Assad Sanctioned – What Can it Do for America?

Sanctioning President Assad – what can it accomplish?

Most importantly, it will help President Obama in his presidential campaign. He can stand as someone who acts firmly against Arab dictators. He killed Bin Laden and sanctioned Bashar al-Assad. He takes decisive action and stands with the Arab street and for democracy. This will serve him well in his campaign. It also temporarily hushes the chorus of right wing critics in Washington who want to weaken Syria and end diplomatic relations with the regime. It also ends criticism that he has treated Syria with kid gloves while treating Libya with bombs.

Oddly, the sanctions against Syria’s top government figures come at a time when the regime is gaining control over the protest movement and suppressing dissent. The sanctions come too late to add momentum to the protest movement. They may prolong the movement but will not topple the regime.

They will add to Syria’s economic difficulties as the regime seeks to regain legitimacy in the future. The opposition failed to divide the Syrian army from the president, as happened in Egypt. They also failed to provoke a confessional split in the army as happened in Lebanon. Sunni soldiers have not split from Alawis, despite all the talk about “shabbihas,” which is code for Alawis.

The fall back position of the Syrian opposition must be to stifle the economy and work for a the ruin of the regime, when it can no longer pay the bills. These sanctions will help in a small way toward that end. Not clear to me is whether diplomats, senators, and heads of state can meet with President Assad while he is proscribed by Presidential order? The next logical step is is for Europe to join in the same targeted sanctions and eventually for European trade sanctions.  President George Bush urged Europe to join the US in imposing trade sanctions on Syria, but in vain.

David Ignatius argued in his Washington Post Op-ed – Bashar al-Assad’s endgame: Can a bloodbath be avoided? – that “major nations conclude that [Assad’s} regime cannot survive.” He also writes that “The governments of France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan… are all said to have concluded that the Assad regime cannot survive”…. and Turkey will not support Assad.

Who in the world do they think is going to unseat Assad? This is most perplexing. Western leaders will certainly get a weakened Syria and a more isolated Assad from these sanctions but not regime change. Obama gains. Opposition leaders get more support. Syrians will get poorer.

U.S. slaps sanctions on Syrian president, top aides
By Arshad Mohammed and Andrew Quinn, Wed May 18, 2011, (Reuters) –

The United States imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and six other top aides for human rights abuses on Wednesday in a dramatic escalation of pressure on Syria to cease its brutal crackdown on protesters.

Targeting Assad personally with sanctions, which the United States and European Union have so far avoided, is a significant slap at Damascus and raises questions about whether Washington and the West may ultimately seek Assad’s removal from power….

The move, announced by the Treasury Department, freezes any assets of the Syrian officials that are in the United States or otherwise fall within U.S. jurisdiction and it generally bars U.S. individuals and companies from dealing with them.

In addition to Assad, the Treasury said the sanctions would target Vice President Farouq al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Defense Minister Ali Habib as well as Abdul Fatah Qudsiya, the head of Syrian military intelligence, and Mohammed Dib Zaitoun, director of the political security directorate.

While it was not immediately clear what practical effect the sanctions would have or whether the seven had significant assets that would be captured by the U.S. move, the symbolic gesture was profound.

“The actions the administration has taken today send an unequivocal message to President Assad, the Syrian leadership, and regime insiders that they will be held accountable for the ongoing violence and repression in Syria,” said Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a written statement.

“President al-Assad and his regime must immediately end the use of violence, answer the calls of the Syrian people for a more representative government, and embark upon the path of meaningful democratic reform,” he added.

European governments agreed on Tuesday to tighten sanctions against the Syrian leadership, but said they would decide next week about whether to include Assad on the list….

Defiant Syria denounces US sanctions on Assad AFP
Defiant Syria denounces US sanctions on Assad AFP/File – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seen in 2009. The United States has told Assad to lead a transition …
by Jocelyne Zablit

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Syria on Thursday denounced US sanctions imposed on President Bashar al-Assad and top aides, saying they were part of long-time efforts by Washington to impose its will in the region to Israel’s benefit. “The US measures are part of a series of sanctions imposed by successive US administrations against the Syrian people as part of a regional scheme, aimed primarily at serving Israel’s interests,” the official SANA news agency said.

Bashar al-Assad’s endgame: Can a bloodbath be avoided?
By David Ignatius in Wash Post

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is becoming increasingly isolated and vulnerable as major nations conclude that his regime cannot survive. The newly urgent question is how to negotiate a transition arrangement that will avert a bloodbath there between Assad’s ruling Alawite sect and the Sunni majority.

The governments of France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, which at times in the past have been supportive of Assad, are all said to have concluded that the Assad regime cannot survive the repercussions of the violence it loosed on Syrian protesters in recent weeks. Turkey, too, which initially seemed eager to broker a compromise for Assad, also appears less supportive.

France, which a decade ago was Assad’s champion, is now said to have concluded that major powers, including Paris and Washington, should signal publicly that it is time for Assad to leave office. But the White House Tuesday appeared to be weighing whether to make one last attempt at brokering the kind of reforms that Assad has said for years he wanted but has never implemented.

The United States initially held back from personally sanctioning Assad, deciding instead to concentrate its fire on the hard-liners around him. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday, however, that the United States is preparing additional sanctions. Many U.S. analysts see Assad as having squandered any chance he had to be a credible reformer.

Israel, which seemed for a time to prefer “the devil we know” in Assad, has told the United States it doesn’t endorse this argument any longer.

The challenge for policymakers as Assad’s power fades is to find a transition process that can avoid a Libya-style military confrontation. The Syrian version of regime change could be far bloodier because of the deep enmity between Sunnis and the Alawite minority that has governed since Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, seized power in a coup in 1971. Already, in mixed cities such as Latakia and Homs, there is said to have been ethnic killing that could presage a much wider pattern of violence. Violence in Syria could also spill over into Lebanon……

The Syrian government has issued an order forbidding any demonstrations tomorrow – Friday.

وزارة الداخلية : تنفي الموافقة على اي ميسرات مؤيدة وسيعمم الأمر على التلفزيون الرسمي في حال تم الموافقة على اي مسيرة

Israeli official to meet members of Syrian opposition on post-Assad Syria under Austrian conservatives’ sponsorship

Popular Uprising in Syria: Beware of the Henchmen from Within
By Reinoud Leenders for

Even though it faces a range of protests, Syria is unlikely to face popular-led regime change. Instead, unremitting instability and a standoff between protestors and the regime are more likely to follow leading to a combination of piecemeal reforms and more violence. However, internal challenges to the regime should not be ruled out…..

Comments (165)

Sasa said:

One day I’ll beat you to a story. One day 😉

May 18th, 2011, 3:17 pm


Nour said:

This is on the same day that the US praised the Bahraini dictatorship and hailed its reforms. US policy is a joke and most people around the world know it. In the end this won’t affect President Assad in any way, and the US is going to have to accept that its pseudo-“revolution” has come to a screeching halt.

May 18th, 2011, 3:20 pm


norman said:

I canceled my subscription to the white house mailing list and will not be voting donating any money to the democratic or the Republican parties,

May 18th, 2011, 3:28 pm


Hani atassi said:

The US administration does not learn from the past. The more they put pressure on Bashar Assad, the more people in Syria will support thim and his popularity will increase. Millions of Iraqi and Afghanis civilians paid the price of the wise policy of the US. Millions of innocent people were killed because of your lies and now you are concerned about Syria!!!! The Syrian people are united against your heinous policy concerning Syria. We will support our president just because he is against the us policy in our region.

May 18th, 2011, 3:39 pm


Donna said:

Congratulations to the president of Syria!! That the US is not happy with him to stabilize and reform the country. Obama is Bush with different skin color and Clinton is Rice but with different skin color. It is proven.

May 18th, 2011, 3:47 pm


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

Dr. Landis, what you wrote in the introduction proves Assad’s point that the US is seeking to exploit this situation for its own political interests. The US wants to create cards to exchange with Assad. They are going to create whatever cards they can (STL, nuclear card, more and more sanctions, etc.). When the time of negotiations comes (this time is approaching fast now as Assad has managed to contain the rebellion), the US will show its cards and Assad will show his. The more cards you have, the better luck you have to emerge winning from this situation.

The US obviously did not want to topple Assad. They just wanted to exploit the situation to create cards to play against him in future negotiations. The US thinks now that Assad will be weaker and thus more willing to give concessions. Assad is stubborn and he is not going to accept that. He is going to restore the balance by escalating the regional situation against the US interests.

May 18th, 2011, 3:52 pm


norman said:

This what our friend Shai wrote, It makes sense as what is going on will lead in my opinion to war, so I agree

304. Shai said:

Just putting in a quick comment…

It is wishful thinking to expect any state in the region to become a democracy overnight (even the only true democratic elections that have taken place, amongst the Palestinians, didn’t lead to a democracy.)

While no legitimacy can be given to killing demonstrators, pushing the Assad regime too far into a corner could lead to even less-desired consequences, such as war. If Assad feels that he is now attacked also from the outside, he may try to regain popular support by “proving” that America (and Israel) are now trying to humiliate the Syrian nation, and that Syria and the Syrian people must fight to regain the respect they deserve.

Assad could claim that it is now no longer about freedom and reform, but also about Syria’s place amongst the nations. And if The West is not only NOT helping Syria regain its territory back, but now aims to humiliate it, that the only option left is for Syria to take the initiative and force a new reality. “Even if ‘we’ (all Syrians) cannot win this war, we will prove that we are worthy of respect. And we will fight for it…”

It might be Assad’s last avenue – to force Syrians to rally behind him. Only war against Israel (and the expected Israeli retribution upon Syria and its chief allies) could unite all Syrians.

The U.S. should carefully consider the potential consequences of a “small” regional war, that could quickly deteriorate into something far worse. An all-out war that includes Israel, Syria, Iran, HA, Hamas, and perhaps others, could easily lead to a new global energy crisis, and may plunge world economies into long depression. We do not have a proven record in our ability to “control” or “localize” conflict in our region.

Even though it isn’t easy, the Obama Administration should try to play out some of these scenarios, and make sure that it doesn’t push Assad too far against the wall. Syria is not Libya.

May 18th, 2011, 4:05 pm


N.Z. said:

We all know that the U.S. aim is not regime change. However, the masses can no longer tolerate the deafening silence of this regime.

Where is he?

I do not think that this regime is “gaining control”, to the contrary. The further sanctioning aim is to rally Syrians around him. Wishful thinking!

It is a lose lose situation. Near past tells a different situation, they need to work smarter with the protesters, not stupidly. They seem to master, only, the language of power, it is no longer effective.

We will wait and see, if he will give another speech with the same blithe disregard to the silent majority.

This regime might not be on a steep downward hill, but he had lost legitimacy if he had any.

May 18th, 2011, 4:09 pm


Mina said:

The regime should go creative and put Russian, Chinese, Portuguese or Persian as second language at school. There is real culture available in these languages on the internet, and at least you avoid neocon and sectarian brainwashing.

May 18th, 2011, 4:13 pm


Lorne Marr said:

I guess any new sanctions will have very little impact on the brutal regime. Anyway, it reminds me of the Libyan story when Obama signed order to impose sanctions against Libyan officials. Everyone could see how ineffective it was that time.

May 18th, 2011, 4:33 pm


AIG said:


Are you saying that Assad should start a war without any provocation?

There will be no war because at the end of it, there will be no Assad regime and the Syrian economy will be in complete ruin, Syria will become the poorest country on earth.

May 18th, 2011, 4:35 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


You ‘regional war’ scenario is farfetched. Nations usually do not go to war because suddenly they feel humiliated, and so they seek to regain the respect they feel they lost. It doesn’t work that way. And who is going to fund this war? The dwindling Syrian treasury ?

Adding to this, this Syrian junta is not feeling humiliated. On the contrary. They feel very proud about their foreign policy. They feel independent from Amrica’s rule, and over-all, all is well in Syria according to Assad. Some policemen are under trained. Besides that, all is perfect. Where do you see the humiliation? I see only pride, if not vain.

The Israeli Law of Return in nothing but an immigration policy. We want people like us to come live with us. We don’t need professional trouble makers.Every country has the right to determine it’s independent immigration policy. The US has one, countries in Europe have, etc.
If you’re a Muslim these days, you’ll find it very difficult to have an immigration permit to Europe or to the States. Is it racist?

May 18th, 2011, 5:01 pm


Shami said:

Hani Atassi,

Asad*Makhlouf gang is like a cancerous tumor ,it’s a foreigner body in Syria,these cowards will not dare to launch a war against Israel.
After decades of deception ,the syrians even those in the far countryside are aware that regime’s rejectionism is false and hypocrit.
Post Asad Syria will know an economic boom thanks to the Gulf,Turkish and European investments,this is for sure and there will be no civil war ,because there is a clear moderate majority which is integrated with its arab and islamic environment,the small gang will not be able to resist.The torturers and killers will try to escape to Iran ,for that reason ,our people should move quickly in order to catch them and to bring them in front of a court .In Libya ,the friend of Bashar will be finished too.
The fate of all brutal dictatorships is known.

May 18th, 2011, 5:28 pm


SImoHurtta said:

If you’re a Muslim these days, you’ll find it very difficult to immigrate to Europe or to the States. Is it racist?

Well Amir in Tel Aviv that is not exactly true. Most of immigrants (legal and illegal) coming to Europe are still Muslims. By the way now in Finland are about 1,200 Jews and 40,000 Muslims. 20 years ago here were about 1,200 Jews and a few thousand Muslims.

Amir if Israel (Jews there) have the right to choose, then haven’t we all the same “moral” right to choose. What do you say if the Germans again begin to see Jews as unwanted? Many still there and elsewhere in Europe and USA see Jews as trouble makers. Is it racist? Yes it is, but so is your point of view. Palestinians have not resisted and do not resist because of their religion, they resist because Jews treat them badly and rob their possessions. So blaming Islam and Muslims as troublemakers is naive. Many Palestinians are also Christians and even if Palestinians would have been Buddhists they would resist using same means as they now do.

Amir the larger regional war will inevitable and Israel will start it, because that is the only way for Israel to stop the creation of Palestine with 67 borders. If Palestine is created there will be a “regional” civil war among Jews in Israel.

May 18th, 2011, 5:31 pm


Shai said:


If Syria went to war, its leadership wouldn’t claim it has “suddenly” been humiliated, it will claim it has always been looked down upon, and it is time Syria fought for its respect back. And of course it works that way, that’s the reason Sadat went to war in 1973 (listen to him telling the story himself.)

Be careful using this rationale in determining how farfetched war is, because you’re assuming one goes to war only if there is either a chance of winning it, or if there is sufficient physical force (funding, etc.) But we have seen wars started despite clear inferiority, such as Egypt in 1973. There’s no reason whatsoever why Syria wouldn’t do the same.

The claim that Assad wouldn’t go to war because he’d lose his seat afterwards is silly, because no Arab leader that has gone to war against Israel ever lost his seat and, on the contrary, became ever more popular amongst his own people and amongst the Arab World. This is why I’m afraid that if Assad felt particularly weak, he might try to rally his people around him, by going to war (even a war he knows Syria will lose within a few weeks.)

You said “… we don’t need professional trouble makers…” Are you suggesting non-Jews are professional trouble makers? Do you honestly not see the racism in such a remark? Immigration policy based on race is Racism.

Simohurtta is right – Racism is practiced against Jews, and by Jews. All are wrong.

May 18th, 2011, 5:52 pm


Tara said:

“Ever spoke to an abused child who has no idea that it is not normal to live abused? To a battered wife trapped in the despair of “I can never get away?” This is the despair in which Syrians have lived for over 40 years… What teaches a generation that grew up internalizing the rationales of abusive regime to know to ask for freedom it has never experienced? Being Human!” The Syrian regime is nothing but a huge criminal and financial enterprise and must be stopped.

May 18th, 2011, 5:52 pm


Shai said:

Dear Norman,

I really hope I’m wrong.

May 18th, 2011, 6:07 pm


JAD said:

تواصل ملاحقة العصابات المجرمة في تلكلخ

May 18th, 2011, 6:09 pm


Sophia said:

A little boost for Obama, a great boost for the resistance axis.

This is on the same day a pew research poll shows that Obama is becoming even more unpopular in the Arab world since the Arab spring. I think what Arabs need is some consistency from US foreign policy in the region.

