What Happened in Midan (By SGID)

Word from OTW

Dear 7ee6anis. First, I would like to wish all of you a happy new year. I hope 2012 will bring in victory and freedom to the Syrian People and defeat to the regime and its thugs.

The news today were not that great, at least at the political front. Issues surfaced today regarding the memorandum signed between the SNC president, Burhan Ghalyoun and the representative of the NCB Haytham Manna’a. Independent of the stance of each of these two groups, I think the agreement was misused and misrepresented by the NCB for petty political gains. Burhan may personally pay the price, but that remains to be seen of how would that come about. I will probably post more on that later on.

In the mean time,  The previous post remains active. Please continue the discussion on that post towards identifying a solid coordinated plan. I will also follow Enlightened’s recommendation and seek views from Mayaloon and Qunfuz if they like to provide such recommendation.

I thought that a witness testimony would be of great importance at these times. I just received on such testimony. Now to the post from SGID

What Happened in Midan (By SGID)

on Tuesday the Midan coordination committee called for mass demonstrations in the abu habel district of Midan in Central Damascus after Asr prayers. it was planned in anticipation of a visit by the Arab league observers specifically in Midan. it is quite rare for a coordination committee to announce a date for a demonstration as most protests start spontaneously without a planning. of course this yields a disadvantage as the authorities can get air of this ,gather and disrupt the protests. i took part in these protests and these are my observations: i arrived an hour early as to find a safe place to protest. i quickly noticed that Midan in general is covered in anti-regime graffiti ( which the regime subsequently badly covered). every few meters you would find slogans like ” get out Bashar” or more insults to Bashar. The Abu Habel district was cordoned off by regime thugs, yet the Abu Habel district is riddled with alleys and paths to the main gathering points. so it would be easy for someone to get in discretely but extremely difficult to get in large numbers. Upon entering the district i saw a crowd of regime supporters ( near the buses that were used to transport them ). Addounia TV was also holding interviews, with some participants falsely stating they were residents of Midan. After more inspection i counted more than 200 armed thugs accompanying the pro-regime crowd. the regime had done its homework and had prepared to fool the observers with this fake stage of support. at the other end of the district the anti-regime demonstrators started gathering. Those who attended were far fewer than i anticipated ( Midan can peak 25,000 demonstrators). yet those who attended were around 1000-2000. a far call from a massive demonstrations the committee called for. the regime thugs decided to flex their muscles and attempted to disrupt the demonstration before it stared. the anti-regime crowd decided to meld into the pro-regime crowd as to hide. what was usually an opposition strong hold has become a stage for a pro-regime crowd.When the Asr prayers were announced, the anti-regime crowd entered the Daqaq Mosque. The pro-regime crowd started chanting their generic chants, while the the anti-regime crowd waited for more people to arrive. directly after prayers the protests started, but we were surrounded from 2 out of 3 sides. we managed to taunt the regime thugs a bit, before moving to one of the alleys by the Daqaq mosque. i managed to escape then, those who didn’t returned to the mosque where they were surrounded for about 2 hours, before the regime thugs pulled out. luckily no one was harmed. one thing that surprised me was the relatively mass participation by women ( about 40% of the crowd). in fact one of the worshipers started mumbling about the women that weren’t wearing hijabs inside the mosque, i told him better them inside the mosque than the shabeeha. sadly the observers never showed up until late in the evening where both crowds (pro and anti) had long ago dispersed. the observers went to pray at the Daqaq mosue and listened to the testimonies of some opposition activists for a short while before leaving. as i was leaving i was amused to realize that one of the regime thugs accidentally used tear gas on the pro-regime demonstrators that were bussed in(غبأكم ينصرنا ). i would like to state that if it weren’t for the numerous checkpoints and regime thugs the demonstration would’ve certainly been better.
the regime is trying to manipulate the observers the same way they manipulated Robert Fisk.

some guy in damascus

Addounia tv with pro-regime crowd and thugs
the demonstration held in the alley neighboring the mosque


  1. Dear SGID,
    Thank you for the post. We all read about what happened in Midan, but your post helped me understand what really happened. I am glad you are safe. Have a wonderful and hopefully free new year.


  2. Happy new year.
    It is clear the opposition has a long way to go to even come close to the street and the wishes of the people. They are amateurish at best.
    Will work on helping them get better.


  3. Happy New Year to all.

    لميدان_ احتفالات ثوار الميدان بالعام الجديد 1\1\2012


  4. Dear OTW,

    What makes you say that the signed agreement was ” misused and misrepresented by the CNB for petty political gains.”?

    You cannot sign something and later claim it’s a draft. I am probably missing something.

    Mr. Ghalyoun must come out and clear things swiftly.


