Road signs and milestones.

The Syrian regime has proven over the past nine months capable of pushing back at the opposition using a combination of misinformation campaign and brute force. While we spend inordinate amount of time analyzing the motives and personalities of pro-regime and/or fence-sitting people at the individual level, drawing our intellectual resources into sideline confrontations, events on the ground race with our responses to these events being nothing but outrage, impotent in many cases, that we direct at what we see as the hypocrisy of those who refused to join us or are incapable of seeing the light and the moral righteousness of the revolution due to certain fears, associations, and pre-conditioning.

In the end, whatever analysis we may come up with on that issue will have little or no impact on what goes on the ground other than giving ourselves the impression that we now understand the opponent better and have exposed their bankruptcy. The real opponent is clear, it is a brutal regime with security tentacles that infiltrate all strata of society. Building on fear of the unknown, on latent, but easily aroused sectarian feelings, and most importantly, on purposefully demolished ethical and moral inhibitions among its instruments of oppression on the ground to inflict both vengeful mayhem and to return, against all logic, the status to that of pre-uprising fear and docility. Cheerleaders for the regime are as inconsequential as cheerleaders for the revolution. How much does analysis of the cheerleading add to the knowledge of the reader regarding the unfolding events in Syria and the situation in the traumatized country? I am afraid to say, nothing, other than giving a little glimpse into our own personalities. It was necessary exercise, and I thank all who participated in it in all seriousness, but we have to move a head.

We need to go beyond that. We need analysis of the situation tactical and strategic. At this stage, I am no longer interested in analyzing inconsequential posters on other forums or demonstrating their intellectual or ethical deficiencies, or their fears. We have occupied ourselves far too long with this exercise and it has reached the point of diminishing return with respect to our ability to influence public opinion about the Syrian revolution other than discrediting ineffectual writers, who are doing exactly the same but in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, we are missing news of economic disaster in the making and of its impacts on a wide segment of the population, of horrendous brutal campaign racing against time to end the uprising or liquidate as much as possible of those participating in the heroic efforts at the street level, and we are missing significant events on the ground in Damascus and Aleppo, who seem to go up in bursts, only for the two cities to slide back to watchful calm. We are also missing a better understanding of the changing nature of the uprising, which now threatens to become a prolonged struggle with constant seemingly calibrated bleeding.

While the regime can count on continuing cat and mouse game with the observers and AL after having de-fanged the mission by reducing its size and scope and its chances for real exposure to what really goes on the ground, we, in the external opposition, are plagued with ineffectual advocacy, polarized leadership, lack of focus and direction, and very reluctant Syrian National Council, who has now bloated into 300 members, hindering any effective action, both internally and at the diplomatic, media, and relief level.

As we bicker amongst ourselves, and as we watch with dismay at the confusion and lack of effectiveness on the side of SNC, suspicious groups are moving in for the kill. I have information about an increasing presence of one such personality in donation collection for. I have argued that one should not shy from supporting FSA, at least in enhancing their sustainability, safety, and ability to protect civilians. However, there is alarming news about groups trying, effectively I am afraid, to jack up vengeful and sectarian hatred and to collect donations for various militant groups with clear sectarian motivation. In response, individuals continue to collect donation in small amounts, and to send them through personal channels to Syria instead of coordinated efforts, primarily because they are afraid that organized donations will end up helping militarization of sectarian fringes. I am waiting for some information on these issues and will share it with you when I have bullet proof confirmation. One solution would be to initiate a campaign requiring international relief agencies to have access to disaster conflict areas, and to force the regime, through international pressure to allow such access.  Such should be discussed but has been completely absent from the radar.

You see, friends, there are far more effective ways to support the revolution. Should we continue on our current path, I am afraid that we are going no where. This is not what I had in mind. Time for a change and suggestions are welcomed. More welcomed off course are analyses on the model Observer and hazrid have been trying to infuse on this site. I am open for new type of main posts and urge anyone with the capacity to make such contribution to do so.

I am off course the most to blame. A blog about Syria is a serious issue, and I should do better. I hope to be able to count on the help of  7ee6anis.

I will be away for few hours. Please have a go at defining  the future of this blog.

Yours, truly.

OTW

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129 Comments

  1. You know even shiekh arour may Allah give him strength in supporting the revolution is strongly against sectarianism and al Qaeda ! No doubt he has strong disputes with the Shia and he sometimes goes over the top but on the ground even he is against sectarian militias. May Allah protect us against this because this will negatively impact on our revolution. This is what the regime wants because its last card is support among sectarian bigots among the minorities

  2. Oh yeah there are bigots among the majority! Unfortunately in Syria, we have a minority dominated regime, that uses the paranoia of groups within certain sects e.g. the Alawite sect to predominate the positions that are currently doing nasty things in Syria. There is no doubt that we have Sunnis, Christians, Druze and others that are also part of this rotten establishment as well.

  3. You are going around my question, dear Jarthouma, I am talking about bigots who are anti-regime? not about sunni proponents of the regime. I am really interested in reading your analysis of how to address them? and how to prevent them from hijacking the revolution…

  4. hm. Well, the first part of your post sucks…. and I can’t imagine who you are addressing since you didn’t ‘name names’… it was so diplomatic.
    But really I think you better pay a visit over to Maysaloon right away and tell him he is clearly wasting his time completely, and in fact doing a huge disservice even to the revolution to fritter away his energies with such analysis and critiques.

    http://www.maysaloon.org/2011/12/berating-arab-resistance-crowd.html

    and since Rime and Qunfuz bothered to even comment on it – you might want to tell them that they are bringing down the cause too by caring at tall about such subjects.
    Of course, truthfully, Maysaloon, Rime, and Robin actually ARE doing what you say is a waste of time, ie, being outraged and expressing anger and denouncing people or “expos[ing} bankruptcy”. In contrast, some of us want to – in your eyes- waste our intellectual energy thinking about the nuances of others perspectives because these others are most of the time (as I tried to say) in fact NOT “cheerleaders” of the regime but in fact YOUR cousin, and MY UNCLE, and Sheila’s BROTHER and so on and so forth.. who are actually INSIDE SYRIA, and therefore are part of the population that actually matter and who have choices to make.
    It is not that I actually believe that people would be converted one person at a time… and that we have the luxury of time to do that. NO, actually the exercise has to do with building a better comprehension – NOT for the purposes of exposing anyone’s “moral bankruptcy” or to have some “impression” or so we collectively can feel more righteous or point out hypocrisy (see Maysaloon today)… Far from it- my own motive is that from examining individual sources.. having real conversations where people I know say things I never expected… that I can have an understanding that can perhaps be generalized.

    The purpose of comprehension of individuals in order to formulate better generalizations… is because I don’t actually think you can win this with out more mainstream people on your side and willing to act on their conscience and act on the ideas that they could be exposed to.
    People like Hazrid have the benefit of being inside Syria and being able to report directly from the street. He has valuable information and data to share. There are others – Aboud for example regarding Homs, except that he infuses ever single report with tons of commentary about himself and his grandiose notions of what will happen in the future of triumph. There are others who are inside Syria who have the ability to offer valuable commentary and thought.
    But for most of external people we are not in a position to do this. It would be in fact, irresponsible, to pretend to be able to do it.
    WE are IMPOTENT. YOU ARE IMPOTENT. What DO you have in mind?? that you are going to save Syria with a blog????????!!!
    Here you have Observer saying how people should set their mind into that of the regime persons and figure out how to subvert the power structure. Fantastic! great….
    Except that – 90% of people outside are not in a position to know enough to create tactics on that level of specificity. We can support this activity.. with theoretical strategy, but how can one actually come up with tactical ideas from this distance and without access to critical inside information and real life visuals and personnel as well as geographic information, structural information, etc and so forth.
    That is impossible.

    Yes, it is obvious this is what is needed, but who is going to do that?? ! Anyone here?? All you go is KT talking about various kinds of weapons constantly and sandbagging and reposting his comments multiple times… and then inspiring more stupid interchanges.

    YOU as the blog owner are responsible for that!! If you don’t like What I spent my time musing about ERASE IT! . Really, go ahead. But then take responsibility for all the rest of the garbage.
    From my perspective – It is ONLY by converting (not one by one…) but in some large scale – more people inside – who are willing to stop being fence sitters and who are able to be converted… who have that potential… will you set a path where there is actually someone able to carry out ACTUAL TACTICAL MOVES…and implement strategy.
    YOU DON’T HAVE THE NUMBERS. YOU DON’T HAVE THE COMMITMENT OF PEOPLE.

    Maybe, the economics of this situation is going to dictate everything anyways. Perhaps, without doing anything – the pressures are going to build to the point where you are going to get there…. as the general population becomes more and more angered.

    But YES in the mean time… there is going to be more killing. All you have right now – is a partial defensive military protection force to stave off some of the severity of the assaults. THAT’s IT! That is NOT going to win this thing… And if you go down the KT road to hell…. of build up.. well… if you think you have too much death and suffering now, you haven’t seen anything.

    YOU want more effective strategy voiced? something quick and expedient, that is somehow going to stop the regime in its tracks. that will somehow – stem the tide of state terror.. and halt their progress…..
    I think you are being unrealistic.
    In this quest, you would be better off to change this blog to be in Arabic and start focusing your own energy on a different audience!…

    As it stands the regime is not only going to continue to win on a militarized front, but they still have the upper hand in the propaganda war internally.
    My concern in going on and on previously regarding the mindset of the fence sitters is that – I think you have to win that propaganda war in order to ‘get somewhere’…
    You seem to think otherwise, that you have the numbers and the support already and all you need is strategy and tactics. But then, if that is so…
    Why aren’t the people INSIDE, who are MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE AND EQUIPPED to design these activities and tactics????
    I stand by my own hypothesis…that they are not doing so because they are NOT COMMITTED TO THIS CAUSE YET.
    those who are – say in Midan area, are extremely creative.. and full of resolve. Maybe they still need more strategy or coordinated communication with other neighborhoods…i have no idea… but why aren’t YOU asking them! what the barriers are and what can be done to surmount them. Otherwise, we have to conclude that there is still a gap between the level of support needed and what we have now.
    How can you win a propaganda war when we don’t understand what – mental barriers are still holding people back. Is it sheer physical danger? Is it sheer fear? …This is what people in the opposition used to always say. But I simply don’t buy it anymore. I think the source of the ambivalence is way more than that…. and unless the opposition has an answer for that – this ambivalence will not move.
    Again, there is the possibility that total economic collapse might move it… but then unfortunately this will bring an entire new set of problems to contend with.

    Each of us has to decide what we have to offer – if that is monetary aid, reporting, commentary, or strategic ideas, but often this is related to our beliefs about what matters or what we personally know about or can talk about. We are limited by this, rightfully.
    Serious strategists are probably busy making their own blogs or projects I imagine, which is fine, but unfortunately, part of our collective problem is that so many people are working in separate forums and out in the sphere with little coordination between each other.
    The revolution itself has this problem, as you have stated correctly in the part of your post that didn’t suck.
    How is this coordination and bridging created? fostered, and built up? How do external voices actually impact internal strategy and tactics? Maybe you know… through all the back channels. I personally have no idea. If someone wants to explain it, that to me would be a great education to receive.. because maybe it would explain how efforts could actually be made or translate into “impact”…
    Maybe this would clarify why you are disappointed.

  5. Sure, I agree. There can be bigots who are anti regime that want to say randomly target Alawites.

    This is also morally incorrect.

    We are agreeing off the wall.

  6. Analysis and a plan for action

    The current situation prompts an analysis of the structure of the regime and a plan of action for resistance.
    The current house of security cards was built in the 70’s on the following:
    1. A weak army with units infiltrated with members of the regime whose function is to monitor for any evidence of dissent or plots.
    2. Lack of horizontal communication between units to prevent a coordinated coup d’etat.
    3. Seventeen branches of the security services from monitoring the Palestinian refugges to the monitoring of students and workers and even artists. These likewise have vertical reporting schemes and no horizontal communication abilities.
    4. A Baath party that is the venue for control of the civilian aspect of life whereby all important activities and promotions and education go through its structure. Over the last 10 years, it has lost its importance to the rise of the inner circle mafia-like structure that allowed for the use of state structures for the development of huge corrupt graft schemes to enrich the few at the expense of the many.
    5. A very large number of informants in the form of taxi drivers and clerks and middle men and waiters whose income is supplemented by their reporting on any activity that may be detrimental to the regime. This group is the least reliable and loyal.
    6. Special pretorian guard to protect the regime that is best equiped and trained.
    7. Alliance with minorities fearful fo change and loss of status and privilige
    8. A centralized system of propaganda
    Weaknesses of the system are evident in the following areas
    1. A central command structure and if it is impaired in its ability to assess or communicate may leave local branches and subordinates without clear directives
    2. A lack of internal control of the individual units and a huge burden on the leadership in maintaining its grip everywhere and at all times. Therefore, we see the rise of fiefdoms such as the directorate responsible for the presence in neighboring countries; or of the refugees; or the border crossings and what have you.
    3. The rivalry and protection of turf that is bound to rise in times of peace and perhaps diminish in times of strife until there is evidence of a ship sinking.
    4. The inability of the regime to pay and insure loyalty of the troops and the rank and file.
    5. In a single party system, the ultimate weakness is based on the fact that positions are based on loyalty to the regime and not on expertise and that there is no mechanism of accountability leading to a inner rot of the system.
    6. Truthful information is a horror for the regime and more important is any scandal on the international air waves for image is a very important component of any discourse to stay in power, justify repression, impose a state of emergency, suspend the constitution, and corrupt the judiciary.
    7. The Baath party is actually very weak and many of the protesters are angry that the former role of the party to allow for social and professional and educational upward mobility has been destroyed.
    8. Recurrent mistakes of a regime that is believing its own lies and propaganda in a world that is most interconnected and open.
    9. A state run economy recently liberalized in a “Wild West Way” that makes it very fragile and on the brink of collapse.
    Strenghts of the regime are
    1. Ruthless and utter savagery in dealing with dissent
    2. A sect based division of the country that plays into the hands of the few by using chaos as a terror card
    3. Significant military resources
    4. Pervasive intrusive information system that frames all aspects of society’s life
    5. Centralized structure of propaganda and single voice organs.
    6. Extensive business deals and relations with the neighbors that make it difficult to isolate it completely especially when it comes to illegal activities from prostitution to drugs to smuggling.
    7. Experience from the regimes that fell recently in the sense that it either marginalizes the army or insures its loyalty; preparation of contacts with regional and other powers to insure their alliance with the regime as the region has now shifted away from the alliances of the past regimes. For example, Russia came out with egg on its face in Libya while the US came out on top in Egypt and France was able to recuperate Tunisia by intervening favorably in Libya. This leaves Russia with few allies in the Mediterranean region. It makes the regime more indispensable to it.
    8. The opposition is made up of disparate groups who have put the cart in front of the horses and started by bickering on the shape of the future of the country as if the regime’s fall was going to be easy and imminent and only lately have concentrated again on the need to stop the repressive machine first and foremost.
    9. Some ability of the regime to insert the resistance discourse on the one hand and the fanatic religious groups on the other hand as we see on several blogs.
    Proposals
    1. Concentrate on propagating the truth as much as possible
    2. Concentrate on the single discourse that is important: the country is not a democracy; dialogue cannot happen while repression continues; self reform is impossible without dissolution of the state of emergency and the dismantling of the security house of cards
    3. The state institutions need to be preserved for the aftermath of the fall of the regime; stability of the economy on the long run will require massive investments and cooperation from many countries. Insure that promises of aid and development will be much better than anything the regime can offer.
    4. Truth and reconciliation will be the order of the day without revenge or exclusion.
    5. Continue civil disobedience to the maximum.
    6. Shame and isolate the supporters of the regime such as writing to the Russian Federation embassies and to RT.
    7. The long tradition of the people for the Arab and Palestinian cause and for the cooperation and work with all Arab states will remain the bedrock of the new country.
    8. The only fear we should fear is fear itself for it robs the work of today from the hope of a better tomorrow
    9. Collective awarness of the need for change does not mean the end of individual freedom for this is why many are afraid of dissent for they are used to have an extremely strong sense of individuality without a sinlge ounce of civic duty as we see in the day to day life of the people in the cities. Once people realize that their fate is common collective awarness for the need to change will start.
    I hope this bring forth a new and constructive point of departure. Please let me know whether this needs to be posted on other blogs even though they may be pro regime.

