What Came out of the UN Conference on Syria?

What Came out of the UN Conference on Syria?
by Joshua Landis
for Syria Comment, July 1, 2012

The operative sentence by Clinton is: it is now “incumbent on Russia and China to show Assad the writing on the wall and help force his departure.”

This plan for a “transition government” in Syria does not add much to previous plans. But it is an indication that Russia’s patience with Assad will not be unlimited. Clinton has advance the ball ever so slightly, convincing Russia to box Assad in just a little more. With each step, Assad must know that his time to suppress the revolt is limited. Russia is indicating to him that it is not an endless source of support. Assad must deliver.

For the US, this plan does several things. It is not merely designed to shift blame for inaction on Syria from Washington to Moscow – but of course it does do that. It puts the ball in Russia’s court to deliver a transition government. Of course, the opposition has refused to join such a government so long as the Assads remain in power, which makes the blame game a bit messy. This is why Clinton is talking chapter 7 again. She wants to give teeth to need for a transition government, but Russia will not agree to that.

It is good for the US because Washington gains time, which is of the essence. The Syrian opposition is not ready to take over Syria. It needs time to coalesce and mature. A new leadership and civil society is emerging in Syria under the nose of the Assad government, but it is months if not years away from being able to rule Syria effectively. Nation building is an organic process.Washington has discovered that it cannot command cooperation and unity.

If Washington learned anything from Iraq and Libya it is that decapitating an oppressive regime too soon is bad. More people get killed. The death rate goes up and not down. An alternative leadership must be prepared to assume authority. Most importantly, an alternative army needs to be assembled to take control and impose order – an army that is viewed as legitimate and representative by a large proportion of society. No such force existed in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.

Today, we are seeing  the emergence of an alternative source of authority and security in Syria — perhaps. And that is a big “perhaps.” We are not sure that Syria will end up with a unified leadership or that one militia will emerge victorious and supreme. The political factions and one hundred-plus militias that now pepper the Syrian landscape are certainly not capable of imposing order or providing security for Syrians should the Baathist regime crumble or be destroyed.

Will they unite and produce a national leadership in time? It is a reasonable hope. The chances will be much improved if Western powers, Turkey and Saudi Arabia agree on a common leadership.  The beauty contest that is now going on among the Syrian opposition forces is natural and healthy.  A brutal Darwinian battle is now being waged in Syria not only between the regime and the Free Syrian Army, but also between the multitude of militias that make up the FSA. The leaders who can deliver will rise to the top; those that make mistakes are unlikely to survive. The  militias that are better led and can cooperate effectively with the revolutionary councils will rise to the top, pulling the smaller brigades into their ranks. This process of nation building takes time. It is an organic process that cannot be rushed. The West must play for time as the Syrian opposition matures. To destroy the regime before Syrian society is ready to produce an alternative state and leadership is irresponsible. It will not save lives; it will not prevent Islamizaton; it will not serve Western interests; and it will certainly not serve Syrian interests.

Syria Conference Leaves Open Assad Question

An international conference on Saturday accepted a U.N.-brokered peace plan that calls for the creation of a transitional government in Syria, but at Russia’s insistence the compromise agreement left the door open to Syria’s president being part of it.

The U.S. backed away from insisting that the plan should explicitly call for President Bashar Assad to have no role in a new Syrian government, hoping the concession would encourage Russia to put greater pressure on its longtime ally to end the violent crackdown that the opposition says has claimed more than 14,000 lives.

But even with Russia’s most explicit statement of support yet for a political transition in Syria, it is far from certain that the plan will have any real effect in curbing the violence. A key phrase in the agreement requires that the transitional governing body “shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent,” effectively giving the present government and the opposition veto power over each other.

Syrian opposition figures immediately rejected any notion of sharing in a transition with Assad, though the agreement also requires security force chiefs and services to have the confidence of the people. Assad’s government had no immediate reaction, but he has repeatedly said his government has a responsibility to eliminate terrorists and will not accept any non-Syrian model of governance.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted on Saturday that Assad would still have to go, saying it is now “incumbent on Russia and China to show Assad the writing on the wall” and help force his departure.”

“There is a credible alternative to the Assad regime,” she said. “What we have done here is to strip away the fiction that he and those with blood on their hands can stay in power.”

Kofi Annan was appointed the special envoy in February, and in March he submitted a six-point peace plan that he said the Assad regime accepted. It led to the April 12 cease-fire agreement that failed to hold.

Moscow had refused to back a provision that would call for Assad to step aside, insisting that outsiders cannot order a political solution for Syria and accusing the West of ignoring the darker side of the Syrian opposition. The opposition has made clear it would not take part in a government in which Assad still held power.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined that the plan does not require Assad’s ouster, saying there is “no attempt in the document to impose on the Syrian people any type of transitional process.”

Lavrov accused armed opposition groups in Syria of provoking the government to use force disproportionately. “We cannot say that the regime should simply withdraw its heavy artillery that it is shooting at armed citizens,” he said, referring to one of the conditions that the U.N. had set for sending truce monitors to Syria. “Certain armed groups and those who sponsor them are always trying to provoke the spiraling violence.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi called for all sides to end to the violence “without attaching any conditions,” but said that no one from the outside can make any legitimate decisions for the Syrian people.

More than a year into the uprising, Syria’s opposition is still struggling to overcome infighting and inexperience, preventing the movement from gaining the traction it needs to instill confidence in its ability to govern.

The U.N. plan calls for establishing a transitional government of national unity, with full executive powers, that could include members of Assad’s government and the opposition and other groups. It would oversee the drafting of a new constitution and elections.

Annan said following the Geneva talks that “it is for the people of Syria to come to a political agreement.”

“I will doubt that the Syrians who have fought so hard to have independence … will select people with blood on their hands to lead them,” he said.

The envoy had earlier warned the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — that if they fail to act at the talks hosted by the United Nations at its European headquarters in Geneva, they face an international crisis of “grave severity” that could spark violence across the region and provide a new front for terrorism.

“History is a somber judge and it will judge us all harshly, if we prove incapable of taking the right path today,” he said.

Syria, verging on a full-blown civil war, has endured a particularly bloody week, with up to 125 people reported killed nationwide on Thursday alone.

The opposition’s divisions are tied to issues at the heart of the revolution: Whether to seek dialogue with the regime and what ideology should guide a post-Assad Syria.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said following the agreement that “no member of the Syrian opposition will accept to be part of a transitional government while Assad is still in power.”

“Assad’s staying in power will mean the continuation of the bloodshed in Syria,” he said.

Unlike Libya’s National Transitional Council, which brought together most factions fighting Moammar Gadhafi’s regime and was quickly recognized by much of the international community, Syria’s opposition has no leadership on the ground.

Regime opponents in Syria are a diverse group, representing the country’s ideological, sectarian and generational divide. They include dissidents who spent years in prison, tech-savvy activists in their 20s, former Marxists, Islamists and Paris-based intellectuals.

Communication among those abroad and those in the country is extremely difficult. Political activists in Syria are routinely rounded up and imprisoned. Many have gone into hiding, communicating only through Skype using fake names, and the country is largely sealed off to exiled dissidents and foreign journalists.

International tensions also heightened last week after Syria shot down a Turkish warplane, leading to Turkey setting up anti-aircraft guns on its border with its neighbor.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague noted on Saturday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told diplomats a U.N. monitoring mission in Syria would have to be pulled back if no diplomatic solution was found.

The head of the struggling U.N. observer mission, Norwegian Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, has described the 300 monitors approved by the U.N. Security Council to enforce a failed April cease-fire as being largely confined to bureaucratic tasks and calling Syrians by phone because of the dangers on the ground. Their mandate expires on July 20.

“Ultimately, we want to stop the bloodshed in Syria. If that comes through political dialogue, we are willing to do that,” said Khalid Saleh, a spokesman for the Syrian National Council, a coalition of Syrian opposition groups based in Istanbul, Turkey. “We are not willing to negotiate (with) Mr. Assad and those who have murdered Syrians. We are not going to negotiate unless they leave Syria.”

Clinton said Thursday in Riga, Latvia, that all participants in the Geneva meeting, including Russia, were on board with the transition plan. She told reporters that the invitations made clear that representatives “were coming on the basis of (Annan’s) transition plan.”

The United Nations says violence in the country has worsened since a cease-fire deal in April, and the bloodshed appears to be taking on dangerous sectarian overtones, with growing numbers of Syrians targeted on account of their religion. The increasing militarization of both sides in the conflict has Syria heading toward civil war.

Syria’s widows: Hungry and homeless, but undefeated, Friday 29 June 2012
By Tara Sutton, Mafraq

Tens of thousands of desperate refugees have poured into Jordan. Here, some of them tell the stories of how their lives were shattered by the fighting that has torn their homeland apart

Tens of thousands of desperate refugees have poured into Jordan. Here, some of them tell the stories of how their lives were shattered by the fighting that has torn their homeland apart

The Homs widows must take care that they cannot be easily identified. Their names have been changed for this piece. Photograph: Tara Sutton for the Guardian

With criminals and rebels helping them on their way, Syria’s army of refugees marches by night, in single file and silence, towards the Jordanian border. More than 140,000 desperate people, many of them women and children, have sought sanctuary from their neighbour since the uprising in their homeland began 13 months ago and most now face an uncertain future.

Unlike Turkey, Jordan does not have a refugee camp and new arrivals are left to fend for themselves. They escape mostly “through the fence”, too frightened to leave Syria by its official borders. For some this is because their documents were burned when the army torched their homes; for others it is because they are being hunted by the government because someone in their family is, or was, a fighter.

In Jordan most of the aid they receive comes from Islamic and Christian charities with limited resources. They get boxes of food from one group; another donates mattresses and kitchen sets. But it is not enough, and many wonder where the international NGOs are.

“They [the international aid agencies] have a lot of meetings,” said the head of one charity well known to many refugees. “But I don’t see anything on the ground. There is all this talking, and still the Syrians need beds and food and stoves.” Many live in buildings that were formerly abandoned and lack basic necessities such as water and ventilation. Some of the poorest families are living in tents made from old jute sacks.

The border town of Mafraq in Jordan now hosts 10,000 Syrian refugees,

Annan ‘Hopeful’ Over Geneva Talks on Syria
By: Ellen Barry, Nick Cumming-Bruce and Rick Gladstone | The New York Times

“I think we are going to have a good meeting” on Saturday, Mr. Annan told Reuters television in Geneva as senior officials held preparatory talks in advance of the weekend encounter of foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “I am optimistic.”

The talks would end “with an acceptable result,” he said, despite news reports suggesting that differences between Russia and other Western and Arab nations at the Geneva meeting had raised new obstacles to an agreement.

Mrs. Clinton is set to meet on Friday in St. Petersburg, Russia, with her Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Lavrov said on Thursday that Syria needed a period of political transition but reiterated Moscow’s resistance to any plan being imposed by the international community.

“In order to overcome the Syrian crisis and to finally establish stable rights and norms which satisfy all groups in the Syrian population, it is necessary to have a transitional period, this is obvious,” Mr. Lavrov said at a news conference here in Moscow.

Turkey’s deputy prime minister,
Bulent Arinc, acknowledged on Monday that the aircraft — a two-seat RF-4E Phantom, an unarmed reconnaissance version of the F-4 fighter jet — was equipped for surveillance. But he strongly denied it was doing reconnaissance on this particular mission.

Forging a Peace Plan for Syria
By: Kofi A. Annan | The Washington Post

…..But something more is essential. I expect all who attend Saturday’s meeting to agree that a Syrian-led transition process must be achieved in accordance with clear principles and guidelines.

