lebanon.

So we know who encourages radical trends among the Sunnis (to speak nothing about your alliance with extremists such as Hassan Nasrallah and Ayatullah Khamenai).

August 4th, 2011, 11:04 am


sowhat said:


the rabble mobs of Aleppo and Damascus demonstrating with their usual empty slogans in support for the butchers backed by the international mafia

nothing new

in every democratic country the people taking part in such unauthorized demos would be put into jail and get a good “hug” by the law endorsement forces

August 4th, 2011, 11:04 am


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

For non-Syrians, I offer a photo for you of a section of the Syrian Establishment. The photo was taken recently at a meeing in Damascus to honour martyrs, organized by the General Women’s Union.

A Western journalist in Damascus says: “The regime still appears to have support…. The problem [that the regime has support] runs deep, some say, with an entire generation effectively brainwashed by 40 years of Assad rule.” (ref)

As one way they’ve been “brainwashed” [{wink]}, an entire generation has grown up listening to the great Najwa Karam, who isn’t always great, but is still indisputably the greatest Levantine musician of our times. Indisputably, that is, when you don’t pay attention to a tiny minority of dissident cranks. These Najwa videos can be watched for sociology at the given seconds:

Najwa Karam, live, year 2001, Damascus football stadium, Mawal Jebel Assad (crowd roars its approval for the magic word “Assad” at time 2:27)

Najwa Karam, live, year 2010, Tartous, small venue, Mawal Jebel Assad (magic word at time 1:40)

August 4th, 2011, 11:12 am


Syria Turns Bloody: Why the West Is Wary of Intervening in Another Conflict « News Forum said:

[…] if those specific fears proved to be unfounded, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a violent component is emerging within the rebellion, and it’s a safe bet that the regime’s brutality will […]

August 4th, 2011, 11:15 am


Revlon said:

officer Malek Nou7 supervises torture of political prisnors in Homs Central prison.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
هام : عن أحداث سجن حمص المركزي

بعد أن تم نشر ماحدث في سجن حمص المركزي على وسائل الاعلام قامت القوات الأمنية بإخراج المتقلين السياسيين من الزنزانات الانفرادية واعادتهم الى القبو المخصص لهم تحت سطح الأرض، ولكن أبقت القوى الأمنية في السجن على 6 من الناشطين في الزنزانات الانفرادية وقد تم التعرف على اثنين هما : 1- صلاح ضياء الدين علوان 2- أيمن مشارقة وهم من الاسلاميين الذين تم نقلهم من سجن صيدنايا الى …سجن حمص المركزي، وهناك 4 ناشطين لم نستطع التعرف على اسمائهم
ويتعرض هؤلاء الناشطين الستة لأبشع أنواع التعذيب، وتسمع أصوات استغاثاتهم في جميع أجنحة السجن، ويشرف على التعذيب النقيب مالك نوح، وهو معروف بأنه أثار فتنة بين المسلمين والمسيحيين في منطقة القصير عام 2008، وهو يهدد المعتقلين بإعدامهم تحت التعذيب

August 4th, 2011, 11:18 am


beaware said:

Russia welcomes UN stand against foreign involvement in Syria 2011-08-04 20:49:06
MOSCOW, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — Russia welcomed a UN Security Council call to refrain from external interference in Syria’s internal strife, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“Moscow is convinced that the settlement of the situation in Syria must be conducted by the Syrians themselves without any interference from the outside and be based on the all-Syrian dialogue, which is the only way to resolve the crisis,” a statement on the ministry’s official website said.

The UN’s statement Wednesday was important backing for this approach, the ministry said.

“Russia insists on speeding up the political and social-economic reforms in Syria, announced by this country’s government, based on non-acceptance of violence, on the search for national accord and an all-inclusive political process,” the ministry said.

Moscow also welcomed the calls for an immediate end to violence and demanded all sides show maximum restraint, including ceasing the attacks on the government’s establishments.

On Wednesday, the Security Council also adopted a presidential statement on condemning the use of force against civilians in Syria.

August 4th, 2011, 11:22 am


beaware said:

Armed groups assassinate chemist in N Syria: paper
2011-08-04 16:35:38
DAMASCUS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — “Terrorist and armed” groups have assassinated a chemist in Syria’s northern province of Idlib, the private al-Watan newspaper reported Thursday.

Chemist Samir Qantari, the general director of the National Socialist Syrian party, was shot in his pharmacy at the northern town of Maart al-Numan on the outskirts of Idlib, the paper said, adding that the killing reflected the remarkable development in the “terrorist groups’ tactics and it seems like an immediate implementation of what was posted on the Facebook of the ‘list of assassinations’.”