  5. Dear N.Z.
    Both Ghalyoun and Manna’a are aware that the document will not take effect until it is ratified by the executive council and general conference of the SNC. The word draft is stupid, I agree, but the agreement is not final and binding until it is ratified. This is clear in the bylaws of SNC. I don’t want to take sides in this, and I have argued endlessly yesterday with at least three members of the SNC that SNC has established a bureaucratic system that will eventually undo the ability of its president and executive council to move with sufficient dynamism that is required for revolutionary work. Decision making within the NCB is radically different than that of the SNC. It is in the hand of very few people, while the SNC’s decision making is defused among all 300 members.

    To have better understanding of the situation, I am now combing the web to see the street’s response. So far the street does not seem to trust NCB at the same level it trusts the SNC. Which means that the SNC announced political program is more representative of the street’s will as represented by the local coordination committee. There are off course activists on the street who belong to the NCB but I am not seeing such a strong support. One small demonstration was organized yesterday by one of the local coordination committee. The kids, who held yellow cards for Burhan Ghalyoun. A yellow card means warning not ejection. So , it seems that some LLCs continue to trust Burhan, even as they put him on probation.

    Yet, in the absence of free polling, there is no way to really gauge the true Representative of each of the two. I will not resort to character assassination of either side, I leave that the regime’s and muklhabarat writers, all of whom are dutifully cut and pasted on SC. And that is why I will stop at this.

    That said, I do agree that Burhan Ghalyoun should step down. Whether he meant the agreement as final or not, there is an apparent violation of the bylaws of SNC. He himself has played a major role in formulating the structure ad bylaws of SNC, he should know better than to sign the paper. I would have insisted on adding a paragraph indicating something like: “Both signatories recognize that this agreement is subject to ratification by the following councils” and then list the policy making bodies whose ratification is required.


  6. Thanks to tireless and dedicated Revlon, The following is REVLON’s translation of Burhan Ghalyon’s attempt to clarify some ambiguities.

    222. REVLON said:

    Mr Ghalyoun clarified ambiguities concerning the “draft”agreement with NCB.
    Mr. Ziyadeh accepted the clarification and the document shall be debated on the SNC floor soon.

    I congratulate all involved in the NCB and SNC for being fallable humans, and the SNC’s president for his prompt clarification.

    Democracy is working!

    بيان صحفي صادر عن مكتب رئيس المجلس الوطني الدكتور برهان غليون :
    بيان صحفي رقم 31 / 2011
    تاريخ: 31 / 12 / 2011

    Statement released by office of SNC president clarifying the nature of the published document of agreement with NCB.
    الموضوع: توضيح حول مشروع الرؤى بين المجلس الوطني وهيئة التنسيق الوطنية

    بداية نترحم على أرواح شهداء سوريا الأبرار , ونتمنى الشفاء العاجل للجرحى , و الفرج القريب للمعتقلين في سجون نظام الاستبداد الأسدي
    ونوضح في البيان التالي كل ما أثير من لبس حول مشروع الرؤى مع هيئة التنسيق الوطنية, كمسودة تعرض على الأمانة العامة للمجلس الوطني و تقرها الأمانة العامة و المكتب التنفيذي للمجلس الوطني .
    The document that was published by NCB was a draft agreement with SNC. It was to be presented to the General secretatiat and executive office of the SNC for debate.

    ونؤكد بأن هيئة التنسيق قامت بنشر المشروع على أساس اتفاق نهائي قبل الرجوع إلى الهيئات القيادية المعنية لدى الطرفين و هذا مخالف لكل قواعد العمل المشترك و هو أول خرق لمشروع التفاهم المحتمل .
    The NCB published the document as final in breach of basic rules of cooperative work, and of the draft agreement itself.

    أولاً: الوثيقة هي مشروع و ليس اتفاق نهائي , و سيتم عرضه على الأمانة العامة و المكتب التنفيذي في المجلس الوطني و يجب أن تقر في المجلس الوطني حتى تصبح وثيقة اتفاق معترف بها , مع العلم بأن هذه المسودة جاءت بعد مناقشات طويلة قام بها أعضاء من الأمانة العامة للمجلس الوطني و هيئة التنسيق الوطنية , نذكر منهم ( الأستاذ أحمد رمضان , الأستاذ أنس العبدة , الأستاذ نجيب الغضبان , الأستاذ وائل ميرزا ,الأستاذة بسمة قضماني …….. ) . ويأتي هذا المشروع تلبية لطلب جامعة الدول العربية في توحيد رؤية المعارضة لتقديمها إلى مؤتمر المعارضة السورية الذي سيضم المجلس الوطني و هيئة التنسيق الوطنية و كافة أطياف المعارضة السورية, و ضمن هذا المؤتمر يمكن قبول أو رفض هذا المشروع.
    The document represents a plan, rather than a final agreement.
    It represents the common ground reached by several SNC members who contributed to the long discussions leading to the agreement.
    It was intended to be presented later to SNC bodies for debate.

