Armchair Generals  Dictators

Cartoon by Ali Ferzat
As usual,  every time I think that i am the first to think of something, I check Ali Ferzat cartoons. In this cartoon, he may not have intended arm-chair dictators, but the real ones. However, the image is suitable for both.

Anyone following the events of the Syrian revolution would notice repeated calls by some loyalists for the regime to go on the attack. These call may include bombastic violent posts on blogs, usually posted right after yet a new atrocious murder is committed by the regime, all the way to articles written by regime-loyal opposition advocating that the regime cracks on those the loyalists claim to be tearing Syria apart for daring to profess their faith, or for rising up after their natural rights. Sometime it gets really Kafkaesque, when someone you respect and like writes such a statement. Your first reaction would be to ask whether the much hyped Syrian Electronic Army has succeeded in hacking into their account and are now posting under their names. But these calls continue.

Fascist utterances, disguised as patriotic or law-and-order statements are not new to Syrians or to anyone living under dictatorship. The essence of dictatorship is to claim that the dictator, be it a single person, a family, or a fascist nationalist political party is the only one/group that knows, is capable of, or does what is good for the country such as safeguarding the national integrity, resisting an enemy, or protecting ethnic and religious minorities. In Syria’s case, all three are claimed by the regime and its loyalists despite of all evidences to the contrary. To the fascist minded brute, as well as to those law-and-order, resistance, and stability advocating intellectuals, such justifies any action against the “traitors”, who in this case, are most of the common folks and poor of Syria who are revolting for their dignity and rights.

A striking example of the intellectual brutality of regime loyalists was demonstrated right after an upsurge in the number of murdered demonstrators. It was in the form of a threat that a well-known general of the regime’s inner circle had then said, “well, i have not yet taken off my Pajama to wear my military fatigue”, which was meant to indicate that the regime has not yet used all levels of violence it is capable of.

So now, months later, we still hear and read arguments for the regime to go on the attack. I am yet to see anyone in the loyalists camp define the parameters of attack be it a militarily attack or a rhetorical one. From my naive perspective, it would seem that conducting wholesale arrest campaigns in almost every Syrian city and town qualifies as an attack (√). Firing on peaceful demonstrators is an attack (√). Invading cities and sending bands of thugs in both military uniform or in some hybrid brown-shirt reminiscent uniforms to roam the streets and destroy cars, shops, motorcycles, and homes is an attack (√). Assassinating political activists by snipers or by torture in custody is an attack (√).  Kidnapping and disappearing thousands in manners reminiscent of Pinochet and perhaps worst is an attack (√).  Clearly, the  regime has so far used all of these means of attacks and more, including preemptive ones such as loading streets with thugs and shabee7a and beating and threatening anyone who seems to think of voicing malcontent. Off course rhetorical attacks never stopped, the regime propaganda machine, starting with cheap bombastic stupidity of clueless or paid online warriors, all the way to most expensive operations of a cowardly media, which has been part and parcel; of the regime’s machination of oppression, and reaching across the boarder through Dollar (or is it now Euros) paid Lebanese intellectual prostitutes, all have been thrown at the revolution. In essence, with all of the check-done marks, isn’t it clear that the regime has been on the attack and a fierce attack at that.

Yet, when some still ask the regime to go on the attack, she/he is insinuating that the regime is not doing enough. So what is left, really, ….what is left?

  1. Mass rounding and executions (not that it did not happen, but seems that some people think not enough of it has happened)
  2. Use of chemical weapons Halabja style
  3. Indiscriminate wide-scale air Bombing raids Qaddafi style

To answer the question, I propose to follow a fun practice that exists in many democratic countries. Middle school kids go participate in mock elections every year through school and civil society civic programs. The winner gets to become a president or a prime minister for a day.  Now i will ask those armchair generals dictators, to imagine that they have been the winners of such an election in Syria. So for now, if you are one, then ….you have been elected (that is approved by a 99.999% referendum) president chief thug. Therefore, if you think that not enough has been done to quell the “terrorists”, then please decide, publicly whether you want to use 1 or 2, 3, in combinations, or all together. Name the location/s, towns, cities, or neighborhoods you think are infested by those the regime and its loyalists call terrorists and suicide bombers and go ahead and sign and issue the decree for the attack. After all, some loud regime horn  claimed that Syria is not a lawless country, well go a head, use the law and tell us what is your choice?. Just remember that taking off ones Pajama means that one stands in ones dirty   underwear……or  simply stark naked.


