Aboud on AL Observers

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.


  1. Highest Ranking Official Splits from the Regime with interesting testimony. Damning information, but awaiting verification of rank and grade and official duties. Posture is very consistent with high ranking civil servant in Syria.

    First. A press conference in Egypt, where he evicted his family to under guise of official vacation

    There was also an interview on Aljazeera.


  2. This is such a reassuring report, Aboud. Suddenly some of the tumblers in the lock clicked. I have been so mute and darkly expectant since the AL arrived, in a kind of dread, not believing any bits of good news. (killings fewer? more detainees out? government postponed parliamentary elections?). I am sorry I haven’t been helping with any Plans, such was my foreboding.

    This is just the little bit of insight into I needed. All is not darkness. Thanks, Aboud!

    Now I can see the long procession of events that have to happen for the regime to actually pull back the tanks, disband the shabeeha, empty the prisons of political prisoners.

    The AL is like a living wedge. If their presence can exploited by all the peaceable actors (Red Crescent, relief, medical teams), then revolution goals are closer, no matter how incompetent (AL) or controlling (regime).

    There is no civil space not monitored by snipers in Syria, it seems. But the snipers have not aimed at the vests. As long as those vests are safe, so may some areas of Syria be safe too. And then, as Aboud hints, and then …


  3. William

    “I have been so mute and darkly expectant since the AL arrived”

    Well now, I’m not sure I can say that such a gloomy mood is justified. Definitely the mood on the ground in Homs is actually more buoyant, despite the complaints you hear on the satellite channels. The days when the regime could go on an all out military assaults of neighborhoods, are now over. Unless the regime takes a decision to kick out the observer team, the biggest danger to civilians will be exactly what Nabil Arabi said; snipers on rooftops.

    The AL will continue to sugar coat its statements to keep the observer team inside Syria, talking to the regime like one would to a problem child, coaxing it with faint praise in the hope that it will finally sit down in class and stop being so disruptive.

    But make no mistake about it; the majority of the AL have it in for Besho. They want to see the end of him. Where else do you imagine the pressure on the SNC to come up with a post-junior plan is coming from? I know people who speak with members of the SNC, and those members are so optimistic, you’d think we already had a new face on the 1000 lira bills.

    Two Syrian opposition channels have been carrying out fundraisers over the last few days, the donations have been pouring in from all over the Arab world, and not just from Syrian expats.

    Now, regarding the snafu over the draft plan or meswada or whatever the heck it was. These….things….happen. This is politics. Things will get murky. Till now no one is really sure what the two bodies involved actually thought they were agreeing to. But to claim that Burhan Ghalyoun is selling out the revolution is ridiculous. Sometimes Ar’or really goes too far in seeing the devil behind everything. Ghalyon is a man of integrity. We should not underestimate the massive burden he is shouldering. Please people, we have to learn to give some slack.

    As a person in Homs, I live from day to day. I’ve stopped planning for anything beyond a few days. Which would make me a terrible and ineffective leader. Luckily, we have Syrians who can and do plan for weeks and months. And even more fortunately, such foresight does not appear to be evident in any shape, way or form amongst the regime’s officials. I can’t remember the last time a regime was condemned so overwhelmingly by both the UN and its own regional body.

    Now, ya menhebakjis. Apparently, they still think that every protester who comes out to demonstrate is getting paid by Sheikh Hamad. So it begs the question, why didn’t the regime use some of the 2 billion liras it is spending on the unwashed, unemployable shabihas to bribe people into staying at home? Seriously, you see the twisted contradictions every menhebakji lives in? Such mental gymnastics would have broken the minds of more rational people.


  4. OTW , AND Aboud (and anyone else) – do you have a take on this ? Why did Samir Nashar give an interview requesting international military intervention to an almost-fringe-right-wing American newspaper (the blandly named Washington Times , owned by the cultish Korean Reverend Moon) rather than to the American centrist press, or the progressive media? Was this his choice of interlocutor, or were they the only ones interested in an interview? I find the latter hard to believe (Democracy Now has interviewed people in the Syrian opposition). I have heard from a Syrian friend in Paris that this was a reflection of demands “on the ground” from the muqâwmoun in Syria… but still a bizarre and discrediting choice of venue.

    There is now noise on the blogosphere that the SNC is a zionist/US neocon puppet organization . الله يستر

    This is a more nuanced interview with a French Syria observer, “Ignace Leverrier” — a pseudonym, he says he’s a retired diplomat, has been writing very good columns on Syria in Le Monde



  5. Umm Nuwas:

    “There is now noise on the blogosphere that the SNC is a zionist/US neocon puppet organization” الله يستر

    Oops, you crossed the line. On the WALLS, anyone mentioning such theories, even if you don’t believe them yourself completely will get you crucified.

    Hint 🙂 (if I may borrow it from you): Take what you read on the internet and on the blogospheres with a grain of salt.

    In today’s environment anything is possible.


  6. “There is now noise on the blogosphere that the SNC is a zionist/US neocon puppet organization”

    Good. That means the SNC has become a mainstream organization in record time. You aren’t really worth anything until people start accusing you of being a Zionist/Neocon puppet organization.

    Nothing made me happier than the menhebaks on SC loudly screaming that I was a Zionist paid agent. When I sarcastically came out as “Emmanuel Goldstein”, those sad souls went into overdrive conspiracy mode, like they had cracked open a great big conspiracy. Not one of them, not Alex, Jad, or the other self important *cough* “intellectual types”, recognized the name for what it was. Revlon, to his credit, got the joke. Har har.

    Just spent half an hour banging on a pot and making a racket. Most fun I’ve had in a long time 🙂


  7. Um Nuwas,

    The Arab Awakening will not stop until the Arab nations are dictatorship free, colonially cleansed from every internal and external power that aims at oppressing our people.

    If you are an optimist and a realist, you will call what is happening an Arab Revolution. You’ll look at the street and ask yourself, hmm, will anyone be capable of subduing this awakening. The answer is NO. This is just the beginning of a bright future!

    If you are a pessimist, you will call the mobilization of the people a conspiracy, prepared in foreign kitchens and is getting cooked in the Arab world ………

    And if you are an agitator, an Arab or Islam -phobe, you will do everything in your power to hijack this Arab Spring.

    If they are no puppets, you can easily make one, though, the people are watching with their eyes wide open. Infiltrators, puppets, corrupts, traitors, spies…..all of a sudden SNC?

    A friendly reminder, assad’s mafia-regime is the problem.


  8. Keep an eye out for regime trying to raise much needed funds by pretending to represent opposition causes/charities.


  9. Aboud
    My hands are itching to make such a racket. Yet, where I am. I will get a visit from the cops for joining you in your racket doing so. However, I will find a friend whose teenage son has a drum, and join the “band” practice with a pot just for the heck of it.

    Dear umm nuwâs
    I really have no idea and at this point, i will not hazard answer on behalf of SNC. I copied your comment two members in the SNC and will promptly inform you of their answer, if I get any. I am sure their emails are flooded with similar notes.

    However, as much as I love Democracy now, and enjoy the Nation and other progressive media outlets, pragmatically speaking, and with the urgency required for saving Syrian blood, SNC will be committing media suicide if it restricts itself to progressive media in the US. I have been following the progressive press in the US and sadly it has been, with few exceptions unfriendly to the revolution and to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people. I am dismayed at the anemic and occasionally hostile coverage in counterpunch; which has always been one of my daily web-surfing stops. The progressive media has been preparing its audience either to be apathetic, at best, or hostile, at worst to the plight of Syrian people and to their rights to demand international protection from the full scale war unleashed on them by the criminal regime. It has framed such requests within a wide ranging levels of conspiracy theories. I find that insulting. I think that while the west may have interests, and has and will continue to act in un-ethical manners to guard and ensure its interest, the Arab spring is creating new realities, and most western progressives seem to miss that and continue to treat the Arabs as useless bunch in constant need of progressive’s exposing the greed and criminality of their own countries against the helpless Arabs. This is not longer acceptable. The arabs need true solidarity, not an academic one.

    Centrist press has done far better, yet still below what is needed, in conveying the horror the criminal regime is inflicting on Syrians. I fully agree with you and others that we need far more coverage in centrist press.

    I will not assume to plot the media campaign of the SNC. But the regime and its mouthpieces have always gone rabid about SNC as a (Zionist,—- fill the space) conspiracy. An interview with the Washington Time, will give them cannon fodder, but it may have reached millions of Americans who read this publication. I read the interview and while I regret that Samir Nashar may has accepted this interview, but there is nothing in the interview that Mr. Nashar has not already declared publicly on other media outlets, be on TV or in printed press. Mr. Nashar, who was one of the coordinators of the Damascus Declaration, seems to be taking a hawkish position. SNC includes the widest spectrum of opposition, but all are in agreement that the Assads will not stop their murders unless there is a well trained, professional, and fearless observer mission in every single town and village in Syria and unless a credible threat of retribution is present to the physical safety of the gang leaders. Many tend to agree with that. While things may have become better in Homs, the regime is only releasing people to open up space for the hundreds it has kidnapped in the past few days. The killing fields remain in operation.

    I do agree that it was not the best of calls, and I hope that SNC becomes more choosy in the future. It remains to be seen how many outlets have asked for interviews.


  10. Aboud, once more you had a press coup. The Guardian live update had this to say

    • The presence of Arab League observer is creating effective safety zones for protesters, according to the Syrian blogger 7ee6an, in some rare support for the league’s mission. The post says:

    –Well you know what it says….


  11. Thanks OTW, but they could have at least provided a pingback. Humph 🙂

    Saw a joke on one of the Homsi Facebook pages. “If Bashar is betting on time making us fed up, he should remember that as kids, we used to wait four episodes for Captain Majed to shoot the football”.

    Hehehehehe…….ah, the days of Adnan and Lena cartoons.


  12. Dear Umm Nuwas and OTW,
    First, I want to thank you Umm Nuwas for your link to the latest in Amal Hanano’s articles. I am absolutely in love with her writings.
    Regarding the SNC, I think they should talk to whoever is willing to listen at this point. Beggars can’t be choosers. We need as many people as possible out there to hear about the plight of the Syrian people.
    Regarding the SNC being Zionists and Neocons, of course. Had you lived in Syria you would have heard more absurd statements. There is an army of people working for the ministry of Information (should be called the ministry of disinformation, misinformation and propaganda) in conjunction with another army from the Mukhabarat. There job is solely to create rumors, to spread fear and to denigrate certain individuals and organizations. So armed with this information, it should not surprise you from now on when you hear that Aljazeera is a Jewish organization and that is why it has the letter J, Burhan Ghalioun is a Neocon, Radwan Ziadeh works for the CIA or that the owner of TV Orient is a gay man married to a Ukranian whore.


  13. شام حماة مورك أجمل مسائية في مورك بحضور قاشوش جرجناز وأغنية رائعة جدا 5 1 2012

    From Twitter:
    Great protest in Hama singer mentions every city in Syria as protesters repeat “down down with bashar”

    Wow! What a defiant peaceful crowd.

    These honourable revolutionists had made us as Syrians closer than ever. The different accents are music to my ear. When will we be liberated? When? I truly missed the people. We are one big family.


  14. شهداء يوم الخميس 5/1/2012:
    مجموع الشهداء 49 شهيد موزعين كالآتي::

    دير الزور: 15
    حمص: 19
    دمشق وريفها: 9
    درعا: 2
    ادلب: 2
    حماه: 1
    اللاذقية: 1.


  15. An interesting article.

    النظام في متاهته
    من تصريحات المسؤولين السوريين ومتابعة وسائل إعلامهم، تبدو الصورة على النحو الآتي: يزداد التفاف الشعب حول قيادته كلما تصاعد تأثير المؤامرة في حياة المواطنين اليومية.

    لقد أسفر نفي الحكم وجود أزمة داخلية تصل إلى أعمق الأسس التي أقام بنيته عليها، عن نتائج تلامس مسرح العبث والكوميديا السوداء. إذ ليس من المعقول تصور قدرة الخارج على السيطرة الميدانية على ثالث أكبر مدينة وتقع في وسط البلاد بعيدة من أي حدود، أي حمص، وفرض درجة من الاضطراب على يوميات ملايين السوريين في سعيهم إلى رزقهم، من دون أن يشكو النظام الحاكم من علّة سوى بعض الفساد الذي تعالجه إصلاحات «سيد الوطن».