What Arabs have learned over the years is: never trust the US. And what their dictators must still learn is: never trust the US.

May 18th, 2011, 6:28 pm


JAD said:

“consistency”? What is that 🙂

May 18th, 2011, 6:33 pm


AIG said:


Assad will not go to war because Israel will target his regime and will hurt mostly his prominent supporters. He and his family will be directly targeted, just as in the Qadaffi case. The republican guard will be targeted also, so how will Assad impose himself afterwards? Syria’s infrastructure will be annihilated and who will lend him money to rebuild? So only if Assad is suicidal will he go to war. But we know he isn’t.

By the way, if there was a dictatorship in Israel would you also ask the international community not to pressure our dictator to leave because it might cause a war? Of course not. So why are you taking this hypocritical position?

May 18th, 2011, 6:41 pm


Sophia said:

#19 Jad,

I of course meant coherence and not strength as the word might allude to in its modern context.

May 18th, 2011, 6:42 pm


Kubbeh said:

Your argument, while it is not unrealistic, is a cop out.
I could argue, using your logic, that the settlers (in the west bank or the Golan) well they should not be pushed too hard because pinning their backs against the wall could make them violent and start a mini civil war in Israel and maybe even a split in the army. So there goes out of the window any prospect for a peace deal, (however dim) because we are “afraid” of antagonising a rather powerful force.

Same goes for Assad. He, it turns out after all, is a brutal dictator which is killing his people left right and centre. I agree that he does have the potential to cause havoc by starting a regional war. (He also has a damn lot to lose if he does). But this should not be a reason to let him off the hook. The US and the EU should do everything reasonably in their means (like sanctions for instance, or a reference to the ICC) to topple him. (Just to be clear I do not think armed intervention, aka Liby or Iraq, is reasonable)

May 18th, 2011, 7:05 pm


sami othmani said:

Churchill said that being a dictator is like riding a tiger, you can never get off or the tiger will eat you. Assad (and his gang)will carry on till the end. He may escape to London but his gang will carry on…till the dreaded moment we all fear…

May 18th, 2011, 7:13 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Shai’s “Hebrew National” Political Dogma

By the way, if there was a dictatorship in Israel would you also ask the international community not to pressure our dictator to leave because it might cause a war? Of course not. So why are you taking this hypocritical position?


Shai has consistently shown that he holds Jews to a higher standard.

It’s a form of racism: expecting more from one set of human beings than from others.

May 18th, 2011, 7:46 pm


Norman said:


I hope that i am wrong too.but apparently the Mideast is like a volcano that has been boiling for a while and is ready to burst.


Syria has a good reason to go to war that is her right to get her land back the Golan, Only Israel can avoid a future war, return the Arab land and give the Palestinians their human rights.

Isn’t that something that Israel or the US would do if they were in Syria’s position .

Expect from others what you would do.

May 18th, 2011, 7:51 pm


Norman said:


Yes Jews, not you, hold themselves to higher standards.ask you mother.

May 18th, 2011, 7:53 pm


Sophia said:

#24 AP,

“Shai has consistently shown that he holds Jews to a higher standard.

It’s a form of racism: expecting more from one set of human beings than from others.”

Jews claim moral exceptionalism when it suits them: right to the holy land, Israel as a payout for the Holocaust, Israel as light unto the nations, Israel as the only democratic country in the ME, etc…

They also claim moral equivalence when it suits them too.

So which is which?

May 18th, 2011, 7:55 pm


why-discuss said:

Bashar al Assad, by unleashing the Palestinians on the Golan last week, has made it clear to the US administration that he refuses categorically to yield to the long standing US conditions: Renouncing to his alliance with Iran, his support to Hezbollah and acceptance of Israel’s conditions for peace.
The result was immediate: More ‘humiliating’ pressure on him!
I really have much more admiration for Bashar’s stubborness now.
He is risking his own security when it could have been so easy to accept what the US wants and be saved. I really take my hat off!
Presented this way, not only the Syrians should rally with him but all the Arabs who believe in freedom and dignity! .
The US will continue with more pressure but yet, they know that there is a limit. They know that if Bashar al Assad is replaced the next regime may be even more radical against the US and Israel.
So the US prefers to leave the situation in limbo until they see what is happening in Egypt and the region as a whole.

Time is playing against Israel. Syria has still an open game to play.

May 18th, 2011, 8:04 pm


Norman said:

It is clear that the US want Syria and probably KSA to leave the resistance camp and accept what they will be given,

The American ambassador in Turkey is calling for Syria to distant itself from Hezbollah and Iran,

رغم توتر العلاقات بين البلدين اثر مخاوف اردوغان من ‘حلبجة سورية’
أنقرة تحذر من استهداف الرئيس السوري: لا بديل له
أمريكا تفرض عقوبات على الاسد وتدعوه ‘لقيادة الانتقال السياسي او الرحيل’
أنقرة ـ دمشق ـ نيقوسيا ‘القدس العربي’ ـ وكالات: حذر مسؤول تركي الولايات المتحدة من استهداف الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد لانه ‘لا بديل’ له حاليا، فيما دعت الولايات المتحدة الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد امس لـ’قيادة الانتقال السياسي او الرحيل’، بعد ان اعلنت عن فرض عقوبات تستهدفه مباشرة بسبب دوره في القمع الدامي للاحتجاجات التي تشهدها بلاده.
وقالت وزارة الخارجية الامريكية في بيان انه ‘يعود الى الاسد قيادة عملية انتقال سياسي او الرحيل’.
ووقع الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما على أمر تنفيذي يقضي بفرض عقوبات على الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد و6 مسؤولين سوريين آخرين هم نائبه فاروق الشرع ورئيس الحكومة عادل سفر ووزير الداخلية محمد إبراهيم الشعار ووزير الدفاع علي حبيب محمود ورئيس الاستخبارات العسكرية عبد الفتاح قدسية ومسؤول مديرية الأمن السياسي محمد ديب زيتون.
وبموجب العقوبات تجمد أصول كافة الأشخاص الواردة أسماءهم على اللائحة الموجودة في الولايات المتحدة أو التي تخضع لسيطرة أشخاص أمرdكيين ويمنع الأميركيون من التعامل معهم.
وبدأت علامات التوتر بالظهور بين دمشق وجارتها انقرة التي تبدي قلقا متزايدا حيال العواقب المحتملة للازمة السورية على استقرارها، لكنها تحرص في الوقت ذاته على تفادي الدعوة الى تنحي الرئيس السوري. جاء ذلك في الوقت الذي دعا فيه السفير الأمريكي لدى أنقرة فرانسيس ريكارديوني سورية الى وقف تعاونها مع حزب الله وإيران.
ونقلت صحيفة ‘زمان’ التركية الأربعاء عن مسؤول تركي قوله ان تركيا حذرت خلال اجتماع عقد بين رئيس الوزراء رجب طيب أردوغان وريكارديوني من أنه ‘يتوجب على الولايات المتحدة التفكير مرتين قبل جعل الأسد هدفا لانه لا بديل له’ حاليا.
من جهة أخرى قال ريكارديوني خلال اللقاء الذي جرى في مهبط للمروحيات في أنقرة ان الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما ‘يريد وقفا سريعا للتعاون السوري مع إيران وحزب الله’.
وكان مسؤول في وزارة الخارجية التركية قال في وقت سابق ان بلاده نصحت الولايات المتحدة بمنح الأسد المزيد من الوقت لتنفيذ الإصلاحات. وقال المسؤول لصحيفة ‘حريّت’ التركية بعد لقاء بين أردوغان وريكارديوني ‘نحن نريد تحولاً سلساً وانتقالاً منظماً’ إلى الديمقراطية في سورية.
وتوقع مراقبون ان يكون السفير الامريكي الذي نقل رسالة من الرئيس الامريكي الى اردوغان ان تكون الادارة الامريكية قد طلبت وساطة تركية لحث سورية على الاصلاح، وتغيير مواقفها السياسية وتخفيف روابطها بحزب الله، وذلك رغم ان العلاقات بين انقرة ودمشق متأزمة.
ولم تستسغ السلطات السورية تعليقا ادلى به اردوغان الذي شبه عمليات القمع الجارية في سورية حيث قتل مئات المعارضين، بقتل الاف الاكراد بالغاز في مدينة حلبجة في 1988، من قبل نظام صدام حسين.
وقال السفير السوري في تركيا نضال قبلان لصحيفة ‘دايلي نيوز’، ‘ما لم يمر بشكل جيد في سورية هو الصلة التي اقيمت بين الاحداث في سورية والاحداث في حلبجة’.
واضاف ‘لم نفكر ابدا بأن ثمة سوء نية لدى تركيا. ربما كانت تريد ايصال رسالة. لكنها رسالة سلبية. لم يؤد ذلك الى ازمة. قلنا اننا لم نستسغها’.
وفي مقابلة مع القناة 7 في التلفزيون التركي في التاسع من ايار (مايو)، قال اردوغان انه يأمل في الا تتكرر مجازر حماة حيث قمع حافظ الاسد، والد الرئيس بشار الاسد، تمردا اسلاميا، او مجازر حلبجة في العراق.
وقال السفير السوري ‘في حلبجة، استخدم صدام حسين اسلحة كيميائية للقضاء على مجموعة بكاملها. وما يحصل في الواقع في سورية، هو ان وحدات صغيرة من الجيش تواجه عصابات تقتل عناصر الشرطة’.
وبرر جزئيا هذه الاشارة السيئة في الحوار الودي جدا بين انقرة ودمشق بأن تركيا تخوض حملة للانتخابات النيابية في حزيران (يونيو)، حيث يطمح الحزب الحاكم المنبثق من التيار الاسلامي الى ولاية ثالثة. وقد قام البلدان بتقارب كبير في السنوات الاخيرة، ويقيم اردوغان والاسد علاقات شخصية.
وألغيت تأشيرات الدخول بين البلدين اللذين لهما حدود مشتركة على طول يزيد عن 800 كلم، وارتفعت التجارة الثنائية ثلاثة اضعاف في غضون عشر سنوات، ووصلت الى 2.5 مليار دولار في 2010.
واخذ السفير السوري على تركيا ايضا استقبالها اجتماعا لمعارضين سوريين في نيسان (ابريل)، منهم ‘المراقب العام للاخوان المسلمين رياض الشقفة’. وقال ان ‘الاخوان المسلمين في نظرنا هم مثل حزب العمال الكردستاني في تركيا’ الذي تصفه الحكومة التركية بأنه منظمة ارهابية.
وتتخوف تركيا من اتساع الاضطرابات في سورية، اذ ان المتمردين الاكراد موجودون على طرفي الحدود.
كما تتخوف من تقسيم لسورية ودخول لاجئين سوريين الى اراضيها، بعد وصول مئتي قروي اواخر نيسان (ابريل).
من جهتها فرضت سويسرا عقوبات على سورية منها تجميد ارصدة 13 شخصية في النظام السوري بحسب السلطات السويسرية الاربعاء، وانضمت بذلك الى التدابير التي اعلنها الاتحاد الاوروبي مطلع الشهر الحالي على دمشق. وقالت وزارة الاقتصاد في بيان ان التوصية السويسرية الجديدة تشمل حظرا على المعدات العسكرية والاجهزة التي يمكن استخدامها في القمع الداخلي.
وقالت الوزارة انها ‘تتضمن عقوبات مالية وقيودا على تنقل 13 شخصية في نظام دمشق’.
وعلى الصعيد الميداني قتل ثمانية اشخاص على الاقل الاربعاء اثر قصف على مدينة تلكلخ القريبة من حمص بوسط سورية، حسبما اعلن ناشط حقوقي لوكالة فرانس برس.
وذكر الناشط الذي فضل عدم الكشف عن اسمه ان ‘ثمانية اشخاص قتلوا اليوم اثر اطلاق قذائف على مدينة تلكلخ واطلاق عيارات نارية رشاشة’.
واشار الناشط الى وجود ‘العديد من الجرحى في الطرقات الا انه ليس من الممكن نقلهم لاسعافهم’. واضاف الناشط انه ‘بذلك ترتفع حصيلة الذين قتلوا من المدنيين الى 26 شخصا منذ ان اقتحم الجيش مدينة تلكلخ’.
وكانت وكالة الانباء الرسمية (سانا) نقلت مساء الثلاثاء عن مصدر عسكري مسؤول ‘ان حصيلة مواجهات (الثلاثاء) بلغت ثمانية شهداء وجريحين في صفوف الجيش والقوى الامنية’. واشار المصدر الى ان ‘وحدات الجيش والقوى الامنية اوقفت في منطقة تلكلخ عددا من المطلوبين الفارين من وجه العدالة ممن روعوا المواطنين وعكروا صفو امن الوطن كما ضبطت كميات كبيرة من الاسلحة والذخائر’.
ولفتت الى سقوط ‘عدد من القتلى والجرحى في صفوف العناصر الاجرامية’.
يذكر ان الجيش يحاصر مدينة تلكلخ منذ مساء السبت حيث تجري حملات مداهمة واعتقالات.

May 18th, 2011, 8:06 pm


Norman said:

Do these people deserve democracy, they need psychological evaluation before that.

السجن سبع سنوات لثلاثة اشقاء اردنيين قتلوا شقيقتهم لإمتلاكها هاتفا نقالا

عمان ـ صادقت محكمة التمييز في الأردن على حكم لمحكمة الجنايات الكبرى يقضي بالاشغال الشاقة المؤقتة لمدة سبع سنوات ونصف السنة على ثلاثة اشقاء اقدموا على ضرب شقيقتهم وحبسها حتى الموت بسبب امتلاكها جهازهاتف نقال، بجرم القتل القصد بالاشتراك.
وقال مصدر قضائي ليونايتد برس إنترناشونال قررت المحكمة وضع كل منهم بالاشغال الشاقة المؤقتة مدة سبع سنوات ونصف السنة بعد ان خفضتها من الاشغال الشاقة المؤقتة مدة خمسة عشر عاما بعد تنازل ذويهم حقهم الشخصي.

وبين قرار المحكمة ان احد المتهمين الثلاثة اكتشف ان لدى شقيقته جهاز هاتف نقال وانها تتحدث به فاخذه منها وضربها ما دفعها لمغادرة منزل اهلها الكائن في منطقة الغويرية في مدينة الزرقاء (شرق).

وبعد ستة ايام اكتشفوا انها ذهبت لمنزل شقيقتها بعد ان كانوا ابلغوا المركز الامني عن تغيبها فذهبوا لاحضارها وبعد وصولهم سألها احدهم عن سبب تغيبها عن المنزل فلم تجبه فقام بضربها بقدميه ويديه حتى سقطت ارضا ثم اخذوا يضربوها جميعا وتناول احدهم عجل دراجة هوائية من البلاستيك وضربها على رأسها ما ادى لارتطام رأسها بحائط الغرفة.

واستمروا بضربها مدة ثلث ساعة الى ان فقدت الوعي فحبسوها باحدى غرف المنزل واغلقوا الباب عليها دون ان يسعفوها وفي اليوم التالي اكتشفوا انها فارقت الحياة.

May 18th, 2011, 8:16 pm


why-discuss said:


My view is that Israel is under such pressure with the approaching September’s vote in the UN on Palestine and the changing mood of Egypt that I won’t be surprised if they find a pretext to start a war of ‘self-defense’ against Syria. Israel needs a diversion before September and this could be an golden opportunity as Syria has been so demonized these days that the international community may give a blind eye to more invasion of Syria’s Golan border to unseat Bashar al Assad. .
That’s my worry. Yet I think Iran and possibly Iraq will not stay still and may come to the rescue of Syria. So Israel is maybe in a bind, evaluating the consequences of launching a new war.

May 18th, 2011, 9:08 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Sophia said:

Jews claim moral exceptionalism when it suits them: right to the holy land, Israel as a payout for the Holocaust, Israel as light unto the nations, Israel as the only democratic country in the ME, etc…


I’ve never claimed Jews were better than anyone else or deserved more than others. Furthermore, all humans have an inalienable right to freedom of speech and to choose their own government leaders. Something that is sorely lacking in most Arab countries and has nothing to do with Israel, and more to do with the Arab themselves.

Thus, Jews have a right to nationhood just any other people on Earth, including the Palestinians. Jews also have a right to make claims against any nation (say Germany) that murdered and pillaged many of our people. My family has lived in the US, therefore, my family has no right to make any such claims.