    ثانياً: تعليقاً على بند رفض التدخل الأجنبي , فإننا نبين نحن نرفض التدخل الأجنبي البري الذي من شأنه المساس بوحدة واستقلال الأراضي السورية ، ونوافق على التدخل الأجنبي الذي يفرض مناطق عازلة تحت حظر جوي وبحري وهذا هو ركيزة أساسية من مطالب الحراك الثوري في المجلس الوطني والشارع السوري .
    We are against “land foreign intervention”, that may threaten the integrity of Syrian land. However, we support foreign intervention that seeks to impose a buffer, no-fly and no-drive zone, which is a vital component of the revolutions demands.

    ثالثاً: إن كون هيئة التنسيق الوطنية جسد ليس له أرضية شعبية واسعة في الشارع السوري فإن موافقة هيئة التنسيق على هذا التفصيل يعني انشقاقاً سياسياً من طرفها عن النظام السوري وضربة ذات ثقل ضد النظام السوري ومحاولة لعزله سياسيا واثباتاً من الهيئة على ممارستها الحقيقية لإسقاط النظام السوري .
    Being a body with marginal popular base, the NCB’s agreement to the draft amounts to a major political defection from the side of the regime to the side of the SNC.

    رابعاً: بند الدستور : الدستور يتم صياغته على أساس المبادئ الثورية الوطنية التعددية الديمقراطية من قبل لجنة جامعة من المختصين القانونيين والاجتماعيين وبحضور مؤسسات لا حكومية مراقبة دولية مستقلة من دول غير منحازة ثم يتم عرضه على البرلمان المؤقت وتحت استفتاء عام ، ثم يتم اعتماده للموافقة عليه من البرلمان الرسمي بعد تشكيله .
    The constitution shall be written in accordance with the principles of the revolution by an all inclusive commission of social and legal experts, in the presence of concerned NGO’s. It is later subjected to approval by the temporary parliament and a popular referandum.
    The final draft is to be approved by the elected parliament.

    خامساً: بالنسبة لنقطة إسقاط النظام القائم, فإننا نعني به إسقاط النظام الحالي و جميع أركانه من رأس النظام وحتى أخر عنصر في أجهزة الدولة كان أداة بيد النظام لقمع الثورة السورية الحرة .
    Dismantling the regime implies the ousting of all of its pillars from the very top to every element involved in atrocities against the revolution.
    أخيراً, فإنني أؤكد على ضرورة تدويل الملف السوري و تحويله إلى مجلس الأمن الدولي بأسرع وقت ممكن لأن دماء السوريين ليست مجال للمفاوضات أو المساومات , و أؤكد على دعمي الكامل أنا و المجلس الوطني للجيش الحر و هو موقف ثابت لامجال لتغييره .
    I hereby emphasise the need to refer the Syrian file to the SC as soon as possible. People’s lives are not for negotiation. My and the SNC’s support for the FSA is unwavering.

    و أنني أطلب من دول العالم التحرك فوراً لإيقاف شلال الدم السوري الذي يراق يومياً على يد نظاماً قمعي فاشي.

    I plea to the international community to intervene to stop the blood shed.

    عاشت سورية حرة أبية .
    Long live proud Syria.

    صدر البيان بتاريخ: 31 / 12 / 2011 / الساعة 7.41 دقيقة بتوقيت دمشق
    رئيس المجلس الوطني السوري


  7. Happy New Year to all of us.

    Thank you very much OTW for your message. The attention you give to all of us and our qualms and problems is really touching.

    The development linked to below might not be new to you but this Commotion wireless project is urgently needed

    See here : https://tech.chambana.net/projects/commotion


  8. OTW,

    While I agree with your stance that things are moving slower than one would like, but there is one more reason that it is so. The first two, namely 1. divided / unclear street desire, 2. AL, NATO / GULF hegemony and politics, the other reason is 3. Syrians are new to democracy. Some argue that while Arabs (Syrians included) have democratic aspirations, many don’t know how to function in democracy or what to make of it (even some will argue we will always need an iron fist). While I understand and want to move forward away from this notion, there is some credibility to this argument is still in the minds of many and we must ensure we have a strong willed, charismatic leader who can tame the horses for their own benefit towards democracy.

    As for Burhan’s removal, I disagree. He may not be the ideal, but his role is transitionary in nature. You can’t call his removal over a technicality. And, we don’t need any more drama right now.

    Please bear in mind (as clearly evident on this blog even) that Syrians are very, very critical by nature. We love to point out minute deficiencies and turn stories around just to make an argument. Considering 300 members bickering, and all other difficulties I have no qualms giving it another 30 days to see what they can do together. Consolidating groups in theory is not a bad idea, if materialized it will give me (us) a morale boost that we are can have an inclusive society and that we are one step closer.


  9. What a coward:

    Associated Press: Switzerland’s top court rejects visa bid by cousin of Syria’s Assad (Maher’s Brother!)