    الواقع يقول أمراً شديد الاختلاف. وهو أن القاعدة الاقتصادية والاجتماعية التي أقام النظام السوري صرحه الرهيب عليها، تصدعت بما يفوق كثيراً قدرة أي جهة على الترميم. لقد انتهت لعبة الابتزاز الموجه إلى الخارج من أجل ديمومة القبض على الداخل. وأظهرت إسرائيل في مناسبتين، في ذكرى النكبة في 15 أيار (مايو) وبعد أقل من شهر في ذكرى هزيمة حزيران (يونيو)، عزمها على الرد بقسوة حيال أي محاولة للتحرش. يومها سقط شبان فلسطينيون قادهم طهرهم وحماستهم إلى تصديق أكاذيب النظام، فدفعوا أعمارهم ثمناً لرهان خاسر على جذب اهتمام العالم من خلال التحرش الحدودي.



  16. This article by Marwa Daoudy in al-Jazeera underlines the (I would say “unhealthy”) interest in Syria taken by U.S. neocon “think tanks” :

    That does not imply (nor does the writer) anything about the SNC. But it goes along with OTWs observation that the “progressive” American press has been publishing very little indeed about the Syrian revolution. ( Your comment made me more conscious of this – I tend to read French and British papers and al-Jazeera…)
    Even American online progressive journalists whose area is the Middle East – I am thinking of Hussein Ibish and Juan Cole – have written very little , if at all, about Syria in these past months. Can someone close to the SNC catch their eyes?
    Amal Hanano published an interview with Burhan Ghalioun a couple of weeks ago on Jadaliyya, very sympathetic but not policy-oriented.

    Yâ Lev Davidovich Aboud, I remember “Emmanuel Goldstein” ! (My real name is Emma Goldman…. :~) )


  17. “There is now noise on the blogosphere that the SNC is a zionist/US neocon puppet organization”

    Aboud, Sheila,

    From my vantage point, it seems conspiracy theories are quite common in the ME and used to explain away everything that befalls the arab world. Polls show that the majority of arabs believe 9-11 was a US/Mossad operation despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    Part of the arab awakening is seeing the world realistically and electing representatives who can take responsibility for the direction of a nation.




  18. Dear SGID,
    If you have access to the Internet, can you please just tell us that you are OK?


  19. To All,
    Can someone please tell me why the opposition would attack the hottest area in central Damascus, Al Midan? Why would they kill their own people? Why wouldn’t they target areas that are vital to the regime? It is just too convenient for the regime isn’t it?


  20. SGID, please let us know you are OK.


    “Can someone please tell me why the opposition would attack the hottest area in central Damascus, Al Midan”

    They wouldn’t. It would be like Hamas sending a suicide bomber into an Arab neighborhood in Haifa.

    The regime doesn’t dare deploy armored vehicles inside the capital. And its shabihas have proven ineffective in subduing Midan. And so the regime unleashes a campaign of terrorist bombings against the areas of Damascus that are revolting.

    Al Arabiya is reporting that activists said that ambulances had gathered in Kafar Susa a full hour before the explosion.


  21. This was posted on Facebook. I had to share it with you:
    صار التكبير .. قالو سلفيين من جماعة العرعور صارت القرقعة .. ما ناقص غير يقولو جماعة الشيف رمزي …..


  22. Dear Aboud,
    I agree. Too suspicious. How come none of the government’s rallies is attacked?. Mark my word, their next step is going to be a bombing during one of their rallies to prove that they are targeted. They are capable of anything. No limits.


  23. Sheila, there is no doubt what so ever that the regime was behind it. What kind of idiot would bomb one of the few places in Damascus that consistently came out against the regime? Only someone working for the regime. This was punishment against Midan for giving the regime so much trouble.

    Do you think the menhebaks are in any way saddened by this loss of Syrian life? They are gloating that finally Midan got the Baba Amr treatment. Between themselves, they know that this is all sick, perverted theatrics.

    I’f love to see apologists like Landis try to explain this one, and provide us with a deeper analysis than “Uh, well they were wrong about 9/11, so you know…..”


  24. Notice also that the bombings only happen on Fridays. The regime is trying to scare people into staying at home during these days.


  25. I have been following the events in Halab. I am seeing a lot more movement in the city proper. Some areas that never had any demonstrations are joining in. The most interesting is that there was a big demonstration in Al Shahbaa. This is one of the richest areas in Halab. This proves that the analysis that claims the rich are not support the revolution is bogus.


  26. Well Aboud, it had to be Friday. The so called “suicide bomber” has to go to work on week days.


  27. Here is the Guardian update — “meanwhile” 19 anti-regime demonstrators killed today so far in Homs and Damascus. A You-tube of today’s Homs demo included . Also one claiming to be of a guy “injured in the Damascus bombing” getting up & walking away.


    Aboud, you’re right, it makes no sense : all those beautifully staged pro-Besho rallies not chosen as “targets” (if one were to believe that narrative).

    Good news about Halab, Sheila. & that quote was grimly funny


  28. What are the names of the victims and the alleged suicide bomber.
    The names should be published fast. The victims are already buried, if so, by whom? their families or the criminal regime?

    Why in Midan?

    The timing, the place and the target are very suspicious for several reasons. The aim is to create chaos, but controlled chaos.

    The foolishness, cruelty and arrogance of this regime makes us more determined than ever to pluck them out of our midst.

    Why is the world silent, why is the regime getting a rub and a tap on the back from the world community? Why are the leaders turning their faces the other side as the death toll is rising? Or, do they really believe that the Arab Spring is moving the Arab world “backward”? Didn’t this regime commit mass murder? Was part of the axis of evil? Supports Hamas and Hizbullah? Why are those same countries who wanted regime change muted and turning their faces in the other direction? Just when the people are mobilized?

    Not a word!


  29. from the Guardian again.. you’ve got to go to al-Jazeera to get the video, or to the Guardian article in which it is “embedded”


    “Syrian activists are heralding a senior military defection, live on television this afternoon.

    Colonel Afif Suleiman, from the air force division in Hama, announced his defection along with that of 30 of his soldiers, on al-Jazeera Mubasher (pictured below).
    Colonel Afif Suleiman al-Jazeera Mushaber screengrab

    He reportedly said that Arab League observers ignored his pleas to visit mass graves.

    Video from Rastan in Homs on Thursday claimed to show a group of 13 soldiers defecting to the opposition.”


  30. A regime that killed 40,000 Syrians in the 80s with cold blood, is the same regime that is killing and maiming Syrians today. It is the same regime that the US and their allies were pointing fingers at in Iraq, it is the same regime that US and cronies pointed the finger at in Hariri’s death, it is the same regime that they accused of harbouring terrorists organizations, Hamas and Hizbullah, it is the same regime that tortured our children in Deraa, it is the same regime that handed the Kurdish leader to Turkey, it is the same regime that turned a chunk of our people to shabeeha and mass murderer, it is the same regime that hindered the advancement of our people and forced us to emigrate around the world, and now to refugees inside and outside our country.

    It is time for the West to unequivocally call for his departure. Or do they not like us oppression free? Till when will they hold us hostage? 40 years is sufficient. The enemy is the regime, for now, the question, how long till the blame shifts?


  31. NZ – I agree with your general sentiment, but let’s not repeat the ridiculous cliches of the so-called war on terror. the axis of evil language will alienate all those people who opposed Bush and neo-con policies. we need these good people on our side. and the regime’s cooperation with hizbullah and hamas was very popular in syria – until hizbullah supported the oppression of the people.


  32. It is time for the West to unequivocally call for his departure.


    The West has ALREADY called for the departure of Assad:




    In the not too distant past, specifically with Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, the US was blamed vociferously for interfering internally in these countries.

    My suggestion is that “Arab Street” and specifically, the Arab League call for Western intervention. The West should wait for unambiguous invitation to intercede.


  33. So-Called Regime Criticizers

    …but let’s not repeat the ridiculous cliches of the so-called war on terror…

    Robin Yassin-Kassab,

    I find it interesting that you have only chosen to criticize the Syrian regime this past half year. Is it only because Arabs are now the victims?


  34. Akbar Palace,
    you made this same comment to Robin weeks ago, you got a rebuttal, and now you are repeating yourself, again, again…
    Why don’t you keep criticizing OTW or me, or any of the others who have altered a stance, rightfully. Is it only because you feel the need to spar with Robin cause he writes against your favorite ‘victims’?


  35. I wonder what fake made up website will take “credit” for the bombing this time around?
    My bet will be a faked FSA website (is there an official FSA Website ?)

    My heart goes out to the innocent victims, this is a tragedy which I believe the regime is using as a catalyst for further horrible atrocities. I unfortunately only see more crimes and complete disregard for any moral or human feelings by these murderous thugs, they will not go unless they bring all of Syria down with them, or at least die trying to.


  36. AP

    “I find it interesting that you have only chosen to criticize the Syrian regime this past half year”

    Well AP, alot of Syrians thought we had it OK compared to our neighbors. I myself was quite happy to let Makhlof and co pillage the country as long as they stayed out of my way. I wasn’t looking for government jobs or contracts. As long as the government provided the basic necessities such as electricity, safety, a stable currency, and some form of economic and telecom connections to the outside world, I was as happy as a Hindu cow.

    Unfortunately, a socialist type central planned economy that favors the very few, leaves the vast majority of the country without the prospects I was fortunate enough to have. Few people remember this today, but one of Baba Amr’s original grudges against the regime, was the former governor of Homs’s insane decision to abruptly cut off issuing new electricity and water meters to newly built houses there. In the first protests, 200 people in Baba Amr came out with simple demands. 100 were beaten up and arrested. The next week, 7000 came out. The rest is history.

    I don’t blame anyone for their positions before the revolution. I myself didn’t become a committed revolutionary until the New Clock massacre in April. The finest expression of a free, youthful and democratic Homs was murderously cut down by the only people junior could reliably depend on to do the dirty deed; shabiha scum sh*ts, former prison drug smugglers, pimps and car thieves, who were let out in the afternoon, to murder Syrians in the evening. Over 80 people died that one night, and hundreds more are missing to this day.

    After that, no one had any excuse left. Supporters of this junta are supporters of terrorism, war crimes, mass murder and sectarian warfare. And they deserve no part whatsoever in a post-Baathist Syria.


  37. “a socialist type central planned economy that favors the very few, leaves the vast majority of the country without the prospects I was fortunate enough to have”
    I agree with everything you said, & it is congruent with the experience of my Syrian friends (and my Egyptian and Tunisian friends , & a lot of Iraqis before the invasion as well) , and thanks for it — but the above isn’t a “socialist” economy by definition, whatever they chose to call it.
    I know this is coffee-house quibbling while the block is burning down…


  38. you made this same comment to Robin weeks ago, you got a rebuttal, and now you are repeating yourself, again, again…


    I’m memory challenged.

    Why don’t you keep criticizing OTW or me, or any of the others who have altered a stance, rightfully.

    Frankly, I do not know what your stance was with Syria and the Assad regime prior to the “arab awakening”.

    Is it only because you feel the need to spar with Robin cause he writes against your favorite ‘victims’?


    RYK uses loaded terms like “the so-called war on terror”, “the axis of evil” and “Bush and neo-con policies”, so I feel more inclined to defend myself. I don’t recall you or OTW using these terms to make a point.

    I don’t blame anyone for their positions before the revolution. I myself didn’t become a committed revolutionary until the New Clock massacre in April.


    Obviously I am looking at the situation a lot differently than the other participants here. But I must say, I feel as though there are double messages here. I look at N.Z.’s post above (4:29pm), and he decries the Hama massacre of the 1980s as well as Syria’s “harbouring terrorists organizations, Hamas and Hizbullah”.

    So as you see, these are the double messages. Are the Assads only guilty of terrorism this past half year or this past 40 years? Is the term “war on terror” accurate or inaccurate? Were the ” Bush and the neo-con policies” right or wrong?

    What I am trying to make the participants here think about, is that terrorism is terrorism. If you allow a government to engage in terrorism and brutality it can affect your own society. It is like playing with fire. In this sense, I am placing some amount of blame on those that continue to believe I am wrong about this, like RYK.


