The US Sees Russia as the Weak Link in Support for Assad – But is it?

Syrian opposition leaders are visiting Russia shortly after Russia announced that it will dock warships in Syria. Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of State, explains (below) why he believes that Russia is reassessing its commitment to Assad because it no longer believes that Assad can subdue the rebellion. SNC leader, Abdelbaset Sieda, says that after talks with Russia’s foreign minister he sees “no change” in Moscow’s stance toward Syrian President Bashar al Assad.  Russia circulated among U.N. Security Council members early Wednesday a draft resolution to extend a U.N. mission in Syria for three months. Critics say this is so it can shift focus from monitoring a non-existent truce to securing a political solution to the conflict, as violent crackdown left more deaths across the country. Meanwhile, Western Powers to Circulate UN Chapter 7 Resolution on Syria.

From the AFP: An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube on July 10, 2012 allegedly shows a tank from forces loyal to the Syrian government being hit by a projectile in the town of Izaz, outside of Aleppo and on the Turkish-Syrian border. We don’t know whether the tank was destroyed or if this anti-tank weapon is a RPG or something new being supplied by western companies through the Gulf countries.

Stratfor’s Bokhari and Bella remind us why a Sunni win in Syria is likely to impact the balance of power in Iraq more perhaps than in Lebanon.  After all, the Sunni insurgency in Iraq is active and believes it can gain politically through violence against the Shia-dominated government. If the Sunni insurgency in Syria takes power, it may be willing to support the Iraqi Sunnis, particularly if Saudi and the Gulf states fund Jihad there in a continuing effort to limit Iran’s influence in the region and encourage regime-change in Tehran.

Rami Makhlouf

Release Rami Makhlouf: Buying Syria One Bank at a Time – Wikileaks

Wikileaks has published Rami Makhlouf statements of syp 135 million stock purchases through his Cham Capital, which is owned by his Ramak Group. This is Jan 2011 before the revolt and a small sum. All the same, the wikileaks allows others to track his money moves.


Russia Increases its troops level in Armenia to ‘divisional strenght’, in a clear message to Erdogan
by Moon of Alabama

“… Turkey depends on natural gas imports from Russia and Iran and a reminder on that may be a way to move Erdogan away from supporting the insurgents. Russia also has troops in Armenia, another neighbor to which Turkey is rather hostile, and is said to increase its troop size there to divisional strength. (The Armenia – Azerbaijan conflict is heating up and, with western support for Azerbaijan, may become one of the hot spots if the conflict over Syria or Iran escalates.) The Russian troop increase and the next two items seem intended to keep any western power away from stupid ideas….”

Considering a Sunni Regime in Syria | Stratfor
July 10, 2012 | Stratfor By Reva Bhalla and Kamran Bokhari

As one astute observer of the Syrian conflict explained, the al Assad regime is like a melting block of ice. The Alawite core of the block is frozen intact because the minorities fear the consequences of losing power to a Sunni majority. We have not yet seen the mass defections and breakdown in command and control within the military that would suggest that large chunks of this block are breaking off. But the Sunni patronage networks around that core that keep the state machinery running are slowly starting to melt. The more this block melts, the more fragile it becomes and the more likely we are to see cracks form closer and closer to the center. At that point, the al Assad regime will become highly prone to a palace coup scenario….

A Revival of the Mesopotamian Battleground?

It is safe to assume that Syria, between the fall of the Alawite regime and the turbulent emergence of a new, Sunni-empowered regime, would experience an interregnum defined by considerable chaos. Amid the sectarian disorder, a generation would remain of battle-hardened and ideologically driven militants belonging to Sunni nationalist and transnational jihadist camps who in the past decade have fought against regimes in Baghdad and Damascus. These jihadists harbor expectations that they will be able to aid their struggling allies in Iraq if they gain enough operating space in Syria. Under these circumstances, it is easy to imagine a revived militant flow into Iraq, and this time under much looser control.

Thus, the regional campaign against Iran is unlikely to end in Syria. Should Sunnis gain the upper hand in Syria, the Shiite-led bloc in Lebanon (led by Hezbollah and its allies) will likely lose its dominant status. Turkish, Saudi and Qatari backing for Sunnis in the Levant and the rise of Islamists in the Arab states will be focused on creating a more formidable bulwark against Iran and its Arab Shiite allies.

The most important battleground to watch in this regard will be Iraq. There are a number of regional stakeholders who are not satisfied with Baghdad’s Iranian-backed Shiite government. There also likely will be a healthy Sunni militant flow to draw from the Syrian crisis. These militants will not only need to be kept occupied so that they do not return home to cause trouble, but they can also serve a strategic purpose in reviving the campaign of marginalized Sunnis against Shiite domination. Iran may feel comfortable in Iraq now, but the domino effect from Syria could place Iran back on the defensive in Iraq, which has the potential to re-emerge as the main arena for the broader Arab Sunni versus Persian Shiite struggle for regional influence.

Syria: portrait of a town divided and gripped by civil war
Linking the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, Atarib is a vital supply line for whosoever controls it in Syria. Ruth Sherlock meets some of the residents who have suffered.
By Ruth Sherlock, Atarib – Telegraph

Why Syria Could Turn Into 1990s Algeria
by Erica Chenoweth on July 3, 2012, in Violence,War

What’s Iran doing with Turkish gold?

July 9, 2012, By Humay Guliyeva and Pan Kwan Yuk

That is the question beyondbrics found itself asking after it had a look at Turkey’s latest trade figures.

According to data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), Turkey’s trade with Iran in May rose a whopping 513.2 per cent to hit $1.7bn. Of this, gold exports to its eastern neighbour accounted for the bulk of the increase. Nearly $1.4bn worth of gold was exported to Iran, accounting for 84 per cent of Turkey’s trade with the country.

So what’s going on?

In a nutshell – sanctions and oil.

In recent months, western powers, notably the US and the European Union, have tightened financial sanctions on the Islamic regime in an attempt to force Iran to scale back or halt its efforts to enrich uranium.

In March, Iran was cut off from from Swift, the global payments network, effectively blocking the country from performing any international financial transactions.

With Tehran struggling to repatriate the hard currency it earns from crude oil exports – its main foreign currency earner and the economic lifeblood of the country – Iran has began accepting alternative means of payments – including gold, renminbi and rupees, for oil in an attempt to skirt international sanctions and pay for its soaring food costs.

“Iran is very keen to increase the share of gold in its total reserves,” says Gokhan Aksu, vice chairman of Istanbul Gold Refinery, one of Turkey’s biggest gold firms. “You can always transfer gold into cash without losing value.”

Turkey’s gold exports to Iran are part of the picture. As TurkStat itself noted, the gold exports were for “non-monetary purpose exportation”. Translation: they were sent in place of dollars for oil.

Iran furnishes about 40 percent of Turkey’s oil, making it the largest single supplier, according to Turkey’s energy ministry. While Turkey has sharply reduced its oil imports from Iran as a result of pressure from the US and the EU, it is unlikely to cut this to zero. The country pays about $6 a barrel less for Iranian oil than Brent crude, according to a recent Goldman Sachs report.

According to Ugur Gurses, an economic and financial columnist for the Turkish daily Radikal, Turkey exported 58 tonnes of gold to Iran between March and May this year alone.

“I saw the surge back in March, when gold exports increased by 36 times compared to March of 2011,” Gurses told beyondbrics. “I waited to see if the trend would evolve. Effectively, Iran converted $3bn of its reserves into gold through financial operations with Turkey, bypassing sanctions.”

Iran’s woes have proved to be a boon to Turkey’s current accounts. Turkey’s trade deficit narrowed by $1.6bn in May, compared to the same period last year. For the year to end of May, the deficit narrowed by $8.3bn, compared to the same period last year.

CNN: Russian views on Syria more nuanced than they may appear

The Russian government shares many of the U.S. concerns about the continuing violence in Syria, but Moscow is reluctant to embrace Washington’s proposals.

Russia sent warships to Syria

10.07.2012 Northern Fleet (NF) destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and three Russian amphibious assault ships left NF Main Base Severomorsk on July 10. The high official from Russian Ministry of Defence told Central Navy Portal.

Three amphibious assault ships transport Marine Corps submits on-board. Baltic Fleet guard frigat Yaroslav Mudry and auxiliary ships, based in Baltiysk, will join Admiral Chabanenko later. According to information available to Central Navy Portal, naval ships move into the Mediterranean Sea, into Syria water area.

À crew member from one of the ships confirmed the information. He also noticed, that the three-months mission in the Mediterranean Sea for Admiral Chabanenko and three Russain amphibious assault ships was planned in advance.

NYTimes Russia-Sends-Warships-on-Maneuvers-Near-Syria 

Russia said on Tuesday that it had dispatched a flotilla of 11 warships to the eastern Mediterranean, some of which would dock in Syria. It would be the largest display of Russian military power in the region since the Syrian conflict began almost 17 months ago. Nearly half of the ships were capable of carrying hundreds of marines. …

But the unusually large size of the force announced on Tuesday was considered a message, not just to the region but also to the United States and other nations supporting the rebels now trying to depose Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad.

Tartus consists of little more than a floating refueling station and some small barracks. But any strengthened Russian presence there could forestall Western military intervention in Syria. …

Russia’s Mixed Signals Regarding Syria
July 11, 2012 | Stratfor

…So as the al Assad regime’s prospects for survival have become increasingly hazy, Russia has had to adjust its calculus. On one hand, Moscow would prefer to prop up its ally al Assad, or at least the government he has come to represent. On the other hand, Russia has interests in the country that transcend al Assad and the ruling Alawite regime.

Therefore Russia has sent — and will continue to send — mixed signals regarding its intentions with Syria. From hosting Syrian opposition delegations in Moscow to following a weapons moratorium announcement with a large-scale naval deployment to the Mediterranean, Russia is keeping its true intentions hidden.

Moscow’s Marines Head for Syria
The Russians have dispatched a naval task force to Syria. As if the place wasn’t enough of a mess already.
BY MARK KATZ | JULY 10, 2012

Ahmet Davutoglu – Turkey’s Foreign Minister talks to Marc Perelman of France 24: Davutoglu calls on the international community to act more firmly to usher in a transition in Syria without Assad.

Al-Assad and the Alawites
By: Abdullah Al-Otaibi | Asharq Alawsat

…Al-Assad’s marked bias towards his Alawite minority and his family – an attribute which he inherited from his father and which he thinks could be the way for his salvation – may in fact accelerate his downfall. Syria is a country of multiple religions and ideological sects with ethnic and tribal loyalties. Therefore, in view of the blatant Alawi sectarian orientation adopted by the regime, there is a strong endeavor to unify all these variant categories and the Sunni majority to face the regime.

The al-Assad regime is almost over, and now it is only a question of time before the regime’s illusions collapse on its head. If Bashar al-Assad is to find shelter in the outskirts of Tehran or Moscow, his Alawite sect will still remain in Syria. Hence today it is the duty of rational Alawites to side with the people and the country, and announce their complete disavowal of al-Assad’s sectarian and blood-thirsty policies; otherwise the son’s legacy in Syria will be even worse than his father’s.

The future of our Arab republics seems to be full of sectarianism, fractured social loyalties, and the ideologies and organizations of political Islam. However, the future is not promising in terms of development, civilization, awareness and advancement.

Syria’s Deadlock Can Be Broken Only By an Arms Embargo
By: Jonathan Steele | The Guardian

Russia and the west must use their leverage to bring about a ceasefire and halt Syria’s descent into full-scale civil war

As Islamists Gain Influence, Washington Reassesses Who Its Friends Are
By Scott Shane | The New York Times

Long-held beliefs about allies and potential enemies have been upset as the Obama administration navigates the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring.

Syria’s many new friends are a self-interested bunch
The National 21/7/12 – Charles Glass

In France, representatives of the US, Turkey, Britain, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Korea, the UN and the rest demonstrated their friendship in a communique as vague as it was biased. The group urged more economic sanctions, humanitarian assistance to victims of violence and “stronger United Nations Security Council action.” It promised punishment for government war criminals, while neglecting to suggest that rebels who violate the Geneva Conventions should receive so much as a parking fine

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE: CNN  on the topic of whether Elections are stopping US Intervention in Syria. Is Russia stopping it? Does US support Democracy in Egypt or the Military?

AMANPOUR: Let’s go straight to the heart of the matter. We’ve been seeing signals from Russia over the last 24 hours, at least, that there seems to be some kind of shift, at least publicly, the Russians agreeing to host the Syrian opposition, the Russians saying that they wouldn’t be sending new weapons to Syria and basically a call for Assad to talk to his adversaries.

What do you think that signifies?

BURNS: Well, Christiane, I think it’s apparent that the Russians are now reconsidering whether or not they believe that Bashar al-Assad can stay in power. As long as they believe that he might weather the crisis in Syria, they were supporting him with everything they had, including blocking Security Council resolutions put forward by the U.S. and others.

But since the defection of that senior military officer in Damascus, and the continued ferocity of the opposition in Syria, the Russians appear to be hedging their bets now. As you said, tomorrow there will be a meeting in Moscow with the Russian foreign minister and the leading anti- Assad coalition group.

And the F-130s, the advance military jets that were promised to Syrian Air Force will now not be coming. So the Russians are sending a quite powerful message to Assad that they can’t — that he cannot bank on their support, and I think that’s highly significant.

AMANPOUR: Or, as I explained in the lead-in to you, we had talked yesterday to Dimitri Simes, who I know you know. And let me just play you what he told us about this very relationship.


DIMITRI SIMES, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR THE NATIONAL INTEREST: Russia would not welcome such an intervention; Russia would not approve such an intervention. It would not resist such an intervention and this intervention would not become a major issue in the U.S.-Russian relationship.


AMANPOUR: So, Ambassador, he’s basically saying that he had hosted a top-level meeting, including a Russian delegation. And the very question of intervention was raised, and it was very strongly addressed as he put it. That seems to me a green light now for the U.S., likeminded international capitals, to decided to do what they want to do.

BURNS: Well, President Putin gave a speech this — yesterday morning, I should say, in Moscow, where he was very clear that he felt that there had to be a diplomatic solution, some kind of an agreement between Assad and the opposition as opposed to military intervention. So I would, with respect, I don’t agree with Dimitri Simes.

I think the Russians still would block any kind of planned international military intervention. They’d use their veto in Security Council for that. I just think that Russia is trying to put itself in the driver’s seat to be a potential peacemaker between Assad and the opposition, and they’re trying to preserve their influence.

AMANPOUR: Absolutely. I’m sure that’s all true. But of course, you know better than all that President Putin often says things in public. In fact, many leaders do for domestic consumption.

What he was talking about, Dimitri Simes, was not so much a U.N. Security Council resolution, but a Kosovo-style act. I mean, you were in the Clinton and Bush administrations. You remember when President Clinton went around Russia, intervened in Kosovo, and Russia did not stand in the way. Might not have liked it; Milosevic was much closer of an ally than Assad is.

So is it feasible to say, as Dimitri Simes has, that actually the U.S. and the West is hiding behind Russia, and using that as an alibi to take even stronger measures, even short of intervention?

BURNS: I don’t agree with that. I don’t think so. I think Dimitri’s not correct about that. I do think there is still, in effect, a Russian and Chinese veto.

The Chinese also, as a matter of precedent, don’t want to see United States march into another country to overthrow the regime and second, Christiane, as you know well and you’ve covered on your show, there are really important problems about any kind of military intervention. Libya was relatively easier for a variety of reasons.

Syria, because it’s dense urban warfare would be a very, very difficult undertaking. I think there are a lot of reasons why the United States has been reluctant.

AMANPOUR: How much do you think U.S. presidential elections are playing into this? And let’s be very frank. President Obama has essentially staked his presidency — well, no, even before. He took a position that he wanted to end these American military interventions and adventures. He has done in Iraq. He’s talking about withdrawing from Afghanistan. I mean, it’s on track. He obviously doesn’t want to get into another adventure.

How much are these elections playing into a decision right now?

BURNS: You know, it’s hard to say what’s — what factor the elections are going to play in a specific foreign policy case like Syria. I do think you’re seeing a great deal of caution from the United States.

And, frankly, I think it’s warranted, because Syria, of course, an explosion in Syria or a further problem in Syria caused by a U.S. intervention, would have repercussions for Lebanon, for Jordan and for Israel. So I think there is a premium here to be very cautious as they move forward.

Having said that, obviously the United States would like to see the continuation of efforts by countries like Turkey and Qatar (ph) and Saudi Arabia to put pressure on Assad. I still think the U.S. prefers a scenario where Assad leaves voluntarily rather than he leaves because the U.S. 82nd Airborne has marched into Damascus.

AMANPOUR: All right. But you know that nobody’s going to be marching in anyway, and nobody’s made that suggestion. But you do — you raise an interesting point. You talk about what could be a possible deal for Assad to step down. What do you think the United States should do diplomatically to facilitate Russia’s diplomacy?

BURNS: Well, you know, I think that Russia is a key country here. It obviously has a lot of interest in both Syria and Iran, and those are two key actors, and the Iranians have a lot of influence on Damascus. President Putin, if he chooses to play this, could become, in effect, the lead international diplomat in trying to convince President Assad to leave power, to exit Syria, to go into exile in some third country, perhaps in a deal to be forgiven any possibility of imprisonment or being tried for war crimes.

If President Putin wanted to be the one to make that happen, I think that you’d find a lot of countries supporting him, including possibly the United States and the European countries themselves.

AMANPOUR: Let’s go back to the role of U.S. elections and a more robust effort to find a solution to Syria. You talk about President Putin. You don’t really believe that he wouldn’t oppose — he wouldn’t oppose intervention.

But what about what the Turks are trying to do? And you just mentioned Turkey. As you know, the Turkish foreign minister came to Washington, met with secretary of state, met with a lot of State Department and other officials and presented a slew of alternatives, all the way from a coalition of the willing, with the Arabs on board, buffer zones at Syria’s border — which, by the way, the defectors have told us, if only there were buffer zones, you’d see the whole army defecting — humanitarian corridors to the besieged cities and a joint effort to help organize the army defectors.

He said that the U.S. basically said, no until after November, again raising this specter, that it is U.S. politics at the moment, despite the difficulties, as we know, that’s standing in the way. What do you make of the Turks saying that? It’s not Simes now, or Putin.

BURNS: Well, I didn’t hear the Turks say that, but you know, I think the Turks have been — you know, their relationship fell apart with Syria. There has been — there’s very bad blood between Prime Minister Erdogan and President Assad. The Turks are obviously trying to push the United States.

But the U.S. has to calculate not just the domestic impact in our elections here, but how about the foreign policy impact in countries that really matter to us? I’m thinking first and foremost of Israel, the importance of stability on the Golan Heights and Israel’s northern border, and of course Jordan and Lebanon, which are much more unstable countries.

I think the U.S. is trying to do no harm here. They obviously — we obviously want to see Assad leave power. They want to see the opposition strengthened. They want to see Assad out the door. I think the U.S. is still of a mindset they’d prefer to see that happen because Syrians make it happen rather than the United States taking a lead in a Kosovo- or a Libya- style military coalition.

AMANPOUR: And just before we switch to Egypt, Ehud Barak, the defense minister of Israel, told me in no uncertain terms that they think it’s time for some kind of intervention and to get rid of Assad like that.

But, look, let’s move to Egypt. What we’ve seen today is — and I know that you were a member of the staff of the embassy there in the `80s, so you know that country very, very well. There was a consultation (ph) today between the new president, Mohammed Morsi, and essentially the military, when he reconvened parliament for a very short period of time.

The military has now said — or rather the courts — that they stand by their decision; parliament is dissolved. So let’s see what happens. But in the meantime, why is the United States, the bastion of democracy, continuing to pay the military $1 billion a year with no conditions attached in terms of democracy?

Don’t you think it’s time for the U.S. to say, look here, we like you; we support you. You’re our ally (ph), but you can’t go around hijacking democracy if you want our billions.

BURNS: Well, I think United States is trying to preserve the influence that it does have with the Egyptian military at a really critical time.

Here, again, Christiane, I suspect that the motivation in Washington and some other capitals is, again, can we work with both sides — in this case the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi and the Egyptian military — to try to get them to work out some modus vivendi, some way for them to coexist, live together, share power and have Egyptian democracy evolve in a positive direction.

I think the fear is that if United States comes down on one side or another and begins to pick winners and losers, it actually might exacerbate the problems in Egypt itself. And it was an extraordinary day in Egypt today.

And you saw a very bold move by Mohammed Morsi to, in effect, try to take back some of the powers that the military took from him just before the presidential elections. But I think the U.S. hopes it sees the Muslim Brotherhood rising in influence. It wants to have a relationship with them. It wants to retain influence with the new leadership.

But it understands that the military will have a say on certain questions, and particularly on security, the U.S. interests are paramount. The peace treaty with Israel and of course Egypt helping to block Iran. So the U.S. is trying not just to have it both ways, to have influence in two camps that may be sparring in Cairo for months into the future.

AMANPOUR: In one word, you said U.S. doesn’t want to come down on one side or the other. Doesn’t the U.S. have to come down on the side of democracy? The freely elected president?

BURNS: Well, I think — I think they did. When President Obama called President Morsi on the day of his election, the president and the White House have made very clear that we support the legitimacy of this new government, the Muslim Brotherhood government, that we want to see the results of the elections actually take hold and not be stolen by the courts.

I think the U.S. has actually stood up for democracy, whether we use our influence, Christiane, with the $1.3 billion, I think if the military began to act in clearly anti-democratic ways and tried to arrest the movement of this new government, then you might see some consideration of that in Washington.



July 11, 2012 | 0601 GMT


Comments (292)

joshua Landis said:

SC’s moderator has resigned. He got tired. Didn’t appreciate being attacked, and is opening a restaurant. All good reasons. I thank him and wish him luck. He was a great help to us all. Moderating in the midst of a war is not easy. In a few days I will be leaving on a trip and then vacation in Vermont for three weeks, so SC will go on vacation with me.

Best to all SCers and thanks for their patience over the next month. Joshua

July 11th, 2012, 1:22 pm


Uzair8 said:

#1 JL

That’s a pity (about the mod and SC). Good luck to the moderator and have a good holiday Prof JL.

This could possibly be all over with the regime collapsing within the next month or so while SC is on vacation. At least SC will avoid the potential nastiness on here.

July 11th, 2012, 1:32 pm


Uzair8 said:

I hadn’t heard from Walid Jumblatt for many months so I decided to ‘google news’ him.

Jumblatt: Syrian people will crush ruling gangs
July 2, 2012

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said that “the Syrian people will sooner or later crush the ruling gangs and triumph.”

“I wish some countries that are still supporting the ruling gangs in Syria learn from the experience of Egypt’s [presidential elections] and allow its people to practice democracy… because the Syrian people will sooner or later crush these ruling gangs,” Jumblatt said in his weekly column to be published Tuesday in Al-Anbaa newspaper.

The PSP leader also said that Mohamed Morsi went from being a detainee in an Egyptian prison to becoming the country’s president.

“If we have to learn something from [Morsi’s experience], it is that injustice cannot continue forever,” he added.

Read more:

July 11th, 2012, 2:17 pm


Uzair8 said:

The other day I shared an unverified tweet claiming the Syrian ambassador to Jordan may have defected.

Here is an update on AJE blog about NYT reporting the unconfirmed story of Syria’s ambassador to Iraq defecting.

From 42 minutes ago:

July 11th, 2012, 2:24 pm


Tara said:


This is going to be painful.  Can you go on vacation alone and leave SC go to work with us until your return?  We will miss you.

July 11th, 2012, 2:52 pm


Tara said:

Regime Supporters:  Go ahead vilify the guy.  We are not expecting anything different.

Opposition: Syrian envoy to Iraq defects


July 11th, 2012, 2:58 pm


Uzair8 said:

Lol…I think the revolution* may force Prof Landis to delay his vacation.

* Fresh developments.

July 11th, 2012, 3:18 pm


Bruno said:

Ah Yes
So where is the supposed video defection of that Sryian General or this Ambassador for that matter?

All these claims that these people have been defected started from here and on Twitter sources from the opposition side which cant be even verified.

(Here is an update on AJE blog about NYT reporting the unconfirmed story of Syria’s ambassador to Iraq defecting.)

Well thats the problem they are the unconfirmed.

And i notice how Syria Comment started relying on Wikileaks for the news? oh brother.

(Considering a Sunni Regime in Syria | Stratfor)

(At that point, the al Assad regime will become highly prone to a palace coup scenario…)

That is highly unlikely scenario and it wont happen the only reason this writer is fantasizing about a Sunni regime is an simple answer.

Thats because the Saudi Arabia kingdom rulers are ruled by a Sunni Regime.

By the way i have noticed that the mod has deleted my comments on about how many times the mainstream news outlets have been proclaiming the days are numbered for Assad.

I Wonder why?

July 11th, 2012, 3:29 pm


Uzair8 said:

#8 Bruno

There was also a follow-up update on AJE blog. Other newspapers such as The Guardian have also picked up on it. Including major news websites. It seems to have reached the UN with Bashar Jafari questioned about it and apparantly he replied that he doesn’t trust Al Jazeera or the Syrian people according to a tweet.

I guess we’re waiting for the ambassador to reach the safety of Turkey. Iraq is deemed unsafe for defectors.

