Wikileaks, Assad and Syria Comment – The Dispute about Tlas – Assad Interview

Repercussions from the Tlass defection are still echoing. Sharmine Narwani claims his departure was not that important. Michel Kilo has recommended him as the transition leader of Syria. Others say it signifies the beginning of the end. Many opposition activists detest everything he stands for. I have tried to collect a cross-section of views on him.

The Wikileak articles are beginning to come out in greater numbers. At least one of the president’s emails discussed articles published on Syria Comment. – this one, for example, is a comment by Elie Elhadj, who wrote about Syria’s very serious water crisis on the pages of SC – here and here.This is a small bit of the original article:

“Investment in irrigation agriculture, which uses huge volumes of Syria’s finite water resources should be shifted to investing in low water using manufacturing industries based on rate of return criterion instead of political convenience or personal interest. Foreign currencies generated from exporting manufactured products, or from reducing the importation of manufactured goods, would be used to import foodstuffs. Agriculture in arid/semi arid Syria should be left to rain fed lands, with investment in modern technology to improve the yield and quality of rain fed produce. It should be remembered that irrigation schemes have left the water balance in five of Syria’s seven basins negative. In addition to the billions of dollars wasted on white elephant irrigation schemes, what a terrible loss of water that is!

This is his comment that Bashar picked up on – It came from an email that Elie sent to me and a few friends, including Camille Otrakji, who forwarded it to a friend who sent it to President Assad. The email was sent Feb 11, 2011 at 9:05 AM. President Assad was not upset by the insults to his father, as some journalists have suggested. He picked up on it because Syria was in the midst of its five year drought. He knew what a disastrous water crisis Syria faced and was trying to figure out how to reverse course – but of course – like so many of Syria’s problems, he failed to deal with it because it would have meant breaking too many eggs and potentially unraveling his regime and control.

Water resources and cotton plantation SCARY NUMBERS (from a discussion)

Email-ID 2105484
Date 2011-02-12 04:19:25

Check زراعة و ري

All of Syria’s cotton production is done on irrigated lands, not rain fed. Of Syria’s estimated 13 billion m3 of irrigation water more than 4 billion m3 is used to grow cotton. A cotton t-shirt requires about 2.7 tons of water to produce. Cotton requires four times as much water to grow as wheat.

Syria’s emphasis on irrigation has been wrong. Syria should invest in improving the yield of rain fed lands. There was a threefold increase in the productivity of water in rain fed wheat production in north-west Europe between 1800 and 1950. And a further trebling by 1990.

The Tabqa Dam is an economic disaster. The yes-men around Hafiz Asad lacked the balls to stop an ignorant military officer from wasting billions of dollars on a white elephant, made by his propagandist to be one genius of a project.

The World Bank concluded that Syria’s government will need to recognize that achieving food security with respect to wheat and other cereals in the short-term as well as the encouragement of water-intensive cotton appear to be undermining Syria’s security over the long-term by depleting available groundwater resources.

Another discusses, which was a major effort led by Camille Otrakji to get Israelis and Syrians discussing the Golan and avenues to peace. I participated in the project and pushed it on SC. Unfortunately it was seen in Damascus as a breach of security and law. He asked Syria’s head of the National Security Council to look into it. According to an article in al-Akhbar English:

A story published by The Guardian in 2010 about Syrian and Israeli bloggers interacting with each other on the website, perked his interest, and he requested that it be translated and sent to an individual named “bekhtiar.” (doc-id 2095860)

Manaf Tlass as taciturn rebel?

EXTRA: Opposition proposes top Syrian defector for president

Moscow (DPA) — Representatives of the Syrian opposition on Monday put forward Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, who defected earlier this month, to succeed President Bashar al-Assad. At a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, the opposition continued to insist that al-Assad must step down before a political dialogue can take place, according to the news agency Interfax.

Russia to suspend new arms to Syria: agencies
By Thomas Grove, MOSCOW | Mon Jul 9, 2012

(Reuters) – Russia will not deliver fighter planes or other new weapons to Syria while the situation there remains unresolved, the deputy director of a body that supervises Moscow’s arms trade was quoted as saying on Monday.

Davutoğlu says Turkey got Syria wrong in Hurriyet

” … Unfortunately, Turkey made a very serious mistake in Syria. It thought that, as in Libya the regime would collapse quickly and would be replaced with the AKP’s “brothers” the Muslim Brotherhood.

In search of peace: Annan arrives in Iran from Damascus

UN peace envoy Kofi Annan is in Iran after finishing a round of talks with Syrian authorities in Damascus. The trip reinforces Annan’s belief that Tehran is one of the key players in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria.

Annan described his talks in Damascus as constructive, saying the sides agreed to move ahead with implementing a peace plan proposed by the envoy.

“We agreed to an approach which I will share with the opposition,” he told reporters.

During his visit, Annan met with both Syrian President Bashar Assad as well as the country’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Damascus reiterated their commitment to Annan`s peace plan.

“In both meetings we reassured Annan of Syria’s commitment to implement the six-point plan and hope the other side is mutually committed,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the UN and Arab League special envoy has arrived in Iran, Syria’s main ally in the region.

On Saturday Annan said that Iran should be involved in the resolution of the crisis, because it is an “actor” in the situation whose participation is necessary.

Speaking to Le Monde, the envoy stressed the role of Moscow and Teheran in dealing with the conflict in Syria, saying that there is “no alternative” to Russia’s participation in a diplomatic solution and that Iran also “cannot be ignored.”

While Annan was holding talks with Syrian authorities in Damascus, Moscow has conducted a round of negotiations with the Syrian opposition. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with a Syrian delegation led by Michel Kilo on Monday.

The opposition delegation stated that the question of removing President Bashar Assad from power is secondary, while their primary goal is the transition from violence to democracy.

Following the talks, Lavrov pointed out to the importance of the Syrian opposition having a unified platform. The foundation of this platform should be an inclusive dialogue between the authorities and the opposition, the Minister said.

Moscow has also invited another prominent opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), to come to Russia for talks. The delegation is expected to visit after July 10, the Foreign Ministry said, though no exact dates were announced.

The SNC has repeatedly said that it sees a solution for Syrian crisis only in the ouster of President Assad. The majority of Western countries consider the group to be the only “official” opposition. In April, Friends of Syria recognized the SNC as the “legitimate representative” of all Syrians.

Annan and Assad agree political approach for Syria – Reuters

 Putin: West exports ‘airstrike democracy’ to cling to Arab influence

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the West for clinging to its influence in the Arab world under the guise of “humanitarian operations.” He dubbed western involvement in Arab affairs as nothing more than a “rocket and bomb democracy.” At a meeting with top Russian diplomats Putin said that certain countries will do anything to retain the influence they have become accustomed to in the Arab world. He stressed that western nations often adopt a one-sided policy in Arab affairs that violates international law. RT’s Sean Thomas followed the address.

Interview with Assad, just recently conducted by the German publicist Jürgen Todenhöfer. The original English version.

Brig. Tlas Could be consensus solution
by Mohamed H.Hamdan in Damscus
Contributed to Syria Comment

The young Brigadier Tlas stopped wearing his military uniform and opted for civilian clothing months ago. He set up residence in Damascus, where he let his beard and hair grow long. Nobody expected that the aristocratic general with his boyish face and western life style could withstand Assad’s fall.

Gen. Manaf Tlas has let down his childhood friend President Bashar al-Assad. Tlas has forgotten memories which they shared, jokes they laughed at and Syria’s future they have drawn.

Michel kilo, a prominent figure in the Syrian opposition, told Russians in Moscow, ”Manaf Tlas is a good candidate to head a transitional government”. Kilo explained to the Russians that General Manaf Tlas was against “the Military- security solution of the regime.”

Syrian Activists feel worried now, some of them say Tlas’ defection is Plan B designed to protect Assad’s regime.

”Substituting Mr. Assad by Gen. Tlas with his military background and his deep relations can be Assad’s successor for the same Syria which protects the Russian and Iranian interests in the region.” Ahmed al-Khalaf, defected Lieutenant, based in Beirut, said.

Tlas relations with Mr. Assad became irreconcilable after the fierce assault on the Homs district of Bab Amr in February this year according to AFP. He was sidelined more than a year ago, after he was deemed unreliable.

Tlas’ close friends said that he did not like what he saw, and tried to do something to ease the crackdown, friends and opposition sources say. They credit him with intervening to negotiate local ceasefires.

Eyad Issa, close friend to Tlas family said “Manaf has been growing increasingly frustrated for months,” Tlas felt increasing dishonor as his hometown ‘al-Rastan’ /160 kilometers north of Damascus/ was being leveled and hundreds of his relatives fell dead or injured.

“He started to tell people he trusted that he wanted out, and that he has respect among the Free Syrian Army,” Issa said, referring to the rebel force that has attracted many officers and soldiers from Rastan.

Colonel. Adnan Ahmed, who joined Free Syrian Army (FSA), based in Turkey, has defended Brig.Tlass defection on ALJAZEERA TV. He said that al-Rastan with its 1146 officers is supporting Brig. Tlas. ”We know his intention to defect and now he did it.”

Peaceful demonstrations were silenced by the gun, prompting Rastan’s residents, many of whom served in the army and had the patronage of the Tlas family, to take up arms

Abdul-Razzak Tlas, Brig. Manaf’s cousin and a popular commander of the FSA in Homs and a former First Lieutenant in the Syrian army, is commanding the most powerful Brigades of FSA called al-Farouq Brigades which stand for 4 months in face of Syrian army artillery and bombardment in Homs district of Bab Amr.

Two weeks ago, Opposition sources have spoken of senior figures that are under suspicion of being potential defectors being held under virtual house arrest. Assad’s opponents have been trying to encourage as many of his entourage as possible to abandon him.

Munther Khaddam, well-known Assad’s opponent said ”when a cornerstone like Brig. Tlas defects the temple of Assad definitely will crack down’. ”Then a lot of secrets can be revealed”, added.

Syria’s government has lessened the impact of Tlas defection. A Syrian news website ”Syria steps” quoted a Syrian official on Thursday as saying: “His desertion means nothing, If Syrian intelligence had wanted to arrest him it would have.” But “It’s hard blow for the regime,” Abdul basset seida, the president of SNC said during Conference on Syria’s friends last week in Paris.

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the same and confirmed Tlas defection which meant that Assad’s inner circle “is beginning to understand that the regime is unsustainable”. Fabius added.

US secretary of State Mrs. Hilary Clinton said Tlas defection suggests Assad’s insiders, Army are voting with their feet.”

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, Syria’s NATO-member neighbor, agreed: “Every day, generals, colonels, officers are coming, and we have, I think, around 20 generals and maybe 100 high-ranking officers, colonels,” he told France 24 television.

Brigade 105 now according to well-informed source said Brigade 105 has been mixed with Maher al-Assad’s Brigade (Brigade 4) and Brigade 14 for special missions) after defecting 1200 soldier whom run away after their brig has defected between them about 43 high ranked officers – general and colonels

Syrian opposition with its armed wing FSA still looks to hear from the young general. What Kilo has recommended to Russian seems to be the waiting speech they are looking for.

”Brig. Tlas is consensus solution where all parties should agree on,” al-Khalaf said.

A Word on the Tlass Departure – by Maysaloon

Firstly I don’t think the Tlass family are members of any “aristocracy”. ….So why is he now being pushed as a potential successor to Assad?….

This is a particularly devastating and humiliating option for many Syrians… Tlass might be the least worst option, but this still isn’t good enough for a country that has given over fifteen thousand lives for its freedom, and tens of thousands of refugees and prisoners. I doubt that all these people died to replace an Alawite dictator with a Sunni one, but I’m confident about one thing, and that is that Syria’s freshly grown grass roots will now, and should remain, the final line of defence for the Syrian people’s liberties and fight against oppression. It is now more vital than ever that these grass roots groups and coordination committees dig in and consolidate. The hard work really begins once Assad goes.

Manaf Tlass: “Nobody stopped him from leaving and nobody worked on him to stay.”
Syrian General Manaf Tlass: Neither Here Nor There
By Sharmine Narwani – Sun, 2012-07-08 23:47- The Sandbox

Since the news of his departure broke a few days ago, Tlass has stayed quiet. It is unlikely that he has “defected” – that would suggest he is joining the opposition, and it is doubtful that any but the most opportunistic of them would embrace a figure so closely associated with the Assad history in Syria.

But here’s a tidbit that hasn’t made the rounds yet in this well-hyped story: until very recently, Tlass was telling members of Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle that he wanted the post of Minister of Defense.
“He believed he could help push forth a reform agenda, as he had envisioned with his old friend Bassel (al-Assad),” says an acquaintance of Tlass’.

A well-informed source close to the Syrian government tells me that Tlass had tested those waters last Spring before Assad announced a new cabinet in April 2011, from which he was excluded. In the early months of unrest in Syria, he had attempted to stem the crisis by mediating between the government and its opponents in various towns and cities, but had by most accounts not succeeded. Part of the problem appears to be that the Assad establishment did not put its weight behind his efforts after they faltered, choosing to pursue another strategy altogether. By August, as armed clashes and crackdowns escalated, Tlass was effectively sidelined by a regime that refused to entrust in his vision and was mistrustful of his family’s opposition credentials. He then simply stopped working, cut-off many of his ties with close friends and reigned in his legendary social life.

How does one just not go to work one day? A source explains that “Tlass’ military uniform was only 10% of his life anyway. The rest of his time was spent on running around, his social life, some business dealings. He was a privileged son of an important regime figure – that was his life and he had a sense of entitlement as did many others like him.”

But still Tlass apparently did not count himself out – he tried again for the top defense post in the lead-up to the last cabinet reshuffle, and was passed over a second time when Assad announced the new line-up on June 23.

The headlines this week that claim the “defection” of a major Syrian Army commander and a member of Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle lack a great deal of the nuance unique to Manaf Tlass’ case….

Tlass apparently felt snubbed by the president for not being promoted to Major General from his current status as Brigadier General, but importantly, is viewed within the army as a token regime appointment rather than a commander capable of leading his forces.

Is Tlass’ departure significant? Certainly, it has been useful for some perception-creating headlines. But he was neither a pivotal figure within the Syrian Army nor the political establishment. His importance was rather in relation to his father’s standing within the elder Assad’s coterie, and as a member of a leading Sunni family long associated with the regime.

The fact is, after almost a year of inactivity and relative isolation, Manaf was in political no-man’s land in Syria. Scorned by people in Rastan for his continued allegiance to Assad, and marginalized by the regime in both the political and military spheres, Tlass had nothing to gain or lose by sitting tight.

“I don’t blame him. He had to make a choice,” says a Syrian who knows Tlass. “Nobody stopped him from leaving and nobody worked on him to stay,” says another, who knows the elder Tlass well.

So he went to France. End of story. But that won’t stop the spin.

The final chapter in Syria is being written today – al-Arabiya
By Jihad el-Khazen, Monday, 09 July 2012

What is left for the Syrian regime after Brigadier General Manaf Tlas, commander of Brigade 105 of the Republican Guard, has defected?

There was a time when Manaf was being groomed to become the defence minister, like his father Lt. General Mustafa Tlas before him. Manaf had become eligible owing to his rank in the Republican Guard and the ruling party, and I believe the delay was only because of his young age.

Mustafa Tlas was one of the main pillars of the regime, perhaps even its backbone…..

Today in Syria, the final chapter of a popular uprising is being written, and I insist that the regime could have avoided it, had it not chosen the military-based solution and its stubborn insistence upon it, even when it failed month after month, making the problem worse.

Yet the solution will not come from a meeting in Cairo, Geneva or Paris, but from the heart of Syria itself.

The heart of the Arab needs an urgent heart surgery, but this will only succeed if it is to be performed by Syrians themselves.

From the Comment Section: “Shabih” writes:

What really pisses me off is that way you write about this “Sunni” [Tlas] being in favor of negotiation and dialogue while the “Alawite leadership” was in favor of killing and heavy-handedness. You write this while ignoring that many in your audience know that the “Alawite leadership” you speak of has been following the strategy of “negotiation, flexibility, and compromise” all over Syria. How many times have we heard of the rebels and army agreeing to pull back in cities? How many times have we heard about Bashar al-Asad holding personal dialogue with various delegations from cities and villages from all parts of Syria and beyond?…

The whole point is to paint a picture of Sunni vs Alawite. This whole crisis started because Sunnis wanted freedom and Alawites would prefer to kill them. That is the narrative you want to peddle while carrying the title of Syria expert…. I really can’t stand reading your material anymore. I might as well be reading WINEP’s propaganda.

Deputy PM Says Gas Shortages Structural – Syria Report

There is no structural solution to the domestic gas shortages facing the country as long as sanctions are in place, Qadri Jamil, the new deputy Prime Minister in charge of domestic trade and consumer production said, blaming “sons of b…” for the hike in prices.