  39. Umm Nuwas

    “and thanks for it — but the above isn’t a “socialist” economy by definition, whatever they chose to call it.
    I know this is coffee-house quibbling while the block is burning down…”

    You are correct. The regime called it socialism, but it was actually cronyism of the worst sort.


  40. The Syrian regime has a history of using car bombs and other vehicle-borne bombs. It has a history of using terrorism to achieve its aims. The regime is quite expert on all sorts of bombings, just who killed all those Lebanese politicians with car bonbs for 30 years ?

    This thing has “Government of Syria” written all over it.


  41. Aboud,. its called “crony capitalism”, capitalism without a free market.


  42. NZ, the West has already called for Assad to go, at least France and Britain have.

    Its high time for the Arab “public” to go out on the streets and demand action from their governments, that is if they care. But Arabs are THE most selfish people. How many people, ordinary people, in Arab countries, are much worried about Syria ?

    Stop whining of the West, when will the ARAB STREET call unequivocally for the regime’s departure ?


  43. NZ, the Arab people have much more power over this issue than Western Governments, believe me.

    If 50,000-strong rallies will converge on Beirut, Baghdad, Riyadh, Cairo, Algiers, Khartoum, Amman etc. DEMANDING their Governments to take REAL action against the Syrian regime, it will have a much greater impact than a few American or British spokesmen calling on Assad to leave.

    Its time for the Arab people to step up to the plate, this massacre is far worse than what was going on in Gaza or Lebanon, in my opinion the Syrian demonstrators should directly appeal to the Arab People instead of the Arab League.


  44. Dear Robin Yassin-Kassab, I will not go into further details about the colossal losses, in terms of people and destruction, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, because of a “ridiculous cliches”, you are right on.

    This was the question I asked:
    Why are those same countries who wanted regime change muted and turning their faces in the other direction? Just when the people are mobilized?

    But my question was ignored by AP, who likes to chose and pick, and does not ascribe to, “All” are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law, UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

    When a despicable politician comes out and expresses complete contempt for Arab people’s ability to sustain democratic regimes, and declares his nostalgia for Hosni Mubarak’s regime, while blasting Israeli and world politicians who support the Arab Spring revolutions and accused the Arab world of “moving not forward, but backward.”

    Yet AP, selective memory, is pathetic. I do not like to engage with people who have no regrets for all victims, equally.


  45. N.Z.’s “Human Rights” Quest

    This was the question I asked:

    Why are those same countries who wanted regime change muted and turning their faces in the other direction? Just when the people are mobilized?


    I’m confused. Antoine and I just showed you (see my links, there are hundreds more) that most western countries have already called for “regime change”.

    Meanwhile, what Arab countries want Syrian regime change? For example, doesn’t Turkey (non-Arab) still entertain the Syrian ambassador in Turkey (although Turkey recalled it’s ambassor to Israel because 9 thugs were killed trying to beat the crap out of IDF soldiers)?

    But my question was ignored by AP, who likes to chose and pick, and does not ascribe to, “All” are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law, UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

    What makes you think I do not ascribe to the UDOHR?

    When a despicable politician comes out and expresses complete contempt for Arab people’s ability to sustain democratic regimes, and declares his nostalgia for Hosni Mubarak’s regime, while blasting Israeli and world politicians who support the Arab Spring revolutions and accused the Arab world of “moving not forward, but backward.”

    I have always called for democratic regimes to take the place of the autocratic regimes that plague the ME.

    Yet AP, selective memory, is pathetic. I do not like to engage with people who have no regrets for all victims, equally.

    Which people have I had “no regrets” for? And like my point above, when it was only Jews dying, who here was critical of the Arab despots?


  46. AP,
    he was critiquing the “loaded terms” actually, not using them.


  47. and by the way,
    look at the first post of this blog and my comment in response to it. it is right there…. absurd of you to say you don’t know what my stance was… or OTW… etc…and then OTW linked the whole Elias/ Qifa Nabki post which was ON THIS SUBJECT…. … it is very obvious. You just want to selectively go after Robin.


  48. And I think you are wrong as I have said many times. Terrorism is a bullshit word, that is massively overused and overdetermined in its meaning and tells one nothing about the dynamic of any situation. NOTHING – except that is a tactic used by both people and governments to commit violence while attempting to not be accountable for it – and external to attacking formal armies.
    It is a useless word at this point, as we can see by the fact that gov’ts use it as blanket terms for those they want to discredit as having any rational grievance and will attempt to kill. Israeli gov’t does it, American gov’t has done, Syrian gov’t has done it. Russian gov’t has done and so on and so forth.


  49. Khawla Dunia
    حمصي نزل الى دمشق… جاء من الموت والعنف والفوضى والحصار الى دمشق… عندما صعد في التكسي كان معصب كتير وأخذ يشتم بالنظام ومن على رأسه
    السائق يسمع…. ولا يجيب… والحمصي يعلو صوته.
    عند أقرب شرطي مرور توقفت التكسي قال السائق للشرطي: هذا مندس يريد اسقاط النظام…
    احتار الشاب وهو يرى الشرطي يشكر السائق على وطنيته
    وضع في يده قيداً وجره خارج السيارة
    بعد ان ابتعد السائق
    سأل الشرطي الشاب: أنت من وين؟ قال له : من حمص
    فك الشرطي القيد وهو يقول: وأنا من جبل الزاوية، أخي النظام سقط عندكون وعنا… ولكن في دمشق لم يسقط بعد… انتبه على حالك

    From Khawla Dunia
    A man from Homs went to Damascus, coming from death, violence, chaos, and siege to Damascus. He was very angry when he boarded the taxi, and he started cussing at the regime all the way up to the regime’s head.

    The driver was listening… never answering as the Homsi man’s voice went higher and higher.

    At the nearest traffic cop, the taxi stopped, and the driver told the cup: this guy is an infiltrator and he is calling for the fall of the regime

    The young man was dumbfounded as he saw the cop thanking the driver for his nationalism.

    The cop handcuffed the young man and dragged him out of the car. After the car went, the cop asked the young man, where are you from? Homs, came the answer. The cop unlocked the handcuffs while saying: and I am from Jabal Alzawya. Hey Bro, the regime has fallen at your and my towns, but here in Damascus, it has not fallen yet, be careful and take care.


  50. NZ – I think it’s clear that the West has had enough of the Asad regime. There have been calls for Asad to step down from the US and France (and Britain?). The EU and the US have effectively sanctioned the regime. We can’t expect Bush-style regime-change because the Bush wars were a colossal economic and political failure and because the Western economies are in big trouble. Add to that the unwillingness of the BRICS to countenance military action in Syria. Add to that the fact that Syria is complicated by sect, that many Syrians will accept the regime narrative as soon as Western military action starts.

    Thank you, Zenobia. Anyone who thinks I was uncritical of the Syrian regime before this year should read my novel. It’s true that I was appreciative of Syrian foreign policy in my political writing. I considered that it was pretty good when compared with the foreign policies of other Arab dictatorships. I’m not embarrassed by this. I was too quiet about domestic abuses. I am a little embarrassed by that, but not too much. When the Syrian people stood up for their rights I spoke in their support. To not have done so would have meant hypocrisy, inhumanity and irrelevance.

    I have no wish to enter into debate with AP, except to say that I do not oppose armed action against occupying forces. It may be that in the future, with a stronger Arab world of democracies or semi-democracies, non-violent forms of resistance to Zionist occupation and apartheid will eclipse the armed struggle, but I have no moral problem with armed struggle, particularly not with Hizbullah’s methods. My problem with Hizbullah is its support for the oppressive, murderous Asad regime.


  51. Apartheid of the Mind

    Terrorism is a bullshit word…


    I respectfully disagree. Terrorism is clearly defined, both by definition and by rules of war.

    Furthermore, both Israel and the Palestinians have been cited for war crimes. Israeli war crimes have generally been cited for “disproportional force” and illegal use of some weapons. Palestinian crimes have been for targeting civilian population centers as well as from firing from inside population centers.

    Has Assad been cited for “war crimes”? I don’t know. But he and his father have sure killed more innocent Arabs than Israel has.

    I have no wish to enter into debate with AP, except to say that I do not oppose armed action against occupying forces.


    So when Hamas fires missiles from their unoccupied terrortory into Israeli population centers, are you FOR or AGAINST that?

    non-violent forms of resistance to Zionist occupation and apartheid will eclipse the armed struggle

    And when Hezbollah fires missles from unoccupied Lebanon into Israeli population centers, how is that “non-violent”?

    It is clear to me you aren’t totally upfront with us when you ask for a “non-violent” response and you still turn a blind eye to “armed action against occupying forces”. And if you accept “armed action” from a non-democratic regime like Assad, Hamas or Hezbollah, you are setting yourself up for your own pain and ass-kicking. I’m just trying to be straight with you.


  52. “but I have no moral problem with armed struggle, particularly not with Hizbullah’s methods”

    When some Hizballah like group uses these methods from within Syria and not Lebanon, you will finally realize how wrong you are on this issue also.


  53. Actually, it seems to me AP that YOU are the one setting yourself up, considering you want to supposedly support ‘resistance’ to the Assad regime – including through violence, and if this took the form of targeting of any regime supporters – these would be civilians – inevitably.. not just people in the army. thus, the regime and others could characterize this as “terrorisim”… hence the inadequacy of the word…because it does not describe or take into account relative power or moral legitimacy…it is just by definition a pure tactical description.
    One man’s freedom fighter is therefore – easily another’s terrorist, just we see in the case of the use/misuse/abuse of the term by the Syrian regime.

    Personally, I am against violent methods in the case of Syrian revolution, not because I am some pure pacifist, no. I am against it because, I do not think these methods – will save time or lives in the long run. I think the methods themselves are corrosive and corrupting to one’s humanity and therefore- create and aftermath in which it will be harder to institute reconciliation processes, or to build a rule of law or a non-violent system out of the rubble. Additionally, whether one thinks Shabiha are hopelessly evil or disturbed people, unless one is advocating “eliminating” those who are left after a struggle by extermination or total imprisonment (both of which would be a sad start to any supposed human rights respecting society)- then these are people who are Syrians too – who the people of Homs and all of Syria have to live together with. Therefore, I see the necessity of avoiding violent methods of confrontation as much as humanly possible.

    In contrast, the Hezbollah- is fighting an external enemy – and I support their tactics against Israel because these are the methods available to them in an unjust (imbalanced power) conflict. They do not own the kind of military to take on another military in pure ‘rules of war’ terms. However- their cause is one – I support, as Israel was occupying Lebanon for 18 years and abusing its power in doing so. That choice gave birth to the Hezbollah. The tactic of guerilla war may not fit with a prescribed ‘rules of war’ but then – these conflicts also do not fit traditional war configurations, and few will in the future.
    As Robin said already, the crime of the Hezbollah right now – is its hypocritical and cynical siding with the Syrian regime.. as it is caring more for its own power in this instance than it is for what is morally right.
    Clearly you have your analogies on wrong, because as those Israeli protesters shouted…the equation is “Mubarek!, Assad!, Bibi Netanyahu!”…


  54. AP,

    “And when Hezbollah fires missles from unoccupied Lebanon into Israeli population centers, how is that “non-violent”?”

    And the use of cluster bombs against civilian population is totally acceptable?

    Or the constant incursions of Israeli warplanes into other nations sovereign airspace?

    Both sides are wrong in many ways, if it is a matter of who is more wrong then we are both doomed to hate and intolerance. Both of which are not just an arab exclusive, for every Hassan Nasrallah there is an Israeli counterpart who is spewing the same hateful garbage.

    Lets side step this issue, for I am sure both sides can continue the finger pointing for quite awhile.


  55. OTW,

    That was great, love how the Homsi felt free enough to talk about the regime in a taxi in Damascus. Lucky for him the cop was a fellow homsi, and the taxi driver was not moukhabarat, many taxis in Damascus are moukhabarat.

    Who replaces homsi’s now in terms of jokes? For when I hear a homsi story and it is not about how brave they are, I get the uncontrollable urge to inflict pain

    Side note:

    Are image uploads moderated, or did I completely fail in uploading an image earlier?


