Not the solution, but part of it!

Words from OFF THE WALL

First, our best wishes, prayers, and thoughts go with our Dear TRUE. We all wish his mother a fast recovery, and hope that she and the family will overcome this health crisis with the grace we have known through TRUE .

Second, many thanks to 7ee6an’s nascent  community and to all  who are keeping 7ee6an  alive and who are challenging me to really become better than what I am as I find myself the host of diverse ideas and concepts I myself do not necessarily agree with fully.  I must say out of personal vanity that I never felt more satisfied intellectually than when I push the approve button on a post that I myself may fully disagree with.

Very Opinionated Words from OFF THE WALL (..& Others)

It is very interesting to go back in time and check old debates on Syria Comment on this subject. One of the most interesting was the debate following a main post by the capable Joshua titled “Is Syria Cracking Down on Religious Groups? Why?” As usual, the main post is lost with the first two comments, and the thread of comment was very interesting as LEOLEONI, OTW, MAJHOOL, and HUSAM debated each others and ELI. Please take a look, especially at the smart and thoughtful comments by Majhool, whose words along with those of LEO LEONI I would love to read on 7ee6an. We disagreed on the urgency of theological reforms, but as usual, Majhool got the more rational argument when confronting Eli’s argument by indicating that discussing theology is a futile exercise and I do now agree with him on such futility despite of my disgust at anyone trying to freeze Islam’s rich heritage to its first half a century.

I believe that conceptually, political Islam is a legitimate political movement, but it has gone astray during the 20th century. The enlightened ideas of Abdel Rahman Alkawakibi, who dreamt of an Islamic awakening that transforms Muslim countries into powerhouses of free thinking individuals gave way to a wide spectrum of movements, who in their struggle against tyranny lost their compass and converted the legitimate political struggle for freedom into a struggle for power. Their political discourse became silly and depressing discussion of Hijab, alcohol consumption, polygamy, children marriage, and bikinis on the beach as if these are the only fundamental issues our sick societies have to deal with.  I have written about that in the past on Syria Comment, and at one point I have described my own concerns with many so called ulama, whose beliefs have informed the more radical fringes of political islam:

 The problem is those theologians who insist on forcing down our throats made-up artificial struggles that bare only superficial relationship to Islam as they invent battles where non should exist. When they should focus on poverty, which is a direct result of unequal opportunities, they see women hair, arms and legs. When they should focus on family planning, they see women as half humans who should abay a series of males, who could by all means be their inferiors intellectually. When they should rile about corruption in the public domain, they throw a tantrum about school sports for girls because it may cause them the think like men. Where they should fight to liberate their sisters in Islam from poverty and injustice, they try to impose draconian, tribal personal status laws on them that makes them subservient to the males of the family, no matter how far removed in blood relationship. These are arguably some of the most respected scholars of our modern days, and they utter verses of the Quran, and use countless Hadiths to justify their sick obsession of the purity of women’s bodies. Their vision of governance is that of idealized forms that never existed in reality.

With that, they have become no better than their oppressors, and it is evident throughout the last part of the 20th century that these groups were content with tyranny as long as the tyrants were giving in to some of their narrow demands (religion of president, source of legislation). And even when they were given opportunities to govern such as in Gaza, they presented no social or economic program other than using the same old methods of despotism, with a few additional restrictions they imposed on women. I have written before that I am yet to see any of these parties talking about empowerment, social justice, education, or economy.

But that is normal, for as the Islamic political movements deformed under despotism, so were liberal and secular movements. They confused liberalism with liberal life style. Just read the responses of the narrow-minded on  political blogs, and you will notice that their primary concern is not whether minorities will be able to live as equal partners in their respective countries, but whether they will be able to drink publicly and whether Muslim girls will be wearing Hijab or not. The most striking example is Adonis, he who himself blasted Arab opposition movements for using identical language of discourse to that of the despots, found himself against the Syrian revolution because the demonstrations started from mosque and not from what I would now call secularist temples such as concert halls (Adonis had no problem if demonstrations were to start from churches, which made him look like a closet sectarian to many).  In the same thread of comments on SC as the one I have referred to, Majhool  says

Wiki defines Secularism as “the concept that government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious believer

Mixing Beer with secularism is utterly stupid. Its as if some Syrian invented their own definition and want to force it on the rest of us.

Clearly, the life-style secularists did exactly what many wise people including Jesus Christ have warned us against “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”. For without even attempting to assess and recognize their own despotic, anti-freedom tendencies, they went on an incessant campaign arguing for the need to reform Islam, and even presented versions they would accept without recognizing that there are many currents in today’s Islamic thinking.  Again,  Majhool  has his finger on the pulse  as he argues in another comment that placing theological reforms as a condition for allowing political views of Islam is a fascist approach

Its not about causing harm, you can discuss theology all you want, you are not getting anywhere with it. What you are suggesting is as fascist of an approach as it gets. You are denying a billion people their political rights until they pass some litmus test, and defining passing through the acknowledgment of the contradictions of the scriptures and denying of all things divine? good luck

N.Z, on 7ee6an, exposes an underlying problem with some of these calls (minor editorials in bold):

Every time Islam becomes the subject of discussion, KSA is brought in. Is there any other Muslim country in the world, which denies women the freedom to the drive? A shop owner, need not to close his shop to pray, he can, if he chose to. It is silly to even worry about these futile issues. An outsider will reiterate them, an insider knows better.

We do not need to strain ourselves. If you truly care about the rights of women, educate her. A true believer, Jewish, Christian or Muslim are not the problem. Using religion to control the powerless, or brain wash the masses, is.

I wholeheartedly agree with N.Z., as I recognized that I myself have fallen into this trap by constantly citing the worst of the worst like (e.g., KSA, TALIBAN, SHABAB) as examples for the need for reform. However, I am against them not only from secular point of view, but more-so because:

I totally reject the monopoly on critical review of Islam and the inherent violence of bounding the discussion of religious issues to the confine of so-called scholars. The irony is that in many (not all) cases, advocates of such strategy are those who also claim that Islam is the religions of masses, and that it is spreading like wildfires primarily because it does not need clerics as the relationship with god is most personal in Islam. They fail to see the contradiction of the two arguments. You can’t have it both ways, Islam is either accessible to the masses, thus there is no need for scholars to interpret it, or Islam is so complex that no earthly being can be a true Muslim without the help of the learned ones. There is no doubt that Islamic Jurisprudence was a living, rich, and dynamic legal practice, but it died long time ago, and those who killed it are the intellectual grandfathers of those who want to freez Islam by prohibiting self criticism, which is the main culprit in the stagnation of modern Islamic thoughts. The violence, be it verbal, legal, or physical, levied against anyone daring to ask questions prevented many (real) scholars such as philosophers, ethicists, linguists, and historians from contributing to the enrichment of Islamic traditions. While I do respect Majhool, quite a lot, I find the argument that religions should only be discussed by scholars a lazy escape.

As for the need to discuss authoritarian regimes every-time we criticize violent fundamentalism, i think it is uncalled for. There is a time for everything, and one does not need to be accredited by cussing at authoritarian regimes before discussing religion.

In light of today’s situation, the second paragraph sounds utterly wrong, rash and a little foolish, and it is. Because it was despotism and authoritarianism that gave rise to and nurtured the conditions leading to the powerful status of the backward regressive movements.  I would now like to add that framing the political discourse around disfigured concepts is off course what the despots wanted, for in that they have successfully introduced themselves as the protector of women’s rights, despite of heir maintenance of ugly civil status laws and reluctance to really empower women through education, especially in rural areas and inner cities, as guardians of minorities, despite of their constant inflaming of sectarianism and controllable mini-sectarian conflicts, as stalwarts modernity, despite of their  backward clannish form of ruling and their middle-ages violations of civil rights and due process , and of progress, despite of their well guarded feudal economic and financial monopolies

The aftermath of Arab spring, the first phase of which will conclude with the removal of the Assad dynasty in Syria and the Salih clan in Yemen,  will be the greatest challenge facing both political Islam and Arab Secularist. According to EHSANI, who is quoted by Joshua Landis on Syria Comment:

It seems to me that Islamists are being held to a much higher standards than other religions. Barry Rubin is afraid of Islamists but he is ok with israel as a religious state. I think that none of us can have our cake and eat it. That the majority of the people of this region are more religious than i would like is a fact. That after so many years of failures of their leaders they have turned to religion and GOD under the banner of “islam is the solution” is not surprising. When you have to live on $300 a month with 3 kids only GOD can get you going. Whether we like it or not, this region wants to throw away the exisiting order. Do they have an alternative that we like? most likely not. They clearly want to try islam. I think that this transition period is inevitable. The period may well be longer and uglier than we would like but unless we can offer a brilliant alternative, it is hard to see how this trend can be reversed. Iran started on this track back in 1979. The ayatollahs took over and promised the moon. In my opinion they have failed just like the current crop of “islam is the solution” crowd will most likely fail. But, try they will and may be try they must before the region’s next phase sees the light of day. In the meantime, the best we may hope for is that Turkish style rather than salafi style end up rising to the top should a change of the exisiting order actually materialize.

Some have taken issues with EHSANI’s writing considering it to expose him for an islamophobe, which in my opinion is both incorrect and unjustified from the above comment. I see in my friend’s comment a double challenge, the first is for the Islamic political parties, who in all likelihood will be swept into parliaments and constitutional assemblies through a sizable majorities in elections. At the heart of this challenge is his request for them to demonstrate their relevance by producing civil states on the Turkish model and not yet one more despotic state as the Mullahs, who rode the public revolt against the Shah into power, and hung up to it using the same tactics of their predecessor. This is a very serious challenge, for an important intellectual basis of most Islamist parties is the notion of universality of Islam, which as described by LEO LEONI in the above referred to SC debate means its applicability, unchallenged and unchanged to the spiritual and the political. ( شمولية الدين فهو الدين والدولة). This empower their ideology with self perceived  heavenly righteousness, independent of whether their interpretation of the text is accurate or not. IMHO, such is no different from the “we know best” mentality of the socialists and nationalists (Baathists) who led Syria into becoming an empire of fear. The second challenge that I got from EHSANI’s comment applies to both Islamists and Secularists, and it is the greatest challenge ever. It is simple, but monumental. I think my dear friend Ehsani is saying:

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245 Comments

  1. Dear Robin
    Thank you very much. I look forward to your visits and posts when you have time. And we all, i believe, appreciate plugging 7ee6an on your blog. Thanks for the good wishes.

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  2. Thank you for this excellent and well informed post OTW. It will take a big of time to read through again and digest 🙂

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  3. Aboud, is everything allright ? Are you safe ? I’m scared, its all over the news, Homs seems to be an inferno of tank gunfire, can you give us an update ?

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  4. Ehsani said :

    “When you have to live on $300 a month with 3 kids only GOD can get you going.”

    Again, Ehsani, the consummate Islamophobe who feeds himself and his family on RIBA (usury) and thus is no better than the “Joos” and “Zoonists” he repeatedly criticises , has got it all wrong. He is one of those sick, old-fashioned Arab middle class professionals who still think Islam is for the poor and unemployed and its uncool to be religious if you are well-off.

    Dear Ehsani, I live on much more than $300 a month and but I am religious and a Salafi ( btw “Salafi” is not a dirty word as many deluded Sunnis like husam seem to think). The era of people like Ehsani is OVER, its time to welcome the Caliphate before the arrival of Dajjal.

    May Allah cure your heart of this terrible disease, Ehsani.

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  5. Btw, Husam, in a previous post you had clubbed me together with the Islamophobic Menheibaks like SNK, SNP, JAD, etc., I demand to know WHY, I don;t share anything with them and their likes.

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  6. I wonder why many people in the Middle East includng most Sunnis feel that “Salafi” is a dirty word and Salafi = Terrorist. Why do many Sunnis are repeatedly apologetic abt Salafis ? Salafis are those who follow the Salaf al-Saleheen and we are basically like the Puritans and Calvinists, we believe in purging Islam from BID’AH like grave-worship, Al Fatiha, shirk, innovations in Salah, celebrating innovations like Mawlid of Prophet and 15th of Sha’ban ( which is widespraed in most Arab countries), becoz we believe these are not part of original Islam, we are basically back-to-basics people, we are also Arab nationalists, becoz many of the Bid’aat was injected into Islam by the Persians and Romans.

    So we are basically a purely theological group, we do not have any political agenda ( except opposition to Iran and Shia imperialism), we do not believe in wanton violence, we are against the Assad regome becayse they are rabidly anti-religion and have caused a lot of suffering for Muslims, so we believe that Al Assad family and anyone who is loyal to them , for Muslims it is wajib al qatl against them.

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  7. ^ Please read my posts above,

    And I also believe that Saddam Hussein had the greatest gumption and common snese of all Arab leaders, he realized that it is imperative to DESTROY IRAN if Arabs and Muslims are to live in peace, Syrian Sunnis should have opnely allaied with Saddam in the 1980s and invited the Iraqi Army to invade Syria, that way Iraq and Syria would have been united and dominated by Sunnis and we cou,d have crushed and destroyed the snake’s head ( IRAN ).

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  8. “I wonder why many people in the Middle East including most Sunnis feel that “Salafi” is a dirty word and Salafi = Terrorist. …..we do not have any political agenda…”

    “Sunnis should have openly allied with Saddam….it is imperative to DESTROY IRAN ….we could have crushed and destroyed…”

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  9. A demonstration in Baba Amr, an hour and a half ago;

    OTW, I apologize in advance but…

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHH!!!!!! Sho Besho ya habibi, emday’aq hal khazooq eli dahasholak ya el Homasni bi tezaq? La la la, ro7 shiflak she Ayatollah eshelak ya 🙂

    Guys, could someone recommend a good doctor to help remove the stick that Homs shafted Besho with? It’s quite a deep shafting, and a mighty big stick, so he’ll have to be a very experienced doctor. Maybe the same one helping Mr Saif “toz bil mahkama el douwalia” Qadafi, Tsk tsk ya Zinga ZInga junior, it’s a sad state of affairs when a war crime tribunal is the best fate you can hope to look forward to.

    El3an rohaq Qazafi, eja doraq zarafi!

    I have not yet finished gloating tonight.

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  10. Thanks for posting such a comprehensive essay. It will take some time, as Aboud said, to digest. Of course I agree with almost everything you wrote.

    I do not want to digress, but thought will mention it. As I was reading the SC comment thread. Someone wrote:

    ” After all, I am a product of Syrian culture and sensibilities!” His name is Eli El Hadj.

    Zenobia in one of her comments stated, that we must be sensitive to Kurds, Armenian, Turkmans and other minorities, to the effect that Syria, must not be considered an Arab country!

    As a Syrian, Arab or non-Arab, religious/non-religious, we are the product of Arab, Islamic and Syrian cultures.

    Many Thanks.

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  11. Dear Aboud
    Gloat as you may, i’ll be waiting. No apology is needed. Filters are working and as I said, I have no problem with youtube as long as it does not have objectionable material..

    Dear All:
    I promised it will be done this weekend, and a person is as good as her/his promise. So please check the despotic, draconian, authoritarian, policy page of this site . Comments are accepted until Nov. 16, 2011 (yes this year). Please confine comments on policy to the policy page as such will make it easier for me to consult with your comment. Be brutal if you may.

    Also, posts will be moved to a page called blog. I will let you know in advance when that will be so.

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  12. Husam and Khalid Tlass,

    Islam is not only for the poor and unemployed. Neither is Judaism, Christianity or Buddhism for that matter. Khalid Tlass then proceeds to lecture us about Salafism and its virtues. He then reminds how “we=he” is a puritan who believes in bringing Islam back-to-basics. That Mr. Tlass is a Salafi is none of my business so long as he and his puritan group do not shove down my throat their set of beliefs.

    I do not share your Salafi principals. How would you treat me when and if you and your puritan friends rise to the top? Would I be allowed to practice my own interpretation of the religion? Will you and I be allowed to keep our own separate beliefs from the conduct of state affairs? It seems to be that you advocate removing the Baath from leading the State and Society and replace them with the religious establishment.

    This brings me to Abboud’s point when he wondered if I thought that the protestors are all Islamists. The answer is, no I don’t. What I do feel however is that there is a significant chance that the religious establishment will end up elbowing out the current crop of protestors and anointing themselves as the heads in charge. Why do I feel this way? Because the current leaders failed at promoting civic associations and legitimate political parties that could have embraced the populace and provided an alternative avenue to critical thinking and true debate. Naturally, the mosques and churches filled the void.
    I stand by my narrative that economics is at the core of what has transpired in the region of late. Unless a comprehensive program is deployed that can create jobs and lift the standards of living of the millions of Syrian youth, the every country in this region will lurch from one uprising to the next.

    Khalid Tlass’s attack on Shias is regrettable. Such bigotry is blight on humanity. Indeed, after I read such comments, I am reminded why I remain ever the pessimist when it comes to this region and its future prospects.

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  13. Ehsani, thank you, your posts were one of the few good things left on SC.

    “What I do feel however is that there is a significant chance that the religious establishment will end up elbowing out the current crop of protestors and anointing themselves as the heads in charge”

    Every movement that has ever been and ever will be runs the risk of being overtaken by events that demand new leadership. I’m a none practicing Sunni Muslim. If someone told me that the government after the Baathists will ban naughty websites, I won’t be nearly as enthusiastic about the revolution as I am now.

    The hard core Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood are not a major force in the revolution, and despite what the menhebaks would like us to believe, never have been. The only way they can end up leading the revolution, is if the current leadership falls short. That is only natural. Leaders are made by being in the right place at the right time. If the current secular leadership can’t win international support, can’t inspire the Syrian people to greatness we never knew we had in us, then others will take their place.

    Who were the leaders that people looked to at the start of the revolution? Clan and tribal elders, and the youth who could organize and inspire protests. Then the revolution evolved, and it demanded Local Organizational Committees, and people who could secretly work and organize with protesters in other neighborhoods, cities and provinces. Leading a mosque protest is one thing, but having the organizational skills to co-ordinate with other cities is a different matter entirely. Co-ordinated protests is what saved Homs during its darkest days in May, when Baba Amr was first invaded and the FSA was non-existent.

    Michele Kilo was an inspiring figure when being a martyr to your cause was enough. I do hold him in very high regard, and my respect for him increased after I saw his interview on Al-Arabiya this week. But the revolution needs more proactive leadership, one that has to offer successes and inspiration, and less martyrs.