    … he is still trying to get in after having his funds frozen in September. It is expected from this bozo. Outside Syria’s dungeon, the Assads don’t know how things work. They hire a lawyer and expect full rights. How ironic!


  10. OTW,

    I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.

    At this point friction and disagreements will not save lives. The revolution is spreading and growing in numbers, so is the death toll.

    The regime is united in quelling the revolution.

    We are not, it is not the time to have inner friction, people are dying and the councils are disagreeing. The observers were criticized, without securing the alternative. Deliberation and a unified message will hasten the fall of the regime, more importantly save lives. They are asking for outside intervention, when all outsiders showed no interest, and a large segment of Syrians do not want this solution.

    When the fall comes they can disagree on how to move the country forward, now they should agree to agree. They remind me of Fateh and Hamas fight, fighting over what?

    Divisions, always strenghten the enemy. I will not encourage one side over the other. I will put equal pressure on both. One spokesperson for each council, with a unified message. Members opinions are for closed meeting discussions, not on TV screens.


  11. Dear Annie,
    Thanks you very much for the information, i visited the site, and it seems to be techincal. I will take a more patient and detailed look at it and see how to propagate the information and if there is any mechanism to implement.

    Dear Son of Damascus
    Also thanks for the suggestions (from previous post) I will visit the blog-clusters you have mentioned and may need some help later on.

    Dear Husam
    Maher is Bashar’s brother. This must be either a son of Rifaat, Jamil, or a maternal cousin (makhlouf) or a Shalish (from Hafez’s sister).


  12. Dear OTW,

    I meant Rami’s brother Hafez who is the head of the intellegence. Sorry for the typo.


  13. Dear N.Z.
    Could not agree more. For now unfortunately, the is an incredible amount of mistrust between SNC and NCB. I hope it passes with as little damage as possible. The AL pre-condition to acting is to have successful conference. I am hoping for that.


  14. Happy New Year!

    Here’s the AP article.

    Switzerland’s top court rejects visa bid by cousin of Syria’s Assad

    GENEVA — A cousin of Syria’s President Bashar Assad has lost his legal bid to get a visa for Switzerland, where he wanted to meet with a lawyer to challenge international sanctions imposed against him.

    Switzerland’s supreme court rejected Hafez Makhlouf’s request, saying the 40-year-old army colonel could use other means — like a telephone — to speak with his Swiss lawyer.


  15. Dear N.Z.,
    I completely agree with you. I still do not understand why all the Syrian opposition should fall under one roof. I do not see any problem with having three or four groups out there all working for the final goal of toppling the regime which they all share in common. What they see for future Syria can be contested by elections and decided at the ballot box after the fall of the regime. Today, the major concern is saving lives and helping the Syrian people in any way possible.
    I think that Haytham and OTW could make a suggestion that all the opposition groups form an umbrella leadership group consisting of two or three members from each group to work solely on coordinating the effort to remove the regime no more no less. Meanwhile, each group can have their own plans and policies for what they believe in and how they want to run their internal affairs. To expect all groups to agree on everything is unrealistic and down right contradictory to the nature of democracy. This is asking the Muslim Brotherhood, the communists and the liberal democrats to have the same principals.


  16. Sheila:

    The ideal and politics are two different things. To my understanding the AL required a more unified group in order to move forward (buffer zone, financial aid, etc…). When I speak of hegemony on Syria from all fronts, most call it nonsense conspiracy theory when it is actually all unfolding in front of our eyes.

    Libya had one governing transitional body. It can’t be done otherwise, because everyone else will cry illegitemacy.


  17. But that is exactly what I am saying. Instead of working on combining all the opposition into one group, keep the groups and let each group elect 2 or 3 of its members to form a leadership council to represent all people.


  18. I totally agree with Sheila’s comment. Why should the opposition be all in one basket, aren’t we done with Uniformity and aren’t we fighting against it. Actions on the ground should be coordinated, but to have a single body is not viable, nore necessary. I would still go for a conference of all bodies, and would still argue that the voice of the Local Coordination Committees should be the strongest as they are the ones being hunted down, assassinated, and are the ones who are making the revolution a reality. But a unification is not essential. I think it is a catch 22 game by the AL.

    However, there is an important lesson from the recent debacle and that lesson is Democracy works. Burhan Ghalyoun was chided by his group, the concept of constituents (LCCs) is already showing a viability in terms of putting politicians on edge. If you want my honest opinion, it was a good show of democratic politics. That would be the silver lining of the whole incident.