  56. Must honestly say that I am surprised the criminal gang did not resort to the use of bombings earlier. I have to admit I am one of those “pessimists” who believed from the very beginning that the ruling criminals would rather burn down the country than let it slip out of their hands. Back in May (on the 21st to be exact) I was watching Barada tv and they had Dr Mohammad Rahhal in the studio discussing the uprising. This is the email I sent them

    لدي سؤال للدكتور الكريم

    سيدي هل تعتقد أن النظام ،بعد فشله في احتواء الثورة سيحاول إخافة وارعاب الشعب السوري بواسطة اللجوء إلى نشر الإرهاب على الطريقة “العراقية” : حملة تفجيرات و سيارات مفخخة في مناطق مدنية في جميع أنحاء القطر. أنا لا استبعد هذا أبدا فما رأيكم ؟

    They didn’t answer my question or discuss it; the talk then was that the whole rotten structure would come crashing down in a matter of weeks, maybe by the end of Ramadan at the latest. I too wanted to believe that and bravely declared their days “numbered”.

    But when the bombings in Kafar Souseh happened I thought “here we go”, and also knew they wouldn’t be the last. That the Assadist Mafia and Associates have now gone down that road is a sign of their desperation and the start of their hate-driven process of destroying the whole country knowing that they won’t be able to keep it as their private prison farm. This regime is more vicious and vindictive than anyone can imagine and as it is now cornered, it will lash out blindly.

    Will the bombs and carnage finally shake the “silent majority” out of its paralysis? Or do the bombs have to explode in their own neighborhoods and at their doorsteps before that happens? The Assadists will be defeated in the end, no doubt in my mind, but the road to victory will be very bloody.

    يل– روحك يا حافظ


  57. One man’s freedom fighter is therefore – easily another’s terrorist


    I don’t subscribe to the popular statement. It is a “cop-out” which basically states any type of crime can be explained away. Israeli crimes are crimes, American crimes are crimes, Syrian crimes are crimes and Palestinian crimes are crimes. Terrorism is a crime everywhere, anywhere, all the time.

    Zenobia, et al,

    We are talking about several things (that are important to me and I think to a few here). I will try to relate it to the main topic here: Syria

    Let’s make up a non-ME example so we can try to be unbiased.

    Say the Italian Mafia takes over Italy. They govern with a hard hand and suspend civil liberties. No voting…the strongest mafia family is now the head of the Italian government. The Italians hate neighboring Switzerland, so they turn a blind eye to the Italian leadership and how terribly they run the country because they support the fight against Switzerland.

    You see where this is going.

    After 40 years of running the country into the ground, and killing many more innocent Italians than the Swiss, finally the Italians revolt against the Italian mafia that runs the country.

    I’ll let you provide us with the moral of this story…

    In short, I’m not saying you have to make peace with the Swiss or stop fighting the Swiss. I’m saying that by supporting a repressive regime that answer to no one, who treats its people as badly as it has for as long as it has, it will hurt the supporters more than it will hurt the country (Switzerland in this example) you want to war with.

    Lastly, the people should have the ability to say when to war and when not to war. As it is today, any despot-run country goes to war without the will of the people. When the US and Israel tire of war, they vote in leaders that promise to end the war. Obama is a great example.

    Both sides are wrong in many ways, if it is a matter of who is more wrong then we are both doomed to hate and intolerance.

    Son of Damascus,

    If you want to war with Israel, please vote for an arab leader that will follow through on that. If you want to negotiate a peace with Israel (which I prefer), please vote for an arab leader that will follow through on this. As it stands today, there is no arab leadership that will listen to you.

    RYK, and many others here never cared much about this until less than a year ago. Why?

    In contrast, the Hezbollah- is fighting an external enemy – and I support their tactics against Israel because these are the methods available to them in an unjust (imbalanced power) conflict.


    Which is why the Lebanese will continue to suffer. Unbalanced power is a bad reason to justify crimes. If laws were enacted to make up for “unbalanced power” we’d all be dead.


  58. My cousin just back from Damascus:

    The neighbours, the contacts, the family and friends who have heard snipers talking to each other or over cell conclude they are made up of:

    1) Thugs with Jableh accent
    2) HA men speaking in their Lebanese dialect
    3) Some have heard Farsi and Fusha Arabic

    Rotted souls.


  59. AP, if you read the article, it says that Kuwait supports the move.

    “According to diplomatic sources the letter was sent by the U.S. Mission to the executive board of UNESCO on December 16, and has so far been signed by 14 other signatories and significantly includes the Arab nation of Kuwait. A U.S. diplomatic source directly involved with the negotiations tells Fox News that the U.S. has “certainly been part of a strong and concerted effort to remove Syria, that effort is being led by various members of the Arab delegation which reflects the broader agenda for the Arab league”


  60. Dear Akbar Palace,
    As usual, I agree with some of your points and disagree with others, however, this one of your statements takes the prize in profoundness:

    “What I am trying to make the participants here think about, is that terrorism is terrorism. If you allow a government to engage in terrorism and brutality it can affect your own society. It is like playing with fire”.

    I urge you to think about this sentence in the context of Israel. I know that you do not see eye to eye with Noam Chomsky, but apparently, you agree with him on the most fundamental level. What you have stated above is exactly what he has been arguing for years.


  61. AP

    It was done in coordination with Arab countries. In every subsidiary governing body of the UN, or its organizations, there are regional seats that countries take turn at. However, had it not been for Arab countries who offered an alternative candidate, played, some quite enthusiastically along with the Obama Administration (how nice to say such a word instead of regime), the Assad regime, would have probably stayed on.

    I would love to see what you have said become a reality in the sense that Arab masses converge on their own capitals demanding a tough stand on the murderous regime of Syria, But as you are in Lebanon tied by the militias of SSNP, SNP, and HA, and other parties loyal to Syria, other Arabs have severe restrictions on demonstration. Needless to say, Egyptians of made the Syrian revolution constant presence in their demonstrations, Tunisians are already taking the side of the Syrian public, and Libyans have even offered to help out pf personal grudge against the foolish president who thought that Qaddafi is Sustainable. The gulf emirates have also been supportive, and they have allowed Syrian activists including highly secular ones a greater than ever margin of freedom.

    The demise of the Assad regime in Syria is not an issue of democracy, dignity, and liberty only, it is an historical necessity in a region much in need of re-starting history.


  62. Taufik Alhallak
    بعد أن نشر المراقب الشريف أنور مالك هذا التصريح على صفحته على الفيس بوك تم اغلاقها فورا !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    شهادة أنور مالك عضو بعثة المراقبين العرب

    سوريا … نحو المجهول
    الدماء في سورية لم تتوقف فيوميا نقف على جثث في حال لا تخطر على عقل بشر. العنف في تصاعد ونحن في عجز على فعل أي شيء للضحايا ممن يطالهم القنص والقصف والإغتيال. الإختطاف مستمر والتعذيب فاق الحدود. سورية تتجه نحو الدمار والحرب الأهلية التي تغذى بالطائفية والنظام لا هم له الا البقاء في الحكم على حساب واقع مأسوي، والأحياء المنكوبة لن تتراجع بعد الذي تعرضت له ولا تزال. العالم كله ينتظر البعثة العربية وهي عاجزة ببروتوكول ميت لا يتماشى مع الواقع ومراقبين تحكمهم قيود حكوماتهم وأشياء أخرى. الوقت يجري نحو أفق آخر لا نرضاه لهذا البلد الطيب، وها أنذا أبرئ ذمتي للشعب السوري البطل من مسرحية ولدت ميتة وصارت عمياء. غابت الحقيقة وغاب الحق وغربت شمس العرب في دهاليز الشام

    الحزين. أنور مالك – أحد أعضاء وفد المراقبين للجامعة العربية بسوريا.


  63. As usual, I agree with some of your points and disagree with others, however, this one of your statements takes the prize in profoundness:

    “What I am trying to make the participants here think about, is that terrorism is terrorism. If you allow a government to engage in terrorism and brutality it can affect your own society. It is like playing with fire”.

    I urge you to think about this sentence in the context of Israel. I know that you do not see eye to eye with Noam Chomsky, but apparently, you agree with him on the most fundamental level. What you have stated above is exactly what he has been arguing for years.


    Thanks. Writing and articulating is not one of my strong suits, but once in a while I get it right.

    OK. Let’s focus on Israel as you suggested, even though we both know this means the “Israel hour glass” gets turned upside down. We are not to broach the Zionist issue on this forum for too long.;)

    Israel and terrorism. I say unequivocally, that the government of Israel had, at times, been guilty of terrorism. This is nothing to be proud of. I recall an instance when the stupid, and really criminal Israelis tossed a 1 ton bomb on an apartment complex housing a wanted Hamas terrorist. This was terribly unfortunate and it was wrong. Deir Yassin. of course, is another example of Israeli terrorism, except, it wasn’t sanctioned by the Hagganah (~IDF) it was perpetrated by the Irgun. I am sure there are other examples to note, and I would be embarrassed to discuss them.


    Let me also just state, that civilian deaths do not automatically constitute a war crime or terrorism. Combatants are allowed to return fire from wherever is comes from.


    Noam Chomsky is an anti-Zionist who does not recognize Israel as an independent, legitimate state like the UN does. This may satisfy you, but it doesn’t satisfy me. So I DO NOT agree with Chomsky even on a “fundamental level”. For Chomsky and his ilk, Israel has no right to self-defense like every other nation.

    I hope you’re not one of his “ilk”, but I think you are;)


  64. AP,
    let me rephrase, and take back part of what I said: I don’t “support” their tactics actually, because “terrorism” or what you are referring to as “terrorism” is violence and in general I am against violence. However, primarily I think terroristic methods are wrong also because they only ‘work’ in the short term if at all – they don’t actually achieve anything except to piss off a stronger power and draw an impasse at best, which is what HA attained at best and at great cost. So, it is impractical and self defeating in the end
    However, I do not condemn it as any more or less immoral than conventional warfare methods. Uniforms do not create morality for me.
    So, there is no real reason to talk about some violence as terrorism to designate it as criminal and other violence as somehow more justified because the targets are supposedly more acceptable and therefore justified and therefore moral. None of this conventional equation works anymore when we are not talking about conventional warfare.
    Clearly there are atrocities of the sort where civilians are rounded up and shot etc. but this is a genocide situation or in that territory.
    So, as much as I don’t ‘support’ violent methods per se, I do understand and don’t morally condemn the people of southern Lebanon or the West Bank for methods that are the only ones available to them in a situation that is untenable.
    More powerful States are more immoral to my mind because they are wielding greater power- bombs, cluster bombs, etc.. and have greater responsibility to resolve the situation as an occupier or oppressor.

    Similarly, the Syrian regime cannot justify their violence even if we could find some would be ‘terrorists’ or insurgents committing some acts of violence because the gov’t hold disproportionate power and thereby has also the responsibility to restrain themselves from reacting disproportionately to any provocation.


  65. AP said:
    Combatants are allowed to return fire from wherever is comes from.

    well, in the case of lebanon,. fire is coming from Israel and was coming from Israel, as well as occupation…and thus fire was returned to Israel.

    A large percentage of the world body is considering many many Israel govt actions (including occupation) as constituting State instituted terrorism. You don’t, except in these paltry examples, hence your confusion in even knowing what terrorism is despite your disposition to using the word.


  66. Professor Josh has Company

    Similarly, the Syrian regime cannot justify their violence even if we could find some would be ‘terrorists’ or insurgents committing some acts of violence because the gov’t hold disproportionate power and thereby has also the responsibility to restrain themselves from reacting disproportionately to any provocation.


    I understand why Arabs are pro-Palestinian and why they may look the other way when they use tactics that are considered violent and criminal. The Palestinians are the underdog, and they are not as well trained and not as well equipped.

    With this in mind, it seems counter-productive to accept this sort of thuggish behavior in an environment completely devoid of human rights, law and order, and accountability. Someone who allows thugs to roam free because of a perceived injustice will eventually feel the effects of this mistaken decision. At least in a free society, such thugs are in danger of going to jail.

    Lastly, I sometimes gauge myself by scanning the articles of the great anti-Zionists of today. Namely, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and Jonathan Cook.

    To no surprise, the issue of Syria and the now 6000 who have perished there is no where to be found in any of their writings. Another of the world’s great mysteries…




    FYI, here’s a little primer on the “Rules of War”.