There must be a democratic and pluralistic future for Syria that complies with international standards on human rights and protects the rights of all communities.

This must include a government of national unity that would exercise full executive powers. This government could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, but those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation would be excluded.

The transition would also include a meaningful national dialogue and a constitutional revision subject to popular approval, followed by free and fair multiparty elections. Stability and calm must be ensured throughout by functioning institutions and protection of all groups within Syria’s diverse society. There must be a commitment to accountability and to national reconciliation.

There is no substitute for the hard work of helping the Syrians forge their own political future, in full respect of Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. …

Western Agreement ‘Could Leave Syria in Assad’s Hands for Two More Years’
By: Robert Fisk | The Independent

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria may last far longer than his opponents believe – and with the tacit acceptance of Western leaders anxious to secure new oil routes to Europe via Syria before the fall of the regime. According to a source intimately involved in the possible transition from Baath party power, the Americans, Russians and Europeans are also putting together an agreement that would permit Assad to remain leader of Syria for at least another two years in return for political concessions to Iran and Saudi Arabia in both Lebanon and Iraq.

For its part, Russia would be assured of its continued military base at Tartous in Syria and a relationship with whatever government in Damascus eventually emerges with the support of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Russia’s recent concession – that Assad may not be essential in any future Syrian power structure – is part of a new understanding in the West which may accept Assad’s presidency in return for an agreement that prevents a further decline into civil war.

Information from Syria suggests that Assad’s army is now “taking a beating” from armed rebels, who include Islamist as well as nationalist forces; at least 6,000 soldiers are now believed to have been murdered or killed in action since the rebellion against Assad began 17 months ago. There are even unconfirmed reports that during any one week up to a thousand Syrian fighters are under training by mercenaries in Jordan at a base used by Western authorities for personnel seeking ‘anti-terrorist’ security exercises.

Syria is not Libya: it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders
28 June 2012, By Phyllis Bennis

Probably the only useful thing outside powers can do, would be to engage in serious new diplomacy, in which supporters of both the regime and the armed opposition participate….

Iran’s role is the single most important basis for US and other western interest in Syria, making that emerging proxy war even more dangerous. At this moment of continuing US pressure, increasing US and EU sanctions, and Israeli threats against Iran, Syria remains a tempting proxy target…..

There is a crucial divergence between the role the Assad regime has played domestically and its regional position. As Jadaliyyaco-editor Bassam Haddadhas written, “most people in the region are opposed to the Syrian regime’s domestic behavior during the past decades, but they are not opposed to its regional role. The problem is the Syrian regime’s internal repression, not its external policies.” That opinion could describe the view of many Syrians as well….

Of course even if Assad had played a consistent anti-imperialist role in the region, Syrians would have every right and reason to challenge his regime’s brutality and denial of human rights. But the claim led some international activists to lionize the Syrian government as a bastion of anti-imperialism and therefore to condemn all opposition forces as lackeys of Washington.

In fact the regime’s reality is far different….

Withholding Favours: EU Tries To Change Iraq’s Mind on Syria Niqash

Visiting EU foreign ministers recently put pressure on Iraq with regard to the official position on Syria. But what does the EU really want the Iraqis to do? And what will they do if Iraq doesn’t agree? By Haider Najm / Baghdad
“Le Hezbollah va-t-il se tenir à l’écart du brasier syrien?” by Wassim Nasr

In a Syrian souk, support for the regime falters
Posted: 28 Jun 2012 08:20 AM PDT
Deborah Amos reports: In Syria’s capital, Damascus, the Hamidiyah souk is a landmark — a centuries-old covered market linked to a maze of alleyways in the heart of the capital. Over the 15-month uprising, Syria’s merchants have supported the regime of President Bashar Assad. But that support is crumbling. Shops selling everything from cold drinks, […]

Hamas says member killed in Damascus home

Posted: 28 Jun 2012 08:30 AM PDT
Reuters reports: Hamas said on Thursday that one of its members, Kamal Husni Ghanaja, had been killed in his home in Damascus and that it was trying to find who was behind what the Palestinian Islamist group described as a “cowardly murder”. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said in a statement that it was […]

Can the U.S. and Russia agree on how to end Syria’s war?

Posted: 28 Jun 2012 08:40 AM PDT
Tony Karon writes: Beleaguered U.N. peace envoy Kofi Annan will host an international conference to address Syria‘s rapidly escalating civil war, but the meeting in Geneva on Saturday appears to have only lukewarm backing from the U.S. — and then only after Washington put the kibosh on the attendance of Iran, whose participation had been […]

Comments (128)

Alan said:

أخرجت أمريكا و حلفائها الجني من القنينة و أوكلت اعادته اليها للسيد لافروف ! و هي على يقين ان اعادته لا يمكن ان تتم الا بتعاون الجميع ! مو شطارة ! بل انه تستر بالاستهبال

July 1st, 2012, 10:04 am


AIG said:

Prof. Landis,

You are not giving weight enough to the economic and societal consequences of a prolonged conflict. While it may take time for a leadership to emerge, that time may be very costly as the situation in Syria will deteriorate during this time. Syria will have a much bigger hole to get out of and you also risk complete breakdown Somalia style or Zimbabwe style.

I think there needs to be an urgency in getting the fighting over even at the price of letting a leadership emerge. What are the positive historical precedents that make you think a Darwinian process will be successful?

July 1st, 2012, 10:20 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Russia agreed to a neutral transitional government with full executive power, This is a message to Assad that his time is up, who among the current government people who will participate in this government? Assad will get rid of them,does this mean creating division among Assad supporters?

July 1st, 2012, 10:29 am


bronco said:

Sorry to repost it the appropriate slot.

Obviously there has been a secret agreement between the USA and Russia.
Syria does not represent an economical interest for the USA: They have enough bases in the Gulf to protect the oil.
Syria has been a nuisance for Israel. It has helped Hezbollah rearm. It has allowed Iran to sneak in close to Israel borders. It has also hosted Hamas. It had a strong army. These are the real dangers it represented.

After 18 months of fights, the economy is a shamble, Iran is squeezed economically and has other priorities, Hamas is now supported by Moslem Brotherhood Egypt who will take over championing the Palestinian cause and Syria’s army is weakened.

Therefore Syria’s regime doesn’t presents any potential danger to Israel as long as there is a centralized law and order and that an Islamist government does not emerge. The fear it that, on the long term, it may ally with other Islamist governments in the region and threatened Israel again.

It seems that the USA has therefore lost interest in Syria.
It has conceded to Russia the task of rebuilding Syria politically with the conditions that it stops helping HA, limit its relation with Iran to economical relations and does not become Islamist. Today, Syria can easily meet these conditions. Its highest priority would be to rebuild their government and their economy, a daunting task after the carnage the country has lived through. It will takes years. The USA is assured of that.

The opposition must accept that they will never get the victory they were aiming at. Simply because they have been unable to present s single front, their goals are unclear, ambiguous and perceived as dangerous for the region (and Israel) by Western powers.
The Western countries as well as the staunch supporters of the opposition ( Qatar, KSA, Turkey) have reached that pragmatic conclusion:
Syria’s government has been crippled enough not to present a danger to the region for the short and medium term. The danger now comes from the numerous opposition’s armed groups that have many conflicting agendas that could create havock in the region.
They have to be stopped. This is the task of the UN with the help of Russia to do that. Russia has “carte blanche”

The Geneva meeting showed the flip of the USA and the FOS toward a more pragmatic and reasonable approach ( some will say cynical) to the situation in Syria.

July 1st, 2012, 10:47 am


bronco said:

If the AL wants to regain its credibility with the Syrian government to lure it into a meaningful dialog, it will have to reintegrate Syria in the AL and cancel all sanctions. That would relieve (somehow) the pressures on the Syrian economy.
Without many carrots, the Syrian will not budge as on the ground, it is getting the upper hand.

Let’ see if the AL is ready to do that and when.

July 1st, 2012, 10:52 am


zoo said:

Erdogan accuses US media of lying. Familiar?

Turkish prime minister slams WSJ, claims jet reports biased


The Wall Street Journal is engaged in biased journalism and is taking sides ahead of the coming U.S. elections, the Turkish prime minister has said after the daily contradicted Ankara’s version of the events surrounding the June 22 downing of Turkish jet by Syria.

July 1st, 2012, 11:07 am


norman said:

I see no resolution as long as the West and the US keep asking the government of Syria to establish a unity government and at the same time not asking the opposition to join that government and as long as the opposition refusing to join the government Syria is going to kill or get killed, all or nothing, a government with full executive power is what i felt they are going to try, i am not sure if the loyalist to the president will allow and accept that.

July 1st, 2012, 11:08 am


Alan said:

remove the dark glasses when write to exclude Darwin roots as a horror!

July 1st, 2012, 11:10 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

It’s all about Russia (and it’s veto power at the UNSC) now.

Russia is faced with two choices. Both bad. Either dump the Assads, the same way that Amrica dumped Mubarak Ben-Ali and Salah, or continue supporting the Syrian junta. Russia is unpopular among the Arabs for many reasons (religious, cultural, historic and political). Unlike Amrica which the Arabs treat with a mixture of hate and admiration, Russia is just being hated. No admiration for Russia across Arabia.

So if Russia decides to continue supporting the Assads, it risks even bigger hate, that will become eternal. If Russia decides to dump the Assads, no one can guaranty that it will keep it’s assets in Syria, and it risks loosing it’s last Arab allay, and it’s last two square meters of influence in the ME.

I wouldn’t want to be Mr Lavrov these days.

July 1st, 2012, 11:15 am


zoo said:

Turkey is now on the defensive ( both militarily and toward the ‘biased’ media) and will not be able to host, arm and support the FSA for much longer…

Turkish F-16s scramble as Syrian helicopters approach border


Turkey scrambled F-16 warplanes as Syrian helicopters flew close to the border near the province of Hatay and Mardin yesterday.

Fighter jets were scrambled in three separate instances of alert, the Turkish General Staff announced on its website today.


July 1st, 2012, 11:15 am


irritated said:

#9 Amir in Tel Aviv

Russia is unpopular among the Arabs for many reasons (religious, cultural, historic and political)

Really? This is rapidly changing…
The opportunistic policy of the USA in the Arab world and its blind support for Israel is making the USA a much less reliable partner than Russia.
Just wait and see what will happen in Egypt.

July 1st, 2012, 11:19 am


bronco said:

7. norman

If Qatar and KSA stop funding the opposition and Turkey stops arming and hosting the FSA, the opposition will be left with no choice other than compromise.
The meeting of the 200 opposition groups in Cairo next week is just exactly that : Forcing the opposition to accept officially Annan’s plan and the dialog with the regime.

July 1st, 2012, 11:23 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Irritated #11,

“Really? This is rapidly changing…”.

Yes. This is changing. For the worse. Russia’s flags become a popular burning material in Syria, lately.

Regarding Egypt, don’t forget that Amrica pressed the SCAF to appoint Mursi. Yes, Amrica did support Arab tyrants, but it is capable of a rapid rethinking and revising it’s policies.

Also notice that the issue of Israel becomes marginal. Everybody accuses Israel with supporting the other side. While they all know they’re lying. Israel becomes a marginal issue. At last.

July 1st, 2012, 11:46 am


Alan said:

Just wait and see how they will feel there in Tel Zbib in such new environment! there in Tel Zbib when they are experiencing rapidly come here and ask as a poor rabbit Russian solidarity which defended them in World War 2 !!!

July 1st, 2012, 11:47 am


Stick to the Truth said:

“it is now “incumbent on Russia and China to show Assad the writing on the wall and help force his departure.”

