The SNC – Conversation between Kodmani, Labwani, & Landis

Joshua Landis, Bassma Kodmani (spokesperson for the Syrian National Council), and Kamal Labwani (opposition leader who recently broke away from the SNC) discuss the Syrian opposition on aljazeera English. May 20, 2012

Afghan war dominates NATO summit: Obama announces that Assad must leave: NATO commander says that NATO will not intervene in Syria.

Economy: Three articles from Cham Press about the struggling Syrian economy (in Arabic)

  1. Run up in prices on Chicken, eggs and sugar because of transportation difficulties
  2. Gold settles at 3075 Syrian Pounds a gram: سعر كغ البندورة 35 ليرة والفاصولياء الخضراء 60 والكوسا 40 والخيار 40 والفول الأخضر 25 والباذنجان الأسود 50 والبطاطا 40 والبازلاء الخضراء 55 والجزر 30-40 والبصل اليابس بـ 25 أما الأخضر فثلاث جرز بـ 10
  3. Syria’s main glass factory will close due to lack of fuel.

Cooking gas was no where to be found in Aleppo this week. A friend writes, “My father offered to pay 2000 pounds yesterday, but no one could supply him with a new tank.”

The al-Nusra Front said it was behind the attack in Deir ez-Zur on Saturday which targeted military installations.

“There was a limit to the ferocity of the dogs of the regime in Deir al-Zor at which they had to be punished, so the soldiers of the al-Nusra front undertook this mission,” read the statement on an Islamist web forum.

“The blessed operations will continue until the land of Syria is purified from the filth of the Nusayris (Alawites) and the Sunnis are relieved from their oppression.”

 Al-Assad must leave, Obama tells G-8 meet
2012-05-20, Turkish Daily:

Al-Assad must leave, Obama tells G-8 meet CAMP DAVID REUTERS Photo G-8 leaders on May 19 called for a “political transition” in Syria and for an end to violence after U.S. President Barack Obama told G-8 leaders meeting at Camp …

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday maintained that the alliance has “no intention” of taking military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, according to AFP.

Syria attacks kill 33, opposition says
By the CNN Wire Staff, May 20, 2012


  • Most of the dead are in Hama, which opposition activists say is being shelled
  • Syria’s government denies reports that defectors killed top officials
  • Estimates of the death toll range as high as 11,000 over 14 months

….A total of 21 deaths were in the northwestern city of Hama, where reported heavy shelling of a neighborhood by government troops, said Rafif Jouejati, a spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees of Syria. Sunday’s toll follows 26 deaths Saturday, according to the LCC, a network of opposition activists…

CNN: Syrian Government Denies Assassination of Top Officials

… Syria’s government Sunday denied claims by the rebel Free Syrian Army that it had killed several of its leading government officials. The state-run news agency SANA called the claim “categorically baseless” and quoted two of the supposedly slain officials dismissing the report.

“I am speaking from my office at the Interior Ministry,” SANA quoted Lt. Gen. Mohammad al-Shaar, the country’s interior ministry. “All my colleagues are performing their duties.”

Al-Shaar and Syria’s assistant vice president, Gen. Hasan Turkmani, were both quoted criticizing Arabic news networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, which broadcast the claim.

Gunbattle in Beirut amid fears of Syria spillover
By HUSSEIN MALLA, Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — Gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns early Monday in intense street battles in the Lebanese capital, wounding six people as fears mounted that the conflict in neighboring Syria was bleeding across the border.

The fighting appeared to be among the worst clashes in Beirut since 2008. The clashes erupted hours after an anti-Syrian cleric and his bodyguard were shot dead in northern Lebanon.

The vain search for dialogue in a battle-scarred Syria, 20 May 2012
By Lyse Doucet, BBC News

Holding on to power: Privately, some of President Bashar al-Assad’s officials accept change may be necessary

Deported Palestinian journalist speaks out about torture in custody

Journalist Salameh Kaileh describes his brutal torture in a Syrian prison and hospital before he was deported to Jordan.

Syria: The Citadel & the War
The New York Review of Books 07/06/12

Archaeologists believe that human beings settled on the hilltop that became Aleppo – some 225 miles north of Damascus – around eight thousand years ago. Cuneiform tablets from the third millennium BC record the construction of a temple to a chariot-riding storm god, usually called Hadad; while mid-second-millennium Hittite archives point to the settlement’s growing political and economic power. Its Arabic name, Haleb, is said to derive from Haleb Ibrahim, Milk of Abraham, for the sheep’s milk the biblical patriarch offered to travelers in Aleppo’s environs. Successive conquerors planted their standards on the ramparts of a fortress that they enlarged and reinforced over centuries to complete the impressive stone Citadel that dominates the city today.


Comments (137)

ann said:

Syria forces ‘kill 9 deserters’ as NATO rejects action

(AFP) – 5 hours ago

DAMASCUS — Syrian forces ambushed and killed nine army deserters in a north Damascus suburb on Monday, a human rights watchdog said, as NATO ruled out military action against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The bloodletting also appeared to spill over into neighbouring Lebanon where two people were killed overnight in street battles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in Beirut, a security official said.

The latest violence in Syria comes after a rocket-propelled grenade exploded on Sunday near a team of UN observers in a Damascus suburb, and at least 48 people were killed elsewhere in the country.

The nine army deserters were killed as they were retreating under cover of darkness from the village of Jisr al-Ab near Damascus’s Douma suburb, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The watchdog on Sunday had reported fighting between rebels and regime troops near Douma, during which the RPG exploded near the team of UN observers.

No one was hurt in Douma blast, which came as UN truce mission head Major General Robert Mood and peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous were leading observers around the north Damascus suburb.

Heavy fighting was also reported overnight between regime soldiers and rebels in other parts of Damascus province, the Observatory said.

NATO, which undertook a major air war in Libya to back rebels who fought Moamer Kadhafi’s forces last year, said it has “no intention” of taking military action against Assad’s regime.

“We strongly condemn the behavior of the Syrian security forces and their crackdowns on the Syrian population,” NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a Chicago summit on Sunday.

“But again NATO has no intention to intervene in Syria.”

After Sunday’s Douma blast, Ladsous said: “I think this is clearly one of these situations where it is absolutely imperative that all parties exercise restraint and do not engage in any more fighting.”

The AFP correspondent said the streets of Douma were deserted and most of its shops were closed.

“When the observers leave, the armed men will come back to cause trouble,” a soldier told reporters, in a reference to rebels.

Ladsous also reported meeting Foreign Minister Walid Muallem earlier on Sunday to discuss the observers’ mission.

“There are still some aspects that need to be discussed regarding the function of the mission,” said Ladsous, adding “there were still more aspects that needed to be looked at and worked out cooperatively.”

State-run SANA news agency said Muallem informed Ladsous that armed rebels had violated the UN-backed ceasefire hundreds of times.

“The armed opposition has carried out 3,500 violations since the ceasefire was established,” Muallem’s spokesman Jihad Makdisi was quoted as saying.

Sunday’s blast followed several other close calls for the UN monitors since they deployed in Syria, where 260 observers are now on the ground according to Mood.

On May 16, a convoy of UN observers was struck by a homemade bomb in the flashpoint central city of Homs, damaging three vehicles but causing no casualties.

A similar convoy was hit by a roadside bomb on May 9 in the southern province of Daraa, wounding six Syrian soldiers escorting them.

Sunday saw a bloodbath in other parts of Syria too, with at least 48 people reported killed, including 34 civilians slain in the village of Souran in the central province of Hama, the Observatory said.


May 21st, 2012, 9:44 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

If you read Arabic you must enjoy this even if you don’t agree with it:
لاأدري كيف سأقتل حرف الطاء .. ولاأدري كيف سأشنق حرف الألف .. بل لاأعرف كيف سألقي بالهمزة من أعلى هاوية أو جرف .. وكيف سأحرق حرف الفاء .. وأمقصل رأس حروف الياء .. ولعلي لن أرتاح حتى أبقر بطن التاء المربوطة وأرميها .. في بحر الظلمات .. لن يهدأ لي قلب حتى أقتل كل حروف الفتنة في مجزرة عظمى .. وأدفنها في قبر أو أحرقها في محرقة كبرى ..
ماأحلى أن اقرأ أعجل خبر في العالم فيقول: انفصلت هذي الأحرف “ط ا ئ ف ي ة” في الشرق .. وماتت الطوائف.. واحترق أبو لهب في لهبه ..
طائفة وطوائف .. ومذهب ومذاهب .. طائفة وطوائف ..ومذهب ومذاهب .. ماقتلتنا غير طوائفنا ومذاهبنا .. ماقتلتنا الا الطاء التي اجتمعت بالألف واتكأت على الهمزة والفاء ..واضطجعت تحت ظلال الياء .. وتباهت بالتاء المربوطة ..فكنا طائفة ..وطوائف ..يسبح في دمها عبد الرحمن القرضاوي و صاحبه العرعور ..ولحيدان وابن عثيمين..
في بحثي عن الحرية التي أطلقتها الحناجر الثائرة والتي أقام لها الكتاب الثوريون النصب والتماثيل وعزفوا الأناشيد وثرثروا بها وزرعوها مكان الفاصلة والنقطة .. وبين العبارة والعبارة .. كنت أجد الطوائف كالحية تسعى في بطن الحرية .. كان فحيح الطوائف يعلو من بطن الحرية .. وكنت أسمع هسيسها بين الأسماء الكبرى والشعارات الكبرى.. وكنت أرى خيالها الطويل في مياه الكلام الثوري الرقراق .. يسبح كأسماك القرش أو يطفو كرؤوس التماسيح..

في كلام ثوار العرب هذه الأيام لاشيء غير الطوائف والقبائل والسباب والكراهية .. الطوائف مسعورة تنهش بعضها والقبائل المجنونة تسير في كل الشوارع .. وفي بلاد العرب تسكن الطوائف كل الصحف وكل الفضائيات ولها كل المهرجانات .. وهي تقيم الحواجز بين السطور والسطور ..وبين القلوب والقلوب ..وبين العقول والعقول .. بل وتضع المتاريس وأكياس الكلمات الرملية بين الله وبين الناس ..وبين الرسول والرسول ..
لايخلو سطر أو تصريح من عواء الطوائف .. مسلمون ومسيحيون ..أقباط ومسلمون .. شيعة وسنّة .. علويون ودروز واسماعيليون وصابئة .. لاأدري الآن مالفرق بين حروب عبس وتميم وغضنفر وغطفان وبني مرة وبني هلال .. وبين ماعدنا اليه الآن …سنة وشيعة .. ودروز وعلويون .. ومسيحيون ومسلمون و و و .. ولاشيء الا أسماء جديدة لحروب كانت ملكا حصريا لقبائل أبي جهل ..

وظهرت حرية ثورتنا على أنها مواء طائفي تردد صداه في مبادرة أمير قطر بتحويل الحكم السوري الى مناصب طائفية لحل الأزمة في اعتراف لالبس فيه بأن من يقيم الدنيا ويقعدها هم الطائفيون المجانين الذين لبسوا ثياب الثوار والأحرار .. ذلك كي نصبح لبنانا آخر وننجب لهذا الشرق “وليد جنبلاط” ضخما متقلبا في مزاجه ومزاحه .. ولننجب عائلة مثل عائلة الجميّل وحكيما مهووسا مثل سمير جعجع .. وتصبح لنا مجالس للشيعة وومجالس للسنة ..ويزورنا فيلتمان كما يزور دول الطوائف في لبنان ويوزع علينا الانتخابات والناخبين ..
مايضحكني ومايدهشني هو أن الغرب صار يقسم المساحات على سطح القمر ومجرة درب التبانة .. وهناك خرائط وملكيات لهذه الأراضي وأسماء ولايات ومدن على رمال سطح القمر .. وهناك أراض فوق المريخ واقاليم وخرائط ملكية للأمم الغربية .. فيما نحن في الشرق نرسم خرائط ألف ليلة وليلة من الزمن الذي مات .. ونرسم الحدود الطائفية بين جبل محسن ودرب التبانة ..في شوارع مدينة صغيرة مثل طرابلس ..وصار للأشجار والأحجار والأنهار مذاهب وانتماءات طائفية ..