Power Cuts Rise as Temperatures Increase – Syria Report

The Ministry of Electricity is raising the daily number of hours of power cuts across Syria as rising temperatures lead to an increase in demand for electricity.

Starting July 2, the Public Establishment for the Distribution and Exploitation of Electrical Energy has increased power outages in Damascus to 3 hours per day from 2 hours previously.

In Aleppo, the country’s second largest city, power cuts are being increased from 3 to 4 hours a day, while in the rest of the country, power cuts are increasing to 5 hours a day. In each case the cuts are broken into two periods, one in the morning and another in the afternoon or evening…..

“No sect’s please; we’re Syrian” – Open Democracy – Syrian opposition activist, Rita, who must remain anonymous for her own safety, tells of a particularly harrowing encounter she had with the Syrian shabiha and how she managed to survive.

Nikolaos van Dam on Aljazeera “Inside Syria” with former General Akil Hashimi and Yasser Tabbara (SNC).

Nikolaos van Dam, How to Solve or Not to Solve the Syrian Crisis?, Orient, III-2012, pp. 31-37

Fear of Iran and Syrian Bloodletting, July 09, 2012
By Meir Javedanfar

Meir Javendanfar looks at how Western sanctions on Iran are enabling violence in Syria to continue.

Egypt: Morsi Moves to Restore Islamist Parliament – By: Steve Hendrix and Ernesto Loñdono | The Washington Post

Election Results in Libya Break an Islamist Wave – By: David D. Kirkpatrick | The New York Times
The post-Arab Spring rise of Islamist leaders appeared to bypass Libya, where a coalition led by a Western-educated political scientist led the early vote count.
By: Susan Crabtree | The Washington Times
A dramatic uptick in violence and political instability in Iraq have raised fears that Baghdad once again is tilting toward civil war. A half-year after the U.S. military left Iraq, the war-weary country is beset by violence as insurgents take advantage of the power struggles between the country’s ethnic and sectarian factions.

Comments (187)

Ghufran said:

Ghassan Alimam is an exception to the rule in alsharq alawsat,he is rarely inappropriate and is usually personal and honest,here is his last article;

July 9th, 2012, 7:54 pm


Syrialover said:

“The Tabqa Dam is an economic disaster. The yes-men around Hafiz Asad lacked the balls to stop an ignorant military officer from wasting billions of dollars on a white elephant, made by his propagandist to be one genius of a project.” (from post by Joshua above).

This is where the evil, stupid destruction of Syria by the Assad regime hits home.

It would be fascinating to know what the Syrian authorities did with information from ICARDA, the leading global research institute for dryland agriculture based in Aleppo.

It would have been way over the heads of those lazy, stupid apparatchiks in charge of the agriculture and related ministries who got their jobs from their fathers and uncles.

July 9th, 2012, 8:02 pm


Syrialover said:

Dr Josh,

Please don’t give space to Sharmine Narwani.

She is a pseudo-everything and says nothing. She shamelessly grabs stuff from elsewhere, makes up the rest and makes smart-ass ill-informed comments.

Her shallow interest in the Syrian issue is recent and transient – she uses it to get attention for herself.

July 9th, 2012, 8:10 pm


Tara said:

I think it would be a disaster if Manaf Tlass became the new president of Syria. From Alawi dictator to a Sunni dictator …this is not why 15,000 souls died and the opposition should never accept such a deal.

July 9th, 2012, 8:13 pm


Ghufran said:

I like the collection of articles and links JL brought this time,my favorite was the one about Turkey’s failed Syrian policy.
Manaf Tlas in a new Syria should not have an edge over anybody else,he indeed may have to explain his affiliation with the regime that he is now leaving.

July 9th, 2012, 8:24 pm


bronco said:

# Tara

Bravo Munaf Tlass!

I think it would be a disaster if Manaf Tlass became the new president of Syria

Changed your mind?

Anyway that is what J.L hinted in his previous post when there was a sense of relief and excitment about the ‘significant’ defection as a sign of ‘game is up’.
It seems it very quickly deflated. As I predicted, Manaf Tlass, if he has any political aim, will create even more divisions among the opposition that is already a mess.

Instead of weakening the Syrian government, Manaf Tlass’s defection may turn out to be a gift to the Syrian government and a source of discord for the opposition.

July 9th, 2012, 8:53 pm


Aldendeshe said:

AAAHHH….. I feel vindicated…… You have to make my blood boil for 3 days Tara and Landis, you made me lose 5 pounds and raise my blood sugar to 380 with your inaccurate and inappropriate comments about that Baathist Stooge Playboy for President, couldn’t you TARA make this comment before, and Landis couldn’t you read Sharmine and add here post earlier. You can not do that to me, you have to be responsible and professional please. I almost was ready to issue call to arm D Amid. What a relief. I still think it is silly Washingtonian-Jewish play that gone bad. Losers, ill informed.

Sharmine I appreciate people like you, you wrote all what was racing in my mind, except I get too angry and violent to be able to put words so smoothly and eloquently as you did in this article.

July 9th, 2012, 8:54 pm


habib said:

As expected the “Syrialeaks” contain nothing but trivialities.

Lol! Why doesn’t he mention all the babies he has personally raped and eaten?

July 9th, 2012, 8:58 pm


Tara said:


Change my mind about what? I do not understand what you mean?

July 9th, 2012, 8:58 pm


Tara said:

Bronco and Aldendeshe

I welcomed Manaf’s defection as much as I would welcome any other defection that would help imploding the regime.  Manaf is a close friend of Bashar and the facade of the pseudo Sunni-Alawi alliance and his defection is important.  Welcoming his defection does not mean that I have any respect for him or his family.  Their legacy is jut like other crime family legacy.  His father committed crimes against humanity being the defense minister during Hama massacre, and the family’s collective wealth is stolen from the Syrian people.

You know very well I am not in this revolution to replace Alawi thug with a Sunni thug.  I am in it for freedom and dignity.  I welcomed his defection to encourage more defections and to inch us closely towards victory.  That does not mean I will accept him as president.  

July 9th, 2012, 9:18 pm


Syrialover said:


Manaf Tlass was bred to know and do nothing. He was a pretty boy in a gilded cage. He had never competed, he has never earnt his salary, he has never produced anything or learnt any serious lessons. He’s moved in a closed circuit and had very artificial and protected life experiences.

His father was a dictator’s sidekick and obedient servant. All Manaf has in life came through his father and being charming and cool. His corrupt connections, nepotised job and unearned wealth were awe-inspiring and intimidating to everyone he met.

Things faded for his father then for him. It got all too hard, chomping cigars and playing the cool dude while Syria was getting into such a mess.

But his defection has humiliated the hurt the Assads in public, and lost them some reputation points out there for the world to enjoy. Who cares about anything else

Manaf Tlass meanwhile just loves the attention and myths about himself.

But he would be way, way out of his depth if faced with real leadership and political and intellectual tasks and challenges.

July 9th, 2012, 9:25 pm


bronco said:

Syria Lover and Tara

“Michel Kilo has recommended him as the transition leader of Syria”
Is he less informed than you?
I can see the unanimity that Manaf’s is bringing in the opposition.

Maybe the defection of a dubious rich play boy is not humiliating the regime but in the contrary it is showing that the regime takes pride in getting rid of deadwood and throwing it to the opposition to deal with it.

Tara, did you mean: Bravo Manaf, here is a ticket to La Hague, just get lost?

July 9th, 2012, 9:42 pm


Syrialover said:

And Michel Kilo spoke to Sharmine Narwani. The guy is not young and sharp-edged, though he has been a lot of other good things.

July 9th, 2012, 9:45 pm


omen said:

during the last election cycle, there was a running joke amongst election watchers that poked fun at hillary supporters. every time there was bad news that came out like polls that showed a drop in support or when the candidate would slip and come out with a bad soundbite, someone would yell “this is good news for hillary!” mocking her supporters for being in denial and their tendency of twisting bad news into somehow being good for mrs. clinton.

some of the regimists are likewise turning themselves into caricature.

July 9th, 2012, 9:46 pm


bronco said:

#13 SL

So in summary you’re saying that Manaf is a useless playboy, Sharmin Narwani is a fake journalist and Michel Kilo is a “has been”…

July 9th, 2012, 9:52 pm


Tara said:


He is dubious and rich Because of his association with the regime. Why can’t you admit that?

No, I stand my position. Bravo that he has defected. He should not be handed a ticket to La Hague. We need to encourage more defections. Our goal is not a small fish. Our goal is to bring down the arch-evil, the regime that is responsible for cultivating evilness all-around to maintain itself.

July 9th, 2012, 9:54 pm


Observer said:

Well as usual I went to Press tv and almanar an Addounia and Cham press and sana and RT and got the news from one side. I look at the importance of the order of the news and at the headlines and at the content. Cham Press talks about a dialogue with the armed opposition to bring stability back. Already I sense a preparation for a climb down in which Fredo and his clique will not lose face and hence the apparence of weakness which could demoralize the supporters and the base.

I also do see from Cham Press the Iranians saying that no regime is eternal and that a political solution is in the offing.

I also see Putin giving a lecture to his ambassadors about being more pro active that is do everything to restore Russian prestige around the world while at the same time he says the protagonists have to be “forced” to the negotiating table.

At the same time arms shipments are halted especially the YAK 130 close support aircraft that was used so effectively in Afghanistan until stinger missiles arrived.

Turkey is also preparing for some elements of the regime to stay in place and as a matter of fact will continue to support the rebellion and its interests in northern Syria at least. They realize that the agony will be long and messy and that they will have to help out.

NYT reports today that the Russians are now clearly impatient with Fredo and are putting the screws on him. This explains the position of Annan as he is off to the clerics to get their OK to put pressure on Fredo further.

The problem as I see it is that the security house of cards is made up of propping up pieces the removal of one of them would lead to the collapse of all. I guess if I were an Alawi I would be asking myself what would happen to me now that Fredo is preparing a nice exit for his family and friends. Or worse still, stay in place while sacrificing the base and switching sides. I know this last possibility is a far fetched one but it could really happen.

Now the post by Shabih noted above is really telling as this participant clearly is now wanting to portray the Alawi officers and members of the regime as willing to compromise and work things through. In my opinion any negotiations or discussions or bargaining or compromises the regime did or attempted to do was just playing for time, giving a little bone here and there while clinging ever so strongly to all the reigns of power and never willing to budge one bit. For the clique the country belongs to them and not the other way around.

Now all of the talk Fredo is giving about support and this and that he is talking about his Alawite base and its cronies not about the Syrian people.

All of the news tell me that there is a significant shift and there is a lot behind the scenes. The delegation to Moscow is made up of Kilo a real opposition member and someone with influence. The rest that were there I did not recognize except for Aita who in my opinion has brilliant ideas but whose credentials with the interior are zero and who seems to be too close to the French.

Any ideas on this delegation and what weight it has?

On the ground the regime is running out of options. However they may very well want to stay in power over an utterly devastated country.

July 9th, 2012, 9:56 pm


Aldendeshe said:

But his defection has humiliated the hurt the Assads in public, and lost them some reputation points out there for the world to enjoy. Who cares about anything else


Disagree. They never cared about him, they never stopped him, the concern is, if he did have any clandestine setup established before he left. That was also what everybody said about Khayyam, I said he is hot air and could not get 3 soldiers or civilians behind them, dig it up here on this blog if you like, but Landis, Washington, Paris made a hoopla about him. In the end, all he did is waste the opposition time in to NSF, distracted them, the naive MB desperate for some recognition partnered with him. He was out to live the good live in Paris mansion, same with the Tlasses and Chahabi’s, they are all con-men rag-to-riches. They made it and now living free, but previous Sunni stooge for another Alawite racket run by Salah Jadid Nour Al Dine Attassi died in prison for life.

July 9th, 2012, 9:56 pm


bronco said:

#16 Tara

With a guy like Manaf Tlass in the ranks of the opposition, I have no doubt you will reach a goal. It may not be the one you aimed at.

July 9th, 2012, 9:57 pm


Tara said:


Remember Manaf Tlass was part of the regime that you fell eternally in love with. Isn\’t love unconditional? For better or worse? How can you be so disloyal and disown him. What I am trying to understand is the nature of this relationship between the regime and its supporters, and it is rather a sincere question begging for answer. You always like Bashar Jaafari? What if he defected? Are you going to suddenly vilify him?

I guess my question is if you are willing to vilify any pilar of the inner circle if he or she to defect, what is it that you support by supporting the regime?

July 9th, 2012, 10:21 pm


Ghufran said:

أصبحت حياة الشيخ محمود الحوت إمام جامع الكلتاوية ومدير دار نهضة العلوم الشرعية بحلب، في خطر، وذلك بعد أن صنفته ما تسمي نفسها هيئة العلماء المسلمين في سوريا على أنه شبيح.

July 9th, 2012, 10:42 pm


Ghufran said:

May be the king of KSA is still alive after all:
عقد الملك السعودي عبدالله بن عبدالعزيز بعد ظهر اليوم جلسة مباحثات مع مدير وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية ديفيد بترايوس بحضور عدد كبير من أركان الدولة السعودية المختصين بالشان الأمني، دون الكشف عن فحوى المباحثات.

July 9th, 2012, 10:49 pm


Shami said:

From the same opportunistic class like hassoun ,habash…,al zindiq Mahmoud al Hout was known in Aleppo for his heavy attack on the shiites(calling them rafida with loudspeakers spread in all the eastern part of old aleppo) since 2003 ,he sent many young aleppine to death to Iraq ,we understood in that time that he was working for the mukhabarat (in the same team than Ghul Aghassi Abul Qa3qa3).Btw ,the keltawiyeh modern school was founded by Sheikh al Nabhan,an sufi traditionalist ,who had some influence over the countryside and even Iraq.
The assad regime gave to al Hout the ok to destroy large parts of the traditional Bayada urban fabric in the eastern part of Aleppo Aleppo(intra muros) where was located the medieval Keltawiyeh school.
He is among the shouyoukh of the regime who collect a large number of berline expensive cars ,and they are integrated in the regime protected corruption apparatuses.

July 9th, 2012, 10:53 pm


Aldendeshe said:

I Don’t think Bashar will budge an inch. He is planning and preparing for more fighting, longer and tougher ones. Looking for him stepping in People Majlis in 6-8 weeks and giving a speech that is an exact copy of his first one. All the talk about regime break up is non sense. Alawites and Christians are far more scared of their throats cut by dull knives than what is going to happened to them later, specially having at their disposal a huge arsenal of conventional and non-conventional weapon.

There is no military solution to Syria Political problem, SNP understood this long ago and developed a far more effective plan that can paralyze Syria without shedding blood and scaring minorities, not even make them a target in any way. Rather, allies to join in the non-bloody campaign for brighter, more prosperous future life, with more freedoms and less cartel mafia control for them.

I do not believe that is possible now, after all that is done by foreigners and their Syrian hired mercenaries, the minorities are even harder to persuade, the Christian will never forgive and the Alawites will never waver from Assad collective security. Any steps to tamper with the inner political, security or military apparatus or structure will be rejected by the all the city Sunni’s, minorities and Baathists. There will be no compromise on security at all now, no matter how much Iran and Russia, the world pressure, that is their security blanket now and no one will dare removing it. They will fight till end and they think they can win, or have the other give in before the Middle East is trashed.

The other factor are the “Conspirators”, they have real interests in what they initially, diabolically planned for Syria, disguised as freedom and democracy campaign. All the past 18 months events points to a mischievous plot designed in fact to destroy Syria and Syrians. They too still think they can win, they dream of defections and massive offensive. They have not reached yet a sobering defeat that will make them re-consider. First these conspirators needs to be finally and permanently be defeated, then Assad needs to decide if he wants to be a President of a pot holed country, living behind manicured garden, or he can agree to make changes from position of strength and leadership so all of Syria can have gardens, he can be proud of being a President of this country.

A compromise is in Assad court, he can give what he choose and the opposition can accept, or the fight will go on until one finish the other, will be very little standing in Syria then, in fact the whole Middle East will be in flame, great business opportunity coming for Boots & Coots.

July 9th, 2012, 11:01 pm


Shami said:

you have to fix yourself in an intelligible place ,is this dualistic personality or schizophrenic divide not very difficult to live ?

July 9th, 2012, 11:02 pm


omen said:

is there is a hiccup with comments? mine keeps disappearing. should i read it as a hint?

July 9th, 2012, 11:43 pm


Ghufran said:

The first time I heard about Mahmoud Alhout was when the threat on his life became news,I have no idea if what shami said about him is true or not,but I think the opposition is shooting itself in the foot by using violence against the people they disagree with or suspect of being regime sympathizers.

July 9th, 2012, 11:53 pm


Shami said:

What is your proof that non shabiha or militiamen supporters of the regime are killed ?
Do not lose your time on the khomainist arabi press!
Your objective in a very dubious way is trying that the uprising look as evil than the assadist civilian mass killers.
Attacking the villages that produce the shabiha and assadist torturers can be easily done but we are all surprised by the discipline of the FSA despite the lack of integrated direction on the ground.