    Click to access RL31191.pdf


  67. ?? I doubt anybody is going to write a paper or book on this subject when we can’t get reliable and verifiable (citable) data about what is happening…
    but there are plenty of stuff on video, so you didn’t try very hard…

    or try any google you tube search


  68. i meant to say they won’t write it at this moment.
    but all your favs are in this video above.. saying something…if not a whole analysis – which by true research standards cannot be done from the outside by many people…..


  69. Kafar Souseh today: see hidden video captures Shabiha shoving 10 people in a van then swear by betho God….


  70. سوريا للاعلام الجديد | تفجير الميدان .. غباؤكم يقتلنا !

    ظهور جديد للشبيح المتعدد المواهب – صاروا ثمانية شخصيات


  71. A very good cartoon by Ferzat. It’s not new, but it tells you who the real terrorist is:


  72. Fake Syria Suicide Bombing As Assad Tries to Discredit Democracy Activists 6-Jan-12

    This is a video by Aljazeera about the planting of evidence by the Syrian regime. The video is in Arabic, but the significance is that a major network is reporting on the scenes showing grocery bags being planted next to a pool of blood by someone carrying a microphone belonging to a Syrian news agency covering the event. It seems the producer wasn’t happy with the pool of blood standing alone on the pavement, so he asked his anchor to plant the grocery bag to make the scene more dramatic. What a bunch of idiots. The video also shows Police shields being thrown back into the bus to give the illusion that police officers were in the bus. It’ll be interesting to see how the pro-regime crowd, especially at SC, will be spinning this. I would also like to see if Joshua Landis bothers to comment on that.

    By the way, I would like to suggest that the opposition find ways, if they can of course, to train their cameras 24/7 at all places where future blasts might be staged. It’s easy said than done, but maybe one day we can see how these events are produced.


  73. you just gotta admire these midanis! just 2 hours after the explosion, they demonstrate 50 meters from the scene!
    im pretty sure you saw the videos our dear syr.expat posted, i also have to add that Ian Black of the guardian visited the scene and had this to say :”We left with the sense of this is a horrific spectacle but that maybe some of the details weren’t quite as one might have expected,” said Ian Black of the Guardian newspaper.”
    A British journalist who visited the scene told the BBC reporters were not shown any bodies of those killed.(BBC)

    Midan wont be subdued.


  74. By the way, I would like to suggest that the opposition find ways, if they can of course, to train their cameras 24/7 at all places where future blasts might be staged. It’s easy said than done, but maybe one day we can see how these events are produced.

    If one monitors the electronic army thugs, i think one would be able to identify where the next explosion will happen. Someone pretending to be a revolutionary will get on the page and issue a threat. Another way, would be to shadow SANA and Al-Dunya press vans. See where they go prepare themselves to show up in 3-5 minutes and be ready.

    That said, the dumb asses in the regime’ press are already providing us with enough footage. Don’t you love real-time broadcasting?


  75. Dear SGID,
    So good to hear your voice. Thank God you are safe and sorry for the loss in Al Midan. The regime cowards are capable of anything.
    I was watching Ammar Qurabi yesterday. He said that they have contacts in the Syrian army and Mukhabarat. One of these contacts was a high ranking army officer, who was killed by the regime a few days ago. Qurabi said that they are expecting the next explosion to be in Aleppo. It seems the city is getting more active. The Aleppo towns and villages are already up in arms including the Kurdish town of Ain Al Arab (Kobani).


  76. Come in OTW, you know what I mean. I mean 50,000 plus strong rallies converging on the centre of Algiers, Baghdad, Khartoum demanding their regimes stop their little dalliances with the Syrian chief thug. I am especially baffled by Baghdad,, they were oppressed by the Baathust thugs for so long yet not only do they not support the Syrian Uprising, but they actually oppose it.

    As for Lebanon, don’t even think about it, anybody who tries will be branded a Zionist supporter.

    As I said, I suggest the Syran protesters hold up signs pleading the Arab people, not the Arab League (a body of criminals of all sorts), to come to their assistance. Instead of internationalising the issue, why not Arabise it ?


  77. Syria observers to be reinforced not withdrawn – 2012-01-07

    Cairo – A top Arab League official said on Saturday the group has no plans to withdraw its observers from Syria where they are charged with assessing whether the regime is keeping a deal to end the deadly violence.

    “No plan to withdraw the observers is on the agenda of the Arab ministerial committee meeting on Syria” in the Egyptian capital on Sunday, the pan-Arab body’s deputy secretary general, Adnan Issa, told AFP.

    “We are not talking about a pull-out but reinforcing the mission,” Issa added. He said there were now 153 observers in Syria with another 10 expected to arrive on Saturday from Jordan.

    “The Arab states want the observers to continue their mission, and that it be reinforced,” he said.

    So is this good news for the Revolution ? ( using Aboud’s logic). I think this is a courageos decision, it was so very easy for them to pull out citing safety concerns after whats happened in Damascus repeatedly.


  78. The regime will go to any lengths, one of these days it may try to set up an attack on a A.L observer team. Colonel Riad al Asaad was being foolish, making blunt threats do not serve any purpose, his threats could easily have been misconstrued, he should not shoot off his mouth in the future.


  79. Dear Antoine,
    So if you think that the Lebanese people can not demonstrate in support of the Syrian people because they will be branded Zionist supporters, why do you think it is any different for anybody else in the Arab World? Who is going to demonstrate: The Egyptians? They are still in the middle of their own revolution.
    The Iraqis? They are still trying to survive bombs and explosions in their own country.
    The Tunisians? They are in the middle of putting their house back in order.
    The Libyans? They are still trying to control the country and its armed groups.
    The Saudis? They would not dare demonstrate for any reason period.
    The Bahrainis? The Yamanis? They are still getting killed in their own land.
    You get my drift. I do not think that Arabs can help other Arabs because they are all in dire straits at this junction in history.


  80. Dear Nusayyif
    Welcome to 7ee6an. I happen to be one of those who agree with you regarding Colonel Asa’ad unfortunate remarks. Please note that your first comment was moderated, but from now on, all your comments will be published once you push that post-comment button. Welcome again, and hope to hear more from you.


  81. Shiela,
    The Egyptians did find time to riot infront of the Israeli embassy, though.


  82. The Egyptians did find time to riot infront of the Israeli embassy, though.


    Bashing the Israelis is always the first priority;)


  83. Dear 7ee6anis
    It seems that change is coming to the leadership of the SNC. An article appeared in صباح سوريا , which is edited by a member of the SNC, indicating that political groups within SNC are tending not to renew the appointment of Burhan Ghalyoun as the president of SNC. It also states that Professor Ghalyoun himself seems not be interested in renewal.

    The strongest candidate, who appears to be a consensus maker is George Sabra, who is a member of the executive committee of the People Democratic Party (lead by Riyadh Turk, AKA The Mandela of Syris).


  84. i visited the scene of the bombing today. if one was to pass by , it would seem impossible that less than 48 hours ago a bombing that “claimed 26 lives” happened here. all signs of a bombing were removed. i could find stains of blood on the bottom of the bridge that runs over midan though. that being said, aside from broken glass there was no damage to the infra structure. not even the ground under which the bombing took place had any damage.
    now to the vicitms: this happened right outside the midan “police” station, a gathering center for shabee7a. no civilians go near them. for those questioning what kind of people died yesterday heres a good example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX8lBxEy7z4

    i thank you all for your concern, but i believe all what happened in midan was very sketchy.


  85. Nusayyif, I agree it was unwise of Colonel As’ad to say what he did. However, let’s not be too hard on the man. In his long military career, he was never trained to be a spokesperson. He never expected to one day find himself the face of the armed component of the regime he’d served for decades under. Considering that this was his first slip (and it only came to people’s attention due to the recent staged bombings), the colonel has been doing a magnificent job.

    And look at that mighty masculine mustache he is. I’d follow such a man, rather than one who sports Besho’s weak a*s whiskers.


  86. i hope george sabra takes over, we need fresh blood!
    plus it will be an exercise in their democratic principles.


  87. “He never expected to one day find himself the face of the armed component of the regime he’d served for decades under”

    Meant to say the face of the armed component of the revolution against the regime he’d served under for decades. It’s especially hard when the revolution isn’t a clear cut military campaign. Colonel As’ad is under alot of pressure, all tugging at him in different directions to simultaneously preserve the peaceful nature of the revolution, while also providing it with protection. It would strain Sun Tzu himself.


  88. Dear SGID,
    I watched that clip from Kafar Souseh. It is very upsetting. Where on earth do they find so many thugs willing to beat up people so brutally? I hate the fact that for these young men this is only the beginning of a long road of abuse and torture.


  89. Where on earth do they find so many thugs willing to beat up people so brutally?

    They make them


  90. Dear OTW,
    I would also like George Sabra in that position. First and foremost, he is fit for the job, second, he will show the world that this is not a sectarian war, third, it will prove to all of us if the Muslim Brotherhood members are really as tolerant as they claim to be.


  91. Sheila:

    “I watched that clip from Kafar Souseh. It is very upsetting.”

    I posted the same clip last night, perhaps you missed it. I couldn’t sleep afterwards because I couldn’t understand what motivates these thugs. I then watched a really insightful interview with Haytham Maleh speaking about torture in the Syrian prisons in details. His talk gives you an idea of what the “long road of abuse and torture” you noted.

    Mr. Maleh goes to length and explains why and how these people do more than the “ow’7oosh”. Apparently, the Syrians borrowed it from East German “Eichman” and his teams collaborating inside Syria in torture training!

    Really eye opening for those who missed it.



  92. Syrian Hamster:

    “They make them”.

    To some extent, yes I agree. But that is only one part of a complex psychological web of what motivates someone to do what animals don’t do.

    We have to be very careful on making blank statements because I and I am sure all of us would like to see those who did this barbaric acts out of shear insensitivity to human suffering be held accountable. By saying “they make them”, we are giving everyone an easy pass. Not all were forced into anything. That is an excuse. Many with blood on their hands would jump onto “they made me do it” bandwagon and then walk clean. Remember, there are those that traded flesh for money.

    I have not heard the opposition take a clear position about torture and mass executions.

    – The opposition will have to show that those responsible will be held accountable.
    – The opposition should show more seriousness about investigating each and every incident, torture, abduction, deaths, etc… This will garner a serious image for those that have lost or suffered directly and for those who continue to take risk.
    – The opposition remind the members of government, the army, and especially those “that were forced” that they have options and that they can say no more.


  93. Also Syrian Hamster:

    Watch Mr. Maleh describe what motivates a killer and torturer. Many enjoy it. And the Kafer Souseh, I and SGID posted, shows you that we are not talking about a dozen phsycos, there are tens of thousands of those shabeehas that do it out of their free will!


  94. Folks, this was addressed to someone on SC, after he called me son of a whore. off course using other people’s words. The comment section of that place is really becoming a cesspool.