  7. Zenobia, thanks for the link to today’s Maysaloon article.

    Wonder what you make of this one

    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/3760/the-syrian-revolution-and-the-question-of-militari

    Ziad Majed is a Lebanese political researcher who lives in France. His thesis is attractive – in an ideal situation, which this isn’t.
    One thing no one seems to have mentioned is the inevitability of the Free Syrian Army coming into existence — apart from its moral or strategic desirability / necessity. Syria has universal male conscription. Every young man who can’t or chooses not to buy his way out serves in the army. Some of you commenting here may have served in past years. In the years preceding this spring, for kids from rural villages or poor urban baackgrounds, it was a way to get away, maybe learn a trade. For middle class guys it was something like adult boy scout camp, or an office job with perks.(At least that is how a couple of friends who served described it.) There wasn’t a war on. No one thought they were going to be sent to liberate the Golan Heights. The mukhabarat did the dirty work, in and out of the country. When the repression of their own people started – of course some young men were going to refuse, were going to defect. This really isn’t what most of them signed on for – indeed, they didn’t sign on. They can’t cross the border to a neutral country or serve time as conscientious objectors ! Taking up arms for the resistance is not only necessary and maybe noble – what other choice would you have, in their place ? But in what structure do they find themselves ? (Where is the Syrian Marwan Barghouti ? probably where the Palestinian Marwan Barghouti is – fy sijni… )

    Speaking of prison, jailed blogger Tal al-Mallouhi has gone on hunger strike. She has been in jail for two years now , and another 2 pre-trial– she must have finally turned twenty. This is good news, that there is an news of her : there were rumors she had been killed. May she follow Rasha Nached and Razan Ghazzawi out the prison door.

  8. Zenobia and Husam, you must not engage in inconsequential back-and-forth on this topic too like u did in the last. If u have anything constructive abt the uprising and especially its future, then by all means discuss it. Please don;t blabber back and forth asnd engage in samll talk, of what I have seen of the both of you, this Uprising is only a PASTIME for you. This attitutde of yours greatly irritates and offends the likes of me, who have deviated from their daily routine, are taking time away from the workplace and family, to keep track of the Uprising and its future. At this moment nothing is more important in my life than the Uprising, I cannot concnetrate one bit one work and family. My life is in total disrray and I get ANGRY when i see people like u balbbering abt this and I realize this whole Uprising is merely a Pastime over tea and scones for the likes of you.

  9. Shut up KT.
    Don’t you dare take advantage of anything OTW said to pretend this somehow lends credence to your complaint with me. You have no idea what I feel or who I am or what my experiences are or what any of this means to me.

    You are the last person who should be dictating to me or saying anything. You are a complete nuisance to my mind and I want you gone gone gone, regardless of anybody else who wants to coach you and appease you and tolerate you. I despise your comments and find your notions repugnant. For someone claiming such dedication – I can’t believe how destructive you are. As Robin said, it is either out of stupidity or calculated destructiveness.

    The IRONY of YOU critiquing or asking anything of me – is incredible.
    DON’T YOU GET IT -THAT YOU OPENING YOUR MOUTH AND ABOUD DOING HIS THING HE DOES IS WHAT LEADS US TO FRITTER AWAY COMMENTS ADDRESSING EACH OTHER… SO PRECISELY THE THING THAT YOU ARE ASKING ME NOT TO DO – i START DOING!!!! JUST CLAM IT!
    JUST don’t even speak to me AT ALL… I have to put up with reading your crap ALL THE TIME… CRAP that I have zero zero interest in…at minimum or worse – is totally offensive. I don’t care one lick if I bother you. I really hope I bother you in fact. I wish I bothered you more and you would disappear.

  10. @ Umm Nuwas,
    I will take a look at that link from Jadalyyia and get back to you. I LOVE a lot of the material on their site, especially I loved all the writing from ‘Amal Hanano’ – it was brilliant.
    I am sure I would find this subject re the military interesting, as I agree – how can we hold responsible a conscripted military who are being forced (probably also at literal or implicit gunpoint) to carry out their “duties”… this is why the notion of advocating retribution against them is immoral.

  11. أيها الأحرار …. كذب جديد مارسته من تسمي نفسها الاخبارية السورية عبر بثها لمقطع يظهر شخصاً يطلق قذائف الهاون ومن ثم ينفجر الهاون في وجهه وادعت هذه القناة الكاذبة أن هذا المقطع من باباعمرو ..
    لكن عيون ثوارنا في وحدة الرصد والمتابعة كانت لهم بالمرصاد فأحضرت المقطع الأصلي والذي تبين أنه مصور قبل 11 شهر أي قبل انطلاقة الثورة السورية
    الكذب والتضليل يلبسكم من رئيسكم المجرم بشار مروروا بالبليد المعلم
    وتعريجاً على قنوات الخيانة الاسدية … ونهايتكم باتت محسومة إلى مزابل التاريخ

    The original video:

  12. Dear Zenobia
    Wow.. I expected a backlash but not as such. The first part of my post is addressed primarily at me. But before I go through the rest, i would like to quote the conclusion of Mayslaoon’s post

    There are many words I could tell such people, but I won’t use such language. The Syrian revolution does not need you; the Syrian people don’t need you; and the Palestinian cause you so dogmatically and ardently champion – for whatever reason – certainly does not need you.

    What I read in that paragraph is a clear recognition that there are certain groups whom we will never reach despite of the fact that they may profess democratic yearning, peaceful intents, and support for freedom and to the Palestinian cause. Is it worth it continuing to analyze them, their motives, their fears, and identify what can we do to change their mind. We can still expose their hypocrisy, but that is the primary thing we can do in order to prevent them from causing further harm and from alienating those who are truly on the sidelines.Maysaloon has done a superb job saying that, and facebook is rife with similar frustrations uttered by the youth who are working days and nights to support the revolution. We have done that as well, and I am not advocating we stop. All the analysis and discussion we do will be futile if we don’t carry it to the next phase, which is what you have stated, rather forcefully.

    From my perspective – It is ONLY by converting (not one by one…) but in some large scale – more people inside – who are willing to stop being fence sitters and who are able to be converted… who have that potential… will you set a path where there is actually someone able to carry out ACTUAL TACTICAL MOVES…and implement strategy.

    Great, which group is more likely to be converted. And how do we go about that. This is an engineering problem, it may require scientific information, analysis of samples that we know off, and the ability to classify those samples into groups that as you said we can form generalizations, perform the type of analysis on these groups similar to the one presented by Observer for the regime, but at group levels. Tools like Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis (SWOT) could be one of the tools one may want to use with the information we have collected from our interactions with individuals representing what we perceive as these groups should go into such analysis. But to try to understand endlessly all groups and try to reach everyone would be similar to trying to reach a precision of twenty decimal points when all you need is an approximate value. Once the target group, whose conversion is both possible and will add much to the revolution is identified, then a strategy can be developed to reach that group with the appropriate, but truthful, language, and their fears could be addressed or dealt with. We have not moved to that point, and hence my frustration. Perhaps because I focused on the groups that are unreachable, or perhaps because as you said we kept getting bugged with sideline issues. Such would be very beneficial, and would provide contributions. And I am all for that.

    I think Observer has already done part of that. As i read his proposals (Opportunities), item 8 is noteworthy

    8. The only fear we should fear is fear itself for it robs the work of today from the hope of a better tomorrow

    Thinking of this, i think that the group most likely to join in numbers is the group that is afraid of the regime’s brute force, not the one that is afraid of the aftermath of the revolution. The former group is fed up, and ready, but held down by its fear of immediate and present danger. The latter group will always find reasons to suspect and guarantees to demand . I may be wrong, and this is what forums are for. Present your alternative as you just did.

  13. Well I have to put up with reading ur crap as well, you don;t care about the Martyrs, if you’d cared , your discussions would have been more serious, more sombre, more to the point.

    This is what the people of Baba Amr are putting up with, but I know u don’t care, its only a talking point for you –

    If you are even a human being, I expect you to watch the videos and then ponder. When this thing gets over, we are going to make Homs the Capital of Syria and build the Presdiential Palace in Baba Amr.

  14. Khaled
    I second zenobia’s request of not using what I said to attack any specific person. Yours was not a positive contribution so far. Stop ascribing intents to people. Again, no personal attacks.

  15. Zenobia , so glad you mentioned ( bilingual Syrian American) journalist Amal Hanano (a pseudonym, she explained, because of her family in Halab) . she is terrific; she posted from Halab all summer. This is her most recent, about someone jailed by the regime in the most Kafka-esque circumstances — this, before the current intifada

    the story of Tadmor prisoner, now Dr., Bara Sarraj,
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/3500/the-cell-of-survival_bara-sarraj

  16. Says Zenobia : “Each of us has to decide what we have to offer”. Right

    I have often read criticism here about those who copy and paste. Yet, this is what I do on my blogs .

    Spreading information is important too. We are not all good writers or political scientists. And we address different audiences on the net.

  17. Please, back to Observers nice list. Let’s discuss active ideas to help the revolution.

    KT, Of course random aggression against Alawis is a bad thing. That is a moral given. It would be insulting think otherwise. Wouldn’t you agree?

  18. I expect people to express condolences and support for Baba Amr, if they are humans at all.

    Reposted tubes. Removed by moderator. You were asked not to repost the same YouTubes twice.

    I hope criticising people is allowed on the blog, OTW. I hope you demarcate the line between criticism and personal attacks.

  19. Dear umm nuwâs
    Thanks for reminding me, we used t have Jadalyya’s RSS feeds on the side-bar, but I removed it when investigating potential virus problem. I will put it back. The article is brilliant especially the section on the revolution as a constitutive process

    Dear annie.
    Thanks also for reminding me that cuts and pastes may also be a good thing when done appropriately to highlight a point relevant to the discussion.

  20. Khaled,
    No, criticizing people is not wellcomed. Criticizing their ideas is. Simply stating that someone’s idea is stupid is not enough, back it up.

    Worst, telling people who are agonizing for Syria that they don’t care is the worst. Obviously Zenobia cares a heck a lot, otherwise she would not have bothered, and she would not have attempted to stave off bloodshed.

  21. Satellite reception og al jazeera, alarabia and all other news networks that don’t go too well with the regimes story line is heavily interrupted. Electricity is being cut off about 3 hours daily.gasoline has just rose up from 44 to 50 sp. We are anticipating a rise in the price of diesel. Damascus is dead after 8 pm. The mood has never been so low, today a teenager went on a rampage and killed his fellow class mates in university. The head of the Arab league is a war criminal who can sympathize with the regime. Bashar is going to hell and dragging us with him. Keep an eye out for Damascus on thursday.

  22. OFF The Wall,
    I am not sure you even read the discussion between me and Husam at the end yesterday. I was not, in fact, light banter at all. And If anyone had read it – though perhaps I was not being that articulate at the end of a really long day and yes I was quoting in full length – – but I clearly identified what my sense of this “target group” is.
    In my experience – I have come across myriad arguments and refutations…I know what they sound like, and of course there are the people as Maysaloon suggested who are totally hopeless….
    I am not going to convince Camille, not matter what I said. I am not going to convince a lot of people, and yes, it can’t be done one by one.
    But, I have been watching this bullshit for eight months now….and the most predominant fears are the ones we were talking about yesterday…. the ‘conspiracy’ bs… unfortunately. The problem is they can’t exactly be refuted… how can anyone argue that the CIA is actually not that sinister? it is very difficult… without writing a book.
    but the crux of my interest was those who are one tiny step from Husam… but who fall off to the other side of the fence. Why is that? What makes that critical difference where Husam buys into that narrative but can tip to the other side… where he sees change as worth the risks that are part of that narrative of external threat.
    Why do i focus on this? because i keep hearing it over and over and over again. You even witnessed that one that was on a thread on YOUR fb page…so you KNOW what i am talking about.
    How do we go about it?
    Are we there yet?
    OTW< how can we even know what other persuasive narrative to form if we haven't even fully understood this fine point, and when it is understood then there is a step to experimenting with what kind of refutation..or what communication and in what form delivered actually results in a transformational shift in people's minds?