Despite your assertions, making a claim against a specific government didn’t begin and end with the Holocaust and Jews:

They also claim moral equivalence when it suits them too.

I think most Israelis would claim moral superiority, not just moral equivalence.

So which is which?

Whatever the judge decides (like Goldstone?;)

May 18th, 2011, 9:24 pm


Norman said:


You might be right but Syria has significant fire power, that from what i heard can destroy many of the Israel air bases making them not able to take returning Israeli air force, That is if they can fly .

May 18th, 2011, 9:27 pm


JAD said:

After AFP, ZDF German channel, Reuters, CNN apologizing of using fake footage about Syria, ABC is next in line:

سوريا – وكالة إي.بي.سي تفضح اكاذيب رويترز

Aljazeera, Alarabiya, and BBC are still in coma!!! zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

فال الله و لا فالك 🙂

From FB:
بعد تصريح مدفيديف: لن أؤيد قرارا ضد سورية في مجلس الأمن حتى لو طالبني أصدقائي وزملائي بذلك …. بعض ممن يسمون أنفسهم (ثواراُ) يصرحون بأن الرئيس الروسي بوق من أبواق المخابرات السورية ……..

May 18th, 2011, 9:27 pm


Syrian said:

Mr. Landis, I only want to correct you about the word “Shabiha” (Literally, the word means Ghost); it is NOT a code for Alawaites as you presume. Shabiha, partially refers to the security forces which are in civilian outfits and which are armed by the government. I do not accept your interpretation because it transpires that the protest are full of ethnic hatred to alawaites.

By the way, you have been described as a “Shabiha” by an author recently. here is the link to the article, and since you have been to Syria three times on a fulbright, i assume your Arabic is good enough to understand the article ( Read it if you want, but I will tell you what it is mainly about here: The article suggests that you and Robert Fisk are the Academic Shabiha “Ghosts in literal arabic”, because you guys appease Assad in a way or another.


May 18th, 2011, 10:11 pm


Abughassan said:

The sanctions and what may follow will make the regime less willing to negotiate and more likely to arrange for actions through a third party that aim at undermining US and Israeli interests. Those sanctions are also more likely to strengthen the regime and weaken its opposition. Frankly speaking, that was a real dumb move unless somebody convinced Obama that Assad is falling and the alternative is ready. Needless to say,we do not think Assad is falling and we do not see an alternative. My guess is that Obama was more focused on his re-election than on helping the syrian opposition. Conspiracy theorist may conlude that Israel is preparing for military action with a green light from the US.That was not a good day for US diplomacy.

May 18th, 2011, 10:18 pm


why-discuss said:

Is Erdogan having a problems with an Alevi coming to power in Turkey?

“For instance, Cem Foundation President Professor İzzettin Doğan criticized the prime minister in the following way: “Mr. prime minister keeps saying that the CHP leader is an Alevi. In fact, he is warning Sunnis about ‘An Alevi might come to power.’ Therefore, he places politics into the Alevi-Sunni axis via religion.””

About Haci Bektas

May 18th, 2011, 10:21 pm


Norman said:


Apparently there is a definite problem for some people with alawat.

it is the sad story of the fundamentalists, even when they wear Western clothes.

It is what was said about Hariri, a Wahabi with a suit and tie.

May 18th, 2011, 10:43 pm


why-discuss said:

I wonder if my post on Erdogan and the alevi opposition was removed…
Erdoğan and the CHP leader’s Alevi origin

May 18th, 2011, 11:46 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

What is going on with US policy?,they are asking Assad to either lead Syria to democracy,and reform, or US will ask him to leave. does US still believe a dictator can lead reform?, it is impossible
I am trying to explain it
2) there is difference among Obama,and Clinton.
3) they lack a plan for the middle East.impending Iraq withdrawal.
4) US is in transition,Defense minister is changing,or election issue.
5) Turkey demands,and certainly they want to do what is good to Israel.

As far as war with Israel, Bashar has no gut for war,it is nonsense, it will not happen.

We all know that demonstrations will recur,I do not understand what Bashar means that the crisis is about to end,I think he is wrong,just like when he said uprising will not happen in Syria.

One thing I know for sure, every thing has a price.

May 18th, 2011, 11:56 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

Alsahwa Alsoria Online
April 2012

-President Alshakfa visits DC,meets. With pres Obama to thank him for his sanctions against Assad.He is scheduled to give a lecture to IPAK about ways to implement altawrat in Jewish society.He also was seen crying in holocaust museum .he stated it reminded him with what his friend Refat did in Hama.
_Forign minister هيثم المناع met with his israeli counter part Liberman.They were seen kissing each other.Almana thanked Lieberman for all the weapons which were made available to the peaceful resolution.Lieberman answered in broken arabic هذا واجب.
-Fighting Cont in the eastern providence between kurdish and Arabic tribes , meeting between the head of Kurds كركور زيباري and arab sheik خلف مسلط السلومwas rocked with suicide bomber.each one blamed the other one .
-Thousands of salafi are protesting in front of city hall in Latakia demanding the removal of a Christian mayor holding signs ولا تجعلو من الكافرين عليكم اوليا prime minister برهان غليون responds to there demands stating that further investigation revieled that mayor قرياقس خنا had one time a neighbor which was a coz of he is not circumcised which well disqualify him.he stated that this has nothing to do with his religion.salafi were delighted and they promised that they will give all there votes to MB in the coming elections.

Together we will through our beautiful Syria in the drain forever.

May 19th, 2011, 12:16 am


why-discuss said:


I don’t think Syria is thinking about a conventional war. Why would it? It has many allies and proxies: the Palestinians, Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Iraq, the Kurds, and I guess Bashar will make sure, as Makhlouf promised it, that it is not only Syria who will suffer.
Already trouble is starting in Iraq Kurdistan, a strong ally to the US: Violent repression of the Kurds hardly mentionned in the media…

Then we have the Nakba demonstrations on 5june
Lebanon has still no governemnent
Iran will provide more weapons and support
The Golan will become hot again
Don’t you worry, Bashar has more than one trick under his sleeves. Bush wanted to unseat him, now it’s Obama. Nothing new…

May 19th, 2011, 12:25 am


jad said:

“plus he is not circumcised which well disqualify him” 🙂 🙂 🙂

May 19th, 2011, 12:34 am


abbas said:

Dr Landis: the question should’v been what sanctions will do for Syria not America

May 19th, 2011, 2:26 am


democracynow said:

Dorothy Parvaz, Al Jazeera’s Iranian American journalist, witnesses the torture and atrocities of the Syrian regime prison system first hand.

Dorothy Parvaz: Inside Syria’s secret prisons

‘We could clearly hear the interrogator pummelling his fists into his subject,’ writes our correspondent.

I was standing in two fist-sized pools of smeared, sticky blood, trying to sort out why there were seven angry Syrians yelling at me. Only one of them – who I came to know as Mr Shut Up during my three days in a detention center, where so many Syrians ‘disappeared’ are being kept – spoke English.

Watching them searching my bags, and observing the set of handcuffs hanging from the bunk bed wedged behind the desk in the middle of the room, I guessed that I was being arrested – or, at the very least, processed for detention.

“Why are you doing this?” I asked.

“Shut up! SHUT UP!” said Mr Shut Up.

I’d arrived there moments before, dragged by a handful of hair from a car where I’d been wedged between two armed men. They’d tried to convince me that they were taking me to my hotel, but, of course, I knew that there was no way plain-clothed security personnel would be kind enough to escort me to my accommodation.

I did, however, manage to resist being forced to wear a blindfold, figuring that if they were going to shoot me, they really didn’t need a reason to do so.

After about 20 minutes, we pulled off the highway and through two checkpoints. By this point, the rather handsy security guard to my left had pulled my scarf over my eyes.

Armed guards opened a gate to what seemed like a military compound, filled with dozens of men, all plain-clothed, lurking in an atmosphere suited only to cracking skulls – so heightened was the sense of impending violence.

Welcome to mini-Guantanamo; perhaps one of many in Syria where protesters and bystanders alike have been swept up in the wide net cast by an increasingly paranoid government since the start of anti-government protests several weeks ago.

I’d ended up there because a scan of my luggage had revealed that I had a satellite phone and an internet hub with me – the commercially available type, nothing special, and just the sort of thing one might need while travelling in a country with spotty communications.

Still, if that was deemed suspicious, then my American passport, complete with its Al Jazeera-sponsored visa, sealed the deal. The agents couldn’t seem to agree what I was, or which was worse: an American spy for Israel, or an Al Jazeera reporter – both were pretty much on a par.

Blindfolded, I was led to the first of my three cells – a tiny, sparse room, roughly three paces across and five length-wise. On the floor, on a ratty brown blanket, sat a young woman whose face was puffy from crying. She said she was 25 and from Damascus and indicated that she had been there for four days. She didn’t know why she’d been picked up by the Mukhabarat, the Syrian intelligence service.

She said she was a shop assistant in a clothes store, and the designer stilettos that sat in the corner of the cell seemed to belie any suggestion that this was a girl who had left her house in order to participate in protests. She said she’d been speaking on her phone when she was hauled into a car, blindfolded and driven away.

She had no idea where she was, or how long she was to stay there. She had not been allowed to contact her family.

Our eyes moved to the month-long calendar etched on the wall, likely the artwork of a previous dweller. With unspoken glances, we each wondered how long she would remain there.

A man came to the door a couple of times before he took me from the cell, handcuffed and blindfolded me, and led me to what seemed like a courtyard.

He pushed me up against a wall and told me to stand there. As I did so, I heard two sets of interrogations and beatings taking place, about 10 meters away from me in either direction.

The beatings were savage, the words uttered by those beaten only hoarse cries – “Wallahi! Wahalli!” (“I swear to God! I swear to God!”) or simply, “La! La!” (“No! No!”).

I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, before someone approached me.

“Who do you work for?” he hissed.

“Al Jazeera. Online.”

“Are you alone?”

“So alone.”

I was taken to a second cell, this one, with smears of blood on the wall. I found what looked like a bloodless corner and perched until called upon again – at around midnight.

I was again handcuffed, but this time, before the blindfolds went on, I caught sight of a young man, no more than 20, chained to a radiator outside the hallway. He had a legal pad on his knees, was blindfolded, and was quivering so fiercely he could hardly hold the pen with which he was probably meant to ink some sort of confession.

Meanwhile, the beatings and cries outside continued.

I was taken through a labyrinth of stairs, before entering an office where my interrogator awaited me. I managed to talk him into allowing the blindfolds to be removed.

The man – let’s call him ‘Firass’ – was slightly portly and could be affable when he wanted to be (he seemed concerned that there were women being kept at the facility, and tried to make things comfortable for me).

Firass even apologised for the fact that our “formal interview” was taking place in a room containing a bed, crates of potatoes and a refrigerator.

“It’s just that we’re so busy these days,” he said.

I wanted to ask why the Mukhabarat would be so busy if such a tiny minority was causing problems, but it didn’t seem like a prudent moment.

Firass spoke very good English and, at first, seemed convinced that I was a spy.

Then he focused on Al Jazeera, putting the network on the same level as Human Rights Watch. The network had been making a “big problem” for Syria with the UN Security Council, he said.

After four hours of questioning, he sent me to a different room, this one a long-disused office where a terrified teenage girl was sleeping on the couch.

The next morning, my new roommate and I tried to get acquainted, without sharing too many details, as we had been forbidden to do so. She too had been plucked from the streets of a Damascus suburb for reasons she couldn’t understand.

She’d been there for eight days when I met her, and she looked ill. The food we were given three times a day – fetid, random and at times, rotting – mostly had the effect of making her vomit, but she was too hungry to stop eating all together.

There was a doctor on site, parked next to a sign that read “Assad is Boss”, but the girl seemed too frightened to see the doctor – no wonder.

Most of the our days were spent listening to the sounds of young men being brutally interrogated – sometimes tied up in stress positions until it sounded like their bones were cracking, as we saw from our bathroom window (a bathroom with no running water, except for one tap in a sink filled with roughly 10 cm of sewage).

One afternoon, the beating we heard was so severe that we could clearly hear the interrogator pummelling his boots and fists into his subject, almost in a trance, yelling questions or accusations rhythmically as the blows landed in what sounded like the prisoner’s midriff.

My roommate shook and wept, reminding me (or perhaps herself) that they didn’t beat women here.

There was a brief break before the beating resumed, and my first impulse was to cover my ears, but then I thought, “If this man is crying, shouldn’t someone hear him?”

After all, judging from the sound of passing traffic and from what I could see through our window, there were no homes nearby – just a highway, a sprawling old security compound, and what appeared to be an old prison; a few official buildings that had seen better days. That’s all I could see from our cell.

When one of the Mukhabarat agents came in, my teenage cellmate proceeded to beg him to allow her to use her mobile phone to call her parents, which, of course, was not going to happen.

She asked about the beatings we’d heard outside, and was told that the men being punished were murderers who had shot people in Deraa.

Later, Mr Shut Up came and took my roommate away for interrogation, which made me worry. She returned an hour later, with no apparent resolution to her problem. She still looked out the window and cried, worrying about her parents, wondering if or when she’d see them again.

I couldn’t help but wonder: what sort of threat does this girl pose to the Syrian state that they have to keep her in this rotting room? What are they so afraid of?

After three days, Firass told me I was free to return to Qatar – something for which I was very grateful.

He even took me to his boss’s office – again, remember, no one has any names here – where I was given a lecture on Al Jazeera’s coverage of the troubles in Syria, mostly focusing on how a tiny, tiny minority was causing a problem for an essentially happy majority.

On my way out of the compound, I was finally allowed to see it for what it was – a shabby set of offices and cellblocks with pictures of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, framed in the sort of metallic stands that might promote two-for-one-drinks offers at the theatre, placed every few metres. The effect was farcical.

I was taken to the airport, but I was certainly not allowed to return to Qatar. Instead, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, onto a flight bound for Tehran (I’d entered Syria with an Iranian passport). Call it a strange brand of extraordinary rendition, if you will.

The Syrian authorities had alleged to the Iranians that I was a spy – a charge that can carry a death penalty in Iran.

Fortunately, in my case, the facts were borne out. After a couple of weeks of interrogations, the investigator in Iran charged with my case determined that I was not a spy, but a journalist.

On Wednesday, without drama or incident, I was released and put on a dawn flight from Tehran to Doha – it was a simple matter of a judge’s approval.

Although I have written critically of some of Iran’s policies, I was treated with respect, courtesy and care thoughout my detention there.

My room was spotless, my interrogator flawlessly polite, and the women who looked after me at the Evin Prison Women’s Detention Centre saw to it that my every need was met – especially the sleeping pills I required, because every night, without fail, I would hear the cries of men screaming in Syria “Wallahi! Wallahi!” and wonder how their wounds will ever heal.

May 19th, 2011, 3:35 am


Aboud said:

“Sanctioning President Assad – what can it accomplish?”

This morning the army withdrew from Telkelakh, and land lines were restored to the town. But Landis being Landis, he will probably claim Bashar did it from the goodness of his heart. Most people, people who care nothing for tyranny and tyrants and who have no interest in claiming that only a bloody, murderous and savage tyrant can possibly be a fit ruler for Syria, see Bashar for what he is; a bungling, inept coward who obviously has no plan, and is living from Friday to Friday.

And Baathists being Baathists, they will claim that Bashar heroically crushed the Islamic Emirate that was being set up in Telkelakh. Telkelakh was not crushed, and the Shabiha have been shown for what they are; thugs with guns and not one fighting man among them.

May 19th, 2011, 3:45 am


democracynow said:


You gotta give it to the regime: they’ve maintained the secularism of the state.

Granted: Syria today is more like a lawless Emirate run by a corrupt family with armed gangs and savage militias…

But still, it’s a secular Emirate nonetheless.

May 19th, 2011, 4:20 am


Mina said:

You can add Dorothy to this list

The difference being that Libya has oil and that Egypt has the pyramids. This explains why within 2 weeks after the fall of Mubarak, diplomats from all other the world were rushing to Cairo to meet and greet the new authorities.

May 19th, 2011, 4:34 am


Aboud said:

@45 Democracy Now

If the only accomplishment the Baathist have to show after 40 plus years is that they maintained a secular state in a country that was never in any danger of turning Islamist, then we will need to find a grade lower than F- to put on junior’s report card.

