The New Syrian Constitution Draft Discussed

 The New Syrian Constitution Draft has some important changes which are discussed below in the form of a debate between friends that has been copied from an email discussion.

Article 8 Removed

Article 8 was the most contested article of the 1973 constitution. It states that the Baath Party must be the leader of both society and the state.

The Parliament must include at least 50% workers and farmers, whose defining characteristics will be define.

The quota established for 50% workers and peasants in the parliament was added in a deal with the Baath Party leadership in order to get article 8 removed.

Friend 1 writes:

As I expected, the parliament, or majlis al shaab, is now the new Baath Party. Anyone who wants to run against a sitting president has to get 35 members to agree to write his name. Who can be a member of the majlis? Now the majlis al shaab has become the next God who will decide who can become a president and half by law are workers and farmers… Good stuff.”

Another friends responds:

I am surprised you are not acknowledging and celebrating these two accomplishments, and are instead nitpicking on the mechanism of how a president is nominated…. Every country has specific rules. Look at the electoral college in the US…..”

Friend 1 writes:

So Bashar thinks that no Syrian who has lived outside the country for 10 years prior to putting his name is good enough to be president? Shame. Burhan Ghalioun is out. Anyone who wants to become a President cannot have duel citizenship.

Another friends responds

As for the 10 year living in Syria condition, you need to remember how paranoid we are about foreign intervention. This paranoia is not exactly without any basis. We don’t want a Saad Hariri to be dropped from among the Syrians living in Saudi Arabia with 3 billion dollars to spend on his campaign.

Friend 1 writes:

Oh, so its OK for the Baath to drop the 3 billion? why? Because they are inside and hence more wataniyeen (nationalist)?

A friend Writes:

As for the 10 year living in Syria condition, you need to remember how paranoid we are about foreign intervention. This paranoia is not exactly without any basis. We dont want a Saad Hariri to be dropped from among the Syrians living in Saudi Arabia with 3 billion dollars to spend on his campaign.

Article 3 stays:

It is the article that states the President must be a Muslim.

A friend Writes:

I think there are big items that should be looked at, removing article 8, dropping socialism from the constitution  .. etc. This is a big country with 23 million people from different  ethnic and political background, no draft will ever satisfy all. And when I think of the hard liners who never wanted to give an inch … They had written a constitution to secure their monopoly on power….
A friend Writes:
The Baath party will be subjected to the same constraints regarding upper limits on spending like any other party.  Members of parliament will be elected by the people, there will be many independents and many members of new parties … 35 is not such an impossible requirement. It just says that you will not have 50 candidates but perhaps 3 or 4.
Friend 1 writes:
I read the new constitution twice. Bashar will effectively be the president till 2028.
A friend Writes:
He is not interested beyond 2021 and he is aware that he might not be able to govern beyond 2014. I think we all should celebrate a mile stone. Those who oppose Bashar should now work through the system to defeat him in 2014.
A friend Writes:

“your focus was on article 8 you always said they won’t remove it. They did ! You cared about the economy and how state monopoly and subsidies are destroying the country, they removed socialism from the constitution!

Friend 1 writes:
1- socialism is gone. Yes. I am happy. But names are not enough. In one article they talk about supporting both public and private sectors.
1- يقوم الاقتصاد الوطني على أساس تنمية النشاط الإقتصادي العام والخاص
– تكفل الدولة حماية المنتجين والمستهلكين وترعى التجارة والإستثمار وتمنـع الإحتكار فـي مختلف المجـالات الإقتصادية وتعمل على تطوير الطاقات البشرية وتحمي قوة العمل، بما يخدم الإقتصاد الوطني.
staying on economics, if the constitution would prevent monopolies, Cham Holding and Syriatel and all other monopolies-duopolies-oligopolies must be dismantled. They are here protecting producers and consumers (possible?). Surely by protecting local producers, you are harming consumers and vice-versa.2- Article 8 is gone. Yes, I am happy. But look at the replacement. We moved into the Mubarak model. The people supposedly choose the members of majlis al shaab. Why have the majlis al shaab pick a candidate for president? This is where the Lebanese are. We are advancing to their level. Are you happy with that?

3- لمادة الثانية والخمسون بعد المئة
لا يجوز لمن يحمل جنسية أخرى، إضافة للجنسية العربية السورية، أن يتولى مناصب رئيس الجمهورية أو نائبه أو رئيس مجلس الوزراء أو نوابه أو الوزراء أوعضوية مجلس الشعب أو عضوية المحكمة الدستورية العليا.
This means that no one with a dual citizenship can get involved in anything. Why? Am i not watani (patriotic) if i have another passport? None of the talented Syrians with dual nationalities will be able to help this country ever. On top of that:
– أن يكون مقيماً في الجمهورية العربية السورية لمدة لا تقل عن عشرة سنوات إقامة دائمة متصلة عند تقديم طلب الترشيح.
Again, the Baath has destroyed this country’s economy and sent many Syrians outside. Now, none can ever dream of becoming a president unless they stayed there. Why? We claim we are secular. Syrian Christians excluded of course from the highest office. The Islamists would be angry? So? we fight them everywhere but yield on this?

4- – يَرأس مجلس القضاء الأعلى رئيس الجمهورية، ويُبين القانون طريقة تشكيله واختصاصاته وقواعد سير العمل فيه.
The separation of executive and legislative sides is over right here. The President also picks them and they stay for 4 years while he stays for 7. He is always in control therefore.
لا يحق للمحكمة الدستورية العليا أن تنظر في دستورية القوانين التي يطرحها رئيس الجمهورية على الاستفتاء الشعبي وتنال موافقة الشعب.

5-رئيس الجمهورية غير مسؤول عن الأعمال التي يقوم بها في مباشرة مهامه إلا في حالة الخيانة العظمى


6- رئيس مجلس الوزراء ونوابه والوزراء مسؤولون مدنياً وجزائياً وفقاً للقانون.

7-يتولى رئيس الجمهورية سلطة التشريع خارج دورات انعقاد مجلس الشعب، أ


8- لا يجوز تعديل هذا الدستور قبل مرور ثمانية عشر شهراً على تاريخ نفاذه.
Once this passes, no one can change till next 18 months which means after the summer of 2014, when the current term of the president ends.

How do we know he will run again?

9- تنتهي مدة ولاية رئيس الجمهورية الحالي بانقضاء سبع سنوات ميلادية من تاريخ أدائه القسم الدستوري رئيساً للجمهورية، وله حق الترشح مجدداً لمنصب رئيس الجمهورية وتسري عليه أحكام المادة / 88 / من هذا الدستور اعتباراً من الانتخابات الرئاسية القادمة.

10- Article 88 is back to 40 years old and is where all other 4 points need to be satisfied

شترط في المرشح إلى منصب رئيس الجمهورية ما يأتي:
1- أن يكون متماً الأربعين عاماً من عمره.
2- أن يكون متمتعاً بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة، من أبوين متمتعين بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة.
3- أن يكون متمتعاً بحقوقه المدنية والسياسية، وغير محكوم بجرم شائن ولو رد إليه اعتباره.
4- أن لا يكون متزوجاً من غير سورية.
5- أن يكون مقيماً في الجمهورية العربية السورية لمدة لا تقل عن عشرة سنوات إقامة دائمة متصلة عند تقديم طلب الترشيح.

يشترط في المرشح الى منصب الجمهورية ما يأتي :
1 – ان يكون متماً الاربعين عاماً من عمره .
2 – ان يكون متمتعاً بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة من ابوين متمتعين بالجنسية العربية السورية بالولادة .
3 – ان يكون متمتعاً بحقوقه المدنية و السياسية و غير محكوم بجرم شائن و لو رد اليه اعتباره .
4 – ان لا يكون متزوجاً من غير سورية .
5 – ان يكون مقيماً في الجمهورية العربية السورية لمدة لا تقل عن عشرة سنوات اقامة دائمة متصلة عند تقديم طلب الترشيح .
المادة الخامسة و الثمانون
يكون الترشيح لمنصب رئيس الجمهورية وفق الاتي :
1 – يدعو رئيس مجلس الشعب لانتخاب رئيس الجمهورية قبل انتهاء ولاية الرئيس القائم في مدة لا تقل عن ستين يوماً و لا تزيد عن تسعين يوماً .
2 – يقدم طلب الترشيح الى المحكمة الدستورية العليا و يسجل في سجل خاص و ذلك خلال مدة عشرة ايام من تاريخ اعلان الدعوة لانتخاب الرئيس .
3 – لا يقبل طلب الترشيح الا اذا كان طالب الترشيح حاصلاً على تأييد خطي لترشيحه من خمسة و ثلاثين عضواً على الاقل من اعضاء مجلس الشعب و لا يجوز لعضو مجلس الشعب ان يمنح تأييده الا لمرشح واحدة .
4 – يتم فحص طلبات الترشيح من قبل المحكمة الدستورية العليا و يبت فيها خلال خمسة ايام تلي المدة المحددة لتسجيلها .
5 – اذا لم تتوافر الشروط المطلوبة للترشيح سوى بمرشح واحد خلال المهلة المحددة يتوجب على رئيس مجلس الشعب الدعوة لفتح باب الترشيح مجدداً وفق الشروط ذاتها .

المادة الستون
1 – يحدد بقانون نظام انتخاب أعضاء مجلس الشعب و عددهم و الشروط الواجب توفرها في المرشحين .
2 – يجب أن يكون نصف أعضاء مجلس الشعب على الأقل من العمال و الفلاحين و يبين القانون تعريف العامل و الفلاح.

مشروع الدستور الجديد يخلو من دور قيادي لحزب البعث

(دي برس) يخلو مشروع الدستور الجديد لسورية من ذكر اي دور قيادي لحزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي بحسب نص المشروع الذي نشرته وكالة الانباء الرسمية (سانا). وتذكر المادة الثامنة من مشروع الدستور ان “النظام السياسي للدولة يقوم على التفاصيل

Comments (167)

Tara said:

It is not too little too late.  It is laughable.

The White House has dismissed President Assad’s plans for a new Syrian constitution as “laugable”, Reuters reports.

“It makes a mockery of the Syrian revolution,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One as President Obama headed to Wisconsin.

“Promises of reforms have been usually followed by increase in brutality and have never been delivered upon by this regime since the beginning of peaceful demonstrations in Syria,” he said. “The Assad regime’s days are numbered.”

February 15th, 2012, 12:31 pm


norman said:

This constitution is a non starter, they should stop reinventing the wheel and adopt the American constitution and the bill of rights, it is good for all in the US , it is good for all Syrians.

February 15th, 2012, 12:33 pm


Observer said:

Here is the new constitution in pictures.
This is farce and a joke in bad taste.

February 15th, 2012, 12:42 pm


Avi Salam said:


The only laughable element is you and your likes!!! Equally laughable, is the despair that the begot-minded terrorist opposition in Syria are undergoing!!!

[NOTE from the Moderator: Please avoid personalizing debate. Personal attacks directed to other commentators are not tolerated at Syria Comment. It is your responsibility to read and abide by the Syrian Comment Rules and Regulations. This is a warning that your account may be moderated, banned, edited or deleted if you continue down this line. ]

A draft for a new constitution is anything but laughable!! Let the Syrians on the streets vote on it, and then enrich us with your intellectual comments, TARA, not silly ones off of CNN.

February 15th, 2012, 1:08 pm


Tara said:

Avi Salam

Wasn’t you who once called me kabibti Tayoura? …Go play somewhere else.

February 15th, 2012, 1:31 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

رئيس الجمهورية غير مسؤول عن الأعمال التي يقوم بها في مباشرة مهامه إلا في حالة الخيانة العظمى

This is unacceptable and must be deleted, NO one is above the law.
Also the president should not be elected more than five years, renewable once.
Now in this constitution,the minimum age is 40, not 34.
there must be a law which states that the presidency will never be inheritable.

Very important
comment #4 is clearly shows personal insult.

February 15th, 2012, 1:33 pm


Tara said:

I only like to talk to men. I don’t like to talk to boys…

There is a big difference in what makes a man and what makes a boy.

February 15th, 2012, 1:40 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Avi is a name in Hebrew. I wonder if this tasteless comedian Avi is Israeli.

February 15th, 2012, 1:49 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Syrian Nationalist Party
Metaz K M Aldendeshe
Chief Strategist

We urge every Syrian that cares about the future of Syria to vote down and stomp with feet this Neo-Baathist-Post Arabism Manifesto, deceptively called Syrian Constitution. The newest rag of paper the Baath Arab Socialist Party imposes by deception on the Syrian people.

Syria needs real leader and real laws, not puppets and constitution that puppet the Syrian State to Arabs and Islam. Syria is for Syrians and it is a one Syrian Nation that needs no extension to others, It is superior to Arabism and Islam in strengthening the Syrian Nation.


“………..The Parliament must include at least 50% workers and farmers, whose defining characteristics will be define. The quota established for 50% workers and peasants in the parliament was added in a deal with the Baath Party leadership in order to get article 8 removed…”

Here is a cheapo attempt at keeping the Status Quo of Baathist/Alawites control of Syria and maintaining a terminally ill state to the disservice of every real Syrian that deserve to call himself one. Those who approve this are not. The fact is, this Syrian Revolution now in progress are in fact being supported and fought by mostly the working class and peasants class of people. They are fed up with Baathist Socialism and see no light at the end of the tunnel, and they are right to think so, there is no light at the end of tunnel under Baathism, it is one sinking black hole down. What this article then attest to, is more Baathist fraud, pre-selected, pre-filled ballot boxes and approved class of workers and peasants (supposedly), but in fact, just Baathist corruption millionaires pretending to be peasants and workers, but never ever toiled in anything other than the lowly job of pencil shoving on a desk in one the budget draining “Mahsoobiye & Wasta) Baathist Socialist State.

And as you go down this Baathist trap of Bate & Switch, It is obvious the new and improved appearance is to fool us by the “under new management” and it is apparent to everyone, worse than the old one.

February 15th, 2012, 1:55 pm


jna said:

Can anyone tell me if the draft Constitution has a provision for amending the constitution and, if so, what the amending provision specifies?

February 15th, 2012, 1:59 pm


SyrianPatriot said:

Syrian World War Games

After the UN veto by Russia and China it is clear that the Syrian conflict has become a proxy war of western and eastern powers. Regarding the recent development in the Middle East and the Mediterranean countries it is clear that Russia and China fear the loss of power over the region. We present some perspectives on the countries involved.

The Russian perspective: After the downfall of the Lybian regime Russia lost a main customer of arms. The last country on the Mediterranean Sea that receives its arms from Russia is Syria. In addition Russia’s last naval port on the Mediterranean Sea is in Tartous. If Syria changes its loyalty and becomes a Western backed country, then the Russian fleet is only capable of accessing this important sea through Odessa. Further, an unstable Syria with a regional war in the Middle East increases the dependency of Europe on Russian oil.