Whatelse shall she say. Since she is in office we hear only empty phrases as her empty smile. Ms. Clinton is incapeble of solving internationl conflicts.
No, she is a total failure.

July 1st, 2012, 12:01 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

The prediction that KSA and Qatar stop funding the FSA is not going to happen.
the prediction that AL cancel sanction against Syria is not going to happen.
The prediction that AL readmit Syria to the AL is not going to happen.’The prediction that the Syrian opposition agree to have dialogue(dialog) with Assad is not going to happen.
The ideae that Israel peace comes from supporting Assad regime is not true.
All these predictions are delusionals, and the one who suggests them prove he does not know reality in Syria.

July 1st, 2012, 12:03 pm


Stick to the Truth said:

“6. zoo said:

Erdogan accuses US media of lying. Familiar?\”

This big Jaw has a history in lying

July 1st, 2012, 12:06 pm


Stick to the Truth said:

“If Washington learned anything from Iraq and Libya it is that decapitating an oppressive regime too soon is bad. More people get killed.”

Mr. Landis,

what an excuse for shiftlessness and failure.

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. Benjamin Franklin

July 1st, 2012, 12:20 pm


Alan said:

لقد نصح الأمريكان الاسرائيليين بالتعاون مع الروس في الملف النووي الايراني ! و الاسرائيليون يدركون جيدا أهمية العلاقة مع روسيا فهي ضامنة الاستقرار شرق المتوسط ! و عليه كانت زيارة بوتين اطلع فيها على معلومات اسرائيل الاستخبارية و قلقها تجاه ايران ! الأرنب سيبقى أرنبا و ليتكلم بقدر حجمه !

July 1st, 2012, 12:30 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Russians never liked Jews, and the Jews always suffered from the Russian treatment. This goes back to the times of the Czars (Putin included). “Pogrom” is a word in the Russian language.

The red army and Russia did not care for the Jews when they fought the Nazis in WW2. In fact, Stalin signed the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression treaty, which facilitated the Nazi aggression, and encouraged the Nazi beast to begin WW2.

Russians (in general) are among the worst of Jews haters.

July 1st, 2012, 12:56 pm



It is not so much that the Syrians need to develop leadership for post-Assad Syria as it is the need for them to realize that they are facing a job that no one but them (Syrians) can fulfill. This means that they should stop looking for solutions from so-called UNSC and specifically refrain from seeking resolutions under a Chapter 7. There is no escape from launching a total war of liberation of Syria to free it from the claws of the cancerous regime which they (Syrians) allowed to get entrenched by their callousness over half a century. The question should be what took them so long? And why there are still silent Syrians who either willingly or unwillingly watch their brothers getting slaughtered by the criminal thugs ruling over them?
If you look back to the spring of 2011, you will remember it was none but Mrs. Clinton who gave Mr. Assad the rescue ropes by calling him a reformer knowing full well he is far from being as such. Once and again it was Mrs. Clinton, and not Mr. Lavrov or the Chinese, who came to the rescue of this criminal regime by making pronouncements that are only designed to grant it additional time while its hands were soaking in blood for the naked eye to see. It was she who stood on more than one occasion against arming the Free Syrian army and other militias when they were only asking for what is their rightful demand of weapons to defend themselves and their families against murderous mobs unleashed by the murderous regime.
There is no escape but for the Syrians to wage a total war of liberation and cleanse their country of this cancer. They can only rely on themselves and the generous help of their brothers in the Gulf (KSA, Qatar and others) who were the only ones in addition to Turkey to provide them with much needed material support in times of need. The Syrians must make it clear that they have no more regards or concerns for UNSC meetings or its Chapter 7 prerogatives since neither had any real concerns for the Syrian people and as such will not abide by any decisions emanating from such body.
Russia and Iran will go to the dumps when Syria is finally cleansed of this abomination of a regime. But there will be no thanks for the US, who not only stood by while the Syrians were being slaughtered, but also helped prolong the agony and bloodshed by its irresponsible Madame Secretary of State.
Many thanks and appreciation however will be due to true brothers and friends in KSA, Qatar and Turkey, for a friend in need is a friend indeed.

July 1st, 2012, 12:58 pm


Halabi said:

Beirut’s Dahiyeh: The Rise of the Outlaws

If Hezbollah needs some help with their gang problem, they should ask Bashar for advice on how to cleanse cities. I’m sure Nasrallah wouldn’t mind applying the same tactics Assad’s army uses in Homs which he approves of…

July 1st, 2012, 1:03 pm


jna said:

Russia must threaten Assad with withholding all support if he does not in good faith negotiate, directly or indirectly, a transition and ceasefire with the opposition.

US, Europe, Turkey, and GCC must threaten the opposition with withholding all support if they do not in good faith negotiate, directly or indirectly, a transition and ceasefire with the regime.

Barring this, the viscious civil war will continue with Assad being eventually driven from power, one way or the other, but with the expense of tens of thousands more Syrian lives, devastation of the Syrian infrastructure, and long lasting divisions and hatreds splintering the Syrian public.

July 1st, 2012, 1:17 pm


ann said:

Saudis, Syria advance to finals of AFC U-22 Championship – July 1, 2012


Riyadh: Saudi Arabia and Syria punched their ticket to the finals by downing Sri Lanka 7-0 and Pakistan 4-0 respectively in their AFC U-22 Championship 2013 qualifying matches in Riyadh on Saturday.

Both the Saudis and Syria have gained perfect 12 points apiece from four matches but a three-goal difference places the former team as the group leaders.


July 1st, 2012, 1:40 pm


ann said:

Geneva statement imposes nothing on Syria: Lavrov – 02 July 2012


GENEVA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that the statement issued after the Geneva meeting imposes nothing on the Syrian people, places no preconditions on the political process or national dialogue, and does not exclude any group.

In a press conference after the first session of the international working group meeting in Geneva on Saturday, Lavrov said that Russia rejected the calls for preconditions and reached a consensus with its partners to pressure all sides and to refrain from taking unilateral measures, SANA reported.

Russia also worked constructively to squelch the efforts to impose ultimatums and made amendments to the draft statement which resulted in the final version, he added.

He said that the statement issued after the meeting sends a clear message to the Syrian government and the armed groups that they must work together to implement the plan of UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, cease all armed activities, and support the UN mission.

He pointed out that the transitional political process will be led by the Syrian people and the statement affirms the basic principles of democratic countries, including respect for human rights and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and stresses the need for free and democratic elections.

Lavrov noted that the partners in the working group wanted to issue a new Security Council resolution, but Russia rejected the move.

He said that before discussing Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, the utmost efforts must be made to implement Annan’s plan but noted that the armed groups are reneging on their commitments and acting in a provocative way.

“Some armed groups and the sides sponsoring them are using provocation to spread violence, and there are many facts in this regard that can be seen in Western and U.S. media sources… This is happening in several towns and villages where there are attacks on administrative establishments, government and private properties, the army forces, and the police… There are more facts that turn up successively, showing the presence of sectarian instigation,” Lavrov said.


July 1st, 2012, 1:45 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

The opposition should agree to join neutral transional government with full executive power,once Assad withdraw his military and end violence

July 1st, 2012, 1:46 pm


Alan said:

I think that many Russian Jews proud of there Russian membership ! We live here with them and do not see that they have no sense of inferiority! even in the turnover of their desire to be observed fast growth!

July 1st, 2012, 1:58 pm


Osama said:

with all due respect to Prof Landis and the opposition – you are all desperate to spin this as anything but a US policy failure…and your own willful ignorance of the geopolitical factors in play. (very simply, Tunis and Libya had no weight and Egypt as well as the previous two were well within the sphere of influence of the US, when it comes to Syrian and Iran, the Russians (without minimizing China) are clearly trying to send a strong message to the West – we’re back. The Chinese are also wary of American moves in the Pacific and are equally keen to send a clear message to the US – WE ARE NOW IN A MULTIPOLAR WORLD!

Not that any of that would have had much effect of Mrs. Clinton…

However, It should be clear that the US and its Nato allies have shifted gears with Morsi’s victory in Egypt and what we’re seeing today is a culmination of US Western stepping away from the edge of the abyss they were driving the region into.

The US and its allies originally were intending to deal a blow to Iran and Hezbollah, but installing a regime in Syria which would/could be easily manipulated by its new benefactors (lets face it, Syrian is a poor country and it would be easy to push it into a debt trap a la Egypt).

I think Mr. Lavrov simply pointed out to Mrs. Clinton the landscape that would be left behind – MB in Syria, MB in Egypt, MB in Gaza, MB in Libya, MB in Tunis and Islamists forming the back-bone of the primary opposition in much of what remains (Morocco, Jordan and Algeria) – not that any of that would be a bad thing, but not exactly a recipe for standard “divide and conquer” policy as practiced by the US in the past 50 years. The West are of course committed rhetorically to Syria, but not much more at this point.

This “compromise” on a “neutral” transitional body is perfect fit for Russia successfully tripping up the Syrian opposition – true to form they have already rejected the whole idea and are desperate to put any sort of spin on things which can give them hope to continue down this road.

I am sorry to say that your comments in this post are just as wrong all your past predictions, kudos for consistency – I think maybe your too close to this issue and can’t take a objective view of events.

I won’t be so bold as to make a prediction – but indications and prognosis point to President Assad running in the 2014 elections… maybe we should revisit the Nicaragua model again.

July 1st, 2012, 2:10 pm


Osama said:

I think MAJEDKHALDOUN has seen the light – too bad that so many had to die first for him to come to the conclusion that dialogue was the only way out.

Maybe it will also dawn upon Tara, SL, SH and the rest of the “Death to Bashar” squad….

Come on guys, I am sure in your heart of hearts you knew the West was going to sell you out if they weren’t prepared to give something valuable to the Russians…

July 1st, 2012, 2:16 pm


irritated said:

#11 Amir

Russia’s flags become a popular burning material in Syria, lately.

You mean in Edlib, Syria? And the Israeli flag everywhere else.

July 1st, 2012, 2:19 pm


irritated said:


Many thanks and appreciation however will be due to true brothers and friends in KSA, Qatar and Turkey, for a friend in need is a friend indeed.

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

July 1st, 2012, 2:22 pm


irritated said:


The opposition should agree to join neutral transional government with full executive power,once Assad withdraw his military and end violence

Have you lost hopes about the “angels” FSA. Your heroes will not even be part of the transitional government…
and the president of the republic will still be Bashar Al Assad. How can you bear that?

July 1st, 2012, 2:28 pm


irritated said:

#22 Halabi

Great, Syria is now a reference on how to clean cities from terrorists.
Maybe the CIA should ask them for advices too for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

July 1st, 2012, 2:33 pm



# 31,

Reading through your endless monotonous comments, your response is not worthy of a response.

July 1st, 2012, 2:37 pm


zoo said:

FSA destroys military air base in Aleppo?
By Paula Astatih

Whilst the regime’s military operations yesterday focused on Aleppo, Rif Dimashq, Hama and Daraa, activists spoke of the Free Syrian Army’s [FSA] success in destroying a military air base in Aleppo Governorate on Saturday morning. Dissident elements undertook the mission in rural Aleppo, targeting a military air base used by the regime’s forces to bombard rural areas and villages. Activists from the region said that smoke and flames could be seen rising from the military headquarters.

July 1st, 2012, 2:45 pm


irritated said:


Thanks, if a response from you would be as boring and biased as your first post, I am relieved.

July 1st, 2012, 2:47 pm


Observer said:

So the analysis is that the Geneva conference was an attempt to manage a soft landing for Syria where the regime structure stays and the opposition join in running the country.