  19. One of the most wonderful writing on Facebook Today:

    Taufik Alhallak
    بعد أن انتهى حواري التلفزيوني مع عمر إدلبي أحد الأبطال الذين حولوا حلمنا حقيقة , فاجأني عمر بسؤال غريب وخبرعجيب معا : وين بدنا نسهر الليلة ؟ الليلة رأس السنة !! كنت قد نسيت السنة ورأسها , حياتنا صارت تحسب بالدقيقة : دقيقة بدقيقة , نرحل لمشاهد العز, والموت العظيم , وآهات الألم الذي يعتصرنا . هل انتهى العام فعلا ؟ فاجأتني والله ؟ ثم هل ستسهر فعلا ؟ قال : أليست هذه عادتنا في كل سنة ؟ لمحت بسمة خبيثة قبل أن تهرب من شفتيه !! جاء الأصدقاء المنفيون : فرحان مطر أبو البنات الثلاث وزوجته التي حملت شيئا ما في كيس من القماش الدمشقي . جاء عمر وزوجته المحامية وابنه الصغير الذي تأخر عنهم لثقل ماحمل من أكياس , قدمت صبية , وشاب , لاأعرفهما . تعارفنا وتآلفنا وتصادقنا في أقل من دقيقة . أهلا , أهلا . وكأنما زوجتي وأنا نرتكب جرما !! شكرا , أهلا بكم , وكأنما ضيوفنا يرتكبون جرما !! في العام الذي مضى كان بيتنا في دمشق يستقبل أصدقاء آخرين : مثقفين , فنانين . وأقرباء . كانت أصواتنا عالية وضحكاتنا صاخبة . أما الآن وفي هذه الزمن الاستثنائي : زوارنا صاروا إخوة أصدقاء لحظة رأيناهم !! من كانوا يأتوننا في دمشق ذهب بعضهم إلى الهتاف والاعتقال والجلد , وبعضهم زودته السلطة ببنادق قتلوا بها كثيرا من أهلهم وأصدقائهم الذين مضوا الى السماء حيث نراهم من هنا مع شروق كل صباح . تحلقنا الإخوة الأصدقاء الجدد حول مائدة فارغة . كل منا لديه مفاجأته . أخرج ابن عمر من أكياسه خبزا يشبه خبز التنور . شنكليش , زيتون , جبن أبيض . مفاجأة زوجة فرحان كانت علم كبير وأعلام صغيرة سورية وأٌقراص فلافل وبعض فول وحمص . مفاجأة فرحان : قصيدة مؤثرة لمحمود درويش ألقاها بصوت آت من قلبه فأبكانا . مفاجأة الصبية : قصة اعتقالها ثلاث مرات وتعذيبها ثلاث مرات , وطلبها للمرة الرابعة مايعني أنها ستلقى في الجحيم لأنهاحنثت بوعدها وتوقيعها وتظاهرت وهتفت . أما الشاب القادم من الخليج فقد وضع نفسه وماله في خدمة أهل البلد وتحول كل عمله إلى ترتيب إيصال المساعدات إليهم متنقلابين دول الجوار . حين انتصف الليل وقفنا صامتين على أرواح شهدائنا ثم غنينا معا كل أغاني سميح شقير وابراهيم قاشوش وعبد الباسط ساروت وووو كل مغني الثورة من الشباب . لم نغادر عاما لنستقبل عاما وإنما عشنا لحظات امتزج فيها الألم الرهيب بالحب العظيم بالأمل الواعد . قال بعضنا : في العام القادم سنحتفل في البلد أحرارا . غضبت الصبية البطلة وقالت بل بعد أيام لاتتجاوز الثلاثين . صمتنا وصدقنا وفرحنا .. أليست هي من كانت على الأرض وتعرف المسافة الباقية للنصر ؟

    Thank you Taufik. Your defection gave me hope, and your FB writings, along with those of other new friends such as Malek Jandali, are the first thing I look for in the morning. Affirming that there are many Syrian intellectuals who are honest, freedom loving, and are capable of reconnecting with real Syria,


  20. From Twitter,
    باباعمرو : عاجل : هدوء تام يسود الحي للمرة الأولى خلال 8 اشهر . يستحق حقا ان يقال عنه خبر عاجل


  21. Ten months of pregnancy over an era of overlapped two years 2011-2012 and the little baby called “freedom” is still showing all signs of stubbornness with total refusal to come out or at least to give some sign of delivery time. Doctors of revolution from all over Syria (except Damascus and Aleppo) are doing their best to induce labor, the mother freedom has extended its pregnancy significantly beyond the expected delivery dates similar to its history in Tunis, Egypt, Libya and Yemen; showing no signs of going into labor anytime soon. Definitely, the unborn baby is more than two weeks past due, so labor must be induced and artificial means (foreign intervention, more responsible and reliable opposition groups) are needed to assist the mother freedom in delivering her long waiting little Syrian freedom baby.

    Please 2012 give us this little healthy baby and we shall look after her. And please God (if you’re really up there listening and watching weeping widows and howling orphans) please put an end to it because after 10 months, simply, no one could.
    Happy FREEDOM Year


  22. hmmm, the recent anger against the SNC assured me of something, Syrians are definitly heading for a democracy. its nice to see the protestors on the street giving the SNC warnings, it means they want replace more than the regime. they want to replace the system. the mn7ibaks dont dare warn bashar or their regime. they have to stand by all their leader’s foolish comments, and sometimes when theyre so foolish , the regime has to hold a press conference to analyse bashars words. (the army isnt my army, etc…….)


