Olives, Ironies, and civil war

On Jan, 5, 2011, Subhi Hadidi, a journalist termed by many in the opposition, including myself, as a moral compass for being fiercely independent in his criticism of the Syrian regime, published an article in the London based Pan Arab newspaper Alquds Alarabi about the cornerstone of the Syrian regime and its evolution during the past 10 month. The article’s introduction describes the intent of Adanan Alsukhbi, the regime’s governor of the Raqqa governorate of Syria to uproot the 15 years old olive trees planted on the private farm of activist lawyer Abduallah Al-Khalil after Assad’s militias destruction of the the lawyer’s house.  One of two trees mentioned in the Quran (fig and olive), and a universal symbol of peace, olive trees are both mystical and semi-sacred.  And uprooting olive trees, next to home demolition, has been a constant presence in Arab memory ever since it has been practiced by Israeli settlers and IDF soldiers be it as collective and individual punishment of Palestinians, pre-confiscation action, or part of the controversial and illegal price-tag policy exacted by extremist settlers against both the Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

It was an epic irony that, in his forth speech since the uprising started, and while the issue of uprooting olive trees in Raqqa, being fresh, and with Bashar Al-Assad being dubbed by many Syrians as having presided over the killing of more Syrians than double the number of Lebanese and Palestinians killed through the two most recent actions of Israel’s forces, and right after berating “certain” Arab countries and the Arab League as betrayers of Arabism (Urooba), chose, with pride, Syria’s rank as the fifth country in producing olives and olive-oil as one of the fundamental strengths of Syria that he hoped will get Syria through the isolation his regime has put the country through. It goes without saying that farmers and refugees from Jabal Alzzaweyah and Idlib region, have also described Assad’s forces scorched earth policy of uprooting and burning ancient olive trees in this region, which is responsible for a majority of Syria’s high quality olives and olive oil. Needless to say, Syrians have been talking loudly about the fact that the number of victims of the Assads’ forty one year reign of terror already exceeds the numbers of Syrians who lost their lives in the multiple wars with the enemy the regime is supposed to protect Syria from.

Keen observers of blogs and journals where open discussions of Syrian affairs take place would notice that regime loyalists are more or less oblivious to Ironies.  And yesterday, in his speech, the subject of adoration and worship not only re-affirmed such observation, but took it into new lows. While a number of gaffs, some of which were related to the man’s well-known lisping, which was on and off quite, indicating his extreme stress. More, however, were related to the content of the speech, to his detachment from reality, to his sophistry and lecturing style, to his bizarre concepts of governance, constitutional reforms and to the mere fact that he said nothing new in the speech, which caused some to say “the man has swallowed his previous speeches and threw them all up together”, or so we thought.

The speech, as described above, started with a contemptuous brouhaha about the Arab League, about countries, who, as opposed to Syria, have no history and tradition with Arabism. Those countries, according to Assad, now have money and think that their money allows them to buy “geography!” and establish pretentious claim to Arabism. This was followed by a boring rehash of reform talk, mixed with conspiracy—conspiracy—conspiracy segment. In this segment Assad clearly indicated that he does not intend to leave power, unless asked by his people!, and with an obvious repeating of Qaddafi’s mantra regarding utter lack of interest in position. The final segment was the most significant, in it, Assad revived his fathers’ speech in 1980s, bringing back terms such as the “Satanic Brotherhood” as he referred to the Muslim Brothers, also reviving and declaring his intent to arm and mobilize “popular militia”. He also alluded to “secret dialog” with some opposition figure and drafter a list of conditions for what he termed “patriotic opposition” that is consistent the conspiracy theory, and would lead to nothing more than parties that are mirror image of his own, and of the pathetic parties currently engaged in the dead-wood National progressive front.

Assad saved his worst to the part in which he demonstrated that he continues to live in his own reality. It was to the wide-spread opposition in the streets where he directed his most contemptuous language.  He accused them of causing the acute fuel and power shortages, of closing thousands of schools and of being anti-education and of committing all kinds of heinous murders. As for the wide-spread brutality of his regime forces, Assad claimed that there is not much evidence of that and only few murder cases were investigated within his own forces because of the lack of evidence, ignoring the law his father signed and he cntinues to renew, which exempts members of security forces from being held to account in law. He kept asking would revolutionaries do so and so in an increasing crescendo reaching the infamous promise of hitting with Iron Fist, which he claimed is not an execution of the demands he has received from honest Syrians for all-out war. Strangely enough, there was no power shortage anywhere in the country during the speech and for a period after the speech sufficient for regime- media to provide the usual post-speech glorification of the unique-leader”.

It is noteworthy that Assad chose to point out that “honest and patriotic citizens” have been urging him to “finish it” and to clamp down hard on the “terrorists”. This links the fascist campaign, which was initiated by a letter from one of the most vocal anti-revolution reactionaries “Bassam  Alkadi”, who accused every protester of treason, and few others urging the “president” and the armed forces to defend Syria with all of their power. Alkadi’s letter was the first in a series of face-book status updates by a series of “regime-poets, by the wife of the newly appointed director of the Syrian radio and TV, apparently closed her facebook profile but not before her comment, in which she berated the army for not hitting the terrorist hard enough and asked soldiers to shoot any “suspect” straight in the head, went viral. I and few others have noticed the coordinated campaign as the messages, while differently worded, have had the same set of murderous suggestions and demands of increasing brutality, along with the usual demonization of the revolution Alkadi and his supporters have excelled at. Few intellectuals were repulsed and hit back, but their outrage was personal, and not sufficient to expose the coordinated campaign, which is a hallmark of the regime’s propaganda machination.

The irony does not stop here, Assad’s incoherent attempt to brand the demonstrators as terrorists included accusation of halting the education of Syrians. One has to recall the methods the regime uses to “herd” students of all ages as well public sector employees into regime’s festivals of loyalty and to imagine the number of school hours wasted in the personality cult rituals. To add insult to injury, today one of these feasts was held under the banner “The president between his children” in which students were herded in buses to meet the “great father” and his biological family. I said it, these thugs are oblivious to ironies, talking about this thug as a father just a day after his henchmen delivered the body of a four months (yes Four MONTHS) old baby murdered under torture while maintaining her parents under arrest. The baby was arrested with her parents hours earlier.  Today, the tyrant encouraged the forcibly herded kids as well as his loyalists to “forge ahead” ” الى الأمام “, words uttered by Qaddafi in his Zenga Zenga famous and moronic speech. Activists are taking this as a sign of the impending end. The spokesman of the local coordination committees affirmed the summary dismissal members of university faculty for their refusal  to join today’s worship rituals. Just a day after Assad berated the protesters for their effect on the “educational process”.

Assad’s talk of reform too late and rings hollow. As discussed above, the sol-called national unity government, will only be a cover for continuing repression and brutality. I would not be surprised if he included a fascist reactionary figure, who calls for “surgical strikes” and for “execution of protesters” as a minister of “human rights”.  His emphasis that security is the priority and that it will be brought about with iron fist, coupled with his insistence (same as the opposition) that reforms can not happen while people are being killed,  and with his declared intention of proceeding with reforms-related referendum on the “re-customized” constitution, which is likely to exclude term-limt articles, sometimes in March indicates that he expects the iron fist policy to finish off the protest movement by March. SNC, i believe, read the speech appropriately as indicated during the press conference it held, and by the statements of its different blocks as well as of that of its president. An interesting phenomenon was the disappearance of honorific names (i.e., Doctor, President) from Haytham Manna’a references to Assad after the speech, and the declaration from the CNB that they are not and have never been a party to the secret discussions with the regime, and that they will not enter in any discussion or negotiation with the regime as long as its brutality continues. Manna’a said “if Bashar al-Assad asked me to become a Prime Minister, I would ask him to resign first“. Interesting! he is considering the premiership, isn’t he?

While analysts, including psycho-analysts continue to debate whether Assad is confident, stressed, or whatever, the speech was a threat. It demonstrated that he will hang on to power to the last possible drop of Syrian blood. It was clear that all real political solutions are of no interest to this regime, who has locked itself and Syria in a downward spiral towards civil war. Some have argued that the speech was a declaration of civil war. I tend to agree.

Advertisements

181 Comments

  1. The speech is no surprise. As a matter of fact Aboud predicted this speech on this blog.
    My thoughts are as follows:
    the Syrian people are caught in a maelstrom of local regional and international arm wrestling.
    On the local level the people have decided never to go back to the status ante for it means another fifty years of slavery.
    The regime has fought back with one narrative that uses the only structure or set of institutions that works in the country that is the security apparatus. Neither the Baath nor the economic sector nor the financial sector nor the dead national alliance of parties under the umbrella of the Baath could function in a way to move the country forward.
    In a regional sense, the alliances and counter alliances that the regime has around it allowed interference from the beginning and in this the amateur role of the opposition who “put on the robe of the bear before killing it” was plain and evident. It left the two protagonists the security forces and the people alone in their struggle at first and now with increasing back and forth depending on the ever increasing armed resistance that we are witnessing.
    The Syrian issue is however but one of a bigger picture. For while we are busy listening to the stupid speech there are efforts to compensate China and Japan for the loss of Iranian oil. This will happen if the elections in March are a farce. Iran has become a liability for China now and it needs to diversify its oil sources as the Sudan source can be cut easily. Libya cannot provide and Syria is cut off with sanctions.
    For China relying heavily on Iranian oil is a problem now. There is every effort to break the Shia axis and in this the only sticking point is that Israel prefers Assad to MB light or otherwise and has been holding back on allowing a more rapid collapse. It may well be that the sitution will degenerate into a low level civil war just like Iraq leaving incapable of ever mounting any threat and as a matter of fact in the case of Syria a burden on Iran finances.
    The speech or no speech is of no consequence. It does not matter whether he stays or leaves. The matter revolves around the fact that Syria as we knew it with its important role and location will be marginalized for a long time to come and will never threaten Western interests again.

  2. Observer
    True, there is a bigger picture at the regional and global scales. But i beg to differ with respect to the internal dynamic in the country. Assad has lost control of that dynamic. On that front, life is becoming nearly unbearable even to the “near-elites” upper middle class. Aleppo is increasingly restive, so is Damascus, Syrian Universities are slowly regaining their pre-baath status as hubs of activism, and Syrian intellectuals, including many Alawites are pushing back. The speech, while irrelevant in the far larger scheme of things, is relevant internally as it marks the obvious signs of the accelerating decay of the regime, the stress of its forces, and the desperation of the loyalists. On the opposition side, there is now accelerating differentiation and polarization into more coherent currents and blocks, not necessarily larger. Most blocks share the common goal of removing the regime and demolishing the security house of cards, as you have referred to.

    At the regional scale, the situation can not be allowed to degenerate for longer than a tolerable duration as chaos in Syria is bound to spread into Lebanon and Iraq, the other two rings of the Iran axis chain. It also threatens Turkey. Voices within SNC are becoming keenly aware of the effects of the degeneration into civil war on the legitimacy of the entire uprising. Two or three sectarian atrocities committed by any anti-regime side, or under false flag, would deal a near-fatal blow to the international image of legitimacy of the uprising, even if legitimate protests continues and expand with increasingly more brutal actions (as thretened by Assad himself), along with the legitimate defensive actions by the FSA.