July 11th, 2012, 3:34 pm


Adam Neira said:

Assad discusses forming transitional government (TOL)

It looks like Kofi Annan is making headway. The Russians are also assisting. The goal is to mitigate the violence and stop the killing. Syria has great potential IF it is stable and ordered. All the parties in Syria must attempt to resolve their differences peacefully. The only people who will benefit if Syria spirals downward into a satanic vortex will be arms dealers, undertakers and nefarious dealers and traders. The children of Syria deserve a decent future.

Prayers for Syria.

July 11th, 2012, 3:36 pm


Aatssi said:

Good luck to the SC’s moderator in his new venture:-) I hope we will be visiting his restaurant soon !

July 11th, 2012, 3:38 pm


Bruno said:


(There was also a follow-up update on AJE blog. Other newspapers such as The Guardian have also picked up on it. Including major news websites. It seems to have reached the UN with Bashar Jafari questioned about it and apparantly he replied that he doesn’t trust Al Jazeera or the Syrian people according to a tweet.

I guess we’re waiting for the ambassador to reach the safety of Turkey. Iraq is deemed unsafe for defectors.)

Yeah right just like the last defection of the general? No proof that he defected no video other then that written statement posted here on Sryia Comment which could have been done by anybody who knows to write Arabic.

I am sorry but me and all other westerns arent buying the propaganda against Syria.

July 11th, 2012, 3:41 pm


Syrialover said:

I would like to thank the moderator for doing a very tough job and doing it well. And to wish him a lot of success in his new venture.

(Dare I say the demands on time and emotional energies in moderating this will be a good training for running a restaurant – all that endless effort and care but always still getting complaints and non-appreciation from some difficult customers.)

We are all tired, deeply tired. SyriaComment is a place to turn to when we cannot bear to keep asking and thinking about family in Syria and need to have information and thoughts from others.

Dr Josh, you must be desperate for a break. I know your holiday from SC will create a hole, especially if there is a breakthrough. But when you return the story will go on.

Please put a note at the top of the blog letting everyone know you are away and when you will be back. This will be useful for all new visitors and the rest of us as well.

July 11th, 2012, 3:47 pm


Expatriate said:

Mr. Landis!
impressive picture from Al-Jazeera blog
Advertising manufacturer Javelin mission must be paid on your blog!
I recommend also advertise Armor 1S and can increase your income!

July 11th, 2012, 3:49 pm


Aldendeshe said:

I thought you spent vacation time in Jabal Al-Nussairya with your in-laws. A month break is great idea, since the Russians and Assad are staying put and all the oppositions/Israelis can’t take their middle finger off the trigger or you know where. Will catch up on some pool, getting laid and cold drafts while you gone. Maybe I will be lucky this summer and have my 2 women dream made real. Let’s the others fight on to death in bloody fights, now I can go watch videos of gorgeous California bodies instead of mutilated Syrian ones that you promotes here.

July 11th, 2012, 3:59 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

LOL vacation. SC cannot go on vacation when this junta is breathing it’s last breaths. It’s like leaving the cinema 10 minutes before the movie ends.

July 11th, 2012, 4:10 pm


zoo said:

Syria is to Russia what Israel is to America

By Con Coughlin World Last updated: July 11th, 2012

As if the Syrian crisis is not bad enough already, the decision by Russia’s macho-man president Vladimir Putin’s to dispatch a flotilla of warships and amphibious landing vessels to Syria is hardly likely to ease the tensions.

While UN special envoy Kofi Annan continues with his somewhat futile mission to resurrect his six-point ceasefire plan, Moscow’s decision to send two destroyers and three amphibious landing craft to Syria suggests that the Russians have no interest in easing tensions in the region.

July 11th, 2012, 4:17 pm


zoo said:

Syria’s many new friends are a self-interested bunch

Charles Glass
Jul 11, 2012

Last week France hosted the third conference of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, a collection of 107 countries and organisations modelled on the Friends of Libya who cheer-led Nato’s air war in that country.

In France, representatives of the US, Turkey, Britain, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Korea, the UN and the rest demonstrated their friendship in a communiqué as vague as it was biased.
But opposition claims to have honoured the Annan plan’s ceasefire do not stand scrutiny. They have allegedly attacked security offices, checkpoints, buses and barracks, to cast blame on the government for responding.

They claim further that theirs is an entirely home-grown uprising, even as they receive weapons, training, advice, transport and funding from foreign governments and intelligence agencies.

The role of outside actors is as clear as it was when Britain used the so-called “Arab awakening” to expel the Ottomans from Syria in 1918. Just as those rebels discovered two years later, freedom and independence may not suit their powerful backers.

If the friends’ sanctions, arming of the opposition and dispatch of spies and supplies fail to settle the outcome in Syria, the friends will rely on the armed oppositions’ narrative to demand that the US launch an invasion.

“Whenever we engage in a war or move in on some country,” Edmund Wilson wrote in Patriotic Gore, referring to America’s seizure of many lands from Mexico to the Philippines, “it is always to liberate somebody.”

July 11th, 2012, 4:19 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

This revolution will have long and lasting repercussions!

July 11th, 2012, 4:22 pm


bronco said:

A big thank to the moderator.
We have seen the childish, disrespectful and repeated attacks on him from the same bloggers who think that their held posts are of utmost importance….
I admired his patience and I understand he prefers to deal with people who are less hysterical and more polite and sane.

July 11th, 2012, 4:28 pm


Tara said:

Dear Ex-Moderator

I thank you too. I am sorry for your burn-out.

I like that you are in the cooking business. I cook extremely well too 😉 .One day, I would like to come to your restaurant and meet you whatever location that might be.

July 11th, 2012, 4:40 pm


ghufran said:

the defection of Nawaf Alfares was not confirmed by Iraq but it is likely to be true,and if that is the case,one can expect further deterioration in the eastern front (dayr alzour) where Nawaf is from,it is going to be hard for regime propagandists to bad mouth the guy,he seems to have a good reputation.
the regime’s crackdown and the opposition violent campaign can not end the conflict,actually,the situation is destined for further escalation in the absence of any viable political initiative.

July 11th, 2012, 4:47 pm


habib said:

“Hence today it is the duty of rational Alawites to side with the people and the country”

Lol. The “people”, meaning Sunni-supremacists. Not going to happen.

It’s weird how these commentators keep on with their wishful thinking about the regime only having weeks left. How many times are we going to hear this the next ten years? In any case, there’s a bigger chance of Syria being split up into statelets than there is for Assad to be toppled.

July 11th, 2012, 4:52 pm


ghufran said:

نشرت صفحة “أحرار سلقين” على موقع التواصل الاجتماعي “فيسبوك” اليوم الأربعاء بيانا تضمن “إصدار المحكمة الشرعية التابعة لقيادة مجلس قيادة الثورة في ادلب” أحكاما بالأعدام على ثمانية أشخاص قالت إنهم “شبيحة”.
وكان مسلحين من الجيش الحر أعدموا صباح اليوم اثنين من أهالي منطقة سلقين بريف إدلب مدّعين أنهم من “الشبيحة” وأنهم قاموا بالاعتداء على المتظاهرين وتسهيل اعتقالهم.
وفيما يلي أسماء الأشخاص المهددين بتنفيذ حكم الإعدام بحقهم خلال الساعات القادمة بتهم مماثلة لتهم الشخصين الذَين أعدما صباحا:
أحمد العبسي جلخي، غازي العبسي جلخي، حسن اسية، غسان فرنجاري، أدهم جلخي، مصعب احمد جلخي، أنور هاشم جلخي، عاطف جلخي.
everything in Syria today is expensive except human lives

July 11th, 2012, 4:57 pm


Uzair8 said:

#22 Ghufran

The Ambassador has given an exclusive statement to Al Jazeera.

7 minutes ago:

Btw, anyone hear more about the twitter report of +60 Shabeeha killed in their barracks in Hama?

July 11th, 2012, 5:00 pm


Expatriate said:

In any case, there’s a bigger chance of Syria being split up into statelets than there is for Assad to be toppled.

your idea corresponds to the principle of divide and conquer.

July 11th, 2012, 5:04 pm


zoo said:

A Tel Aviv University Report says Saudi Arabia is Israel’s Last Hope

Sunday, 06 May 2012 06:42

‘The report said that most of Israel’s allies in the region have collapsed and cannot play a significant role in the Arab world.

It added that Saudi Arabia is the only country that stands against the Islamic Republic of Iran and thus it is Tel Aviv’s last line of defense against Tehran.

The report noted that the Al Saud family is very important to Israel because Saudi Arabia is very actively working in countries such as Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon to reduce Iran’s influence in those countries.’

July 11th, 2012, 5:05 pm


habib said:

26. Expatriate

It’s not “my” idea, that’s how Syria was structured until the 1930s.

July 11th, 2012, 5:07 pm


Bruno said:

Uzair8 about that statement made by Al Jazeera why is there no Video?

Yet at the same time Al Jazeera has stated.

(There has been no comment from Damascus or Baghdad.)

But then without any accurate confirmation.

(I announced my resignation as Syrian ambassador to Iraq as I also declare my defection from the Syrian Baath party.

I urge all honest members of this party to follow my path because the regime has turned it to an instrument to kill people and their aspiration to freedom.)

This part bothers me and it is becoming quite clear of its propaganda uses.

(I urge all honest members of this party to follow my path because the regime has turned it to an instrument to kill people and their aspiration to freedom)

(I also declare from this moment that I have joined the ranks of the revolution)

The confirmation seems a bit a staged by no other then Al Jazeera themselves.

Don’t forget Al Jazeera is a mouthpiece for the Qatar Ruling Family Regime, so them faking this shouldn’t be a total surprise.

July 11th, 2012, 5:11 pm


Bruno said:

(the defection of Nawaf Alfares was not confirmed by Iraq but it is likely to be true,and if that is the case,one can expect further deterioration in the eastern front (dayr alzour) where Nawaf is from,it is going to be hard for regime propagandists to bad mouth the guy,he seems to have a good reputation.
the regime’s crackdown and the opposition violent campaign can not end the conflict,actually,the situation is destined for further escalation in the absence of any viable political initiative.)

Thats rich so now i am an regime propagandist. Or anyone who dares to question the great Western mainstream news outlets who are falling in there lowest ratings.

(the defection of Nawaf Alfares was not confirmed by Iraq but it is likely to be true)

Like the none exist defection of Manaf Tlass? No confirmations other then the claims made by the opposition sources.

July 11th, 2012, 5:17 pm


zoo said:

After Hillary, it is the SNC who accuses and insult Russia.

I don’t think Russia will tolerate the SNC’s arrogance any longer. Russia will probably radicalize further. I will try to crush the already moribund SNC by helping the Syrian regime more openly on the military side. On the political side, it will veto any new resolution that calls for Bashar to step down
Get ready for a more violent political and military showdown

MOSCOW – A prominent Syrian opposition leader said Wednesday that Russia’s resistance to international intervention in the conflict was bringing misery and “suffering” to the violence-torn country.

Two Syrian opposition delegations visited Moscow this week, raising hopes that Russia could be pushed to accept the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Syrian National Council head Abdelbaset Sieda said he saw “no change” in Moscow’s stance after meeting with officials including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“The Syrian people are suffering because of Russia, because of the position it has taken, because of its veto in the U.N. Security Council,” Sieda said at a news conference. “The current regime uses Russian weapons against its own people.”

July 11th, 2012, 5:18 pm


Bruno said:

Still thumbing me down Eh? Well it seems the users who thumb me down always believe almost every single word the western mainstream news outlets would say. That also goes the same for AJ.

July 11th, 2012, 5:18 pm


Uzair8 said:

Is this a video of the ambassador or is he a presenter reading out the ambassador’s statement?

July 11th, 2012, 5:31 pm


bronco said:

The USA-EU new worry or wishe?: A civil war in Iraq.

In the event of a regime change, if Syria’s new government is be dominated by Sunnis antagonistic to Iran and Shias, it will have a direct impact on Iraq and Lebanon. It will encourage the Sunnis and their armed militias to trigger a civil war in these countries with the aim of getting Sunnis back in power.

A new internal war among Arabs will open to the delight of Israel.

July 11th, 2012, 5:32 pm


zoo said:


From the photo, it seems to be the ambassador himself.
Al Fares, a former secretary of the Ba’ath Party in Deir Ez-Zour, had served as governor of the Qunaitra town since 2002.

Earlier, he had been the governor of the coastal city of Latakia. He is a member of the large and influential Uqaydat tribe that overlaps between Syria and Iraq (located along the Euphrates River) and is currently the head of the tribe in Syria.

Given his tribal standings, Al Fares comes as a heavyweight within the Iraqi tribal community and is expected to exert strong influence among Iraqi Sunnis.

July 11th, 2012, 5:37 pm


Bruno said:

If that’s how you want to play it, i just cant wait when the protesters in Bahrain overthrow there Brutal regime supported and financed by both Saudi Arabia and America.

And i cant wait when a transitional government in Bahrain would not ban American bases but remove the Fifth fleet base and its command centers that exist in Bahrain.

Guess what? You cant stop the revolutions & protests that are happening in Saudi Arabia and in Bahrain, maybe there will be an uprising in Qatar to?
The same two hypocritical countries of Qatar and Saudi Arabia that are not only funding the rebels in Syria but are also arming them Ironic that.

joshua has avoided talking about that here.

As these articles admitted

There you go, two dictatorship countries both with a horrible human rights tracking record are aiding the rebels with US made weaponry.

Such as the AT4 and others which hit Tanks from a wide distance.

July 11th, 2012, 5:40 pm


Uzair8 said:

#35 Zoo

Thanks Zoo. It’s the ambassador.


I wouldn’t worry about thumbs up/down. It’s normal. It’s silly but it has to be done. Lol.

Pro-revolution get a thumbs up, pro-regime thumbs down. Vice versa. Nothing personal. Ignore it. Lol. They cancel each other out.

July 11th, 2012, 5:47 pm


zoo said:

Syria — the next Afghanistan?
By Dr Ahmad M Zaidan
Published: July 10, 2012–the-next-afghanistan/

The writer is Islamabad bureau chief of Al Jazeera Arabic and author of Bin Laden Unmasked (2003)

Russia should have learnt from the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, where it paid a heavy price, both in human and material terms. What is happening now in Syria, however, suggests that it has learnt nothing. Moscow seems adamant on supporting — in effect imposing — a dictatorial and totalitarian regime on the Syrian people, which is ruling the country with an iron fist after the imposition of emergency in 1963. The emergency was lifted only recently but nothing has changed.

Bashar al-Assad’s regime has resorted to the use of heavy weapons against its own people and destroyed as much as 80 per cent of the city of Homs. Out of a population of three million, only 300,000 of the city’s inhabitants remain. So far, the regime’s brutal campaign has caused more than 18,500 fatalities, among them 1,400 children and 1,450 women. And the pillage and plunder is not limited to Homs but has spilt over in other cities and towns as well.

I am endeavouring here to draw an analogy between Afghanistan and Syria. In the beginning, Pakistan was a base for the Afghan Mujahideen and also hosted refugees from Afghanistan, much like Turkey is doing now in the case of Syria. Shelter, food and medical assistance is being provided in Turkey to several thousand Syrian refugees and defectors including officers and soldiers, who are fighting against the Assad regime.

July 11th, 2012, 5:55 pm


Antoine said:

Nawaf al Fares must make his way quickly to Turkey or even Iraqi Kurdistan, his life is in danger in Iraq. Assad has thousands of informers and hitmen in Iraq and so has the Iranian regime, besides sectarian Iraqi Shia militias and even Iraqi security forces wouldn’t mind doing Assad a favour. From what I heard of my Iraqi sources the guy left to Iraqi Kurdistan and will enter Turkey. Apparently Eyad Allawi knew beforehand of his defection and may have helped him a bit.

Besides the fact that the guy has some information about Assad U-turn on Iraq since 2007, shady jihadist inflow into Iraq and basically all the shady stuff you associalte with Iraq and Syria in the last 10 years.

July 11th, 2012, 6:03 pm


Bruno said:

Thanks i will Ignore it.

By the way Uzair8 since now there Iraq seems to be have been defected with an video, where is the Manaf Tlass video?

There has been no real confirmations. other then the pro rebel web sites maybe they hyped it up for the meeting that was held in French?

July 11th, 2012, 6:04 pm


Syrialover said:

See Assad’s reaction to the Ambassador’s defection!

July 11th, 2012, 6:05 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Have a very nice vacation
The tanks that were hit reduced the tanks unable to move, the attack on the tanks were very accurate,
As for spreading the Syrian revolution to Iraq,this is very possible, but this will not be against Iran,the new Syrian Iraqi cooperation,will be at peace with Iran.Iran has to learn not to export their Shiism.
The Arab spring is all about eliminating dictators who are the major obstacle that is preventing Arab unity and strength ,The trio of Turkey,Syrian Iraqi, and then Egypt,is our goal.
The defection of the Ambassador to Iraq will start several defections, I salute him.

July 11th, 2012, 6:05 pm


Antoine said:

172. Uzair8 said:

You may have seen the videos of captured regime men with half their moustache shaved off. This is unnecessary. The opposition is better than the regime. Should stop this.


Lol that was actually in Salqeen , a town in Idleb, where the shabbiha were all Sunnis. They were lucky to have gotten off lightly, because the normal punishment for Shabbiha is death after torture.

I think the FSA didn’t torture them only because they were residents of the town.

July 11th, 2012, 6:13 pm


Bruno said:


(The defection of the Ambassador to Iraq will start several defections, I salute him.)

Highly unlikely, unlike with the case of the Manaf Tlass defection which hasn’t been proven nor confirmed by a video.

The defection of the Ambassador to Iraq wont have that much effect either, defections in the cold war has happened yet did it brought down Russia’s Military?

Nope Russia’s military firm and strong toward the years despite the defections.

July 11th, 2012, 6:15 pm


Antoine said:

Dr. Majed,

It is better to expel Iraq from the Arab league as long as it Daawa Party rules it.

Syria should never and can never be friendly with either Iraq or Iran.

It is inaccurate to talk about “spreading the revolution” to Iraq because the memory of Saddam Hussein is still fresh in the minds of the Shia and Kurds. Rather pressure should be put on Hizb al Daawa to stop its sectarianism which to be honest in worst in the world.

July 11th, 2012, 6:18 pm


Syrialover said:

That defection would be gold for countries standing against Assad, and he is probably under excellent protection getting debriefed by western military agencies in Iraq.

He’d be as security-sealed as Obama was when inside Iraq.

That video is professionally prepared and presented. Not done by someone nervously on the run.

You are right Antoine about the questions they’d have ready for him.

July 11th, 2012, 6:19 pm


Antoine said:


Your good life in Damascus will be finished and the women of Malki and Abu Rummaneh will be made to work as house-maids in poor homes in Idleb and Homs.

Down with the Syrian Elites.

July 11th, 2012, 6:20 pm


Ghufran said:

It is hard to believe that the goal of all of althwrajieh is to eliminate dictatorships,I will believe this claim when dictators in the Gulf face the same rebellion and opposition as the ones in Syria and soon Iraq. Despite the legitimate grievances Syrians have against the ruling Assad family,it is naive to ignore the sectarian flavor that distort the taste of many dishes offered by the rebels. Syrians for the most part are not known to be sectarian,I truely believe that the regime thugs are more sectarian than many Sunnis including anti regime Sunnis,but the threat of making a legitimate movement for freedom a mere revolt dominated by Islamists is too big to be left unchallenged.the only bloodless way to challenge this Islamist surge is to insist on a national unity transitional government, anything else will be a sellout to the GCC and Erdogan.

July 11th, 2012, 6:20 pm


Tara said:


The FSA tortures Shabeeha?

July 11th, 2012, 6:22 pm


Antoine said:


the USA is the enemy of the Syrian Revolution as long as the Democrats running it, USA basically solf odd Iraq to Iran, they do not have any military agencies in Iraq any more, they basically ran away. Any “military agencies” in Iraq are all Iranian, I am told by some sources that Iraqi mukhabarat and Police tried to seal off the building when they got the hunch, but by that time he had already fled.

Moreover, it was Iyad Allawi, the Iraqi opposition leader and some Sunni tribal chiefs, who helped him to get to Turkey.

July 11th, 2012, 6:24 pm


bronco said:

The new UNSC Resolution: More arms twisting on the opposition and its allies to comply with the 6 points, without calling for the regime to go.

Aware that it would be otherwise vetoed, the new draft UNSC resolution presented by Britain, France, the United States and Germany does not call neither for chapter 7 ( that was Hollande and the SNC main demand at the Paris conference) nor military sanctions.
It is about the UN mission renewal and a deadline for both to the Syrian government AND the opposition to stop violence with new sanctions (non military) looming.
This is the chance for Russia to include a statement reaffirming that the only plan is the Annan six points plan and none other. In addition, after its humiliating rebuff by the SNC in Moscow, I think Russia will include in the UNSC resolution a binding element “forcing” the opposition its allies to accept the “dialog” without preconditions. There will a mandatory call for an official acceptance by the UN members and the Syrian opposition of their compliance with the 6 points plan.
Russia will probably make sure there is a UN watchdog mechanism to review the political progress on regular basis and denounce any violation of the resolution.
Annan is moving in the next steps of his plan: Will the opposition arms twisting work this time ?

July 11th, 2012, 6:26 pm


Antoine said:


Your good life in Damascus will be finished and the upper class women of Malki and Rummaneh will be forced to work as house-maids in poor homes in Idleb and Homs.

Down with the Syrian Upper Class.

July 11th, 2012, 6:32 pm


Ghufran said:

“ما يحدث في سوريا ليس مسألة خلاف بين المعارضة والحكومة للحديث عن حكومة وحدة وطنية بل هي ثورة سورية”
قال رئيس “المجلس الوطني السوري” المعارض عبد الباسط سيدا، يوم الأربعاء، إن “الجانب الروسي غير متمسك بالرئيس بشار الأسد ولا بالمؤسسات القمعية، وجاء تعبيراً عن احترامه لإرادة الشعب السوري، ولكن بالانتقال إلى التفاصيل كان هناك تباين بالرؤى بين الجانبين”.

July 11th, 2012, 6:32 pm


irritated said:

#43 Majedlalkaldoon

The trio of Turkey,Syrian Iraqi, and then Egypt,is our goal..

First that’s a quatuor, second I doubt they’ll play the same music. It’ll be a cacophonia.

July 11th, 2012, 6:34 pm


Antoine said:

50. Tara said:


The FSA tortures Shabeeha?”


Of course, its their right.

Btw Muneer al Shlaibeh was the same guy who was involved in the Seidnaya Prison massacre along with Maher al Assad.

July 11th, 2012, 6:34 pm


Antoine said:

Hear this , the elites of Damascus will be FORCED to live a humble life, this has always been a core of the revolution and the poor will never forget what the parasitic Syrian Upper Class did in the last 50 years.

July 11th, 2012, 6:36 pm


Syrialover said:


Whatever your think of the politics of the Americans in Iraq, they still have very strong security setups in place there. The Americans would have been very well aware and working in conjunction with Turkey if that proves to be his main exit link.

You can be sure that there are strong defection invitations and pressures going on with all Syria’s ambassadors at the moment – as there were with Libya’s.

I think we’ll find America’s connections inside Iraq would have been a factor in getting this one.

July 11th, 2012, 6:36 pm


bronco said:

#53 Antoine

Wrong address, sorry.

July 11th, 2012, 6:37 pm


Antoine said:

49. Ghufran said:

“It is hard to believe that the goal of all of althwrajieh is to eliminate dictatorships,I will believe this claim when dictators in the Gulf face the same rebellion and opposition as the ones in Syria and soon Iraq. ”


The reason dictators in the Gulf do not face the same rebellion as in Syria is because most of their citizens, for the time being, are mostly happy with the way things are. Bahrain is obviously the exception.

The Gulf Dictators do not face rebellions for the same reason that Assad doesn’t face a rebllion from the more well-off Syrian citizesn in the 2 cities.

July 11th, 2012, 6:40 pm


bronco said:


Now you have in front of you one more reason why I don’t trust the opposition. Just read the hatred, revenge and childishness pouring in here.

July 11th, 2012, 6:40 pm


Tara said:


You are scaring me.

July 11th, 2012, 6:40 pm


Antoine said:


Comment deleted for personal attack. Please consider this your first warning. Thank you. The new moderator.

July 11th, 2012, 6:45 pm


bronco said:

Now that the moderator has defected, the SC thugs will feel free to start their personal, vulgar, sectarian and stupid attacks.
Is it time to go on vacation too?

July 11th, 2012, 6:45 pm


bronco said:

I am off… the stage is yours..

July 11th, 2012, 6:48 pm


Antoine said:


The Syrian upper class have made themsleves irrelevant ( not the rich Syrians in the Gulf, they are fine).

I have no problems with rich Syrian expats, only rich Syrians inside Syria, fat-cats that is. All their income is undeserved.

They should pay for rebuilding Homs as well.

And after the Revolution succeeds, Syrian expat businessmen should be offered to take up the Syrian-owned businesses.

July 11th, 2012, 6:48 pm


Antoine said:


Deleted for personal attack.

