“The Hamas-Syrian Split, a Dilemma for Iran’s Palestinian Strategy,” By Mohammad Ataie

The Hamas-Syrian Split, a Dilemma for Iran’s Palestinian Strategy
By Mohammad Ataie
for Syria Comment
May 13, 2012

Since the advent of the Iranian revolution, the Palestinian issue has been at the heart of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy. For ideological and strategic reasons, supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel has been an integral part of the Islamic Republic’s identity and international approach. However, Iran’s Palestinian policy has, to a great extent, been forged under the influence of its alliance with Syria. That is why the tensions between Damascus and Hamas, brought about by the latter’s equivocal stance on Syrian crisis, have spilled over into the Palestinian movement’s relationship with Tehran.

Last February, on the thirty third anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Hamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza paid a visit to Tehran and met with the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khamenehi. Given the rumors and reports of tensions between Iran and Hamas over the Syrian crisis, Ismail Haniyeh’s official trip was important and timely for the Islamic Republic. The visit conveyed a clear message that, in the words of Haniyeh, Iran’s support for Palestinian issue has “remained unchanged and unconditional” and that their ties are “as strong as before”. But some remarks that Iranian officials made during Haniyeh’s visit revealed how concerned Tehran is with a changing Hamas in the wake of the “Arab Spring”.

In the meeting between Haniyeh and the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khamenehi warned him that “compromisers’ infiltration into a resistance organization would gradually weaken it”. He reminded Haniyeh that a once very popular Arafat lost his credibility when he distanced himself from resistance. Iran is obviously concerned with the recent signs of pragmatism in Hamas and reports of it reconsidering its strategy in the wake of the ascendance of its sister Islamic movements to power across the Arab world. But a graver concern for Tehran has been Hamas’ position regarding Syria. More than a year into the Syrian crisis, Hamas has refused to take sides in the conflict and has not concealed its intention to turn to new patrons in the region.

Tehran believes that Syria has fallen victim to a foreign plot. While Bashar al-Assad is carrying out reforms, Tehran says, there are foreign parties solely concerned with Assad’s alliance with the axis of resistance, that wreak havoc in Syria. This was what Iranian officials told Haniyeh in Tehran. Similar remarks were made by Ayatollah Khamenei earlier, in January, when he received the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and warned about an American plan against Syria that aims to undermine the “line of resistance”, which is a reference to the alliance of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah vis-à-vis the US and Israel.

In the past several months, the Islamic Republic has sought to convince the Hamas leadership to adopt its own reading of the Syrian crisis and at the same time cement the cracks that are appearing in Damascus-Hamas ties. Haniyeh’s visit to Iran and his statement that the movement would not abandon its long time base in Syria left an impression in Tehran and Damascus that the movement would not “stoop to pressures” and turn its back on Bashar al-Assad. However a mere two weeks after his visit, Haniyeh made unprecedented remarks in Cairo in support of the uprising in Syria which was interpreted as “Hamas’s first public break with its longtime patron”. During the Friday prayer at al-Azhar Mosque Haniyeh said “I salute all people of the Arab Spring, or Islamic winter, and I salute the Syrian people who seek freedom, democracy and reform.” This was disturbing for Iranian officials. Hossein Shikholeslam, a veteran Iranian diplomat, expressed his dismay at Haniyeh’s speech by saying that “this was not the position of those who struggle against Israel”. The former Iranian ambassador to Syria stated that “if Hamas abandons armed resistance, it will be no different from other Palestinian factions”. Again, in the latest sign of cooling in the Iranian-Hamas relationship, a member of the group’s political wing in Gaza said “Hamas will not do Iran’s bidding in any war with Israel”.

Hamas’ Syrian position is still quite nebulous as the movement’s leadership in Gaza and abroad remain divided over the Syrian crisis. But it is clear that the shadow of tensions between the movement and President Assad has already fallen over Hamas’ relationship with Tehran. For Iran, supporting Hamas is linked to its alliance with President Assad. In other words, despite the Iranian commitment to the Palestinian resistance, the Islamic Republic saw its relationship with the Palestinian as well as the Lebanese resistance from a Syrian perspective. This is well understood in the light of the three decades of Iran’s Levant policy and partnership with Syria.

Thirty three years ago, after the fall of the Shah, Yasser Arafat was the first foreign leader who arrived to revolutionary Iran. When the PLO leader, who was indeed a long time ally of many anti-Shah revolutionaries who had just risen to power in Tehran, delivered a zealous speech in front of thousands of Iranians in Tehran, the prospect of a strong Iranian-PLO axis could not have been brighter. In that speech he proclaimed “we will march to Jerusalem under a united Islamic flag”. But as developments began to unravel in Iran and Middle East, things changed between Tehran and the PLO.

From the very beginning, Hafez al-Assad carefully watched the PLO courting of Khomaini’s Iran. The B’ath regime kept a wide open eye on the extent of Iranian relations with Yasser Arafat, who was a challenge to President Assad’s initiatives both in Lebanon and on the Arab-Israeli front. Syrians were eager to make the new regime in Iran adopt its  Palestinian  vision  and  ensure  that  the  Islamic  Republic  did  not  go  too  far  with  the PLO. Initially Tehran was oblivious to Assad’s concerns on both the Lebanese and Palestinian fronts. When in late 1979, radical factions in Iran endeavored, in coordination with al-Fatah, to dispatch volunteer corps to Southern Lebanon, Syrians thwarted the initiative. From  the  perspective  of  President  Assad,  the  translation  of  an  emerging  Iranian-PLO  alliance into  creating  an  independent  axis  in  Lebanon  could  have  undermined  his  grand strategy in Lebanon which  was  contingent  on  eliminating  al-Fatah  autonomy  and  Arafat’s  state-within-a-state  in  his  backyard.

Iran learnt greatly from that early failed experience; that it could not ignore Syria’s regional weight nor Assad’s calculations in the Levant. Yet, it took a decade before Tehran and Damascus reached a modus vivendi. During the formative years of Syrian-Iranian relations throughout the 1980s, their disagreements ranged from the Palestinian issue to the Iraq-Iran war, to Hezbollah and Amal in Lebanon. In the mid 1980s, the Camp Wars and Assad’s policy to oust Arafat from Lebanon strained their bilateral relationship. The shelling of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon by pro-Syrian Amal forces shocked the Iranian leadership and led to a period of friction with Damascus and even military confrontation with the Shi’i Amal movement which fought the PLO forces in Beirut and the Southern Lebanon. Nevertheless, over time, Tehran’s line steadily converged with Assad’s “Palestinian vision” which became a factor in the deterioration of the once much hoped for Iran-Arafat partnership. Indeed, Tehran realized that without Assad’s approval, making inroads into the Levant and their goal of “exporting the Islamic revolution” would not succeed.

No doubt that Arafat’s close ties with Saddam Hussein, a nemesis of both Assad and Khomeini, and his concession to recognize Israel also widened the chasm between the PLO and the Islamic Republic. From Assad’s standpoint, Arafat’s relationship with Iraq, Jordan and Egypt was to side-step Damascus and give other Arab parties decisive influence within the PLO at Syria’s expense. When in 1985 Arafat announced his acceptance of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian peace initiative, Syria and Iran alike lambasted the PLO chief. “Disillusioned” with Yasser Arafat and his moderation toward Israel, revolutionary Iran began to acknowledge Assad’s standpoint toward the PLO leader: that they had initially been, against all the advice of Assad, too optimistic about Arafat.

Since the early 1990s, Syrian-Iranian relations have turned into an enduring and strategic partnership with considerable achievements in keeping their common adversaries in check. In the Palestinian arena, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were the fruits of the convergence and cooperation between Islamist Iran and the Ba’thist Syria. Inspired by the 1979 revolution and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas rose from the first intifada that Iran rallied strongly to it. Unlike Arafat’s PLO, Syria and Iran had a great deal in common in collaborating with Palestinian Islamists to derail grand US plans in the Middle East. Hamas emerged as the main Palestinian opponent of the Oslo accords, the US-sponsored peace process. It challenged a secular-Nationalist PLO that “betrayed Palestine” and defied Arafat’s authority who had once been the epitome of anti-Israel struggle for many Iranian revolutionaries.

The senior Assad wanted tractable leadership at the head of the PLO that would act according to his strategy in Lebanon and on the Arab-Israeli front. It was Hamas that inserted itself into his strategy and won exceptional support from Damascus. Now Hamas, reorienting itself in the wake of the “Arab Spring”, has turned into an ungrateful ally for Bashar al-Assad, who sees the movement’s leaders dealing with Arab states without consulting Syria and lauding the protests against his rule. Before the dust settles in Syria, Hamas is unlikely to shift from its equivocal position.

The movement’s cold shoulder to Damascus has posed a serious challenge to the integrity of the “axis of resistance”. Iran, for “the good of resistance”, is making every effort to prevent a break between the two key parties of the resistance camp. This is no easy position for Tehran, which has found itself locked between two pillars of its foreign policy; that of backing the Palestinian resistance and safeguarding its unique alliance with Syria.

Mohammad Ataie is an Iranian journalist and documentary film maker who writes on Iranian foreign and regional policy and on Arab affairs. He contributes to Diplomacy-e-Irani and other publications.

Comments (125)

ann said:

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood is gaining influence over anti-Assad revolt – May 12, 2012

As the Brotherhood starts distributing weapons inside the country, using donations from individual members and from Persian Gulf states including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, it is going to great lengths to ensure that they don’t fall into the hands of extremists, Drobi said. 8)


Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood is gaining influence over anti-Assad revolt

By Liz Sly, Published: May 12

ISTANBUL — After three decades of persecution that virtually eradicated its presence, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has resurrected itself to become the dominant group in the fragmented opposition movement pursuing a 14-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Exiled Brotherhood members and their supporters hold the biggest number of seats in the Syrian National Council, the main opposition umbrella group. They control its relief committee, which distributes aid and money to Syrians participating in the revolt.

The Brotherhood is also moving on its own to send funding and weapons to the rebels, who continued to skirmish Saturday with Syrian troops despite a month-old U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

The Brotherhood’s rise is stirring concerns in some neighboring countries and in the wider international community that the fall of the minority Alawite regime in Damascus would be followed by the ascent of a Sunni Islamist government, extending into a volatile region a trend set in Egypt and Tunisia. In those countries, Brotherhood-affiliated parties won the largest number of parliamentary seats in post-revolution elections.

“First, we are a really moderate Islamic movement compared to others worldwide. We are open-minded,” Drobi said. “And I personally do not believe we could dominate politics in Syria even if we wanted to. We don’t have the will, and we don’t have the means.” 8)


May 12th, 2012, 11:02 pm


ann said:

Circassians from Syria Return to Russian Homeland – 13/5/2012


A first group of 25 Circassians from Syria have arrived in the southern Russian republic of Adygea for permanent resettlement in their ancestral homeland, the head of Adygea’s committee on nationality affairs said.

“The Syrian Circassians are coming on the usual terms, the same used with all repatriates,” Asker Shkhalokhov said at the first meeting of the commission to support compatriots in Syria.

“Most of them are renting apartments. The issue of providing land for them to build homes is being examined,” he said.

The commission has asked the regional government to monitor the housing market in order to help accommodate the influx from Syria. This year Adygea, a mountainous area in Russia’s North Caucasus region, has received a quota to issue temporary residency permits to 457 immigrants.

“This is a serious, complex issue,” Adygean Prime Minister Murat Kumpilov said at the meeting.

“The republic has experience receiving and placing repatriates, but now we need coordinated action by all government bodies in order to provide the maximum assistance to our compatriots [from Syria],” he said.


May 12th, 2012, 11:29 pm


ann said:

Sanity must prevail


The happenings in Syria can be a part of a guidebook dealing with the easiest way to destroy a country brick by brick, inch by inch. With each passing day, the violence in Syria is escalating and pushing the country deeper and deeper into the chasm of uncertainty. And with no end to the rising chaos within sight, there is a degree of frustration at the failure to find ways to end the slide towards absolute disaster. Even former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan has so far not lit up the dark road to peace.

It takes two hands to clap. Or it can be said that it takes two to tango. So, it would be right to assume that a lot of time is being wasted blaming the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad for the violence. What about the role of the other side in the violence and chaos? Why is the international community not doing enough to put these troublemakers in the dock? Some countries, like Russia and China, have taken a pragmatic stand while almost the rest of the world seems to have only a one-point programme and this is to ensure the burial of the government in Damascus which has never kowtowed to the whims and fancies of the West. In fact the troublemakers in
Syria may be the puppets on a western string, dancing to a western tune.

The aims of these troublemakers may be many. One may be to destroy the well-equipped military whose personnel have a high motivation and morale. In the bargain, the Syrian state too would become ineffective and weak. That would suit the interests of the troublemakers who might be intent on becoming the regional hegemons. It’s time these mischievous elements were stopped from succeeding in their goals and destroyed. Otherwise, the region will
face grave dangers in the near future.


May 12th, 2012, 11:43 pm


ann said:

Nasrallah: Hizbullah Can Hit Every Target In Tel Aviv – May 13, 2012


Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Friday his organization is capable of striking very specific targets in Tel Aviv and in every part of occupied Palestine as well.