    I know, I know I bore to tears those who would prefer we should busy ourselves with obtaining some more heavy weaponry and bigger better literal ammunition. but that is fine because so far… we are going nowhere anyway.

    You say that perhaps working on those who are fully with the revolution but remain afraid of the brut force is the one to work on. Maybe. but I can't see what would alleviate that fear? the regime is only increasing in brutality… not the reverse. And the fear barrier is broken by gaining in numerical terms… by having enough people vocalizing to each other their support. That has already happened to what degree it is possible, it seems to me. The others who are not participating in that are not doing so out of fear…they are refraining out of ambivalence to my mind.

    Here is another direct quote from the husband of one of my relatives (for what is worth, sunni, upper middle class, educated, and liberal)…who I happen to know for certain was a huge hater of the regime… always was, even before this past year… I wrote and asked his opinion… and he says:

    “the life here is not easy these days. Aleppo still well protected but the business is not going well. I truly supported the demonstrations and protesters at the beginning, but then I found that they are more to be killers than peaceful justice demanders. You may feel strange about me saying such things, many evidence shocked me and proved to me that those people in the streets are as brutal as the party they want to erase.

    When I was outside, I did not believe a word of the Syrian government propaganda – and I still don’t – but the real life here brings more facts about the reality of the fight: it is never for the rights and humanity etc. it is a selfish and dark tunnel they want us to go through it.”

    ???? so… here we have someone who started out! supporting the revolt and totally non-regime supporter…who has turned his back on it! because it seems he was persuaded by the negative narrative handed to him…and the fear ! of the uprisers and what will happen AFTER a power change.
    How does one account for this!??? And WHY can’t we get someone like that back on ‘our’ side?
    that seems ridiculous.

  23. Dear Zenobia
    I should have read that dialog more carefully. I will do so now. I spent 4 hours communicating with young people, some of whom on the ground in Syria, in the diaspora in three continents, which motivated my article. I was not able to focus on the dialog with Husam.

    Addressing the conspiracy theorists in terms of addressing the illogical part of the conspiracy will not work. It is preconditioned as a results of decades of Arab regimes, media, and intellectuals justifying their incompetence and failures. It is far reaching and interconnected with the prevalent and incapacitating sense of humiliation and lack of power.

    Look at the people in the street, they already believe that the Arab league is conspiring with Israel, the US, Europe, Russia, and the Syrian regime to kill the revolution. And what do they do, they up the ante. So the issue is not to remove the fear of conspiracy, but to gain the power in ones ability to combat the conspiracy, and to demonstrate that the regime is part and parcel of multiple conspiracies against its own people. The conspiracy of the elite to rob the Syrian people is part and parcel of their daily lives, and it is true. Even with respect to Iraq, conspiracy theorists as well as many rational people believe that the US ultimate goal in Iraq was to divide the country, well the Syrian regime has contributed significantly to such division, and to the mayhem under the false name of combating the US. How about addressing this issue more like confronting some phobias, and you probably know more about it than I do. You don’t try to address the illogical neurosis part of it, you simply try to convince the person that she/he can confront the horrible conditions and to pass them safely. I don’t know if I make any sense here, but I hope that someone with better understanding of Psychology can chip in.

    Take an example, many now argue that the end of the first phase of the Egyptian revolution was made in a conspiracy between the US and the Military. Fine, what is happening now is showing that the people, once the learn that they have the power, can work to change the outcome.

  24. KT: YOU are a complete unbelievable blind jerk..and you keep posting your video… like you can’t even see how incredibly rude you are. You have no idea what you are talking about…just talking out your ass… I go out on a limb – direct quote a member of my family whom I know very very well and who I happen to know that his career was tremendously hindered by his unwillingness to join the baath – and that he has lost family members historically to this regime – and yet – I present (entrusting from a private email) this contradiction about him- in the service of trying to understand something – and you have the unbelievable callous crap instincts to say what you did. Screw you.

  25. Forget it OTW. I know you have more important things to do. I am done anyways here for now. I am going to write one more thing about Observer’s great start and then I can’t take anymore of this stress.

  26. “Addressing the conspiracy theorists in terms of addressing the illogical part of the conspiracy will not work.”
    I know, i already acknowledged that yesterday. but my point was that H has that belief and yet he was on the opposition side. that’s what intrigued me. …anyways….

  27. OTW please see Zenobia’s perosnal obscene insults directed at me. Are u going to ignore it ?

  28. Guess what, instead of Zenobia, its ME who gets put on Moderation. Even though Zenobia;s direct, profane perosnal insults against me are for all to see on the blog.

  29. OTW, again, if you read what i quoted yesterday – being what I replied to the guy who i quoted from FB- it was in the vein that you just outlined…not a knock on the believe system but rather and alternative formulation of the solution. Or an appeal to a higher mission against all oppression internal and external simultaneously.
    I totally agree with you. I just have been not been satisfied with how this kind of appeal could be more succinctly articulated and formulated into a narrative that can be propagated and disseminated on a mass level. Instead of this current loggerheads argumentation between those that believe in the conspiracy verses those that don’t..which seems to head NOWHERE, as you stated.

  30. YES and in fact Khaled, you are banned for a long time. You have been nothing but a distraction from real discussion. Intentionally provocative and sectarian. I have been too patient with you. Good luck and good life.

    Zenobia’s inappropriate comment was removed as well. You were warned many many times, and you have intentionally tried to insult Sheila again with no reason.

  31. KT,
    OTW can remove my FUs….You actually really enraged me with your insensitivity. I really resent it. And I feel humiliated for thinking that I could safely print that quote from someone I really know…and actually care for. This is what I mean by destructive. Personally destructive. Just leave me alone…

  32. It seems OTW is saying that people come here for the news and analysis, but stay for the drama and operatics., or the other way around…
    The Soviets control Al-Qaeda. They always have. not the Russians, mind, but the Post-Soviet Communilluminati elite. Look at it this way; it got rid of the Mujahideen for them, caused a lot of problems for Iran with the Taliban, and stood against the pro-US camp in Iraq, and will slowly but surely coup North Africa out of their hands. Now it is causing problems in Syria, thus reinvigorating the Soviet economy with Mighty Syrian Leiras from prospective weapons sales!

    Back in reality, Azmi Beshara has been appearing on AlJazeera again. For future reference, so far I agree with what he has said, and find his analysis and position to be the most correct and logical. As such I am willing to defend them in a debate. I really do like this guy.

    Most of the rest of this comment was supposed to be in the previous blog’s comments, but one has to move along with the times…
    OTW, you asked me about Betho and fascism. Making such parallels at this time is difficult, but one reason I like to refer to the regime as a mafia is because of its total lack of any ideological motive or anchor. The driving notion behind classical Fascism is the importance and success of the nation, via an ‘efficient’ management of national resources, and an ending of political bickering. Yes, these are drivers we see in the Syrian regime, but they are not ones of ideology, rather ones of survival. Of course, here I am assuming that Betho and his cliche have no belief in Baathist theology, socialist ideology, or much trust in Arab identity. A nice name for what we have would be interest based survivalist.

    Haytham Khoury, please post the discussions you had. I’m especially interested in what the Islamists had to say about economics. Has there been any talk about rebuilding institutions? have study groups been formed, or are there teams working on these things now? Were there any specialists in relevant subjects available at the meetings? I’m so excited about all the stuff I am going to complain about. Sorry Sheila 🙂

    some guy no longer in damascus, I don’t know about university participation in the strike. True, not a lot of businesses have taken part in the strike, but universities have been more of a hit and miss situation. Student-attendance dynamics are a fickle thing, and it is strange how quickly a mass-desertion of a class can happen, or how quickly a planned one can fail.

    Observer, Your analysis is great, an like OTW said, SWOT analysis for each party is a great base for the understanding of every side’s actions, reactions, motivators and intentions in these difficult times. Sadly, we haven’t seen such things gain the prominence they need within the SNC to give the SNC some sort of institutional credibility, or a type of ‘intelligent planning’ visible to the masses that can help sway the people Zenoubia is talking about. Haytham Khoury should have some answers for us soon I hope.
    ObserverHave you thought about expanding on your analysis? Since we’re talking SWOT, are you interested in joining me amd going the whole nine yards, to do something akin to a national business plan, and a multi-scenario feasibility study?

    I’ve been delving more and more into the twin bombings. Medical folks are telling me the bodies were strangely bloated, which is supposedly an early sign of the onset of decay, but not early enough for it to appear within an hour of death.
    Today, there was an attack by a student on five others within a university campus. I find this attack to be saddening, as so far the prime motive seems to be political differences. The student was pro-revolution, and the students he attacked were pro-regime. It is saddening because it is an indication of people ‘breaking’ within Damascus, and within campus grounds, then venting their steam at the easiest of targets. The protests in Midan and Barzeh have become difficult enough as it is, with Shabeeha now shooting at the slightest sign of a protest, and armed regime gunmen deployed in houses all over Damascus for rapid response. The next few days are going to see the largest change in the Dynamics of… pretty much everything within the capital. These few weeks shall be difficult. Nothing is clear, everybody is tense, and the feeling of insecurity has set in.

  33. yâ Khaled, — and everyone else
    before this current brouhaha, I wanted to say that several of the Baba Amr videos were also on The Guardian (UK newspaper) online Syria coverage today: the group of young women, the man desperately trying to tell the observers what was happening, along with one of a huge demonstration, and the funeral of a martyr. I hope they make a difference. i had not seen elsewhere the video of the young man whose father had been killed, calling out desperately for help from Arabs and Muslims. It was tragic poetry, whatever difference that will make.

    Secular Syrian revolutionaries here also talk about Homs being the new capital.

  34. @ Observer

    I really appreciate you taking the time to construct this tremendous list / outline. I think it is a very good starting point.

    I would like to really digest more of the details of it before saying too much, but the first reaction after looking over it is to wonder if you could identify for us the primary top two items on the list of Regime Weaknesses .
    I am thinking in terms of the recommendations say in Sharp’s manual on strategic planning for bringing down dictatorship – that initially, even before a full development of grand strategy and specific strategies, there is the need to examine the specific weaknesses of the regime and assess within these range of possible areas of weakness to be exploited – which are most likely to be effectively approached (ie manipulated to be used against the government) most easily from the start.
    This is because, of course, there is not infinite resources to pursue all weakness points simultaneously (at least at the beginning) and because there needs to be some confidence building re the ability of citizenry to effectively weaken these structures.
    So, from this point of view – if you were to look at your ;’weaknesses’ list again- what might you assess to be the most inviting items that could be pursued by a not yet well organized citizenry.
    And, then- say you chose two or three of the most feasible items…. Is is possible for you to actually create a more detailed and specific “planning” proposal for how these weak points could be infiltrated, manipulated, or taken over, disrupted, and so on??

    Additionally, I would like to know from the list of presumed “Regime Strengths”.. which, if any of these items is a strength that could potentially be turned into a weakness? IE- that it is strength that is most easily eroded through concerted pressures or again, strategy driven disruption…. from inside it even, or outside it???

    What I noticed so far about the list of proposals that you end with – is that although they are naturally all agreeable and correct/true – and relevant in one way or another, they do not seem to be directly linked to the lists of Weakness points that you outline above.
    What I think would move actually planning proposals forward would be to devise proposals that can stem from assessments of how to exploit these weakness points and build specific planning strategies that explain how such exploitation will result in erosion of the functioning of the regime’s power.
    Obviously the weakness points chosen – initially might be assessed by their relative ease in terms of carrying out strategies and efforts that have a high potential for success and for thus confidence building.
    Further along, assuming some successes can be achieved, the assessment would take the form of looking at how specific weakness points correspond with major objectives in a larger strategy for waging struggle against the regime.

    Ok, these are just initial thoughts. Your list is really very crucial though as a point of departure because – I have a read some general guidelines, for example in the Sharp manual on methods of disruption, however, I have no knowledge of the details of the power structure, so I can’t translate any of these general guidelines into imagining how they might be organized for this particular conflict context.

    I hope you will keep working on this. Z

  35. Hazrid/Observer
    Can i and/or others join in the SWOT Analysis. Do you guys want me to create a page for that (with password) for those interested in collaborating so the discussion is held privately (for those interested to contribute positively) until a product is ready. This is exactly how I wanted 7ee6an to be.

    I can even make sure it is presented to the highest levels at SNC. I will find a way even if I have to hop on a plane.

  36. Somebody want to explain SWOT analysis in detail that would be great…. : ) poor researcher that I am.

  37. by the way, after looking at my own questions directed at seeking more details… at some point – if OTW is SERIOUS about planning strategies… we will run into a dilemma about whether these details should be open on the internet, no? I am not sure where that point lies…but… it is not far if you move quickly into specific recommendations regarding specific institutions or systems.

  38. If observer agrees, a new page will be created and passwords will be sent to those on the discussion through emails.

    The discussion and comments will be private. We can even create a whole new site dedicated to the discussion on that.

    As for making results public,that can be done in stages once a team is satisfied, depending on where the discussion goes.

  39. remember that kid that killed students in Damascus university today? well apparently he was targeting Christians and Alawites.

  40. SGID,

    that is soo awful news. I hate to hear that. It is the kind of thing that just makes one cringe at the possibilities of escalations.

    thx OTW, interesting. I have seen this before after all but that helped clarify, and its simplicity is a big selling point.

  41. This is an interesting point of view , Sheila, hazrid, observer, and SGID, what do you think

    يياسين عبد اللطيف: أهل الأعراف يصمتون….و سـورية تحترق!
    بواسطة EDITOR2 – 2011/12/27
    نشر فى: مقالات وتحليلات

    ياســـيـن عبد اللطيف : كلنا شركاء

    – اللغة ليست من الدين، لانَّ مادتها من العقل، وميدانها الرأي ؛ أمّا الشريعة فهي يقين!