  23. Dear 7ee6anis
    A positive new development in demolishing the Assad-controlled unions.

    A group of Syrian writers and intellectuals formed a new truly independent Syrian Writers Association, challenging the regime’s Writers Union which failed to protect the physical safety, the freedom, and intellectual rights of Syrian intellectuals and writers and has been an accomplice to the Assad regime in stifling free thoughts and in legitimizing ugly censorship.

    I hope similar steps are taken now to form other professional associations that will challenge the regime’s “Mukhabarat” branches called unions.

    مثقفون سوريون يؤسسون رابطة للكتاب للاسهام “في صنع سوريا الجديدة”

    القاهرة (رويترز) – بعد تسعة أشهر من اندلاع الاحتجاجات الشعبية في البلاد استهل أكثر من 110 مثقفين سوريين بارزين العام الجديد بالاعلان عن تأسيس (رابطة الكتاب السوريين) واتاحة عضويتها لكل كتاب سوريا من مختلف التيارات الادبية والفكرية.

    ومن المشاركين في الرابطة صادق جلال العظم وعزيز العظمة وطيب تيزيني ونوري الجراح وياسين الحاج صالح وعبد الرزاق عيد وحسام الدين محمد وعلي كنعان مفيد نجم وفرج بيرقدار وخلدون الشمعة ومحمد شحرور وسليم بركات وخيري الذهبي وجودت سعيد وشوقي بغدادي وبرهان غليون وفواز حداد وفؤاد كحل وميشيل كيلو وممدوح عزام وعائشة أرناؤوط وروزا ياسين حسن ومعتز الخطيب ومصطفى خليفة ورزان زيتونة وبكر صدقي وابراهيم صموئيل ومحمد نجاتي طيارة وفاروق مردم بيك وخليل النعيمي.
    ……..Read more

    web address (starting tomorrow or later today) http://www.syrianswa.com

    Please note the ….read more. I know TARA likes that.


  24. I totally agree with you, OTW and Sheila. There’s no problem with many oppositions, not one monolithic opposition body. Democracy (as I see it) is about different, some times conflicting opinions, about debating those, and about reaching a compromise.
    The Syrian opposition is actually practicing democratic values, which makes it more credible and trustworthy.


  25. Dear TRUE
    your name was misspelled, which sent your post to the moderation sequence. Sorry for that. Glad I was able to see it before it was too late.

    Welcome back to 7ee6an. We missed you. Can you please check your email.


  26. I have been thinking about the recent flare up between SNC, CNB, and the street’s response to the incident a little deeper. I think yearning for a unified opposition is due to one or more of the following reasons:

    1. After 40+ years of despotism, many Syrians may have an idealize vision of democracy but without recognizing that the deliberative process is one of the primary tools of democracy and that errors by politicians and correction of these errors by the constituents are also part and parcel to democratic process. The recent incident was a good lesson. People with solid good intention yearn for such unification also to demonstrate the breadth and depth of Syrian people opposition to the despicable regime.

    2. The AL, whose insistence on unified opposition stems either from reluctance to put its weight behind what is being portrayed by the regime as a minority of Syrians (the good intention scenario), or as a delay tactic (half-half scenario), or as a catch 22 game being played fearing that if they established a precedent, it may catch up with all (solidarity of despots scenario). It is interesting that the people have proven Mr. Al-Arabi’s (Sec. Gen. AL) assertion that the Syrian opposition is not mature, utterly wrong by demonstrating, clearly, their ability to make their voice heard and to change the position of their representatives as well as to hold them to task.

    3. International community takes a similar position to the AL, especially for the first two reasons (delay, and assurance of sufficient majority).

    4. Well intentioned reluctant Syrians and fence sitters, who want to make sure that in the end it will be safe to join the revolution when all oppositions are unified and that none of the “unified” opposition will be able to resort to back stabbing and dealing with the regime, which may end up costing these people dearly if they joined.

    5. Regime propagandists who use the diversity and differences of opinion among opposition group to saw further differences and to pretend that they support this opposition (third way) instead of that one (fourth way). But in the end they were exposed during the recent events. They are now trying to recover by overemphasizing the compliant that all opposition figures are merely fighting for positions in the government. This view also shared by many honest people in the revolution also due to a slightly romanticized view of democracy.

    I have a little intervention regarding item 5. What is wrong with seeking elected posts in government as long as the deliberative process remains free and open?. How can one accomplish the transformation of Syria from the sorry state of affairs it is in now to a better state if one does not have the legitimacy, power, and resources of government? This is the essence of democratic politics. One tries to convince a majority that one has the right prescription so that enough people vests one with the power of the state to accomplish that vision within the bounds of the constitution, human rights, and laws, and with the understanding of the accountability is inevitable in the form of pressure during the term in office and in the form of free election at the end of that term.