  3. Dear OTW and Observer,
    I think both of you have very valid points about the importance or the irrelevance of the Assad speech. On a more basic level, he is just trying to show everyone that he is still alive and kicking. To put to rest all the rumors about him being under house arrest or even dead.
    As far as the “big” plans of the West and others, we all know that they can plan as much as they want, but it does not always work the way they intend it to, sometimes, it even ends up with opposite results. So much for the conspiracy theories that really have basis in reality but are given more than their due in actual effectiveness. History abounds with such failed “grand” plans, because there are always other factors that are impossible to control.
    I have no doubt that Syria will be out of commission for a while. Maybe 10 to 20 years of turmoil, where all the political forces will fight in the quest to dominate the scene. As much as I disagree with political Islam, not because I do not believe it works, just because I believe that politics should be challenged and you will be hard pressed to challenge “God”, I am actually hoping that the next government will be run by the Muslim Brotherhood. My rationale is that we are faced with a situation where the populace is like the genie who has been stuck in the bottle for over forty years. There is no controlling this genie once it smells and internalizes freedom. I definitely do not want a dictator using brutal force to control the people, that was the whole idea of the revolution. I see the only other method of controlling the population without using force, is by using religion. Like it or not, the reality on the ground is that most Syrian people today are uneducated and uncivilized. They are so engrossed in the basics of existence that virtue and morals have become a burden in their quest for survival. There needs to be a “Marshall” plan to lift these people up in all aspects of life. We all know the great potential that lies there. We also know that no project or plan will ever see the light of day, let alone accomplish any results, without first having stability and security. This is where the Muslim Brotherhood comes in to fill this transitional period and push the country forward.
    This might very well be wishful thinking on my part. I am just hoping against hope that the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria learnt something over these long thirty years. But then again, power always corrupts.

  4. Let’s look at the last couple of weeks, suicide attacks in Damascus, an attack on Arab observers in Lattakia, an attack on foreign journalists in Homs. I think the regime is trying to set the stage for a violent crackdown on a massive scale, the speech is merely connecting the dots!

  5. The only good outcome is the freedom of the people.
    Once that is established, the true role of Syria back in true resistance will return.

  6. A massive crackdown is exactly what the West and the regional players may be pushing the regime to do so that intervention becomes inevitable.
    In 1941 Roosevelt cut off the oil supply to Japan forcing it to attack and therefore predicting the entry of the US into the war. This is what is happening with Iran, economic sanctions to make them retaliate with force so that they can whaced hard.
    A successful attack on Iran and Syria in the bag would ensure Obama re election, tarnish Putin re election, cut Iraq back to size, create good will with the Sunnis around the world, and a new partnership with the new forces in the ME.
    Israel is the spoiler in this for it sees its increased weakness with the changes coming .
    OTW points well taken and certainly valid

  7. Agree with NK on the fact the the speech is the connecting dot. This is what I tried to allude to by bringing in the reactionary campaign into light as part of the stage-setting. I am not sure the west is ready and/or willing to move militarily against the Assad regime. I can not see any signs of that other than some talk among a few former intelligence officers, and claims by the regime. So far talking about intervention has been done more by the regime and its loyalists than by opposition, and it had succeeded in placing some in the opposition on the defensive and in creating unneeded sideline battles within the opposition. OBSERVER definitely sees things more clearly than I do in their regional and global contexts, because I have not been following the regional and international dimensions of the Syrian uprising/revolution. My focus has been on the internal dynamics and the loyalists and fence sitters.

    The question is, what approach would the regime use. From tactical point of view, the regime does not have enough trust-worthy loyalist forces to conduct a nation-wide massive scale operation. Would Bashar Al-Assad opt for a repeat of Hama in order to teach other restive cities a lesson?

    The AL observers’ mission end within eight days. What’s next? internally and not in the hallways of the AL headquarters in Cairo. Little time is now available to avoid a massacre, if what we think is really in the offing.

  8. “My focus has been on the internal dynamics and the loyalists and fence sitters.”

    as I think it should be for most of us…

  9. 1. Cyprus stops a Russian ship carrying 60 tonnes of weapons to Syria
    2. Turkey stops a 4 trucks convoy in transit from Iran to Syria (why not transit use Iraq?)

    The regime continues to load up on weapons, is it replenishing or its acquiring weapons more suitable for urban warfare. Chinese Sniper Rifles have been reported to be the weapon of choice for regime snipers.

  10. Good, the regime is reduced to killing its own supporters and foreign journalists now. No one else in Homs has mortars. And it’s impossible for the FSA to attack that area of Homs. Reminds me of when Qaddafi would blow up a building and then blame NATO, when NATO had actually never been anywhere near that area.

    “Would Bashar Al-Assad opt for a repeat of Hama in order to teach other restive cities a lesson”

    That’s what they have been trying to do. Also, Hama worked because by that point the Muslim Brotherhood had bee isolated there. It’s not like Hama was shelled and the rest of the country was silenced; the country was silenced and then Hama was shelled. Today, there isn’t a city, village or town that hasn’t seen or is seeing large protests.

    The regime is staging these attacks in an attempt to win international sympathy. They know that it is only a matter of time before they are forced to allow in an independent press. Their thinking is primitive and simplistic, but that’s the way it’s always been.

    Junior’s appearance today just confirms what I’ve been saying; there is widespread grumbling and frustration amongst the Alawite community. Those in Homs feel abandoned by the regime. Besho would not make an appearance unless forced to.

    Oh, and today the lira has fallen to 57.44 against the dollar. Feel free to check any website.

  11. “2. Turkey stops a 4 trucks convoy in transit from Iran to Syria (why not transit use Iraq?)”

    Because the Kurdish Authority in Iraq wouldn’t have allowed it to pass. Amd for the convoy to pass through the Arab Iraq, would have made it fair target for the Sunni ashaair of Iraq.

    Iran and Bashar are still banking on there spies and contacts within the Turkish Establishment and their clout with some of the opposition islamist parties in Turkey like the “Felicity Party”.

  12. The AL has postponed sending more observers due to the attack on them yesterday. That is very, very disappointing. Either send an effective team or don’t send one at all. The observers that are currently in Syria can’t possibly cover the whole country.

    We need thousands of observers, not mere hundreds.

    “The regime continues to load up on weapons, is it replenishing or its acquiring weapons more suitable for urban warfare.”

    They could get the world’s most advanced weapons, they still need men to use them. And if these past ten months has proven anything, it’s that rent-a-shabiha and a conscript army is no match for highly motivated guerrilla fighters, striving for a cause they believe in (freedom, and not as giggling boy would have the world believe, a Jazeera/Zionist/Qatari/Saudi/Salafi/Al-Qaeda plot to overthrow him. Geesh, nothing says inadequacy quite as clearly as the never ending need to be a victim at every moment in one’s life).

  13. Anwar Malek, the Algerian official who resigned from the Observer mission, said that General al Dabi is trying to deliberately sugarcoat the reports so as not to anger the regime ans to keep the mission in Syria for more days.

    This certainly ties in with Aboud’s analysis in the earlier post. Is there a chance that the Mission migh get an extension ?

  14. Aboud, do you think the mnhebaks are pissed off at the A.L mission because elections have increased and they are no longer able to use Tanks openly ?

    Btw, I think it was insane to send Kuwaiti or UAE observers to a place like Lattakia.

  15. No way the regime will be able to replenish its weapons from its principal sources ( Iran and Russia) unhindered. Turkey is no longer willing to play ball, and Turkey controls both the land and sea route to Syria ( btw Cyprus is under partial Turkish control), Iraq is too dangerous for Iran to send convoys through it, and good news is that the Kurdish Authority in Iraq will have none of it.

  16. I have also come to the conclusion that the longer the A.L. mission remains in Syria, the better it will be for the Opposition. But the problem is the A.L is not one single body but a collection of countries, each with itw own unique equation with the Syrian regime.

  17. Ian Black in his own words –

    “The atmosphere remains very, very controlling. What’s true for the Arab League monitors is even more true for journalists. If you are in Syria as a journalist with a visa then you are pretty closely subject to government control. This trip today is an interesting example of that.

    This is a government-organised trip to show the government’s side of the story and they are doing that very energetically. They have brought us to the part of Homs which is controlled by the Syrian government. From here you can see virtually nothing of what’s going on in the areas controlled by what people call gunmen

    You can’t get to see what’s happening on the other side of the city where many people don’t even have the benefit of hospitals or medical care. It is interesting to see quite how fiercely the Syrian government is defending its position in the city and how much apparent loyalty it can command here.”

  18. Ian Black in his own words –

    “In the commercial centre whole streets of shops are shut down. It doesn’t look like a city that is leading a normal life at all, even on the side that is completely under government control. There are soldiers in full combat gear in the middle of the city. It has got a strange feeling to it.

    Ian added:

    The people you talk to here are all singing very much from the same sheet. They all talk about terrorism, murderers and treachery, and particularly they complain about the support of western governments for these enemies of the Syrian regime. There is a sense that they are all saying the same thing from the same script. A man just insisted to me that there was only a security solution to this crisis, no political solution.

    We are only hearing one side of the story, but it is important to say there is real strength of feeling, [and] apparently, at least, pretty unanimous support for the government.

    On the future of the Arab League mission, Ian said:

    It was clear from the start that this was pretty much mission impossible. But there is a strong pressure for the Arab League mission to be maintained. If it is withdrawn there is no international presence or pressure point at all on the Syrian regime.”

  19. I sometimes feel really sorry for the Alawites, especially those in Homs, they have been completely uprooted from their traditional mileu in the mountains ans forced to live in the city by the regime. theyn have not really integrated into the local population, and 90 % of them have family in the security forces. Generations upon generations of Alawite males have no career prospects exceot armed service.

    Its really depressing if you try to be in their boots, see ur father and uncle serve 40 years in Uniform and know you have to do the same, just to prptect your community’s privileged position.

  20. That being said, its apparent the regime staged the attack in Homs today. It is more than willing to sacrifice the entire Alawite population of Homs for its own survival, its about time those dumb-asses realize this fact.

  21. The whole thing has an artificial feeling to it. It seems most of the people were acting. How come all the Taxis were there at the moment, as if ready for the incident ? Also donlt forget Taxis in Syria are a front for the Mukhabarat, and they might as well have sent them. Why are the people around doing things choreograophically ? Why was there no loud sound of mortar or RPG ? the sound of an RPG explosion can be heard 2 kms away, why dont we hear it in the video ?

    God have mercy on their souls and open their eyes to the reality.

  22. Hey guys, this is a view of the pro-Besho demo today…from the back.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!! Man, I could get a bigger turnout on a cold night in Khaldia.

  23. We could get a bigger turnout in the village of Kensafrah in the Jabal zawiyah in a cold night.

  24. After getting news that another nephew of mine has been detained, (the first just a teenager has been in detention since July, the second a young doctor who had came out and campaigned openly against the regime) and after Juunyer’s declaration of war (which I expected anyway), I must admit I have become even more pessimistic at the possibility of good outcome. The following is part of what I posted on Haytham Manna3’s FB page:

    Dr Haytham, is there an article you have written which details a step-by-step scenario of how the Syrian uprising can succeed through the peaceful means you have been insisting upon all along? With all my being I truly want to believe it is possible, but when I look at the Assadist regime, this murderous mafia that is devoid of honor, conscience, humanity and wataniyya I can’t see how it can be done.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Haytham-Manna/138816042833867?sk=wall

    I know that many 7eetanis do prefer the non-violent route and probably share Dr Manna3’s view, so their comment would be appreciated because I doubt that HE will get around to answering my question.

  25. Another big reason there can’t be another Hama 1982……back then there was no facebook, internet, satellite TV, video recording in everyones hands.

    Back then the World attention was not on Syria, but totally preoccupied ewith the critical events in Lebanon, Iran-Iraq War, and Afghanistan. Today the world attention and entire Arab attention is on Syria. Also the MB were not that well organized as the FSA and the LCCs, and their leadership were sellouts. The FSA and LCCs do not hve a centralized leadership which is a huge advantage.