“For every building in Dahiyeh, several buildings will be destroyed in Tel Aviv in return. The time when we were displaced and they don’t has gone. The time when our homes were destroyed and theirs remain has gone,” Nasrallah said, adding that the time when “we will stay and they disappear has definitely come.”

Nasrallah also condemned the terrorist attacks that hit Damascus on Thursday. “It’s funny that some accused the Syrian regime of being behind the terrorist attacks. How come a security system sends suicide bombers – if it has suicide bombers – and booby-trapped cars to destroy its intelligence and security centers. It’s illogical.”


May 12th, 2012, 11:55 pm


zoo said:

Is Hamas having second thoughts about moving away from a still reliable and generous ally like Iran into the arms of Qatar and Turkey? Is the Moslem Brotherhood ideology they share, enough to ensure their reliability and generosity?

Hamas official meets Iran diplomatic, security chiefs
12 May 2012 – 19H34

AFP – Hamas foreign minister Mohammed Awad was in Tehran on Saturday for meetings with senior officials including Iran’s top diplomat and a security chief, Iranian media reported.

During his visit, which had been unannounced, Awad met with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Saeed Jalili, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, the reports said.
“Palestine belongs to the Islamic world and must be freed. Thank God, victory is near,” Jalili said during their encounter.

Awad, for his part, thanked “the Islamic Republic of Iran for its practical support” for the Palestinian cause.

“The liberation of Palestine has been promised by Allah, and we must make new initiatives and lead efforts to realise that promise,” he was quoted as saying.


May 13th, 2012, 12:05 am


ann said:

JAD where are you?!

Catch any NOVO RICH lately?

May 13th, 2012, 12:06 am


zoo said:

Salehi hopes Hollande win will boost Iran-France ties
AFP – 10 hours ago


Iran’s foreign minister hailed Francois Hollande’s election as French president, voicing hope it can boost bilateral ties, as he met visiting former French socialist premier Michel Rocard.

Ali Akbar Salehi “welcomed the victory of Francois Hollande and hopes to see a new approach taken between Tehran and Paris in all areas based on mutual respect” during their meeting in Tehran late Friday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Socialist leader Hollande, who will be inaugurated on Tuesday having defeated Nicolas Sarkozy in a run-off for president on May 6, has distanced himself from Rocard’s visit.

Rocard “is not carrying any message nor has he been vested with any mission” by the French president-elect, a member of his entourage told AFP on Saturday, adding it was a “private visit.”

“The position of Francois Hollande on the Iranian nuclear programme is known,” said the diplomat.

“Iran must comply with its international obligations and abide by the resolutions of the UN Security Council to cease nuclear activities without credible civilian purpose.”

Rocard arrived in Tehran early Saturday on an unofficial three-day visit first planned for April but postponed after the 81-year-old was hospitalised in Stockholm in late March.

His visit comes as Iran is preparing for a new round of talks with world powers in Baghdad on May 23 that will focus on the disputed nuclear drive.

May 13th, 2012, 12:18 am


ann said:

Syria Accuses US, Allies of Aiding ‘Terrorists’ on the Ground

The charge has an element of truth to it

by John Glaser, May 12, 2012


Syria accused the U.S. and its allies on Saturday of colluding with al Qaeda-linked militants to target the the government of Bashar al-Assad, as the aftermath of a string of bombings in Damascus and Aleppo by shadowy militant groups.

“Western countries and the United States, which made alliances to wage wars using the pretext of fighting terrorism, are now making alliances with the terrorists which Syria has been facing,” Information Minister Adnan Hasan Mahmoud said.

But the Syrian government’s accusations against the West do have a kernel of truth to them. The U.S. and its allies are in fact sending aid to the opposition, which even they have admitted contains elements of Islamic extremists and militant groups tied to al-Qaeda.

“This terrorist escalation using booby-trapped cars with tons of explosives to target the Syrian people … is a continuation of the bloody terrorist tactic used between armed groups and al Qaeda, along with the international Western countries that support them with weapons and money,” the Assad regime spokesman added.


May 13th, 2012, 12:45 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Killing of Mrs Fatima Alhassan in Deralzor ,She is
A teacher!! Killed by the barbaric criminals of FSA:

May 13th, 2012, 1:27 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Abu Baser Altartousi,Alqeda operative spreading his poisons in Syria’s youth…,now reportedly to be working inside Syria.Alqaeda is the engine of (Syrian Revolution ).MB ,Alqaeda,FSA and SNC
Are all united now by virtue of having the same enemy:

May 13th, 2012, 1:49 am


Ghufran said:

Those who are telling you that the Palestinians share the position of the SNC,KSA and Qatar do not know or refuse to learn. There is a disgust and outrage among most Palestinians about the blood shed in Syria and a realization,shared by me and many others,that this regime must be changed and that Bashar should not be allowed to get out of this blood bath as if it was somebody’s else problem,but equating the position of palesinian politicians with that of average Palestinians is a grave mistake and reflects a considerable amount of ignorance and arrogance. Syrians and Palestinians have the most to lose if the destruction of Syria continues,and the winners will be Israel and dirty Harirites,not Lebanese Sunnis as a whole. It is not hard to see that there is a number of non Syrians on this blog,some of whom are celebrating the decay of Syria as a state,if this madness goes on you will have no country to go to,just a collection of provinces and ghettos dominated by the likes of Assads and GCC-made dwarfs.

May 13th, 2012, 2:11 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Can any of the Islamic revolution in Syria supporters give an opinion about this guy who foiled tens of bombs planted by (revolution )operatives until he gave the ultimate price ,his life,yesterday ….he saved probably hundred of Syrians lives,
Some of them could even be opposition supporters.Can any Syrians with a head not in the sand not be proud of such a guy?
قتل أحد عناصر سلاح الهندسة السوري خلال محاولته تفكيك عبوة ناسفة كانت موضوعة على زاوية حديقة صغيرة أمام فرع حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي المطل على الحديقة العامة كبرى حدائق مدينة حلب .

وقال مصدر أمني لعربي برس إن ” الشهيد البطل المساعد أول أحمد الجاسم استشهد خلال عمله على تفكيك عبوة ناسفة زنتها 10 كغ من المواد شديدة الانفجار موضوعة في حديقة صغيرة أمام فرع حزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي مقابل الحديقة العامة “.

و أشار المصدر إلى أن الشهيد الجاسم فكك خلال الأشهر الأخيرة عشرات العبوات الناسفة و آخرها ظهر الجمعة حيث قام بتفكيك العبوات الخمس التي حاول انتحاري مجهول الهوية و الجنسية تفجيرها في حي الشعار .



May 13th, 2012, 2:15 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Alqaeda demonstrating in Sina,Egypt,in support of
Jihad in Syria!

May 13th, 2012, 2:40 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Ghawar 30 years ago diagnosed the problem…

May 13th, 2012, 2:53 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

What is wrong with saying Islamic revolution ??
Is that an insult? You don’t think this is islamic revolution ? That is ok with me but you have to respect different opinions on your board.Trying to
Pick words here is really becoming like driving on
One of Syria’s roads these days you just don’t know when a road side bomb will hit you or
Some one will stop you for no reason.

May 13th, 2012, 3:27 am


ann said:

CBS Sets Purchase Price of USD at 62.92 and 66.75 for Intervention Purposes – May 13, 2012


DAMASCUS, (SANA) – The Central Bank of Syria (CBS) set the price of USD exchange rate against the SYP at 62.92 by purchasing and at SYP 63.30 by selling.

According to the bulletin of foreign currency exchange rate issued by the CBS, the purchase price of Euro reached SYP 81.23 while the selling rate reached SYP 81.80.


May 13th, 2012, 4:13 am


ann said:

Israel to Search for Oil on the Golan Heights – 5/13/2012

Israel has decided to search for oil on the Golan Heights after 20 years of delay due to objections from Syria.


Israel has decided to search for oil on the Golan Heights after 20 years of delay due to objections from Syria.

After Israel formally took sovereignty over the strategic area in 1980, the Petroleum Act was applied to the area, allowing for the search for oil.

If Israel were to discovere oil on the Golan Heights, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad would undoubtedly launch an international crisis. The international community, including the United States, does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan, despite the absence of any communities in the area when it was under Syrian occupation.

The exploration licenses were suspended when the government of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin tried to further negotiations with Syria for a peace agreement in the 1990s. Talks reached a point that resulted in a successful massive “The People are with the Golan” campaign.

Syria has demanded sovereignty over the water-rich Golan Heights since the 1967 Six Day War. During the first term of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government in the late 1990s, Syrian condemned reports, denied by the government, that Israel intended to allow exploration for oil. The government of Ehud Olmert conducted peace negotiations four years ago through a mediator, but no results were achieved.

Assad has occasionally offered to sign a peace treaty and resume diplomatic ties with Israel in return for a total surrender of the area, used by Syria to bombard Jewish communities on the eastern side of Lake Kinneret, known as the Sea of Galilee, before 1967.


May 13th, 2012, 5:03 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Armed Terrorist Islamic militia occupying one of the Christian villages in Hama
قسطل البرج kicking out Christians from their houses stealing their belongings:
دمشق, سوريا, 10 أيار-مايو (يو بي أي) — قام مسلحون اليوم الخميس بتهجير جميع العائلات المسيحية من قرية قسطل البرج في ريف محافظة حماه وسط سورية.

وقال مصدر محلي من السكان ليونايتد برس انترناشونال إن ” مسلحين تكفيريين من المنطقة جاؤوا إلى القرية وطالبوا منا عبر التهديد إخلاء منازلنا والخروج من القرية، بما بين أيدينا”.

وأضاف المصدرالذي فضّل عدم الكشف عن اسمه، أن المسلحين “سيطروا على منازل القرية كلها ، كما احتلوا الكنيسة وحوّلوها مقراّ لهم”.



May 13th, 2012, 5:27 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

غزوة الثأر لأهل حمص
For those in doubt of Alqaeda natur of the Syrian crisis ….the 21st century halal

May 13th, 2012, 5:48 am


Tara said:

Al-Nusra Front, black jihadists or elaborate regime plot to justify it’s brutality?

12 May 2012
Profile: Syria’s Al-Nusra Front

The al-Nusra Front has said it was behind Thursday’s bomb attacks in the Syrian capital, Damascus, …

Little is known about the shadowy Sunni jihadist group, which has also claimed almost all the other bombings that have rocked the country, including those in the capital in March and April.

Al-Nusra, which means “support” in Arabic, first appeared in January in its own initially sporadic media output, which has developed considerably with regular and increasing statements claiming attacks, and several well-produced videos.

The first attack it claimed was against a military target in the north-western city of Idlib, not far from the Turkish border.  Since then, the group has said it was behind the vast majority of bombings in Syria, which are occurring with increasing frequency.

Al-Nusra’s statements and videos are issued by its media group, al-Manara al-Baida (The White Minaret), and are regularly posted to jihadist, social media and video-sharing websites. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to the group.

Its videos are often filmed in the documentary style that major jihadist groups tend to employ, and include the wills of its alleged suicide bombers, whose names all suggest they are Syrian.

The group’s leader, Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani – a name suggesting links with the south-western Golan region – has not appeared in person in any of its videos, preferring to feature only on audio tracks.

This secretive approach extends to concealing of the identities of fighters and civilians appearing in the videos.

Al-Nusra’s propaganda often appears designed to appeal to ordinary Muslims.

It emphasises purported efforts to avoid civilian casualties and has pictured group members speaking to attentive crowds in Syrian towns.

The group frames its attacks as retribution for alleged atrocities committed by government forces.

There has been online criticism of the group, including suspicions that it could be an elaborate Syrian government plot to justify its crackdown on “armed terrorist groups”.

One such argument pointed to the fact that the group sometimes used Israeli- and Russian-made weapons in its videos.

If it were such an elaborate deception, however, it appears unlikely that such details would be overlooked.

The bombings and al-Nusra’s statements have also caused many to believe the group is linked to al-Qaeda.

Evidence to support this include the fact that al-Nusra claimed in its first video that its members included Syrian jihadists who had returned from fighting on other battlefronts.

This might have been a reference to Iraq, given suspicions by Western officials during the height of the insurgency there that militants were being armed by Syria and allowed to pass through its territory.



May 13th, 2012, 8:11 am


ann said:

Opposition Leader Blames Foreign Hands for Deadly Blasts in Syria – 2012-05-13


“We are completely aware that there are many hands at work to destabilize Syria and spoil Annan’s plan in a bid to push Syria towards an unknown fate,” Secretary of Syria’s National Coordinating Body (Tansiq) Raja Nasser, whose party is the biggest among Syrian opposition groups and parties, told FNA on Sunday.

He underlined the opposition of Tansiq group to terrorist activities, and said, “We have selected the UN plan led by Kofi Annan and we hope that all the six goals of the plan would be fully materialized so that Syria would lie on the path of security and stability through an active and fruitful national dialogue.”

Nasser also rejected Qatar’s plan for a military attack on Syria, and said such solutions will yield no good results and make the crisis more complicated.


May 13th, 2012, 9:09 am


irritated said:

#15 SNK

Put it in quotes.