    لذا سأستخدم مصطلح الأعراف استخداماً لغوياً ، للدلالة على حالة : اجتماعية سياسية معقدة ؛ تمثلها الكتلُ الصامتة من عموم السوريين الذين طالت رقدتهم، وهم ينظرون إلى سورية وهي تحترق من تحت أقدامهم بأيدي حكامهم ، وكأن القيامة تقوم على السوريين وحدهم .! يتفرجون كشريك صامتٍ، على فنون البلاء العظيم، ولا يتحركون،لأنهم يتعلقون بالوهم، وهم يُلبِسونَ الخنوعَ ، ثوبَ الأمان الكاذب، لحماية وحدة البلاد والعباد، والنسيج الاجتماعي الذي ” تخَّ ” من كثرة ابتذال استخدامه على لسان الناعقين، والسلطة !

    – والأعراف في اللغة : جَمْعُ عُرفٍ، ومنه أعرَافُ الفرس، وغير ذلك من المعاني .وفي المصطلح القرآني :هو سورٌ، أو موضعٌ مرتفع بين الجنة والنار، والتسمية مستعارة من المعنى اللغوي ! وأهل الأعراف في القرآن الكريم: ليسوا من أهل الجنة ، ولا من أهل النار، بل هم في برزخٍ عالٍ مرتفع ، يرون منه أهل الجنة، ويرون أهل النار. وهم قوم تجاوزتْ بهم حسناتهم عن النار، وقصَّرتْ بهم سيئاتهم عن الجنة ! ويبقون فيه إلى ما شاء الله؛ إلا أنَّه ليس مستقراً دائماً، لأنَّ رحمة الله واسعة !”…..وعلى الأعراف رجالٌ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلاًّ بسِيمَاهُم ونادوا أصحابَ الجنة أن سلامٌ عليكم لم يدخلوها وهم يطمعون “الأعراف :الآية (46)

    – اختار أهل “الأعراف ” في سورية ، منزلتهم النائية بين منزلتين، بين السلطة وبين الثورة، ولاذوا بالصمت طوال أشهر المحنة الشديدة بدعوى الأمان ، فشارك صمتُهم -المُخَادن – السلطةَ في قتل الثائرين في وجه العَسَفِ والظلم والاستبداد الذي امتد لعقود طويلة.

    – هذا الأمان خادعٌ للعقل والوجدان – لو عقلنَاه- وكاذب في المعاملات التي يرِّقيها أدبُ العوام إلى مرتبة الدين ، إذ يؤمنون بأنَّ الدين المعاملة. كيف تكون المعاملات ديناً وهي تقوم على المشَاحة والنَكْلِ ؟! ومن هذا الاستدلال، سأجرّحُ هذا الأمان المُضلِلِ ، لأنَّ الإنسان في معرض نشاطه العادي يسعى بين واشٍ وحاسدٍ – كما يقول المناطقة – فكيف تكونُ حاله في ظل دولة الاستبداد التي تريد رعاياها أمواتاً يمشون، أو ثياباً ملونة ، خالية من الأجسام والنفوس !

    – عجز المراقبون والمحللون عن الإمساك بأسباب هذا الصمت اللا أخلاقي المريب الذي يهين قيم الإنسان السامية. فراحوا يستعينون بالوصفات السوسيولوجية الجاهزة ويرمونها على حالة أهل الأعراف،علَّها تصيب،وهم بذلك ينظرون إلى المشهد؛ كمن ينظر من نافذة الطائرة ! وقد تراوحت آراء هم ؛ بين قصور الفهم، وصوابه في بعض مواطن التحليل :

    – تحدثوا عن التركيب الطبقي لمدينتي دمشق وحلب ، اللتين تخلفتا عن الحراك الشعبي في المدن والقرى والبلدات السورية التي خرجت بُنفرةٍ عظيمة لإسقاط النظام ، وخلصوا إلى أنَّ : من يملك وسائل الإنتاج ، ويحتكر التجارة ، وتربطه وشائج مادية مع رجال الدين الرسميين، وبعض رموز الطبقة المتوسطة النافذة ؛ يفرضُ نمط ثقافته ، وشكل حكومته ، التي تماهت مع سلطة العائلة ، فتعاونوا على الإثم وعلى أكل الدولة، تحت ظلال فتوى ملالي السلطة ! وقد وقع في هذا الرأي الجاهز محمد حسنين هيكل ، وبعض كتاب العلاقات العامة من الغربيين والعرب.

    – وعليه أقول، قبل تفنيد هذا الرأي الجاهز: إنَّ التاجرَ لا يشاركُ في السياسة إلاَّ بالقدر الذي يستعينُ به على التجارة ، وما يتجاوزه يَحْسِبُهُ خيانة لرسالته ! ومن هذه القاعدة الذهبية : فإنَ التاجر الذي يبايع الحاكم اليوم لمصلحة مادية ، سيبيع هذا الحاكم غداً لذات السبب دون أسف عليه، وهذا حدث ، ويحدث في كل زمان ؟!

    – إنَّ تجار سورية ؛ ومنهم تجار دمشق وحلب الملتصقين بالسلطة كالتوائم السيامية؛ الذين ضمتهم ” قائمة المائة ” ليسوا سوى واجهة ناعمة لسلطة العائلة التي استولت على موارد الدولة ، وعلى خيرات البلاد والعباد !

    وقد وضعتْ السلطة في أيدي تجار الصدفة، الوكالات الحصرية، التي تحتكر حاجات الناس والحكومة” بدءاً من زر القميص، مروراً بالسكر والرز والشاي والزيوت،وتجارة اللحوم ،وعلف البهائم والدواجن،وصولاً إلى النفط والغاز، والإسمنت والحديد، والاتصالات والنقل،والعقارات،والطيران التجاري وخدمات المطارات ومكاتب الطيران والسفر ومنافذ الحدود، والأسواق الحرة، والترانزيت، والمعامل والمصانع ، والمدارس والجامعات والمستشفيات الخاصة ،وتجارة المخدرات ، والسلاح،والمشروبات الغازية والروحية، والدخان، والنوادي الليلية وفنون الأنس ، والمطاعم والسياحة والفنادق ، والإعلام المرئي ، وإذاعات الـ ف. م ، والصحافة المقروءة الخاصة، وشركات الإعلان و البنوك،وشركات الصرافة، وشركات التأمين ، والإمداد والتموين للجيش العقائدي ليقتل شعبه، والقائمة طويلة؛ عدا غسيل الأموال وتهريب المال والذهب والماس، وكنوز الآثار السورية خارج البلاد.وو….!

    – إنً تجار الصدفة؛من قائمة المائة ، هم عباءة لسلطة العائلة ، وأشباح لا يعرفهم الجمهور العريض كسائر خلق الله الذين يملكون شركات عائلية في الدول العربية. ونشاطهم الاستثماري والتجاري الاحتكاري؛ لم يخلق فرصاً تُذكر في سوق العمل للسوريين، إذ اقتصرتْ شركاتهم على الأقارب والإخوان ، وحلقة ضيقة من الأعوان والسماسرة والشبيحة والمهربين ،الذين اجتمعوا كالأكَلَة على القصعة ، لنهب موارد الدولة وخيرات البلاد، وأخذ ِكل شيء من أفواه الناس وأيديهم .أما حكومة السلطة فقد بدَّلتْ سياساتها الاقتصادية المغلقة، وتحولتْ خلال عقد من الزمن: من حكومة ” راعية ، إلى ريعية “متوحشة، تسعى بشتى الوسائل والسبل لحل مشاكلها المستعصية من مال الناس ، إذ تضع يدها الطويلة في جيوب رعاياها صباح مساء ، وتأخذهم رهينة لسياساتها المُهلكة التي تختطف حاضرهم من بين أيديهم ، وتصادر مستقبلهم وأحلامهم . وفي ظلِّ هذه المَخْمَصَة ليس للناس إلاَّ الله، والثورة على الظلم المتين !

    – قد يقول قائل: قياساً على ما ذكرتَ – ليس في الشام وحلب ، وسواهما تجار سوق ! ماذا عن الاتصالات والفنادق، والعقارات والبنوك ،واقتصاد السوق الاجتماعي، وو…؟ أقول : بلا! يوجد تجار” سوء ” وآثارهم بادية في حياة الناس المُضنية ، إذْ أنَّ دخلَ موظفِ الدرجة الممتازة لا يُغطي أجرَ منزله البسيط، في حي متواضع ، لو كان شريفاً لا يرتشي ! أما امتلاك منزل ، فقد زال من التداول في ظل توحش المال في سوق العقارات المملوك من عصابة المائة ، وأصبح حلماً لن يطاله السوري لو عاش مائة سنة يجمع ثمنه ، دون أن يأكل أو يشرب ؛ وهو ينظر بعينيه الكسيرتين إلى قصور السادة الجدد ، و يطلق الحسرات على العمر الذي تبدَّدَ وضاع هباءً على يد الطغمة الفاسدة التي تسرح سهواً رهواً في طول البلاد وعرضها ، لأنها لم تجد من يقول لها : لمَ فعلت هذا، وذاك !.

    – التجار لا يسيطرون على المدن الكبيرة، في ظل الدولة الأمنية ، فالناس رعاياها وعبيدها؛ تظلمهم أو ترحم ! وحلب المعنية بالذكر، حاضنة لفقراء ريف حلب ، والجزيرة ، وإدلب ؛ عرباً وكرداً، والتجار لا يملكون عليهم ميثاقاً ! يُمكنُ للتاجر أنْ يشتري ذمة رجل الأمن ليستعين به على تجارته وخصومه ، ويمكن أن يسعى لتعيين رجال الدين في وظائف الأوقاف والإفتاء ؛ وقد حدث هذا – فعلاً – بتعيين : أحمد بدر الدين حسون مفتياً للجمهورية.ويمكن أن يُوصِلَ بالرشى من يشاء إلى مجلس الشعب ، والوزارة،ورئاسة الوزارة،وقد وقع هذا تحقيقاً! لكن لا يمكن لتاجر الأمن هذا ، أن يسيطر على جموع الفقراء ، أو يمنعهم من الخروج على السلطة ؛ وإن نجح في مكان ، لن ينجح في المكان الآخر بالضرورة ! لذا علينا عبءُ الإجابة على هذا السؤال وتلّمس الأسباب الحقيقية .

    – أمّا دمشق ؛ فإنَّ تاريخها الطويل ، وطبيعة سكانها جعلتْ منها حاضنة للحكام ! وهي الآن في ظل سلطة العائلة مُختنقة من الهجرة من الريف؛مدنيين وعسكريين . ومَخنـُوقة من تَمَوضِع الجيش ، والأمن ، والمخبرين ، والسلطة المركزية فيها. وهي محاطة ؛ إحاطة السوار بالمعصم بأكثر من ثلاثين حياُ عشوائياً ؛ يفوق سكانُهَا عددَ السكان الأصليين لمد ينة دمشق ! لا سلطة للتجار عليها ، ولا للنخبة التي ازدرتها السلطة ، وهمشتها ، وأفقرتها، وأبعدتها ، ثم سَجنتْ بعض رموزها ودجَّنتهم ! ولا وجود للأحزاب أو حضور للنقابات الواهية. ومعظم هذه الأحياء المحيطة بالعاصمة امتدادٌ حيوي لمعسكرات جيش السلطة،ورصيد مُتعَسْكِرٌ، جاهز لخوض الحرب مع السلطة ضد الأهلين، وقد خرج من أحيائها معظم الشبيحة ، الذين يزرعون الموت في بعض أحياء الشام ، وريف الشام ، وبقية المدن السورية الثائرة !

    – قد تكون النقابات والاتحادات المهنية هي التي تمسك بجمهورها وتمنع خروجهم على السلطة العاتية ! وأعني اتحاد ونقابات: النسائي ، والعمال ، والحرفيين ، والأطباء ، والصيادلة ، والمحامين ، و المهندسين ، والطلبة ، والفنانين ، والكتاب،والصحفيين….أقول: يا ليتها كانت فاعلة ! هذه النقابات والاتحادات المهنية مقرات حزبية ؛ تلعب دور المخافر الأمنية الأمامية . وجلَّ دورها ينحصر في كونها مركز استعلام أمني ، وقاعدة بيانات لرصد قطاع جمهورها ورفدِ الأمنِ بكل حركة من حركات منسوبيِها . والأمن هو صاحب الولاية ؛ يخلعُ وينصّبُ ، يسجنُ ، ويُفرِج ، ويقتل من يشاء بدون عقاب !

    – ولأنَّ الفساد هو اقتصاد البلاد النامي المُنَظّم في سورية ؛ قد يدخلُ في الأسباب التي تمنع جمهور هاتين المدينتين اللتين تتوَضَعُ فيهما معظم المصالح و الصناعات والتجارات – من الخروج على السلطة ، والالتحاق بالثورة ! فجمهور المدن السورية آكل ومأكول لا محالة، راشٍ ومرتشٍ بالضرورة؛ لن يقضي مصالحه إنْ لم يعمل بهذه القاعدة ، وهي سياسة حكومية منهجية ! والمواطن السوري الذي ُنكِب َ من صنوف الفساد،استفاد من مناخه والفوضى: إذ يَرشي لتأمين شؤون حياته المختلفة، ويَرتَشِي من غيره إذا كان يَشغلُ وظيفة تَمسّ حياة الناس ومصالحهم ! الفساد منظومة كرَّسها النظام ؛ سوق وبازار مفتوح ، وثقافة استشرتْ وسادتْ خلال عقود ؛ حتى في ظل هذه المحنة الفاصلة بين مرحلتين !

    – قلَّبتُ الأمور في العرض والتحليل ، لأتلمَس أهم الأسباب التي منعتْ أهل الأعراف في حلب والشام من الخروج النهائي على النظام في سورية،وفندتُ الآراء التي اعتمدتْ على وصفة نظرية جاهزة ، لأخلص إلى الرأي التالي :

    – الخوف من الحبس المديد ، والقتلُ العمد دون رحمة يدخلان في الأسباب المانعة من الخروج على السلطة بكثافة.والذاكرة الجمعية مؤسسة على استحضار مجازر مرّوعة تفوق الوصف ، شهدتها حلب عام 1982، بالإضافة إلى مجزرة حماه ، وإدلب ، وجسر الشغور، ودير الزور، وقد عاشت دمشق أسوأ كوابسيها المريعة في مسلل التفجيرات ، والإغتيالات ، ونظام الطواريء، وانعدام الحياة الكريمة والأمل .