July 10th, 2012, 12:49 am


Patriot said:


A few takeaways from your post:

-You seem to fully discount the massive peaceful protests that are taking place. You seem to fully discount the power of the people in the equation. It is folly for you to refer to the protesters as “conspirators” while trying to make a legitimate argument about what is unfolding in my country.

-What is the SNP plan that you are very enthusiastic about? You did not elaborate on it at all during your post

-You mention that Assad needs to make a choice: either compromise and reform, or hold down the fort and fight until there is a victor. You fail to consider a very important element: Assad cannot instill any true reform in the country. True reform in Syria means the end of the regime and Baathist rule. Assad truly trying to reform is the same thing as Assad executing the regime and putting a gun in his mouth.

July 10th, 2012, 1:05 am


Shami said:

For these mukhabarati shouyoukh the end of the gastronomic parties ,the lose of their luxuous cars(often americans) ,their sumptuous houses ,farms and villas …of their epicurean life (they came from very poor Background)will mean the end of the world.

July 10th, 2012, 1:13 am


Aldendeshe said:

29. Patriot said:
A few takeaways from your post:

“…You seem to fully discount the massive peaceful protests that are taking place…”

I lived there, I know how some (few) people disliked the regime. But millions of them supported it for decades, now they are out protesting after payola in hand. The majority of people protesting now, were in fact the main beneficiary and back bone of Baathism. I seen how they gone cheering in the street, I lived through the time and heard what they called me and how they exalted the regime. I have no feeling of sorrow for them lower classes. They got what the begged and cheered for.

“…You seem to fully discount the power of the people in the equation…..”

They have no power, the protesters are not the majority, they are a very small minority, you must watch CNN and other Zionist-Jewish media like Aljazzera.

“…It is folly for you to refer to the protesters as “conspirators” while trying to make a legitimate argument about what is unfolding in my country…..”

Conspirators I am referring to the Semite / Islamo-Khazzar Shepard, not the poor Syrian sheep’s.

“…What is the SNP plan that you are very enthusiastic about? You did not elaborate on it at all during your post…”

Not of your business, keep on doing yours. Fulfill my dream and millions of Syrians not Israeli-Bedouins Jews dream. When can I expect victory, I was promised Mando Soda 18 months ago. I knew it was a farce then, but played along and still playing along knowing what you all doing is a big farce.

“…You mention that Assad needs to make a choice: either compromise and reform, or hold down the fort and fight until there is a victor. You fail to consider a very important element: Assad cannot instill any true reform in the country. True reform in Syria means the end of the regime and Baathist rule. Assad truly trying to reform is the same thing as Assad executing the regime and putting a gun in his mouth….”

He has to choose between the regime or the people, since you really f***d up on your end and turned people against him, the dull knife strategy, using minerates to expel Christians from home, You ain’t got chance in hell that Assad is going to choose reforming to please your people. He will stick to the regime now for sure, in fact millions begging him to do so, you ain’t got 10,000 in streets. You will not even get 1000 out without Payola.

July 10th, 2012, 1:56 am


Syrialover said:


Michel Kilo is one of the giants on whose shoulders this revolution has been built. He has contributed enormously with his thinking, courage, integrity, persistence and many sacrifices. I am really pleased to see him up there adding substance to the opposition.

BUT he appears to be oblivious to how the world works today when he can be caught apparently making wildfire statements like that about the highly controversial Manaf Tlas.

I do not think it is fair to expect someone at his age and stage of life to suddenly become smart and strategic with the international media and a skilled fast-moving team player.

We can assume he was advised, briefed and coached, but by “doing his own thing” and not being careful in such a highly politicized and sensitive public situation he is unwittingly creating confusion, dissent and distraction.

But never mind. Things will move on, bigger issues will take over and Manaf Tlas will fade out of the picture. Watch.

July 10th, 2012, 2:48 am


Amjad said:

“At the same time arms shipments are halted especially the YAK 130 close support aircraft that was used so effectively in Afghanistan until stinger missiles arrived. ”

No, the aircraft in question was developed in the early 90s, too late to see service in the Afghan war. This was a case of the regime gratefully buying crap that the Russians couldn’t offload to anyone else. What airforce in the world needs 36 of these? Even the Russians only operate 11.

The SNP representative here is starting to sound more and more unhinged. I’m dismayed that the moderators let him get away with his threats to outdo Hitler and Stalin in the previous thread.

“you ain’t got 10,000 in streets. You will not even get 1000 out without Payola.”

If people were after “payola”, they would have signed up with the shabihas. Alot less risk and it pays well, and you get to loot homes and steal cars. The Syrian security forces are basically a bunch of mercenaries, and the thing about mercenaries is that a) they are poorly motivated to fight as opposed to someone defending their home and community b) they kinda stop fighting for you when the money runs out.

After seeing the SNP’s representative here, I am left feeling distinctly unimpressed with the party. They seem to have a glorious plan that will fix everything. What good is a plan if you’re too incompetent to know how to implement it? I may have a plan to make me a billionaire, but if I don’t get off my butt and actually make it a reality, it never becomes a plan, just a day dream.

July 10th, 2012, 3:48 am


Amjad said:

“Not of your business, keep on doing yours”

Seriously? I mean, really? That’s the best the SNP can come up with? It’s none of your business?

Behold, Moses with the Ten Commandments! Tell us oh great one, what does God wish us to do?

Moses: None of your business. Unwashed masses. Who do they think they are, wanting to know the plan for their salvation. Probably on payola from Pharaoh anyway, as if being slaves and being forced to build pyramids for years wasn’t reason enough to want to stick it to the Egyptians.

“the Christian will never forgive”

Forgive what exactly? Have their villages been shelled and invaded by tanks? Have they been rounded up by the thousands? Have their places of worship been shelled and burned? Have their men of religion been butchered in cold blood? Have their women been raped and their children murdered in cold blood? Is anyone building a wall around Christian communities? Forgiveness my ample Syrian butt.

The Christians have made themselves irrelevant in Syrian politics by their unconscionable fence sitting. Even Bashar holds them in such low regard that his tailor-made constitution bans any Christians from ever holding the highest office in the land, he gladly made the trade off to appeal to the Jihadists. That’s what happens when you just strive to live another day, no matter what the cost; you become irrelevant to both parties. The damage the Christians have done to themselves far exceeds anything that even Ben Laden could have hoped to achieve.

July 10th, 2012, 4:07 am


Mina said:

Sam is not exactly the blood-thirsty paranoid some would like to deal with…

July 10th, 2012, 6:18 am


Mina said:

Syria: just another case of TINA.

How are we supposed to interpret the […] in this sentence?
“As long as the […] regime funds it,” Assad replied. But Annan was not surprised by the answer. “Do you think they are behind all the funding?” he inquired.”

Is Al Akhbar English too afraid to write which regime we are talking about?

July 10th, 2012, 6:23 am


majedkhaldoun said:

What is the difference between Bashar thinking and AlDendeshi thinking, no difference, no respect for freedom seeker , he call them conspirators,and he does not believe in democracy, people to him, as he said, are sheep and worthless.
SNP is not a party , it is a gang made with very few people,no more than twenty, probably much less, sadistic,it makes me feel sick.

July 10th, 2012, 8:37 am


Tara said:


It is a one-man party… Sorry Aldendeshe, but it is quite obvious.

Aldendeshe at times expressed some ideas brilliantly and bluntly.

July 10th, 2012, 8:59 am


bronco said:

20. Tara

The question is not who I like and who I don’t like, but rather who is coherent, logical and grasps the situation in Syria with all its long term geopolitics ramifications instead of limiting oneself to the ‘cliches’ such as the ‘evil vs good’ , “I like vs I don’t like”, “alawites vs Sunnis”.
The Syrian government as most of the world’s governments is a complex entity consisting of people who are honest, other corrupted, other neutral etc.. Some have a vision for their countries, some for their pocket, some no vision at all.
A government is also an organic entity and its cohesion depends on many components, internal and to some degrees external. Syria, like most closed countries, have a ‘opaque’ government whose functioning is not well understood in the West. Thus, the West applies the cliches of the ‘dictator’ giving orders and the others obey or die. Then they are confused to see that it does not work like that.
Any government is more that the sum of its members and as long as the cohesion exists among the majority, some deadwood won’t matter.
If Manaf had not defected, I would have never known much about him except he was the son of a Minister who was involved in the Hama repression. I am sure there are more Manafs in Arab governments than in western countries as often Arab governments relies on family or tribes members for their perpetuation. Many politicians in Arab countries are the sons and daughters of politicians or previous rulers.
Most people in the Middle east (and I think in the world) trust a leader for his personality more than his deeds. A face and a voice get more response than a brilliant silent mind.
While I trust many of the people that are around Bashar for their lucidity, determination and intelligence, I am sure there are many around him who are negative forces.
Bashar al Jaafari has appeared to be a coherent and logical man in his interventions. That’s all I know about him. I trust what he said and how he said it.
Yet, there is no eternal love in politics. Things change, opinions evolve, events happen that may unveil sides of a personality no one expected and any government, as an organic entity, may be attacked by a deadly virus that may precipitate its fall.
Then the rest of the judgment is instinctive and personal.
I can’t stand Ghaliun, you like him, etc….

The most important is to look at the overall situation, where it can go and how it can go for the best of the Syrians.
Until now, after 15 months, the opposition has not proposed any alternative or any personality that has triggered trust and confidence among the Syrians. Until that happens, the Syrian government will stay and with what it learned during these tragic events may evolve gradually and should work to correct the grave mistakes it did before the rebellion and during the rebellion.

July 10th, 2012, 9:23 am


bronco said:

#32 SL

But never mind. Things will move on, bigger issues will take over and Manaf Tlas will fade out of the picture. Watch.

I am glad you finally agree with what Sharmine Narwani: Manaf Tlass is a Syrian Pistachio in Paris, not more.

July 10th, 2012, 9:31 am


zoo said:

In repeating the same song, is the SNC not aware it will get another louder NIET?

Syrian opposition urges Moscow to support sanctions resolution

The Syrian National Council (SNC) expects Russia to back the UN Security Council resolution on Syria allowing the use of force and sanctions. “Now Russia must join other UNSC members in supporting the demands put forward by the other Security Council states,” member of the SNC General Secretariat Najib Ghadbian said in Moscow on Tuesday. Bassma Kodmani, a member of the SMC Executive Board, stressed that the Syrian opposition is united in its desire to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Opposiiton leaders also said that the cretaion of the transitional government is not on the agenda now. They noted the regime change in Syria will not undermine Moscow’s position in the country.

July 10th, 2012, 9:43 am


zoo said:

Russia sends naval flotilla to Syrian port: report

MOSCOW – Agence France-Presse

Russia has sent a naval flotilla of six warships led by an anti-submarine destroyer to its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, the Interfax news agency reported today.

The Admiral Chabanenko and three landing craft have left their home port of Severomorsk in the Arctic Circle on their way to the Mediterranean where they will be joined by the Russian patrol ship Yaroslav Mudry as well as an assistance vessel, a military source told the agency.

July 10th, 2012, 10:39 am


zoo said:

Death threats from who? He was on house arrest.
Tlass unlikely to join FSA or the SNC– Source

By Mohamed Nassar

Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat – The family of Syrian army defector, Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, is extremely angry regarding Bashar al-Assad’s targeting of their home town of Rastan. This is reportedly one of the reasons that led to his defection from the al-Assad regime, but not the only one. A well-informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Tlass had been subject to several death threats leading up to his defection, and it was this that ultimately led him to flee Syria. Tlass had also been marginalized in the months leading up to his defection, being placed under house arrest by the al-Assad regime.

A source close to the Tlass family informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Tlass’s defection from the Syrian regime army was expected, adding “I do not believe that he left to lead or fight a war against Bashar al-Assad.” The source claimed that Tlass had left the country to protect his own life, after he had received numerous death threats. The source stressed “it is not likely that he will join the FSA or Syrian National Council [SNC].”

As for how a senior officer like Brigadier General Manaf Tlass was able to leave the country, the source told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Manaf, as a soldier, cannot leave Syria except with the permission of his direct commanding officer, and I personally do not know how he was able to leave.”

July 10th, 2012, 10:44 am


Tara said:

Tlass family would not jeopardize their lives for a cause…I agree that he would not join the FSA. His defection is only important in encouraging more defections and in the humiliation it caused the regime (as SL already stated).

After the revolution succeeds, and if Tlass family offered no material or intelligence support to the revolution, their wealth and crimes against humanity should be investigated. They should work very hard on cleaning up their reputation from now on, otherwise justice needs to be served in their case too.

July 10th, 2012, 10:56 am


aldendeshe said:

“……….What is the difference between Bashar thinking and AlDendeshi thinking, no difference, no respect for freedom seeker ……”

Freedom seekers!!!! Holly KAKA, Have you seen some of the 10,000 genocide videos collected from Syria. Yeah Syrians believed the freedom seeking mission, that is why the handful they march and clap like zombies in the streets do it for living. I wonder if the cash stopped how many hours your freedom seeking mission will stay on. But judgment is coming from heaven, not the undersea base in Bab Almandab.

“………….., he call them conspirators,and he does not believe in democracy, people to him, as he said, are sheep and worthless.SNP is not a party , it is a gang made with very few people,no more than twenty, probably much less, sadistic,it makes me feel sick……….”

No, neither Syrians believe in deception and lies, false promises, mankind is intelligent nowadays and will not fall for scam artists, fraudulent genocidal criminals, paid by foreigners and Syria’s enemies to destroy Syria and Syrian enemies. They already trusted Baathist and failed. They can see that all that is offered is blood sacrifices and rituals for a demonic entity, not genuine drive to freedom and democracy. Nothing ever, presented to Syrians that show that this mission is legitimate. That is why majority of Syrians chosen an Alawi, Bashar Assad than your gang of 20 Syrian front man/ face for an international gang of genocidal Islamic terrorists and murderer.

38. Tara said:
It is a one-man party… Sorry Aldendeshe, but it is quite obvious.
Aldendeshe at times expressed some ideas brilliantly and bluntly.

2 3

I am proud that despite espionage and spying by Israelis and others since 1988 they managed to get that much of info only. It must be really frustrating. The one man show, only wish I can be as good as Amen (the hidden one), convincing you not only SNP do not exist, but that I don’t even exist. Calling you conspiracy theorist for just even thinking that I am real..From now on my name is AMENDASHI a legend found on internet inscriptions, a myth.


July 10th, 2012, 11:04 am


omen said:

disappeared again! what’s happened to our moderator?
let’s try this one more time:

Brig. Tlas Could be consensus solution
by Mohamed H.Hamdan in Damscus

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, Syria’s NATO-member neighbor, agreed: “Every day, generals, colonels, officers are coming, and we have, I think, around 20 generals and maybe 100 high-ranking officers, colonels,” he told France 24 television.

Brigade 105 now according to well-informed source said Brigade 105 has been mixed with Maher al-Assad’s Brigade (Brigade 4) and Brigade 14 for special missions) after defecting 1200 soldier whom run away after their brig has defected between them about 43 high ranked officers – general and colonels.

does this mean the rumor uzair earlier pointed to turns out to be correct?

1,200 regime soldiers defected…

this is good news for bashar!

July 10th, 2012, 11:07 am


bronco said:

Tara #44

You are right, I think that Manaf Tlass did not defect. I think he asked Bashar to be allowed to leave to save his life threatened from all sides, including the armed opposition. In Paris, he and his family could be better protected and forgotten like Abdel Halim Khaddam.

July 10th, 2012, 11:22 am


omen said:

would we have a free palestine today if it weren’t for hafez and regime?

In 1976, the Syrian regime intervened militarily in Lebanon on the side of the Phalanges and Israel. The record is available (from Henry Kissinger’s memoirs to the memoirs of Israel leaders): Syria and Israel reached an understanding in Lebanon.

The understanding was that Syrian troops would enter Lebanon to defeat Israel’s enemies provided that the Syrian troops stay north of the Litani river.

The Syrian troops strictly adhered to the agreement all the way until their humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005. Never once did Syrian troops dare cross south of the Litani river no matter how brutal and savage Israeli attacks on South Lebanon were. The Syrian regime intervened to smash a promising revolutionary movement that would have changed the map of the Arab East.

July 10th, 2012, 11:23 am


omen said:

heard on cnn early this morning that russia agreed not to stand in the way IF the west decided on military intervention.


sc moderator, i really want to post that article. it’s being held as spam, could you clear it? I’m sorry but when it doesn’t post the first time, i make the mistake of trying again.

come to think of it, i haven’t seen him comment in a while. has he gone on vacation?

July 10th, 2012, 11:26 am


omen said:

bronco (11:22) is that your vision of assad?

bashar, the magnanimous. gracious and forgiving?