Once again there is one single element that no one is talking about and that has proven itself to be absolutely determined to get its freedom. The vast majority of the Syrian people.

This post by JL is actually taken directly from the speeches and books of Fredo when he admitted that Syria is “not a democracy” that we have a “unique” make up and structure and that we” know best how to solve” our problems.

The degree of organisation and replacement of the current regime with local committees makes it plainly and amply clear that the people are capable of organizing the society.

The regime structure is falling apart by the day. Even the security house of cards is no longer functional and is no longer under the command of Fredo.

60% of the country has fallen in the hands of the FSA.

Now for a few responses

Zoo tells us that Turkey is on the defensive because it scrambled its air force. Where does this logic come from. They were willing to shoot down Syrian helicopters if they approached further. Did you see Syrian air force scrambling in return?

Osama tells us that Fredo will run for President in 2014. Pray tell us in what kind of elections? Elections in which his family votes and his thugs vote and his pliant officials vote or in a free and fair elections?

Wake up and smell the roses of germ total resistance.

July 1st, 2012, 4:41 pm


Alan said:

Does Israel really fear Jihad terrorism from a post-Assad Syria?
Army officials are not ruling [sic] a situation whereby (((terrorists))) will take advantage of the chaos that may follow a regime change in Damascus to seize control of the border region

revolutionaries! Do the conclusions ! your next round will be with your ally partners!

July 1st, 2012, 4:58 pm


jna said:

Radwan Ziadeh, a Washington-based senior member of the main opposition group known as the Syrian National Council, said the meeting was “irrelevant” repeated calls for international intervention in Syria outside the framework of the U.N. Security Council, where Russia and China have sparred with Western powers over Syria.

Omar Idlibi, spokesman for the opposition’s Local Coordination Committees, said the Geneva communiqué stood no chance of being accepted by most of the rebel groups fighting the regime inside Syria because of the absence of any reference to Mr. Assad relinquishing power or punishing anyone in the regime for crimes committed so far.

Mr. Idlibi, who spoke from the Turkish border city of Antakya, said he just spent two months inside Syria and that rebels were in control of large sections of central and northern Syria and had no incentive to compromise with the regime and were determined to fight until the end.

“We have burned the ships,” he said.


July 1st, 2012, 5:01 pm


Osama said:


As I said in my post, i will not make predictions, so I can’t answer your question on what “type” of elections will take place…

After Geneva, the Russians seem very happy, now maybe that’s because they came away from it without there being a failure to agree on something or maybe they are happy because they believe they have something real…

You may want to reconsider your position at some point in the next couple of months… in regards to the dialogue I mean…

something to ponder:


Seems that something was agreed at St. Petersburg – although it may not be related to Syria, the timing is suspicious.

In the coming few days and weeks we can expect to see clearer indications – look to Turkey (the FSA is done if they start to turn off the taps). Forget about Jordan, they have already made their intentions clear and Lebanon is not a good options as the Saudi’s are more worried about losing Lebanon than they are about gaining Syria (a bird in the hand…. so to speak).

July 1st, 2012, 5:02 pm


Tara said:

Hillary admits it may not work.. Why did she bother? 

Clinton: World may not succeed in Syria
updated 4:43 PM EDT, Sun July 1, 2012

Geneva, Switzerland (CNN) — There is no guarantee that a sweeping new international agreement on Syria will succeed in ending the conflict there, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conceded, as opposition activists said the number of dead had skyrocketed in recent months.
“There is no guarantee that we are going to be successful. I just hate to say that,” Clinton told CNN.
But she expressed optimism that a new agreement hammered out Saturday would help ease President Bashar al-Assad out of power.

“The new agreement provides vague language which is open to interpretation,” the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said in a statement Sunday. “This provides yet another opportunity for the regime’s thugs to play their favorite game in utilizing time in order to stop the popular Syrian Revolution…

Both sides have to agree on the membership of the interim body, and Clinton said there was “no way anyone in the opposition would ever consent to Assad or his inside regime cronies with blood on their hands being on any transitional governing body.”
“Assad will not be part of it,” she said in an interview late Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland, after the deal was hammered out.

Clinton said the Russians, who have long been al-Assad’s most steadfast supporters, had finally decided to back a transition away from his rule.
“They have committed to trying,” she said. “But they also admitted that they may or may not have enough leverage to convince not just one man, but a family and a regime that their time is over.”


July 1st, 2012, 5:20 pm


omen said:

war planes now being used.

itv news video report.

July 1st, 2012, 6:23 pm


omen said:

from an old post wise one resuscitated for some reason:

re denial of armenian genocide

Using the same absolutist tone, Mr. Erdogan also previously defended the Sudanese president al-Bashir (whose arrest warrant is ordered by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges) and denied the genocide in Darfur claiming that it is not possible for Muslims to commit genocide.

July 1st, 2012, 6:36 pm


sf94123 said:

Reading between the lines:

– Syrians will form a transitional government and genuine opposition groups will join
– Oppositions outside Syria are not pragmatic and ambiguous at best and will continue to make noise. They have fallen out of favor and soon they will be forgotten
– KSA , Qatar, and Turkey will stop funding and arms transfer to SFA and other militants
– Turkey will monitor its border with Syria and will stop the flow of weapons and militants
– Border camp in Turkey will be a transitional point. Some of SFA/ militants will be permitted to live in Turkey, EU, and the US. The remaining will be deported back to their countries such as Libya, SA and etc.
– Constitution will be amended and election will be held at an agreeable date
– Election will be monitored by international observers and result will be certified accordingly
– Everyone is allowed to run for president. Candidates are required to meet the Constitution requirement

July 1st, 2012, 6:47 pm


SC Moderation Team said:

Dear Commentators,

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I will try to approve each comment as they post, but I ask for you to please be patient if there is a delay.

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July 1st, 2012, 6:50 pm


alakid said:

Turkish-Syrian Relations
I have found an interesting article about the Turkish-Syrian Relations.
There are parallels with the actual events.
In 1957 there was a so called “syrian-turkish” crises,
“When Turkish forces were mobilized on the Syrian frontier in 1957,Moscow came to Damascus’s support. Ankara was reacting to a series of what it took to be threats. First, it worried about a communist takeover in Syria, which may have been an exaggerated fear but by no means an empty one. It also feared that the Soviets would build up the Syrian military. ”

Here is the full article

July 1st, 2012, 7:36 pm


Tara said:

A new different perception of Syrian Islamists.  We need to mark the world familiar with this argument so the western powers are not afraid to provide weapons to the rebels.      

“Syrian Islamists are not militants or jihadist in the Afghan sense and should be armed.  They are the most effective fighters in Syria.”

U.S. must arm Syria rebels despite Islamists: opposition
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis | Reuters – 10 hrs ago

ANTAKYA, Turkey (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition says the United States must overcome its fear of Islamists among the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, and start arming the resistance movement to show it wants the entire ruling elite removed.
“The U.S. has intelligence on the ground and by clever management it can channel weapons to the right people. First it has to give a clear signal that it really wants an end of the Alawite-dominated police state in Syria and not just the sidelining of Bashar,” said Tello, speaking from Istanbul.
Mohaimen al-Rumaid, a member of the Syrian Rebel Front, said Washington was failing to recognize that the country’s Islamist rebels were different from the Taliban fighting NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, and that they were not anti-American.
“The Americans have not come to terms with the fact that Islamist elements are among the most effective fighters in Syria and that they are not militant or jihadist in the Afghan sense. Syrians have always been conservative Muslims, but not militant,” he said.

Sameh al-Hamwi, a prominent activist based on Syria’s border with Turkey, said some rebel groups were adopting Islamist slogans and making jihadist-style videos. However, these were to please their financiers in the Gulf and he denied that political Islam was deeply rooted in the resistance.

Hamwi said U.S. officials appeared to be collecting intelligence on the rebels without helping them.


July 1st, 2012, 8:07 pm


Tara said:

One document, two different interpretations.  The American, British, and the the French insisting the game is up and Bashar is finished after Geneva conference.  Did Russia secretly agree to it but not admitting it to save face or is it the opposite?

Syria crisis: Geneva talks on Syria sound death knell for Assad regime
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 1 July 2012 09.54 EDT


The UK and French foreign ministers have said a UN communique drawn up in Geneva on Saturday night to address the escalating conflict in Syria will mean President Bashar al-Assad is “finished” and will have to step down.

…speaking on Sunday morning, the foreign secretary, William Hague, said Assad would be excluded from any unity government under the terms of the agreement.
“We made one step forward that’s worth having, which is that we agreed with Russia and China what a transitional government should look like. And that there should be a transitional unity government in Syria, and that should be made up of people from the present government and opposition groups on the basis of mutual consent, which would of course exclude President Assad from that.”

The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, speaking on Sunday backed Hague’s approach. “Even if they say the opposite, the fact that the text says specifically that there will be a transitional government with all powers means it won’t be Bashar al-Assad … because it will be people that are agreed to by mutual consent. The opposition will never agree to him, so it signals implicitly that Assad must go and that he is finished,” he told TF1 TV station.
The agreement has met with negative reaction from opposition groups fighting the Assad regime, who described it as ambiguous and a waste of time.

“Every day I ask myself, do they not see how the Syrian people are being slaughtered?” a veteran Syrian opposition figure, Haitham Maleh, asked. “It is a catastrophe, the country has been destroyed, and they want us then to sit with the killer?”


July 1st, 2012, 8:44 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

The YouTube videos from Syria of the last few days are so horrible gruesome bloody and brutal, that it is too painful to watch or to post here.
The level of carnage is reaching new heights each passing day. Sad.

July 1st, 2012, 9:56 pm


zoo said:

Turkey’s foreign policy with Syria is a failure. Turkey is defending itself from the WSJ of lies. It is defending itself when Lavrov directly accused Turkey of cheating on their agreement to Annan’s. At every fly that gets close to Hatay, Turkey gets fidgety and send their war planes.

Turkey as a ‘smart power’?

Nuray Mert

Under these circumstances, Turkey seems to be going nowhere other than sinking deeper into a more crisis-like situation with Syria. I hope those who do not see an armed conflict as a probability are right, but I am afraid that a new scenario similar to the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s may occur between Turkey and Syria. I know that governmental circles will hate the comparison, but it is better to take possibilities into consideration rather than denounce them.

The recent Syrian crises have more regional and international dimensions than domestic ones. However, it seems that the Western-dominated international community on one hand, and the Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah on the other, is reluctant to interfere directly. It may be in the interest of all parties to confine the crises to a narrower framework like a Turkey-Syria conflict. At the end of the day, only Turkey has engaged itself so directly in the Syrian affair.

Excuse me, but one can hardly call a country “smart” for pushing itself into such a position.

July 1st, 2012, 10:43 pm


zoo said:

Furious BBC censures Lavrov’s attacks

BBC interrupts Lavrov’s speech by weather forecast

The British state-run broadcaster BBC interrupts Russian FM’s speech on Western media’s biased news coverage of Syria.
Mon Jul 2, 2012 2:13AM GMT


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s criticisms about the Western media’s news coverage of the situation in Syria, led the British state-run broadcaster BBC to interrupt his speech by a weather forecast item.

Lavrov’s press conference at the Geneva meeting on Saturday June 30 provided another chance for the BBC to show its bias against the Syrian government.

Different Arabic and Western news channels were deployed in order to give the minute coverage of the meeting’s news and sidelines, but after UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UK Foreign Minister William Hague when it was the turn of the Russian Foreign Minister to speak, the channels cut their live broadcast and showed other programs instead.

The reason of such an action by the news networks was that Lavrov attacked some Western media for being biased against the Syrian government, saying, “Some TV channels [such as] Euronews, CNN and BBC when they show phone pictures they say that we can confirm the identity of these pictures.”