May 21st, 2012, 11:02 am


Jad said:

مرحباً SNK
اشتقتلك يا زلمة كيفك؟ 🙂

How are you? 🙂

Where is Mina?

May 21st, 2012, 11:11 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

I hope you are fine.
كتيبة الفاروق في سيريا كمنتت يحتفلون يوميا منذ ان غادرت

May 21st, 2012, 11:19 am


ann said:

Hey JAD, welcome back!

Seen any NOVO RICH lately? 😀

May 21st, 2012, 11:30 am


Jad said:

LOL انا رجعت، خلينا نشوف شلون بدون يطلبوا مساعدةالأنصار جبهة هلق 🙂

You tell me, any ‘Novo’ Rich funny French mistakes happened while I was away 😉

Dear NEW moderator,
Could you please send my email address to SNK and ANN when you have time.
Thank you

May 21st, 2012, 11:36 am


Ziad said:

Wlecome back JAD. I missed your comments and links a great deal.

May 21st, 2012, 11:51 am


Jad said:

Thank you very much Ziad 🙂
That is very kind of you.

May 21st, 2012, 11:53 am


Jad said:

Using the word ‘Moundsseen’ in Lebanon is 7lal:

الحريري: هناك مندسون يريدون تسخير المؤسسة العسكرية ورمزيتها لاستيراد أزمة النظام السوري إلى لبنان في محاولة يائسة لإنقاذه من نهايته المحتمة

May 21st, 2012, 12:08 pm


norman said:

welcome back Jad.

May 21st, 2012, 12:18 pm


ann said:

Arab Spring May Be Re-Defined As Chaos – May 21, 2012

Shortly after longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in the Tunisian revolution in January 2011, some of us warned that the initial euphoria could eventually give way to unhelpful simplification. Suddenly, all Arabs looked the same, sounded the same and were expected to duplicate each other’s collective action.

An Al Jazeera news anchor might interrogate his guests on why some Arab nations are rising while others are still asleep. The question of why Algeria hasn’t revolted has occupied much international media. “No Arab Spring for Algerians Going to the Polls,” was the title of a US National Public Radio (NPR) program by Andrea Crossan on May 10. The very recent Algerian elections were mostly juxtaposed with much more distant and sporadic realities in other countries, rather than in the context of Algeria’s own unique and urgent situation.

Why should Algeria be discussed within the context of Yemen, for example? What kind of conclusions are we seeking exactly? Is it that some Arabs are brave, while others are cowardly? Do people revolt by remote control, on the behest of an inquisitive news anchor? Algeria is known as the country of a million martyrs for its incredible sacrifices in the quest for liberation between 1954-62. Some sort of consensus is being reached that Algerians are still traumatized by the decade-long civil war which started in 1992. The butchery of thousands was openly supported by Western powers who had feared the emergence of an Islamic state close to their shores.

While Palestinians have been traumatized severely in the 64 years that followed their expulsion from Palestine, they remain in a constant revolutionary influx. The current trauma that millions of Syrians are experiencing as a result of the violence also cannot be expressed by mere numbers. Yet the violence is likely to escalate to a civil war, as destructive as that of Lebanon’s, if a political solution is not formulated under the auspices of a third, trusted party.

It is easy to fall victim to conventional wisdoms, to disseminate odd theories about Arabs and their regimes. The problem is that every day is churning out new events which cannot fit into a simplified concept like the ‘Arab Spring’. The poeticism of the term was hardly helpful when 74 people died and hundreds more were injured as fans of two Egyptian soccer clubs clashed in Port Said on February 1st. The disturbing news seemed inconsistent with the Tahrir Square rallies one year prior. Some in the media dismissed the killings as ‘confusing’ or just ‘unfortunate.’ It simply didn’t fit the almost scripted perception we wished to have of Egypt’s ‘perfect’ revolution. But Egyptians understood well the roots of the violence, and explained it within a local context. The fact is, the occasional violence that followed the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak was uniquely Egyptian and perfectly rational within the many movements that were attempting to exploit the revolution.


May 21st, 2012, 12:33 pm


Tara said:

Interesting post by a Lebanese Sunni.  I just do not have enough information to agree or disagree.

“The angry Sunnis are playing right into the hands of those who want to create instability in the country to turn the attention away from Syria”

Lebanon’s Clumsy Angry Sunni
One of lebanon’s largest sects is becoming its own worst enemy.

Lebanon’s Sunnis want you to know that they’re angry. Very angry. If a reporter approaches a tire burner today and asks him why he’s angry, she will probably hear these reasons:

Throughout Lebanon’s history, Lebanon’s popular Sunni leaders from Mufti Hassan Khaled to PM Rafik Hariri were harassed and assassinated because the Alawi regime in Syria feels threatened by powerful Sunnis and their potential effect on Syria’s own Sunnis
Recently, the most popular Lebanese Sunni leader was pushed out of power and out of the country by Syria’s allies. That happened because Hezbollah (the Shiaas) threatened to use their military advantage (the black shirts incident)
Lebanese security forces are quietly taking the side of the Syrian regime by arresting and killing Lebanese Sunnis who are supporting the Syrian revolution
The Sunnis are constantly been smeared as terrorists to justify the heavy handedness with which the government is dealing with them
You can dispute the accuracy of the points above, but there is no doubt in my mind that the angry Sunnis who are burning tires believe every single one of them. I also have no doubt that many of Lebanon’s “normal” Sunnis are sympathetic to their logic (but not to their extreme acts of protest)

A murder in Akkar, and its consequences.

The murder on Sunday of Shaikh Ahmad Abdul Wahid, an outspoken supporter of the Syrian revolution, at a Lebanese army checkpoint was a humiliation too far. It triggered the same pandemonium that took place when PM Saad Hariri was ejected from power: Wherever there are Sunnis in Lebanon, people took to the streets, burned tires, blocked roads and let everyone know that they’re pissed.

But their protests, even if cathartic, are creating three big headaches for their community:

They are angering the rest of the Lebanese by inconveniencing them and reminding them of the war. Sunnis are coming across as irresponsible and dangerous.
They are not achieving anything. Even if the point was to establish deterrence (to make others think twice before upsetting the Sunnis), it’s not working. It’s just a loud and costly tantrum.
They are establishing a reputation that the Sunnis are an excitable bunch that can easily be provoked.


May 21st, 2012, 12:44 pm


Jad said:

Thank you Norman!

May 21st, 2012, 12:45 pm


Tara said:


Your view in regard to Alawis women’s accomplishments as compared to Sunni women are interesting, but anecdotal…I would like to see evidence, otherwise, in the absence of evidence, it remains anecdotal..and personal view.

Moreover, I agree with Omen..Citing as evidence “the story of your female Alawi freind not ever driving in a Sunni neighborhood” as a supporting evidence to your argument weakens the whole argument considerably. Not driving by a certain neighborhood is “ignorance” to say the least. It reminds me with myself not ever been once to Zainab shrine in Damascus. This however was not intentional in my case but visiting the shrine or shrines never stimulated my curiosity in the past. My cultural interests at that time were not into religions.

Finally, thank you for the link you provided. Was very interesting..especially the fact that Alawism was created by a Sunni.

May 21st, 2012, 1:00 pm


bronco said:

#12 Tara

“Recently, the most popular Lebanese Sunni leader was pushed out of power and out of the country by Syria’s allies.”

This sentence seems to imply that Lebanese Sunnis are feeling like the victims of a ‘diabolic’ plot organized by Syria and Shias to eliminate them. Paranoia or reality? They represent a large part of the population, what they miss is a real charismatic leader.

The current non-charismatic ‘Sunni leader’ was not ‘pushed out of the country”. He felt humiliated and as he is not very courageous, to say the least, he preferred to sulk in his palaces in Ryadh and Paris, far from his adoring crowd. My heart is not bleeding for his fate.

AS far as the border tragedy, anyone breaking for force through a border control anywhere in the word is shot. The law applies to everyone.

May 21st, 2012, 1:39 pm


bronco said:


Ouf.. some sanity back in SC.

May 21st, 2012, 1:40 pm


Tara said:


Welcome to Ann and Mina group….enjoy.

May 21st, 2012, 1:49 pm


ann said:

Americans want JOBS at home Mr. President

Protesters rally and march against summit – May 21, 2012

At a noontime Grant Park rally, and then on a march to the shadow of McCormick Place where President Barack Obama held court with NATO leaders, thousands of protesters made abundantly clear their disdain for the Western military alliance and all it stood for.

“The people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria and Iran should not be in the cross hairs of NATO,” said Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee, who traveled from Minnesota. “NATO should not get to decide whether the people of the world die or suffer under occupation. From Afghanistan to the Middle East, we demand justice, we demand peace.”


May 21st, 2012, 2:02 pm


bronco said:

#17 Tara

Welcome to Dawood, Omen, Sandro, Observer group.. enjoy too

May 21st, 2012, 2:27 pm


bronco said:

Did Al Jazeera presented excuses to its viewers of the false report on the killing of important personalities in Syria?

Maybe they didn’t and it is understandable as this is not the first lie they spread, but certainly the one that shows that this chain is going down in the drain of calomny and misinformation.

It reflects well where its owners belong.

May 21st, 2012, 2:40 pm


Tara said:


I am just turned off by fake emotions stemming from political affiliation.  It reminds me with the fakeعشق mnhebaks have towards Batta.  “Dear this and Dear that ….” in this site lack authenticity.  I personally don’t use the term “Dear” except on occasions where I feel it.  People should be appreciated for their inherent qualities regardless of their pro or anti status.  If one of the pro regime to defect, he or she becomes an instantaneous pariah among the supporters and all the previously manifested emotions suddenly die.  May be it is my own “eccentricity” but if you are able to enjoy these manufactured emotions, then feel free. 

May 21st, 2012, 3:31 pm


bronco said:

#21 Tara

Sorry I don’t get it. What ‘dear’ and what ’emotions” are you talking about?

May 21st, 2012, 4:19 pm


Tara said:


Do I sound that encryptic? Sorry.

I am talking about the manufactured emotions that is splitting the country into us vs them. Good vs evil. Sane vs insane. Patriotic vs traitors.

May 21st, 2012, 4:28 pm


Juergen said:

Here is a french report on the situation of the refugees and the work of doctors in the field hospitals.

with arabic subtitles

May 21st, 2012, 4:44 pm


Juergen said:

Unbelievable, in the report they said that in order to receive blood donations the health ministry has to be contacted in Syria. Many people died because blood donations were not granted for them to get. This is just the situation in the regular hospitals.

May 21st, 2012, 4:55 pm


bronco said:

#23 Tara
I guess it is natural and human to feel anger, pain, resentment, hopes in a situation like this one. I don’t know how you can call them “manufactured”.

May 21st, 2012, 5:05 pm


Uzair8 said:

Sheikh Yaqoubi’s latest tweet suggests the endgame is close.

دخلت المعركة لإسقاط النظام المرحلة الأخيرة، وستشهد دمشق مزيدا من العمليات وننصح الشرفاء من الضباط والموظفين بالانضمام للثورة اليوم قبل الغد.

Google translation:

Entered the battle to overthrow the regime last stage, and Damascus will see more of the processes and advise the honorable officers and staff to join the revolution today before tomorrow.

May 21st, 2012, 5:25 pm


Uzair8 said:

The regime had the opportunity to suppress the uprising and restore order and security and has failed. The window of opportunity is closing.

I guess the ‘silent bloc’* was bound to sooner or later abandon hope in the regime restoring normalcy. It is becoming clear to them that the uprising is more widespread and committed than they hoped or were led to believe.

* Don’t like using the term ‘silent majority’. The size is debatable.