May 13th, 2012, 10:32 am


zoo said:

Turkey like the BBC, are shifting and following the new media trend while Ghaliun babbles

All agree on Qaeda link in Syria attack


The United States, the Syrian regime and the opposition have all pointed to al-Qaeda involvement in the twin car explosions that killed 55 people on May 10 in Damascus. However, an opposition group has blamed the Syrian regime for links to the al-Qaeda forces responsible for the blasts.
Paris-based Burhan Ghalioun, chief of the opposition Syrian National Council, said the explosions appeared to be the work of al-Qaeda forces that he said were linked to the al-Assad regime, speaking at a news conference in Tokyo.

May 13th, 2012, 10:38 am


Aldendeshe said:

AL-NUSRA Fake group…Fake Videos…Fake Name-de-gur…But who is behind it is the question. If the regime will release survailance videos, that are not doctored, one can absolve them somehow, not totally.

May 13th, 2012, 10:43 am


zoo said:

Villages that shelter armed gangs, the FSA and possibly infiltrated Al Qaeda operatives are targeted by the Syrian army.
Innocent civilians are paying the price.

Syria troops seize Sunni village, kill seven: activists
Reuters – 4 hrs ago

Opposition activists said the Sunni Muslim village, one of dozens that have been torched since Assad’s forces seized control of the cities of Homs and Hama, had been a flashpoint for regular demonstrations against Assad.

Its defiance had angered the inhabitants of a nearby Alawite village called al- Aziziyeh, a recruiting ground for a militia loyal to Assad known as shabbiha, which participated in a separate assault on Tamanaa on Friday, the activists said.

Tensions between the two villages had risen after militia men from al-Aziziyeh killed two youths in Tamanaa on Friday after opening fire on an anti-Assad demonstration there, local activists said.

Towns and villages in the region, which is mostly Sunni but has some Alawite areas, have also been giving shelter to Syrian Free Army rebels, who have been stepping up their guerilla attacks on the Alawite-led military.

May 13th, 2012, 10:45 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Read how revolutionist almost killed this priest!! Why? What has he done wrong?
Isn’t this WAHABISM and following KSA orders to kill the great Syrian ethnic mosaic …..
تعرض كاهن كنيسة الملاك ميخائيل للروم الكاثوليك الأب جورج لويس لاعتداء في مركز مدينة قارة” التابعة لمحافظة دمشق

وعلمت وكالة أنباء (فيدس) الفاتيكانية من مصادر محلية سورية أن “اثنين من المسلحين الملثمين دخلا منزل الكاهن وهدداه بالسلاح مطالبين إياه بمفاتيح المبنى لتفتيشه، ثم ربطاه وأمراه بتسليمهم المفاتيح، وبسبب تردده، ضربه أحدهما على رأسه بزجاجة، مما تسبب بجرح عميق بقي ينزف بغزارة، ثم ضرباه على وجهه وكسرا أحد أسنانه” حسب قولها

وأضافت الوكالة الفاتيكانية أنه “بعد أن سرق المسلحان بعض الموجودات المقدسة والكمبيوتر المحمول، حبسا الأب جورج في الحمام وكمما فمه بشريط لاصق، ثم حاولا خنقه بأنبوب”، لكن “بعد إشارة تلقياها، انسحبا وتركاه فاقد الوعي لكنه كان ما يزال على قيد الحياة”، وتابعت أنه “بعد نحو ساعتين تمكن الكاهن وهو مقيد اليديين من الاتصال بأحد أبناء رعيته وطلب المساعدة”، حيث نقله لتلقي العلاج

هذا وقد ادان الاعتداء زعماء دينيون ومدنيون من المسيحيين والمسلمين في المدينة، ومن المتوقع أن يلتقي قادة المعارضة يوم غد الأحد، رئيس الدير التابع لكنيسة الروم الكاثوليك، بهدف تجنب فتنة طائفية، على الرغم من أن وضع المسيحيين الخمسمائة في قاره لا يزال صعبا، بعد أن عاشوا دائما في وئام مع مواطنيها السنّة الذين يقترب عددهم من 25 ألف نسمة



May 13th, 2012, 10:46 am


Tara said:


If it really is a terror jihadist group, the regime should cooperate with international Qaeda experts to expose them….unless, the regime has something to fear…

Suicide bombing no matter what the target is not acceptable and should be persecuted.

May 13th, 2012, 10:48 am


fadikhaldoun said:

Moderator Note Comment was awaiting Moderation, I updated the time stamp

SC Moderator

My father has sent me a message saying high to Joshua Landis, My father name is Majed Khaldoun

May 13th, 2012, 11:21 am


Juergen said:

Terrorists now visit universities???


Aleppo institute for electrical engineering

here is a nice photoalbum of the revolution supporters in Berlin


May 13th, 2012, 11:24 am


Tara said:

Fadi Khaldoun,

Hi. Is your dad Ok? When is he coming back? Is he having a good experience? Say Hello to him from (ALL) of us.

May 13th, 2012, 11:25 am


jna said:

Panetta: ‘There Is an Al Qaeda Presence in Syria’


At a briefing at the Pentagon with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta was asked by a reporter, “Secretary Panetta, if I may, on al Qaeda in Syria, you’ve said that we don’t have any indication of al Qaeda in that — those double explosions that took place in Damascus. But what kind of assessment do you have on al Qaeda activity in Syria? Because the Syrian government confirms that al-Qaida is active in Syria. Do you have an indication to say that al Qaeda is actually active, how big it is, and is it a concern for you?”

Panetta responded by confirming the terrorist group’s presence, but provided few details.

Al Qaeda anywhere is a concern for us,” said Panetta. “And we do — we do have intelligence that indicates that there is an al Qaeda presence in Syria. But frankly, we don’t have very good intelligence as to just exactly what their activities are. And that’s the reason we can’t really indicate specifically what they are or are not doing. But they are a concern. And frankly, we need to continue to do everything we can to determine what kind of influence they are trying to exert there.”

May 13th, 2012, 11:33 am


mjabali said:

Interesting article: too bad no one wants to discuss it.

Iran and its relations to the Sunnis is at the heart of the Syrian quagmire which makes the Sunni/Shia conflict at the heart of the Syrian conflict. This Sunni/Shia hatred had affected the quest of Syrians to get rid of an authoritarian regime.

There in the Middle East today a huge problem: Sunnis/Shia relations. It is going to cause conflicts for a long time. Many Sunnis are hell bent to fight what they consider the “infidel” Shia. The Shia on the other hand do not call openly yet to fight and exterminate the Sunnis, and of course they are not weak.
Iran and the Iraqi Shia are watching the outcome of what is going on in Syria and of course they are trying to make it in their favor. Syrians are becoming pawns in this situation.

The Iraq/Iran war of the 1980’s is going to be repeated but probably Iran and Iraq are going to be on one side this time. Sunni Arab states are going to fight the Shia no matter what. The sectarian hatred is reaching unprecedented levels. Also, of course, the rich Sunnis would try and push the other Sunnis to fight the Shia the same way they did in the 1980’s. Jordan, Syria are good fertile ground for men willing to fight the infidels: of course the Royals would cast a blind eye to their ultra conservative constituents who would go and fight. This scenario is very possible and is going to happen if no one stopped this religious madness.

So, to look at Hamas and how it is joining the Sunnis in their fight against Iran one can see it as logical and expected move. Iran was friends with Hamas when no Sunni state dared to be the friend of Hamas or be associated with that Islamic group. Money is guiding the compass of loyalty here for sure.

May 13th, 2012, 11:35 am


Aldendeshe said:

I was going to wait a month before discussing this INVESTIGATION point, to see if ever one will come up. I mean, nothing, just swept under the rug, no forensics, no site documentation, no surveillance footage, no eyewitness testimonies, cleaned up the site right away. All we have is just one fake video for COR and that is it. Why the Baathist regime did not seal the area and ask for FBI and other International Criminal Investigators to come and help in forensics? Very strange indeed.

May 13th, 2012, 11:43 am


Antoine said:

33. ALDENDESHE said:

“…Why the Baathist regime did not seal the area and ask ….”

To those who argue “why would the regime bomb itself ?” , the answer is simple, the regime is NOT bombing itself, it is bombing innoccent hardworking bread-winners going about their business. A bomb detonated 150 to 200 metres away from Security compound causing only a few window panes to shatter is not called “bombing itself”. I mean anybody who looks closely can see the bombing was carried out carefully to cause as minimum damage to security building as possible.

May 13th, 2012, 11:53 am


mjabali said:


The BBC article you linked too is written by an someone who did not do their homework well.

One paragraph as an example is when the article goes:

“The group’s leader, Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani – a name suggesting links with the south-western Golan region – has not appeared in person in any of its videos, preferring to feature only on audio tracks.”

First of all, the name Jawlani means the one from al-Jawlan and not only from the south western part of it. This is a ludicrous claim. Also “Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani” appeared in a video but they blurred his image as you will see in the link below.

Jabhat al-Nusra is out in the open. They have a website and you can go and see it for yourself. They may seem shady a little because of the method and timing of their suicide attacks.

If you want to know more about the groups’ logic here is a link that had been posted on Syria Comment before for a man giving a speech in a mosque in Reef Dimashq. It is a very interesting speech. (Many said this is a Jawlani)

May 13th, 2012, 12:04 pm


Antoine said:


Another thing to take note of is the recent protests in Afrin, Reef Halab. It is a common knowledge, that this is a hardcore Kurdish town and have been PKK stronghold and logistics centre for the last 3 decades and more. Now last Friday there have been large supposedly anti-regime protests in Afrin ( the first anti-regime protests in 14 months) in which supposed PKK supporters and cadres marched openly with their little Red flags and communistic slogans. So now it is claimed that PKK is joining the protests.

Now it is common knowledge also, that PKK is still allied to the Assad regime ( like Hamas ) and actually functioning as regime’s shabbiha in al-Hasakeh and Qamishli. PKK has been one of the strongest beneficiaries of the regime after Hezbollah-Amal, Hamas, PFLP-GC and Hizb al-Daawa Iraqi.

This regime is really slippery, it is a real challenge to counter all its tricks. Can SNP come up with strong solutions to counter the regime’s slipperiness ?

May 13th, 2012, 12:05 pm


MICHEL said:

Uzair, here is the same shabbih at the damascus bombing funerals:

he’s on the left shaking hands with people who enter

May 13th, 2012, 12:17 pm


bronco said:


“So, to look at Hamas and how it is joining the Sunnis in their fight against Iran one can see it as logical and expected move.”

The conflicts in the region are much more complex as they are at least 5 protagonists:
-Moslem Brotherhood
-Moderate Sunnis
This is without taking into consideration the geopolitical and international players.

Each country in the region (and the international community) is pushing for its preferred candidates and ideology in the new Arab republics thus creating dangerous confrontations on the ground.
Each country has its own reasons to push their candidates: Security concerns, greed, ambitions, ideologies etc..

Hamas is marginally interested in these Sunni-Shia conflict as it weakens and overshadows the Palestinian cause.
They continue to rely on Iran for material support and I doubt they will ever take a stand against Iran who is their staunchest and yet the most reliable supporter.

May 13th, 2012, 12:19 pm


Antoine said:

Huge funeral for martyr in Reef Deir al-Zour (Deirezzor) –

I am worried by the increasing tribal nature of the conflict in Deir al-Zour. Since there are no minorities in that Province,Huh ???the regime has struck deals and alliances with some tribes, mostly in a numerical minority, [……]. andHuh ??? armed them to work as shabbiha against the majority tribes of the […..]. Thanks to the regime’s alliances with some tribes it has managed to hold on to Deirezzour City.

It should be noted that above mentioned tribal loyalties do not resonate with the urban educated youth of that Province.

May 13th, 2012, 12:20 pm


zoo said:

The armed opposition rejects the UN observers as ‘perjurers’


The observers arrived in Syria last month to monitor the implementation of Annan’s six-point peace plan that calls mainly for the halt of all violence by both sides of the conflict in order to pave the way for a political settlement to the 14-month unrest.

However, the opposition has shown thin patience towards the observers’ mission, as the head of the rebels fighters stated that the observers “have become perjurers.”

Some banners have also been lifted in some opposition protests, urging the observers to leave. “Your presence hurts us,” one of the banners read.
The opposition has claimed that many activists have been detained after meeting with observers, saying that the observers’ tours and their meetings with activists have to some extent helped the government to locate the whereabouts of those activists and arrested them later.

The international community has shown commitment to the Annan plan as the most suitable means to bring the Syrian crisis to a close. The Syrian government has also stressed its commitment to facilitating the observers’ mission in order to make it a success.

May 13th, 2012, 12:31 pm


zoo said:

The Saudi-Qatar moves in Lebanon.
After the failure in Syria, Qatar is attempting to introduce its Moslem Brotherhood arm in Lebanon by luring Hariri’s movement away from the Salafists.

Lebanon: Future Movement Turns to Islam


In light of recent developments in the Syrian and Lebanese political scenes, Doha and Riyadh seek to prop up the Saad Hariri’s Future Movement with a strong ally. This ally is none other than the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A few months ago, the secretary general of al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim al-Masri, flew to Qatar in an unannounced trip . According to several sources, he was greeted warmly and provided with financial and political support.

Doha does not care about the ideological differences that have caused hostility between the Wahhabi movement and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). This is the opposite of the Saudi position, which is sensitive towards the issue and takes it into special consideration.