The strong criticism was enough for the channels to interrupt Lavrov’s speech, with the BBC, which claims to provide transparent and accurate information, showing a weather forecast item.

July 1st, 2012, 10:47 pm


omen said:

the eye doctor’s war on doctors:

Syria has been, and may well still be, the country with the highest number of scientists, engineers, and health professionals detained for political reasons.

He said it was too dangerous for doctors to intervene: “If any doctor even looked disturbed he would be sent immediately to the military detention centre in Damascus. There are many military doctors imprisoned there now.”

July 1st, 2012, 10:57 pm


irritated said:

How long will Morsi be able to stay in power?

Egypt’s new president faces burden of expectation
By Yasmine Saleh and Tom Pfeiffer | Reuters – 10 hrs ago

CAIRO (Reuters) – If Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Mursi, needs any reminder of the weight of expectations bearing down as he begins work, he can glance from a window of the presidential palace.

July 1st, 2012, 11:23 pm


omen said:

47. TARA (8:07 pm) Hamwi said U.S. officials appeared to be collecting intelligence on the rebels without helping them.

worrying. the u.s. has a long history of betraying the masses in favor of a genocidal despot. why? because it served corporate interests to do so.

Opposition figures, who have met U.S. diplomats to discuss supplies, said Washington was looking at ways of providing Internet and mobile phone access from neighboring countries. This would allow the rebels to bypass Syrian networks which are under government surveillance with Russian help, resulting in the arrest and torture of thousands of activists.

after how many months of bloodshed and deaths, washington is only now looking at solutions? how many months have we heard vague promises of “help”? have the rebels even gotten the sat phones they were promised? why are the offers of help washington floats only of the minimalist type of effort? another sign of indifference, as the other article points out, even syrian refugees in jordan are not being helped. this, despite american presence there.

going over earlier arguments in favor of a no fly zone, this is what real help looks like :

“I called General McPeak to get his take on a no-fly zone…

I can’t imagine an easier military problem,” he said. “If we can’t impose a no-fly zone over a not even third-rate military power like Libya, then we ought to take a hell of a lot of our military budget and spend it on something usable.”

He continued: “Just flying a few jets across the top of the friendlies would probably be enough to ground the Libyan Air Force, which is the objective.”

General McPeak added that there would be no need to maintain 24/7 coverage over Libya. As long as the Libyan Air Force knew that there was some risk of interception, its pilots would be much less motivated to drop bombs and more inclined to defect.

“If we can’t do this, what can we do?” he asked, adding: “I think it would have a real impact. It might change their calculation of who might come out on top. Just the mere announcement of this might have an impact.”

Along with a no-fly zone, another important step would be to use American military aircraft to jam Libyan state television and radio propaganda and Libyan military communications. General McPeak said such jamming would be “dead easy.”

July 2nd, 2012, 12:24 am


ann said:

NATO Proxies On War Footing on Eve of Syrian ‘Peace Summit’ – 2 July 2012



Ankara’s military mobilization along its 800km land border with Syria came within hours of the declaration by Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slating Syria as “a hostile state”.


Meanwhile, on the same day that Turkey is militarizing along its border with Syria, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah makes an unprecedented announcement putting his armed forces on high alert “due to the tense situation in the Middle East”. Using vague and contrived language, the Saudi ruler warned against “foreign or terrorist attacks” to justify the mobilization of the kingdom’s armed forces.


there is an ineluctable logic towards all-out war. Ever since the armed insurrection by foreign mercenaries was instigated in Syria’s southern town of Deraa in mid-March 2011, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have played key roles in fomenting the covert campaign of aggression to overthrow the Assad government – a campaign that is authored by leading NATO members, the US, Britain and France. The division of labour is such that Turkey has supplied land bases to organize the mercenaries from Libya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq; while Saudi Arabia provides the money – up to $100 million – to buy weapons and pay wages for the soldiers of fortune; and ultimately it is Washington, London and Paris that are calling the tactical shots in the NATO war plan on Syria.


Which makes the Geneva “crisis conference” this weekend appear all the more ludicrous. In attendance are the US, Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Arab monarchical states of Kuwait and Qatar. All are professing to support a peaceful solution in Syria even though all the above are funnelling weapons, logistics and personnel to wage a brutal, terrorist assault on that country – an assault that has now led to the precipice of all-out regional war.

Also attending the UN conference are secretary general Ban Ki-moon and the UN/Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan. The UN and the Arab League and these two figureheads in particular have shown themselves to be willing dupes to NATO’s war of aggression on Syria, and beyond, by indulging in the charade that the Western powers are “supporting peace” instead of denouncing them as “supporting war”. Significantly, the UN and Annan have not invited Iran to attend the conference as a result of US pressure. How provocative is that? Iran clearly has vital interests at stake given its proximity and geopolitical threats from the encroaching war on its Syrian ally.

The other ghost missing from the feast in Geneva this weekend is Saudi Arabia. The omission of Saudi Arabia should not be seen as some kind of consolation to Syrian and Iranian sensibilities, but rather as a way of shielding the House of Saud from embarrassment. Considering the incendiary role of Saudi Arabia in Syria, and possibly the region’s conflagration, the Saudi rulers should be summoned to a top seat at the “peace summit” – to face the most withering questions about their warmongering, criminal interference in a neighbouring state.


July 2nd, 2012, 2:04 am


Mina said:

It’s time to start believing in God’s miracles… Good luck, fellow!

… Egypt’s trade deficit soared to LE21.3 billion ($3.5 billion) in March, 95.3 per cent higher than the same month the year before, the state statistics agency said on Sunday. …

July 2nd, 2012, 2:53 am


Juergen said:

Story of a relative to Ghadadffi who is treated in Munich

he missile hit the car from Afaf al-Gaddafi, 38, one day last August. The Libyerin tried to reach an airport with her ​​family in order to protect the civil war to flee their home country. Rebels attacked the vehicle of Afaf, a distant relative of the former Libyan ruler. They assumed Muammar al-Gaddafi and his allies in the car.


July 2nd, 2012, 4:43 am


Adam said:

“The chances will be much improved if Western powers, Turkey and Saudi Arabia agree on a common leadership. The beauty contest that is now going on among the Syrian opposition forces is natural and healthy. A brutal Darwinian battle is now being waged in Syria not only between the regime and the Free Syrian Army, but also between the multitude of militias that make up the FSA.”

I defintely respect Dr. Landis’s opinion, more than almost anyone else on the subject of Syria, but I’m greatly confused by this statement. How can a process be “Darwinian”, “natural” and “healthy” if it is dependent on outside forces agreeing on the result? Sounds more like intelligent (or not-so-intelligent) design to me.

July 2nd, 2012, 4:43 am


Antoine said:

21. VISITOR said :

“There is no escape from launching a total war of liberation of Syria to free it from the claws of the cancerous regime which they (Syrians) allowed to get entrenched by their callousness over half a century.
The question should be what took them so long?

And why there are still silent Syrians who either willingly or unwillingly watch their brothers getting slaughtered by the criminal thugs ruling over them?”

Mainly because of peculiar social and economic situations. As long as the regime was willing and able to fulfulll its “social contract” with the people, the people were willing to put up with a Shabbiha State.

As for your second question, I think it would be as much relevant as to why there are still silent Arabs – in Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Kuwait, Morocco – who are still not pressuring their Governments to take a more tough stance towards Syria.

July 2nd, 2012, 6:27 am


Osama said:

42. OMEN said:

Please notice that the ITV “correspondent” does not say he saw a war plane – he says he “heard” what sounds to him like a plane – and he them assumes an explosion that happened is somehow tied to that plane noise – not exactly the same thing…

He had a camera! he should have been able to film something flying in or flying out – it is a clear day and he had an excellent vantage point!!!!

I love the way this “journalist” spins the fighting in Douma – the terrorists attack Douma and suddenly the government is responsible – how does that work?

here is some instructive reading on how “International Law” is applied depending on who is doing the shooting – there is no double standard – there is one standard:

if you are with the West you are free to do what you like and if you are not with the West you will be hanged from the nearest tree:


July 2nd, 2012, 7:40 am


Antoine said:

Please see comment 45.

SC Moderator

Dear SC Moderator,

Would like to know why my comments are automatically going into Moderation.

Have I broken any rules ?

July 2nd, 2012, 8:08 am


Antoine said:

Aldendeshe, I posted this comment for you in the earlier Post by Landis but since you didn’t reply I’m posting it here :



I believe ( from reliable sources ) that most of the 50,000 Christians who fled Homs did so for the same reason that 500,000 Sunnis fled from Khaldiye, Jouret al Shyah, Qousour, Bayada.

I don’t think Farouq Brigade purposefully expelled the Christians. Rather Farouq Brigade wanted Christians to stay in Homs because then Assad would have to be a bit careful in indiscriminate shelling of opposition-held Christian areas ( remember East Beirut – 1978 and 1990 and Zahle-Bekaa in 1984 ) .

Bustan al Deewan was in Opposition control since November and some of the earlies defections occurred there. Hamidiye was captured by FSA in February and as you know Baath Party City HQ was in Hamidiye, so you can figure out for yourself.

In fact reliable sources indicate Regime actively encouraged Christians to leave Homs and also al-Qusayr (where Christians are 25 percent of the population) through a variety of old Israeli 1948 Nakba-style propaganda, manipulation through rumor-mongering, as well as false flag actions.

Even as late as April, most Christians were living in Qusayr.

They had to release all the deranged Al Qaeda types from Lebanese prisons and send them to Qusayr, no ? For the same “dialectical plot” SNP talking about ?

How come there have been no sectarian incidents in the Zabadani-Madaya-Bloudan belt, or in Qalamoun mountains , where Sunnis and Christians live side-by-side and have strong FSA presence and clashes with the Army ?

Why there haven’t been sectarian incidents between Daraa and Sweida, or beteen Arabs and Kurds in Aleppo, despite heavy FSA presence in those regions ?

So who is implementing the dialectical plot eh ?

Again, if SNP has better information, please inform me.

July 2nd, 2012, 8:14 am


Tara said:

Syria rebels to boycott Cairo opposition talks
AFP – 1 hr 12 mins ago

Syria-based rebel fighters and activists said they would boycott an opposition meeting in Cairo on Monday, denouncing it as a “conspiracy” that served the policy goals of Damascus allies Moscow and Tehran.
The two-day meeting, to be attended by the main exiled opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, and other smaller groups, is intended forge a common vision for a political transition in Syria after 16 months of bloodshed.

“We refuse all kinds of dialogue and negotiation with the killer gangs…and we will not allow anyone to impose on Syria and its people the Russian and Iranian agendas,” said a statement signed by the rebel Free Syrian Army and “independent” activists.

The boycotters said the talks follow the “dangerous decisions of the Geneva conference, which aim to safeguard the regime, to create a dialogue with it and to form a unity government with the assassins of our children.”
“The Cairo conference aims to give a new chance to (UN-Arab League) envoy Kofi Annan to try again to convince Assad to implement his six-point plan… while forgetting that thousands have been martyred since the plan came into force,” they said.


July 2nd, 2012, 8:15 am


Antoine said:

The World will regret later for having failed to stand up to Assad and his protectors…..the way Hillary is dealing with Assad-Putin reminds me of how Britain and France used to deal with Hitler-Mussolini in the 1930s, basically making every effort not to confront them and agreeing to all their outrageous actions – including annexation of Czecholsovakia.

In fact USA-UK-France was appeasing Hitler just fpr the fear of Communism, in the same way as USA-UK-AL is appeasing Assad just for fear of Islamism and World War 3.