The Chinese perspective: China’s main concern is to maintain a steady economical growth, which is strongly coupled to cheap oil. The region, and especially Iran, is one of the main suppliers of oil to China. Thus, a stable Middle East and especially a “war free” Iran is necessary for the sustainable development of China. Another issue is that European and American companies are denied to work in Iran and this opens many opportunities for Chinese investments in the energy sector in the region.

Both, China and Russia, are not willing to lose control over the Middle East and thus the Mediterranean Sea. China is steadily increasing its capabilities to conduct a real proxy war by building up its naval fleet. With the support of China and Russia as well as most of the autocratic regimes in the world, the Syrian regime will be able to survive for some time.

The American (and GGC) perspective: The main reason to intervene in Syria is to break the alliance between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. The US was able to convince the GCC that their main enemy is the Shiite led Iran. They believe that Iran’s nuclear capability could over power the GCC and become the only regional power in the region. However, the real concern is the safety of Israel and to maintain cheap oil coming in from the GCC. The GCC is already strongly supporting the armed uprising by providing money, weapons, and infrastructure to the opposition under the approval of the US and Israel.

The EU perspective: Some European countries consider them selfs global players and try to continue their effort in the region due to their historical role. However, the EU has been insignificant since the Cold War. It is not a secret that the EU is incapable of interfering military in any region in the world. However, many countries, especially in the Middle East, take their money with open arms.

February 15th, 2012, 2:03 pm


GK said:

Each country has its own way of governing so it is difficult to compare countries. So please don’t even attempt to compare the US constitution to the Lebanese to the Egyptian! The issue here is the Syrian people want to be able to voice their opinion freely!

1. I have several questions, if the people decided not to approve it, what is next?
2. Are the tanks will be pulled out of the cities so people can vote on the constitution?
3. What about the 30,000 people who are arrested? Are they going to be released?
4. Does the two term restriction applies now or from 10 years ago?

February 15th, 2012, 2:03 pm


Ales said:

Are words like constitution good enough to prevent/stop war, killing and suffering?

Nothing was good enough in past, when religious wars in Europe were fought about interpretation of bible.

Nothing was good enough in past, where Islam split bloodily in Sunni in Shia branches.

Nothing is good enough now, when new religion of democracy is spread so like before, with fire, arms, lies and hypocrisy.

So, the answer: NO. There will be war, killing and suffering.
Nothing will be good enough for some, except Assad head on plate.

When will this stop? Only when one side wins or both are forced to negotiate.

February 15th, 2012, 2:17 pm


Halabi said:

I don’t understand how the U.S. can be spearheading the conspiracy against Syria, yet still provide the best example for a constitution.

Menhebaks should demand a Russian, Iranian or Chinese constitution to better reflect their resistance to Israel and imperial designs (which is mentioned in the preamble).

Four months to write this behind closed doors and eleven days for public debate. Congratulations on your racist, Baath-light constitution.

Don’t worry non-Muslims, you will get your rights in Hafez Bashar’s fourth term. Just be obedient, keep killing your neighbors and you will reach the promised land.

February 15th, 2012, 2:24 pm


Ghufran said:

I have to go back to my original post about the draft:
1. Bashar appointed the committee,the opposition had little or no impact on it
2. Non Muslims and expats are basically left out. Christians according to the draft are not good enough to run for the presidency,and expats are not fit to represent other Syrians
3. It is fairly possible to see a day when druz,ismailis,Shia and alawis are declared non Muslims and that makes them ineligible to run for the presidency
4. 50% must be farmers and workers? This is a form of Baathist black comedy
This draft is tailor made to fit Bashar and albaath
صمنا رمضان و فطرنا ع بصله
The easiest way to defeat the draft is to insist on a clean and internationally monitored elections including the proposed referendum. Giving Syrians 11
days to build a coalition to defeat the draft means that the regime is not interested in hearing the other side.
Now you see why so many of us want Bashar to resign and insist on clean elections first.

February 15th, 2012, 2:26 pm


Aldendeshe said:

نص مشروع الدستور على أن تكون زوجة رئيس الجمهورية “سورية” و ليس “عربية سورية”.
Yeah, he is married to a British-Syrian. A hell of custom
made job huuh.

February 15th, 2012, 2:37 pm


Ghufran said:

Riyad Haddad claims that only 100,000 Syrians want Assad to step down.
If Bashar is so popular why does not he accept an international body to monitor elections?

February 15th, 2012, 2:46 pm


Majed97 said:

So, if my ID says I’m a Moslem, I could run for president; even though I might be an atheist, but my Syrian Christian friends (who by the way have been Syrians long before Islam came to Syria) are not Syrian enough to qualify?!?

The American founding fathers were Christians, but were smart enough not to make Christianity a pre-requisite for any office. True, they referenced the Judeo-Christian values, but that was to reflect America at the time, which was discovered and inhabited virtually entirely by Christians. Would you say Syria is discovered and inhabited only by Moslems?

“Maybe the Syrians living in Syria are more attached to their arabic and moslem roots than the ones who are living in the USA and who would prefer to return to an americanized version of Syria.”

Irritated: yes, I would love to return to an Americanized Syria; what’s wrong with that? There are the millions of Moslems who are forming miles long lines at U.S. embassies all across the Middle East dreaming of being “Americanized”. BTW, just look around you in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and tell if you see anything that is not “Americanized” or Europeanized; other than Mosques….

February 15th, 2012, 2:59 pm


Mawal95 said:

Here is Article 53 of the Constitution that came into force in year 1973 and is still in force today: “The law defines the electoral districts and the number of the members of the Parliament, provided that at least half their number are workers and peasants. The law defines the terms: worker and peasant.”

The revised new Constitution in Article 60 straightforwardly duplicates that language.

Joshua baldly claims with no source and no evidence: “The quota established for 50% workers and peasants in the parliament [under the new Constitution] was added in a deal with the Baath Party leadership in order to get article 8 removed.”

I assert that Joshua is totally misinformed. I say the Baath Party leadership was sincerely in favour of cutting out Article 8 since at least last June. If Joshua had visited the information outlets of the Baath Party last year ( and others) he’d have seen that their general spirit has been that the time had come to just kill Article 8, with no horse trading, and have a straightforward competitive democracy (with religious and tribal parties banned). Instead Joshua spent his time reading the damnable New York Times.

By the way, a copy of the 1973 Constitution is at

February 15th, 2012, 3:03 pm


Mawal95 said:

Syria Commenter “NK” would snicker at this: In the new Constitution a President of the Republic cannot by younger than 40 years of age, and cannot be President for more than two consecutive 7-year terms. Whereas Bashar Assad became president before age 40, and has been explicity made eligible for a third consecutive 7-year term in 2014 under Article 88 of the new Constitution.

As mentioned by Aldendeshe #16 the new Constitution says the President cannot be married to a non-Syrian. Whereas Bashar married a non-Syrian. I can label Bashar’s wife as a Syrian now, on the grounds that she’s resided in Syria for 11 years now, but I cannot label her as a Syrian when they got married. The first time in her life that she resided in Syria was one month before she got married (source: Wikipedia).

February 15th, 2012, 3:16 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

This pre-referendum period of public debate shall be a real test of the Syrian official and semi-official media. Only eleven days to provide the public with not only the text, but quality analysis (and perhaps a squeak or two from those inclined to criticize the draft as it is).

I hope against hope that the margins of discussion open up a little bit. The committee members were charged by Assad to do their utmost to publicize the draft. Will this happen? Will actual debate occur in Syrian public spaces, or will the entire exercise of ‘publicity’ merely repeat the tired old SANA official line? My contact at DPnews reports no let-up in censorship within its hierarchy. The political commissar (a ‘retired’ Brigadier General) sets the parameters and supervises all reports (in Arabic — which is perhaps why the English side of DPnews often goes well beyond diktat and talking points).

In a nutshell, with Syrian TV (and Addounia) feature discussion/debate? will any ‘opposition’ figure be allowed to state his or her opinion on its airwaves?

A more important note for me is the ramifications of the Syrian Penal Code. It is a fact, but little known, that there is a Catch-22 for anyone jailed for ‘offences against the state’ (its dignity, its symbols, the Prez, its forces, anything official).

In another nutshell — Not one single ‘convicted criminal’ has retained the “full civil rights” that are a condition for candidacy. In other words, Michel Kilo cannot get on the ballot (not because he is Christian, but because he has lost his right to vote and lead or form a party).

Even a patriotic “inside” opponent of the regime (such as Haytham Mannah) is barred from the ballot. Why? Because he has lost his full civil rights (indeed, the reason Mannah has formed a ‘movement’ and not a party is because he may not by law form a party or be leader of a party: he is a criminal).

This is, to my eyes, the whole sad and essentially fraudulent aspect of all the constitutional huffing and puffing and stale SANA theatrics. No one with a chance of gaining opposition votes has a chance of getting on the ballot. The old Baathi-stuffed Parliament will be the new nominating committee.

Syria’s reforms will take years, I believe (as they will take years in such nations as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt — as with other majority Muslim democracies like Malaysia and Indonesia). In Syria, every step of reform will butt up against the totalitarian aspects of the Syrian Penal Code. So, to my eyes the entire constitutional dance is a charade designed to maintain a totalitarian state structure.

February 15th, 2012, 3:55 pm


Mawal95 said:

The knowledgeableness and depth of analysis of Joshua’s penpals, to judge from the quotes he gives from them above, looks to me to be inferior to the average quality on this board.

At least one of Joshua’s penpals, and Majed97 on this board and some other non-Muslims repeatedly whinge about Article 3 of the Constitution, the one that says general lawmaking is to seek guidence from Islam and the President is to be a Muslim. I, a non-Muslim, will repeat why I strongly support this Article:

(a) It has been in the Constitution of Syria for the last 38 years and has done no harm whatsoever to the non-Muslims during all those 38 years.
(b) There will always be more than enough Muslims in the country who are well-qualified to be President in the judgment of any fair non-Muslim.
(c) For the masses of the people, Islam is a moral anchor. This anchor for people’s morals and values is going to be a guideline for legislation in reality no matter whether it’s in Constitution or not. The people want it enshrined in the Constitution as a clear reassurance that the State is going to uphold this anchor for their morals and values. It constitutionally and symoblically protects the people against a hypothetical takeover by doctrinaire secularist irreligionist ideologues in comtempt of longstanding community values. But the Article only says Islam is one guideline, not “the” guideline. It is very platitudinous because it says nothing about how it’s applied in practice, or what happens when it’s said to be in conflict with another guideline.
(d) Political parties based on religious sect and religious sloganeering are banned in Syria. Article 3 provides a compensatory statement of assurance that the Islamic religion is valued and has something to contribute in legislating the law of the land.
(e) Article 3 strengthens the Assad party’s political position. Its removal for the sake of the whingers (such as Majed97) would make the Assad party more vulnerable to competition from a more Islamic party than the Assad party is. Which could ultimately be to the detriment of the whingers.
(f) The same Article 3 also says that the State shall respect and protect all other religions.

February 15th, 2012, 4:12 pm


irritated said:

#18 Majed97

“BTW, just look around you in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and tell if you see anything that is not “Americanized” or Europeanized; other than Mosques…”

That’s what make these places totally boring and alien to the local culture. For the GCC countries that do not have any culture anyway, it is OK, but for countries like Syria with an incredibly rich culture, it is disaster. Unless you enjoy spending your money in A/C malls, live on a 90 floor tower, take a coffee at Starbuck and watch CNN.

Then you might as well stay in your ‘perfect ‘ USA!

February 15th, 2012, 4:25 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Many of the Assad family members committed crimes,has anyone been punished,NO. Hafiz and Bashar killed over 40,000 syrian and many lebanese, if there is no punishment for them, there is no justice, the revolution is all about dignity and justice, this is no reform, it is absurd constitution.all those officers who killed over 7500 innocent syrian must be responsible for their crimes and the president has no right pardon them,
I doubt many people will go to the voting booth to accept this paper, and we all know the results are known already,

BTW the constitution must be approved by over 90% of the people, 50% is not acceptable for the constitution, it is not amendment,it is not a law, it is the minimum required,so over 90% must approve it.

February 15th, 2012, 4:29 pm


ann said:

At UN on Eve of General Assembly Vote on Syria, Russian Amendments Trigger Meeting

UNITED NATIONS, February 15 — The afternoon before the scheduled vote in the General Assembly Thursday afternoon on the draft resolution on Syria, a meeting began in the UN’s North Lawn building on a series of amendments by Russia.

“They are good ones, aren’t they?” a BRICS representative asked Inner City Press. He predicted that the vote(s) will take place on Thursday, since “France has made the announcement – it is not Cairo in the lead.”

The amendments are similar to the Security Council amendments 😉


February 15th, 2012, 4:30 pm


Khalid Tlass said:

[Edited by the Moderator: This account is permanently banned for persistent personal attacks.]

February 15th, 2012, 4:46 pm


bronco said:

22 Mawal95

I agree fully with what you wrote. In any case a christian or a kurd or a druze or from any minority can become prime minister or any position of power.
Reserving the presidency to a moslem is an affirmation of continuity that Syria’s culture is predominantly based on moslem values and traditions. In any, in view of the current demography in Syria, the probability of a christian being elected by moslems as a president is almost null, so why make such a big fuss?
I doubt Syrians Christians in Syria are objecting to that as much as the expats!

February 15th, 2012, 4:49 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

This whole “constitution” thing is characterized with sloppiness and hysteria. The junta is giving the people only 11 days to discuss something that is so crucial to the country’s future. They try to do what they do best: dictating.

Jumblat is saying it better than me
“The Baath Party (aka the junta) is replicating itself and the best thing for it to do is to step down”.

February 15th, 2012, 4:50 pm


ann said:

Russia denies involvement in chemical weapons used against Syrian protesters – 2012-02-16

The Foreign Ministry said earlier media reports about the use of nerve gas under Russian supervision during clashes in the town of Homs were “dirty lies”.

“We categorically deny these fabrications. They only confirm that an informational war (is) launched over the Syrian problem. Its masterminds despise nothing, allowing themselves slander against Russia. Someone obviously finds it hard to overcome the desire to respond with dirty lie to our principal position in the Syrian issue,” said a statement from the ministry.


February 15th, 2012, 4:51 pm


873 said:

3- لمادة الثانية والخمسون بعد المئة
لا يجوز لمن يحمل جنسية أخرى، إضافة للجنسية العربية السورية، أن يتولى مناصب رئيس الجمهورية أو نائبه أو رئيس مجلس الوزراء أو نوابه أو الوزراء أوعضوية مجلس الشعب أو عضوية المحكمة الدستورية العليا.
This means that no one with a dual citizenship can get involved in anything. Why? Am i not watani (patriotic) if i have another passport? None of the talented Syrians with dual nationalities will be able to help this country ever. On top of that:
– أن يكون مقيماً في الجمهورية العربية السورية لمدة لا تقل عن عشرة سنوات إقامة دائمة متصلة عند تقديم طلب الترشيح.