May 21st, 2012, 5:41 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

A child story….so sad:

May 21st, 2012, 5:54 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


This is especially for you. CBS’s 60 minutes on the “colony” of Tel Aviv. What a fun colony.;contentAux

May 21st, 2012, 6:39 pm



I enjoyed the JOSHUA – LABWANI interview. I get these main ideas:

Assad regime has destroyed civil society which lead to lack of political leaders. (Joshua)

The centre of gravity has shifted from the West to inside.(Joshua)

We do not need SNC representation that has no contact with reality. In Syria there is direct democracy, everybody represents itself due to the lack of parties and the lack of elections. (Kamal)

Future leaders of a new Syria could emerge from the front line or the streets inside Syria. (Joshua)

May 21st, 2012, 6:44 pm


zoo said:

What about the Syrian Facebook/Youtube generation, same fate? A lesson on how to fail a revolution.

The Failures of the Facebook Generation in the Arab Spring
May 21, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

In the upcoming Egyptian elections the country is choosing between Islamists and old Mubarak supporters. Francis Fukuyama on how the Facebook revolution of the Arab Spring has failed to deliver lasting political change.

But part of the blame lies with Egypt’s liberals themselves. They could organize protests and demonstrations, and act with often reckless courage to challenge the old regime. But they could not go on to rally around a single candidate, and then engage in the slow, dull, grinding work of organizing a political party that could contest an election, district by district. Political parties exist in order to institutionalize political participation; those who were best at organizing, like the Muslim Brotherhood, have walked off with most of the marbles. Facebook, it seems, produces a sharp, blinding flash in the pan, but it does not generate enough heat over an extended period to warm the house.

May 21st, 2012, 6:47 pm


zoo said:

Will autoritarian Erdoğan be able of AKPizing arts and culture in preparation of a ‘religious’ generation’?–.aspx?pageID=449&nID=21285&NewsCatID=428

Erdoğan has this perception that he regards himself as the only authority to decide what is art or what is not. We have witnessed that he, as a prime minister, enjoys an extremely broad authority in every field, including the question: “Where should a championship cup be presented?” Apparently, he attributes the power of opinion to himself as to determining what art is and what it is not.

We can say that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has taken action to stamp its signature in the arts and culture fields after politics and justice, and that now the “conservative art” target has been added to the project of raising a religious generation.

However, this time, a very different world is waiting for Erdoğan, who boasts of winning every battle he has entered, a world that has its own unique norms and dynamics.

May 21st, 2012, 6:57 pm


zoo said:

After creating a rift between Kurdish Iraq and the central Iraqi government, having thrown Syrians to each other throats, continuing the illegal occupation of North of Cyprus, Kalamity Erdogan is now moving toward Pakistan. What sort of mess he is going to create there?

Pakistan not alone in terror fight: Erdoğan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lent his support for the development of democracy in Pakistan while outlining the important role of a legislative opposition during a speech to the South Asian country’s Parliament yesterday.

Pakistan’s stability is crucial for peace and security in the region, he said while expressing encouragement as the country continues on the path to fostering a democratic tradition.

May 21st, 2012, 7:06 pm



33. ZOO

If authoritarian is the adjective for Erdogan I guess the description word for Assad has not been invented yet.

Maybe this will be the next contribution from Syria, the land of discoveries,to the world, after haven broght to Human Kind the concept of Hereditary Republic.

May 21st, 2012, 7:12 pm


Hans said:

Welcome back JAD it has been FB material without you and Norman, the only one kept the blog live is SNK in your both absence.
cheers life long SYRIA death to Hamburger.

May 21st, 2012, 7:13 pm


Tara said:


I am still not sure if you “get it”.  Sorry if that sounds offensive but no offense meant.  Let me try to explain.
So the emotions you, Mina, and Ann are displaying towards Jad are authentic?

If those emotions are indeed authentic and not manufactured, then there is no hope for Syria.  If someone like you intelligent, educated and mature defining sanity, patriotism, and goodness as opposed to insanity, evilness, and treachery based on political affiliation,  It follows that Syria as it exists now is fake and stupid and should be split across ethnic and sectarian/religion lines into statelets or tribes.  

It just appears that political affiliation which is mostly based on religion and/or tribal status is much more stronger that any natural human emotion which is for someone like me is very disturbing.

Sorry Jad,  you are not really the issue here but I used your name in a generic fashion.    

May 21st, 2012, 7:24 pm


Tara said:

Lebanon gets on my nerves badly.  Their life and existence evolve around Syria.  Can they develop a national pride of their own?  How degrading for a country to allow even a death of a single soul over another country.

Lebanon: There was a fierce anti-Syria mood as thousands of people attend the funeral of Sheik Ahmed Abdul-Wahid one of the Sunni clerics whose deaths sparked fatal gun battles last night, AP reports.

Gunmen carrying automatic rifles shouted for the downfall of the Syrian regime in the cleric’s hometown of Bireh.

The fighting underscores how the bloodshed in Syria, where President Bashar Assad’s regime is cracking down on an uprising against his rule, can fuel violence across the border in Lebanon.

Lebanon has a fragile political faultline precisely over the issue of Syria.
There is an array of die-hard pro-Syrian Lebanese parties and politicians, as well as support for the regime on the street level.

There is an equally deep hatred of Assad among other Lebanese who fear Damascus is still calling the shots here. The two sides are the legacy of Syria’s virtual rule over Lebanon from 1976 to 2005 and its continued influence since.

Thousands poured into a square outside a mosque in Bireh to take part in the funeral. The cleric’s coffin, which was brought to his home, was covered with a Lebanese flag and a flag used. I  by Syrian rebels.

“Oh cleric, we want revenge against Nasrallah and Bashar,” screamed the men who carried the coffin. The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, is a strong ally of Syria.

Earlier, gunmen shouted “Down with Bashar!” and said the Syrian leader was trying to “transfer the crisis to Lebanon.” Scores of men opened fire with their rifles in the air as a sign of mourning.

The circumstances surrounding Sunday’s shooting death of the Abdul-Wahid remained unclear but the state-run National News Agency said the cleric and his bodyguard appeared to have been killed by soldiers after their convoy failed to stop at an army checkpoint.

The Lebanese army on Sunday issued a statement, saying it deeply regretted the incident and that a committee will investigate.

Amid fears the situation might deteriorate, four Gulf countries Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates have warned their citizens against travel to Lebanon.

May 21st, 2012, 7:48 pm


Hans said:

any prediction which is going to be dismantled first the regime or the SNC, at the speed of the SNC internal turmoil there is a certainty that it may collapse sooner than the regime.
It is all about the MB in the SNC and outside, radicals never like others and always use the opportunity to back stab others in the back.
That’s clear in the SNC and even in Egypt, Tunisia etc…
That’s why the regime didn’t collapse, it is because of who are the MB not because who is the regime.
Cheers and live long Bourbon.

May 21st, 2012, 7:50 pm


Tara said:

A roadside bomb was detonated 150 meters away from to the UN mission.  This was not the first time I believe a bomb has exploded just close enough but not exactly at where the observers are.  Are they that extremely lucky? or is it an elaborate production by the regime in order to convince the observers of the presence of the alleged “armed gangs” bombing their way around?  Why no observers was injured so far with all those bombs?  Is the regime afraid of an international investigation if one of these bombs actually killed a UN observer. 

A roadside bomb exploded in Douma, north-east of Damascus, as senior UN officials toured the area, blowing off the front of a parked vehicle but causing no casualties. Visiting UN peacekeeping chief Hervé Ladsous and Robert Mood, the chief of UN observers in Syria, were 150 metres away, along with accompanying journalists, when the blast went off engulfing a Toyota pickup car in flames and smoke.

May 21st, 2012, 8:10 pm


hans said:

Assad warned many in the past that Syria trouble may spread to the region, well Lebanon has started the fire, next Jordan, and hopefully KSA, GCC.
it seems Israel is the only country safe to migrate to in the ME.

May 21st, 2012, 8:17 pm


Tara said:

Analysis – Rifts widen in Syrian opposition
AMMAN | Mon May 21, 2012 11:58pm BST

“Burhan Ghalioun: the Syrian National Council is dying… We accept your resignation,” read placards at an anti-Assad rally in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Friday.

There are signs that foreign patience with the council is running thin too.

“The rift between the SNC and those inside is growing,” said Yasser Saadeldine, an opposition leaning commentator living in the Gulf. “Ghalioun lacks charisma and he has not embraced armed struggle after Assad killed thousands of his peaceful opponents.”

A senior member of the Free Syrian Army rebel group said Ghalioun was not even “in the equation” but did acknowledge that the Islamists who support him were trying to build serious links with the rebels.

The Islamists might also put forward another candidate of their own.


But demands are growing for a more radical change than simply a new leader.

“There is an elite in the SNC who have brought their own cohorts into the council. They will essentially re-elect themselves unless the SNC is seriously restructured,” said Tello, jailed for five years after a brief period of openness in 200, when Assad inherited power from his father.

Critics say the council needs to better articulate its policy on a U.N. and Arab League peace plan that envisages talks with the authorities on a transition, but not removing Assad’s family or dismantling the police state.

Some believe the council will fall apart if it does not undergo a radical overhaul.

“The SNC is on the verge of collapse unless it becomes representative of the whole opposition,” said Rima Fleihan, a human rights campaigner who quit the SNC last year.

“It needs to become democratic from A to Z. What is needed now is a broad opposition meeting to escape the vicious cycle of infighting and division.”


May 21st, 2012, 8:36 pm


Ghufran said:

سعدو حابب غندوره
Wait for another Syrian Saado made in the GCC

May 21st, 2012, 8:37 pm


Norman said:

The problem with the Syrian opposition is that they are fighting over who is going to lead instead of thinking of the System that will help the Syrian people chose their own leader,

They are all the same, ME,ME,ME, ME and only ME.

May 21st, 2012, 8:42 pm


omen said:

12. Tara said:
Interesting post by a Lebanese Sunni. I just do not have enough information to agree or disagree.

“The angry Sunnis are playing right into the hands of those who want to create instability in the country to turn the attention away from Syria”
12:44 pm


on aje last night, jim muir noted the fighting that broke out in lebanon stemmed from sunni loyalists to the regime (who are also close to hezbollah) versus sunni opponents of the regime.

the writer is using “angry sunni” as an oversimplification that doesn’t account for nuance (not every sunni is against the regime) and strikes me an attempt to stereotype and smear protesters as inherently violent. doing so justifies police or army’s heavy handed approach in putting them down.

May 21st, 2012, 8:50 pm


Tara said:


Please provide the link.

May 21st, 2012, 8:58 pm


Ghufran said:

جاد العويدات
اشتدي أزمة تنحلي
Waiting for the time when fighting parties decide to ‘try” a different approach

May 21st, 2012, 9:04 pm


omen aka anon said:

tara, oops, it was bbc, not aje.

i couldn’t find that particular segment i watched but here is a column along the same lines.

bbc news:

The clashes, between Sunni pro- and anti-Syrian groups, followed the shooting dead on Sunday of two anti-Syrian clerics.

jim muir:

Given how deeply and sharply Lebanon is divided over Syria, it’s a miracle that there hasn’t been much more violence than there has.

But the killing of two Sunni clerics at a Lebanese Army checkpoint in the north of the country on Sunday could hardly pass without consequence – though the fallout could have been much greater.

Only in Beirut did the tension break into open conflict. And it was restricted to a clash between Sunni groups, with the mainstream Future faction of Saad al-Hariri using the occasion to squeeze out the small, pro-Syrian Arab Movement Party, whose leader Shaker Berjawi fled.

In nearby areas of south Beirut, Hezbollah – the most powerful force in the land – kept well out of it.


Troops backed by tanks were deployed across the Lebanese capital, especially in areas where clashes pitted two Sunni factions against each other – one that opposes al-Assad and the other that is loyal to a Sunni political figure, Shaker Berjawi, who supports the Syrian president.

May 21st, 2012, 9:34 pm


omen said:

Omen, Your comment is free, name variance held it in moderation.

SC Moderator

moderator, can you let me out of jail, por favor? gracias 🙂

May 21st, 2012, 9:42 pm


ann said:

COLUMN – Bernard Debusmann – Mon May 21, 2012 9:35PM

A peaceful solution to Syria’s protracted crisis now looks remote enough to wonder whether Bashar al-Assad might outlast Obama in power. The U.S. president is not assured of winning another term in office next November. But the odds of the Assad regime surviving into 2013 look better with every passing day, even though one of the U.S. government’s top experts on Syria has labeled the Syrian president a “dead man walking.”