    Which brings us to our current situation. In Homs, Hama, Idlib, Deir al Zour, Dar’a and some towns on the Lebanese border, there is a low intensity armed insurrection against the regime, a state of affairs Besho the Baffled’s inept bungling bought the country to. While it might be nice to imagine a world where the civil demonstration leaders would work side by side with the field commanders, in reality the former could not endure without the latter. Increasingly, you will see people looking to the armed leadership for inspiration and cues on what direction to take. Unless the National Council can be pro-active and seize the initiative, the civilian leadership of the revolution risks being sidelines.

    The Baathists have no such luxury of choice. Junior has thrown his lot with and gambled everything on a military solution. For the remainder of his doomed presidency, he will be beholden to the military and Iran. His domestic standing will always be in tatters, his international prestige next to nil. Those that sustain themselves by tanks, become slaves to those who command the tanks brigades.

    Ehsani, do you know why the Muslim Brotherhood never became much of a threat to the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan? At one point, King Hussein invited them to take up government posts. When they proved to be less than spectacular at running the country’s affairs, Jordanians realized that an Islamic leadership was not an automatic ticket to heaven on Earth. If the Islamists ever gain control of the revolution, it will be because other movements have failed the people of Syria.

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  14. Dear Ehsani
    First of all, I am very grateful that you have posted despite of your announced retirement. Sorry to take you out of the blogging rocking chair.

    I fully agree that Khalid Tlass’s attack on Shias is regrettable and I find it strange that he asked Husam why was he clubbed with some of those whom Husam and quite few others consider to be bigoted. The language of bigotry is the same and all it takes is to switch nouns, not verbs, or adjectives. I also agree with your narrative,

    I stand by my narrative that economics is at the core of what has transpired in the region of late. Unless a comprehensive program is deployed that can create jobs and lift the standards of living of the millions of Syrian youth, the every country in this region will lurch from one uprising to the next.

    An applaud you for standing by it and being convinced, I would continue to amplify it. I would only add that the quest for dignity has been an added insult to injury. The wealthy and protected did not fear for their dignity. They always had the VIP treatment unless they dared sing outside the flock. For the poor, on the other hand, trampling on dignity, already under attack by poverty, was simply the norm of 41 years of authoritarianism.

    Again, thank you for your post.

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  15. Abboud,

    I cannot argue with anything you wrote.

    Incidentally, Bashar just gave an interview to the “Telegraph” where he described the uprising as a “struggle between Islamism and pan-Arabism, adding: “We’ve been fighting the Muslim Brotherhood since the 1950’s and we are still fighting with them”.

    I thought that was your original question to me. Here you have it answered by Bashar himself

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  16. Dear EHSANI
    I am really concerned that the telegraph interviewed a suspected war criminal. This man should be given no respectable or semi-respectable platform, not whatsoever.

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  17. @NZ,
    I think what I meant was that Syria shouldn’t be TITLED an ARAB republic because it is not ONLY a product of Arabic cultures.
    It is a product of many cultures, actually.
    The official narrative of this century is that it is Arab and primarily that – when all you have to do is LOOK visually at Syrians… with your own eyes – and you can see the genetic influence of all kinds of peoples who have been roaming the Mediterranean since before Islam and after Islam – and the evidence is there. Arabic “culture” is a fluid thing, relative to other cultures. Syria is “Arabic” compared to Holland or Australia. But not compared to Bahrain or Saudia Arabia.
    So, to my mind, this relative and it is not about being just “sensitive” …it is about being accurate.

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  18. I hope Besho gives many, many more interviews just like that one to the Western press. He’s back to whining that he’ll break all the dishes if he’s grounded for bad behavior. It wasn’t possible for him to sound anymore like a stereotypical 70s’ evil deranged dictator. He comes across as mad, under pressure, and completely lost.

    Who wants to take bets on how long before he starts talking through a hand puppet?

    Anyway, just been watching the film Contact on TV. Got me thinking. If aliens ever landed in Syria and asked us to “take me to your leader”, that’s gonna cause a hell of a ruckus 🙂

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  19. Ehsani
    Always good to hear what you say.
    I know that economic is behind many revolutions, but sometime demand for freedom is behind such revolution, and sometime power struggle is at the core of revolution, to say only economic,I found it hard to go along with.

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  20. Dear Khaled Tlass:

    Regarding why Sunnis are apologetic for Salafis is because they are far too extreme and the few I read are incredibly hot blooded and always speak of war and domination. I suspect their true intention because the Islam that I know invites people through dialogue, common terms, da’wa and not through aggression.

    I clubbed you with “them” because of your extremism and for not being able to accept others. I want an inclusive Syria. Yes, Salafis too. You want to unite the Sunnis which is good start, but the minute you continue with your supreme rhetoric, you loose me. Comments like this:

    “Syrian Sunnis should have openly allaied with Saddam in the 1980s and invited the Iraqi Army to invade Syria, that way Iraq and Syria would have been united and dominated by Sunnis and we cou,d have crushed and destroyed the snake’s head ( IRAN ).”

    cause me to loose respect for you and distance myself from Salafis. Shi’ites go back to the time of Ali (PBUH), rightfully or wrongfully, they exist and must be accepted whether you like it or not. Even if you consider them non-Muslims, they are closer to us than say for Atheist or Christians, btw would you ‘crush’ them too?

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  21. The salafis/wahabis in Libya are now busy destroying mosques and graves of scholars. Libya has a long sufi heritage and the salafis want to change that. Hopefully, they won’t have much of a sway in Syria, a bedrock of sufism. For those who don’t know, sufism is the spiritual dimension of Islam. It’s also called Ihsan.

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  22. Wow: lots to discuss….so little time.

    First, I would like to thank OTW not only for his well intended post but also for using a neutral respectable picture – the Quran. It is a refreshing small change compared with the usual Niqab-Clad pictures of SC.

    Second, as for the Salafis, like any group, they are not all the same. To my understanding (perhaps at least on the surface) they are group of people who feel that Muslims have gone astray and that the best Islam was that of the Sahabis and the time of our beloved Prophet (PBUH). While I agree with this to some degree, they miss the very basic fact that Islam was sent for all of mankind and not limited to 30 or even 300 years. We have progressed and Islam has too with us.

    Third, I don’t believe that Qur’an or the Sunah needs to be reinterpreted. We have been in the interpretation business for the last 1500 years. What I do see a dire need for is a true revival and awakening by Muslims themselves to learn and understand the basics. Let me share with you just one example:

    At the hotel which included breakfast, a good number of Muslim families who were gathered for an Islamic conference, left wasted food at their table enough to feed a small village. How Sad? I was furious. Don’t get me wrong, we Muslims are not the only ones who waste food…ever been to a buffet in Vegas or on a Royal Carribean cruise lately? But the minute, people identify themselves as religious (beard, hijab, etc…) you become ambassadors of what is Islam is all about. I was so embarrassed. Here we were at a conference that was going to discuss Islam in the 21st century while some of its attendees missed the very basics of our belief system. I felt like jumping on the stage, but chickened out.

    I was attacked by one brother at a Halaqa when I was venting out my disgust with what I saw at the conference. He obviously missed my point.

    OTW, you make an interesting read indeed. Sifting through past bitterness did not bode well with me especially reading Elhadj all over again. I went on to see how it all started and skimmed through several hundred arguments (other than OTW linked to) and I still think that he is a bigot. This guy makes me sick to the bone.

    Moving forward, 2 quick main points:

    1- While I agree with creating sustainable economic model (jobs, education, etc)… there is another adjoining side to our Syrian coin and that is morality. The Syrian morality, or rather the decline thereof, has taken a toll on civil society. When you bring in uneducated villagers to run the government, you end up with basically a chicken dungeon. A New Syria needs incorruptible experts. I, for one, believe that entrusting an expert who also happens to be a respectable religious person provided that he is verifiably qualified will also bode well with the majority of Syrians inside Syria.

    2- Regarding the notion that political Islam will be a failure eventuality brought to life by the current political vacuum…I don’t buy that. I also don’t buy that the Syrian people recently turned to God because they are poor. I think the day when Muslims at large are free to speak their minds and lead with their moral high ground, we will see much better results, participation and representation of what the free people of new Syria want. Islamic economic concepts (contractual agreements, insurance, etc…) are all 1000 times more responsible, sustainable and more harmonic than the ponzi scheme fiat economy. EVERY fiat currency since the Romans first began the practise has ended in devaluation and eventual collapse, of not only the currency, but of the economy that housed it. What we are witnessing this very day with the Global economy is just that, only the patching job will put our future generation in a bigger hole. Keep Wall Street and its fake instruments out of Syria.

    OTW, with all due respect, despite your effort to compliment (and sanitize) Ehsani’s comment from SC, I still read it the same way. I am sick and tired of the negativity and the parallels of Islamic Doom-athon before we even started. I hope I can remain a friend of yours but regretfully not of his.

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  23. Dear Husam, Yes, wow, a lot to discuss and so little time. And thank you for recognizing the subtle message i tried to send with the picture, which tells me that you are a sensitive person with a great deal of civility. You then proceed to describe your reaction to the breakfast incident in way that allows me to better understand you and to like that part of you very much.

    I don’t think that the failure of political Islam is inevitable but it is pre-conditioned on several factors and chief among these factors is their recognition that once in power they should leave the spiritual to themselves and focus on the political tasks in hand. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be entitled to identify Islam-informed solutions, for that is a privilege they would have earned in the ballot box. However, the real question is in their diagnosis of society’s diseases and needs, and the challenge would be for them to try and ask the hard questions and not simply get out of the purse an easy prepackaged answer. The easy and lazy answer would be to determine that society is immoral and in need of enforced morality through dress codes, banning, segregation, and application of strict hudood, restriction on other religions (building churches, public manifestation of other faiths). These so far seem to be the central theme of most radial Islamic groups and they will in fact lead to maintaining a police state that would have no aim but appearances of a pious society.

    A few years ago, I was in Egypt on a business trip. In Alexandria, which is a mixed city, my hotel room window faced a couple of small allies packed with shops in one of the citie’s thriving commercial districts. I was enjoying a few minutes of idle time watching passerby and the hustle, typical of bazars when the Athan sounded. Within minutes, a group of bearded young men wearing ghallaba came around and started hoarding people into prayers, mats were thrown on the floor and these guys were walking through the ally calling everyone to prayers. At first site one would be impressed by the scene of large number of people praying in unison. But the story does not end here. The next day, and on an inspection trip of state facilities, i arrived to one of the major facilities where I were supposed to hold interviews, meetings, and conduct a facility inspection. As usual, there was an executive lunch prepared, and I arrived about an hour after mid-day (noon) prayer (I remember because I had to wait for the driver), somehow it seemed that almost everyone in the facility forgot to pray noon prayers on time and they have gathered before lunch for a prayer led by the director in the facility’s large court yard. It was so easy to recognize the Coptic employees, for they were going about their business. After prayer, and lunch and on inspection of the facility, I noticed a large room reserved for mosque and there were a couple of employees praying what seems to be a hurried prayer. I am citing the incidence because I felt throughout that I could feel in the air in both cases (the ally and the facility) a great deal of pretense, coercion, peer pressure, and abuse of authority. Nowadays I look back and I see no difference between the ally prayer and the way the Syrian regime coerce people into attending their rallies, and the facility’s prayer reminds me of the way baathist minders in every state run facility in Syria abuse their power by coercing the employees into public display of loyalty to the regime. I have discussed that with some of my Egyptian colleagues, and some of them are really pious, and a majority of them (highly educated) were appalled by the subtle as well as the outright bullying of some Islamic movement of their society and with what they told me as the thin veneer of religiosity manifested only in rituals and in appearances. So this is my breakfast incident, and I am sure that you are far more capable of extracting the right lessons and conveying them back to me and to others and please note I am sharing this not to put you on the spot, but to get some better understanding from someone who seems to understand Islam at far deeper and personal level than I have encountered in many. I happen to have a couple of siblings with such deep understanding and I see in them role models in ethics, civility, and humanity, and believe it, of truly secular behavior. As I have said in the same thread of comments on SC.

    While i may be an avid secularist, my ethics, values, and much of my outlook (even in dealing with animals) has been shaped by a rather moderate and pleasant Islamic-informed upbringing in a truly secular home.

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  24. OTW, your account of Egypt was interesting, and as you mentioned, you visited couple of years ago, when Mubarak was in full control, so I think its unfair on the part of some people to fear the rise of “religious bullying” in Egypt after his fall.

    Also, I couldn’t quite understand the meaning of your experience in the State facility. Was it that the Director actively discouraged public display of religion under orders from the regime, or was it the other way round ? A but of clarification would help.

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  25. Aboud, I’m realy really worried for Homs, it seems Tanks are shelling buildings and the FSA is being almost finished, Al Jazeera and all international news in IGNORING the news from Homs, exceopt BBC World News reported that Army is on full offensive and they had vidoes of about 50 Tanks incessantly shelling a building, I;m really scared, please give us eyewitness updates, Aboud.

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  26. HUSAM said :

    “Shi’ites go back to the time of Ali (PBUH), rightfully or wrongfully, they exist and must be accepted whether you like it or not. Even if you consider them non-Muslims, they are closer to us than say for Atheist or Christians, btw would you ‘crush’ them too”

    Actually, Christians are a lot closer to us than Shiaa, the Shiaa are a political sect created for political purposes by Abdullah ibn Saba the Jewish impostor. Christains share a lot more with orthodox Sunnism and Salafism , especially the puritan, Calvinist and Presbyterian Protestant churches, with their discouragement of meaningless rituals/superstitions and encouragement of reading directly the authentic scriptures and their concept of Irresistable Grace ( Allah guides whom He wills ) , sola scriptura ( i.;e the Scriptures are the ONLY basis of the religion and is comprehensible and accessible to ALL humans) and sola fides ( Faith in the religion is enough to get you through Heaven if God so wills, i.e all our “good works” can be nullified, what counts if pure Faith). Salafis also believe in the strong capitalistic business ethic of Protestants. So, you see, Salafis ahre more with the reformed Protestant traditions of Christianity than they do with Shiaa or other political cults, Shiaa is not about religion or spirituality, its all about politics, ile Ali ibn Abi Taleb versus Omar ibn al Khattab.

    And no , we don’t want to “crush” Shia or Christians or any other sect, but political agendas, like the one the Islamic Reoublic of Iran has, namely that of “exporting the revolution”, should be crushed – this is exactly what Saddam Hussein did, and what Al Saud in KSA and Bahraini monarchy are doing, to their credit.

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  27. Assad is now using the same language as his co-Baathist ideologue, Saddam Hussein. Assad is now saying any foreign interference will “burn the region”.

    Well, these statements are indicative of a rat with no where to turn. Are the world powers ready to “do a Libya” on the Syrian regime? I hope so, with the full support of the Syrian opposition.

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  28. Dear Khalid Tlass,
    I had the pleasure of addressing your posts several times before; however, this time is very special for me, because I want to go back in history to when Shiism was created.
    The main reason for the creation of Shiism is Mouawiah Bin Abi Soufian. His struggle for power with Ali Bin Abi Taleb caused this schism is Islam. Let us first start with a brief biography of the two characters to our story:
    Ali Bin Abi Taleb was the Prophet’s first cousin and his son-in-law. He married Fatima the daughter of the prophet and was the father to the only grandchildren of the prophet. Ali Bin Abi Taleb was also the first child to become a Muslim and was a known thinker and philosopher. He was a wise man who people sought to solve their problems and give them advice.
    Mouawiah Bin Abi Soufian is the son of Abu Soufian the sworn enemy of the prophet. Abu Soufian tried everything in his power to kill the prophet and only became a Muslim after the prophet conquered Mecca and left Abu Soufian with no other alternative. Mouawiah’s mother is more interesting still. She is Hind, the gorgeous, strong and high society woman. Hind was called by the prophet: “Hind alhounoud akkalet al kouboud”, meaning Hind the eater of hearts. After Hamza, the prophet’s uncle killed Hind’s father and brother in battle, Hind hired a strong slave and sent him after Hamza to kill him and bring her his heart back. It is said that when she received Hamza’s heart, she chewed it and spit it out in public, thus the name from the prophet.
    Mouawiah was the governor of Syria during Omar Ibn Alkhattab’s time. He was known to have lived in palaces and worn silk, while the Khalifa Omar lived in a small house. He was also a shrewd politician.
    Looking at these two characters, one can not help but be on Ali Bin Abi Taleb’s side. These are actually the Shia of today. We, the Sunni, stuck with the horribly wrong side, Mouawia’s.
    Yes, I will give you that the Shia changed the religion and created things that were never mentioned in the Quran and did many things to the religion that are questionable, but we have to admit that they were on the right side. Come to think of it, Mouawiah is the man personally responsible for the destruction of Islam as the prophet envisioned it: he moved the state from a democracy (shourah) to inheritance based, giving the rein to his son after his death, he created the gap between the ruler and the subjects, he lived in palaces, he had concubines, he drank wine and so followed all the other rulers after him whether Omayyad, Abbasid or Ottoman.
    It is ironic that Sunnis like you are attacking the Shiite for changing the religion, when the Sunnis should be attacked for destroying it.

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  29. Sheila, I am neither Sunni nor Shia, these are man-made terms. I don’t like Shias because of their political agenda which is backed by Iranian petrodollars, they want to “export’ the Iranian Islamic Revolution wherever there is a significnt Shia population, like Iraq, Bahrain, KSA, Lebanon, etc. To hell with Sunnis is their thinking, they have a historic grudge against all Sunnis especially Arab and Turkish Sunnis because of centuries of discrimnation by Ottoman regime ( similar thinking can also be found among some Christians like Armenians, Greek Orthodox, Serbs, etc) Why the hell do they need to carry the baggage of history ?

    And I agree that Mouawiha was less pious and vistuous than Ali ibn abi Taleb, who was after all a Righteous Caliph, I also agree with the less than honirbale abtecedents of Mouawiyah and his family, but at the end of the day he accepted Islam and the Prophet himself declared him sinless, after you accept Isam, all your previous sins are erased and he is Radi Allah, ( Allah is pleased with him) and it is accepted that Mouawiay is in Jannah, he did make some mistakes which is why he is not included in the Righteous Khalifa category, BUT it is obligatory for all Muslims to give bayaa to him, not doung so is FITNAH mongering, anyone who has any doubts about Mouawiah’s eeman and his righteousness, doesn;t have correct eeman. So Sheila, there is nom scope for us to criticise Mouawiah AFTER he reverted to Islam, how can we do so, when the Prophet himself never criticised Mouawia or his father or mother, after all of them became Muslims, doing so is serious blasphemy and one should not fall for it.

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  30. Lets stop the religious discussions for the time being, concentrate on the situation in Homs, things are very critical and the FSA is being outgunned, a full-blown military assault with airborne paratroopers and commandos is underway, pretty much looks like Hama 1982, ABOUD has not posted for almost 12 hours, I’m really worried for Homs.