  26. After getting news that another nephew of mine has been detained, (the first just a teenager has been in detention since July, the second a young doctor who had came out and campaigned openly against the regime) and after Juunyer’s declaration of war (which I expected anyway), I must admit I have become even more pessimistic at the possibility of good outcome. The following is part of what I posted on Haytham Manna3′s FB page:

    Dr Haytham, is there an article you have written which details a step-by-step scenario of how the Syrian uprising can succeed through the peaceful means you have been insisting upon all along? With all my being I truly want to believe it is possible, but when I look at the Assadist regime, this murderous mafia that is devoid of honor, conscience, humanity and wataniyya I can’t see how it can be done.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Haytham-Manna/138816042833867?sk=wall

    I know that many 7eetanis do prefer the non-violent route and probably share Dr Manna3′s view, so their comment would be appreciated because I doubt that HE will get around to answering my question.

    [PS; OTW, I struck the wrong key so my post went to moderation, pls disregard it. thx]

  27. MGB, I’m very sorry to hear of your nephews. God grant you strength during these times. It is a very anxious time when a relative or friend is arrested.

  28. Another big reason there can’t be another Hama 1982……

    I wish I could agree, but I’m afraid there CAN be, and in likelihood will be another Hama ’82 notwithstanding all the reasons outlined. Why? Because the regime does not care about its image, about international pressure, about sanctions or admonitions. The people in charge have no conscience!!!

    Fear? yes, maybe that, but I am sure there will not be an intervention a la Libya/Iraq, the thing the criminals fear most; there simply isn’t enough oil to exploit and no money to be made from selling Syria new stuff to replace what would get bombed to smithereens during the intervention (from infrastructure to weapons for a new army) because Syria does not have hundreds of billions stashed away offshore. A Syria ravaged by a long and drawn out civil war would be less preferable to an Assadist Syria keeping Israel’s borders nice and quiet, but a weakened, chaotic Syria is not too bad, either.

    Turkey was happy to let Assad suppress the uprising in the first month or two and told him so, but turned on him when it became clear that the AKP could make political capital from talking big and making all sorts of threats only to follow up with more talk and no action after winning their elections. They will make more noise as Besho and co. go ahead with murder and mayhem but if he were to manage some sort of victory I’m willing to bet they will slowly “rehabilitate” him, if they stay in power of course, which is not a sure thing in their case.

    The Arab world will go back to its ways, each country busy with its own problems as I can’t see them sending their men to be killed fighting Assad’s desperate troops -don’t forget, for them it is kill or be killed, in their minds no other choice is available aside from maybe retreating to the mountains and to poverty again.

  29. OTW, is there an email I can reach you at? Could you send me one to the email I specified in the form. Thanks.

  30. French journalist killed in Syria

    Gilles Jacquier becomes the first Western journalist to die in Syria’s unrest, during a government-authorised trip to Homs. It is heartbreaking. Jacquier is described as a veteran award-winning journalist who covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, and between Israel and the Palestinians. His loss

    Who are these criminal minds behind all these staged and deadly attacks? How convenient? Just when foreign journalists, chaperoned by assad “insecurity forces” allowed in the country, and DURING A PRO- GOVERNMENTAL RALLY, one was shot dead and two gravely wounded.

    It is a crime amongst many, that has “assad” signature over it.

    Yet in another pro-rally were the most wanted head in Syria, Syria’s Butcher, was speaking freely, not one shot or bullet was fired. Or is the Homs massacre a prelude to utter chaos? His despicable men were chanting around him, “shabiha lil-abad, kirmal eyounak ya….”
    “shabiha forever, for your eyes only, oh Assad” this is a confession by his men, “shabiha” surrounding him and on record.

  31. من أكبر الفضائح التي تكشف غباء النظام باصطناع تفجيرات حي الميدان يوم الجمعة 6 1 2012

  32. If they could do another Hama they would not hesitate one bit.
    Some in the AL want the regime to survive Lebanon and Iraq and perhaps Sudan being like that. In Sudan, Bashir was against Ghadafi because the later caused mischief big time in Darfour. However, Bashir is Mubarak 10 years ago and the same fate awaits him in a few more years.
    Peaceful means are I am afraid not possible with this regime. Any hint of weakness on either side’s part will lead to their utter destruction that is why some are clinging to his fate and they will suffer terribly it he falls having tied his fate to theirs.
    There are not enough fire brigades to stop the fires raging in the country.

    The state institutions are collapsing, people are not paying their bills for a simple reason, not able to go out. The pound has fallen to 66 per dollar. There is shortage of gas and fuel and long queues for basic necessities.
    The regime troops are selling weapons on the black market for they are trying to make a profit before the collapse and with rampant corruption this is the norm now.

    Rent a thug has limits and they cannot use large formations as they are not sure of the loyalty of the conscripts and to keep them at bay and prevent them from defecting only small well structured units can be used.

    Manaa has been promised premiership and is holding on to this mirage of peaceful demonstrations and peaceful means. He is a fool and many in the opposition are decent people that have no clue of the baseness and brutality of this regime.

    I know for a fact that detainees (during the reign of the father) that would get letters from A. I. addressed to the Syrian authorities to release them would get double torture and reduced food rations as revenge. I know that from a detainee as well from a security agent who once told me that they told A. I. that they use their letters as toilet paper. That is the mentality of pure barbarism and there is no other means for the freedom of the people without an uprooting of the regime.

  33. Every day there is a new Hama, a mini Hama. What is done today is a replica of what was done in the 80s. The massacres that we are witnessing today, are a continuation of his father, same tactics same brutality but different times.

    Do you really think Manaa’ is a fool? I think their inner fighting is foolish, both parties have no clear vision, no strong leadership. At least from my vantage point.

    At this point the two opposition parties should reunite, set their differences aside, and demand from the International community a clear statement, that Assad and his regime are an illegitimate entity that is committing crimes against humanity, unlike the protesters and their legitimate demands, ending oppression, freedom and dignity,

    These protesters are damned if they remain peaceful, and damned if they resist?

    Neither the Arab League, nor the International community is doing Syrians any favours, by equating an oppressor with the oppressed, a mass murderer with a peoples right to self defence. I think this is a starting point. In my humble opinion, through this, you could sift through the good, the bad and the ugly.

  34. Deja Vu

    MGB said:

    I wish I could agree, but I’m afraid there CAN be, and in likelihood will be another Hama ’82 notwithstanding all the reasons outlined. Why? Because the regime does not care about its image, about international pressure, about sanctions or admonitions. The people in charge have no conscience!!!,

    MGB,

    I have to agree. No one has done anything against Iran since they took the American embassy hostage. No one did anything against Syria in 1982. And no one did anything substantial (except Reagen) against Libya for 40 years.

    Why should this be any different?

    OK, the US kicked Saddam out Kuwait and changed his regime, but this only angered the arab street.

    Where are the demonstrations and the outrage against the Assad regime in all the capitals across the world?

    If the arab world can unite against Israel in the UN with hundreds of resolutions and meetings, why can’t they do it against the Assads?

  35. Son of Damascus:

    …from last post

    Yeah, the Bloc comment made me wonder if you were in Quebec.

    You and I understand secularism and its benefits having lived in it, however some MB and others don’t. They believe in a different way of life and of governance. It is not about me, it is about the majority which you have to respect in a democratic platform.

    If a company is to decide whether to change its working hours to start earlier and finish later and has the consensus of the majority of its employees, then the official hours will change. Reasonable accommodation will protect the minority for different hours. What is wrong with Syria’s current system…it seems like a hybrid system to me.

  36. A sad reality check type of day for me. Zenobia, on a day like this I have eat my words and say I don’t know if we are over the hill anymore.

    I decided to go to the local shawerma joint, and opened my mouth “sho al-Akbar” knowing the guy behind the counter is Syrian with Palestinian roots. Little did I know that all the guys behind the counter were pro-Bashar. It was 3PM (after rush time) and this guy went on for about 20 minutes loathing about Bashar and making comments like he saw Bashar eating kebbeh in Salhieye with his wife 2 years ago unguarded. Then he went on: “After the speech yesterday, Bashar went to sa7et al amaoine and kissed the kids and the elderly”.

    The Manager came out and said,: “you liked the speech? He aced it, eh? I felt sick in the gut. What is the point of even discussing anything.

    Before heading home, I went to the barber and my Chilean amigo was off. So, I got to be served by Moroccan dude who litteraly destroyed my head when I started arguing with him about the Syria. The worst is when I brought the story of kids nails being torn out of their fingers, he laughed and said what is the big deal, King Hasan I did the same to a guy who refused to kiss his hand.

    This is how backward and how stupidly low the Arabs have become. They immigrated here and they still have the baggage of enslavement with them. They come here and enjoy the freedom but supress it for others back home because the West is coming to destroy Syria. But you are living in the West you fool.

  37. AP:

    No sane Zionist would vote for Ron Paul. The last person on this blog I had in mind was you.

  38. i wouldn’t vote for him. but naturally i deeply appreciate Ron Paul for challenging his whole party and actually talking about what “conservative” means in terms of our role in the world.

    yes, it is a sad day, Husam. And you must have felt like you were in the twilight zone…

  39. ps… but you are in Montreal….and if you DID go on facebook, u would know already how split that city is between those like you and those like those dudes…. its crazed up there way more than down here…

  40. Thank you Observer and NZ, you outlined many of the ideas and arguments that concur with the ones I hold with the exception of the designation of HM as a self-promoting fool. I did not single him out to attack him but because he seems to genuinely believe in what he’s saying and I DO want to believe him as nothing would restore my confidence in humanity more than for the non-violent way to actually lead us to our goals of freedom and democracy for all. A few weeks back I wrote how I wished our torturer-in-chief would do a BinAli, despite the cathartic/cleansing value of having to do things the long, difficult way. And in all honesty my concern is not limited to Syria but to all humans who long for justice, freedom, and self-determination be they Syrian, Burmese, Tibetan or Korean.

    So I appreciate the feedback thus far but I was hoping to hear from those who support (supported?) silmiyeh as the way. Zenobia, you are/were one, no? And I know that our host OTW leans in that direction somewhat.

    AP, you really do not miss an opportunity, do you? If Arabs had been truly united about anything, including Israel, then we would have had our M.E. Utopia long ago.

  41. BTW, to all,

    The Algerian observer who came out is a very controversial figure. Even if his statements are true, and run against the regime’s propaganda, the man has one of the shadiest pasts I have seen. I have been researching him for few hours now, and he is not to be trusted, again, even if what he says confirm what we already know, but with a bit of dramatic twist.

    Being an intergovernmental agency, observers from any nationality are nominated and verified by the government of that country. So if the fellow is Algerian, he should have been vouched by Algeria. Reading about him shows the following (all information predate the Syrian Revolution)

    1. Nizar Nayyouf (all of the sudden he is no longer a consultant but a Journalist) is marketing him as a former member of Terrorist group, which is consistent with few other writers in the official Algerian press. This is the story the Syrian regime press outlet and its happily relaying friends are trying to peddle as usual, but as usual, it is not the whole story, not even a small part of it.

    2, Some former Algerian Army officers believe that the man is an agent of Algerian intelligence agencies who has been involved in exposing some militant cells while in Jail on a mission from his bosses.

    3. The Moroccan press had several angry articles about him. All of which consider him an agent of the Algerian Mukhabarat who tried to infiltrate Algerian dissident groups in Paris and Lyon. Some of his writings are very much pro Algerian official position regarding the disputed SAHARA.

    I would avoid giving him any further publicity The man spent sometime in Jail in Algeria, but the Arabs have a saying describing Qaseer, the subject of one of the Arabs early Spy legends, and it says:

    لأمر ما جدع قصير أنفه

    I do not trust Nizar Nayyouf that much. Anyone does? So if he is involved in something, it would always sound the alarm to me. The question for me is always, how did a “supposedly” dissident Algerian, ended up on an official nomination list from the Algerian government? only to be discovered by Nizaar Nayyouf who provided documents that were already accessible on line and date back a couple of years ago as if they are from his “friends” and “colleagues” in Algeria. This is Fishy.