This disastrous policy culminated in the Munich Conference of 1938 which virtually signed off Czechoslovakia to Hitler.

It is my opinion that this Geneva Conference is the Munich Conference of the 21st century. The West will eventaully have to confront Assad and draw the line. These fools don;t seem to get it, its better to do so early and save thousands of lives and later and fight a World War. If they had finished off Hitler in 1936-37 the history would have been different.

And to be honest at this monent Assad is at his weakest point. His support in Syria is at its lowest ebb since 1963. His forces are pinned down and losing ground every day in Idleb, Reef Halab, and Deirezzor. Assad Army has fired more shells and mortars in the lsst 6 months than it did in 1973. The FSA is in control of scores of tanks, BMPs and anti-aircraft guns mounted on pick-ups. It is counting every day. The FSA has the upper hand, the onus is on the Int’l community to finish off Assad.

July 2nd, 2012, 8:24 am


majedkhaldoun said:

My support for FSA is absolute, 100%,and I believe FSA will decide the fate of Syria, and will be victorious.Everyone who I talked to assure me that week after week,FSA is getting stronger and the regime is getting weaker, I was told that weapons are promised to the FSA.
Turkey may spark the fire and force the regime to send its tanks and planes and the army troops to the Syrian Turkish fronts, this will force the regime to pull its tanks away from fighting the Syrian rebels,the army is tired,exhausted, and running out of logistic and financial ability to fight for a while.in addition that the army is morally unable to fight a war.

I never said to have dialogue with Assad and his regime, Assad must go,Geneva plan say that the future transitional government has to be formed by MUTUAL AGREEMENT, this assure that Assad will not be there,but at the same time assure us that Assad will not accept such government,however to accept Geneva agreement will embarasse Russia.
Michael Kilo on july 10,on his visit to Moscow will tell Lavrov,Assad must go, The current opposition,meeting in Cairo will say Assad must go, President of Egypt sent a message that he and his government support removing Assad and support the Syrians callling for freedom and dignity,Russia arrogance will backfire on Russia.
I don’t believe the end of this crisis has to wait till the american election ends.

July 2nd, 2012, 8:39 am


omen said:

If Washington learned anything from Iraq and Libya it is that decapitating an oppressive regime too soon is bad. More people get killed. The death rate goes up and not down.

is it fair to lump iraq with libya and conflate the two? they are hardly comparable. one was a wholesale occupation, the other was limited air strikes. iraq was indiscriminate firebombing. libya was tightly restricted to military targets. american run iraq was a complete disaster. european run libya mission succeeded what it set out to do.

how many people did bush kill in iraq versus how many people did nato kill in libya? i have a rough idea but the professor chose not to give the hard numbers.

More people get killed. The death rate goes up and not down.

the cost of inaction:

bill neely: June deadliest month yet. Syria dead now 5,000+ since April “ceasefire”

July 2nd, 2012, 9:04 am


irritated said:


Now Turkey’s task is to protect the FSA camps…
They will probably lock the FSA fighters in the camps for fear of provocation on the borders. Turkey is paying the price of its arrogance and foolish policy with Syria.

Not a single prayer for the dead pilots. Are they really dead?

July 2nd, 2012, 9:23 am


zoo said:

Does Abdul Baset Sieda hold the key to the locked SNC?

Russia to hold talks with Syrian opposition, Annan
Associated Press – 2 hrs 55 mins ago


MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will hold talks with two Syrian opposition groups and with U.N. envoy Kofi Annan later this month, a Russian news agency reported after a weekend of stalled efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by the RIA Novosti agency as saying Syrian opposition leader Michel Kilo will arrive later this week, while Abdulbaset Sieda, the new head of the Syrian National Council, another opposition group, will visit Moscow after July 10.

An unnamed Russian diplomat also told RIA that Annan is expected in Moscow by mid-July.

July 2nd, 2012, 9:26 am


zoo said:

Now that the FSA and armed gangs made another tactical retreat from Douma, the Red Cross is able to help the ‘abandoned families’

Red Cross evacuates civilians from Damascus suburb
Associated Press – 4 hrs ago

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross says the agency has evacuated 26 Syrian civilians from the besieged Damascus suburb of Douma.

Syrian troops flushed out rebels from the suburb on Saturday after a 10-day assault that left dozens dead, hundreds wounded and caused a major humanitarian crisis.

Rabab Rifai said on Monday that a team from the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent entered Douma Sunday to assess humanitarian conditions and evacuated the 26, mostly children and elderly people. She said a team will go in again soon.

The state-run news agency SANA said maintenance workers have started to repair damaged electricity networks and other infrastructure destroyed by “terrorists” in Douma.

Syrian authorities refer to rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s regime as terrorists.

July 2nd, 2012, 9:31 am


zoo said:

WSJ rebuffs to furious Erdogan

“To those asking if WSJ reporters will make statements about PM Erdoğan’s remarks, the answer is no,” Parkinson tweeted. “We don’t make statements, we report the news.”


July 2nd, 2012, 9:34 am


ales said:

Wall Street Journal features dr. Radwan Ziadeh opinion…Still wondering how can a doctor and member of SNC deliver a speech od such poor quality as this:

July 2nd, 2012, 9:41 am


zoo said:

Arab League rejects UN plan agreed in Geneva by the big powers. Is is just a tactic to regain the trust of the opposition?

Arab League says Syrian opposition must unite
By AYA BATRAWY, Associated Press – 2 hours ago

CAIRO (AP) — The head of the Arab League called Monday for the fragmented Syrian opposition to unite and said a U.N.-brokered plan for a transitional government in Syria fell short of expectations.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby addressed nearly 250 members of the Syrian opposition at a meeting in Cairo in an effort to coax the disparate groups to pull together. The gathering marked the first time the Arab League had hosted a gathering of the Syrian opposition.

Elaraby, who has held private meetings with Syrian opposition figures at the League’s headquarters in the past, said the agreement did not meet Arab expectations because it did not specify a time frame for a “clear transition” as the Arab League had called for.

July 2nd, 2012, 9:45 am


zoo said:

Ryad Al Assad disappeared from the FSA. Where is he? Bulgaria? in jail? dead? in Bakkourland?

لبيان التأسيسي للقيادة المشتركة للجيش الحر1-7-2012

July 2nd, 2012, 9:57 am


jna said:


10.31am: Syria: Relief workers have evacuated 26 Syrian civilians from the besieged Damascus suburb of Douma, AP reports citing a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Syrian troops flushed out rebels from the suburb on Saturday after a 10-day assault that left dozens dead, hundreds wounded and caused a major humanitarian crisis.

Rabab Rifai said on Monday that a team from the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent entered Douma Sunday to assess humanitarian conditions and evacuated the 26, mostly children and elderly people. She said a team will go in again soon.


July 2nd, 2012, 10:51 am


omen said:

turkey seized iranian arms headed for syria

(Reuters) – A U.N. Security Council committee has published a report on Iranian sanctions violations, including shipments of weapons to Syria in breach of a U.N. ban on weapons exports by the Islamic Republic.

The new report, submitted by a panel of sanctions-monitoring experts to the Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee, said the group investigated three large illegal shipments of Iranian weapons over the past year.

“Iran has continued to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments,” it stated.

“Two of these cases involved (Syria), as were the majority of cases inspected by the Panel during its previous mandate, underscoring that Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers,” the report said.

The third shipment involved rockets that Britain said last year were headed for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

The kinds of arms that Iran was attempting to send to Syria before the shipments were seized by Turkish authorities included assault rifles, machineguns, explosives, detonators, 60mm and 120mm mortal shells and other items, the panel said.

The most recent incident described in the report was an arms shipment discovered in a truck that Turkey seized on its border with Syria in February. Turkey announced last year that it was imposing an arms embargo on Syria.

July 2nd, 2012, 10:54 am



# 61

You can’t be serious! Do you really see a valid comparison with those States?

Egypt abandoned Arab nationalism long ago, with Sadat to be exact. And incidentally, it was about the same time the first Hama was taking place. Mubarak turned out to be an ‘angel’ in comparison. The other States you mentioned in no way resemble the Faustian deal you seem not to have much qualms to sanction if not accept (at least for a while). There is no comparison whatsoever.

July 2nd, 2012, 11:01 am


Stick to the Truth said:

65. Tara said:

Syria rebels to boycott Cairo opposition talks
AFP – 1 hr 12 mins ago

Syria-based rebel fighters and activists said they would boycott an opposition meeting in Cairo on Monday, denouncing it as a “conspiracy” that served the policy goals of Damascus allies Moscow and Tehran.

“The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.
Benjamin, Walter”

July 2nd, 2012, 11:11 am


Observer said:

This piece by Aaron Miller is my opinion better than the post by JL.
I think it is more objective and realistic.

If the FSA continues to receive help and arms, the regime is completely doomed.

There is way too much blood and suffereing for any solution at the UN or in Moscow to take effect


July 2nd, 2012, 11:12 am


Tara said:

Analysts declare Geneva meeting a failure.

Analysis: Plan to end Syria crisis falls flat
By MATTHEW LEE | Associated Press – 3 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The much-hyped plan to end Syria’s misery and guide its transition to democracy appears to have fallen flat despite the endorsement of Western powers.
Russia’s objections gutted the most stringent conditions on a potential interim leader in Damascus. The Syrian opposition quickly dismissed the proposal as a waste of time and with “no value on the ground.”

As a result, the plan contains no criteria for excluding anyone from the transitional government and leaves its composition entirely up to the “mutual consent” of Assad administration and the fractured opposition. Both sides presumably have unlimited veto power over members of the interim government, which could prolong the stalemate and keep Assad in charge.
U.S. and Western officials acknowledge the possibility of that scenario. But they insist that the “mutual consent” language puts the opposition on equal footing with Assad in determining who will be part of the governing body.


July 2nd, 2012, 11:13 am


omen said:

former diplomat who resigned to protest iraq war:

carne ross: At ‪AspenIdeas Admiral Mike Mullen suggests that US will “have to” intervene “at some point” in ‪Syria‬ if killing goes on

July 2nd, 2012, 11:16 am


Alan said:

Washington’s road to Iran goes through Syria (Op-Ed)
Free Syrian Army: No opposition talks if intervention is not discussed
An Open Letter To Prime Minister Erdogan Concerning The Survival Of Turkey
Geneva Conference on Syria Ends in Stalemate as Russia Hangs Tough Against US Extortion

July 2nd, 2012, 12:33 pm


Alan said:

Syrian No-go: Rebels won’t talk until Assad out
Syria’s rebels have rebuffed the latest plan for peace. World powers pushed for a unity government at talks in Geneva at the weekend – but the opposition insists Assad has to go. The deal was forged to try and end the drawn-out conflict, which the UN says has claimed more than 10-thousand lives. RT’s Maria Finoshina reports.

July 2nd, 2012, 12:39 pm


Alan said:

See comment #45.

SC Moderator

dear moderator !
Please remove the restriction and delay of comments !

July 2nd, 2012, 12:42 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Your news about Colonel Ryad Al Asaad are lies
Let me remind you, whoever lies to you about what you know,do not believe him about what you don’t know.