Also, the Time article Landis linked to was written by someone who made the beginner’s mistake, of assuming that what he saw in his immediate surroundings in whatever suburb of Damascus, was representative of the entire country. Sloppy and amateurish, but I guess regime supporters such as Landis will link to anything to shore up the increasingly weak argument that Bashar is essential to stability. It is safer for Syrians to protest on the Israeli border than to do so in their own cities. Shameful.

It would really be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. Everyone likes to believe that the world can’t possibly get along without them i.e “My spouse would be miserable without me” or “My company will regret the day I quit my job”. But Bashar and his supporters have taken such thinking to new heights; thinking that the entire region will fall apart unless Bashar continues his disastrous rule of Syria.

May 19th, 2011, 4:56 am


SuzukiOfJapan said:

Call for general strike on Wednesday did not only failed miserably but also revealed to the world how unpopular the anti-government movement is among Syrians. The US announced a sympolic sanction immediately after this. (though the next move may not be symbolic.)

According to the available videos until now, only people in the western part of Homs joined the strikes. Syrian people know that a lot of factory workers have been layed off because of the Muslims Brotherhood and a small group of tribes in Homs.

As I wrote in the last comment, popularity for the Muslim Brotherhood is assumed to be roughly 10% of the Sunni population, that is, 7.4% of the total population.

Economy is the major concern for the majority, not religion or ideology. Even if you share the MB’s ideology, you won’t vote for them if the leadership is from a different family. Syria is a tribal society. MB must get rid of their personal hatred and should learn how to live amicably with his compatriot.

Syrian Christians do not trust the US Army at all because they did not protect Iraqi Christians. Military dictatorship is much better.

Shaikh Ahmad al-Sayasnah, head of a powerful tribe in Daraa, and once labelled by the Syrian media as a gang master who distributed money and weapons to inflame the resistance, met President al-Assad as a member of the Daraa delegation.

In the following video, his sons are asking him how the discussion was.

(From the onset of the video)
Shaikh: I asked him (president) everything.
Son: What did you ask?
Shaikh: Well, so, various reforms.
Son: Did you tell him that we want to topple the regime?
Shaikh: No, I didn’t. (and he turns his face to the opposite direction quickly.)

This is really funny, isn’t it? al-Assad humiliates the shaikh in pulic media. The shaikh produces demonstrations and let his sons shout “we want to topple the regime. al-Assad is a dog.”

But heads of these 2 clans were meeting behind the scene to discuss how the political and economic reforms should be. If the shaikh really wants to achieve a revolution, he must have told him so directly to the President, but he didn’t.

Concerning the student demonstration in Aleppo University boys dormitory on May 16, number of protesters shouldn’t have been 2,000 as reported by major western media. Perhaps around 100 up to 200 at max. In the latter half of the video, the students shout “Asadi” which is a Kurdish word for freedom. So this was a demonstration by Kurdish students, not Arabs.

In any case, student protests in the dormitory should not be overestimated. They don’t have any political influence. They are not sons of Aleppo city, but are sons of other governorates such as Hama, Homs and Idlib in addition to rural areas of wider Aleppo governorate.

Meanwhile, the government banned demonstrations on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (religious holidays and I believe Jewish Saturdays are included). Participants must be 18 years old or older. Candle march at night is also banned.

I think this is a good decision. Children in Daraa, Homs and Baniyas should learn Arabic, English, arithmetic and other sciences. You cannot make a living by way of slogans such as “al-Shaab yureed isqaat al-nizaam” (people want to topple the regime) and technique to destruct statues of Hafiz al-Assad.

Stop uploading videos free of charge for the sake of CIA and Mossad (and me). You cannot make your country better in this way.

Keep the statue of Hafiz al-Assad safe, decorate it with flowers and make it a tourist destination. Although you have a natural right to detest him, think about getting money from foreign tourists! Take foreigners to the statue and explain that he built this or that during his reign. Explain that he was a bad leader after his reign. Anything what al-Assad does can become a source of your income.

Under the current circumstances, I am sure that Japanese merchants will sell “reform biscuit” and “how-can-you-get-rid-of-sedition chococlate” and “Syrian-people-are-one candy” in a lovely packaging, for example. “Syrian-people-are-one candy” will sell several times more than ordinary candy though the candies are the same themselves!

May 19th, 2011, 5:01 am


Syria no kandahar said:

Analysis for Parves personality:
1-Stupid:evidence:a-visits Syria with exp passport
b-lies about here visit telling syrians that she will visitمزار السيده
c-believed here employers although she knows that they are
liars .
2-pathologic liar: a-above b-work for aljazera c-collect citzenships(she applied for Israeli and planning to apply for one of the Syrian providences nationalities once Hamad /Binder/Harriri plan is completed).
3-ماكرة معروف :didn’t thank syrians and Iranians for here free stay and for free airline trip from Damascus to Tehran .
4-full of S..T : read democracy now above.

May 19th, 2011, 5:21 am


Mina said:

About the Al Jazeera reporter’s article, I admit i have never yet seen such a positive report about Evin prison. Qatar sticks to its Iranian friendship (it is such a big market) and wants to be the sole middleman in the Middle East (see the meeting of the emir with Netanyahu in Paris last week).,7340,L-3737884,00.html

While in Iraq, we can see on a daily basis the great progresses made by ultra-liberal, neo-con democracy:

May 19th, 2011, 5:49 am


Sophia said:

#49 Mina,

I agree with you about the Evin prison and my guess is that, on the other side, her account of her three days in Syria is exaggerated. I detected at least two distortions in her account, the first one was that when she said that she and the other female detainee (with the high heels) spent ‘their days’ listening to the screams of other people being interrogated while she barely spent three days in the place. And the thick blood on the wall is mentioned with a certain legerete (lightness). The other occurrence is when she only mention at the end and only between brackets (en passant) that she entered Syria with an iranian passport.

Plus she doesn’t write well.

Now Al-Jazeera have another ‘hero’ and they can spin their story. Obama has thrown at the wolves some meat with his non sanctions sanctions and we will see if this is enough.

May 19th, 2011, 6:40 am


Akbar Palace said:

Tanks a Million


I enjoyed reading your #44 and #47. You seem to be one of the few posters on this forum that makes sense.

Unfortunately, most of the posters on this forum continue to blame others for the mistakes of their unelected leaders:

I canceled my subscription to the white house mailing list and will not be voting donating any money to the democratic or the Republican parties

May 19th, 2011, 6:53 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The secular heaven aka Syria.
If so, how can you explain your paralyzing fear of sectarianism ?

The so called Syrian secularism is a myth. This is not secularism, it’s suppression of Islam.
Any amateur firefighter will tell you, that the fire you don’t see, is much more dangerous than the fire you do see.
What Syria and other Arab tyrannies did, was forcing this Jinny under the ground. Suppressing the Islamists makes them more determined, more angry, more dangerous, and much more appealing to younger people, who are being attracted to every thing that is not allowed, and who tend to defy bans.

That is the cause, Mina, for what’s happening in Iraq. The neocons did not create the stupid Arab sectarianism. They (unintentionally) released this Jinny from the bottle.

May 19th, 2011, 7:42 am


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

Israel is scared of the anticipated June 5 assault. They should be. It is going to be nasty.

We are waiting to see if the hypocrite US will sanction the Israeli officials responsible for the bloodshed or if they will keep encouraging them to massacre civilians.

May 19th, 2011, 7:50 am


qunfuz said:

“They also failed to provoke a confessional split in the army as happened in Lebanon. Sunni soldiers have not split from Alawis, despite all the talk about “shabbihas,” which is code for Alawis.”

More slander from SC. Who wanted to achieve a ‘confessional split’ in the army? Of course, the protestors wanted a split in the army, between patriots and the dogs of the state. They didn’t want a confessional split.

‘shabeeha’ is mot code for Alawis. I have heard Alawis talk about the shabeeha, and they are not talking about themselves. The shabiha refers to a specific thuggish militia, which ran smuggling previously and breaks people’s heads now, while trying to spark sectarian fights.

Once again Landis demonstrates his own ugly sectarianism and the vast distance he has travelled from objective academic analysis. It’s a great shame.

May 19th, 2011, 8:20 am


why-discuss said:


I appreciate Parvaz recount of the “polite” ‘couple of weeks of interrogation’ in Iran compared to the 3 days of hell in Syria. Then why wasn’t she allowed to call her loving fiance for 2 weeks? They were so considerate… She does not describe the interrogations in Iran and who was with her in the cell. Was she in isolation? Very subdued account for 2 weeks. Is Evin prison promoted to a 4 stars prison now?

“I was dragged, kicking and screaming, onto a flight bound for Tehran”
Why did she feel so bad about going bad to Iran? She did entered with an iranian passport posing as a tourist. Anyway Iran was the only country who officially asked the Syrian to rapatriate her. Canada and the US just ignored her.
I fail to read the thanks to the canadian governemnt attempts to find her!
Al Jazeera is jubilant to have such a nasty account of the prisons in Syria. More demonization of Syrian, Bravo Dorothy!

May 19th, 2011, 8:23 am


why-discuss said:


Shabeeha = MI5 in the UK

May 19th, 2011, 8:26 am


Syria no kandahar said:

So landis is sectarian and you are not.what about the state dogs you are talking about,and what will you call the عسسof your emara when you god forbid establish it.I think Amer is right the devil let the extremist Islam jinny out.

May 19th, 2011, 8:31 am


democracynow said:


Totally agree with you. (I was being sarcastic.)

May 19th, 2011, 8:34 am


qunfuz said:

No bravo to you, and propagandists like you, who slander brave journalists mistreated by state dogs. Are you on the payroll of these thugs, or are you just deep into your slave mentality?

May 19th, 2011, 8:35 am


why-discuss said:


A respected journalist does not try to enter a country with an expired passport and lie about the purpose of her travel.
In any country in the world, she would be a jail for a while and with a heavy fine!
So please stop defending the sneaky and unprofessional methods of Al Jazeera!

May 19th, 2011, 8:39 am


syau said:

“breaks peoples heads now”, I wonder if you have seen the horrid beheading of the Syrian soldier by the Islamists of the revolution? That clip is way to graphic to link, you can look for it yourself, but I’m sure you have been living in fairytale land for too long to acknowledge it.

May 19th, 2011, 8:45 am


norman said:


Apparently , by accusing Dr Landis of being sectarian. you are losing it .

May 19th, 2011, 8:47 am


Shai said:


I never suggested the international community should not pressure the Assad regime to make serious changes, reform, and lead Syria in the direction of a free and democratic society. But in some cases, it may be unwise to oust an existing regime, thinking whatever comes in its stead must be better. Clinton referred to Assad not long ago as a “reformer”. She didn’t anticipate what would occur thereafter, but she probably didn’t throw out this term accidentally. The Obama Administration may still prefer a Syria under Assad than either civil war, or some other form of dictatorship.

I don’t think half the Syrian commentators on this blog are being hypocritical when they’re not calling for the removal of Assad.

May 19th, 2011, 8:54 am


democracynow said:

وأخيرا، ندوة في بيروت تتضامن مع الثورة في سوريا

المكان: بيروت- زيكو هاوس.
الزمان: 18 أيار 2011 الساعة السادسة
الموضوع: ندوة بعنوان ” الحراك الشعبي في سوريا: مؤامرة أم انتفاضة؟”

كان للندوة محوري اهتمام، الأول، السقف العالي للمتحدثَين المتضامنَين مع الثورة السورية (ألكسندر عمار وكميل داغر) والحضور، أما الثاني فكان باب الغرفة الكبيرة في بيت زيكو إذ كانت الأنظار تتجه صوبه كلما فتح الباب لتعود العيون إلى اطمئنانها البريقي للتضامن المتواضع مع الثورة عند شقيقتنا.

تمازج الخوف بالشجاعة في ندوة البارحة. كيف لا وكل محاولات تنظيم اعتصامات أمام السفارة السورية، أو تنظيم مؤتمر تضامني مع سوريا (في البريستول) كانت تجد من يسطو عليها متوعدا، مخونا. أيتام النظام السوري في لبنان يشعرون بما يشعر وليهم في الشام، ولأن رسالته خالدة، “يجب” أن يكون قمعهم (وقمعه) خالدا، أسطوريا.

مساحة الحرية الضيقة التي تميزت بها بيروت، تتآكل. فإذا كان منظمو اللقاء التضامني مع الشعب السوري من 14 آذار، وعلى الرغم من الاختلافات بين اليسار الثوري وهذا التيار (كذلك 8 آذار)، فالحفاظ على مساحة الحرية ضروري لأنها ضمانة للجميع. فعندما تحركت (وتتحرك) الشعوب في المنطقة العربية في هذا الربيع الواعد إنما تتحرك توقا إلى العبارة الأسمى: الحرية. تدوس يد ثقيلة على الفضاء البيروتي.

سجل حافل للنظام السوري. عبارة ترددت كثيرا في الندوة. سجل ليس ناصعا بالطبع. القمع الذي مارسه النظام السوري شمل الجميع. شمل في المقدمة الشعب السوري على مر العقود الماضية من حكم البعث، قمع بالحديد وارتهان لفساد عميق، وترهل في الإدارة. قمع تعرضت له الحركة الوطنية عندما كانت تحاول بناء حركة شعبية لتغيير النظام في لبنان، فتحالف النظام السوري مع القوى الرجعية في تلك الفترة من السبعينيات، وأجهض “الحراك الثوري” آنذاك. مُسِحت مخيمات من الوجود (تل الزعتر- الضبية). تفرج النظام السوري على الاجتياح الصهيوني للبنان. ومن ثم ساهم في ضرب جبهة المقاومة الوطنية اللبنانية. إلى أن دعم المقاومة في صيغتها الحالية (حزب الله) حيث صبت هذه المساعدة في خانة الورقة السياسية الضاغطة على الإدارة الأميركية توقا وشوقا لمفاوضات سلام، هنا يمكن سؤال النظام التركي عن محاولاته للتوسط من أجل هذا “السلام”. هذا السجل يتلاقى مع مؤشرات إقتصادية، تمكنت الندوة من تظهيرها، حيث تظهر نسب البطالة والفقر التي لا تجعل من سوريا في أدنى الدول لناحية هذه المؤشرات، ولكن تضخم الجهاز العسكري والأمني ليجعل من هذه الترسانة والتي تَعِدُ “بتحرير فلسطين” من أكبر جيوش العالم – دون أن تطلق طلقة واحدة على الاحتلال الصهيوني للجولان- هذه الترسانة لم تحقق التحرير الموعود، ولم تحقق توازنا استراتيجيا مع العدو، بفعل امتلاكه لترسانة نووية.

لواستُعمِلت الأموال التي صرفت على هذا الجيش في تنمية سوريا وتحقيق الإنماء المتوازن فيها هل كانت ستوفر على النظام ما “يتعرض” له؟ سؤال طُرِحَ بالأمس، ولكن عندما خطت أيدي فتية صغار على جدران درعا عبارة “الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام” كانت نقطة اللاعودة. فالنوم على مخدة الاستقرار الممزوج بالقمع “الناعم” -والحديد والنار والاعتقال الطويل دائما، وعند اللزوم- لم يعد هانئا.

الحرية والخبز والعدالة الاجتماعية للشعب السوري، والشعب السوري “إيد” واحدة، “لا إخوان ولا سلفية الشعب السوري واحد”، رفعت هذه الشعارات في سوريا، في القرى الأشد فقرا والأكثر تعرضا للقمع. وعلى الرغم من هتافات مذهبية ومناطقية هنا وهناك فإن الرفض العارم لحالة المراوحة التي تعيشها الشعوب العربية، حيث يتعرض الإنسان لمهانة وإذلال كبيرين في كرامته البشرية، في خبزه اليومي وفي وجوده ككائن حي له حقوق طبيعية وبديهية. ثمة حاجة لحلم واقعي. يعتقل المتظاهرون، ثم يطلق سراحهم بعد تعرضهم لتعذيب شديد، ويعودون إلى أحلامهم الأرضية، الجنة تصنع هنا، وفي هذه اللحظة، على هذا البر.