  42. Dear MGB
    I lean towards a clean parallel track, where FSA’s operations are purely protective and defensive. I have no illusion regarding the notion that without FSA protection, even smaller demonstrations in some areas would have been mowed down by the regime thugs.

    FSA is in a tough position, it needs to establish political goals, upon which it can frame its operations. I am not happy when soldiers decide political matters. However, it appears that SNC has been reluctant and/or inefficient in providing FSA with the political cover and with clear political mandate. Without such mandate, FSA is left alone, which would increase the possibility of being influenced by whoever provides it with support.

    The next phase will have to rely heavily on those who support the revolution but remain part of the regime or of the government in different places. Take for example whoever shot the video exposing the fake “Assad with his Children” joke yesterday. That brave person was inside the headquarter building of the Syrian official TV, one of the most despicable propaganda outlet. There are plenty of teachers in schools who are beyond fed-up with the despicable behavior of principles and “political commissars” , “Youth brown shirts”, and the crappy “union of students” and are ready to sabotage the efforts of these characters to cleanse schools from kids and young people (at university level) who support the revolution through intimidation, reports, and outright collaboration with shabee7a and mukhabarat during exams and critical times. Defection and leaving the job will be far less effective than remaining on the job and sabotaging these bastards. When the revolution gains enough strength in Aleppo and Damascus, these hidden civil servants, teachers, and workers will eventually have their own little coups each in their own place of work. If synchronized will, it will be a most devastating blow to the regime.

    The regime has a very narrow circle of command and control, but its execution mechanism rely on a very incoherent, and heterogeneous local micro and macro regimes. These must be taken out slowly and cleanly, and without violence, this is where civil disobedience can be very effective. There is a need to charge the silent supporters up, build their self confidence, and provide them with training material showing how a little action that does not involve much risk can be effective in demolishing and neutralizing the mini and macro regimes and fiefdoms.

  43. N.Z. @ 3:22
    I have been thinking of the issue of uniting the opposition. One of the crucial differences between the opposition and the regime is that leaders of the opposition, despite of what we think regarding their vision, continue to try to address the concerns of their perceived constituents in far more democratic way than the regime does. In that regard, it would then appear that we are guilty in pushing the leadership into their rigid stances as we are the ones who show little or no compromise. We want them to unite, yet each one takes the side of their own group and insists on highlight the differences and taking a jab at the other side (see my own post and smart ass comment about Manna’a). So out of self criticism, it is the base that needs stop pushing for unification and act in unified way. There is no more eloquent way to put it than what Naji Tayara wrote earlier today on Facebook.

    Naji Tayara………

    عجبتني الفكرة كتيرررررررررر و انا لهون و بس اؤيدها بشدة و بتمنى من الجميع ان يؤيدها و ينشرها على الولل عنده و شكرا
    أنا اتخذت قرار حاسم جدأ …. واحد من أهمّ القرارات في حياتي …. شو رأيكم شارككم فيه وتعطوني رأيكم؟؟؟ وإذا لقيتوا منيح ومناسب بدعيكم تعملوا شي متلو مثلا …

    أنا بصراحة قررت بشكل نهائي إني كون إنسان إيجابي ( ولا أفترض إني كنت غير هيك ) … بالثورة على الأقل
    يعني لن أنتقد المجلس الوطني ولا التنسيقيات والمجالس الثورية ولا أشخاص في المعارضة … سأنتقد فقط الأسد والنظام السوري البشع والشبيحة … لن أهاجم الجامعة العربية ولا الدول الإسلامية ولا الغربية … لن أهاجم المراقبين ولا تركيا ولا غيرهما …
    ساكون إيجابياً …. سأشجع على أي تحرك مهما كان ضدّ النظام السوري، وسأعمل جاهداً لأحيي كل الجهود الجيدة، سأستمر في النضال السلمي ودعم الجيش الحر في نفس الوقت … سأستمر في مطالبة الجامعة العربية بدور حقيقي وفعال دون أن أخونها أو أشتمها.. سأتابع نضالي لأوصل مطلب الثورة إلى المجتمع الدولي … نريد حماية دولية
    لن أنتقد رئيس المجلس الوطني ولا أعضاء المكتب التنفيذي … ولن أضيع وقتي بسحب الشرعية عن هيئة التنسيق الوطنية ….
    سأكون إيجابياً … سأكون ثائراً مصرا على إزالة النظام …
    سأزيل النظام الأسدي … وسأحاسب المجرمين والقتلة ….
    سأزيل النظام الأسدي … وسأعمل على تشكيل نظام ديمقراطي تعددي يضمن الحرية للجميع
    سأزيل النظام الأسدي … وبعدها سألوم كل من قصر ..
    سأزيل النظام الأسدي … وسأنضال من أجل تطور المجتمع السوري معرفيا وعلميا واقتصاديا واجتماعيا …
    باختصار ….
    سأعمل لتنتصر الثورة السورية
    سأعمل لتنتصر دماء الشهداء الذكية
    سأعمل لتعيش سورية حرّة أبية
    ………………………………………..
    سأعمل لأكون إيجابياً


    So as i said dear N.Z., you are right, the opposition should unite, but it should start from base-up not the other way around. I will try my best not to continue the divisive approach based on my own narrow definition of opposition. If we are to claim that the opposition is wide, I am now more convinced than any other time that we should act based on our conviction.

  44. AP, you really do not miss an opportunity, do you? If Arabs had been truly united about anything, including Israel, then we would have had our M.E. Utopia long ago.

    MGB,

    Instead of dreaming of Utopias and silly things like a “World Without Zionism”, why not take smaller steps like kicking out a X-Box educated, tin-pot dictator like Assad?

    If the arab world spent one-tenth of the effort they spent howling about “Israeli crimes” (aka self defense), Assad would have been gone long ago as Hezbollah would be firing missiles into Assad’s presidential palace and Iran would be threatening a “World without Baathists”.

    Get the arab world united against depots, then work on Utopias. Just my POV.

  45. No sane Zionist would vote for Ron Paul.

    Husam,

    And no sane American as well.

  46. Dear OTW,
    I am quite dismayed at your doubt about the Algerian observer.
    1- If the man is an Algerian dissident, do you think the Algerian regime is any better than the Syrian one? Do you put it past them to try to denigrate their dissidents like our regime does?
    2- If the man is a member of the Algerian Mukhabarat or an informer, then why would he say what he said about what is happening in Syria?. Remember that the Algerian regime in for the Syrian regime not against it.
    3- How hard is it to run a smear campaign against anyone at this day and age? Remember that our wonderful Arab regimes have armies of people whose sole job is to spread propaganda.
    4- The fact that the stuff about him is posted before his testimony on Syria only means that another regime is after him other than the Syrian one.
    5- The man is not telling us what we want to hear, rather what we are seeing with our own eyes on thousands of clips from a thousand different sources.
    6- Look at the people around you, whether Ghalioun, Qadmani, Ziadeh, Maleh, Qurabi, and I can keep going. Search their names and tell me if they will not look shady to the naked eye. All you have to do is follow Jad and his so called articles on SC to see smearing campaigns in action.
    7- If doubt can be planted in a substantial brain like yours, can you blame the poor souls living in Syria?

  47. I think both HM and Ghalioun and Koudmani are fools. The only two who truly understand the ways of the regime are Maleh and Kilo.
    Here are my points:
    1. They are not fools for being in the oppositin or for demanding the change or for asking for non violence.
    2. They are not fools in asking or refusing to ask for foreign or regional aid in one way or another.
    The foolishness comes from the following false assumptions
    1. The regime is reasonable
    2. The regime can be negotiated with in any form
    3. The regime has scruples
    4. The regime can be destroyed while the institutions can be saved
    5. The people should continue to resist peacefully when the regime is doing its utmost and in the most ugly way to create violence
    6. The people are going to accept this opposition to represent them when they have no political program, no platform, no vision, and no popular base.
    I am not against the opposition, but they have llived in the West for so long that they think they can sit and dialogue and come to a humane solution. HM wants to sit with a raging bull and negotiate with him on sharing a sandwiche and Ghalioun is telling a territorial wolf to just move off the land. I do not know in what unieverse some live, this is worse than the worse stazi state and Rumanian jails and NK goulag.

  48. Dear Observer,
    I agree with some of what you said, but not all. One question I have is the issue of destroying the regime but keeping the institutions. I really have no definitive opinion on this matter. Inevitably, Iraq comes immediately to mind when discussing this issue. Paul Bremer is still blamed for his decision to disband the Iraqi army and build it anew. From your vantage point, he made the right decision. In reality it did not seem so. Was it really this decision of putting all these thugs on the street that ignited the civil strife in Iraq? Or was it just the societal disintegration and the fact that the genie was out of the bottle? I do not know the answer to that question, but we’d better contemplate the issue of dismantling any institution really hard before embarking on it. I can only imagine how hard it would be to do anything with these thugs left in place, but like it or not, Syria will be left with a sizable number of thugs that we have to reintegrate into the society. How we do that is going to have a tremendous impact on the country and the society.

  49. OTW, the opposition inside and outside has a common goal, as Mr. Tayarra stated, ending the regime while remaining positive. No doubt that this regime will end very soon.

    We all want to reach our ultimate goal, regime change while taking into account, the people and the country. Protecting civilians without sacrificing sovereignty.

    The two parties, whether they like it or not, are in a forced marriage with a mandate. They must over-come their differences, we are in a war. They have to choose one leader for this specific juncture, speak with one voice, to Syrians, inside and outside the country, and to the international community, Arabs and non-Arabs. They will not only salvage lives and the country, but will guarantee a political future in the New Syria.

    They owe the dead and the living who are putting their lives and the lives of their families in danger, to achieve freedom for all.

    SNC, CNB leaders, members and their affiliates. No one owes them anything, they owe the people and the country, they voluntarily choose to be the opposition representative in the outside world. They owe those brave Syrians. Putting their egos aside and get together in a room to brainstorm and come up with one spokeswoman or spokesman, and a common plot to save Syrians and Syria.

    Between the lines, the moment the Arab League set foot in Damascus, they were blasted by the opposition members, all members, for different reasons, after begging AL for weeks to hasten the observers arrivals. Their is no coordination whatsoever. This spontaneity will serve the criminals, only.

    OTW, the uprooting of the olive trees anywhere in the world is one of the lowest common denominator among all savages.

    Thanks for your latest post, informative.

  50. Dear Sheila
    I would love for some folks who think that all we do here on 7ee6an is to pat each others on the back to see this discussion. Let me tell you how my thinking goes

    1. We agreed, both you and I that this is a conspiratorial regime that plays real dirty games and has already played some. The Algerian regime (AKA the Generals) is not much better, albeit, it has to work with a slightly more open press, and supposedly contested presidential election. The repressive intelligence agencies of the two countries have worked together, and in recent months we have seen some operations (i.e., Unified Electronic Army).

    2. The message is undeniable, Assad regime is killing people, it is using snipers, it is using torture, it is committing all sorts of heinous acts, bombing Syrians in Homs and other places, assassinating activists through snipers and you know the whole story.

    3. How would the regime discredit the message
    a. Claim that everything is being shot in Aljazeera (already not working)
    b. Prevent foreign press from entering the country and go after anyone with phone camera (happened on numerous occasions as confessed to by the big don himself) still not working
    c. As hard as you can, discredit the messengers. Which can be easily done if you can find or create a messenger that has a controversial past. But to have any effect, you have to be very active in tying the message to the messenger, so that once you discredit the messenger, the message is automatically suspected (through confusion), even if a squeaky clean, honorable messengers carry the same message later on. The first messenger has to be the vulnerable one. The anti-regime folks will be eager to have someone independent confirm what they have been saying for months, they will embrace any messenger who carries the right message, wouldn’t they. For the regime, it is all about the vehicle, for the opposition, it is the content.