The chemist’s name was posted on the Facebook two days ahead of his killing, al-Watan said, noting that the list included more than 100 names, most of them civilians or people working at local municipalities.

In a related development, the Syrian TV said Wednesday that ” armed terrorist” groups in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour had attacked public and private properties and stole their contents before smashing them completely.

The groups killed one law-enforcement agent and burned his body, the TV said, adding that security agents had seized a suspicious car loaded with weapons and Molotov bombs.

It added that gunmen broke into a station for the border guards near al-Furat Oil Company, kidnapped three guards and captured their weapons.

August 4th, 2011, 11:24 am


some guy in damascus said:

@ revlon
that why i bought muhajreen up, the demonstration may have been closer. yesterday i went to muhajreen to demonstrate, unfortunately the shabeeha managed to deter the gathering before we started.
today il try again

August 4th, 2011, 11:24 am


R said:

Mr Ford’s protective charm in Hama city waned after he left for Washington DC.
Coward Jr took advantage and massacred over a hundred civilians.
Hama city is now re-occupied by Asad forces.
Hama public men, women, elderly and children are enduring jr’s colective punishment.
Snipers occupy rooftops and spread their terror in the streets and inside homes.

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
وصف للأوضاع في حماه اليوم حسبما وردتنا الآن
– انقطاع تام لكل اشكال الحياة عن المدينة: بنزين – مازوت – كهرباء – ماء
– السيارات كلها متوقفة بسبب نضوب البنزين فيها وعدم وجوده في المدينة
الجرحى يملؤون المشافي بدون كهرباء
– الكثير من هؤلاء الجرحى استشهد داخل المشافي دون ان يتمكن احد من اسعافهم
…نفاذ جميع الادوية من المستشفيات والصيدليات
– غالبية واجهات المباني السكنية في حي القصور والحميدية قد تم استهدافها بالقصف المركز بطلقات مضاد طيران
– اقتحمت فرق الموت شارع الزاغة في حي الصابونية يوم امس عند صلاة المغرب اي وقت الفطور وقامت باطلاق رصاص كثيف وعشوائي على المنازل فيه
– يزيد اطلاق الرصاص والقصف العشوائي وقت الفطور بشكل خاص
– الكثير من السكان قامت قوات الغدر باحضار باصات ونقلتهم فيها الى منطقة جسر الضاهرية وانزلتهم هناك في العراء تحت الشمس
– الجيش بكامل سلاحه ودباباته وعتاده انتشر في قلعة حماه المطلة على الكثير من الاحياء
– انتشار للقناصة في اغلب المباني بحيث أنك لا يمكن أن تلتفت هنا أو هناك دون أن تشاهد

August 4th, 2011, 11:28 am


Revlon said:

124. Dear some guy in damascus, Allah yi7meek!

August 4th, 2011, 11:31 am


beaware said:

Presidential Legislative Decree on General Elections Law
(Dp-news – Sana)

DAMASCUS- His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad issued on Thursday the Legislative Decree No. 101 for the year 2011 pertaining to General Elections Law.

The law aims at improving the election process, ensuring the right of the candidates in supervising the process and maintaining the judicial supervision.

It also provides for forming a higher judicial committee for elections with its headquarters in Damascus to monitor the elections and ensure its integrity, in addition to forming judicial sub-committees in every Syrian province affiliated to the higher committee.
The Law stipulates that elections are to be held with public, secret, direct and equal voting where each Syrian voter, who completed eighteen years old, has one vote. The Law does not allow army members and policemen in service to participate in elections.

Among the missions of elections committee are to enable candidates or their agents to supervise voting process, votes counting and to listen to their remarks and objections, and so to enable media means and press to oversee voting process and votes counting.

The Law also stipulates that each governorate form an electoral circle except the Governorate of Aleppo which consists of two circles: Aleppo and Aleppo Countryside.

The People Assembly –the Parliament- consists of representatives from two sectors workers, peasants sector and the rest of the people.

The candidates for the parliament and the local administration should be a twenty-five year old literate Syrian Arab national for at least ten years, according to the Law stipulations.

Elections campaign should not include any racial, sectarian ethnic or tribal indications and candidates should not use foreign media for their election campaigns, which should be halted twenty four hours before the elections ‘ date.

The Law also regulates the counting votes, the procedures of voting, elections disruption penalties and results of votes’ announcement.