    وأجزم أنَّ في كلَّ بيت من بيوت الناس في وسط وشمال وشرق سورية ، قد رنـَّتْ به نائحة على ميت قُتل على يد جنود الأسد ، أو معتقل غيَّبته سجون الأسد بحبس مديد حتى يموت ، أو يهرمَ فيَضيعُ ويضيَّعُ أهلَه !

    الخوف الذي عشش في الصدور, و صار طبيعة ثانية للإنسان السوري؛ وفظائعُ استبدادِ الفئة الباغية – منعا الجمهور الواسع من الخروج المدَّوي، الذي سيهدم الهيكل على رؤوس السدنة المارقين !

    – إنَّ فرصة انتقال أهل الأعراف في سورية من منزلتهم النائية عن الحراك الشعبي باتت واجبة ، هرباً من نار السلطة الموقدة، إلى جنة الحق ” وإذا صُرِفتْ أبصارُهم تِلقاءَ أصحابِ النار قالوا ربَّنَا لا تجعلنا مع القوم الظالمين -47- ونادى أصحابُ الأعرافِ رجالاً يَعرِفُونَهم بسِيمَاهم قالوا ما أغنى عنكم جمعكم وما كنتم تستكبِرون- 48- “الأعراف .

    – إنَّ صمتَ الحائرين يَقتلُ الثائرين ، وقد صار المشهد السوري حزيناً!. موتٌ محقق كاليقين ، ومواكب جنازات دائمة ، ونائحات عند شواهد القبور !.

    …….
    I will see if I can translate, There are some interesting point summing much of the discussion about the reluctants. My post, Qunfuz, Maysaloon, and now this, all in one day point to something going in term of a stage we reached where a decision has to be made about who to go after.

    Any by the way, total number of regime’s victims as of now 42 today.

  42. Reply and Reply to the Reply
    Mr. Emile K. Nasrallah, issued the following rebuttal to the story linking him to the fake web site

    مقالات
    بيان من اميل قس نصر الله حول موضوع تقني بحت يتعلق بفبركة صفحة على الانترنيت

    إنني إميل قس نصرالله أنفي كل ما نسب إلي من إتهامات بفبركة موقع للإخوان المسلمين وإصدار بيان تبني العمليات الإرهابية التي حدثت في دمشق بتاريخ 23/12/2011 لأنه لا علاقة لي بالموقع لا من قريب ولا من بعيد، واستغرب الهجوم العنيف من قبل المدعو اياد شربجي والمواقع الالكترونية المتعددة والصفحات الشخصية على الانترنيبت، علماً أن الرابط الوحيد الذي ربطني بذلك الموقع هو ظهور بريدي الإلكتروني الخاص فقط في المعلومات الخاصة بدومين الموقع (عنوان النطاق الخاص بالموقع)، حيث أن كل من المعلومات الأخرى التي ظهرت من اسم وعنوان ورقم هاتف ليست لي.

    بالعودة إلى عنوان البريد الإلكتروني الخاص بي والذي تمت بناء كل الإتهامات على وجوده في الموقع ومن ثم على إختفائه، حيث تم أيضا اتهامي بأنني من قمت بحذف المعلومات، فأنني اود التنويه أن كل عنوان موقع (نطاق)، يتكون من مجموعتين من المعلومات:

    المجموعة الأول، هي المعلومات التي تتعلق بالحساب الذي قام بشراء النطاق والذي يتضمن المعرف الرقمي الخاص بمالك الحساب، وطريقة الدفع ومعلومات البطاقة المصرفية التي تم تسديد المبلغ المستحق بها، وكل هذه المعلومات تعتبر معلومات سرية تتشارك بين ثلاثة فقط ولا يمكن أن تظهر أبدا للعلن، وهم:
    1- مالك الحساب، بإعتبار أن جميع تلك المعلومات هي معلوماته الخاصة.
    2- الشركة التي تقوم بالحجز والتي تحتوي الحساب، بإعتبارها الوسيط بين مالك الحساب والمصرف ومنظمة الأيكان.
    3- منظمة الآيكان Icann.org وهي المنظمة المسؤولة عن الأسماء والأرقام (النطاقات)، وتعتبر هذه المنظمة هي المسؤولة بشكل كامل عن أي معلومات خاصة بالنطاقات، وهي الوحيد التي تحدد القوانين الخاصة بملكية المواقع وصحة المعلومات ولها السلطة المطلقة في إيقاف أي نطاق عن العمل في حال مخالفته للشروط أو في حال تزوير البيانات العامة.
    مع التنويه أن معلومات هذه المجموعة تنطبق على جميع الاسماء التي تم شراءها بواسطة هذا الحساب.

    المجموعة الثانية، وهي البيانات العامة التي تظهر عن الدومين (النطاق) والتي تظهر في حال طلب الموقع من خلال خدمة whois، وهذه المعلومات تتكون من عددة خانات تتكرر على أربعة مجموعات، ويمكن لصاحب الحساب أن يقوم بإدخال أي معلومات يريدها من اسم وعنوان وارقام هاتف وبريد إلكتروني، دون أن تتعرض لأي نوع من التحقيق والتأكيد، فكل ما يكتب يكون على مسؤولية صاحب الحساب، فإكتشاف أي خطأ يعرف صاحب الحساب إلى إغلاق حسابه وخسارة جميع الاسماء التي تم شرائها من خلال هذا الحساب، وهذه المعلومات هي معلومات علنية ويمكن أن تظهر من خلال خدمة whois.

    بالنسبة للقوانين الدولية فالمعلومات الوحيدة التي يعترف بها بشكل رسمي هي معلومات المجموعة الأولى (السرية)، فهي المعلومات الوحيد التي لا يمكن التلاعب بها وخاصة البريد بسبب ارسال رسالة تأكيد لدى عملية فتح الحساب، وهذه المعلومات لا تظهر إلى حصرا بموافقة منظمة الآيكان ولأسباب قضائية، وكل هذه المعلومات وأكثر متوفر لدى موقع المنظمة Icann.org.

    وكتجربة لإمكانية تزوير البيانات العامة (بيانات المجموعة الثانية)، قمت بشراء موقع بعنوان http://www.mahabil-syria.info ، وقمت بتسجيل كل المعلومات من بريد واسم وارقام هاتف بالمعلومات الخاصة بـ إياد شربجي، الشخص الذي اتهمني بشكل علني بحجة وجود بريدي في الموقع، وقمت بوضع دراسة تقنية كاملة تمت بالتعاون مع الأصدقاء تشرح كيفية حركة نطاق موقع الإخوان المفبرك مع الصور، وتظهر وجود عنوان موقع آخر مسجل على بريدي الشخصي ايضا.

    هذه المعلومـــــات التي اقدمها رسميـــــاً من خــلال هذا البيان ومن خـــلال مـــــوقع mahabil-syria.info
    ويبقى لكم حرية التصديق أو الشك

    إميل باسل قس نصرالله
    حلب 27/12/2011

    المصدر : خاص عالم بلا حدود
    عودة

    Debunking The Reply
    Before I link to the rebuttal of this meaningless attempt, I want to advise Mr. Emile that he just committed three new crimes in his attempt to be a smart ass. BTW: the type of rebuttal he provided is itself conspiratorial following the mode of operation of Baath and Mukhabarat who think they are too smart:

    1. He stole the identity of Mr. Shorbaji by using Mr. Shorbaji’s email to register an account without his permission, and with intention for malice. This is different from using a fictitious name and finding later on that it is someone els’s real name. This is intentional.

    2. Knowing that he has intentionally committed malicious act against a real person, he proceeded to defraud a service provider by using someone els’s name, knowing that the person exists.

    3. He committed a credit card crime by using a credit card to facilitate another crime.

    Now, here is the rebuttal from SyriaShallBeFree. Advice to watch in full screen mode.

    الرد على الرد: كشف الأسماء في فضيحة بيان الأخوان

  43. Is this the spark that will set a civil war after 10 months?

    The Americans asked all their officials to get out of Damascus before the end of the year, the dead will be littered on the streets, an official said. I heard this a couple of days earlier, tried to brush it away as rumours?

    I hope Syrians will not get dragged into what those who hate Syrians wish, a civil war.

  44. Lol! The case for this stupid “electronic army” trying to frame the ikhwan is as clear as the sun!

    The Shabiha are certainly no CIA black ops division lool! Idiots.

    Yeah sure Landis, Al Qaeda of Northen Lebanon is behind it.

  45. NZ the incident did happen but we have different explainations

    On sooryoon.netwe have it as infighting between the Shabiha, with the goons on SC we have it as targeting of minorities( that alone wants me to throw this view in the bin) and on a supporter of the free Syrian army site( the electronic army one ie not official) we have it as an attack on certain Shabiha responsible for crimes against students in the University.

    At the moment it seems to have involved the Shabiha goons in some way.

  46. Dear Zenobia,
    Even though I agree with a lot of your analysis of what you call “the fence sitters”, I have a little more to add to it. From my interaction with a few of those fence sitters, I have discovered that the issue is far more complex than we first thought. Here is how I view it:
    For years, every time I went to Syria, I was asked by my family and friends the same question: “do you see how much better Syria is this year?” They say it with this gloating tone and wait for my submission to the undeniable truth that Syria is progressing rapidly. Unfortunately for them, I never saw the availability of the latest in cellular phones, foreign domestic help and new restaurants as a sign of progress, rather as a sign of decadence. These people represent the middle and upper middle classes in Syria, who were convinced that their country was progressing rapidly and were living a very comfortable life. All of a sudden, their cozy lives are turned upside down: there major investment, namely real estate is in a downward spiral, their kids education is interrupted, their daily dinner parties are no more, their income is down, everything is getting more expensive, they are watching their net worth evaporate, their future in jeopardy and the worst part, their foreign maids are paid to leave Syria by their mother countries. (This is not a joke. I was told by someone in Syria that the US is fighting them by taking away their domestic help).
    These people are mad; not at the regime, but at those who were behind the collapse of their world, namely the people demonstrating on the street. The fence sitters suffer from a plethora of symptoms: tremendous fear from the regime, overwhelming anger at the demonstrators, paralyzing fear from the unknown future and alternative to the current regime, convincing propaganda by the regime exposing all the conspiracy theories that they have been fed all their lives and plain self pity at “why me why now”. There is no one in Syria who likes this regime (except members of the regime itself). Most people know that they lack a lot, but they got to the point where they traded their freedom for stability.
    The fence sitters also have to deal with the opinion of their family members and friends.
    With all these factors, one can understand why these people can not see the woods for the trees. Between self interest, fear, propaganda and societal pressure, it is becoming increasingly hard to make up your mind.
    You asked: how do we convince these people? I think, we can not. It is going to take time and certain events or shocks to change hearts and minds. We are also forgetting that this regime is going through a lot and it will start having problems of its own. Between the economy, the inside feuds to control the situation, the outside pressure and defections, something’s got to give. I think that the work that people on blogs and Facebook are doing is going to put a dent and as time goes on, that dent will grow and grow and as the regime starts suffering and cracking we will witness the switch of many happening slowly but surely.
    History is always a good thing to look at to assess the future. Remember how this revolution started. Remember how it encountered many hurdles. Remember how at one point we thought it was over. Look at its progression and you will see a straight line upwards.
    We are all impatient and for a good reason. Every day passes with more dead and injured. This is tearing our hearts out. We are looking for an answer and we want it now. The truth is that these things take time, blood and misery. We should all keep going with what we are doing. Each one contributing what he or she can. Keep a laser focus on the ultimate goal. Stop attacking each other. While we do all this, Syria is gaining necessary maturity for a bright future.

  47. Oh yeah, it could be an individual teenager that had enough with the Shabiha in his Uni.

  48. Dear Zenobia,
    Sorry if I was not clear, but my real name is not Sheila. I am a Sunni Muslim from Halab. The probability of being named Sheila is close to none.

  49. Sheila, nice post. I think it is predominately fear. These people know very well who is to blame but some out of frustration take it out on the brave souls in the streets. It is a feeling of despair when you start blaming the victim.

    Yeah, sure we have selfish corrupt upper middle class but do we really need them and do they really influence the situation on the ground.

    It is those in the middle class that have slaved away with two jobs a day to get some form decent life that are the most vulnerable and the most scared. It is this major fear barrier that is preventing some in this group.

    I feel this will change, and it will have to out desperation as the regime gets more and more violent affecting someone in everyone’s family ( the numbers are getting this way). This sense of shame and anger will drive this class further. Once the economy get atrocious, this class will be further squeezed and they will have less to lose. One thing is for sure. We have not reached the unity of will in Damascus and Halab yet but it is getting there. The rest of the cities are truly ours 🙂 ( that alone makes this a done case against the regime inshallah)

  50. Dear Jarthouma
    I agree that we do not need the upper middle class, which as described by Sheila, is not likely to change their mind. But you will need the rest of the middle class, the solid middle class. Not only for success of the revolution, but more importantly for post MAFIA building of Syria.

  51. I personally think the vast majority of the middle class is behind us but you have to understand a member in this group has a much more delicate financial balance than the consumer driven corrupt novo rich upper middle class ( in effect this group are members of this regime and those that feed of its crumbs).

    This person slaving away on two jobs a day with three children is scared. A small tip will ruin his life.

    That is the main reason for some not getting involved. These are my ideas

    1- We should not force it on people and alienate them. It gives a self righteous impression which the Syrians tend to view with sarcasm and pessimism.

    2- Following from that we should let their own moral outrage and personal grievance push them. It makes them feel that they have made the decision and makes them feel more in control.

    3- We should encourage them to do things behind the scenes. In this way they can contribute without fear. For example they can sponsor a deprived family iin Bab Umar for example. It helps if it each area contributes locally. I am from Damascus so I support someone in Midan.