    Let us see that in application.
    1. A woman’s body was cut in most barbaric way
    2. Director of hospital and the medical examiner, along with Mukhabarat, tell the Husni family that it is their daughter, on the same day they give them the body of their son, a certificate of death is issued, and everyone including the soon to be president of Tunis is riled up about Zaynab.
    3. Magic, Zaynab Husni shows up. All is forgotten about the dead chopped up body, and the story is the “misleading press” of the opposition.

    There are quite few similar stories. Gay girl in Damascus, A murdered child in Midan, and so on. The regime’s strategy has been not to contest the message, but to play game with vehicles carrying that message. Note that people for the regime are merely vehicles of the message of brutality. The more the opposition takes each individual story strongly, the easier it is for the regime to conflate vehicles and content, and once more, discrediting the vehicle throws the content a side by the act of confusion. Tonnes of willing people aid the regime in this, as we see constantly on SC and other forum.

    My comment was merely to ask all of us to be careful. A second observer, this time with much less fanfare is now repeating the message, let us see what the regime will do. We need to focus on the message and not go all too much thanking and mythologizing the messenger as I have seen happening. I am urging care, we are confronting a deceitful bunch of thugs with deceitful allies worldwide, who have a lot to hide not only for now but for their eventual fall.

    And dear Sheila
    Brains like mine and yours and most of 7ee6anis are made specially for doubt,no?

  51. The death of any journalist is a criminal act, it is always in the interest of the oppressed to have reporters and journalists in their midst.

    It was a horrific scene to watch around the world, the scene of foreign journalists, the dead, the wounded and the screaming surrounded by a pro crowds, “insecurity forces” in chaos, all thrown into disarray, yet some still chanting “forever” to their idol, oblivious, disconnected from the loss of lives under their watchful eyes.

    It is a scene that words cannot adequately express. A scene that portrays death and destruction, surrounded by a group of people, a cult, that is disconnected from reality, so far as their leader is kicking and alive. Their humanity is confined to one man, as long as he is okay, life will persevere.

  52. What Betho really said in his latest speech.

    The ending is priceless: Bashar yoreed isqat al agenda

  53. Algeria is one of the shadiest regimes, at least it was in the 1990s. The country is pretty homogenous sectarian wise, or etnnically, the real bone of contention is the privileged status of the Generals, Bureaucrats and FLN Party. Basically in 1991 an Islamist Party was about to win an election on an anti-corruption plank. They repeatetdly criticised the ruling puvoir for being unpatriotic, pro-French, corrupt, despotic, and announced that if they come to power they will stop the socialist system, and cut the Generals and Bureaucrats down to size.

    The rest is history. The Generals ( Toufik Medienne, Mohammed Lamari, Khaled Nezzar, Smain Lamari) cancelled the elections and planted their own agents inside the Islamist parties. These agents provocateurs openly called for killing infidels, beheadings, bombings, Takfir, etc. basically providing an excuse to launch an all-out War with france and US looking the other way as the Intelligence Service, the DRS commititng all sorts of atrocities.

    Note, the Generals did not launch the War top defend secularism. Even today Algeria is an Islamic State and guys are arrested for eating before Iftar. They did it to defend their bureaucratic privileges and powers which the Socialist One-Party system provided.

    I believe EGYPT is heading the same way, only the Generals are not so ruthless and powerful and the shaab are not so foolish.

    What do you think OTW ?

  54. “I wish I could agree, but I’m afraid there CAN be, and in likelihood will be another Hama ’82 ”

    Actually there is a lot less chance of it today than was in early August, when NATO was busy with Libya. Make no mistake, another Hama 82 ( presumed target being Homs) will be very difficult. Firstly the regime will have to use heavy artillery and the Air Force. there will be a casualty count of at least 50,000. Make no mistake, the A.L., Turkey, NATO may be intersted only in their self-interest, but they will not stand by if something of that magnitude were to happen.

    Also the people who were the brains behind Hama 82 are no longer with the regime. I mean Rifaat al Assad and Khaddam. Do you really believe Hafez was behind Hama 82 ? No, it was Rifaat all along, he with his sectarian insecurity complex. And it was actually Khaddam who proposed a scorched earth policy to Hafez. Hafez was a much kinder man.

  55. Nusayyif,

    Havez was not a kind man, make no mistake of it he was involved as much as Rifaat was in Hama. As the commander of the Syrian Armed Forces, he did not only know of the massacre he ordered it.

    The regime always tries to shield the President (whether Betho, or Havez) of any culpability from the massacres that they caused and keep on causing. The excuse that they are surrounded by people that are “hiding” the truth from them is not believable, at a minimum they are guilty of surrounding themselves with heartless beasts that have pillaged our country for over 40 years. As the arabic saying goes : “Tell me who your friends are, Ill tell you who you are”.

  56. Dear Nusayyif,
    You said: “Hafez was a much kinder man”. This is so untrue. I do not think the man new the meaning of the word kindness. Remember that he is the one who put his friends in arms in prison to die there because they disagreed with him, but most importantly, remember that you can never become a dictator if you are not ruthless. He was the master of blaming everything on everyone else. I urge you to read Amal Hanano’s “It’s not him, it’s them”

    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/2275/its-not-him-its-them

    It talks about the same thing except with the son.

  57. MGB said
    “Assad’s desperate troops -don’t forget, for them it is kill or be killed, in their minds no other choice is available aside from maybe retreating to the mountains and to poverty again”

    Great Syrian patriots and intellectuals, like Michel Aflaq, Salahuddin al Bitar, Amin al Hafiz, Louay and Noureddin al Atassi, gave them the opportunity and lifeline to get out of poverty and into the mainstream, and look how they’ve abused it ( firstly by locking up or exiling all the above named figures ).

  58. I didn’t say Hafez was a kind man, I said he was kinder and more reasonable than Rifaat.

    Compare Bashar with Maher and u know what I mean. And it was actually Rifaat who was in charge of planning and execution of Hama with his “Defense Companies” which was basically nothing more than a sectarian militia. Don’t think Rifaat and Khaddam deserve our sympathy or forgiveness just because they are in the opposition now.

  59. Dear OTW,
    What I find really disturbing is these connections that the regime is drawing that make no sense non whatsoever. For example: the owner of Orient TV, Ghassan Aboud, was subjected to the dirtiest smear campaigns known to man. He was accused of being gay, of sleeping with Gulf Sheikhs and of marrying a Ukrainian whore to name a few. I do not really know who this man really is, nor do I care about his sex life. All I care about is that he is working hard to expose the regime. Why his sex life would make what he shows on his TV not so credible, is beyond me.
    Let’s assume the government of Egypt releases a man from prison accused of embezzling millions from his employer, appointed him an observer and sent him to Syria. If he had said what the Algerian observer had said earlier, does it really matter that he has a checkered past and is actually a thief? Based on this theory, no one in the Syrian regime should open their mouths. They all have checkered pasts, many are down right murderers and all are thieves par excellence.

  60. ok, i am very confused. Is the Algerian observer the same as the guy who I put the video link of up above there? Or is the Algerian observer a different guy?

  61. Dear Nusayyif,
    Rifat and Khaddam can bark all they want, they will never amount to anything in Syria. No one takes them seriously and no one has any respect for either thug. They robbed the country blind and now they have the guts to claim that they love the country and the people? What a joke!
    I agree with you that the difference between Hafez and Rifaat is very similar to the difference between Bashar and Maher, however I disagree with characterizing this difference as anything to do with kindness. Hafez and Bashar are smarter than Rifaat and Maher respectively no more no less. They are all beasts in my view. If one is a little more blood thirsty than the other does not make that much of a difference.
    On a side note, did you know what Rifaat’s job was before becoming the president’s brother? He was the torturer-in-chief in Al Mukhabarat in Idleb.

  62. Dear Zenobia,
    Yes, the Algerian is the same man you posted about. There is a new observer who wants to quit and is complaining about the same issues as the Algerian guy, Malek, however, after he saw the smear campaign against Malek, he is wishing to stay anonymous.

  63. OTW, Zenobia…

    Finkelstein used the language of Gandhi in the Palestinian-israeli context, what are your thoughts in the Syrian context? “fence sitters” ?

    “politics is not about changing public opinion, or bringing enlightenment to the benighted masses, it is about trying to get people to act on what they already know is wrong.”

  64. Sheila,

    Just ignoring Rifaat and Khaddam won’t suffice. They have to be brought tom justice as well, stand trial alongside the present junta. Their fate will be that of the Nazi officials who fled Germany only to meet their fate at the hands of Mossad.

  65. Dear SGID,
    Wow! This is great. It keeps getting better and better. Just as soon as we start doubting what the regime is capable of, we get more damning evidence. I am like you, waiting for the next juicy defection.

  66. The Mufti Hassoun aide video.

    Is there an english translation? I want share this news elsewhere.

  67. Agree with what you said. Here is is the issue. Let us focus on the message. This is a brutal regime. The crucial issue for us is to find the counter argument, which i think is again to focus on the message.

    Let us wait for the second observer defection. That would make it very hard for the AL and the mission team leader to come up with a report that deviates too much from the two dissenting views.

    I went through a short segment fro the above clip. I will now watch it carefully. But the little I heard was too damaging, and it is coming from someone who will be extremely hard to besmirch (sort of like General Al-Sheikh).

    BTW, about an hour or two ago, there were very heavy shabee7a, security, and ambulance movements near the University Hospital in Aleppo. Something ominous is happening. I think the thugs are trying to preempt possible pulpit (Minbar) defections during tomorrows Friday prayer in Aleppo.

  68. Several new issues
    1. Homs is surrounded with heavy weapons and missile batteries
    2, An Nahar reports that the regime has “asked” the Russians to support them in case they crush the uprising and telling them of a probable 30 000 dead in the next four months.
    3. I had a conversation with some friends in Damascus and they tell me that the pound to the dollar is 65 if you can find dollars. The price of foodstuffs has increased by five times. Whole areas around Damascus are no go to the security services. Criminality is on the rise. A mood of defiance is creeping in. The pro regime have one thing in mind crush the opposition and return to a situation similar to the one after 1982 and the Hama massacre. Four tanks and several BMP carriers were destroyed in the suburbs of Damascus. The north of Syria is essentially out of control.
    There is a total blindness to the fact that the people are fed up and will not go back. This is going to be catastrophic and the events on the ground are going to make the events so far look like child play.

  69. If what Observer writes is true then it is time to ask for foreign intervention. Until now I thought that Assad would not dare to repeat a Hama, but apparently he is considering this. So many dead is just not worth the huge advantages of getting rid of Assad alone. Just my two cents.

  70. I think we should brace for more explosions in Damascus or Aleppo today, these thugs just wont give up, its a matter of their existence after all. This is a figh to the finidh and the thugs realize it all too well, their behaviour is like the Wildebeest which has been cornered by pack of lions.

  71. I don’t think they will launch an attack on Homs with A.L observers still there. They’ll wait till 19th Jan.

    It is essential for the A.L to get an extension for its Obserevrs. What the dumb-heads in the Revolution camp dont realize is it serves OUR purpose if al Dabi deliberately sugarcoats the report. Let the A.L report that armed thugs are attacking the regime, WHO CARES ?

    This observer mission has resulted in increased defections everywhere, as Aboud has pointed out. FSA will reach a strenght of 50,000 in the coming week. As Observer pointed out, large parts of Idleb and Daraa are out-of-bounds for the thugs. WE are winning, the longer this continues, the weaker the regime will be. Let the Observer mission continue, yes WE ARE ARMED GANGS, tell that please General Dabi and Mr. Arabi, anything to keep your men inside Syria.

  72. Why do loyalists almost always finish their comments on Aljazeera, Alaarabyia or other blogs perceived to be friendly to the opposition, by saying “I challenge you to post what I wrote”?….Clues anyone!