Earlier, Academic personalities stressed that the general elections law paves the way for democratic practices through open lists, respects the will of the individual and constitutes an important step on the way to change, development and reform.

In a statement to SANA, Dr. Mohammed Wasel, law professor at Damascus University, said the criteria and procedures of the implementation of this law includes that the local councils and the People’s Assembly elections must be free, honest and transparent.

For his part, Head of the National Initiative for Syrian Kurds Omar Ausi said the law provides for a new contemporary elections law and serves the efforts of the Initiative to integrate the Syrian Kurds into the political national life in Syria.

He pointed out that the law allows those who have been granted the Syrian citizenship according to the decree No. 49 to vote and run the local councils and the People’s Assembly which is a positive point.

Other academics said the law completes the pack of decrees and legislations issued in the framework of the reform program.

August 4th, 2011, 11:33 am


Why the West is Wary of Intervening in Syria said:

[…] if those specific fears proved to be unfounded, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a violent component is emerging within the rebellion, and it’s a safe bet that the regime’s brutality will […]

August 4th, 2011, 11:39 am


HRB said:

You say “so far, no evidence has surfaced to demonstrate that Syrian military have shot their fellow soldiers for refusing to carry out orders.”

Ian Pannell of the BBC has gone into Syria where he interviewed “Ahmad Suleiman”, a soldier who allegedly was stationed in Latakia. He told Pannell that “[i]f the soldiers at the front refuse to fire on the people then the soldiers behind will fire on the soldiers at the front”. Unfortunately, the article does not make it clear whether this is just what Suleiman expects to happen, whether he has heard about such shootings or whether he has seen such shootings himself, but even if it is just what he fears might happen, it still wouldn’t be a good sign.

While I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that anti-government civilians have indeed attacked military or other security forces, I also wouldn’t be surprised if evidence emerged showing that loyal soldiers have shot at soldiers refusing orders.

August 4th, 2011, 11:49 am


Aliccie said:


I was wondering when anyone would post about Hama because I was seeing tweets during the day about rumours. Apparently people couldn’t contact anyone, and there were reports of 200 deaths, tanks, damage etc. So is all electricity cut off ? What is the real situation ?

August 4th, 2011, 11:55 am


beaware said:

Syrian regime is doomed
Aug 4, 2011 18:32 Moscow Time

Interview with Georgy Mirsky,chief research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences:

The regime is doomed, it is in deep crisis, and it is very difficult to imagine that it will last for very long. Nevertheless, in a short-term probably it will be able to cope with the situation, for a while at least. It is the end of the regime, but the agony may last for a certain period. So, the only way out is to continue to prolong this bloodshed until somebody loses its nerve, it is a war of nerves.

Now, Bashar al-Assad is not a strong leader; maybe the opposition reckons that sooner or later he will back down, but nobody knows what is going to happen. As to the next United Nations resolution, it is very strongly hardening on the sanctions, but how effective will it be? For instance, now to prohibit Syrian officials from going abroad is not very serious; economic sanctions in the matter of time will bring very hard pressure on the Syrian government, but it will take time.


Syria:Devil you know is better than devil you don’t
Laaska News April 29,2011

Georgy Mirsky, Chief Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International relations:
…Of course we do not know yet the final outcome of the events in Syria. As to me, I would rather put my money on Bashar Assad.

I think he will drown the country in blood, but he will tough it out, because you know it all depends on the decisiveness and the brutality and ruthlessness of the armed forces, now you see the revolution in Syria is much alike all the other revolutions in the Arab world, it is part of one Arab revolution from the Atlantic ocean to the Persian Gulf, which by the way they call the Arab Gulf…..

August 4th, 2011, 11:56 am


Khalid Tlass said:

The spit of the lowliest beggar in the streets of Syria is 1000 times better than than the entire Assad family.

August 4th, 2011, 11:56 am


beaware said:

Moscow Warns Against Interference in Syrian Conflict
Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned against outside interference in the Syrian conflict, saying the country’s citizens should solve their problems themselves.

“The settlement in this country should be carried out by the Syrians themselves without outside interference and should be based on an all-Syria dialogue, which is the only way to resolve the conflict,” the ministry said in a statement.

Moscow’s stance was voiced after French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said earlier on Thursday that the UN Security Council may take a tougher stance on Syria if the ruling regime fails to halt its deadly crackdown on protesters.

Juppe’s comments came as Syrian troops and tanks continued their assault on the city of Hama, a center of opposition protest, and just hours after the Security Council adopted a statement condemning the “widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians by the Syrian authorities.”