    4- This financial network for example should be part of a larger network that is trusted. Trusted is the key word

    5- Networks could be numerous, that this alone will give people some breathing space. It will also make them feel that they are doing something and remove that feeling of desperation. It will also gradually erode the fear factor. Remember we are dealing with a conservative group ( ie in terms of change) so no radical push or ideology slammed down one’s throat

    6- We must remember their could be umpteen more things. Organising leaflets, intelligence networks, blah blah… So many things can be done behind the scenes.

    Because of the military occupation of the cities it is difficult to reach critical mass at the moment. Ironically, it is this military occupation that is doing in part what a critical mass would do anyway. Anyway…we are facing a war of attrition at the moment and despite what people think time is on our side. I could go into more details about this if you want.

    Certainly taking into account even formal factors like the rate of defections, the spread of hot spots, the degradation of central control by the regime we are currently on a winner. These are all rising, some on exponential scale.

    The government wants fatigue to creep into this revolution. We must not let this happen

  52. Dear Sheila,
    right. obviously. I must have thought you were an Irish sunni muslim from Halab. : )

  53. ok, people, tell me for the sake of clarity – who constitutes “upper middle classes” and who constitutes “middle classes”… cause i am feeling confused now… exactly since you are distinguishing the two.. instead of grouping them as just a small difference of degree (which is what I sort of thought .. maybe.
    can anyone clarify what they mean by this… in descriptive terms?

  54. Ok, yeah it is difficult to define “middle class” on an international scale but zooming in on Syria, let me give my 2 cents worth. I would define a middle class using certain indicators.

    A-They generally have a professional education that is used as a means of income

    B-They tend to own a property, or are in the process of owning one

    C-They usual have some savings that can provide some buffer. In other words they are not living day by day. They can think more long term and plan things with a stable budget

    D-In Syria this group tends to be relatively conservative with more of a religious idenity. This identity is not radical but more conformist.

    “Upper middle class” in Syria can be sort of identified by the following criteria

    A-They do not necessarliy need to use education as a means of income

    B-Savings are far greater to such an extent that they can live off the interest alone

    C-In Syria we have a slightly different definition because this class has got rich very quickly. Reasons include

    i-Daddy being a general in the Army who gets bribes like no one’s business

    ii-Daddy being a MP in the so called parliament who gets bribes like no one’s business

    iii-Daddy being a minister in the government who gets bribes like no one’s business

    iv-Daddy is rich factory owner that sub contracts from goons like Rami Makhloof because of services to the regime

    V- Traditionally rich business classes that are part of well running business for generations. Significant inheritance from a rich land owning family. This last group is quite small because of the large changes introduced by Hafez Assad et al with the so called reforms that ruined this country.

    This group also tends to be consumer driven and can be seen frequenting cafes in Damascus that sell coffee at 500-1000 liras per shot. They have also got rich quite quickly and have less appreciation for money and are consumer driven. They also can have outrageous fashion sense lol! Ok maybe this group is close to the stupid rich as well. The stupid rich in my class are those that really have the power.

  55. Dear Zenobia,

    If I may chime in with my limited knowledge, in my own point of view a good barometer to differentiate between the two classes could perhaps be their profession. Traditional professions that Syrian families followed (as in law, medicine, engineering, trade …) could constitute the majority of the middle class, while the new professions (those that arose from the “opening” economic initiatives of Betho) such as (Banking, accounting, telecommunication, IT, media, hospitality …) could constitute the so called upper middle class.

  56. Dear Jarthouma,

    You make a very sound argument, but may I ask how would you differentiate between Upper class (Not the Elite) and the upper middle class then?

    I personally see the people that directly benefit from the regime (like the Generals, MPs, factory owners) to be the Upper class, they are the mas3ouleen in my eyes.

  57. Both very very helpful! thanks so much. I definitely got it now. And generally I think I am concerned with this “solidly” middle class, as OTW had alluded to.

    Jarathouma, good brainstorm list of further ideas. We should definitely start cataloging these for organization and towards our resources of strategies base.

  58. Yeah, you are right SOD it is a bit fuzzy because there are grades of rich in our mas3ouleen and the traditional way of getting from the middle class to upper middle class i.e. a successful business without some form of corruption has become increasingly more difficult.

    I guess the elite are those that hand out the contracts, those that have power in addition to income.

    A stupid Boouk like Talib Ibrahim may have become well off because of his services to the regime ( I would ask for my money back ! 🙂 ) even though he is a dentist but at the same time he is not rich like certain cousins of Bashar. They have the real power.

    Whatever the definitions, we do understand what we mean by the middle class that we are targeting and we can therefore use certain stratergies. Honest businessmen in the upper middle class can be targeted in similar ways.

    As for the masouleen, well forget it! They will only jump ship on the last hurdle, when they really know that violence is not going to bring the fear back to the people! Actually they should jump ship 🙂 Oh well more idiots to pelt vegetables at in carnivals. I really think this western custom should be incorporated into Syria ha ha!

  59. Dear Zenobia:

    Wow, I feel like I missed 1 month of post in just 24 hours!!

    From the last post…. (sorry for going blank, I have a 10 hour job, and 2 kids to help out with).

    Re: “what is the thin razor’s edge of difference”.

    It could be a multitude of things that limits someone with my thinking (call it the H factor 🙂 ) to fall on your side. It can range from which generation to what kind of upbringing and from faith to security issues. It can also be various circumstances in ones environment or peer pressure (what the majority of the family thinks, etc…). What did it for me was 4-5 videos and that was it. I was like screw this shit. Basically, let the west come to rape and plunder whatever, I can’t have this happening to my brothers and sisters… what did they do to deserve this, etc… Despite having questions, conspiracy issues, etc… I did not struggle on the fence for too long because those videos don’t lie.

    I was brought up with “haram, la’ow shoou ma-kan, ma beseer hal shee…etc” Basically, my faith helped me in some way to not be able to keep quiet. There were solid lines I knew that couldn’t be crossed. Once I saw the torture and point blank shooting at the unarmed Syrians, that was it. Torture and humiliation was and always will be the tipping point for me.

    I am sure that the majority of people in Damascus are afraid to watch Aljazeera (kid you not) or Youtube videos of what is really going on. My cousins (London educated) who are living in Syria keeps telling me don’t believe the media, Syria will be ok. I bet you, they have not seen any bone-breaking or bullet-in-the-face amateur videos. They really don’t know how bad it is. HEARING WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HOMS AND SEEING IT FOR REAL HAS A DIFFERENT IMPACT. Not everyone knows how to mask their Ips, I mean internet has only been around in any significant fashion for only a few years. Perhaps some young ones know what is going on, but not the middle aged.

    Zenobia, we have been living far away from Syria’s reality for too long. I mean, on the ground in Syria, an inkling of anything and your sent away. Think about it for a minute. I agree with Jarthouma 110% that middle class families that worked so darn hard to make ends meet and are finally getting somewhere with life in Syria’s-wasta-system their small fortune can now be blown to pieces. And that is the least worrisome, getting tortured in a dungeon is real and happening. People are afraid for their family and backlash as well.

    Some people will stay on the sidelines until their own brother or sister gets killed or hurt. Different people can tolerate pressure according to their own personal losses (economic noose). It may last until every Syrian has losses of a loved one in his family (all out civil war).

    Besides my hectic job and spending time on this blog, I am helping doctors on the ground (makeshift hospitals, etc…) to get medical supplies and $. I try and do my small part.

  60. Following my last comment:

    If important and critical videos were the tipping point for me and I am viewed as 1 in 10,000,000 or so who are like me, why not distribute hard copy DVDs with important messages, videos, action plan, etc.. that people can view and pass around between themselves minimizing the risk?

  61. OTW:

    Those who are not inside Syria, in my view don’t matter as much as those that are inside Syria. So, finding the fix (doing SWOT, etc..) to convert groups should focus on people living inside.

    The reason I am bringing the obvious up is because I think half or the majority of Zenobia’s discussion for example are with people “on the fence” are outside Syria.

  62. @ Husam,

    thanks for indulging me more with this thoughtful honest reply. I wish it were simpler of course, simpler, identifiable, accessible. I wish…

    : ) indeed you did miss a lot since last night, but be thankful- since it was more of the same plus – zenobia being defensive, zenobia blowing a gasket at KT… zenobia absurdly thinking that Sheila is sheila’s actual name… and so forth.

    And then – we got back – thank the lord… with Observer, Hazrid, Jarathouma and others putting forth some good efforts to push our agenda forward. It is looking a little more hopeful at the end of the day, despite the terrible events that continue to unfold in the homeland.

    you mention the ‘dungeons’… just finished reading the Jadalyya piece recommended by Umm Nawas… excellent, but excruciating to read at first… had to start it about four times today because I don’t really want to hear about what went on in Tadmor prison. So sad. So devastating to think about. but it ended up being hopeful at the end surprisingly because it is a beautiful profile of an amazing person…. and a story of resiliency.

    Syria is going to need a lot of resiliency.

  63. actually Husam, not true…re the persons I hear about…. are both inside and outside, but certainly there are plenty inside. but it is harder to have long conversations with them. but I hear about other people’s relatives there and such.

  64. Zenobia:

    According to you, I fit the profile of Moderate Sunni Muslim with conspiracy bent (still are BTW) that you are encountering in various conversations with. You have to convert the people inside because you stated many of us on the outside are impotent for the most part which I agree with to a certain point.

    Can anyone (who is inside Syria) substantiate or confirm that a big chunk of people inside Syria have not seen 4-5 horrific videos of clear torture of innocents, etc…? I am not talking about the young, I am talking about the average Moe. Not Aljazeera videos, but the one where they force people to kneel down and kiss Bashar or pray to him, the one on the bus, in the classroom, etc… Humilation will hit home with many.

  65. If we’re talking about getting into the mindset of the regime in order to understand it and then formulate strategies to counter it, who better to turn to than former VP Khaddam? He was VP from 1984 to 2005.

    I know he is hated. However the SNC can talk to him in secret. (?) Would he be trustworthy?
    He will have a good understanding of how the regime is operating and which personalities are involved in decision making etc.

    Just a suggestion.

  66. Dear Husam
    Again, agree with respect to the weight of information provided by those inside and outside. But not necessarily with respect to the ability to conduct analysis and then synthesis, which depends more on the professional expertise of each person whether inside or outside. The best approach is to combine the two.

    I am interested in one specific piece of information if anyone can chime in. Do unions levy their fees from pay-check deduction or from lump contributions paid by members. I know teachers’ and workers get pay check deductions, but I think it would be hard to assume the same thing for Doctors, Engineers, and Lawyers.

  67. Dear CSI-HAMA
    The damage of talking to Khaddam far outweighs any benefit. There are many defectors, un=publicized for safety reasons who can provide similar information on the current structure of the regime.

    As for the actions of persons outside Syria, instead of fence-sitting, it would be excellent if they get involved through
    1. Donation
    2. Lobying collaborating countries (BRICS)
    3. Conversations Message to their own relatives and friends.

  68. IMPORTANT POLICY CHANGE NOTICE

    Dear 7ee6anis, during the preparation of the policy, the list of objectionable comments included the following item

    Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable

    This list seems to be generic, It is now revised to address also Syrian concerns. The list now reads as

    Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sectarian , sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable

    Please note the addition of the sectarian comments in the list. This aims to explicitly disinvite those interested in such games from participating in 7ee6an. I believe in freedom of speech, which also entitles me as owner to prevent the use of my blog for sectarian advocacy. Off course there is difference between comments that discuss sectarian issues and those that incite sectarian hatred.

  69. When Statistics Don’t Lie

    Syrians killed: + 5,947
    Children killed: 396
    Injured: +27,000
    Missing: + 50,000
    Protestors killed under torture: + 361
    Protestors currently incarcerated: + 100,000
    Syrian refugees since March: + +17,727

    ضحايا الثورة تجاوزت: + 5,947
    ضحايا الثورة من الأطفال: 396
    الجرحى: +27,000
    المفقودون + 50,000
    ضحايا الثورة الذين ماتوا تحت التعذيب: + 361
    المعتقلون حالياً حوالي + 100,000
    اللاجئون السوريون منذ بداية الثورة + +17,727

    Les martyres de la Liberté : + 5,947
    Les enfants martyres : 396
    Les blessés : +27,000
    Les disparus : + 50,000
    Les morts sous la torture : + 361
    Les détenus : + 100,000
    Les réfugiés : +17,727

  70. The number of Assad’s victims will from now on be included now as part of the side-bar. I am looking into that and into methods to update automatically.

  71. Salam to all the wall’s community.
    Dear OTW,
    I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for your prestigious involvment for the sake of Syria’s future.

  72. Dear Shami
    Welcome to 7ee6an. There will soon be a moment when we will need to re-construct our suppressed memory of our post independent democracy attempts. your deep knowledge of our history will be a tremendous help. I look towards your positive contributions.

  73. Syria’s Defecting Bloggers
    By ELIAS MUHANNA
    December 28, 2011

    Published in the International Herald- Global Opinion

    The images out of Syria this month are gut-wrenching. Two suicide bombers killed dozens of people in Damascus on Friday, an alarming ratcheting-up of the violence in a conflict that some fear is starting to look more like a civil war by the day.

    Within hours of the attacks, Twitter, Facebook and the Arab blogosphere were boiling over with claims and counterclaims. Some accepted the Syrian government’s statement that Friday’s bombers were affiliated with Al Qaeda; others, who are sympathetic to the opposition, want to see President Bashar al-Assad fall (see here, here and here).

    This highly polarized response is symptomatic of a broader culture war that has recently emerged among Syria watchers. For the first decade of Assad’s presidency, most Syrian blogs I read were fairly supportive of the regime because of its commitment to the Palestinian cause and its opposition to the United States and Israel. But this year has changed everything.

    Over the past six months, many Syrian intellectuals, journalists and ordinary citizens have steadily migrated from the pro- to the anti-government camp. Several bloggers have defected from the regime’s side in disgust, and a number of them have written compelling mea culpas. (See Off the Wall, Qunfuz, Maysaloon and Syria News Wire.) Even Syria Comment — whose author Joshua Landis is often accused of pro-regime sympathies — has cast doubt on Assad’s ability to survive this revolt. Absent any kind of reliable polling, there is no way to assess how much popular support the Syrian opposition really enjoys. But as the blogosphere’s reaction to last week’s violence demonstrates, Assad has lost his legitimacy among many opinion makers and liberals, and surprisingly quickly.