July 10th, 2012, 11:33 am


omen said:

18. ALDENDESHE said:

same with the Tlasses and Chahabi’s, they are all con-men rag-to-riches. They made it and now living free, but previous Sunni stooge for another Alawite racket run by Salah Jadid Nour Al Dine Attassi died in prison for life.

i had to look up attassi’s story. sounds like you had sympathy for the man. but the very regime you are defending committed this injustice.

what about sympathy for all of the innocent unknowns whom the regime has victimized?

some days you sound like a reformer in denouncing regime crimes. other days, you are a regime apologists. i wish you’d make up your mind.

yes, there will corruption after this regime (just as there is corruption now) but the fact that some people will gain monetarily after the regime is expelled isn’t an excuse to tolerate genocide.

July 10th, 2012, 11:58 am


bronco said:

#48 Omen


July 10th, 2012, 12:02 pm


zoo said:

Assad ready to end Syrian crisis “step by step” – Annan

Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012

President Bashar al-Assad has proposed ending Syria’s conflict “step by step,” starting with districts that have seen the worst violence, international mediator Kofi Annan told a news conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

“He made a suggestion of building an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence – to try and contain the violence in those districts and, step by step, build up and end the violence across the country,” Annan said, according to a transcript provided by the United Nations.

According to the source who attended the meeting, Annan appeared confident in being able to get rebel leaders to agree to a new ceasefire.

“We now know the main groups at least and we know those who are responsible for them. It is true that they do not have a unified command or clear structure. But we know the key people. Therefore we believe we could work with them step by step,” Annan reportedly told Assad.

July 10th, 2012, 12:10 pm


zoo said:

Syria’s deadlock can be broken only by an arms embargo

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

The priority is an arms embargo. Russia should urge Assad to withdraw his heavy weaponry from cities and release detainees if the opposition also halts its attacks. Moscow must make it clear that Russian military supplies will cease if he does not comply. Iran should make similar commitments. In order to press the rebels to compromise, the west should publicly rule out military intervention under any circumstance and urge Qatar and Saudi Arabia to stop funding the arms race.

Calling on Assad to resign as a precondition for talks has failed. His term runs to 2014 and it would be better to use the intervening time to negotiate a government of national unity that can prepare for elections to a constituent assembly and make other reforms.
In Syria it will take a greater effort just to get negotiations started. Polarisation is extreme, and oppositionists who recommend talks are denounced as regime stooges. Nor is there any certainty that Assad’s side is ready for serious concessions. But intensifying the civil war is a far less responsible option.

July 10th, 2012, 12:17 pm


omen said:

al-Assad has proposed ending Syria’s conflict “step by step,”
[…] made a suggestion of building an approach from the ground up

whatever happened to the doctrine of not negotiating with terrorists?

July 10th, 2012, 12:17 pm



@ Majed

Thanks for taking the time to respond to ALDENDESHE’s rambling post…you saved me quite a few minutes of vigorous typing.

@ ALDENDESHE, you clearly are blinded by your own subjective views on the crisis. Wake up and smell the coffee. There is a popular revolution happening in Syria. I know this for certain, as my close family members living there have told me it is real. Social media and Youtube are now exposing things that the regime used to sweep under the rug, this is undisputed.

ALDENDESHE, what has the regime done in the past 40 years? Let me list a few of their accomplishments:

-Deteriorating public schools
-Lack of standards in public healthcare; public hospitals are disgusting facilities and public doctors are grossly underpaid
-Severe misallocation of resources, especially water
-Crumbling infrastructure
-Regime cannot afford to keep electricity running continuously throughout any given day, and we are in 2012
-Mass corruption in the police
-Mass corruption in the government
-Lack of a civil service entry exam for government employees, making simple tasks like getting a license an absolute nightmare
-Lack of a legitimate tax code
-Government records and books are not digitized, and we are in 2012
-The people have not seen any of Syria’s oil revenues for the past 40 years…it has simply gone into the pockets of those in positions to abuse power
-Our Army is a joke. There is a lack of talented commanders who can lead our country in a real war. Our equipment is outdated; Syria is a graveyard of Russian weapons that are too shit to be sold to a legitimate buyer
-Rising food and commodity prices and lack of a real rise in wages has made the poor man even poorer

The list goes on, and on, and on…

And do not tell me these points are not fact…I have lived in both Syria and the US and can tell the difference

So why IN HELL should the people stick to this regime? They have done nothing but let this country slowly rot over the past 40 years…yet they still peddle their conspiracy theories to their people, telling them that everything negative that has happened to Syria is a consequence of Zionist/American theories. The people have had enough of this shit…it is time for the regime to go.

July 10th, 2012, 12:18 pm


Amjad said:

“mankind is intelligent nowadays”

Present company excluded.

“I am proud that despite espionage and spying by Israelis and others since 1988 they managed to get that much of info only”

After a week’s investigation, I’m sure the intelligence agencies in question concluded that there wasn’t much intelligence within the SNP to waste time on. We’d have better luck looking for intelligent life on Mars.

“From now on my name is AMENDASHI a legend found on internet inscriptions, a myth.”

And now SC is home to cultists and mystics. See Professor Landis, this is why free speech is such a bad idea at times 🙂

July 10th, 2012, 12:21 pm


zoo said:

After Turkey’s tougher border control, it’s the turn of Lebanon

Lebanon reinforces army deployment on border with Syria
2012-07-10 1

BEIRUT, July 10 (Xinhua) — The Lebanese cabinet that convened Monday night at Baabda Presidential Palace decided to reinforce the army deployment on the northern border with Syria and take all the necessary measures to better control the border and prevent any infiltration of armed elements into Syria.

Minister of Information Walid Daouk said following the cabinet meeting that the government approved a plan drawn by the Army command for this purpose.

He added that the Cabinet highlighted the need to boost deployment of the army along the Syrian-Lebanese border and take all necessary measures to control border areas\

July 10th, 2012, 12:25 pm


zoo said:

Libyan women : No to Islamists?

Libya elections point to a different trend

Success of liberals may be due to large number of women who refused to vote for Islamists
Gulf News
Published: 00:00 July 11, 2012

The first free elections in Libya have been a substantial success, with the voting passing off without violence and a broad acceptance of the surprising result that the liberal National Forces Alliance, led by former prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, may well win a majority in the parliament.

The elections are far from over, but it is notable that the Islamists have not done well. Preliminary reports suggest that Libya will not follow the same post-Arab Spring route as Egypt or Tunisia, where elections handed power to Islamists.

Some have attributed what seems to have happened in Libya to the personal standings of liberal leader Jibril and his good performance as prime minister in the immediate aftermath of the revolution.

Others have looked to large number of women who were worried that they might lose the high standing that they held under Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorial but secular regime.

July 10th, 2012, 12:34 pm


jna said:

Minutes of Assad-Annan new truce deal

…The UN envoy asked Assad, “Should we make progress on the security front, would you be able to name your representative for the negotiations with the opposition – a sort of liaison officer to see through the second chapter of the UN mission?”

Dr. Ali Haidar
Assad smiled and replied instantaneously: “Before you even asked, and since formation of the current government, we decided on the person to be in charge of this matter. He is our minister of state for national reconciliation affairs, Dr. Ali Haidar.”

When Annan wanted to know more about Dr. Haidar, Assad explained the reasons for his selection, saying: “One, because he is not from the loyalist camp. Two, he is effectively from the opposition and heads a credible opposition party. Three, he was injured during the events and his son was killed by armed rebels. But he was able to overcome all this and accept the job of working for a genuine national reconciliation.”

Annan remarked, “But we would have preferred the nomination of someone closer to you — someone who would be in direct contact with you to bring the dialogue process to completion.”

Assad smiled again, telling Annan: “Dr. Haidar and I shared adjoining desks throughout my university years specializing in ophthalmology. Do you want someone closer than that? Anyway, I think your greater difficulty will be on the other side, not on ours. Will you be able to get a name to represent the opposition?”

July 10th, 2012, 12:38 pm


omen said:

an economist cautions against the admiring the rich and powerful:

This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. That wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which are due only to wisdom and virtue; and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often most unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages.

–Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

July 10th, 2012, 12:50 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I know you for several years now. You have been banned here on SC several times, you managed to come back with different names , and then you were discovered and banned again.
Dendashi, please stop being bombastic, soon you will burst. and stop accusation, this is defensive trait indicate weakness, you know me for long time I am Musslem Sunni, but I am not muslem brother member, you obviously stated that you have no religion, this means you have no religious morality, and not afraid of God, thus you are dangerous person, you don’t believe in freedom, you don’t believe in dignity and equality among different people and sects,you made it clear as you posted under different names, that you live with no friends,lonely person,no one ever accepted your weird ideas.
I have no desire of engaging in dialogue with you, you don’t worth the time.

July 10th, 2012, 1:28 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Do you think Assad idea about applying Annan plan step by step will fool the opposition, he does not have an army that can oppress people revolting all over Syria, his army is getting tired and he has not enough troops to send them all over Syria at one time, his weakness is emanating from the fact that trouble areas are widespread all over the country, he would love to isolate them so he can destroy them one by one.
this is not acceptable, and we are not going to get tricked.

July 10th, 2012, 1:34 pm


Uzair8 said:

I’m assuming the regime has released/leaked these minutes of the Annan meating as they were deemed favourable to the regime.

Annan should retaliate and release minutes from a previous meeting which may embarrass the regime and show it’s stupidity. Maybe someone in the Annan camp can release them to allow Annan to deny direct blame.

Anyway, it’s obvious Assad is referring to Qatar.

July 10th, 2012, 1:48 pm


jna said:

The opposition has become so infatuated with guns they will never put them down, no matter how many Syrians are dying, unless their outside suppliers harshly tell them they have to or else.

July 10th, 2012, 1:49 pm


Uzair8 said:


Prof Landis has included in the main post a mention of the 1200 defectors from Brigade 105.

Recently I have seen updates of tank loss videos carry a number which increase in sequence. I suspect this may be some kind of tally count. I’ll try and find out. Last I saw It was either 113 or 130.

Moving on.

Videos of tanks/BMP’s are trickling in daily. Yesterday I read a tweet mentioning a claim that FSA are destroying a hundred tanks/BMP’s a week.

I know Debka is a joke and I don’t believe it. A couple of days ago Debka was quoted elsewhere claiming that so far 500 tanks/BMP’s had been destroyed.

Another point.

I mention regularly how the regime forces will become exhausted during this summer and with Ramadan coming along.

Actually, it seems the regime is aware of it’s limitations including lack of manpower and the risk of exhaustion. That’s probably one of the reasons why it is shelling areas from a distance. Soldiers just stand around and fire their cannons. Not much running around. Ok occasionally tanks may be sent in and men may leave tanks/BMP’s and go on foot.

July 10th, 2012, 1:59 pm


Halabi said:

I agree with Majed. The armed opposition have been confiscating more tanks and heavy weapons, as well as re-engineering guns that are stripped from destroyed tanks. The regime will not fall due to these individual events, but over time, the FSA and other groups that are broadly supported by the local population will be able to maintain control of territory and chip away at Assad’s forces.

Of course the delusional said in February that the FSA is over, Baba Amr is pacified, etc. The reality is that the revolution can’t be quelled by shelling, torture, mass detention, massacres, propaganda and force. After all this pain and decades of oppression, the Syrians who support the revolution have nothing to lose and dignity and freedom to gain.

Assad’s soldiers are dying in order to continue to live in tyranny, while their lord is occupying himself with buying small printers for his female workers.

July 10th, 2012, 2:02 pm


Uzair8 said:


‘Moving on’ should be after the first sentence.

Still had editing time but it seems there is a limit of ~3 editing attempts. (?)

July 10th, 2012, 2:10 pm


omen said:

63. uzair8

i saw that earlier and tried to post your earlier rumor connecting the two asking if this was confirmation. (but the format isn’t cooperating and my posts are disappearing.)

why isn’t this news on aljazeera english?

July 10th, 2012, 2:13 pm


omen said:

62. jna

the majority of arms the rebels are obtaining are coming from the regime itself. corrupt officers are emptying out the arsenal!

July 10th, 2012, 2:17 pm


Aldendeshe said:


I am too busy to respond to sore loser comments. We need to get Assad, Ahmadinejad and Lavrov our policy and position paper ready. We are not Zionist paid mercenaries who sells our face and name for cheap, so they can hide their crimes against humanity and murdurous activities, try to destroy Syria disguised behind the bought up and paid for Syrian faces.

July 10th, 2012, 2:19 pm


Antoine said:

167. Aldendeshe said:

“They are not Syrians!!!!! Either Jewish or Americans or both. All they do is brag, threaten, give altimatums and FIZZLE-POP-FART-FIZZLE. WHAT ARE YOU WAITNG FOR IF YOU READY. Assad is not buying your bluff, lets roll if you are ready. Maybe then we can in fact put and end to this slughter, negotiate a peaceful resolution, after he decimate you and the remnant go back to live in Herzalia camps like Lebanon Lahd Traitors.”


I am glad to tell you that FSA and LCC grassroots opposition in places like Homs, Hama, Idleb, Reef Halab, Deirezzor, daraa, Reef Dimashq, share the exact same attitudes and vision with that of SNP ;

No compromise with any regime element , F.U to the international community and its efforts to shaoe the “Syrian crisis” to its own advantage, total disregard for any international opinion or solutions or any international ( Western , Russian or Arab) initiative and utter contempt for these interests, faith only in their own GUNS and their capability and skill in using those Guns, infact we still asking Assad to face us in a pure military confrontation testing only pure military skills and capabilities on indivudal basis.

Moreover neither FSA nor LCC have any intention to accept the tutelage or advice of any external actors, even today FSA spokesmen openly call Turkey and Saudi traitors and gutless when needed.

FSA creates situations, does not react to them.

Now better ask the SNP team leader to get in touch with FSA leaders in al Qusayr, Homs and al Atareb, Reef Halab. If he is capable of looking them in the eye, that is.

July 10th, 2012, 2:21 pm


Antoine said:

68. Aldendeshe said:

“I am too busy to respond to sore loser comments. We need to get Assad, Ahmadinejad and Lavrov our policy and position paper ready. faces”


Better send that policy paper to FSA Agha in Qusayr-Homs and Atareb-Aleppo and in Deirezzor, than to those losers. It will be more effective, trust me. Go to the Agha and see what he can do for you.

July 10th, 2012, 2:24 pm


Antoine said:

Here is a video for you Aldendeshe :

Someone please explain the contents of the video to our SNP friend, since he doesn’t click on embedded links for security reason.

July 10th, 2012, 2:28 pm


Uzair8 said:

66 Omen

Lol.. seeing the above repetition of the rumoured defection makes one wonder whether there may be some substance to it. However I don’t know how trustworthy or reliable the above author is.

If AJE does report it that would be a different matter. Hope they do.

Also Omen.

You asked me earlier about the rebels targeting surrendering Assad forces.

That would be wrong. Surely sincere attempts to surrender should be accepted and the individuals imprisoned?

I wonder if for example a well known notorious Shabeeha with (confirmed) much blood on his hands surrendered, what would the rebels do?

Anyway, it’s for the rebel leadership to instruct and guide their men in the correct behaviour. Also scholars can remind them too.

July 10th, 2012, 2:29 pm


omen said:

this one?

FSA‬ are now destroying a total of about 100 ‪Assad‬ Regime tanks – inclusive of BMP’s – each week

July 10th, 2012, 2:31 pm


Uzair8 said:

73 Omen

Yes that’s the tweet.

It seems an exaggeration. Then again….?

Anyway. I’m posting too much. Lol. If I come across anything worth sharing I’ll post again later.

July 10th, 2012, 2:38 pm


omen said:

footage of the “training exercise” had regime forces firing katyusha rockets. frightening how many missiles it fires within minutes. but i’m told they lack accuracy.

July 10th, 2012, 2:42 pm


Aldendeshe said:

73. omen said:
this one?
FSA‬ are now destroying a total of about 100 ‪Assad‬ Regime tanks – inclusive of BMP’s – each week

Destroying the Syrian army for Israel benefits. Is that what is called ENEMY MERCENARIES. Did you notice that FSA Frontman looks a lot like Lebanon’s LAHD, and I can assure you he will ends up in an Israeli village being called and shouted insults names by local Jews.

Anyway, Assad has no need for these tanks for future wars, utterly useless hunk of metals. They are good for remodeling Syrian towns. Syria will enter not fourth but Seventh generation warfare techniques and so as Iran and Russia. There is no tanks and armored vehicles, the soldiers sits in deep bunkers and watch the autonomous CRAFTS destination and action on flat screen monitors, in pin stripped suite and ties, sipping tea.

July 10th, 2012, 2:48 pm


Aldendeshe said:

They lost the war on the battlefield and are waging a virtual one now. NOW What… the Mossad trained and Guntanamo grads cry babies suffered serious mental disorder in the rear action? Bailed out to nearest RAMAT BEIT SHALOM Mental Hospital.