تعتيم إعلامي وأبواق. تضامن مع الثورة في تونس، في مصر، في البحرين، أما الثورة في سوريا فهي “عصابات مسلحة” و”مؤامرات”، و”أمراء وإمارات”. ضبابية هذا الإعلام وتحوله إلى بوق صغير للنظام السوري أمر مدان ومرفوض. تلاقت عدة مداخلات في الندوة على هذه النقطة كذلك. الفضاء الذي ندعي بأننا ننعم به في لبنان تشوبه ندوب وجروح عميقة أصابت الصحافة والإعلام، هم لديهم إعلامهم وحساباتهم السياسية والمادية (مع استثناء بعض الأقلام الجريئة)، ونحن لدينا إعلامنا البديل.

هواجس وإشكاليات طرحت بالأمس. العلاقة بين ترنح حملة إسقاط النظام الطائفي ورموزه في لبنان وإستغلال “رخيص” لمحاولات إطلاق الانتفاضة الفلسطينية الثالثة وقمع الثورة في سوريا. بالطبع ثمة قاسم مشترك لأن المسبب للفعل الممارس على التحركات المذكورة هو واحد، لأن استمرار النظام اللبناني برموزه وجناحيه الفاسدين (14 و8 آذار) هو باستمرار النظام السوري والعكس صحيح، كما تتشابك هذه العلاقة مع السجون الجماعية التي يعيش فيها اللاجئون الفلسطينيون والتحكم في مسارهم وقرارهم الديمقراطي الحر من جهة، ومن جهة أخرى حرمانهم من حقوقهم المدنية والاجتماعية والسياسية والإقتصادية. كما طرحت مسألة انتظار انتهاء ضبابية هذا الحراك في سوريا بحسب البعض، ليتدخل اليسار بعد ذلك. هذه الفكرة أجاب عنها عدد من المتحدثين، الذين رأوا أن دور اليسار يبرز في هذه المراحل من تبلور حركة الوعي المتسارعة عند الثوار والمنتفضين، وتدخله وإشتراكه ضروري لمواجهة هيمنة الخطاب السائد المفروض من الأنظمة ووسائل سيطرتها على المجتمع. أما البديل المأمول من هذا الحراك فالبعض اعتبر أن الثورة تحدد بديلها، منهم من فضل الحذاء على الأنظمة السائدة، والبعض الآخر أصر على برنامج يفرض حلا إشتراكيا يناهض رأسمالية الدول العربية وسياساتها الإقتصادية والفاسدة. في حين اعتُبِر مسار الثورات الحاصلة سيفرض دولا ديمقراطية كحل منظور. واعتبر البعض أن الصراع مع إسرائيل لا يقوم باستمرار هذه الأنظمة التسلطية الحامية لهذا الكيان، فالدولة الديمقراطية لا تحول دون ذلك، كما ثمة ضرورة لفهم أفضل للمسالة اليهودية في الصراع هذا والتمييز بين الصهيونية والدين اليهودي، بغية الوصول إلى دولة علمانية ديمقراطية في فلسطين تشمل كل الأديان.
“نشكر الحضور على مشاركتكم” قال مقدم الندوة. تسمّر الحضور في مقاعدهم لبرهة من الوقت. شعور بعجز ندوة لإيفاء جميل كبير قدمه لنا الشعب السوري. عمال استغلوا مرتين: من قبل النظام السوري الذي نفّس حالة الاحتقان الاجتماعي الناجم من نسب البطالة المرتفعة، عمال بنوا بيروت وشقّوا الطرقات التي ربطت أطراف لبنان بأطرافه، ومن قبل النظام اللبناني (وبيروقراطية النقابات) بحرمانهم من حقوقهم العمالية وضماناتهم الاجتماعية البديهية، فضلا عن تعرضهم لهجمات عنصرية تتراوح بين السخرية والقتل (سنة 2005 خير مثال). دين لاستضافتهم للمهجرين بفعل العدوان الصهيوني على لبنان في تموز- آب من العام 2006 فبودلت هذه الاستضافة بصمت القبور والتواطؤ القاتل.

ندوة واحدة ضرورية ولكنها ليست كافية، ثمة شموع بحاجة إلى إضاءة حدادا على شهداء (شهدائنا) سقطوا، ثمة أشعار بحاجة إلى قراءة، ثمة طرقات تشتاق إلى متظاهرين.

May 19th, 2011, 8:56 am


Revlon said:

Day 66: The Syrian Revolution is gaining more grounds

The strike was a success in the current hot beds of the revolution.
– Its success points to the emergence of a strong ground leadership and networking and ease and speedy flow of information between facebook and ground networks.
– What has been learned from this triumph shall be invested in future plans for strikes.

Protests have evolved as a result of the heavy fire power, army siege, and house to house arrests.
– Demonstrations have spread to daylight and night hours.
– Demonstrations have become fleeting; They pop up when unnoticed and vanish when attended by Jr boys
– Demonstrations have recurred at the University of Aleppo and started in one of the city’s major neighbourhoods.

Who is in control in this confrontation?
Jr. Boys are in full control of the brutality of this confrontation. They have the
– Power to shell and fire: Tanks, artillery, machineguns, rifles, pistols, and batons
– Power to Kill: Dozens of martyrs are falling every week.
– Power to Arrest and Torture: Thousands of civilians have been imprisoned and tortured. The latest account of Ms. Parves of her detention days in a Syrian cam-p camp offered an insight into the plight of Syrian detainees.
– Support of the governments of Iran, Russia, and China

The people are in firm control of peaceful resistance. They have the
– Power of will and courage to brave the armed aggression
– Power of sacrifice for the sake of freedom
– Power of defiance in the face of torture
– Respect and sympathy of the free world.

The army
– The regime is frustrated by the fragile allegiance of the ranks and files of the army!
– Neither the regime, nor the People (The revolution) are interested in or actively seeking a major split, as happened in Lebanon. The consequences would be disastrous for the nation.
– Limited mutiny is and will continue to happen at confrontation lines, where Sunni soldiers are asked to fire at demonstrators.

The US and EU sanctions
This is another major achievement in the stepwise process of declaring Asad’s regime illegitimate.

The UN human rights investigation will provide the legal forum for prosecuting the ruling clan.

May 19th, 2011, 9:03 am


norman said:


we all want president Assad to lead a reform movement but not under the gun and through violence.Syria and the Syrian deserve a secular state like the US, where all are equal. and people can believe in any religion they want .

May 19th, 2011, 9:03 am


democracynow said:

Reform inflicted on houses in Daraa:

The one who’s recording talks about how the security forces stole 3 millions SP in cash and 2 millions worth of gold from the house.

This video from Banias corroborates the practice (shows army and security agents dragging a safe out of a house):

May 19th, 2011, 9:28 am


Sisyphus said:

@47 Aboud,

The reason sectarianism flourishes is because of the paranoia and corruption of the system. A majority of the protesters seem to be of the One Nation variety. Obviously this doesn’t mean that the people with guns can’t make it a sectarian fight. But there is no real reason for it other than narrow interests.

It struck me that many different segments of the population no longer believe in the old formula of Alawis on top, rural people/Baathis (Haraka Tashihieh fans) second, the rest third. The regime doesn’t bother to hide behind the Haraka Tashihieh any more and socialism is dead. They are eventually going to have to close many government factories etc because they are no longer affordable. They have abandoned the biggest constituency that supported them previously- the rebellion is most vocal in rural areas today. I’m sure many Alawi people also see the regime for what it is.It is ironic how the Baathis hide behind the industrialists of Aleppo today – they used to make a sport of fleecing them (and still do).

I’m also wondering why the Syrian Govt. refuses to directly accuse the Saudis/Hariri/Israelis for killing our soldiers. If there are Salafi insurgents wanting to destroy the country, then surely we need a clear and unequivocal push back. Isn’t it time for Mecca and the oil fields to be liberated? Or is the story of Salivating Salafis murdering brave soldiers simply a convenient excuse to remain in power?

The regime is degenerate. They are less organised than Iran or Turkey or Hizballah. They are the weak link, no matter how many rockets they have. The corruption is killing the country and the regime is no longer able to buy off significant parts of the population with jobs/electricity for villages etc. When they talk of investment and reform they mean neoliberal economics with the corruption intact. Leading to an Egypt situation.

I believe that the only way forward has to be some sort of increased autonomy for the people (Iran is more free than Syria, for example) – we need new rules, understood by the governors and the governed, but also a vastly improved civil service. Syria is chaotic – we will not be able to play the mumana’a card effectively (or make any strategic commitments) if the people are hungry. We can’t even implement the reforms necessary to preserve the water table.

We must have a situation where Joe Public can prosper. And it can’t be due to temporary government largesse – it has to be because the government releases its grip and gives people some freedom to operate without paying bribes.

For example, when traveling, i have stayed in places that welcome backpackers that are basically people’s homes with a few rooms converted.They are regulated by their governments and they take a photocopy of passports etc. But they are free to work.

Would the Syrian government allow ordinary Syrians to open their homes to backpackers with minimum regulations? Well for a start the government just wants big money to arrive from the Gulf (raising prices for everyone) and to create large projects that do not benefit the average Syrian very much. They will probably benefit a few corrupt officials who will ensure that those businesses have a monopoly on the tourist business. Also, before they allow people to open their homes, they will suffocate them with bureaucracy and regularly demand bribes.

Or, for example, look at the stock exchange. I can understand the govt. wanting to regulate an exchange in order to prevent fraud. But a government simply creating a stock exchange? Ridiculous. There is no accounting/legal processes and experience needed to make it a success. It seems to be a toy for show. But if the merchants of Syria decided to set up their own small exchanges, with rules of trade and accounting that grow grow organically from case to case, then the government will probably intervene and prevent them from organising themselves. But only a stock exchange that is grown organically, with rules and procedures that result from solid local experience and are broadly understood by everyone from the small investor to the market porters, can grow to become genuinely attractive to serious foreign investors.

Some comments on this blog disparage the ‘junta’ description of the government. But I believe that is probably a better description than ‘regime’. A regime has a mission. What is our mission? How can it be a regime when family members are more important than government ministers? Hizballah doesn’t belong to Nasrallah, Iran doesn’t belong to the Ayatollah or Ahmadinejad and Turkey doesn’t belong to Erdogan. But Syria belongs to the Assad family and friends. They have a massive credibility problem. They removed the emergency law (in the middle of an emergency???) but then continued to dominate and abuse people as usual. Nobody believes they mean what they say or even know what they want, other than to keep stealing and controlling everything.

In order to break this cycle, we need the junta to become a regime again. That means rules agreed by the people at the top between themselves. It means rules that they stick to and enforce, even if those rules are unfair to the general public. At least there will be some recognition that the regime’s future is tied to Syria’s future. They can’t rely on oil money (domestic or from the Gulf) to prop up a failing, predatory system. Mubarak’s regime grew and flourished while Egypt was dying, precisely because it relied on foreign cash. That cash gave the regime the ability to keep killing their own productive economy. In biological terms, if a parasite kills its host it is also doomed. But if the parasite is artificially supported then it can afford to kill its host.

Recently i read the list of suggestions that the Aleppo Chamber of Commerce has presented to the government in order to improve the economy. I particularly like the acknowledgment of the difficulties facing small businesses. On the face of it, the demands seem very reasonable. But will they actually be implemented or is this simply a game? I’m from Aleppo. Are we actually going to be rewarded for not joining the uprising?? Or is the rest of the country going to hate us for keeping the system going and the system is just going to carry on throttling the country’s potential??

Is there a genuine will to rationalise government departments, sack unnecessary people, give the remaining staff more pay? What will happen to the sacked government employees without a healthy job market? Will they join the uprising?

On a visit to China, I read about the boss of the Haier company struggling to explain to his staff about quality control. The company used to be a government industry till it was privatised. The staff were still thinking in terms of 1st quality products, 2nd quality products etc. – basically producing inferior products for the sake of it. No matter how many times he explained, they carried on. One day he had enough, called his workers to a meeting and proceeded to smash a washing machine to bits with a sledgehammer in front of them. Then they understood that only a properly tested, fully functioning machine is acceptable.

Perhaps in Daraa the president should have broken a few mukhabarat heads in order to convince them that the whole Arab world is changing and they must change with it. But the boss of Haier knew specifically what he was asking of his staff. Does our boss have a clear, realistic vision to enforce? Is he actually the boss? Is there anything he can do to re-establish some credibility and purpose?

Some commenters on this blog are worried about the ability of the Saudis to inflame the situation and take advantage of the chaos in order to establish a Salafi Emirate. Perhaps they should worry about Turkey and Iran deciding that the current junta has run out of ideas and may not be able offer them the long term strategic options that they require.

May 19th, 2011, 9:31 am


democracynow said:

I’ve heard of so many martyred and wounded from Al Masalmeh, Aba Zaid and Al Mahameed families that I really wonder if anything is left of them. How tragic…how utterly tragic…

May 19th, 2011, 9:32 am


why-discuss said:


In Afghanistan, the US elegantly calls these deaths ‘collaterals’ to war on terrorism

May 19th, 2011, 9:39 am


why-discuss said:

Defiant Syria denounces US sanctions on Assad

“The US measures are part of a series of sanctions imposed by successive US administrations against the Syrian people as part of a regional scheme, aimed primarily at serving Israel’s interests,” the official SANA news agency said.

May 19th, 2011, 9:47 am


democracynow said:


Thank you for the analogy: indeed, the Syrian security forces and army are acting like an occupying power in a foreign land.

May 19th, 2011, 9:52 am


Aboud said:


Sorry, my bad.

@51 Thanks Akbar. Usually I don’t even bother debating with Baathists, as it is impossible to have a discussion with people who seem to live in a different reality, like people who think there is any sort of parity between the Syrian and Israeli armed forces. 5th June my ample Syrian ass.

Landis says that the revolution failed to split the army. Apparently, in their agonized efforts to paint Bashar as strong, the regime supporters have sunk to making up goals and objectives on behalf of the revolution, and ticking them off as failures. Not once, in any of the protests, did anyone ever shout for a sectarian split of the armed forces. It was never a goal of the revolution, except in the frenzied minds of the regime.

Next week, I expect Landis to claim that the revolution failed because the Syrian flag didn’t get changed to a Salafi symbol.

May 19th, 2011, 9:57 am


why-discuss said:


If Bashar was weak and wanted to save his skin, his “assets and his “regime” , he would immediately break the relationship with Iran and accept peace with Israel. He would be then praised by the US not only as a ‘reformer’ but as a ‘state man’.
By his defiance, he is showing amazing pride, consistency and resilience.

Obama in his planned speech will express his worries about the Palestininan moves. He seems to underestimate Syria’s role in inciting or preventing Palestinians confrontations with Israelis..

“But the most urgent issue of the day will be unaddressed: how Obama, or anyone else for that matter, can prevent a new outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israelis that could terminally damage hopes for peace in the region, and undermine the prospects for moderate change in the Arab world.”

May 19th, 2011, 10:08 am


Sophia said:

# 68 Sisyphus,

I agree with many points in your assessment of the situation in Syria and the solutions to the many problems facing Syria, and I think this is the most constructive critique I read up to now on this blog in the comment section.

I just want to answer one of your remarks:

“I’m also wondering why the Syrian Govt. refuses to directly accuse the Saudis/Hariri/Israelis for killing our soldiers. If there are Salafi insurgents wanting to destroy the country, then surely we need a clear and unequivocal push back. Isn’t it time for Mecca and the oil fields to be liberated? Or is the story of Salivating Salafis murdering brave soldiers simply a convenient excuse to remain in power?”

I also wondered the same and in the many threats that Makhlouf addressed to Turkey and the west in his interview with the NYT reporter, KSA and the gulf states were not mentioned. KSA and the gulf countries are affirming themselves as a new political power center in the region, in addition to the fact that they are already big conveyors of contracts and investments. So it would be silly to attack them, as well as it was silly to attack Turkey as Makhlouf did. But maybe Makhlouf does not have currently business dealings with Turkey as he has with KSA and the gulf states. And also attacking KSA and the gulf states will lead to closing doors with dealing with them again. Even Hezbollah does not attack openly Saudi Arabia. As for Hariri, I think he was mentioned in a veiled way. But don’t think that Hariri=SA. If he doesn’t prove to be a strong man for them in Lebanon, they will let him down, they have many others knocking on their doors and if Mikati proves to be a man of consensus, they will coopt Mikati. There are differences in the March 14 movement and Hariri has been played by the Geagea branch too much.

