The Opposition Meeting in Antalya (1 June 2011) First Impressions - Syria Comment

The Opposition Meeting in Antalya (1 June 2011) First Impressions

First impressions of the Opposition Meeting in Turkey sent by a friend”

Syrian opposition activists walk past a poster of President Bashar al-Assad with his face crossed off during the opening session of a three-day meeting in Turkey to discuss democratic change.The writing on poster reads: 'The blood of the martyrs will make this throne unbearable for you. Get out!'

1- logistics were very poor. Little if any organization. no clear written agenda.
2- they all realized that the first objective must be to push ahead and save time.
3- Kurds and Islamists made up over half of the total. Tribal leaders were also present.
4- By far the most impressive were the young activists. They were connected to the demonstration movement on the ground in Syria. They had contacts.
5- There was little infighting. Most members of the opposition were rather guarded.
6- While one can accuse the attendees of being politically immature, it would be a huge mistake to underestimate them.
7- The events in Daraa and elsewhere are not driven by Salafists as the government claims.
8- When some were asked about the possible large loss of lives should the regime fight back, the response was to point to Algeria which gave up one million people to get rid of the French. In other words, they are mentally prepared.
9- While Damascus may not take this group seriously enough, their determination is very strong. They will not go away easily.
10- To many, Bashar al-Assad’s first speech was the moment that he lost a huge number of the young activists.

Syrian Opposition Meets in Turkey
By NOUR MALAS – Wall Street Journal

ANTALYA, Turkey—Syrian opposition activists meeting here offered a glimpse of the challenges ahead, trying to pave a political future as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad relies increasingly on violence in order to cling to power. The meeting represented a first instance of cooperation among historically disparate opposition groups and personalities since Syria’s protests began in mid-March.

But common histories of exile among Syrians living in Europe, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East, were overwhelmed by differing visions on how to push the opposition movement forward…..

Syrian security officials also tried to disrupt the conference taking place in this Turkish city some 280 miles from the Syrian border. In Antalya, activists said a handful of pro-regime supporters flown in from Syria harassed people as they arrived at the airport. The pro-regime group tried to enter the conference hotel on Wednesday, activists said, but were held back by Turkish police.

Molham al-Drobi, a representative for Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood at the conference, said a general amnesty for political prisoners announced Tuesday that would apparently lead to the release of thousands of imprisoned Brotherhood members was meant to “intercept and overshadow” the conference.

One area of agreement among the 200 opposition members in attendance was the need to improve logistical support for street protesters—and pressure for greater international diplomatic support—which could eventually oust Mr. Assad.

But there was no consensus on a political process to start to plan for a transition away from Mr. Assad’s authoritarian rule.

Syrian opposition activists walk past a poster of President Bashar al-Assad with his face crossed off during the opening session of a three-day meeting in Turkey to discuss democratic change.The writing on poster reads: ‘The blood of the martyrs will make this throne unbearable for you. Get out!’

Several young activists said they almost pulled out of the conference late Tuesday because they weren’t consulted on the formation of a 31-person committee to eventually lead the implementation of a support strategy for the protest movement. But others said it was significant enough that so many opposition activists were meeting face-to-face for the first time in this uprising, with one activist calling it a “getting-acquainted party.”

“The platform for us is agreed upon: to bring down the regime,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Washington-based activist. “Every single person here is in consensus on this,” he said, sitting in the corner of a hotel lobby where men huddled, women planned a fast in solidarity with their relatives in Syria, and children ran around wearing “Free Syria” caps and pins. Chiefs of Syria’s large Bedouin tribes roamed in traditional robes. “We know it’s a logistical nightmare,” Mr. Abdulhamid said. “But there seems to be a consensus.”

Those who flew in from Syria are risking permanent exile to ensure that the catalysts of the uprising take part in the dialogue on how to break the three-month stalemate between protesters and the regime.

“There are broad parameters we have—anything [opposition groups abroad] organize in terms of support along those lines is OK, anything that violates it is not,” said Ahmad al-Raad, one of two young men at the meeting who helped to administer the Syrian Revolution group on Facebook. Those include that the demonstrations remain peaceful; a rejection of external military intervention; and rejection of any political dialogue before violence against protesters halts and tens of thousands of detainees are released.

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday released a report on Deraa, the southern cradle of Syria’s protests, in which it condemned Syria for “crimes against humanity” and urged the United Nations Security Council to take responsibility for holding accountable people involved in the crackdown.

Activists in touch with Western diplomats here say they received assurances the U.N. Security Council will meet Thursday to pass a resolution condemning the regime’s violence and urging it to allow human-rights inspectors. They said they expect Russia to abstain from using its veto.

A more complicated scene developed overnight at the hotel as both Kurds and members of the exiled Muslim Brotherhood turned up in larger numbers than expected after an earlier decision by both groups not to join the conference. Some 65 Kurds at the meeting made Syria’s ethnic Kurdish community, the largest anti-regime constituency currently in Syria, the best-represented here. There appeared to be divisions among the Kurds on their positions, while Syria’s Brotherhood—about 40 of its members attended—deliberated all day on whether its members in attendance officially represented the party.

Syrian opposition unites in exile
By Liz Sly, Wednesday, June 1 2011 – Wash Post

ANTALYA, Turkey — …On Wednesday… about 300 Assad opponents gathered at a hotel to try to give structure and voice to a movement that has been leaderless and disparate. Because most activists in Syria were prevented from attending the conference by security concerns, and given the history of squabbling within the exiled Syrian community, it was unclear whether the effort would succeed….

“These are people who could never have met in 100 years without pulling guns and knives,” said Amr Al-Azm, a Middle Eastern history professor and Syrian exile who was among the attendees. “That they are sitting in the same room talking in a civilized way is huge. If nothing else comes of this conference, that’s an important thing.”

For several days, the staging of the conference seemed in doubt as several leading figures — including activists in Syria — questioned its goals and motives. But as a consensus emerged over the goals, organizers expressed satisfaction that a diverse array of the forces opposing the government had showed up.

Lending credibility to the proceedings were several young protest organizers — including one still limping from a bullet wound — who managed to sneak into Turkey from Syria. The cyber­activists who distribute videos of the protests to the world were there, hunched over laptops and tweeting furiously. So too were members of the older generation of exiles, an eclectic assortment of academics, businessmen, leftists and liberals who have spent most of their lives abroad.

And finally, the graying veterans of the Muslim Brotherhood — who fled Syria after the last major uprising against the government three decades ago — turned up in force. They made sure their presence was noted by arriving late for the opening ceremony, noisily chanting “God is great.”

A high priority for attendees is the creation of a committee, to be elected Thursday, that can serve as the voice of the opposition in dealings with world powers, especially the United States. Despite more than 1,000 deaths resulting from the government’s campaign to suppress the protests, no world leaders have called for Assad’s departure. Activists say they are aware that fear of the unknown may be holding leaders back in Washington and elsewhere from criticizing Assad.

President Obama has condemned the Syrian government’s use of violence and has called for Assad to embrace reforms or step aside. That stance differs from the one the United States has taken in Libya, where the U.S. military has participated in a NATO-led bombing campaign and provided critical support to rebel forces.

“We have to show the world that the Syrian opposition is organized and is ready to present an alternative,” said Molham al-Drobi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood delegation.

Not on the agenda for the conference is the formation of any kind of structure that will resemble a government in exile.

Nor do the delegates want the committee to assume leadership of the revolt on behalf of those protesting inside Syria. “This uprising is leaderless. No one can speak on behalf of the revolution,” said Radwan Ziadeh, one of the organizers and director of the Washington-based Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

A road map for change

One top priority for the conference is to formulate a road map for the departure of Assad, a goal everyone can agree on. Most delegates seem to pin their hopes on a split within the army, but they are vague about how to bring that about.

Activists in Syria were suspicious at first that some of the opposition exiles would advocate negotiations with Assad, something protesters long ago rejected. But after delegates jumped on chairs and chanted, “The people want to topple the regime!” during the welcoming reception, those concerns apparently dissipated.

The conference does not aim to offer prescriptions for what a post-Assad Syria would look like.

Many secular activists expressed concerns at the strong showing of the Muslim Brotherhood, even though Brotherhood leaders said they would not seek a prominent role on the committee.

Some Kurdish groups boycotted, and a scuffle in the hallway between an Arab and a Kurdish delegate highlighted the tensions that could erupt among Syria’s diverse religious and ethnic constituencies if the minority Allawite-led government falls. Some delegates pointed fingers and whispered that others were beholden to the government, or perhaps affiliated with the loathed former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam, who fell out with Assad in 2005 but was not invited to attend.

With expectations set low, some were declaring the event a success. Osama al-Samman, 25, a cyberactivist who runs an operation set up to disseminate protest videos, said he originally attended only to send reports on the conference back to the activist network inside Syria. But he ultimately decided to join as a delegate.

“My two criteria for success are that the conference supports the revolutionaries inside Syria and that it calls for the fall of Assad,” he said. “That has been achieved. Anything else is a bonus.”

Russia asked NATO countries not to promise military intervention to Syrian activists: “It is not in the interests of anyone to send messages to the opposition in Syria or elsewhere that if you reject all reasonable offers we will come and help you as we did in Libya,” Lavrov, 61, said yesterday during an interview in Moscow. “It’s a very dangerous position.” Bloomberg

Time: Syria’s Embattled Dissidents Grapple with Government Hackers, Wiretappers and Imposters
2011-06-02

The protesters declare that they will not be cowed but as the regime tightens is repressive policies, there is often no other choice but to shrink into the shadows  Syria’s Embattled Dissidents Grapple with Government Hackers, Wiretappers and …

Eight people were shot dead in Hirak, a city in the south which is under siege, including an 11-year-old girl. Rights groups estimate the death toll from Syria’s uprising at near 1,000.

Here is video of the government’s response to the claimed torture of the 13 year old boy. Here and here. Both are in Arabic and have not been translated or subtitled.