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  31. I am absolutely baffled by the assertion of many in the Islamist movements that interest is banned in Islam. I would like to stress that this is not only erroneous, but also dangerous. Islam bans “riba” which is excessive interest. Islam does not ban interest. There is indication neither in our scripture, nor in our history that confirms the banning of interest. It is very irresponsible for those clerics who know squat about the science of finance to even interfere in it and give opinions. The analogy of a barber pulling teeth comes to mind. I do not see any clerics interfering in the field of medicine and giving final verdicts and opinions about it. You have to go to a doctor because he knows best. Can clerics and other people who know nothing about finance stop giving stupid opinions please.

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  32. “And no , we don’t want to “crush” Shia or Christians or any other sect, but political agendas, like the one the Islamic Reoublic of Iran has, namely that of “exporting the revolution”, should be crushed – this is exactly what Saddam Hussein did, and what Al Saud in KSA and Bahraini monarchy are doing, to their credit.”

    Actually, you did say you wanted Sunnis to “crush” Iran – the country. Not a “political agenda”…but if you want to change your recommendation now that would be great.
    However, you should know that crushing a political agenda should be done with the mighty pen and with words, not by using chemical warfare…. or any warfare….

    what did eight (?) years of war between Iran and KSA achieve really? millions of people dead…..
    Such goals kill more than they ever achieve some supposed agenda…. and for nothing… nothing really really important at all in the big scheme of things…..

    You should not pick and chose who you think deserves to die – Tlass otherwise – it end up being Homs today and another city tomorrow… might does not make right… but if you believe that then you are no better than those who are busy attacking Homs right now.

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  33. As I said, lets concentrate on the situation in Homs, its very critical at the moment. A full-blown 1982 Hama style operation is being carried out in Homs.

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  34. Zenobia, I am astonished that you can still do quibbling about “those who are attacking Homs right now” – when almost 150 ppl have died in Homs in jusy 5 hours otday, you still have a clam mind, the prospect of a full-scale massacre in Homs doesn’t bother you, doesn’t agitate you. The FSA is almost being eradicated in Homs and that means something very critical for all of us revolitionists, YET some people are calm and composed and can go about their daily busness.

    I really feel like joining the rebels in Homs and start killng Besho ass kissers ( Syrian Arab Army).

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  35. the question of Riba is an interesting one. you mentioned it before – and I am curious as well because it comes up periodically here and there on different blog threads .

    Maybe the confusion is whether the definition is one that has been static or not – or is exactly equivalent to “usury” or not – for example if you just wikipedia the term USURY – you get right there – a note about how the original meaning is ” interest at any rate” – then only later it became “excessive” interest….above that allowed by law…etc.

    then when you click on “riba”.. you get “unjust” interest
    of course, what does “Unjust” mean exactly?? doesn’t that open the door for interpretation right there?
    .you get things like : an increase in capital without any services…
    again, what is a “service”…would sort of determine whether this constitutes a violation.

    most people think that banks are pretty exploitative in general…or should I say a lot of people (?)…. but if that is the issue x% percent is ok, but y% interest is not… it all gets pretty murky from there…

    so, perhaps this is why the issue is misunderstood in either direction. There isn’t actually an exact definition that has stayed the same over time
    just a thought?

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  36. Tlass,
    what makes you think I am “calm”…?

    You seems to find plenty of time today – to write your stuff above about your feelings against Shia.
    what’s your excuse…..
    and I am less calm when you talk about how you really want to go kill people…

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  37. “when almost 150 ppl have died in Homs in jusy 5 hours otday”

    Khaled, where on Earth are you getting your alarmist news from? Even at its worst, Homs has been nothing like Hama ’82. Today was scary at times, but no where near as bad as the last three days. The FSA has always been outgunned, that’s why they are fighting a guerrilla warfare battle and not a conventional one. When you see a pro-regime demonstration in Khaldia or Baba Amr, then start to worry.

    I haven’t posted because I don’t usually have much to say about the topic of political Islam. I wouldn’t vote for a party that was based on a religious platform. I want a party that has a plan for jobs, civil rights, a doctrine of noninterference in the affairs of our neighbors. I want a party that will leave me alone to create a blog and write about any topic I want, without having to look over my shoulders for the mukhabarat.

    I want a party that will revamp Syria’s joke of a judicial system. I couldn’t care less if the head of the party prayed five times a day or not, or was the biggest drinker and skirt chaser in the republic, just as long as it didn’t interfere with running the country. In fact, let’s vote in a party of green tree hugging gays and lesbians, if they will rebuild the army into a professional force, and make Syria a country to be emulated, and not a joke of a 70s era dictatorship it currently is, with the president’s father’s portrait on the currency. I mean, jeeeeeeeesh.

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  38. Aboud, is Homs really okay ? Is the FSA still going strong ? I am very worried, pls provide us some reassuring news.

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  39. Also, Aboud, why do you think all Arab news agencies are doing a discreet blackout of news from Homs today ?

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  40. “I want a party that will revamp Syria’s joke of a judicial system. I couldn’t care less if the head of the party prayed five times a day or not, or was the biggest drinker and skirt chaser in the republic, just as long as it didn’t interfere with running the country. In fact, let’s vote in a party of green tree hugging gays and lesbians, if they will rebuild the army into a professional force, and make Syria a country to be emulated, and not a joke of a 70s era dictatorship it currently is, with the president’s father’s portrait on the currency. I mean, jeeeeeeeesh.”

    LOL.

    Three amens to that…..

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  41. Dear Friends On 7ee6an,

    Thanks God my mum’s conditions is more stable and we yet to find out about any residual deficits. I am writing to extend my thanks and gratitude for your incredible kindness. My mum’s condition has been stressful, but reading and feeling your support certainly lightens my load.

    I so appreciate your support. I won’t forget this!
    Sincerely
    TRUE

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  42. I’d like to congratulate OTW for such a great post.

    I have no desire to get sucked in into Political-Islam debate while our people are getting slaughtered back home. However, I thought to share this article by Subhi Hadid about Joshua Landis ties with the regime which impacts all of us.

    “وأمّا مصدر المعلومة الخاطئة فهو جوشوا لانديس، مدير مركز دراسات الشرق الأوسط، والأستاذ في جامعة أوكلاهوما، والمشرف على الموقع الشهير Syria Comment، وصديق النظام السوري (وليس، البتة، صديق سورية البلد والشعب والثقافة والتاريخ، كما تجدر الإشارة دون إبطاء). إنه، إلى هذا، مستشار دائم حول الشؤون السورية، ترجع إليه كبريات وسائل الإعلام الغربية (من الـ’نيويورك تايمز’ والـ’إيكونوميست’، إلى الـCNN و’الجزيرة’ الإنكليزية)، وثمة ركن دائم في موقعه، عنوانه ‘لانديس في الأخبار’، يتحفنا بأحدث تحاليله حول كلّ صغيرة وكبيرة في سورية. هذه، بالطبع، أبهى أيامه في النصح، وأدسم مواسمه في الإفتاء، فالانتفاضة تتصدّر العناوين، وتتردد على الألسن، كما تتوالى مشاهدها أمام الأبصار؛ وهنا، استطراداً، فرصة صاحبنا لكي يصول ويجول، دون أن يغادر عادته الأثيرة: أنه لا يملّ من رفع العقيرة دفاعاً عن ‘استقرار’ سورية، في عهدة آل الأسد دائماً، وبالضرورة، حتى تحت نير أسوأ أعراف الاستبداد والفساد، وأشدّ الممارسات الأمنية والعسكرية وحشية؛ وإلا فإنّ البديل هو انزلاق سورية إلى حروب شتى، دينية وإثنية وطائفية ومناطقية…”

    http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today30qpt998.htm&arc=data20111010-2830qpt998.htm

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  43. The Ulema (clerics) have to remind, educate, and guide people back to understanding their religion before any likelyhood of an Islamic State. I am confident that once the bond between the people and their religion is strengthened they will not be influenced by other ideas.

    The muslim countries are conservative, traditional societies. If the clerics don’t awaken the people then the pied-piper will hold sway.

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  44. Khaled, there is no blackout of news. Today was quite calm compared to the past three days. There is a certain level of background gunfire one gets used to after a while. Calm in Homs is if only three RPG explosions and a couple of hours of gunfire is heard.

    And don’t worry about the FSA, they can take care of themselves. Seriously bro I can’t keep holding people’s hands twice a day. You have to resolve to see this through to the end no matter what. If junior says he will cause an earthquake in 10 countries, then let him be under no illusions as to what the cost to him and his community will be if he tries.

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  45. True, thank you for the encouraging news. Our prayers are with you and your family in these trying times.

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  46. I came across an article from Veterens Today I would like to share. It is by Dr Kevin Barret a convert to Islam.

    I read the article and it reminded me of the short exchange we had on here on ‘secularism’ a couple of days ago. There is also a comment by the author in the comment section which I liked.

    They can be viewed on the following forum thread (link). The OP contains the article. The following post contains the comment.

    ‘Where Gaddafi failed. Islam will succeed’

    http://www.yanabi.com/index.php?/topic/423454-where-qaddafi-failed-islam-will-succeed/

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  47. HI True,
    thanks for making an appearance.
    I, as well, have been where you are – and it is a momentous and frightening thing- so I hope the best results for your mother and all the strength for her family and caretakers. No matter what the result – it is blessing to be taken care of and to give care.
    wishing you the best-
    Zenobia

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  48. Firstly. Encouraging news about your mother True. I pray Allah SWT grants her good health and quick recover.

    Just to say that like True I didn’t want to sidetrack from the Syrian situation. That’s why we are here. However seeing the latest post by OTW I thought Id contribute.

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  49. Tx much Zenobia & CSI HAM, it’s …. Hard.

    Too many things are happening at the same time AL initiative developments, Betho’s media appearance and FSA (guerrilla warfare) achievements. So let’s do some “out of the box” readings for the last few days.

    First of all Betho’s Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, is nothing but a sign of defeat, what’s Betho is doing is exactly what street fighters would do when they feel defeated, simply they would scream LOUD and threaten around, useless scream though. Such an interview is surely not targeting his real audience of Syrian people (bacteria and germs) not at all, Betho was trying to address the grassroots of Western people, trying to steer some fear and hoping to kick off some anti-war opposition before the inevitable NATO action occurs. It’s bloody Déjà vu and reminds me of Gadaffi’s last Interview to ABC news when he was threatening to bombard Europe and sink Italy. Secondly Betho’s appearance on Russian TV, this would take us back to last week when the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad visited Moscow to discuss actions further to AL initiative, I would assume the Russians confirmed their support to the regime (maybe acquired more oil & energy contracts)and Betho in return is showing his gratitude and taking the honour of publicising their stand on their channel.

    Second of all the FSA (guerrilla warfare) achievements, for all those who were speculating and questioning the guerrilla warfare concept please have a look at what’s happening in Homs & Idlib. The regime is suffering enormously tangibly and intangibly and the developments are going exactly as predicted here on this blog, very soon the FSA and SNC will be forced to sit on the same table. I understand there are many martyrs falling everyday but hey go and check on Betho’s blood pressure to see who’s really going down the toilet.

    Third of all the AL initiative, I must admit nothing is unpredictable at all as from one side the AL is divided between countries trying to safe Betho’s butt and others paving the way for foreign intervention, in both cases the AL is trying to harvest all the credit of solving the “situation” as they like to refer to our revolution. While on the other side Betho and his amazing consultancy team are trying to use it as a time-game to drag the killing on and on while everyone is lost in details. Both sides are still failing to understand the pulse of Syrian revolution, they can sew and knit what they like but at the end of the day the scenario is very clear and Betho will be oust. While everyone is expecting no-fly zone from Turkey, I’d like to affirm my prediction of Southern no-fly zone with the Jordanian borders including both Dar’aa and Al-Swaida.

    Sorry for the long post.
    TRUE

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  50. True

    “but hey go and check on Betho’s blood pressure to see who’s really going down the toilet. ”

    Check out what the Alawites in Homs have been saying for weeks now (HNN on Facebook). It’s all doom and gloom with them. They just want things to end, and would gladly offer Besho’s head on a platter if that was the price.

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  51. @ OTW,

    If I did not trust you, I would have found it hard to believe that there is such a thing as prayer police in Egypt. Never heard of it except in Iran and KSA. I am flattered by what you said about me. Up until about 3 months ago, I was an email type of guy that ran everything in my life through email because it held everyone accountable and offered me sort of a registered letter among other things. Lately, I am realizing that there a huge missing element with emails, blogs, etc… that despite how much we write we can only can convey a limited amount of expressions. The body language is gone, the personality and gestures are gone, etc…all to say that there is much, much more to all of us than mere comments.

    Back to the prayer police, I find that so ridiculous to tell you the truth. My friend in KSA when I visited once ushered me into a store in order not to get caught… I was young then (20 something) and did not even know how to pray. Now, I would go as far as saying it is counterproductive.

    My understanding is that in Islam everyone is responsible for his own sins, prayers, etc.. so what is the point of praying out fear. God (allahu a’lam) will judge not only for one’s desire and willingness to pray but for keeping your daily prayers for him without coercion or fear.

    By the way for those who say what kind of relationship with God when one has to fear him and doing everything out fear. I personally view the fear of God as a 5 year old fearing his beloved parents because he did not fulfil his homework, or for having failed an easy test at school. It is the fear of having our parents not loving us or not being happy with us. You want your parents to be pleased with you and the same with God. Your parents can punish you and so certainly God (your creator) can too. I know that this explanation may sound primitive to you, but that is my way of explaining what I understand. OTW, I am no expert and nor do I pretend to be…so please forgive me for any errors I may have made.

    As for the feeling of pressure during your conference, that is totally understandable. Some people have no problems missing their prayers and making them up later, others seldomly pray and some never miss a prayer. There is nothing wrong with peer pressure in this sense. The reason is that the lazy sluggish runners get inspired and pulled by the torch holders. The lazy ones get a little embarrassed, etc… As long as no one is being forced to do anything, then I don’t see any harm in that. Perhaps you read to far into it. Please don’t forget that the main event was probably distracting or possibly intense which explains the hurried prayers and there is nothing wrong with that either. Regarding the prayer hall, this is common practise even in Canada’s reasonable accommodation and freedom of religion. In Canada, any event that is deemed to have a reasonable number of attendees being Muslims can call for a segregated room for prayer.

    The thin veneer you are referring to is what is called: “Islam” which is manifested by what one does outwardly pray, fast, go hajj, give zakat, etc… What we have inside our hearts, our faith, our love for God, our love for humanity, for animals, our righteousness, etc…is our “iman”. Those people who achieve both qualities namely “Islam & Iman” are those whom we call as people who have reached “Ihsan”. This is, in my view, is the correct explanation of Ihsan. With all due respect to our friend Syr. Expat, I do not agree with his summary explanation with Ihsan/Sufism etc…

    So you have some people who are Islamic in their appearance but are weak in their iman. Or vice-verca. I am weak in Islam but extremely strong in my Iman (unshakable). Inshallah I will spend less time blogging and more time praying and reading more about this beautiful vast religion.

    To conclude our discussion regarding Islam and Politics, I think we both agree in allowing the mashura to have a say in formation of new policies as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of other. I am more comfortable with “show me a model, then I will follow”. I do think you will be surprised at the amount of viable solutions experts in various fields can offer while still adhering to basic principles of Islam and protecting the rights of minorities.

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  52. @ True

    Good to have you back. Alf alhamdullah for your mum.

    Dear Friends,

    I hope one day in the near future, we all can celebrate the Walls with a falafel sandwich. I mean drop everything and meet up in Syria. I am not kidding. Perhaps I am too crazy and I know people have agendas and commitments that it would be too difficult to organize such a thing…but it would be wonderful. I am very hope-full that the regime starts to crack from within.

    You guys like making predictions about stuff, earthquackes-quackes (sounds better than earthquake, hehe). I don’t. If the regime can spill blood by metric tons why wouldn’t they start firing missiles in all directions?

    @ Aboud, how do you think Erdogan can spread his wings and do more? Perhaps strategically the situation hasn’t matured or that there are cards we are unaware of. There are huge implications of PKK, NATO, UN, AL, etc… If he acts too soon, he might be seen as a leader who wants to revive the Ottoman history, etc… In politics, I think timing is everything. Besides, I don’t see concesus for Syrians inside Syria in calling for Turkey’s help. I mean the guy opened his border, he is harboring FSA, he is hosting anti-regime councils…

    About Turkey, I am still in awe over what I saw during my visit to Istanbul last month, their success is mind blowing so much that I even told our tour guide that I would be ok with Syria being a Turkish province (I could hear half of you screaming at me now) but seriously, I was shocked to say the least. Syria is a village compared to Turkey, thanks to our tyrannical regime, fear and grand theft.

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  53. Sheila
    There are some points that I found it necessary to say.
    Maawiya converted to Islam early and was strong supporters to the prophet,He fought against AbuSufian,There is doubt whether he was a true son of Abu Sufian,I am not sure Maawiya drank wine,he did not,Ali was Sunni he was against The ideas of Shia,There is a story which is well known where he was approached by people who came to him and told him they will consider him Wali, he stood up get mad of them,cussed them, and told them he never want to see them again, he was fearful that some will do that he told his son to bury him in hidden place where no one will know where he is burried,Sunni are not supportive of Maawiya, infact we curse his son Yazeed,Ali was not a good politician Maawiya was.
    In Islam interest is forbidden, but it is forbidden from one person to another, there was no banks then,and in Islam there is no mention of forbidden interst concerning banks.

    I expect some thing serious will happen in November.

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  54. Husam, best to ask Erdogan what he originally had in mind when he originally gave junior the two week ultimatum. Because it appears to me that Erdogan hadn’t thought that far ahead.

    And I don’t know about the Turks, but if I suspected someone was arming the PKK and encouraging them to attack my soldiers, I’d do what Israel did and hold their sponsors accountable. Look how nice and quite Israel’s northern borders with Lebanon and Syria have been since the Dahiya in South Beirut was reduced to rubble.

    I’m losing patience with the National Council. What have they accomplished since they were put together? Are they even privy to the details of the Doha meeting? People cannot be blamed for looking to the armed element of the revolution for leadership anymore. International pressure has not deterred the regime from massacring thousands, and there is no negotiating with a junta that uses convicts and criminals, and arms them to murder its own citizens.

    None of the “advantages” that Besho seems to think are going to sustain him, are actually under his control. Russia’s veto protection is not etched in stone, the shabiha will become increasingly unreliable as the armed resistance spreads. And if the leadership of the National Council cannot achieve some diplomatic successes, then their places will be taken by more proactive leaders.