Take it from America, where we witness how a small foreign parasite has infiltrated most top govt, media and economic positions far out of proportion to its numbers- and merits- by its stealth coup on the polity. America is now all but destroyed- morally and economically by wars for this usurper foreign Cabal that the Cabal’s installed agents are relentless waging against the Muslim World.
Dont think by leaving the ‘dual nation loyalty’ option open that Syria will naturally escape what has befallen even a far more powerful country than yourselves. If it can happen to USA it can happen to you.
Learn from other’s mistakes or face the same outcome.

February 15th, 2012, 4:54 pm


irritated said:

A N TV #28

“Jumblat is saying it better than me”

Yes he does, but like you he is no prophet.
He has changed his mind so many times that I can’t follow him anymore.
It is time he passes on his leadership ‘democratically’ to his son!

February 15th, 2012, 4:55 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Addressing the Lebanese situation, Jumblat said: “The Taef Accord is dead, we need a ‘new Taef’ between the Sunnis and the Shiites, hence a new settlement.”

Jumblat understand how desperate the Shiites will be after the junta falls. He’s doing his best to protect them.

February 15th, 2012, 4:56 pm


873 said:

28. ann said:
Russia denies involvement in chemical weapons used against Syrian protesters – 2012-02-16

What rubbish peddled by Israeli-controlled western media. The NATO-ZION Axis is desparate to pull focus from the accidental news revelation on NBC that Israel is training and funding the MEK terorists. suddenly everyone’s forgotten the article exposing how Mossad has been recruiting Arab terrorists by posing as CIA agents, once again knifing America in the back?

February 15th, 2012, 4:59 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


“He has changed his mind so many times that I can’t follow him anymore”.

You are right. But there’s a pattern to his floppiness. He is never with the losers.

February 15th, 2012, 5:00 pm


Antoine said:

There is no God but al Baath and Bashar is the Messenger of al Baath.

لا إله إلا البعث وبشار رسول البعث

February 15th, 2012, 5:00 pm


bronco said:


“The Constitution of Australia, in Section 44(i), explicitly forbids people who hold foreign citizenship from sitting in the parliament of Australia.[43]

People with multiple citizenship may be viewed as having dual loyalty, having the potential to act contrary to a government’s interests, and this may lead to difficulties in acquiring government employment where security clearance may be required.

February 15th, 2012, 5:03 pm


irritated said:

#34 A N TV

It is only matter of time a loser becomes a winner and Jumblatt will change his mind again.
As he is getting older and events are turning around faster, his choices are less indicative of what’s coming.

February 15th, 2012, 5:07 pm


Ghiufran said:

Is it true that abdallah aldardari has joined the SNC?

February 15th, 2012, 5:14 pm


Ghufran said:

Rumors about abdallah aldardari joining the SNC are being circulated.

February 15th, 2012, 5:18 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

Irritated posts some commentary on Westernization, its pitfalls and attractions, its value and its pitiless commercialism (in answer to Majed97):

That’s what make these places totally boring and alien to the local culture. For the GCC countries that do not have any culture anyway, it is OK, but for countries like Syria with an incredibly rich culture, it is disaster. Unless you enjoy spending your money in A/C malls, live on a 90 floor tower, take a coffee at Starbuck and watch CNN.

Then you might as well stay in your ‘perfect ‘ USA!

This seems to assume that Majed97 lives in the West, particularly the USA.

I presume Irritated also lives in the West (perhaps Europe, perhaps North America) and really does not like it one bit.

Does something prevent you from returning to Syria, Irritated? Are you a citizen of the West or of Syria?

Please don’t answer if answering might compromise your stance on all things Western, but the questions unanswered seem pertinent for your opinions …

February 15th, 2012, 5:20 pm


Alan said:

US and NATO troops train on the Syrian border
There have been reports of hundreds of American and NATO troops training militants on the Syrian border to overthrow Al-assad’s regime. According to a former FBI official this has been going on since May 2011. Why are we not hearing about this on American mainstream media? Sibel Edmonds, president of the National Security Whistle blowers Coalition, exposes what is going on around Syria.
هذا جنون التفنن في العدوان على الدول ذات السيادة!

February 15th, 2012, 5:25 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Referendum campaign in Bab Amr

February 15th, 2012, 5:33 pm


873 said:

36. bronco said: “The Constitution of Australia, in Section 44(i), explicitly forbids people who hold foreign citizenship from sitting in the parliament of Australia.[43]

People with multiple citizenship may be viewed as having dual loyalty, having the potential to act contrary to a government’s interests, and this may lead to difficulties in acquiring government employment where security clearance may be required.”

Which is how it should be. One of the greatest (of many) traitor spies in US history is Jonathon Pollard who himself said that for most jews- if it comes down to a decision between their [presumed) country and Israel, its Israel all the way! And the AIPAC bought Congress openly cheers for their petty potentate Netanyahoo when he swaggers in Congress- even after he has slapped American POTUS in the face and publically humiliated the country with his ungrateful arrogance. Classic Pollard illustration is Rahm Emanuel. When the nation was at war in 1990, he had his treasonous boots on the ground defending the foreign parasite, not his presumed country, America. Yet this mooch has now returned to further exploit America for Israel & the Gang.
Syria beware you dont allow the same…

February 15th, 2012, 5:35 pm


Darryl said:

21. TARA said:


If you are middle age male, please take Aspirin today 325 mg. I fear that one of the article Zoo posted earlier in regard to someone who converted to Islam may adversely affect your physical and psychogic health. Aspirin protects the heart.”

Tara, you wrote this message on a day I took a mid-week break, I will answer you now. Darryl does not need aspirin, I am fit enough to run-walk 10 kilo-meters a day every day and still breath through my nose at the end.

Secondly, there is a sucker born every minute. I once heard the story of an egyptian copt who converted to Islam. He said he could not reconcile how a tough God exists in the old testament to that of a peaceful and loving God in the Gospel. He converted to Islam because he wanted a “tough guy” God, he was looking for a God who more fits an image of a “bar bouncer”.

Everyone is different, look at yourself, you appear liberal, loving, peaceful, open minded. I have an image in my mind of you as being a star of the party and someone who is always smiling but you modified Islam to suite your needs.

I am going to provide you a link to Dr Rafat Amari website, he is a former Jordanian Muslim who is now a Christian, you should read it and perhaps get his book.

and since you like poetry so much, pleas point your browser to:

February 15th, 2012, 5:37 pm


zoo said:

Islamists against Assad
Foreign Extremists a Danger to Syria’s Revolution,1518,815415,00.html
By Ulrike Putz in Beirut

Al-Qaida’s leader is calling on Muslims to join in Syria’s revolution and to fight the Assad regime. But jihadists from neighboring countries may already have joined the ranks of the opposition Free Syrian Army. Their presence could be the death blow to the revolution.
The message was clear: Every Muslim must aid the uprising against the Syrian government “with everything that he has — his life, money, views and information.” The current leader of the terror network al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called on believers to bear arms and go to Syria in an eight-minute video that was posted over the weekend on extremist websites. Rebellion against the “anti-Islamic regime” in Damascus is a religious obligation, he declared.

For their campaign against Bashar Assad’s “pernicious, cancerous regime,” the brothers in God should build on their willingness to make sacrifices and on their steadfastness. The al-Qaida leader especially called on Sunni Muslims in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq to rush to the aid of the opposition in their neighboring country.

The fiery call to action from Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden at the top of al-Qaida, has fueled the ongoing speculation over the presence of foreign, or even al-Qaida fighters in Syria. The regime in Damascus has long maintained that the 11-month-old uprising in the country was being waged by “foreigners,” “terrorists” and “armed bands.” The Syrian National Council, an opposition coalition, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the umbrella organization of the armed resistance, spurn that notion, and argue that the rebellion in Syria is a popular uprising of Syrian citizens who are fighting for their freedom and for democracy.

‘Hundreds of Foreign Fighters’

But, despite the protestations from the Syrian opposition, rumors are growing over the deployment of foreign jihadists in Syria. One source in Beirut, who was outside of Homs in recent weeks with the opposition FSA, reported seeing “hundreds of foreign fighters,” who have attached themselves to the FSA, which is made up largely of deserters from the Syrian military. The Sunni volunteers came primarily from Iraq and Lebanon, with a few from Saudi Arabia, the source said.

Some observers viewed the two bombings in the Syrian city of Aleppo last Friday as proof that extremist terrorist groups are operating in the country. Twenty-eight people were killed in the attacks on the Military Intelligence building and on a police headquarters building. In American news reports over the weekend, US officials speculated that al-Qaida was behind the attacks.

The news website McClatchy referred to several officials in the US government who consider al-Qaida in Iraq responsible for the car bombs. And two suicide bombings, which on Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, killed up to 70 people, are also thought to have been organized by the Iraqi al-Qaida cell.

Al-Qaida’s PR Problem

Experts believe that it may very well be in al-Qaida’s interest to involve itself in the conflict in Syria. “Al-Qaida has a PR problem,” says Wolfgang Mühlberger, of the National Defense Academy in Vienna. “It could be good for them if they tried, through an engagement in Syria, to make themselves attractive again to certain target groups.” But one has to be careful, he says, because not every jihadist is part of al-Qaida. “In the case of Aleppo, there was no claim of responsibility, and the organization usually does that,” he said.
Should evidence mount in the coming weeks that foreign fighters are taking part in the Syrian uprising, or are even monopolizing it, it would be catastrophic for the true opposition in the country. They have pinned all of their hopes on help from outside, on diplomatic pressure that the world community can put on the regime, and on financial aid and maybe even weapons transfers, with which Arab supporters might be able to help them.

But should the suspicions be confirmed that the Syrian uprising has been infiltrated by unknown, uncontrollable extremists, the willingness of the world to help would surely dramatically decrease. The volunteers from other countries could therefore unwittingly deal a death blow to the Syrian revolutio

February 15th, 2012, 5:40 pm


irritated said:

#39 WSS

“I presume Irritated also lives in the West (perhaps Europe, perhaps North America) and really does not like it one bit.”

Please don’t presume anything. Just accept that some people may not agree on the “Americanization” of an old country like Syria versus the Americanization of North America, a land whose old culture has been reduced to ashes by mass killings and whose new culture started from scratch with a melting pot of immigrants of totally different background and history.

February 15th, 2012, 5:54 pm


Darryl said:

18. MAJED97 said:

Dear MAJED97, in your posts you make lots of sense and I think you have faced reality unlike the majority of Muslims. Muslims not only wait in deep lines at embassies to escape, but many pay thousands ($10-15) to people smugglers to escape Islamic countries on leaky fishing boats and face all sorts of hardship to be ruled by Judeo-Christian politicians. Yet these same people will raise hell if the constitution is changed to allow a decent non-Muslim to run for the office of president in the Islamic countries.

Islamic countries will always be 2nd and 3rd tier countries until the sheikhs and Imams stand up tall like the priests and religious people in the west who will tell their western governments when they are committing a moral mistake such as discrimination against minorities. It is the sheikhs, Imams and Muftis of Syria who need to lead the revolution against injustices and discrimination against non-Muslims in Islamic nations. Sadly, they are more interested in Hypocricy and bigotry instead of moral obligations.

February 15th, 2012, 5:54 pm


jna said:

Let’s expose this Al Arabiya story on Syria Comment. Does anyone here believe it? What is the evidence beyond Capt. Razek’s accusation? If the story is not true, will opposition and supporters denounce Capt. Razek (if he is real) and/or Al Arabiya?

Syrian regime used poisonous gas under Iranian, Russian supervision: dissident officer

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Capt. Abdul Salam Ahmed Abdul Razek, who has defected from the Syrian army, says that the Assad government is using poisonous gas against civilians.
(By Al Arabiya)

A Syrian dissident military officer, Capt. Abdul Salam Ahmed Abdul Razek, said the Syrian regime is using internationally prohibited poisonous gas against protestors under the supervision of both Iran and Russia.

(self edited by jna to avoid upset on SC.)

February 15th, 2012, 6:15 pm


Mawal95 said:

I said at #19 above:

Here is Article 53 of the Constitution that came into force in year 1973 and is still in force today: “Ordinary legislation shall define the electoral districts and the number of members of the Parliament, provided that at least half their number are workers and small farmers. Ordinary legislation shall define the terms “worker” and “small farmer” for this purpose.”

The revised new Constitution in Article 60 straightforwardly duplicates that language.

Joshua Landis claims with no source and no evidence: “The quota established for 50% workers and peasants in the parliament [under the new Constitution] was added in a deal with the Baath Party leadership in order to get article 8 removed.”

I assert that Joshua is totally misinformed. I say the Baath Party leadership was sincerely in favour of cutting out Article 8 since at least last June. If Joshua had visited the information outlets of the Baath Party last year ( and others) he’d have seen that their general spirit has been that the time had come to just kill Article 8, with no horse trading, and have a straightforward competitive democracy (with religious and tribal parties banned). Instead Joshua spent his time reading the damnable New York Times.

At #106 in the immediately previous thread I asked:

Article 60 says that at least half the members of parliament shall be representatives of “workers and small farmers”…. Can any of you experts explain what that is intending to say?

Can somebody take the time to explain to us how this “workers and small farmers” thingy operates in the current Parliament, please?

Bashar announced the intention to remove Article 8 on 20 Jun 2011. The following is a couple of items of evidence that the Baath Party supported this decision which I already noted in earlier posts. I’m told the Baath Party is controlled by the Baath Party Regional Leadership, and while I myself don’t know the details of how the Baath Party is organized or controlled, I’m sure the Regional Leadership has a lots of power. Head of Baath Party Regional Leadership Yasser Hourieh said on 23 Aug 2011 “I hope that the President will soon make an announcement concerning Constitutional reforms. Reform is a national imperative. We all believe in reform.” . That head of the Baath Party Regional Leadership is also the Deputy Chairman of the National Dialogue Commission that was created in year 2011 in response to the Events. The Chairman of the National Dialog Commission is another high-ranking Baath Party member (a member of influential committees within the Baath), namely Syria’s Vice President Farouq Al-Sharaa, who said on 10 Jul 2011: “Our society will not be able to achieve freedom and civil peace without a democratic, pluralistic political system…. [The National Dialog Meeting] should not be considered a condescension on the part of the government for the people, but … [instead] the people are the source of authorities like all developed countries.” .

February 15th, 2012, 6:17 pm


bronco said:

The referendum on the Constitution is the long waited vote of confidence to Bashar al Assad and will indicate what support he actually has and if he represents the majority of Syrians or not.

This is also the moment of truth for the opposition that claims they represent the majority of the Syrians. If the opposition groups are confident of NO result, they will accept a truce during the referendum and will ask now for observers.
If they are not and expect it to be fatal to them, then they’ll launch a big last ditch of violence to prevent that ‘referendum’ to happen.
Surely the question of credibility of the results will certainly popup and we still do not how this referendum will take place, Through mobile phones, voting boots, etc…
The opposition is now politically cornered. How would the 24th of February meeting of the “friends of Syria” affect the position of the opposition on the referendum of the 26th? A call for a boycott like the Iraqi Sunnis did and then regretted it bitterly, or violence to prevent it to happen?