    Insisting that all what the opposition figures want is to conduct an election campaign only serves the regime. Granted, some of them may be doing that, but as long as they are willing and honest participants in the process of bringing an end to this despicable regime, then there is no point in belittling their work just because some of them may form the nucleolus of Syria’s future polity .
    Everyone in the true opposition agree that a transitional phase will be required. The success during that transition, imho, will hang on many factors, including, but not limited to:

    1. The weight and emphasis on the national reconciliation efforts and the level of international support (moderators, design, and implementation) of that process.

    2. The political skills of the members of the transitional governing bodies, their representativeness of the streets and the ability of the people to make their voices heard during the transitional period. (see Egypt)

    3. The presence of civil society and professional institutions and groups that have already established organized mechanisms for contribution and formed bodies that will be able to fill the inevitable vacuum left as the institutions of despotism and stagnation crumble (unions, associations, fraudulent Asma Al-Assad window dressing civil society) (see Tunisia)

    4. The state of the Syrian armed forces (including FSA) and security forces.

    5. The ability to transform, very rapidly, the state of the press and media in Syria (see both Egypt and Tunisia).

    We have discussed the message. I do believe that we do not yer have a credible opposition TV station, we need one and we need it as soon as possible. There are channels that are doing good job, but each comes from within a narrow spectra of the political prism, and some are suspects in raising sectarian flags. We need a politically independent channel that gives all shades of the opposition sufficient and equal time in deliberative manner and focus on mobilizing the incredible resources of intellectuals and artists who have already defected. And more importantly, a channel that transmits what happens on the streets, truthfully, and credibly. Off course, there is no shame if such channel also provides some entertainment value.

    We will continue to argue the merit or lack thereof of the foreign intervention, its acceptable and un-acceptable mechanisms and forms. There is nothing wrong with that. We will continue to discuss and debate the value and dangers of further militarization of the revolution. Again, nothing wrong with that.

    In his most recent post on Qifa Nabki, Elias Muhanna wrote

    People like Robin Yassin-Kassab and Off the Wall (and their readers) are elaborating, dialectically, a new meaning of Arab liberalism.

    While Elias, in his QN post and in his IHT article, only focused on 4 bloggers he has been following over the past few years, he also recognizes in no uncertain terms that these bloggers are by no means the only ones. Every day new blogs come out. Every day, Syrian intellectuals continue to defect and take their rightful place in support of the rights of Syrian people to live with dignity and to be equal in front of the law and to be safe from the murderous whims of a mafia regime. A crucial milestone in their defection has been the recognition that there is no reform with this regime, there will be no progress with this regime, and there is nothing but contempt to Syria and to Syrians in the hearts and minds of the regime, its heads, its symbols, and its enablers. The list is growing, and those intellectuals who continue to side with the regime, are now a minority. The silent group is also shrinking precipitously. I would like to comfort my friend Elias that many Syrian intellectuals are now joining their Arab sisters and brothers in defining, along with their readers, a new meaning of Arab Liberalism. To them, I raise my hat, and I must recognize the heavy price they are paying either in their recent exile, or in living on the run in Syria. What we are doing pales in front of what they have and will do.


  27. Nice one !!! also from FB

    ظن الطغاة أن جيل (البلاي ستيشن) لن يهزمهم …..
    ونسوا أنه جيل تعلم أن يموت مائة مرة حتى يربح اللعبة


    The tyrants thought that the PlayStation generation can not defeat them. What they overlooked was that this is a generation accustomed to dying a hundred times until it wins the game.


  28. I have not had the chance to follow the news lately.
    The following headlines include the pressure on the AL to move the file to the Security Council.
    There is a group of Arab countries that are doing rear guard action to prevent any repetition of the Libya scenario at any cost and in any form. They may prefer the Yemen scenario. In contrast to Yemen Syria has a regional dimension which includes Iraq and Iran and Israel and HA and Sunni Shia relations and what have you.
    The sub news are more important and include the economic pressure on Iran and the free fall of the Iranian currency and the threat of further sanctions
    The second is the attempt for regime members to recuperate money from the Swiss and it is an indication of lack of other resources.
    The third is the ability to pay the security system and there are now cases of kidnapping for ransom and the spread of armed gangs and the inability of the security services to enter large areas of the country.
    We have mini Benghazis now and they will spread. This is going to be bloody and prolonged and with a low level civil war.


  29. If the Iranian Currency continues the free fall, then expect a PERSIAN spring sometime in 2012. One thing that worked for Iran so far has been the ability to provide jobs for a reasonable segment of the well educated youth, contrary to Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Currency fall will make these jobs far less effective in providing a decent living and will increase resentment. Situation will be very difficult.