    This is what I expect from the National Council;

    1) Getting the Arab league to freeze Syria’s membership in the AL.

    2) Getting the Arab League to put pressure on Russia regarding its veto. Trade and diplomatic relations must be scaled back, and the Russians made to understand that the cost of propping up this doomed regime is that it risks losing the entire Arab world. Make the cost to Russia so very prohibitive.

    3) Come up with some symbol or colors that represent it, like orange did for the Ukrainian revolution. When its symbols and colors are sprayed in graffiti all over Syria, when Syrian expats sport them everyday, the entire world will no longer question the council’s legitimacy among Syrians.

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  55. Dear Husam
    Thanks for trusting me. I am really sorry if my story gave he impression that i was talking about organized prayer police. I have no way of knowing. The guys in the market could be nothing more than some zealot “Duat” who think that they are doing community service. The facility story could be interpreted also as a combination of people trying to show the director that they are trustworthy. And in both cases, one can not ignore the reasonable assumption that people were praying on their own volition. I was describing my own feeling and response to the situation. A practicing Muslim may see in it a solid community of faithfuls. Coercion in either situation is more of peer pressure and of embarrassing those who don’t than it is of physical police approach. And I am sensitive to this type of coercion.

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  56. Thanks bros for the support.

    SNC failed to take the lead and simply joined the others (Betho, AL, UN, Turkey …etc) in playing catch up. The protesters and freedom fighters on ground are in control and always many steps ahead of everyone.

    ABOUD as once you told me, it’s just en error and trial process till the real leadership emerges and yeah good things take time. screw SNC!!

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  57. Aboud, do you think the FSA can hold its own ( militarily ) in the coming weeks and months ? Do they have sufficient supply of ammunition ? And what about more recruits ? Any chance of many more defections ?

    Husam, are the Turkish people strict about prayers ? (in an individual sense)

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  58. Aboud, how do you rate the FSA fighters ? Are they better than the Alawite special forces and commandos ?

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  59. Khalid, I can’t possibly know the answers to those questions. Bro, you seem to keep needing alot of reassurance everytime you hear something from a menhebak. For now, the FSA is more than holding its own. I don’t know what will happen next week.

    I know that the only way Besho could ever subdue Homs is by using Scuds with chemical warheads. We could very possibly have made him so cuckoo that he may even try it. I consider the new, unbalanced, foaming at the mouth, “an earthquake and Afghanistan in every country!!!!!!!!” Besho to be a creation of the Homsis. He’s like a headmaster driven to despair by a bunch of unruly school kids.

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  60. @ Khaled Tlass:

    I was mostly in touristic areas, so the tourist dilluted the Turks. However, I did make a point to visit small mosques off the map and there were average amount people attending prayers on a random weekday afternoon. I asked this same question to our tourist guide who claims to be a moderate Muslim (with a pony tail, I think it looked good on him) and he said that about 30 % pray regularly. I think that his figure to be a good guess.

    Khaled, fyi Istanbul has a mosque in every corner, you would be amazed. Many are masterpieces. For me it was an ideal society with room for improvement (I don’t like the banning of hijab in university and I think that will change). I do like the fact that you see hijabi school girls next to non-hijabis walking together – a common scene in Istanbul. If I spoke Turkish or they spoke Arabic, I would have packed-in a very comfortable life in Canada and moved. Just the olives and kababs are worth it man. Silly but true.

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  61. Husam, it will. None of the Arab countries want to see a civil war in Syria, which is what Besho is leading the country to. Remember what just such a war in a small, insignificant, powerless state like Lebanon did to the entire region. By the time it was over, it had sucked in Syria, Israel, America, France, Iran, Italy, and the Palestinians. A Syrian civil war would inevitably have major repercussions in the Middle East.

    The Arab states would have preferred it if junior were able to subdue the revolution, just like the Bahrain protests were subdued. Obviously, that is not going to happen now.

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  62. Angry Arab mentioned me on his blog today. I don’t really understand what he meant by the body language of the pro-regime demonstrators. Heck, for them it’s a day off work. Let them try to keep it up night after night, Friday after Friday, for eight months, and then we will see what their body language read like.

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  63. Aboud said “Angry Arab mentioned me on his blog today. I don’t really understand what he meant by the body language of the pro-regime demonstrators. Heck, for them it’s a day off work. Let them try to keep it up night after night, Friday after Friday, for eight months, and then we will see what their body language read like”

    Angry Arab is a clueless armchair Communist and now I think he’s a closet Menhebak. What do you think ?.

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  64. Now, this is great news.

    Qalamoun University, a private university in Syria, close to Damascus, middle to upper class, sons and daughters of the silent majority,

    How will they solve a problem like Qalamoun?

    Sons and daughters of the silent majority!

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  65. Aboud, you are right that the Arab League doesn’t have any particular sympathy for the Syrian uprising. Most Arab rulers are essentially conservative, reactionary counter-revolutionist. Even if they have minor ideological, sectarian or strategic animosities, they tend to scratch each other’s backs and stand up for each other whenever anyone’s in trouble. This is pretty much like the famous American “domino theory” – that if 1 country fell to Communism, all the rest in that region would soon follow. Arab monarchs and dictators have seen the domino effect only too well – first in Tunisia, quickly spreading to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. They have seen that all 3 neighbouring countries – Tunisia, Libya and Egypt – have succeeded in their revolutions. So have no doubts, they are in NO mood to concede defeat in any other Arab country. Besho might have issues with the GCC, but at the end of the day they are bedfellows.

    Especially if you noticed, when the attempted Bahraini revolution kicked off, with its mainly Shia sectarian base and support from Iran, Syria and Walid Mouallem actually SUPPORTED the Saudi decision to send troops to quell the uprising.. GCC started to attack Besho only after the April events in Homs and Banyas.

    So ya , Arab League wouldn;t care if Besho crushed the uprising tomorrow by hook or by crook. But the problem is, he can;t, and thats why Arab League will eventually have to act against Besho.

    My only fear is that all these old, autocratic, reactionary, counter-revolutionist Monarchs and Dictators like Al Thani, Al Saud, Tantawi, Bouteflika, Al Sabah, etc, will try their best to infiltrate an equally reactionary leader in the SNC.

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  66. Aboud, I’m really really scared and worried for Homs all the time. Do you really think Besho will use Chemical weapons ? You just took the sleep away man, I won;t be able to sleep tonight after what you said. The FSA should immediately get hold of many gas masks and start training civilans on how to protect themselves from chemical warfare. Can;t they manufacture Gas masks in Homs secretly ?

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  67. Instead of ‘moral police’ , the education system must play a role in ‘enjoining the good and forbidding the evil’. If the governments don’t cater for this then the muslim parents should demand it for their children. Alternatively the muslims should be allowed to set up schools that fulfil this role.

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  68. Khaled, Angry Arab isn’t a menhebak. All his life he’s grown accustomed to being highly suspicious of the USA and the West, and after Iraq I can’t really say I blame him. Of course the USA would like Besho removed, but like one guest on Al Jazeera said yesterday, there is no secret room in the Pentagon where military planners plot the Downfall of the Eye Doctor, as much as the simpleton menhebaks would like to believe there is.

    And no the regime will not use chemical weapons. Many Alawites would like them to. Notice that in every Western interview with a Besho lover in Damascus, they are always like “I WILL KILL AND DIE FOR MY PRESIDENT BESHO AKBAAAAAAAR!”. That isn’t a supporter, that’s a mindless fanatic, the kind Al Qaedi understands all too well.

    CSI, do you want the state to impose moral values on its people? The role of schools is to educate. It is up to parents to teach their children moral values. What each family decides is appropriate is up to them, but they have no business imposing their same values on their neighbors.

    In any case, first there is a revolution to be won before becoming concerned with how short skirts should be. Frankly that seems to me very low on the list of any developing country’s priorities. Even after Besho is gone, there will be many, many bigger issues we need to deal with.

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  69. Aboud, as you said, many Alawis would like Besho to use chemical weapons in Homs, this is PRECISELY the reason why I hate them and their Shiaa co-religionists so much, they are fanatics and consider all Sunni to be Kafir.

    And ppl wonder why I spew so much venom against them online. I know EXACTLY what these people are.

    After the revolution succeeds WE should use mustard gas in the Qurdaha, like I’ve said countless times on SC before. Anything short of a carpet-bombing aerial campaign on the Jabal will be a distater for civilization and humanity.

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  70. Btw, Aboud, have you heard from Syrian Commando lately ? What is the sonofabitch doing nowadays ?

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  71. U.S. and Iran discuss Syrian crisis in back channel diplomacy: report

    Monday, 31 October 2011

    By Al Arabiya

    Iranian and U.S. government representatives have discussed ways to prevent Syria descending into bloody chaos should the regime of embattled President Bashar al-Assad collapse, French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported Sunday quoting a Syrian opposition figure in exile.

    The paper said the back channel diplomacy between American and Iranian diplomats occurred at two meetings, one at the end of August and one at the beginning of September, but it did not indicate where.

    “They spoke about putting in place a high military council on the Egyptian model, with generals running the country and responsible for making senior strategic option,” the paper quoted the Syrian opposition figure as saying.

    Read more:

    http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/10/31/174727.html

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  72. True : Thank you for the good news. Hope your mom will recover totally. We are all with your family and you. Give your mom a chocolate kiss from Belgium.
    See or read you asap.
    Love
    Annie

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  73. lets not talk of “good” and “evil”…… it is the arena of the paranoid… and i resent having to hear about it. It is definitely NOT the arena of the school or the gov’t.

    Of course, lots of people in every country pay big money to send their kids to private religious schools that attempt to instill moral values (their idea of moral values)… most kids speak with disdain later of their experiences in such schools. That is the prerogative of parents. but fellow citizen should not have to participate in supporting or funding that.

    There a lot of forms of “coercion”…and most don’t involve direct threats or violence. Most is a function of social norms and pressures.

    When OTW talks of his experience in Egypt, it didn’t have to be that he witness an official “moral police” – it can be that he witness a form of social control that is already instituted (internalized) into many subcultures of the society – and then enforced without official enforcement.
    I noticed several people going bananas on Facebook in the last couple of day because of Robert Fisk’s latest articles – particularly one in which he described the recent pro-regime rallies in Syria, and he had surmised that the people didn’t look as if they were “coerced.”.. However, he went on to say that there are different forms of coercion, and that perhaps they were “coerced” by their knowledge of what is happening in Homs right now… (he might have said – by their awareness of what is happening in the North of the country).
    His critic were upset because he had observed that the people in the rally don’t all look as if there is a gun to their head or as if they were their unwillingly because of fear of losing a job or something.
    I think he was probably correct- although I think he qualified that there is some of that- it simply wouldn’t account for all the smiling faces.
    This was exactly my experience in 2007 when I watched the referendum celebrations in Damas. I really wanted to somehow SEE the coercion. But I couldn’t for the life of me. And I really didn’t see fake smiles and really ambivalent people. These kid were jubilant.

    But before those out there want to beat Fisk with a stick – they should have taken a closer look to what he actually said… his point is that coercion is much more subtle than that!
    Coercion can be when every other school girl you know is wearing a hijab, and so as an adolescent who wants friends – and wants to be viewed as a nice good girl – you think you should probably wear one too.
    Or it can be that you know that everyone in your family or community expect you to keep the reputation of your family in good stead and to not bring trouble upon your family. And so you conform yourself to the safest path. Or it could be that you know that people in other cities are getting rounded up to go to detention where unspeakable things happen to them, and so just to be on the safe side – you will participate in what doesn’t seem like much of a betrayal to your country…in fact it is being advertised as a show of patriotism!
    And after all the conspiracy talk, even if you do think that what is happening in other cities is terrible – you feel tremendous social pressure to stick up for Syria – against the whole conspiring world out there – (as you’ve been told is the story) – and so you should go out to the rally just to show your support against outside “threats” even if you don’t like the killing and the security actions….

    sounds like a lot of confusion to me… lots of psychotic internal confusion….
    but this my friends is also a form of coercion…

    A mental “gas-lighting” by the government – to put enormous pressure on the population to conform to their narrative.
    Is it that hard in a society that heavily functions on normative patterns of conformity… to get a few hundred thousand people in a city of millions – to go out and wave flags and show allegiance when the result for the individual will be a least a temporary reward of putting fear in abeyance…

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  74. Aboud

    “CSI, do you want the state to impose moral values on its people? The role of schools is to educate. ”

    I didn’t think I wrote anything particularly outlandish. In fact my comment was against imposing moral values using ‘moral police’.

    For muslims it is a duty to ‘enjoin the good and forbid the evil’ and this should start from the very top. I didn’t mention imposing anything. It is done by setting an individual example for others. Teaching. Muslims in a muslim country should expect the education system to transmit the vaues to the next generation. These can be general values along with seperate classes for different religious groups for specifics. Even in the west they have seperate religious assembly’s for different minorities. We also have faith schools run by different religions.

    There is more to be said about ‘education’ and its apparant neutrality. The example is that education nowadays is about producing consumers (consumer-producer society).

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  75. Khaled, I don’t talk to Syrian Commando, and never did after his humiliating exit from SC, after he threatened to sue everyone for calling him a terrorist. The terrorist. The only time he comes to my attention is when you or someone else brings him up.

    And no I don’t want to use mustard gas on Qurdaha. I was utterly sickened by the way Qadafi was lynched. I don’t care for the man himself, but the way it was done was a betrayal of the kind of Libya the Libyans were fighting and dying for. Besmirching the revolution isn’t worth a drop of Besho’s blood. If he gets killed during the revolution, so be it, one more failed dictator for Satan to entertain. But I will not have, as one of the iconic moments of the Syrian revolution, junior surrounded by armed men and being beaten to death.

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  76. Tx Annie

    Focus on our Revolution
    Mind your language
    This is not SC!!

    I’m utterly shocked how everyone is running behind, this Peter Harling of (The Crisis Group) is predicting what we have been illustrating and affirming for the last month or so “militarizing the revolution”

    “I think that the temptation now is to resort to weapons, and in particular if the protesters come to the conclusion that the international community is either powerless or inclined to sacrifice the Syrian people in the name regional stability,” said Harling. “So, if nothing comes of this initiative, I think we’ll see a shift in dynamics on the ground towards militarization of the protest movement.”
    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Arab-League-Awaits-Syrias-Reply-on-Crackdown-132915863.html

    Aboud once mentioned how Shabiha sell their weapons to people of Homs eh, well let me assure ya that even Hizboallah and his groups are selling weapons to army deserters.

    ( “According to a source close to the Syrian army deserters who have taken refuge in Lebanon, “The weapons being smuggled into Syria are not enough to arm the FSA or the Brigades. They are old, mostly gathered from people who kept them from the civil war.” “The big trafficking is going on in the eastern Bekaa, where the tribes smuggle the weapons both to the [pro-government] shabiha [militias] and the army deserters. We also know that there are weapons coming from Hezbollah-supported groups in Tripoli who chose to sell them for a profit. It caused quite a problem between the groups and Hezbollah, which is trying to create [pro-Assad] strongholds in North Lebanon,” he explained. The source added that Hezbollah representatives are trying to buy weapons to keep them off the market in order to inflate prices and make them unavailable to the deserters.”)
    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=327950&MID=0&PID=0

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  77. CSI, religious schools should be private then. Government schools in general should reflect the general values of their society. We are not Saudi Arabia, but nor are we Lebanon.

    Zenobia, unfortunately Time and bloggers like Angry Arab do not deal in qualifiers. They are using Fisk as evidence that Besho enjoys massive support among some segments of the Syrian people. Fisk misinterpreted what he saw, journalists should be able to scratch the surface. When he asked the demonstrators why they supported he regime, what did he get? “Homsis are barbarian animals. I heard from my neighbor’s bread seller’s cousin that they cut off the head of fifty Alawites. And that was just last Friday”. Can Fisk go up to Homs and see for himself? Over Besho’s dead body.

    To the menhebaks, I challenge you to answer this; let’s say that Besho enjoys the support of 50% of the country. Hell, let’s be generous and say he enjoys 60% support. Know what, just so junior won’t whine about causing earthquakes from here to Indo-China, let’s say his majestic forever presidential eye doctorness has achieved the previously unachievable anywhere in the world, and has the support of 80% of the population. Do you really think that the 20% who are against him deserve to be jailed, murdered, tortured for not bending the knee? And don’t trot out the old lie about armed gangs, unless after eight months you’ve finally come up with proof on their existence.

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  78. Aboud and all :

    I still can’t stop being ecstatic whenever I see this video :

    Aboud, can you vouch for its authenticity ? How on earth did the FSA reduce those armoured cars to heaps of scrap iron ? And also, do the FSA operate in full camouflage uniform in Homs ?

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  79. “To the menhebaks, I challenge you to answer this; ….tortured for not bending the knee?”

    Menhebaks & logic!!! Mmmmmmm are you serious?!!!

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  80. @ Aboud
    actually i sort of disagree that Fisk is misunderstanding something.

    if one reads what he actually says – he puts very few definitive interpretations of the quotes or ‘evidence’, so to speak that he is collecting.
    He swings back and forth and gave Buthaina Shabaan an interview (which enrages people like Rime Allaf) precisely to show what someone like her is capable of saying at a time like this.
    It is called Irony. And is a kind of journalism that I really don’t mind because you let the idiots speak for themselves without any need for the Journalist to ‘interpret’ for the reader.
    Similarly, if you guys read these pieces lately in AlJazeera english, published by Nir Rosen – he takes a similar approach.
    His articles are almost entirely direct description and direct quotes. No journalistic interpretation. Even much less than Fisk.
    He is carefully letting the people speak for themselves , no matter how outrageous the content. Then the reader can determine for themselves what that means about the speakers.
    Only a few times did Rosen – add some comment that he had directly contradictory evidence of a certain account because HE HIMSELF had been to a certain location etc.
    In the Crisis Group paper, Harling is equally careful. He present the opposing evidence and claims. He makes only very very qualified statement about how plausible or implausible some claim is. And very rarely, does he bring up a certain issue that he can say with certainty is very unlikely because he himself or a Crisis Group researcher – went to the location where an event or incident supposedly was happening – and found it to be invalid.

    so- in this climate of contradictory claims and opposing realities – I think it is credit to the journalists – who are on the ground types – to stick to taking quotes and doing direct interviews that don’t need to be filtered with the journalist opinions about its validity or put an interpretation of how vile it is the Shabaan is lamenting her inability to visit her mother’s grave in Homs when people there are dying. Let the ‘analyst’ Rime Allaf make that comment or assessment – her job is different.
    These trench journalists don’t need to do that for us – they need to be straight up observers of what they see as best as they possibly can.
    If they see the people at the pro-regime rally smiling and looking happy. then they should say that.
    If they say someone got their head cut off, then he should quote that. If he knows for a fact that someone did not get their head cut off because he was there – or some other conflicting evidence – then quote that or report that. But he is correct not to put in that he thinks this is a pure exaggeration or lie. Why should he do that. He says all the time – that people in general in this ‘war’ are lying. Crisis Group has said it too.