    من الجردون

    أنا واحد جردون مهاجر
    وبزعران الحاره خابر
    من جحري طليت شويي
    تا قلك قصه يا ناطر
    أزعر وبيعرف يقرا
    و بيعرف يحكي ويكتب
    بتقللو تصبح على خير
    بيسب،… ويمكن يضرب
    أزعر بينتقد السلطان
    وبيقلك حكمو كرهان
    بتقللو يالله نشيلو
    بيقلك أنت حيوان
    أزعر بيحكي بالحياد
    وبحبو لوطن الأجداد
    بدو يحمي المتجبر
    حتى لو شعبو بينباد
    أزعر حكيو نصو ذم
    ونصو التاني حقد وسم
    بيتباكى سمعة شبيح
    ويتناسى حمام الدم
    أزعر عن شعبو عميان
    وعن دبحو بأيد الطغيان
    بتقللو الفقرا ثاروا
    بيقول كلاب واخوان
    أزعر يشتم خير الناس
    بس كللو رقة واحساس
    أن جاريتو بيطبطبلك
    وان شارعتو، كسر الراس
    أزعر شاطر بالتفنيص
    هاد زباله وهادا رخيص
    وهي عميلة وهني خونه
    وانت خراس وحاج تحيص
    أزعر شاطر بالدعاية
    بيلولحلك بها الراية
    بدو يحمي حجار الجرد
    وشعبو؟… ما بيحرز حمايه
    أزعر ما بتعرف شو بيعمل
    نزق وحمق وحكيو بيهبل
    بيزاود ضد التحريض
    ومن تحريضو شيل وحمل
    ازعر عم بيقص ويلزق
    بس الصورة ما عم تطبق
    شو ما لف وشو ما دار
    ما حيسوي العلقم بندق
    ازعرمغموم وحردان
    ولامملو شلة زعران
    شبيحة نصن فلتان
    والنص التاني خرفان
    ازعر واضح متل كتاب
    خصوصي لصحاب الالباب
    ليش مسباتو بالعربي؟
    وبلافرنجي… شو حباب
    أنا واحد جردون صغير
    وبزعران الحاره خبير
    خليني ارجع على جحري
    قبل مايهوجوا الزنابير


  95. Husam
    Off course, I agree with what you said, the numbers are staggering, as the Assadist regime has managed over 40 years to mass make thugs. Poverty, dehumanization of the other, cult personality, encouraging fascist tendencies, and in Syria (prepare for the shock), separating the true meaning of faith from the actual practice of rituals (which has been the doctrine of the baathist imams as OTW described them on another blog). Many have said that the regime has released the lowest of the low in society and deputaised them as Shabee7a to support the ranks of the reluctant. Notice that the traffic cops were watching without interfering. This off course is another facet of the regime’s brutal transformation of Syria over two generations.


  96. Syrian Hamster:

    I hear you. There needs to be a strong voice of accountability coming from the revolution. These thugs must get the message (news outlets, blogs, etc…) that they are not going to get away with it. Some will be die-hards, but some will start calculating their steps back and may start thinking twice.


  97. Dear Husam,
    You are right. I did miss your link. Thank you for posting it again. It is definitely worth seeing. I have also watched most of that interview with Haytham Almaleh. It is very interesting how he talks about the torturers. The drug addicts who are provided with their daily dose of drugs in exchange for torturing people. The most interesting was when he talked about the two young conscripts who refused to torture anyone. They were told that if they did not, they would be jailed. They went to jail gladly.
    In “The Shell”, Khalifeh also talks about the torturers. He describes one young conscript who actually vomited when he witnessed torture for the first time and how as time went by, he became one of the worst torturers. Hamster is right. They do make these thugs through a process of humiliation and dehumanization, however, this does not exonerate them from the crimes that they commit. You are right, they have to face justice for their crimes.


  98. Dear Hamster,
    Very nice poem. We have all been through the direct curses from the pro-regime crowd on SC. What they lack in intellectual ability and critical thinking prowess, they make up with obscenity and profanity.


  99. The opposition is now saying that the AL mission was “destined to fail from the start”. This was exactly what I said a week ago and reserved 1 week to solidify my position. I am personally certain now that this Monitor Mission will not be a game changer.

    If I may differ, this mission gives false hope. The head of the mission has said “he has not seen anything frightening”. Go figure which lalaland he is in.

    The AL meeting tomorrow will do nothing but prolong the mission (i.e. involve the UN, give the monitors formal training, etc…) and prolong the suffering of the Syrians living inside Syria. Unfortunately, they need a wider river of blood so there is larger consensus from the AL, the west and the fence-sitters.

    Also, notice how much noise there was on this blog, SC, and other news outlets about the first bomb compared to the second bomb. With the first bomb, most of us jumped to conclusions, we were hurt, confused, etc…with 2nd bomb we got some kind of immunity, less noise, etc…

    Does anyone here support full Turkish military intervention? (I strongly think that this may be the end game)


  100. Husam,

    Turkey will not intervene militarily, unless under the umbrella of an international and/or Arab force. Turkish opposition parties are on the record attacking the AKP and its policies re Syria (an opposition party leader just visited junior and gave him his blessing and support). The Turkish generals, though greatly de-fanged, are unhappy with the treatment they are getting from the AKP and Erdogan and will not go along with a unilateral or even a majority Turkish invasion of Syria. Moreover, I don’t think it is in Syria’s interest to have such an invasion happen either, even if it helps us to get rid of the Assadist Mafia and Associates. I am one who is not totally convinced that Turkey is doing what it’s doing for the promotion of democracy and human rights.

    On the other hand, it is rather fortuitous that Iskanderon is under Turkish rule now; otherwise we would have had an extra 10% of the population siding with the dictator and his henchmen. I know, I know, many are going to jump on this and label it a sectarian comment, but it is a fact that a great percentage of people in that stolen corner of Syrian territory are openly pro-Assad and have conspired with Mukhabarat elements against refugees sheltering there.


  101. ليش مسباتو بالعربي؟
    وبلافرنجي… شو حباب
    As usual SH, your poems are full of wit. I share your dismay at the lowly depths to which the language and arguments descend on SC but don’t forget that some anti Asmaa (that’s Assadist Mafia and Associates, btw) folks engage in name calling of sorts: NF (aka ??) posted the video of a shapely woman dancing in a pro Asmaa rally and labeled her a sharmouta. I’d rather she was demonized for dancing while people were being murdered indiscriminately, for being a supporter of a murdering gang of thugs and robbers, for being a mercenary cheerleader of a fascist sectarian regime, all are accurate labels and to the point; whether she is a whore/slut we cannot ascertain.


  102. MGB
    Off course, had these ruffians been a little smarter, they would have used your excellent argument, which is in line and consistent with what I wrote, and to expect to be left alone on a public blog while one goes acrobatic with filthy mouth is delusional. But for someone to say (avoid me) and (I can be super nice or super nasty) is a sign of intellectual bullying. It signifies the mentality of dictators. And in that, two or three characters on SC take the prize. None of them belongs to the Anti Asmaa.


  103. This video was aired yesterday by Al-Alam tv, it shows the Midan explosion from a nearby security cam

    and dear Hamster

    As always your comments and poems soothe away my rage after reading some of the comments/filth on SC, thank you.


  104. Dear umm nuwâs
    Thanks for the link, I read the article, the writer works for an Iran-HA sponsored think tank and is based in Beirut. What a shame. It was simply a rehash of regime propaganda. It brings down the quality of counterpunch.


  105. Aboud,

    Thanks for a great post. Always nice to hear about the positive side of things. I really envy not being with you guys, tanjara in hand!


  106. Despite the best efforts of the regime to mislead, intimidate and isolate the observers, their report still came down on the regime pretty hard. I was actually expecting the report to be sugar coated a bit to keep the team in Syria.

    In fact, the only consolation Besho can take from the whole thing is the final declaration’s reference to armed elements inside Syria. No sh*t Sherlocks. They are called defectors from the army, and they wouldn’t have been necessary if someone had found a way to stop the regime from murdering its own people. 6000 deaths, tens of thousands of prisoners and refugees.

    Now the league is looking to increase the effectiveness of the team i.e get more of them into the country. I hope there ends up being thousands and thousands of them, one on every street corner.

    Also interesting was Hamad’s statement that the Security Council isn’t waiting on the AL to refer the issue to it. That’s diplomatic talk for “when, as I’m sure will happen, the SC passes a resolution against the regime, don’t go whining to us.” What’s needed now is pressure on the Russians to drop their support for the regime. Besho is in a very tenuous position; his most important diplomatic asset is completely out of his control.


  107. MGB,

    Re: Turkish Military Intervention

    But of course it won’t be unilaterally… I feel that this what the Syrians (and Arabs) would accept down the road when things get worse (they will). It will satisfy that those that will call any involvement of S.A / Gulf as Sunni inspired and satisfy those who are against full NATO intervention (European / American). It will come as a deep “humanitarian” buffer zone but essentially serve as a launch pad to oust the regime. Jordan may create a buffer with Daraa from the south and Damascus starts to get choked. That is how I see it unfolding under a AL (or perhaps UN) support. I just don’t see how Lebanon / Iraq roles play it out.

    The Turkish opposition you mentioned further complicates the situation if they play into Assadist’s hand. The regime has lost its lustre, but it still has alliances which complicates a hot situation.

    1. Do you think Iran must fall before Syria Baath falls?
    2. Russian recent docking of its aircraft carrier in Tartous, is that just a show of solidarity or is Russia willing to get pulled into this mess?


  108. Husam

    “Russian recent docking of its aircraft carrier in Tartous, is that just a show of solidarity or is Russia willing to get pulled into this mess”

    The visit was planned two years ago. Canceling it would have indicated a massive diplomatic break between the regime and Russia.

    Speaking of which, if I was Putin I’d keep an eye on my boats while they were in Tartous, lest Besho stage a bombing and then bitch about Salafi underwater commandos. I wish to God he’d do something so stupid.


  109. Zenobia and others:

    This why people are sitting on the fence. Although it is an RT interview, it has credibility on the Arab street as history has shown that the Arabs have been exploited by the west and their own….and continue to be so.

    This has nothing to do with legitimacy of the Baath, the shooting and torturing of citizens, etc… it has to do with taking a true popular uprising and changing/influencing the dynamics to further various interest.

    BTW,don’t shoot the messenger.



  110. .البطريرك غريغوريوس لحام:

    “لا أتعجب أن تكون الثورات في العالم العربي ذي الغالبية الإسلامية لها طابع إسلامي، لا يمكن أن يكون العكس: 350 مليون مسلم ونحو 15 مليون مسيحي… طبيعي أن نشهد ثورات بلون إسلامي، وهذا امر لا يزعجني بل يسعدني لأن معناه وجود توجه فكري ثوري تحرري”


  111. …flash news

    N.Z. defected and left SC due to new highs of insults and l barbaric anguage; Tara threatened to leave too.

    Why do I still read SC? Because I still like to read Revlon and others and view their video posting. I also like to read what the pro-regime are saying, if anything new.

    This brings me to my next point. I see a parallel between the last wo/man standing holding the fort on SC vs. the actual situation in Syria. Once the revolutionists give up trying to reason with pro-betho crowd, I think you can say we entered a new phrase.

    7ee6an is on one side, looking itself into the mirror while SC will be the other side looking itself in the mirror reflecting the Assad familly. Is this future of civil society in Syria?


  112. “7ee6an is on one side, looking itself into the mirror while SC will be the other side looking itself in the mirror reflecting the Assad familly. Is this future of civil society in Syria?”

    No. Difference between SC and 7ee6an is that menhebakis choose not to come here, and OTW would safeguard their right to expressing their opinions and ban anyone who acted the way they act on SC. The kind of behavior that’s acceptable on SC wouldn’t be acceptable here nor anywhere else.


  113. OTW,

    Thank you for the last post. This what I have been saying and trying to get across for the longest time.

    Islam is not the enemy, rather it is the extreme interpretation. Islam is not the enemy, it is the shieks and the mullahs telling you how to breathe. Islam is not the enemy, it is the media’s sensationally pushing popular misconceptions into the sheeple.

    Minorities including Christians alike have nothing to fear and can live in peace as they have done so for generations. My view is that the more Muslim start to understand Islam better, the more tolerant they become.


  114. Dear Amal
    Welcome to 7ee6an, if I may say with fanfare. I was busy for few hours today and did not check queue and I apologize that your comment above, was delayed. I am sure you know the drill. Only the first comment gets moderated.

    Having dispensed with our very simple initiation ritual, and as for every 7ee6ani, 7ee6an is yours. And Amal, Aleppo is awakening, so far without 6anajer, can you imagine it with 6anajer..


  115. أهلاً وسهلاً يا أمل العزيزة

    delighted in multiple languages to hear from you!

    Not the only one here to say that your Jadaliyya articles are splendid.


  116. I apologize for cutting & pasting this article on the now-exiled Syrian opposition (Alaouite!) writer Samar Yazbek, but as it is “for subscribers only” the link doesn’t work otherwise.

    Samar Yazbek : la Syrie au défi de la peur

    LE MONDE CULTURE ET IDEES | 07.01.12 | 16h52 • Mis à jour le 07.01.12 |

    Le 26 décembre 2011, la Syrie a connu sa journée la plus meurtrière depuis la mi-mars. Cent morts civils, selon l’Observatoire syrien des droits de l’homme. Le 29, malgré la présence dans le pays d’observateurs de la Ligue arabe, les forces de sécurité ont lancé des bombes à clous sur la foule rassemblée place de la Grande-Mosquée, à Douma. Le 31 décembre, plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes ont pris à nouveau la rue dans tout le pays. Il y a eu plusieurs dizaines de morts. Il faut voir, sur les films amateurs d’Internet, les manifestants crier et bondir ensemble face aux soldats. Il faut lire les témoignages de leur bravoure sur les blogs. A quel moment le courage l’emporte-t-il sur la peur ?