Comments (93)


EHSANI2 said:

Dr. Landis:

I had written this earlier and its a little off topic if I may:

During the previous post, you quoted Mr. Mohammed Saeed Bkheitan saying that there are 2.8 million Baath party members. Even If one assumes that half of these members are married with an average of 3 children, it would mean, therefore, that 25% of Syrians have a Baath member as head of the household. If one assumes that all 2.8 million are married with three children then almost 50% of all Syrians have a Baath affiliation. There are 5 million “households” in Syria. Potentially, close to 50% of them are Baathists.

June 1st, 2011, 11:41 pm

 

nafdik said:

Norman,

—-
“There are broad parameters we have—anything [opposition groups abroad] organize in terms of support along those lines is OK, anything that violates it is not,” said Ahmad al-Raad, one of two young men at the meeting who helped to administer the Syrian Revolution group on Facebook. Those include that the demonstrations remain peaceful; a rejection of external military intervention; and rejection of any political dialogue before violence against protesters halts and tens of thousands of detainees are released.
—–

This answers your comment on the previous post that the opposition has to accept Assad gestures.

Basically there will be no dialogue with regime until they stop the violence and release the prisoners.

Then these announcements can be taken seriously.

June 1st, 2011, 11:44 pm

 

nafdik said:

Ehsani,

Good point. The revolution should allow for Baath members to remain and attract some Baath 2.0 leaders on their side.

We should for sure avoid the mistakes of Iraq where Army and Baath were disbanded and this created cells of unemployment and terrorism.

One scenario is that active members of any political party have certain privileges that are similar to baathi privileges today and these privileges expire in 5 years and are created to encourage the creation of a political culture.

I think the opposition should come with a full proposal that includes safeguards for Baath, army, minorities. This proposal can then be used to remove the grip that Assad has on those who depend on status quo for their livelihood.

This should of course be combined with sunset clauses that gradual transition the country to normalcy.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:18 am

 

Abughassan said:

As many of us guessed,the conference so far has been a huge failure . We said from day one: this is a Syrian problem that needs Syrian solutions. Nothing of substance will come out of this media travesty,it will actually help the regime in two ways: it will magnify the sharp divisions within this western and Qatari backed opposition,and it will make those expats look like puppets to outside governments . That was a trap and those amateurs fell in it.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:40 am

 

Syria no kandahar said:

Can you believe:
-what kind of (Syrian brain)will compare the Algerian revolution to what is going on.you can see the danger in this way of thinking :The Algerians hav given a million against the French,So who are the French here:are they the Alawie,or the Ba’ath ,or the Army,or any one who disagree with the opposition?
-MB coming late shouting Allah Akbar , Over represented,Acting like little shy kid(we don’t want power,we don’t want important rules),Then the next day :we don’t mind woman prs,or Christian on.The same Way Game they played in Egyptيتمسكن ليتمكن
-Kurds 65/200=0.32 you can see from day one that every one is going to try to take as big bites as possible ,this is what they think they represent,and there will be no end to there demands,even presidency(look at 300 pounds jala talabani next door)
-Christians 2/200=1% this will be there percentage once these freelander idiorevolutionists successed .
-Kids jumping in the hotel? It seem that this was سياحه نضاليه انطاليه

This is actually very good chance to take a FLASH in the future if you think of it Syria of the future ,you can see mind sickness,million to be lost willingness,stomachs crawling for control pies,and divided Syria the way evils are planning and these croocks are bying.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:19 am

 

daleandersen said:

What I hate most about Arab revolutionaries is their penchant for blaming the USA for EVERYTHING. Here’s a typical letter to the editor along those lines to the New Yorker magazine by a Syrian intellectual:

“We Syrians have been living this horror for half a century since the Baath party usurped power in 1963. You are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. But we have taken a collective decision as a people to bring this regime down and rid Syria and the region of its evils. The question is not how or when, it is at what cost. Obama’s inaction against Assad is only raising the cost and is seen by Syrians as flagrant collusion. The US is about to lose another free Arab state, after Tunisia and Egypt, by supporting a dying order till its last gasps. This is very sad because these are revolutions led by a new generation of Arabs who embraced the Western ideals of freedom, democracy, and rule of law, only to see the West turning its back on them and embracing dictators who represent everything that is against American ideals, once because they guarantee the flow of oil, at other times because of regional geopolitical calculations. It is pathetic.”

Actually, he’s the pathetic one, expecting the USA to clean up his mess. So I decided to set this little pissant straight. So I wrote:

“We’re not turning our backs on you, petunia. We’re simply not stupid enough to jump into your so-called revolution until we see YOU making something of it. You yourself admitted you’ve been living with the Assads for, lo, the last 40 years. And suddenly you decide you’re mad as hell and you’re not gonna take it anymore and the United States is supposed ride in on a white horse to help? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Before we agree to help, YOU have to atone for 40 years of complacency and inaction. You have only yourselves to blame for the Assads. Now YOU get out there and rid yourselves of him and his mafia…”

God! That felt good…

http://playwrighter.blogspot.com/2011/04/arab-news-fox-news-style.html

June 2nd, 2011, 1:46 am

 

Moe said:

Dr. Landis & All,

Can you please write a post on who are the Syria Opposition Groups, who do they represent in Syria and what are their political, economical, and social programs?

Thanks,
Moe

June 2nd, 2011, 1:49 am

 

Syria no kandahar said:

This another response to take away your (euphoria):
Look you say in your culture :The faithful dos’t get from the same snake twice.we have been bitten in Iraq 5000times by Arabs who were on there way to get the 70 virgins,3000 times by Arabs on there way to get the 70virgins on our land,230 times in Berut when we stupidly listened to letters like yours,Actually we did the same thing in Somalia and we were bit and our soldiers were dragged,And don’t forget Cole in Yemen which the virgins seakers destroyed.
Our ambassador to your country was exercising in Damascus wrests without security,Every western delegate which visited your country was so impressed with the harmony present between it’s people.So America has resigned from helping Islamic revolutionists because all they care about is Virgins,I mean look at what the Islamic revolutionists did to theCBS reporter in ساحة التحريرthey thought that she was one of the virgins and they thought that they were in heaven.
Sorry no can do.

God that feels good

June 2nd, 2011, 2:07 am

 

Mohamed Kanj said:

Dale Redneck Anderson & the “so called revolutionists” –

i dare the americans or any other country to step foot inside syria. it would be their worst nightmare. just remember the Israeli army with all the american weaponry and all the planes and sophisticated technology couldn’t defeat hizbollah ( 10,000 militias trained by the syrian and iranian army ). America and its western puppets know what happened in the past and thats why dont dare to intervene militarily. Hezoballah had 10,000 militias and they couldnt succeed. Syria has 500,000 militias and security forces to start with, excluding the republican gaurds and elite forces etc etc. Syria has influence along the whole perimiter of the turkish boreder with kurdish resitance fighters itching to get revenge on those zionist ass licking turkish soldiers. Syria has influence in 80% of lebanese territory with militias and 60% of the lebanese soldiers ready to fight for their cause. Syria has thousands upon thousands of resistance fighters in Iraq from both the sunni and shiite sects ready to fight for their cause. Syria has resistance fighters in the palestinian cities ready to fight for their cause. So u better understand and realise these facts. Stop blowing all this HOT AIR

June 2nd, 2011, 2:20 am

 

Aboud said:

@6 daleandersen

I cannot think of a worse scenario than to have the bungling American military come to Syria.

American intervention in Syria wouldn’t be a knight on shining armor, it would be George Custer with an Arabic flavor.

(Quick joke, what’s the difference between the American Congress and the Syrian People’s Assembly? One is a bunch of sycophants who clap and cheer a war criminal. The other is in Damascus).

Seriously, don’t try to help us, we have enough problems as it is.

June 2nd, 2011, 5:17 am

 

873 said:

Syria, like Palestine Statehood issue, is suffering the machinations of Israel’s diplomatic operations. AIPAC GOES GLOBAL:

5 Entire Countries, NOT Just Members of US Congress, Now Feel the Jack Boot of Israeli Pressure
Wayne Madsen Report May 25, 2011

Content with its near total control of the U.S. Congress and U.S. Middle East policy, as witnessed by the rapturous welcome Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently received from a joint session of Congress, the Israel Lobby is extending its tentacles globally in order to ensure that a Palestinian strategy to obtain recognition from the UN General Assembly in September fails to get off the ground.

Jewish groups in the United States and Jewish politicians around the world are joining the Netanyahu government in offering “carrots and sticks” to countries around the world in a campaign designed to lure votes in the General Assembly away from Palestine in a vote on UN recognition of independence for the disputed territories. WMR previously reported that the Obama administration was also pressuring members of the UN General Assembly not to vote for Palestine independence.

On May 25, WMR reported: “. . . the United States will use every pressure point to ensure that the UN General Assembly does not make an end run around a U.S. veto in the UN Security Council of a resolution to grant Palestine UN recognition within 1967 borders. A Cold War-era provision known as “Uniting for Peace,” or Resolution 377, can be used to circumvent a U.S. veto in the Security Council to bring the cause of Palestine recognition to the General Assembly, where the vote of the United States is the same as tiny Nauru in the Pacific. If two-thirds of the General Assembly vote for Palestine, the U.S. veto in the Security Council is trumped. The General Assembly can also recommend the imposing of sanctions on Israel for violating the sovereignty of an independent Palestine, a scenario that the Obama administration, Israel, and AIPAC will do everything in their power to prevent.”

James Steinberg and Susan Rice UN and Middle East sources have told WMR that Israeli government representatives are now fanning out across the world, in some cases with bags of cash, in an effort to bribe small nations into voting against a Palestine recognition resolution in the General Assembly. On May 25, WMR reported: “WMR has learned that Netanyahu and his aides, working with State Department officials like Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Susan Rice, [US Mission to UN Economic Counselor Courtney] Nemroff, and others, have been coming up with “hit lists” of small and poor nations to be bullied into voting against or abstaining on the Palestine Uniting for Peace resolution. Israeli officials have recently visited small south Pacific nations like Tonga to convince them to vote no on Uniting for Peace for Palestine.”