July 11th, 2012, 6:49 pm


mjabali said:

Syria is going to divide because of those who insist on violence to solve this complex problem. Religion and dictatorship are also involved, so you know it is bad news.

It is going to be a long fight, because there are many participants (domestic, and foreign) who could put their weights to drag it on. It is obvious that all participants have Zero respect for anyone who is not like them.

Yesterday we have a man on this board that said that the Alawis are from North West Iran. We know that this is a very laughable claim. If it has any merit many would responded to it, but since it is really funny and ludicrous no body did.

The man who said this about the Alawis is about to embark onto joining the militant fighters of the opposition. Do you see a future for Syria with men like this? Can you see sectarian clashes: today and no one reports it there are open sectarian war in Idleb and around al-Haffe. Wake up people!!!!!!!

As for the Alawi state: I say it may appear soon as a result of the fight that is not stopping. All indications point to more fighting. This fight is what gonna divide Syria. The Algerian model may occur, but, Syria is no Algeria first of all. There are going to be probably more dead.

The Alawi state if appeared in the coastal cities of Tartus and Lattakia it can survive easy. It has water, seaports, tourism, food and lots of open minded people. Syria is going

It has all elements for a modern state. A very modern state that the Middle East had never witnessed in a long time based on modern law and rules. Let the Sunnis who do not want to live with the Alawis live under the Sharia, good for them. But also, leave the Alawis and the rest of the minorities alone.

The Christians of the Middle East is getting kicked out systematically, so why don’t they stay in the Middle East and live in a place like the Alawi states where they are equal and could rule …etc Remember that many Alawis were Christians not too long ago.

The Alawis of the eastern board of the Mediterranean coast long to live together faraway from the heavy hand of the Sunnis. The Alawi aspirations are legit and what is giving it a push these days is the

Day after day you could read from the internet how Syrians can not live with each other anymore. They are calling in the open for the worst things to happen to each other. This is a fact.

Maybe, Syrian could go back and live together if there is the right elements, but, alas, look the government now and look at the opposition and you can tell that Syria is going to hell for the near future.

Here is a very interesting link to think about what is the middle east:

the title of this article is : The reasons behind the migration of Christians from Iraq.

July 11th, 2012, 6:50 pm


mjabali said:


Your comment about Allepo and Sayf al-Dawleh was good. But, as you know I found many points to argue against. I will post it tonight after work, hoping it is not that late to do so.

July 11th, 2012, 6:52 pm


Antoine said:

Dear Professor Joshua Landis,

We would like to tell you that we prefer less, not more Moderation. Especially when people are defending war-criminals like Assad, it is a bit naive to expect comments to be Moderate.

I say we should have very loose Moderation.

Sorry for some of the agry comments, but I think people should be banned from this blog for being Assad apologists.

Professor Landis, will you allow Nazi apologists and Holocaust deniers to have their say on your Blog ?

July 11th, 2012, 6:53 pm


Bruno said:


(And after the Revolution succeeds, Syrian expat businessmen should be offered to take up the Syrian-owned businesses.)

So Antoine you could see into the future and actually tell that the Revolution will succeed? what happens if it doesn’t?

July 11th, 2012, 6:53 pm


Bruno said:

I guess joshualandis admits that this is a proxy war agaisnt Iran and Russia has stated in this comment.

(Stratfor’s Bokhari and Bella remind us why a Sunni win in Syria is likely to impact the balance of power in Iraq more perhaps than in Lebanon. After all, the Sunni insurgency in Iraq is active and believes it can gain politically through violence against the Shia-dominated government. If the Sunni insurgency in Syria takes power, it may be willing to support the Iraqi Sunnis, particularly if Saudi and the Gulf states fund Jihad there in a continuing effort to limit Iran’s influence in the region and encourage regime-change in Tehran.)

Seeing how the American supported backed intelligence colored revolution (Green) Revolution failed in Iran, this is the second try.

July 11th, 2012, 6:55 pm


Antoine said:


Your pipe dream of an Alawi State is doomed from the beginning, even though Turkey actually wants an Alawi State so that it can do business with it at the same time fleecing Syria for export duties.

Latakia and Tartous is not even self-sufficient in agriculture, they have to depend on Idleb for Wheat and grains. I don’t think Alawis would prefer to eat imported Russian wheat at the cost of cheap Syrian wheat.

Besides Latakia and Tartous do not have many advanced industries.

Tourism is the only thing they got, its almost like Cyprus.

July 11th, 2012, 6:59 pm


Tara said:


Sorry, but this behavior is not acceptable. We voted on moderate to severe moderation. I too can’t be on a site that allows personal attacks like this. Please show some respect.

July 11th, 2012, 7:01 pm


Uzair8 said:

Please let’s continue to self-moderate otherwise Prof Landis will bring an early end to the comment section. It’s difficult for all sides to control their emotions but we should try. Let’s keep it respectful.

Also. Continuing from yesterdays discussion regarding surrendering Assad forces (and behaviour on the battlefield in general), the opposition should continue to abide by Geneva conventions. The leadership shouldn’t give orders that go against the conventions or endorse any bad behaviour. Otherwise how could we criticise the regime for doing so?

July 11th, 2012, 7:02 pm


Antoine said:

58. Syrialover said:


Whatever your think of the politics of the Americans in Iraq, they still have very strong security setups in place there. The Americans would have been very well aware and working in conjunction with Turkey if that proves to be his main exit link.

You can be sure that there are strong defection invitations and pressures going on with all Syria’s ambassadors at the moment – as there were with Libya’s.

I think we’ll find America’s connections inside Iraq would have been a factor in getting this one.


USA is on Assad’s side, get up and smell the coffee. USA wants Assad to crush the Revolution, Kofi Annan is their dog.

However you are right that there have been a number of “defection invitations” to Syrian Ambassadors, as the hacked Assad Emails revealed , but most of these have come from European and Arab Governments, not from USA.

July 11th, 2012, 7:05 pm


Antoine said:


BRONCO defended the Hama massacre, he defends all the massacres, I think he should be banned from the Blog, but since that is not going to happen, I thought I might as well push him off the Blog by being unpleasant.

TARA do you agree that anybody who defends Hama massacre and tries to be a regime apologist should not be allowed to use the Comments’ section ?

July 11th, 2012, 7:08 pm


Ghufran said:

Nawaf is suspected of being kidnapped according to regime sources,this claim is hard to believe,I think he probably defected. Manaf Tlas is another story,his departure from Syria may not have been totally a surprise to the regime,there are already stories about one meeting he had in France and another one scheduled with a Russian official. My own opinion is that manaf wants to be in the middle but I doubt the opposition is willing to accept him.
Ariha in Idleb is said to be the next target of regime forces, claims about Damascus battle by the FSA are probably not true,the FSA is more likely to do back and forth attacks (karr Wa Farr), those attacks are not enough to topple the regime and they may require months or years before they can change the balance on the ground,it is sad that nobody today is interested in a compromise.
Tara,much of the strange material posted on this board comes from non Syrians,the Syrian crisis is fought online also,foreign soldiers are used in cyber space and on the ground.

July 11th, 2012, 7:12 pm


Antoine said:

LOL the regime just arrested an NCB ( Mannaa group) leader in Damascus.

Syrian authorities have arrested a prominent businessman and opposition figure on charges of inciting civil disobedience, a top human rights activist told AFP on Wednesday.

“Mohammad Bassam al-Malek, 65, was jailed on orders from the state prosecutor for inciting civil disobedience due to his role in a strike by merchants in May,” activist Anwar Bunni said.

The strike was held in protest against the Houla massacre, when more than 100 people, many of them children and women, were slaughtered in central Syria, Bunni said.

UN investigators said last month they suspect pro-government forces of much of the killing in Houla, while the Syrian authorities have denied any involvement.

Malek owns several shops across Syria selling household appliances and is also a top member of the Coordination Committee for National Change and Democracy which is tolerated by the regime”

July 11th, 2012, 7:14 pm


Tara said:


I think you owe Bronco an apology. People in Syria are dying to achieve freedom and dignity, their children are slaughtered and their wives are raped. For what again? For freedom and dignity. Denying people on this blog freedom of expression and bullying them away is more consistent with shabeeha approach of confiscating freedom and dignity rather than a true revolutionist’s approach.

July 11th, 2012, 7:16 pm


zoo said:

Because of its refusal to ensure Iran Oil Cargo, European companies who have the monopoly of this lucrative business are gradually been bypassed. More loss of business for Europe.

Japan insurers expand cover to boost Iran oil shipping capacity
By Osamu Tsukimori

TOKYO, July 11 (Reuters) – Japanese insurers are expanding their maritime coverage to allow more domestic tankers to transport Iranian crude, as Tokyo looks to keep oil flowing despite tough Western sanctions, industry sources said on Wednesday.

July 11th, 2012, 7:18 pm


Antoine said:

I should add that rich Syrians who support the Uprising are angels.

Basically the dividing line is between those who support and oppose the Uprising.

Those who have opposed it consistently will cop it sweet.

July 11th, 2012, 7:18 pm


Antoine said:


There is a reason why Nazi apologists and Holocaust deniers are put behind bars in civilzed countries. Some categories of people do not deserve human values, Assad supporters belong to this category.

July 11th, 2012, 7:20 pm


habib said:

63. Antoine

Loool. One “Shabiha” could break those skinnies like twigs, according to your own opposition-propaganda.

72. Antoine

An eventual Alawite state would be the size of Lebanon, along the coast. Plus, it would be more or less homogeneous in composition, perhaps with Christians as well. No problem with being self-sufficient. A Christian/Alawite-less Syria would be a brain-drained, landlocked desert.

July 11th, 2012, 7:22 pm


anwar said:

Christian living in harmony under an Alawi state ? lol the govt puppets are truly delusional. Do you really think we want anything to do with a bunch of murdering thiefs with no morals or an actual religion ?

Where do alawite get the idea that the christian community is dying to support their cause ? Do we nod when you rant about illeterate angry muslims paid by the CIA or whatever ? I am sure some do. Christians simply want to avoid conflict and they will go along your tirades but we know you far too well to be fooled.

Antoine is right, this is the Elite (mostly alawites but some sunni and christians) vs the rest…

July 11th, 2012, 7:22 pm


habib said:

83. anwar

Lol, what did Christians get from living among Sunni extremists in Iraq, Palestine and Egypt? Not to mention Turkey and the Balkans. Shia/Christian conflict has historically been almost non-existent.

Alawites have lived peacefully along Christians in Syria and Lebanon for centuries.

The only time they turned against the Christians was when they tried to help Palestinians. Which hasn’t really paid off, to say the least.

July 11th, 2012, 7:29 pm


zoo said:

Syria opposition lashes out at Annan (and the AL envoy): What have you achieved?

Opposition in exile, activists on ground have hit out at international envoy Kofi Annan, accusing him of bias.
By Serene Assir – BEIRUT

Syria’s opposition in exile and activists on the ground have hit out at international envoy Kofi Annan, accusing him of treating the victim and aggressor in the country’s brutal conflict on the same terms.
They also lashed out at the UN-Arab League envoy for seeking to placate President Bashar al-Assad’s ally Iran

A Syria expert at the Brookings Doha Centre, Shadi Hamid, said the envoy, appointed on February 23 by the UN Security Council, has failed to be tough enough with Damascus.

“It is clear that Annan is not the right person for this, he is not capable of playing hard ball with the Assad regime and I think that that was always the criticism about him,” Hamid said.

“His diplomatic skills are appropriate in some contexts but it is clear that Syria is not one of them. He does not have the right skills for what is required in Syria right now,” he said.

July 11th, 2012, 7:32 pm


habib said:

To speculate even further on an Alawite state, someone claimed it would not be able to sustain itself, due to lack of agricultural experience. An easy solution would be to import Alawites from the countryside of North Lebanon, where all the Alawites are farmers.

It would be a nice country indeed, likely much larger than what’s seen here:

And contrary to ridiculous claims, Alawites are native to the area, perhaps more than any other groups there.

Better leave the mess and let the Sunnis and Kurds squabble among themselves for the desert.

July 11th, 2012, 7:45 pm


Syrialover said:

Antoine # 75 said: “USA is on Assad’s side, get up and smell the coffee. USA wants Assad to crush the Revolution, Kofi Annan is their dog.”

Are you serious???!!

That’s exactly the sort of over the top paranoid stuff we get all the time from the pro-Assad conspiracy theorists. And Assad himself, of course.

You are on the right side in this fight. But being determinedly fiercely anti-American just restricts your understanding and effectiveness.

You need to concentrate your anger and accusations on those who really deserve it.

You have made some excellent comments at times that I applaud. But you sabotage it with that kind of extremist claim.

July 11th, 2012, 8:11 pm


SC Moderator said:

Please observe SC rules. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. A warning was given to Antoine and his offensive comment was deleted. Repeated warnings will lead to banning. Let us keep SC civil. Thank you all.

The new moderator.

July 11th, 2012, 8:14 pm


habib said:

87. Syrialover

“You are on the right side in this fight. But being determinedly fiercely anti-American just restricts your understanding and effectiveness.”

Lol, no room for diverse views and free speech in the “democratic opposition”?

July 11th, 2012, 8:17 pm



I support Antoine and agree with him that these pro-regime commentators are not some people you can reason with and carry out a debate. The less they talk the better.

In fact, there is no value for debate in the present Syrian circumstances. That’s why I valued majedkhaldoun’s comment of the last post (# 106) in which he revealed plans to go to Syria and join the revolution.

Therefore, I wouldn’t mind JL closing the site for the time being.

This is the time for popular war of liberation of Syria, not the time for idle talk particularly if the talk is with the pro-regime propagandists.

And dream not about dividing Syria into Statelets. Winner takes all.

July 11th, 2012, 8:22 pm


omen said:

this is what happened the last time the united nations called for rebels to disarm:

Srebrenica had been declared a `safe haven’ for Muslim refugees by the United Nations, a place they could take refuge from savage mass murder, rape and expulsion of civilians by Serbs. Muslim refugees were assured they would be protected by the UN if they laid down what few small arms they had.

The Serbs ignored the UN, stormed the city and methodically slaughtered 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The killing extended over three days and was videotaped.

Cowardly Dutch UN troops supposedly guarding the refugees took no action to halt the mass killing. They simply stood by while Serb forces rounded up thousands of civilians and took them off to be executed.

Calls for NATO air strikes to end the atrocity were blocked by France and Britain, who were covertly backing Serbia while officially protesting its crimes. Both were seeking political influence and arms sales to what they assumed would be an expanded, post-war Serbia.

Over 250,000 people died in the 1991-1995 wars that tore apart Yugoslavia, and 2.3 million were made refugees. The overwhelming majority were Muslim Bosnians.

i am sure this pattern from world leaders of public denunciation while secretly backing the aggressor – is being repeated again.

July 11th, 2012, 8:23 pm


Amjad said:

“So Antoine you could see into the future and actually tell that the Revolution will succeed?”

Yes, I can see into the future, just like any person with two working brain cells could have foreseen Hitler’s collapse after Stalingrad, and Saddam getting his butt kicked twice by the Americans. But of course, those two were the last to face the inevitable. To his dying day, Hitler thought that the Allies would have a falling out before they could read Berlin. We are seeing the same kind of delusional thinking among the “Meteh Snorting Republic of Qurdaha” gang here. Syria without the mafia family and their leeching parasites will be a paradise.

And Alawites lived with Christians in peace? LOOOOOOL! Snort more of that meteh will you. How many Christians were jailed in the 80s on charges of being members of the MUSLIM Brotherhood. Or do I have to draw you people a crayon drawing to explain to your peasant mentalities just how ridiculous the idea of a Christian in the MB is? Yeah, Alawites tolerated Christians, as long as Christians were subservient and obedient. Just take a look at where Christians place in your Made-to-fit-Bashar constitution. A Christian cannot be president according to the meti-snorters who made that “constitution” up.

And Syria is to Russia what Israel is to the USA? My God, the mehti snorting has reached unprecedented levels on this forum. I guess it’s a sign of the stressful times. Russia’s relationship to the Baathist gang of Qurdahan peasants can be likened to that of an unethical lawyer, who tells you that your dubious law suit has merit, as long as you routinely send him cheques for $10,000 every once in a while. Putin is nothing more than a glorified ambulance chaser.

El Batta will never be able to subdue the country. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are sitting back and smirking at Bashar’s discomfort and agony. What can El Batta do in return? Whine to German and Russian media as more and more of his former henchmen defect.

July 11th, 2012, 8:26 pm


Amjad said:

Does anyone else find it strange that one of the pro-war-crime supporters here claims to be a “westerner”, and yet has atrocious sentence structure? And I don’t know the last time I saw someone so pathetically obsessed with the number of thumbs down he gets on a forum. Seriously, do we have to endure such whines every second post? Is this a Miss Popularity Contest? I think the person in question agonizes more over the number of thumbs down he gets than the number of people who have been killed in Syria.

July 11th, 2012, 8:30 pm


Syrialover said:

Habib, Knee-jerk bashing America in this situation is pouring intellectual energy down the sink.

Conspiracy theory obsessions block thinking and dialogue.

Lift the game. The stakes are too high and the issues too complicated, real and urgent.

July 11th, 2012, 8:32 pm


Amjad said:

“TARA do you agree that anybody who defends Hama massacre and tries to be a regime apologist should not be allowed to use the Comments’ section”

I agree with Antoine. Even Canada doesn’t allow war criminals into its borders, and places restrictions on promoting ethnic cleansing and war crimes, so I don’t see why such people should be given a platform to spread their poison.

July 11th, 2012, 8:36 pm


Syrialover said:

A big welcome and big thanks to the new moderator.

I cheer you for being willing to take on such a wriggling and fussy beast as this forum and putting firm reins on it.

Wait, I hope I didn’t discourage you.

July 11th, 2012, 8:40 pm


habib said:

94. Amjad

Eh, anti-government Alawite activists were arrested in large numbers as well (and still are, probably more than Christians), so how is this a sectarian action?

Tell me again how Alawites have done anything even approaching what have been done to Christians in Egypt, Iraq, Palestine and Turkey.

Just one example.

Alawites (not to mention Shias) and Middle Eastern Christians have never killed each other off for sectarian reasons. The same can’t be said of Sunnis and Christians.

July 11th, 2012, 8:40 pm


Ghufran said:

Lebanon has just paid almost 27 million euros for the international court (2012 dues ) at the Hague to finance a collection of highly paid group of lawyers whose only job is to get hizbullah after trying to get Syria. This is the type of measures that can win the approval of western governments. whether it is a dictatorship or not,the prerequisite factor for any middle eastern government to enjoy normal relations with the west is to be a puppet.
It is sickening that Arabs have to choose between the likes of the Syrian regime and the GCC type Bedouinvilles,if you think a third option will be allowed you must be dreaming.
(SC should not be allowed to become a playground for rude and superficial posts written by obnoxious people ,many of whom are not even Syrian)

July 11th, 2012, 8:41 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

If you ,as Alawi, form Alawite State, then you are no longer Syrian,
Latakia to Tartous this coast belong to Syria, Alawis have only,,only the Mountain,they moved to the coast in the last 100 year.

July 11th, 2012, 8:48 pm


Syrialover said:

#92 Visitor

The pro-regime propagandists here are currently just a flickering shadow of what they were a couple of months ago.

But they have the right to be here and ironically even some value. As someone said a while back,this forum makes useful reading for anyone wanting to study their thinking and propaganda tactics.

They can be disturbing to read, but what we write must be equally disturbing to them. That’s free speech and true debate and I will always support it.

So long as they don’t do massive cut and paste distraction tactics like they used to I see a lot of good things about this forum and would hate to see it close down.

July 11th, 2012, 8:52 pm


irritated said:

I really enjoy comments written by users who chose a christian nickname to express ‘smart’ ideas that, unfortunately for them, show exactly who they are.
Who are they trying to fool?

July 11th, 2012, 9:00 pm


Syrialover said:

I see BRONCO (#64 & 65)started bucking at the absence of a moderator and galloped off just before the new one was introduced.

Very impatient, those wild broncos.

Maybe the domesticated bronco will come back to graze.

July 11th, 2012, 9:03 pm


irritated said:

Syria Lover

Your magnanimity in allowing the people who disagree with you to post ‘within limits’ is an ultimate sign of arrogance.
If you and your friends own this blog, I hope you will continue to enjoy high level debates with them.

July 11th, 2012, 9:10 pm


omen said:

i was afraid this would happen when the nyt’s announced a couple of weeks ago that the cia would “aid in steering arms to rebels.”

uh huh.

Arms deliveries to Syrian rebels delayed
By: Roula Khalaf

BEIRUT — Syrian activists say the flow of arms to rebels has slowed over the past two weeks, a pause that might be temporary but could reflect growing concern over the militarization of the 16-month conflict.

Activists give differing interpretations of what they say are shipments of weapons that are not making it across the usual route — the Turkish-Syrian border.

Many armed conflicts around the world have fallen off the radar, are neglected by governments and overlooked by the media.

One leading opposition figure attributed the blockage to Turkish anxiety in the wake of Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet last month.

“There are meetings being held every day with the Turks, and we hope that the issue will be resolved soon,” the opposition figure said.

Another activist who works with the loose group of rebels known as the Free Syrian Army said there has been a drop-off in weapons deliveries and funding — which have been originating from Qatari and Saudi sources — to give diplomatic efforts to end the crisis a chance of success. He said that he suspected Russia would also decrease weapons shipments to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Whatever the motive, the result is the same — it is a reduction,” says Louay Mikdad, a logistics coordinator with the Free Syrian Army.

Syrian political activists who are supportive of the rebel armament effort say the obstacles that have emerged over the past two weeks could weaken the insurgency. “It is an injustice because we don’t have any stores inside the country,” said one activist with knowledge of the delays in weapons delivery. “We cannot fight this regime without ammunition. It is without balance — tanks against bodies.”

Brig. Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh, a rebel commander based on the Turkish-Syrian border, played down the potential damage to the insurgency, however. He said the fighters’ main strategy was to seize weapons and ammunition from the Syrian army.

“We haven’t been counting on outside help, and what we’ve received would not even cover 30 kilometers of battleground,” he said. “We know that there is pressure on the opposition, and we feel that no one wants to help.”

July 11th, 2012, 9:30 pm


Syrialover said:

We are all tired, so exhausted with anxiety and uncertainty. But it is nothing compared with what’s experienced by dear ones in Syria. Those in Aleppo live with the sound of constant explosions, cannot travel around the city and struggle to manage even necessary living costs.

And it could get much, much worse.

July 11th, 2012, 9:32 pm


Syrialover said:

Dear Irritated (#105),

My limits are to not have 40-paragraph cut-and-pastes posted all the time. What are yours?

And I don’t know anyone else on this blog – and certainly don’t have links to those who own it!

True, I don’t like what you and some others post, but I would never tell you to shut up.

And the debates you talk about are usually with you and others who share your position.

July 11th, 2012, 9:44 pm


irritated said:

Syria Lover

but I would never tell you to shut up.

As you and your kind have decided they own the blog and decide who they want to keep and who they want to silence and to force out, your last words moved me to tears. I am grateful for ever for our generosity.

Who the hell you think you are to patronize anyone who writes here?

July 11th, 2012, 9:58 pm


zoo said:

We will defeat Assad, says new opposition chief

Thomas Seibert
Jul 12, 2012

“We have not seen a development in the Russian position. I was here one year ago and the position has not changed,” he said after the talks.

Some opposition officials and outside observers wonder whether Mr Saida, a member of the Syria’s Kurdish minority group and an expert in ancient Assyrian culture, can end internal divisions and formulate a road map for a post-Assad Syria that would be embraced by all who oppose the Syrian president.

One SNC activist said Mr Saida’s position would become far more tenuous if he failed to present such a plan within the next two months.

Whether he succeeds or not, he has had a meteoric rise from obscurity.

“His challenges are huge,” said Molham Aldrobi, an SNC member who represents Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood. “So far, it’s a mixed picture.

“Within the next two months, he should call a meeting of the general assembly and present an integrated plan that has everybody contributing.”

Some observers believe Mr Saida will enjoy only a brief tenure as head of the SNC, especially if he does not succeed in getting Syria’s minority Kurds to take a more active role in the uprising. So far, they have stayed mostly on the sidelines.

He is a “transitional figure” who won election last month as a neutral consensus figure because he lacked a power base of his own within the organisation, said Oytun Orhan from the Centre for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies, a think tank in Ankara.

“I think he needs to make his name, but I don’t think he has the ability,” said Kamal Al Labwani, an opposition figure who has been critical of the SNC.

“People are dying inside Syria and we need good drivers, good leaders.”

July 11th, 2012, 10:08 pm


omen said:

listed from above:

Iran furnishes about 40 percent of Turkey’s oil

hmm, turkey being pressured by iran might explain this story:

BEIRUT — Syrian activists say the flow of arms to rebels has slowed over the past two weeks

July 11th, 2012, 10:17 pm


habib said:

101. majedkhaldoun

Habib, do Not personalize the discussion. I deleted (your masters). Observe the rules.

Lol, you wouldn’t dare say that about the Kurds, since you desperately want them to join you.

In any case, (deleted, do not personalize the dicussion)in the Muslim Brotherhood have stated they don’t give damn about Syria as a state (they want a larger caliphate). But yet again (as with Tlass), Sunnis get a free pass from the hypocrites.