February 15th, 2012, 6:23 pm


Observer said:

Not only is the president the head of the supreme court he can dissolve the majlis anytime he wishes and laws are promulgated by his initiative. It is the same garbage that his father put in place.

I have been saying this all along the security house of cards that the father built cannot withstand one card being removed for the edifice will crack and fall.

This regime needs to be uprooted once and for all.

I object most vehemently on the article that says that the religion of the president should be this or that religion.

I would say anyone with a Syrian nationality and anyone willing and able to run for office should be able to do it regardless of his/her religion.

By definition, if I believe in one God I am a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim and in believing in the conduct of the prophets I am by definition a Taoist, a Buddhist, a Sufi,etc… and finally there is no true belief without persistent doubt for without it you have blind dogma; the eternal blind dogma religious or secular or nationalistic or sectarian or clan-based that leads to the horrors of the human race.
This constitution is a joke in very bad taste. How can anyone with a minimum of logic and honesty have any consideration for this stupid retarded and unfortunately murderous regime is beyond my imagination.

February 15th, 2012, 6:34 pm


Mawal95 said:

Amir in Tel Aviv has posted a worthwhile video (for a change). It’s a drive through Bab Amr streets today. Looks like almost everyone’s decided to “get out of Dodge”.

February 15th, 2012, 6:39 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

there is huge difference between the referendum which was held in Iraq and the one which will be held in Syria, in Iraq it was true democratic process, in Syria it is going to be held under dictatorship,and coorrupt system and they control everything and will not allow independent international observers to verify the honesty of the process, we know the result ahead of time.Syrian must boycot this referendum.

February 15th, 2012, 7:09 pm


Tara said:

Amir and Majed


February 15th, 2012, 7:31 pm


Tara said:


I was in the middle of a kickboxing class when I read your post.  I am glad you are fit and you do not need an Aspirin.   I am fit too.  I take exercise seriously for vanity purposes.  The Aspirin story occurred to me as I remember a Christian “friend” of mine who had a parent who died from a heart attack at age 63.  This is a very very dear friend to my heart who does not even want to talk to me.  I get worried about him and since he browses SC occasionally, I thought I’d share this with him.

I want to ask you an honest question hoping for an honest answer.  Where did you learn this “phobia” or “aversion” towards Islam from?  Is it that you has a bad experience with Muslim Syrians while living in Syria? Or is it that you just read islamophobes books that etched this aversion in your mind? 

I don’t want to score points.  I just want to know the root cause of this so we may be able to have a meaningful conversation about it.     

February 15th, 2012, 7:53 pm


Shabbi7 said:

Joshua Landis wrote:
“The quota established for 50% workers and peasants in the parliament was added in a deal with the Baath Party leadership in order to get article 8 removed.”

Are you sure? The 50% quota existed in the last constitution as well. Check your facts. Article 8 was removed simply because it was no longer compatible with the new political party and election laws. The dabbi7a supporters were whining about article 8 since day 1, and instead they got a whole new constitution, so how do you even try to peddle such a ridiculous story about the removal of article 8?

February 15th, 2012, 7:57 pm


Tara said:


What is so wrong about the American way of life? The assumption it lacks spirituality or family solidarity? I see here spirituality and solidarity just like Syria. What is it about it that you don’t like?

February 15th, 2012, 7:59 pm


Shabbi7 said:


The US constitution would never work in Syria as it does in the US for the same reason any other constitution would never work in Syria as it would in the US: There are no imperial and colonial powers with the ability to apply hegemony on the US and to choke its economy and punish its people.

It doesn’t matter what the constitution says when foreign and Arab countries have the ability and the will to funnel money, far exceeding the Syrian GDP, to terrorists and saboteurs in Syria packaged nicely with sectarian TV stations and selective media coverage (remember that the “free and independent” media still has not said one word about the Arab observers’ report). We view the world with paranoia not because we’re paranoid, but because we know the “free world” powers don’t want us to remain independent and will always support the occupier of our lands unconditionally.

February 15th, 2012, 8:08 pm


Tara said:

Syria constitution vote called ‘window dressing’
By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:04 PM EST, Wed February 15, 2012

In Daraa, anti-government demonstrators held up signs indicating they were unimpressed: “If the new constitution doesn’t include a decree that guarantees the execution of the murders, any draft will be meaningless,” said one that was posted on YouTube. An electronic ticker in the square was even more blunt: “We want Bashar and his agents executed,” it read.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was more diplomatic. “From our perspective, it looks like he is putting forward a piece of paper that he controls, to a vote that he controls, in an effort to try and maintain control,” she said. “And frankly, it is not working in any other capacity, so we don’t think this is going to work, either. He knows what he needs to do, if he really cares about his people the violence just needs to come to an end and he needs to get out of the way so we can have a democratic transition.”

Andrew Tabler, Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, called the document “window dressing,” citing the banning of many parties and the fact that government permission is needed to form a party.
“It’s not going to change the fact that it’s a minority-dominated situation,” he said. “It will remain a presidential system with powers vested in the hands of the president.”
Tabler said al-Assad is using this “tactic to get people to leave the streets.”


February 15th, 2012, 8:10 pm


Darryl said:

54. TARA said:

Dear Tara, I do not have a phobia, I am not sure where you get this idea from and as I have said before many times, I am not a religious Christian either. However, I like the truth and I do not like it when someone says my belief system is the truth as God said this and that.

Religion should be at home or the place of worship, however, in Islam it has to be everywhere and this is where I have a problem. Furthermore, it is either Islam’s way or no other way. Why does the president have to be a Muslim in predominately Islamic countries? Is it not discrimination?

Why should you not update a belief system as time changes? Does everything that existed in 7th century AD apply now?

February 15th, 2012, 8:11 pm


Shabbi7 said:

Dear Moderator,

You suspended Jad and you said: “The suspended account has been warned several times to abide by the guidelines, to provide links, and to not post complete articles that are under copyright.”

I just wanted to remind you that at no point did Jad claim he was owner of the articles he posts, nor did he ever even come close to implying that he was the owner of the articles. By providing us with the links to the articles, he is clearly showing the source of the articles and the reader can easily go see the true author of the article in question. Keeping that in mind, your reason for suspending Jad is rather lousy at best. There are many times when Joshua Landis omitted links to some of the article samples he posts. In reality, that is a bigger copyright violation than anything Jad has done on SC.

February 15th, 2012, 8:18 pm


ann said:

End of game in the Middle East – February 15, 2012

On 7 February, a large Russian delegation, including the highest ranking foreign intelligence officials, arrived in Damascus where it was greeted by cheering crowds, aware that Russia’s return to the international scene marked the end of their nightmare. The capital, but also Aleppo, the second largest city, were decked out in white, blue, red, and people marched behind banners written in Cyrillic. At the presidential palace, the Russian delegation joined those of other states, including Turkey, Iran and Lebanon. A series of agreements were reached to re-establish peace. Syria has returned 49 military instructors captured by the Syrian army. Turkey intervened to obtain the release of the abducted Iranian engineers and pilgrims, including those held by the French (incidentally, Lieutenant Tlass who sequestered them on behalf of the DGSE was liquidated). Turkey has ceased all support for the “Free Syrian Army,” closed down its facilities (except the one on the NATO base at Incirlik), and turned over its commander, Colonel Riad el-Assad. Russia, which is the guarantor of the agreements, has been allowed to reactivate the former Soviet listening base on Mount Qassioum.

The next day, the US State Department informed the Syrian opposition in exile that it could no longer count on its military aid. Realizing that they have betrayed their country to no avail, the Syrian National Council members went in search of new sponsors. One of them even went so far as to write to Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to invade Syria.

After a period of two days required for the implementation of the agreements, not only the national armies of Syria, but also Lebanon, stormed the bases of the Wahhabi Legion. In northern Lebanon, a massive arsenal was seized in the town of Tripoli and four officers were taken prisoner in Akkar, in a school abandoned by UNRWA and transformed into a military HQ. In Syria, General Assef Shawkat in person commanded the operations. At least 1,500 fighters were captured, including a French colonel of the DGSE technical communication services, and more than a thousand people were killed. At this stage it is not possible to determine how many among the victims are foreign mercenaries, how many are Syrians cooperating with foreign forces, and how many are civilians trapped in the beleaguered city.

Lebanon and Syria have restored their sovereignty over their entire territory.


February 15th, 2012, 8:33 pm


Mawal95 said:

Al-Ahram is the most influential daily newspaper in Egypt. I took a look at how Al-Ahram is covering today’s newly published Constitution in Syria. Al-Ahram has it buried inside an article whose headline and lead paragraph is Egypt’s minister for foreign affairs blaming the Syrian government for bloodshed. The only provision of the new Constitution that Al-Ahram sees fit to mention is that the President cannot serve for more than two consecutive 7-year terms. ,

The “Irish Times” newspaper does a better job at . It’s disgraceful and appalling that Al-Ahram’s coverage is inferior to and briefer than the “Irish Times” on this story. Perhaps Al-Ahram will have some more and better coverage tomorrow.

February 15th, 2012, 8:37 pm


Ghufran said:

Do you honestly believe that this regime is willing or able to run a clean referendum or fair elections?

February 15th, 2012, 8:49 pm


irritated said:

@1 Tara

Some did it!

“Writing in the Gulf News, Syrian commentator Sami Moubayed criticised changes put forward as being “too litle, too late”.”

February 15th, 2012, 8:51 pm


Tara said:


I too find it stupid for anyone to cite his own book of faith when discussing religious matter with people who have different religion as a proof of his righteousness.  I also agree that the president can be anyone Muslim, Jew, Christian, mickey mouse, …as long as it is not Bashar.  

While to some Muslims, Islam is the only way;  this is not the case for the vast majority of Muslims at least in Syria.  Have you ever wondered what is it about Syria that most Non-Syrian Arabs and foreigners who lived in Syria for a while fall in love with her?  It is what someone told me few days ago, that Syrians accept others no matter how different they are with open arms.  Syrians are sweet, generous, and non-pretentious. These are the same Sunni Muslims we are discussing.  

My problem with what you have posted in the past is your generalization of some people’s behavior to billions of Muslims who understand the religion as simply as I do.  A religion of a …just peace if you will.  


February 15th, 2012, 8:52 pm


Ghufran said:

It looks like Ghalioun will stay president of the SNC for another 3 months.

February 15th, 2012, 9:05 pm


bronco said:

#63 Ghufran

The crowd has been asking for ‘serious’ reforms, and when the most serious reform is announced, you get ‘its laughable, too little, firt stop the violence’ and it is dismissed.

Yet this referendum could be a smart decisive move from the regime and the rushed date chosen a necessity.
This is why I think that way.
– The accusations that the regime makes empty promises is not valid anymore. Bashar al Assad promised that referendum on the Constitution and he is sticking to his word.
– The result of the referendum will be a NO to the draft Constitution. Paradoxically, this is an excellent result because it will be the proof that the Syrians want to have their world in its modification and that the opposition should itself to be able to influence the final version democratically
– As it will be a NO, nobody could accuse the regime to have rigged the result and the regime could get some trust back
– Whether there is a massive vote or not or boycott from the opposition, just the fact it happens for the first time in the history of Syria is an achievement for the regime and a major step toward a democratic process

– The referendum takes places 2 days after the “friends of Syria’ meeting. Therefore the meeting will have this shadow over it and would give many doubts to potential ‘friends of Syria’ about taking drastic actions while there is a democratic process under way. As the Russians may also be in that meeting, I guess, they would emphasize that Bashar al Assad is keeping his promises and should be given a chance to proceed in the democratic reforms he has announced .

If this happens this way, as I imagine it will, it will show that Syria’s political savvyness can still outsmart again Qatar, France and Turkey and their allies.
Now if the result is a YES, then I think the regime is doomed.

February 15th, 2012, 9:18 pm


irritated said:

“Ghufran said:

It looks like Ghalioun will stay president of the SNC for another 3 months.”

Doe he have a son?

February 15th, 2012, 9:30 pm


ann said:

Russia’s Syria Amendments, Here, May Not Be Voted On in GA, 2/3 Claim

UNITED NATIONS, February 15, updated with text — Russia has circulated amendments to the General Assembly resolution on Syria that is slated to be voted on February 16 at 3 pm.

Based on interviews Inner City Press conducted outside and after a Russia convened meeting Wednesday, it is possible or even probable that no vote will be called on these amendments; a “no action” motion is possible but would likely fail.

An attendee told Inner City Press that Russia inside the meeting said, “we vote against and make a statement.”

The Russian position, expressed to Inner City Press outside th emeeting, is that “on political issues relevant to Security Council, under rules of procedure, have to collect two thirds majority… Because of the lack of consultations, “we were forced to make ourselves clear vocally, at least we make it clear what the text is deprived of.”

The amendments are similar to the Security Council amendments that Inner City Press first obtained and published on Saturday morning February 4, including that “in conjunction with the end of attacks by armed groups against state institutions and quarters of cities and towns.” This last was (mis) presented at the stakeout and after as not “in conjunction” but armed groups leaving before the government.

Here is what Russia circulated, with additions in bold and omissions struck through, as obtained by Inner City Press:


February 15th, 2012, 9:34 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

I do not recall reading a Mickey Mouse piece of legislation as laughable as this proposed constitution, as if the all this turmoil and all those who perished in Syria was in vain and all were talking to a wall.
We do not need a Baath-Light or halfass reforms we need effective, immediate, and thorough democratization.
Baath as an ideology and Bashar as president are finished

February 15th, 2012, 9:42 pm


ann said:

Pushing regime change in Syria may lead to full civil war : Russian FM – 2012-02-16

VIENNA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday defended his country’s position on Syria and warned against pushing a regime change in Syria, Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported.

“The demand of a regime change is the direct way to even more deaths,” Lavrov said at a joint conference with Austrian Foreign minister Michael Spindelegger in Vienna.

“That’s the way to full civil war,” Lavrov stressed.


February 15th, 2012, 9:47 pm



The constitution is a farce. The referendum on the constitution is a farce. The whole thing will hold about as much sway on Syrian politics as a constitution I drafted at home and posted on a blog. The regime is on the verge of collapsing, and the Russians and Chinese are starting to realize that they can’t keep chasing sunk costs. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Iranians were negotiating through backdoor channels the price for Syria to fall more smoothly. It’s over. Their opening moves determined the outcome of the game, and they picked a very poor strategy. Forget Article 3, Article 8, etc. The only thing that can be gleaned from this draft constitution is that the regime is far weaker than it has let on, and it feels like it needs to buy some time to change the course of events that it sees coming. I’m talking about a 1/20 chance the regime will last 3 months.

By the way, the party is very divided right now. Believe me, don’t believe me, it’s your choice. I’m just some anonymous person posting on a website. But the whole thing is crumbling, and the regime won’t survive much longer. I’m hoping for a not-so-bloody exit, but that’s just wishful thinking.