The United States is expected to use its veto in the Security Council to block Palestine’s membership application. However, if 129 members of the 193-member General Assembly, two-thirds of the Assembly that is expected to add South Sudan as its 193rd member, vote for Palestine’s recognition, the cause for membership will be greatly enhanced and the United States will stand alone as the one country that blocked UN membership for Palestine.

Bringing UN members into the Israeli orbit. Israel going for broke to prevent UN recognition of Palestine.
– WMR has now learned that Israeli officials turned up in Tonga with cash bribes for Tongan officials in order to buy the small island nation’s vote.In April, the Israeli Knesset speaker, Reuven Rivlin, visited Tonga in Israel’s first effort to sway the country’s vote. Last year, Tonga sent a high-level delegation to the first Arab League-Pacific Islands summit in Abu Dhabi.

Tonga is not the only small nation to be subjected to intense lobbying by Israel and leaders of World Jewry to oppose Palestine at the UN. Israel and its wealthy Jewish supporters around the world have promised some countries, all tourist destinations, that they can count on increased tourism and tourism infrastructure investment from Jewish interests if they vote against Palestine. Even Muslim tourist destinations have not been immune to this pressure. Ahmed Naseem, the Foreign Minister of Maldives, a predominantly Muslim island nation in the Indian Ocean, recently concluded a visit to Israel where he met with President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Naseem was reminded that a no vote or abstention on Palestine at the UN could mean more Israeli tourists for Maldives, who do not require a visa to visit the country. Israel and Maldives restored diplomatic relations in 2009.

– In February, East Timor’s President, Jose Ramos-Horta, visited Jerusalem and was offered Israeli security and agricultural assistance in return for a no vote or abstention on Palestine.

– Pressure has also been applied to Comoros, a primarily Muslim island nation in the Indian Ocean that does not recognize Israel but maintains trade relations with Tel Aviv, and Mauritius, another country that could benefit from increased Israeli and Jewish tourism.

– In addition to Israeli government officials, representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and American Jewish Committee have applied lobbying pressure on the governments of other destinations for American Jewish tourists, including Bahamas, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Bhutan, St. Kitts-Nevis, Dominica, Seychelles, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Samoa. Israeli and U.S. pressure have also been brought to bear on five Pacific island nations that have voted for Israel in the past — Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Marshall Islands, and Nauru.

– In countries like Costa Rica and Panama, Israel is relying on Jewish leaders like Costa Rican Vice President Luis Lieberman and Panama Tourism Minister Solomon Shamah, recently implicated in leaked US State Department cables in drug smuggling, to ensure that the two nations remain in Israel’s camp. With Colombia already in Israel’s court, there will be an attempt to peel away Latin American nations that previously recognized Palestine, including Chile, Guyana, and Suriname, to either vote no on Palestine or abstain.

– Israel is also concentrating its efforts on three Southeast Asian nations that have not recognized Palestine as independent. Israeli promises of military and intelligence assistance are being used to ensure a no vote or abstention by Myanmar and military aid agreements are being dangled in front of Singapore and Thailand. Israeli [backed by U.S. and Canadian] aid packages are also being used to lobby Sri Lanka, Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Central African Republic, Nepal, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Burundi, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mongolia, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, Djibouti, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and the expected 193rd UN member, South Sudan.

– There is even talk of adding a 194th UN member should the vote narrowly go in Palestine’s favor. The secessionist Republic of Somaliland, which has reportedly maintained low-level relations with Israel, may be sponsored for membership as a vote against or abstaining on Palestine. Israel’s allies in Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya, are currently prepared to propose Somaliland for membership if its vote is needed.

– Israeli diplomats and influential Jewish surrogates for the Jewish states are also applying a full court press on small European nations, including Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Montenegro, Estonia, Armenia, Macedonia, and even smaller Monaco, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and San Marino.

Ban Ki-moon with Joseph DeissIsraeli and U.S. strategy is that if enough nations can be cajoled or enticed to vote against the Palestine recognition resolution in the UN General Assembly, it will not be brought up again. Privately, WMR has been told by UN sources that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, have promised the U.S., Israel, and other Israeli allies to use any and all procedural rules to scuttle Palestine’s bid for UN membership.

Deiss recently tipped his hand by stating publicly that there was no way Palestine could be admitted to UN membership if the U.S. wielded its veto in the Security Council.

June 2nd, 2011, 5:20 am

 

mjabali said:

The “Opposition” is Sunni run by the Muslim Brotherhood and sponsored by other Sunni states (Turkey and Qatar). This is what is coming out of it. It is clear.

The funny/tragic thing is someone vindictive and angry like Abd al-Razzaq Eid is in this show. The man is a Communist for most of his life who switched to a Sectarian Wahabi now, as if he had read Riad al-Salihin recently. The man is a lunatic, if you read his articles for the last few years you can tell that he had lost his mind. Simple as that. How can this clown head this conference? how much credibility would this conference lose when having someone like him even speak?

As for the other participants, me as a Syrian, I have no idea where they came from or whom do they represent, but I surely know one thing: most of them are Sunnis united by the hate for the Alawis, and each one of them has an organization or a party that does not have any members of course.

The only party with members and power is the Muslim Brothers. The rest are pawns, or clowns trying to fool us to cover their true Muslim Brothers’ membership.

The token Alawis that some may name drop mean nothing, like the lie Mohja KAhf had run in the Guardian. This show you how bankrupt this “opposition” is! Each one of them has a party or an organization and that by itself tells you how messed up the situation is. Who are these people? Who is Radwan Ziadeh or Abd al-Hamid or ….? Who is their party? whom do they represent? what is their agenda? it is obvious that they are all short sighted and do not care about the Syrian men and women getting killed one way or another in Syria proper. Most ,if not all, of these clowns are in this bloody game with the regime they are trying to topple.

The real solution is by forming real parties in Syria proper and all of this hoopla outside is not going to bring a thing. It is sad when these idiots insist on this confrontation with a strong and willing adversary wasting the lives of Syrians and destroying a country beyond repair.

June 2nd, 2011, 7:08 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Denial is Just a River in Egypt

Daleandersen, Aboud,

I agree totally.

What I hate most about Arab revolutionaries is their penchant for blaming the USA for EVERYTHING.

Don’t forget Israel! (see Post 11)

That’s right, Bashar Assad is now a secret American Zionist!

http://www.tehrantimes.com/News/10818/01_HJ40.jpg

June 2nd, 2011, 7:23 am

 

KR said:

When some were asked about the possible large loss of lives should the regime fight back, the response was to point to Algeria which gave up one million people to get rid of the French. In other words, they are mentally prepared.

I hope the gentleman who made that comment is ready to give up his life and the lives of his sons and daughters as part of the 1 million martyrs he is prepared to commit to his so called revolution. I am sick and tired of those individuals who can do nothing but incite others to give up their lives to further their own personal agendas. If they’re really after improving the economical and political situation in Syria, why don’t they propose constructive measures aimed at improving the situation while preserving the lives of the people they claim to be fighting for. It is Iraq all over again with many wana be Ahmad Al Chalabis.

June 2nd, 2011, 7:39 am

 

why-discuss said:

AP

How can you ever disagree with one of your kind?
No, USA is the benefactor of the whole world: The American Indians, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq etc…

June 2nd, 2011, 8:01 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

WD,

Near as I can tell, every country makes mistakes. Even Syria and Israel.

That is why democracy is so important. Change. As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over again and expecting a different result. That’s the Baathist Legacy.

In your list above you failed to mention that Hiroshima ended WW2 and that many more would have been killed if the US had to conduct a ground war in Japan.

And what about the Vietnamese leadership? How many millions did they kill? And Saddam Hussein. How many Iraqis did he kill?

And if the US didn’t enter WW2, I’d hate to think what Europe would look like today. The US is still a leader in the world for human rights.

http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/fiw10/FIW_2010_MOF.pdf

June 2nd, 2011, 8:58 am

 

Sophia said:

# 15 Akbar Palace,

The role of the Hiroshima and Nagazaki bombs in ending WWII is still subject to controversy among historians, not to mention the dubious moral justification given to this historic and tragic event. I visited Hiroshima and the museum and I cannot tell you how one feels setting feet in a city that was totally erased except for one building, the human suffering, and the terrible aftermath, not only for the city but for Japan and the moral consciousness of the entire humanity.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/index.htm

For someone who comes from a country whose only justification is the holocaust I find you very outgoing when it comes to the lives and suffering of others.

So basically your whole argument is that the existence of historic events with large scale killings of Human beings justify the killings of millions of Syrians!

The 2011 ‘revolutionaires’ you support deal also lightly with human lives and their comparison with Algeria is shocking and out of touch with reality. It is very offending for Algerians. The Syrian ‘Revolution’ 2011 has no moral authority and it is appears bloodier than the regime it is seeking to unseat.

June 2nd, 2011, 9:17 am

 

why-discuss said:

AP

I don’t deny that, but they are always encline to make huge mistakes, and now they have new tools of spreading rumors and demonizing their opponents, their powerful media . I don’t think they have learned much, in the contrary.
So you can not never believe them until you scrutinize well their assertions ( and their lies)

June 2nd, 2011, 9:18 am

 

aboali said:

May I ask why Tal el Malouhi wasn’t among those released in the so called “amnesty? You remember Tal, the teenage blogger accused of being a whore and sentenced to five years in prison for “spying” after writing that Bashar needs to implement reforms?

June 2nd, 2011, 9:19 am

 

majedkhaldoon said:

If you look at the body of Hamza Khatib, you will notice 4-5 cm around the nipple there are four spots each are one cm ,they are round and all are similar,they are dark spots but not black,there is little reaction around them ,there are no evidence of bleeding around them,these spots they are definitly not from changes after death, they are cigarette burn,these indicate that there was torture, and they occur during life,he was arrested alive,and tortured,and Akram Sha33ar is lying.