  73. If what Observer writes is true then it is time to ask for foreign intervention.

    AIG,

    Even this does not guarantee action. Of course a LOT more should be done to pave the way for foreign intervention, but the parties involved just do not seem to be very committed to action. The Arab League? Turkey? KSA? What are they doing!? Why aren’t THEY calling for foreign intervention??

    The Syrian people are stuck between despots and disinterested do-nothing politicians.

    What a sorry state of affairs.

  74. AP,

    It is for the Syrian people to decide what they want. If Assad does deliver on his threats of tens of thousands dead, then there will be an intervention. But what good would it then do to the dead? Wouldn’t it be better to intervene before he goes out of control?

  75. AIG:

    “It is for the Syrian people to decide what they want.”

    So it seems, and it may appear that way. Without aid, without AL interest, without the green light from the west…. the Syrians are very limited to what they can do.

    The Regime killing 5000 or 20000, no one knows for sure where the boiling point will be.

  76. Please don’t consider to this to be hyperbole, but if Besho thinks his problems are going to be solved by killing 30,000 people, then he is even more of a simpleton than I thought he was. He will lose more soldiers and shabihas long before he gets to that number.

    By 10,000 dead, tit for tat retaliation will be the norm. By 15,000 casualties, Syria will start to resemble Iraq. By 20,000 casualties, even the Iraqis will start to feel sorry for Besho. And by 25,000 casualties, we enter the realm of the too-terrible-to-contemplate.

    Junior has learned nothing. Does THIS look like Baba Amr has been cowed?

  77. Doesn’t seem to have been much developments on the Mufti aide situation(?).

    Last night I was gonna suggest a title for a new post:

    Friday the 13th- The Pulpit defections

  78. Dear CSI Hama,
    In the middle of this gloom, thank you for putting a smile on my face. That was funny.

  79. Bashar said 30,000 dead in 4 months. Thats Hama 82 in slow motion, but the fact is there will be 30,000 of his own people dead by that time and probably his Defence Minister, Maher, Army commanders and many more 6 feet under.

  80. By 10,000 dead, tit for tat retaliation will be the norm. By 15,000 casualties, Syria will start to resemble Iraq. By 20,000 casualties, even the Iraqis will start to feel sorry for Besho. And by 25,000 casualties, we enter the realm of the too-terrible-to-contemplate.

    Aboud,

    And how many will have to die before the arab world gets serious?

  81. AP

    “And how many will have to die before the arab world gets serious?”

    You are asking the wrong question. As long as events were confined to within Syria and did not risk spilling over, the Arab League would have continued its well known slumber.

    But when the giggling imbecile threatens to turn every country form here to Mongolia into an Afghanistan, when the Iranians are seen to be meddling shamelessly in Syria’s affairs, and when, contrary to all expectations, the Syrian revolution not only proved itself resilient, but able to hit back where it hurts, the comfy countries in the region sit up and take notice, and do their best to try to contain events as much as possible.

    So, rather than asking how many dead will it take for the Arab World to get serious, ask how much danger, the events in Syria pose to the region, has to increase, before the Arab World gets serious.

  82. Anwar Malik showing Al jazeera some of the pictures he took in Baba Amr, and discussing what he saw first hand

  83. The details of Sheik Anas Sweid meeting with ……. you can fill in the blank!

    الشيخ أنس سويد يروي تفاصيل لقاءاته مع الأسد “العاجز”

    الجزيرة. نت – الجمعة، 13 كانون2/يناير 2012 23:15 بتوقيت دمشق

    سورية اليوم – سياسة
    قال الشيخ أنس سويد أبرز شيوخ باب السباع بمدينة حمص إن الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد “عاجز ولا يملك من أمره شيئا” ولم يتمكن من اتخاذ أي قرارات في سبيل إيجاد حل للأزمة التي تعيشها المدينة التي باتت تلقب بـ”عاصمة الثورة السورية”. وأضاف سويد، الذي التقى الأسد ثلاث مرات منذ بداية الأزمة، أن حمص تعيش وضعا يفوق الكارثة الإنسانية، وأن 70% من سكانها باتوا مهجرين إما داخلها أو خارجها بسبب العنف الذي يمارسه النظام.
    وفيما يلي الحوار الذي أجرته الجزيرة نت مع الشيخ سويد:
    لو حدثتنا كيف بدأت الثورة في مدينة حمص؟
    – عندما بدأت الثورة في درعا كان الناس في باب السباع، بل في حمص كاملة في توتر شديد. لم يتحمل الناس هناك ردة الفعل القاسية والعنيفة التي كانت من النظام.
    وقبل ذلك كان أهالي حمص يعانون من ضغوط كبيرة عليهم من محافظ حمص إياد غزال، وهو أحد أقارب بشار الأسد، حيث مارس كل أنواع الضغط والعنف على أهالي حمص، فمنعهم الكهرباء والماء، وضيق عليهم في كل شيء وحول “حلم حمص” إلى دمار لحمص.
    ما هو حلم حمص؟
    – “حلم حمص” هو مشروع لترحيل لكل أهل السنة من السوق التجاري والمجيء بإخواننا العلويين لاستلام مراكز المدينة الأساسية، حتى إن تجار حمص كتبوا ردا على حلم حمص “نعم لبشار الأسد ولا لحلم حمص” لأن المشروع الذي أتى به المحافظ هدم الكثير من الأبنية وضيق على الناس بشكل لا يوصف، حتى أن أهل حمص كانوا يقولون إن بشار الأسد يحكم سورية كلها بينما حمص يحكمها إياد غزال.
    وأول المظاهرات قبل أحداث درعا كانت تطالب بإسقاط المحافظ، وعندما خرجت درعا خرجت أول مسيرة في باب السباع ورفعت شعار “بالروح بالدم نفديك يا درعا” وأنا خطبت خطبة حاولت فيها تهدئة الناس ركزت فيها على معنى “متى استعبدتم الناس وقد ولدتهم أمهاتهم أحرارا” راجعت بسببها معظم فروع الأمن.
    وبعد ذلك امتدت المظاهرات إلى بابا عمرو والخالدية وهكذا حتى انتشرت المظاهرات في حمص كلها، والمغذي الأكبر للمظاهرات وانتشارها هو النظام بسوء تصرفه وقمعه وقهره.
    هل صحيح أن أحد أسباب توسّع المظاهرات هو تغذية الطائفية؟
    – أود الإجابة أولا على سؤال: هل في حمص طائفية فأقول: هناك طائفية بامتياز من قبل النظام الذي يمارسها على أهل السنة في حمص بشكل لا يمكن تخيله، تصور أن كل أحياء السنة في حمص تقطع فيها الكهرباء مدة ثماني ساعات في اليوم، وكل أحياء السنة إذا خرجوا مظاهرات يمنع عنهم الخبز لأيام، لتبدأ الأحياء الأخرى بتهريب الخبز لهم من الأحياء الأخرى، الكهرباء تقطع بالأيام عن أهالي حمص إضافة للاتصالات.
    ولكن لا بد أن أنوه إلى أن علاقتنا مثلا بإخواننا المسيحيين في الحي علاقة إخوة وانتابنا الحزن لسقوط بعض الشهداء منهم وقمنا بتعزيتهم، أما إخواننا العلويون فبعضهم يجمعنا بهم إخوة الرضاعة، لكن النظام دمر علاقتنا بالعلويين عندما قام بتسليح أحيائهم، حتى أنه عندما يعتقل ثائر من العلويين يعذبه أضعاف الآخرين ليبعدهم عن الثورة.
    ماذا عن لقاءاتك مع الرئيس الأسد، نعرف أنك كنت ممن التقوه أكثر من مرة، ماذا دار بينكم؟
    – اللقاءات التي حضرتها مع الرئيس خلال الثورة كانت ثلاثة لقاءات، اللقاء الأول في أبريل/ نيسان، وكنا نحو عشرين من علماء حمص وتكلمنا معه لأربع ساعات ونصف الساعة، واللافت أنه كان يظهر الاستغراب في كل شيء. حدثناه عن ممارسات الأمن والشبيحة، والحاضرون ذكروا له كل شيء بالتفصيل وكان يسجل الملاحظات بنفسه.
    اللقاء انتهى إلى عدم وعدنا بأي شيء، وطلب منا أن نساهم معه في تهدئة المظاهرات حتى تترتب الأمور، وخرجنا من عنده بلا نتيجة. كان المشايخ لا يستطيعون الوقوف في وجه المظاهرات وكل شيخ كان يحاول تهدئة المظاهرات كان الناس يضربونه على المنبر ويمنعونه من إمامتهم في الصلاة.
    بعدها دعيت للقاء مع مشايخ فلم أذهب، فاعتقلني الأمن العسكري وسألني لماذا لم أذهب، فبررت الأمر بأنني آثرت ترك الأمر لغيري.
    في اللقاء الثاني أرسل الرئيس يطلبني لوحدي، وجاءت الدعوة لأن المظاهرات في باب السباع كانت مشتعلة بشكل كبير، فسلم علي وسألني إن كنت شيخ باب السباع فأجبته بالإيجاب فرحب بي، رغم أنني كنت عازما على عدم الطلب منه أي طلبات لأن المرة الأولى انتهت إلى لا شيء ولم يتغير شيء.
    بدأ الرئيس حديثه بالدعوة إلى تهدئة المظاهرات، وكان يقول إنه يعلم أن كل المشاكل سببها ممارسات الأمن والمخابرات والشبيحة، قائلا “إذا كان لديك ألف صورة في ذهنكم ففي ذهني عشرات آلاف الصور، فلا تحدثني عن الممارسات السلبية وأعرف أن الحل هو سحب الأمن، لكنني لا أستطيع سحب الأمن إلا بعد تهدئة الشارع”، وأعاد هذا الحديث في اللقاء الذي استمر لأكثر من ساعتين ثلاث مرات.
    رددت عليه بالقول إنك يا سيادة الرئيس تطلب منا معادلة خاطئة لو سمحت، فقال: تفضل، فقلت: أنت تطلب أن نهدئ الشارع لتسحب الأمن، وهذا لا نقدر عليه لأن الشارع ليس ملكنا، والشيخ الذي يتحدث مع الناس بغير وتيرة الشارع يضرب ويعتبر خائنا، فالأفضل أن نبقى طرفا محايدا بين الدولة والناس.
    كما قلت له إن الناس يقولون إنهم لن يهدؤوا حتى تنسحب قوات الأمن، وما هو الضامن إذا جلسوا في بيوتهم ثم يأتي الأمن لأخذهم من هذه البيوت، هم ثائرون الآن ويتم قتلهم فماذا سيحدث إن عادوا للبيوت، فرد الرئيس: أنا لن أكرر أخطاء الثمانينات.
    فسألته: سيادة الرئيس ما هو الضام؟، فقال: هذه هي المشكلة أن الثقة فقدت.
    فقلت له: الحل سياسي وليس بأن نخرج للناس لتهدئتهم، فجاوبني: أنا نظرتي للمشايخ خطأ وكنت أخاف من صاحب كل لحية والمحجبات، ومرة ذهبت إلى حلب وجلست في المطعم فوجدت نساء كلهن محجبات، فقلت: شو أنا بأفغانستان، بعدها سألت الدكتور البوطي عن سر الحجاب الكثير في حلب هل هم طالبان أم القاعدة؟ فأجابه البوطي أن هؤلاء أناس متدينون على الفطرة.
    تخيل رئيس دولة تحدثه عن الأمة وعن الحل السياسي فيخرج بك إلى أمثلة لا علاقة لها بالموضوع.
    ثم سألته: ماذا إذا ذهبنا للناس وضغطنا بكل قوة لوقف المظاهرات، وهذا أمر يحتاج ربما لشهر، ولكن لن ينجح ما دام هناك شهداء يسقطون كل يوم فهل عندكم مجال على الأقل استبدال الرصاص الحي بالمطاطي، فأجاب: المشكلة أن الاقتصاد عندنا منهار، هكذا كان جواب الرئيس.
    بعد ذلك طلبت من الرئيس أن أتحدث بأريحية وأن يعطيني الأمان وأبلغته أن فروع الأمن حاسبتني على ما قلته أمامه في المرة السابقة، فضحك وقال: المهم ما يحاسبوني أنا.
    فقلت له سيادة الرئيس الناس يتساءلون في الشارع: هل رئيسنا يملك القرار أم أنه عاجز، فقال: ما هو السبب؟، فقلت: أنت تقول إنك لم تعي أوامر بالقتل لكن القتل مستمر لماذا لا تعاقب من يعصون الأوامر وهناك قتلة من الجيش اشتهرت أسماؤهم في كل محافظة -وذكرت له بعض الأسماء- علقِ المشانق لهؤلاء وبعدها نظم انتخابات وِثق أن الناس سينتخبونك.
    فأجابني بطريقة صدمتني وقال -والله على ما أقول شهيد- أنا عاقبت عاطف نجيب اللي قلع أظافر الأطفال، وعاقبت ابنة عمي في اللاذقية جميل الأسد، وعندما تحركت بانياس عزلت زوج بنت خالتي، والله عندما عزلته اتصلت خالتي وعمرها كبير وعاتبتني ووعدتها بأن أعيده لمنصبه بعد أن تنتهي الأزمة، واتصلت الوالدة لنفس الأمر…، فأنا صدمت وقلت كيف هو السبيل للحديث مع هذا الإنسان، وهو يتحدث بجدية عن “زعل” خالته ولم يأسف للشعب الذي يموت، لذلك احترت بأي لسان سأتحدث معه.
    والحقيقة التي كشفها الحوار مع الرئيس أن من يدير البلد أسرة كاملة، بشار الأسد جزء منها، وما يقال عندنا في حمص إن القائد المحرك الحقيقي هو والدة بشار التي تملك خبرة مما عايشته مع حافظ الأسد.
    أيضا سألته عن سبب إرسال أكثر من مائتي دبابة لبابا عمرو عاثت فيها دمارا، فجاوبني: هناك عصابات مسلحة، فقلت له نحن سمعنا كما سمعتم فهل ألقيتم القبض عليها، فقال إنها هربت والمشكلة أننا عندما نرسل الجيش لمكان تهرب هذه العصابات لمكان آخر.
    ما هي خلاصة اللقاءات بعد هذه الجولات الطويلة من الحديث؟
    – الخلاصة أن الرئيس لا يريد منا إلا أن نهدئ الشارع الذي لا يهدأ رغم القتل والمجازر، ونحن كنا نقول له إن الشارع ليس ملكنا وإنما هو ملكك أنت، فعاقب من أساء وأخطأ وسينضبط الشارع لوحده.
    لماذ خرجت من حمص الآن؟
    – خرجت لأن تهديدات النظام طالتني، ووصلتني تهديدات بالقتل والخطف من قبل الأمن والشبيحة، وحاولوا الضغط علي بعد أن بثوا مقابلة مع شاب أعرفه على قناة الدنيا يقول إنني من العصابات المسلحة، وحاول عقيد في القصر الجمهوري الضغط علي بهذا الاعتراف، علما أن الشخص الذي اعترف عاجز ولديه إصابة كبيرة في رجله ولا يمكنه استعمال السلاح.
    وطلب مني هذا العقيد إما أن أفتي بحرمة التظاهر والخروج على الحاكم وإدانة الثوار في حمص أو أن أواجه السجن، فرتبت أموري وحضرت لأحد أفرع الأمن ووجدت كاميرات قناتي الدنيا والسورية بانتظاري وتحدثت بخطاب لم يعجبهم، فطلبت إمهالي يومين لأرتب أموري من جديد، والحمد لله يسر لي الله الخروج من سورية.
    كيف تركت حمص؟
    – لا يمكن أن أصف ما تعانيه إلا أنه كارثة إنسانية، حمص تعيش أكبر من الكارثة، وأكثر من 70% من سكانها إما باتوا مهجرين داخلها أو خرجوا إلى مدن أخرى، وكل يوم يتأخر فيه العالم عن التدخل تزداد الكارثة والمأساة.