July 10th, 2012, 2:55 pm


Antoine said:

72. UZAIR8 said :

“You asked me earlier about the rebels targeting surrendering Assad forces.

That would be wrong. Surely sincere attempts to surrender should be accepted and the individuals imprisoned?”


FSA has different standards for different categories of Assad Forces.

FSA can’t always bear the financial and logisitical burden of food, clothing and living space for all those prisoners, nor can it afford to let them loose. Usually FSA prefer traditional Syrian mediation between FSA and family of prisoner, with adequate safeguards. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made and they have to be killed.

July 10th, 2012, 2:57 pm


Antoine said:

75. OMEN said :
“footage of the “training exercise” had regime forces firing katyusha rockets. frightening how many missiles it fires within minutes. but i’m told they lack accuracy.”


They’re BM-21 Grad rockets, not Katyusha. Homs and Rastan already got a good taste of it. But nice fact is 70 % of Syrian Grad units do not have logistical and operational capability to fire 40 rockets in 2 minutes. Very poor logistics and planning the Syrian Army has, achilles heel in fact.

But the Grad rockets are accurate when backed up by good surveillance / observation of targets and well-skilled operators.

FSA has learned to make the Grad rocket militarily irrelevant.

But they are still very dangerous for civilians.

July 10th, 2012, 3:03 pm


Aldendeshe said:


“….Better send that policy paper to FSA Agha in Qusayr-Homs..”

Agha can’t be working for Mossad, he is fake, and just lets pretend that SHE is for real, Assad army of AGHAOUAT is going to get to HER before my policy paper reach HER. DEADMAN DON”T READ and neither DEADWOMAN.

July 10th, 2012, 3:04 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

If the fight is close to the end , then you may take prisoners,earlier prisoners are hinderous,you have to protect them, move them with you,and feed them, it is difficult to do that.

July 10th, 2012, 3:08 pm


omen said:

the sister of jihad makdissi? regime mouthpiece?

my brother is not only quiet to the atrocities of the ‪Baath‬ regime but he plays a vital role in keeping it intact, im ashamed for ‪Syria‬

July 10th, 2012, 3:14 pm


Antoine said:

76. ALDENDESHE said :

“Did you notice that FSA Frontman looks a lot like Lebanon’s LAHD,”

Antoine Lahd was in total effective command of all SLA forces in Lebanon, whereas Riad al Asaad is only a face who doesn’t even command a single FSA platoon. Lahd was backed up by full Israeli support for most of 20 years, including latest weaponry, tactics and training, no shortage of ammunition and weapons supplies, money, or food. Whereas FSA steal everything from the regime and smuggle what they can from Lebanon and Iraq.

76. ALDENDESHE said : “and I can assure you he will ends up in an Israeli village being called and shouted insults names by local Jews”

If Assad or anyone else was up to that task, they would have managed to catch or kill a single known low ranking FSA commander inside Syria, whose locations inside Syria are well known as well. Till today they have not managed to capture or kill even one FSA commander in Homs or Idleb, forget about Riad al Asaad, who is not important anyway.

And even Riad Asaad had the guts to criticise Turkey or KSA and declare Tlass as wanted criminal on FSA list.

July 10th, 2012, 3:14 pm


Antoine said:

“Assad army of AGHAOUAT is going to get to HER before my policy paper reach HER”


Lol the same way FSA boys in Harasta managed to get to Faraj al Maqt and Shalabi-whats-his-name before their orders managed to reach them ?

July 10th, 2012, 3:18 pm


Aldendeshe said:

“….they would have managed to catch or kill a single known low ranking FSA commander inside Syria,…”

Well, that is obvious, they are not inside Syria. The commanders are foreigners working for foreign intelligence services that are after destroying Syria and dividing it into cantoons for Israel benefit.

July 10th, 2012, 3:32 pm


Antoine said:


Names, what are the names, and place of birth, of the Aghawat Assad you are talking about ? Better still if you can show photos and family details. Occupation of father, full profile of family. So FSA can know where to send the shroud. All of them, how many of them are there, to start with ?

Are these the Aghawat you are talking about :

Give it up dude, join FSA and save Syria.

July 10th, 2012, 3:34 pm


Aldendeshe said:

@ANTOINE in #84

I am sorry, that is a bunch of Arabic jeberish that I can’t understand. I did not study Arabic at ALCIADA Language Institute, nor RAMAT HABOLEME HAMASHAT KHAKHANEH Language school in KIRIAT SHALOMEEN HABONEH MASHAHAT near JERUSHALEM…Where Jesus walked, what a nive Christian town, the capital of the Christian world, where Jesus will rule from it soon.

July 10th, 2012, 3:38 pm


omen said:

(3:32) your racist fear mongering is getting children slaughtered, amendashi:

the children of mazra’at al-qubair.

these children…it’s the al hula massacre, but now in mazra’at al qubair, in the village of ma’arzaf.

hey arabs, look! hey muslims, look! is this what a terrorist looks like?

these torched corpses…

hey kofi annan, look!

hey nabil … look!

look at this woman, nabil.

this woman is a simple shepherd.

and these children had just come out of school. this little girl.

and these torched bodies, too!

arabs – look! this body over here. she’s holding two children in her arms. it’s as if they’re nothing but firewood.

arabs, muslims — look!


these are the children, and this is the mother.

she’s holding her children tight. she was holding them tight when their home was shelled.

decent people — look.

oh humankind, oh world, oh muslims — look!

arabs, foreigners, westerners…was this little child a terrorist?

was this child conspiring with israel?

this child’s name was murhaf. he died with that name.

and with that name he shall meet his maker.

was this child some israeli collaborator? was this child attacking the arab nation?

an entire family! murhaf, his sister shayma, and his brother muhammad.

and this is his other brother ali.

young children, all.

this is a massacre, the al qubair massacre. in the village of ma’arzaf.

oh muslims…and this here is his brother faris. all of them, from a single family.

that family has been annihilated to the last. this is his cousin ibrahim.

and this is another sister of his: ftaym.

and this is his mother. this is the mother, and these are her five children.

arabs, muslims — look!

nabil elaraby — look! kofi annan — look!

oh muslims, look at this! sunnis, shi’ites, druze, turkmens — look!

and this is the old grandmother. the grandmother of these ten children.

her name was hajja hmayra.

there is no strength, and no help, but in god almighty.

god is enough for us; he is the best protector,” …

we seek help only from god, exalted and sublime.

July 10th, 2012, 3:38 pm


Antoine said:

85. ALDENDESHE said :

“Well, that is obvious, they are not inside Syria. The commanders are foreigners working for foreign intelligence services that are after destroying Syria and dividing it into cantoons for Israel benefit.”


Well the regime announced Abdel Razzak Tlass death in February, seems Israelis managed to resurrect him from the dead, no ?

July 10th, 2012, 3:41 pm


Aldendeshe said:

“…Give it up dude, join FSA and save Syria….”

I will do anything to save Syria if someone presents me with valid plan. By the way, are the FSA pay checks issued from Bank LEUMI or the new BCCI?

July 10th, 2012, 3:43 pm


Uzair8 said:

#78 and #81 Antoine and Majed

You’re both probably right. I shouldn’t have said outright it was wrong and I knew at the time. I was just keeping the answer short and avoiding saying anything that might be controversial or get in trouble with mods. Also trying to keep the moral highground.

I should have avoided that question from Omen and left it to more knowledgable people than me to answer it, such as scholars or rebel leadership. 🙂

July 10th, 2012, 3:44 pm


Antoine said:

87. ALDENDESHE said :

“Where Jesus walked, what a nive Christian town, the capital of the Christian world, where Jesus will rule from it soon”


Palestinians, the original Christian people will rule from it soon, not neurotic Syrian racists, the same people SNP wanted to kick out of Lebanon.

And Dandashy family will again have to buy meat from the butcher in Mahatta at high prices and have to listen to them asking Dandashy family to open their safe where they accumulated their wealth for the last 500 years.

July 10th, 2012, 3:47 pm


omen said:

81. MAJEDKHALDOUN said: Uzair8
If the fight is close to the end , then you may take prisoners,earlier prisoners are hinderous,you have to protect them, move them with you,and feed them, it is difficult to do that.

regime soldiers won’t surrender if they fear rebels won’t allow them to. that increases the difficulty of the battle. it’s in the rebels interests to encourage surrender.

maybe these incidences, described by reporter david enders, of rebels killing soldiers who attempted to surrender, where a rarity, an exception to the rule.

it seems like this kind of cooperation is more the case:

via telegraph:

every attack we make, we already know that many soldiers in the target will defect,” said the commander of Der Tezzah.

In the string of villages visited by The Daily Telegraph in northern Aleppo province, defectors held the key to military success.

July 10th, 2012, 3:57 pm


Antoine said:

“I will do anything to save Syria if someone presents me with valid plan”


Join FSA grassroots structure, try to bring anything extra you have, have patience and keep fighting, FSA has friends and that friend is an IDEA not some INDIVIDUALS, keep fighting until more and more trickle defections keep happening until the ordinary Alawites realize that its time to sign up for a Atwah and surrender the war criminals.

60 % of Syrians want to uproot the regime from root and branch, while the rest 40 % is being foolish.

FSA and their supporters can eat grass and survive on grass and keep fighting for another 20 years rather than bow their head to Baathist-Effendiya dictatorship. They will rather sleep on the street than see the red-white-black Flag with 2 stars in their city or village. Now ask whether the Aghawat are prepared to eat grass rather than accept an Atwah, infact whether they are prepared even to give up their whisky.

From the beginning the protesters in Daraa and Homs had a very valid simple plan, REFORM and get rid of the Baathist security and intelligecne apparatus, stop building Husseiniyeh all over Syria, stop shielding Atef Najib, Rustam Ghazaleh, Maher Assad and their likes, lets allow free and equal oppportunities for all.

Assad did not agree with it, 90 % of the blame lies with Assad, FSA has been forced to blow up Syrian Tanks because Assad did not take Daraa and Homs seriously.

July 10th, 2012, 4:01 pm


zoo said:

An Alawite State in Syria?

Franck Salameh
July 10, 2012

Many Middle East analysts view Syria through one lens: a troubled state in need of regime change. But recent events indicate that a new paradigm is needed—one that accepts that the Alawite drive for communal survival may preclude survival of the present Syrian state.
No longer able to rule in the name of Arab unity (and in the process preserve their own ethnic and sectarian autonomy), the Alawites may retreat into the Levantine highlands overlooking the Mediterranean. The area in question is a sanctuary that the Alawites called home for centuries and which the French helped them create and protect as an autonomous “ethnic state” during the first half of the twentieth century.

By no means will the population of this new Alawite state be homogeneous, but its Alawite element will be an overwhelming majority that is well prepared to stand up and be counted. What’s more, the largely Christian coastal regions of Tartous and Latakia have remained “neutral” throughout the uprisings—and have in effect signaled (even if tacitly) their acquiescence in an Alawite-dominated state. Furthermore, the buffer zones of Masyaf and Cadmus to the east are home to a large Ismaili community, which has thus far remained loyal to the Alawites. Heading northeast, beyond the Turko-Syrian border town of Idlib, the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) seems to have already begun establishing the foundations of autonomous rule, with Alawite blessings and encouragement. Though its industrial resources are quite limited, this projected Alawite region benefits from a well-developed infrastructure, rich arable highlands, fertile coastal plains, abundant water sources, Syria’s only deep-water harbors—Tartous and Latakia—and an international airport that would make an emerging state self-sufficient and supremely defensible.

July 10th, 2012, 4:21 pm


Aldendeshe said:

Looks like the skermish is over. Lonely underpaid guy like me can get some grub now.

July 10th, 2012, 4:44 pm


Tara said:

Analysis – Syria crisis shows limits of rising Turkish power

By Alistair Lyon
ANKARA | Mon Jul 9, 2012 11:12am BST
(Reuters) – Turkey’s bark seems worse than its bite.

Ask the Syrians, who shot down a Turkish reconnaissance jet on June 22 and got away with it.
Ask the Israelis, who killed nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in 2010, and got away with it. Turkey threatened to send its navy to protect future flotillas to Gaza, but never followed through.
“Whatever the prime minister said at the time of the Mavi Marmara incident, he said the same thing today. If you bluff, you lose your deterrence internationally,” Kilicdaroglu said.

July 10th, 2012, 5:04 pm


anwar said:

it is well known that the only reason Assad is still in power is Israel. The moment they decide they can do without him he will be dumped.

I actually felt a little bad for the child killer during his interview full of stuttering about lunatic conspiracies. I really think he is nothing more than puppet for the rest of his family, army guys and elite alawites who are all puling the strings.

July 10th, 2012, 5:06 pm


Tara said:


“Yet, there is no eternal love in politics. Things change, opinions evolve, events happen that may unveil sides of a personality no one expected and any government, …”

Beautiful response but so far has had no meaning on the ground.  If true, may I ask, what else could happen that would make you withhold your support?  

Bronco,  haven’t we seen all?  Torture, subjugation, humiliation, beating the elderly, slashing the throat of children, gang rape, beating intellectuals,  burying people alive,  slashing throat of singers and breaking fingers of artists, corruption, using of public funds,  forcing people to kneel to Bashar’s picture, forcing people to say no God except Bashar…using Israel security to persuade the west not go intervene…what else can possibly happen that would change your mind.

July 10th, 2012, 5:24 pm


Uzair8 said:

Forgive me for posting another unverified tweet and I’ll try to avoid doing so, however, this follows the discussion above.

We were talking earlier about the claim the FSA are destroying a hundred tanks/BMP’s a week and whether this was an exaggeration.

Well this latest tweet is an example, if it is to be believed, that gives possibility to such claims which would require an average of ~14 destroyed per day.

Activists reporting #FSA managed to destroy 6 #Assad tanks on Maarin road #Syria

July 10th, 2012, 5:53 pm


bronco said:


If the opposition and their leaders show that they are are free from dubious foreign influences, that they are not motivated by the spirit of personal revenge and most of all that they can show a group of people that Syrians can identify with and trust to make the change worth the pain, then I may reconsider my views.

Until now they just failed in all these points. The SNC turned out to be a paranoiac circus, the FSA is funded and motivated by two undemocratic and revengeful Arab countries, they are supported by Turkey obsessed by spreading their ‘moderate business’ Moslem Brotherhood ideology, and by the USA and its allies who only want to weaken Iran and protect Israel.
How can I trust an opposition that is totally endebted and subjugated to these countries?
Until now, the Syrian government, despite all its excesses, is much more independent and therefore more credible.

July 10th, 2012, 6:43 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

It is becoming increasingly unpleasant to drive tanks in Syria.

Is this tanks convoy projecting power?

Moral boost or eroding moral among the junta loyalists?

Assad to Annan “when we give you our word on a ceasefire we become accountable to you”.

Ceasefire with terrorists and armed foreign gangs? Didn’t Bashar just say he’s at war? Begging for a ceasefire just one week after announcing war?
Does this have to do with the dwindling number of tanks and military equipment?

July 10th, 2012, 7:22 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

The Free Syrian Army declared that his forces are ready to take over Damascus,They have 30,000 soldiers, along with officers and soldiers who are ready to join,and most of Damascus residents, to do the job, The pro Assad troops must prepare themselves, their fate is coming soon, There will be surprises, Assad has to run away, probably outside Syria, but if he decided to stay, we will not bury him there, not in Damascus, not in Qurdaha either,Hopefully I will be there too, I am preparing to go back to Antakia next month,hopefully from there I will,get to Damascus.


July 10th, 2012, 7:40 pm


omen said:

who wants to be a gunner now?

fsa sniper takes one out.

July 10th, 2012, 7:45 pm


anwar said:

so u are willing to side with corrupt criminals because the opposition isn’t to your liking.

Indeed revenge seems like such a strange emotion especially when your house gets bombed, children killed and wife raped. Truly an overreaction. These people should simply go on with their lives. Maybe create a facebook page ? But I think even that is pushing a bit and will not please your master much.

How dare the opposition ask for foreign support? After all they are fighting a very evenly matched battle against the noble syrian army and “friends”. Of course I am referring to Russia and Iran, very dear friends to the Syrian people and a model for democracy and free speech.

And you are definitely right about the lack of structure and organization in the opposition. It is simply too chaotic. One would think that one year of preparation vs a regime that barely had 40 years to settle in would be enough. I don’t know maybe they need more printers ??

July 10th, 2012, 7:46 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Driving a tank in Syria becomes nasty

July 10th, 2012, 7:54 pm



Comment # 106 of majedkhaldoun is the best comment I ever read on this blog.

July 10th, 2012, 7:56 pm


bronco said:


so u are willing to side with corrupt criminals because the opposition isn’t to your liking.