Doha is also not satisfied with Hariri’s political performance in Lebanon. It criticizes his leadership for being unable to effectively ride the wave of the moment.

While Arab popular revolutions thrived, Hariri’s politics were of retreat and pulling back from the realities on the ground in Lebanon. In their view, Lebanon should have been the backyard of the revolution against the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Doha believes that the MB (al-Jamaa al-Islamiya) are the best choice to fill this political void in lebanon.

Following dialogue between Qatar and the Saudis, the Future Movement and al-Jamaa al-Islamiya began drafting a document of common national constants.

In the current exceptional circumstances, al-Jamaa will be the one who is expected to take charge. It will follow the Syrian mobilization and the efforts of Gulf countries, especially Saudi and Qatar, in order to support the overthrowing of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

May 13th, 2012, 12:41 pm


omen said:

32. mjabali

i wondered what iran and syria would look like today if this hadn’t happened:

The 1953 Iranian coup d’état (known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup[3]) was the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom and the United States under the name TPAJAX Project.[4]

May 13th, 2012, 1:02 pm


mjabali said:


Yes the area has more players, but, the Sunni vs Shia fight is the dominant one these days in my humble opinion.

Minorities are going to be hurt as they have been for the last hundreds of years. They are not organized and therefore i would not consider them as a player on the long run. They have been getting hit and their numbers dwindling every day. The Alawis are the only exception because they have the power now to fight and stay alive for the moment. If all minorities (including the Muslim Sunni moderates) are united: there is another story for sure.

The Middle East is polluted with religious scores to settle. No one is accepting a role of any type of communal state.

The foreign players are too many and of course none is helping end the violence.

Hamas and Iran are going have not so warm days like they did in the last ten years or so. The Sunni street is filled with the anti Iran sentiments. The Salafis and the Muslim Brothers share views about Iran and the Shia, and these days the “Muslim moderates” are joining the same attitude into starting to adopt the anti-Shia positions.

May 13th, 2012, 1:05 pm


omen said:



Aleppo industrialists getting hot under collar abt electricity price hikes. Shihabi even talks of corruption. http://bit.ly/J5acjw

May 13th, 2012, 1:09 pm


Badr said:

“the south-western Golan region” means the south-western part of Syria, and not “the south western part of al-Jawlan”.

BBC: “The group’s leader has not appeared in person in any of its videos”
MJABALI: “Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani appeared in a video but they blurred his image”
What’s the difference?

May 13th, 2012, 1:14 pm


mjabali said:


Iran today affect Syria and the area not because of what had happened in 1953, but because of what happened in 1979 when the religious establishment took over the Iranian state.

Back between 1953 and 1979 the Sunni Arabs did not dare raise any issue with the strong Iran that was the ally of Israel and the West (US and Britain). Saddam gave the Shah the respect and of course when the al-Khmumayni came so power replacing the Shah things have changes.

The Sunnis became aware of this religious revolution of 1979 that came against a royal family? Remember that up to that moment, Sunni Islam had a historical alliance with the ruler most of the time.

The 1979 Iranian Revolution changed the Middle East. The same year also witnessed the start of the war between the Assad the father and the Muslim Brothers. Madrasat al-Madfa’iyah incident happened in 1979. In this war between Hafez al-Assad and al-Ikhwan Iran became a close friend with al-Assad. Both have a common enemy: Saddam and the rest of the Sunnis.

Things changed a little now: there is no more Saddam and now Syria is becoming a very hot ground for this fight to be settled.

If Musadeq had won in 1953 and was able to take over Iran, he would have created a country probably better than most of Europe. That would have been great for the area. He would have been, if helped, spearheaded fighting religious conservatism that is taking the Middle East to hell.

May 13th, 2012, 1:23 pm


mjabali said:


There is a difference between someone you just hear his voice and an actual person you see move even if his face is blurred.

You can see the body movement and what he is wearing and so on…

From the video you can tell many things.

That man has an AK47 giving this speech in the mosque, do you think you could have seen this on voice only recorded tape?

In the video you could see what was the reaction of the people to certain calls: can you see that in a recorded audio tape?

May 13th, 2012, 1:26 pm


bronco said:


“The Sunni street is filled with the anti Iran sentiments.”

A year ago Bashar was a hero, Mobarak and Ben Ali staunch allies of the West. The streets are erratic, they change according to the manipulation of their emotions of the moment.

The main problem is that the Arab Spring has overshadowed the unifying Palestinian issue by bringing hopes for change to a better life to the street. With time, the streets will face with disappointment the empty promises of the Arab Spring and the Islamist ideologies that wouldn’t have changed the jobless rate and the poverty or even made it worse. They will turn back against their leaders who will redirect them to the Palestinian-Isreali conflict as an excuse as it has always been.
For me, it is a matter of one or two years before the streets will shift again and the Shia-Sunni antagonism may fade away… temporarily.
About the minorities, I think they can play a role of “compromise” candidates.
Sunnis and Shias could opt for a non-threatening minority ruling (Kurd, Christian, Alawite) as a last resort when they can’t ensure their own candidate in countries where the minorities have a strong presence. Lebanon is a good example and Syria was and still is.

May 13th, 2012, 1:40 pm


MICHEL said:

Michel, Please do not personalize your comments, or insult other commentators.

SC Moderator

#18 Syrian no kandahar,

this is complete bullshit, and christian mnhbbakjis are the one that hurt us the most. they are scared of muslim rule, ok, that does not mean they should support a government that is slaughtering muslims at the very moment.

the regime has killed thousands of innocent people, jailed and tortured many more, where is your disdain?

they openly admit that they would like to keep a government that butchers other people as long as it doesn’t butcher them. The problem with that self-fulfilling prophecy is that when you support a brutal regime to kill others, and it collapses like they always do, then you’ve exposed yourself to retaliation.

I’ll post this again:
Pro-Assad logic:
1. Commit acts bordering on genocide against peaceful political dissenters (the majority of them being sunnis) for the first few months of the uprising
2. As a result of #1, some jihadists enter syria to fight for the oppressed sunnis, rise of extremism and sectarianism, some people start doing terrorist acts out of desperation
3. Discredit the opposition and the revolution because of #2, legitimize Assad

Go back watching Addounia and reading syriantruth, you’re a good bashar slave.

May 13th, 2012, 1:50 pm


omen said:

the u.s. not only overthrew mosaddegh, we also betrayed our supposed ally, the shah:

Scholars who study the Iranian Revolution of 1979 have paid a lot of attention to the internal factors that precipitated revolt. Now, a new study argues that the United States secretly helped create the conditions that led to the overthrow of its ally, the Shah.


Andrew Scott Cooper’s “Showdown at Doha: The Secret Oil Deal That Helped Sink the Shah of Iran” combs through recently de-classified documents tracing a 1976 agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to lower oil prices. The behind the scenes look at the dealings helps explain Iran’s 1977 economic crisis that undercut the Shah’s power and eventually helped lead to the Iranian Revolution.


The “showdown,” Cooper says, began in 1974, as the shah made it clear to the White House that high oil prices were the price of political stability in Iran. At that, even Kissinger’s rock-solid support began to falter.

In 1975, Kissinger finally seemed to break his commitment to Tehran, saying the US would use all available means “to prevent strangulation of the industrialised world”.

One of those means was to ally with Saudi Arabia against Iran. The Saudis then defied Opec with a lower oil price and flooded the market with cheap crude.

We know, of course, what happened next. In 1974, the Watergate scandal brought Nixon down and the wall of secrecy that surrounded those previously murky oil deals collapsed. On its knees, Tehran begged a $500 million loan from the US that arrived too late; and more and more talk circulated about Ayatollah Khomeini becoming a possible successor to the shah.

May 13th, 2012, 2:32 pm


Alan said:

JAD where are you?!
Catch any NOVO RICH lately?

Jad probably wants to see how people in the SC bathroom, training to sing and enjoy listening to your own voice

May 13th, 2012, 2:58 pm


Uzair8 said:


That makes it at least 13 appearances.

I have a theory. Perhaps we’re dealing with clones? I wonder if Assad has a cloning operation based in his mountain strongholds? Maybe it’s time for Mr Annan, in his upcoming visit to syria, to pay a visit to the coastal mountain range accompanied by a team of UN monitors to uncover the Orc factory.

As in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, maybe Annan can end this tragic saga by destroying the Russian vetoed UN resolution in a coastal volcano.

May 13th, 2012, 3:00 pm


omen said:

46. mjabali said:
If Musadeq had won in 1953 and was able to take over Iran, he would have created a country probably better than most of Europe. That would have been great for the area. He would have been, if helped, spearheaded fighting religious conservatism that is taking the Middle East to hell.
1:23 pm

fundamentalist islam didn’t arrive on the scene all by itself. forces shaped the religion to grow more conservative.

enforced secularism was a product of european colonial conquest. something that dictators continued.

when islam is treated as a crime (as it was in iran,) that doesn’t shape the religion to be more moderate. there is going to be an eventual backlash.

one force shapes the other.

May 13th, 2012, 3:23 pm


Mina said:

How cute! In the new big Turkish soap success, followed by millions here in Egypt, one of the heroes, Karim, has attended passively to the gang rape of a girl, who he married and now loves “from his heart”.
A new version of the amr bil maaruf?
(unfortunately the article failed to mention this interesting detail)

May 13th, 2012, 4:04 pm


omen said:

46. mjabali said:
The 1979 Iranian Revolution changed the Middle East. The same year also witnessed the start of the war between the Assad the father and the Muslim Brothers. Madrasat al-Madfa’iyah incident happened in 1979. In this war between Hafez al-Assad and AL-Ikhwan Iran became a close friend with al-Assad. Both have a common enemy: Saddam and the rest of the Sunnis.
1:23 pm

i’m sorry, i don’t know this story. was this a precursor to the hama massacre?

May 13th, 2012, 4:15 pm


son of Damascus said:

speaking of the 50’s, this was pulled from a friends Facebook page:

هكذا كانت سوريا……..

في عام 1954 فوجئ نواب البرلمان السوري بجلوس رئيس البرلمان الدكتور ناظم القدسي على مقاعد النواب وليس على سدة الرئاسة. وقبل أن يسألوه تبريراً لذلك، فتح محفظته وأخرج جريدة (الرأي العام)، ثم توجه إلى النواب قائلاً: أيها الزملاء….. لقد وجَّهت جريدة (الرأي العام) تهمة مفادها أنني أمرت بفتح شارع يمر قرب قطعة أرض لي بهدف رفع سعرها.

وأنا منذ هذه اللحظة أضع نفسي أمامكم موضع المتهم، وأطلب تشكيل لجنة برلمانية ترافقها لجنة فنية تذهب إلى موقع الأرض وتعاين على الطبيعة صحة الاتهام. فإن ثبتت التهمة، أطلب منكم رفع الحصانة عني وتقديمي إلى المحاكمة. وبالفعل فقد تشكلت لجنة وذهبت إلى الموقع المذكور وعادت بتقرير يثبت بطلان التهمة………… فوقف الرئيس القدسي أمام البرلمان وأعلن قائلاً: “إنني أسقط حقي في إقامة دعوى على الصحفي القدير الأستاذ (أحمد عسة) رئيس تحرير جريدة (الرأي العام)، احتراماً مني لحرية الصحافة وتقديراً لاهتمامه بالمصلحة العامة”.

May 13th, 2012, 4:19 pm


Uzair8 said:

During last week I heard a BBC World service report from the Russian protests. Some activists complained that arrested male protestors were being called up for conscription as a suspected underhand tactic to deter other young men from participating in protests.

Russian and Syrian regimes. Birds of a feather flock together.

May 13th, 2012, 4:27 pm


mjabali said:

Omen Said:

“forces shaped the religion to grow more conservative.”

Actually it is the historical moment that shapes the form of Islam used. Islam is known to have both the seeds for conservatism, militancy and a more moderate attitude at the same time.

You said:
“enforced secularism was a product of european colonial conquest. something that dictators continued.”

Actually the Middle Eastern dictators did not continue with the secular tradition of the colonial powers that occupied the Middle East. Hafez al-Assad build Sunni mosques in the hundreds I think and Saddam put Allahu akbar on his flag. Sadat used to be called al-Rayis al-Mu’min (The Believer President). Qadhafi would recite long verses of Quran when he has to.

(here is a link to al-Qadhafi reciting Quran. I bet you he is way much better than the Wahabi king of Saudi Arabia or the Wahabi Prince of Qatar:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi_j3qiFKPA )

You also said:

“when islam is treated as a crime (as it was in iran,) that doesn’t shape the religion to be more moderate. there is going to be an eventual backlash.”

When did Iran treat Islam as a crime?

May 13th, 2012, 4:34 pm


mjabali said:

blue diamond MJABALI, there is nothing respectful in name calling. If you don’t wish to converse with a specific commentator, you can always just ignore them.

SC Moderator


I know that I should not answer you but what the heck I am bored today…

When the Islamist Shia took over Iran in 1979 things were different than now in the Middle East in terms of ideology and the Sunni/Shia conflict. Most of the Arabs raising hell against Iran were cowards in front of the Shah of Iran.

The rich Sunni states of the Arab world were not that rich like now. Remember they used to take almost nothing out of their oil. Iran was stronger with better ties.