    There are a few holdouts. Analysts like Ibrahim al-Amin and Sharmine Narwani have continued to question the opposition’s motives and those of its foreign backers. And As’ad AbuKhalil, the author of the very popular Angry Arab blog, has refused to support the institutional elements of the Syrian opposition, alienating many longtime readers. But even he issues a constant stream of criticism against the regime itself.

    Though still-conflicting testimonies and partisan loyalties remain, a dramatic shift in opinion is unmistakable. “Choose the narrative that fits you best,” Robin Yassin-Kassab, a Syrian-British novelist, wrote on his Qunfuz blog after setting out the contradictory reports and eye-witness accounts that had emerged just hours after Friday’s bombings. Still, it was clear whose side he was on: “This is the confusion into which the criminal and traitorous regime has led us.”

    Elias Muhanna is a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Program on Arab Reform & Democracy. He writes about Lebanese political affairs on the blog Qifa Nabki.

  74. As I said before there is nothing to prevent this regime from doing the worst to survive and the opposition wishing to take the moral high ground will not do it any good. It must take the moral high ground and denounce violence of that there is no doubt, however the people are going to become radicalized in a country that cannot control its borders and in a region where others are intervening secretly. This is a civil war in the making and only the regime is responsible for this and no one else.

  75. What is needed now are satellite phones, small generators, and the ability to upload pictures to the satellite channels.
    Also, a campaign to write to representatives to bring the Syrian issue to the respective parliaments for action.
    Also, letters to RT and to the Russian and Chinese embassies. I will start one today.
    My concern is how to remain anonymous in this day and age as I am sure the Russians and Chinese will send the info to the Syrian authorities.
    Let the SNC demand the moral solution, and let the people be armed to defend themselves.

  76. I only agree partially with your social classification, because you based it only on wealth. In most cities and towns in Syria, there is what you call prominent families. These families usually are local families who had some prominent members in government before the Baath took over and/or are historically very educated. Most of these families were at one point rich, but today many are not, however, they still have a certain status in the society. These families constitute the aristocracy of Syria. You see their importance highlighted in marriage deals, where the nouveaux riches are trying to marry from these families just to push themselves forward socially.

  77. Observer
    Have you checked AVAAZ, Please let me know if it is a good platform to write petitions, which can add pressure, in addition to letters. We can even garner a network of global activists. Public letters probably would be more embarrassing. Letters to editor of local and national papers would really embarrass embassies more than personal letter to Ambassador. I think Brazil, South Africa and India, should also be reminded. Especially South Africa, who without the International Pressure campaign would probably be still under Apartheid.

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/

  78. Here is a shilling note I received today about this regime. I think if the AL is going to lift sanctions it will survive if not it is doomed for it will not be able to pay the thugs and troops.

    [I think this article is extremely important coming from an economics figure at Damascus university. Usually, a budget deficit of nearing 10% of GDP starts to become a problem. This note claims the following: 1- Tax revenues next year will be less half of what they were (50% drop). 2- Income from oil sale and the public sector will also drop. 3- The budget deficit as a result will be syp 529 billion out of a total budget of syp 1326 billion. In other words, 40% of expenditures will be unpaid for by the revenues side. 4- The resulting deficit of syp 529 billion is nearly $9 billion or 18% of GDP and this is assuming a GDP of $50 billion. The actual deficit/gdp ratio could top 20%. 5- The government has no access to the credit markets. They never developed a local bond market and they can never access the international credit markets. 6- And here the shocking solution: Force powerful companies, banks and even large car dealers to lend to the government especially that many made “enormous profits during the economic reform and liberalization process”. The way to do this would be through “tashreei” or passing laws that specifies the amounts, rates and tenor of these loans per company and even “individual”. 7- let me summarize it in simple terms: The state is only able to collect 60% of every syp it spends. It cannot borrow to bridge the gap. The only way is to go to those companies, banks , car dealers or companies that were thought to have benefited in the past and force them to lend to the state at rates, amounts and tenors that the government itself specifies. http://www.syriasteps.com/?d=126&id=80294&in_main_page=1%5D

  79. Nice blog OTW I hope to pop in and contribute when I can, my best regards

  80. Dear CSI Hama,
    As much as I despise Khaddam, I think talking to him will prove priceless. I agree with both you and OTW about the damage from talking to him in the open, however, someone like “Amal Hanano” can interview him for articles and can discern many things of the internal travails of this regime that can be invaluable to the opposition. I know she went to Paris to interview Ghalioun, why not convince her to do the same with Khaddam?

  81. I checked the site and it is good, there is a campaign to free a Syrian blogger and there is a site to ask Russia to stop the horrors of Syria’s hospitals and there is a site where you can send an e mail to Lavrov. Please do your part and at least visit the site

  82. Dear Observer,
    It is what we have all been talking about: It is going to be the economy more than anything else that will break the camel’s back.


  83. قربنا : رائعة سميح شقير الجديده


    الكلمات

    قربنا يا الحرية .. هى ياهى يا هو
    مهرك كان .. غالي عليّ
    هى يا هى يا هو
    دم الشهدا فداكي
    هى يا هو
    ننساهم لو فينا ننساكي
    ما مننساهم. هى يا هو
    هى يا هو … الشعب السوري ما بينذل
    هى يا هو … ما عاد فينا نتحمل
    هى يا هو … والكرامة حق الكل …… هى يا هو
    هى يا هو … ومش حيطولوا وحدتنا .. وهى ي هى ي يا هى يا هو

    هى يا هو … شو عملتو بايدين الرسام هى يا هو
    وبالأطفال .. وبحنجرة المغني ….. هى يا هو
    وما بينلاموا ان سقطوا الناس النظام. هى يا هو
    ولا ان ملا الساحات شعب يغني .. هى ياهو
    وسوريا بدها حرية

    Lyrics

    we are inching closer to freedom–hey-ya-ho-ya-ho
    You dowery has been costly to me–hey-ya-ho-ya-ho
    The blood of martyrs is your redemption–hey-ya-ho
    we forget them, if we forget you
    we shall not forget them–hey-ya-ho
    hey-ya-ho…. The Syrian peoples will not be humiliated
    hey-ya-ho… we can tolerate any longer
    hey-ya-ho dignity is a right for all –hey-ha-ho
    hy-ya-ho… and they can not extend our loneliness —hey-ye-hey-ye-hey-ya-hey-ya-ho

    hey-ya-ho what did you do to the hands of the painter-hey-ya-ho
    and to the children and to the larynx of the singer… hey-ya-ho
    and the people can’t be blamed for calling for the fall of the regime–hey-ya-ho
    or for filling the square with people singing –hey-ya-ho–
    Syria wants freedom

  84. Dear Observer
    Thanks for visiting the site, I wanted your opinion. There are quite few petitions in the mill, and I am preparing a couple in cooperation with few activists.

    Razan Ghazzawi was released on the 19th of December after a world-wide campaign including the efforts at AVAAZ.

    Dear Enlightened
    Welcome to 7ee6an. Please do stop by and make contributions.

  85. @Sheila at 2:20. good point added. i am sure there are a number of complexities to fill out their description, but it was all helpful for clarification. I sort of knew all this but wanted to understand what others are referring to specifically in these designations.

    I read this excellent book a few years ago (wish I had it now.. as I think I left it in a suitcase in storage in Syria!)… but you might find it interesting…or someone else here might.. called:

    A New Old Damascus: Authenticity and Distinction in Urban Syria by Christa Salamandra, a sociologist/ethnographer…

    It is really really excellent academic study of upper class damascene society and recent changes in that society. Although, shockingly, due to such rapid change, it is already getting out dated since only published in 2004!… anyways, there is a whole chapter just on restaurant going…and a whole chapter on marriage trends and changes. It is very amusing and captivating.

  86. From Facebook

    أهم المظاهرات في حلب كانت في صلاح الدين .الصاخور.المرجة و الميسّر و طبعا الجامعة ..
    مرة واحدة في الفيض حدثت مظاهرة مهمة يوم بدر حلب ..
    مرة واحدة في حلب القديمة يوم تشييع الشهيد عمر ..
    سيف الدولة كانت في المقدمة ثم توقفت ..

    الخزانات البشرية لحلب في هنانو و طريق الباب و العامرية و الحمدانية و حلب القديمة و الشعار و العامريّة و الجابريّة ..كان الحراك فيها ضعيف..

    المناطق الغنية مثل الفرقان و الشهباء و المحافظة و السبيل و مناطق الجمعيات.. لم يحدث شيئ يذكر..

    ما رأيكم؟

  87. I think the SNC should hire Azmy Bishara as a political advisor. I saw his interview with Aljazeera and I think the SNC is well advised to listen to what he said. What do you think?

  88. I didn’t realize that Elias’ column on Syria’s Defecting Bloggers in which Off the Walls was linked – was not JUST on Qifa Nabki but on the ‘Global Edition of the New York Times’
    ie.. the International Herald Tribune ‘s section called “Latitude: views from around the world”

    COOL! (as OTW would say)

  89. OTW

    I just want to congratulate you again on running this blog, I don’t even think it’s fair to compare the quality of posts here to those of Syria-comment anymore. I also feel so satisfied every time I read the comment section ( even more so if I happen to be reading it after my brief visits to the cesspool of Syria-comment, where I usually lose few brain cells and my IQ drops to double digits).
    I know I haven’t been active lately but rest assured that I’m reading all your posts and also most of the comments, and I’m so proud of all the 7eetanis. Keep up the good work 🙂

  90. Dear Zenobia
    The prestige is off course the writer’s who makes it as one of the wittier contributors to IHT. But yes, it is coool to be mentioned as a defector, albeit my defection as i have described started in 2009. I always visit QN when i feel like reading witty posts and comments albeit Lebanese politics is very different from Syrian politics.

    I am all for groups and individuals forming charitable associations. This will ensure that those who trust members of the group will be more likely to contribute. I am afraid though that if things continue, charity will not be sufficient. Syria will need major relief efforts, both during and post conflict. The regime knows that, and it is preventing real international relief efforts. I believe it is gambling on the economic downturn to exhaust the poorest segments of society into abandoning political work. Yet, it has to calibrate the downturn in manners that does not deplete its potential source of compensating for the declining revenue. (Please see Observer’s post about the article he received from a friend).

    Dear NK
    Thank you for your comment. Much appreciated and valued. I look forward to seeing your contributions as always.

    Dear SYR.EXPAT
    Many thanks for linking to Azmi Bishara. Couln’t agree more. Rarely one sees such a clarity of mind and depth of understanding. Here is the second part of that same discussion you have kindly linked to.

  91. Dear 7ee6anis
    I would like to introduce a new Syria blog, Hikayat Shamiyya that went on line only a few days ago. It is not political but a literary blog with the author presenting short story like essays that give us glimpses of life in Damascus. I liked the writing style. I think it will be a distinct and a much welcomed reprieve in this highly charged atmosphere. The Author seems to be a scholar living, studying, and teaching in Syria.

    The second blog is older than 7ee6an and many of you may be familiar with it. Kabob Fest . A recent article titled What Syria Deserves . is a very good reading. It is one of the few articles around where both revolutionary and counter-revolutionary opposition (yes both call themselves opposition) can agree and disagree with points in it. Reading the discussion may be essential to understand the author’s point of view.

    Both blogs are now linked in the I Like list on the side bar.

    Also, A page SWOT4SYRIA is ready to go online. I am ready anytime you want to move the SWOT discussion into a more coordinated collaborative mode. Please let me know if you are interested and I will activate the page and send password to those interested. The comment side bar on the main page and all other 7ee6an pages will show that people have made comments on that page, but will not show the content of the comment unless the user has the password.

    OTW.

  92. Sorry I haven’t been around but ever since the observers came, the ISPs strangled the speed of the Internet so badly that we barely get half dial up speeds anymore. I’m using an Internet cafe’s connection which when its empty, I can just barely get my proxy to work. But it’s getting dark now, I should be heading home.

    Great post OTW, you are forward thinking, which is what we need. My personnel opinion is that the AL started to move only after the FSA showed it could indefinitely hold off the regime, and when the threat of a wider conflict reared its head. If we don’t want sectarian revenge groups to start to direct events, we should all get behind one movement; a civil movement as well as an armed one that can protect it. Neither can survive without the other.

    The Syrian army is a paper tiger. For all its atrocities in Baba Amr, once again it utterly failed to bring to battle the defectors it was supposed to be chasing. And so they took their impotent fury out on the civilians.

    Best of luck guys, if I don’t post it’s because I can’t.

  93. This was from As’ad AbuKhalil on the Angry Arab site yesterday (referring to Elias’ column) — sorry for the cut & paste:

    alienating my readers: blogging on Syria
    “As’ad AbuKhalil, the author of the very popular Angry Arab blog, has refused to support the institutional elements of the Syrian opposition, alienating many longtime readers. But even he issues a constant streamof criticism against the regime itself.” Alienating readers? I am not doing my job right if I don’t alienate my readers. The last thing I want to do is the give my readers–whoever they are–what they want. But let me add this to the observation by Elias. Yes, he is right: there has been a shift in blogging on Syria from support of the regime to opposition. There were some who were apologists for the regime who became opponents. But I would add that based on Arabic writings on Syria: the other side (staunch support for the regime) is well represented but in the Arabic language. I argue with people in the opposition side this all the time: that they refuse to believe that there are Syrians who genuinely support the regime and who are not shabbihah or mukhabarat or henchmen for the regime. I see those people on my Facebook daily: if I write against the regime, they are quick to respond and defend the regime, just as the opponents of the regime are quick to respond whenever I attack the Syrian National Council. It is fallacious to think that the regime does not have bases of support–still. I still maintain that the sign of that (among others) is the fact that not a single person has defected from the government or from the diplomatic circle (I know, someone will mention that there was a a deputy to the assistant mayor of a little town near Dir`a etc). It is also partly due to the calculation made by those people that the regime is not falling yet–or not any day soon. The Syrian crisis is a very long crisis–even if the regime falls. Just think that there is Lebanon: half of Lebanon will provide shelter for the ancien regime from which it can fight for power or seek revenge. The notion that Lebanon won’t be drawn into this–after the Hariri family declared open war on the Syrian regime–is folly.