  84. Dear all, should it not be a priority for SNC, LCC, et al to try and establish contact with Hezeballah in Lebanon? We heard nothing of such efforts? or are they secret? I am no Hezeballah fan but I can imagine they must be freaking with is happening particularly because their secret guerrilla stuff might be shared with the Assad people/army.

  85. Dubya Tee Eff

    It’s been a while since I cruised the MEMRI website for translated articles. Like skimming the surface of a cesspool, I found a huge amount of drek, including some rant from an “opposition” leader threatening to kill Alawites who don’t renounce Assad. The site archives articles by country, this link is for Syria…

    http://www.memri.org/content/en/country.htm?country=syria

  86. AP
    You are right, MEMRY is a cesspool, and these guys like the feeling of it, the taste of it and the smell of it. The asshole you watched is no “leader”. He is a sectarian jerk whose words are not taken seriously by anyone. In the start of the events, he gave a speech from his home in Beirut and it was not only comical, but pathetic. More recently he managed to walk into the AL meeting room and deliver yet one more sectarian diatribe. This is what happens when you go to MEMRI, you get misled as to the meaning and context.

  87. Al Jazeera, Breaking News: Syrian State TV: General Amnesty for crimes committed before March, 15, 2011.

    Didn’t Saddam and Mubarak, his friends in crimes against humanity did the same?

  88. A person who commits a crime is a criminal.

    الأسد يصدر مرسوم عفو عن مرتكبي الجرائم في الأحداث التي تشهدها سورية

  89. Criminals and mass murderers will never be given amnesty, they will be tried in a court of law. Those who gave orders to torture and kill for the past 40 years will be brought to justice, soon.

  90. Revlon posted this on SC, I watched the clip and was very impressed with Mr. Safi, who represents the National Block (non ideological group with liberal tendencies) in the SNC.


    828. REVLON said:

    The Syrian Revolution is worthy of a politician like Louay Safi to lead the SNC.
    His soft spoken demeanor, succinct and clear responses, lucid understanding of the complexities of the global context, and genuine embodiment of the spirit and goals of the revolution make him a highly desirable political figure to lead the SNC.
    The following is a link to a sample of his performance at a recent interview.

    Louay Safi on regime escalation of military crackdown
    الجزيرة تحاور لؤي صافي حول التصعيد العسكري

    في حديث مفصل مع أحمد صبحي، تعرض لؤي صافي، عضو المجلس الوطني السوري ومدير مكتب التخطيط والسياسات، إلى جملة من القضايا، شملت التحديات التي تواجه المجلس، وعلاقاته مع القوى الإقليمية والدولية، والاعتراف الرسمي بالمجلس، والعلاقات مع تركيا وإيران والعراق، وغيرها من الموضوعات الحيوية المرتبطة بالثورة السورية. جرى الحوار يوم السبت الواقع في 14 كانون الثاني/يناير 2012

  91. The last 2 days have been eerily quiet, much less demonstrators killed than before. What could be cooking ? Or is it the lull before the storm ? Man, this whole thing is so unpredictable it gets on ur nerves.

  92. Nusayyif,

    It will be unfair to compare the Algerian regime with the Syrian one, at least they have an opposition there, and former Islamist militants who have “repented” have been pardoned under the National Reconciliations of 2002 and 2006. They have a semi-free press and foreign media especially french and Arabic media is usually allowed isnide the country. Former Islamist militant leaders like Ali Belhadj and Abbassi Madani have been pardoned and can make statements to the press. I don’t envisage Syrian regime ever doing that.

    That being said, the Islamist insurgency in Algeria was defeated not by military force, but through false-flag operations, aimed at discrediting the Islamists and alienating them from their civilan supporters. U think the Syrian regime has picked up this tactic, but they are so dumb they can’t convince anybody. It is now common knowledge that Bashar ordered the shelling of an Alaouite neighorhood in Homs.

    ( I think the reason Algeria is sticking wih the Syrian regime is because they’ve bought the Al Qaeda boogeyman story).

  93. the syrian pound is now 69 (heh) to the dollar in the blackmarket

  94. S.G.I.D,

    Do you have any news from Zabadani and Madaya ? Heard that the area is cut off , all mobile lines are cut, 50 Tanks had entered the town. Is there a massacre going on ?

  95. until now the only thing i can confirm is that the regime’s gangs has taken to looting houses in zabadani.
    on the other hand
    great news people , although i cant confirm mhamad habash has defected,
    another member of parliament defected.

  96. In my opinion, every member of the Syrian “parliament” is criminal, corrupt to such an extent that they do not have the sense of right and wrong. So I;m honestly surprised as this defection.

  97. Is this true? China supporting the people of the ME in their efforts to change their condition?
    Is this a signal that China has changed its position?

    الصين تدعو إلى نهاية العنف ضد المدنيين في الشرق الأوسط .. وتؤيد دعوة الشعوب للتغير
    الاخبار السياسية
    شارك

    قال رئيس الوزراء الصيني، وين جياباو، يوم الأحد، إن “الصين تدعو شعوب البلدان المعنية في الشرق الأوسط إلى التغيير وهي تأمل في أن يكون لدى حكومات المنطقة وشعوبها القدرة على حل مشاكلها بنفسها وتعتقد أنها تتمتع بهذه القدرة بالفعل؛ إضافة لوضع نهاية للعنف ضد المدنيين”.

    وقالت وكالة (شينخوا) الصينية الرسمية إن وين ناقش مع الأمين العام لمنظمة التعاون الإسلامي اكمل الدين إحسان أوغلو الوضع في شمال إفريقيا وغرب أسيا خلال اجتماع عقداه في العاصمة السعودية الرياض.

    وتشهد بعض دول منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا حركة شعبية مناهضة لأنظمتها الحاكمة مطالبة بالديمقراطية ونقل السلطة، وهو ما أصطلح على تسميته “الربيع العربي”، ما أسفر عن سقوط آلاف من القتلى والجرحى، وأجبر بعض الرؤساء على التنحي كما حدث في تونس ومصر، فيما تم الإطاحة بحاكم ليبيا من خلال انتفاضة مسلحة، وذلك بعد تدخل “الناتو”..

    يشار إلى أن الصين دعت إلى عدم التدخل الخارجي بالدول التي تشهد حركات احتجاجية، معتبرة أن الحوار هو الطريق إلى حل الخلافات الداخلية، حيث استخدمت حق النقض “الفيتو” نهاية العام الماضي لوقف قرار أوروبي بدعم أمريكي يدين العنف في سوريا ويفرض على السلطات السورية “إجراءات هادفة”.

  98. Camille used all these flimsy reasons and convoluted ways to indirectly tell us one thing:
    Even though Syria is ruled by a brutal dictator and his corrupt family, I prefer living under oppression than living under the rule of Islam.
    Camille did not come up with this on his own and is most definitely not alone. He is one of many Christians in Syria who literally prefer living under the rule of the devil than under the rule of Islam. It is the image of Saudi Arabia that is haunting them and keeping them up at night. Then again, I have the same problem. If Syria adopts some of the rules of Saudi Arabia, I for one, will never set foot again in Syria. I will not be told to wear hijab, I will not be prevented from driving, I will not be herded like cattle to pray and I will not be stopped from working in a mixed environment.
    While no one has any doubt that the next government in Syria is going to be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, no one has a firm idea of what they will and won’t do. If it is this scary for a Sunni Muslim woman like me, I can only imagine what it must feel like for Syrian Christians.
    We need a lot more communication from the opposition addressing these issues, especially, from the Muslim Brotherhood. Putting to rest the fears of many about the impending disaster of a Saudi Arabia style government. I hope this is not their goal, and if so, I want to keep hearing about it from them non-stop.