There are several reasons for skepticism about a resolution to the Syrian crisis in the near future. One is the government’s military superiority over fractured and lightly-equipped opposition forces. More importantly, there is no international consensus on how to deal with what began 14 months ago as peaceful demonstrations against a 40-year family dictatorship and now includes huge suicide bombings of government targets that have raised suspicions of al-Qaeda involvement.

At the summit of the G8 – the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and Japan – an aide to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev made clear, again, that Moscow, unlike the West, does not see Assad’s departure as a necessary step towards ending the bloodshed.

“Some may like or dislike the Syrian governmentbut one cannot avoid a question – if Assad goes, who will replace him?” said Mikhail Margelov.

That’s a question to which there is no answer in Washington or the European and Arab capitals whose leaders say that Assad must go. Doubts over what would happen “the day after” explain why the U.S. and its allies have been reluctant to consider arming the opposition and why they rule out military intervention on the model of Libya.

Whatever the motive, it’s difficult to see Assad leaving as long as he enjoys arms supplies and backing from Russia, diplomatic support from China, military and intelligence advice from Iran, and shipments of diesel fuel from Venezuela. After a flurry of wrong predictions of Assad’s imminent exit late last year, political crustal-gazers have been wary of forecasts.

But punters on an online exchange that allows bets on political events, rate Assad’s chance of being in office by the end of the year at 68 percent, up from 42 percent in February, when China and Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that provided for Assad to hand over power to a deputy.

The two countries voted in favor, two months later, of a Security Council resolution that backed a six-point peace plan drawn up by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Its provisions included an end to all violence by the government and the rebels, talks aimed at a “political transition” and the dispatch of an unarmed U.N. force to monitor a truce that both sides are ignoring.


May 21st, 2012, 9:59 pm


Tara said:

Omen @50

I thought twice before writing this.  It sounds very blunt.  I just could not resist.

It seems to me after I read your posts that Sunnis lack strategic thinking.

Alawis managed over the years to transform themselves from the peasant/servant class to the elite and the oppressor class.

Christians are clinging and invoking the Christian plot in Iraq every time they are faced with a real or perceived threat affecting their privileged status and have been pretty successful resisting the change.

The Kurds, successful in Iraq, are slowly but surly getting towards where they want to be.

Whereas the Sunnis, long stayed dormant, yet stupidly excitable at times, with no real leadership and no strategic thinking or vision.  They have not even established themselves an identity separate from Islamists and Wahabbis.  Some went in bed with  whoever paid more (the Sunni business elite of Damascus and Aleppo) and some confused to their real religious  nature, blindlly pious or wilfullu moderate…they have yet to produce charismatic leadership that can effect a change.  What we have seen so far is Only more of the same.  Ego, greed, selfishness, and clinging to power…and through this status quo, the saga continues.   

May 21st, 2012, 10:38 pm


Ghufran said:

Tara brings up a very serious question that deserves more discussion except that I never believed in a Sunni or alawi identity,focusing on an identity outside being Syrian has led to major problems ,alawites who fell in that trap became defenders of a brutal and oppressive regime,and Sunnis must reject being packaged in a similar fashion especially that the only option provided is a GCC-Haririte sponsored track that will make Suunis agents for a deformed and corrupt movement which will only succeed in moving Syria from one dictatorship to another. Historically ,Sunnis in Syria were champions for tolerance, economic freedom and peaceful citizenry. I hope that the violence we see today among some Sunnis is more of a reaction (to the regime) than an actual shift in thinking and strategy,violence is a sin,it is not a strategy,it is crucial for the opposition to keep the higher moral ground.

May 21st, 2012, 11:16 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Ceasfire is done this way by the terrorists:

And this way;

May 21st, 2012, 11:40 pm


Ghufran said:

راما حيمور

May 21st, 2012, 11:49 pm


bronco said:

Sunnis in Lebanon supporting openly the Assad regime? That is a surprise. Weren’t we lead to believe that the only friends of the regime in neighboring countries were the alawites, the shias and some christians?

May 21st, 2012, 11:50 pm


zoo said:

ref Ghufran

If you watch the Western or Gulf states’ media, you would have the impression that everyone in Syria opposes and is fighting the government. This is not true. In Syria, a significant portion of the population is disaffected, but the majority still supports the regime. A series of public polls, for example, show that the al-Assad government still retains a majority of the support of the population. The reason? The basic majority, about 55% of the population, is terrified at the prospect of the other 45% forming a Sunni Islamist tyranny over the country. The 55% have held together — as they have for decades — to essentially hold Syria together as an independent, secular political order
There are now several countries, principally Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, France and the U.S., that have aligned themselves with the angry minority. The strategic problem for these countries is that even if rebels are militarily successful and force al-Assad from power, the new government would be one that roughly 55% of the population does not want and/or fears. This means that without a negotiated way forward, we know that the outcome of arming or supporting the rebels means — at a minimum — only sustained violence and instability in Syria and for the region.

We are not going to see in any of the Arab countries a neat transition to a democracy in a year or two. Countries do not make that shift — from authoritarianism to democracy — so rapidly. Achieving a well-functioning democracy could happen in perhaps 10 to 15 years. There will be setbacks, bloodshed and disappointments along the way. But we have to stay with this for a while, develop sustainable strategies to help these countries, and not abandon them a year or two into their transitions.

The opportunity to establish functioning democracies in the Arab world is a tremendous and historic one for the Middle East, and the risks if these transitions fail — with all that could bring in terms of instability, safe havens for terrorists, etc. — are also enormous.

May 21st, 2012, 11:57 pm


Juergen said:

I think that we see that there is truly an alawite identity in Syria. Given the centuries where Alawites were outcasts to syrian civil society shaped their attitudes and they have been driven to work in fields no other Syrian would work. Things changed dramatically even under french mandate when many Alawites received better education than many sunnis in the big cities.

In Damascus I heard that in the months before old Assad died of cancer they arrested and killed many of his ministers and deputies in fear that they would use their chance to prevent an Kimlike handover. In order to keep the power this regime is capable of many things, including serving poisend food to their elite government members…

May 22nd, 2012, 1:21 am


Juergen said:

I read a story in the Süddeutsche Zeitung about a man from Homs, who led a normal life. He had a small company, sometimes drank more than needed, every now and then visited a bar, flirting with the women liked and loved the music. With the bombing of Homs by the Syrian army his fiancee was killed , his house was destroyed and his mother died also in grief, he has lost everything and then joined a rebel group which is hyper-religious. If this group made ​​prisoners, they often executed them. He was then taken on this “task” and he did not feel anything while liquidating people.

Its this regime who turns non religious folks into religious warlords.

May 22nd, 2012, 1:32 am


Darryl said:

55. TARA said:

If only Tara and others could feed what they write into a text to voice converter then you may start to get a better feel why Syria is in trouble.

You want democracy, freedom, dignity etc etc, but you always mention ” we are Sunni Sunni Sunni etc etc etc.

If you, Dawoud Holy Homs and others Sunnis’ want democracy per the western system, then drop the Sunni part of the argument, otherwise all the fence sitters and moderates are not listening, including me. Unfortunately, your argument is based on the assertion, that Sunnis’ are majority and the majority rule and we have democracy.

This is not real democracy, this is a majority sect rule taking advantage that most westerners do not understand the middle east and its people and propaganda may succeed over substance.

May 22nd, 2012, 1:48 am


ann said:

Syria lashes out at EU, U.S. sanctions, deaths from explosion on rise

DAMASCUS, May 20 (Xinhua) — Syria on Saturday described sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) and the United States as “economic terrorism,” saying the punitive measures had inflicted great impacts on the daily lives of the Syrians.

In a report addressed to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Secretary General, Syrian Foreign Ministry said the countries that have imposed sanctions are hypocrisies as they use human rights as a cover to interfere in other countries’ affairs and exert their control over them.

The Syrian people had a very harsh winter, suffering from shortages of fuel and electricity last winter following exporting bans by the United States, the EU and Canada.

They were deprived of heating fuel at home and a large number of public and private factories had to halt operations, leaving workers and their families victims to unemployment.

The situations were made even worse by armed terrorist groups, the report said, adding that they “have crowned their supporters’ efforts toward imposing collective sanctions on the Syrian people through detonating and looting gas oil tanks and using domestic gas containers as bombs to kill the Syrians.”

The ministry said that collective sanctions against the Syrian people are illegal and aimed at punishing the Syrian people for not implementing foreign agendas on the Syrian ground.

Those countries’ practices against the Syrian people are quite similar to those of the armed terrorist groups which are killing and terrorizing the Syrians to prevent them from expressing their views on protecting their country against chaos and terrorism.

Syria called on the international community to condemn these sanctions against the developing countries, and called for complete and unconditional implementation of the UN General Assembly resolutions which consider sanctions imposed by countries without authorization from the UN as violations of human rights.


May 22nd, 2012, 2:36 am


ann said:

Top UN Political Job Slated for Jeffrey Feltman of US, Sources Complain

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 — The UN’s top political job, currently occupied by Lynn Pascoe of the United States, is slated to be filled with another American, Inner City Press is told by well placed sources, current US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

As weeks and even months have gone by since it was announced that Pascoe would leave under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s “five year mobility” rule, other top post have been filled. Inner City Press first reported that Argentine Susana Malcorra would be shifted closer to Ban, from the Department of Field Support, and she has been named Ban’s chief of staff.

Inner City Press first predicted that Egypt’s Mubarak-era Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz would be named Ban’s Special Adviser on Africa and he was.

When the head of the Department of Management Angela Kane of Germany hit the five year limit, Inner City Press reported on posts she and Germany were offered including UN Disarmament, which she took.

But the Department of Political Affairs post has been shrouded in mystery. Unlike other Under Secretary General posts, it has not been advertised in The Economist.


May 22nd, 2012, 3:10 am


Antoine said:

2. Darryl said:

“55. TARA said:

If only Tara and others could feed what they write into a text to voice converter then you may start to get a better feel why Syria is in trouble.

You want democracy, freedom, dignity etc etc, but you always mention ” we are Sunni Sunni Sunni etc etc etc.

If you, Dawoud Holy Homs and others Sunnis’ want democracy per the western system, then drop the Sunni part of the argument, otherwise all the fence sitters and moderates are not listening, including me. Unfortunately, your argument is based on the assertion, that Sunnis’ are majority and the majority rule and we have democracy.

This is not real democracy, this is a majority sect rule taking advantage that most westerners do not understand the middle east and its people and propaganda may succeed over substance.”


Same for Iraq ? And Bahrain ?

I hope DARYLL, you did not support the opposition to the former regime in Iraq ( who are ruling the country now), and also do not support the Bahraini Opposition. BEcause they are precisely the kind of people you described in your post.

May 22nd, 2012, 3:12 am


ann said:

Deadly blast rocks Syrian capital – 22 May, 2012

An explosion in a restaurant in the Syrian capital has killed five people, Syrian state media report. The blast struck the Qaboun district of Damascus and has been branded a “terrorist” attack.

The Assad government uses this term when referring to members of Syrian opposition groups.

The neighborhood has been the site of several protests demanding the ouster of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The UK-based rights group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bomb went off just after midnight, but gave no information as to who was behind the attack.

The blast is the latest in a series of explosions that have rocked the embattled country over the last couple of weeks. On Saturday a suicide bomb ripped through the parking lot of a security compound in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, killing nine people and injuring 100.

The Assad government said that attack was also orchestrated by terrorists.


May 22nd, 2012, 3:45 am


ann said:

We want JOBS at home Mr. President

‘Americans don’t share global domination policies of their leaders’ – 21 May, 2012

The US corporate superstructure conglomerate – including financial interests, the defense industry, oil companies and the media – brazenly manipulate American society, shares Peter Dale Scott, former diplomat, poet and prominent anti-war advocate.

RT:Why do you think such a concept as Democracy is being so grossly misused?