If you work with “liking” or not ‘liking’, I don’t. Many in the the opposition have shown that they are greedy for power, confused by religion and ethnicity, hateful and corrupted, even before they had any chance to grab the “throne”.

If, contrary to Tunisia and Egypt who had 40 years of dictatorship, the Syrian opposition need more years to learn fom their ‘friends’ how to get organized, maybe they should postpone their ‘revolution’ until the time they are ready or they get more printers.

July 10th, 2012, 8:01 pm


Ghufran said:

Comment # 106 is a form of black comedy echoed by the cheerleader # 110
it is a sad expression of how messed up the Syrian situation is today. FSA does not have 30,000 soldiers who are ready to take Damascus,most of armed men around Damascus are on the run and should consider giving men with cooler heads a chance to save lives instead of thinking about the best way to kill fellow syrians. Opposing Assad royal family and his regime does not mean starting a blood bath in Damascus,most Damascenes will not take part in the fight,they will stay home and try to keep their kids safe.
Time not Internet jihad will tell if my words,or their words,are right or wrong,Bashar will eventually depart but Damascus and Syria will not,meanwhile,patriotic syrians should work to spare lives not ignite an evil wave of vengeance and violence,you should be ashamed of yourselves.

July 10th, 2012, 8:12 pm


Syrialover said:

Putin, ignoring his own stance that “outsiders should not get involved in Syria’s problems”


Two destroyers and three amphibious landing vessels carrying marines set sail from Russian bases in the Arctic and the Black Sea, according to Russian military sources.

Russia’s defence ministry insisted that the mission was part of a previously scheduled exercise in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea and at least one of the vessels in the flotilla has patrolled waters off Syria earlier this year.

But Western diplomats say the purpose of the mission is to show tangible support for Mr Assad, to warn the West against military intervention in Syria and to prepare for the possible evacuation of Russian nationals from the country.

It was unclear whether the ships were carrying weapons supplies or large numbers of marines.

July 10th, 2012, 8:17 pm


omen said:

95. ZOO said: An Alawite State in Syria?

poetic justice would be to resettle regimists to the ruins of homs.

July 10th, 2012, 8:32 pm


Syrialover said:


Aldendeshe will only join the FSA if he can be absolute, absolute boss, and every member swears to spend 3 hours a day listening to all his special beliefs and theories.

July 10th, 2012, 8:34 pm


zoo said:

There will be hell to pay for NATO’s Holy War
By Pepe Escobar

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is running out of rhetorical ammunition in the US’s Holy War against Syria.

Washington, London and Paris have tried – twice – to twist the UN Security Council into yet another war. They were blocked by Russia and China. So plan B was to bypass the UN and launch a NATO war. Problem is NATO has no stomach – and no funds – for a very risky war with a country that can actually defend itself.

Thus plan C is to bet on a prolonged civil war, using the Far-from-Free Syrian Army (FSA), crammed with mercenaries and jihadists, and the band of opportunistic exiles known as the Syrian National Council (SNC).

The SNC has actually called for a Libya-style no-fly zone over Syria – shorthand for a NATO war. Turkey also formally asked NATO for a no-fly zone. NATO commanders may be inept – but they have a certain amount of experience with major embarrassment (see Afghanistan). They flatly refused it.

The SNC – and the FSA – could not be more un-representative. The “Friends of Syria” – as in Hillary and the Arab stooges – barely acknowledge the existence of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), the main indigenous opposition movement in Syria, composed of 13 political parties, mostly from the Left, Arab nationalists and including one Kurdish party. The NCB firmly denounces any form of militarization and totally dismisses the FSA.
As for China, it’s laughing about Hillary’s desperation all the way to the bank. As the House of Saud becomes ever more paranoid with what it sees as the Obama administration flirting with democracy in the Arab world, Beijing jacked up trade ties by delivering a bunch of new missiles to Riyadh.
In a nutshell; the whole Holy War syndrome is accelerating the end of the US dollar as global reserve currency. And when it happens, will there be an American Spring? Or will US elites – like the Mob – have the guts, and the muscle, to force Russia and China to pay the price?

July 10th, 2012, 8:39 pm


Tara said:

اتفاق الأسد وأنان: هدنة جديدة وعملية سياسيّة

4.16pm: Syria: The Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, regarded as sympathetic to the Assad regime, appears to have been given the Syrian government’s minutes of the Assad-Annan meeting yesterday.

The report is in Arabic, but the ArabSaga blog has an English translation. It adds some detail to Annan’s remark earlier today about “an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence” (see 1.46pm).

“So let’s try again, let’s agree a mechanism for a ceasefire starting with any one of the (Syrian) hotspots. We can then duplicate it in another,” Annan suggested.

Once again, Assad proved fully amenable before asking his guests: “We are a state, government and official authority, which means when we give you our word on a ceasefire we become accountable to you. But who will you be negotiating with on the other side?”

At this point, Annan began answering together with Gen Mood [head of the UN observer mission, who was also present].

Annan and Mood said, “We at least got to know the major groups. We got to know their chiefs. True, they don’t have a unified command or a clear command structure. Their armed chaos is massive. But we got to know their key figures. That’s why we believe we can work and proceed with them step by step.”

Annan is then quoted as saying:

Let’s try again. Our observers would reach an agreement with the armed groups in the area where we choose to start. At the same time, we would ask for a goodwill gesture on your part in the chosen area. The gesture would see you observe a unilateral ceasefire in the designated area, of say four hours, pending the mutual ceasefire’s entry into force.

Later in the meeting, according to the report, Assad named Dr Ali Haidar, minister of state for national reconciliation affairs, as his nominee for any talks with the opposition.

Annan said he would have preferred “someone closer” to Assad, but Assad is said to have replied:

Dr Haidar and I shared adjoining desks throughout my university years specialising in ophthalmology. Do you want someone closer than that? Anyway, I think your greater difficulty will be on the other side, not on ours. Will you be able to get a name to represent the opposition?

From the Guardian blog

July 10th, 2012, 8:49 pm


irritated said:


Have’nt you yet got used to the regular burst of bloody predictions from our SC hysterical Cassandra?
It usually happens when gloom and despair makes him see the “liberating angels” flying like crows over Syria.

July 10th, 2012, 8:52 pm


zoo said:

ASIA/SYRIA – Towards Reconciliation: more than 300 fighters ready to surrender in Homs
10 July 2012
Homs (Agenzia Fides) – More than 300 fighters in the various armed factions of the Syrian opposition in Homs have agreed to surrender, to come under the protection of the interfaith People’s Committee “Mussalaha” and continue an “unarmed political opposition.” This is the result of a historic agreement promoted by the movement “Mussalaha” (“Reconciliation”), born spontaneously from Syrian civil society, which is gaining the confidence of all the warring parties, families, clans, communities, sectors of the government and armed opposition. The more than 300 armed are mostly young people who are barricaded in several streets in the old town of Homs such as Khalidiye, Jouret al shiyah, Qarabis, Hamidiyah, Bustan Diwan and surrounding areas, still besieged by the forces of the Syrian army. Overall, it is estimated that the armed fighters in that area of the old city are more than 1,000. The Committee of “Mussalaha” in Homs, which includes the Syrian Catholic priest Fr. Michel Naaman, and other Muslim religious leaders and several civil society leaders and community representatives, after a lengthy mediation effort, managed to achieve something unthinkable until yesterday. “The 300 young people ready to lay down arms are young teenagers who had decided to fight, due to the spirit and ideals of the revolution. Among them are relatives, children, friends, people that are part of Mussalaha and this has greatly facilitated dialogue and agreement. They are the children of the Syrian people,” the priest of Homs told Fides. Young people had warranties that the Syrian army, on laying down its arms, will be free and will be able to continue a “non-violent political opposition.” The Committee of “Mussalaha” will be the guarantor of their safety and freedom, in an atmosphere that wants to encourage confrontation, dialogue and reconciliation. It is not excluded, the “Mussalaha” leaders noted, that many other fighters can follow this example and come under the tutelage of the Committee for reconciliation. The main problem, note sources of Fides, is represented now by over 100 armed men who are not Syrian and are present in the area and who have no intention or possibility to qualify for this delicate operation of “internal Syrian dialogue.” They demand the involvement of the Red Cross, so this is why representatives of the CRI are alerted for a possible intervention in the mediation. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/7/2012)

July 10th, 2012, 9:02 pm


Tara said:

In regArd to #117

It appears to me that General Mood and the observes mission acted as intelligence agents that gathered information on each rebel groups in different hot spots in Syria and got to know their chiefs and their key figures. This step by step approach is concerning. Annan wants to deal with different groups in isolation which makes them at much weaker position as compared to all of them collectively. The SNC should be alert to this issue, brings it up with Annanand the rebel groups should refuse dialogue in isolation.

July 10th, 2012, 9:06 pm


Syrialover said:


Good post. I loved your list of Assad regime “accomplishments”.

You said: “I have lived in both Syria and the US and can tell the difference”.

Some commentators here can’t. They are living in the west and enjoy telling us how sinister, brutal, undemocratic, doomed and corrupt it is.

It’s a shame they are too busy with this to go back to help preserve the Assad paradise. They should blame themselves later for not acting.

July 10th, 2012, 9:14 pm


Tara said:


“If, contrary to Tunisia and Egypt who had 40 years of dictatorship, the Syrian opposition need more years to learn…”

It is not a fair comparison. The regime in Tunis and Egypt were proven not to be as ruthless and as brutal as the Syrian regime. The motto of “Assad or we will burn the country” is a Syrian invention that has no parallel in any other country.

July 10th, 2012, 9:45 pm


jna said:

The opposition (the armed part at least) and their supporters appear relentlessly adverse to every plan for a ceasefire and a democratic transition. It does not appear that the countries generally supporting the opposition have the desire or the courage to pressure the opposition to comply with the Annan plan.

One can only hope that the people of Syria will have the good sense to reject the destructiveness of the course the armed opposition is taking and begin to actively reject the insurgents presence in their midst until a mature opposition arises.

July 10th, 2012, 9:58 pm


ghufran said:

Bashar and his family are quickly becoming the main obstacle in starting a political process that may help end bloodshed in Syria,what has been missing so far is taking steps and providing guarantees to top officers and community leaders that ensure the safety and the rights of syria’s minorities if an internal coup is to be supported by those officers and leaders.
Annan will try to convince rebels to lower their demands in return for a withdrawal of the army and the appointment of a moderate regime figure to represent the regime. This plan will certainly meet stiff resistance from hardliners who want to win the fight with bullets and blood,I do not see a chance for success if Bashar stays in his position in full capacity,he needs to go in a way or the other.

July 10th, 2012, 10:53 pm


Halabi said:

The news from Saudi reads a lot like Sana in the early days (ma fi shi, khilsit and other BS). The mentality of oppression is the same in the kingdom and Assad’s Syria, but there is no comparing the brutality.

National unity is red line, say residents of Al-Qatif

AL-NAIRIYAH – The residents of Al-Qatif Governorate reiterated that the governorate is part of the Kingdom and that national unity is off-limits to all and no one can disrupt and tamper with the social fabric of society. They said those who attempt to do so will fail.

Resident Muhammad Salim described the situation as stable and said stores are open late at night and residents feel secure and go about their daily lives as usual. Mansour Salman said the people of the governorate stand united against any attempts to undermine national unity and citizenship of residents. “The people of Al-Qatif have proven their unshakable loyalty to the country and leadership.”

Resident Wesam Zaki said the people of Al-Qatif are no different from residents of other regions. They always denounce actions which seek to cause sedition and weaken society. Moreover, they are always ready to protect the country against any foreign threats and dangers.

July 10th, 2012, 11:06 pm


bronco said:

#123 JNA

The opposition is far from being in a position to dictate its conditions to Russia, China and the UN, just because they are backed by the rich undemocratic Arab countries who call for blood and revenge to their wounded ego.

In addition, a large part of the population will not accept the removal of Bashar Al Assad without any consultation and just on a diktat from foreign countries. This population will transform itself into an armed opposition to the opposition. It can turn very angry and violent and could cause the dismembering of the country on ethnic and religious lines. Obviously this is what some on SC and the opposition are counting on, dismembering Syria so it become a vassal to the foreign powers and they can continue being their puppet.
Because of fear that the chaos will spill over to allies, Israel and Jordan, the West will never allow this to happen until they have a clear picture of who will take over the security of the country and what the army will do. And that is very very far in the horizon…

The only short term solution I can see is a deal about an early presidential election while the ceasefire is consolidated gradually.

July 10th, 2012, 11:31 pm


Syrialover said:

Venezuelan Shipments to Syria Fuel Controversy

The South American country’s state-run oil company has sent large diesel shipments to Syria, despite international sanctions.

In recent months, Venezuela supplied Syria with at least three shipments of diesel fuel in exchange for Syrian naphtha, a refined petroleum product, according to a May report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

July 10th, 2012, 11:36 pm


bronco said:

Bashar hinting at elections…

“If saving my people and my country depends on my staying or leaving, then why should I hang on?” he told Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet. “I would not stay even a day longer. But if the opposite were true; if the people do not want me then they have elections. If the people so choose they can send me packing.”

July 10th, 2012, 11:40 pm


Syrialover said:

Critical issues and strategies for recovery we need to be thinking and planning for NOW, not later.

“Anticipating the Syria of Tomorrow”

July 10th, 2012, 11:44 pm


zoo said:

Erdogan to Moscow on the 18th july, just after the planned Syrian opposition visit in Moscow.
After the disastrous FOS in Paris that he boycotted, Annan is moving on the Russian side calling for a meeting including Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will pay a one-day working visit to Russia on July 18, the prime ministry announced yesterday in a brief statement.

July 10th, 2012, 11:54 pm


Syrialover said:

128. Bronco

When Bashar says things like that in his limp, babyish voice he turns it into a comedy.

(Which is what it is, a bizarre joke)

Why don’t they feed him some steroids and testosterone like his loyal helpers out there?

July 10th, 2012, 11:55 pm


zoo said:

Following his step by step strategy, Annan is using Russia to push his peace plan to become a UNSC resolution therefore biding the UN members. This way, Qatar, KSA, Turkey and other countries supplying arms to the rebels will be obliged to abide and will be rendered accountable if they don’t. They will be forced to pressure the opposition to the dialog that is part of the resolution. Russia and China will commit to do the same with the Syrian government. Will it pass?

Russia proposes UN resolution on Syria without sanctions
Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012
UNITED NATIONS – Russia on Tuesday proposed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria that would extend the UN mission in the conflict-stricken country without any threat of sanctions, diplomats said.

The resolution was sent to the council’s other 14 members ahead of a briefing on Wednesday by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on efforts to revive his peace plan, Russia’s deputy UN envoy Igor Pankin told reporters.

Russia’s move is the opening round in a potentially tense diplomatic battle at the Security Council that must decide the future of the UN observer mission in Syria by July 20.

Pankin said the Russian resolution “is aimed at providing further support to the efforts of Kofi Annan and the implementation of his plan.”

The draft, obtained by AFP, proposes extending the UN Supervision Mission in Syria for another three months. The UNSMIS mandate ends on July 20.

It also backs a proposal by UN leader Ban Ki-moon that the UN operation take on a more political mission and cut back the number of military observers.

The draft “strongly urges” all sides to immediately cease violence and calls for “urgent” and “immediate” implementation of Annan’s plan.

But there is no threat of action against Assad and the Syrian opposition, even though Annan has said there should be “consequences” for not carrying out his plan.

The Russian draft commits the Security Council “to assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate.”
Western nations have been demanding pressure on Assad to carry out Annan’s peace plan and are likely to reject the Russian text.

July 11th, 2012, 12:08 am


Halabi said:

Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric who was shot and arrested by the Saudi regime, says Bashar is an oppressor and Shiites shouldn’t defend him. He probably would be arrested in Iran as well, while Assad would shell his town and slaughter his family and neighbors.

It’s going to be hard for the sectarian Assad supporters to back this man. I don’t know much about him, but I hope he gets well soon and inspires his people to demand their rights and end the reign of the Sauds.

Another note, Asaad Abu Khalil, aka Abu Khar*, my favorite warrior for Palestine who spends all his time and money in California, has admitted that he was wrong about doubting the Assad emails after Al Akhbar got their share. Like other posters here, he has been wrong about so much, yet nothing changes his preconceived opinion, that every non-Shiite uprising in the Arab world is Al Qaeda in disguise, pro-West and anti-Palestinian. And his smug comments about Anthony Shadid and nastiness toward his widow can never be forgiven.

July 11th, 2012, 12:32 am


Son of Damascus said:


“Aldendeshe will only join the FSA if he can be absolute, absolute boss, and every member swears to spend 3 hours a day listening to all his special beliefs and theories.”

Thats when the FSA members would say screw it and defect back…

Dendeshe is scary enough armed with a keyboard, imagine with a gun!