Jumblatt is a parasitic opportunist, but he has a keen eye. As soon as he turned in January, everybody should have realized the regime’s days were numbered.

February 15th, 2012, 9:57 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

The issue of banning dual nationals and expats from running to office is interesting yet controversial:

On the one hand this policy will deprive Syria from the resources and talents of some of her best sons and daughters, the repressive regime drove out millions of the intelligencia and of the affluent businessmen, to cast these out is depriving the country of brains and dollars and both are badly needed in rebuilding the society and establishing democratic traditions

On the other hand, the greatest majority of Syrians reject the concept of importing a government or a government system and rightly point to the Iraqi fiasco, syrians in Syria will build their new state and system and we will assist them not coach them
If we do not share their pain, suffering,martyrdom, and struggle we can not demand a share of power

February 15th, 2012, 10:01 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

First we will see if Russia will attend this meeting, my understanding is that neither Russia nor China are invited,if they come they will be the spoilers.Also Iran and Lebanon will not be there.This meeting is for the friends of Syria,not the enemy of Syria.
second this Friend of Syria meeting will completely replace the AL,who will become marginal
This meeting will autherize the SNC to be the spokeman of the revolution,and will agree to help the syrian from the humanitarian side, and more.

February 15th, 2012, 10:01 pm


Norman said:

Irritated, Bronco, Mawal95,

I am very disappointed with what you wrote, Just remember that the whole crises started because some people don’t think that president Assad is Muslim enough, so now we have the same problem , he is not Muslim enough, what is your answer to that, as long as there are set a side and The president has to be Muslim, ((they must fearful that a Christian with less than 10% of the population will convince the Syrian people that he is better for the job,)) president Assad is not good enough for them, the other part about 50% farmers and poor, is unbelievable so we have one Parliament for the poor and one for the rich, I thought that the goal is serving the people not being in parliament, so let anybody what they can and serve the people and leave if they are not good enough,

in 1973 the first constitution that was introduced did not set the presidency to a Muslim , The MB started the violence at that time President Hafiz Assad looking forward and preparing for the 1973 war did not want to have a fight in the country so he accepted the president to be Muslim, the Christians at that time with patriotic feelings and their trust in president Assad agreed, now the rules are different president Assad will not be there to protect their rights therefore that should be in the constitution,


The American constitution is not that complicated, it declare that all Americans are equal and the have the right to seek happiness and success, laws are what govern the US , I understand your concern about the foreign interference and i share them with you but laws that ban foreign money even from Syrians living abroad and citizenship status only in Syria, and good living wages to government employees, so they do not get bribed for their votes, campaign spending limits, there are many things Syria can do as long as all Syrians are equal and they know it,i am sure no Christian would want to be president at this time or can win but look at Obama, nobody thought that a black can be president with the name Hussein , so what makes America great is not the Christian values or the economy, it is the feel that we are all equal and in it together,

America pride itself withe Judea Christian values and in Syria we should pride ourselves withe the Christian Muslim values, Christian Arabs are closer to their Muslim brothers than to western Christians so treat them equally or you might somebody pushing them to seek a seperate state, GOD forbid.

February 15th, 2012, 10:23 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

On the issue of an American constitution for Syria:
I hope you were all joking as this would not only be an insult to Syrian national pride and sovereignty but also to its people cultural heritage.
Remember democracy did not start with Jefferson but in anicent Greece and it had versions and variations to fit particular times and countries, Canada is a democracy with a different constitution than the American one and examples abound.
As for the mile-long visa applicants at the doors of American embassies..really?? how many Qataris or Emaraties do you see? None of course since there is no economic reason.
How many Indonesians,Malaysians, or Turks you see? Not many since these countries have coupled democratic ideals with economic success.
People are not fleeing Islamic systems per se , they are fleeing oppressive governments with little economic potential, and interestingly most of these poor people in those mile-long applicants are from oppressed minorities and dejected youth which affirms my point
Sad situation but I am hopeful of a brighter future for us all.

February 15th, 2012, 10:24 pm


irritated said:

#75 Leo

“On the one hand this policy will deprive Syria from the resources and talents of some of her best sons and daughters”

They could very well renounce to their foreign nationality, there are many examples of politicians who did it…

I agree, people don’t emigrate because they love the US or Australian way of life, they emigrate to flee wars or to get a job and a future for their families.
There is a longer line of Arabs going to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait then in front of the US embassy. Yet who likes the way of life of Saudi Arabia?

February 15th, 2012, 10:34 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

Why has the article about the religion of the president become the litmus test of secularism of future government(s)?

As an atheist I am more offended by the exclusion of women (50% of Syrians) or the under 40 age group (80% of Syrians ) than the exclusion of non-Muslims (10% of Syrians)…we should be enraged that there are criteria that exclude 10-80% of the population.

When are we going to enjoy mature political life where Institutions rule and not Individuals?
What if a brilliant 25 year old female from Assyrian race and Christian faith heads a party that democratically wins the elections? Who cares about her description as her party won the support of most Syrians ( and for that she needs the support of all..the muslims, the Arabs,the men, and the plus forty)
We should focus on building national parties or else..the Brothers will be there for a very long time

February 15th, 2012, 10:44 pm


bronco said:


Sorry to disappoint you.

“, so what makes America great is not the Christian values or the economy, it is the feel that we are all equal and in it together,”

Are Americans equal or it is an illusion? The difference of living conditions is a worse inequality than religion or race.
Poverty in USA is a shame, and there is no equality when there is such a unacceptable gap between the social classes.
I think Syrians feel more equal to each other than a poor black from the Bronx and a white guy from Manhattan.
Would a white guy walk there at night among his ‘equals’ ?
Sorry, by removing the religion from the problematic issues and replacing it by class and race difference is not what I call a success.

February 15th, 2012, 10:49 pm


Majed97 said:

“Article 3 strengthens the Assad party’s political position. Its removal for the sake of the whingers (such as Majed97) would make the Assad party more vulnerable to competition from a more Islamic party than the Assad party is. Which could ultimately be to the detriment of the whingers.”

Whining is what we’re supposed to do in a free society; get used to it. Revolutions weren’t made by status quo cheerleaders like Mawal95. To whine about righting the wrong is my way of contributing to a different kind of revolution; a Syrian revolution that I hoped will be lead by Bashar himself into a progressive future that will introduce Syrians to better alternatives, instead of citing and reciting old “mawalat”. Leadership is about daring to abandon obsolete values and embrace positives changes that might not be popular sometimes. It’s about having a progressive vision and having the courage to make it happen. Taking the easy roads to make short term gains is not what leaders are supposed to do; it wasn’t easy for Lincoln, America’s founding fathers, Ataturk, Martin Luther King, even all the prophets themselves. They dared the obsolete values of their times and changed history as a result.

Bashar has a chance now to lead a counter revolution that takes Syria into a distinctively progressive path; instead of just clinging on to the old values, which are currently being championed by those regressive revolutionary thugs. He needs to distinguish himself completely from them by introducing Syrians to the concept of “All men are created equal”; therefore equal rights to pursue their utmost potentials must be granted to everyone without limitations, regardless of their spiritual beliefs. The public has the right to reject those who don’t share their religious values by simply not voting for them; but the public should not have the right to deny anyone their right to be rejected. As for those who will oppose this concept… guess what? They are already opposing everything Bashar does, or will do.

Bashar could turn this into an opportunity to enter history as the leader who dared to teach the Arab/Islamic world the concept of equality for all. He has at least 50% support of Syrians, according to several polls, so why not capitalize on that and challenge the stagnant Arab minds.

People who are Sunni Moslem by birth, like me, should hold no advantages or privileges over other Syrians; if we are to ever abandon the sectarian divide.


February 15th, 2012, 10:53 pm


Leo Syriacus said:

Thank you, I was thinking the same thing, what if they renounce these other nationalities and come back to serve Syria? Why should Syria reject me for my Canadian and French passports if I chose to give them up and go back to my country of birth?

As for the “lifestyle” and immigration I think it mainly appeals to the liberal,secular, educated ones for the others the economic reasons are more powerful or a mixture of both..I had friends who left six-figure income positions in the US and Canada for Saudi Arabia for even better pay, no income tax, and the fact that they decided to become pious Muslims!!!

February 15th, 2012, 10:54 pm


Hans said:

Here is a site where you can find what the west and the USA including the US of Israel planning for Syria.

February 15th, 2012, 11:00 pm


Equus said:

This is a petition against the war on Iran if any cares to sign it

February 15th, 2012, 11:04 pm


Darryl said:

66. TARA said:

“My problem with what you have posted in the past is your generalization of some people’s behavior to billions of Muslims who understand the religion as simply as I do. A religion of a …just peace if you will.”

Tara, I think you have a different view of Islam than what it really is as practiced and understood by the majority of Muslims. The Qur’an does not speak of the above statement, it rather speaks of the opposite, it speaks of discrimination, it speaks of killing, it speaks of revenge, it speaks of hate for the sake of God.

The last time I counted the words such as revenge, hate, kill amounted to about 200 times. Peace is mentioned a few times.

I want to tell you about a hadith regarding the son of Caliph Omar. One day he greeted a person while passing. Someone heard him say Salam Alaikum to this person and told him that person is a Jew. Omar’s son ran after the Jewish guy and said give me my Salam back!

How is a person going to give a back his Salam? Muslims are not supposed to say Salam Alikum to non-Muslims and non-Muslims are supposed to walk on the other side of the street as not to come in contact with Muslims. I am not making this up, this is Islam.

Syrians do not practice this version or perhaps a very small minority do so, but it is there and not knowing about it is not a solution to a problem.

February 15th, 2012, 11:13 pm


Norman said:


Thank you,


In the US we do not have classes, we can all what we want to be , Only in the US a poor black man with the name Barack Hussein Obama with a father from Kenya can become president so i do not know what you are talking about, 67% of the Billionaires in the US are self made, where can you find that, nowhere, so yeas the equalities that we have in the US and the anti discrimination laws in housing and employment and our freedom to move to any place in the US where we can find a job and we want to live , yes my friend the united state is the promised land and i want Syria to be exactly like it.

February 15th, 2012, 11:23 pm


ann said:

Syrian opposition struggles to gain traction in Aleppo – February 15, 2012

Foes of President Bashar Assad have yet to win over much of the population, which includes an affluent business community that puts a high value on stability.,0,3812700.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fworld+%28L.A.+Times+-+World+News%29

Opposition activists are having trouble organizing even small, peaceful protests in Aleppo, Syria’s commercial hub, which, along with the capital, Damascus, has remained an Assad stronghold.

Almost a year into the national rebellion, one that has turned increasingly bloody in most major Syrian communities, activism in Aleppo remains in a nascent stage. Government opponents have yet to win over much of the population, which includes an affluent business community that greatly values the stability that, in the last few years, had been a hallmark of Assad’s rule.

Even relatively small protests here have been met by a brutal government response, leaving more than a dozen dead in recent weeks, Aleppo activists say. Organizers have adopted such precautions as varying their protest sites and choosing locations at the last minute and based on the available escape routes.

For the moment, Aleppo’s opposition has yet to establish a regular street protest regimen, a stage that many other regions of Syria passed through months ago. Some here feel the burden of unrealistic expectations.

In late June, a day that had been dubbed “Volcano Aleppo,” in the hope that the city would erupt in spontaneous anti-Assad rallies, quickly fizzled.

Almost six months later, activists in Damascus and Aleppo laid out a timeline of strikes. A similar effort to bring commerce to a standstill had moderate success in Damascus; it floundered in Aleppo.


February 15th, 2012, 11:25 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

You told us about a story and you refered to it as Hadith, Hadith is the words of the prophet, what you said is a story and not Hadith,
second The prophet did cast greeting to non muslems and including jews saying As Salamu Alikum, and in fact there are times when he conducted funerel prayer on a dead jew, so please stop this untrue stories that you mentioned, we know Islam , and what you say is not part of Islam.

Please stop Darryl wrong propaganda against Islam,this is a message of hate, spreading wrong informations should be a reason to ban.

February 15th, 2012, 11:39 pm


Ghufran said:

Post # 68 is from a regime supporting website,it shows how distant regime figures are from reality or how disrespectful they are to the general public. I do not buy the story that the regime is sending the constitution to a referendum to get it rejected by the public,I think the regime bowed to islamists pressure and it might be working on a deal that satisfies the fat cats and the religious establishment at the expense of most Syrians.
A year ago,this const. might be seen as a breakthrough,today after thousands of Syrians dead and a country at the verge of civil war it is barely lipsticks to beautify an ugly face.
What happened to the promise of security in the streets with political freedom and justice? We all know the answer now,failure is the name of the game,and the writings are all over the place,it is as if all agreed that Syria must be fed to the sharks to save a bigger fish.

February 15th, 2012, 11:43 pm


Darryl said:


Is it getting hot under your collar Dr Khaldoun? Did this incident happen or not?

February 15th, 2012, 11:53 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

No, there is no Hadith like that, misinformation, and fabrications can cause sedition, and no i am cool.

February 16th, 2012, 12:02 am


Son of Damascus said:


– ‘War’ is mentioned 1225 times in the King James Bible (1111 American Standard Bible) in the Qur’an 36 times.

– ‘Peace’ mentioned 356 in KJB 400 in ASB and 67 in the Q.

– ‘Fighting’ mentioned 113 in KJB 106 in ASB and 52 in the Q.

– ‘Destroy’ mentioned 470 in KJB 435 in ASB and 41 in the Q.

– ‘Slain’ mentioned 168 KJB 114 ASB and 23 in the Q.

– ‘Kill’ mentioned 512 in KJB 361 ASB and 29 in the Q.

[Source: Salih Yucel, Director of Boston Dialogue foundation]

(Note if you click on the link a power point file will open)

Please before you make unsubstantiated remarks and claim them as facts, make sure you are standing on solid ground.

February 16th, 2012, 12:14 am


ann said:


Libya invites Syria rebels to open Tripoli office – 16 February 2012

“We are ready to allow our brothers in the Syrian National Council to open an office in Tripoli, not an embassy,” Abdel Jalil told the station in an interview. “We support the Syrian people and their aspirations.”


February 16th, 2012, 12:16 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Islam is a religion of peace,religion of love and cooperation, religion of justice, religion that teaches us to be good to christian and jews,christians live with peace in islamic countries, but there are those who want to spread islamophobia and cause sedition and provoke religious war,look ar Saladin how he treated the crusaders after he defeated them, Islam is light but those who wants to block the light they acuse Islam of what is not islamic,they will fail,Moses mentioned several times in Quraan, and the same as jesus, and in Islam we believe in Jesus and Moses.

February 16th, 2012, 12:22 am


mjabali said:

The article stating the president of Syria should be a Muslim should be taken out ASAP.

Why don’t they put that matter alone for voting.