Posted on September 16, 2011, in Arab Spring, Rants and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 80 Comments.

  1. Dialogue with whom ? and under shooting ?

    I worry about Aboud. Hope he is not being held in some dungeon.
    Alex, I have no real opinion. I must confess I read SC selectively, mostly pple I like and the occasional menhebak. Lack of time.

  2. Alex wants us to vote on this


    Moderation of the comments section at SC should be
    MILD: no restriction on language, violence or frequency of posts. (16%, 3 Votes)
    BALANCED: Tolerate mild violations. Warnings, followed by editing highly offensive comments, then banning persistent violators of SC rules. (42%, 8 Votes)
    STRONG: One warning followed by banning for one week, then final banning of those violating SC rules. (42%, 8 Votes)

  3. Haytham Khoury

    My new article:

    المعارضة السورية و العقم السياسي

  4. Dear Annie
    I am not participating in this poll as I don’t like the motivation. It is a reaction to divert attention from Alex’s own mistake. With every post he does in response to his initial error, he is making things worse. I am taking your same attitude. But I am reading and I like some of the new posts today. There was a superb article from the UK that was linked.

  5. Dear Haytham
    I just read your article and I like it that you have highlighted the role of civil right workers. I aml not in contact with any member of the new council, but I take the position of supporting them like you do for as you have highlighted, we need a unified body that can talk on behalf of Syrians. We also need such body to coordinate donations and contributions from Syrians and to ensure that the process of helping is well organized.

    Supporting our people on the inside should be our priority now. I have it on good sources that the extent of the regime’s crimes are far wider than what has been reported even by those supporting the revolution. I hope that the council will be working on putting together dossiers that will embarrass both Russia and China. Brazil is already finding the regime to be distasteful despite of the strong lobbying by a powerful Pro-regime Syrian and Lebanese communities. I would very much appreciate if anyone has contacts with that community to see exactly what is happening there.

  6. dear otw, I really miss Aboud and I have stopped spending much time on SC,
    I always liked your comments nevertheless

    Is it too much trouble to tell here what I really should not miss ? I looked for “There was a superb article from the UK that was linked.” and did not find it.

    I wrote a mail to True who announced he is leaving SC

  7. Haytham Khoury

    Dear OTW:

    Nobody knows what is going on exactly. The country is big and the regime is not anymore in control. The local security forces are acting on their own with no central directions. Of course, it is the horror inside. The horror will increase with the announcement of the council. This is the most mature political umbrella of the opposition. I am very optimistic. I will write to Dr. Ghalioun shortly regarding some proposals. I will keep you posted.

  8. Wazup guys? Is it ok if I join ya here on OTW’s blog?

  9. @ ABOUD

    Howz going mate?

    OTW has my email, can you please take it of him and email me?

    @ Annie

    Thanks for the email, it’s always good to hear from ya.

    Just a question, I’ve received two emails from ya from two different email addresses! Is that you in both cases?

  10. I’ve emailed Joshua clarifying how on earth a moderator can be a hardcore biased commentator?

    He basically said it’s not his business while he’s busy working on his book!!!

    He mentioned Ehsani is on holidays. I think that explains why the self-obsessed horn is playing his game eh

  11. Now back to business 🙂

    @ OTW

    Very thoughtful mate, well done.

    I reckon in Menhebak’s dictionary “attack” means torture to death.

    @ Haytham Khoury

    “I am very optimistic. I will write to Dr. Ghalioun shortly regarding some proposals. I will keep you posted”

    Can you please elaborate more what kind of proposals are you refereeing to?

    Is Dr.Burhan still using the same contact details?

    Tel: 33-1-45-85-79-54 (W),
    M: 33-6-18-39-44-43
    Fax: 33-1-44-24-00-17

  12. Dear True
    You are very welcome here. The wall are yours to write on.

  13. Haytham Khoury

    The proposals are regarding: the committees that they are planing to form: Foreign affair, media, security, constitutional and administrative reforms.