June 2nd, 2011, 9:34 am

 

aboali said:

Nasrallah Dropped the Ball

http://www.kabobfest.com/2011/06/nasrallah-dropped-the-ball.html

“This is coming from someone who has openly supported Hezbollah and admired its charismatic leader for as long as I can remember. What is it that he owes to the Syrian regime that he had to back-stab the Syrian people? Are they not part of our Ummah (nation), as he himself reiterates? Of course he knows that! Some have argued that he sold out his Syrian brothers and sisters for a greater cause for the Ummah, i.e. by defending the Syrian regime it would somehow, in the long term, prove to save more lives, in addition to our freedom and dignity. But to stand with a tyrannical regime, you have already forsaken all dignity and all freedom.”

June 2nd, 2011, 9:56 am

 

why-discuss said:

It does look like a failed meeting showing mostly the differences and the limitations of a group who only agrees to destroy with no vision for the next step and suspicious of each other.

L’opposition syrienne tente de s’organiser

http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2011/06/02/l-opposition-syrienne-tente-de-s-organiser_1530877_3218.html#ens_id=1481132

“Dans le huis clos de l’Hôtel Falez, les débats politiques ont souvent tourné à la cacophonie. Le dialogue entre les tendances très diverses de l’opposition syrienne s’est avéré délicat. “Les Frères musulmans et les partis kurdes tentent de récupérer le mouvement”, grommelle un participant.”

Les divergences se font jour aussi entre les opposants en exil et ceux qui ont participé de l’intérieur à la révolution, comme Taha, étudiant damascène de 25 ans, plus à l’aise sur Facebook qu’au milieu de ces débats politiques interminables.

June 2nd, 2011, 9:58 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Sophia,

You are free to focus on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I prefer to look at the complete picture…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_war_crimes

June 2nd, 2011, 10:14 am

 

N.Z. said:

Akbar Palace,

“As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over again and expecting a different result.”

This just and moral statement reiterated by AP speaks volume, in the Palestinian/Jewish context.

Creating and maintaining a Jewish state at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians is a blunder. The despicable atrocities committed by the Nazis, does not justify the atrocities committed by the Jewish people on the Palestinian.

The obstacle to a resolution of this central injustice is the insistence on maintaining a regime of ethno-religious privilege and exclusion of the other. That was precisely Hitler’s aim.

June 2nd, 2011, 10:24 am

 

jad said:

سوريا تحتاج إلى جسر بين النظام والمعارضة
ابراهيم الأمين
ها هي سوريا تقف مرّة جديدة في مواجهة نفسها. ليس هناك من يريد أن يستمع إلى الآخر. المحتجّون ليسوا في واقع يمكن فيه الحديث عن قيادة موحّدة أو واضحة لهم. والحكم يحصر الكلام ضمن دائرة ضيقة، فيما الخطوات على الأرض لا توحي بأن الطرفين يستمع أحدهما إلى الآخر. المحتجّون ومَن يحاول قيادتهم قرّروا المضيّ في التحرّكات، ولو بالوتيرة نفسها التي شهدناها منذ اندلاع الاحتجاجات.

والحكم لا يريد تعديل وجهة التعامل في سياق المواجهات الدموية، الآخذة في التصاعد، بعدما قرّرت جماعات معارضة اللجوء علناً إلى السلاح. وربما هي تفعل ما تعتقد أنه خطوة ضرورية لجذب العالم إلى تدخل مباشر أكبر في سوريا، أو تعتقد أنها محقّة أو حرة في مواجهة الحكم السوري بهذه الوسيلة. وفي ظل غياب مرجعية محايدة نسبياً، لتقدير حقيقة الأمر أو القيام بمبادرة لاحتواء الموقف، تبقى الصورة رهن من يقدمها إلى الجمهور.
في هذه الحالة، يقول المحتجون إن المسلحين ليسوا ظاهرة مستجدة، وإن التسلح أمر عادي في سوريا. كذلك فإن وجود مجموعات سلفية أمر يعرفه السوريون جيداً منذ أقلّ من عشرة أعوام. وبين المواطنين من يحمّل النظام مسؤولية تكاثر هذه المجموعات أو عدم التصدي لها في الوقت المناسب. ويقول المحتجّون أيضاً، إن العنف الذي تمارسه أجهزة الدولة الأمنية والعسكرية يتحول يوماً بعد يوم إلى حالة عادية، وهي تفقد مقصدها الردعي، وإن الذين ينظّمون التظاهرات هنا وهناك، يفعلون ذلك رغم حصول عمليات قمع دموية أو اعتقالات واسعة، وإن لجوء بعض النسوة إلى التظاهر في بعض الأمكنة إنما كان المقصود منه إشعار النظام بأن اعتقال الرجال أو إبعادهم لن يغيّر في الأمر شيئاً. ويرى المحتجون أن النظام يقدم تنازلات لكنه يفعل ذلك تحت الضغط، وأن في هذا ما يدفع إلى رفع مستوى الضغط وصولاً إلى مستويات جديدة من التنازل. لكن الانقسام يعود ليبرز بين المحتجين عند السؤال عن السقف الأعلى للمطالب، وهل هناك فعلاً استعداد لخوض معركة تحت عنوان إسقاط النظام أو إسقاط الرئيس؟
في المقابل، يتصرّف أهل الحكم بطريقة لا تعكس قلقاً استثنائياً. البعض من المسؤولين في دمشق لا يخفون قلقهم من احتمال تدهور الأمور. لكنهم يحصرون المواجهة مع مجموعات مرتبطة بجهات معادية في الخارج. وصار النظام يقدم أمثلة كثيرة على هذا الارتباط، وأهم ما بين يديه الآن التحرك الدولي والعربي في سياق دعم مجموعات معارضة ليست موجودة داخل سوريا. ويعتقد أهل النظام أن ارتفاع منسوب الضغوط الخارجية هو تعبير عن تراجع قدرة المعارضة الداخلية على تحقيق نتائج كان كثيرون يتوقعون حصولها في فترة وجيزة.
إضافة إلى ذلك، يردد أركان في النظام أن الانتظار السوري العام لم يشهد تقلبات كبيرة، وأن الاحتجاجات لا تزال محصورة في مناطق بعيدة عن مركز القرار السياسي والاقتصادي وحتى الطائفي. وهم يعتقدون أن الأمر سببه ليس فقط خوف أهل المدن من المشاركة في أعمال قد تودي بالاستقرار القائم أو ببعض مصالحهم، بل لأن هناك فئة كبيرة من السوريين باتت على اقتناع بوجود أطراف خارجية غير مهتمة إلا بإسقاط النظام، إما لأسباب سياسية متصلة بالمشروع الأميركي في المنطقة، وإما لأسباب طائفية متصلة بحالة الاستنفار الطائفي والمذهبي التي تعيشها المنطقة. ويسأل أهل النظام خصومهم: لماذا لم يتحرك أهل دمشق وحلب ونحو ثلاثين مدينة مركزية في سوريا يمثّل عدد سكانها أكثر من ثلثي الشعب السوري؟ ولماذا لم يبادر أي كادر أو قيادي أو موظف بارز في الدولة أو في الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية إلى إعلان تمرّده أو انشقاقه كما حصل في مناطق أخرى من العالم العربي؟
ويضيف أصحاب هذا الرأي أنّ الأمر ليس عائداً إلى ضغوط غير مرئية كما يقول المعارضون، بل إلى أن هناك فئة كبيرة من الشعب السوري باتت تخشى أكثر من ذي قبل على الاستقرار، وتخاف الحرب الأهلية، وأن الحكم يقدم تنازلات ذات طابع إصلاحي يمكن البناء عليها لتطوير النظام بكل أوجهه.
لكن بين أهل النظام من صار يقرّ بوجود عقبات أمام عملية إصلاحية شاملة وجريئة. ويشير هؤلاء إلى البنية القيادية في حزب البعث الذي لا يقدر على أداء دور توفيقي في هذه المرحلة. بل إن ابتعاده عن المواجهات ـــــ بحسب أحد أركان النظام ـــــ قد يمثّل عنصراً إيجابياً لئلّا تتجه الأمور مباشرة صوب مواجهات دموية في مناطق كثيرة من البلاد. كذلك يشير هؤلاء إلى أن الأمور ليست سهلة كما يعتقد كثيرون، وأن عملية التغيير تحتاج إلى وقت للتنفيذ، حتى لو تحقق الاستقرار الكامل الآن.
أما في المحصلة، فإن سياق المواجهات مستمر في سوريا. والأخطر في المسألة هو انقطاع التواصل بين الجانبين. ويبدو أن تجربة «الدردشة» بين مسؤولين ومعارضين، لم تكن كافية للحديث عن حوار أو عن وساطة أو عن مشروع توفيقي. وكل ذلك يزيد الخشية من احتمالات التفجّر الأمني يوماً بعد يوم. فكيف ستكون الحال في ظل تعبئة طائفية ومذهبية مقيتة جارية على قدم وساق؟
سوريا تحتاج إلى شخص، جهة، دولة، أو أي شيء يمكنه جسر الهوة القائمة، لعدم إلقاء استعداد النظام للإصلاح في الهواء، ولعدم دفع المحتجين إلى نقطة تنطلق منها البلاد نحو حرب أهلية طاحنة.

http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/13711

المعارضة السورية تختلف على «فصل الدين عن الدولة»
وعقد الطبيب السوري المقيم في الولايات المتحدة، هاشم سلطان، مؤتمراً صحافياً مقتضباً في ردهة الفندق الذي يعقد فيه «المؤتمر السوري للتغيير» وأعلن ولادة «ائتلاف القوى العلمانية السورية» المعارضة للنظام السوري.
وعدد سلطان ثلاث نقاط أساسية يستند إليها هذا الائتلاف، وهي: «الفصل الكامل للدين عن الدولة، وجعل الدستور المرجعية الأعلى للحكم واعتماد الميثاق العالمي لحقوق الإنسان، والتشديد على ديموقراطية نظام الحكم على أساس المحاسبة والمراقبة». وأوضح سلطان، الذي يترأس حزب الانفتاح السوري المعارض أن «الائتلاف يضم ثمانية أحزاب عربية وكردية علمانية، واتفقنا على أهمية الثنائية بين الديموقراطية والعلمانية أساساً للحكم في منطقة متعددة الطوائف والمذاهب». ورأى أن العلمانية هي التي تضمن «المساواة الفعلية بين الجميع والمواطنة الحقيقية».
http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/13792

«إعلان دمشق» ومؤتمر أنطاليا
http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/13765

مؤتمر أنطاليا لـ«خريطة طريق» والإخوان ينظّمون مؤتمراً في بروكسل
http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/13767

June 2nd, 2011, 10:42 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

N.Z.,

Two wrongs NEVER make a right. What the Nazis did to the Jews (and still denied by many in the Arab/Muslim world) does not give the right to Jews to commit the same atrocities to the Germans, Palestinians or anyone else.