July 11th, 2012, 10:22 pm


irritated said:

#112 Omen

It was predictable. All countries in the neighborhood are increasingly preventing the movement of troops and weapons to Syria. In addition, the new UNSC resolution may probably render illegal supplying weapons to the rebels.
If the opposition’s strategy is to rely on the FSA to keep up the political pressure, I think they must find something else quickly.

July 11th, 2012, 10:27 pm


Syrialover said:

Irritated (#108), you have been a very wild sniper and ferocious patronizer here at times.

You can make others look weak and meek. You bow to nobody.
You show persistence and consistency and intellect behind your posts, unlike some of the other anti-revolutionists here.

So I find it hard to believe you are feeling put out.

I am no more empowered to silence or force anybody out than you are. And if I was, it wouldn’t be you, who have been here so long and know your subject so well.

God knows, we could be neighbours or workmates and very friendly if the subject of Syria never came up.

This forum is like a microcosm of Syria at the moment.

We are all tired, really tired. There is so much still to happen.

July 11th, 2012, 10:38 pm


Tara said:


You are very polite and nice.

July 11th, 2012, 10:45 pm


Syrialover said:

Irritated, BTW I’m curious, who is making you feel forced out? The moderator?

All those years you’ve been posting on Syria Comment, which has never been an Assad admiration club (tolerator at time, but not supporter).

You shouldn’t be suddenly throwing your boxing gloves out of the ring.

July 11th, 2012, 10:55 pm


Syrialover said:

Tara you say you cook very well. If Irritated came to your home, what dish would you offer to soothe and revive him? What music should he hear?

In WWI, the Turks and British would stop their battles on special days and share cigarettes.

July 11th, 2012, 11:05 pm


omen said:

mrs. clinton told turkey not to help the rebels:

In a previously unreported turn of events, it has now come to light that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her meeting with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu last month, emphatically dismissed a number of forward leaning options on Syria that the Turkish top diplomat proposed to the Obama administration.


According to well-informed Turkish and US sources, during his meeting with Secretary Clinton, Davutoğlu put forward a set of measures, including, among others, creating a buffer zone and/or a humanitarian corridor, as well as organizing and equipping the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The secretary of state responded in no uncertain terms that the Obama administration had no interest in pursuing any of these options. In fact, according to one account, Clinton told her Turkish counterpart no less than three times, “We are not there.”

so, contrary to what was advertised, the cia was sent to block arms from getting through.

July 11th, 2012, 11:55 pm


mjabali said:

Alawis and Christians lived in harmony from day one. Both are the victim of the Sunnis for a long time. Both are being asked to leave the area and threatened with violence. Both went through a lot.

The Alawis constitute no danger to the Christians. They had no military attacks against each other. They should live together in a modern state that equals them. This state should welcome all the other minorities that are threatened by the “majority.”

Till today there are villages in the Alawite areas that contain both Alawis and Christians with not one single incident of trouble. The Alawis most likely were Christians before they converted at the hands of the missionaries. Christian missionaries converted some Alawis in the 20th C.

Syria may break up fast into little states. The one on the coast is going to be with Alawite majority. The Christians are numerous on the coast, as well as the Sunnis. But, the Sunnis in the cost are mostly Trukmans and Kurds leaning towards conservatism. The Alawis and Christians both want a more liberal way of living.

The Alawite State (or call it whatever you want) that will be on the coast is going to be the destination of lots of the oppressed minorities from within Syria.

July 12th, 2012, 12:46 am


Shami said:

Majbali,your call for an alawite state is not a new thing,we announced it some years ago on this forum as the last cast of the regime ,the grandfather of Hafez Assad had the same reaction when it become clear that France was going to leave an united Syria :And notice the astonishing proximity of this letter to the sectarian alawite’s narrative today :
Fearing for their future in any Syrian state dominated by Sunni Muslims, in 1936 six leading Alawites, including Sulayman al-Assad, the grandfather of Syria’s current president, wrote a letter to Léon Blum, France’s first Jewish prime minister, explaining that their community would “refuse to be annexed to Muslim Syria because in Syria the official religion of the state is Islam, and according to Islam the Alawis are considered infidels.”

The authors of the letter even appealed to Mr. Blum’s presumed Zionist sympathies, arguing that the persecution of the Jews in Syria and Palestine would be the fate of all religious minorities if the majority Muslim population was allowed to rule. They wrote:

The spirit of hatred and fanaticism embedded in the hearts of the Arab Muslims against everything that is non‑Muslim has been perpetually nurtured by the Islamic religion. There is no hope that the situation will ever change. Therefore, the abolition of the Mandate will expose the minorities in Syria to the dangers of death and annihilation, irrespective of the fact that such abolition will annihilate the freedom of thought and belief. …

We can sense today how the Muslim citizens of Damascus force the Jews who live among them to sign a document pledging that they will not send provisions to their ill-fated brethren in Palestine. The condition of the Jews in Palestine is the strongest and most explicit evidence of the militancy of the Islamic issue vis-à-vis those who do not belong to Islam. These good Jews contributed to the Arabs with civilization and peace, scattered gold, and established prosperity in Palestine without harming anyone or taking anything by force, yet the Muslims declare holy war against them and never hesitated in slaughtering their women and children.

But :
How could it possible? the sectarian nature of such a state would be a good reason to unite the syrians against it,especially it would need sectarian cleansing which will likely result on a massive syrian backlash,it must be known that the geographic nature has given the possibility to quickly surround the moutains from the natural breach Homs-Tell Kalakh- Hamidiyeh-Tartous ,which make the coastal cities easily reachable and the mounthain north of Lattakia are not as much alawites than the small mountainous aera between Safita and al Haffah,but plz dont take it as a war against the alawites ,i believe that even the alawite generals would push for it ,the civilians alawites would they take the risk and add more problem to the problems created by 40 years of Assad regime?

There is no doubt that Israel would like to support such an idea …but would it be translated into a direct and obvious alawite – israeli alliance ?

Plz Majbali forget it ,you will have to live among us !

July 12th, 2012, 12:49 am


Bruno said:

Still no Real actual Confirmation of the ambassador defection from either countries, unless its all staged by the opposition with the aid of AJ.

July 12th, 2012, 12:50 am


Halabi said:

SyriaLover, I hope Tara knows how to make the Aleppo delicacy
سماقية بلحم البرونكو

On another note, those who only read the lies of the mukhabarat (Mustapha Tlass speaking to France 2, Riad Al Asaad defecting, etc.) could never understand what the Syrian revolution is about and who the revolutionaries are. It’s time to get to know these people in person. If you are in a big city go to a protest and meet people. As long as you don’t call them 3ar3ours I guarantee that they will all be friendly and welcoming. I’ve made friends with Christians, Alawites, Iranians and conservative Sunnis who are all united in opposition to this horrible, murderous regime that has destroyed our country for decades.

Leave your prejudice and hatred behind and carve out a space with the Syrian people. The opposition can’t absorb people like Bashar, Khaddam and Rifaat, and the shabiha will need to step down, but normal people and reasonable officials and government employees are our neighbors and friends. It’s always a good time for peace, if not today then tomorrow.

July 12th, 2012, 12:54 am


Halabi said:

“Still no Real actual Confirmation of the ambassador defection from either countries, unless its all staged by the opposition with the aid of AJ.”

If this is Nawaf Fares, then he clearly defected and wants to be a part of the revolution.

But I have a strong feeling that the propagandist doubting the defection doesn’t know Arabic. So here’s an article in English, but unfortunately the writing is a little advanced.

As Majed (and all cool Syrians) say: “someone” doesn’t believe 7ta yara.

July 12th, 2012, 1:06 am


Bruno said:

Halabi I have seen a fake video of the general staged by the rebels it seems want see it?

His hands were tied with what appears to look like wires with a fake face.

I will look for it now.
Again if you want to see it please do let me know.

July 12th, 2012, 1:39 am


Syrialover said:

Halabi, yep, if you look at the ears, the hairline, the moustache of the guy labelled Nawaf Fares in those earlier photos that looks to be the same guy reading the defection speech.

I love what you wrote in #122 about the power of different people simply making contact with each other in this common cause.

And: “The opposition can’t absorb people like Bashar, Khaddam and Rifaat, and the shabiha will need to step down, but normal people and reasonable officials and government employees are our neighbors and friends.”

If there is something positive, equitable and sustainable at the centre, sectarianism becomes weaker and less relevant. Always.

July 12th, 2012, 1:45 am


Bruno said:

(But I have a strong feeling that the propagandist doubting the defection doesn’t know Arabic. So here’s an article in English, but unfortunately the writing is a little advanced. )

Nice try with that propagandist accusing stuff but if i was an propagandist wheres my money? i am not even Syrian.

But clearly what the mainstream news outlets have been with these defections when it comes high profiles is what i call PSYOPS.

In another news article.

(There has been no comment from Damascus or Baghdad and the White House said it was unable to confirm the defection)

Here’s the link.

July 12th, 2012, 1:49 am


Bruno said:

For those Rebel supporters thumbing me down i added the link and please do read the lines.

(There has been no comment from Damascus or Baghdad and the White House said it was unable to confirm

the defection, news of which broke just before mediator Kofi Annan briefed the U.N. Security Council on his faltering diplomatic effort to craft a political solution to the crisis.)

Funny how these defections always seems to happen right before the UN tires to do something eh?

July 12th, 2012, 1:53 am


Halabi said:

Bruno, you weren’t asking about the general, you said: “Still no Real actual Confirmation of the ambassador defection from either countries, unless its all staged by the opposition with the aid of AJ.”

So I should you the ambassador. Did you watch the video or read the article? Do you think it’s a hoax?

As for Tlass, I was the one who posted the video but I can’t find it. It would be great if you could dig it up for me so I can watch it again and see if it’s a fake. It seemed very real and there is a catchy song in it that I am sure you will love.

July 12th, 2012, 1:55 am


Syrialover said:

Bruno, now you assure us you are “not even Syrian”, what dog do you have in this fight? And what is it that attracts you to supporting Assad?

Or do you just get a buzz from rushing in and joining a dogfight on the mean side, regardless of the cause? Laughing while you stir things up.

It appears you started to read Syria Comment for the first time in July 2012. It’s kind of obvious what your game is.

Serious questions.

(Nobody thinks you are being paid – you are definitley not well informed and organized, nor of that standard).

July 12th, 2012, 1:56 am


Uzair8 said:

167. Irritated

That is a different Tlass: Manaf Talal Tlass.

July 12th, 2012, 2:01 am


Bruno said:

At least the New York Times had the guts to show and write this.

(PARIS — Nearly one week after the commander of one of Syria’s elite Republican Guard units defected, he has not been seen in public or tried to contact the opposition, raising questions about his motives and intentions, senior officials and opposition members said. )

What is happening here as in the same defection case of what again rephrase it as Psychological warfare.

I will give this defection a week or month before it happens or starts to be just as the Unseen manaf tlass case.

July 12th, 2012, 2:17 am


Halabi said:

Thanks SyriaLover. Are you from Aleppo? The constant shelling for the past month and increased checkpoints is causing the previously silent elites in Aleppo to turn on the regime. This is not because they love the revolution or have shed their fears of the future, it’s because they understand that Bashar can’t bring back stability.

There are large daily protests in many neighborhoods now – there were even flash protests in Al Zahra (different from the one in Homs) where Assad’s soldiers are shelling the rural areas. There’s a tank brigade in Hamdaniyeh that’s idle. Hopefully it will never be activated. When I was there in December I told my oblivious, khilset friends that they were months away from seeing war at their doorsteps. I was off by a few months, but the war has arrived and it doesn’t look like anyone is going to stop it.

July 12th, 2012, 2:27 am



Airtight Proof
When Sharif Shihada calls the Ambassador a thief, you know that the Ambassador has really defected. No need for attempts to analyze hair style or for any other forensic. case closed.

Either way, both the Ambassador and Munaf Tlass did not really defect, they only escaped. Defection time is over. It is now time for escape from the sinking ship. And the primary cause for these escape has less to do with the repulsion against the murder of Syrians since both high profile escapees have been part and parcel of the regime’s security apparatus for years. It has more to do with the incredible absurdity of the buffoon Assad the little, who can still look the camera in lens and say something like “we do not have family rule here, we have inthtituthens in thyria”.

Regime symbols are calculating decision makers. But when the absurdity of burning the entire country, including them, for the sake of he buffoon and his vulgar family and close friends reach such high levels, there is no way for many of them to escape before the madness of this little boy king reach their necks.

I am however disappointed at the increasingly sectarian conversations here. Some regime supporters have taken a sectarian outlook from day one, and they have tried to hide it for long time, but for those pretending to support the revolution to talk on such sectarian terms and respond in worst sectarian slurs and imagery (metti snorting and the like) is both unacceptable and it soils what people are dying for and it shows the same lack of understanding of this revolution the prop-regimist have shown.

YES i will take a high place on this, and yes I will be arrogant and unforgiving. Sectarianism is never fought by itself, it is a folly to think this way. And if you don’t like what I said, go for it, push the red dislike button

Why you say so, you have always advocated that a state of laws is what guarantees everyone’s rights and survival. Do you think that a sectarian state built by generals who knew nothing but plunder and graft will survive the same generals and their countless entourage of those who only knew employment and promotion as tools of intimidation. I have to say that such a state will revert into infighting and recrimination if not a full scale tribal war. It is already starting among some of the regime’s closely knit circle of ultra supporters. A state built to protect a few who have committed historical injustice would be a state that would sacrifice all of its citizens for the sake of the buffoon. I value every Syrian too much to have anyone even getting wounded for the sake of this absurd historical abomination called Bashar al Assad.

July 12th, 2012, 2:39 am


Bruno said:

(There are large daily protests in many neighborhoods now)

Yeah i have seen those YouTube videos of the protests they look very small. And not alot of people.

(This is not because they love the revolution or have shed their fears of the future, it’s because they understand that Bashar can’t bring back stability.)

This is what i mean by Psychological warfare. The fact is the Syrians do still support Assad if they haven’t Assad would have been gone 12 Months ago.

If not 11 months ago you yet even claim that the Syrian people in Syria would rather support a bunch of hired guns goons who mostly if not all of the fighters aren’t even Syrian.

(the previously silent elites in Aleppo to turn on the regime)

Yeah i highly doubt that.

July 12th, 2012, 2:41 am


Badr said:

“the only bloodless way to challenge this Islamist surge is to insist on a national unity transitional government,”

To begin with, could the major Syrian parties involved agree on who would lead such a ruling body?

Actually I would love it if the international community could and would agree to shove the Annan’s six points plan down the throat of the Syrians, if it were possible.

July 12th, 2012, 3:10 am


Halabi said:

Jawaher ya Hamster. Shareef Shehade was awesome today. I would link it for the menhebaks but I think all the Arabic speakers are gone and we only have the Iranians and western hypocrites to deal with now… On second thought:

July 12th, 2012, 3:12 am


Shami said:

The qardouh Sharif Shehade :

You will be honored to join Shehade !

July 12th, 2012, 3:24 am


annie said:

Dear Joshua, I wish you well deserved vacations. Is SC going to run on comments while you are away or are you closing shop ?
I see there is a SC Moderator; is he self appointed or is he for real ?
ANTOINE, I would not want to live in your Syria; you remind me of that character who was banned from everywhere and whose name I forgot. Are you his reincarnation ?
TARA, I love all of your comments. I would nominate you for Moderator if you have the time.

And thanks to our defecting cook for his resilience.

July 12th, 2012, 3:27 am


Amjad said:

“His hands were tied with what appears to look like wires with a fake face.”


This is why it’s impossible to have a conversation with the menhebakjis. This thumbs-down-thumbs-up-woe-is-me-the-thumbs-the-thumbs individual can’t even appreciate a parody when he sees one. Or did you really think in your conthpirathy filled world that the guy at the end of the video pulling the puppet strings was actually your prethident. So a) you didn’t watch the video at all but still have the unbelievable ill manners to come here and act like you did, or 2) your level of thinking is such that you lack the cognitive abilities to recognize a parody and need it explained to you.

Seriously, lowering my thinking down to menhebakji level is really starting to hurt my head.

“Funny how these defections always seems to happen right before the UN tires to do something eh?”

There are always UN meetings every second day of the week. It’s like saying “funny how it rains outside everytime there is an advert for shampoo on TV”.

“The fact is the Syrians do still support Assad if they haven’t Assad would have been gone 12 Months ago.”

Yeah, by that thinking I’m sure the French during WW2 all supported the Nazi occupiers, otherwise they would have been gone after 12 months. Or the Afgans all supported the Russian occupiers, otherwise it wouldn’t have taken eight years to kick them out. And I’m sure the North Korean love the utopia their “Beloved Leader” has built for them.

If most Syrians actually supported Bashar, this revolution would have been snuffed out just like the Bahraini and Iranian revolutions, or wouldn’t have gotten off the ground as in Jordan and Morocco.

No president can be called legitimate when he feels the need to cut mobile phone coverage and Internet access to 80% of the country.

July 12th, 2012, 4:24 am


Bruno said:


(No president can be called legitimate when he feels the need to cut mobile phone coverage and Internet access to 80% of the country.)

Ah thats where you hit yourself on the foot, if Assad has cut the mobile phone coverage and Internet access to 80% of the country.

How are you rebels then are able to send those videos of Tanks been blown up, showing little kids as child soldiers fighting along side with the rebels to YouTube?

Whose helping you in that area? Tor ? CIA ?

(Yeah, by that thinking I’m sure the French during WW2 all supported the Nazi occupiers, otherwise they would have been gone after 12 months. Or the Afgans all supported the Russian occupiers, otherwise it wouldn’t have taken eight years to kick them out. And I’m sure the North Korean love the utopia their “Beloved Leader” has built for them.)

Seems to me your clueless on the whole afghanistan war between the Russians.

Nice to see the 100 or 200 some of the users here are just really people who not only support the radical Islamist Terrorist groups within Syria but they also seem to support for the CFR.

Watch this video.

Hillary Clinton basically has admitted that it was America that created taliban in order to drive out the Russians out of the country.

And sure did that really did work.

(There are always UN meetings every second day of the week. It’s like saying)

Thats funny when the conflict in Libya was started and getting under way, i dont remember that many UN meetings discussing the same topic.

But you know what? the rest of us Americans, Canadians, Europeans aren’t buying into the propaganda against Sryia or Assad for that matter.

But dont get me wrong it is tragic whats happening in Syria, but the Rebels are are far worse then Assad. In fact they are the ones behind the massacre of those kids in Houla.

Even your own Rebel supporters on facebook were banned for using that image of those children as a background display.

July 12th, 2012, 5:51 am


Amjad said:

“How are you rebels then are able to send those videos of Tanks been blown up, ”

Sho habibi? And you think you know enough about Syria to comment on it? The activists brilliantly use satellite phones. In any other country, satellite phones are perfectly legitimate means of communication. It’s only your prethident and his Neanderthal shabihas who view them as tools of “terrorism”. Your batta is obsessed with satellite phones. It’s the first thing they look for when they ransack a house. To be caught with a satellite phone in Syria is enough to earn you an immediate death sentence.

“i dont remember that many UN meetings discussing the same topic.”

All it took was one meeting on Libya to implement an effective response. Thank God for the grace and mercy of NATO. The reason the UN has to have so many meetings on Syria is because the international community has been blocked by that prima donna Putin from taking any efficient action.

Right now, Houlas has had all electricity and water cut from it. The people there are rushing into the arms of the FSA, not the murderous Syrian Jaysh Abu Shahata. Where are the government refugee camps to help all the displaced Syrians? Why hasn’t poor sanctioned up her wazoo Asma once been to a bunch of refugees? All questions the menhebakjis would prefer would just go away.

“Ah thats where you hit yourself on the foot”

Guys, please tell me what “Westerner” would muck up such a simple phrase? It’s supposed to be “That’s where you shot yourself in the foot”. Hit is just a clumsy translation by someone unfamiliar with the phrase. Speak Farsi much? Economics is for donkeys, didn’t you hear the holy fatwa?

“But you know what? the rest of us Americans, Canadians, Europeans aren’t buying into the propaganda against Sryia or Assad for that matter. ”

Then where are the massive pro-Batta demonstrations in the Arab communities abroad? Every week there is a pro-revolution demo in the West, by people all too well aware what the consequences for their relatives back home will likely be. Are you saying that the PTHYOPTH outfit would take you away in a black helicopter and lock you up in an Colorado dungeon somewhere underneath NORAD? LOL!

July 12th, 2012, 6:21 am


Dolly said:

But Bruno, why shouldn’t GCC arm the rebels, when the KGB is arming the Alawites.

This commie-Alawite axis has to be stopped

July 12th, 2012, 6:54 am



Extreme violence taking place in many places in and around Damascus today and this very same moment according to direct sources.

July 12th, 2012, 7:23 am


Information said:

Wait, so are you telling me that the same Sunni Syria that allowed Alawis to reach the highest ranks in the military and gain prominent political posts prior to Assad, the same Sunni Syria that initially cheered for Assad when he took control, has always been doomed to discriminate against Alawis so long as Alawis weren’t in power? Also, remember, Salah Jadid was essentially the de facto head of state when Nureddin Al Atassi was ousted out of office, and that Assad’s coup was at least as much to oust a Alawi Syrian leader as it was to remove Sunni one. This regime is not what has saved the Alawis from the big bad Sunnis, but rather, has increased sectarian tension by bestowing upon the Alawis an honorific status which, for the vast majority of Alawis, came with few tangible rewards. Kind of like the boss who gives his employee a better title without a pay raise.

July 12th, 2012, 7:27 am


mjabali said:


To tell you the truth, I never believed in the existence of the document that al-Assad’s grandfather sent to the French asking them to keep the Alawi state separated from Syria. al-Assad’s grandfather was in no position of power among the Alawis at that moment. In al-Qurdaha itself they would not even stand up to al-Khayyer family, or Islamil. al-Assad’s family was not as strong or rich as the other two families. It looks like a fabricated document. Did anyone ever showed a copy of that ?

As for the Alawites: they have aspirations for independence that is growing day after day?

July 12th, 2012, 7:32 am


mjabali said:

Syrian Hamster:

I am Syrian and like you love everything Syrian. I do not call for the dismemberment of Syria.

I see that with this situation growing bad the coast may separate. Dissent against al-Assad is growing by the day, and soon he would start thinking of possibilities. The Alawis who are fighting for him may get sick of this fight, who knows? The Kurds may take their part out too. The rest may unify or fight, who knows, the possibilities are numerous, but most of them are bad.

If al-Assad and his family retreat and separate with the coast: that is the worst. That means long years of dictatorship, idiocy and cult worship.

July 12th, 2012, 7:42 am


Tara said:

Syria fires ambassador who joined uprising
Associated Press – 57 mins ago

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s Foreign Ministry says it has fired the country’s ambassador to Iraq after he defected to the opposition.
In a statement reported by Syria’s state news agency on Thursday, the ministry said Nawaf Fares had been “relieved of his duties” and should face “legal and disciplinary accountability.”
Fares announced his defection in a video released on Wednesday, saying he was siding with “the revolution” against President Bashar Assad.

July 12th, 2012, 7:48 am


majedkhaldoun said:

الخارجية: السفير السوري في العراق أعفي من مهامه اصولا
It is very strange that some are denying Nawaf defection, even Syrian officials in the foreign ministry confirmed it.

July 12th, 2012, 7:49 am


Observer said:

I actually commend Majbali for his honesty about the real elephant in the room. He clearly identifies the sectarian nature of the regime that was accelerated by Fredo with significant concentration of power in his family and inner Alawi circle and he gutted the Baath party and marginalized the regular army.

It is clear that Majbali feels Alawi first and Syrian a distant second. Like many minorities that were ill treated and marginalized they have etched in their memory scenes and times of repression and humiliation and exclusion.

This of course can color one’s outlook on life and in the face of a weak national identity and a weak state institutions it is only natural to revert to your clan/family/sect for help.

Majbali knows that the Alawi state is non viable, and that is the reason he wishes to bring in the Christians to it for geographic and demographic reasons.

I say no need to, why not a federation of greater ME, where the various groups can have autonomy and can have their own self rule with guarantees of freedom and justice. The curse of Sykes Picot will be broken and then let there be real political give and take.

If on the other hand the Alawi community is very afraid then we can have peacekeepers in place just as in Bosnia to protect them from revenge and what have you.

I truly think that every human being deserves to live in peace and freedom and to have equal opportunity to pursue his/her dreams and develop his/her talents.
The letter of the Alawi leaders to Blum is indicative of the politics of fear and I wish to change that to the politics of hope. Who cares what one’s belief and ethnicity are? Diversity is what makes us all so very rich and what adds flavor to all of life’s ups and downs.
Can you imagine life without Argentinian Tango? or Italian Pasta? or Japanese Martial Arts? or Syrian Dabkeh? or Aleppo Kibbeh? or Lebanese ghazal?


July 12th, 2012, 7:53 am


habib said:

120. Shami

If the choice is between being massacred and creating a state, the eventual outcome is pretty much a given. It is not preferred, of course.

Or do any of you seriously believe the Alawites will surrender, considering what we know about the conduct of the insurgents and their fellows in Libya?

July 12th, 2012, 8:05 am


Amjad said:

“As for the Alawites: they have aspirations for independence that is growing day after day?”