Eventually, if Syria is able to pull itself out from this crisis, and even if the regime is still in place, business with SA and the gulf states will return to normal. Don’t forget that in Lebanon, after 20 years of civil war, many assassinations and unrest, we are back to point 0, after every upheaval. Unless there is heavy foreign military intervention in Syria and Lebanon (as they did in Iraq), something nobody wants in either countries, those two countries will stay as they are, so the best we can do is to force reforms on the system, but not mayhem and wars.

May 19th, 2011, 10:09 am


Revlon said:

According to a neurologist who watched this video, B Asad may have suffred a cerebrovascular accident resulting in left paresis. Watch!

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد

عاجــــل — وردنا الخبر قبل حوالي 10 أيام لكننا لم نصدق، لكن وبعد هذا الفيديو، يروي دكتور أعصاب سوري بأن بشار الأسد مصاب بجلطة دماغية وهو متأكد وجازم من ذلك بنسبة تفوق الـ 70% .. لاحظوا عدم تحريك يده اليسرى وحمله لها بيده اليمنى، لماذا؟ لأن “الجلطة الدماغية تؤدي الى عدم امكانية مد اليدين الى الأمام بشكل متساو حيث تهبط اليد الاخرى بسرعة بعد رفعها .. ” لاحظوا انحنائه لليسار .. المصور يتجنب اظهار يديه في جميع المشاهد ..

about an hour ago عاجــــل — وردنا الخبر قبل حوالي 10 أيام

May 19th, 2011, 10:30 am


Aboali said:

Sana claims Tal Kalakh is being shelled by the Lebanese side from Hariri supporters, and not the Syrian army. What are they playing it? getting Lebanon involved in the uprising? Don’t they realize there are International news reporters there which can confirm that this is a load of crap? or don’t they actually care anymore about their non-existent credibility?

May 19th, 2011, 10:35 am


Syria no kandahar said:


All syrians hearts goes to every family lost any member in this disaster.that includes ابازيد محاميد جنود تلاوي and many many others.God will decide who is شهيد and who is not and who is 50%.for example is he going to make snipers(from either side )what.some families have made horrible mistake by thinking that they can drag 4 millions Syrian families to a direction which they were not interested in.

May 19th, 2011, 10:40 am


US said:

Obama was correct to sanction the Iranian puppet. Even if it doesn’t cause much harm it is symbolic. Of course Syria is desperately trying to hide behind “anti-imperialist” policies as if that is a legitimate excuse for tyranny. Luckily it looks as if the brave Syrian people can see right through this desperate ploy. Being anti-Israel does not justify repression.

May 19th, 2011, 10:41 am


Syria no kadahar said:

Did you stop by ام محمد for coffee again today.she told you about the strok . — Edited for insults JL

May 19th, 2011, 10:47 am


Revlon said:

Student Khaled AbaZeid fell martyr while in custody of security forces. He refused to provide a televised false confession

AlFati7a upon his soul,
May God bless his family with solace and empower them with patience.
2 hours ago
The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
الثورة السورية || مصادر من درعا أفادت استشهاد الشاب طالب خالد ابازيد من مواليد 1988 بعد ان رفض الظهور على التلفزيون السوري وتقديم رواية الكاذبة حيث كان معتقل عند الأمن ومن ثم اعتقال عمه الممرض في مستشفى درعا الوطني زياد ابازيد من مواليد 1985 لرفضه التوقيع على اقرار بأن ابن اخيه قتله الارهابيين

May 19th, 2011, 10:48 am


Sophia said:

#76 Revlon,

Suppose that the news item you are propagating is true, what is its significance? The Syrian Facebook Revolution seems to be desperate for something.

Keep spreading propaganda. And since when doctors make diagnoses through videos?

By the way is is totally unethical and contrary to a doctor’s code of ethics to make such diagnosis on someone and to spread it without the authorization of this person.

May 19th, 2011, 10:51 am


Findalaawi said:

#76 Revlon,

As a medical professional, I don’t think that the video is consistent with a CVA (although the video is grainy and unclear).

If a person suffers a right-sided stroke, it will affect the left side of the body – except for much of the face, where the nerves actually come out of the same side of the brain, not the opposite.

So, one would actually expect to see left-sided body weakness and a right-sided facial droop, as opposed to universally affecting the left side.

Of course, there is always the possibility one could have more than one stroke event affecting different parts of the brain. But I’m not seeing it here.

May 19th, 2011, 10:57 am


Aboud said:


You’re joking right? The man went on national TV, he lost any claims to privacy when he paraded himself infront of Syrian TV in such a condition. And frankly I could care less about the privacy of a man whose goons break into homes at will and make off with people’s possessions.

As to diagnosis via video, I recall a few years ago the US Congress making a big deal about a woman in a coma in an issue about assisted suicide. Not one of those members of congress had seen her in real life, but that didn’t them from making her the center of their debate for weeks on end.

Too bad that with the new sanctions, Bashar won’t be able to do what other despots have done and go running to Europe for treatment. THAT is one of the benefits of the sanctions, ya sayed Landis.

May 19th, 2011, 11:00 am


aboali said:

exposing Syria media lies and contradictions:!/SyTVLies

for example, the 3 accounts given for the death of Political Intelligence chief in Homs:

May 19th, 2011, 11:02 am


Syria no kandahar said:

NB:after your coffee with ام محمد tomorrow please check with gastroenterologist friend ,just for the way it seem that ام محمد did’t tell you about the chief of security who was shot down by baby guns in Homs.I imagine that ام محمد is deaf and may be blind . I gues that is good for you she will tell you what you want to hear.

May 19th, 2011, 11:05 am


abughassan said:

(I could not see my first post)
the sanctions will be seen as an escalation at a time when what is needed is dialogue. if that dialogue does not happen and the promised reform measures do not materialize, then we will all know that Bashar can not lead syria since his legitimacy now is conditional upon enacting reform. another problem with those symbolic sanctions is that they are not likely to change the regime’s behavior and can only serve to insult Bashar and make the regime less cooperative and more stubborn.those sanctions make sense only if the US is actively working to remove the regime,so I am eager to see if that what is being cooked. the third problem with those sanctions is that they are very likely to complicate any future efforts to reduce tension and polarization in the region. I am not surprised that Israel is probably going to get away with killing 15 unarmed Arabs. Arab blood,based on the action of Arab governments and the UN,seems to be less valuable.

May 19th, 2011, 11:15 am


Sophia said:

The Syrian revolution is getting stranger by the day: Bashar has a stroke and this one:

Syrian army ‘defectors’ are actually kidnapped or civilians dressed up.
Link from FLC

May 19th, 2011, 11:16 am


Sisyphus said:

@74 why-discuss

He knows that American influence is waning. He’s not going to jump onto a losing horse. He knows better than anyone that giving up his cards will not make America help him – they will just take what he’s offering then keep demanding more till he has nothing left.

He needs to deliver credible change to the people in order to convince his backers that he is worth backing.

@75 Sophia

Yes, I suppose it is because of future business that they don’t criticize SA. But I’m not sure that Saudi money will fix anything – it will just postpone the day when the junta realise that they have to rely on the Syrian people.

But I do think it is time to give the Saudis a wake up call. I saw Nasrallah’s speech where he said that the repression in Bahrain is ignored because the people are Shia. You could see how sensitive he thought the issue was – he tried to be as diplomatic as possible. I’m not advocating that either Syria or Hizballah stoop to Hariri’s level of mindless babbling. But if sectarianism is genuinely a problem for us then we need to address it at source. Look at the damage the Saudis did to Yemen. Egyptians know how Saudi money kept Mubarak in place. Its time to let the Saudis know that their meddling has a price. The Christians in Syria may be scared of the Salafis. But the junta are playing a double game here – they need the Christians to be scared, in order to co-opt them. Why not publicly expose Saudi meddling so that the average Syrian can see what these people are capable of? If the people of Syria overwhelming and publicly reject the Salafis then the Christians will have nothing to fear. But no, there is going to be some dodgy deal with the Saudis – they will just argue over the price and the issue will be covered up and allowed to fester. How is that going to help the Christians??

Why can’t the junta support Iran and Hizballah with regards to Bahrain? Because they are on dodgy ground and they want to play the double game forever, without knowing what they actually stand for. Why beg the Saudis for cash? If we actually had a productive economy that anyone can invest in, then money will flow into Syria for economic rather than political reasons.

Basically, the president has proved that he is good at resisting hasty decisions and that he will not be easily pushed around. But when the tsunami arrives then we need someone who knows how to act quickly, otherwise we will still be doing mumana’a while drowning… the protest are growing. People who never talked about politics are now talking about it openly and the joke reforms the government made smell of more mumana’a and control than purposeful change.

May 19th, 2011, 11:27 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

68# Sisyphus,

Quite long but very interesting. Though I differ with you about your claim that this junta can be transformed into a regime. Too many conflicting interests, too many parties to satisfy, and too many forces pulling in opposite directions. A Gordian Knot solution will be needed. Cut the knot, then re knit it to create a proper regime. Or if to use your metaphor, remove the parasite in order to allow the host to live.


Obama’s Mega speech in 10 minutes. Will he call Assad to go ?

May 19th, 2011, 11:41 am


why-discuss said:


A loosing horse? Why then the sanctions of the US are comforting the revolution? Why is Egypt hesitant to go all the way against the peace treaty with Israel that the large majority of Egyptians reject? Why is Saudi arabia buy billions of weapons from the US?
Why is Tunisa and Egypt going to accept the dollars and the business deals that the US is going to give them to try to temper the nascent anti-Israel stand?

Your reasons make no sense. The US is still the dominant power in the region. The only country that have stood consistently against its hegemony are Iran and Syria at the cost of crippled economy.
So please have the honesty to credit Bashar at least of resisting fiercefully the US/Israel coalition and for hosting millions of arab refugees when he could just be an obedient and frightened lackey like Jordan and the GCC countries and not be inflicted by regular sanctions!

May 19th, 2011, 11:50 am


Sophia said:

#85 Sisyphus

I agree with the following:

“Why not publicly expose Saudi meddling so that the average Syrian can see what these people are capable of? If the people of Syria overwhelming and publicly reject the Salafis then the Christians will have nothing to fear. But no, there is going to be some dodgy deal with the Saudis – they will just argue over the price and the issue will be covered up and allowed to fester. How is that going to help the Christians??

Why can’t the junta support Iran and Hizballah with regards to Bahrain? Because they are on dodgy ground and they want to play the double game forever, without knowing what they actually stand for. Why beg the Saudis for cash? If we actually had a productive economy that anyone can invest in, then money will flow into Syria for economic rather than political reasons.”

This is why in Lebanon, Aoun is much more open in his criticism of SA. I think, at the end of the day, we have to get rid of the monarchies amongst us because they are infusing a lot of backwardness and immobilism in the Arab world as well as shaping policies. This is the real problem in the region, it is at the root of everything. And I am afraid that Syria cannot afford to continue playing the double game because the monarchies have taken sides openly.

May 19th, 2011, 11:54 am


why-discuss said:

Modern Slavery in GCC Countries

May 19th, 2011, 12:00 pm


aboali said:

they confirmed the story of the mass grave found, the media spoke of 1 but they are 4-5 so far. People even saw when the bodies were being disposed. All these stories about confessions is bullshit, they know some of the guys who appeared on TV. They were put in prison and forced to say what they said Even the images of people throwing rice on the army as it left Dar3a were staged, they can confirm from the people’s accent (not from Dar3a) and even the location of these images, close to govt headquarters. The 4th division (Maher Asad) is in Dar3a as it was reported. The big and somehow strange story is the 4 and 5 division fought each other ! but not cause of dissent but because how the 4 division treats the other army divisions. Apparently they bombed each other with tanks !! and literally hundreds of them were killed. People saw how they came with trucks and bulldozers to take the bodies. The stories about army being killed is either army killing army or security killing army.

May 19th, 2011, 12:10 pm


hamoudeh said:

The comments here are so out of touch with reality.
We are speaking about a paranoid state mafia, which see in every syrian a potential troublemakers, a state which kidnap and send you to jail for nothing.
I have friends who have really nothing to do with politics and we born in deraa are now hesitating to come to syria because they fear for their safety.
Not so hard to explain given the thuggish and revengefull nature of
this mafia.
People need here to understand that there is now an before and after, and all the oldish propaganda of the regime, is collapsing, they have manage to unite syrians against them

Good luck to syrian people for their revolution, and prayers to the deads and the kidnaped people in prisons who are now tortured by the thugs

May 19th, 2011, 12:28 pm


Mina said:

#68 Sisyphus
“For example, when traveling, i have stayed in places that welcome backpackers that are basically people’s homes with a few rooms converted.They are regulated by their governments and they take a photocopy of passports etc. But they are free to work.

Would the Syrian government allow ordinary Syrians to open their homes to backpackers with minimum regulations?”

These rooms exist, sorry you believe what you read about Syra being a second North Korea. If people are “more free” in Iran, as you think, there is here an issue of patriarcate. But basically Syrian women are more free than in any other country with a muslim majority, except North Africa.

May 19th, 2011, 12:33 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

So after all Obama gave Bashar a slap on his wrist like he did for all the other boys :he must start dialouge
See you in the next revolution(make it clean one)

May 19th, 2011, 12:49 pm


Nour said:

I read the report on the angry arab blog and it is so outlandish and silly, it isn’t even funny. As’ad Abu Khalil has long held a grudge against the Syrian regime because they stopped his silly purported Arafat-Jumblatt led “revolution” in Lebanon. In other words, they prevented the so-called “patriotic movement” from taking over the Christian areas in Lebanon in 1976. This particular description of the events comes from an unknown “comrade” who spoke to 3 unknown “colleagues” and they basically repeated the same idiotic propaganda that the army and security are killing each other. We have already seen evidence that this is not the case. The Lebanese Army confirmed the story that the Syrian soldiers in Lebanon were attacked by armed gunmen and kidnapped, and that they requested their return to Syria. The killings of soldiers and officers in Homs and Banyas further support the indisputable fact that there are armed gunmen operating in Syria, the existence of which has even been admitted by opposition figures. As’ad Abu Khalil is an irresponsible person who simply peddles silly propaganda when it suits his interest without regard for the consequences. He himself has admitted that there is a conspiracy against Syria but then goes around and spreads every silly story that in his view can harm the regime. He couldn’t care less about the consequences this may have on Syria itself because he is not accountable to anything. He simply sits behind his computer and writes nonsense, criticizing and attacking anyone not to his liking. It is unfortunate, because he could actually serve a constructive purpose, but he chooses to use his knowledge and talents for negative things.

May 19th, 2011, 12:57 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Obama Speach;
It has been a great,great speach.
Stating that security is not substitute for FREEDOM,
acknowledge the courage of the syrian people
Telling Assad to either leads true reform or must leave.
Salute the freedom movements in Bahrain and Iraq.
US policy must be alligned with the people ,not the ruler.
US will help fanacially those nations that is going through the hardship of such revolution.
Democracy is not going through voting booths,but must includes protection of minorities.
Women rights must be respected.
Israel must realize current situation will not last, and Israel must acknowledge the rights of palastinians.respect their hopes.
Delays by Israel to do that is not good for Israel.
Borders of 1967 is the basis for two states in israel and palastine.based on gradual withdrawal.
The future of Quds must be through negotiations.
Oppression will fail, and the people will win.

May 19th, 2011, 12:59 pm


Nour said:

بعد العثور على جثثهم.. الرئيس الأسد يلتقي وفدا من عائلة أبا زيد ويستمع منهم إلى ظروف اختفاء أقربائهم

الاخبار المحلية

قال مصدر مطلع لسيريانيوز إن الرئيس بشار الأسد استقبل يوم الأربعاء 4 أشخاص من مدينة درعا واستمع منهم إلى ظروف اختفاء أفراد من عائلتهم عثر على جثثهم في حفرة بالقرب من المدينة منذ أيام.

وكان مصدر مسؤول صرح يوم الثلاثاء الماضي لوكالة (سانا) انه تم الإبلاغ عن وجود خمس جثث في منطقة البحار في درعا, مؤكدا أن المحامي العام تبلغ بالواقعة وأن اللجنة المشكلة لهذا الأمر تقوم بالتحقيق في ملابسات الحادث وأسبابه وقد سلمت الجثث إلى أهالي المتوفين حيث تم دفنها.