Speaking to reporters in Paris, Juppe hailed the international body’s condemnation as a “turning point” but warned that the Council may “go further in its decisions” if nothing has changed in a week’s time, when it will meet to “reexamine the situation.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Security Council statement represented “the clear message of the international community” to President Bashar al-Assad.

Residents and rights campaigners say at least 140 people have been killed in the unrest in Hama. More than 1,600 civilians are believed to have been killed since protests began in March.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people rallied in several Syrian cities late on Wednesday.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

August 4th, 2011, 12:09 pm


some guy in damascus said:

i really want to know what theyre going to do with those “thank you russian nation for fidelity” banners now

August 4th, 2011, 12:11 pm


Aliccie said:

(Reuters) – Syrian troops killed at least 45 civilians in a tank assault to occupy the center of the besieged city of Hama, an activist said on Thursday, in a sharp escalation of a campaign to crush an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

Thousands of civilians were fleeing the city, a bastion of protest surrounded by a ring of steel of troops with tanks and heavy weapons.

Electricity and communications have been cut off and as many as 130 people have been killed in a four-day military assault since Assad sent troops into the city on Sunday, activists say.

Reacting to the intensifying assaults on Hama and other Syrian districts, the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of force against civilians — its first substantive response to nearly five months of unrest in Syria.

In Hama, residents said tanks had advanced into the main Orontes Square, the site of some of the biggest protests against Assad, who succeeded his father Hafez al-Assad in 2000. Snipers spread onto rooftops and into a nearby citadel. (more)

August 4th, 2011, 12:12 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

When A attack B , B has the right to respond, but out of B benevolence and superior morality, he may choose to not to respond to A,
Personal attack does not reflect intelligence, and it is not convincing,and it reflects inferiority,
There are commentors I respect,even that they have opposite idea of mine,you can not have dialogue with whom he attacks you,dialogue require mutual respect.

The regime is escalating the conflict,by sending troops with tanks, and killing hundreds of people, and arresting thousands, Hama is mistreated and that what prompted the Un to condemn Syrian regime yesterday, let that be warning,for Russia to help Syrian regime Russia has to make it very clear to Syria, this escalation is not accepted, and Bashar is making grave mistake,
You make mistake, you loose.

August 4th, 2011, 12:33 pm



he Syrian Establishment is fundamentally honest and virtuous on the whole.

While I appreciate the ego shattering lessons in democracy and crank dissent, I hate to disappoint you and burst your intellectualizing, the lawyer you are using to demonstrate crankiness is right in the sense that corruption perception index for the US fell from 7.6 in 2002 to 7.1 in 2010, achieving the lowest level in 9 years with only 2003 being slightly better than 2002. In clean Syria under Bashar, and between 2004 and 2010, it went from a superior 3.4 to a whooping 2.5 and reaching an outstanding level of 2.1 in 2009. Guess the uprising is very unfair, since Bashar was reclaiming his earlier Stellar record of 3.4 when those ingrates decided to revolt against his benign fundamentally honest rule.

Having been overwhelmed with the intellectualism of your argument, I am now forced to recognize the wisdom of regime proponents and to adopt your thinking style. Here is a practice, one could easily expand your theory and find that in “your world” corruption does not have much negative impacts on Syria because two of the key effects of corruption are to

1. Undermine democracy
2. Undermine good governance and rule of law

As none of the above exists in Syria under the Assads, therefore corruption has no impacts on Syria. I now understand why you want to keep this regime, and sorry for misunderstanding all along and for being such a crank.

I really don’t know whether our intelligence it is that you are trying to assault or is it yours……

August 4th, 2011, 12:40 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

55. Darryl said:
“Will the Arabs ever have a George Washington?”

a few countries constantly interfering in arab/muslim countries: u.s., england, france, israel.

u.s. hasnt been divided into many weak sections with outsiders appointed to kingship.

u.s. has been taken over by jewry, finance, corporations (jewry dominant in other 2). a coup d’etat by bloodsuckers. note the dying economy and dumpsters becoming “homes”.

also note the recent debt ceiling charade on how to get the elderly, poor, and disabled, weak, to subsidize billionaires and war.

August 4th, 2011, 12:46 pm


N.Z. said:

A genocide is taking place in Hama under the watchful eye of the world. Where is Nabil AlArabi ? Where are the Syrians cries, people are being slaughtered like sheep on the streets of Hama, everything moving is shot at, no electricity, the wounded are dying in the hospitals for lack of electricity, medicine and fuel.

Where is the American ambassador? He knew what was planned for Hama, he averted it then, can’t he hear their screams now!