Syria was not an Iran ally up to that moment, but that changed with the coming of al-Khomeni in 1979, who changed the alliances of Iran right away.

The Islamic nature of the Iranian revolution gave an example to the Sunni masses which were with that revolution while it was happening. This was translated to good relations between the Palestinians and the Iranian not like that when the Shah was around and the ally of Israel.

The whole notion of rebelling against your ruler was not around. In 1979 it became a reality for those in the Middle East.

The Sunnis were discussing it but in very limited manner and not like today. The first to come strong with the relation between the ruler and his subjects was Sayyid Qutb, but he was of no immediate influence on his contemporaries till ten years after his death when he is quoted and studied. His idea about whom to rule was simple but very uprooting for all of the regimes in the area.

Syrian Sunni ideologues came with their own interpretations and edicts about rebelling against the government or how to accept or not the rule of someone who is not ruling according to their brand of Islam. Marwan Hadid and Said Hawa are the two main guys.
Hadid’s attitude during Hama’s 1964 incidents and Hawa during the 1970’s and 1980’s are notable. Their works speak for their importance.

As for the connection between the Madfaiyah incident and that of Hama incident: I am not going to answer to your question because it is obvious as a Huh ??? dirty cheap bankrupt trick trying to change the topic of the conversation to your like. By answering your attempts to converse with me I am showing some level of respect so appreciate it ياأحمق

May 13th, 2012, 5:05 pm


Uzair8 said:

UN monitor presence.

If, in it’s battle with the revolution, the regime is working to a strategy then an extended presence of UN monitors could potentially complicate and disrupt any strategy. Wily old fox Mr Annan isn’t letting any ceasefire violations or other obstacles get in the way. The plan is to remain engaged. General Mood is also making comments that would play well in Damascus such as claiming the situation in Syria is calm*. If the regime intended to shake off the mission it wouldn’t be easy to do.

There is an alternative reading of the situation. The regime pursues the military solution for a time, up to a point, just short of provoking serious international consequences at which point it agrees to a monitor mission (AL monitors) in order to manage and reduce the international heat. Once the heat has been reduced sufficiently it once again steps up its crackdown, eventually agreeing to another monitor mission (UN monitors) to deal with the inevitable growing heat.

* http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2012/05/13/418468.htm

May 13th, 2012, 5:12 pm


omen said:

Saddam put Allahu akbar on his flag

this one i knew about. i had run across a piece that discussed the nature of saddam’s secularism. the change was opportunistically adapted late into his reign.

On 13 January 1991, the flag was modified by Flag Law No. 6 of 1991. At the instigation of Saddam Hussein, the Takbir (the words Allahu Akbar, meaning “God is Great” in Arabic) was added in green between the stars. The form of the Takbir was allegedly in Saddam Hussein’s own handwriting[citation needed]. Many[who?] interpreted the addition of the sacred Islamic text as an attempt to garner wartime support from previously outlawed religious Iraqi leaders, to stop the disrespect of the Iraqi flag in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, and to bolster the Iraqi Government’s Islamic credentials (hitherto strongly secular) in the period immediately preceding the Gulf War

May 13th, 2012, 5:47 pm


omen said:

I know that I should not answer you but what the heck I am bored today…


when did you know this?


As for the connection between the Madfaiyah incident and that of Hama incident: I am not going to answer to your question because it is obvious as aHuh ??? dirty cheap bankrupt trick trying to change the topic of the conversation toyour like. By answering your attempts to converse with me I am showing some level of respect so appreciate it.


i really don’t know what this incident is you brought up. am i supposed to pretend to know something when i don’t? i’m here because i want to learn. i was engaging you respectfully. i don’t understand you taking offense.

May 13th, 2012, 6:03 pm


zoo said:

“The opposition must understand that it is part of the problem by failing to unify and become more inclusive.”

Syria’s terrorist attacks weaken real opposition

National Editorial
May 13, 2012
The scenes of carnage on the streets of Damascus on Thursday, following two car bombings in the heart of the city, are unfortunately becoming familiar after the 14-month clampdown by the regime in which no one has been spared. But these blasts, by far the largest since protests began, signal a worsening trend that should serve as a wake-up call for the Syrian opposition.
Simple justice makes it important to determine who carried out Thursday’s murders. But regardless of who was responsible in this case, there clearly is a growing extremist wing to the anti-Assad camp that undermines the opposition and emboldens the regime. The regime draws strength from the fears of ordinary Syrians, many of whom come from the religious minorities and fear a sectarian bloodbath. President Bashar Al Assad has pushed the country to this breaking point, but that does not necessarily diminish support for him.

Many influential figures inside Syria, and across the region, view the conflict through a sectarian prism. Some religious figures have issued statements permitting indiscriminate killing in the battle against the Baathist regime; one Saudi cleric, Saleh Al Lahaidan, said it was permissible to kill one third of the Syrian population so the other two thirds could live. There are television shows, in particular one hosted by the Salafist cleric Adnan Arour, that promote a sectarian discourse.

These views do not represent the pro-democracy uprising, but the failure to condemn them will help the regime.

As the UN ceasefire plan shows negligible progress, the worsening bloodshed makes any peaceful solution more unlikely. The opposition must understand that it is part of the problem by failing to unify and become more inclusive. At the weekend, a committee in charge of restructuring the Syrian National Council said it had failed because council members had resisted the move.

The opposition has a duty to come together in one voice and distance itself from extremists. There must be an alternative to the Assads, and it cannot be terrorists.

May 13th, 2012, 7:08 pm


Halabi said:

Even the regime’s handpicked “parties” are claiming election fraud and calling for a new vote, according to this Al Ikhbaria report from Hassakeh.


One man in the report said he wished that the elections would be a step forward in the reform agenda but it turned out to be the opposite.

When the Syrian media is willing to entertain the idea of election fraud at a time when these elections were supposed to be the crowning jewel of Assad’s reform is a little puzzling. Maybe the intention was to allow for some doubt about the results and perhaps placate some candidates to show that the government is willing to address fraud and make amends.

In a few weeks the we-love-you gang will point to this and say: there are problems with elections all over the world, but only Assad is willing to deal with it in a quick and transparent manner.

Election fraud, arbitrary arrests, torture, murder, corruption – just a few elements of Assad’s eternal rule of Syria.

May 13th, 2012, 7:25 pm


zoo said:

With the advantageous Turkish law for “asylum seekers”, most Syrians refugees in Turkey will probably prefer to stay there.

Important but deficient migration policy changes

…the draft allows the government to grant “guests” or “asylum seekers” long-time residence in the country, as well as free health services and free primary and secondary education for their children. The “guests” will be offered an “International Protection Card,” valid for six months with the potential to be renewed. The “guests” will also have the right to demand legal counseling, and those willing to travel back to their country of origin will be offered financial support.

Furthermore, those “guests” or “asylum seekers” who might stay in Turkey for a long period will be assisted with a monthly allowance for personal expenses, and would be legally employable in Turkey.
These are, of course, very important improvements to Turkey’s rather rigid migration policies as regards people migrating Turkey from the south and east. Yet, will these improvements be enough, or will they create some additional problems? Most likely we will have permanent towns for “guests” along our eastern borders, while the EU will still demand that Turkey lift the reservations from the charter on refugees.

May 13th, 2012, 7:26 pm


Ziad said:

If you are blogging somewhere else, please let us know where.

May 13th, 2012, 7:31 pm


omen said:

59. mjabali

The Islamic nature of the Iranian revolution gave an example to the Sunni masses which were with that revolution while it was happening. This was translated to good relations between the Palestinians and the Iranian not like that when the Shah was around and the ally of Israel.

The whole notion of rebelling against your ruler was not around. In 1979 it became a reality for those in the Middle East.


you must mean the notion of rebelling against one of your own was not around.

certainly sunni arabs were not unfamiliar with the concept of revolution having risen up to throw out colonial rulers in iraq, libya, palestine and such.

May 13th, 2012, 7:42 pm


jna said:




A Sunni gunman, runs and holds his gun as he moves his position during clashes, in the northern port city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Sunday May 13, 2012. Gunfire broke out in the city Saturday and continued through the night primarily between a neighborhood populated by Sunni Muslims who hate Syrian President Bashar Assad and another area with many Assad backers from his Alawite sect. Lebanon’s national news agency NNA said one soldier was shot dead by a sniper in the city early Sunday. Another man was found dead on the side of a road while a third died after a shell landed in a residential neighborhood. Photo: Hussein Malla / AP

May 13th, 2012, 7:51 pm


Tara said:

Congratulation to Batta for destroying Syria.

Kofi Annan’s Syrian peace plan has been blown out of the water
Abdel Bari Atwan
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 13 May 2012 16.00 EDT

…..None of this suggests that the regime is carrying out these atrocities, as the opposition has claimed, although it is true that Syria has armed and backed extremist groups such as the Abu Nidal organisation and Hezbollah. Moreover, it is unlikely that the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the opposition, has appropriated methods that are the hallmark of jihadist, not secular, groups.

My fear is that a third element has crept into this conflict, possibly from Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, and that its agenda has nothing to do with the Arab spring or the clamour for democracy.

Any hopes that Kofi Annan’s peace initiative might succeed have been blown out of the water by the apparent arrival of an extremist group, or groups, intent on escalating the sectarian aspect of the conflict, which neither the regime nor the opposition can hope to control.

If the extremist groups manage to hasten the fall of the regime, their agenda is unlikely to end there. In post-Saddam Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaida offshoot fanned the flames of a Sunni-Shia sectarian war that was only extinguished by the US army’s “surge” and General Petraeus’s “Awakening” campaign, which overwhelmed the jihadis temporarily. But in Syria there are no US forces, no Petraeus in sight.

Whoever governs post-revolutionary Syria is unlikely to rule over a united country, but rather sectarian or ethnic pockets, engaged in ongoing battles with each other. The historical precedent here is Lebanon, which was mired in civil war from 1975 for 16 years.


May 13th, 2012, 7:55 pm


Ghufran said:

Terrorists are now sending trainees to Latakia in what seems to be a preparation for a bigger “ghazwah” . A number of small explosions,the last was in Alzira’aa ,a section of the city occupied by middle- upper class families with a large presence of alawites.
The city for the most part has been shielded from violence but it is being seen as a regime’s stronghold which will eventually make it a perfect testing field for armed rebels.

May 13th, 2012, 8:14 pm


omen said:

60. Uzair8
General Mood is also making comments that would play well in Damascus such as claiming the situation in Syria is calm*.

Largely Unseen, Syria Carries Out Arrest Campaign

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government has waged a two-pronged campaign against the opposition, critics say. His military continues to fight, while nonviolent activists are being detained in increasing numbers, according to monitoring groups.

May 13, 2012

President Bashar Assad’s regime has launched a new and sweeping arrest campaign of opposition activists and intellectuals in the past few weeks, according to Western analysts and diplomats.

The growing tally of arrests has gone largely unnoticed, overshadowed by the daily violence that threatens to jeopardize the U.N. peace plan. But in combination, both are undermining the already faint hopes of peace.

“It’s a political decapitation,” says Chris Doyle, director of the London-based Council for Arab-British Understanding. Doyle is monitoring the arrests and believes the regime aims to eliminate negotiating partners from what he calls “the rational opposition.”


unarmed peaceful protesters get rounded up while extremists get free rein (and probably a red carpet treatment.) all under general mood’s nose.

May 13th, 2012, 8:19 pm


Tara said:

#54 link

“I listened to a radio interview with an Islamic scholar who forbids watching Turkish soaps operas,” says Amira Elhamy, 29, a masters student at the American Uuniversity in Cairo. The sheikh said they allow women to compare between their husbands and characters like Mohannad, which may lead to divorce. 

Maher claims that Turkish men, as represented in soaps, are more calm, composed, romantic and compassionate than their Egyptian counterparts.”

Not fair.  Arab feminists must find a sheikh that would be also willing to put together a Fatwa forbidding watching TV series that would allow men to compare between their wives and women like Angelina Jolie which may also lead to dissatisfaction and maybe divorce.  

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  No TV for all.  People should spend there spare time….blogging?   

May 13th, 2012, 8:22 pm


Norman said:

Ghufran, Latakia is probably the best place to ignite a civil war, It is going to be ugly, we might even see ethnic cleansing, I lived in Latakia for a year and it has the same composition as Homs,

May 13th, 2012, 8:31 pm


omen said:


Whoever governs post-revolutionary Syria is unlikely to rule over a united country, but rather sectarian or ethnic pockets, engaged in ongoing battles with each other. The historical precedent here is Lebanon, which was mired in civil war from 1975 for 16 years.

i’d be wary about predictions of civil war. that argument is being used to discourage the prospect of u.s. intervention.

lebanon turned into lebanon because of the assad regime. if bashar is killed and the regime is ousted, that’ll go a long way in bringing peace. fsa battalions have said more than once that extremists wont be tolerated. i interpret that to mean they wont allow terrorists to take over.

terrorists can only hold territory where they have a base of support. or where the populace are too weak to resist them. i don’t think that is true of syria.

May 13th, 2012, 8:33 pm


Tara said:


I can’t agree more. The Syrians I know are not a good breed for terrorists to reign and dominate. I still do not know if al Qaeda has infiltrated Syria for sure. It may have… or these suicide bombings might all be elaborate regime production to legitimize it’s crackdown on the opposition.