Peter Dale Scott: It is true, especially in the last 15-20 years, that America has used these slogans of democracy and freedom as a way of expanding their sphere of influence in the world.

We have these two foundations, one Democratic, one Republican, doing what the CIA used to do – putting money into other countries’ elections that I think is quite inappropriate.

Yes, I would like to see more democracy and freedom in the world, but it has to be autochthonous, it has to grow out of the country, it is not something you can blast in. In Libya, it was totally pushed from outside.

I think history is going to judge the Libya thing from a very negative assessment, what was done against Gaddafi.

RT: Do you think it’s really idealism or the lack of necessary analysis or consideration on the part of people who make these decisions to throw full US weight behind any particular movement?

PS: The big difference between the British and American invasions in the third world is that the British at least usually knew the languages of the countries they went into, they had a certain degree of knowledge.

American policies are usually dictated by amazing ignorance. In the case of Libya, for example. The idea was that everybody hates Gaddafi and all you have to do is give a little push to a popular uprising and poof! Gaddafi would be gone. The US special forces went to Syria before the Arab Spring to train resistance groups.

I’m hoping that at some point American will get sick and tired of these nasty interventions which blow up in their face. I think most Americans wish they never heard of Iraq.

RT:When you consider US interests in the Middle East region, wouldn’t it be better for the US and Israel to deal with autocratic but predictable regimes, rather than the unpredictable Islamist groups?

PS: American foreign policy is taking a very bad turn since the 9/11/2001 attacks.

The immediate response was to go after all those countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and Syria. What do all these countries have in common? At one point all those countries were allied with Russia, the Soviet Union. So it looked like a concerted effort to replace an area of Soviet influence with American influence.

We had a General Wesley Clark who was in Pentagon in 1991 through to 2001. And it was he who told us there was a plan to go after all these countries which we now have seen been implemented. He talked about the window of opportunity: now that the Soviet Union is gone Russia will be too confused to be able to resist so all this should be done quickly.

This is a very sinister play for pure dominance in the world. I don’t think there is much popular support of the American people for this. It was a group of neocons and special cliques. All [American] companies had their interests in global domination. I’m very disappointed that the American people haven’t done more to stop this because it has become dangerous to the world.


May 22nd, 2012, 4:03 am


Uzair8 said:

Omen mentioned Jim Muir. I heard him on radio 5 in the early hours (after 4 AM). See below.

#58. Bronco

He also mentions some ‘token’ sunni groups allied to Hezb’ and Gen. Aoun.

Listen from after 3:12:00 [~5 min long – Available for 7 more days]

Jim Muir mentioned a bodyguard of the late Sheikh wearing a syrian opposition flag at the funeral. Found an image:

May 22nd, 2012, 4:13 am


ann said:

UN peacekeeping chief admits presence of terrorists in Syria – 2012-05-22

DAMASCUS, May 21 (Xinhua) — The visiting UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on Monday warned here of the presence of terrorist groups in Syria, who are trying to capitalize on the current unrest to achieve certain gains.

“We know that there are … a third party, terrorist groups, who are trying to gain advantage for themselves… but we have to see this as an issue within Syria, between the Syrians,” he said during a press conference in Damascus.

“These people are not committed to the cause of the Syrian people… They are committed to their own agenda… So we have to keep a watchful eye but what we are dealing with and what we must deal with is the issue between the Syrians themselves,” he said.

“We do know that there had been terrorist attacks and bombings and that is something to be taken very seriously,” he added. “Any further militarization of the crisis is not to be accepted… it’s a crisis between the Syrians and there is no justification in fueling the fire.”

Ladsous said that main objective of his visit to Syria is to examine the deployment of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, adding that he has been “very pleased by the rapidity by which they have been deployed.”


May 22nd, 2012, 4:14 am


Uzair8 said:

#35 Sandro Loewe said:

“Hereditary Republic”


May 22nd, 2012, 4:18 am


mjabali said:


Here is my answer to your claims hoping the moderation of this blog stay away from this real important conversation.

I am writing this with the intention to represent a history that was never been heard as evidenced from the writings of some “educated” bloggers here on Syria Comment.

You always try to show that the Alawis were nobodies and now they rule their previous masters. This is simply wrong because for a almost thousand year a very strong state ( the Ottomans and before them an assortment of Mongols and Seljukes) were not able to defeat them. The Alawis fought year after year. Their enemy was armed with the religious tool and will to exterminate them.

The Ottomans were able to exterminate the Alawis from many areas like Alleppo and the villages surrounding Damascus, or Homs. They were replaced with many ethnic Turkish shepherds where some learned how to farm with time (there are some villages like al-Zara or al-Zaza near Homs that do not speak Arabic).

First, I expect this tone from you since you mentioned once that you came from a family that is Turkish ethnically, came to Syria during the Ottoman era. So your “elite” circle was like the Assad family now. first a soldier then a religious figure.

Turks, or the “elite” families of the Turks were either slave soldiers and their descendents. This is in the history books. so when you try to degrade and insult the Alawis by saying they are either peasants and servants please check your own history first.

Some Alawis became “peasants” in your eyes because they were forced by the sword to work for the man the Ottomans appoint year after year over their heads stealing their land and hard work. The slavery the Alawis went through under the Iqta’ system of the Ottomans is going to be put to the world to see. The Alawis in Syria became servants then because either they were forced (kidnapped to be exact here and forced into slavery) or from poverty.

The Turkish/Ottoman/Mongol/Slejuk invasion of Syria and what it did to the relations between the classes is a major factor in the Syrian identity today.

As for the comparison between the Alawi women of Syria today with the Sunni women of Syria I will write about it after work and after I hear back from three Syrian women.

May 22nd, 2012, 7:33 am


mjabali said:

Juergen said: ”
I think that we see that there is truly an alawite identity in Syria. Given the centuries where Alawites were outcasts to syrian civil society shaped their attitudes and they have been driven to work in fields no other Syrian would work. Things changed dramatically even under french mandate when many Alawites received better education than many sunnis in the big cities. ”

I think the Alawis would not appreciate what you have written because it lacks historical accuracy and knowledge of them and their narrative.

Let me give you an example: in Lattakia the first newspaper to appear in Arabic in the 1920’s was by an Alawi, so what do you say to that and does this little info make your claims inaccurate.

Another historical mistake you made was when you said that the Alawis received “better” education than the Sunnis. that happened in dreamland. I have never heard of the college you are talking about that the French opened specially for the Alawis, or the high school or the elementary school…or…?

May 22nd, 2012, 7:42 am


Observer said:

This news is really why this constitution and these reforms are a joke in bad tase
Here we go again with the head of the executive having full authority over all three branches of government

this is Somaria Alassad for you

May 22nd, 2012, 7:50 am


Mina said:

Tara #53
Allah yunawwar ‘alayk….
Greetings from collapsing Egypt: we don’t miss anything: foot and mouth is killing the goats and camels steadily, mad cows are dying by hundreds and chicken flu is still fully active, endemic now.
But the Ikhwan make their campaign on the theme that “if they take power, they’ll free Jerusalem”. I wonder what they plan to feed the army with.
Look for the education of women and you will find what they failed and will always fail talama they stick to some imaginary tafasirs and ahadith they will never take the pain to read fully or seriously (that is, if they would really take seriously education and provide boys with the capacity to read and critically understand what they read; school in Egypt is a joke, and the alternative “al azhar institutes” in all the countryside have actually prepared the bed for the Islamists, although now Azharis and Salafis are offically enemies.)

May 22nd, 2012, 8:13 am


Tara said:


“….you mentioned once that you came from a family that is Turkish ethnically, came to Syria during the Ottoman era. So your “elite” circle was like the Assad family now. first a soldier then a religious figure.”

Me? Turkish? Ethnic Turkish family came to Syria during the Ottoman? Elite?
Where did you get that from?

Mjabali , I ain’t no Turk.  I am an Arab.  I have always said I am from a deeply rooted Damascene family.  Did you miss that class?

Additionally, I ain’t elite either..

Finally, I do not hold contempt to humans based on their cultural beliefs .  I only hold contempt to people based on their behavior. Human monsters regardless of their religious or tribal affiliation are contemptuous in my eyes.

In conclusion, your post needs some corrections….can you get it corrected?

May 22nd, 2012, 9:06 am


annie said:

“Inside Syria” was a good show. I liked Bassma very much and Labwani somewhat less. I know, I should say why : because Mrs. Kodmani spoke from the heart and clearly has the country’s welfare at heart. Kamal Labwani – though an important figure in the opposition – was very aggressive and may be his command of English did not allow him to reach us. Josh, well, isn’t he our in house specialist ?

About Asif Shawkat who supposedly died on Sunday, is he (dead)?

Found some answers at Twitter :
#Syria Asif Shawkat MT @THE_47th few days to confirm, such a larger than life figure not showing up to work will be noticed from teaboy & up

7 h Iyad El-Baghdadi ‏@iyad_elbaghdadi
#Syria Asif Shawkat MT @THE_47th all evidence gathered from ppl say that he is dead. Some ppl I know know Drs in Shami hospital who confirm

May 22nd, 2012, 9:49 am


Alan said:

78. JAD
why the USA and the West are not transforming ? it is disturbing for all the world! The SNC – Kodmani, Labwani; Landis wooden old modeling thinkers! to me to feel sick !

May 22nd, 2012, 10:31 am


irritated said:

Annie #74

“Labwani was very aggressive and may be his command of English did not allow him to reach us”

He did reach me very well when he said: “Ghaliun should not resign, he should commit suicide.”
Bassma Qodmani sounded like a school teacher announcing the curriculum for next year: vague and dull.

May 22nd, 2012, 10:33 am


zoo said:

In Tripoli Lebanon, moderate Sunnis against extremists Sunnis?
The Salafis in Tripoli, inspired by the rise of Muslim Brotherhood groups in Egypt and Tunisia, consider Lebanon’s traditional Sunni political establishment as too moderate, Mr Ghaith said.

“The general trend is that the leadership is more moderate than the general masses,” he said, adding that Lebanon’s Sunnis feel more disenfranchised at a time when their brethren elsewhere in the region have been empowered politically.

That is why Saif Al Husamy, an Islamist leader, helped to organise the recent demonstrations in Tripoli. It was also a display of defiance to Sunni leaders in Beirut, whom he called “corrupt”.

“We have been neglected by our politicians – Sunni politicians,” Mr Al Husamy said.

“Even though we are from the same group, they neglect us in terms of political support and jobs

May 22nd, 2012, 10:40 am


zoo said:

Israel getting ready for a showdown after the elections in Egypt?

Hostility for Israel simmers below worries about stability

Ashraf Khalil
May 22, 2012

“My understanding is that the majority of people are not happy with the relationship with Israel. They are not happy with how the Egyptian government has subjugated their will for 30 years,” Mr Khalil said. “Israel is a hostile state. It is an aggressive state that attacks its neighbours. I don’t think anyone is calling for war with Israel. But people are definitely not happy about normalisation.”

The sense of anxiety among Israel and its allies only increased after parliamentary elections in Egypt last fall produced an Islamist-controlled legislature. Israel’s biggest fear seems to be a vision of the largest Arab country morphing into a fanatical Islamist citadel on its border – one that tears up the Camp David Peace Accords and begins aggressively exporting militant Islam throughout the region.

However this focus on Islamists ignores a fundamental reality about modern Egypt – almost everybody across the political spectrum has a dim view of Israel and Camp David.

“My view on Israel hasn’t changed. It is a racist country,” said Hamdeen Sabbahi, a secularist presidential candidate and an opposition politician since his days as a Cairo University student government leader.

May 22nd, 2012, 10:44 am


zoo said:

Kidnap attempt of Free Syrian Army leader is foiled

Thomas Seibert
May 22, 2012

ISTANBUL // An attempt to kidnap the commander of the main Syrian rebel force and take him back to Syria has been foiled by Turkey’s judiciary.

The prosecutor’s office in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, on the border with Syria, confirmed yesterday that two Turkish citizens and one Syrian were arrested on May 16 for plotting to kidnap a Syrian former colonel from a refugee camp in Apaydin in the province.