However, the laws of war and self-defence are rights for any individual and nation. There are countless reasons why people migrate and move around the world. For the Americans, it was mostly religious freedom. For others it was to escape poverty and racism. For others it was slavery.

Jews have returned to their homeland under their own free will. They are not going anywhere else. Therefore, the Arab-Israeli conflict, like so many other border disputes, has to be resolved through negotiation, not terrorism.

June 2nd, 2011, 10:43 am

 

why-discuss said:

Jad
#24

This is what Turkey is doing by cajoling and criticizing both sides. By hosting opposition members twice, they have shown that they are impartial and the opposition now consider Turkey on its side (the turkish flag present in many demonstrations). As for Bashar Al Assad, Erdogan and Davutoglu have repeated several times that they believe he can lead the reforms, without making it look like a blind endorsement. Protests over the comparison of Halabja and Deraa made Turkey support statements not obvious. By announcing the release of the moslem brotherhood political prisoners, Syria is pleasing Turkey.
I believe that after the Turkish elections and Erdogan is consolidated in his country, we will see a quiet contact between the internal opposition and Turkey. Turkey will probably become that bridge that is badly needed.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:03 am

 

why-discuss said:

AP

“Therefore, the Arab-Israeli conflict, like so many other border disputes, has to be resolved through negotiation, not terrorism.”

You make it sound as a border issues. What about the millions of Palestinians displaced? They did not leave in their free will, did they? They would certainly go back with their free will.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:06 am

 

Sophia said:

# 25 Akbar Palace,

You want Arabs to negotiate with Israel to resolve their issues but you want Syrians to resolve their issues by killing each other!

June 2nd, 2011, 11:08 am

 

Jad said:

WD
I agree with you regarding Turkey being the bridge, couple days ago I read that Obama administration gave turkey the support and time to be responsible of trying to solve the Syrian conflict and to come up with a roadmap for the solution between the regime and the oppositions.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:13 am

 

Nour said:

Why is the sign in the conference written in Turkish? Isn’t this supposed to be a Syrian conference? And didn’t this joke of an opposition claim that Turkey was merely a convenientlyt venue? So what’s the point of having signs in Turkish?

June 2nd, 2011, 11:24 am

 

atassi said:

Assad must be prosecuted

3 June 2011
The Australian
English
Copyright 2011 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved

The current Syrian brutality against children is intolerable

GIVEN the unutterable horror of the details emerging about the torture and murder of 13-year-old Syrian boy Hamza al-Khateeb, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s call to initiate International Criminal Court action against President Bashar al-Assad is timely and appropriate. To his credit, the Coalition’s Treasury spokesman, Joe Hockey, in expressing outrage over the boy’s killing by Damascus security forces, has suggested Australia should refuse to accredit a new Syrian ambassador to Canberra, leaving Assad in no doubt about the depth and bipartisan nature of the revulsion here, as elsewhere, towards gross human rights abuses in Syria.

Assad’s answer to the clamour for a new democracy has been to send in troops, tanks and air power. About 1100 people have been killed and 10,000 scooped up by security forces, led by the barbaric mukhabarat secret police. Tanks and helicopter gunships routinely pursue unarmed civilians.

Hamza al-Khateeb’s fate is a searing reflection of the brutality. He was arrested in Saida, near Deraa, a hub of anti-government protests, on April 29. His corpse, returned to his parents last week, bore the scars of brutal torture: lacerations, bruises, burns to the feet, elbows, face and knees. All were consistent with electric shocks and whipping. Both arms had identical bullet wounds, his neck was broken and his penis severed. His father was subsequently arrested by the mukhabarat and warned to say that his son was killed by extremist rebels.

Hamza has become the Arab Spring’s latest icon, compared to the Tunisian market vendor Mohammed Bouazizi and the Iranian pro-democracy activist Neda Agha Soltan whose deaths inspired potent anti-government campaigns. Hamza is among 26 children killed so far in the Syrian uprising. Murshed Aba Zaid, 18, was shot in the face by security forces outside his home and underwent successful surgery. The secret police then broke into the hospital. His body was returned to his parents with a broken neck and signs of torture.

Assad’s regime is unwilling to learn the lessons of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere and is trying to outdo Muammar Gaddafi. The International Criminal Court has already issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi & Co. Mr Rudd is right to demand similar action on Assad and his thugs. Hamzah al-Khateeb’s terrible fate shows their abuses are as evil

June 2nd, 2011, 11:29 am

 

Nour said:

Jad,

I disagree. I don’t think Turkey can or should be a bridge between the regime and the opposition. These groups meeting in Turkey are clowns, and there’s nothing there for Turkey to be a bridge for. Moreover, the only group over which Turkey has any real influence is the Muslim Brothers, and there is no way the regime is going to change its position regarding the MB. Also, Turkey is a foreign nation. With its own interests in the region, and therefore I don’t accept its interference in Syrian affairs nor do I trust its role.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:30 am

 

atassi said:

Assad legitimacy has “nearly run out” -Clinton
2 June 2011
11:17
Reuters News
English
(c) 2011 Reuters Limited

WASHINGTON, June 2 (Reuters) – The world is not united enough on how to deal with Syria’s crackdown on anti-government protests, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, adding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s legitimacy has “nearly run out.”

June 2nd, 2011, 11:37 am

 

jad said:

Nour,
I had the same reaction, it shows how deteriorating the feeling of being Syrian is and the corrupted mentality of those who choose to put the sign up, the other disturbing sign is using the independent Syrian flag in the conference as if the flag represent anything but the country….and they want people to trust them for the future of Syria.

It’s so sad that we don’t have pillars and philosophers like Arsouzy, Kawakbi, Khoury, Saddaeh and others when we need them the most, today they are replaced with ponytail, retarded Swede, fake Brits, angry ex-communist, sectarian sheikhs and brainless kids to decide the future of Syria, what a bright future.

Regarding Turkey, I think at the moment with uncertainty being the norm , Turkey might be our best bet to be the mediator just to get Syria to the safe side of the conflict. We need a middleman when both sides are refusing to have any dialogue.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:41 am

 

Sophia said:

Le danger Saoudien en Égypte. L’arabie saoudite est en train de réduire la révolution égytienne au silence.
http://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/010611/vu-des-medias-arabes-leditorialiste-egyptien-et-le-danger-saoudien

None of the virtues of the Egyptian revolution can be found in the Syrian revolution 2011, and despite all the strenght of the Egyptian revolution, they are struggling with the aftermath of the revolution and especially with the Saudis who are like hell trying to regain control in the ME.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:48 am

 

jad said:

Why don’t the west prosecute Bush and Blair for the Iraqi disaster? I guess they are too ‘White’ for that.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:50 am

 

atassi said:

World
Deadly Crackdown in Syrian Towns Kill at Least 15
By A WSJ Staff Reporter
2 June 2011
11:28
The Wall Street Journal Online
The Wall Street Journal – Print and Online

DAMASCUS—At least 15 people were killed in the central town of Rastan Thursday morning, local human-rights activists said, as Syrian forces continued a five-day assault on restive towns close to Homs in an attempt to quash dissent.

Shelling and heavy machine-gun fire have been reported in the town, north of the city of Homs, and nearby Talbiseh, according to activists and Homs residents, many of whom have family in the towns, bringing the death toll in the area to 69 since Sunday, according to Razan Zeitouneh, a human-rights lawyer in Damascus.

More than 40 of the 69 dead are in Rastan, and at least five are in Talbiseh. Over the weeks leading to the assault, both towns were scenes of massive and sustained protests during which statues of Hafez al-Assad, the former president and father of the current leader, were destroyed.

Activists also say assaults have been carried out against Hirak, a town close to Deraa, and report arrests in the coastal city of Banias.

In a repeat of what has become the Syrian regime’s modus operandi for dealing with rebel towns, tanks moved to surround the towns over Saturday night, activists and residents said. Communications, electricity and water were cut, before soldiers and security forces carried out shootings and ransacked houses. The southern protest hub of Deraa was similarly encircled on April 25.

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition groups meeting in Turkey on Thursday began drafting a joint declaration on how to support the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, organizers said. A statement is expected to be released later Thursday or on Friday morning from the Turkish coastal city of Antalya, where the dissidents have been meeting since Wednesday.

Some 300 Syrian activists, mainly exiles, representing a broad spectrum of political forces opposed to Assad’s regime, are attending the talks, the largest gathering of the opposition so far. They plan to draw up a “road map” for a peaceful and democratic transition of leadership in Syria.

In Syria, the Local Coordinating Committees, a nationwide activist network with committees in more than 15 towns, said the army, backed by tanks and helicopters, shelled the main local bakery in Rastan, along with the Abu Baker and Abdul Rahman mosques. Activists say mosques have been targeted because they provided gathering spots for protesters and have been turned into field hospitals in various restive towns over the past two months. It said in a statement that no food or medicine was being allowed in the town.

A student from Talbiseh, who said he managed to escape to Homs on Wednesday, said bodies were lying by the road and couldn’t be collected because of the heavy security presence. as snipers fired at anyone who left their houses or tried to retrieve the bodies. He said hundreds of people from the town had disappeared and no one knew whether they had been arrested, killed or fled the town.

Homs residents are comparing the crackdown against Rastan to a similar operation in Deraa after protests broke out there on March 18. On Wednesday Human Rights Watch, a New York-based group, issued a report condemning unseen atrocities in Derra. It has been conducting interviews with more than 50 witnesses from the area. The group said the acts could amount to crimes against humanity.