Is the world giving this mass murderer and his savage family, time, thinking that he will subdue the Syrian Revolution?

What is happening in Syria is not an armed gang controversy, it is a genocide and people are dying on the streets of Hama indiscriminately. This tyrant is nuts. He is going berserk, he needs to be stopped, Oh people we need your help, Hamwis are being slaughtered, their only crime, they can no longer tolerate the son.

August 4th, 2011, 1:09 pm


Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships (ASSAD) said:

That’s it, I am throwing in the towel, I really thought I was a committed atheist but I have decided to join the Assad worshiping mob now and I faithfully promise to unroll a poster of the father and son and kneel down to them five times a day (I’ll have to write to 3ar3our to get him to teach me the proper way to pray, but I won’t tell him it is to my new gods, the father and son (good thing I chose an appropriate acronym too!).

But I ain’t doing this for nothing, Oh Greatest of all leaders and son of the previously Greatest Leader ever bestowed on humanity. You do have to give me something in return for worshiping you.


August 4th, 2011, 1:25 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Who the hell cares what Russia or for that matter USA thinks ? Syrians don’t need them. We will resolve this ourselves, InshaAllah. Assad has always been supported by Godless sadists like Russia.

August 4th, 2011, 1:27 pm



N.Z @143 – Don’t worry bro, Hama maybe down but not out. Hama will bounce back as it always has. Not easy to destroy it, they tried it in 1982, still 1 week ago 500,000 people came out on the streets. They think they can win by killing 500 people. Hamwis and Syrians have nothing to lose now…..Hama will bounce back InshaAllah

August 4th, 2011, 1:31 pm


Syria Turns Bloody: Why the West Is Wary of Intervening in Another Conflict said:

[…] if those specific fears proved to be unfounded, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a violent component is emerging within the rebellion, and it’s a safe bet that the regime’s brutality will […]

August 4th, 2011, 1:31 pm


mjabali said:

Mr. Off the Wall comment # 80

You said:

“I do not want to get into the sectarian fight between you and samara on one hand and shami on the other. I am not seeing much difference in the language of discourse between the three of you as it remains grounded in ethno-sectarian axioms.

I believe that your arguments for rule of law ring hollow with respect to the Assad dynasty regime. Rule of law both requires and fosters legitimacy, and the regime with Bashar at its head have forfeited any pretense to legitimacy the moment they established illegal and criminal paramilitary units to intimidate and murder their opponents and to incite sectarian hatred. That off course notwithstanding their criminal use of the Syrian Army and law enforcement agencies.

Having a zillion pro-regime chanters and supporters like Samara and others does not change that reality of regime illegitimacy. Even those ruling by majority of votes are subject to impeachment and removal when committing illegal (and in Bashar’s case: war crimes)acts. Those who do not understand that have no clue what democracy and the rule of law are all about.”

First of all, how can you see my argument and that of Mr. Shami to be the same? He calls for a straight up sectarian interpretation of things and I call for the rule of the law that equals all, so how come they are the same?

Are you sure you read my words, or understand them?

As for the Ethno-Sectarian argument that you are trying to dismiss, I say that you are running away from a very important topic that would shape things to come.

AS for the Rule of the Law, you said it “requires” and “fosters” legitimacy, and I say that the Rule of Law does not require any legitimacy because it is what gives legitimacy and legal cover. It does not foster anything because it is the essence of legitimacy.

AS for the para-military you are talking about, I say that these are in your dreams because reality says that al-Assad is no need YET to form any para-military because he has the Military and the Security Forces, which is working now with the army as we have seen.

As for inciting sectarian hatred, you need no para-military (your imaginary unit) to incite this sectarian ghoul. Sectarian hatred is around, alive and well. Look at the Sheikhs of Hatred you watch on Wisal tv and Safa tv, are they para-military? Pointing fingers at this stage is not going to lead us anywhere. It is like running around in circles. What we need now are laws to kill this sectarian hatred and prevent it from cutting Syria apart and causing more Syrian blood to be spilled and save some bodies from being cut or shot in the head with high caliber rounds.

We need cool heads and not irrational folks throwing threats and calling for more violence. WE need a bill of rights to bring about the legitimacy we all want.

August 4th, 2011, 2:21 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

Ofcourse its totally sectarisn. Why else would you target the Mosques of a particular sect. Its as bad as Saddam. And the “international community” won’t move a finger. I remember back in 1991 just after the Gulf Wae, the Iraqi Shi’a in Karbala revolted against the Saddam Ba’athist regime. Several soldiers also defected and an independent State was declared. Saddam gave Karbala the same treatment which Senior gave to Hama in 1982, at the cost of 20,000 lives. At that time, US Military was stationed on Iraqi soil just 50 miles away from Karbala. Not a finger was lifted.