وأضاف المصدر أن “من بين الأشخاص الذين التقاهم الرئيس الاسد 3 من عائلة أبا زيد, احدهم احد افراد العائلة التي اكتشفت جثامينهم, واستمع منهم إلى ظروف اختفائهم”, مضيفا أن “الرئيس الاسد وجه بالتحقيق المباشر في هذه الجريمة البشعة ومحاسبة الفاعلين أشد محاسبة”.

والجثث التي عثر عليها تعود إلى 5 أشخاص من عائلة واحدة وهم عبد الرزاق أبا زيد وأولاده الأربعة سامر وسمير وسليمان ومحمد.

وشهدت محافظة درعا أحداثا دامية خلال الشهرين الماضيين رح ضحيتها العشرات من مدنيين وعسكريين في احداث اطلاق نار من قبل “عصابات مسلحة”.

وتزامن ظهور جماعات مسلحة في اكثر من مدينة مع خروج مواطنين في مظاهرات تطالب بالحرية والإصلاح، قامت باعمال قتل وترويع للسكان واعتداء على نقاط امنية وعسكرية.


May 19th, 2011, 1:03 pm


why-discuss said:

I thought it was a weak, over cautious and confused speech. He was hesitant, with many pauses as he was trying to measure his words not to offend Israel
Overall reiteration of the old songs, nothing new for a long-waited speech! Obviously the US foreign diplomacy is in limbo, despite the awkward praise of useless Hillary Clinton!

May 19th, 2011, 1:09 pm


abughassan said:

citizens of GCC who are ruled by middle-ages style governments are not demonstrating because they are getting paid. people are far less likely to revolt if they have money. communities in those countries are also largely tribal and religious, and are inclined to keep those royal families in charge.for now, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC can buy the silence of their citizens until money runs out or the new generation catches up with the concept of freedom and democracy.There is no unemployment problem in Qatar,for example, despite the fact that many Qataris do not have actual jobs and no Qatari is obligated to work,they get paid for being Qatari. Do you expect those people to demonstrate any time soon?

May 19th, 2011, 1:10 pm


norman said:

It seems that the US still has faith in the Syrian president to lead the reform movement but , they want him to move like a rabbit not like a turtle, It is time to call for multiparty non ethnic, non religious election and for asking for help from the US and university institutions to set up districts and election, it is time for a real secular state , then we and the US will know if the opposition want a modern state or an Islamic one.

BBC is going crazy that he gave president Assad a chance to reform.

May 19th, 2011, 1:10 pm


Mina said:

you are unfair!! Obama mentioned the destroyed Shia mosques in Bahrain. It must have been first news for most of the audience. The newspapers will feel obliged now to talk about Bahrain.
I liked the speech. But please, don’t expect (#98) US universities to be of any help. They are populated with co-opted cold-war neocons, Christian zionists, and fade opportunistic figures. The few exceptions will be happy to be invited by Syrian institutions (which exist and are recognized by the scientific community… okay, probably not in ‘hard sciences’.)

May 19th, 2011, 1:18 pm


norman said:

Syria need a good count of the people and organised well and districts where people register where they live not where they come from , so if somebody from Kamishli but lives and works in Damascus he should vote and register in Damascus , so we can diverse the people .

Oklahoma university can help set thing up we know somebody honest there , DR Landis, he can steer us right.

May 19th, 2011, 1:26 pm


Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

People must have noticed that I am not against Assad, but after all this trouble the least thing I expect from Assad is to:

-Dismantle the Progressive National Front.
-Remove article 8 from the constitution.
-Allow different parties to compete for the PM seat.
-Allow legal peaceful demonstrations that do not represent a threat to the state.
-Free the media.

This is the minimum that can be called political reform. Anything less than that will be disappointing and may lead to widespread frustration among the Syrians.

The worst thing that can happen is for Assad to keep the Progressive National Front and add new parties to it. This will not be reform and will not be satisfactory to most Syrians.

I also hope that Assad was serious when he talked about limiting the task of the secret police to gathering information only. The secret police must stop interfering in state work because this is the single most important reason for why Syrians hate the regime.

Assad must be careful when he announces his reform plan because people are expecting real reform. The old guard advisers who have been advising Assad on how to quell the rebellion (Naseef, Douba, etc.) have done a great job, but Assad must not take their advice on what to do AFTER quelling the rebellion because those people will probably tell Assad to do like his father, which is wrong.

May 19th, 2011, 1:29 pm


why-discuss said:


I agree that he did not want to be criticized for being one sided, this is why he mentioned Bahrain (If they loose Bahrain, it is not a big deal, it is not a strategic place and has no oil, just a friend of KSA and a Naval base!). He was always tiptoeing not to hurt Saudi Arabia or Israel. But he attacked Iran directly to please his Jewish voters and Israel.
For Syria, after the private sanctions on Bashar Al Assad on Wednesday, it was clear Obama was not going to add anything to it, despite hopes from BBC and Al Jazeera.

Overall he was so over cautious that his speech was dull and indecisive. Very disappointing..

May 19th, 2011, 1:58 pm


why-discuss said:

Read the unbelievably pretentious call of al Jazeera to Obama for an interview!!
(I thought it was a joke)

Mister President, not another sermon!
Barack Obama needs to have a frank conversation with Al Jazeera, our senior political analyst says.

“And like you, Al Jazeera is also the embodiment of plurality of race and ideology, as well as the home of a plethora of ethnic identities and nationalities.

Indeed, within the sphere of global and Arab journalism, ‘we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for’.”

May 19th, 2011, 2:04 pm



President Obama speach is nothing but an opportunistic attempt at regaining some significance in the middle east, after being caught flatfooted by the upheaval sweeping the area.
The two places that his administration had the most leverage with the regimes in place at the time, Egypt and Bahrain, showed how ineffective his administration is in shaping the events.
Rhetoric and empty words are useless when the policy is fundamentally wrong.
It is now an established style, same as the Cairo speech. Empty words.

May 19th, 2011, 2:28 pm


JAD said:


متحدث بإسم الحكومة البريطانية: لا نطالب الاسد بالرحيل بل بالاصلاح

19 أيار 2011
وفي الموضوع السوري، اشار داي الى ان ” بريطانيا ترى ان سوريا على مفترق طرق ولا تطالب الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد بالرحيل بل باصلاحات ولا نريد توسيع دائرة الارهابيين ان كان في سوريا او غيرها والاستقرار الحقيقي يتحقق بالاصلاحات وليس بالقمع”، لافتا في هذا الاطار، الى ان “سوريا لا تزال تستخدم العنف ضد الارهابيين وفي حال استمرت على هذا الامر، فبريطانيا ستعمد الى توسيع نطاق العقوبات لتشمل اعلى الشخصيات”.

May 19th, 2011, 2:39 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Can any proregime commenter deny the grave massacre now?
بعد العثور على جثثهم..,comment #104
in a previous thread, comment #189 Nour quoted an article doubting the massacre because the dirt was not wet.
This is the nonsense way some comments are, can you spare us nonsense comments please.

May 19th, 2011, 2:42 pm


Mina said:

He is like Bashar, he has to avoid lost bullets. Did you see this gruesome picture of an effigy hanged on a building in a southern US town a year ago? (Can’t recall where, i’ll try to find it)

May 19th, 2011, 3:01 pm


Tarek said:

Dr. Landis, you know this regime is criminal. if you love Syria like you claim, you should be fighting it and not patting it.

May 19th, 2011, 3:20 pm


atassi said:

Souri,norman,Syria no Kandahar,why-discuss and other pro Assad
would you agree….
We Syrians have no viable option but to bound together, We must be vocal and open minded about how we feel but we must respect others feeling too, we should try hard to limit our paranoia and carry our national identity first.. Many internal and external forces including the Assad regime wanted us divided so they can rule and repress our people, let’s try to fail all of them…. Souria First….

May 19th, 2011, 3:32 pm


why-discuss said:


I agree fully with you, but now, in view of the numerous shadowy forces operating in Syria, there is no other option than to trust Bashar al Assad in his attempts to move the country gradually to a democracy.
It is a road full of dangers, but Juan Carlos of Spain, the heir of Franco did it, why not Bashar?

May 19th, 2011, 3:38 pm


why-discuss said:



It sounds like the EU will announce the same symbolic sanctions as the US on the assets of Bashar Al Assad.
Most importantly, the rest of the text is giving Bashar a encouraging leeway.

“The foreign ministers on Monday will call for an immediate halt to violence against protesters in Syria and demand that Assad address the causes of the upheavals in the country.

Diplomats in Brussels said the 27 governments would call for a “national dialogue” in Syria, including a concrete timetable for political reform.

May 19th, 2011, 3:46 pm


AIG said:


Since Assad does not plan to reform, what leeway is being given to him?

What exactly is Syria going to do now that it is completely cut from the West? If you really had Syria’s interest in mind you would be calling for Assad to step down and let a transitional government form. Assad is digging Syria’s own grave.

May 19th, 2011, 4:01 pm


Ayman said:

Syria in Obama’s speech today on the Middle East:

“While Libya has faced violence on the greatest scale, it’s not the only place where leaders have turned to repression to remain in power. Most recently, the Syrian regime has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens. The United States has condemned these actions, and working with the international community we have stepped up our sanctions on the Syrian regime –- including sanctions announced yesterday on President Assad and those around him.
The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. It must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests. It must allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara’a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and will continue to be isolated abroad.
So far, Syria has followed its Iranian ally, seeking assistance from Tehran in the tactics of suppression. And this speaks to the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime, which says it stand for the rights of protesters abroad, yet represses its own people at home. “

May 19th, 2011, 4:08 pm


why-discuss said:


I am assuming that, once the violence and the illegal demonstrations stop, Bashar al Assad will make significant reforms with a definite time table. The ball in already rolling.
Otherwise he knows that he will loose the support of the ones who believed in him.

I don’t see what you mean by a transitional government, where is the opposition? A facebook government?

May 19th, 2011, 4:13 pm


Atassi said:

I don’t know if Bashar can still be part of this transformation process he is not my choice,But it’s not my call either, with all the bloodshed and killing, Bashar Assad made the choice to become a warlord and Not as president and any resolutions will required a closure to what the regime done to the people…..

May 19th, 2011, 4:17 pm


Ayman said:


If I can weigh in here, Assad is a ruthlessly brutal military dictator who leads a government of a minority sect, as such he has little desire to open up the system. If demonstrations were to end there would be nothing to push him toward political reforms. Few people believe in him now, we know this because the only way he can maintain power is through extreme violence.

May 19th, 2011, 4:22 pm


AIG said:


The protests are not going to stop until Assad makes a serious move like freeing ALL political prisoners. So what are you going to do if the protests continue months or years? Keep waiting for reforms?

By transitional government I mean a government made up of opposition figures like Kilo and others as well as technocrats that work for the current regime.

May 19th, 2011, 4:23 pm


why-discuss said:

Ayman, Attasi, Aig

I am sorry but Bashar al Assad has still a lot of popularity, I don’t know where you get your information.
Whether he is brutal or not, he is the only choice. The opposition is stuck and divided and polluted with sectarianism. It has no serious political program, no leader, and no strategy other than violence and calling for the international community for help!
Why do you think the EU and the US are not deligitimizing Bashar? Simply because they have been waiting ( more than 2 month now) to see an constructive and possible alternative emerging but the opposition is unfortunately delivering nothing anyone would want to trust, Syrians included.
So you may have to swallow your rage and live with Bashar for a while.

May 19th, 2011, 4:34 pm


Nour said:


If I may weigh in here, but the terrorists trying to create chaos in Syria are brutal, filthy thugs who are willing to kill, maim, and desecrate corpses in order to get what they want. Unfortunately for them, they were defeated and their exploitation of the protests has ended. The majority of the Syrian people still believes that Bashar Al Assad is serious about reforms and they are willing to give him a chance to enact those reforms, but the minority losers who cannot see past the president’s religious sect want to get rid of him simply because they’ve always hated him.

May 19th, 2011, 4:40 pm


Nour said:

Here’s a supporter of the “revolutionists”.

الشيخ عمر بكري يؤكد لـ”النشرة” أنّ الشباب السنّي في طرابلس يغلي ويبحث عن طريقة لـ”نصرة” أهل سوريا ويدعو “حزب الله” للكف عن الوقوف إلى جانب النظام السوري ويشدد على أن انتقام “القاعدة” لمقتل أسامة بن لادن سيكون على مستوى أحداث 11 أيلول

May 19th, 2011, 4:46 pm


Ayman said:


The thousands of people demonstrating in the streets chanting “silmiye, silmiye” who are demanding freedom are not “brutal, filthy thugs.” They are demonstrating in the face of the regime’s brutal repression. Their courage deserves our admiration.

You spoke of the wants of the majority of the Syrian people. Do you have anything, like a reliable poll, you can point us to that would show us what the views of the majority of the Syrian people are?

Many of the people in Syria don’t like Bashar Assad because he is a brutal dictator, not because he is an Allawi.

May 19th, 2011, 5:04 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

syrian soldiers shooting at people in Tell khalak

May 19th, 2011, 5:16 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

in this vid you can see a syrian soldier EATING A CHILD at 4.17

May 19th, 2011, 5:33 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

It looks to me that the Syrian opposition suffers from much worse diseases than the regime.they actulally are behaving in hysterical way and are not as flexible as the regime is.there behavior is more like Assad the father behavior .for them syrians have to make an instant decision and choose to be either white or black.for theme if you are grey then you are a thug.the product they are offering to the lay Syrian is simply this:
We know that you are living in your home and while things are not perfect but are ماشي الحال our proposal to you is this :we will destroy your home over your head while you and your kids are living in it ,if you don’t die then we are not sure what kind of arrangements will have for you:we might build you a palace we might give a villa we might live in a tent or you might be homeless,but if you don’t accept our (revolution)then you are زنديق.now haw many stupid syrians will accept this stupid revolutionary proposal.

May 19th, 2011, 5:40 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

There are some, I am one of them, who hate Bashar,maher and the Assad clan, becuase they are brutal dictators criminals and their hands are full of blood,they are incapable of true reform.I accept nothing than to take bashar and maher to court,and hang them in Marjeh square.
There are those who worship Bashar and hate to see democracy and freedom, those they do not deserve to be free.
Tommorrow,we will see demonstrations,and prove that this revolt is not ending,and will continue till victory,and those who support the regime will bite their fingers of anger and depression.
Zanga zanga,dar dar,to the Marjeh ya bashar.

May 19th, 2011, 5:45 pm


Syria no kandahar said:

I gues Majedkhaldon proffed my point

May 19th, 2011, 5:58 pm


vlad-the-syrian said:

#128 AIG

appointed lier

“I mean a government made up of opposition figures like Kilo and others”

what do you mean ?

everybody in Syria knows Kilo is a backward senile idiot and that he’s done or wrote nothing worthy to notice

as an appointed lier you know that

so what you say is intended to naive readers

but for the benefit of your country pray keep on lying, for true syrians you mean nothing

May 19th, 2011, 6:02 pm


NAJIB said:


Omar Bakri works for MI6.

May 19th, 2011, 6:17 pm


democracynow said:

There has been protests at several locations all over the country today.

This one is in Homs

This one in Horan

May 19th, 2011, 6:21 pm


NAJIB said:

“stifle the economy” ?

Mr. Landis you are going mad.

it is immoral and criminal to call for the stifling of the economy. do you know how many people died in the ‘stifling’ of the Iraqi economy ?

The fall back position of the Syrian opposition must be to stifle the economy and work for a the ruin of the regime, when it can no longer pay the bills.

not that i believe that the US is capable of stifling any more the Syrian economy, they stiffed as much as they can already.

what is surprising is to note that You actually don’t mind the suffering of Syrians. a bit Like Qardawi’s , many syrians will die, so what ? wi malo ?

May 19th, 2011, 6:51 pm


democracynow said:

Syria No Qandahar,

It looks to me that the Syrian opposition suffers from much worse diseases than the regime.

This is why there are ballot boxes all over the world, so that you may transform your opinion into a vote, instead of using it on a public forum to sustain a repressive and brutal dictatorship.

May 19th, 2011, 6:59 pm


NAJIB said:

“A man walked in with a suit and glasses and he said he was part of the Secret Service. He told me it was because of a post I made that indicated I was a threat toward the president. I was very scared.”