The spokesman added that Turkish media reports about the incident were correct. The Milliyet newspaper had said the kidnap bid targeted Colonel Riyad Al Assaad, the leader of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a rebel force of Syrian army deserters.

Ankara allowed Col Assaad and others to create the FSA on Turkish territory last year. A number of Syrian deserters who fled to Turkey have been housed at the camp in Apaydin. Col Assaad’s whereabouts is not known.

The news about the attempted kidnapping came as the Syrian uprising grows in strength.

May 22nd, 2012, 10:47 am


Syria no Kandahar said:

Iranians kidnapped today:
اختطف أمس الاثنين 3 سائقين إيرانيين في سورية, دخلوا عبر الحدوود التركية دون علم المسؤولين في السفارة الإيرانية.
و أكد القائم بالأعمال في السفارة الإيرانية بدمشق “عباس غلورو” اليوم الثلاثاء أنه تم اختطاف 3 سائقين إيرانيين دخلوا إلى سورية عبر الحدود التركية دون أن يذكر المكان الذي اختطفوا منه.

وأعرب “عباس” عن أسفه لأن السائقين وعلى الرغم من تحذير السلطات الإيرانية لمواطنيها من التوجه براً إلى سورية، دخلوا البلاد من دون التنسيق مع المسؤولين في السفارة.

And tens of Lebanese kidnapped today:

اختُطفت حافلتان لبنانيتان اليوم الثلاثاء في منطقة عندان بحلب أثناء عودتهم من زيارة دينية في العراق.

وقال مصدر لـ عكس السير إن ” مجهولين قاموا باختطاف حافلتين لبنانيتين على متنهما عشرات الأشخاص لبنانيي الجنسية كانوا في زيارة دينية إلى العراق”.

و كان مجهولون اختطفوا اليوم ثلاثة سائقين إيرانيي الجنسية بعد أن قدموا إلى سورية عبر الحدود التركية.


Any one proud of above?
Interested in vacation in (free Syria)?

May 22nd, 2012, 11:28 am


Antoine said:

MJABALI is confusing TARA with ALDENDESHE who is from an Ottoman landowning family of Homs.

MJABALI, are the so-called Turkish villages in Homs joined the Uprising ?

How is the relation between Sunni villagers and Alawi villagers in Homs ?

You mentioned before that as an Alawi you can identify with rural Sunnis but not urban Sunnis.

If that was true then why have the rural Sunnis joined the Uprising, why aren’t they supporting the regime ?

Also, another question, how have the Arab Bedouin clans like Aniza and Oqeidat settled in rural Homs ? Do you have any idea ?

May 22nd, 2012, 12:57 pm


Antoine said:

Syria massacre survivor tells of mass killing of defectors at Jebel al-Zawiya

May 22nd, 2012, 1:16 pm


Antoine said:

Syrian rebels cling to bullets and hope :

Martin Chulov, Jabal al Zawiya

May 22nd, 2012, 1:17 pm


Tara said:

Syrians costing Batta $ 1 billion a month to kill them?  How long can he afford it?

In Jordan, the government is accepting the reality that Bashar al-Assad may remain in power in Syria for months to come, aided by Iran.

According to intelligence assessment shared with CNN, al-Assad likely had about $30 billion in cash reserves to spend when unrest and bloodshed began in March 2011. He’s about down to $6 billion to $9 billion.

And with the war against his own people costing him about $1 billion a month, he should have been out of business by the end of the year, according to officials in the region.

But sources are also telling CNN that al-Assad is getting a cash infusion from Iran, funneled in through banks in Lebanon, and Iran’s support combined with Russia’s political and economic support could keep al-Assad going for months to come.

The assistance is just part of how Iran is helping Syria.

As CNN reported earlier this year, Iran has provided further aid as part of what the officials described as “all-in” support for al-Assad, including small arms and assistance in helping the Syrian government use computer monitoring to rout out opposition using social media and other Internet tools.

While troops from 19 countries, including the United States, have converged in Jordan for the Eager Lion military exercise, U.S. and Jordanian elite forces are doing additional training to prepare for potential fallout should Syria’s government collapse.

U.S. Army Green Berets are training Jordanian special forces in a number of so called “worst-case scenarios” including Syria’s chemical and biological weapons falling out of the control of government forces, U.S. sources tell CNN.

The U.S., Jordan and other allies are worried that opposition forces or groups like al Qaeda could seize some partial control of 20 key chemical and biological sites inside Syria.

U.S. intelligence officials have long said they believe Syria’s chemical and biological weapons remain under the control of al-Assad’s forces and there is little need to worry.


May 22nd, 2012, 1:27 pm


zoo said:

The Syrian opposition is non sectarian?

Officials: Syrian rebels kidnap 12 (Shia)Lebanese pilgrims
BASSEM MROUE – AP – 58 mins ago

Syrian rebels kidnapped 12 Lebanese Shiites in northern Syria on Tuesday, fueling fears that Lebanon is getting drawn into the chaos next door, security officials

May 22nd, 2012, 2:35 pm


zoo said:

Since Libya regime change by force was such a “success’ for NATO, what is NATO waiting for to do the same in Syria?

NATO’s blind spot on intervention in Syria
By Editorial Board, Published: May 21

This is mystifying not just because the humanitarian stakes are as great in Syria as in Libya. As with Libya, NATO could support the Syrian opposition without putting its own troops at risk. And the alternative to NATO action in Syria is not just a slower democratic victory, nor even a return to Assad-regime stability. Instead, as we’ve written before, Syria’s conflict, already increasingly violent, might well degenerate into full-blown sectarian warfare; this war could jump into Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq, and al-Qaeda would profit murderously from this opportunity.

May 22nd, 2012, 2:52 pm


habib said:

88. Juergen

The article states the SNC confirms it, but no one else does. Yawn. Oh, Khaddam does too, through his telepathic abilities, magic binoculars, or whatever.

The best part is, the regime will be blamed for making up false stories to discredit the opposition once these stories are shown to be hoaxes.

May 22nd, 2012, 3:08 pm


irritated said:

Juergen #88

The FSA is growing more lethal, they have a special unit for poisoning their opponents.

‘ The source says that “a special unit from the Free Syrian Army poisoned the meal” that killed Asef Shawkat

May 22nd, 2012, 3:09 pm


zoo said:

It does not look like the Aleppo university anti-regime violent demonstrations had much follow on.

May 22nd, 2012, 3:16 pm


Mina said:

Zoo 80
I doubt they are afraid, they will happily scream “we are surrounded by enemies” and keep building colonies and expropriating the Palestinians with this persecution excuse.

May 22nd, 2012, 3:27 pm


omen said:

moderator, sorry for subjecting you to my momentary angst. i’m going to consider you my safety net. please correct me if i get anything factually wrong.

May 22nd, 2012, 4:00 pm


omen said:

61. Juergen said:
In Damascus I heard that in the months before old Assad died of cancer they arrested and killed many of his ministers and deputies in fear that they would use their chance to prevent an Kimlike handover. In order to keep the power this regime is capable of many things, including serving poisoned food to their elite government members…
1:21 am


or maybe even arrange for car accidents.

May 22nd, 2012, 4:09 pm


zoo said:

Analysis – Rifts widen in Syrian opposition
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

AMMAN | Mon May 21, 2012 11:58pm BST

(Reuters) – A power struggle within Syria’s main opposition group is pitting Islamists against secular politicians and exiled leaders against activists at home, further undermining its claim to be an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad.

Fourteen months into an uprising, the squabbling in the Syrian National Council makes it even less likely to be able to win international recognition or to get more than half-hearted foreign support against Assad.

On the ground, the council shows no sign of exerting control as grassroots activists organise protests themselves and rebel fighters operate under nobody’s orders but their own.

More than anything, critics say, the disarray within the opposition mirrors the chaos of Syria itself.

“You have a classic situation in the SNC, not much different from the four-decade old totalitarian Assad family rule the uprising aims to topple,” said veteran opposition figure Fawaz Tello.

The internal conflicts have come to a head over the position of Burhan Ghalioun, who offered to step down as leader of the 313-member council last week if a replacement can be found – not that there is guarantee one will be.

Some critics brand the 67-year-old liberal sociologist a stooge of the Islamist Muslim Brotherood and say he was chosen because he would attract Western support.

May 22nd, 2012, 4:21 pm


Alan said:

unscrupulous, under the table leaders
Debka: Obama secretly approved shipment of anti-tank arms to Syria
This week’s NATO and G-8 Summits came and went without participating nations agreeing on a way to handle the uprising in Syria, but it is now being reported that the US may already be taking the matter into their own hands.
Military sources speaking with Israel’s Debka news agency report that the administration of US President Barack Obama has cut a deal with foreign intelligence that involves equipping Syrian rebels with modern anti-tank missiles. After 14 months of ongoing battles between the country’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, and opposition to his regime, suddenly the rebel forces are responding with weaponry reportedly sent with the blessing of President Obama.
Sources close to the matter speaking on condition of anonymity tell Debka that a recent rash of explosions decimating Assad’s fleet of heavy T-72 tanks can be credited to “third generation” anti-tank weapons, specifically 9K115-2 Metis-M and Kornet E, supplied by US forces. According to the source, the firepower is being extended by way of Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies under the urging of America’s commander-in-chief sent through a secret message.
Rumors of weaponry being supplied by America’s allies comes only days after President Obama told a members at this weekend’s G-8 Summit at Camp David, Maryland that “Bashar al-Assad must leave power.” Days later at Chicago, Illinois’ NATO meeting, however, those member nations did not formally agree to a plan to oust the leader.
Speaking from the Windy City this weekend, NATO Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the organization had “no intention” of using military strikes to oust Assad.


May 22nd, 2012, 4:41 pm


omen said:

alan, welcome back! and you brought glad tidings!

May 22nd, 2012, 4:44 pm


Uzair8 said:

Caught PM Dr Erdogan addressing the Pakistani Parliament earlier today.

Congratulations to the PM on recieving the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations from the Quaid-e-Azam University!

Premier Erdoğan in Pakistani capital Islamabad
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Selected quotes]

Addressing the Pakistani Parliament, Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan pointed out to unrest in the Middle East in the post-Arab Spring period and said, “I believe if a strong Islamic World exists then we will have the opportunity to solve all these problems with peaceful means.”


“The process that began in Tunis, and then followed by Egypt, Yemen, and Palestine as well as the developments in Syria and likewise in Iraq: if a strong Islamic World is formed then solving all these problems with peaceful means would be possible.”

May 22nd, 2012, 5:25 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

Is Qaida Alzaim university run by Alqaeda ?
Did Qaida university give the paper tiger docorial degree for destroying Turkey’s relations with Syria,Iraq,Cyprus,Greece, Armenia and Russia and strengthening
Turkey relations with Alqaida?

May 22nd, 2012, 5:35 pm



It seems pro-Assad followers are happy today. Syria is in disarray, regular soldiers and free syrian army solders die every day, thousands of people under arrest and tortures, state terrorism and unknown terrorism spreading all around, economics in total chaos, but you seem satisfied. It seems you love Syria so much that you are able to be happy and satisfied even in this situation. The only condition your happiness demands is Assad remaining in power. Sad, very sad indeed. Come on thumbs down if it lets you be happier.

May 22nd, 2012, 5:36 pm


Uzair8 said:

“The requirement of permission to hold public rallies is unfair. In times of revolution it gives the authorities an advantage.”

Anonymous Syrian activist 22/5/2012

May 22nd, 2012, 5:36 pm


Juergen said:

FSA announced via FB that Hafez Machlouf father of Rami Machlouf is dead, no further details were mentioned.

May 22nd, 2012, 5:38 pm


Syria no Kandahar said:

So the jihadists in FSA were lying when they declared responsibility for poisoning
In the name of god?

May 22nd, 2012, 5:38 pm


Uzair8 said:

100. Syria no Kandahar

Quaid-e-Azam means ‘Great Leader’. The founder of Pakistan Muhammed Ali Jinnah was given this title.