But the people of Hama are not like the people of Karbala, cz they believe in the real God.

August 4th, 2011, 2:53 pm



With all its failing, lack of fairness, and screwed up one party monopoly on power, the Syrian constitution would have sufficed to address most of your concerns had it been followed by those who custom wrote it for the party and later changed it for the sake of the Assad family. It was the family and its cronies and its intelligence apparatus who suspended the constitution and only paid attention to it when they needed to change it in 5 minutes to bestow a fake legitimacy on the “reform minded” heir. The laws were there, and abusing them, shoving them on the side, and maintaining a kingdom of fear is what got us to where we are now including the mental, ethical, and intellectual deformation suffered by those who continue to support this criminal regime despite of its continuing crimes and oppression.

If you want to think that I am a follower of arour, a salafi, so that you can project an over simplified, yet erroneous predictive model on my behavior, so be it. It only makes you less aware of your surrounding than you are and reinforce your denial of facts that stare you in the face.

Lo and behold, I haven’t even finished writing and Al-Arabya is broadcasting a report on the guarantees and protections afforded by the Syrian constitutions. So far, it has been less than a minutes and three articles of the constitutions have been constantly violated by your beloved president. May be you should be watching that channel instead of regime propaganda.

No paramilitary ….. Now than one I can hardly take seriously.

Good luck, and I wish you all speedy recovery from the traumatic effects after the removal of Bashar.

August 4th, 2011, 3:12 pm


Sheila said:

Seriously people?????
Do you come from the same Syria I come from?.
Do you believe that this regime will talk to the opposition in good faith?
Where is the opposition? Either dead, in jail or outside the country fleeing death or detention.
Do you have any idea what happened in Syria in the 1980s?
Do you think that those of us who lived through the MB uprising have any trust in this regime?
My father was sitting down with Tawfiq Salha, the man responsible for the killings in Jisr Al Shughour in the 80s. Salha told my father that he announced amnesty in this unfortunate town to all those who would turn in their weapons. He assured my father that every single one of those young men who did so, was executed on the spot.
This is the regime people will talk to?
And what are you going to talk about? how to dismantle this mafia?

Yes. Anyone can see how fruitful that would be.

August 4th, 2011, 4:04 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

Russian journalist Natalia Novikova, emphasis added by me:

Having arrived in Damascus at the beginning of the uprising [four months ago], our film crew attempted to speak to several opposition members who never showed up for interview. People on the streets were throwing themselves at our small camera, furious at the injustice towards their beloved president and heaping praising on Assad’s family. We were amazed at how politicized young people were. They were trying to explain to us why this is the best regime for them and how they would not change a single thing. It is an incredibly beautiful place, Syria, despite the sheer number of portraits of Assad plastered across the magnificent walls of Damascus. We were of course not allowed to travel to the south of the country, where tensions were already high.”

August 4th, 2011, 4:29 pm


beaware said:

04/08/2011 /FRANCE 24
La contestation syrienne est-elle toujours pacifique ?

August 4th, 2011, 4:45 pm


Sheila said:

I just can not believe you made this statement:

“But the people of Hama are not like the people of Karbala, cz they believe in the real God.”.

Really????? So we humans can now decide who the real God is????

I am a Sunni Muslim and I completely resent calling anybody else from a diferent religion or sect a Kafer. A true Sunni Muslim understands that a person is solely responsible for his or her own acts. Please, let us respect each other’s beliefs. The people of Hama are exactly like the people of Karbala, but hopefully, this time around the people will prevail over tyranny.

Regarding this Samara person. I have seen trash and I have seen this. You lady do not in any way, shape or form represent the Alawii community. I have many friends who are Alawii. Some with the regime and some against it, but for sure a different class of people than you. We are trying to carry on a conversation here not a swearing competition.

August 4th, 2011, 6:09 pm



Well said Sheila. Well said.

August 4th, 2011, 6:54 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

The Syrian gov’t hasn’t been letting news reporters into Hama. But tonight (Thursday) on Syrian State TV they broadcast some new footage from Hama taken earlier today, which you can see from time 0:28 to time 0:58 at The rest of that video isn’t worth watching I say, except perhaps the cameo from 2:15 to 2:17. Addounia TV was also in Hama today with cameras and what they broadcast tonight you can see from time 3:00 to time 4:30 at What we see in these videos is limited, and relatively tame looking, although that depends on the reference for relative.