When the regime allows American Qaeda experts to investigate crime scenes or when these suicide bombings take place in Qurdaha or where Batta lives happily with Asma, then I would.

May 13th, 2012, 8:51 pm


sheila said:

[ Moderator Note Link added:http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=148042%5D

This is part of an article written by Sonia Azzam:

من المفارقات الغريبة التي رافقت قيام الثورة السورية هي الاتهامات التي وجهت إليها ابتداء من تسميتها ( كثورة ) وانتهاء بسلوكياتها وردود أفعالها الصحيح منها والخاطئ وكأنها لم تملك كل مقومات الثورة من تهيئة للقوة الدافعة وأسباب نشوء علماً أنها كانت الأكثر امتلاكاً لمقومات الثورات عبر التاريخ. ومن المفارقة الغريبة أن يسمى انقلاباً عسكرياً ( ثورة الثامن من آذار ) ثورة يحتفى بذكرى قيامها سنوياً. وتسمى انتفاضة شعبية ضد الفساد والفقر والاستبداد ( ثورة 15 آذار ) فورة ناتجة عن تآمر كوني على سوريا بعيداً عن كل مظاهر التخلف والفساد وهلاك الطبقة الوسطى التي تمثل العمود الفقري للمجتمع. والغريب أن منتقدي سلوك الثوار يظنون أن الثورات آلات ميكانيكية لها كتالوكات تحتوي على مواصفات فنية لا يجب أن تتجاوزها, أو دستور يجب أن يتبع في ممارسة سلوكياتها,وكل ما يخالف تلك المواصفات والدساتير هو ليس ثورة, متجاهلين أن الثورة في واقع الأمر هي حالة انفعالية ليس لها أي ضابط أو قانون لدرجة أن المؤرخين يختلفون كثيراً حول ما يشوب الثورات من سلبيات.

May 13th, 2012, 9:08 pm


Ghufran said:

Tough talk during press conferences,cozy relations with Israel in reality

May 13th, 2012, 10:00 pm


irritated said:

If Annan plan fails, the Syrians will be paying the price of an improvised revolution with no leaders, no organization, no programs, no ethics that allowed foreign murderous elements to take over the country in the name of freedom.

May 13th, 2012, 10:10 pm


Ghufran said:

Both the regime and the tamed opposition that was tricked into participating in the PA “elections” are angry,the people who lost realized that they were fooled,and the regime is angry because those people dared to speak out.The new PA will be powerless and illegitimate after the attacks on the process launched by people who were until now “hopeful” that the regime wants to open a new page. I borrowed these lines that are directed at the “opposition” that had faith in the regime:
لا تعذليه فإن العذل يولعه = قد قلتِ حقا ولكن ليس يسمعه
جاوزت في لومه حدا أضر به = من حيث قدّرتِ أن اللوم ينفعه
فاستعملي الرفق في تأنيبه بدلاً =من عذله فهو مضنى القلب موجعه

May 13th, 2012, 10:14 pm


zoo said:

The take over of the SNC by the Moslem Brotherhood soon a reality?

Turmoil within the Syrian National Council
Zoi Constantine and Hugh Naylor
May 14, 2012

As the Muslim Brotherhood asserts its influence in the Syrian National Council, critics of the opposition umbrella group say it is so out of touch that it may be hindering the uprising.

BEIRUT // Since its inception nine months ago, the Syrian National Council (SNC) has been beset by internal divisions, lack of transparency and doubts about the quality of its leaders. Today, as the main umbrella group opposed to Bashar Al Assad meets in Rome, more controversy looms.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as the SNC’s most powerful group, holding the largest number of seats on the council and controlling its relief committee, which distributes money and aid to those fighting to unseat the minority Alawite-dominated government in Damascus.

That, in turn, is certain to arouse fears in some neighbouring countries that the electoral success of Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia could be matched by the triumph in Syria of yet another branch of the Brotherhood.

Whether Islamists and non-Islamists can govern a post-Assad Syria together is not the immediate problem facing the opponents of Mr Al Assad gathered in the Italian capital for a three-day meeting. Far more pressing is the problem of how to close ranks now in their fight to end the Al Assad dynasty.

“We have to change the way decisions are made between people, between the establishments of the SNC, between the components of the SNC,” George Sabra, a Christian Syrian, said in Rome, where the group will hold elections tomorrow to decide whether to replace its leader, Burhan Ghalioun.

Critics say the gulf between the opposition abroad and those fighting the regime inside Syria is too wide. They say the SNC’s top leaders should spend less time on far-flung diplomacy and more time channelling support to embattled communities back home.

A Skype conversation in February between the SNC’s 10-member executive committee and activists inside the besieged areas of Homs and Hama disintegrated into bickering over finances: the executive committee members were speaking from the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha, the Qatari capital.

Also raising questions about the SNC’s priorities was the decision to dispatch representatives to Miami to sign an agreement last week with opponents of Cuba’s communist government. That deal coincided with a four-day visit to Tokyo by Mr Ghalioun, a Paris-based academic.

Such globetrotting strikes Haitham Al Maleh as frivolous. “They have to be in one place, working 24 hours if they want to succeed,” said Mr Maleh, a veteran opposition figure who was jailed by both Mr Al Assad and his late father Hafez. He resigned from the group this year in frustration.

“We are in a revolution. People are getting killed daily.”

Others are more scathing, and fear the group may not only have lost relevance to people inside Syria but may actually be hindering the uprising.

“Until now, they have handicapped the revolution,” said Kamal Al Labwani, a prominent dissident who distanced himself from his activities in the group until “they make reforms”.

“We need one council and real leaders for our revolution.”

Tomorrow’s leadership vote could set the stage for an overhaul. Disillusionment with Mr Ghalioun has grown steadily since the SNC was founded in October.

But despite its recognition by 80 countries in April as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people, the SNC has managed only tepid support from such countries as the United States, which appears wary of the growing influence on the group of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, about whose members they know little.
Brotherhood leaders, aware of the suspicions that accompany a group that has for so long operated in the shadows, have been at pains not to alienate Syria’s liberals and minorities, who make up a third of Syria’s population and consist of Christians, Shiites, Kurds and Alawites. In March, they signed on to a declaration to work towards a post-Assad Syria that is a “civil, democratic, pluralistic, independent and free state”.

Rime Allaf, an associate fellow at the UK-based think-tank Chatham House, said the very idea of reform within the SNC when the killings continue in Syria, is deflecting focus from the main issue of ending the violence and bringing down the regime.

May 13th, 2012, 10:26 pm


Ghufran said:

The SNC has a strange mix of personalities and ideologies that only unite under the flag of toppling the regime but disagree on everything else especially on the role of religion and how to handle the sizable section of Syrians who want assurances that burning the bridge with the regime will not leave them “bridgeless”,in that sense the SNC will probably cease to exist or become a body governed by the MB.

May 13th, 2012, 10:33 pm


bronco said:

#79 Ghufran

The SNC will be severely judged by history for having contributed by their divisions, to the massacres in Syria.
As Qatar may fail to get their MB candidate elected in Egypt, they are putting all their efforts in Syria with the help of Turkey. The terrorist acts may well be their doing.

May 13th, 2012, 10:35 pm


Ghufran said:

How can the opposition participate in elections with no monitors and no credible judicial system while peaceful members of the opposition continued to be subjected to arbitrary arrests and daily threats?
Even those who believed the regime were faced with a process that is tailor made to preserve the status quo .

May 13th, 2012, 10:42 pm


zoo said:

#81 Ghufran

I agree, the SNC will soon loose the little legitimacy it ever had. That will play very well for the regime as they will appear to be a group with an islamist ideology that may not be very popular with the majority of Syrians and the international community.
Israel won’t like another Hamas at the Golan border.

May 13th, 2012, 10:44 pm


bronco said:

#83 Gufran

“How can the opposition participate in elections with no monitors and no credible judicial system while peaceful members of the opposition continued to be subjected to arbitrary arrests and daily threats?

Wasn’t similar to Iraq in its first election in 2005 when the Sunnis decide to boycott it to regret it later.

“Iraq’s largest mainstream Sunni Muslim party pulled out of the election race yesterday, saying the violence plaguing areas north and west of Baghdad made a “free and fair vote” on January 30 impossible. ”

May 13th, 2012, 10:55 pm


omen said:

85. zoo said: Israel won’t like another Hamas at the Golan border.

israel already took it over:

Israel has decided to search for oil on the Golan Heights after 20 years of delay due to objections from Syria, according to Globes, which quoted the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharanoth.


Assad has occasionally offered to sign a peace treaty and resume diplomatic ties with Israel in return for a total surrender of the area, used by Syria to bombard Jewish communities on the eastern side of Lake Kinneret, known as the Sea of Galilee, before 1967.

May 13th, 2012, 11:19 pm


omen said:

7:08 As the UN ceasefire plan shows negligible progress, the worsening bloodshed makes any peaceful solution more unlikely. The opposition must understand that it is part of the problem by failing to unify and become more inclusive. At the weekend, a committee in charge of restructuring the Syrian National Council said it had failed because council members had resisted the move.

10:35 The SNC will be severely judged by history for having contributed by their divisions, to the massacres in Syria.

if the snc is anything like libya’s ntc — then it is chock-full of regime moles.

is it any surprise that stalking horses within the organization are sabotaging any attempts at unity?

May 13th, 2012, 11:39 pm


Hans said:

The major plan for Syria is to become the next weak fragmented Somalia like country neighboring Israel.
The plan is working very well with the help of the foreigners and the outside opposition who are financed by KSA and Qatar.
For many complicated reasons the goal is not achieved as fast as it was planned, therefore mercenaries were called to kill and destroy Syria from within.
Villages are taking over by the terrorists and armed groups.
civilians and innocent people are being killed.
in spite of the atrocities of the regime and the corruption of the Syrian regime, people were living better off than the current condition.
The opposition brought only destruction and bloody streets.
The regional conflict may expand into Lebanon, which has no strong army to contain the inside conflict, the Syrian regime winning the ground in spite of all the media lies about it
SNC is failing and ailing and may be put aside.
the USA is insisting on not arming the opposition which is telling me it is a way of controlling the destiny of the opposition.
the regime is not laying down its arms, in fact the opposite is true as long as rightly Russia is fighting Alqaida in Syria the USA will never support the opposition.
it is a double flip jackpot, kill the terrorists, fight Alqaida on Syrian soil.

May 14th, 2012, 12:23 am


Juergen said:


I havent seen it by myself, but when i was in Egypt, I was told that Egypt is probably the only arab country which has an organization protecting the egyptian men from domestic violence.


Islam was and is just an accessoire to the potential rulers of the ME. You are absolutely right, secularism was inherited and seen as the only way to govern. Assad builded mosques, quran schools ( segregated by sex), the eyedoc even lifted the Niquah ban in universities. Assad and his despotic buddys throughout the region knew too well that Islam is an important tool to manipulate. To even establish an sort of national islam with choosen representatives is an other way of dealing with the matter. To think secularism means atheist is quite naive.

I remember travelling to an westafrican country after Ghadaffi was visiting it a week before. The whole city was covered with posters of him stating, the saviour of Africa, the sword of islam ect. The young streetkids had been given tshirts with his face on it. In a mosque they showed me a video of him giving a speech and i was literally shocked. He asked the crowd: In what language is the Quran written? The crowd answered in french: Arabic. He then went on: Which is the language of Allah? The crowd answered in French: Arabic. He then said: So why do you still speak French?

Tariq Ramadan said it well the other day in Berlin,” secularism is seen different in the ME than here in the west.Secularism is seen as the politics of Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak and Bashar al Assad.”

BTW its Joshuas Birthday today, Alf Mabrouk!

May 14th, 2012, 1:43 am


Antoine said:

It seems Assad is now trying anither of his carsd to further complicate the issue, namely , inciting a sectarian civil war in North Lebanon.

By all accounts, the clashes were started by the fighters in Jabal Mohsen, because 81 mm mortars fell on Bab el Tebbaneh in the middle of the night without provocation, and that started the clashes. But things are not that simple it seems, and I have it from Lebanese sources that the armed elements in Jabal Mohsen are not allied to the Syrian regime, but actually funded and financed and controlled by none other than Rifaat al Assad. That seems plausible, given the fact that the armed fighters in Jabal Mohsen ( the Arab Democratic Party with the Eid family as supremo), was established, trained, and commanded by Rifaat and his Defence Companies during the 1970s and 1980s. It is not impossible that Rifaat still has influence over armed fighters in Jabal Mohsen, and in fact they still wear the old Saraya Difaa’ uniforms. And Rifaat al Assad is sectarian to his bones.

May 14th, 2012, 6:19 am


Antoine said:


Is SNP willing to share qualitative assistance with these guys :


I should remind you that SNP is on record in calling these guys as “genocidal” and responsible for the destruction in Homs.

May 14th, 2012, 7:54 am


zoo said:

Rastan, the next Bab Amr?

23 troops killed, EU slaps new sanctions on Syria
DAMASCUS – Agence France-Presse

Fierce clashes between regime forces and armed rebels in central Syria Monday killed 23 Syrian soldiers and wounded dozens, a watchdog said, as the EU slapped fresh sanctions on the Damascus regime.