Good. Obviously their ambitions have shrunk from the lofty days when they thought they could rule Syria and Lebanon unto perpetuity, and create a thousand Afghanistans and all the other ridiculous bombastic stuff we heard from Bashar. I look forward to furthering tempering of Alawite ambitions until they accept the idea that living in a society where all secs are on an equal footing isn’t such a nightmare afterall.

July 12th, 2012, 8:54 am


Syrialover said:

Politics of hope.

Bravo Observer.

A society where all secs are on an equal footing

Bravo Amjad.

And first-rate analysis too, Observer.

July 12th, 2012, 9:31 am


Syrialover said:

The sacked ambassador – now in Qatar

Maybe his speech was produced by al Jazeera.

Whatever. It’s all good.

July 12th, 2012, 9:41 am


irritated said:

Is Nawaf al Fares going to end up like Adnan Bakkour?
The background has become much more theatrical: Higher mediatic impact.

July 12th, 2012, 10:00 am


Syrialover said:

“YES i will take a high place on this, and yes I will be arrogant and unforgiving” (#132 Syrian Hamster)

Hey, way to go on sectarianism. It’s the refuge of opportunists, blackmailers and bullies – and the weak and worried.

And as Observer says, “and in the face of a weak national identity and a weak state institutions it is only natural to revert to your clan/family/sect for help”.

I might change the wording to “a hijacked national identity” and “corrupted state institutions”, nudging it from general to this particular case.

July 12th, 2012, 10:06 am


zoo said:

Top Syrian General Fails to Surface After Defecting; Enthusiam deflated.
Sharmine Nirwani’s article used by the NY times

Published: July 11, 2012

PARIS — Nearly one week after the commander of one of Syria’s elite Republican Guard units defected, he has not been seen in public or tried to contact the opposition, raising questions about his motives and intentions, senior officials and opposition members said.

The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the commander, Gen. Manaf Tlass, has dampened some of the enthusiasm that first greeted news of his decision to abandon President Bashar al-Assad.

Some analysts said the circumstances surrounding the general’s departure remained unclear and questioned whether news of his defection had been exaggerated.

Sharmine Narwani, a Middle East analyst and senior associate at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, said the attempt to describe General Tlass’s escape as a defection was “pure propaganda.”

“I don’t know if he will join the revolution or the opposition or the private sphere,” Bassma Kodmani, a member of the council’s executive committee, said in an interview. “I hope if he joins the opposition in a decisive way, having taken the risk of defecting from the regime, that he will stand firmly on the right side against it.”

July 12th, 2012, 10:21 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Can some one explain
there is Firas Tlass, and Manaf Tlass, but who is Talal Tlass?
Is Manaf Tlass not talking to protect Talal Tlass?

July 12th, 2012, 10:31 am


zoo said:

How Syria Divided the World
Michael Ignatieff

The Syrian conflict has triggered something more fundamental than a difference of opinion over intervention, something more than an argument about whether the Security Council should authorize the use of force. Syria is the moment in which the West should see that the world has truly broken into two. A loose alliance of struggling capitalist democracies now finds itself face to face with two authoritarian despotisms—Russia and China—something new in the annals of political science: kleptocracies that mix the market economy and the police state. These regimes will support tyrannies like Syria wherever it is in their interest to do so.

In sixteen months, the situation in Syria has mutated from an uprising in a few outlying cities into a full-scale civil war. Now it has mutated again into a proxy war between the Great Powers. The Russians have been arming the regime—it was a Russian air defense system that shot down the Turkish F-4 Phantom jet—and the West is now arming the rebels. The Saudis and the Gulf states are funneling weapons straight to the Sunnis, especially to anyone with Salafist and Islamic radical credentials. Arms are trickling across the borders with Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan; the CIA has been given the difficult task of ensuring that at least the Turkish weapons are channeled to the right people and away from al-Qaeda affiliates. Who the right people are is anybody’s guess. In a village war, not even the CIA can be sure.

While the rebels are gaining momentum inside Syria, the exile leadership of the Syrian opposition is frittering it away outside. When opposition leaders were placed in hotel rooms in Cairo and told, by the Arab League and other foreign diplomats, to get their act together, the meeting degenerated into chaos.

July 12th, 2012, 10:33 am


zoo said:

“However, any honeymoon between Turkey and Iran is clearly over. In the coming decade, the struggle for regional influence between the two powers is likely to grow and increasingly reshape the politics of the Middle East.”

The Turkish-Iranian Alliance That Wasn’t
How the Two Countries Are Competing After the Arab Spring
F. Stephen Larrabee
July 11, 2012

July 12th, 2012, 10:38 am


zoo said:

The Country That Is the World: Syria’s Clashing Communities
Charles Glass

The population of Syria is so inharmonious a gathering of widely different races in blood, in creed, and in custom, that government is both difficult and dangerous.

— Sir Mark Sykes, Dar Ul-Islam: A Record of a Journey through Ten of the Asiatic Provinces of Turkey (1904)

July 12th, 2012, 10:43 am


Syrialover said:

Bashar and his younger brother are arguing about what to do next.

July 12th, 2012, 10:44 am


Uzair8 said:

153 Majed

From January:

“…Manaf Talal Tlass, son of the current Deputy Chief of staff General Talal Tlass, and not the son of former defence Minister General Mustafa.”

July 12th, 2012, 10:47 am


zoo said:

Damascus residents fear regime reprisals
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Syrian dissident also stressed that “the final battle will take place in Damascus, as the regime will fight violently in this city, not to defend it, but to destroy it, because al-Assad is well aware that the majority of the social fabric of Damascus stands against him.”

As for the FSA and whether it is capable to positively resolve the battle for Damascus, Adnan told Asharq Al-Awsat “the FSA’s capabilities are modest in comparison with the regime’s arms” adding “the regime’s forces are stationed on the peak of Mount Kassioun [in Damascus], and they can destroy the city with artillery, if they want.”

Tariq also asserted that the presence of a Sunni majority that opposes the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus will not positively resolve the battle, particularly as the regime has armed the Alawite neighborhoods of the capital, particularly the Mezze Jebel neighborhood.

The al-Assad regime had been pointing to the stability in Damascus as evidence that the Syrian revolution was not widespread or broad-based, however the increasing demonstrations and FSA attacks within the Syrian capital over the past few days has served to counter this claim.

July 12th, 2012, 10:49 am


Tara said:

Zoo@ 155

Unless Iran developed a nuclear weapon program, I do not think it is capable of widespread regional influence.  I think the current status of HA in power in Lebanon, Maliki in Iraq, and Batta’s Alawite rule in Syria is the max Iran can dream of achieving. 

With the eventual victory of the Syrian revolution and unless the Mullahs drastically change course before it is too late, it’s regional influence is destined to diminish.  Additionally, it’s soft power across the ME stands no competition to Turkey’s soft  power.

I am also wondering why the three dots ALL the time.  It gets me disappointed…

July 12th, 2012, 10:54 am


zoo said:

Rami Abdel Rahmane: Nawaf Al Fares defection is suspicious

But this reversal does not seem to have convinced the dissidents or activists of human rights. “I know that this man is a criminal,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH).

“This is quite similar to the history of Manaf Tlass. If the ambassador defected, he does so by greed for power as the Western intelligence services are trying to choose personalities that can be used for the transitional period”.

A view shared by an activist Hama appearing under the name of Abu Ghazi. “People are very suspicious about the motives that prompted him to desert. Perhaps at a time when Russia is changing slowly, the international community and the regime seeking to develop a consensus government and this defection is seen against this scenario. ”

“But, he adds, we want to live in a democracy and the rule of law and you can not build them with people who have so much blood on their hands so long and were accomplices of the regime”.

Tansiqiyat on the webpage, which includes the views of activists on the ground, one of them accuses the son of the former ambassador, Barges, buying luxury cars in Saudi Arabia without paying customs taxes by taking advantage the position of his father and selling them at exorbitant prices.

Another who calls himself “First Golan” quipped: “Tomorrow we will say that he is an honest man who tried to reform Syria.”

July 12th, 2012, 11:03 am


zoo said:

I am also wondering why the three dots ALL the time. It gets me disappointed…

It’s to indicate that there is more to read, while yours indicate what?
As for Iran-Turkey competition, I think Iran has much more natural resources than Turkey that depends mostly on business, trading and tourism and therefore is highly dependent on “zero problems with neighbors” and good relation with the West.
In addition Iran has very limited problems with their minorities, while Turkey has a very serious problem with the Kurds that drags its energies and threatened its stability.

July 12th, 2012, 11:14 am


Halabi said:

Assad’s army executing surgical strikes against terrorists by dropping cluster bombs on civilians. Or maybe these are the FSA’s Russian made missiles…

Adel Joujari, an Egyptian “journalist” and cheerleader for the slaughter of the Syrian people by his lord Assad, had a heart attack and died while defending Bashar on an Iraqi TV station.

July 12th, 2012, 11:17 am


Tara said:


“while yours indicate what?”

Mine indicates disappointment with yours. The three dots annoy me tremendously. I like variation. You behaved like the Syrian regime, promising something and delivering something else. You promised “more” and delivered “less” with this relentless three dots pattern. Can you please change them. And please, do not get excited about Sharmine Narwani. She made it to NY time because she offered an opposing view but she clearly has no intellectual weight.

July 12th, 2012, 11:37 am


zoo said:

Turkey’s Erdoğan to visit Russia amid Syria controversy

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan leaves for Russia next Wednesday to discuss the developments in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his office announced Thursday.

“Significant regional and international developments led by Syria are on the table to be discussed thoroughly,” during Erdoğan’s visit, the written statement said.

July 12th, 2012, 11:50 am


zoo said:


Just put your antidots glasses.

July 12th, 2012, 11:53 am


irritated said:

“…Manaf Talal Tlass, son of the current Deputy Chief of staff General Talal Tlass, and not the son of former defence Minister General Mustafa.”

Are you unveiling a family incest drama? He is the son of two men?

July 12th, 2012, 11:56 am


Tara said:

10.48am: Syria: NPR has more confirmation that Syrian rebels have carved out a buffer zone in the northern border region.

Last week the Guardian’s Martin Chulov told us that “there is a de factor buffer zone in all but name,” after he spent several days in Aleppo province.

NPR’s Deborah Amos reports a similar picture in neighbouring Idlib province.  Amos writes:
Abu Amar, a rebel who has fought in Syria for five weeks, walked across this field from the Syrian village of Atma, which is now serving as a rebel headquarters. He says much of the northwestern province of Idlib is now controlled by the rebels, and it has become easy to move back and forth between Syria and Turkey here.

“Actually we have a buffer zone now. I mean it’s not declared by the Turkish government,” he says. “People transport arms freely. The Turks are closing their eyes. We bring our wounded people here; we go back and forth and nobody bothers us at all.”

July 12th, 2012, 11:59 am


omen said:

via wikileaks

is the regime exploiting the communist network in order to sow anti-interventionist animus abroad?

aldendeshe, your regime is in bed with the commies. is your party going to apply the same remedy it did in the past?

July 12th, 2012, 12:00 pm


ghufran said:

لفت انتباه “سيريا بوليتيك” قيام الفضائية السورية الرسمية بذكر اسم نائب وزير الدفاع، العماد “طلال مصطفى طلاس”، وهي المرة الأولى التي يتم فيها ذكر نائب الوزير حيث درجت العادة في الإعلام الرسمي على ذكر اسم وزير الدفاع فقط وهو العماد داود راجحة، إلا أن الإعلام السوري جاء هذه المرة على ذكر الوزير ونائبه.
ويأتي ذكر “العماد طلال طلاس” بالتزامن مع انشغال وسائل الإعلام العالمية بمتابعة قضية انشقاق العميد مناف طلاس، نجل وزير الدفاع السابق مصطفى طلاس، وهو ما يشير إلى انقسام عائلة طلاس بين النظام والمعارضة.
وكان نجل العماد طلال، واسمه أيضا “مناف”، قتل في بداية العام 2012 من قبل مسلحين في دمشق، وهو طالب هندسة في العقد الثاني من عمره.
يذكر أن العماد طلال طلاس (أبو منهل)، هناك من يقول أنه ابن شقيق مصطفى طلاس، وهناك من يقول أن طلال هو الابن الثاني لعم مصطفى طلاس، واسمه (أبو عادل)

July 12th, 2012, 12:19 pm


Tara said:

Ah..I know Khaula.  She lived in my neighborhood.  I am so proud of her.  I am so proud and humbled by those great Syrians…

For Syrian-American Doctors, A Painful Homecoming

The Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations was founded by an American doctor from Texas. The office in Antakya is run by a fashion designer from Syria. His managerial skills are crucial for the work here — for the first time, compiling complete case records of Syrian patients in Turkish hospitals, with recommendations for follow-up care.

Across the street, a medical supply warehouse is run by another Syrian-American, a clinical pharmacist from Cincinnati, Ohio, named Khaula Sawah.

Sawah, who was born in Syria, is working on a system to organize what has been an ad hoc smuggling operation.

“I am all the time here to organize medical supplies inside Syria, as well as taking care of the injured here,” she says.

July 12th, 2012, 12:19 pm


Halabi said:

Al Jazeera interviews Nawaf Fares. I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently he says Bashar was personally involved in sending Al Qaeda terrorists to Iraq.

July 12th, 2012, 12:43 pm


Son of Damascus said:


“To tell you the truth, I never believed in the existence of the document that al-Assad’s grandfather sent to the French asking them to keep the Alawi state separated from Syria. al-Assad’s grandfather was in no position of power among the Alawis at that moment. In al-Qurdaha itself they would not even stand up to al-Khayyer family, or Islamil. al-Assad’s family was not as strong or rich as the other two families. It looks like a fabricated document. Did anyone ever showed a copy of that ?”

More than a few historians have referenced to that document, Patrick Seale wrote about it in his book Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East (You will find the relevant info at p. 20):

“Asad’s Father Ali Sulayman fought the French at the start but was later drawn into French arrangements being appointed in 1926 member of a committee set up in Latakia to draft a constitution for the territory. He was one of eighty signatories of a letter which Ibrahim Al-Kinj sent to French Prime Minister in 1936 stating that the overwhelming majority of the Alawi people rejected attachment to Syria and wished to remain under French protection”

Can you please provide us with an example where an academic argues against the existence of such a document? I have never read any academic or historian argue against that, and I believe the letter can be found in the archives in Paris, I will try to see if there is a digital copy of it and link it here later.

On a different note if I may add something to Qaf issue you brought up a few posts ago.

I don’t think the lack of affinity towards the Qaf accent by Damascenes is inherent of their prejudice towards Alawis per say, but more to do with the inherent arrogance us Damascenes have over our city. Damascenes I believe have a historic prejudice for anyone from outside the city walls, whether Sunni, Alawi, Christian or otherwise, and is not something exclusively directed at a certain ethnic group or sect.

The history of Damascus is filled with a lot more examples of religious tolerance towards each other, than the dark times that we turned on each other. History should not be treated as a waiter in a restaurant where you pick and choose what you want based on your taste, if we do that we damn ourselves into repeating it.

July 12th, 2012, 12:44 pm


Bruno said:


(Al Jazeera interviews Nawaf Fares. I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently he says Bashar was personally involved in sending Al Qaeda terrorists to Iraq. )

The same terrorists that are in Iraq are now in Syria aiding the Syrian Free Army even Danny Abdul Dayem The CNN stager was in Sryia with the FSA proclaiming that there is no Al Qaeda in Syria.

July 12th, 2012, 12:50 pm


Expatriate said:

Syria may break up fast into little states. The one on the coast is going to be with Alawite majority. The Christians are numerous on the coast, as well as the Sunnis. But, the Sunnis in the cost are mostly Trukmans and Kurds leaning towards conservatism. The Alawis and Christians both want a more liberal way of living.

This is the religious, ethnic and sectarian engineering, specific spoken by Mr. Landis in last year and which is the basis for the division of the Arab world into small fragmented! This will not happen at all! Stop loss!

July 12th, 2012, 1:41 pm


VOLK said:

Russia says sanction resolution against Syria ‘red line’

Russia says it will veto a US-backed UN draft resolution which calls for more sanctions against Syria, declaring a “red line” against sanctions.
“Anything can be negotiated but we do not negotiate this. This is a red line,” AFP quoted Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Igor Pankin as saying on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the Security Council after the world body’s first talks on the Syria resolution, Pankin also reiterated Moscow’s opposition to any military intervention in Syria.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also ruled out a resolution to impose sanctions against Syria as “unacceptable” for Moscow. He said the West-proposed draft resolution is unbalanced as it only calls on the Syrian government to fulfill its obligations.
Britain, the United States, France and Germany have been calling for sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
The Western-backed British draft envisages non-military sanctions against the Syrian government if the army does not withdraw from crisis-hit regions within 10 days.
However, the proposed resolution would be under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which can be enforced militarily.
Russia, which has already vetoed two anti-Syria resolutions at the Security Council along with China — another permanent member of the council — remains firmly against sanctions on Damascus.
The Security Council has to pass a resolution by July 20 when the 90-day mandate for the nearly 300 UN observers in Syria expires.
A ceasefire deal brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan failed to end rampant violence in Syria and the UN monitors had to suspend their operations in June.
Russia has proposed a resolution to extend the mandate for the UN Supervision Mission in Syria for another three months.

July 12th, 2012, 2:43 pm


omen said:

alawite mini state? why settle? does this mean loyalists have given up on the regime plan of killing off all the sunnis?

expatriate, i didn’t realize genocide was a liberal value.

July 12th, 2012, 2:55 pm


Osama said:


Here is the youtube video of the screen grab posted by the Prof.

The Tank showing the explosion is not destroyed as it keeps moving and it appears to be an RPG hit from the soundtrack…

The destroyed tank is the one in front – just off the road – this one clearly hit a landmine – the video is spliced so its not clear if the crew escaped…

any way – no TOW missiles for the FSA yet – just plain old landmines and RPGs.

I think the US is happy to keep this one “low-cost” a la Nicargua – and Saudi under writing.

July 12th, 2012, 3:24 pm


ghufran said:

former envoy to Iraq has dismissed the international peace plan prepared to stop the violence and called for the regime of Bashar al-Assad to be violently removed. One day after leaving his post in Baghdad and fleeing to Qatar, the ambassador, Nawaf al-Fares, told al-Jazeera TV that only force could remove the Syrian dictator. He had earlier denounced the embattled regime and called on other ambassadors to do the same.
comment: i did not expect him to go to Qatar then support a political solution to the crisis.

July 12th, 2012, 4:19 pm


jna said:

176. omen said:
“alawite mini state? why settle? does this mean loyalists have given up on the regime plan of killing off all the sunnis?expatriate, i didn’t realize genocide was a liberal value.”

Quite the wild rant there. But, in the context of escalating opposition stories, not too surprising.

July 12th, 2012, 4:23 pm



There is a strange sense of justice that exists in historical terms. Right many righteous people die without justice and many corrupted enjoy life in sickness and sins.

But when studied in long term or historical point of view everything make sense. Alawites had been abused and mistreated for a long period before independence of Syria. As a reward they got control of Syria for some 40 years. Now when their abuses and mistakes have gone beyond the red line, history is there to bring back its justice sense. If alawites had aspired to have their own country in 1920 or 1930 it would have been possible, but now history will not give them an Alawite State. Their sins and mistakes, their arrogance, their abuses and the hate they have created will make it impossible.

July 12th, 2012, 4:36 pm



I can feel the shivering of pro Assad elements in this SC forum. They are begining to feel horror and panic for what is coming next. You were very self asured 15 months ago when the peasentry and young revolution took the streets. This is Revolution, this is the people in Syria in motion against the foreign intervention of Russia, Iran and HA. Is it hard to swallow?

July 12th, 2012, 4:40 pm


ghufran said:

قال وزير الخارجية الفرنسي لوران فابيوس أن العميد السوري المنشق مناف طلاس يجري حاليا اتصالات مع المعارضين السوريين.
وقال الوزير في تصريح صحفي اليوم الخميس : “أعرف أن هناك تقاربا ما بين المعارضة وهذا العميد. تجرى بينهم اتصالات”.
وامتنع فابيوس عن التعليق على الأنباء التي تشير إلى أن طلاس يتواجد حاليا في فرنسا.
There is something not right about this,” said Colonel Abu Hamza, a commander from Jebel al-Zawiya. “There were two eyes on him when he prayed and when he ate. How could he and his family escape without them knowing? We need to get to the bottom of it.”

July 12th, 2012, 4:46 pm


ghufran said:

Charlie Skelton-The Guardian:
Many of the “activists” and spokespeople representing the Syrian opposition are closely (and in many cases financially) interlinked with the US and London – the very people who would be doing the intervening. Which means information and statistics from these sources isn’t necessarily pure news – it’s a sales pitch, a PR campaign.
But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinize sources. Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there’s a skeptic born every minute.

July 12th, 2012, 4:57 pm


ghufran said:

this is why Arabs are the butt of jokes in the world today:
دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة (CNN) — قال الرئيس المصري، محمد مرسي، إن السعودية “حاضنة الحرمين الشريفين وراعية مشروع الإسلام الوسطي السني،” مضيفاً أن مصر “هي حامية لهذا المشروع، ومابين الراعي والحامي أنساب وصهر

July 12th, 2012, 5:06 pm


zoo said:

Nawaf Fares: defected Syrian raises suspicion
12 July 2012
AFP – Nawaf Fares, the first Syrian ambassador to defect to the opposition, was widely seen as a regime hardliner and his decision to break ranks has triggered suspicion among activists.

Some dissidents say Fares has been likely groomed by the West to play a role in a transitional government while others have spoken about his “criminal” past.

Fares, who has served as governor in several Syrian provinces and has held senior security and Baath party posts, hails from the prominent Oqaydat Sunni tribe in eastern Syria, which also has members in Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

A former policeman, Fares had close ties to the dreaded intelligence services before becoming governor and later Syria’s first ambassador to Iraq following a 30-year rupture in ties between the two neighbours.

He announced his defection on Wednesday, as the regime battles a growing rebellion that has claimed, according to monitors, more than 17,000 lives since it erupted in mid-March 2011.

“I announce my defection from my post as representative of the Arab Syrian Republic in Iraq and my withdrawal from the ranks of the (ruling) Baath party,” Fares said in a message aired on Al-Jazeera satellite channel.

“I call on all free and worthy people in Syria, particularly in the military, to immediately rejoin the ranks of the revolution,” said Fares, a grey-haired man who sports a bushy moustache and wears glasses.

“Turn your cannons and your tanks towards the criminals in the regime who are killing the people,” he added.

On Thursday the Syrian foreign ministry said Fares has been “discharged” and “needs to be legally prosecuted and subjected to disciplinary action” due to his remarks which contradict his duty.

Fares, the first ambassador to break ranks with the regime, announced his defection only days after Manaf Tlass, a top general with close ties to President Bashar al-Assad, deserted.

Fares hails from the city of Al-Bukamal in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq. He holds a degree in law and graduated from the Deir Ezzor police academy.

He began his career as head of political security in the coastal province of Latakia (1990-1994) before heading the ruling Baath party in Deir Ezzor until 1998 when he served as governor of Latakia for two years.

For the next two years he was governor of the northeastern province of Idlib, where anti-regime sentiment is now strong, and from 2000 he served eight years as the governor of Quneitra, capital the Golan Heights most of which is annexed by Israel.

‘Power thirst and bloody hands’ —


On Wednesday, Fares, who is now believed to have sought refuge in Qatar, a vocal critic of Assad’s government, turned on the regime.

His change of heart however has failed to persuade opponents of the regime and activists.

“I know this man is a criminal,” said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which has tallied the death toll from 16 months of violence at more than 17,000 people.

“It’s quite similar to the Manaf Tlass story. If the ambassador defects, he does it because he is greedy for power because Western intelligence agencies are looking for figures who can fit into a transitional phase,” Abdel Rahman said.

An activist in the central Syrian city of Hama, who identified himself as Abu Ghazi, shares this view. “People are very wary of the reasons he has defected,” he said.

“This defection could be part of a scenario at a time when Russia is starting to slightly shift in its position, and while the international community and the regime are searching for ways to establish a transitional government,” Abu Ghazi added.

“We want to live in a democracy, in a state of law and you can’t build that with people who have so much blood on their hands and who have been complicit for so long with the regime.”

Not so, say supporters of Fares on the website of his Oqaydat tribe.

“He excelled in all his public duties… He honoured his tribe and has become a symbol for Deir Ezzor thanks to his modesty and the love he has for people,” wrote one supporter.

July 12th, 2012, 5:16 pm


annie said:

The Never Ending Lies…

A must read although we all have read this before
“here is a list of the lies I can remember being told since the start of this revolution:
1. There is nothing happening.
2. There are some minor protests, but these are isolated and not important.
3. Some people have been killed, it was a mistake.
4. People are getting killed, but it is because they are being violent.
5. There are armed gangs who are shooting at the security services – one month into the uprising.
6. Hamza al Khateeb was not tortured to death by the security services, and neither was his friend. Hamza al Khateeb is a rapist, he is not a child.
7. The repression in Bayada never happened, the footage was in Iraq and the perpetrators were Kurdish peshmerga.
8. The repression in Bayada did happen, and the man the regime arrested who was filmed disproving the lie was alive and well in a Syrian prison, to show Syrians that the man they hold, who was repressed in the town that was not in Syria, allegedly by the Kurdish peshmerga, has not been murdered.
9. The demonstrators are getting paid and being given drugs. Some of the drugs had al Jazeera stamped on them.
10. The demonstrators were waving Israeli flags.
11. The demonstrators were all salafists and funded by Bandar bin Sultan.” etc.