There are around 25 to 30 percent non Sunni Muslim Syrians at least, and if you add up the Syrians outside of Syria. You may have a 50 percent non Muslim Sunni Syrians at least, taking into consideration the emigration of minorities high percentages for at least a 100 years.

Also, if you take the Sunnis themselves, they are groups ranging from closeted atheists to hard core Salafis. Their percentages vary with time. In the 1970’s there were few Salafis. But, now with the help of the cash rich Salafi states like Qatar and Co., we have an increase in this group and a disappearance of the Sunni leftist, Communists, non-practicing, light atheists…etc. These groups are gone and replaced with the guys with the long messy beard and shaven mustache.

al-Assads, father and son, will never be considered Muslims. As a matter of fact most of those rebelling against al-Assad do not consider al-Assad to be a Muslim. Adding to this are the people of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the rest of the Sunni states, who consider al-Assads and the rest of the Alawis to be non-Muslims.

The writings of the Sunnis all over the internet gives up how they think for real far away from political correctness. In sites like You Tube, Facebook, al-Arabiyah, Elaph, Suriyun Net, and many others, the Sunni commentators say day after day that the Alalwis are non-Muslims. They all invoke the famous decree of Ibn Taymiyah. If you want the talking heads on many Sunni TV channels you will hear the same thing: the Alawis are not Muslim.

Islam is at the heart of the battle today in Syria. If you look honestly at how Islam is affecting things you will see what I am saying.

February 16th, 2012, 12:27 am


ann said:

UN General Assembly schedules on Syria – 11 hours ago

In a letter to the assembly’s 193 members, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin highlighted two amendments.

One called on “all sections of the Syrian opposition to dissociate themselves from armed groups engaged in acts of violence” and urged countries with influence to prevent continued violence by such groups. The other demanded that the withdrawal of all Syrian armed forces from cities and towns — which is called for in the Arab League plan — take place “in conjunction with the end of attacks by armed groups against state institutions and quarters of cities and towns.”

Diplomats said the Arabs and their Western supporters couldn’t accept these amendments because they seek to equate the Assad regime’s crackdown on civilian protesters with the opposition that rose up to confront the violent attacks.

The proposed resolution does condemn “all violence, irrespective of where it comes from, and calls upon all parties in Syria, including armed groups, to immediately stop all violence or reprisals” as called for by the Arab League.

The proposed resolution makes no specific reference to the Arab League’s call Sunday for the Security Council to authorize a joint Arab-U.N. peacekeeping force for Syria.

The draft resolution strongly supports the Arab League’s decision to facilitate a Syrian-led transition to a democratic political system, by starting “a serious political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition.”


February 16th, 2012, 12:47 am


Juergen said:


about dual citizenship, that is to me not an big issue, but surely the principle behind it is to ensure no exiled Syrian can become President if he holds an other citizenship. For me the most strange article is the one asking for the wife of President to be also Syrian, that i find quite absurd. How about dual citizenships of the wife of presidents, should we not worry about loyalty then?

February 16th, 2012, 12:57 am


Juergen said:


what you are referring to as being Islam is like seeing the Armish in the US and say that is Christianity. Such behaviour and social issues like greetings of kuffar i know only from the wahabi/salafi sect within Islam.I see them as the cancer inside the islamic societies. I once had a copy of a WAMY( World assembly of muslim youth) book which was about special duas when meeting kuffars and how to greet them, quite a disgusting thing to read. Its like the easter prayer in the catholic church which damns the jewish for killing Jesus. Such hate is not Islam in a whole, this is the Islam of a few, and I am sure you will agree that nuts are found in every religion.

February 16th, 2012, 1:04 am


ann said:

China paper says foreign meddling in Syria risks global economy – Thu Feb 16, 2012

Meddling in Syria by foreign powers risks stirring up a hornets’ nest of bloodshed and instability in the Middle East which could shock markets and derail the weak global economy, China’s top newspaper said on Thursday.

“The political ecology in the Middle East is extremely frail, a tangled mess of thousands of years of ethnic and religious conflict,” the People’s Daily said.

World powers must realise this and handle bloodshed in Syria and Middle East tensions with a sense of realism, the paper said, noting that the spread of conflict would be a “catastrophe” in a crucial phase of global economic recovery.

“The Middle East is the world’s most important fuel depot. If gripped by chaos, oil prices would skyrocket, shocking the stock market, financial systems and economies,” the paper said.

A weak political equilibrium in the region has emerged, but if broken, all manner of latent problems will emerge which no single superpower can control.


February 16th, 2012, 1:08 am


Son of Damascus said:


What is even more troubling about the citizenship debacle is that expats are ‘loyal’ enough to be eligible for military service, but not ‘loyal’ enough to be eligible to become president. I guess the badal (Tax for not doing the service, which is about $7000 – $15000 USD) is too lucrative for the mafia to pass up.

February 16th, 2012, 1:10 am


son of Damascus said:

Arwa Damon reports from inside Bab Amr for CNN.

February 16th, 2012, 1:16 am


ann said:

Two Turkish parties warn against foreign intervention in Syria – Thu Feb 16, 2012

The leader of the Turkish Great Union Party (BBP) has expressed opposition to any foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Syria, Press TV reports.

During a meeting with Turkish Felicity Party (SP) leader, Mustafa Kamalak, on Wednesday, Mustafa Destici said, “We do not want an intervention in Syria. We want Syria to resolve the issue itself by democratization and implementation of the national will,” a Press TV correspondent reported.

Adopting an initiative “based on policies of the United States, Israel, Britain and France, will push Turkey and the region towards a big problem and a road with no return,” Destici added.


February 16th, 2012, 1:23 am


ann said:

Syrian military retake conflict areas in Harasta – 2012-02-16

February 16th, 2012, 1:35 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Donkeys on Donkeys
That is why it is called الجيش الكر

February 16th, 2012, 1:59 am


bronco said:


Some figures about poverty and income inequalities in USA that you may not be aware of

The US Census declared that in 2010 15.1% of the general population lived in poverty:

Many sociologists and government officials have argued that poverty in the United States is understated, meaning that there are more households living in actual poverty than there are households below the poverty threshold.[47] A recent NPR report states that as much as 30% of Americans have trouble making ends meet and other advocates have made supporting claims that the rate of actual poverty in the US is far higher than that calculated by using the poverty threshold.[47]
In 2011, the Census Bureau introduced a new supplementary poverty measure aimed at providing a more accurate picture of the true extent of poverty in the United States. According to this new measure, 16% of Americans lived in poverty in 2011, compared with 15.2% using the official figure. The new measure also estimated that nearly half of all Americans lived in poverty that year, defined as living within 200% of the federal poverty line.[56]

As of 2006, the United States had one of the highest levels of income inequality, as measured through the Gini index, among similar developed or high income countries.[10]

Commentators, economists, politicians do not agree on the issue of increase in inequality in America or its importance. Among economists and other experts most agree that America’s growing income inequality is “deeply worrying”,[17] unjust,[117] a danger to democracy/social stability,[161][162][163] and/or even a sign of national decline.[140]

February 16th, 2012, 2:05 am


annie said:

On these ruins you come up with a credible project ?
Autistic ..

February 16th, 2012, 2:07 am


Syria no kandahar said:

What a bright future,This is part of المجلس العسكري
So we have sale on (armies),you want to build your own army?

February 16th, 2012, 2:18 am


Alan said:

أين جاد هذه الأيام ؟

February 16th, 2012, 2:22 am


bronco said:


“about dual citizenship, that is to me not an big issue, but surely the principle behind it is to ensure no exiled Syrian can become President ”

In Germany, the law is even more restrictive. Children of immigrants are NOT allowed to have dual citizenship after the age of 23. If he/she opts to keep the Syrian nationality, she/he’ll loose the german one but could be a candidate for the presidency in Syria.

“Numerous countries either ignore or prohibit dual citizenship:

These include: Burma, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Other countries, such as Japan or Germany, allow dual nationalities until a certain age

In Germany, for instance, children of foreign-born parents have dual nationality until the age of 23, when they must decide which passport to keep. Only in exceptional cases, for example, if ”unreasonable conditions” are imposed for giving up a foreign passport, will dual citizenship be permitted to continue.

February 16th, 2012, 2:31 am


zoo said:

Another desperate attempt for the SNC to be recognized by another country that Libya.

“SNC members re-elected Burhan Ghalioun as its head at a meeting in the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday.

The SNC hopes to gain international standing at a “Friends of Syria” meeting on February 24 in Tunisia. SNC Secretary General Wael Merza said 74 countries and organizations would be there.”

February 16th, 2012, 2:42 am


Juergen said:


You should also say that Syria does not allow Syrians to drop their nationality, for that reasons our laws allow dual citizenships for Syrians and a few other nations.
But our laws do not abide the idea that people with dual citizenships could become President. Dacid Mcallister is fe. president of Niedersachsen( federal state), and he holds an British citizenship and a German.

What do you think about this issue that the wife of the president must be of syrian nationality, what does Asma do now, give back her british passport?

February 16th, 2012, 2:50 am


zoo said:

Tribal bonds strengthen the Gulf’s hand in a new Syria

Hassan Hassan
Feb 16, 2012

Much has been said about the Gulf states’ interest in regime change in Syria to steer Damascus away from Tehran and bolster their regional standing. The prevailing narrative is that Syria is a Sunni-majority country and will therefore ally itself with Gulf Sunni Arabs after the overthrow of the Baathist regime.
The Gulf states are, in fact, better positioned because of deeply rooted tribal bonds that span Syria, especially in Al Jazira region (which makes about 40 per cent of the country), the countryside around cities like Deraa, Homs and Aleppo, and to a lesser degree near Hama, Damascus and even in the Druze stronghold of Suwaida. Channels of communication already exist between Gulf states and tribal leaders in some of these areas. These relationships have been sustained despite efforts by the Baathist regime to weaken tribal loyalties.

Members of the tribes migrated from the Arabian Peninsula to the Levant and Mesopotamia, some with Muslim compaigns in the 7th century and others later in search of water and grazing for livestock. But the majority of people of most tribes remained on the peninsula.
Another possible trend that favours Gulf influence in Syria is the growing prominence of Salafism (as opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has strong links to Turkey). Salafism is increasing especially in tribal areas, partly because of the return of Syrians who have worked in the Gulf.

How the Gulf states will use these levers of influence remains to be seen, however. “Saudi Arabia has a limited understanding of the nature and diversity of the Syrian opposition,” said Emile Hokayem, a Middle East analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “and risks espousing too closely the perspective of its tribal and Wahhabi interlocutors.” Riyadh risks overreliance on the tribes, which remain largely divided.

But if these links are harnessed, the Gulf states’ influence will extend from the north of Syria to western Iraq and Jordan, creating a “tribal crescent” in place of Iran’s “Shia crescent” that today extends from Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

February 16th, 2012, 2:50 am


irritated said:

#113 Juergen

This multiple citizenship issue is very debatable. I really have no answer but I guess each country has the right to make restrictions that they believe is justifiable. Asma Al Assad is Syrian.
Will the Constitution referendum ask a YES/NO for each clause? or a global YES/NO. As this is a draft, it is not possible to ask a definite approval of the whole Constitution yet.

February 16th, 2012, 3:01 am


Juergen said:


if this a draft only, why vote on it? I dont think that they will make any more changes. I wrote about this salafi called Zammar, he sits in Seydnaya because Syria says he is Syrian, even though he holds an German citizenship also. Are you sure Asma does not have an british passport?

February 16th, 2012, 3:36 am


Juergen said:

Swiss has just announced it will close its embassy in Damascus.

February 16th, 2012, 3:41 am


Juergen said:


you said the referendum needs 90% approval, you have a report or source on that?
thank you

February 16th, 2012, 6:08 am


Juergen said:

China will start their own diplomatic initiative

Vice forgeign minister Zahi Jun will arrive in Damascus for a two day visit on Friday. The viceminister who speaks Arabic will try to start an chinese initiative for peace in the country.
Beijing is hoping for a “peaceful and proper solution” to the conflict in Syria, the chinese foreign ministry stated.

I hope the regime has enough chinese flags for tomorrow…

February 16th, 2012, 7:10 am


Tara said:

China sent an envoy to the AL and is now sending an envoy to Damascus. Why all of the sudden after the double veto? Are they feeling the pressure? Is that in response to the Feb 24th Friend of Syria meeting? Are they afraid of being sidelined?

February 16th, 2012, 7:26 am


Uzair8 said:

[Note: Sorry mod. Was just experimenting with name in previous comment (Uzayr8)].

In #93 SOD posted some Holy book word frequency comparisons which reminded me of the word repetitions in the Quran I hope I’m permitted to post a couple of examples:

– The number of times the words, “world” (dunya) and “hereafter” (akhira) are repeated is also the same: 115

– The word “satan” (shaitan) is used in the Qur’an 88 times, as is the word “angels” (malaika).

– The number of times the words “man” and “woman” are repeated in the Qur’an, 23 {each}, is at the same time that of the chromosomes from the egg and sperm in the formation of the human embryo. The total number of human chromosomes is 46; 23 each from the mother and father.

See here for a longer list:

February 16th, 2012, 7:38 am


Juergen said:


have you heard of an tv channel called fadi? A friend told me its an christian tv channel on arabic. May be Darryl got his view from them.

February 16th, 2012, 7:39 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Peacefull Terrorism.
You are either wahhabi or dead.
Don’t be islamophobic,no reason for.
Islam is peaceful .
سوريا الان – مجموعة مسلحة تغتال الشيخ أحمد صادق إمام جامع أنس بن مالك أمام منزله بدمشق..الاعتداء على مديرية أوقاف ريف دمشق ومعهد شرعي في عربين وثانويةشرعية …

خمس رصاصات من الغدر و الخيانة اخترقت جسد الطاهر الشريف الشيخ أحمد صادق إمام و خطيب جامع أنس بن مالك و أدخلته جنان الله الواسعة شهيدا جديداً من شهداء سورية الأبرار و لكن شهادته كان لها طابعها الخاص،
الشهيد كان قد تصدر شاشة الفضائية السورية في خطبة الجمعة الماضية وأرسل رسائل إلى كل المتربصين بسورية و عرى الذين يحرضون على سورية و فضحهم بالحجة إلا أن قول الحقيقة في زمننا هذا أصبح ثمنه الشهادة برصاص الغدر.

الشيخ الشهيد كان قد خاطب مشايخ السعودية الذين دعوا للجهاد في سورية و للتظاهر و قال لهم كيف تحرمون التظاهر في السعودية و تحللونه في سورية هل القرآن في سورية يختلف عن القرآن عندكم في السعودية وهل علمكم الرسول الأعظم محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم أن الخروج على الوالي هو فرض عين ألم يقل لكم أن لا خروج على الوالي ولو أخطأ لماذا لا تتعظون بعلمائنا .

وعلم مندوب سانا أن المجموعة الإرهابية المسلحة ترصدت الشيخ صادق في منطقة قدم عسالي واطلقت نيران أسلحتها الرشاشة عليه خلال عودته بسيارته إلى منزله في البويضة بريف دمشق ما أدى إلى استشهاده.