    The attempt of recuperating money from Swiss banks were also a test-case for other countries. Part of the financial problem is also due to the refusal of some supporters to continue paying their workers to go on Tashbee7 excursions. My understanding is that in Aleppo, only those involved in illicit trades are paying with no problem. Others, with legitimate business interests (factories) are starting to feel the pinch (Sheila, can you confirm positively or negatively?). There was major protest in the Chamber of Industry in Aleppo about the new “electricity rationing” plan, which will cut off power from entire cities a full one day per week in addition to the standard times, which have already killed an equivalent of one of three work shifts per day.


  30. SNC releases an English Language Website


    مهم جداً جداً ….
    في اتصال هاتفي بين السيد وليد البني عضو مكتب العلاقات الخارجية في المجلس الوطني السوري والفريق الدابي رئيس بعثة المراقبين العرب ، أكد الدابي الحقائق التالية ، و يمكنكم اكتشاف التناقض بين تصريحاته و تصريحات نبيل العربي:
    الدابي يقول:
    – الدبابات سحبت تقريباً من مراكز المدن فقط، و الحواجز العسكرية و الأمنية و القناصين ما زالوا موجودين.
    – لم أشاهد من وسائل الإعلام إلا مراسل بي بي سي لمرة واحدة فقط .
    – النظام السوري يراقب بشكل مستمر و يشوش على اتصالات أعضاء وفد المراقبين.
    – لم نتأكد من الإفراج عن معتقلين ، و النظام هو من يقول إنه أفرج عن آلاف المعتقلين.


    In a telephone call between Walid Albunni, member of the external relations committee of the SNC, and General Al-Dabi, chief of the Observers’ mission to Syria, General Al-Dabi affirmed the following, (and people can easily find the contradictions between General Al-Dabi’s declarations and those made earlier today by Nanbil Al-Arabi, General Secretary of the Arab League)

    1. Tanks have been nearly withdrawn only from city centers, military and security checkpoints and snipers are still present.
    2. Of all press and media, I only saw a BBC correspondent and only once
    3. The Syrian regime is monitoring and interfering (disrupting) the communication of members of the observers mission
    4. We have not verified the release of detainees, it is only the regime who claims that it has release thousands of detainees


  31. The FSA hands over a captured APC to the Arab League.

    Besho was dreaming when he thought his shabihas could ever subdue Homs.


  32. There are news of a referendum bein conducted on the pro regime websites for a constitutional monarchy in Syria led by the Assad family any news of such a proposal?


  33. Just a quick note to say that I am learning a lot from your discussions and debates and read this and related blogs with great interest. I am not Syrian but I have close ties to the country, many friends there, and moreover great respect for the challenges Syrians are facing. Keep up the debate and the stream of information. Knowledge is power.


  34. Dear Observer,
    I hope this is a joke. A monarchy in Syria? And the royals are from Al Qurdaha? Did we really stoop to this level?


  35. Sheila and Observer, I would not be surprised if some real betho worshipers have such a polling. But I want to find the website of these bozos and post the following message:

    Sure, let us get our Hashemite.kings back, It was their crown to begin with.
    Down with the Assads, the usurpers of the Syrian Crown, we want our real royal family back. King Hassan of Syria.

    I am sure they will close that shitty site on the spot.


  36. Dear jshannon
    It is a pleasure to have you visit 7ee6an. I can not say how thrilled I am to read your wonderful stories on Hikayat Shamiyya.. The most recent installment was beautiful and I loved every single paragraph, especially the conversation with the clock repair shop owner and the way you described the “za’al” phenomenon. You have a wonderful style, and I will be among those who will line up for the book version. Congratulations

    You are absolutely right. Knowledge is power.


  37. Ever since the observers arrived, defections have been increasing a great deal. Soldiers are more willing to defect when they know that the army can’t chase them into Baba Amr and other areas.

    For that reason alone, I say let’s keep the observer team in Syria for as long as possible. If I may make a bold prediction, but it looks like the regime fell into a trap, and it’s been outflanked. Baba Amr has never been quieter. To someone in Homs, it makes a big difference if a tank has been moved a kilometer away, even though in strict military terms it might appear insignificant.

    As long as the observers are in Syria, the regime has no hope whatsoever of subduing the main hotspots. A de facto safe haven is therefore in the making, where defectors can seek shelter, safe from the regime’s retribution. Apparently, someone at the AL has thought things through more thoroughly than junior’s conspiracy obsessed advisors have.

    Al Arabi wants desperately to show that the observer team is producing results. On the surface, his talk of the army completely withdrawing from cities might have seemed strange. But when you think about it, that’s all the encouragement a defector-to-be-needs; when he knows that there are areas where his pursuers cannot go to chase him.

    Now all they need to do is be able to make their way to those areas.

    And once the regime is forced to allow independent media into the country, they can do a far better job than thousands of observers can. To the menhebaks, the presence of an independent media is worse than a full NATO division on the border.


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