    L’écrivaine syrienne Samar Yazbek est réfugiée en France. Auteure de quatre romans, scénariste primée par l’Unicef, elle appartient à la communauté alaouite, celle du président Bachar Al-Assad (une branche dissidente de l’islam chiite qui réunit 12 % de la population syrienne). En février 2011, elle rejoint les manifestations de Damas, alors que les snipers tirent pour tuer. Elle publie alors un court texte qui fait le tour des blogs : “En attendant ma mort”. Elle décrit ce moment où le risque de mourir devient une habitude : “La mort est partout ! Au village ! A la ville ! Au bord de la mer ! Les assassins s’emparent des humains et des lieux (…). Je n’ai plus peur, non parce que je suis téméraire – étant de nature très fragile -, mais par habitude. Je n’ai plus peur de la mort, je l’attends sereinement avec ma cigarette et mon café. Je crois que je peux regarder dans les yeux un franc-tireur sur la terrasse voisine. Je le regarde fixement. Je sors dans la rue et je scrute les terrasses des immeubles. J’avance posément.”

    En mars, Samar Yazbek est arrêtée et interrogée cinq fois de suite par les moukhabarat, les services secrets. Ils veulent qu’elle se désolidarise des opposants. Pour la briser, ils l’emmènent dans une prison où ils torturent les manifestants. Elle en fera le récit sur les blogs syriens, le texte sera publié dans plusieurs journaux européens : “J’ai vu des jeunes hommes, qui avaient à peine la vingtaine, leurs corps dénudés, reconnaissables sous leur sang, suspendus par leurs mains à des menottes en acier, leurs orteils touchant difficilement le sol (…). A ce moment, un des jeunes releva péniblement la tête. Il n’avait plus de visage ; ses yeux étaient scellés, je n’ai pas vu l’éclat de son regard. Le nez n’existait plus, ni les lèvres. Son visage était une miniature rouge, sans lignes, un rouge imbriqué dans le noir d’un rouge vieilli. Je suis alors tombée à terre. Pour quelques instants, j’ai chaviré dans quelque chose d’opaque, de flottant, avant de reprendre pied sur la terre ferme (…). C’est la notion de Dieu qui disparaît, car si Dieu existait, il n’aurait pas permis que sa créature soit ainsi refaite, distordue, défigurée.”

    Samar Yazbek est relâchée “après quelques baffes”. Elle n’a pas cédé. Le régime hésite à torturer ou à tuer une intellectuelle alaouite connue, il veut laisser croire que la communauté est soudée derrière Bachar Al-Assad. Dans les semaines qui suivent, les moukhabarat la menacent de mort. La calomnient. Des tracts distribués dans son village natal l’accusent d’être une “traîtresse”. Profitant d’un répit dans la surveillance, elle s’enfuit à Paris avec sa fille. Depuis, elle n’a cessé de dénoncer le pouvoir syrien.

    Nous avons retrouvé Samar Yazbek dans un café parisien. C’est une belle femme de 40 ans, le regard clair, le visage creusé, la voix basse et grave. Craint-elle pour sa famille restée à Damas ? Pas de commentaire. Elle entend se présenter comme une Syrienne qui a pris le risque de s’engager, comme tant d’autres. Elle préfère parler de la peur et du courage des opposants. “Tout Syrien a grandi dans la peur. Elle pèse sans cesse sur nous, nous la connaissons bien. Pourtant, malgré la peur, les manifestations ont démarré. Quand la répression est devenue beaucoup plus violente et sauvage, cela a changé notre rapport à la peur. Cela l’a précisé.” Que veut-elle dire ? “Avant les manifestations, j’avais si peur que je ne me reconnaissais plus. Je tremblais. Pourtant, ma volonté de rejoindre les autres était inébranlable. J’étais déchirée. Tous les manifestants éprouvent ce déchirement où la peur le dispute au courage. Et puis le courage l’emporte, même si la peur est toujours là, si humaine…” Même quand on sait qu’on risque d’être mutilé, torturé ? “Il existe comme un plafond de la peur. D’abord, il nous écrase. Quand on apprend l’horreur de la répression, la peur décuple. Ensuite, les manifestants ont compris que, s’ils s’arrêtaient maintenant, le pire les attendait. Le régime se vengerait d’eux. Ils ne pouvaient plus revenir en arrière, comme en Tunisie, en Egypte. Alors le plafond de la peur s’est relevé.”

    Le 10 octobre 2011, plusieurs organisations de dissidents et d’étudiants syriens se retrouvent à une soirée de solidarité, “La Syrie… vers la liberté”, au Théâtre de l’Odéon. Ce soir-là, pour la première fois, le ministre des affaires étrangères, Alain Juppé, serre la main de Burhan Ghalioun, le porte-parole du Comité national syrien, le principal regroupement de l’opposition. Les socialistes Lionel Jospin, Catherine Tasca, Bertrand Delanoë, et le communiste Jack Ralite se sont déplacés. Dans les coursives, les Syriens ne lâchent pas leur téléphone. Un étudiant apprend qu’un ami palestinien a été arrêté à Damas ; une cinéaste, que les services secrets ont assassiné un opposant à Beyrouth. Elle dit : “La Syrie n’a pas beaucoup de pétrole. Alors le prix des morts a moins de valeur pour l’Occident. Ils laissent faire…” Selon les Nations unies, la répression a fait 5 000 morts, dont 300 enfants, entre mi-mars et mi-décembre 2011. S’y ajoutent plus de 14 000 arrestations et 12 400 réfugiés, des exécutions sommaires, des disparitions forcées, des tortures, parfois avec des violences sexuelles.

    Samar Yazbek est à l’Odéon avec sa fille de 16 ans. Certains trouvent qu’elle a eu beaucoup de chance d’échapper aux services secrets. Elle le sait. Sur scène, elle fait lire des témoignages de Syriens arrêtés qu’elle a recueillis. Un fils emprisonné écrit à son père : “Badigeonne notre porte avec mon sang. Crie : Je ne transigerai pas ! Mon sang n’est pas gratuit, mon père. Ne cède pas.” Ensuite, elle montre la grande photo d’un jeune homme, pour dire en arabe : “”N’entamez aucun dialogue avec votre bourreau. Ne désespérez pas, même si le monde entier vous tourne le dos.” Voilà ce qu’écrivait Ghiat Matar, dont le cadavre mutilé fut rendu à sa mère le 10 septembre. Il avait 26 ans. J’ai souhaité sa présence ce soir pour que vous puissiez le regarder (…). Ghiat et son histoire résument l’histoire des jeunes dans la révolution syrienne. Il a été un des premiers à lancer l’appel pour offrir une rose et de l’eau aux soldats. Il n’appartenait à aucun parti, il était pacifiste. Les services secrets ont rendu son corps avec une grande blessure à travers le ventre.” Puis elle appelle à une minute de silence pour les jeunes martyrs de la révolution syrienne.

    En Syrie, Samar Yazbek a publié un roman, La Boue (2005, non traduit), où elle dresse le portrait de deux officiers proches d’Hafez Al-Assad, qui instaura la dictature du parti Baas. L’un approuve le coup d’Etat de 1970, le second non. Les deux hommes sont alaouites, partagent des valeurs religieuses, pourtant ils s’affrontent. “J’ai essayé de décrire comment le régime a détruit toute relation humaine, toute valeur, explique-t-elle, et comment l’arrivisme, l’opportunisme l’emporte chez les uns, pas chez tous.” Dans un autre roman, Le Parfum de la cannelle (2008, non traduit), elle raconte l’histoire de deux femmes. L’une vit dans le luxe à Damas, exploitant l’autre, sa domestique, très pauvre. “Je décris le monde secret des femmes syriennes. Je montre comment les riches maltraitent les pauvres, les dominent. Sexuellement aussi.”

    Dans un texte récent sur la révolution, Samar Yazbek écrit : “On dit qu’écrire un roman nécessite beaucoup d’imagination, et moi je dis qu’il a d’abord besoin de réel, ensuite de réel, et enfin de réel.” L’expérience de la peur a-t-elle changé son écriture ? “Ce que j’ai vécu en Syrie dépasse l’imagination. C’est mille fois plus terrible que l’imagination. Cela me confirme que, pour écrire, la réalité est plus forte.” Justement, elle écrit avant les manifestations que l’amour et la mort lui semblent les deux faces d’une même pièce. Qu’en pense-t-elle maintenant ? “La mort pour moi était abstraite. Une idée. Pendant ces mois, j’ai approché la mort, j’ai senti son odeur, je l’ai vue. Aujourd’hui, pour moi, l’amour et la mort constituent deux mondes à part. La mort n’a rapport avec rien, et surtout pas avec l’amour.” Dans son témoignage sur la torture, elle dit qu’il n’y a pas de mots pour exprimer ce qu’elle a vu. Pas de mots ? “Quand tu te sens impuissant devant la mort, tu te sens responsable, comme si tu avais participé à cette mort. D’où vient ce sentiment d’impuissance ? Les mots n’arrivent pas à exprimer ce qu’on est en train de vivre…”

    Samar Yazbek n’a pourtant pas renoncé à écrire sur ces moments. Elle a tenu un journal, à sortir en mars. Elle en a lu des extraits à l’Odéon : “L’écriture m’a toujours aidée dans les moments difficiles de ma vie. Parce que je suis écrivaine, je pouvais me sentir plus libre avec moi-même et avec les fils enchevêtrés de ma vie. Je les nouais et dénouais comme les ficelles des marionnettes, à la seule différence que, cette fois-ci, je suis le jeu, les ficelles et la grande main mystérieuse qui les manipule. Je suis devenue le roman le plus authentique que je pourrais écrire.”
    Frédéric Joignot


  117. my french is very limited.
    all i learned in paris is “tu es une grande chat”


  118. Dear Amal,
    I am assuming that you are the Amal Hanano from Jadaliyya. I am a die hard fan of yours. Your style, wit and sense of purpose is unmatched in my view. I have read your articles a few times each. You leave clues about your identity in each one of them and I think you and I know each other. Well, Halab, as big as it is, is a rather small town. We all know each other on some level.
    For years I have been contemplating writing a book about Syria. Maybe after Syria is liberated and things quiet down, you and I can talk seriously about collaborating on this. It would be my honor if this is something that would interest you.
    You are a talented and gifted writer. Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us.


  119. Dear Sheila and umm nuwâs
    Fully agree with both of you about Amal. I have followed her articles and I do concur with both of you.

    In the meantime, below is a rare incident where I have no objection to children participating in the revolution. Hope you all like it. It is from Hama.


  120. re: comment @ 6:20 pm

    I KNOW what the argument is. I have heard the argument 10 zillion times now, here, and all over Facebook – on the lips of everybody’s fence sitting relative and half of the Syrian population!
    The reason that American leftist outlets like Counterpunch are publishing this as well – is because THEY TOO are predisposed to frame things through a suspicious anti-imperialist anti-“american hegemony” narrative and premise, so naturally they are going to be open to presenting the conspiracy argument or some more rational version of it that is not all hogwash certainly, but neglects the contradicting factors.

    So, we have a problem. The problem is what is the counter argument!!!!!!!

    If our ‘conspiracists’ believe that the entire uprising is one big ‘plot’ and made up of traitors and thieves and radical islamist insurgents or people purely doing what they are doing because they were manipulated or paid by western agents, …. well this is such a reductionistic and hopeless framing of the situation that no- counter narrative is going to sway this mindset or going to puncture it. It is so far to the paranoid- that there is no hope there that a new compromise understanding can be reached or that such person will be persuaded that supporting the Assad regime is equally dangerous and degraded a choice.
    However, if – in contrast, the true fence sitters can acknowledge that indeed there is formidable legitimate uprising – of a large number of Syrian citizens- who have nothing to do with the imperialist designs of Western powers or their allies- but whose actions are legitimately a reflection of internal political desires and aspirations, – then even if one simultaneously believes that there are treacherous external forces at work and a regional struggle attempting to co-opt the Syrian revolution – there will be SOME ROOM for debate here about what is the correct ethical course to take – and room for debate and deliberation out of a strong counterargument that reflects this complex reality and the competing concerns, while having the potential to persuade said fence sitters that the LESSER EVIL IS IN FACT to side with the legitimate uprising and to take on the risks of potential western influence and attempts to manipulate the outcome to strategic advantage.