July 11th, 2012, 12:48 am


Son of Damascus said:


You are absolutely right regarding the rhetoric coming out of the Saudi regime, the similarities in the language that the royals are using is eerily familiar to what the Assadist have been using for the past 15 months.

Even more similar is the fact many of the protesters although Shia they reject the notion that Iran is “controlling” them to try and spread discord in the region. I have a friend that works in Jubail (Eastern Saudi) he tells me many of the Shia had no love for the late crown prince (former interior minister) Nayef but many still respect the King, and feel as though some princes around him are corrupt and greedy not letting the King to modernize and give more rights. (sounds familiar doesn’t it)

The only difference between Saudi and Syria is that the Saudis have the decency to actually say they are a kingdom, while in Syria we have our psycho calling himself president for life over the republic, becuth he hath thupport from the people Shabeeha.

July 11th, 2012, 1:08 am


Halabi said:

Assad’s criminal army in action. These killers are under no threat, just relaxing and talking about how many children they killed, squeezing out rounds in a residential neighborhood.

Imagine if this were your neighborhood, would you want to continue to be under the occupation of these thugs or would you gather your family and friends and figure out a way to dislodge them? No, that would mean falling into the trap set by Israel. Villagers should take the punishment, because when Hafez the second is in charge all will be well.

July 11th, 2012, 1:09 am


Halabi said:

Son of Damascus,

Al Jazeera had a segment on Bahrain a couple of months ago and Buthaina Shaaban’s Bahraini twin used identical language to diminish the protest movement and the host called her out on it. The minhibaks will loathe the similarities, but it’s just true.

Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, are complex societies just like Syria and there is no easy way to gauge support in the kingdoms. I have a Bahraini friend who is shiite and couldn’t get a job in his country due to discrimination even though he is smart, handsome and well educated, and yet him and his family don’t support the revolution there. I tried to convince him otherwise (foreign intervention!) but he wouldn’t budge.

On the other hand, he supports our revolution because of the level of violence unleashed by the government. He could be self-hating shiite, or just a normal person who doesn’t base his identity on an imagined community.

I’ve spent a few years in Saudi and constantly harassed the Saudis about accepting a king. Most Saudis I met liked Abdullah, kind of like a benevolent grandfather, and had mixed feelings about other institutions and the monarchy. I think the fact that the kings die and are changed reduces the population’s fatigue with the rulers. Saudi has seen four or five kings in the past four decades, two in the last ten years, while we get Hafez, curse his soul, and Bashar, may he rot in hell.

Of course the Gulf countries have oil which helps. And they don’t shell cities and massacre prisoners by the thousands.

July 11th, 2012, 1:30 am


Halabi said:

Again, I don’t understand what the minorities need in terms of guarantees. Freedom, justice and rule of law for all, no discrimination. There isn’t a single credible opposition group that is against these principles.

A guarantee against revenge killings or terrorism? No government can do that. A government can uphold the law, conduct investigations, target and capture criminals, and should do all these things. Assad’s government, which according to many minhebaks is widely popular among minorities, does none of these things yet they support it.

But if the guarantees are that the military will continue in its sectarian makeup, that all the torturers and informants will stay on the public payroll, that entire cities can be destroyed if the president’s seat is threatened, that all the thieves and crooks can continue to fleece the country, that Alawites will be allowed to loot homes and sell the bounty in Sunni markets, well I don’t think that’s reasonable.

Actually, I think the majority needs assurances from the minorities that this kind of behavior will not continue. And by majority here I mean all peace loving Syrians from all sects who want to be free and live in a democracy. And by minority I mean all those who oppose a better future for Syria and want to cleanse and kill in order to stay in power indefinitely.

July 11th, 2012, 1:44 am


Syrialover said:

# 137. Halabi

Those bored young men are employees of the Syrian state, Syrian citizens, members of Syrian families, residents of Syrian communities, graduates of Syrian schools and so on, whose lives have been derailed and debased by a nightmare.

What are they going to do afterwards – that is, if they remain alive and uninjured?

Blame Assad and see themselves as victims. Which I guess they are.

A tragedy all round.

July 11th, 2012, 5:10 am


Karabennemsi said:

@106 majedhkhaldoun

“Hopefully I will be there too, I am preparing to go back to Antakia next month,hopefully from there I will,get to Damascus.


Well, Mr Khaldoun, you made the decision to stand up for your beliefs, and I respect that.

I hope that you will survive the war, and that you will be able to live a normal life again after the war is over.

When I was 10 years old, i told my grandfather, who was a much honoured soldier, that one day I wanted to be a soldier too. He gave me hardest slap i have ever felt in my live, and told me that he only ever fought so that his family could live in peace, and that experiencing a real war is nothing he would wish upon his greatest enemies.

I sincerely hope that one day you will be able to tell your grandchildren the same.

July 11th, 2012, 5:13 am


Syrialover said:

# 141. Karabennemsi

What would your grandfather think of being a soldier in Assad’s ranks, killing ordinary fellow citizens and smashing up their homes and schools?

At least he fought in a war against a real enemy and with a purpose. Not like the army veterans forced into this shameful ugly mess.

July 11th, 2012, 5:33 am


Alan said:

خبير عسكري: الطائرة التركية كانت تتجسس على مواقع مهمة

July 11th, 2012, 5:51 am


Karabennemsi said:

142 Syrialover

Well I guess he would be disgusted to hear such things.

One of the enemies he fought was Soviet Russia btw, and to be honest he was serving in the Reichswehr. He was not a Nazi, but he had heard such a lot of propaganda during his whole life that it was an absolutely logical decision of him to -for the second time- become a soldier in the time of crisis.

I think the real question at hand is not how to militarily end the regime, but rather how to recreate Syria, to promote massive amnesia programs, to promote a feeling of unity, of econmical rise, of cultural rise and of a brighter future.
And it will be very hard to do so if one gets killed in some insignificant battle in the middle of nowhere due to a horrible misunderstanding.

July 11th, 2012, 5:54 am


Syrialover said:


Syrians pulling together to recover in the aftermath of this is the subject of the article I posted earlier:

So many people will have to have to overcome so much. I don’t think any other country in modern times has been torn apart as badly Syria. Certainly never by its own army.

July 11th, 2012, 6:47 am


Tara said:

Why “almost”?  In my opinion, Annan should be fired.  First, he came up with a plan that has utterly failed.  Not a single point has been achieved.  Then, he cane up with a ridiculous plan meant to kill the revolution by isolating each hot spot and negotiate with them in separation from the collective.  He is making ridiculous statement insinuating that the rebels are as culprit as the regime.  He  wants to bring Iran in,  a self-declared enemy of the Syrian people.  Annan must go home and find himself another Rawanda to meddle with and achieve nothing.  
McCain on Syria envoy Kofi Annan: ‘Almost ludicrous’

As several Middle Eastern countries work through the fallout of the Arab Spring, US Senator John McCain has returned from a trip to Libya to observe the elections there.

Sen McCain says the situation in Egypt is “very fragile” and that Libya’s elections made him feel “guardedly optimistic” about the country’s future hopes.

But the Republican senator says the US should be “ashamed and embarrassed we’re not helping” in Syria, and is doubtful about UN envoy Kofi Annan saying Iran could play a “positive role” in ending the bloodshed.

“Mr Annan is more and more desperate,” Senator McCain said. “It’s becoming almost ludicrous, the statements he makes.”

July 11th, 2012, 7:07 am


ghufran said:

SNC and Russia failed to agree on how to solve the Syrian crisis.

July 11th, 2012, 7:27 am


Karabennemsi said:

144 Syrialover

Well, you know, Mr Gopin was not all that an anti-regime activist a couple of years ago, i know quite a few people who did courses and worked with him, and i really can assure you, that what he says here

“My experience working on the ground in Syria for the past seven years across religious lines and across class lines suggests to me that there is a large nucleus of Syrian people, majorities and minorities, who are ready to build a democracy together.”

comes as a huge surprise to me, from my understanding where was not exactly a lot of work with, lets be clear, poor or non-privileged classes.

Across the NGO-landscape he was known particularly as a friend of cadres, so i must say i really distrust him.
Maybe he has changed though, and maybe his bad reputation was based on envy or whatnot, but I gotta say if the people he coached read his article, i guess his fb-friendlist would be reduced by 80-90%.
Also before giving such good advices, he maybe should learn Arabic. But then again – maybe he has by now.

Nonetheless it is good to read solution-oriented articles from time to time, but to make sure one will actually be implemented, it should come from prominent opposition figures, preferably from inside Syria.

Since as long as people like جورج وسوف are the loudest callers for the rebuilding of Syria, there will never be change nor peace.

July 11th, 2012, 7:34 am


Amjad said:

“Until now, the Syrian government, despite all its excesses, is much more independent and therefore more credible.”

Dear me, that’s quite a narrow basis for supporting a regime. Bashar is independent? As if all the support the Iranians and Russians are giving hasn’t come at a price. The eye doctor has bought more Russian weaponry in the past year than he did in the five years before.

But let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that the regime really is one of those until-now-unheard of entities that can use a critical lifeline from outside powers with no strings attached (geesh, even Churchill had to give up the most important assets of the British Empire in exchange for Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease). Is “independence” really enough to base one’s support on, regardless of everything else?

Well, let’s examine the case of arguably the most independent Arab head of state ever, Yasser Arafat. Despite the billions lavished on the PLO by the Gulf, despite the sanctuary afforded to him by Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Tunisia, Arafat never allowed any outside power to dominate or dictate Palestinian policy. He succeeded in maintaining the PLO as an independent body.

Which is about all that can be said for the man Mustapha Tlass infamously described as a strip tease artist. Arafat was so independent he tried to set up a state within a state in Jordan and Lebanon, causing wars in those two countries. Never mind, he was independent.

Arafat never managed to earn the repatriation of a single Palestinian. Never mind, he was independent.

Arafat never managed to get back a square inch of Jerusalem as the “Cabital of the Beoble of Balestine”. Never mind, he was indebendent.

Arafat never managed to get a single settlement removed from the West Bank. Never mind, he was independent.

The area the PA rules over is a fraction of the West Bank, and still those areas are dominated by Israeli checkpoints and the border wall. Never mind, he was independent.

So, Arafat’s reign as Palestinian warlord was a fiasco. He alienated his main backers with his disastrous backing of Saddam, and as a result more Palestinians were expelled from Arab countries than Israel due to his failed policies, and in the end he died, poisoned by, not the Israelis, but his own people. Never mind, he was independent.

(seriously Professor Landis, for comments of this quality, my name should be at the footer of the website. Hehehe)

July 11th, 2012, 8:16 am


Ghufran said:

75 billion new Lira printed in Russia are in Syria now.

July 11th, 2012, 9:05 am


Tara said:

When is Syria going to print it’s own money?

July 11th, 2012, 9:08 am


Syrialover said:

# 147. Karabennemsi

I’m happy to believe what you say.

But I’m not focussed on the writer – more the topic, which needs to be thought about and discussed as much as possible.

Not just by opposition figures, but all Syrians.

Syria’s potential for recovery and internal reconciliation also matters to the rest of the world.

The conclusion of that article is general and speculative, but it’s a vision to hold on to.

Do you think it’s impossible?

July 11th, 2012, 9:15 am


Observer said:

Here are my questions for today

1. Is Annan trying to save Fredo? or is he trying to save Annan’s place in history? He already is known for the Rwanda genocide do nothing UN secretary general. Is he playing a counter weight to the Friends of Syria meeting and going to Iran and Russia to help him or to help Fredo? I am not sure I see any prospect for his mission to be resurrected from the dead. Today Russia has essentially put forth a three month extension for the regime to survive while it sends ships with marines for what? Evacuate Russians? Secure Tartous? Help the creation of an Alawi state?

2. Is Fredo’s agreement to ease the situation step by step starting with the hot spots an attempt to buy time, to regroup to get fuel from Chavez weapons from Iran and printed banknotes from Russia?

By the way the so called independent regime in Syria my foot cannot even manufacture sewing needles or print its own money let alone make any independent decisions it can only play regional politics games and pretend at independence.

3. I saw several YouTube reports on how bad the army is fairing in the North. Could it be that he is running out of options and this latest Annan tour is to save him?

4. Russia recently lost its influence in Tajikstan to China and the US, could it be that it fears losing all of the southern rim of states that are muslim to a grand alliance of Sunni dominated states? It is afraid of a Sunni Shia civil war or so it claims which means that it is afraid of a rise of Sunni power for over the course of its history Russia killed more muslims than any other colonial power starting with Catherine the Great. So does it think that it can prevent that by clinging to the regime in Syria? I believe the opposite is true, by sticking with Fredo’s regime it will exacerbate the divide and will bring more strife and will lose Syria and the rest of the Sunni world.

5. ZOO posts on the possibility of an Alawi state. Is this the same ZOO that abhored my proposal for a federated ME and a ME economic union with autonomy to the regions? Is he now advocating an Alawi state and touting its ability to be economically viable? Especially if it has the coast under its control? Something that is not yet that sure by the way that they can have Latakia and Banias and Tartous and be adjacent to the ALevi of Turkey.

I still maintain that if the Alawi want their state, please let them have it and get them out of our hair and let them have their leaders and their way of life preserved and free of any fear of oppression or exclusion or revenge and let them have all of the alliances that they wish to have and the Russian and Iranian bases and guards and navy.

Now ZOO what do YOU think? do you want this Alawi state? If so why not a Kurdish state? Why not a Christian state and a Turkmen State and an Assyrian state and a Druze state and a Jewish state and a Sunni state and a Shia state and a Turkish state and an Armenian state. I believe that as the ideological struggle between democracy and totalitarianism is over and between the West and the Soviet union is over we are witnessing the rise of the identity conflict where tensions and differences and debates are now centered on this identity crisis the best exanple of which is the killing spree in Oslo by a right wing pro identity militant and the rise of anti immigrant sentiment across the globe. I think this trend will bring huge strife but alas it is the failing of humanity again. In the meantime let us quietly and peacefully separate with minimal damage for this forced marriage is no longer working

Cheers the germs are spreading

July 11th, 2012, 9:44 am


ghufran said:

4 Turks were caught stealing Syrian antiques in Qalaat Almadeeq. is there a shortage of Syrian thieves to import Turkish ones?

July 11th, 2012, 10:48 am


jna said:

White House Outraged at UN Call to Include Iran in Syria Talks
Iran Would Ruin Demands for Assad’s Ouster
by Jason Ditz, July 10, 2012

“[…]Iran has indicated that they are open to a settlement that would lead to Assad’s ouster, yesterday calling for a deal to end the fighting and move toward an election by 2014 that would “let the Syrian people decide.” Since the only Arab Spring election the US has been genuinely happy about was the single-candidate vote to install Yemen’s new military ruler, they are understandably that an election might not install the right (pro-US) regime.”

July 11th, 2012, 11:42 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Is there a place for a Jewish autonomy in your federal ME, and the ME economic union? I’m asking you this for the 3rd time.

July 11th, 2012, 11:49 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Alawi state is not viable
Syria post assad will fight so the coast stay with Syria.
they will have no oil or gas.
they have to leave Syria and all move there.
they have many christians there and some Sunni.
they have backward country they will have bad economy.
the money they stole have to return to Syria.
they will lose their influence on HA, and will be isolated.
Their army will be less than 150,000, facing 400,000 syrian army.
This state will not be recognized by Arab States.

July 11th, 2012, 11:58 am


Uzair8 said:

So Mr Annan want to focus on the most violent areas?

I’ll help him out. Mr Annan should just follow the 4th Brigade and the Shabeeha around.

July 11th, 2012, 11:59 am


Observer said:

Sure there is for Jewish autonomy; heck I want autonomy for my neighborhood.

Now it has to be linked to complete freedom of movement of goods and people and ideas and merchandise and coordinated taxation system and representation system at the federal level and at the local level.

NO EXCLUSION is the key to the federated ME>

July 11th, 2012, 12:01 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Sounds good. Will each autonomy be allowed to have an independent immigration policy?

July 11th, 2012, 12:11 pm


Uzair8 said:

Socialist Worker UK. A good read to help brush away the cobwebs of propaganda.

Stand with the Syrian revolt

Tue 10 Jul 2012

Adi Atassi is an opposition activist from Homs, Syria. His home was burnt and his family made refugees. He spoke to Socialist Worker about Syria’s revolt

Our revolution is first of all the rejection of decades of one party rule, where we could only have one ideology, one way of thinking and where we were isolated from any real political debate.


The immediate inspiration came from the Tunisian revolution—but Syrian society has been boiling for years.

Read more:

July 11th, 2012, 12:13 pm


aldendeshe said:

So OBSERVER which faction or splinter of the Syrian Nationalist parties are you a member?

July 11th, 2012, 12:15 pm


Uzair8 said:

An update by Sh. Yaqoubi. I’ll wait for the english translation but share the arabic link for others. The google translation isn’t upto much. The title below is taken from google translation.