Syrian security services should take note of this for their reforms:

1-wear black suits and sunglasses, 🙂 to look cool & democratic
2-don’t rely too much on technology.
3- use human judgment and don’t clumsily rely only on stupid software to identify threats.
4-don’t outsource everything

May 19th, 2011, 7:38 pm


JAD said:

Sophia, WD,
Check out free Dorothy’s:

تلفزيون الدنيا – التضليل الأبله

P.S. What a story she wrote! I liked the touch of using blood in every couple lines, on the floor, on the wall, on the hands…blood blood everywhere, and Mr. Shut up is a good character, we should make him a Facebook site like Abou Nazeer, aka Rabbi Yasser.

May 19th, 2011, 7:53 pm


Usama said:

Parvaz’s story is very questionable. To add to what has already been said in the comments here, they found a satellite phone and modem on her, similar to what fake eyewitnesses and video fabricators were using, and they know she is from al-Jazeera, so they take her on a tour to a “secret prison”? That’s really something!

May 19th, 2011, 8:40 pm


Abughassan said:

Most Syrians,and I do not have a poll here, do not trust the regime,albaath and the people around Bashar,but anybody who is willing to set emotions aside will admit that Syria is not ready for a swift regime change like Egypt for a number of reasons. I am saddened to see that many Syrians are overtaken by feelings of revenge and getting even when they should see the whole picture and do what is best for Syria. More than 130 army and security officers were killed but some insist that they were killed by the regime. Those who peacefully demonstrated for dignity and freedom or died in the line of duty are true Syrian heroes and they should not die in vain. To honor their sacrifice we must insist on peaceful transition to a more free and more democratic Syria. Rest assured that the so-called old guard have no future in Syria,and be comforted by the fact that al-Asad family will not be in power for another 40 years but we do not want to dismantle Syria to revenge the oppressed and the dead. If you are waiting for neighbors and foreign powers to save the country you will be disappointed and you may pay the price of trusting strangers to take care of your family.اللهم قد بلغت

May 19th, 2011, 8:44 pm


Usama said:

AbuGhassan, since you don’t have a poll, you should say “in my opinion”. I on the other hand have a poll. Comparing all the “anti-regime” protests with the “pro-regime” demonstrations on March 29 tells me you lose… big time. But the reforms are necessary and there is a commitment towards them.

Now about the 130 soldiers and security getting killed, are you really trying to say they killed each other? If the army is killing security, security is killing the army, and the army is killing the army (apparently), then who the hell is killing the peaceful protesters that you claim are being killed?

May 19th, 2011, 9:02 pm


abughassan said:

It is obvious that violence was not only used by the regime, those 130 soldiers,officers and policemen did not kill themselves,they were shot by armed thugs (some people did not read my post correctly),however, I still blame the regime for taking syrians for granted and allowing thieves to steal syria’s money and corrupt officials to oppress and humilate syrians. for Syria to move forward major reform has to be enacted and that may include an announcement by Bashar that he will allow a “non Asad” to run for president when his term is finished, or before. I personally hope that he declares that he is not running for a third term.I will breathe a sigh of relief when I see a real Majles Al-Shaab, not a group of clowns, represnting Syrians,and be able to vote for non bathis in local and national elections if I choose to. Opposition to the regime is not united because most past leaders were either in prison, outside syria, or dead,and that also needs to stop. That being said, I do not want religion, violence or Saudi money to be used in Syria by the regime or the opposition alike,we earned independence in 1946 but stayed as a third world country because as syrians we failed,do not blame Israel please,however, a country like Syria has a great potential compared to others with oil money and Bedouin character, and I mean no insult to Bedouins here.

May 20th, 2011, 12:00 am


Usama said:

Of course many elements in the regime abused their power. But this is not isolated to Syria. It is taking place in EVERY Arab country, without exception. Where Syria is an exception is its ever-continuous support for resistance and stubborn stances against western and Israeli hegemony. Now think of this, and please be honest with yourself. Had Hafez al-Asad decided to be a puppet like Mubarak, like Saddam, like the Kings, would he not have been able to sleep in peace and be sure that his bank account is filling up with billions and billions of national wealth? The fact that this regime was the only Arab one that kept true to the populist foreign policy, in the face of sanctions and loss of wealth, makes it the least corrupt regime in the Arab world, even with all the internal abuse of power.

Now for Syria moving forward, I don’t see the point of allowing a non-Asad runner for president because there’s really no one else, other than Shar` and Mo`allem. I’m not sure what you mean about not being able to vote for non-Ba`th candidates in People’s Council elections, since you can already do this today. In the 2007 elections, only 134 of the 250 seats were filled by Ba`thists. What I would like to see changed, however, is for the Ba`th party to stop publishing lists of preferred candidates since virtually all of those candidates tend to win their seat. The corruption that has been involved with creating those lists has often caused corrupt individuals to be nominated while good hard-working indiviuals were left out.

I would also not mind seeing them stop reserving a certain number of seats for the National Progressive Front, but there is a chance if that happens that there would be a smaller representation of other parties, including any new ones that might be in the running (which is doubtful unless elections are postponed). I don’t really remember at the moment how the system works, but parties in the NPF get to pick 2 ministers each, and without that, cabinet representation would surely lose its diversity.

I agree with you that Syria has great potential, but we’re not what you call “third-world” because we choose to. It’s because the west wants us to be at that level until we give up. For so long the west has dominated the world economy, but now with the emergence of China (and Iran to a smaller degree) and the strengthening of Russia, you will see that the west will lose its power to condemn us to the status-quo, and so there is no reason for us to give concessions now if we hadn’t before. So please, be patient, and remember that Syria is unique in that foreign hegemony (and our refusal to make concessions) often dictates our economic life and, by association, the average citizen’s quality of life. Don’t take for granted the free basic health care, the free education, cheap bread, all the cheap essentials, and all the different social programs.

To say that our economic life is condemned by the Ba`th party is short-sighted, because if you look around the world closely, you will find that corruption exists literally everywhere and, more often than not, at a much larger scale than in Syria. At least our pan-Arab and resistance fundamentals follow those of the people. I’ve met so many Arabs that told me how they wish to have had someone like Hafez as their president, and that actually means a lot.

May 20th, 2011, 2:14 am


Mina said:

People who depict Syria as third world should ride a local bus, a regional bus, a train, and visit a university. Then they should go to Egypt and compare the standard of the afore-mentioned.
Syria has good infrastructures (but lacks real ‘nizzzzzaaaam’). Some people would like to destroy Syria the way it is being done with Libya (55th richest country in the world, 1st in Africa). It reminds me the Mubarak’s way: if someone is getting strong, put him in jail.

Obama has already lost the US Jews vote (Madoff, Strauss-Kahn, seen as antisemitic trials by ‘progressists’ and his being black, enough for Bibi friends), so why not starting to rely on the US Muslim vote?

May 20th, 2011, 3:58 am


Mina said:

I love Ayman and Democracynow telling us about polls and ballot boxes “all over the world”. Turn off Disneychannel and Spacetoon once in a while! In how many countries these are actually properly used? You know that political parties and their PR agencies actually play a lot with the opinion polls, through the tv netwoks ordering them etc. There is nothing transparent here. As for ballot boxes, look at the US and the electronic vote.
Things take time, and come after all the citizens admit EQUALITY, between sects, between genders, between ethnicities.

The Turkish miracle came after German Turks sent billions of cash to their families and after locals accepted it was normal to have two jobs in order to survive.

May 20th, 2011, 4:11 am


Shai said:


Assad should, as quickly as possible, create conditions that enable the formation of a legal, free, political opposition in Syria. Yes, he should show everyone how he’s creating with his own hands the tools that can be used to remove him one day from power (in a future free and democratic election). Only then will Syrians believe Assad is capable of introducing significant reform.

This will be the main challenge in the region. Political opposition has to be created, with legal backing, for there to be even a chance for democracy or any elements thereof. This is true in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and in Syria.

Engaging in throwing around empty promises is meaningless and futile.

May 20th, 2011, 8:04 am


Syria Comment said:

[…] a recent article Joshua Landis writes that the protestors “failed to provoke a confessional split in the army […]

May 20th, 2011, 5:10 pm


Abughassan said:

It is healthy to have a civilized exchange of opinions without agreeing on everything discussed. A transition to a more free and democratic Syria is overdue and the absence of that process was a factor in triggering the unrest we see today. We are fully aware of the price Syrians paid for standing up to Israel and its friends but that price was disproportionately paid by the average Syrian while the fat cats were getting fatter and many citizens felt helpless and powerless. I am not willing to accept the claim that Syria is less corrupt than other countries. Poverty is wide spread and that was made worse by the lack of tax revenue and Equal opportunities. Defending albaath today is difficult to understand: Arabs are not one nation,citizens are not free, part of Syria remains occupied and socialism is not a viable economic system especially with corruption. Albaath as a party has the right to exist and compete for votes when true and honest elections, and not appointments by almukhabaraat ,become a reality.we have the right to disagree,ladies and gentlemen.

May 21st, 2011, 1:08 am


Aboud said:

To the commentator who wrote about rape gangs in Telkelakh, you are disgusting. Kindly keep your perverse fantasies to yourself. First you Baathist claim it was a Bandar plot, then you say it was Harriri, then you moved on to Salafis.

Seriously, I need a spreadsheet to keep up with your villain of the moment. The only people who had so many different enemies that changed every week were Batman and Spider Man. Bashar-Man, whose super powers consist of the God-like ability to make events in real life happen exactly the OPPOSITE of what he says and promises.

Rape gangs, what a load of bullshit. Only a Baathist who thinks Papa gained a victory by caving in to the Turks back in the late 90s could write something like that with a straight face.

People are wondering where Bashar has hidden himself these days. His TV appearances have been very rare, he has made no speeches to the people since his disastrous speech to the People’s Circus (Assembly). Shall we count him as one more of Syria’s 10,000 prisoners?

May 21st, 2011, 5:32 am


Ashley said:

hi, i just wanted to say the syria shouldnt get rid of bashar he has done nothing but helped them the past few years and also i recently read about the police finding blood that isnt for humans in bottles and all over the floor so the terrorists are pretending that bashar is attacking syria.this is why the USA wont get involved …because they know the protests are fake…its like the us supports terrorism … and also they have to stick up for the israeli terrorists so they have no choice but to fake protests

May 21st, 2011, 11:31 am


Akbar Palace said:

When People Stop Thinking


Over the past 40 years, how many Syrians have the “israeli terrorists” killed versus the number of Syrians the great Baathist Assad family have killed?

May 21st, 2011, 12:05 pm


why-discuss said:

Promise of Arab Uprisings Is Threatened by Divisions

…But in the past weeks, the specter of divisions — religion in Egypt, fundamentalism in Tunisia, sect in Syria and Bahrain, clan in Libya — has threatened uprisings that once seemed to promise to resolve questions that have vexed the Arab world since the colonialism era. …
….Nowhere is that perhaps truer than in Syria, with a sweeping revolt against four decades of rule by one family and a worsening of tensions among a Sunni Muslim majority and minorities of Christians and heterodox Muslims, the Alawites.

Mohsen, a young Alawite in Syria, recounted a slogan that he believes, rightly or not, was chanted at some of the protests there: “Christians to Beirut and the Alawites to the coffin.”

“Every week that passes,” he lamented, speaking by telephone from Damascus, the Syrian capital, “the worse the sectarian feelings get.”

The example of Iraq comes up often in conversations in Damascus, as does the civil war in Lebanon. The departure of Jews, who once formed a vibrant community in Syria, remains part of the collective memory, illustrating the tenuousness of diversity. Syria’s ostensibly secular government, having always relied on Alawite strength, denounces the prospect of sectarian differences while, its critics say, fanning the flames. The oft-voiced formula is, by now, familiar: after us, the deluge.

“My Alawite friends want me to support the regime, and they feel if it’s gone, our community will be finished,” said Mohsen, the young Alawite in Damascus, who asked that only his first name be used because he feared reprisal. “My Sunni friends want me to be against the regime, but I feel conflicted. We want freedom, but freedom with stability and security.”

That he used the mantra of years of Arab authoritarianism suggested that people still, in the words of one human rights activist, remain “hostage to the lack of possibilities” in states that, with few exceptions, have failed to come up with a sense of self that transcends the many divides.

“This started becoming a self-fulfilling myth,” said Mr. Azm, the Syrian intellectual.

“It was either our martial law or the martial law of the Islamists,” he added. “The third option was to divide the country into ethnicities, sects and so on.”

Despite a wave of repression, crackdown and civil war, hope and optimism still pervade the region, even in places like Syria, the setting of one of the most withering waves of violence. There, residents often speak of a wall of fear crumbling. Across the Arab world, there is a renewed sense of a collective destiny that echoes the headiest days of Arab nationalism in the 1950s and ’60s and perhaps even transcends it.

May 21st, 2011, 3:49 pm


Marona1234 said:

Dear Joshua we syrians in America have been interested in your views,you talk to us from the other side. for the truth..Do you believe that USA is interested with the wellbeing of the Syrian people..remember the war on Iraq the destruction . And death which was the endgame. Now tell me why Obama can indicate for the Arabs how should govern them and he can not even to suggest for prime minister of Israel visiting him in the oval office the greatest country in world,,, his views. On Palestine .do think the Arabs do not see. How is USA is just doing what Israel wants…one more note who is killing the soldiers if the Syrian revolution is peaceful.

May 21st, 2011, 9:43 pm


Usama said:


Thanks for completely ignoring my specific examples and comparisons and going back to economic complaints that I already addressed.

You saw Mubarak’s Egypt, completely obedient and complicit in US and Israeli policies in the region. While we have economic sanctions slapped on us (including civilian aircraft parts and medical equipment for hospitals), Egypt was getting billions in aid and international investment. Yet, while they were selling gas to Israel at 1/4 of market price, their electricity went out because their power stations ran out of gas. They have a City of the Dead with 5 million people literally live in grave land. You find malnourished children lying around on the streets and homelessness is rampant. Even rent on grave land is still pricey. Poverty is so rampant in Egypt that it breaks my heart even though I’m not Egyptian. Jordan, also with its kiss-ass leadership, is so underdeveloped it is unbelievable, and they only have 6.5 million people.

What about us? Do we have these problems? Our public services are amazing relative to everyone else in the region. Look on Google Maps and zoom in just enough for the Syrian highways to be highlighted (in yellow) on the map and then pan around the region. Syria’s highway system is so far ahead of everyone else’s. What we have in Syria is development. Corruption in Syria is the lowest in the region, whether you want to believe that or not.

Socialism is a viable economic option, and you should be able to see that with good houses in Detroit being as cheap as USD 15000. The market is dead. Capitalism expands the gap between rich and poor. The banking and economic systems in the North America and Europe are so unbelievably corrupt that if you really think capitalism is better then you’re just ignorant of what’s around you. Just look at carbon credits!

Arab nationalism is back in business after ousting Mubarak and see thousands of Egyptian youth surrounding the Israeli embassy and marching towards Gaza, both of which were not allowed under Mubarak’s rule. And even if pan-Arabism isn’t physical, just having it in spirit is enough to further the Arab cause, so again you’re wrong on that. Then freedom. From my personal experiences, I was always free in Syria. None of my family members were anti-government, and we lived in peace and freedom. If you want to be against the government and make a living out of it, then that’s your choice and you can’t blame anyone but yourself, especially if you like to go about your business Muslim Brotherhood style. But just because that part isn’t free doesn’t mean that the average Syrian isn’t free. You don’t know what you have ’til you lose it.

May 22nd, 2011, 1:45 am


Mina said:

Thanks Usama, I confirm fully your comparison of Syria with Egypt and Jordan.
Let me add that bribes in Syria are not daily and can be very cheap (if you park in a wrong place, you pay a ‘bribe’ of 2 dollars instead of paying a real ticket, not a bad deal).
I wonder how al Jazeera plans to fight world corruption when its journalists offer 100 dollars for a 3 minutes interview in scientific gathering such as the academic conferences they cover!

May 22nd, 2011, 2:06 am


Mostafa said:

Please Watch this Clip which has been dedicated to the Syrian People and showing disgust about China and Russia and Send it for Syrian Brothers and sisters:

February 5th, 2012, 3:13 pm


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