“For more than two months now, Syrian security forces have been killing and torturing their own people with complete impunity,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. The statement condemned the military operation in Deraa which lasted at least 11 days beginning April 25, and was extended to neighboring towns. The town remains under tight security.

Syria’s state news agency Sana, quoting an official army source from Wednesday, gave a different version of events in Rastan. It said army unit and security in Rastan arrested a number of “armed terrorist groups’ members and seized a big quantity of weapons and ammunition used by these groups.”

Reports from Syrian activists say at least two children, including four-year-old and an 11-year-old, were killed in the latest crackdown. Videos and photographs of children killed and and at least one apparently tortured during the authorities’ assault over the past two months have circulated among Syrians, spurring angry reactions against the regime.

In particular, that anger has been fueled by reports of the death at the hands of security forces of Hamza al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old boy from Jeeza, near Deraa, who was picked up after protests on April 29 and returned to his family this week bearing marks of extreme torture. The marks—which Syrian media say were faked—include bullet holes, a broken neck, castration, bruises, burns and marks consistent with the use of electrocution devices.

The reported torture demonstrates a “total collapse” of the Syrian government’s willingness to listen to its people, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday, as the United Nation’s children’s agency, UNICEF, issued a strongly worded statement calling on the Syrian government to investigate reports of “horrific acts” of violence against children.

UNICEF, drawing on reports from Syrian activists, said use of live ammunition against demonstrators has been blamed for the death of at least 30 children, although it didn’t specifically mention al-Khateeb’s case.

Syrian media report that Mr. Assad has set up a committee to start a national dialogue ,and reportedly released a number of prisoners after announcing an amnesty on Tuesday. But the moves have been rejected by Syria’s activists and opposition, as well as by other countries, including the U.S.

“We need to see all political prisoners released, and we need to see an end to the violence that Syrian forces have been continually carrying out against civilian populations,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday in Washington. “The gesture of releasing 100 or so political prisoners doesn’t go far enough, and I think that the Syrian people would feel that way.”

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:50 am

 

873 said:

This phony ‘Arab Spring 2’ scam is nothing but a continuation of the Iraq War by other means – including Iraq War 1 in 1991 and moving forward.

The world’s largest rogue state, acting as satellite of a tiny band of lying zionist criminals, is permitted to mass murder OVER A MILLION IRAQIS, hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Pals, Lebanese, Syrians, Libyans etc and the crowd here is attacking Syria for defending itself from foreign subverison, infiltration and regime change by the said rogue state syndicate?

Mass murder & torture by The Syndicate? Yawn.
Torture by the Arabs? Sanctions, missiles, invasion. Universal oppobrium stoked by the full might of the military/hasbara complex.

Really, the entire flow of “prosecuting Syria’s crimes” is hypocrisy beyond belief. Soon world will be dragged into ANOTHER, bigger WW3 scenario to wrap up the fraud. Indefensible.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:50 am

 

jad said:

“دعا البيان الختامي لمؤتمر ما يسمى المعارضة السوري المنعقد في مدينة أنطاليا في تركيا الى إسقاط النظام السوري وإستقالة الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد على الفور”.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:01 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Atasi

Clinton may say or hint what she wants, but the reality on the ground crystal clear:
– The internal protests are going nowhere as there are less demonstrators and it is limited in small villages and towns
– The army is still with the government
– NATO cannot intervene, too much involved in Libya and soon Yemen ( more strategic than Syria). Any ways Syrians don’t want it!
– The external opposition showed it can’t take over the country politically, it is just making noise in HW courts.
– The opposition now is resorting to dirty tricks and murders to discredit the government ( which is already discredited)\
– The government is gradually making the political moves requested by the international community

Results:
In short terms, more violence and more condamnation but a total impotence from the international community and the opposition to move forward to something constructive. There is no Savior on the horizon!
In the meantime, most syrians, on both side, are fed up as they see that there is no other alternative than support the present regime in its reforms.
My scenario:
By end of June, full scale reforms start with a political dialog with Turkey as an intermediary. The ‘opposition’ calls for the Human rights trial for Bashar after exploiting any crimes and attribute them to the government.
What is your scenario?

June 2nd, 2011, 12:07 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Jad

They are living in a virtual space and should stay there

June 2nd, 2011, 12:10 pm

 

Sophia said:

Interview with Prof. Madawi El Rasheed:

Saudi Arabia and western hypocrisy

June 2nd, 2011, 12:11 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Youth shine at Syrian Antalya conference

The activists are planning a march from Tahrir Square to the headquarters of the Arab League to demand that it ask Assad to leave. Wael Ghonim, Egypt’s nominal youth leader, will join the rally. There will also be flotilla-like humanitarian aid convoys from countries that neighbor Syria to “try to break the siege on Syrian cities.”

To read more: http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=277162#ixzz1O8UVs9hv

June 2nd, 2011, 12:16 pm

 

Sophia said:

# 38, 873,

“This phony ‘Arab Spring 2′ scam is nothing but a continuation of the Iraq War by other means – including Iraq War 1 in 1991 and moving forward.”

I agree. But the first war of the new neoliberal colo ialism started with the Falkland war.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:17 pm

 

Sophia said:

Another view from a Syrian inside Syria on the Antalya meeting (sent to Angry Arab).

In it, he mentions that Prof. Landis is a member, with Ammar Abdulhamid, Radwan Ziadeh, and Patrick seale, of the US based Syrian center for political and strategic studies. I think Prof. Landis should have mentioned this to the readers of this blog.

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/06/syrian-opposition-conference-in-turkey.html

June 2nd, 2011, 12:26 pm

 

Syria no kandahar said:

Does any one believe Hillary any more?did you see her welcoming gadaffe’s son in the white house?who gives her the power of declaring legitimacy of other people?what about Bill legitimacy after Monica’s affair?what about Hamad legitimacy,why is it non-touchable?What about Almalki who lost elections and remained in power like a Saddam cartoon?
Let us not be stupid,nobody really cares about human rights(Guantanamo,Abogareeb,Patriot law…etc),it is a game of nations NATIONAL INTERESTS ,and Assad and the opposition has to know that ,He has to know that the actual lions of the world today are the US and Isreal and if he is to cont to play with there tails by supporting Iran,they will bite him and may be eat himبلا ملح

June 2nd, 2011, 12:35 pm

 

jad said:

المعارضة السورية في الخارج تنتخب “هيئة وطنية” وتدعو إلى إسقاط النظام

انتخب المشاركون في مؤتمر المعارضة السورية في منتجع أنطاليا التركي في 2 يونيو/حزيران “هيئة وطنية” تتألف من 31 عضوا، ضمت ممثلين عن المشاركين في المؤتمر.

وأفادت وكالة الصحافة الفرنسية أنه قد تنافست في هذه الانتخابات لائحتان، الأولى من دون اسم تضم أربعة اشخاص من الإخوان المسلمين وأربعة من “إعلان دمشق”، وأربعة من الأكراد وأربعة من العشائر، في حين خصصت المقاعد الباقية للشباب، وتقدمت اللائحة الثانية تحت اسم “المستقلون”.

وقد نالت اللائحة الأولى نحو 80 % من الاصوات في حين حصلت اللائحة الثانية على 20 %. كما دعا المشاركون في البيان الختامي الصادر عن مؤتمرهم إلى إسقاط النظام السوري.

كما طالب المشاركون في مؤتمر أنطاليا الرئيس بشار الأسد إلى تسليم السلطة إلى نائبه فوريا.

هذا وقد أُعلن في وقت سابق من يوم 2 يونيو/حظيران على هامش المؤتمر عن ولادة ائتلاف القوى العلمانية السورية بمشاركة ثمانية أحزاب عربية وكردية وعلمانية، يطالب بفصل الدين عن الدولة وجعل الدستور المرجعية الأعلى للحكم واعتماد الميثاق العالمي لحقوق الانسان.

http://arabic.rt.com/news_all_news/news/559111/

————–
Sophia,
“Landis should have mentioned this to the readers of this blog.”
I guess we are not worth it, we represent nothing but decoration for his site.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:35 pm

 

Sophia said:

# 44 WD,

Now Lebanon has no credibility whatsoever. Their business is not information. It is propaganda. And as Goebbels said, the more the lie is big, the more people believe it.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:38 pm

 

Sophia said:

# 48 Jad,

Dr. Landis is on their advisory Board, but still he should have told his readers here.

http://www.scpss.org/index.php?lng=en

To tell you the truth, my best ME blogger is Angry Arab. Also I do not agree with everything he stands for, I appreciate his crude honesty.

I used to comment on his site but it was invaded by crazy people and it was taking a toll on him so he decided to shut the comment section down, and he did well I think. The web can be a poisonous place to people who are not well educated and who do not have a critical mind.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:43 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Sophia

I just want to see if there will be a ‘flotilla’ like to help cities under siege in Syria and if the egyptians lead by Wael Ghonim will walk to the Arab league headquarter to demand the deligitimization of Bahsar Al Assad!!

June 2nd, 2011, 12:57 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Surprise. The arch reactionaries here (Angry Sopfia Tribal and Alex) begin to attack Mr. Landis. This is getting interesting by the day. Please, keep it coming.
.

June 2nd, 2011, 12:58 pm

 

norman said:

look how stupid people can be

((مؤتمر المعارضة السورية يطالب الاسد بـ”الاستقالة الفورية” ))

I feel sad for the Syrian people , they are going to replace dumb with dumber.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:02 pm

 

majedkhaldoon said:

” they are going to replace dumb with dumber.”

I like this one.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:06 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

You want Arabs to negotiate with Israel to resolve their issues but you want Syrians to resolve their issues by killing each other!

Sophia,

Where did I say that? Bashar Assad should have invited representatives to his office to discuss reforms. That should have happened long ago, before 1000 Syrians were killed.

Now the anger is so great, no reformer will talk to him unless it about which jail or court will try Assad for crimes.

At least Mubarak stepped down in order stop the crisis.

You make it sound as a border issues. What about the millions of Palestinians displaced? They did not leave in their free will, did they? They would certainly go back with their free will.