July 2nd, 2012, 12:46 pm


Tara said:

UN Plan’s Failure to Force Assad Exit Seen as Russian Win
By Jennifer M. Freedman 
July 02, 2012 10:08 AM EDT


“The latest decision is a compromise by the West and a victory for Russia,” said Lilit Gevorgyan, a London-based analyst at IHS Global Insight. “There has not been an explicit decision to push Assad out, something that Russia was keen on.”
Syria’s state-run Baath newspaper said in an editorial today that the Geneva meeting could not have produced positive results because it ignored the Syrian government’s efforts to introduce change.
“Any effort that ignores the facts on the ground and does not consider that the reform process in Syria has achieved and is achieving realistic and concrete results on the ground, is an effort that should fail,” the newspaper said.
Jeff Laurenti, a UN analyst at the Century Foundation in New York, called the agreement a “win” in that it takes a step toward ending the Syria conflict.
Still, it could be seen as a “loss for anyone seeking to annihilate the other side; for Assad, whose Russian backers have now formally committed themselves to a successor government whose leaders must be acceptable to all Syrian sides — as he and his brother surely are not — and for Islamists, ditto,” Laurenti said in an e-mailed response to questions.
The modified text suggests “Washington has made a major concession in that Assad could stay on,” though a clause on mutual consent means the opposition would have veto power over who could be in the transitional government, Andrew Tabler, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said in an e-mailed response to questions.
“It’s unclear how Assad could be present and create the ‘neutral environment’ outlined in the agreement,” Tabler said.

July 2nd, 2012, 12:56 pm


Uzair8 said:

What they just don’t understand!
Monday, 02 July 2012

[Selected quote]

The state of war that Bashar al-Assad is talking about actually lies within the regime’s army. The morale of this army is exhausted and it is no longer capable of fighting within Syria’s cities, instead opting to use missiles, aircraft and devastating indiscriminate shelling. Today, the Free Syrian Army [FSA] stands 80,000 strong, whilst the rate of defections from al-Assad’s army is escalating, both in terms of quantity and quality. All kinds of military ranks are now defecting from the al-Assad military, including lieutenant generals, major generals, brigadier generals and colonels. Furthermore, they are defecting from all sectors; armoured divisions, missile units, the air force, infantry and intelligence services, as well as from all geographical regions and all sectarian denominations.


July 2nd, 2012, 1:03 pm


Osama said:


So the Turkish intelligence messed up, you expect us to believe that the Iranians chose Turkey to smuggle light weapons to the Syrian Army….excuse me while I laugh at this ridiculous story….

Plenty of Iranian allies in Lebanon and Iraq able and willing to manage a trucks worth of light weapons…. But nooooo…. Why do it the easy way? Send the truck to into Turkey and drive it across Turkish kurdistan which is infested with army checkpoints and then down to the Syrian border…. Really?!

81 Tara

“analysts” declare? Really? And here I was thinking that it was politicians who were controlling policy in their respective countries?!

Sorry guys, I sense some desperation from you individually and from the FSA/SNC generally….

Don’t worry your just a massacre away from getting what you want….

July 2nd, 2012, 1:16 pm


ann said:

Syria’s president Assad endorses anti-terrorism legislation – 2012-07-02


DAMASCUS, July 2 (Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad endorsed Monday a counter-terrorism law, which came just days after he announced that his country is at a state of real war.

The law, announced by state-run SANA news agency, says that punitive actions would be leveled against anyone proven to have committed acts related to terrorism.

The move came just days after Assad said his country is at a state of real war, adding that “the responsibility of the Syrian government is to protect all our residents. We have the responsibility to annihilate terrorists in every corner of the country.”

Assad’s statement reflects his determination to go on with military operation, which the Syrian forces have started more than three weeks ago against areas that house armed oppositional groups Syria blame for a series of killings, sabotaging acts and kidnappings.

Armed groups also escalated their violent acts against Syrian forces amid daily reports of the killing of tens of police and army personnel.

Earlier in the day, an al-Qaida-inspired group claimed responsibility for the recent attack on the headquarters of the pro-government al-Ekhbaria TV station that killed seven people, according to SANA.


July 2nd, 2012, 1:20 pm


ann said:

Free Syrian Army: No opposition talks if intervention is not discussed – 02 July, 2012


Members of the radical Syrian opposition have boycotted a meeting in Cairo, where some 250 delegates are discussing an internationally backed transition plan. The armed rebels branded it a conspiracy and said the agenda lacked an aggressive stance.

The rebel Free Syrian Army and “independent” activists lashed out at the organizers of the two-day conference for “rejecting the idea of a foreign military intervention to save the people… and ignoring the question of buffer zones protected by the international community, humanitarian corridors, an air embargo and the arming of rebel fighters.”­


July 2nd, 2012, 1:47 pm


Syrialover said:

#67 Majedkhaldoun

Your are right about the FSA being on the winning side.

Its superior fuel is the support and sacrifice of Syria’s finest young men.

For example:

July 2nd, 2012, 1:49 pm


Syrialover said:

#67 Majedkhaldoun

Your are right about the FSA being on the winning side.

It runs on greatly superior fuel: the support, strength and selfless sacrifice of Syria’s finest young men.

For example:

July 2nd, 2012, 1:52 pm


Alan said:

S/Lover :
love has ended, along with coffee !

dear moderator !
I refrain from comments until removing the restriction and delaying of comments!

July 2nd, 2012, 1:56 pm


ann said:

Russia says Geneva conference paves way for settlement of Syrian crisis – 2012-07-03


MOSCOW, July 2 (Xinhua) — The international conference on Syria held in Geneva on Saturday has paved the way for a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

The final document approved by conference participants opens the gate for the effective facilitation of a peaceful settlement in Syria by the international community, the ministry said in a statement on its official website.

The settlement, the ministry said, would be possible on the basis of coordinated measures aimed at implementing UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan.

Also, the ministry said that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad in Moscow earlier on Monday.

Haddad told Bogdanov that Damascus was ready to start inter- Syrian political dialogue, and reiterated the Syrian leadership’s commitment to Annan’s plan, the ministry said.


July 2nd, 2012, 1:58 pm


Halabi said:

Reuters – Syria’s paramilitary gangs a law unto themselves

When rifle-toting members of Syria’s shabbiha pro-government paramilitary gangs strut into a shop, cowed residents of Homs know to clear out of their way.

Accused of atrocities that include the massacre last month of scores of women and children – many of whose throats were slit and heads bashed in – the militiamen cut to the front of the queue as shoppers shrink back and staff rush to serve them.

In their informal uniform of camouflage trousers and white sneakers, the young recruits swan down the streets of the Alawite neighborhoods, set up checkpoints at a whim and stop traffic to question drivers.

“We don’t know when they’ll show up and when they’ll disappear,” whispered Abu Tamam, from the Alawite neighborhood of Zahra where hundreds of men have joined shabbiha gangs. “Some of their leaders are the biggest thugs in the neighborhood. Now they’re supposed to be our saviors.”


July 2nd, 2012, 2:05 pm


Osama said:

Ok, I’ll bite.

Mutual agreement is an admittedly vague term, but assuming that the two sides are the Syrian government I.e. Bashar Alassad. and the other side is the SNC (for the sake of argument), then it would hardly be logical for them to exclude themselves…

Does not make much sense?

July 2nd, 2012, 2:11 pm


ann said:

Annan, Syrian opposition delegations to visit Moscow – 2012-07-02


MOSCOW, July 2 (Xinhua) — Russia confirmed Monday that UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan and two Syrian opposition delegations will visit Moscow in July.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters that Annan was expected to start his visit in mid-July at the invitation of the Russian side.

Meanwhile, Bogdanov said Syrian opposition leader Michel Kilo and Abdulbaset Sieda, newly elected head of Syria’s opposition umbrella group Syrian National Council (SNC), will head two separate delegations to Russia.

Kilo will arrive in Moscow later this week while Sieda is to kick off his visit on July 10, Bogdanov said.

“It is important to exert maximum efforts to implement Kofi Annan’s plan and the resolutions of the Geneva conference and the action group,” he said.


July 2nd, 2012, 2:15 pm


ann said:

New Batch of Political-Military Faculty Officers Graduate – Jul 02, 2012


DAMASCUS, (SANA)_ Chief of the General Staff of the Army and the Armed Forces, Gen. Fahd Jassem al- Freij, said that Syria is passing through extraordinary circumstances and a semi-cosmic war that targets its existence and seeks to undermine its power.

Al-Freij’s remarks came during a graduation ceremony for a new batch of the Political-Military Faculty officers on Monday, under the auspices of President Bashar al-Assad.

He said that the conspirators seek to take revenge upon the Syrian people who foiled the enemies’ goals in tearing apart Syria’s unity and undermining its honorable role.


July 2nd, 2012, 2:25 pm


jna said:

Re:91. Syrialover said:

General Mood: ‘Two Versions’ of the Houla Massacre

The Western media was quick to blame Assad. But does an unpublished UN report tell a different story?

John Rosenthal


…”On June 15, just days after the controversy over the FAZ report first erupted, General Robert Mood, the head of the UN observer mission, held a remarkable press conference in Damascus. Asked about the massacre, General Mood pointedly responded that UN observers had heard two competing versions of what occurred from Houla residents themselves. “The statement we issued after al-Houla is still valid,” he said, which means we have been there with an investigative team. We have interviewed locals with one story, and we have interviewed locals that have another story. The circumstances leading up to al-Houla and the facts relating to the incident itself still remain unclear to us.”

…”While the Western media makes a standard practice of repeating the claims of Syrian opposition/rebel sources as “news” and dismissing those of Syrian government sources as “propaganda,” the UN observer mission, which was established precisely to provide a neutral fact-finding presence on the ground, would appear to be of interest to no one. As recent reporting by Matthew Lee at the UN makes clear, it would appear least of all to be of interest to some of the very members of the UN Security Council that mandated its creation. (See especially Lee’s citation of German Ambassador Peter Wittig.)”

“At the June 15 press conference, General Mood went on to say that the mission had assembled a report about the massacre, including the details of witness interviews, and that this report had been submitted to UN headquarters in New York. This raises an obvious question: Why has this report not been rendered public?”

July 2nd, 2012, 2:25 pm


omen said:

an anti regime alawi activist is forced to flee to turkey.

aje video

half of alawite community, they know that regime is lying. they know that.

July 2nd, 2012, 3:06 pm


zoo said:

#65 tara

“Syria rebels to boycott Cairo opposition talks”

Easy to boycott when you are not invited…

“However, the main rebel group fighting Syrian government forces on the ground, the Free Syrian Army, was not represented at the talks. Faiz Amru, a member of the Joint Military Command, which is affiliated with the FSA, said the Cairo meeting was purely political, so rebels were not invited.”


July 2nd, 2012, 3:06 pm


omen said:

regime TV reporter defects

A presenter from the Syrian regime’s main television channel has defected to the opposition and revealed he has secretly provided intelligence to rebels for the past seven months.

Ghatan Sleiba, a long-time anchor and reporter for the al-Dunya channel, is believed to be the first high-profile defector from Damascus’s powerful propaganda arm. “I am the first and I will probably be the last,” he said in an interview with the Guardian in southern Turkey.

“There are some others who also want to run, but there are more who love the regime from the depths of their hearts,” he said.

July 2nd, 2012, 3:13 pm


zoo said:

#86 MajedAl Khaldoon

If you know more about the whereabouts of the FSA leaders, please explain why Ryad Al Assaad, the founder of the FSA, is absent from that heads of the FSA meeting and not even mentioned?

July 2nd, 2012, 3:16 pm


zoo said:

Al Jazeera Arabic love affair with the Moslem Brotherhood could be double-edged.


By Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, a UAE based political commentator

Al Jazeera Arabic’s love affair with the Muslim Brotherhood was evident from the channel’s beginning. Its chief religious program’s main guest is none other than Yusuf Al Qaradawi, a long-time Muslim Brotherhood member and resident of Qatar who has taken that state’s citizenship.

Since the Muslim Brotherhood decided to run a candidate, the channel has spared no effort in promoting the candidate through its various channels.