والشهيد صادق من مواليد دمشق عام 1975 يحمل شهادة دكتوراه في الشريعة متزوج وله أربعة أولاد بنت وثلاثة صبيان.

واعتدت مجموعة إرهابية مسلحة مساء أمس على مديرية أوقاف ريف دمشق في مدينة دوما وخربت وسرقت محتوياتها.

وأوضح مصدر رسمي في وزارة الأوقاف أن مجموعات إرهابية مسلحة أخرى اعتدت على المعهد المتوسط الشرعي في بلدة عربين وعبثت بمحتوياته وسرقت بعضها كما تعرضت الثانوية الشرعية في دارة عزة بحلب إلى اعتداء مماثل وسرقة محتوياتها.

الوكالات -سورية الان

February 16th, 2012, 8:01 am


Juergen said:

Danny Abdul Dayem flees to Lebanon

Danny is currently in Strasbourg to address the european parlament on an urgent meeting of the parlament on the situation in Syria. The parlament will most likely pledges for new sanctions against the regime.
These are some translated quotes from an german newsarticle of Danny Abdul Dayem.

“Every day we pick out for body parts,” he said in British English. “The day after Russia and China prevented the UN resolution, Assad’s forces used for the first time a rocket launcher.”

“Assad’s troops firing on ambulances of the Red Crescent,” said Dayem. “On all the higher houses sit snipers. If they are in a good mood, they shoot nobody. If they are in a bad mood, they deliberately kill children, women, old people. ”

“We arrested five Iranian soldiers in Homs since about one and a half months “said Dayem. Iranian officers were commanding Syrian forces.

Dayem said that the establishment of a no-fly zone would hasten the end of the fighting: “. As long as they do not exist to the armored troops will not desert, because they are afraid of artillery and air force” when he can return to Syria, is uncertain: “I feel bad, here to talk to you instead of being in Homs. ”

One thing is clear for Danny Abdul Dayem: “It’s over for Assad. We will not stop this revolution. ”

February 16th, 2012, 8:21 am


Tara said:


With all the killing that have occurred after Russia and China gave a cart blanch to kill, it is time now for a no fly zone. World’s powers should sideline Russia and China and enforce it. The FSA would take care of the rest.

February 16th, 2012, 8:38 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Karadawi’s &Alaaroor victim

February 16th, 2012, 8:38 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Dannys friends:

February 16th, 2012, 8:43 am


Ghufran said:

Russia’s poison pill earned the AL wrath at the UN.
The Russian amendment asked for all countries in the Middle East to endorse democratic reform.

February 16th, 2012, 9:04 am


majedkhaldoun said:

90% is my suggestion,I believe that a constitution is permanent law of the land, it should not be adopted by simple majority, let us say if 49% disagree it will not be fair for them to have a permenant law against them, .this is not a true and fair democracy.
In Syria christians are 5-10% of population, it will be unfair for them if Sunni who are 75% make laws that could be against christians who has no chance of getting simple majority.

February 16th, 2012, 9:19 am


Juergen said:


given the record of succsessful mobilization of the people the referendum will set new records, i am sure about that.

You are right, an constitution which deserves the name must be approved by an majority, lets see how long this constitution will last.

February 16th, 2012, 9:43 am


Jerusalem said:

وزير الخارجية اللبناني : الغرب يصفي حساباته مع بشار الاسد بسبب مواقفه المؤيدة للفلسطينيين

رأى وزير الخارجية اللبناني عدنان منصور أن ما يحدث في سورية “تصفية حساب للغرب مع الرئيس بشار الأسد” نظرا لمواقفه الإقليمية.وقال منصور في مقابلة صحفية نشرت في مصر الأربعاء: نظرا لما تمثله سورية من موقع وأهمية وتاريخ نضال طويل وتحملها للقضية المركزية وهي القضية الفلسطينية بالإضافة إلى الحروب التي خاضتها ضد إسرائيل وممانعتها الدخول في الحلول التي كانت تأتي على حساب الشعب الفلسطيني وقضيته وعلى حساب أرض سورية المحتلة .. لذا كان لابد من تصفية الحساب مع سورية علهم بالنسبة لهؤلاء – في حال ما إذا تغير النظام – يستطيعون أن يسيروا في المنطقة بالحل الذي يريدونه

February 16th, 2012, 9:51 am


irritated said:

#116 Juergen

I know that most Arab countries tolerate multiple nationalities and do not question it until there is an issue of security or double allegeance.
I don’t know about Asma Al Assad.

February 16th, 2012, 9:54 am


Tara said:

No one believes the Mumanaa (resistance) issue anymore. What is more damning than Hamas pulling out from Syria in protest?

Can someone patch this for us? Or is Hamas now a Zionist organization trying to bring Assad down because of his Mumanaaa ?

February 16th, 2012, 10:23 am


Revlon said:

Imposing a quota for peasants and labourers in the parliament is unconstitutional.
It discriminates between people in holding a public post on the basis of their profession.
It is obviously, completely unnecessary.
Labourers, farmers, like professionals can use their consitutional right to form unions and advance their interests, including advocating to their members whom to vote for to represent them in the parliament.

Restricting the post of the presidency to Muslems is unconstitutional.
It discriminates between people on the basis of religion.
It is obviously, completely unnecessary!
People can use their constitutional freedom of choice to elect their preferred president on the basis of any attribute they deem fitting, including religion, or non-religion.

February 16th, 2012, 10:25 am


Juergen said:

dont get me wrong, i personally dont care if one has one or two nationalities, but if they made up this article calling for the spouse of the president to be syrian, it raises this question. I assume if her daddy is such an important cardiologist he might have gotten the nationality, but almost certain his daughter. So they are afraid of an Marie Antoinette scenario.

February 16th, 2012, 10:30 am


son of Damascus said:

Qordoba translated the Syrian Constitution Modification into English.

February 16th, 2012, 10:38 am


majedkhaldoun said:

I agree fully, however I believe there has to be a house for wise and highly educated people,for intelligent people, this is what is wrong about democracy,democracy measures the average people, with no distinction between wise and intelligent and those who are unintelligent who follow their emotion and sectarian or religious preference,or those who failed in real life compare to those who were very successful,we should not equate dumm and smart and give them equal power to make a decision.we should not equate active and lazy persons.

February 16th, 2012, 10:45 am


Halabi said:

Asma Akhras was born in London and is a British citizen. She is also Syrian because both her parents are.

She grew up in England – she went to decent schools and had friends. Like many Syrians living abroad, she would accompany her parents on visits to the homeland and probably had a really good time.

I don’t think she has a Syrian baccalaureate, so she probably didn’t waste her time studying Baath party doctrine, or have low-ranking Baath party officials teaching art and collecting party dues from teenagers. My art teacher would ask us to draw a composition depicting your feelings of the Corrective Movement, or another to show the victory of the Syrian army in the 1973 war.

We usually walked out of the class to play football or cards, and then gave the teacher many multiples of our dues to pass.

Asma arrived in Syria as princess of sorts – Anissa continued to hold the title of First Lady, although I’m not sure if that witch is still clinging to it. Asma saw snapshots of Syria, but was surrounded by wolves and political operatives with multiple agendas, with corruption at the top.

Having never been forced to spend her allowance on yet another school organized fundraiser to buy a framed photo of Hafez, nor humiliated by drill instructors and the vice squad (akhlakieh a secular version of Saudi’s religious police), Asma just can’t appreciate how much the average Syrian hates this government.

But the fact that she doesn’t know what it’s like to live as a commoner in Assad’s Syria doesn’t absolve her of responsibility for her inaction and thus participation in this regime’s crimes. She should have known that Syria is a poor country and that her lifestyle and those around her far exceeds our capabilities.

She definitely knows that her husband and his gang have ordered the deaths of thousands of unarmed citizens. Historians will not be kind to Asma Akhras.

February 16th, 2012, 11:01 am


Mawal95 said:

If you’ve been unable to get to for the past day, here’s the workaround: Go to and do not go to The following works fine:

By the way the coverage of Syria at is no better today than it was yesterday.

February 16th, 2012, 11:03 am


Mawal95 said:

Syria’s new ambassador to China, Imad Moustapha, was interviewed by Xinhuanet on 14 Feb 2012. The text is published in English at . Here’s an abridgement what the ambassador says, and you can take it as a summary of the viewpoint of many or most inside the regime:

Damascus and Aleppo, which house almost half of the Syria population, lead a very normal life. The same applies to other major Syria cities. In one city, Homs, armed terrorist groups are committing atrocious acts of violence. Those groups are not freedom fighters. They are not calling for democracy and elections. The Western claims to the contrary are preposterous lies propagated by the Western media…. Do not believe the reports of the Western media. The situation in Syria has not worsened; the majority of the Syrian people strongly support the Syrian government. Armed terrorist groups can inflict violence, death and destruction. Nevertheless, they cannot destroy the society. They cannot destroy the government. Qatar and Saudi Arabia want to prevent the Syrian Army from restoring law and order in the Syrian cities. The truth is this is a war between a secular progressive country, Syria, and extremist Islamist ideology that is supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar backed by the deeply rooted U.S. enmity to Syria.

The Syrian government makes a great distinction between the armed groups and peaceful demonstrators who seek a political change. The government is deeply committed to a political solution. The direction of the Syrian government is to conduct free elections, allow total freedom of press, total freedom of political parties, and give women their total rights. The Syrian people will decide what they want for Syria through a referendum on the constitution, and the ballot box in the forthcoming elections. The Syrian government and Syrian opposition must listen to the people’s demands. This can only take place through free elections. Only when the Syrian people say their word, then we can move forward.

Let me add as one comment on the above: that Bashar Assad has said (and I agree) that most of armed rebels are not extremist Islamists.

February 16th, 2012, 11:11 am


bronco said:

#130 Majedalkhadoon

The 90% does not exists in any Constitutional referendum made.

” How are the results of the referendum computed? On this critical matter, there is no single answer. In most systems a simple majority of those voting suffices (but in the Republic of the Congo, an absolute majority of those voting is required, and in Lithuania some provisions, touching on the character of the state, require a three-quarters majority). Some laws prescribe that a minimum percentage of registered voters must have voted, and many referendums have been lost even though the majority of those who voted said “Yes,” because of low turnout. (Ireland and Italy are among the countries that require a minimum turnout.) A few, particularly federations, require that apart from an overall majority, there must be a significant spread of support throughout the country. This rule was applied in the referendum in Kenya [2010], requiring an overall majority of those voting and 25 percent support in five out of eight provinces. (Kenyan provinces have ethnic dimensions.) In the Iraqi referendum of 2005, the requirement was both a majority of “Yes” votes nationwide and that not more than two governorates (out of eighteen) have a “No” vote by two-thirds or more of the registered voters. (This figure was chosen rather than the original and less onerous requirement of two-thirds of the actual voters, the change giving a veto to small, but compact, groups—a rule originally meant to help Kurds in their negotiations for autonomy, but which nearly enabled the Sunnis to torpedo the constitution.)

The Kenya referendum question was announced on May 13, 2010:

Do you approve the proposed new Constitution? YES/NO

The Liberian referendum was made Article By Article,_2011

February 16th, 2012, 11:11 am


Mawal95 said:

Syria’s ambassador to China said in China on 14 Feb 2012: “When the Russian Foreign Minister, Mr. Lavrov visited Damascus last week, two million people went to the streets of Damascus carrying Russian flags, and chanting ‘thank you Russia’. If a Chinese official will go this week to Damascus he will be greeted by even more Syrians saying ‘thank you China’.”

Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, as a special envoy of the Chinese government, will pay a visit to Syria from Feb. 17 to 18, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin announced at a press briefing on 16 Feb 2012.

The estimate of two million people declared above by Syria’s ambassador to China is a gross overestimate and gross exaggeration. It’s off by more than a factor of ten, to judge from the TV footage of the turnout that I’ve seen. The Chinese official Zhai Jun can’t be expected to bring out as big a crowd as Lavrov did.

February 16th, 2012, 11:30 am


Halabi said:

How many times are they going to arrest Mazen Darwish? Everybody knows him, we know that he isn’t a terrorist, and if he were, why does the government keep releasing him?

Almost a dozen people, including his wife, were arrested today according to the LCC. Bashar doesn’t follow a constitution and has no intention to change. The rules are: Don’t protest, we will kill you. Don’t defend yourselves, we will shell you. Don’t talk, we will arrest you. That’s freedom in Assad’s Syria.

February 16th, 2012, 11:35 am


jna said:

125. Juergensaid: Danny Abdul Dayem flees to Lebanon
“We arrested five Iranian soldiers in Homs since about one and a half months “said Dayem. Iranian officers were commanding Syrian forces.

What a joke. Repeating the same old crappy propaganda.

February 16th, 2012, 11:40 am


majedkhaldoun said:

The higher the number ,the more fair and just the constitution would be, and the longer it will last.
If we take 50%, and apply it to lebanon,in 1931 christians were 55%,now they are 31%, if 50% is considered they would win in 1931,and loose badly in 2012.
Taking privilage away will certainly leads to civil war.

February 16th, 2012, 11:41 am


irritated said:


“Historians will not be kind to Asma Akhras.”

I think history will be much less kind to a lot of anti-regime people that instead of trying to find a political compromise solution that could have saved lives, have engaged in escalating confrontations while looking for the uncompromising reward of revenge in toppling the regime without any consideration of the human costs.
Qatar’s Hamad Ben Jassem will be very severely judged as well as Erdogan, Davutoglu, Juppe and Borhan Ghaliun who never realized that after the growing death toll anything else than a compromise would cost more human lives. They still continued their campaign of provocations for a year without reaching any result than more death and destruction

February 16th, 2012, 11:47 am


zoo said:

Sunni Extremists May Be Aiding Al Qaeda’s Ambitions in Syria, Analysts Say

WASHINGTON — Sunni extremists, including fighters linked to Al Qaeda’s franchise in neighboring Iraq, are likely responsible for two big recent bombings in the Syrian capital as well as attacks on Friday in Aleppo, the country’s largest city, American officials said Wednesday.

As the violence in Syria escalates, several analysts said, Al Qaeda is seeking to exploit the turmoil and reinvigorate its regional ambitions after being sidelined in the initial popular uprisings of the Arab Spring a year ago.

The precise role of the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda in Syria is unclear. Some intelligence officials and diplomats in Washington, Baghdad and Beirut, Lebanon, said the Qaeda franchise was responsible for the deadly bombings in Aleppo last week and in Damascus, the capital, on Dec. 23 and Jan. 6, which killed scores of people. But they acknowledged that they did not have the forensic or electronic intercept evidence to prove it.

Other officials said Sunni fighters loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda but not directly controlled by the terrorist group may also have been involved, operating in common cause with but independently of pro-democracy forces seeking to topple the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“It appears to be a very complicated mixture of networks that are fighting the Syrian government, including individuals associated with Al Qaeda in Iraq,” said Seth G. Jones, a political scientist at the RAND Corporation and the author of the coming book “Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qa’ida Since 9/11.”