WD,

The Palestinians can (and have) brought up any issue they want. Most observers realize that a “Two State Solution” means the Palestinians would return to Palestine. Unfortunately, not just the Palestinians have been forced to leave left their homes (although many Palestinians were NOT forced). MILLIONS of people ravaged by war this past century forced people to leave their homes to live in unfamiliar locations. Nevertheless, it is time to move forward. A independent Palestinian state at peace with her neighbors is the best solution.

Frankly, I think the parties are satisfied with where they are. Israel is satisfied having control of the Old CIty and settlements in the West Bank, and the Palestinians are satisfied to continue their struggle and not sign a peace agreement.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:07 pm

 

Sophia said:

# 51 WD,

The Egyptians should watch what is hapening to their revolution…

There is a likeable quality about Wael Ghonim but the guy is naive. I watched when he was interviewed on TV in Egypt during the revolution after his release from interrogations by security forces. He is a very impressionable man.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:09 pm

 

Sophia said:

# 52 Amir,

I am not attacking anybody. So don’t expect anything that goes this way.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:11 pm

 

jad said:

Ya Prince,
I’m not attacking Dr. Landis, I never attacked him, unless you consider asking questions an attack.
I’m making a comment because I think it wasn’t right of Dr. Landis not to be frank with us and use ‘friend’ instead of his own self in his post, knowing that his name will be out sooner or later.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:11 pm

 

Nour said:

This “opposition” in Turkey doesn’t seem very bright. After they engaged in fistfights with each other, they came up with a closing statement that demanded the toppling of the regime and the “immediate resignation of Bashar al Assad”. I don’t know if they think before they write, or whether they think everyone is as dumb as they are, but what’s the point of asking for the resignation of the president if they are calling for the toppling of the entire regime? So should Bashar al Assad resign after they topple the regime or before? Just so we know and are prepared.

This so-called “opposition” is proving day by day that they are bankrupt and have nothing to offer other than asking for the regime to be toppled. And then what? What can we expect from Ponytail who has absolutely no following on the ground in Syria. What is he going to do? Does he have a plan on how to build a state? What about the MB? They were opposed to the idea of separation of religion from state. So what’s their solution? An Islamic state? And just what is an “Islamic” state? This is something I’d really like to know. What are the bases and foundations of such a state? I agree with Jad in that these characters proclaiming themselves to be representatives of the Syrian people are an insult to Syria.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:18 pm

 

why-discuss said:

AP

“and the Palestinians are satisfied to continue their struggle ”

Sorry they are not satisfied in being in a area under siege, their lands expropriated, their houses destroyed, lacking basic commodities or living in camps.
Israel is certainly very happy with the status quo.. more california-like settlements in occupied land, more money from the US and an Iron dome paid by the US as a roof.
Please there is no comparison possible!
Yet, Israel is now worried that the happy days where Egypt was a friend are over. Now come the moment of truth: The statu quo may not be a good deal for Israel anymore.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:23 pm

 

L’Honduras e l’indipendenza dell’America Latina - rivista italiana di geopolitica - Limes said:

[…] residenti all'estero, curdi e islamisti) al regime siriano è riunita in Turchia: per ora non è emersa un'agenda politica chiara per avviare la transizione. Mentre nel paese le […]

June 2nd, 2011, 1:26 pm

 

Aboud said:

Since we are now quoting Angry Arab on this section

“The story of Hamzah Al-Khatib: story of brutality of the Syrian regime”

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/06/story-of-hamzah-al-khatib-story-of.html

Killed, tortured and mutilated because he was trying to do the humane thing and bring food to Der’a. In any other country, he could have been a civil rights lawyer when he grew up. He could have worked for a humanitarian society. But in Assad’s Baathist land, his life was ended in the most brutal fashion imaginable. Those that did these deeds were scum. Their leaders are scum. And their supporters are unconscionable SCUM. To call Baathists barbarians is an insult to Ghenghis Khan and all decent barbarians.

In just three months, Baathism is fast becoming the 21st century’s dirty and despicable ideology, just as Fascism became a dirty word in the 20th century. And yet Baathists continue to clutch at straws any which way they can.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:27 pm

 

Sophia said:

# 61 Aboud,

The account was sent to Angry Arab by someone in Syria. So be honest and put the account inside quote marks as you did for the title.

# 59 Nour,

I agree with your assessment. They quarrel and then they demand the end of the regime. I think this meeting is just a show of muscle and nothing else…

June 2nd, 2011, 1:42 pm

 

jad said:

Nour,
Philosophy is the origin of any advancement, be it in math, physics, science or literatures and when a society looses logic and stops producing philosophy, it stops and can no longer move but backward and this is what is happening to our nation. we are running backward to the moment in history where we killed our philosophers and burned their books.
Without philosophers, thinkers and theories to build our nation upon, their will be no tomorrow and that is exactly what all sides are missing and why all sides are lost.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:42 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Anger Management

WD,

I understand your anger at the Palestinian situation. I haven’t met a pro-Palestinian who ISN’T angry to some extent.

But from my vantage point, you overly exaggerate the situation.

What is going on today in the West Bank, PALES in comparision to how Arabs are treated in Arab countries, especially today when we have numerous Arab countries falling apart and dying in the streets as they vie for human rights.

Meanwhile the Palestinian economy in the West Bank is improving greatly. Here are some pictures of Palestine, 2 cities completely off limits to Israelis and completely governed by the PA:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramallah

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Belen_palestina.jpg

Would you rather live here or in Cairo?

June 2nd, 2011, 1:48 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The Antalya meeting is a huge success!
For the first time in Syrian history, there’s an organized Syrian opposition. Please do correct me if I’m mistaken. Their goals were modest to begin with, so there’s no disappointment. And I respect them for leaving the main stage to the Syrian people, by not attempting to establish some kind of representation. Notice that the old generation, Haddam, Rifaat and Ribal al Assad, did not attend. So a new and fresh body of opposition is born. And no, they don’t have to agree on every thing. This is how democracy works. Disagreements are been resolved by compromises and Consensus. Like with all beginnings, they will have to learn to walk. I’m optimistic.
.

June 2nd, 2011, 1:59 pm

 

daleandersen said:

To JAD:

Re: “Without philosophers, thinkers and theories to build our nation upon, there will be no tomorrow…”

Exactly. You need their fine words and uplifting message to energize, enrich and enhance the movement.

By contrast, Bashar, Asma and the Baathist thugs wouldn’t recognize philosophy if it bit them on the ass…

http://playwrighter.blogspot.com/2011/05/hitler-and-arabs-nazis-in-middle-east.html

June 2nd, 2011, 2:11 pm

 

Juha said:

The first war of the new neoliberal colonialism was Malvinas ( not Falkland !) war? why go so far to the South Atlantic ocean? Let us look near home. At the begining of the revival of the Ottoman Empire Turkey got back north Cyprus by occupying an existing state, a member of the UN + a total complete ethnic cleaning. Next they ended the story of Hatai province which Ass Head, the greatest Arab of them all, signed Hatai away to Turkey just like that. The Syria-Turkey border was marked to the cm, but the Syrian Lebanese border is toally unmaked, interesting, isnt it?. Now they are sticking their Turkish nose in Gaza. And as you can see in this blog they are becomming the king makers in Syria. As in 1915-8 when Turkey will be making peace in Syria-lebanon-Palestine you will all call back the British & the French. By the way, when you are there in Antaliya, frolicking under the Turkish flag, could you ask about the Greeks and Armenians who used to live in Antalya not so long ago?. Taking about imperialism, also Lebanon is in many ways an Iranian colony, it is the Iranians not Arabs who will decide when the Lebanese will start killing Israelies and when the Israelis will start to respond by killing Lebanese. Why did you go to the Malvinas

June 2nd, 2011, 2:12 pm

 

daleandersen said:

Memo to Amir

Re: “…a fresh body of opposition is born. And no, they don’t have to agree on every thing. This is how democracy works…”

Like Donald Rumsfeld said, “Democracy is messy.”

http://playwrighter.blogspot.com/2011/04/arab-news-fox-news-style.html

June 2nd, 2011, 2:15 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Akbar #64,

This argument is exhausted. Better economy cannot replace the wish for freedom. And if we want to be honest, and not hypocritical like the US foreign policy, we have to admit that the west bank and Gaza Arabs deserve freedom and democracy, just as their Arabs brothers and sisters. The question is how to do it, without endangering Israel.
.

June 2nd, 2011, 2:22 pm

 

Aboud said:

Of course the opposition conference in Turkey was a success. Three months ago, such a conference would have been unthinkable. How many years did it take Michele Aflaq and that-other-dude (Salah Bitar) to come up with the ideology that would become Baathism (an ideology so bankrupt and dead that they couldn’t even bring themselves to support fellow Baathists in Iraq). How long did it take Adam Smith and Marx to refine their views of the world? By contrast, things are moving in Syria at breakneck speed.

And yet we still hear the pathetic squeaks of the Baathists, who think they still have a hope in hell because the revolution hasn’t decided yet on who is going to replace Papa Assad on the thousand lira notes. It is heartening to see that the Syrian opposition is united in their view that Bashar is irredeemable, and his legitimacy has long since come to an end.

June 2nd, 2011, 2:27 pm

 

mjabali said:

Amir in Tel Aviv:

You are funny I see. Should I take your words and flip them around thinking you meant the total opposite to make any sense of it.

You said “their goals were modest”, how come? They asked for the immediate resignation of al-Assad, is that modest? You must be out of touch with reality: al-Assad and his tanks and men is going to listen and leave today. Where did you learn politics and the agency of power?

A “modest” and very logical ending for this fiasco would have been asking al-Assad how he is going to meet with the their demands and free the country from al-Baath and when is the next election? This is a modest and logical and reasonable request.

Instead they fought and came in the end with an emotional plea more than a logical road map for what to come?

It is obvious that these participants are not up to the task. The Muslim Brothers should not play around and come with its representatives and the rest should go home then talk to al-Assad. Turkey appeared as a bastion for future Sunni collective as obvious, and Erdugan showed his true ideology.