July 12th, 2012, 5:43 pm


omen said:


i read that piece

at least two people mentioned (i’d have to look up the others) that skelton tries to taint bassma with, via the fallacy of guilt by association, are kissinger and zbig. skelton seem unaware that both those two came against intervention. zbig went so far as to argue not to get “emotional” about the regime slaughtering people.

some conspiracy. two people mentioned don’t even support intervention.

he also mentions hillary clinton when this thread has noted how washington, while paying cheap lip service, has been acting obstructionist in blocking delivering help for the rebels.

so bassma kodmani went to bilderberg or is member of cfr. it’s understandable. if i were desperate to free my people, i’d reach out to every power i could trying to win allies to support my cause.

idealogical purists construct straw man associations while shrugging off genocide.

Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin.

devastated homs is spin? 10,ooo – 16,poo people the regime murdered is spin? i’d understand a westerner being bamboozled. after all, the “american psyche is easily manipulated,” but you know better than that, ghufran.

throwing up dust to obscure the clear moral imperative involved here, that assad must be stopped – is in fact working to benefit the regime.

July 12th, 2012, 5:46 pm


zoo said:

Syria Faces UN Sanctions Push (?) as Ally Russia Resists
By Flavia Krause-Jackson on July 11, 2012

Annan discussed with Assad in Damascus on July 8 how a political transition would unfold. That process should “be completed within six months to a year,” he told the council, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “Assad indicated that this could be possible if conditions were correct.”

Annan specified that a “key issue at this stage is the appointment of an effective empowered interlocutor who is clearly authorized to negotiate.” Assad proposed Ali Haidar, Syria’s minister for national reconciliation affairs, according to a report in the Lebanese daily newspaper al-Akhbar.

Efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict have put the U.S. and its European allies at odds with Russia. The Western nations signaled they won’t support an extension of a UN observer mission in Syria unless real pressure is put on Assad. Their draft proposes a 45-day extension. Russia proposed July 10 an alternative resolution that would extend the monitors’ stay for 90 days.
No Teeth

“We have waited 18 months,” Gerard Araud, France’s ambassador to the UN, told reporters. “The Russian proposal does not have teeth, it’s very clear.”

July 12th, 2012, 6:24 pm


Tara said:

If the Sunnis peel away, Mr Assad’s claim to represent anyone other than his family and the Alawite elite diminishes.

Syria: Bashar al-Assad’s shrinking circle

The fact that high level defections are happening does not of itself shorten the terrible war that is going on there. But it does speak to the sectarian and tribal fissuring that is taking place under the pressure of these extreme forces. The defection of Syria’s ambassador to Baghdad, Nawaf al-Fares, is important not just because of who he is – a Sunni bestowed with the honour of being Syria’s first ambassador to Iraq in three decades. It is also about the people Fares represents. He is head of the Uqaydat tribe which straddles the Syrian-Iraqi border and is highly armed. If Fares’s parting message to the Syrian military to turn their guns on the criminals of the regime is heard, it will be heard by his own tribe first. His defection opens up a whole new eastern front for the opposition which stretches well into Iraq. Other tribal areas have yet to follow suit and an important meeting will take place in Cairo next week, but the area of Syria on which Mr Assad can count is shrinking. As importantly, if other Sunnis follow Fares’s lead, it means that the regime is retreating back to its ethnic Shia Alawite…

No one can tell how long this is going to go on, although the defections probably come too late to stop the descent into civil war. But they make the diplomatic gridlock with Russia and China in the UN increasingly irrelevant over the future of the 300-strong UN observer force whose mandate expires on 20 July. The defections undermine Russia’s argument that a fresh mandate could be given to this force, without any mechanism for enforcing the withdrawal of troops and heavy weaponry from population centres that a ceasefire requires. Russia’s motion refocuses the UN mission on the search for a political solution, but between who and whom? If the Sunnis peel away, Mr Assad’s claim to represent anyone other than his family and the Alawite elitediminishes. Mr Assad’s threats of retribution against his Sunni defectors will only accelerate his end.

July 12th, 2012, 6:25 pm


Ghufran said:

أكد الكاتب الليبي حسام المصراتي ان مشيخة قطر وقناة الجزيرة تدعمان الفتنة القبلية في ليبيا وفتح النار على القبائل الليبية.
وقال الكاتب في مقال نشرته صحيفة ليبيا المستقبل اليوم بعنوان الجزيرة، بعد إخفاق مشروعها، تلجأ للفتنة القبلية في ليبيا كنا نتوقع رد الفعل الهستيري حول النتائج الأولية للانتخابات من الجانب القطري عبر قناتها الجزيرة ولكن ما لم يكن في الحسبان هو أن تنجر قطر لإثارة الفتنة القبلية وفتح النار على القبائل الليبية، سواء المشاركة في الانتخابات أو ما اعتبرتها بأنها مكونة لتحالف القوى الوطنية.
I have to admit that the Libyan election results caught me by surprise,I hope that this healthy trend is a sign for things to come,Islamists (the non violent ones) have the right and win but they also must accept defeat and should not be allowed to dominate.

July 12th, 2012, 6:33 pm


zoo said:

Omen thanks.. who do you listen to?

The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?

The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …

– Bassma Kodmani
– Radwan Ziadeh
– Ausama Monajed

– The money through Wael Merza (SNC secretary general).

– Michael Weiss
One of the most widely quoted western experts on Syria – and an enthusiast for western intervention – Michael Weiss echoes Ambassador Ross when he says: “Military intervention in Syria isn’t so much a matter of preference as an inevitability.”

– The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

– Hamza Fakher

July 12th, 2012, 6:33 pm


jna said:

176. omen said:
“regime plan of killing off all the sunnis?”

???????. Would be helpful if you provided some documentation of this “plan”. Without that it seems another opposition story without factual basis.

July 12th, 2012, 6:40 pm


zoo said:

#188 Ghufran

It’s no surprise. The Moslem Brotherhood have been corrupted by Seif Al Islam and despite the money that Qatar poured in were tainted and didn’t have enough time to change the perception. In addition poverty is not as wide spread in Libya as it is in Egypt. The state was providing free medical services to everyone: The MB social services was not essential.
Yet, in my view, the liberals victory may be short lived, as Qatar is pouring money to reinforcing the MB image for the many elections that will be proposed to the Libyans.
The victory of the MB in Egypt and Tunisia will gradually influence Libya.

Libya Is Still Fighting for Democracy
By Karim Mezran

Jul 12 2012, 7:02 AM ET 5

The battle against Qaddafi might be long over, but the struggle to build a free, stable, and pluralistic Libya is just beginning.

For all the reasons to celebrate Libya’s election, many in the West might be overestimating the importance of the presumed electoral victory of the secularists and liberals, led by Mahmoud Jibril, who had served as interim prime minister of the revolutionary transitional government during the 2011 conflict.
It’s still not clear exactly what Libyans were voting for. The roadmap for Libya’s political transition, established in August 2011, said that the election of a Constituent Assembly would be held within a year. This assembly was supposed to appoint a government and write a new constitution. According to the plan, Libyans would then vote for a parliament or house of representatives as described in the hypothetical new constitution. The winners of that election would then form the first definitive, non-transitional government. But is that still the plan?

July 12th, 2012, 6:46 pm


irritated said:

What happened to the Christian Salafist? Was he sent back to his cave?

July 12th, 2012, 6:49 pm


zoo said:

What you do for money…

July 12, 2012
Not All Islamists Get Along

Newly crowned as Egypt’s first democratically elected Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi departed on his first trip abroad this week. The destination? Saudi Arabia. There is a temptation to view this as a trip by one Islamist to visit powerful nearby friends who are also conservative Islamists. In reality, the Saudis have never liked the Muslim Brotherhood (Morsi, a longtime leader in the Brotherhood, renounced his membership before assuming the presidency), and they are still wary of the implications of democratic, Islamist governance. WSJ:

“Saudi Arabia will receive President Morsi as president of Egypt. We don’t receive him as a representative of Ikhwan,” said Abdullah al-Shammri, a Saudi political analyst close to the government, using the Arabic for the Muslim Brotherhood. “Saudi Arabia cares about his practices, his policies. It will not care about his background.”

Tensions are high. The Saudi royalty and their clerical allies fear the Muslim Brotherhood and its democratic aspirations, just as they dislike and fear the Turkish Islamists. Morsi’s trip is designed to reassure his country’s primary benefactors (the Saudis have spent more than $1 billion to prop up Egypt’s economy during the recent turmoil) that Egypt will not become friendly with Iran and that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will not meddle in Saudi domestic politics.

The takeaway here is that the new, more Islamist Middle East will be no more united and peaceful than the old one. Egyptian and Saudi conservatives, despite similar religious beliefs and cultural traditions, are not the best of friends. Islamists are no more capable of uniting than the secular Arab nationalists were.

And so far, the Arab Islamists do not look any better equipped than their predecessors to solve their countries’ economic problems.

July 12th, 2012, 6:52 pm


Bruno said:

The problem with the libyan election results is that America already had decided him and picked a Pro Western Candidate to win, this Candidate has been seen with sarkozy and others including the king of Saudi Arabia.

July 12th, 2012, 6:54 pm


zoo said:

It looks that Spain and Greece have more youth unemployment than Syria.

The Scariest Chart in Europe Just Got Even Scarier
By Derek Thompson

Jul 10 2012, 11:39 AM ET 120

July 12th, 2012, 6:56 pm


Bruno said:

From the article

(“This defection could be part of a scenario at a time when Russia is starting to slightly shift in its position, and while the international community and the regime are searching for ways to establish a transitional government)

Russia Changing and Shifting its position? highly unlike, with the terrorists in Syria as reported by the telegraph today.

Its pretty clear whose the enemy, a transitional government wont happen.

July 12th, 2012, 7:01 pm


Syrialover said:

Here’s what they mean by “Assad or we burn the country” when the army storms a town. The fate of a young man with one leg on crutches dragged from his home.

Excerpt from article “Syria: portrait of a town divided and gripped by civil war”:

Hearing shouts from outside their home Amina looked out of the window and saw a group of shabiha and onlookers encircling a body slumped on the street. Qusay, a young man in his mid-twenties, was lying bruised on the ground bleeding from his head and right shoulder.

“They had tied a rope around his leg and dragged him through the streets. They were from our village so they knew where he lives,” said the 55-year-old.

Running outside and pushing her way through the crowd to her son she pleaded with the captors; “I was begging them to stop beating him, I told them ‘he is disabled please hit me instead!’ I knelt down and kissed the legs of the commander.

“They threatened me; they told me they would burn him alive before my eyes if I didn’t leave.”

She was grabbed and thrown back inside her home.

“I ran to the balcony. I watched them hit Qusay until he lost consciousness, and then they shot him. They shot him many times.

July 12th, 2012, 7:08 pm


Ghufran said:

اغتالت مجموعة مسلحة مصور جريدة الثورة السورية “احسان البني

July 12th, 2012, 7:17 pm


Syrialover said:

195. # Zoo

That’s serious nonesense to insist Greece and Spain have worse youth unemployment than Syria. Apart from the fact that such statistics on Syria have been non-existent or a shambles under the Assad regime.

And the headline and article on unemployment in Europe was also based on data for 15-24 year olds!

As it says:

“The mitigating factor is that the OECD’s metrics for unemployment might overstate the severity of youth joblessness. A separate measure of the world’s so-called NEETs (not employed, in education, or training) put the figure closer to 20 percent in Greece and Spain. Either way, the situation is tragic. “

July 12th, 2012, 7:22 pm


Ghufran said:

يتوقع الإسلاميون الليبيون الحصول على أغلبية في المؤتمر الوطني العام (البرلمان) القادم، وذلك على الرغم من أن المؤشرات والمعطيات الحالية تمنح تقدما واضحا لـتحالف القوى الوطنية بقيادة رئيس الوزراء السابق محمود جبريل.
وقال رئيس حزب العدالة والبناء الإسلامي محمد صوان -في لقاء مع الجزيرة نت- إن حزبه حصل على 40 مقعدا، بينها من 15 إلى 17 لصالح القائمة المرشحة من قبل الحزب، والباقي صعد للمؤتمر عن طريق الترشيحات الفردية، وذلك مقابل نحو 45 مقعدا سيحصل عليها تحالف القوى الوطنية في قائمته الحزبية، وتبدو حظوظه متضائلة في الحصول على مقاعد فردية، حسب صوان.
وأضاف أن نحو 20 من المرشحين الأفراد الذين صعدوا للمؤتمر أبدوا حتى الآن استعدادهم للانخراط في الكتلة البرلمانية لحزب العدالة والبناء، مما يعني وفقا للمؤشرات الحالية أنها ستكون الكتلة الأولى في البرلمان القادم.

July 12th, 2012, 7:30 pm


Observer said:

So SANA says armed terrorist groups massacred people in Tremseh and SANA shows us four days of massive army air force navy and missile defense forces on military exercises. How is it possible that we have this great military and armed terrorist groups are still roaming the country and massacring people?

Shouldn’t somebody resign? Where is the new reformed Parliament? Where is this great army?

This is truly an example of how STUPID Fredo and every member of his regime are.

July 12th, 2012, 7:31 pm


Tara said:

“Another Alawite militiamen massacre against a Sunni village”.  Have these animal militiamen not satisfied their thirst of blood yet?  

Syrian opposition activists: more than 250 dead in Hama village massacre, Thursday 12 July 2012 17.55 EDT

A statement by the Hama Revolutionary Council said: “More than 220 people fell today in Tremseh. They died from bombardment by tanks and helicopters, artillery shelling and summary executions.”

Fadi Sameh, an opposition activist from Tremseh, said he had left the town before the reported massacre but was in touch with residents.

“It appears that Alawite militiamen from surrounding villages descended on Tremseh after its rebel defenders pulled out, and started killing the people. Whole houses have been destroyed and burned from the shelling.

“Every family in the town seems to have members killed. We have names of men, women and children from countless families.”

He added that the bodies of many of those killed were taken to a local mosque.

July 12th, 2012, 7:32 pm


Ghufran said:

Sharmine Narwani, a Middle East analyst and senior associate at St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, said the attempt to describe General Tlass’s escape as a defection was “pure propaganda.”
She said that the general had been sidelined from the political establishment in Syria in recent months as he grew critical of the government, and that nobody had prevented him from leaving.
“The regime didn’t try and keep him in Syria, so what does that tell you?” Ms. Narwani asked. “He may have left Syria, but that doesn’t mean he has gone over to the other side.”

July 12th, 2012, 7:39 pm


Son of Damascus said:

I have been reading a rather interesting thesis study about the Assad dynasty and the politics of sectarian insecurity.

It is a long read (over 350 pages) but well worth it as it goes into detail about the historical plight and persecution the Alawite community went through, and the eventual rise of asabiyyah (group feeling) because of the persecutions.

I will paste a short excerpt from the conclusion:

the Asad dynasty, while made possible by Alawites, is not an Alawite regime but rather a “self-reproducing and narrow elite” who have benefited from Alawite ‘asabiyya, made resilient by sectarian insecurity. By definition an ‘Alawite regime’ would entail a regime that benefits Alawites. As this study has shown this is not the case for the great majority of Alawites whose only benefit from the Asad regime has possibly been a misplaced sense of security. Considerable efforts were made by Alawites, Sunnis and the other minorities to achieve genuine political integration in Syria after independence. Without the influence of sectarian insecurity the results may have been more positive.

I for one will remain hopeful and positive that in the new Syria we can tackle the sectarian insecurities that is prevalent in our society and help build a better Syria where all individuals are respected and every group feels inclusive. Our country does not only need a national reconciliation but a sectarian reconciliation where we own up to our dark history (past and present) and celebrate and build upon the many steps taken throughout history to unite us.

An autocratic rule will never help alleviate these tensions, because suppression stifles national dialogue. Only in an open and free society can we approach these issues and help to bridge the gap between us.

July 12th, 2012, 7:53 pm


Tara said:

Batta is a “donkey”, said Manaf.  Read on:

A turning point came last August when a delegation of senior Hezbollah officials came to Damascus and was due to eat an Iftar meal, to break the Ramadan fast.  The Hezbollah men asked Manaf what he thought about Assad’s handling of the situation, according to one Syrian source.  “The response came fast and dry – ‘a donkey’,” said the source. “In Arabic, the poor animal occupies a very low level in the hierarchy of the animal kingdom and the term is generally used to denote a clueless person with no intelligence whatsoever.

The influential Syrian general who could bear Assad no more
The Tlass family were once acolytes of the Assad dynasty, but as the regime crackdown targeted their fellow Sunni clansmen, they hatched a plan to flee to Paris. Julian Borger, Martin Chulov and Kim Willsher report on what the escape of Manaf Tlass reveals about the strategy of the ‘Friends of Syria’

Martin Chulov in Rehanliya, Julian Borger and Kim Willsher in Paris, Thursday 12 July 2012 15.26 EDT

Last Thursday afternoon in a Turkish hamlet not far from the town of Rehanliya on the Syrian border, two black four-wheel drive cars with tinted windows appeared amid the olive groves and red-soiled farmland of what has become a gathering point for Syrian defectors. They came to a temporary halt to allow a herd of sheep and goats to pass before proceeding gingerly down the tattered concrete lane through the olive trees.

They carried a coveted prize in the long covert war with the Syrian regime. Behind the smoked glass was Brigadier General Manaf Tlass..

Over the past few days, there has been neither sight nor sound from Manaf Tlass and his family, once a Sunni mainstay of the Assad regime. According to a diplomatic source, the former Republican Guard general was being debriefed in Paris by French intelligence officials, presumably anxious to discover how many other former top loyalists might be ready to bolt in Tlass’s wake, and how hollow is the structure keeping Bashar al-Assad in place. The Syrian opposition in Paris promise the former general, once a close friend of the Syrian president, will surface in the next few days and make his position clear.

“Manaf had decided to defect very early on in the revolution and got in touch with the FSA to plan ahead. They advised him to stay in place as he would serve them better being on the inside rather than the outside.

“The same instructions had been given to a very large number of acting officers as they fed the Free Syrian Army with operational information and troop movements giving the FSA enough notice about impending attacks to avoid casualties and plan counter attacks,” the opposition figure said.

The patriarch, Mustafa, was at Hafez al-Assad’s side when he staged his coup in 1970, and rose to become defence minister. The role was mostly symbolic, a way of cementing a high-profile Sunni to the Alawite core of the system, said one Syrian businessman.

“Tlass in particular was never really taken seriously in his position as defence minister, neither internally where he was known to be more interested in chasing after beautiful women, nor externally by the Israelis,” the businessman said. “He was a regular in the Damascene social scene always to be found by the swimming pool of the Sheraton hotel during high summer.”

A turning point came last August when a delegation of senior Hezbollah officials came to Damascus and was due to eat an Iftar meal, to break the Ramadan fast.

The Hezbollah men asked Manaf what he thought about Assad’s handling of the situation, according to one Syrian source.

“The response came fast and dry – ‘a donkey’,” said the source. “In Arabic, the poor animal occupies a very low level in the hierarchy of the animal kingdom and the term is generally used to denote a clueless person with no intelligence whatsoever.

“Taking it as an insult, the Hezbollah team got up and apologised for not being able to have dinner there as they made up other excuses.

“As Firas and Manaf stood up to accompany their hosts out, which is customary in these events, their father asked to sit down and let the guests leave unaccompanied, a sign of derision in Arab customs.”

The breach had become public, displayed in front of foreigners, but Manaf’s wife, Thala Khair, nevertheless appears to have kept up an amiable email correspondence with Assad as least until January this year, perhaps as an insurance policy for the protection of her family.

In the emails, hacked and leaked by the opposition, she urges the president to do more to sell the reforms he was making. “Make sure everyone sees it as Syria 2.0 and not 1.05,” she wrote in December.


July 12th, 2012, 7:54 pm


zoo said:

“if a country is determined to have a civil war and we cannot prevent it, getting in the middle of it and killing more people does not really help things.”
Dmitry Simes, the president of the U.S.-based Center for National Interest, offers a somewhat less negativist explanation. “Russia’s halt to arms sales to Damascus may have had nothing to do with international pressure,” Simes said in an interview to CNN’s “Amanpour” show earlier this week. “The Assad regime has no money to pay for Russian weapons… The Russian position, basically, is that if NATO and the United States want to interfere with Syria, Russia is not going to stop them, but Russia is not going to support it either.” Simes also called “unhelpful” Hillary Clinton’s assessment of Russia’s position as a position of a state that is “standing up for a tyrant.”

And what happens if the United States does interfere in Syria – not covertly, via CIA agents supplying weapons to the rebels, as it is doing now, according to the New York Times’ recent report – but overtly? Jack Matlock offers a pessimistic scenario.

“If there is overt, external intervention, it’s going to just make matters worse,” Matlock said. “In the final analysis, if a country is determined to have a civil war and we cannot prevent it, getting in the middle of it and killing more people does not really help things.”
One could not agree more.

July 12th, 2012, 8:19 pm


Syrialover said:

Ghufran, there is an infinite amount of better-informed and more original writing to quote than stuff from Sharmine Narwani. She has been accused by other commentators on Syria of being pro-Assad and a lightweight who recycles other people’s material and makes things up.

Why do you choose her?

July 12th, 2012, 8:23 pm


irritated said:

The Guardian continues in its “entertaining journalism” by introducing new dramatic characters in their “Syria Saga” new episodes: an arrogant general-playboy and his “faithful” wife as well as other characters that would be great for Ramadan serials.

July 12th, 2012, 8:28 pm


Tara said:


CC: Syrialover

How about a “Batta” dinner with a real good selection of red wine that is good for your HDL, would that make you less irritated?

July 12th, 2012, 8:34 pm


Syrialover said:

Assad a donkey? Hmm. Could be.

A donkey in trouble:

Except of course rural Syrians have far more respect and use for their donkeys than they do for Assad.

July 12th, 2012, 8:36 pm


Syrialover said:

Thanks Son of Damascus(#212) for the link to that recent study about the Assad dynasty and the politics of sectarian insecurity.

There’s a lot of substance there. I’ll be reading and circulating it.

July 12th, 2012, 8:54 pm


Ghufran said:

I do not consider narwani as an authority on Syria, I agree that she is somewhat sympathetic to the regime,but on the issue of Manaf she may not be far off from the truth.

July 12th, 2012, 10:21 pm


Ghufran said:

SOD rises above the crowd when it comes to the quality of his posts, you can not love syria and hate syrians who are different from you,SOD gets that part right,compare the guy’s writings to the bazaar of hateful and shallow comments that fill SC especially those comments that come from non Syrian “freedom lovers”.
At any rate, there will not be a solution to this crisis without a careful handling of the legitimate concerns of millions of Syrians who fear that this revolution is becoming an anti alawite movement instead of an anti regime uprising , the difference is HUGE in the mind of most alawites who are now seeing this crisis as a fight for survival not a fight for political freedom,this is exactly where the revolution failed,so far, and where the regime succeeded .

July 12th, 2012, 10:38 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

If the Alawite are worried about their survival,then they should not commit several massacres,and they should not send their men to work as Shabiha to kill Sunni,they dug their own tombs by doing such crimes.
And no one who claim to have mind and express his opinion,defends the crimes by his people against innocent people and children,he should know that there will be court waiting for their crimes and they will be punished, defending a criminal regime and always attack the revolution and the FSA,make him accomplice in crimes.
No one should deny self defense,no one should stay quiet about bombarding towns from tanks artillaries and planes,and then attack the revolutionaries calling them thugs,or salafist(which is a lie),and foreign agents, he has no shame,he has no conscious,he is not a human.

July 12th, 2012, 11:45 pm


zoo said:

17 unarmed Palestinians soldiers in the Syrian army tortured and killed.

Syria’s PLA Condemns Killing of 17 Soldiers
by Naharnet Newsdesk 13 hours ago

The head of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) in Syria condemned on Thursday the kidnapping and killing of 17 of his troops by “armed terrorist groups,” state news agency SANA reported.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Wednesday that the bodies of 13 PLA soldiers had been found after they were kidnapped days earlier while en route to Aleppo in northern Syria.

The PLA is a battalion in the Syrian army, although it is made up of Palestinians living in Syria and who are conscripted to the armed forces.

PLA chief of staff Major General Mohammad Tareq al-Khadraa told SANA: “The fact that the armed terrorist groups kidnapped and killed 17 troops from the Palestinian Liberation Army in Syria proves the criminal, dirty role that these groups play and their links to Western and Zionist agendas.”

He added that the men were “tortured and abused,” that “they were unarmed, and that they were on their way to visit their families on holiday.”

Khadraa called the men martyrs who “gave their lives in an offering to the liberation of Palestine.”

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in a statement strongly condemned “the ugly killing of 17 PLA soldiers.”

It called the killings “a racist, cowardly act that targets the presence of Palestinians in Syria as guests who do not interfere in internal issues.”