May 22nd, 2012, 5:45 pm


aron said:

103 Juergen: Hafez Makhlouf is Rami’s brother. Their father, dead or not, is Mohammed Makhlouf.

May 22nd, 2012, 6:03 pm


omen said:

kandahar, regime poisoning was juergen’s story. you need to ask him. i was suggesting something else.

elsewhere somebody pointed out how independent basil was. while bashar does what he’s told. that made me wonder.

p.s. what would the regime run by basil have been like, do you think? anybody care to speculate?

was he more charismatic than bashar is?

May 22nd, 2012, 6:10 pm


omen said:

curiouser & curiouser:

Free Syrian Army’s Lieutenant Colonel Khaled Hamoud denied on Tuesday that the FSA kidnapped Lebanese Shiite men in Syria.


Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt condemned during a phone call with Speaker Nabih Berri the abduction of Lebanese Shia men in Syria, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday.


did the regime stage a kidnapping in order to sow dissension within the opposition?

or to even rile up the shia to take arms?

May 22nd, 2012, 7:07 pm


Uzair8 said:

Found an english translation of Sheikh Yaqoubi’s statement previously mentioned in above May 16th post. Found it on a not-too-sufi-friendly Salafi-type forum:

The Fall of the Regime is Necessary
Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

Why do you call for a change of regime in Syria? We seek an explanation of the reasons behind your call for protests and uprising, so that the situation may become clear to us.

Rising up against the regime and to remove the president and get rid of this gang is incumbent upon those who are capable in Syria. The harm in accepting the regime is far worse and greater than the risks and harms taken when rising up to remove it. In fact abstinence from supporting the revolution without a valid reason, for those who are able to support, is a major sin.

Rebelling against this regime of the Baath Party and the Assad family which has been ruling for forty years is necessary. The top scholars of Syria in the seventies, whom we witnessed and whose words we carefully heard, were not pleased with Hafiz Assad seizing power and prayed for his destruction. They considered him unqualified for Presidency and ruled that ousting him is obligatory. However people in that time did not comply nor did they listen and follow the Ulema, who were the first to rise up against him and the Ba’th party; for they were preoccupied with their own business. Even when Shaykh Hasan Habannaka, stood up against the regime in the sixties and was imprisoned, very few people supported him. People were not expecting the regime to soon do what it did in Hama; nor were they convinced that the Baath party was against Islam.

Hafiz Assad had a cunning way of persuasion which enabled him to deceive the masses and some of the Ulema for a while. Hence we repeat today what we said yesterday, it is not permissible for anyone to support this tyrannical regime unless he is compelled. They rule in the name of secularism, and the president uses the name of Islam to please people. The vilest people came to rule while few millions of the most skilled people of virtue and knowledge were forced into exile.

The regime desecrated sacred sites and nullified much of the Islamic laws which were implemented. The regime gradually continues to eradicate Islam while people remain indifferent. Let alone murdering women, children, and the elderly, and the crimes of torture, rape, deification of the tyrant leader and mocking our religion. With all of this taking place, only people with no conscience would keep silent.

May 22nd, 2012, 7:07 pm


Juergen said:

Thank you for clarifying.

May 22nd, 2012, 7:12 pm


omen said:


regime tank on fire.

taken out by anti-tank weapon?


say buh bye, bashar.

May 22nd, 2012, 7:27 pm


jad said:

Tsk tsk tsk…while the criminal Americans/Europeans politicians and regimes are openly and through their congress and parliament members, the media and the mercenaries on the ground are supporting, promoting, financing and training terrorists/Jihadists in Syria to kill more Syrians.
They are tasting the same poison they are promoting. This time by Taliban, the students of Alqaeda who are hitting the US-EU-NATO pretty hard in Afghanistan.
I wonder how many American and European soldiers will be killed and send back in boxes before the NATO go out of Afghanistan and declare its defeat to the terrorists who will defiantly move its business to the capitals of the NATO’s countries…

Report: Taliban, Afghan troops forge agreements as NATO prepares draw-down
By staff
Members of the Afghan army are forging secret alliances with the Taliban, threatening to undermine the ability of Afghan authorities to maintain control just as NATO troops prepare to hand over power to the country’s security forces, Britain’s Sunday Times reported.
In Ghazni province an hour from capital Kabul, Afghan army lieutenant Mohammad Wali admitted to the newspaper that he and a local Taliban commander were working together. (The Sunday Times operates behind a paywall)
“We lost seven men in an ambush when I first arrived at the base,” Wali, who commands 18 men, told The Times. “So I thought, why risk my life when there’s another way?”

May 22nd, 2012, 7:58 pm


jad said:

Alqaeda-like terrorists declaring responsibility for the criminal attack in Damascus March 17th…

بالصوت والصورة القاعدة جبهة النصرة تتبنى تفجيري القصاع الذي وقع بـ 17 3 2012
بالصوت والصورة القاعدة جبهة النصرة تتبنى تفجيري القصاع الذي وقع بـ 17.3.2012
وبالفيديو يظهر الانتحاريين قبل دقائق من تفجير انفسهم:
أبو هاجر الشَّامي الانتحاري في التفجير الاول
أبو الخير الشَّامي الانتحاري في التفجير الثاني
ويظهر ايضاً الفيديو لحظة الانفجار والذي وقع في المكانيين والسيارة والمتفجرات التي اعدت للتفجير

ونذكر ان التفجيرين الارهابيين ” االانتحاريين “وقعا صباح يوم السبت 17 أذار 2012….. استهدفا دوار الجمارك وبعده بدقائق وقع التفجير الثاني في ساحة التحرير التي تصل بين شارع بغداد ومنطقة القصاع وقد خلف التفجيران دمارا كبيرا في الأبنية السكنية والسيارات المتوقفة في موقعي التفجيرين الإرهابيين وأوقعا خسائر وأضرارا مادية جسيمة. ونذكر ان التفجيرين الارهابيين أدو إلى استشهاد 24 شخصا وعثر على أشلاء آخرى لثلاثة شهداء بينما أصيب 140 آخرون من المواطنين المدنيين وعناصر حفظ النظام.

May 22nd, 2012, 8:05 pm


omen said:

norman, it will take a while to recover, of course, but studies have shown economies under democracies are more prosperous than ones led by dictatorships.

economies with less disparity between rich and poor are probably more stable as well.


p.s. can we get agreement on terms?

a regime army made up of a few thousand terrorizing a nation’s populace – is not a civil war.

civil war is like half the population of a country fighting the other half of the country.

isn’t it?

May 22nd, 2012, 9:25 pm


sheila said:

Dear Mjabali,
I do not see any shame in being a maid or a servant, rather in being a thief or a murderer. I have a lot more respect for the Alawi ladies who worked honorably as maids to feed their children (by the way, that was not an exclusively Alawi profession by any stretch of the imagination), than the bastards who are robbing the country blind while driving their sedans and pretending to be high class.
It is interesting how history does nothing but repeat itself over and over. It is precisely this utter contempt that we Syrians have for the poor that is fueling the revolution today. I have never seen that sharp divide between the Alawis and Sunnis in Syria. There are poor people in both groups, rich people in both groups and educated people in both groups. You and I and many others here can tell many stories and bring a lot of evidence to, in the end, prove nothing. Alawi women and Sunni women also run the gamut from the highly educated to the illiterate and from the extremely religious to the die hard liberal. I do not blame your indignation but please stop this exercise in futility. Even though you and I do not see eye to eye regarding what is going on in Syria today, I do have a certain level of respect for you.

May 22nd, 2012, 9:50 pm


Tara said:


Check 96 and 44.

Salwa ya Salwa? I am in.

May 22nd, 2012, 9:54 pm


Tara said:


Please drop the argument that Tara by virtue of not being Alawi looks down at them. I promise you that had I lived during the time Alawis were oppressed by whomever, I would be all Alawi.

May 22nd, 2012, 10:06 pm


omen said:

this explains that strange oped i ran across that argued washington wants an opposition in syria willing to develop ties with iran and iraq (instead of rejecting them both, like the muslim brotherhood has been doing, in a mistaken attempt to reassure the u.s.)

while norman’s article says it’s a blessing syria doesn’t oil, it still is strategically located. a factor that’ll help grow the economy after the regime falls.

Syria’s transit future: all pipelines lead to Damascus?

In late 2010, his government signed a memorandum of understanding with Iraq for the construction of two oil and one gas pipeline to carry gas and oil from Iraq’s Akkas and Kirkuk fields, respectively, to the Syrian port of Banias on the Mediterranean Sea. In July 2011 Iranian officials announced a $10 billion gas pipeline deal between Syria, Iraq and Iran that would transport gas from Iran’s South Pars gas field, the world’s biggest, through Iraq to Syria. Also planned was an extension of the AGP from Aleppo, in Syria, to the southern Turkish city of Kilis that could later link to the proposed Nabucco pipeline linking Turkey to Europe, if that pipeline ever materializes.

It would be a boon for Syria if these proposed deals were eventually followed through. But at this point, of course, with the government isolated and the country on the brink of civil war, the whole strategy seems wildly speculative. No foreign contractors or foreign money will get involved in the proposed projects as long as Assad clings to power.


The political terrain is tricky. Turkey, a NATO member, is firmly anchored with the West and will presumably want a new Syrian government as different as possible from Assad’s discredited regime. The new government’s ability to work with Iraq, meanwhile, may depend on its relations with Iran. If the transitional government, like Assad, is beholden to Iran, it may be easier for it to coordinate with the Maliki government in Iraq than if it is more closely aligned with Turkey and the West.

May 22nd, 2012, 10:15 pm


Ghufran said:

There is a strong possibility now that the tension between Iran and the West will ease a little bit,at least,this comes at the same time when UN and western diplomats chose to change their tone somewhat about Syria and the release of Molawi in Lebanon.
Nobody is ready for an escalation in the next 6 months except hawks who are afraid of losing momentum if the multiple hot spots received a US- ordered cooling dose.
This relative turn in strategy will produce results only if political initiatives gained enough support from big players,unlike some bloggers here,i am skeptical that the next 6 months will bring any major shift in the balance of power in Syria and the Middle East .
Obama,if reelected,is more likely than his opponent,Romney,to try diplomacy,but that makes him a natural enemy to advocates of war ,he ,if gets reelected,will be freed from the pressure of kissing behinds to keep his job. What Obama wants is moderation and compromise,you may not hear that in his upcoming campaign rhetoric but you will see it in his actions after November.

May 22nd, 2012, 10:41 pm


ann said:

West seems sending soothing signals to Syria by excluding military action – 2012-05-23

• Recent signals have to some extent raised optimism Syria will not be caught in a Libyan scenario.
• Al-Sabah said there are ongoing Iraqi efforts to host a conference to deal with the Syrian crisis.
• Observers say softened tone stems from fears Syria violence would spill over to neighboring countries.

DAMASCUS, May 22 (Xinhua) — Recent world assurances that there would be no military intervention in Syria, coupled with consensual statements by UN officials and observers about the performance of the Syrian government, has to some extent raised optimism that Syria will not be caught in a similar Libyan scenario.

After nearly 15 months of unrest across the country and worldwide vitriolic criticism of the government’s crackdown on protesters, as well as calls on the Syrian President Bashar al- Assad to step down, there has been recently a noticeable leniency and to some extent a shift in the superpowers’ stands.

In a joint statement issued recently, the G8 leaders said “The Syrian government and all parties must immediately and fully adhere to commitments to implement the six-point plan of UN and Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has also said the only solution to the lingering problem in Syria is for the Syrian government to commit itself to Annan’s plan.

For his side, The U.S. ambassador to NATO said the alliance has no plans for military intervention in the Syrian crisis. Ivo Daalder told reporters late Sunday there is “no planning going on that’s related to a NATO role in Syria.”

Meanwhile, UN Under-Secretary-General Herve Ladsous, who is on a current visit to Syria, warned Monday that there is in Syria a third party that try to capitalize on the current situation to achieve certain gains.

He said the violence in the country has not ceased “but clearly it diminishes.” He however urged the Syrian government to take some confidence-building measures by giving access to prisoners and allow peaceful demonstration.

There are now in Syria some 270 UN military observers monitoring the cease-fire that has gone into effect on April 12.