SANA 4 Aug 2011 is saying the army’s undertaking in Hama is still in progress. “The Army units are hunting members of the terrorist groups who have dominated the city [of Hama] since 50 days, after the failure of many attempts to conduct dialogue with them as a result of their stubbornness.”

Dominated the city for 50 days? That’s a big exaggeration!

August 4th, 2011, 7:43 pm


Darryl said:

142. 5 DANCING SHLOMOS said:

Dear 5 DANCING SHLOMOS, the reasons you outline should in no way contribute for not having an Arab version of George Washington. But there is something else and no one wants to discuss it.

The reason is simple, Middle Eastern culture breeds control freaks and when people are raised not to ask questions, then you get more freaky control.

August 4th, 2011, 7:50 pm


Aus4Syria said:

Dear OTW & A.S.S.A.D @ #67 & #76,

Your replies still reduce the country’s problems into an overly simple solution: the removal of the President. My proposition to you remains that the problems faced by Syria are too deep to personify in one person (or small group of persons).

The proposition you present to me is not the replacement of one regime with another, better, regime. The opposition is (somewhat) united on the goal of removal of the president, but is completely divided on what type of system is to replace it. The proposition therefore, is replacement of this regime with a power vacuum- leaving it to later to decide what type of Syria will emerge. It is this very power vacuum which will cause a civil war in a sectarian society, an outcome that no one here really wants.

I agree with you that the opposition has many good ideas, but my question to you is which opposition? There are the liberal minded pro-democracy activists, the old guard who have been fighting the system for years, the youth venting at their lack of prospects, the Islamists shouting ‘God is Great’ with every breath, the armed elements looking to control towns and exclude government control, the foreign based disaffected ‘ex-pats’ drumming up support for international intervention, and the list goes on.

I personally agree with a lot of what the liberal minded opposition is asking for. But in a power vacuum following a collapse of a regime it is those with the loftiest ideals who lose out. For comparison, refer to the middle class & socialist movements who ousted the Shah of Iran, who were very quickly sidelined by the religious authorities. Same again in Egypt, read Robert Fisk’s most recent writings about the betrayal of the revolution by the military and the MB combined.

Therefore, the only hope for the country (not the regime, not the president, not minority sects- but the whole country) is a negotiated solution where the opposition embraces the announced reforms and uses them to best advantage.

I repeat that the ball is in the court of the opposition, as reforms cannot work unless the streets are quiet. The idea that “Hama was fine without government control” is disingenuous, because it undermines the territorial integrity of the country. There can be no town outside of government control when talking about reforming that very same government.

I also understand the apprehension and fear associated with moving to the negotiating table. But can I point out that many in the opposition have already done just that, with no apparent issues. Instead of ‘de-legitimising’ them for talking with the regime, you should empower them to lead the opposition. Whilst not inspiring, the recent dialogue was a positive first step which will only get stronger when the movement moves away from the street completely and onto the negotiating table.


August 4th, 2011, 7:54 pm


Aboud said:

“The Army units are hunting members of the terrorist groups who have dominated the city [of Hama] since 50 days”

And yet not one Hamwi has come out to cheer and welcome the Besho brigades for liberating them from these “armed gangs”. You see how your narrative falls apart at the first analysis by critically thinking people, people not bought up on Syrian State TV?

Aus4Syria, I’m afraid you seem to have missed the point entirely. Who in the opposition ranks is mad enough to want a vacuum when junior steps down? The opposition has made it very clear what it wants; junior stepping down, handing power to a transitional government that will prepare the country for elections. Only *then* will people know what kind of systems Syrians want, depending on the president and people they elect.

It is simple, no need for twists and turns.

August 4th, 2011, 7:56 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

Not one Hamwi has come out to cheer and welcome the forces of civilization for liberating Hama from these “armed gangs”, because all the civilized Hamwi’s had left the city to avoid getting caught in crossfire and to avoid the hell of the armed dissident rabble. (See e.g. “Hama, the island of freedom” as it was last week, before the army moved in @ ).

August 4th, 2011, 8:02 pm


Ya Mara Ghalba said:

I’ve noticed I got my links mixed up at post #160. The first link was supposed to be to whose interesting content is from time 0:28 to 0:58. Notice the street at time 0:28 is desolate — no sign of human beings because the non-fighters all left the city. The same happened in Jisr al-Shughour two months ago. The Jisr residents are still slowly trickling back home even now, nearly two months after the events that happened between June 6 and June 12.