July 13th, 2012, 12:22 am


Syrialover said:

Ghufran, thanks for your response (#220).

There are many others out there who have said there is less to Manaf Tlas than meets the eye.

I think he will be completely forgotten in the coming weeks when more substantial people and issues will emrge to take centre stage.

Manaf’s probably out nightclubbing and fantasy-plottting with Bashar’s oily cousin Ribal Assad, son of the war criminal Rifaat. Ribal runs a protest group opposing the current regime in Syria (stop laughing!) and lives in a grand mansion in London next to his father’s even grander mansion.

See “Syria’s ‘Butcher of Hama’ living in £10 million Mayfair townhouse”

July 13th, 2012, 12:36 am


Syrialover said:

That reminds me to ask, are Syrian protest groups in London paying due tribute to war criminal and thief Rifaat Assad and his creepy son Ribal outside their grand Mayfair mansions?

July 13th, 2012, 12:42 am


Bruno said:

Its pretty clear who you users who are thumbing me down are we the westerns aren’t buying into the propaganda against Syria.

As it was posted another supposed massacre happened of course the rebels blamed upon on Assad without any posted proof of the massacre.

July 13th, 2012, 2:11 am


annie said:

EA WorldView ‏@EANewsFeed

Syria Special: A Massacre in Tremseh — What We Know So Far | #p2 #tcot #Mar15 #Assad #MENA

For starters, this massacre did not come fully unanticipated. Early on Thursday morning, EA received reports, and posted videos, that a series of towns, Kornaz, Jalama, and Tremseh (from north to south). What was curious about these reports was both the voracity of the attacks on these towns and their remote location. Previous to this, a large amount of violence has occurred on the road that runs from Kafr Zita to Khan Sheikhoun, or further northwest in Qa’allat al Madiq. I did not know where Tremseh or Jalama were before I made those early reports. The reports, all from different sources, that three villages were heavily attacked on the same road, suggested to us that a fairly major military operation was occurring along that route. It was also interesting that so many buildings in all three villages were reportedly on fire, suggesting that there may have been similar shells used against all three areas.


Multiple activists reported a similar story, that the village was shelled for 5 or more hours, killing many, and then shabiha were deployed to the town, killing many more. This report, posted by an activist Facebook page, is both the first narrative we posted and is perhaps the most detailed, but different and similar reports were posted nearly simultaneously by disparate sources who do not seem to have coordinated the reports:

The town of al-Treimseh, which located on al-Sqeilabiya Road and is about 35 kilometers away from Hama, was subjected to violent shelling by the Assad army since the early hours of the morning. A convoy composed of 25 cars filled with army personnel and security forces, 3 BMPs, 5 Zell cars with Shelka, and a number of shabiha thugs from surrounding villages headed toward the town. They surrounded the village from all sides and prevented residents from leaving. The shelling lasted for about 5 continuous hours. Tens were killed as a result of the violent arbitrary shelling. Afterwards, shabiha thugs from surrounding pro-regime villages (al-Safsafah – Tal Sikeen – Aseela – Hanjoor) stormed the village and committed another horrific massacre. Those who survived the shelling were slaughtered.

Until this moment, there are more than 150 martyrs in the Great Mosque of al-Treimseh, and 70 martyrs on the agricultural fields, Assi River, and in homes. There are more than 140 injured, including more than 40 who are in critical condition. The number is likely to increase. More than 100 people have been detained.

The beginning of the narrative closely fits out earlier reporting, that a large military campaign was active in the area of Tremseh, and that Tremseh and surrounding towns were being heavily shelled. The second part, that the shelling intensified and shabiha entered the village, we cannot confirm.

However, EA has a contact who is reportedly in Hama. According to the contact, he had communicated with someone inside the village who reported that there were 220 bodies in the town, some of whom had been gathered in the mosque and more lay outside of it. Though there is no way to independently verify this claim yet, this is a source that has been consistently reliable.


July 13th, 2012, 2:27 am


Amjad said:

“Its pretty clear who you users who are thumbing me down are we the westerns aren’t buying into the propaganda against Syria.”

What did I tell you. The Persian wanabe-westerner is more concerned with the number of thumbs down he gets than with the bloodthirsty massacre of over 200 people in Syria. Disgusting. Perverted. Disgraceful. Just the kind of qualities the Duck of Qurdaha likes to see in his supporters.

And learn to write proper English.

July 13th, 2012, 3:43 am


habib said:

192. annie

Lol, want me to post a list of even more outrageous opposition-lies? What’s the point?

July 13th, 2012, 5:32 am


mjabali said:

Son of Damascus:

I went to Damascus hundreds of times in my life. I love the city and have many friends there. Many memories and all good, but once in one of these visits: the locals there called me and my friends : “Shawaya.” شوايا. Out of the blue we were called that while standing to enter a store. We were not causing any troubles. They heard our accent and called us that term. We were coming from Lattakia and looked pretty much more European than Shawaya, but still they called us that term.

When I went back to Lattakia and told the story, people told me forget about the people who live in Damascus. They told me: “forget about those who live in Damascus, they are all Banadeeq Taymurlank.” بناديق تيمورلنك

Banadeeq Taymurlank mean few things, the most important one related to our context puts it as: the illegitimate sons of the foreign occupier. To tell you the truth it makes kinds of sense if you look at the ethnic composition of the people who claim to be from Damascus. Each foreign rule left many of its people, that with time started thinking they were there from the year 3000BC. Damascus was occupied for the last 2000 years at least.

When the Muslims came Damascus was different ethnically. The Muslims came with al-Uhda al-Umariyah with them. These things play a part why people from the Capital of Syria look down at other people from the same state.

Syrians have faults with other Syrians. Long Years of foreign occupation made those who live in big cities think they are such a high class and those who are not just poor Bedoins .

You were talking before about the Assad grandfather’s letter to the French.

For that I say: I heave read about this document many times but never saw one person show a copy of it which made me think that it could be a fabrication to smear the Alawis. The best idea is to ask someone to find it and put a copy.

For me, I do not think Patrick Seal know what he was talking bout when he said that the Assad grandfather was in the fight against the French. I doubt that. I also doubted the document because as I said, al-Assad family was not strong in al-Qurdaha itself. There were two families that are bigger al-Khayyer and Ismail. Also al-Assad was not from a religious establishment family (al-Khayyer were). al-Assad’s family rise to power was only because Hafez came to power. No other Assad was of any worth before 1970. My friend says they used to take the bus and sit like everyone else.

As for academics, Seal is not one, he is a journalist and used to like Hafez. Also, academics did not write that much about the Alawis. Few know anything about them.

July 13th, 2012, 7:26 am


irritated said:

Before each UNSC meeting there need to be a Houla like massacre : The opposition

When the opposition perceives that a UNSC resolution will put to end their armed rebellion and squeeze them into a peace dialog, they organize a dramatic massacre to point out that without weapons, civilians will be exposed to more killings. Civilians pay the price of that cynical tragedy.
Who buys that sinister game anymore?

July 13th, 2012, 8:15 am


zoo said:

Now it’s Ryad Al Assad, in total confusion by phone, calling for “peaceful” actions because the “regime does not understand anything apart from the language of force”

“I urge people to close down all roads and call upon all government employees to stay at their homes and not go to work in official directorates and to hold a general strike so we can paralyze the entire country, because this regime does not understand anything apart from the language of force,” he told Al Jazeera in a phone interview.

The major political opposition group, the Syrian National Council, called for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting on the alleged massacre, Al Arabiya said

July 13th, 2012, 8:25 am


zoo said:

Will Syria’s Conflict Spill Over into War-Weary Iraq?

As the violence in Syria spirals into an increasingly bloody maelstrom, Iraq’s Foreign Minister voices his country’s fears that the chaos is spilling across the border—and that Baghdad won’t be able to contain it
By Vivienne Walt | @vivwalt | July 13, 2012 | +

For months, Syrian opposition groups have smuggled weapons and fighters into the country across the borders of Turkey and Lebanon. Now another of Syria’s influential neighbors—Iraq—says its territory is being used as a base for al-Qaeda attacks against the regime of President Bashar Assad. Speaking to a handful of reporters in Paris on Thursday morning, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said both U.S. and Iraq believe that Al Qaeda operatives are sneaking into Syria across Iraq’s western border, despite the fact that the U.S. military during the Iraq War turned that remote desert area into the country’s best-secured frontier. “It is very, very difficult to control 680 kilometers of borders,” Zebari said, claiming that Al Qaeda’s infiltration into Syria was now “a fact.” For jihadis, he said, “Syria is a good environment, because of the lack of security, the lack of control of the government.”

Read more:

July 13th, 2012, 8:30 am


zoo said:

Embolded, the Syrian Moslem Brotherhood jumps on the blame wagon

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, one of Mr. Assad’s most outspoken foes, issued a statement blaming not only Mr. Assad but also his foreign backers for the massacre. It singled out Russia, Iran and Mr. Annan.

“The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria do not consider Bashar the Beast the only one responsible for this horrific massacre,” it said. “Responsibility for this and for previous massacres also lies with Annan, with the Russians and the Iranians, and all those states who claim they are protecting peace and stability yet stay silent and skulk away from taking any responsibility.”

July 13th, 2012, 8:40 am


Antoine said:

Mjabali, enough with your sectarian self-pity. There are Sunni Syrians who are officially called Shawaya and the regime kills them by the hundred in Mazraat al-Qubair and in Houla and Treimseh.

Damascenes especially middle class and upper class are a bunch of arrogant snobs who don’t deserve to live in Syria.

The irony is that the Damascenes who are most likely to call nasty snobbish names to Alawites are the ones who fervently support this regime the most.


July 13th, 2012, 8:47 am


zoo said:

Ryad al Assaad and the SNC unveiling the FSA next military step: Free Syrian Army preparing for “final battle” for Damascus.

By Caroline Akoum
Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – In light of the noticeable development in the Free Syrian Army [FSA]’s military operations, not to mention the escalated pace of defections from the regular army’s forces, the FSA has announced that it is gearing up to take the fight to the al-Assad regime in Damascus. Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, FSA commander Colonel Riad al-Asaad revealed that “preparations for the battle of Damascus are underway and are in full swing, particularly as this operation – which will be the final and decisive confrontation with the regime – requires special preparations and arrangements”. He added “this has led to the battle being postponed so far; however once it starts it will be resolved quickly, within a matter of weeks.”

The FSA commander also stressed that “with regards to today, you could say that the situation has changed. We are now able to take decisions at the right time, after the FSA seized weapons at depots affiliated to the regime, in addition to those present in the border regions.” However al-Asaad denied that the FSA had been given surface-to-air missiles enabling them to bring down regime helicopters.

Colonel al-Asaad told Asharq Al-Awsat “the presidential palace will not decide the battle, rather what is important is capturing the military units that surround the palace, including the Fourth Armored Division and the Republican Guards” He added “initiating the battle in Damascus will have a positive impact on the pace of defections from the al-Assad regime, particularly amongst its leadership, after everybody becomes aware that the regime is facing its end.”
For his part, Syrian National Council [SNC] member Bashar al-Haraki told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decisive battle for Damascus is fast approaching. He said “the FSA has been preparing for this battle for some time now, and the best example of this can be seen in the military operations that have taken place in the capital, in addition to the FSA’s presence in Damascus and the surrounding areas.”

Al-Haraki added that “ we can say that the FSA is ready for this battle.”

He also stressed that “the situation is approaching the end game and there is no need to wait for countries to fulfill their pledges to arm the FSA, as the FSA is prepared to fight the battle now.”
One source told the media that meetings were being held in Turkey between the FSA leadership and Arab and western military and intelligence apparatuses to discuss the logistics and details with regards to taking the battle to the heart of Damascus.

July 13th, 2012, 8:47 am


Shami said:

Majbali the document Is dated 15 June 1936 and registered under the number 3547 at the foreign French ministry.
The cosignators are among others Aziz Al Hawwache,Mohamed el Juneid,Sleiman al Morshid,Mahmoud Jadid,Mohamed Sleiman Al Ahmad (the famous poet badawi al jabal)

July 13th, 2012, 8:56 am


Antoine said:

MJABALI get up and smell the coffee this is a classic Class Struggle or Class Conflict between the elites and the masses, this is not a sectarian struggle.

Alawite masses and Sunni masses should unite and struggle against the Alawite and Sunni elites ( thieves and murderers), it is very sad that poor Alawites and poor Sunnis take out their anger at each other.

In my opinion poor Alawites should not have supported the regime and instead reached out to the people of Daraa al-Balad on 18th March 2011, it is high time the Alawi masses realized they have nothing in common with the Alawite Generals and Ministers sitting in Damascus.

The Sunni masses do not identify with the Sunni elites and have their own socio-political consciousness.

And I should remind you that 75 % of Syria’s well-off do not deserve their position and their income and they are basicaly thieves who have been stealing for the last 50 years ( since 1963 ).

Down with the Syrian Class System ( which is almost like the Hindu Caste System ).

July 13th, 2012, 9:00 am


Antoine said:

A Kurdish conscript in the Regime Army was killed in a fight with the FSA, his funeral in his hometown turns into an anti-regime rally :

July 13th, 2012, 9:05 am


Syrialover said:

To Mjabali

CC Son of Damascus

I am reading your posts, and what you say Mjabali rings true.

And I am also reading that fantastic academic paper Son of Damascus recommended above. Which is why I am commenting on what you write.

[The paper deserves a rave review. I powerfully recommend it to everybody who has even the slightest interest in what is happening in Syria at the moment. It’s a real head clearer. And a terrific read.]

But to cut to the chase of what you are discussing. The writer has very comprehensively researched both the Alawites and the Assads.

Below is an excerpt from the section on the Alawites’ 1936 debate on separation where I’m sure the writer would have given Hafez’s father an honorable mention if he was a player.

This writer lists Seale as a reference so he would know of the claim about the earlier Assad. Yet he doesn’t say anything about pre-Hafiz Assads anywhere in his paper, so we can assume he doesn’t subscribe to what Seale and others say about Bashar having a grandfather that was involved in anything.

From page 129 “The Politics of Sectarian Insecurity” (don’t be put off by the title – it’s a lot more than that):

“A historic convention occurred at Tartous on February 25, 1936, attended by all the important Alawite leaders in what was in effect a “referendum” on the Alawite position on Syrian unity. Despite French intelligence attempts to portray a separatist victory, the debate was vigorous and the outcome was not definititive. The Haddadin leader, Ibrahim al-Kinj, argued for separation under French protection, while Munir al-Abbas from the Khayatin tribes supported unity. There were also Alawites who were prepared to fight for their autonomy with or without French assistance. Overall, Alawite indecision was influenced by sectarian insecurity about recommiting the Alawites to a state dominated by their historic antagonists the Sunni Muslims.”

But don’t stop there if you go to the paper. The pages following that give a well-researched account of the Alawites relations with the French, the attachment of the Alawite territory of Lattakia to Syria soon after that convention above, the Sunni Fatwa in 1936 to include the Alawi in the Muslim fold, the fact there was little push to unite as a sect until the 1950s – and much, much more.

July 13th, 2012, 9:15 am


Syrialover said:

Sorry everyone, please unglaze your eyes over that information about 1936 Alawite issues in that paper I mention above.

That academic paper also has an absolutely ripping account of Bashar Assad’s clumsy destruction of all the key alliances his father left him.

Including stuffing up things for the Alawites and turning against and excluding many of them well before this trouble started brewing.

You will never bother with another Ramadan serial again.

July 13th, 2012, 9:50 am


Ghufran said:

Nawaf short Bio:
نواف الشيخ فارس الجراح، وهو اسمه الكامل، من المقربين من الاجهزة الامنية التي بدأ حياته المهنية فيها، قبل ان يعين محافظا ثم اول سفير لبغداد بعد اعادة العلاقات الدبلوماسية بين سوريا والعراق في 2008.
عين رئيسا لفرع الامن السياسي في محافظة اللاذقية بين 1990 و1994، ثم امين فرع حزب البعث في محافظة دير الزور بين 1994 و1998، ثم محافظا للاذقية بين 1998 و2000، ومحافظا لادلب بين 2000 و2002، ومحافظا للقنيطرة بين 2002 و2008.
Western intelligence may be now busy forming a list of ex regime figures to use in the future. That list will expand in the next few weeks-months as more people jump on the opposition wagon.

July 13th, 2012, 10:17 am


Ghufran said:

Christians in Homs are being forced to leave,non Sunnis,if caught, are kidnapped or killed,revolutionists were asking people to provide a proof that they are Christians.
Here is one story from Homs,many others are available,this uprising in many parts of Syria is more of a civil war than a movement for political freedom.

July 13th, 2012, 10:38 am


irritated said:

The Houla media hysteria is over, the Tlass too. How may days will the Al Fares hysteria last?
Are they both ending up in Bakkourland?
The opposition urgently needs to find something else as dramatic to continue occupying the headlines instead of occupying Damascus and to shake the amorphous UNSC.

July 13th, 2012, 11:04 am


Uzair8 said:

Please read all of the following:

In response to the Trimseh Massacre
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi

To the wounded people of Syria!

Today a new massacre took place in Trimseh, Hama, in which hundreds were murdered and severly wounded including women, children and the young and elderly. They were mutilated, slaughtered, and executed by the mercenaries of the regime. 150 tanks and squadrons of bomber helicopters surrounded this smal town and assaulted it with an array of shells and bombs. Then the mobs of the regime broke into the city; the result was families being wiped out, men burnt alive, women raped and children slaughtered with knives. We do not find words which suffice to condemn such a level of savagery and wonder if these people are even humans. Is the regime taking revenge from the Syrian people who revolted against it?

As we offer our condolences to the families of the victim, pray for the martyrs and promise that that people’s tears, which shed in grief and sorrow at what they witnessed, shall soon turn into tears of joy and rapture at the regime’s fall, the country’s liberation and the trial of every criminal.

Read more:

July 13th, 2012, 11:04 am


Uzair8 said:

There can be no more sitting on the fence. This has to be the final chapter.

From Sh.Yaqoubi’s statement from above. The last paragraph:

“Finally, One who keeps silent rather than say the truth is a silent Satan. We call for strikes in all cities for three consecutive days, blockades of major roads and to large scale protests. Do not be a devil; to keep silent now is a crime. We call the people to unite and sacrifice everything to bring down the regime with every possible means.”

July 13th, 2012, 11:06 am


Syrialover said:

The issue of city versus country with mutual prejudices and resentments is old, old, old and universal all over the world, and can still be found in many places today.

Syria joins many other places in history with rebellion from the countryside moving into the capital.

July 13th, 2012, 11:10 am


zoo said:

Firas Tlass: His cousin, Abdel Razzak Tlass, commander of the Al-Farouk brigade of the FSA could represent the revolutionaries in negotiations.

In Tlass family …. Tlass Firas recommends a settlement with the Syrian regime

OLJ / AFP | 13/07/2012

Manaf Tlass’s brother said “some support units of the ASL by providing relief but no weapons.”

Firas Tlass, the elder brother of General Manaf Tlass Syrian dissident, who supports Syrian Liberation Army (SLA), has expressed support for a negotiated settlement with the regime of Bashar al-Assad, in an interview published Friday by the daily Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat.

Firas Tlass, a wealthy businessman based in Dubai, has also provided no details on the fate of his brother, whose trace has been lost since announcing his defection on July 6.

In this interview, Firas Tlass said “some support units of the ASL by providing relief but no weapons,” adding that he was in contact “for a month and a half” with one of the rebel leaders, Abderrazak Tlass, his “cousin”. A total of “45 officers in my family have defected,” he added.

“We live in a chaotic situation both in the ranks of the regime and opposition. We need a strong current that will put Syria on the right track,” he said. He hinted that he favored a negotiated settlement with the regime. The solution “by the appearance of a strong internal current (…), which is able to negotiate with the regime,” he said.

He added that his cousin, “regimental commander of the Al-Farouk ASL” opposition force army composed mainly of deserters, “could represent the revolutionaries” in negotiations.


July 13th, 2012, 11:15 am


omen said:

245. IRRITATED said: The Houla media hysteria is over

houla hysteria? i can’t believe you said that.

July 13th, 2012, 11:18 am


irritated said:

#247 Uzair8

“This has to be the final chapter” or the final final final ….?

Let’s see the response of these calls outside some villages and towns in the “Edlib Triangle”

July 13th, 2012, 11:19 am


irritated said:

Omen #250

Yes, I did. The Houla massacre has been reported by the media hysterically against the Syrian government without the facts been investigated thoroughly and without any respect for truth and the victims.
Then the German media diffused the hysteria by showing that it was far from clear who did it and in fact pointing to the rebels.
Then the UN report was inconclusive.
Disappointed and silenced, the media then jumped on the Tlass defection without having the facts again… from short lived hysteria to the other.

July 13th, 2012, 11:29 am


zoo said:

Israel aiding Syria refugees on Turkish, Jordan borders
July 12, 2012 01:54 PM
Agence France Presse

Read more:

July 13th, 2012, 11:34 am


mjabali said:


I will ask someone in Paris to go and look at the number you provided to confirm. So far, I saw numbers and references but never a copy of that document.

July 13th, 2012, 12:06 pm



Can anyone provide link of Mr. Adel al-Gogary death live on Iraqui TV while debating pro Assad arguments?

July 13th, 2012, 12:14 pm


Tara said:

Girlish pink and glitter? Someone trying to discover the human side of Nasrallah. He proved to have none.

Nasrallah painting removed by force July 13, 2012 12:03 AM By India Stoughton The Daily Star

BEIRUT: A dose of controversy was injected into the Beirut Art Fair’s proceedings when, after pressure from members of security, a painting by Lebanese artist Zeina El Khalil was taken down.

The artist later disclosed that the painting had been damaged in the process.

Entitled “Super Star,” the painting is a portrait of a smiling Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah. It renders the sheikh in hues of girlish pink and glitter, silhouetted against a cheerful, brightly colored background dotted with abstract patterns in yellow, purple and blue.

In her description of the piece Khalil states that she painted Nasrallah in an attempt to get past the leader’s media “pop star” image and rediscover him as a human being.

The painting is part of the permanent collection of Art Lounge, a Beirut’s bar-cum-gallery owned by Nino Azzi.

It seems Azzi was forced to take down the painting after members of the BIEL security team objected to the portrait being hung in a venue that serves alcohol
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

July 13th, 2012, 12:17 pm




Do not get wrong. Do not try to find the cause of alawites being refused in the defaults of damascene people but better find it on the mistakes, abuses, bad acts and sins committed by your fellow alawites living in Damascus.

In Lattakia you think you are liberals but you are not. When it comes to sectarianism you act 100 % sectarian. So, you are not liberal at all. Maybe you think being liberal is being a muslim with easy money, girls in the beach and drinking alcohol. But being a liberal is basically respecting freedoms over any other principle political or religious.

Any dictatorship is anti-liberal by definition. But Assad’s one is probably one of the worst in these days we live and die.

Probably next alawite generation will be a dead end generation like druzes in Syria or probably will be a real liberal one helped by revolution.

July 13th, 2012, 12:28 pm


mjabali said:


Your personal insults to me does not hide the weak outdated class conflict theory of yours. Go and search for some other way to decipher history ya فطيحل

Antoine said:

“Mjabali get up and smell the coffee this is a classic Class Struggle or Class Conflict between the elites and the masses, this is not a sectarian struggle.”

The majority of the Sunnis rich and poor are against al-Assad because he is Alawi, including those who are in his camp now. The Sunnis who are with al-Assad now are deep down with the other side, probably except for the very few. Syria is divided according to religious feelings. This includes those who do not believe in religion (those guys’ fight against al-Assad is about justice and liberty and not about religion most of the time)

July 13th, 2012, 12:32 pm


Jad said:

Syria – The True Story

July 13th, 2012, 12:36 pm


Jad said:

Dif you read this one month old article about your point?

BBC world news editor: Houla massacre coverage based on opposition propaganda
By Chris Marsden
As quietly as possible, BBC world news editor Jon Williams has admitted that the coverage of last month’s Houla massacre in Syria by the world’s media and his own employers was a compendium of lies.
Datelined 16:23, June 7, Williams chose a personal blog to make a series of fairly frank statements explaining that there was no evidence whatsoever to identify either the Syrian Army or Alawite militias as the perpetrators of the May 25 massacre of 100 people.
By implication, Williams also suggests strongly that such allegations are the product of the propaganda department of the Sunni insurgents seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

July 13th, 2012, 12:41 pm


omen said:

189. GHUFRAN said:

Charlie Skelton-The Guardian:
But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinize sources.

speaking of scrutinize, skelton is a former porn critic.

July 13th, 2012, 12:42 pm


Jad said:


Everything They’re Telling Us About Syria… Is False?

Friday, we read in the New York Times and elsewhere about one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most important supporters and allies having defected. The impression one gets is that Assad’s government is in a state of collapse – and this gives credibility to those pushing for Assad to turn over power.

But what the media are not mentioning is that Brigadier General Manaf Tlass did not defect directly from the Assad inner circle. He had already fallen into disfavor early in the uprising and lost his command in May 2011 – 14 months ago. If you had that additional piece of information, you would interpret the news reports in a totally different way.

When a piece of evidence that contradicts the overall impression is absent from the reportage, the reportage itself is almost worthless.