This is the truth. The participants could not come with anything with value. Just words like al-Baath, and on the streets the tanks rule. This self appointed Syrian “opposition” has no connection with reality, and they seem to be taken by Vendetta.

This is not how you save a nation.

If they cared about Syria they would have called for a halt for all types of violence ASAP and the start of the REAL NATIONAL DIALOGUE that will take into consideration all Syrians and not a bunch of Muslim Brothers and their cronies who appeared to have a regional agenda that do not take into consideration what is Syrian.

As for the new faces: i say who appointed them and what is their agenda for Syria because so far what we have seen is immaturity and emotions instead of reason and experience. Who are these new faces: what is their credentials? how many followers do they have?

In my book a small Sheikh in a small Syrian town has more pull and followers that all of these new faces. The realities on the street prove this.

June 2nd, 2011, 2:32 pm

 

jad said:

Dale,
Philosophy is not a “fine words and uplifting message….”
It is a web of theories, laws, rules and visions discussed and debated where logic and reason has the upper hand over emotions, religions and slogans, your interpretation of the ‘Philosopher’ doesn’t fit the ‘Philosopher’ I’m calling for.

June 2nd, 2011, 2:32 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

And if we want to be honest, and not hypocritical like the US foreign policy, we have to admit that the west bank and Gaza Arabs deserve freedom and democracy, just as their Arabs brothers and sisters.

Amir in Tel Aviv,

What is hypocritical about US foreign policy?

West Bank and Gaza Arabs deserve freedom and democracy like Syrians, Libyans, Chinese, and North Koreans. As ma?

Just because they don’t have freedom and democracy doesn’t mean it is your fault, my fault, or the fault of the US. If a country doesn’t have freedom, it is usually the fault of the government. Israel doesn’t govern the PA or Hamas.

June 2nd, 2011, 3:20 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Just saw Dr. Radwan Ziadeh speaking. He is a funny little man with a funny voice, plus tons of charm, and I like him a lot. He reminds me of Ben Gurion (funny little man with a funny voice). I expect him to be someone important in the New-Syria. President? PM?

Akbar,

“What is hypocritical about US foreign policy?” Libya vs. Bahrain/SA. That’s what hypocritical.
.

June 2nd, 2011, 3:44 pm

 

democracynow said:

Regime reforms in Talbiseh (Homs):

http://youtu.be/BvonrmDzm1g

You can see a dead man and a fallen motorcycle next to a tank. A little further up, civilian cars have swerved off the road, one of them is (purportedly) the van that was transporting little children to school. The one recording the video says it’d been shot at. (a little girl was reported dead on the same day.)

You can also hear sporadic shooting… It doesn’t look like the gunner on the tank tower is exchanging fire with anyone. He’s probably just shooting haphazardly or targeting civilians who dared to challenge the presence of the army and ventured out of their homes.

June 2nd, 2011, 3:48 pm

 

democracynow said:

Ehsani2,

Baath party membership doesn’t really mean that much. I was intimidated into joining the party at high school by a fat stuttering headmaster with a long stick. Most do it for the Riyadeh in baccalaureate and the couple of marks advantage during college admissions that it gives them.

June 2nd, 2011, 3:53 pm

 

democracynow said:

The story of Hamzah Al-Khatib: story of brutality of the Syrian regime

I will not reveal the name of the person in Syria who sent this: “Hello guys: I went two days ago (on Monday) to Hamza’s home and heard the entire story from his father. The martyr went on the Friday 29th to break the siege on dar3a the father (65 year) said: ” he wore wonderful clothes… he looked amazing and he took some stuff to dar3a nd went with the rest of the families.. I heard the shooting later on and so then the dead and injured people.. I asked about him the people told me he was wounded and arrested.. he was taken by the bus.. we asked about him everywhere and nobody had an answer.. until somebody called his cousin who is his his teacher too, to say that there is a body for a kid in the morgue in Dar3a, the cousin went there and after staring in the body for 45 minutes he could be sure that this was 7amze (I don’t know how the Dunia TV recognized him immediately when they have no names) the doctor checked the body and wrote his report (the report is genuine) the doctor tried to find his penis inside the body coz he did not believe his eyes!! the body was then taken and buried and the police called the father and asked him to make an interview with the Syrian TV and he did but saying the entire story as it happened but they did not broadcast it!! the mother has now a nerval breakdown and I could not see her”.

From the AngryArab blog.

June 2nd, 2011, 3:58 pm

 

Sophia said:

# 68, Amir,

“And if we want to be honest, and not hypocritical like the US foreign policy, we have to admit that the west bank and Gaza Arabs deserve freedom and democracy, just as their Arabs brothers and sisters. The question is how to do it, without endangering Israel.”

How generous and magnanimous are you. The West bank and Gaza will be the last to take advice on demcoracy from you! Keep advising the Syrian revolution 2011. Those among them who are listening to Israel and the neocons are useful idiots…

June 2nd, 2011, 4:20 pm

 
 

Akbar Palace said:

Getting too Accustomed to American Help NewZ

Amir in Tel Aviv,

If there are 15 hot spots in world where people are suffering, and the US picks one or two to help, I don’t consider this “hypocritical”, especially when no one else is helping in ANY of the 15 locations.

But if you want Israel to help Bahrain, that’s fine with me.

June 2nd, 2011, 4:28 pm

 

why-discuss said:

AP

The economy in the West Bank will not help the palestinians living in refugees camps, unless your government allows all the refugees in Lebanon and Syria to go back to benefit from this wonderful life instead of being fed by the UNRWA . Are you ready to accept that?

The question should ask to yourself would be: You rather live here or in a refugee camp?

June 2nd, 2011, 5:48 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Free Palestine! (and the other 300 million Arabs)

WD,

I disagree. The economy in the West Bank is a major factor to help improve the lives of Palestinians. Jobs and work are a major issue for any people including Palestinians.

The refugee camps have basically been kept over the years as a political statement. Of the 700,000 or so refugees listed (of all the refugees in the world, only offspring of Palestinian refugees are considered refugees as well), only about 25% still live in the refugee camps.

http://www.unrwa.org/etemplate.php?id=103

WD,

Like I keep saying, the Palestinian issue is clearly not the most pressing issue for arabs. Al-Queda, Hamas and Nejad may want you to think it is, but it isn’t.

June 2nd, 2011, 7:27 pm

 

Tara said:

Amir # 68

“we have to admit that the west bank and Gaza Arabs deserve freedom and democracy, just as their Arabs brothers and sisters.”

Can you elaborate?

June 2nd, 2011, 7:36 pm

 

why-discuss said:

AP

“the Palestinian issue is clearly not the most pressing issue for arabs.”

It is almost like the population of Israel and it is not a pressing issue!! It is so hypocritical: because it is not convenient for you to face this problem, you try to convince us that it is false problem! You prefer to throw to us the problem of free speech in arab countries instead!!!

“Palestine refugees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.”

UNRWA recognizes facilities in 59 designated refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“The number of registered Palestine refugees (RPR) has subsequently grown from 914,000 in 1950 to more than 4.3 million in 2005.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_refugee_camps

June 2nd, 2011, 8:29 pm

 

KR said:

I am impressed. The participants in the conference in Antalya are prepared to scarifies one million martyr to further their aim. And their contribution to the revolution is a vacation in a 5 starts hotel on the beach in Antalya and going on hunger strike for one day.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:13 pm

 

KR said:

For those who think that the suffering of Palestinians in the West Bank pales in comparison to what other Arabs endure in their own countries. Why don’t you try to subject yourself to the same humiliation that Palestinians endure on daily basis at checkpoints? Why not try to live under the same daily fear of having your land or your identiand confiscated because you stood for what you believed in? Why not talk to your grandparents about how life was in ghetos in under Natzi Germany? Maybe then you can start to appreciate the suffering of most Palestinians in the west bank.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:26 pm

 

why-discuss said:

KR

Who paid for the 5 star hotel? Why was is not mentioned? Ashamed to admit who are the sponsors?
I guess they ate so much that they needed a day without food, they decide to call it a hunger strike, not diet, it is much more media friendly.
Did you ever hear about a single day hunger strike? It must be added to the Guiness book of record

A million martyrs is just a number on a Facebook screen back in Sweden, US or Australia.

June 2nd, 2011, 11:27 pm

 

daleandersen said:

Hama II. It is starting. All you Bashir Boys (and girls), enjoy the show…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/syrian-troops-open-fire-on-protesters-many-feared-dead/2011/06/03/AGFgp3HH_story.html

Security forces unleashed “intense gunfire” against a crowd of more than 50,000 people in Hama, Abdel Rahman said, reached by telephone from Nicosia. He said the rally was biggest in the city since the mid-March outbreak of a revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s autocratic rule.

Of course, it’s all lies, yes? Foreign propaganda. Nothing is happening in Hama. Everybody’s minding his own affairs. Businessmen are businessing. Students are studenting. Housewives are housewifing. Just a normal day in Hama. LOL!

http://playwrighter.blogspot.com/2011/05/hitler-and-arabs-nazis-in-middle-east.html

June 3rd, 2011, 2:31 pm

 

daleandersen said:

Memo to Sophia:

Re: “Useful idiots”

How cool! That was Lenin’s term. Just be careful how you use it. It could be turned around and used on you, girl…

http://www.seraphicpress.com/archives/2011/03/vogue_magazine.php

June 3rd, 2011, 2:37 pm

 

Game On; The Opposition is Back | Syria said:

[…] out the Syria Comment page for good coverage of the meeting here and here; also try here and […]

June 3rd, 2011, 9:01 pm

 

Opposition Speaks | Syria said:

[…] sure until the last minute that Kurdish representatives would even attend the conference and then, according to some, they made up as much as one quarter of all participants. The Kurds could really swing this thing […]

June 6th, 2011, 7:12 pm

 

Syria Freedom Runners said:

[…] no confidence or trust in the protesters or the fledgling opposition, whose activists have shown little political maturity and are perceived – despite the efforts of a few emerging leaders to say all the right things […]

July 5th, 2011, 5:42 pm

 

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