    His contact is the same.

  14. Teslam bro kelak zo2

    I’m really happy to see most of the heavyweight commentators are already graffiting on your Walls 🙂

    I do hope to address all of them at the same time

  15. @ Haytham Khoury

    I hope you’re still maintaining your high spirit and dodging the Menhebaks as usual 🙂

    How difficult would it be to extract a recognition from major countries?

  16. Haytham Khoury

    Major countries are very ready to accept the council. France did already. Obama in a bad shape for this reason he is not committing fast.
    There are already plans to establish no-fly zone. The Europeans will go for it.

    I am doing well on SC.

  17. True : Just a question, I’ve received two emails from ya from two different email addresses! Is that you in both cases?

    Not to worry; I have several addresses.
    About Aboud : I wonder if he will be interested in returning. I admire OTW, Sheila and Haytham et al. holding the opposition fort.

  18. Haytham Khoury

    Today, we will have the security council vote for decision against the regime.
    I am very opitmistic. My impression Russia may vote “yes”. It would be the first results of the Council formation.

  19. Russians might vote “NO” with no veto though

  20. Haytham Khoury

    Or might abstain.

  21. Rime Allaf

    The Zeinab story: the lie is the regime’s and the regime’s alone. The regime first came to arrest her (the real Zeinab), then first returned the body of her brother to the family (he died under torture), then told the family come take your daughter too – and gave them a burned beheaded body, unrecognizable, in pieces. That body, of course, still is a martyr, we just don’t know whose it is. The family was told by the regime that this was their daughter, they didn’t just find the corpse in the street, and it’s not the opponents of the regime who made this up. And after everyone got all worked up, they deliver “the victim who simply ran away” because – to boot – her brothers (who must be “extremists”) were abusing her.

    The point is that the regime is not only criminal but criminally stupid, as if these games can prove anything about the “armed terrorist gangs” and about the “lying activists” and as if we’re supposed to forget the whole sequence of events, and only watch the Syrian television clip like idiots and say oh, the opposition lied. (Ironically, the criminal Taleb Ibrahim the other day claimed on television these same gangs had killed Zeinab.)

  22. I am sure you all know about her, Rime Allaf. Here is a comment on her facebook about Zeinab

    Rime Allaf
    LOL! So, is her brother also not dead? Was he also not arrested by the security services? Perhaps he also simply ran away? In fact, maybe the 3000 people who disappeared over the last 3 days in Rastan simply ran away!
    لقاء مع زينب عمر الحصني على التلفزيون السوري 4 10 2011
    لقاء مع زينب عمر الحصني 4 10 2011 -شبكة منقول الاخبارية- يرجى دعم مقاطع الفيديو بلايك على اليوتيوب

  23. True
    SC is not for Alex,Aboud will be back, you have been the voice of truth,please come back to SC.
    I like to get your E Mail,along with all the good opposition

  24. Thanks Majed, Annie ..and all

    Please email me on

  25. How to Topple a Regime in Ten months

    Written by syrian mondasseh on 1 September, 2011

    The Syrian uprising is going to soon hit its sixth moth as I write this post, with no sign of a close solution showing up in the horizon. However, no one can deny the fact that the Syrian regime is exhibiting signs of irrational acts from international insults to prominent nations ( by the foreign affairs minister Waleed Almualim who said Syria will pretend that Europe doesn’t exist on the map if they maintain their pressure on Syria) to ignoring advices of traditional allies ( Russia and Iran who grew sick and tired of the Syrian regime’s attitude and waste of funds).
    So the million dollar question is, how can the Syrians topple this regime in ,let’s say, ten months?
    The answer lies in understand what are the obstacles that are obstructing the collapse of Assad’s mafia, and this is of course as I see it :

    1- The everlasting conflict between the opposition characters: Syria is rich with variable political currents despite the fact of forty years of political “clinical death” as I like to call it. These currents and movements didn’t get the chance to experiment and collect fans in the streets of Syria. Therefore, they remain represented by few individuals. You have the seculars (liberals-socialists-communists and many others), the Islamist(the muslims brotherhood movement and many others) and the liberal muslims, I think of those as the Syrian libertarians ( like the justice and development movement).. In addition to many other independent individuals who carry a mix of different ideologies and visions of Syria.