As are reports of horrific events without adequate fact-checking and follow-up. Remember the Houla massacre? Who carried that out?

July 13th, 2012, 12:46 pm


Uzair8 said:

Jad raises a point (#261) which gives me an opportunity to share an observation.

In the early hours I was listening to the BBC World Service news broadcast and they were interviewing an activist from Hama who was describing what had happened in Tremseh. It sounded like an interrogation, which is actually a good thing. The presenter was interested in the details, perhaps trying to trip up the activist and expose any inconsistencies.

The guest claimed he was getting his news from someone who was still in the area of the massacre. The presenter asked him if he could contact his source again and then return to continue the interview in about 5 minutes. He agreed.

You can listen for yourself. I like this apparent cautious approach of the BBC. Pro-regime are ever ready to accuse the media of being keen to lap up anything the activists say.

Listen from the start.

July 13th, 2012, 12:56 pm


mjabali said:

Sandro L:

I speak for myself and not for a sect or a group of people.

Alawis had people who acted badly in Damascus, and those same Alawis acted badly in Lattakia against other Alawis. This is al-Assads, their friends and goons. Those Alawis who participated in these bad actions are hated by everyone because of their actions. Many Alawis went to prison opposing the rule of al-Assad that as I said many times before that had taken advantage of the historical injustice that was exacted upon the Alawis to make them a policing tool in his arsenal. This is a fact.

I,as a Syrian, got along with everyone and never behaved badly. I hated those Alawis from the ruler’s circle and their actions, how they fleeced the country. I knew what they were doing was wrong. Why do I have to be burdened with their sin mr. Low?

I am liberal by practice and not by slogans. I say the truth and that may be harsh most of the time. The truth about how Syrians feel about each other is hard to accept especially by people like you who are brought up under the boot of the ruler (Alawi or Sunni) and of course wary about everyone else that is not like you.

As for the new Alawi generation, the only thing I will tell you is this: The Alawis have three different classes: those who are in the army and with al-Assad, those who live in the villages, and the educated working class that exist in big cities like Lattakia and Tartus. So, to look at your simplistic, emotional theory we see that it does not apply to the Alawis because they really have different groups with them with different futures. Your argument is emotional and not factual. The outcome of this chaos in Syria now is what is going to determine what is the destiny. If you can see in your crystal ball that is another story.

If the Alawis assimilate within a new modern Syria, or they continue the story of their ancestors: fight for survival is yet to be seen. All indication now point to a long fight.

your doom’s day gloom conspiracy argument you espouse I say: عفا عنه الزمان ونام

July 13th, 2012, 12:56 pm



If alawites think they have any religous ownership right over Nusairiye Mountains then Alawite mountains whould be returned to crusaders, then to bizantines, then to phoenicians, then to canaanites, then…. bla, bla, bla.

Or maybe Nusairis are simply bizantine christians turned to alawite religion due to political and economical crisis. Or maybe they were sunni muslims turned against state power centers and became alawites.

The only internationally accepted fact is that Latakia is Syria and FSA will defend Syria’s integrity until the end.

July 13th, 2012, 12:59 pm


omen said:

261. jad,

first of all, where are the statements from regime officials themselves denying responsibility?

hiding behind a bbc reporter doesn’t count as a hard denial.

how did a bbc reporter get relegated to performing regime PR?

July 13th, 2012, 1:04 pm


jad said:

An excellent article about the ‘respected’ and ‘truthful’ Syrian opposition members and their westerners ‘writers’ supporters:

The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?
The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …

A nightmare is unfolding across Syria, in the homes of al-Heffa and the streets of Houla. And we all know how the story ends: with thousands of soldiers and civilians killed, towns and families destroyed, and President Assad beaten to death in a ditch.

This is the story of the Syrian war, but there is another story to be told. A tale less bloody, but nevertheless important. This is a story about the storytellers: the spokespeople, the “experts on Syria”, the “democracy activists”. The statement makers. The people who “urge” and “warn” and “call for action”.

It’s a tale about some of the most quoted members of the Syrian opposition and their connection to the Anglo-American opposition creation business. The mainstream news media have, in the main, been remarkably passive when it comes to Syrian sources: billing them simply as “official spokesmen” or “pro-democracy campaigners” without, for the most part, scrutinising their statements, their backgrounds or their political connections.

It’s important to stress: to investigate the background of a Syrian spokesperson is not to doubt the sincerity of his or her opposition to Assad. But a passionate hatred of the Assad regime is no guarantee of independence. Indeed, a number of key figures in the Syrian opposition movement are long-term exiles who were receiving US government funding to undermine the Assad government long before the Arab spring broke out.

Though it is not yet stated US government policy to oust Assad by force, these spokespeople are vocal advocates of foreign military intervention in Syria and thus natural allies of well-known US neoconservatives who supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq and are now pressuring the Obama administration to intervene. As we will see, several of these spokespeople have found support, and in some cases developed long and lucrative relationships with advocates of military intervention on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The sand is running out of the hour glass,” said Hillary Clinton on Sunday. So, as the fighting in Syria intensifies, and Russian warships set sail for Tartus, it’s high time to take a closer look at those who are speaking out on behalf of the Syrian people.


July 13th, 2012, 1:07 pm


Badr said:

“This includes those who do not believe in religion (those guys’ fight against al-Assad is about justice and liberty and not about religion most of the time)”

And for the least of the time, what is then their fight about?

July 13th, 2012, 1:09 pm


omen said:

268. jad,

are you also a fan of this writer’s porn critique?

July 13th, 2012, 1:11 pm


Uzair8 said:

Sunni ‘cannon fodder’ abandon Syria’s Alawite-led military

Opposition groups say increasing number of foot soldiers defecting to Turkey


As one of the Sunni Muslim soldiers who form the bulk of the Syrian army, Lt. Adnan Suleibi kept being pushed to the front of units fighting in the rebellious city of Homs.

Alawite personnel — members of the same minority sect as President Bashar al-Assad — remained in the rear. Alawites control the military through their domination of the officer corps and, crucially, direct the Soviet-style intelligence and secret police apparatus entrusted with preventing dissent.

“The Sunnis are cannon fodder and morale has been sapped. There are 75 men left in my brigade out of 250. The rest were killed, injured or deserted,” said Suleibi, a slim 23-year-old in jeans and striped t-shirt.

Read more:

July 13th, 2012, 1:13 pm


jad said:

Interview with the minister Ali Haydar:

المقابلة | علي حيدر

(هيثم الموسوي)
■ لن ينتصر أحد على الآخر
■ هناك متشددون في النظام والمعارضة
■ أختار لبنان ليكون مقرّاً للاجتماع بالمعارضين

يُبدي وزير شؤون المصالحة الوطنية السوري، علي حيدر، تفاؤلاً لا يمنعه من القول إن «سوريا على فوهة بركان». يؤكّد حيدر، الذي يرأس الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي في سوريا، إنه «دخل مشروعاً ولم يدخل في وزارة». وكشف عن اتصالات بدأها مع أطياف المعارضة المسلّحة

رضوان مرتضى
■ فوجئ المتابعون بإسناد حقيبة مستحدثة لكم هي حقيبة المصالحة الوطنية، كيف تم ذلك ولماذا هذه الحقيبة بالتحديد؟
– في بداية المشاورات لتشكيل الحكومة، التقانا رئيس الحكومة رياض حجاب ليبحث معنا موضوع التشكيل. فكان جوابنا فلنبحث في التركيب أولاً. أي كيف ستركب الحكومة ومن سيشارك فيها. وأشرنا إلى أن هناك أسئلة يجب الإجابة عنها سلفاً تتعلق ببرنامج عمل الحكومة وبيانها الوزاري وصلاحياتها، مشترطين أن يكون ذلك قبل البحث في التركيب. من هنا، وبعد حوارات متكررة، التقينا 5 مرات. وفي هذا الوقت، برزت فكرة أن عنوان مشروع الحكومة يجب أن يكون المصالحة الوطنية على قاعدة الاقتناع بأن أحداً لا يمكنه الانتصار على أحد. لا يوهم أحد نفسه بأنه يمكنه ذلك. الجيش غير قادر على تنظيف الأرض بالكامل وإنهاء الحالة المسلّحة من دون حل سياسي للأزمة، حاله حال المسلّحين الذين لا يمكنهم ذلك أيضاً. فالتقاتل لن يؤدي إلى نتيجة لا في شهر ولا في سنة ولا حتى إلى الأبد. القتال قد يمتد لعشرات السنين كالحرب الأهلية اللبنانية. لماذا نذهب إلى عنف وعنف مضاد. سوريا لا يمكنها الخروج من أزمتها إلا بمصالحة. وكل الدول التي تدخل في أزمات، تنتهي بمصالحات على طاولات الحوار. نحن لماذا ننتظر سنوات للوصول إلى هنا. لماذا ننتظر حتى يصل عدد الضحايا إلى 100 ألف. لماذا ننتظر حتى تخرب سوريا، وتصل الليرة السورية إلى ما وصلت إليه الليرة اللبنانية. لماذا ننتظر ما دمنا نعرف أنه في النهاية لا بد أن نجلس معاً؟ مشروعنا هو مشروع تعجيل الحل وتسريعه قبل سقوط آلاف الضحايا.
■ ماذا يجري في سوريا هذه الأيام؟
– ما يجري هو استمرار لأزمة سورية ظُهّرت بشكل نهائي منذ سنة ونصف السنة ولا تزال قائمة. الأزمة عميقة وبنيوية شاملة لكل مفاصل الحياة السورية. وشكلها النهائي أو مشهدها النهائي حالة عنف مستمرة تُزهق الكثير من الأرواح وتُسيّل الكثير من الدماء. هذا في العنوان الرئيسي، أما في التفاصيل فتمتد الأزمة السورية، التي لم يُحسن أحد حل مفاصلها، عبر سنوات طويلة تركت مواطن خلل وضعف في الداخل السوري. إزاءها، بدأ حراك شعبي وطني سلمي حقيقي على الأرض كانت له في البداية مطالب محقة. لكن، استطاع أصحاب المشروع الخارجي أن يدخلوا على خط الأزمة ويستغلّوا الطاقات الحيوية للشباب السوري ومطالبهم المحقة ومشاعرهم الجيّاشة لتغليب صورة عنفية على الحراك السياسي، الذي كان يُفترض أن يبقى سلمياً رغم كل العنف الذي قد يمارسه الطرف الآخر.
■ هل بدأتم الاتصال مع قوى المعارضة الخارجية في سوريا؟
– أبوابي مفتوحة. حالياً بدأت اتصالات غير مباشرة. وهناك رسائل أوجّهها عبر الإعلام وبواسطة أشخاص غير مباشرين بأن أبوابي مفتوحة من خلال وزارتي للقاء الجميع والتواصل معهم. أما من لديه حجة بألا يذهب إلى دمشق خوفاً من الاعتقال أو ما شابه، فأقول له إنه إذا ما قبل ضماناتنا فسأكون أنا المسؤول عن حمايته. كما أني مستعد أن ألتقيه في بيروت، ففي لبنان، الجميع يضمن القدوم. وباعتراف الجميع ان الكل يضمن أمنه هنا (في لبنان). فلنتحاور هنا ثم نقرر ماذا
■ وماذا عن مقاتلي المعارضة في الميدان السوري، كيف ستقنعونهم بإلقاء السلاح؟
بداية، من هم مقاتلو المعارضة؟ ليس كل من حمل سلاحاً صاحب مشروع. يجب التمييز بين حملة السلاح. فهناك من حمل السلاح خوفاً على بيته. وهناك من حمل السلاح ثأراً. وهناك من حمل السلاح لأن لديه قناعة بأنه يستطيع حماية الحراك الشعبي السلمي بهذا السلاح. وهناك الأدوات. يجب التمييز بين الأربعة. فالحل مع الأول والثاني سهل. وكذلك في ما خصّ الثالث الذي ستُحل مشكلته فور بدء العملية السياسية التي ستُلبي مطالب المعارضة. أما الأدوات، الذين تجدهم في كل زمان ومكان، فسيكونون من مسؤولية الجميع.
■ كيف ترى سبل الخروج من الأزمة؟
– قبل كل شيء يجب الاعتراف بالآخر. على كل الأطراف أن تعترف ببعضها. يجب أن لا يبقى هناك أحد يقول إنه الممثل الشرعي والوحيد فيما الآخر خائن وعميل. يجب أن نعترف بأن الأزمة سورية وأن حلّها سوري. والأزمة في شمولها وعمقها سياسية، لذلك يُفترض أن يكون الحل سياسياً وليس عسكرياً. والحل السياسي أداته الوحيدة هي الحوار ولكن على ثوابت رفض التدخّل الخارجي ورفض العنف ورفض تبرير العنف.
سوريا على فوهة بركان والأزمة عميقة وليست سطحية. لا يظن أحد من السوريين أنه يستطيع أن ينتصر بمفرده في هذه المعركة. والانتصار ليس من سوريين على سوريين. الانتصار بالسوريين أنفسهم.

July 13th, 2012, 1:14 pm


jad said:

That ‘subject’ is your specialty not mine 😉

July 13th, 2012, 1:16 pm


omen said:

hardly, jad, you’re the one promoting a porn writer, not me.

July 13th, 2012, 1:28 pm


Amjad said:

“Houla Hysteria”? Disgusting. Has the regime managed to kill or catch any of the “terrorists” it claims were behind this horrendous massacre? Of course not, but to the pro-war-crimes enablers, the Houla event is now “over”, just as long as they think they managed to get away with it. The kind of low life thinking we have grown accustomed to seeing from the menhebakjis.

Remember, the Serb currently sitting in the Hague is being tried for a war crime committed in the early 90s. El Batta will never be able to travel outside Syria ever again.

July 13th, 2012, 1:34 pm


Expatriate said:

Please Do NOT write in capitals. I will pass it this time. Next time posts written in capitals will be deleted. Thank you all for your cooperation, SC Moderator


10. ADAM NEIRA when he said :
Assad discusses forming transitional government (TOL)
It looks like Kofi Annan is making headway. The Russians are also assisting. The goal is to mitigate the violence and stop the killing. Syria has great potential IF it is stable and ordered. All the parties in Syria must attempt to resolve their differences peacefully. The only people who will benefit if Syria spirals downward into a satanic vortex will be arms dealers, undertakers and nefarious dealers and traders. The children of Syria deserve a decent future.
Prayers for Syria.

July 13th, 2012, 1:42 pm


jad said:

Nobody is forcing you to read it, omen..

مصادر ميدانية موثوق بها تؤكد أن ما حصل في”التريمسة”معركة حربية حقيقية وليس مجزرة مدنيين

“الحقيقة” تحصل على شريط يؤكد أن معظم القتلى المتوفرة صورهم هم من المسلحين الإسلاميين والوهابيين، واعتقال أحد أخطر زعماء الميليشيات الوهابية في المنطقة.. حسين الدباس

وبالعودة إلى ما حصل في “التريمسة”(الواقعة على بعد 5 كم إلى الشمال الغربي من بلدة محردة و 25 كم إلى الشمال الغربي من حماة)، قالت معلومات حصلت عليها”الحقيقة” هذه الليلة من أحد الأطباء في بلدة “مورك” القريبة من المنطقة إن”الرواية التي تداولتها وسائل الإعلام لا أساس لها ومثيرة للسخرية”، موضحا بالقول “إن معطيات استخبارية وردت إلى السلطة من أهالي القرية نفسها تفيد بتحشد عدد كبير من المسلحين في القرية يقدر بالمئات للانتقام من أهلها الذين يتعاطف معظمهم مع السلطة في مواجهات الميليشيات الإسلامية المسلحة في المنطقة ، والتي يغلب على تركيبها البدو”، وأن “عددا من أخطر زعماء هذه الميليشيات، عرف منهم المدعو حسين الدباس(وهو من بدو المنطقة)، يعقدون اجتماعا في منزل المختار مصطفى اليونس لتنسيق عملية الانتقام. وعندها ، في ساعة مبكرة من فجر أمس، تحركت وحدات أمنية وعسكرية إلى القرية واشتبكت مع المسلحين لبضع ساعات ، مع أسفر عن مقتل عشرات المسلحين منهم ، ربما تجاوز المئة، كانوا يتحصنون في المنازل ، لاسيما منها المطلة على البساتين المجاورة ، واعتقال عدد منهم بينهم حسين الدباس نفسه”. وقد وصل”الحقيقة” للتو شريط يظهر عشرات القتلى الذين سقطوا في التريمسة. ويظهر من الشريط (المنشور جانبا) أن معظم القتلى المتوفرة صورهم ـ وكما يبدو من اللحى والشوارب المحفوفة لبعضهم على الطريقة الوهابية ـ هم من الإسلاميين والوهابيين، وليس بينهم أي طفل أو امرأة. كما ولا تظهر على جثثهم أية علائم لقتلهم بأسلحة بيضاء (ذبح) كما قالت “الجزيرة” والجهات الإسلامية السورية المعارضة، لاسيما “الهيئة العامة للثورة السورية”. ولم يتوفر حتى الآن ، وبعد مرور حوالي 24 ساعة على المعركة ،أي شريط آخر يثبت وجود قتلى من النساء أو الأطفال بينهم!!
هذا ونفى المصدر جملة وتفصيلا ما قالته وسائل الإعلام الخليجية ، استنادا إلى “شهود عيان” وإلى مصادر المعارضة الأسلامية السورية عن أن هناك أكثر من 150 دبابة شاركت في المعركة. وقال”هذا هراء ، القرية لا تتجاوز مساحتها 1 كم متر مربع ، و 150 دبابة عبارة عن فرقة مدرعة!”ـ موضحا بالقول”ما جرى هو أن السلطة استخدمت فعلا بعض المدرعات والدبابات وإحدى الحوامات، فقد كان في مواجهتها أكثر من مئتي مسلح تحصنوا في منزل المختار وبعض المنازل المحيطة به ، فضلا عن المدرسة الواقعة في وسط القرية وأماكن أخرى”. وقال الطبيب ـ المصدر”معظم سكان القرية من الموالين للسلطة ، ليس حبا بها، ولكن بسبب الجرائم التي يرتكبها مسلحو الأخوان المسلمين والمسلحون الوهابيون الذين يسيطرون عمليا على المنطقة الممتدة من ريف حماة الشمالي وحتى إدلب ، بما فيها المنطقة التي تقع فيها التريمسة”. وأعاد المصدر إلى الأذهان واقعة أن أهالي التريمسة “هم من استدعوا الجيش واستقبله في كانون الثاني / يناير الماضي لمواجهة المسلحين الإسلاميين البدو وطردهم .

July 13th, 2012, 1:48 pm


irritated said:

#275 Amjad

Of course Houla triggered a media hysteria. I repeat it again and again and it truly was disgusting.

One of the few remaining resources left to the crumbling opposition to make their fading voice be heard is transforming any killing into a ‘Serbian like’ massacre and any defection into a ‘final blow’ to Bashar al Assad. Of course, without say, the criminals are always the Syrian army and the security forces.
These sadistic “PR events” should be well timed to be on the headlines of the scoop-hungry western media with the aim of changing the course of the current UN meeting. We have never seen any significant effects as if the UNSC countries do not buy them so easily, having been fooled before several times.
These are old worn out tricks that don’t work anymore.

July 13th, 2012, 2:40 pm


zoo said:

The killing of armed gangs and rebels fighters is no ‘massacre’

Most of the people killed in the Syrian village of Traimseh were rebel fighters, an opposition activist said on Friday, adding the bloodbath followed a Free Syrian Army attack on an army convoy.

“At this stage, though we do not yet have the final count, the number of civilians killed by shelling is not more than seven,” Jaafar, an activist at the anti-regime Sham News Network, told AFP. “The rest were members of the (rebel) Free Syrian Army.”

“An army convoy was on its way to the region of Hama when it was attacked by the FSA,” he said. “The army staged a counter-attack with the support of (pro-regime) reinforcements from (nearby) Alawi villages. The FSA resisted for an hour before it was defeated.”

Separately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that “dozens of rebel fighters” were among those killed.

July 13th, 2012, 2:47 pm


jad said:

Dear Zoo,
Could you please move your article in #279 to the new post?
Thank you

July 13th, 2012, 2:54 pm


jad said:

Why my comment to Zoo about the new post didn’t show?

Anyway, there is a new post Zoo that fits your article in 279 🙂

July 13th, 2012, 2:56 pm


omen said:

265. MJABALI This is al-Assads, their friends and goons. Those Alawis who participated in these bad actions are hated by everyone because of their actions. Many Alawis went to prison opposing the rule of al-Assad that as I said many times before that had taken advantage of the historical injustice that was exacted upon the Alawis to make them a policing tool in his arsenal. This is a fact.

i’m sorry i conflated you with the regime earlier.

July 13th, 2012, 2:58 pm


omen said:

275. amjad said: Has the regime managed to kill or catch any of the “terrorists” it claims were behind this horrendous massacre?

it’s the o.j. playbook: the murderer hunting for the killer.

i think it was yaqoubi who dared the regime to declare three days of mourning for houla to prove their good faith.

did they ever do so?

July 13th, 2012, 3:04 pm


zoo said:

With all its high-tech US equipment, NATO surveillance, Turkey is still wondering how their plane was shot down.
Was is shot down by a Syrian ‘secret weapon’ or hit by a bird or the pilots were drunk? On these modern military planes, curiously there are voice recorder.

Army: Jet downed by Syria, but not with anti-aircraft fire

A Turkish jet downed on June 22 was definitely not shot down by anti-aircraft fire as suggested by Syrian officials, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said on Friday, while also making clear once more that the jet was shot down by Syria.

July 13th, 2012, 3:05 pm


Uzair8 said:

New post up.

July 13th, 2012, 3:28 pm


Observer said:

JAD is back great.

Distraction doubles or triples with ZOO and JAD and ANN all cutting and pasting.

Why is it that the observers are not allowed in Tremseh
If it is a battle where is the great PR machine of the regime that has given us four days of military exercises and the shooting of real ammunition to show the determination of the regime to fight.

If there are armed elements how come this very powerful armed forces cannot finish it off?

Now for the interview with Haidar, it seems the regime is tyring to initiate a dialogue or a negotiation. Is this stalling tactic or is it throwing ash in our faces? or is it buying time? or is it placating Russia’s impatience?

1. Is Russian foreign policy on Syria now a hostage to the whims of Assad or
2. Is Fredo now in the sorry fate of being dependent on Russia and Iran?
3. Is Kofi going to Russia and Iran an attempt to save Fredo or to save Kofi?
4. Already people are being reminded of Rwanda and Srbrenitza is he going to make it three times now?
5. Debate is ongoing in Iran about cutting losses and distancing from Fredo; has that debate been increasing and if not who won?
6. Are these massacres an attempt to tie the fate of Fredo and his circle to that of the Alawi community by reviving the spectre of persecution and marginalization?
7. Now that the fall of the Corleone rule is all but assured, will the Alawi community choose to fall with him en masse?

Finally it seems that many pro regimists on this blog are already out of Syria, I guess that is good.

One final question for MAJBALI, as a liberal would be willing to sacrifice in goods and action for the sake of a liberal Syria and if so how and when and where? And this is not meant as a critique or a cynical question just curious.

July 13th, 2012, 7:50 pm


Bruno said:

4 UN Meetings 4 massacres Yeah i am starting to doubt that Assad was behind it, i can see the long list of propaganda play on here though.

This is why you Rebel supporters cant think logically.

July 13th, 2012, 9:10 pm


Jad said:

Distraction from what? the worthless same observation and prediction we’ve been reading for a year and a half without any meaningful solution but calling for more Syrian blood, sectarianism and refusing dialogue as a ‘solution’
Yes, I’m back, what are you going to do about it? Stop writing! LOLOL
Allah yeshfeek!

July 14th, 2012, 1:16 am


irritated said:

July 14th, 2012, 8:50 am



[…] continue to stonewall at the U.N, while giving hope to Arab states and the West that it is the weak link in support of […]

July 14th, 2012, 5:30 pm


PETER said:

After what happened in Egypt and other North African and Arab States, why is the US supporting movements that are bringing Islamists to power or giving them a constituency. This is very odd…

July 18th, 2012, 8:24 pm


Syrialover said:

In Damascus, losing faith in Assad

From article:

Even as forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reassert control over much of Damascus, residents of the capital say they feel increasingly distant from the government they have long supported and are confident that it will eventually fall.

“We have feelings of hatred towards the regime now which will never get washed away,” said a 62-year-old man who owns four houses in the capital but thinks none of them is safe enough to stay in. Like others, he did not give his name because he was concerned about the possible consequences.

Some Damascus residents who have returned to their homes have been forced to confront the deadly results of the violence.

In the Midan neighborhood, where government forces took control after nearly a week of heavy fighting, “two whole families were slaughtered” in a public square, said a 30-year-old resident. Homes were demolished, shops looted and his house was broken into by security forces who went door-to-door after the fighting, the man said. “We can’t stay in Midan. There is no life anymore.”

The 30-year-old said he worked as a government servant and had been paid to break up anti-Assad protests by shocking demonstrators with electric prods. But he said any loyalty he felt to the government has disappeared. “How can you work for a government which shelled and destroyed your neighborhood?” he said.

July 29th, 2012, 6:45 pm


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