“Law and order are also breaking down in Syria, which means that we should expect the spread of radical groups,” Middle East analyst Joshua Landis writes in his blog.

Whatever their identity, the perpetrators of these attacks are “using signature Al-Qaeda tactics,” said Mathieu Guidere, a France-based analyst who specialises in the Arab and Muslim world.

He added that “simultaneous attacks are the trademark” of the network founded by Osama bin Laden

May 14th, 2012, 8:17 am


Tara said:

Truth always come out.  republican Guards officer given Al Qaeda uniforms to wear to fool the UN mission.  Now how can you defend that?


11.21am: Syria: Regular below the line contributor Brown Moses blogs about a supposed al-Qaida member pictured with UN observers who says he was in fact a member of the regular army.


This video has been posted online, showing a young man dressed in a black uniform with a al-Qaida flag armband

In the video he explains he was a member of the Republican Guard in the Syrian Army, displaying his ID, and was given the uniform to wear. Images of him wearing the uniform were then used in the Syrian media, including this article.http://www.alwatan.sy/dindex.php?idn=122646   where he’s meeting UN inspectors, described as “Armed takfiris with UN inspectors”.

He goes on to say he doesn’t know how many people were given this uniform, and he’s now defected.

Click for more..

May 14th, 2012, 8:37 am


zoo said:

In view of the absence of new defections, the logic of the FSA: Join us or face death

2 army officers gunned down by alleged “terrorists” in Syria
English.news.cn 2012-05-14

DAMASCUS, May 14 (Xinhua) — Two army officers were killed Monday by armed groups in Syria’s capital of Damascus and southern province of Daraa, state-run SANA news agency reported.

An “armed terrorist” group opened fire at Colonel Ahmed Salaman Moalla in front of his house at Jouber district in Damascus, killing him instantly, said SANA, adding that another armed group also assassinated a lieutenant colonel in Daraa and his driver.

In the suburbs of northwestern city of Idlib, an armed group assassinated a resident at Harem area, Osama Ghandour, noting that six terrorists broke into a pharmacy where the man was working, opened fire at him and fled the scene.

At least 16 senior army officers have been killed over the past months.

May 14th, 2012, 8:44 am


bronco said:

#95 Tara

I hope he gave back the uniform after he defected, or he got the uniform after he defected?
It sounds like a new “Gay Girl in Damascus” story that will fill the newspapers trying to prove that al Qaeda’s presence in Syria is an invention of a ‘diabolical’ regime.
There will soon 300 UN observers in Syria.

May 14th, 2012, 8:51 am


Tara said:

Syria clashes ‘kill 23 troops’ And more EU sanctions
AFP – 1 hr 41 mins ago

Fierce clashes between regime forces and armed rebels in central Syria Monday killed 23 Syrian soldiers and wounded dozens, a watchdog said, as the EU slapped fresh sanctions on the Damascus regime.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three troop carriers were destroyed in the clashes that began at dawn on the outskirts of Rastan, a city located in restive Homs province.
Regime forces launched an offensive on the city at the weekend but have met with sharp resistance from rebels seeking the ouster of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The Observatory said dozens had been wounded in shelling of the city by Syrian troops.
Monday’s killings come despite a month-old ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan as part of a six-point plan aimed at ending violence that has swept Syria since March last year when a popular revolt erupted against Assad’s regime.

More than 12,000 people, the majority of them civilians, have died since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, according to the watchdog, including more than 900 killed since the April 12 truce.

Syria-linked violence has also spilled across the border into Lebanon, with four people killed since Saturday during sectarian clashes in the northern port city of Tripoli, according to officials.
Fighting flared in Tripoli again on Monday leaving one person dead and nine wounded, a security official told AFP.
He said the victim died in the neighbourhood of Jabal Mohsen, populated mainly by members of Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

On the diplomatic front, European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday agreed fresh sanctions against Syria, the 15th round so far to protest the relentless repression of dissidents by Assad’s regime.
An EU statement issued at a meeting of ministers from the 27-nation bloc said they adopted “sanctions against the Syrian regime” but gave no details.
An EU diplomat confirmed however that the ministers agreed to slap an assets freeze and visa ban on two firms and three people believed to provide funding for the regime.


May 14th, 2012, 8:53 am


Shami said:

The Assyrians have proved to be the most loyal to the syrian people.
I was also surprised by the number of syrian and iraqi armenians supporting the syrian revolution.
They did not betray us ,unlike the islamophobs among the christians.

May 14th, 2012, 8:54 am


Antoine said:


Actually Assad can;t wait to kick out the UN Observers so he can resume his bombing and punding. The FSA is using the ceasefire tio get stronger and stock up on weapons, food, recruitment, training, etc. and he is agry at this.

96. Zoo said:

In view of the absence of new defections, the logic of the FSA: Join us or face death


On this page, there are links to videos showing at least 14 defections in last 72 hours. 4 special Forces soldiers defected in Khaldiyye, followed by 7 more on Saturday who defected with their BMP-2. There have been videoed defections in Idlib Ariha, Aleppo Countryside, and Deirezzor, plus the defection of a Liuetenant-Colonel in al-Qseir. You just need to follow the links.

May 14th, 2012, 8:57 am


Antoine said:

Humble and hardworking Syrian peasants in the village of Sinjar, Eastern Reef Idleb, demonstrate against the regime, mocking Agrarian Reforms of 1963 – ” Take back the land and give us back our Dignity”



May 14th, 2012, 9:10 am


zoo said:

To understand opposition’s failures, look to Syria’s east
Hassan Hassan
May 14, 2012

If the Syrian opposition’s failure to forge a truly inclusive national movement can be traced to one geographic area, then that failure shows up most clearly in Syria’s east. For it is here where the Syrian National Council has been unable to win over influential leaders. And without them, efforts to topple the regime will remain in jeopardy.
Known as Al Jazira, the eastern part of Syria consists of three provinces and makes up over 40 per cent of the country. The area shares a roughly 480-kilometre-border with Turkey in the north, and nearly the same with Iraq in the east, making it indispensable if the uprising were to evolve into a full-blown armed struggle under external protection (for arming of and providing safe havens to fighters).

Al Jazira is populated by Arab tribes and Kurds; both have historically suffered from the Baathist regime in Damascus. The area is also economically vital for the regime, as it accounts for 70 per cent of Syria’s oil and gas output and is a main source of agricultural and livestock products. If the Assad regime lost control here, it would suffer a heavy blow.

So why hasn’t Al Jazira shifted fully against the regime?
The reasons for the relative quiet can be attributed to the nature of the area and its residents but, more importantly, to the opposition’s failure to cash in on a coalescing disdain for the Assad regime.

In many ways, Syria’s east has been forgotten by all sides. An estimated 75 per cent of the region has no presence of regime forces as it mainly consists of agricultural lands and small towns or cities. Many areas had been declared “liberated”; the regime has launched assaults to reclaim areas only when it had a surplus of forces

May 14th, 2012, 9:31 am


zoo said:

Creating Syria Safe Zones Is a Dangerous Step Toward War
By Aaron David Miller May 13, 2012 6:04 PM ET

Having proposed more than my fair share of bad ideas during more than 20 years in government service, I know one when I see it. And the proposal by various media commentators and politicians to create safe zones inside Syria for refugees and rebels is one bad idea.

If President Barack Obama determines that toppling the regime of Bashar al-Assad by force is a vital U.S. national interest (though it isn’t), he should create a coalition to act quickly, decisively and effectively to do it. Otherwise, he should avoid half-baked measures, such as the safe-zones scheme, that can lead to an open-ended military commitment without accomplishing the intended results.
I’ve heard all the arguments against inaction: It’s morally wrong to let the murderous Assad regime continue killing; toppling Assad will weaken Iran grievously; Syria is more important than Libya; the longer the killing continues, the greater the chances of regional instability, even war.

They are all forceful. Watching the killing over the past year has been heartbreaking — sensing it will continue, even worse.

But let’s be very clear with ourselves. If the case for intervention is so compelling, then the U.S. should lead and develop a strategy geared to the real task: removing Assad quickly so that a political transition to something better can result. Otherwise, we should stop pretending we’re serious about quickly and dramatically changing the balance of power in favor of the rebels. In this case, we should stick to a more modest approach, building up political and economic pressures against the regime.

And if we do make Syria our priority, we have to accept the costs: To maintain the pressure against Iran’s nuclear program, we’ll need the Russians and the Chinese on board, but we won’t get them to support both our policies on Iran and Syria.

Above all, we shouldn’t delude ourselves. The creation of safe zones will lead to our full military involvement in the Syrian crisis. If we’re prepared to go in this direction, fine. But we can’t let our moral outrage push us into embracing a plan, thinking we can get rid of Assad on the cheap. We can’t.

May 14th, 2012, 9:32 am


Tara said:


Defending the indefensible?

Which begs a simple question: Why?

May 14th, 2012, 9:38 am


zoo said:

A month after ‘cease-fire,’ where does Syria stand?
By Tim Lister, CNN
updated 7:31 PM EDT, Sun May 13, 2012

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the Security Council last week that there has been a shift in the military’s tactics, according to diplomats, with a decline in the use of heavy weapons and large-scale operations. But there have been widespread arrests recently

Most Syrian protesters have little sympathy for Islamist militancy and have begun waving posters insisting there is no al Qaeda in their midst. The opposition Syrian National Council alleges the regime itself is staging such attacks to paint the resistance as terrorists and is itself in league with al Qaeda.

Bottom line: Although street protests persist, the resistance has become more militarized and is beginning to resemble the early stages of the Iraqi insurgency in 2004. And the security forces continue house-to-house raids and mass arrests, while relying less on the sort of shelling that reduced parts of Homs to rubble.

May 14th, 2012, 9:38 am


bronco said:

#102 Tara

I return the same question to you.

May 14th, 2012, 9:39 am


zoo said:

The wounded honor of the SNC: no unity until we are “recognized”.
Syria’s SNC to snub Arab-backed unity talk
ROME | Mon May 14, 2012 7:45am EDT

(Reuters) – Syria’s leading opposition group will not take part in talks sponsored by the Arab League aimed at fixing deep divisions within its ranks, a member of the group’s executive council said on Monday.

“The SNC (Syrian National Council) will not be going to the meeting in Cairo because it (the Arab League) has not invited the group as an official body but as individual members,” Ahmed Ramadan, told Reuters in Rome.

Another SNC member, Radwan Ziadeh, said the Arab League had failed to make good on a promise to involve the group – which is now meeting in Rome to try to unite its ranks and decide its leadership – in preparations for the talks.

Political jockeying within the SNC has prevented it from gaining full international endorsement. Executive members told Reuters they may choose a new president or restructure the council in a bid to garner broader support.

May 14th, 2012, 9:46 am


zoo said:

Gulf countries increasingly worried about Al Qaeeda’s new strategy of hiding behind the Arab Spring uprisings

The exportation of new violence
By Emad El Din Adeeb

Arab politicians must be concerned with what is happening now, regarding the increased activity of al-Qaeda in Yemen.

This activity is indicative of a new policy adopted by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the natural successor to Osama Bin Laden in the leadership of the organization.

Al-Zawahiri’s new vision aims to achieve 3 main objectives in the near future:

The crisis for the moderate minds in the Arab world is that we are facing the phenomenon of a violent organization such as al-Qaeda trying to ride on the back of a peaceful revolution such as the Arab Spring.

This crisis will complicate any real progress in the Arab Spring revolutions, and their paths may be hijacked towards senseless violence that could transform them into chaos.

Hence the real proponents of the Arab Spring revolutions must be aware of these new hijacking attempts, primarily led by the violence coming from Afghanistan.

May 14th, 2012, 10:13 am


zoo said:

“For us it is absolutely clear that terrorist groups are behind this — Al-Qaeda and those groups that work with Al-Qaeda”

Russia sees Al-Qaeda hand in Syria”

MOSCOW – Agence France- Presse

Russia today accused Al-Qaeda of being behind the brutal recent bombings in Syria and warned of a protracted and increasingly bloody conflict in which neither side gained the upper hand.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov painted a bleak picture of Syria’s future one month after Bashar al-Assad’s government signed up to international envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.

Gatilov said the standoff had reached a military “balance” that would be hard to break unless Western and Arab nations took a harder line with opposition groups with which they had links.

But he added that current foreign assistance to fighters required Russia not to leave its traditional ally defenceless and to continue supplying Assad’s army with certain “defensive” arms.

“It is very sad to see very powerful foreign support for the opposition — both financial and military. This foreign support only emboldens the diehard opposition, prompting them to continue their terrorist activity,” Gatilov said.

“For us it is absolutely clear that terrorist groups are behind this — Al-Qaeda and those groups that work with Al-Qaeda,” he added in reference to the deadly wave of bombings that have recently struck Syria’s biggest cities.

May 14th, 2012, 10:20 am


Tara said:



I was born into this regime and I witnessed…not from the victim side, but rather from the perpetrator side.

Not that I expect you would believe me. You never did. Yet, ironically… I always believed you.

May 14th, 2012, 10:27 am


Uzair8 said:

The following is a good opinion piece from Al Arabiya english. I, like many have suspected what the regime has been doing from the beginning with this ‘armed gang’ narrative. Unfortunately I’m not the best at translating my thoughts and articulating them order to explain to, and persuade others.