August 4th, 2011, 8:33 pm


Tara said:

153 khaled Tlass

I totally disagree with your statement. How do you know the “sunni god” is the real one and the people of Karbala god is not the real one? They believe in the same god you believe in and the same prophet. It surprises me when I hear statements like this. I am Sunni too from an “entrenched” Sunni family with many Sunni “cleriks or sheikhs”. Where did you get that from? And why does god matter in this? Life is life no matter to what “god” it submits to.

August 4th, 2011, 8:51 pm


Sheila said:

To # 162. Aus4Syria,
On paper, you are absolutely correct. The fall of the regime is not going to be pretty, there will be a power vacuum, and there very well might be a group hijacking the revolution. All these concerns are very real, however, the reasons why the real serious opposition is not talking to the regime are:

1- Complete lack of trust. There has been many incidents where those who met with the regime as part of the opposition were jailed or killed. Many had to leave the country because of constant molestation by the Mukhabarat.
2- The main reason why the country is where it is, is because of this regime. The opposition feels that the only way you are going to improve the situation is by removing this cancer.
3- No one in the opposition believes that this regime is willing or capable of change. This president has been in power for 11 years. Where is the change?. If anything, Syria has gone backwards since he took office. Compare Syria to China: how much did China change in the last 11 years? The answer is: a lot. There is also the inability to change, because fist thing would be to tackle corruption. Who is he going to jail? his cousins? his brother? his uncles? his brother-in-law? The moment he starts serious reform, he is in effect dismantling his government. This is not going to happen.

In conclusion, and as much as I totally agree with your assessment of the situation, it is absolutely impossible to rely on this regime to solve the problem, unless Bashar really loves this country and declares that he will step down after free elections and help keep the transition peaceful.

August 5th, 2011, 7:47 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

161. Darryl , daniel pipes, bernard lewis, thomas friedman elliot abrams.

no. not inherent in the m. e. culture any more than any other culture. imperial, unnatural impositions onto these cultures in the m.e. or so amer, central america, africa, etc bring about dictators.

the control freaks are in tel aviv and dc. so these cultures breed control freaks and violent freaks and thieving freaks and lying freaks.

any “arab g. washington” will face assassination attempts from tel aviv and dc.

h. nusrallah is a great man and they want to kill him.

August 5th, 2011, 12:18 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

168. “so these cultures breed control freaks and violent freaks and thieving freaks and lying freaks.” “these cultures” refers to israel/jewry and america.

meanwhile, back in dead end america, a culture and political system all syrians and libyans and iraqis and afgans should avoid like cancers, lying and thieving are the culture.

The Biggest Criminals Are Out of Sight Shop and Shoot America

August 5th, 2011, 12:51 pm


Ann Syla said:

Why Turkey’s Alawite Community Thinks Assad Is the Victim

August 6th, 2011, 4:38 pm


Ann Syla said:

December 13, 2006: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal US Strategy for Regime Change in Syria as Protesters Are Massacred

August 6th, 2011, 11:21 pm


ex-moslem said:

the american goverments have been fighting terror???
the opposition in syria is only another face of terrorism because it only aims to take over the government and start an islamic state that is all it is not about liberty or democracy.

August 7th, 2011, 7:55 am


Ann Syla said:

Syrian opposition admits armed insurgents are operating on fringe of uprising against Assad regime

August 7th, 2011, 10:33 pm


D-Day for Damascus? « The Ugly Truth said:

[…] In understanding what is going on in Syria, the reporting of Joshua Landis, who blogs at “Syria Comment,” is invaluable. Landis is director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he is an associate professor, currently living in Syria. While the Western media glosses over reports of violence by the protesters, Landis is in a position to report the actual facts, and he has done so: […]

August 19th, 2011, 11:02 am


article présentant une vision différente des événements | syriafrance said:

[…] In understanding what is going on in Syria, the reporting of Joshua Landis, who blogs at « Syria Comment, » is invaluable. Landis is director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he is an associate professor, currently living in Syria. While the Western media glosses over reports of violence by the protesters, Landis is in a position to report the actual facts, and he has done so: […]

August 23rd, 2011, 9:42 am


D-Day per Damasco? « Terracina Social Forum said:

[…] violenza dei manifestanti, Landis è nelle condizioni di poter riferire i fatti, e così li ha riportati: “Questa controversia è nata ad aprile durante le proteste a Banyas, quando nove soldati […]

August 23rd, 2011, 11:04 am


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