    Fisk got in tons of shit before for believing everything that the people of Tel Khalakh had told him had been done to them, as later a lot of the details turned out to be either untrue or greatly exaggerated. so I think – he and others like Rosen are being more cautious to do their reporting in QUOTES – and then provide only minimal speculation as to the accuracy of the claims.
    It is the job of other analyst and commentators and writers on the outside to do their own deduction based on all the amazing claims.

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  81. ps. I see what you are saying about Time or Angry Arab, but what they do with misinterpreting Fisk – is not actually Fisk’s fault!
    It is their own manipulation.

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  82. @ Zenobia

    Well your argument of “passing it as it’s” is only applicable for journalist/reporters because that’s their job. However, there’s a tiny line between being a reporter and an analyst and in the case of Fisk it’s huge bold line indeed. When heavy weight analysts speak most media agencies would take their word as its their own analysis or point of view i.e. when Landis claimed Ghaliun being an Alawi.

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  83. Because I never came across any commenter named “Zenobia” in the 2 and a half months I was a regular on SC.

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  84. I haven’t been a regular commenter in a really really long time now. I think it was mostly 2005-2007, and then after that – only every once in a while over the last few years. i still read stuff- but rarely comment.
    I think I commented a couple of time during this spring but was completely getting to the point where I couldn’t bare to even open the comments section, so now I just read the news round ups mostly.

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  85. Majed Khaldoun ! has been around that long…..
    my favorite SC period was dominated by people like “Enlightened”, “Observer”, “TruthQuest” “Idaf”, “Innocent Criminal”… “Alex” of course, “Norman” of course, “Ehsani”….”T_Desco” (was amazing), “Naji” of course, and “Why Discuss”, “Atassi” and “Qunfuz” (Robin), “Majhool”
    god, my favorite buddy “Ausamma” what the heck happened to him?? !
    and oh… that other excellent player – “Simohurtta” (another Ehsani nemesis)
    “Joe M.” and “Sami D” “Ugarit” and sometimes “Annie” (she’s been around that long too)
    oh!! and of course… goes without saying “Akbar Palace” and “AIG” (the man i love to hate but still love)
    then there were those really crazed psychotic people or persons way back then – the SNP double- this was in 2005 because it was a year and half of lot of Lebanon debate constantly….

    And then by 2008 the field started being totally dominated by “Shai” and “Qifa Nabki”…”Honest Patriot” “Nour” “Jad”…”Nafdik”….and eventually and “Off the Wall”…..

    actually i had to have been commenting a fair amount in 2008 too at least until December – otherwise I would not have had the pleasure of interacting online with Off the Wall.
    I think I really stopped in the beginning of 2009 because I had to finish my dissertation! and I never would have been able to do that without going cold turkey off of SC… sad to say… the addition was rough : )
    but I have warm feelings just remembering!

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  86. “the SNP double”

    LOL! The strange twins 🙂

    One of my first posts on SC was to call BS on Robert Fisk’s reporting on Telkelakh. I know what you mean about letting the idiots hang themselves with their own words. Witness exhibit A, Mr Besho “I will cause an Eathquake from here to Mongolia even though my army is so crap it hasn’t fired a shot on the Golan” Athad.

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  87. @True

    yeah, its an interesting question. I think of Landis as an analyst and academic, not a journalist, and lots of his posts are his take, his interpretation of what is happening – that is really obvious.
    and I and other gave him a hard time lately (this year) because he suddenly switched (probably because of the same issue of contradictory information and claims being made coming out of Syria) to posting direct quotes and news items, but then he would barely – make it clear that it was not he (Joshua) talking but rather – this was the opinion of SANA or the russian news.
    Of course it was a news round up, but still we were all used to Joshua opening his post page with his own commentary, so to me that was very confusing – and it was hard to see that NO – in fact it was the view of Joshua it was the view of x,y, or z. And so we told him – that is not professional- you have to clearly put in that this is Syrian State news’ CLAIM… and not just put in barely discernible quotation marks…but make the headline of the Syria Comment page post the same as SANA’s headline!!!! that was so misleading.
    anyhow, I tried not to pass judgment on Joshua that this was betraying some bias on his part. I think he was just being sloppy under the circumstance.
    Others skewered him for that.

    Anyow, I have always view Fisk as more of a trench journalist / columnist….. not an analyst, not a policy person, not a researcher, and definitely not an academic (heaven knows he would hate that)….
    he is writing a column of his observations and thoughts…. and if that seem shallow or trite to the analysts…. why the heck do they care so much!!! it seems like people spend so much time maligning him and being really angry that he has an audience.. a big big audience….They stoop so low as to criticizing his age! for christsake…like he is too old and needs to go pack it in…. or that he doesn’t speak good enough arabic! etc…so rude and really petty i think – in terms of his overall contributions over a lifetime of reporting.

    but I think it is a well deserved audience after that much time in the field, risking his life, being out there.. and not in the armchair….and he bases a lot of his opinion parts of his columns on his life experience in the middle east. He might be wrong. But he never sounds to me like he thinks he is a know it all…in fact quite the opposite….he constantly makes references to the mysteries of the region and how much is unknown.. and remains hidden about every situation in Lebanon and elsewhere….and his explorations to collect data are like solving mysteries….
    He presents observations…without connecting all the dots because the dots never connect all the way… there is always uncertainty.
    Maybe it is this tone that irritate the shit out of all the ‘analysts’ and ‘experts’ who think that somehow they can tie everything up in a bow and explain everything…if they just get the one final lock on reality and the ‘evidence’.

    Personally, my own ideology is pure relativism and a view of the “truth” as perspectival… I don’t believe in determining the one “truth” even when talking about history or science….
    so when I encounter… persons like Fisk, who like to muse… one way and then the other…and ponder the mysteries and the inconsistencies and the perspectives of those he interviews… for what they are….perspectives…. I find this very very comforting, actually.
    It says to me that this is man who knows the boundaries of being in the business of discover the “Truth” about what happened and what it means…

    Like

  88. No doubt Fisk iwas the man of been there done that and as you put it he loves to hide in Lebanon and keeps his ears (Antennas) up there trying to hear what gives him a hit in this busy galaxy of journalism. However, people like Fisk knitted a special relation with the regime which allowed him to be at a point of time on top of events, but now surely he’s an expired product and maybe this is his last shallow coverage of the region. Say goodbye to this old fellow who might disappear along with his best friends in the region al-Assad clan.

    “and I and other gave him a hard time lately (this year) because ….. to posting direct quotes and news items. … of SANA or the russian news”

    I have to admit Joshua has come long way already, Joshua 2011 is very different to the hardcore Menhebak old Joshua, . Now whether he’s really changing or it’s just a reaction to the weight of anti-regime efforts on his blog, that’s another story. I agree, there’s a tendency on SC where judge is the executioner but hey there’s and ocean-gap difference between a prominent like Joshua and self-obsessed sectarian like Alex.

    Like

  89. then there were those really crazed psychotic people or persons way back then

    Zenobia,

    The psychos are still there! I participated on SC way too long; this place is more my style.

    Anyway Zenobia, you may want to hear this interview. Let me know what 1 or 2 major points you disagree with…

    http://www.danielpipes.org/10277/turkey-libya-syria

    Like

  90. Dear Zenobia
    Can you imagine what could have happened if any one was cutting and pasting without any creative efforts in the old days on SC?

    And thanks for staying around in 2008, I would have missed a valued friendship had you not stayed, as well as a lot of good thought provoking comments.

    Some of the names you mentioned have each played a part in why we have 7ee6an today. And I think we were lucky HAMSTER was not around then….

    Like

  91. News Round Up:

    Syria: delaying the inevitable” (The Guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/31/syria-delaying-the-inevitable-editorial?newsfeed=true

    Inside Syria: Dissidents tell stories of ‘unbelievable abuse’ against protesters” (Richard Engel, NBC)
    http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/31/8562167-inside-syria-dissidents-tell-stories-of-unbelievable-abuse-against-protesters

    Syria’s uprising spoils the Iranian victory of ‘Islamic awakening ’” (adegh Zibakalam, Dailystar)
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Commentary/2011/Nov-01/152716-syrias-uprising-spoils-the-iranian-victory-of-islamic-awakening.ashx#axzz1cPAjMPqe

    Assad should choose patriotism over power” (LINDA S. HEARD, Arabnews)
    http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article527035.ece

    Arabs reveal plan, Syria silent” (Daily Star)
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2011/Nov-01/152759-arabs-reveal-plan-syria-silent.ashx#axzz1cPAjMPqe

    Arab League hands Syria plan to end violence” (TVNZ)
    http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/arab-league-hands-syria-plan-end-violence-4491490

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  92. Alex is data counter – collector, and Joshua is an academic and at least attempts to give an honest assessment. Alex collects data and then talks about it AS IF it somehow establishes the credibility of his preferences.

    I had some of the same preferences, but when certain facts slapped me in the face, well…i had…i say HAD to change my preferences. Otherwise, i think I would lose my more important core values.

    I think Alex would say that he was a peace maker – a non- violence person. Many of us -think of ourselves as a non- violence person – but he seems to be overlooking – the established violence of the Assad gov’t in plain view… and even more so – that even if the tank and guns could be quelled – that the structural violence left in place at this point is and will be intolerable. Unacceptable. And he is basing his acceptance (in my view) on his supposition of the future behavior of majority sunni rule and potential conservatism, on something that hasn’t even happened yet.

    Ok Akbar, I will hold my nose and try to watch the Daniel Pipes clip later…just for you. I have to step away from my computer at the moment…but you know…you have to know I can’t stand that guy… but FOR YOU….I will entertain it briefly and get back to you. Since I hadn’t had to bare it for several years now.

    @True
    well….Fisk tried to make a special relationship with Osama bin Laden too! i mean…you know…he is not particular -he is willing to take the interview from Satan himself…. for the sake of getting the person’s on record. Again, back to Shabaan’s interview. I don’t get why people mistake his willingness to interview them with condoning the material spewed by the interviewee…
    He just reported what she said straight up -from her viewpoint. I think that his critics think that to interview her is give her validity – or to interview Bashar Assad is to lend him support. But I really disagree. I think there are clearly pieces in some journals that have tried to paint a rosy picture in the past – which I object to just as I object to the one’s that kept referring to Syria as a “terror supporting state”…or using all kinds of horrible cliches..without any clarifying information…
    But I think Fisk is just getting the scoop…and the use of quotes around almost everything Buthaina said…makes it evident…these are not his views.
    I find it strange to hear you say he ingratiated himself to the regime. I never saw that- in 2005.. He was pretty clearly writing that plenty of fingers point at Syria….and others (as always) regarding the assassination. He was open to all possibilities, as always…and of course took a lot of flack from all sides for that.

    Also, Joshua takes flack from all sides. I never viewed him as some regime defender…but then maybe that reflected my own views which were more tempered and open to thinking that the president was not that bad. However, lately – if you listen to Joshua all spring on the radio- he was pretty much saying it was/is the beginning of the end for Assad and company. His main stance- which I can understand was – doubt about the nature of what will follow.
    I am not that – optimistic either, even though I think there is no choice at this point. To quell any uprising is not an option. To keep the current power in place is not an option. But I have no illusions that there might be a very violent and tumultuous period ahead. And I don’t mean – like some SCers or Alex – because the islamists will take over!… forget that… I just think that all hell is going to break loose with all these communities who are already in full on paranoia states of mind…and think all sort of archaic bizarre conspiracy driven thing about the “others”….
    see the Nir Rosen pieces for the full horror….. It kind of makes your stomach turn…

    so, I am pretty much predicting a kind of civil war result…
    I think you asked if “victory” was a done deal for me…a ways back.
    “VICTORY’?? what is that?
    if you mean – victory in terms… of bringing down Assad gov’t. yes eventually that will happen, no question.
    but this hardly seems like the beginning of the trouble to my mind. It is the aftermath of that….that might be the real time of struggle and pain… I think that might only be the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning of the end…

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  93. Reality check “It is the aftermath of that….that might be the real time of struggle and pain…

    I couldn’t agree more.

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  94. Zenobia, who are the main antagonists right now? The Alawites and the Sunnis, with some Kurds. The rest of Syria’s groups can be completely and utterly dismissed as a force for change. They didn’t get themselves involved in the revolution on either side, and they aren’t going to take up arms and start forming militias once the regime falls. Their “live another day” mentality has accustomed them to making comprises with whatever movement or political ideology holds power.

    At the end of the revolution, the Alawite power base will be severely diminished. Frankly, I don’t see the Sunnis making war on themselves, and there is no reason to believe they will engage in a gratuitous massacre of other groups. That’s just idiotic to even suggest, but it doesn’t stop the menhebaks from suggesting it.

    So we can dismiss the notion of a post-Assad civil war. There just aren’t enough sides with the will or drive to assert themselves. The “neutral” minorities have proven themselves completely insignificant when it comes to creating change in the country. Moral cowardice will keep you alive one more day, at the cost of living under whatever group did the bleeding and fighting to gain the country.

    Alawite influence will not be completely eliminated, that is neither a goal of the revolution nor is it desirable for the sake of the country. But right now there is a massively unbalanced proportion of power favoring the Alawites at the expense of everyone else. The Alawites can either continue to rule a country that continues to crumble, or they can share what has the potential to be the mos enlightened society in the Middle East.

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  95. Finally the regime made a move and expressed its position in countering back the AL roadmap. Now AL must discuss both plans on Wed so let’s wait and see.

    The AL roadmap

    • Immediate release of prisoners held since February
    • Withdrawal of security forces
    • Deployment of Arab League monitors
    • Launch of a dialogue in Cairo

    The regime counter-back roadmap

    • Immediate stop of propaganda war against Syria
    • Immediate stop of weapon smuggling from surrounding countries
    • Immediate stop of financial aids to opposition groups
    • Immediate lift of the unjust sanctions against Syria
    • A parcel of deep and quick reforms
    • Launch a dialog in Syria
    • Open presidential election at the end of the current term

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  96. I think only few are under the romantic illusion that everything will be rosy after the fall of the Assad regime/clan. Yet, their fall is a precondition of progress. There will be much pain, mainly because of the disconnection from democratic traditions and the language and habits of political compromise, which is required to build a civil state with functioning institution. Over the past 50 years, the only compromise Syrians were allowed is between their dignity and their life.

    Many would argue that Syrians are making a compromise when some of them would rather continue the regime than allow the country to fall into the hands of Islamist parties. I think this is not a compromise but surrender to blackmailing and hijacking.

    What bothers me the most if the failure of Intellectuals to see this. But then again, intellectual life in Syria was dormant and as deformed as political concepts mentioned in the main post, and much of the intellectual output was in writing about past history, or slapping a bunch of hypothesis which sounded exciting but really could not stand the rigor of rational analysis. That is not to dismiss the value of some outstanding writers, poets, and painters. But they remain isolated.

    Syria is a traumatized country, psychologically, intellectually, and physically. The scars of abuse will take long time to heal and the country will need a great deal of courage and a plenty of courageous people, which it seems now will not be in short supply.

    Like

  97. … but FOR YOU….

    🙂 Gee.

    Zenobia,

    What I like about this forum is that people with different perspectives can agree to disagree without being called a wahabi, salafi, jihadist, khazzar, etc.

    I don’t expect you to cheer for Daniel Pipes or Wafa Sultan, yet, I’d rather you pick apart what these people say so I can understand your perspective better as well as those that have a similar perspective as you do.

    What we DO have in common, I think, is the hope that Middle Easterners will be free and prosperous.

    Cheers,

    AP

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  98. @ CSI Hama

    “There is more to be said about ‘education’ and its apparant neutrality. The example is that education nowadays is about producing consumers (consumer-producer society).”

    I second that… and I would add “education nowadays is about….less about free-thinkers and about champions of morality”

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  99. Guys, where did you get the information on the regime’s response? None of the satellite channels have mentioned it, not even Syrian ones, and there is nothing on any website.

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  100. @Aboud

    You are right that the situation is not a severe as say a Lebanon civil war scenario was with that number of armed antagonists… with so many complex alliances.
    I think we are dealing with as many number of sects and ethno-religious groups but not as many people with serious anger issue and old grievances and antagonisms.

    I think the Allawites are going to have a fit basically.
    And – they might not alone be a huge danger, but it could be really really ugly. (I am telling you, read those articles by Rosen – they sound insane). And if you add in any significant amount of Christians (which is sort of an unknown unquantified factor) then I think this could be a real problem and potentially really violent. Full blown civil war, maybe not, in fact i wouldn’t be surprised if hardly – a hot war. And as now, I doubt the main capital cities would be involved that much, again, I don’t know, but as you said, since they are apathetic now, I doubt they will be set on fire later.
    I think the danger is a prolonged dangerous outlying area… of Sunni vs Allawite (and perhaps Christian) conflict in the outer areas – cities – just as it is now happening there.

    And, added to this, there may be a certain number of sort of radicalized intolerant groups on any side, so to speak, who will take advantage of the situation to push hard for continued conflict rather than coming together to rebuild a country in a state of tolerance.

    I would like to think more about this to answer more extensively, but I imagine also that Gene Sharp is not incorrect in his general warning that if things go a way of guerilla warfare…they rarely end up in a state of democracy and peace….even a cold peace (cold peace being a simple absence of war without necessarily achieving peace). He explains why in the paper you guys were mentioning before, and it is worth reading and thinking about more. It might be an interesting collecting exercise for this group to read this paper and each submit some considerations and thought on how it applies to Syria.
    He qualifies that his thoughts and premise are general and that he does not make specific recommendations in regards to specific countries. Although I am tempted when I return to Boston in a few weeks to go pay him a visit and ask what he thinks about this particular situation!… : ) might be fun.

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  101. Guys, sorry, but I’ve given up on the human race. I can’t bear the shame of being the same species as the complete and utter morons who put forward that ludicrous response. Is Mars accepting applications for citizenship?

    • Immediate stop of propaganda war against Syria

    OK menhebaks, we know your president’s sensitivities are such that you arrest bloggers and journalists inside Syria, but it’s kinda pathological to expect every country in the world to silence its press so you don’t have to hear an offending word. Idiots. Or is a sub clause of this demand be that Vogue reinstate the profile it did on Athma? LOL!