  94. Dear umm nuwâs
    There are three or four writers that no matter how much one disagrees with every once in a while, remain anchored to fundamental principles, which guide them into taking what would constitute a consistent position albeit appearing contradictory to casual observer. Asa’ad is one of those writers. I don’t think that he is inconsistent and I do agree with him that the presence of pro-regime writing in Arabic language is very much a live an kicking. Even on other languages. I also agree with him that many of those pro-regime apologists are not necessarily Shabbiha or even direct beneficiaries of the regime. I like Asa’ad and will carefully read even his harshest criticism because i know that he has proven to be incorruptible pretty much like Subhi Hadidi (who writes in Al-Quds in Arabic) and Yassin Al-Hajj Salih, who is in fact in the trenches now in Syria, and in my opinion, Azmi Bishara.

    Supporting the Syrian uprising requires first re-contextualization of the regime, its alliances, and its actions. In Arab politics, the Resistance camp has been the last bastion for socialists and nationalist writers. Abandoning the Syrian regime to many would seem tantamount to abandoning the cause of independence and the Palestinian cause. While some may be able to divorce the regime from the Palestinian issue with some difficulty, the ability to abandon the issue of “anti-imperialist” image is much harder. The mere fact that the regime is threatened means to many that those who threaten it are agents for the big imperialist project in the region. What amplifies this is the fact that the regime is militarily powerful, in the sense that it can inflict carnage before it falls (and it is doing that already), as such, and conceptually speaking, the regime can only be removed by external military intervention. Therefore, if they side with the opposition, they will eventually have to accept military intervention, which puts their entire Arab-nationalist project not only at risk but also in shambles, where they would have betrayed the essence of their existence. Such becomes a self propagating dichotomy that manifests itself with these well meaning supporters accepting the regime with all its ills to fence off the imperialist project. I disagree with this logic, but I don’t think the opposition, including myself, has come up yet with an answer that would satisfy these groups and individuals. In fact, this is what we have been trying to do.

  95. I think As’ad AbuKhalil’s statement is really very correct. Not all his rants, but this particular articulation…I would have to agree with wholeheartedly.

    Regarding OTW’s paragraph above – I think this definitely describes the dilemma of a lot of the population and especially those “fence sitters” that I am obsessing about lately.

    However, I think the most important point to continue to make is that this “dichotomy” is a FALSE ONE.
    People do NOT have to chose between sticking with the regime and its status quo OR supporting international intervention as a necessity and therefore abandoning arab nationalist sentiment or their resistance to imperialist projects.
    THIS IS THE LOGICAL ERROR that needs to be proven to be an error!

    Of course, choosing to support a jump into the unknown means taking a tremendous risk, especially if one takes seriously the notion that there are real and dangerous external threats and designs… but it remains the job of any opposition to show how our alternative ‘ideology’ if you will can still be consistent with an anti-imperialist one while moving forward into a different kind of political organization in Syria – and a different basis for organizing society and political life.
    Yes, we – who are presenting an alternative have to come up with a very strong grand strategy and alternative narrative as well as over arching schema that is satisfying, convincing, REAL, in fact, not just a rhetorical strategy, that can win the day.

    I want to thank Umm Nuwas for presenting me with the link to the Ziad Majed piece in Jadaliyya. It was simply excellent and contained an incredibly succinct argument against militarization that would be everything I would have wanted to write myself – if I were able to do a whole post on such a subject. He brilliantly lays it out – as I imagine many of the non-violent proponents do of why taking a militarizing route to the struggle with the government should be avoided at all cost. Of course, humanitarian protection is hardly something that can be denied to those who are under siege, and nobody is critiquing that. However, any deliberate escalation of the military approach to waging this struggle – and a dramatic taking up of arms- will be a huge mistake that in no way guarantees a swift resolution to this struggle. In fact, it could even prolong it – in the way that As’ad AbuKhalil is pointing out – because taking down the palace through violence does not the divisiveness of the country or assure any kind of disarmament of groups of people once they become armed – nor take into account the likely plethora of pockets of revenge seeking people – resisters, new oppositions, etc, that can spill over any border in any direction.
    This is what many people are rightly afraid of, in addition to their (in my opinion) overblown fears of external manipulation of the ultimate political outcomes.

    I think only through the painstaking task of persuading greater numbers of citizenry to join a national consensus and willingly (not under threat of arms) choose to support a POLITICAL alternative born out of genuinely believing in a new national movement and “consciousness” (as Majed put it) that unites them, will the opposition be truly successful in winning not just a war but the opening of a new country and social order. Such an opening should not be born out of violence and fear but out of aspirations and optimism for the future- and a sense of unification of ideals and power sharing.

    External military intervention – is to my mind- a disaster in the making, just as would be any drastic internal militarization build up. Neither of these options will bring about a viable civil environment fit to create a new humane and just system with any level of civic trust or social cooperation.
    Unlike the fence sitters, I believe the current system and leadership and security state in Syria is so abhorrent and destructive and soul killing that it cannot be allow to stay regardless of a failure to bring about a peaceful change or failure to avoid militarize struggle, but it will be a grave misfortune if people fail to try with all their hearts and minds to create non-violent alternatives and to avoid that otherwise extremely dangerous and for certain painful and long road to New Syria.

  96. Dear all,

    For those of you that are living in the West or at least in a place with a relative “secure” internet connection, and would like to help our brothers and sisters in Syria, please take a moment and download TOR and create a secure Bridge that you can share with people back home. A secure bridge helps keep the lives and anonymity of the brave activist in Syria away from the government and censors. Inform your relatives/friends about TOR especially the ones that are in Syria and tell them to use it ALL the time (even for mundane things such as searching on google). The more people use TOR the harder it is for the regime to track down the activists, and the more secure Bridges that are created the harder for them to shut it down (or throttle it which is what they are doing now).

    These are simple and extremely cost efficient (you can put a cap on the network so you don’t exceed your monthly ISP capacity) that can (and do) help the people that are risking their lives.

    https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en

    The more TOR users there are in Syria (currently at about 17000 users of those 5000 Bridge users) the harder it is for the regime to track the activist, because currently the regime is going through EVERY single webpage that is being accessed through Syrian ISP.

    If anyone would like further information I would be more than happy to provide it.

    Stay safe and secure.

    Son of Damascus

  97. Son of Damascus,

    I was talking to a friend who had just returned from Damascus, was their during Friday’s bombing. Right after the bombing and for at least half an hour, heavy gun shots were heard all over the city. People were petrified, “insecurity forces” knocked on the doors of apartment buildings, asking for keys to access roof tops. When asked what is going on, they responded that booby-trapped cars are trying to enter where the butcher lives.

    Damascus now, is not only littered with shabeeha on the ground, but with snipers on every other rooftop or so. The hatred this mafia-family has for Syrians is legendary, They are ready to burn and kill as many Syrians as possible.

    Another story, where one of the despicable lives, a neighbour saw men unloading a sizable number of arms into the building.

    How will this end is anyone’s guess.

    Today on Twitter, a tweet in Arabic, reads, ” ya shabeeh, go tell your master, we, the people of Dera’a dressed your father his military uniform, and, we the people of Deraa will unseat him.

    This says it all! Nothing will stop them from achieving their goal.

    May God protect you and all Syrians. Salaam.

  98. Dear OTW,
    I am not familiar with this Angry Arab guy, but from what Umm Nuwas posted, I am not very impressed. He is either stupid, or has no idea what goes on in Syria because he never lived there. It is this statement in particular that drives my criticism:
    “It is fallacious to think that the regime does not have bases of support–still. I still maintain that the sign of that (among others) is the fact that not a single person has defected from the government or from the diplomatic circle (I know, someone will mention that there was a deputy to the assistant mayor of a little town near Dir`a etc). It is also partly due to the calculation made by those people that the regime is not falling yet–or not any day soon”.
    Even though I do agree with him about the fact that the regime still has some, albeit in my opinion small, base of support, I am utterly under whelmed by his poof. In my opinion the reason for no defections has very little to do with the calculations about the regime’s fall or survival and everything to do with their fear for their own survival and that of their families. Had he known anything elemental about Syria, he would have understood why as he puts it “not a single person has defected from the government or from the diplomatic circle”. He would have known that had any of these people even thought of defecting, their families would have been exterminated. I am not talking just about their wives and children (as diplomats have those out of the country with them), I am talking about parents and siblings, nieces and nephews and down to every person who even carries that same last name. There are examples from the 80s like the Gaylani family from Hama. It has been literally exterminated and those who were left ended up changing their last name to avoid the wrath of the regime. We also have examples from today’s revolution where the Harmoush family (and this is really a not-so-significant guy) is almost exterminated and the parents of Malek Jandali being attacked for his appearance in one demonstration.
    Please do not give this guy more credit than he deserves. Ask a simple farm worker in Syria and he can confirm what I just said. It does not take smarts, it just takes understanding of Syria and this Angry Arab Guy does not have it.

  99. Dear N.Z,

    I have not been in Damascus in over two months, and when I was there I am the last person to ask about the true “feelings” of the people. For I come from the much despised “Elite” group of Damascus, and sadly I am almost exclusively surrounded by the staunchest allies of this criminal gang (from family to acquaintances).

  100. hate to break the news but Angry Arab has a huge huge audience.

    but I think the issue of “how much support” – in terms of people screaming at each other on facebook back and forth in disagreement… on this.. is in part a reflection of differing descriptions of what “support” means.
    If you one means that people think the government is doing the appropriate thing and the president’s speeches were great and the government is going to handle this and resolve it any day now – and one believes that most people are behind him… well.. than NO – the level of “support” is extremely small by probably most people’s judgement.
    In contrast, if one means support as in they think the gov and president have handled things badly but still they are not prepared to start advocating for the revolution..then this # goes significantly up.
    If by support we only mean that … said persons think the gov is despicable but they are completely not willing to risk their lives to unseat the president or change the system..or similarly they don’t like the gov but fear the alternatives or the “plots” much more, then…I think we actually could say that this is a lot of people who by default – “support” the status quo.

    I happen to think that support is a very relative thing and hard to gauge depending on how it is defined, and as well, how deep or entrenched it is… is hard to say also. it is possible that there is a fair amount of “support” that is extremely superficial and as the economy sinks and pain sets it (as – Sheila- has said many times) this will be a huge catalyst for people abandoning their professed support or fake support, or default support.

  101. Dear SOD,
    When you say: “I come from the much despised “Elite” group of Damascus” do you mean elite wealth, prominent family, political power or a combination of two or three of the above?

  102. Dear Son of Damascus,
    I am interested to know about the “Bridge” etc… especially because I barely know what you are talking about, and yet I have a lot of family online and communicating back and forth to the States. It would be good to understand what you are talking about and to be more prepared. Not sure how you can communicate but i could be emailed directly – zenobia.safia@ gmail.com or through OTW. Would like to learn more. thanks for the help.

    NZ,
    your account sounds terrifying. I am wondering in what areas this activity is most concentrated.

  103. Dear Zenobia,
    My beef with Angry Arab is not about the level of support the regime enjoys, rather the reason why there are no defections from the highest level of government and from the diplomatic corps. I find his analysis a bit flimsy.
    I agree with you on how the variations in defining support can make a huge difference. There is no doubt in my mind that many people in Syria today are longing for the stability that once was.

  104. Son of Damascus,

    Those with connections I fully agree, they are the one’s to lose. But the ones with money, are not necessary supporters.

    At this point, I doubt that they are people, whether rich or poor, who still support the regime, they very well know that he is a dead man walking. They no longer doubt his evilness, though, they very well know they are closely watched.

  105. oh, yeah that part of what he said was indeed very flimsy …i agree. In fact, I had never even had such a thought cross my mind because there are soo many reasons why these particular people would be the last to ‘defect’ so to speak…

  106. Dear Zenobia,

    I sent you an email with the info you asked. I hope I was clear, and not too “geeky”.

  107. Dear N.Z,

    You have touched on a very sensitive issue for me. I come from old money (My family went through the so called corrective movement) but also benefited directly and indirectly from this regime. I know many of the regime figures personally (went to school, pool, summer camps abroad, and University abroad with their kids), and have had them over in my own house.

    I live with the sins of knowing the murderers, and haunted by the thought of what my family might have done to benefit its own pocket at the expense of the Syrian people. I am living in my own hell because of that. I will forever be ashamed and humiliated because of that!

  108. Dear Sheila

    Off course, the lack of defections within the so-called political and bureaucratic elite can not be taken at face value as a sign of a majority support for Assad. I may have skipped discussing the details of Asa’ad’s comment in a hurry to agree that the fool of syria still retains some support, which I have just described on QN blog as a cult type support. I know of a couple of high level bureaucrats-technocrats in Syria, who have already defected mentally, but are holding on to their posts not out of fear but out of desire to preserve state institutions for the transitional and post-Assad era. And my recommendation would be to leave them where they are and not to pressure them into declaring defection. I would even argue that they should not be approached to do any clandestine work. At least not yet while the regime is capable of exacting such horrible retributions as you described with respect to the Harmoush family.

    Dear Son of Damascus
    I avoid being blunt, but in this case, I will make an exception. Get rid of the guilt and other negative feelings, you are making up every time you write a comment and every time you try to find one more thing to help freedom seeking Syrians .

    What really matters is that when choice was possible, even at risk, you chose to side with the oppressed and marginalized. You have my respect and admiration. Please stay positive.

  109. Son of Damas,

    ys, i got it, thanks so much! very clear, but i probably still have to read it five times to get the idea since this is not my forte. but I will let you know if I have more questions.
    Meanwhile, I agree with OTW. I don’t believe the sins of the father belong to the son, so to speak. I would have forgiven Bashar Assad if he had chosen to do something radically redeeming with his power and privilege when put to the test, but alas he did not.

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