The head of the UN observers’ mission in Syria, Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, has praised the Syrian government, saying it is a ” professional government … it met you with hospitality and respect.”

“I am sending back Mr. Ladsous back to New York with a different understanding of what Syria is about than what he reads in the headlines in the media,” he said, noting that foreign media is giving different picture about what is really happening in Syria.

Al-Sabah, an Iraqi newspaper said Monday that there are ongoing Iraqi efforts to host a conference in Iraq to deal with the Syrian crisis and which will combine all conflicting parties.

The paper, quoting senior Iraqi officials, said the conference would be held under the auspices of the Arab League and the United Nations. It said that Iraqi initiative would be very similar to the Gulf plan in Yemen and would call for a government of national unity that represents all components of the Syrian people, to be followed by a Security Council resolution banning interference in the internal affairs of the Syrians.

The Iraqi initiative would propose that all parties should stick to an immediate cease-fire and demand from regional and international parties to stop arming both sides, before entering into direct negotiations in Syria.

Observers in Syria believe that the softened tone stems from mounting fears that violence in Syria would spill over to neighboring countries, and recent fighting in Tripoli in Lebanon between pro- and anti-Assad Lebanese has further stoked those fears.

They attribute this moderate position to a set of interlocking internal and external factors, mainly the fact that Obama, before nearly five months of the presidential elections, is not ready for a new military adventure, neither in Syria nor in Iran. So the American position on Syria is characterized by a “reservation.”


May 22nd, 2012, 11:32 pm


mjabali said:


It is common among many Sunnis these days to tell the Alawis that they are servants and peasants. The ones who are using this terminology do not take into consideration what you said about the dignity in work no matter what was the profession. Syrians had learned through the last 1000 years how to look down at each others and at others too. It is a malady that needs attention.

I try to present the narrative that never had the chance to see the light regarding the Alawis. Even with the rule of Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar, not one single Alawi historiography appeared to challenge the erroneous history being told about the Alawis. I am trying to shed some light on the true story in Syria. The truth is what is going to bring a better understanding between the Alawis and the Sunnis, something they need very bad.

As for the sharp divide between the Alawis and the Sunnis that you claimed that you never saw, well, it is different times right now and the Syrians of today are very aligned according to their sect.

The Syrian identity is getting murdered day after day with the hatred Syrians had exhibited in the last year. This last year showed us and to the world the hatred Syrians have for each other. The level of killing by the government and the opposition is appalling to say the least. Syrians showed in the last year an appetite for blood that has no reason behind it except for hate and disregard to each other. People are worthless today in Syria. They are dying in the tens very casually. No one is trying to stop this.

Why can’t you see eye to eye with someone with this type of logic and who wants democracy and safety for his country and people? I have said it from day one: Syrians need to sit on a table and solve their problem where the killing has to stop at once. Is that too hard to ask for?

May 22nd, 2012, 11:55 pm


ann said:

124. mjabali said:

“” Why can’t you see eye to eye with someone with this type of logic and who wants democracy and safety for his country and people? I have said it from day one: Syrians need to sit on a table and solve their problem where the killing has to stop at once. Is that too hard to ask for? “”

Very well said thank you

May 23rd, 2012, 12:06 am


ann said:

Moderator NoteAnn, please do not reproduce offsite material in its entirety.

SC Moderator

Feature: Damascus’ blast-hit ancient alley still draws visitors – 2012-05-23

DAMASCUS, May 22 (Xinhua) — Dating back to the 14th century, or the Mamluk era, Al-Jazmatiya lane, which stretches about 1 km from Damascus’ Bab Musala square to al-Midan neighborhood, is one of Syria’s oldest alleys.

Better known as the “lane that doesn’t sleep,” Al-Jazmatiya lane mingles the distinguished features of the past with the modernized capital city.

The lane was named after the manufacturers of long boots. But since early 1970s, most of the boots workshops transformed into kitchens that prepare the most famous and traditional Damascene food, and the neighborhood, over the past 25 years, has manifested unparalleled culinary skills in preparing the most delicious Damascus sweets.

There are now more than 25 large kitchens on the sides of this old narrow road and around 100 shops selling sweets.

Syrians from almost across the country have visited this place, where shops remain open around the clock and full of customers day and night.

Al-Midan neighborhood, which has a special flavor as it blends ancient architectures with new ones and gives people a window to feel the Syrian traditions, was struck earlier this year by two suicide attacks that claimed dozens of lives. The government blamed the blasts on terrorist groups backed by regional and Western powers.

May 23rd, 2012, 12:10 am


ann said:

UN Ban’s Capitulation of Policy to Feltman Unanswered, Sri Lanka Q Not Taken

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 22 — With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the verge of handing over the UN’s Middle East policy to US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, as exclusively reported by Inner City Press on March 28, on Tuesday Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky refused to respond to Press questions about whether this conflation harms or helps the UN.

When we have something to say, we will, Nesirky said, apparently meaning after Feltman is officially named. After Inner City Press ran the scoop in March, many diplomats and senior UN officials responded with criticism of Ban’s plan. One even on Tuesday said, there was some wobbling (or re-consideration of if Feltman was right.)

On May 21 Reuters then some others ran the Feltman story as if it were theirs, with no credit or analysis. Even Lynn Pascoe, whose retirement triggers Obama’s election year appointment of Feltman, said they should have given credit. But Reuters has blocked even a comment on its story to this effect, pointing to the omission. Inner City Press first wrote to one of the three reporters on Reuters story, so far without response.

By contrast, appropriate credit was given by Josh Rogin of FP’s The Cable, here.


May 23rd, 2012, 12:24 am


omen said:

125. mjabali said:
It is common among many Sunnis these days to tell the Alawis that they are servants and peasants. […]
Syrians had learned through the last 1000 years how to look down at each others and at others too. It is a malady that needs attention.


harsh rhetoric and discourse can be forgiven. genocide is harder to forgive.

The Syrian identity is getting murdered day after day with the hatred Syrians had exhibited in the last year. This last year showed us and to the world the hatred Syrians have for each other. The level of killing by the government and the opposition is appalling to say the least. Syrians showed in the last year an appetite for blood that has no reason behind it except for hate and disregard to each other. People are worthless today in Syria. They are dying in the tens very casually. No one is trying to stop this.

Why can’t you see eye to eye with someone with this type of logic and who wants democracy and safety for his country and people? I have said it from day one: Syrians need to sit on a table and solve their problem where the killing has to stop at once. Is that too hard to ask for? 11:55 pm


this isn’t an attack on you. like sheila, i too respect you, but i’m afraid this is false equivalency.

the regime is responsible for 99.9% of murder and mayhem that is destroying syria.

that minority sects continue to give assad support – is what is enabling the regime to remain in power.

the sooner the regime is ousted, the sooner syrians can come together at the table in order to settle differences. the sooner the country can begin to heal.

not pulling support away from the regime is what is blocking dialogue from happening.

May 23rd, 2012, 1:06 am


omen said:

“that minority sects continue to give assad support” plus a minority of sunnis, especially the business class – i meant to add.

May 23rd, 2012, 1:21 am


Jad said:

False statements come in bunches!

Typical propaganda:
“the regime is responsible for 99.9% of murder and mayhem that is destroying syria.”

هذه أرقام تقترب كثيرا من حقيقة توزع ضحايا العنف السوري.. بعيدا إيحاء المجرمين بأن الضحايا هم ضحايا عنف النظام وحسب..
عشرة آلاف ضحية سقطت في الحرب الدائرة رحاها في سورية؟

هذا رقم مضلل بالمطلق، لأنه يخفي الحقائق التالية:

– أكثر من 2000 ضحية هم من جنود الجيش السوري وعناصر الشرطة والمخابرات.

– أكثر من 1000 ضحية طفل (تحت 18 سنة)، ذهب أغلبهم ضحايا العصابات المسلحة نفسها عبر استخدامهم كجنود أو استخدامهم في العمليات اللوجستية لهم، أو كدروع بشرية.

– أكثر من 3000 ضحية من عناصر الميليشيات المسلحة نفسها.

– أكثر من 2000 ضحية من الضحايا المدنيين الذين تم اختطافهم أو تصفيتهم من قبل الميليشيات المسلحة نفسها، أو من قبل العصابات الإجرامية التي تزدهر في ظل غياب الأمن.

– نحو 2000 ضحية شخص سقطوا في ميادين المعارك، بعضهم بسبب وجودهم في ميدان المعركة في بعض المناطق دون أن يتمكنوا من مغادرتها، وبعضهم بسبب إجرام بعض أجهزة الأمن خاصة في المراحل الأولى من الأزمة، وبعضهم بسبب الميليشيات المسلحة الداعمة للنظام..

المصدر: شوية عقل لتجميع المعلومات المتناثرة عبر سنة وشهرين.

Typical Sectarian message:
“that minority sects continue to give assad support – is what is enabling the regime to remain in power.”
What happened to the 75% Syrian Sunnis???

Typical neo-con old trick:
“the sooner the regime is ousted, the sooner syrians can come together at the table in order to settle differences. the sooner the country can begin to heal.”
Here are Egypt, Yemen and Lybia no dialogue whatsoever and they are more segregated than ever.

The typical “carrot”: Oh heaven here we come!
“not pulling support away from the regime is what is blocking dialogue from happening.”

May 23rd, 2012, 1:39 am


Jad said:

Dear Bronco,
Thank you, be sure that my respect to you is very genuine 🙂

Dear Alan,
I’m too sick of all this!

May 23rd, 2012, 1:52 am


omen said:

jad, how many of those 2,000 soldiers (source for this number?) were killed by the regime itself? the regime has killed soldiers who tried to defect or refused to slaughter civilians.

no matter how you look at it, the regime has ultimate responsibility. it sent soldiers out to commit war crimes. the people have a right to defend themselves. soldiers wouldn’t have died if the regime hadn’t sent him off on an illegitimate mission.

May 23rd, 2012, 2:10 am


Jad said:

“no matter how you look at it, the regime has ultimate responsibility. it sent soldiers out to commit war crimes. the people have a right to defend themselves. soldiers wouldn’t have died if the regime hadn’t sent him off on an illegitimate mission.”

I’m confused are you talking about your american army of mercenaries who’s been sent and continue to go in missions to slaughter innocent people and children in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lebanon and any where in the world. Who commited war crimes the world never seen before along its EU followers and get away with all those crimes as if they never happened?
Are you referring to the billions of dollors the Americans and Europeans are sending to the illegitimate occupation of Palestine and supporting all it’s crimes and wars?
Using the same way of thinking I guess every attack the Americans, Europeans and Israelis faced and will face can be justified and all 100% of the victims civilians and from the army are the western countries administration responsibility and they should pay for that.
Let us know when the court of justice looking at those war crimes committed against millions of victims begin so we can all go and support, since your goal is ultimate justice to all.
Good to know!

May 23rd, 2012, 2:48 am


omen said:

the difference between me and you, jad, is that i would love to see my government tried for war crimes.

May 23rd, 2012, 3:06 am


Jad said:

Actually we are identitical, I too would LOVE to see your government tried for war crimes.
How many millions did they kill? Do you know?

May 23rd, 2012, 3:28 am


Halabi said:

Where are the tens of thousands that were supposed to show up at the pro-Assad rally at Aleppo University yesterday? Maybe two hundred came, a huge embarrassment for those calling for another “million” man march. The pro-Assad thugs weren’t beaten by protesters, the FSA or the police, even though they are all criminals…

May 23rd, 2012, 4:24 am


irritated said:


“The regime staged the kidnapping the lebanese shia?

After having bombed their own intelligence buildings, killed or spread the rumour of the the death of many of their important officials by poisoning or shooting, they now have “staged” the kidnap of people that are their allies, Shia and Lebanese. All this us supposed to discredit the opposition that has show such unity and intelligence that all countries in the world admire and respect its integrity.

The government does not need to make all these efforts to discredit the SNC and the armed opposition, they have discredited themselves a long time ago with their internal fights, the flurry of fabricated videos, their fake announcements and their political failure.

May 23rd, 2012, 10:22 am


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