    The precise argument has not been made yet. However the point is that A FORCEFUL COUNTERARGUMENT MUST BE MADE that makes concessions to this powerful narrative and set of fears of average Syrian and many inside and outside the middle east.
    Personally, I am not discounting the basic storyline – put forth in the link you provided or in the “Counterpunch” piece. How can one ignore it? But the problem I have is in the all or nothing framework within which it is presented, as if the people of Hama, Deraa, Homs, and all the other smaller outlying cities and towns of Syria, or parts of Damas, are SIMPLY – at worst pawns of Al-Qaeda like agents and at best total dupes and zealots out for blood… , as if they have ZERO legitimacy…, as if someone- entire towns … what? had some undetected infiltrators come give a lecture? and then the people decided to revolt???
    I mean seriously… has anyone actually DESCRIBED how this supposed scenario would work in concrete terms other than… ‘the Americans and Israel and KSA and Saad Hariri ‘ are “behind” this? What does it actually entail to be “behind” or to have manipulated entire fairly insular and isolated communities to do the bidding of outsiders?…. the notion is so entirely far fetched when discussed in concrete terms to account for everything that has happened.

    Reality MUST be far in between. And I think- from my informal observance of so many dialogues and interchanges over many months, that MOST – Syrians, ascribe reality to this in between…. They BOTH believe the narrative of Western attempts at world domination or regional domination (led by America and Israel)… but they also do not discount the Syrian uprising as a complete fabrication…. they are aware of legitimate challenge to the Syrian government that has an ethical basis and they are not defending the behavior of the security response or the president in unqualified terms.
    However, they DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RESOLVE THEIR DILEMMA of holding both these truths and knowing what to do – and what to think- therefore.
    That is why they are fence sitters… (in addition to all the other complicating disincentives for supporting a revolution that Sheila has outlined many times and which are also significant factors but which I am putting aside her for the moment just to focus on the issue the ‘conspiracy’ issue as a pivotal problem)

    I personally have spent weeks and weeks without knowing how to properly answer it.

    ETHICS seemed at first the correct answer. That is to say -that no matter what the outer external threats are- we cannot stand by and watch a government respond by shooting its people, detaining, torturing, and subjugating communities with tanks and military threat of death or actual death.
    This seemed obvious to many. (As I recall – it was the answer – very simply that Husam gave for his choice of where to place his alliance despite his moderate belief in the conspiracy scenario of what is happening)
    However, and ETHICAL argument doesn’t work on large swaths of the public because they are both desensitized to violence (I assume here) and also because they have simultaneously been persuasively told that the deaths and violence they have been seeing or informed about are 1) exaggerated and/or not happening 2) are justified in the cases where they are happening because the supposed “protesters” are not in fact protesters but are actually “criminals” and violent insurgents and infiltrators.
    So, apparently, and Ethical argument fails because these cognitive denials and justifications provided by the government – negate the need for a fence sitter to consider an ethical stance necessary to be taken – as a response to the problem.

    The dilemma seems to be resolved for most – by a decision process regarding what they fear most – (again putting aside deliberately for the moment the other weighing factors like personal economic pain and anguish over the disillusion going on in society, daily hardships anticipated, and unclear future alternatives and so forth) – that is to say…. fear of American hegemony and Israeli power, verses fear of the pathetic life that would continue under the Assads and the perpetuation of the current internal power system.
    Additionally, I think the average person is NOT considering the question of what has IRAN, CHINA, And RUSSIA done lately for Syria????
    And it is bizarre that the narrative has been hammered for so many years and years that the biggest and most important achievement and source of pride in this age is to stubbornly sacrifice every other political need to the alter of “resistance” to Israel (a resistance strategy that barely works at all – one should add)- that it still takes precedent over every other concern. The abhorrence for Israeli power is so entirely consuming, mythologized, the threat again – fetishized- to the point where nothing else can be seen or considered. And as such, this fear and obsession – with American power or Israeli power viewed as part and parcel- can only be understood as having been deeply imprinted with the sting of humiliation and injured pride, anger, resentment, fused now with bigotry for many.
    How else does one explain choosing IRAN as an ally???!!! Really? What do the minorities of Syria care about IRANIAN power?? or the non- minority fence sitters? No, this is a marriage of convenience – not love.
    What in contrast is so dangerous about American power other than its support for Israel??? in the minds of Syrians… (remember, as a mind bending fact, that it is the NON-Religious zealots – the secular supporters of Syria…who are supposedly most appalled at the notion of American influence taking hold in Syria)….?? Our values? Half their family are emigrated to non- middle eastern countries. Our economic exploitation?
    That last would be a great Irony considering the economic sinkhole that Syria is now in- and from which Iran and Russia certainly – and even! China cannot pull her out.
    Alas, the issue comes back to the issue of Israel and wounded pride and humiliation.

    This pitiful fact has to be recognized. It has to be addressed not by slamming on the Syrian defenses but by an irresistible argument for how CHANGE- including a change in strategic alliances CAN WORK IN FAVOR OF RESTORING SYRIAN PRIDE AND STRENGTH IN REAL TERMS.

    RESISTANCE in the conventional way it has been waged on the Syrian stage has been pathetic and self-sabotaging. It has been self -destructive. It has not saved the Palestinians (if that were even truly the goal) nor restored Arab pride in any form. It has led to isolation, and economic decline, and toleration of a sick and ineffective form of government that has now sunk very very low in terms of its treatment of its citizenry.
    RESISTANCE has been the biggest manipulation of all – in some sense for achieving very very little for the people of Syria. It has to be reclaimed and redefined. In fact, abandoned in favor of a VIABLE ALTERNATIVE.
    A COUNTERARGUMENT must contain that alternative… for both restoring Syrian hope and pride as well as making obsolete and benign the influence of larger powers who are NOT in fact the biggest threat to society and survival.


  121. Dear Zenobia,
    As always, you have so effectively articulated what so many of us have been thinking for a while. Yes, it is this dilemma of knowing for a fact that the people are genuinely angry with the regime and at the same time understanding that outside forces are at play. To me it all boils down to a cost-benefit analysis: is the effect of outside interference in Syria’s affairs going to be worse than the conditions we are in under the rule of this regime? The answer to this question is dictating the positions people take for or against the regime. Most of us here believe that there is nothing worse than this regime. We see the country moving backwards, the people oppressed and the economy in shambles. Not so, say the fence sitters. To them, as we have pointed out many times, the country is in great shape.
    I completely agree with you regarding the alliances of Syria. I have questioned many times the alliances with Iran and Russia. The problem is that the US can, using many different methods, twist the figurative arms of nations. Since our regime has to “obey” the US in political matters anyway, why can’t the country benefit in all other matters by declaring the US an ally? Why do we have Russian “experts” and not American? This is the decision that Egypt and Jordan made long time ago. They realized that they can not beat the US and Israel militarily, so they decided to befriend them and advance their countries and societies. We see this in Jordan to a great extent. It is in a different league from Syria whether educationally, organizationally or economically.
    The “resistance” issue is a very interesting one. With all these years of empty talk and humiliation after humiliation. From “Nakba” to “Naksa” to total defeat, turns out the most effective way for “resistance” is having babies (and it can be an enjoyable activity to boot). This is how the Palestinians are going to “defeat” Israel as it remains a Democracy. In fact, this is the only thing that Israel is scared of. This is the only drive behind its policies in the West Bank and Gaza. This is the only reason why they do not want these areas to be part of Israel anymore. So, I say, let’s abolish all Arab armies, work on improving our countries, educating our people, creating successes in our economies and encourage the Palestinians to have more babies.


  122. Dear Sheila
    Can you kindly cut and past your comment into the new post. It is Zenobia’s comment. I thought it is very important.


  123. Sorry OTW. I do not quite understand what you mean by this:

    “Dear Sheila
    Can you kindly cut and past your comment into the new post. It is Zenobia’s comment. I thought it is very important.”

    Please explain what you want me to do.

    BTY, I do agree that Zenobia’s post is outstanding.


  124. HI Sheila
    Please copy the text from your comment responding to Zenobia, and enter it in a new comment in under the new post as if it is a new comment. and submit it under the new post. It should get the discussion going in that post.


  125. OK. Will do, however, I think it would be better off burried here. I was just throwing out some thoughts.


  126. No sheila, you shouldn’t bury it; i like your follow comments very much.

    except maybe…. babies as a strategy….. sigh*…. this deserves a response…for sure…: )


  127. Zenobia,

    I think the fence sitters are becoming a minority. The people who think that the revolution is a ‘total conspiracy’ are Assadis and sympathizers (a few million at the most). The middle street have already made up their mind. Every higher profile defector has said that his/her well being and family was what stopped them from jumping ship earlier. As for the counter argument, a possible solution is Islamic representation and allowing the MB to become an equal partner. In the meantime, a military intervention is the only viable option. Soon, Zenobia, very soon Syrians will say let Amereeka rabe us, enough is enough.


  128. Well, obviously, I wrote what I wrote because I fear that you are wrong about the ‘middle street’…-although I am not certain who you are referring to here… but my “fence sitter” does believe there is a legitimate uprising, but privileges their other concerns over supporting it.
    And – actually – those who I see vocalizing the kind of thinking I am talking about…are not per se “islamist’ or MB types in a particularly large numbers. As OTW said- these people are often as secular or educated as anyone else (in relative terms)…but their worldview is very very entrenched in such a way as to cause them to make the assessment (cost benefit analysis) conclusion that Sheila described as well.

    No military option is going to address this fear and mistrust problem. Not even a (unlikely in my mind at this moment) successful military intervention, …. imagine that. It will remain after the fact and likely lead to incredible animosity and continued internal political conflict. That would be my concern.


  129. Sheila said:

    “Why do we have Russian “experts” and not American?”

    You are underestimating the Russians & Chinese Sheila. I am not the first to tell you that America has lost its lustre. South American and Asia are becoming the new emerging markets, and they will overtake Europe and the U.S. Experts other than Americans will emerge.

    “So, I say, let’s abolish all Arab armies, work on improving our countries, educating our people, creating successes in our economies and encourage the Palestinians to have more babies.”

    Are you kidding me. Sheila, this is the most absurd statement I have heard on 7ee6an to date. While I gathered that you are an American patriot, I did not know how far in bed you are with the devil. What a defeatist stance! Abolish all Arab armies? Really. I see your angle, we are all manipulated, we can’t possibly stand up to Israel, we can’t protect our borders, we can’t don’t squat shit. And your Palestinian statement is borderline racist. The Palestinians are some of the most intelligent people, and will do more than just have babies. The Jordanians, Egyptians, and every other state sold out the Palestinians (yes, they got money for it). Why don’t you call for the Arabs to revive and rid of all their dictators, their shieks and their monarchies rather than hire-america? Do you want us to be slaves forever?

    Let the Americans bring in their democracy, super size me culture and education to all corners of the world and let us all live happily ever after. Sheila, I think you know better that this idea you are throwing fits really well with totalitarian one-world government the neo cons have been pushing.

    I can tell you if this is your idea of a New Syria, then I will be the first one to vote it down.


  130. Dear Shiela:

    As an American who still is in touched with her folks back in Aleppo, you of all people should not peddle the fear KSA brand of Islam. Your statement “I will not set foot in Syria” if the MB were to rule as in KSA is sending the wrong message and creating unnecessary fear.

    Whipping people to pray, etc… is only done in one country and in essence to my understanding is contrary to what Allah (SWT) says. Syria enjoys a diverse array of religions, with each one ranging from liberals to conservatives.

    What I am saying is please don’t sensationalise and bridge KSA’s way of life to Syria.

    And if you are wondering why the Sunnis in KSA are helping the MB, it is because they fear Iran and looking to protect their own grip on the throne. If KSA cared so much about the Sunni bretheren, there are millions in desperate need other than Syria or MB.


Share your thinking

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s