    • Immediate stop of weapon smuggling from surrounding countries

    That’s countries, plural. So at least two of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel or Iraq are smuggling weapons into Syria? Specify which ones you think are smuggling weapons, so we can keep up the weapon smuggling from the countries you missed. Duh. Double idiots.

    • Immediate stop of financial aids to opposition groups

    But I thought there was no such thing as an opposition group? Acknowledge their existence so we can look into their finances. See how you trapped yourselves there? Riyad Al Assad had to be bought a suit by the Turks before he talked to the international press. Is that the kind of financial muscle that has you scared? The cost of colonel Asad’s suit? Triple idiots.

    • Immediate lift of the unjust sanctions against Syria

    Oh dear God it hurts to lower my thinking to the level of a peasant Baathist. Besho baby, the sanctions were imposed by Europe and the USA, the Arab League does not have the power to remove them. But thanks for letting us know your pain points. Idiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooots.

    • A parcel of deep and quick reforms

    Oh yes we are so holding our collective breaths. Like they said in the demos, the only “eslah” Besho knows is “tasleh el debabat”. And you couldn’t carry out these “deep and quick reforms” eight months ago why exactly? If it took an AL ultimatum to get you to this point, I think we’ll wait until you are facing UN sanctions to get better concessions out of you. Say it with me people….iiiiiiiiiiiiiiidiiiiiiiiiioooooooooooooooooooots.

    • Launch a dialog in Syria.

    Go ahead. Start having a dialog with Najati Tayara. You know in which prison cell he is. Buthaina Shabaan got a Ph.D for this kind of sorry ass diplomatic maneuvering? Looks like they’ll give doctorates to all sorts of iiiiiiiiiiiidiiiiiiiiiioooooooooooooooots.

    • Open presidential election at the end of the current term

    Yeah well, what’s infinity minus 1, geniuses? Its still infinity.

    Daniel Pipes described Besho as a dear caught in the headlines. At least the dear knows that the object coming its way is a deadly mass of metal that will crush it. I doubt very much that Besho quite comprehends the train wreck that is speeding towards him.

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  102. Zenobia

    “but I imagine also that Gene Sharp is not incorrect in his general warning that if things go a way of guerilla warfare…they rarely end up in a state of democracy and peace….even a cold peace (cold peace being a simple absence of war without necessarily achieving peace)”

    Did Sharp write his book before the Irish Good Friday agreements that ended the civil strife there? Seems to have worked pretty well for the Irish groups opposed to Britain. Of course Ireland was already a democracy then, but the agreement created alot of changes.

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  103. I don’t know. It looks like the version you can download on the website says it was first published in Bankok in 1993, and the first US edition in 2002.

    I think he would definitely say that part of what determines what will follow any kind of conflict that utilizes armed warfare will be in part a reflection of what civil society institutions were previously there and how well they have survived the conflict intact. I imagine this is because the dive into warfare and confusion is very traumatic and if there is nothing sustaining to pull people out of that intact – then instability and violence persists much longer and the ability to reconcile is very difficult.

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  104. Dear Akbar,

    so I watch the Pipes video. I found the host far more annoying than Daniel Pipes as he was busy pandering to Pipes and trying to beat him to the punch with predictable opinions.
    But to the main issues:
    most of the interview was about Libya and Turkey, which I am just not knowledgeable enough to say anything one way or the other about his comments, except that he gives in ‘expert’ opinion on what ‘Islamism’ is all about at the core, which I am inclined to find annoying no matter whether some of what he has to say is accurate or not.
    The reason for this is that one of the main thing I have always objected to about Daniel Pipes is he claim to expertise about the middle east – not as a historian or news person (which I think it is entirely possible for westerner to be) but as some who believes he can diagnose the ‘arab mind’ so to speak, or in this case ‘islam’ even though he is a complete outsider with a very obvious ideological position on so many political issues, and so he sees the world through some kind of lens that is very convenient for the agenda of people who pay to have him as an expert ‘witness’ so to speak.
    I mean to say he is an opportunist – and his views seem to follow from that, not from some scholarly pursuit.
    Nor does he come by his views from a position of respect or appreciation or love of the middle east. He always comes off as a scolding critical if not disdainful authority.
    At least the old fashioned orientalists, although orientalists, were in love with the Arabs or with the Orient. They may have been blind in many ways but it wasn’t out of disrespect and hubris, which it always seems with Pipes. Its like he is talking about bad children or something.
    Another perfect example is the way he says he doesn’t mind and can sleep at night if the Islamists (which would otherwise be a negative thing in his mind) to power in Syria because this would likely break the 30 year alliance with Iran in his opinion. So it would be fine with him.
    Notice, if you please, that this has nothing to do with whether this is good for Syria or not, only whether it is good for Pipes view of a desirable outcome for American/Israeli interests.
    This is a great example of what I hate about him. It never crosses his mind how imperialist or colonialist this sounds, how old world. His assessment is only about Western interests or desires, and never mind about Syrian… if it is bad thing…well too bad because they are just a pawn in our game, so to speak.
    This attitude was how he always approaches his ‘expert’ advice about how to handle the Palestinians, all about western exceptionalism and interests – and who cares about empowering Palestinians, after all they are hopeless naughty children who will never manage anything without our more knowledgeable will forced upon them.
    Sometimes, I can even agree with that (except I hold it to be true of the Israelis too), however, he only sees the arabs that way.
    I wanted to pull my hair out when the host idiot guy starts his question with the assertion that Israelis are not ‘warlike’ people… (compared to who i wonder?) and that they must thank themselves that they are up against “arab armies”.. that are made only for suppressing their own people not for fighting other countries. !
    This another perfect example of the crap I mean…. so racist even and hypocritical.
    I hope you see what I am talking about Akbar.

    As for what Pipes had to say about Bashar Assad and Syria. Well not that much was disagreeable. What he said about Bashar was fair. And I was even pleased with a reference to the elder Assad as “totalitarian”.
    I tried to use this term to describe Syria. As maybe a soft Totalitarian. I think it really is… in so far as there is ideological brainwashing going on left and right.
    But when I was saying this on facebook , I had some people going nuts attacking me.

    You know who was attacking me for such statements??? Syrian Christians, always.
    So I guess the part where I think Pipes was off was that he said there are only two constituencies who are are supporting Assad. He listed Allawi and Upper and Middle Classes in Aleppo.
    He claimed that the Syrian Christians – are neutral or not on either side.
    This is simply not true. All you have to do is get online and start checking. Obviously there are exceptions. But by far – the Christians in Syria are way on the side of Assad. When I was there i the mountain area back in 2007 !- they were far more likely than the people in Damascus to be busy even in private saying how much they support and like the president.
    The one really good Christian friend I have who lives outside the country but is from Tartous has been telling me that he is getting all kinds of pressure from his family -because he has been posting critical things about the gov’t online…and his brother is telling him that his entire family and community in his area outside Tartous are pro-regime and asking questions about why he is writing this stuff. Then the entire group of Christian Syrians in his cohort in the city in the Gulf country where he lives and works are also on his back for being the one outlier in his group and not towing the line in believing the garbage coming from back home that is spouted by the gov’t.

    I even polled a friend of mine who lives down in Florida and who is Palestinian but hangs out with the serious Christian community of Syrians in Orlando. Its a whole clique there. He said they are all rapid with anger – and spewing venon about the uprisings and busy repeating all the conspiracy shit.
    This is in Florida!!!!

    so, I would say Pipes has that wrong, although I am sure there is more nuance with Christians inside Damascus.
    And Aleppo, well he already said upper middle class Aleppo is with the President, and that would include the Christians, and not sure if there is any difference of view by the Armenians in Aleppo.

    he made one other sweeping statement – that ‘virtually everyone inside Syria is hostile”.. to Bashar.
    I just think we are fooling ourselves to buy such an assessment. Reality is surely somewhere in between. And there is the complication – that if you are talking about the President, he himself unquestionably had experienced a lot of popularity at some point, and that is fading now, but by how much, we don’t actually know. We have no way of knowing… how and in what way, and what the implications are yet.
    Nor does Daniel Pipes know, although he always talks with such arrogance.

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  105. Its lonely here when I am the only one awake because i am on Pacific Coast time zone, and you guys are all asleep! not even the Syrian are up yet….cause they are not early risers….and then by the time I wake up…. there has been a ton of comments added and I missed out…. oh well…

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  106. As a wise man once said, A Qurdahan peasant’s mind could not think further than qerqa3et metta and rolling some falafel wraps

    I’m sure bya3-elfalfel Betho forgot to add few more important conditions to his astonishing road map such as

    * Reinstate the Greek/Cypriot (can’t remember) citizenship for my cousin Rami Makhlouf
    * Rebuild all broken statues of my great father Hafiz
    * Delete the fb page of “The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد”
    * Handing-in all opposition members to my Alawi security Shabiha
    * Cancel any human rights demands in Syria
    * Nominate me as the president of the world, no actually I should be the Lord himself

    Honestly this Qurdahan is leading Syria to the point of no return.

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  107. The reason for this is that one of the main thing I have always objected to about Daniel Pipes is he claim to expertise about the middle east…

    Zenobia,

    Yes, the host was greatly in “awe” of Daniel Pipes, and he made it clear to the viewer.

    Daniel Pipes, is a Harvard-graduated Phd in history. I think he has just as much or more credentials to comment on the ME than Edward Said or Norman Finkelstein, both of which are english and language professors, respectively.

    http://www.danielpipes.org/bios/

    … he can diagnose the ‘arab mind’ so to speak, or in this case ‘islam’ even though he is a complete outsider …

    Zenobia,

    I was hoping you were going to specifically pick up points or statements that DP made that you disagree with. It seems you are just tellimg me how unqualified he is. He has studied Islam and Arab society, so his opinion should have credence. What about Fouad Ajami, are his views more accurate than Daniel Pipes’ due to his Arab background?

    To my knowledge, Daniel Pipes has made it clear what the difference is between Islamism and Islam. The video sort of gets into that.

    Nor does he come by his views from a position of respect or appreciation or love of the middle east.

    Perhaps. He doesn’t wax about how good ME food is or how hospitable Arab society is.

    This is a great example of what I hate about him. It never crosses his mind how imperialist or colonialist this sounds, how old world.

    OK. When DP opened his discussion, he was cautious about the regime change in Libya, and was NOT happy to see that Islamists were poised to take control of Libya. He wanted the viewer to understand that while these despots are deposed, Islamists may take over. He distinctly mentioned this because the alternative to the despots may not be any better. His point about Syria, I think, was that if Islamist do take over in Syria, it would be by their own free will in a free election, similar to the Hamas government (which no longer holds free elections).

    What he said about Bashar was fair. And I was even pleased with a reference to the elder Assad as “totalitarian”.

    OK.

    He claimed that the Syrian Christians – are neutral or not on either side.
    This is simply not true. All you have to do is get online and start checking. Obviously there are exceptions. But by far – the Christians in Syria are way on the side of Assad.

    OK. We’ll never know for sure, because free elections in Syria do not exist.

    he made one other sweeping statement – that ‘virtually everyone inside Syria is hostile”.. to Bashar. I just think we are fooling ourselves to buy such an assessment…Nor does Daniel Pipes know, although he always talks with such arrogance.

    OK.

    Zenobia,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I better understand your views on DP. The Israeli/Jewish POV is that freedom, and the ability to take part in elections will help foster peace. When given a choice, we believe that most people will opt for peace over war. For many decades, this decision was left in the hands of the idiot Arab despot who used his people as pawns in the “resistance game”. I say let the people have a say in how they want to resist or whether they want to resist at all.

    DP had a lot to say about Turkey and how they went from a close relationship with Israel to threats of military hostilities. Basically, it seems the country moved toward Islam(ism) throught the AKP party and that there are even other Islamist parties in Turkey that are more conservative. I didn’t know that. I visited Turkey a number of years ago with a group of Israelis, so, to me, the change toward hostilities is unfortunate.

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  108. Some more demands from Besho;

    Change the maps of the world’s to reflect the Waleed Mu’allem Doctrine. Europe, what’s Europe?

    The world will hold its foreign currency reserves in Syrian Liras, preferably the fake 500 notes the shabihas have been printing.

    Besho gets the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for killing “only” 4100 Syrians.

    Al Jazeera opens each and every news broadcast with the words “His excellency President Doctor Bashar today received a fax from……”

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  109. demonstrations happening in syrias 3 largest private universities:
    heres the one in IUST:

    heres the one in kalamoon:

    heres the one in the arab university:

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  110. @akbar

    it is not about having credentials Akbar, even someone with a Ph.D can have the tone and attitude of a ***hole.

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  111. Al Jazeera is celebrating its 15th anniversary. For me not a day goes by without watching this fantastic institution, together with 50 million other viewers scattered all over the Earth, surpassing BBC’s number of viewer.

    As an Arab, and on a personal level, I think Al-Jazeera had THE most significant effect in awakening the sleepy giant, the Arab world. You can move from one Arab country to the next, from the east to west, the coverage was always comprehensive and covered all aspects of Arabs, culturally, socially, politically and economically.

    I have nothing but respect, to her founders in sustaining what was lacking in our midst. A voice that speaks our language, discuss our pain. Being there, when no one else will go.

    The news was read, but more importantly, the pain and joy was interchangeable between the broadcaster and the viewer. The questions asked were always on the viewer mind. They were in every house looking and trying to expose or answer, educate and inspire, all at once.

    Happy 15th anniversary, with gratitude and many, many more, happy returns. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and ……………………….. .

    Like

  112. it is not about having credentials Akbar, even someone with a Ph.D can have the tone and attitude of a ***hole.

    Zenobia,

    I agree totally, however you did call into question his credentials (see below), which I think are just as good as the most respected scholar, certainly better than Norman and Ed Said.

    …I have always objected to about Daniel Pipes is he claim to expertise about the middle east – not as a historian…

    The fact of the matter is that most of these scholars are a bit haughty, matter-of-fact, and very confident of their POVs. To someone who disagrees with them, they usually come-off looking like ***holes.

    Do Edward Said and Norman Finkelstein or Noam Chomsky seem like ***holes to you? They do to me, because of my perspective. That is why I try not to focus on their demeanor, and just rely on their factual case.

    For example, I lost my respect for Fareed Zakaria because he was FOR regime change in Iraq, and then changed his tune when he realized it would take more than 3 weeks.

    Anyway, I’m just trying to understand a little bit about your political leanings now that you’re “co-president” of this more moderate website.;)

    BTW – Another BIG issue I have, is how much of ME academia is over-run by anti-Israel, anti-democratic, anti-American, pro-despot, pro-Islamist “liberals”. That was a mouth-full! Professor Josh is just a small case-in-point. Anyway, I’ll keep that issue in my pocket for another day…

    AP

    Like

  113. I dont’ think i am “co-president” of anything…. hardly…

    but as for the quote you pulled out…i think i just miss phrased… or phrased in a too convoluted way, yes, obviously he is talking as a historian.. and has credentials as such.
    but it is his opinion… and tone, and attitude.. (and i don’t mean personality – as you are referring to in general about academic haughtiness) ….I am talking about an ideological attitude of old fashioned western paternalism.
    I was annoyed by his “expertise” supposedly on what Islam is all about …..I forget the words he used now – but you know – its central function or result.
    You know, some of the content could be right. But that is not the point. The point is that he positions himself as the one who can talk about this, when actually I think he has no right to talk about it, credential as historian or no credential. He is not a scholar on Islam.
    I also found his comments incredibly reductionistic.
    We here do that all the time for the sake of dialoguing… but we are writing on a blog comment section for each other and few others. We are not a guest on a show pronouncing to the whole world our summation of the important results of Islamism in the Middle East.

    He is decidedly patronistic, patronizing, I am not sure a better word…when talking about the ME. It betrays that old style tone that comes from a believe in Western intellectual exceptionalism and privilege of interests.
    This is not a scholar talking, in some sense. (yes, literally he is, in terms of his credentialing) but I mean his stance towards his subject.
    I agree, that every stance, of every academic even is political in one way. Finklestein is political. Chomsky is decidedly political.
    I am not saying anybody is neutral.

    but the bias of this person is revolting to me. The legitimate bias- I am talking about.

    And I find your comment: “He doesn’t wax about how good ME food is or how hospitable Arab society is.”
    to be trite and to totally miss the point.
    I am not talking about lack of love on such a petty unimportant level. I am talking about on a much more significant level.

    In addition to the example i pointed out of how he could care less if Islamists (which he sees as dangerous) come to power in Syria – because it serves his other interests (which are the same as what he views are to the advantage of his ilk and cohort,,, and so forth).
    Similarly, he says he is satisfied with the situation in Egypt with Tantawi in power because as least it is not Islamist!!!
    I am not commenting on what is the best outcome! please not, this is not my point. My point is that he judges the positive outcome by what is good for his “Group”, so to speak. It is about what he judges is best for the geopolitical camp that he belongs to – whether that is American interests – Western interests, Israeli interests…etc.
    It certainly wasn’t about what is good for Egypt.
    Tantawi is hated by many, and the military continues to be brutal and is going to be a problem. But he is fine with that… because he was fine with Mubarek.

    Really, I can’t do much better than this on this kind of limited format.
    I am talking about something hard to pin down – with out sitting there with every direct quote and trying to articulate a part that is not so visible in the concrete content.
    I know that the concrete is what matters to you, it seems.
    but to me – It is that someone is not in good faith – he is not an advocate for the middle east, no matter what credentialing he has.
    And I don’t like who he is an advocate for.
    He may be correcting characterizing something at times, but this says little about motivation. the overall valuations are against my own principles.

    Chomsky’s motivations may be against your own principles, but as I said – the truth is not about whose facts are right so much as whose values you prefer.

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  114. Betho (bya3 elfalafel) is under this false impression of being the unpredictable man who does unexpected drastic moves flipping tables here and there. However, in reality he’s an open book for any immature politician around world, his moves are anticipated and next actions could not be missed. Everyone knew the regime would play the push-pull game & soften here and harden there tactic, accordingly the AL initiative was developed.

    Manoeuvring and accepting a “modified” version of the AL initiative to buy some time does not solve Betho’s massive problems actually it’s the beginning of the real deal troubles for him. One Wed, Walid Muallem might announce the regime approval for the “modified” AL initiative.

    Scenario A:
    On Thu, guess what? The regime must withdraw all security forces back to their holes.
    On Fri, every and I mean EVERY square in Syria (including damascus & Aleppo) will be occupied by peaceful protesters for good.
    It’s catch 22 again, killing them would bring NATO in and leaving them would oust the regime

    Scenario B:
    On Thu, guess what? The regime must withdraw all security forces back to their holes, but simply that does not happen.
    On Fri, security forces would keep operating BAU of shooting peaceful protesters …
    AL initiative is declared dead and NATO starts fuelling up its jets.