Confusion between revolutionary action and politics
Comment Sheikh Muhammad Abul Huda Al Yacoubi

July 11th, 2012, 12:23 pm


Antoine said:

Interrogogation of Brigadier General Muneer al Shlaibeh –

( Its so funny to see him helpless like a child )

July 11th, 2012, 12:34 pm


Uzair8 said:

An update on AJE blog one minute ago. Detainees to be released by the regime. In the image the individual on the left at the front with what appears to be ‘resolution’ on his t-shirt. A little risky? Some dumb Shabeeha may at a glance think it reads ‘revolution’ and make a scene.

Actually an idea for a caption. A dumb Shabeeha does make a scene resulting in the double :facepalm: by the 2 detainees.

July 11th, 2012, 12:50 pm


Observer said:

According to the universal declaration of human rights people are allowed to move and emigrate and choose their place of living without hindrance. Immigration policy for the federated ME will be in the hands of the federal authorities just as it is in the US and EU.

Once a person enter the federation they can live wherever they want.

I am a member of Abu Rumaneh Malki Souk Sarouja National Syrian Party in Damascus and would join Baba Amr Rastan Talbisa as well if allowed to.

July 11th, 2012, 12:57 pm


Uzair8 said:

Mr Annan, with all these meetings with unsavoury folk you may be showing signs of Stockholm Syndrome.

Conveniently you have a swedish wife to look after you.

July 11th, 2012, 1:01 pm


Tara said:

The video linked by Antoin is disturbing. The audio is not clear so I could not understand all of what was said, yet his body language and facial expression clearly demonstrate how frightened he is. He could be a criminal and a mass murdere yet we should practice what we preach. I am against degradation of all human beings regardless of their evil history. It is disturbing. I hope Syrians will not lose their moral values in the interim.

July 11th, 2012, 1:03 pm


Antoine said:

C’mon Tara, I almost wished I was there when they were administering the falaqa on him.

July 11th, 2012, 1:09 pm


Uzair8 said:

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

July 11th, 2012, 1:12 pm


omen said:


srebrenica massacre
funerals for recently identified victims

17 years after srebrenica massacre the funerals for more than 5oo victims are being held in a bosnia town. tens of thousands of mourners are attending the mass funeral. 8,ooo muslim men and boys were killed by serb forces in 1995 in what is said to be the worst massacre in europe since world war 2. their remains were exhumed from mass graves and recently identified by their dna.

hasan nuhanovic survived the srebrenica massacre. at the time he was working as an un translator with the dutch battalion. despite his pleas, he had to watch as his parents and younger brother were handed over to bosnian serbs. they were later killed. he told al jazeera it has not been easy to find the dead:

they are scattered all over eastern bosnia because the bosnian-serb leadership, their army, their police force, they tried to hide traces of their crime. that’s terrible. i mean they first killed people, buried them in primary graves, then move them to secondary graves, then moved them to tertiary graves. they tried to hide the evidence of these crimes. that’s why we have these funerals every year. because, you know, that’s how many years it takes to identify them.

this happened because the united nations allowed it, and, in one way, assisted the bosnian serbs to commit this terrible atrocity. it was actually kofi annan himself who was in charge of the un department for peacekeeping operations. he was in new york when this genocide was being perpetuated. and i can see now that he is in syria negotiating and i really hope kofi annan is going to do a better job in syria than what he did here in srebrenica … bosnia because he actually did nothing to prevent the massacre as a very, you know, high ranking official of united nations 17 years ago.

July 11th, 2012, 2:18 pm


Tara said:


No Antoin. This is not us.

July 11th, 2012, 2:39 pm


omen said:

zaid benjamin:

The White House says there are several defections form the close circle around President

July 11th, 2012, 2:58 pm


Syrialover said:

I agree with Tara and Uzair8. And it is also not a wise tactic if they want to attract more army defectors.

But it is hard to get human beings to restrain themselves in battle. And that Brig General was one who earned his role and reputation by being particularly non-human, murdering helpless captives in peacetime.

From the Syrian Revolution Digest:

“Members of the FSA manage to capture one of Assad’s security chiefs Brig. Gen. Munir Shlaibeh, an Alawite from the town of Jableh. He was responsible for running an anti-terrorism unit based in the Midan District in Damascus, and is known for involvement in the Seydnaya Prison Massacre in July of 2008. He says “there are no terrorists” and asserts that his unit did not kill anyone. He was obviously physically abused. He keeps shuffling around, which might suggest that he was beaten on the soles of his feet. He was forced to chant “Curse your soul Hafiz.” He was asked if he planned to defect and join the FSA, he replied “they will execute my children.” He insists though that “President Bashar has no knowledge of what’s happening.” He says he thinks the Salafi Sheikh Adnan Arour, popular among Islamist protesters, to be a “moderate” cleric and says that he wishes the FSA will treat him fairly. This is a leaked video showing the aftermath of the Seydnaya Massacre, we can see Brig. Gen. Shlaibeh appearing in civvies, as is the habit of security chiefs, at the end of the clip (1:16)

July 11th, 2012, 3:20 pm


Bruno said:

I was right this commenting has a few members that are connected through a clear PSYOPS Operation.

July 12th, 2012, 4:26 am


Amjad said:

#178, it really doesn’t take much of a PSYOPS operation to confuse a guy who can’t even tell a parody when he’s shown one. If I made a Rick Roll video you’d accuse Rick Astley of being part of a PSYOPS outfit.

(I’m betting the so called Westerner has to look up the phrase Rick Roll)

July 12th, 2012, 4:45 am


Bruno said:

(I’m betting the so called Westerner has to look up the phrase Rick Roll)

I pretty much well know what that phrase means and stands for, nice try of accusing me by stating that i am stupid is it now?

July 12th, 2012, 4:58 am


Amjad said:

“nice try of accusing me by stating that i am stupid is it now?”

I think people have pretty much established your level of intelligence by the fact that you can’t even tell a parody video when you see one, and your lack of maturity by your constant whining about the voting on this forum. I bet the number of thumbs down you get keeps up at night, more so than the number of murders committed by your batta.

“Why should the protest Signs be in Clear English?”

Tell me oh ye sudden Syria expert, were the signs in Lebanon in English or not? They were in French too. And the signs in Egypt and Tunisia? The Syrian activists superbly get their word out in whatever language. I’ve seen signs on Russian as well.

Oh right, this is the guy who chauvinistically said that Syrians can’t possibly have good command of English. Walak ana eb3almak wab 3alim eli 3alamak 🙂

July 12th, 2012, 6:13 am


zoo said:


5. ZOO posts on the possibility of an Alawi state. Is this the same ZOO that abhored my proposal for a federated ME and a ME economic union with autonomy to the regions?

I am not advocating anything, I am reporting what the media says, that’s all.
Don’t read in my posting them any adherence to your theory of splitting the country in religious and ethnic entities

July 12th, 2012, 9:48 am


William Scott Scherk said:

I wonder if Oxford University’s Middle East analyst Sharmine Narwani will return to the issue of defections and/or departures from Syria. From her privileged vantage, and according to the spin from her nebulous sources, there is only one take-home message, one correct line to take in regard to Manaf Tlass:

[H]e went to France. End of story.

Ms Narwani’s appearances in the New York Times are always intriguing. She is accorded a level of attention that is — I believe — in proportion to her presumed access to official or ‘insider’ regime interests and points of view. On the “Room for Debate” pages, she has contributed short opinion pieces alongside such as Radwan Ziadeh, Rime Allaf, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Ed Husain and Andrew Tabler (among others).

The allegiances of these named others are clear, as should be the connection of Narwani to establishment talking points. In some senses of the word, each of the named others has taken part in campaigns of propaganda, depending on individual media clout and officialized information campaigns — whether in support of ‘democracy promotion’ abroad (abroad from the USA) or in support of armed intervention on the side of the Free Syria Army.

Rime Allaf, for example, is associated with Chatham House, Tabler with WINEP, Ziadeh with the SNC, Slaughter with State and official policy incubators, Husain with the Council on Foreign Relations. All may not have served as fulltime or frontline propagandists or even in the same class of persuasive attempts, but all are familiar with its features, and some have been its personal victims (Husain, if you accept his life-arc).

So, the others, those named, those with a firm and persistent point of view, aligned with weighty instititutions, all with long track records as expositors. And then, Narwani …

Narwani is associated with Oxford, according to the New York Times tagline that accompanies her essays. This, I think, can connote many things, of scholars whacking away in the Bodleian, pursuing serious work, of thick compendia and massive footnoted tomes. Is Narwani clear of the taint of propaganda herself because of her illustrious institution? Is there a more serious affiliation but that of the ancient English centre of learning?

If the named others are shills for USA imperial interests above all (which is debatable but enunciated here at SC), is Narwani by any measure a token shill for Assadism? Is she a propagandist by her own measure?


Propaganda, which abounds here on Syria Comment, did not always have a completely negative connotation, of course. To use all arms of public relations and media to highlight policy and urge civil action in light of events — this is often the main job of government, especially in campaign seasons. And many arms of governance often crank up propaganda campaigns today – Vote! Run for Breast Cancer! Support Oil Sands! Avoid Saturated Fats! (an immunization drive is a form of propaganda that has what might seem reasonable if not entirely positive goals).

Similarly any mobilization campaigns for military service must rely on the old-school style ‘positive’ propaganda, in recruiting. Drives and campaigns to join forces almost always use emotive, selective, well-tried persuasion techniques.

If in the hands of a glorious national reconstruction (“Join the New Syrian Forces”) or continuance (“Defend the Homeland against Enemies”) or rebellious defectors and Islamic terrorists (“Free Syrian Army Protects You”) it is still the same work done, the same buttons pushed, the same psychological/advertising/promotion techniques honed to a sharper or duller edge.

So, I agree 100% with any Sharmine Narwani statement that says in effect, Syrian discourse is afloat on propaganda, awash in extreme and sometimes dishonest persuasion techniques.

I thus agree with anyone who stands up and says Beware Propaganda and who urges healthy skepticism — whether in regard to a flurry of rumour and speculation in re Tlass, or in regard to rumour and speculation in general.

So, when Sharmine calls “total propaganda” any attempt to describe General Tlass’s departure from Syria as a defection,’ I think we should pay attention.

If she is right, then there are few knock-on effects from the departure, neither inside the Syrian regime itself nor in the larger circles.


Before we examine the claim of pure propaganda, we can further examine the context and content of her opinion (or her reporting).

For the sake of this discussion, we can accept that she is, perhaps by virtue of her placement with the others of greater reknown, now considered a source in her own right, as in the NYT analysis by Bilefsky and de la Baume.

Now, if Sharmine is not invited as a neutral or independent analyst — as I argue above — but as a likely conduit from official sources and official party lines within Syria (this is how she has presented herself, as having special access to insiders whose identities must be protected). I further argue that she is invited according to her presumed constituents, not according to the weight or value of her own intellectual output.

Just as Ziadeh is invited as a person attached to the SNC — indeed attached to its most militant wing (not for his work as historian) Slaughter is invited as former (2010) official policy maker (not by virtue of academic appointment at Princeton). Ziadeh was publishing his historical works on behalf of Syrian detainees when Narwani was a non-entity.

Narwani’s expertise in writing or analysis is thus necessarily smaller than the others in the Comment exchanges, judged by CV and work history. With the exception of Al-Akhbar (Sandbox blog), she has never independently published in anything but opinion spaces. No books, no published thesis, no published testimony, no interviews.

So, ultimately, I think it is fair to view Narwani as simply a useful interlocutor, reflecting views from the regimist side(s), not as neutral scholar. It is also fair to consider her a rather mysterious personage compared to the others noted above. Each of the others is known in terms of personal details, citizenship, working life. Narwani, not so much.

In the end, what is most disappointing about Narwani’s own soft propaganda effort is that she tends to evade the very strictures she rhetorically imposes on others. She rails against “Western” journalists (without naming or often quoting them) but is herself a citizen of the West She rails against unverified and nameless sources and claims, yet uses vague and nameless sources herself with great abandon. Her essays purport to represent a useful corrective to base and witless exaggerations of the ‘enemy’ media, yet fall into the exact same pattern of unattributed gossip and speculation that she rightly decries elsewhere.

To point to the defects of her reporting is not to do away with her perceptions and opinions entirely, nor to dismiss that which she says she was told (by self-interested sources behind the veil). But we should be careful to understand that she too can be manipulated by ‘sources’ … and be manipulated by the very interests she is in thrall to, as the named others are in thrall to and manipulated by in turn …

For example, what are the sources named by Sharmine Narwani in her Al-Akhbar sand box article cited by the NYT — how honest and credible are these faceless folks’ assertions? What happens when you ask these and follow-up questions to credible interlocutors? Will we get an update next week?

— to be continued —

July 14th, 2012, 5:42 pm


omen said:

good to see you back, wss.

July 14th, 2012, 5:44 pm


William Scott Scherk said:

Omen, I feel a special responsibility when writing at Syria Comment. When I was outed as Moderator, I lost my anonymous voice as a discussion monitor and enabler. In those months as Mod I put out very little as William, and tried hardest to train my replacement, the marvelous Moderator who just stepped down.

I watch SC now for signs of something, for signs of hope perhaps. I do not find much hope in snide, overheated one-upmanship of the comments lately, nor in the awful slide into sectarian invective and even toleration of communal reprisals (eg, I am appalled at Antoine). The direst weeks of Syria’s modern history seem to be rolling by, its worst daily death tolls, its fiercest divisions and its emotions most extreme and vengeful.

What hope is there in Jad? What hope is there is Syria Lover? What hope does Observer represent? What hope do all these passionate believers have in each other. moreover, for tomorrow, when the shelling ends and the reprisals stop, and the movement to civil peace begins. What could they possibly represent to each other on the same ground, on the same public square, in a free Syria? Enemies, objects of hate and derision?

There is hope in Syria, I believe. But that hope comes from what I identify as Syrian myths, of the most ancient myths that all Syrians may mutely agree upon. That mythos is fragile indeed today, and daily mocked by those who long for total victory (of one side), demeaned by the persistence of words that demonize and dehumanize the Other.

It is disgusting and disquieting to read calls here that seem to support FSA brutality if not war crimes, or admiringly countenance field executions of suspected Shabeeha. That this grinning at atrocity merely joins preceding sick jokes as grinning at ‘cleansing’ of civilian areas, two horrors do not subtract each other, they only deepen the moral sinkholes.

If I yet wait again months or years to post to Syria Comment, I hope now that some enduring shared explanation or myth will have united its suffering communities, that Dr Ali Haider’s or some other attempts at reconciliation succeed (even under the Baathi Umbrella) to move the post-conflict agenda forward despite huge obstacles, despite war. From somewhere perhaps will emerge a Syrian genius for conciliation, and for hope of knitting Syria together again. I look ahead six months, I read Bruno here today, I read Antoine, and I sense no such genius in the offing.

I was often struck as Mod by an almost subterranean wide structural agreement among the commentariat on the best, most hoped-for post-conflict landscape for their country, a rule of law, of clean institutions of justice, of robust parliamentary life assisted by a raucous free media, of internal dialogue, assemblies, meetings, marches, rebuilding, symbolic turnings of the page to a new era. Over time, every commentator of standing has put forward that same end-point of civil democratic Syria. Off the Wall, for example, in his heartfelt world-of-worlds depicted a Syria not too much different from that of Norman’s perfect land.

Every last voice of us here will have at least sketched out the same general outlines of a New Free Syria … from SNK/ZOO/Bronco to Allan/Irritated/Alex, but few drew the route in enough detail to convince opponents that this was How to Get There from Here.

I sometimes wonder why the opposition is accused of having not provided credible roadmaps to that new era (in more painstaking detail than the ignored documents as from the fisticuffs in Cairo), but the regime side of the virtual parliament seems to offer no programme but More Of The Same.

I suggest Syrians at home and abroad stand together on the six points of the Annan plan — in my eyes the principles and actions it demands of all parties show the last possible exit before the abyss. If the regimists cannot make a ceasefire hold on the government side and the anti-regimists cannot make a ceasefire hold on the opposite side, there is only more death on the menu for tomorrow and the foreseeable future, and we are only spectators driven half-mad by horror beyond our control.

If only Syrians can come together to share truths and heal the wounds of war, if and when they choose, Omen, what point do utterly Western observers like me (and you) do to facilitate this? It is what puzzles me still and keeps me from saying much here even though I read SC closely. I wish the Syrians as represented here could chisel out truths together — and if not here in virtual parliament somewhere, stand down from the barricades, honestly debate the details of the new era if not the many routes to its full fruition.

This is not presently an area of much discussion. I note in passing the brilliant thesis on the Alawis linked above. Better to read that but perhaps not enter the bullring in comments. Here, for too many, songs of war have generated an aggression, an obedience to the worst kind of incitement.

July 14th, 2012, 6:55 pm


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