Other experts agreed, saying Sunni extremists — some of whom have returned from Iraq to fight in Syria — also have the expertise to carry out large-scale bombings.

“There are plenty of people with that kind of know-how in Syria,” said Andrew Tabler, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of a recent book on Syrian-American relations. “The Assad regime helped invent the car bomb, and they have used it brilliantly to pursue their foreign policy goals. It could be Al Qaeda or simply those with a similar background carrying it out.”

Or as Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put it during Senate testimony on Tuesday, “Those who would like to foment a Sunni-Shia standoff — and you know who they are — are all weighing in in Syria.”

The Syrian government has always argued that it was fighting foreign terrorists, including some from Al Qaeda, a charge dismissed as propaganda by the Syrian activists leading the uprising.

But some American officials now say Al Qaeda in Iraq, whose membership has declined substantially in recent years, is trying to take advantage of the violence in Syria and perhaps even hijack the popular uprising against the Syrian government.

Al Qaeda was caught off guard by the Arab Spring’s largely nonviolent, secular revolutions fueled by social media. The death of Osama bin Laden in May dealt the organization another major blow, and it has been seeking a foothold ever since.

“It comes as no surprise that Al Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate, through its networks in Syria, might attempt to seem relevant by going after the Assad regime,” said an American official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the assessment contained classified information. “It is opportunism, plain and simple.”


February 16th, 2012, 11:55 am


Tara said:


Why do you always defend the current regime in Iran? How could you be emphatic about IRGC lack of involvement in crushing the revolution. Iranian parents? Or emotional ties? I am curious.

February 16th, 2012, 11:59 am


Juergen said:


I have a friend who lives near Tartous in an marvellous village, this village has really some magic for me. He is an art teacher, an sensitive guy who cares alot for the arts. He lives with his wife and his children in a small house, they live upstairs, the cattle in the basement. We had an longer conversation and he explained to me how much painful it is for him to be an art-teacher under this regime. For the school director art class is just a waste of time he told me.

February 16th, 2012, 12:05 pm


zoo said:

Arm the Syrian opposition now!

By Tariq Alhomayed

This is a message to all the “friends of the Syrian people” to call on them to arm the Syrian opposition…and arm them now! Don’t stop at saying that arming the Syrian opposition is one of the options, for now is not the time for rebuking China, as US president [Barack Obama] did yesterday, nor is it time to investigate the Russian “price”, rather it is time to stop the al-Assad aggression, and this is something that will only be achieved by arming the Syrian opposition, particularly as nobody intends to intervene to stop the al-Assad killing machine

February 16th, 2012, 12:09 pm


zoo said:

“Friends of Syria” to secure international support for Arab initiative

By Sawsan Abu-Husain

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat-Informed Arab sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the friends of Syria conference, scheduled for the 24th of February, aims to secure international support for the Arab initiative after the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution because of the Russian and Chinese veto. The sources said that the conference, which is expected to be attended by a large number of Arab and international parties, will be held under a French-Turkish-Tunisian chairmanship. The sources added: “We expect a change in the Russian stand” on the veto that blocks a UN resolution to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Meanwhile, Arab League Deputy Secretary General Ahmad Bin-Hilli said the Arab League is not the organizer of the conference of the friends of Syria and that the league received an invitation only to attend, just like any other Arab or regional organization.

Tunisian sources said the friends of Syria conference will discuss three key moves, securing full international backing for the Arab solution plan, complete solidarity with the Syrian people, ending the fighting and violence, and taking the Syrian armed forces out of the equation in order to reach the stage of political settlement, in addition to denouncing all forms of violence that led to the destruction of residential neighborhoods in Syria.
In reply to a question as to whether the conference will discuss only the issue of supporting the Arab initiative, Bin-Hilli said: “There may be other means to help emerge from the crisis, halt the violence, and stop the bloodshed of the Syrian people.”

Answering a question on the establishment of forces to achieve a ceasefire, he said: “Such action requires Syrian approval and a UN Security Council resolution because it will involve logistical and security obligations.”

February 16th, 2012, 12:11 pm


Mawal95 said:

@ Bronco, Irritated: I’m taking it you don’t know how the “workers and peasants” clause of the Constitution operates in practice in the current Parliament. Do you have any surfing ideas about where one can find out the arcane details?

February 16th, 2012, 12:11 pm


irritated said:

#152 Juergen

“how much painful it is for him to be an art-teacher under this regime. For the school director art class is just a waste of time he told me.”

Don’t let me cry…
The villages around Tartous are rural, it is not expected to have a vibrant art life. Damascus has art galleries, an opera and several theaters. Most ‘Arab countries don’t.
In any case , except for Syria, Arab governments play almost no role in arts development and promotion.
Do you know how many films are produced in Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait.. less than 5 per year
Do you know how many films are produced in the ‘authoritarian” regime of Iran : more than 70 per year with the active help of the state. One of the film “The Separation’ is a candidate to an Oscar.
The Soviet Union authoritarian regime encouraged arts much more than ‘democratic’ Russia does now.
Art has nothing to do with ‘regimes’…

February 16th, 2012, 12:21 pm


Revlon said:

140. Dear Majedkhaldoun:
((Revlon: this is what is wrong about democracy, democracy measures the average people, with no distinction between wise and intelligent and those who are unintelligent who follow their emotion and sectarian or religious preference, or those who failed in real life compare to those who were very successful, we should not equate dumm and smart and give them equal power to make a decision. we should not equate active and lazy persons.)).

Jr could not have agreed with you more on this!
He actually used this argument to declare Syrians not ready for democracy!

Wisdom, intelligence, and education do not always overlap.
Jr is unquestionably educated, probably intelligent but can hardly described as wise.
A schoolboy, an illiterate farmer, or a labourer with average education yet blessed with wisdom, had they been presented with Jr’s predicament in the first days of the Syrian uprising could have easily made a much wiser choice.

According to the Noble Quran, the practice of democracy (Ash-Shoura) is a defining attribute of a Muslem faithful (Mu2men). The following is a verse from a chapter titled Ash-Shura (The Consultation). The verse is one of several consecutive ones that enumerates the attributes of the Muslem faithful:
( وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ (42:38)
42:38 Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance; )

As you see, God did not set any conditions for the process of consultation /democracy. There is no age, gender, professional, wisdom, or intelligence limit.

Here I would like to draw a distinction between human rights, and privilege rights.
All human beings are entitled to equal human rights
Human beings attain privilege rights commensurate with how useful they can prove themselves to others.
A successful executive could lead an international corporation and have a say in the choices of thousands of peoples, including the way they may vote in an election!

February 16th, 2012, 12:23 pm


zoo said:

Judicial probe says Iraqi VP Hashemi behind death squads
LARA JAKES, Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi judicial panel said Thursday that Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and his employees ran death squads that for years carried out deadly attacks on security officials and Shiite pilgrims.

The nine-judge committee’s findings, which are not legally binding, offered the first independent assessment of a case that has touched off a political crisis along sectarian lines and nearly brought the Iraqi government’s work to a halt. Al-Hashemi has denied the allegations, and accuses Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of coordinating a smear campaign as part of a power grab.

Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar said the investigating panel found at least 150 cases where either al-Hashemi, his bodyguards or other employees were linked to attacks ranging from roadside bombs to assassinations against security officials and Shiite pilgrims.

February 16th, 2012, 12:37 pm


Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships said:

@149 “I think history will be much less kind to a lot of anti-regime people that instead of trying to find a political compromise solution that could have saved lives, have engaged in escalating confrontations while looking for the uncompromising reward of revenge in toppling the regime without any consideration of the human costs.”

I really can’t believe my eyes. Now the “mumana3a” cheerleaders are using a carbon copy of Israeli logic and mis-information tactics employed with the Palestinians. It runs like this: ” We are such a misunderstood government/regime, if you go out to protest and ask for your rights we will arrest you, torture you, even shoot you and if you complain then you are escalating the situation, being confrontational and uncompromising, which therefore gives us the right to employ more violence against you. If our violent reaction leads you to lose all confidence in us, refuse dialogue and start calling for a different government/regime we will ratchet up the violence even more AND blame you for the human “costs” and mayhem which WE caused! That will teach you to complain!”

Must not forget that the Assadist mafia troops have also been using local civilians as human shields, and from the very start of the uprising used such tactics as collective punishment, taking family members hostage and house demolitions to punish protesters and their families and teach the localities a lesson. Sound familiar?

Some Mumana3a regime this is!

February 16th, 2012, 12:42 pm


irritated said:

@159. Atheist Syrian Salafist Against Dictatorships

Don’t misunderstand me, history will be harsh on the regime too, but it will not exonerate the anti-regime of all the strategic errands, mistakes and stubborness they did and still do that is costing human lives.

February 16th, 2012, 12:54 pm


zoo said:

Pro-Assad Imam shot dead in Damascus
Published: 16 February, 2012, 18:19

A leading religious figure has been assassinated in the conservative Midan area of the Syrian capital Damascus. RT`s Maria Finoshina reporting from the scene says the imam was shot five times.

­The name of the imam has not yet been disclosed, but it is reported that he was 36 and had a PhD in Sharia. Some think the religious leader was killed because of his strong pro-Assad position.
Members of the opposition also live in the area and so tension there has been high, our correspondent reports.

February 16th, 2012, 12:59 pm


Tara said:


There is a new post. Check it out.

February 16th, 2012, 1:03 pm


Juergen said:


So you claim arts has nothing to do with regimes. I disaggree strongly. I believe art does not have borders, a regime can nevre accept that. How come no author is world wide known who still lives in Syria. Those known to the world have exiled themselves from this regime which is so “artfriendly”
I know the galleries in Damascus, still no art like in Beirut or in Amman can be seen there, like Mona Hatoums single exhibition in Amman, unthinkable in Syria. I know a famous sculptor in Syria, he had to make “free” sculptures of the late Hafez, otherwise his career would have surely ended. He later confessed its the most ugly work i have done. Sorry but this regime has corrupted not only on the usual levels but also on the arts, its an desaster. Imagine Syria with all those artists in exile.

You know better, and come on the opera house is not even a decade old, neither are most galleries. Syria was even more under the cheese dome.

February 16th, 2012, 1:05 pm


sam said:

Why are all you people haters!!?? First off, syria is not america!! Its been occupied by foreign powers for hundreds of years, any form of democracy in the mid east is rare, to non exsistant. You talk of article 8?? Why not talk about the patriot act ?? Alleast there is no more emergency law!! We as americans now have it!!

February 16th, 2012, 1:15 pm


irritated said:


“How come no author is world wide known who still lives in Syria”.

Most Arab writers have left their country not because of the ‘regime’ but because Arab countries who are mostly conservative are usually suspicious of literature and arts in general except singers and cinemas.
In addition many syrian writers are not translated so they are not known ‘world wide’ and funnily Rafik Schami is NOT known in Syria as much as he is in Germany.
All Syrians cinema directors still live in Damascus. Many famous Syrian painters too. Check this site for some Syrian artists living in Syria and abroad.

All Syrian actors live in Syria. All Syrian music composers live in Syria.
As for literarure, it has nothing to do with the ‘regime’:
Amin Maaluf lives in France
Taha Hussein lived in France
Tahar Ben Jelloun lives in France
So please stop findind any remote reason to put the blame on Syria’s regime of a problem all Arab countries suffer of.

February 16th, 2012, 5:13 pm


Uzair8 said:

Some advice to Syrians from Sheikh Imran Hosein, end time prophecy specialist.

He was previously harsh against the Libyan uprising calling them sheep and idiotic. He was skeptical of the Syrian uprising* although he expressed sympathy and understanding aknwledging the Sunni majority had been brutally oppressed for 40 years by the minority ruling power.

Note: In the following video the Sheikh claims that the muslims will make an alliance with Russia. Others (incl. myself) claim the alliance will be with the US/West.

* From Tripoli to Damascus (already posted some months ago)

February 16th, 2012, 7:48 pm


Moses kestenbaum ODA said:

The butcher of syria could not be trusted to write a constitution. A dictator who has killed over ten thousand of his own sisters and brothers should go to the gallows not write constitutions. Bashar assad is a gangster

February 16th, 2012, 10:53 pm


jake said:

125. Juergensaid: Danny Abdul Dayem flees to Lebanon
“We arrested five Iranian soldiers in Homs since about one and a half months “said Dayem. Iranian officers were commanding Syrian forces.

Is it those same iranian ‘soldiers’ who happen to have the same name as those power plant workers in homs who were kidnapped at just about the same time (i.e. one and half months ago)?

seems like the revolutionaries (i.e. SNC lackeys, or FSA) were finding it difficult to find iranian ‘mercenaries’, ‘soldiers’, ‘security’ etc. that they had to now go to desperate measures of faking proof and gathering false evidences, like kidnapping iranian workers and male pilgrims, and posting staged/coerced videos (not much different from videos of ‘confessions’ from dissidents on iranian and syrian state tv).


@Tara maybe he’s emphatic about IRGC lack of involvement, because there isn’t any solid irrefutable proof? i’ve heard authors like robert fisk say that assad regime hires syrian/non-syrian kurds to help crush the uprising, and since they speak kurdish (similar to farsi, incomprehensible to arabs) – arabs point to the language they dont understand and claim ‘look they speak farsi’ or ‘look they’re iranian’. I found it surprising that it took 10-11 months (since the uprising began) for the revolutionaries to find (or create, make-up) proof of iranian forces/soldiers involvement in the supression/crackdown. compare that to libya where the revolutionaries found and presented proof of sub-saharan/black mercenaries working for gaddafi WITHIN WEEKS (i.e. less than a month), and we all know that gaddafi had much less support than assad (and a much weaker army, which is why he relied on mercenaries/security-forces).

I’m not saying that iranian forces arent helping syrians in crushing revolt, most likely they are advising (like qasem suleimani did) or giving some equipment (like usa did and still does to egyptian/bahraini security forces). What i find hard to believe is that iranian forces/soldiers are on the ground with syrian soldiers, security members and ordering/commanding the crackdown/revolt/assault on the opposition (i.e. actively).
Its as hard to believe as the claim made by protestors during the 2009 post-election crackdown who said that syrian arab and lebanese hezbollah were involved and helping in crackdown (ignoring the fact that there are arabs IN IRAN in ahwaz and on persian gulf coast on iran). Sorry but unless the opposition/protestors/rebels/etc. provides solid proof of iranian involvement (i.e. no coersion, showing them in action, presenting actual cards as opposed to civilian passports and fake ids), i wont believe it. Syria has enough people who support (or are neutral to) the assad regime (i.e. alawite, christian, ismaili, druze, kurd, lots of sunni arabs) and an even more larger number of people who are apathetic and willing to do any work for money, they dont need outside forces to help them crush the revolution since syrians can do it themselves.

February 17th, 2012, 12:20 pm


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