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  115. True, we MUST NOT depend on NATO or AL or any other. This is a Jihad just like Badr, Uhud, Tabuk, Khaybar, and all the other great Jihads of the Prophet’s time. We are all alone in this and we must use cruelty and brutalty just like the great battlefield champions like Omar and Hamza. We mst pray to Allah and 3000 Angels will fight beside us. We should think that NATO and AL doesn’t exist. This is a fight for our rights, our culture, our religion, our way of life, and nly WE can win this ourselves. IMAN, TAQWA JIHAD FI SABEELILLAH

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  116. KT, Well that’s how you and I differ eh, I don’t and won’t able to see it as a religious war at all. It’s a legitimate political revolution to retrieve back our lost dignity and freedom after ousting Betho the tyrant. No doubt it’s lead by Sunnis and the majority of martyrs so far are Sunnis but still it’s unfair to package such historical revolution into a box and then chuck a big label on the side of it which says “Made by Sunnis” nah that’s not the way to go mate.

    “This is a fight for our rights, our culture, our religion, our way of life, and nly WE can win this ourselves. IMAN, TAQWA JIHAD FI SABEELILLAH”

    I reckon it’s easy for people like us who’re quite safe and enjoying a cup of coffee while blogging online to lecture others. Personally speaking , I do believe that those secular people on streets who are happily taking bullets on their heads do enjoy higher level of ” IMAN, TAQWA JIHAD FI SABEELILLAH” than ALL of us.

    People back home are NOT on their won, they have each other, they feed each other and they do care for each other. They have this great feeling of satisfaction of achieving what once was a dream and most importantly they got God to their side.

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  117. ABOUD, I liked how you brokedown and analysed the regime’s counter-back road map. The regime leadership proved, yes again, its incompetency of reading the big picture and failing to think out of their security mind. Why don’t you rewrite it as an article and send it to Alex to chuck on his face ahh sorry I meant to post it on SC blog.

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  118. “We are all alone in this and we must use cruelty and brutalty just like the great battlefield champions like Omar and Hamza”

    No.

    If you are so big on cruelty and brutality then Syria is just a plane ticket away, you are more than welcome to come here and show us how you can do better. If this revolution turns into a Balkan style bloodbath, then kindly count me out of it.

    There is a large Alawite community in Homs. Why do you think that despite everything, no one is targeting them? Because for the most part they have done nothing wrong. They have even less say in how the country is run than we do. If a shabeh takes up arms against me, I defend myself. I most certainly don’t take it out on his family. And as much as I detest people who still support this mass murdering junta, an opinion is never a reason to kill someone.

    I strongly suggest you rethink your approach and views, no one on this website has any patience for blood and guts tantrums.

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  119. True, we spent months giving SC our best comments and opinions. To a website like it, with articles few and far between, such comments are the lifeblood, the bread and butter of its content. I am truly amazed that so many articulate, well informed and intelligent commentators can be found congregated around one topic. Your opinions and comments are gems, they deserve a better platform than SC has become.

    And don’t worry, the menhebaks are following every word we say here. Har har har. Besho the Baffled (see, their blood pressure just went up).

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  120. “And don’t worry, the menhebaks are following every word we say here. Har har har. Besho the Baffled (see, their blood pressure just went up).”

    Tsk tsk tsk very true indeed hence the 600 hits or so (daily). Poor Menhebaks not sure who would they worship after Betho bya3 elfalfel ends up in Q’um in Iran lol.

    “The Ba’athist & Menhebaks vampires of Syria will not stop feeding on the blood of the Syrian people until someone drives a wooden stake through their murderous hearts.”

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  121. AP responds to Zenobia: scores one for the Gipper;)

    We are all co-beneficiaries. No presidents here.

    OTW,

    Cool! d:o)

    The point is that he positions himself as the one who can talk about this, when actually I think he has no right to talk about it, credential as historian or no credential. He is not a scholar on Islam.

    Zenobia,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I think I understand your distaste for DP. In the same way, I read articles about Judaism from Arab “Jewish” scholars, and their comments seem to come out from left field.

    In any case, I picked a very specific article about Libya, Syria and Turkey, and I did mean to get into a theological discussion. As far as PIpes’ “Islamic Studies”, I found the following from his website:

    Mr. Pipes has written twelve books.

    Four deal with Islam: Militant Islam Reaches America (2002), The Rushdie Affair (Birch Lane, 1990), In the Path of God (Basic Books, 1983), and Slave Soldiers and Islam (Yale University Press, 1981).

    http://www.danielpipes.org/books/slave.php

    In this article, Pipes actually does NOT recommend reading the Koran to understand militant Islam:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/1461/study-the-koran

    It betrays that old style tone that comes from a believe in Western intellectual exceptionalism and privilege of interests.

    Perhaps.

    but the bias of this person is revolting to me. The legitimate bias- I am talking about.

    Biased he is. I think. Let me search for an article I think I read about his distinction between Islam and Islamist…

    http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2004/12/bibliography-my-writings-on-moderate-muslims

    Under the tab “articles” of DP’s website, you can search hundreds of articles by topic…

    I am not talking about lack of love on such a petty unimportant level. I am talking about on a much more significant level.

    In addition to the example i pointed out of how he could care less if Islamists (which he sees as dangerous) come to power in Syria – because it serves his other interests (which are the same as what he views are to the advantage of his ilk and cohort,,, and so forth).

    DP stated that the interest would be to separate Syria from Iran, where Iran is actually the most aggressive nation in the region.

    My POV is that a Islamic state doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be pro-war or aggressive. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are both Islamic, and they are threatening neighbors and their own citizens with tanks and missile fire.

    Similarly, he says he is satisfied with the situation in Egypt with Tantawi in power because as least it is not Islamist!!!

    I reviewed DP’s statements again, and he didn’t seem to be “satisfied” with anything. He merely stated that Tantawi is basically another Mubarak. Moreover, he stated that he is more prone to public opinion due to the nature of the demonstrations and the instability there at this time. As such, DP stated that the fate of the Copts would be more tenuous.

    My point is that he judges the positive outcome by what is good for his “Group”, so to speak.

    Yes for sure. But who is his “Group”? It could be “Americans” or it could be “Jews” or it could be “Israelis”, or it could even be “Westerners”, like his British host.

    It is about what he judges is best for the geopolitical camp that he belongs to – whether that is American interests – Western interests, Israeli interests…etc.

    Yes. For sure. And why not?

    It certainly wasn’t about what is good for Egypt.

    Good point. If you search his archive of articles (it’s pretty impressive to me), search under “moderate Islam”. He makes plenty of suggestions for the muslim community.

    Tantawi is hated by many, and the military continues to be brutal and is going to be a problem. But he is fine with that… because he was fine with Mubarek.

    I didn’t sense he “is fine with that”. I sensed that he is exasperated with the Arab/Muslim political scene. Exasperated that there isn’t democracy despite the best efforts of the people.

    Really, I can’t do much better than this on this kind of limited format.

    You’ve made yourself clear, and I appreciate your time replying.

    I am talking about something hard to pin down –

    I understand you position I think.

    Zenobia,

    Here’s the point I would like to make. Daniel Pipes’ personally does not hate or loves Islam and more than he hates or loves Christianity or Judaism. I don’t think he is overly religious. I think the issue that brings him so much negativity is that he is an “alarmist” (my term) against radical Islam: al-Queda, Iran’s theocracy, Hamas, etc.

    In light of the recent decades terrorism and wars and potential wars, it makes his understanding of Islam to the non-Islamic world popular. There are not a lot of Arabs or Muslim who have taken his place. I can only think of Fouad Ajami, Walid Phares, Farid Zakaria and that’s about it. DP recognizes all the states in the region and all the religions in the region.

    I wish I could say the same about Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and Norman Finkelstein, but I can’t.

    but to me – It is that someone is not in good faith – he is not an advocate for the middle east, no matter what credentialing he has.

    Yes, he is not an “advocate for the ME”. He is just filling a void as an “explainer”, and when he comes on TV, he is well paid. But just remember, the TV people can’t invite anyone. He does have good credentials.

    He may be correcting characterizing something at times, but this says little about motivation. the overall valuations are against my own principles.

    Here’s an article I found about his “motivation”…

    http://www.danielpipes.org/3218/my-gloom-back-to-september-10

    Chomsky’s motivations may be against your own principles, but as I said – the truth is not about whose facts are right so much as whose values you prefer.

    I’d be happy to read what motivates Chomsky. He may hate Israel and not recognize it, but there are millions of Jews and Arabs who don’t hate Israel, live there, and recognize Israel as a legitimate state. Ideologues like Chomsky will find anything possible to embarrass Israel or put it in a dark light, but these ideologues are MIA when it comes to fighting other nations who are guilty of far worse.

    What is Chomsky’s views on Assad and Syria? Not much…

    http://www.chomsky.info/articles.htm

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  122. NEWS ROUND UP!

    Erdoğan says Syria’s ‘glorious resistance’ will succeed” (TODAY’S ZAMAN)
    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-261588-erdogan-says-syrias-glorious-resistance-will-succeed.html

    Turkey hardens stance against Syria” (Daniel Dombey, Financial Times)
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f1438150-049e-11e1-ac2a-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz1cVEK78vD

    Syrian defectors protected by Turkey illustrate split between the countries” (RUTH SHERLOCK AND PATRICK J. MCDONNELL, Los Angeles Times)
    http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/11/01/2253334/syrian-defectors-protected-by.html

    Syria enlisted help of ‘father’ of Pakistan’s atom bomb” (Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph)
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8863416/Syria-enlisted-help-of-father-of-Pakistans-atom-bomb.html

    Syria ‘pursued 2 routes to nuclear weapons’” (YAAKOV LAPPIN, Jpost)
    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=244043

    Syria Says It Has Agreed on Plan to End Deadly Crackdown” (NADA BAKRI, NYtimes)

    Syria says reaches deal with Arab League on unrest” (Reuters)
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/01/us-syria-announcement-idUSTRE7A04T220111101

    “U.S. says Syria’s Assad should step down” (Reuters)
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/01/us-syria-announcement-usa-idUSTRE7A052020111101

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  123. Typos:

    …Turkey, and I did NOT mean to…

    …and they are NOT threatening neighbors…

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  124. Akhbar!

    Hey Akhbar, we are not interested to know more about your idol-***hole pipes. This is a Syrian Blog and there are issues much more relevant than this bozo. We are not interested in 1000 lines of your analysis.

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  125. Just got this in my tweeter and i pray it’s true:

    “#Tunisia is the second post-revolutionary government to recognize the #SNC and expel the Syrian ambassador

    I’d like to tweet both Betho bya3 elfalfel and his boy Walid Muallem, they both need blood pressure pills now 🙂

    OTW I like your blog, it’s alwyas the palce to get news before others

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  126. With all due respects Husam, that was absolutely uncalled for. Like it or not, hate him or love him, Daniel Pipes is highly influential in the West, and when he speaks on Syria we need to know what he is saying. When you have India, Russia, South Africa and some leftists believing the ludicrous tales of armed Salafi gangs in Syria, then it becomes obvious that we need to pay more attention to certain aspects of how we deal with the media, all sorts of media.

    Not that anything would have convinced Russia otherwise, and the rest of the bunch are acting out of an infantile need to stick it to the West. But obviously nothing is to be gained by calling Daniel Pipes names and ignoring him, nor by insulting AP, who from what I’ve seen hasn’t personally insulted anyone here nor on SC.

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  127. True, just finished listening to Ghanoushi on Al-Jazeera, he was asked why did you not support SNC and expelled the Syrian ambassador, his response was, they are not in office, otherwise they would have.

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  128. @ Aboud:

    Climb down from your tree. I did not insult AP, show me where I did so or rescind your comment. I am serious.

    Aboud, I don’t know how far back you have been reading SC, but AP is a propagandist and seldomly anyone bothers replying to the same songs he has been playing. We go a long way back. You like to keep reminding us and ridicule mnehebaks and call them all kinds, but it is not okay for me to state what I feel about or Daniel Pipes, Wafa Sultan or AP (in his case, nothing inflammatory). I have the right to despise Daniel Pipes just the same way you despise any member of the Syrian regime. We all know the angle of Pipes very well and if we need to research what the western media is saying, we can just google it or tune in to FOX or CNN.

    Would you like Tlass or anyone else to start posting videos “every single day” of Salafi sermons? I could argue that we need to know what Salafist are planning and bring the news to you every morning to go with your coffee and the Walls. It is not about freedom of speech, it is about relevancy and redundancy. All AP would do is cut paste, rehash and give his analysis which becomes a bore and dilutes any good comments.

    Call me crazy, but I would bet the house and the car that he is a paid blogger. Before you call me a conspiracy theorist here is some proof:

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-recruits-army-of-bloggers-to-combat-anti-zionist-web-sites-1.268393

    We and SC by and large are anti-zionist (not anti-jewish), and these type of blogs are where they bathe and get paid. The US government has similar programs for hire.

    I wished Zenobia would save her articulate penmanship (more correctly penwomenship) and time for an article on the Walls.

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  129. Husam, I do not care much for your tone. Just because you don’t like Daniel Pipes, does not give you the right to attack people who quote him or link to his work, nor call them paid bloggers. And how deluded you are, to think someone would pay anyone to post on the comments section of any website. You have an inflated sense of your own importance.

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  130. Husam, I do not care much for your tone. Just because you don’t like Daniel Pipes, does not give you the right to attack people who quote him or link to his work, nor call them paid bloggers. And how deluded you are, to think someone would pay anyone to post on the comments section of any website. You have an inflated sense of your own importance.

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  131. @Akbar
    I can’t believe you are expending on this much energy on Daniel Pipes. I think he is making himself more listened to than he would otherwise be by trafficking in fear of Islam. Lots of people in America (people I don’t like) will pay money to hear about that) The fact that he wrote a number of books on Islam- makes it all the more sad to hear what he had to sum up about it in that interview.
    I don’t call that “alarmist” simply. I think it betrays a kind of covert bigotry and western arrogance about Middle East culture and modern social history.
    But I will not waste too much more breathe. You will not get me to respect this man no matter how many books he wrote.
    I don’t think that is the issue. I don’t like his values and I don’t think I am reading it incorrectly- the way he speaks in these sorts of generalizations about pathetic aspects of the ME… eg “Pipes rule of Arab Elections”….and so on is demeaning. Let people who actually care about the place in its own right make these criticisms.

    I am truly not worried about the likes of Pipes. He may have some influence in certain circles in the United States, but his limits are clear and he is despised by many people.

    In contrast, someone like Chomsky is regarded as one of the world’s foremost intellectuals across more than one discipline. He is highly regarded and respected WORLDWIDE. And if that is how you are measuring things – or certainly by how many books someone wrote, than you have scored no points at all.

    “but these ideologues are MIA when it comes to fighting other nations who are guilty of far worse”
    ‘THESE” who? Chomsky? If so, this would have to be the most ironic thing you have said so far. The man has written more books than anyone on issues of Ethics, State Terrorism, War, Human Rights, Foreign Policy, Economy and Economic Warfare, Imperialism, Military action and reaction, Propaganda, the Social Order, The Cold War, Mass Media, Philosophy in general, the role of Intellectuals, Failed States, Neoliberalism, Government, Democracy, regarding Asia, South America, Indodhina, the Middle East, the Balkans, Lebanon, and the United States, and I think the list probably goes on if one counts more than just the books but the journal articles and lectures over fifty years.
    this is not counting his entire body of work in the field of Linguistics for which he is also world famous.

    So, you know. I don’t think I really need to defend Chomsky. He speaks for himself. And his world popularity also speaks for him and what motivates him. In case you didn’t know – he is considered a intellectual powerhouse and champion of global human rights. Unlike some people – he is not working for ONLY the benefit and “strategic advantage” ( this was the word Pipes uses to make his assessment of Syria and why he really would “be fine” with “ANY” govt’ there as long as the tie with Iran is broken) and well being of certain powerful western nations.

    Israel is a blip on the world screen in terms of where most of this person’s attention and writing has been dedicated.

    see for yourself:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky_bibliography

    So, One Point taken away from the Gipper.

    And I refuse to talk any more about Daniel Pipes. He really doesn’t deserve it.

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  132. @Husam,

    sorry. I agreed to listen to one annoying tv clip on Pipes’ own self promoting website…and respond to it – but I should know better that that is just bait …to suck me into a debate on something that has no end in sight because it is completely in the end a subjective value driven preference.
    anyhow, I am done with that.
    i will stick more to the prescribed subject now… Focus, Focus….as the Hamster said.

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  133. “Would you like Tlass or anyone else to start posting videos “every single day” of Salafi sermons? I could argue that we need to know what Salafist are planning and bring the news to you every morning to go with your coffee and the Walls.”

    Yes, if they were important enough, we should know what they are saying. You and Zenobia may have passed judgement that “someone isn’t worth my time” because of obvious fallacies in their opinions. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is not obliged whatsoever to ignore those you deem ignorable. They listen to Pipes, and sometimes act on what he says. If you don’t want to take the time to get to know the views of your opponents, then there is much sand in the Arab world for you to stick your head in, but don’t you dare attack people for posting what is in their *honest* opinion relevant material to our discussions.

    But then, if you see “paid bloggers” everywhere a contrary opinion comes your way, then there won’t be many people on the Internet who you will deem to be honest.

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  134. oK….. calm down everybody. No need to be testy about this…

    Akbar knows I am inclined to engage. But he is not a paid blogger person. He is just a genuine believer. And nobody would bother their time at this point…. if that was their job – to blab on about Pipes on THE WALLS.
    Syria comment maybe, but not even there if the prime point of interest is to infiltrate dialogue on Israel/Pal issues.
    but…it is over now…. my fault! no need for you to get into it. I am much more offended by the Tlass comments , don’t you think. I really really don’t want to here about how zealous he is to go kill people! We should not have any talk like that – and I said so in the Policy section to OTW.
    If anything I would be more paranoid about why someone is coming over here to bait us into responding to that… as if he thinks that anyone is going to jump on that wagon.

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  135. Zenobia, et al,

    Sorry for diverting attention away from Syria. Again, my purpose was only to understand your view-point better. Aboud, thank you for the response.

    Husam

    Like

  136. Zenobia, I’d like to clarify. George Bush jr. was the biggest idiot in the history of village idiots. But because he was the most powerful man in the world, what he did and said was highly important. It is the same with most of the conservatives in America; they are intellectually shallow and lazy, but because they hold so much power in the USA, what they are saying and doing cannot be dismissed.

    We spent six months poo hooing the very idea of Salafi gangs that could travel the width and breadth of the country, assuming that any reasonable person could see that for the BS it is. Lo and behold, apparently it’s an article of faith among some Indian commentators that the West is plotting regime change under the excuse of the Arab Spring, and they believe every word SANA says about illusive armed terrorist gangs.