    2-The future Syria: Again, given the fact that non of these parties, movements, and individuals got the chance to promote or apply their visions on the Syrian ground there is no way to know which one will be eventually capable of winning parliamentary elections.This,I think, keeps Syria in the circle of danger that haunts around half of the Syrian population; a future religious state. These fears magnify given the fact the most prepared party between the ones mentioned above is the Muslim brotherhood that was established earlier in the twentieth century.

    3- Representation of the revolution: even after around 6 months in the streets, The Syrians around the world can’t agree on who represents the revolutionaries. many councils and committees were formed for that purpose( especially what the Syrians inside call Tanseeqeeyat meaning organizing committees in Arabic). Syrians now stand in front of two councils and one committee (the unified national Syrian council- the general committee of the syrian revolution- and the Syrian transitional council) in addition to earlier groups working on the strategies of forming these groups.
    In short, it is a salad! all the councils and the committies claim that the others don’t represent the Syrians in the streets. There is also the idea that the Syrian opposition outside is a second degree opposition despite the fact that many of them were either exiled or imprisoned for such a long time before seeking asylum outside Syria

    4- the Direction of the revolution: Syrians inside and outside from all types of opposition are wavering between continuing in the path of heavy peaceful demonstrations around Syria, limited international intervention and arming the citizens, all the way to the extreme of a NATO complete intervention just like the Libyan case.

    I think the problem in making this decision is the different short term goals, some Syrians think that stopping the bloodshed is a priority regardless of what implications this could have on the future of Syria, others think that the priority is a slow transition by the hands of Syrians and Syrians only no matter what the cost is. It is a very hard choice indeed to make.

  26. Dear Leaders..

    We call the leaders ….

    Very good effort.

  27. Dear All
    Again, I have been very busy. I will be more than happy to post a main post from any one interested in writing a post.

    TRUE: Cool, i like my friends to be able to embed videos and images in their posts. I would have liked the piano to be a little softer. It is making the words hard to hear. But a good attempt and the lyrics aren’t bad.

    Thanks for Rim’s post.

  28. الجيش السوري الإلكتروني: وسيلة لقمع الناشطين السوريين على الانترنت

    ونقلت الصحيفة عن جوش لانديس وهو أكاديمي أميركي يكتب في مدونة على الإنترنت عن التطورات في سوريا قوله، “إن إيران تقدم مساعدات إلكترونية هائلة للسوريين الذين يقودون حملة الجيش الإلكتروني، وإنه عندما بدأت المظاهرات المعارضة في سوريا كان رد الحكومة السورية هو محاولة إغلاق الاتصالات داخل سوريا وعزل سوريا إلكترونياً عن العالم الخارجي ومنع الصحافيين الأجانب من دخول سوريا”، مضيفا أن خبراء إلكترونيين واستخباراتيين إيرانيين ساعدوا في ذلك.

    and this is for Alex

    كما تعتبر “وحدة العمليات” أن هناك طرقاً أخرى للهجوم على المواقع عبر اختراقها، “حيث يتم التواصل مع مدراء الموقع أو مدراء الصفحة” من أجل التنسيق لعملية هجوم جماعية حسب ما يذكره الموقع الرسمي لهذا “الجيش”.

  29. Dearest OTW,
    Great to see that you create your own blog, well done my friend!

  30. Dear True
    I agree with Josh, without outside help the Syrian Electronic Army is a bunch of losers. Their biggest success is writing 5000 copies of the same comment (off course bout their blue eyed imbecile besho) on Amnesty International face book page.

    I believe that there are also Chinese and Russian hackers in the employ of the Syrian Regime. But last week Anonymous gave them a licking. One guy defaced the Central Bank page for 16 hours before the sys-admins could do anything. And how could they, Anonymous reported that the password for the Sys-admin of the central bank web was “password”

    Hacking is not the real issue, it is the blue coat servers. It is clear that outside experts are helping integrate the system

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