July 2nd, 2012, 3:36 pm


Stick to the True said:

Baathist edifice of the Syrian state to come crashing down like a house of cards. After all, it is built on loyalty to the man and family.

Just as a matter of fairness, the Baath party exist almost as long as independent Syria exist.

If the Baath can not maintain its position, the only party that can reemerge and satisfy the majority of the Syrian would the Syrian National Party.
Syrians are disappointed and feedup with everything related to arabic nation.

Mr. Landis, please leave if to the Syrians to find their future path. We are very allergic of any advice from abroad.

July 2nd, 2012, 3:36 pm


Stick to the Truth said:

#104 OMEN
“I am the first and I will probably be the last,”

If the story is not a fake as many others defection stories of high ranking officials and the stories of massdefection, why would he be the last? Is he just frustrated? Is Al-Jazeera going to offer him a job?

“A single swallow that does not ‘make a summer’, it may only help to raise te “fighting” spirit, which is obviously down.

July 2nd, 2012, 3:48 pm


Tara said:


Good post. I can’t respond to that….

Then my link is a flashy article with no substance if indeed they were not invited.

July 2nd, 2012, 3:53 pm


Aldendeshe said:


I did respond to you several times, but the moderator will not publish any. Thought it has to do with a new video that a link included at bottom about non-human activities!!! but even when I removed all links and self edited the comment to be just plain boring response, like the rest of the comments here, it did not pass the moderator censorship, he or Landis could be under duress to do so, no need to cause them any aggravation. The point of my comment is that I disagreed with all you said and pointed out to you that evidence available to prove that Islamist used minarets to order Christians out of homes. Also stated that we disapprove with both the Islamists ways and means as well as the Baathists continued control of Syria against the wishes of the majority. Therefore SNP is staying neutral.

Hopefully, nothing said in here that will cause deletion of this comment.

July 2nd, 2012, 3:53 pm


bronco said:

The FSA is loosing ground and its chance for a role in the future of Syria are slimming.
While Ryad al Assaad the commander in chief of the FSA does not appear anymore and rumors of his defection are getting stronger , the FSA has not even been invited to a ‘unification’ meeting in Cairo. Worried Turkey is watching more thoroughly its borders and hampering the fighters and weapons moves.
It is also possible that the FSA’s color has become far too Islamist for the West and the moderate Arabs. Therefore it is not trustworthy. Emphasis is back on the political opposition.

The SNC who has continuously refused to meet with the other opposition groups when Ghaliun was leading it with the help of Alain Juppe, is now in Cairo with the 200+ opposition groups.
It will be pressured to accept Annan`s plan or just be excluded from any future political process. As the opposition is too weak to continue resisting the big power agreement, it is quite possible that they’ll accept a face saving deal.
Publicly it will appear like a victory : ‘The opposition is united and victorious’ but in fact it would be close to a dramatic shift.

July 2nd, 2012, 4:19 pm


omen said:

101. half of alawite community, they know that regime is lying. they know that.

hey, nobody rebutted the alawi activist’s statement.

i’ll read that as a tacit admission from regime loyalists posting here that they too recognize the regime is lying.

thanks, that’s good to know.

July 2nd, 2012, 4:52 pm


Tara said:


I think you are too pessimistic in your views in regard to the FSA. The FSA fighters are the real heroes. They are the ones who have put their lives pn the line for us. Had it not been to their sacrifices, it would’ve been “Khalset”. They are the protectors of the Syrian people. The political opposition Is worthless without them… They and the LCC are the real deal. Everyone else is marginal and has no base in the ground…
without them a

July 2nd, 2012, 5:21 pm


Stick to the Truth said:

#104 ZOO

why Ryad Al Assaad, the founder of the FSA, is absent from that heads of the FSA meeting and not even mentioned?

There are obviously too many “heroic” Generals commanding few soldiers.
Nobody seems to miss him. Who cares…

July 2nd, 2012, 6:00 pm


Stick to the Truth said:

109. Aldendeshe said:

Hopefully, nothing said in here that will cause deletion of this comment.


I think I can learn from you

July 2nd, 2012, 6:19 pm


bronco said:

#112 Tara

You know very well that I had high hopes that the FSA would take over the leadership of the opposition after Ghaliun left ina debacle. Unfortunately the FSA is as divided as the political opposition. They are fighting against each other and have allowed Islamist extremists to make operations that have cost the lives of many civilians. They have also betrayed General Mood who have tried to convince them to be aware of the extremists among them. Because of that, I think the UN and the Western world powers have lost all hopes on the FSA. In addition, the financial and military support they are getting from countries that have bred terrorism remind the West about what happened in Afghanistan when, in order to fight the Russian occupation, weapons and money were given to islamist fighters that turn out to become Al Qaeeda after the Russians left.

As long as the FSA has the color of an Islamist movement, they may get weapons and jihadists from KSA and Qatar but they will never get neither the support nor the recognition of the Western countries.
Turkey will now prefer to play clean with Western powers and will probably squeeze the FSA into impotence.
The Geneva meeting is just that: Only a political solution is acceptable and the FSA , as it stands now, is out in the cold.

July 2nd, 2012, 9:51 pm


irritated said:

The mystery about Ryad Al Assaad second defection is still unsolved.
The FSA has made no denial of his defection and he has not appear on any Youtube videos for a long time. A new commander seems to have replaced him.

If Ryas aal Assaad did defect from the FSA, it may give a bad example to the other generals who are kept under tight military surveillance in Turkish camps.

Will Ryad al Assad join Adnan Bakkour in the black hole of oblivion?

July 2nd, 2012, 10:06 pm


Antoine said:


The FSA is winning the feat of force with the regime, who cares for some usless tea-drinking talks in Cairo. The FSA is fighting on a purely physical military level where it has the best chances.

FSA has already won the test of purely military and physical prowess against the regime. Now they only need to get larger numbers of heavier weapons especially mortars and ATGMs to make a difference.

To Riad al Asaad Conspiracy Theory believers :

Where is Assef Shawkat hiding nowadays btw ? Why haven’t we seen or heard him in Cabinet meetings ? Is he fired ? Or something else ?

July 3rd, 2012, 9:49 am


zoo said:

Another gathering of the FOS in Paris, this time under Zionist Laurent Fabius.
Is Bernard Henry Levy the guest of honor? The corridors again?
The SNC begging again recognition?

Russia (and China?) to miss ( boycott) next Friends of Syria ( Enemies of Syria) talks

AFP – 34 mins ago


Russia will not attend a Friends of Syria meeting in Paris on Friday which seeks to co-ordinate Western and Arab efforts to stop the violence in the country, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

The United States, France, Britain, Germany, and Arab nations Saudi Arabia and Qatar are leading members of the Friends, whose more than 60 members include most of the EU states and many countries making up the Arab League.


July 3rd, 2012, 10:22 am


zoo said:

Don’t underestimate the Geneva UN agreement.

“He said Qatar, Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait were among those countries who would exercise their influence on the Syrian parties.”


“Many forces have joined hands here on Saturday … don’t underestimate the degree of a shift that happened particularly in the Russian and Chinese positions to accept the principle of a policy change,” Ahmad Fawzi said.

He said reports out of Beijing and Moscow had been “very supportive” of the agreement made at the meeting.

“Let’s wait until the dust settles on this agreement and I think everyone will see that it was quite an accomplishment that was achieved here on Saturday.”

This included an agreement in principle on a political transition, he said, but a complete halt to the violence was vital first.
Fawzi said the proposals on the table formed a framework for a solution.

“This was a very finely crafted diplomatic document and the solution to the crisis lies therein,” he said.

“If you go to the agreed actions that the group members will take to implement the agreement you will see that they have committed to apply joint and sustained pressure on the parties in Syria.

He said Qatar, Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait were among those countries who would exercise their influence on the Syrian parties.

“I think you will understand what kind of leverage they have, what kind of taps can be turned off or on that might influence the behaviour of the parties.” he said.
The UN human agency on Tuesday welcomed the Geneva talks, saying the six point plan was the only solution in sight.

“For that to work violence has to stop and the flow of arms also needs to stop,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

July 3rd, 2012, 10:32 am


Tara said:


Russia is boycotting the FOS meeting in Paris?

It is easy to boycott a meeting you are not invited to.

July 3rd, 2012, 1:15 pm


Adonis said:

it is very interesting peice of politics fiction Mr Landis

July 3rd, 2012, 2:37 pm


zoo said:

121. Tara

“foreign minister Laurent Fabius said. “Russia was invited. They made it known that they did not want to participate, which is not a
surprise,” he told reporters.

Russia, a traditional ally of Syria, and China did not attend previous meetings of the group.”


July 3rd, 2012, 3:41 pm


zoo said:

Sarkozy to end up in jail for corruption? Is Juppe next?

Nicolas Sarkozy’s home raided by French police

Detectives investigating alleged illegal campaign-financing by L’Oreal heir Liliane Bettencourt search Carla Bruni’s mansion

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
* guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 3 July 2012 16.46 BST

July 3rd, 2012, 3:45 pm


zoo said:

That was expected as part of Turkey’s compliance with the Geneva agreement.
Turkey will not allow the FSA fighters to move freely anymore near the Syrian borders. Turkey calls it ‘terrorist leaks’.

Turkish military firm completes border-watch system


The Turkish Military Electronics Company (ASELSAN) has completed a patrol system that will monitor Turkey’s land borders around the clock.

The Transportable Autonomous Patrol System for Land Border Surveillance (TALOS) project aims to provide control of the land borders and stop terrorist leaks.

The land vehicles are equipped with cameras and will watch over the borders in areas soldiers cannot reach, sending a live feed of information to their command center. The vehicles can also autonomously engage in fights with threats.


July 3rd, 2012, 3:51 pm


zoo said:

Erdogan’s word against WSJ’s and Russia’s


Russia believes it has exact positional data to prove that a Turkish air force jet shot down by Syria last month violated Syrian airspace, contrary to claims by Ankara, a report said Monday.

The Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed Russian military source as saying that the Turkish jet had “unambiguously” entered Syrian airspace and Moscow had the details of its entire route.

July 3rd, 2012, 4:10 pm


zoo said:

Redhack ridicule Erdogan and Davutoglu by hacking important Turkish government web sites


one showing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan embracing killed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and another showing him embracing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A title was placed above the pictures, reading: “Ministry of War and Slavery, not Foreign Affairs.” A caption for the pictures read: “Brothers yesterday, enemies today.”

A message was also placed under the pictures, which condemned what it called “imperialist scenarios to pit brotherly peoples against each other … Those who can not resolve conflicts within their homeland are meddling in other countries’ problems, seeing this as a necessity of being a ‘great state,'” the message read.

“If you want war so much, put on your boots and fight. We do not have to die for you just because you were elected by a majority vote,” the message, directed at Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said.

A message directed at Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, “We have obtained all documents at the ministry portal, we will disclose them all. The documents will prove how weak you are in reality and will show that your bullying is merely hot air.”

July 3rd, 2012, 4:13 pm


omen said:

62. OSAMA said: Please notice that the ITV “correspondent” does not say he saw a war plane – he says he “heard” what sounds to him like a plane – and he them assumes an explosion that happened is somehow tied to that plane noise – not exactly the same thing…

He had a camera! he should have been able to film something flying in or flying out – it is a clear day and he had an excellent vantage point!!!!

let’s pretend you are a seasoned combat reporter. you know what certain sounds indicate. if you heard war planes approaching, would you rush to take cover in a deep basement somewhere? or would you foolishly stand in the open, hoping to film a bombardment?

July 5th, 2012, 12:20 pm


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