    If someone does not wish to spend what is after all their free time listening to comments by Daniel Pipes and his sort, then that is their right. But why act so offended when someone brings him up or links to one of his videos? Why couldn’t we say;

    “Hello AP, I don’t see how Pipes is relevant to our discussion, and frankly what he says is so bizarre that it has no basis in reality. Besides, at one point the host seemed like he was going to get down on his knees and pleasure Pipes”

    But no, instead AP is attacked for being a “paid blogger”, and we are told we don’t need his analysis. Personally, I’m impatient with discussions about political Islam or how Sharia law is somehow the answer to all of Syria’s post-Baath problems. But do I attack people for bringing it up in lengthy posts? No, I just choose not to participate in such discussions.

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  137. @ Aboud,

    in regards to what you are saying…. then discussing perceptions of Islam is a perfectly worthy subject – and the post that OTW originally wrote was invigorating to say the least. I think it gets more to the heart of the matter and to the challenges ahead.

    As well, in response to prior posts – I said – that I think THE FEARs and representations of “Islamists” and “Salafists” and what that means to different people is important to discuss and to address because this is the kind of thing that in Syria is going to be a problem – and the sterotypes and fair characterizations should be delved into in a serious way by people who have the knowledge to do so.
    I think Akbar might have a point when he says that people like Pipes are in demand because he fills a vacuum. But I think that is because others who dislike the ideological position and alliances of a person like Pipes need to put forward the persons in this country who they would rather have talking about and representing the religion or explaining it.

    What I really disagree with – is the attention given to those speakers like Pipes who are only furthering already overdetermined representations of “Islam” and “Islamists”… without again – seeming to have any agenda that is about discussing how Islam is not one thing or examining the possibilities for integration and peaceful coexistence with non-muslims. He is just fueling stereotypes in my mind and framing the conversation with many presumptions about its negative aspects – notice the way he said in this interview that a central tenet of Islam is belief in its the superiority of Muslims over non-Muslims, as if this is a fixed fact, and you would never find that amongst Christians or orthodox Jews!…
    It is a deserving subject, but should be done on a more elevated level and with people who are not already starting from such negative perceptions from the moment they start a dialogue.

    Like

  138. This is bloody healthy forum where people could disagree, I’m happy about that 🙂

    In the republic of bya3 elfalfel Betho no one is allowed to disagree with the Qurdahan mind otherwise the big brother is always there to accuse you of thoughtcrime.

    Like

  139. Zenobia,

    Sorry for diverting attention away from Syria. Again, my purpose was only to understand your view-point better. I hope I haven’t offended you.

    Aboud, thank you for your response.

    Husam,

    I have discussed many issues over the years, mostly on Syria Comment. On that website, discourse quickly turns into name-calling, and in my case, sarcasm. I am guilty as charged. I have noticed OTWs website has a more moderate tone. So I am hoping to learn from the Arab/Syrian community. Maybe others can learn from me. I don’t know.

    Discussion of DP is officially over.

    AP

    Like

  140. “at one point the host seemed like he was going to get down on his knees and pleasure Pipes”

    lol. thanks for making me laugh….. I really thought he might!…ha ha ha

    Like

  141. @akbar,

    no of course not…. i am fine!… no harm done, I think we are where we are for the moment…

    Like

  142. @ Aboud

    You know, I have been following your Syrian patriotism, hell bent at removing the regime and I voted for your left toe. Stupid was I. I am having second thoughts.

    “….does not give you the right to attack people who quote him or link to his work, nor call them paid bloggers.”

    Who are you to dictate to me what rights I have? Seriously. You are not my master. You spent 6 months attacking every other person on SC who did not agree with your “kill-bashar-drink-their-soup” rhetoric and now you have the audacity to come here and tell people what to feel, say or think lest how to talk to other commentators and whom to give audience to.

    What gave it away Aboud is when you slipped and said “his work” referring to Daniel Pipes. You call that work? Geez, Assad and his gang are working too. And don’t tell me I am reading too far into it, I smell foul from miles away. At SC there was too much clutter and we all got bogged down with videos, blood and newsflashes.

    I am rather perplexed by your (Homsi heart-and-soul) belated defense of a self-professed Zionist (Akhbar Palace) and calling me, your fellow Syrian, deluded for pointing out Haartez’s article admitting paid bloggers exist. AP’s years of music-to-your-ear on SC fits the job description of the article. You made far more deluded arguments with your 20+ comments an hour back at SC.

    As for your “You have an inflated sense of your own importance.” comment…every Syrian nowadays is inflated and very important, far more important than what Daniel Pipes, or Akhbar Palace have to parrot about Syria, Syrians or Islam.

    Like

  143. Zenobia

    “in regards to what you are saying…. then discussing perceptions of Islam is a perfectly worthy subject – and the post that OTW originally wrote was invigorating to say the least. I think it gets more to the heart of the matter and to the challenges ahead.”

    If someone wants to bring it up, where is it written that they shouldn’t? My personnel opinion is that it is premature. But if some people would like to take what I believe to be a detour down that road, I have no right to attack them for doing so.

    “What I really disagree with – is the attention given to those speakers like Pipes who are only furthering already overdetermined representations of “Islam” and “Islamists”

    To you and me, Pipe’s popularity is incomprehensible. Same with Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and the mother of all “get-rich-because-of-not-despite-my-stupidity”, Sarah Palin. But Palin was one financial crisis away from becoming Vice President of the world’s only super power. Sadly, we live in a world where ill informed idiots impose themselves on our lives and attentions, and make decisions about our lives.

    That’s the problem with the SNC. They are too enlightened, too gentlemanly. Political power requires people with more deviousness and ruthlessness to grab it.

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  144. Husam

    “You spent 6 months attacking every other person on SC who did not agree with your “kill-bashar-drink-their-soup” rhetoric”

    And do you know why? Because it was so absurdly easy to bait the menhebaks and trap them into disrupting the conversation. If someone calls them an idiot, they don’t feel redeemed unless they call that person an ultra-idiot-salafi-plotter-with-zionist-dollars-in-his-pocket. A ban would usually follow.

    Have no illusions, no one acts the way I did on SC without meaning to provoke the other side into spams of rabid foul mouthed anger. Is that your intention towards AP?

    The rest of your post appears to be your indignation that I am somehow taking sides with AP against you, a fellow Syrian. You are hopelessly misreading what I said; I took issue with the way you told AP that we didn’t need his analysis and attacked him for linking to Daniel Pipes, as if doing so was somehow a personal insult towards you. I never claimed to be your master, and likewise you are not AP’s master nor anyone elses. If saying so makes you “smell sinister”, then so be it.

    And that article in Haaretz, I remember when it came out as well. Look at the comments section, it was widely ridiculed by Israelis themselves, and some of them were offended by the notion that a government would need to tell them to take up their country’s cause online.

    And FYI, I’ve learned over the years that it is a rare Israeli who is insulted by the term “Zionist”.

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  145. I think you guys should just call a truce right now.

    “You have an inflated sense of your own importance.” that wasn’t nice.

    but it wasn’t nice to say you bet Akbar was a paid blogger either. I think he just has a lot of time on his hands….like some of us do…not saying who but….

    Like

  146. @AP

    “I have discussed many issues over the years.”

    No you have not. You have sang one zionist song. If I a believed for one second that what you said was true:

    “So I am hoping to learn from the Arab/Syrian community. Maybe others can learn from me. I don’t know.” prrrrr.

    I would have listened to you. I asked you to remind the name of my Israeli friend whom I missed from SC, you avoided to answer. Well I went digging, and his name was Shai. You used to try and convince me that he was looser who worked from a 4 by 4 balcony in Tel Aviv remember? He is as honorable as they can get and he really wanted to see peace and understand how we can live together, a far far distance from you.

    Like

  147. Husam

    “What gave it away Aboud is when you slipped and said “his work” referring to Daniel Pipes. You call that work?”

    Dear lord, it’s the Thought Police all over again. Yes, what he has done is “work”, and frankly if you are offended that someone doesn’t curse Daniel Pipes every time he is mentioned, as if he’s Satan, then you alas will be facing a future involving high blood pressure and too much smoking.

    Husam, since you are so obsessed with controlling every phrase and word we use with regards to someone you don’t like, please enlighten us and tell us what is the acceptable substitute to use in the following cases;

    “Daniel Pipes is a commentator on Islamic affairs”

    “Daniel Pipes is a published author”

    “Daniel Pipes is highly influential among conservative circles”

    See, all true statements, all perfectly neutral. But no, that isn’t good enough for you. Unless every statement about Daniel Pipes is laced with insults and heavy on the name calling, then the writer of such sentences is, in your eyes and according to your nose, “sinister”.

    Like

  148. Zenobia

    “actually, Akbar isn’t Israeli. He’s American… : ) ha ha on both of you…”

    😦

    Like

  149. @ Aboud

    “Is that your intention towards AP?” Aboud, sorry I don’t have an appetite for mind games. And, I am not a strategist nor a politician.

    AP and I go way back when I stupidly used to get into dead end discussions. I got baited and wasted valuable time.

    What you did was double standard and by trying to justify your language on SC, doesn’t convince me one bit as clever as you may think you are.

    Like

  150. Zenobia,

    There is a clear and consistent pattern with AP which stinks to me. AP is a dual-citizen hahaha to you too.

    Zenobia, can you write the next piece on the Walls please, please?

    Like

  151. “What you did was double standard and by trying to justify your language on SC, doesn’t convince me one bit as clever as you may think you are.”

    *shrug*

    Now, take a look at this magnificent picture of Colonel Riyad Assad.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-syria-turkey-defectors-20111102,0,6082244.story

    Look at him, he looks like the stereotypical manly Syrian male. Hair parted neatly to the side,kind eyes, sporting a manly Syrian mustache. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d rather put my trust in such a manly man than someone who has Besho’s lame weak-a** whiskers.

    Like

  152. 10,000 soldiers??? could that be right? where are they all?

    @Husam,

    why are you particularly interested in my writing a post?

    Like

  153. @Aboud:

    “Husam, since you are so obsessed with controlling every phrase and word we use with regards to someone you don’t like”

    Aboud, eveyone that disagreed with you on SC, I mean everyone, you knit picked every word, you found the time and you responded at ultra-high-speed bandwidth from Homs under bombardment. Dare I say, you did not miss one comment.

    Aboud asked:

    “Husam, since you are so obsessed with controlling every phrase and word we use with regards to someone you don’t like, please enlighten us and tell us what is the acceptable substitute to use in the following cases”

    Bashar Al Assad – Eye-Medical Doctor from UK

    Bashar Al Assad – President of Syria gets 98% approval rating

    Bashar Al Assad – Leader of the Baathist Syrian Party

    So now Aboud, to quote you: “all true statements, all perfectly neutral. But no, that isn’t good enough for you.”

    You are taking us for fools here bro. You have high regards for Piglet Daniel Pipes. ‘nough said.

    Like

  154. @Zenobia:

    For someone to have the patience to listen to DP, digest spicy sausages and stand up to B.S. you earned my respect. BTW, I disagree with you on many issues (some known, some unknowns) I still enjoy your pitch and style. That is just me.

    Like

  155. “Aboud, eveyone that disagreed with you on SC, I mean everyone, you knit picked every word, you found the time and you responded at ultra-high-speed bandwidth from Homs under bombardment. Dare I say, you did not miss one comment.”

    Here we go again, now the Islamists will accuse me of not being a Syrian. It always comes to that. Go on, tell me what plot I have up my sleeve that can target both the Baathists and Islamist at the same time *rolls eyes*

    It is a weak mind that has to keep resorting to plots and conspiracies everytime they find their views and outlook on life challenged. You didn’t seem to object to my energetic efforts on SC before,.

    See, this is why I fervently hope that Islamists never come to power in Syria. They are control freaks. They have to control every aspect of life. How short skirts are, how a man and a woman act with each other, the morality of TV shows. Everything has to be under their control.

    Husam, political Islam is DOA in Syria. There aren’t enough of you to vote you guys in, and people in Syria are not working to overthrow Baathists restrictions just to live under your kind of dictatorship.

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  156. ok, here is the thing….IF Akbar WERE a paid agent and paid blogger then he succeeded fabulously in getting you too into a ridiculous argument and being mad at each other…. and continuing to mention daniel pipes, for christsakes!!!

    so you have to cut it out NOW!

    @Husam,
    and…so what do you think we should be writing about in a the main post?….

    Like

  157. AP should be thanked. He graciously agreed to drop all mention of Daniel Pipes, and was well within his rights to retort back to the truly unjust insinuations against him, which he didn’t do 🙂

    “Paid bloggers”. If everyone people like Husam thought was a paid blogger really was, there wouldn’t be any money left over for any other occupation. It must be the biggest sector in the world.

    Like

  158. Zenobia, I don’t find this argument ridiculous, because people like Husam have to be told upfront and right away that they have no business trying to shut people up, just because someone linked to an influential figure Husam doesn’t like. But apparently, just telling Husam that is enough to be accused of being one of the army of Zionist paid bloggers that Israel apparently has the money to through at.

    Husam didn’t seem to take offense at how I spent my time on SC before, but now he is reduced to taking a page out of the menhebak playbook, and casting doubts on how I could possibly be a Homsi. Next he’ll mention how early in the morning it is in Homs.

    Like

  159. @Aboud

    “Husam, political Islam is DOA in Syria. There aren’t enough of you to vote you guys in, and people in Syria are not working to overthrow Baathists restrictions just to live under your kind of dictatorship.”

    Who is “you” and “you guys”….Syrians you mean? Oh I get it I am an Islamist now with a weak mind. Piss off. You just lectured me on civility and look it you. Poor soul.

    Aboud, come out of the closet.

    Like

  160. “Paid bloggers”. If everyone people like Husam thought was a paid blogger really was, there wouldn’t be any money left over for any other occupation. It must be the biggest sector in the world.”

    so very very true.
    anyhow, nobody has to debate Akbar if they don’t want to. Sometimes it is exhausting. But I find his style intriguing at times….when I am not the one involved (of course)… and I am forced to explain myself more and more, which if possible is a good thing. And sometimes – there are things I cannot do justice to in such a format as this…it would require lengthy lengthy discussion that would interrupt the flow of the blog – this on or any one. So it is better at some point to call it quits. But there is no harm done. I don’t feel there is anything sinister about it – or about his provocation. Not really, but one has to know it will not be a swift exchange.

    no, Akbar is always gracious, even when frustrating. Even if like digesting a spicy sausage… ha ha ha

    Like

  161. Husam, I expressed an opinion. Excuse me but I was led to believe that you favored some sort of Islamic platform, post-Athad.

    Dear me, can’t we even criticize political Islam now? Mentioning Daniel Pipes in a neutral way is apparently forbidden. Expressing the opinion that political Islam has no future in Syria is also apparently forbidden. Please, tell us the rest of the 10 million commandments we must not cross, least we be accused of being Zionist paid bloggers 🙂

    Again, we must address the original issue; the insolent way you told AP that we didn’t need his analysis and attacked him for bringing up Daniel Pipes. That just will not do, not if you expect to maintain a fruitful and meaningful conversation. But if your aim is instead to harass Jews and muzzle opinions you don’t like, then hey, best we know where you stand upfront.

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  162. “and casting doubts on how I could possibly be a Homsi”

    IS THAT WHAT HE MEANT BY THAT??

    I already knew it is the middle of the night to early morn, but that is normal Syrian time…in my experience…

    I mean the accusations you are now throwing at each other IS ridiculous. unfortunately – neither one of you will listen to my instruction to drop it … because apparently i am NOT PRESIDENT here.. as OTW said…
    but he is already way asleep also- middle of night, so he can’t break it up!

    Like

  163. Husam, get in your last word, accuse me of whatever you want, but by now I owe a big apology to OTW. I don’t know what time it is where he is, but he may like to try out the “delete posts” button.

    “What does manly man mean? Do you like Syrian moustaches on men?”

    Is there something ambiguous about the phrase “manly man”? Macho! Buch! Rugged! Rick Perry and Mit Romney got where they are in part because they really look presidential. If I was a Hollywood casting director instead of a Zionist paid blogger, I’d cast them for the role of US Pres.

    Same with Riyad Assad. Look at him, he looks every bit the Arab freedom fighting colonel.

    Compare that to the ridiculous posters of Besho, with that vague slightly befuddled look on his face, gazing far into the distance to his left. What’s he supposed to be looking at so far away. It’s like he’s looking over some bars in a court house, waiting apprehensively for a judge to utter his sentence.

    Like

  164. actually – i was the one who said Pipes sounded like an ***hole first. But Akbar, didn’t really disagree with this. Just for the record.

    I think Husam should just say – he regret being rough on Akbar at first….and then it will be settled. Even if you (Husam) have more suspicions that his participation is sinister or calculated to disrupt – you have to trust the judgment of OTW and myself, who I think have been listening to Akbar’s for even way longer than you…. and even I exchange email once long time ago – extra blog with him, and I really think he is legit and ok..

    Not all the world is unsafe. Truly. We should trust each other here, Otherwise, we are hopeless.

    ok, truce now… come on….It is really late…it is even getting late in California, and I hate to see you guys going at it.
    Its like domestic squabble here. I think if you drop it for now, then it won’t seem that bad later and we can come to agreement.

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  165. “with that vague slightly befuddled look on his face, gazing far into the distance to his left. What’s he supposed to be looking at so far away. ”

    well….according to Daniel Pipes….that is Bashar…as deer in the headlights…. which I couldn’t agree with more… : )

    Like

  166. I personally am not really attracted to the mustachioed look…..however, that may be because I wasn’t raised in Syria with the real influences there….
    Nonetheless, he definitely fits the part… better than – B- who has a sort of dunce like appearance that doesn’t inspire any confidence.

    This in not really material worthy of a main post, but …it would be good to agree on something….at this point.

    Like

  167. Zenobia

    “actually – i was the one who said Pipes sounded like an ***hole first.”

    Well yeah Daniel Pipes is an a-hole. I don’t feel obliged to heap a mountain of swear words at him everytime his name is mentioned, and people shouldn’t be accused of being Zionists when they don’t do so.

    I’ve been in close communication with half the people on this blog via Facebook. I’ve been frank, open and honest with them. They have seen me express a full range of emotions, from jubilant to dispirited and everything inbetween. I’ve yet to be accused by them of being anything other than what I say I am; a quick on the trigger Homsi who loves to argue and write.

    Like

  168. Ok, you guys seem to have shut up now.

    Hallelujah!!….i can sleep more peacefully….

    Like

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