This article I’m gonna bookmark.

Violence in Syria: between theory and practice
By Abdullah Iskandar

Monday, 14 May 2012


May 14th, 2012, 12:21 pm


Uzair8 said:

The other day N.Z. on ‘the Walls’ briefly mentioned an alleged meeting between the regime and the business community followed by an arabic source if I’m correct. (?) The following opinion piece from Al Arabiya comments on the reports.

Syria: al-Assad’s businessmen have defected
By Hussein Shobokshi

Monday, 14 May 2012

Successive news reports have been leaked about the meeting that was held in the Damascus presidential palace and chaired by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in the presence of his brother-in-law and Syrian Deputy Defense Minister, Assef Shawkat, and a carefully selected group of the most prominent businessmen in Syria. This was an extremely tense and stormy meeting which represented a humiliation of the Syrian businessmen who were subject to explicit violent threats that required no interpretation, namely that either these businessmen and merchants clearly and explicitly support the regime and comprehensively refuse to support or finance the revolution or face the consequences!

Dire threats of the complete destruction of Damascus were issued. The threats included the historical and commercial district of al-Hamaidiya and the well-known Gates of Damascus, which would all be destroyed and levelled to the ground in the same manner as the Baba Amr district of Homs, and in the same manner that the famous district of Kelaniya was destroyed and witnessed horrible and bloody massacres in the 1980s.

Read more:


May 14th, 2012, 12:28 pm


bronco said:

108. #Tara

In the contrary I believe you and I always thought that you are mostly motivated by your guilt of having been on the other side and of having ignored the ‘pleas’ of the common Syrians.

There are many constructive ways to use one’s position and connections, even if they are suspicious, to do good for a country.
There is no need for a “grand revolution” to change the society. It usually ends up by putting people against each other by shaking old wounds and inciting hatred.
If only rich expats in the US and elsewhere would just use their money to help poor Syrian families to ensure education for their children or creating charities, or promoting arts and culture. Instead they all rush to send money to buy weapons to create by force a ‘instant’ society they dream of. Most of Syria problems have to do with poverty, social classes difference, joblessness, not lack of freedom.
Even in the most repressive countries, and Syria is not one of them, there are small, yet efficient ways to help change without resorting to violent confrontation.
In view of the way this ‘grand political revolution’ is going, you may soon feel even guiltier of having encouraged it instead of having concentrated in helping to tackle Syria’s immediate social problems with humility.

May 14th, 2012, 12:30 pm


irritated said:

#112 Uzair 8

The writer is a mouthpiece of Saudi Arabia.

The reality is that Damascus businessmen assets are threatened of violent destruction by the opposition like they were in Homs where many factories owned by businessmen who refused to finance the opposition were destroyed by the armed hands of the opposition.

Accusing the Syrian government of threatening to destroy Al Hamidiah is the most laughable thing I read for a long time

May 14th, 2012, 12:40 pm


Uzair8 said:

A tale of insufficient approaches

On the one hand Sheikh Yaqoubi advised the people of their shortcomings as a cause in the delay in victory.

“One year of supporting Allah does not compare to fifty years of heedlessness from Allah and failure to support his religion.”

On the other hand we have the regime thinking one year of motioning and promising ‘reforms’ is enough to calm 40 years of anger at oppression.

The regime has fallen way short. If, as encouraged by many including PM Erdogan, the regime had at the early stages offered and implemented deep reforms (shock therapy) it may have avoided the current situation.

The people are angry and are not going to be persuaded by suspected false/cosmetic promises or threats of violence. The regime knows well the anger of the people. When Sheikh Yaqoubi was twice brought in for interrogation early on in the uprising, the regime demanded from clerics and others to help calm the people.

I don’t believe the regime failed to judge the mood of the people when it offered insufficient reforms.

More likely the insufficient offers were a reflection of the regimes reluctance to concede or compromise.

May 14th, 2012, 12:55 pm


ann said:

Syria Christians in disarray – 14 May, 2012


Behind the headlines, another story is emerging. Dykstra explains, “Christians are obviously caught up not only in the general violence, but they’re also being targeted in cities like Homs where approximately 40,000 Christians have fled already. They’re being targeted by Muslim extremists.”

Most of the Christians fled because of the conflict. But many are now being driven out. Extremist Sunni Muslim groups have recently started to threaten Christian families in Homs. “What they’re saying is that the Christians supported Assad and that ‘you deserve to be killed or driven out of your homes. We don’t want you here.’ Probably only 5000 Christians remain in Homs and the surrounding areas.”

“Imagine living in Homs in an area where the so-called freedom-fighters are entering,” says an Open Doors source. “You hear gunshots and bombs exploding. You can imagine what effect this has. And then one night, the extremists knock on your door and tell you, ‘We are taking over this area, so maybe it is time for you to leave.'”

For many of the fleeing Christians, it’s a nightmare revisited. Many made the decision to leave Iraq and flee to Syria…but now that’s not a safe haven, either. More and more are considering fleeing to Lebanon.

According to the Open Doors source, even when they reach their destination, the problems don’t go away. They end up living in cramped conditions with their host family. There are no jobs and no schooling. Traumatized by their experiences, the children have difficulty sleeping.

This is the situation for an estimated 7,000 Christian families, which are approximately 35,000 persons. Adrift in a distant and unknown place, Christians are looking to Open Doors and other organizations for help. Dykstra says, “Open Doors is trying to give them relief that they need desperately. Many people have been living outside of homes in churches and Christian communities, and they’re asking for relief packets, food, and medicine.”


May 14th, 2012, 12:56 pm


ann said:

Russia defends Syria arms flow, sees no talks soon – May 14, 2012


MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia defended its weapons deliveries to Syria in the face of Western criticism on Monday, saying government forces need to defend themselves against rebels receiving arms from abroad.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Russia sees little chance of dialogue between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its adversaries any time soon, and urged the West to do more to coax the opposition into talks.

He made clear Moscow is in no rush to write off a ceasefire brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan despite persistent bloodshed, much of which he blamed on “terrorist groups” including al Qaeda.

“We do not supply any offensive weapons, we are talking only about defensive weapons,” Gatilov told journalists.

He said Russia exercises “restraint” but added that “when there is massive support of the opposition with weapons … to leave the Syrian government without the means to defend itself would also probably not be right.”

But Gatilov said that despite continuing violence “the situation has improved to a certain degree” since the arrival later in April of the first unarmed U.N. observers in a group of 300 that is to deployed in full by the end of May.

“The main thing now is to let the monitors deploy in full, and see how effectively they work,” he said.


May 14th, 2012, 1:15 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:


Yes, SNP will do so as long as the Chief Strategist is in control and on the conditions that SNP strategies and means are the one put to work only. No terrorism, no crimes, no innocent Syrians casualties, no reason for the “BATTA” to destroy the cities as this is exactly what Syria’s enemies are after, using the duckies and paid Islamic and Western / Israeli mercenaries slug it out and do the work for them. Whenever there is a lull and stalemate, the car bombs are sent to steer the streets.

Yes I know what is said before, what we called others before, and what we still calls them now as well. The only reason you don’t hear it now, is not because we have a change of heart on the name calling, it is because SC rule got enforced. That is all. But me personally and SNP proven to have given a true and accurate assessment of the situation in Syria. And as said before. There is no hope in resolving the problem in Syria one way or another without tipping the balance. SNP is that tipping weight. We waited 50 years, will wait another 5 years until all combatants and plotter are exhausted and down. No worry about Syria being leveled to the ground by BATTA-PUPPET army and paid Mercenaries bombs , nor reducing Syria’s population by 99%, will rebuild, in the aftermath, the most beautiful cities ever designed, assemble the most technologically advanced army on earth, and launch the most powerful economic program ever implemented by any nation in history. And if it took another generation to do so, we have the brains, plans and the strategies and the new generation will inherit all. But before all that put to work, there is a day of reckoning for all the misdeed, its called day of judgment, and it is coming from the “Universal Creator” *DRA*CO*S *R*eptil@!ians will not rule nor accomplish the diabolic plan for Syria or for Earth.

May 14th, 2012, 1:27 pm


omen said:


95. Tara said:

Truth always come out. republican Guards officer given Al Qaeda uniforms to wear to fool the UN mission. Now how can you defend that?


11.21am: Syria: Regular below the line contributor Brown Moses blogs about a supposed al-Qaida member pictured with UN observers who says he was in fact a member of the regular army.


This video has been posted online, showing a young man dressed in a black uniform with a al-Qaida flag armband

In the video he explains he was a member of the Republican Guard in the Syrian Army, displaying his ID, and was given the uniform to wear. Images of him wearing the uniform were then used in the Syrian media, including this article.http://www.alwatan.sy/dindex.php?idn=122646 where he’s meeting UN inspectors, described as “Armed takfiris with UN inspectors”.

He goes on to say he doesn’t know how many people were given this uniform, and he’s now defected.

8:37 am

May 14th, 2012, 7:25 pm


ann said:

Russia Warns Against Training Syrian Rebels in Kosovo – May 14, 2012


The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday urged international bodies operating in Kosovo to prevent the region from turning into a training ground for Syrian rebels.

A delegation from the Syrian opposition visited Kosovo in April to allegedly make a deal on exchanging experience in guerilla warfare against ruling authorities.

So far, the fractured Syrian opposition has been unable to form a steady front against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian ministry said in a statement that the talks covered not only the ways of organizing armed resistance against authorities but also the training of Syrian militants in Kosovo.

“There are plans to use the areas [in Kosovo] that resemble the terrain in Syria. The possibility of setting up training camps at the former bases of the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] is also being discussed,” the statement said.

“Transforming Kosovo into an international training ground for armed militants may become a serious destabilizing factor that could extend beyond the Balkans,” the document said. “We urge international bodies operating in Kosovo to take all necessary steps to prevent these plans.”


May 14th, 2012, 9:35 pm


ann said:

Syrian Christians Afraid of Possible Islamist Rule – May 14, 2012


Christians living in conflict-torn Syria are afraid that their community would fall victim of religious extremism if President Bashar al-Assad regime collapses and Islamists come to power.

“I am afraid that we will suffer bad times,” a member of Damascus’s Christian community, who identified himself as Jorge, told RIA Novosti.

A full-fledged civil war will break out in Syria if Assad’s enemies and their western supporters continue efforts to topple the president, he continued.

“If the regime falls…, Islamists will come to power,” Jorge said, adding that Islamists “wrongly believe that we support the current regime,” and for that reason they will complicate the life of Christians.

“Sunni Muslims who predominate Syria think that if President Assad’s regime representing the interests of the Alawi minority falls, they will live better. But I personally think that they are wrong. Syria is a secular state and its people, including Muslims, will not like it if the new power starts thrusting orthodox Islamic norms of moral and behavior on them,” he added.

According to Jorge’s opinion, extremist forces rather than liberals would come to power in Syria.

Another Syrian, an engineer from Homs, said on conditions of anonymity that he is sure that if Assad’s regime falls, Christians will be “expelled from the country in one day.”

Presently, the situation in Homs is quite complicated, almost all of the local Christians have moved away. Their homes have been occupied by militants and their families, and the shops have been looted. Refugees are temporarily living in other regions of the country.

Jorge said Islamists are trying to show that if the regime changes, Christians would not come under attack. “They do it to appease them [the Christians], attract them thus losing their support of the regime,” he said.

Muslim leaders put messages on social networks saying that Christians and Muslims have for centuries lived together in Syria; they also try to distance themselves from the damage that has been inflicted on Christian homes and churches in Homs.

The engineer from Homs said that government forces could have “pushed out” Islamist militants from Homs if they continued shelling the city for at least three more days. “But then they adopted [UN and League of Arab States Ambassador] Kofi Annan’s plan and gunfire was terminated. But this does not bring anything good to us. Our homes remain occupied by militants.”

He said the majority Christians do not consider emigration a possibility. “This is our homeland. Christians have been living in Syria long before the Muslims. Why should we move away?”


May 14th, 2012, 9:41 pm


ann said:

UN Finds Human Rights Violations by Syria Opposition


A UN commission has found serious human rights violations have been committed by Syria’s opposition movement, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on his Twitter microblog on Wednesday.

A UN commission has found serious human rights violations have been committed by Syria’s opposition movement, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on his Twitter microblog on Wednesday.

“The chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria acknowledged that the opposition is also responsible for serious violations,” Gatilov wrote in his microblog.

The commission, established by the Human Rights Council in September to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011 in Syria, is led by UN human rights expert Paulo Pinheiro.

Pinheiro previously warned against arming the Syrian opposition and said that “further militarization will contribute to escalation to full-fledged civil war.” He cited the Commissions second report which concluded that “the only solution is a negotiated settlement.”

May 14th, 2012, 9:46 pm


omen said:


please michel, you’re insulting syrian christians who support the revolution.

it wont help to alienate needed allies.

May 15th, 2012, 12:48 am


Barbara Tiemeier said:

Brilliantly written!

May 15th, 2012, 12:53 pm


The Iran-Syria Alliance: Sectarianism Or Realpolitik? – Analysis | Groupe Gaulliste Sceaux said:

[…] * Mohammad Ataie is an Iranian journalist and a PhD student in History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A previous post from Mohammad can be viewed here. […]

June 15th, 2015, 2:33 pm


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