  99. not so sure about the “I prefer”…. since Camille lives in nice Canada and has for twenty five years without venturing to visit Syria even…so- he doesn’t have to live in it at all…. his reasons for his belief that the status quo is preferable are his own speculations.

  100. I appreciate the effort Maysaloon had put, in refuting the arguments. I commend Maysaloon’s honesty and style, but most of all I am struck by his impartiality. In every piece he writes, whether he is observing, judging or arguing.

    Hussam, thanks for sharing.

  101. Lots of youthful detainees in the capital Damascus, Muslims and Christians, their release is pending on ransom, not to forget humiliation and torture. Syrians are disgusted, specially those who are trying hard to believe the official narrative, alternating between terrorism and political Islam! he does no longer fit, they want him to quit…..

    The youth are boiling, and nothing will stop them.

    Today’s death toll, 33 people dead in Syria. May their soul rest in peace and the perpetrators brought to justice.

  102. Alex is a pretty good indicator of the arguments the regime’s hacks are using; send tanks into any town or city that demonstrates, and then claim that most Syrians haven’t come out against the regime.

    Make demonstrating as dangerous as being on a battlefield, and then claim that women aren’t represented in the demos.

    Use a single, old and discredited video to support your claims of sectarianism, and ignore the blatant racism expressed by Al Dunya, Syrian TV, and the sectarian acts of the regime’s shabiha scum, including kidnapping protesters and beating them up in predominantly Alawite villages and neighborhoods.

    Alex’s motivations aren’t too hard to figure out. He will say anything to ensure that his sect keep their overrepresented status in the country’s civil servant jobs, the overstaffed positions in the country’s 15 security apparatuses (which have done crap all until now), and keep their economic privileges at the expense of the rest of the country.

    Let’s see Alex go to Damascus, with his wife, daughters and sisters, and see what happens when he shouts a few anti-Besho slogans. Then let him come and tell us that women are underrepresented at the demos.

  103. “the blatant racism expressed by Al Dunya, Syrian TV”

    Exactly !! I wonder with what face these self-appointed guardians of Arabism make stereotyoed racist comments about Bedouins ( especially since the start of the Uprising), make racist coments about certain Arab countries. Especialy the incessant racist comments directed at Bedouins hits really hard, the Bedouin people make up 15 % of Syria’s population, I belong to a Bedouin Syrian tribe and proud to call myself a Bedouin Syrian, what right do these jabalis have in denying me the right to my Syrian-ness ?

  104. Truth be told, the site’s look and functionality are impeccable, which probably took a good part of the ten months in waiting. Camile is a fantastic artist and web designer, an OK dialog moderator, when there is dialog (i am not talking about SC now), but for analyst, his arguments do not cut it. It took Maysaloon less than a day to refute all of Camile’s points without even presenting a personal opinion. I commend Maysaloon for the outstanding efforts and superb results and for challenging hypothesis about Syria that should not have gone unchallenged.

  105. Tha being said, Camille and people like him have a legitimate fear. Syria, like other countries ruled by Socialist One-Party mafias, like Algeria, Egypt and Libya, has a history of Islamism going back to the 1950s and 60s. Syria was one of the top 3 sources of foreign fighters in Iraq ( alongwith Libya and KSA).

    In my analsyis of Islamism, I have found that this politico-religous trend gains morein unequal societies with socialist, buraucratic dictatorships, Islamism is a result of the dispossessed and underprivileged reaction against the privileged elite and the unequality thy perpetrate. When Nasser unveiled his variety of “Arab Socialsim” in 1953, he said his aim was “better treatment for ordinary people”.

    In reality it further entrenched the colonial professional elite while alienating the self-made people who eke out a living in the unorganized sector of the economy. His system was replicated in Libya, Syria and Iraq, but found nothing but disaffection from the millions of “ordinary people” most of whom were practicing Muslims who found the artificially imposed secularism strange and alien.

    A close analysis of Islamist strongholds reveals that most of them are in ports and harbours – areas where the unofficial economy flourishes, educational level is low and less people work at proper salaried jobs. Examples would be Darnah in Libya, Damietta in Egypt, Tripoli in Lebanon, Gaza in Palestine, and Latakia/ Banyas in Syria.

    Your thoughts on this OTW ?

  106. Dear Nusayyif
    I am working on a response that I hope will address your comment. I have not yet decided whether it will be a post or just a comment. Pending a reply from Alex, i think Maysaloon has done such a thorough job leaving little to add.

    Dear rm
    Sorry for noticing your first comment a bit late. Welcome to 7ee6an. From now on, your comments should be posted without delay.

  107. Dear umm nuwâs and annie

    Please check this article in the independent by non other than Patric Cockburn. This is what his “left” is now reduced to. they can not deny the criminality of the Syrian regime, so they resort to challenging the authenticity of the countless number of clips showing that criminality. Again, it is extremely disappointing to see someone like Cockburn equating the executioner with the victims. You can now see how bankrupt is the left nowadays. Ironically, they are parroting the islamophobes.

  108. I think it’s worth responding to Patrick Cockburn, who is in general a reality-based journalist, and who, unlike some others, has considerable experience of the Middle East (Iraq, mostly). The Guardian reporting on Syria does respond, at least , that it would be impossible to “fake” the amount of citizen footage emerging from Syria. I hope Cockburn — whom I do not think is a regime supporter– listens to the al-Arabiya interview with Imad Ghalioun.

    The Guardian reports on the killing of the brother of activist Khaled Abu Salah (who met with the AL observers) in Homs yesterday.

  109. The Left is intellectually bankrupt when it comes to issues in the Middle East, when their heroes are Saddam, Assad, Arafat and Gaddafi, they don’t give a damn about the people, only the fake Muqawamah charade appeals to them.

  110. Continuing on my earlier post on the trend of Islamism, especially of the Salafist variety, it tends to gain more in unequal societies dominated by a narrow bureaucratic elite which flourish in the one-party socialist state. State Socialism in the Middle East has been quite a failure in the social feild, while it has not succeeded in creating equality, it has become a facade for a narrow elite to loot the country, suck it dry. This is our ” 2 % “. The Arab World’s ” 2 %” are not the corporate elite but the bureacratic elite, worthless who do not produce any wealth, who are thoroughly reactionary in their approcah and behavior towards the common citizens. The recent events in Egypt further strengthen this argument. I already said how the Generals in Algeria were prepared tp plunge the country into Civil War in order to protect the status quo. Islamists generally question this status quo, which is why they become popular with the masses.

    Even the Kemalist State in Turkey was based on a narrow bureaucratic elite, or rather junta, who had their privileges protected by the “official ideology” which could not be questioned, it was basically an oligarchy of Military-Judiciary-Bureaucracy-Party. The Milli Gorus ideolgy, which was both an economic and Islamist thinking, propagated by Nejmeddin Erbakan in the 90s, challenged this status quo and was met by fierce resistance from the Establishment, who sought to protect their privileges and even got the Islamist parties banned. However, the rising class of entrepreneurs in Turkey ( the nouveau-riche), supported the AKP and most of the commom people as well, and through overwhelming popular support Erdogan was able to cut down the Army to size, even so he faced fierce resistance from the status-quoists even as late as 2007. However I think the new class of liberal Islamists and nouveau-riches ( Leftists might deride them as petit bourgeoise and a gang of smugglers and black-marketeers) are here to stay in Turkey. The same struggle is playing out in most Arab countries today, only difference in Syria is the sectarian and geopolitical equation.

  111. All seems well in zabadani, the FSA threatened to cut the water supply to Damascus and the electricity to Lebanon and it seems the Assad Forces retreated after looting a few properties and writing their slogans on the walls, the FSA have regained control of most areas, the spirits are high. But Zabadani is arguably one of the coldest parts of Syria, it has been snowing and raining and minimum temperature is around – 5 C.

    The FSA patrolling Zabadani today, in high spirits.

  112. Umm Naws, regarding Cockburn, it is enough to point out that every single independent journalist who smuggled themselves into Syria, confirmed that there is a popular uprising going on, that is being brutally suppressed by the regime.

    Also, Cockburn said that some demonstrations seem to occur for the benefit of Youtube. Um….so what? People demonstrate to let the world know that they are dissatisfied. In Egypt, hundreds of thousands demonstrated to let Mubarak’s American and European allies know that they were fed up with him. Same with Tunisia. Same with Yemen.

    If it wasn’t for these Youtube clips, the disgraceful leftists would continue living in their fantasy land where Besho is a much loved leader by 99.9999% of the population but who is facing an evil plot to overthrow him, as apparently not firing a bullet on the Golan since 1973 isn’t enough for Israel, they want to go through all this trouble to install someone who won’t even send it bad vibes.

  113. Aboud
    Syrians are by now used to the bankrupt left. It is enough for them to remember Adonis, Saadi Youssef, and Nazeeh Abu Afsh, all three are marxist poets who inspired the generation of coffee shop revolutionaries and intellectuals. As for the Memhebbakji pathetic remnants, they are now having an orgazmic euphoria over Patric Cockburn article, which is fine by me as it gets them into deeper depression once the doze runs out and they have to go back to Russian, Iranian, and Assad’s Lebanese sources, along with the standard collection of mediocre conspiracy theory “academics” and unknown journalists. They are already using neocon and islamophobic sources. الغرقان بيتعلق بقشه.

    I am counting on well grounded intellectuals like Haytham Haqqi, Hala Abdallah, Usama Abdallah, Rasha Umran, Yassin Haj Salih, Samar Yazbek and many others who are now working days and nights to rethink what does it mean to be an social justice motivated intellectual in Syria. These people have yielded leadership to where it belongs, to the people of Syria who are demonstrating against tyranny and murder.

    As for western outfits on the Middle East, Jadalyya, where Amal Hanano published her outstanding series is taking the place by a storm, so is the International Crisis Group, where real analytically sound minds work without the need for deceptive semantics and self hypnotizing rhetoric of the traditional far left or Menhebbakjis.

  114. “Also, Cockburn said that some demonstrations seem to occur for the benefit of Youtube. Um….so what?”

    exactly more to the point.

    I actually didn’t disagree with Cockburns description…it is just SO WHAT. Because- this is the situation that results from the state of affairs where all the formal journalism has been kept out for the most part from doing their job. And the regime has free reign to try to brainwash their internal population night and day. So, the only counter offense to this massive manipulation – is the media fight of the opposition on the street using all mean necessary. I don’t think it is out of the ordinary at all- as Cockburn noted. He didn’t actually say that therefore the proper conclusion to draw is that all this media is false… he just presented it as something to be skeptical of. However, the world does have plenty of collaborating evidence that has been validated and substantiated…. and the blame for setting up this propaganda war lies completely with the authorities who have prevented normal observation and reporting from verifying reality, verses the people on the street in the uprising who haven’t attempted to prevent any outside journalism from making effort to report or verify accounts as difficult as that may be.
    I think Cockburn said something quite obvious, and actually he did not draw some far fetched conclusion… but just made it to easy for someone like Camille again to pop it up on his site as some kind confirmation of his own conclusion of western distortion and discounting practically the entire opposition media in one fell swoop. A close read however, shows that as well to be a distortion of what Cockburn said or didn’t say.

  115. let me say a few things about zabadani and what surrounds it,
    zabadani is a 45 minute journey from damascus. it relies heavily on tourism during the summer months. furthermore it provides a cheap retreat for the inhabitants of Damascus all year round. its a predominantly Muslim village but there are a few churches around. after the hezballah- Israel conflict of 2006 zabadnai was littered with hezballah flags. it is quite ironic that they are accusing hezballah of attacking them now. zabadani is one of the most beautiful sights in syria, especially the valley.

  116. This is the comment that I left Cockburn:
    Dear Mr. Cockburn,
    In the middle of a revolution met by the iron fist of a brutal regime, Syrians are dismayed that this is what you chose to write about. Is this really the issue here? Does it really matter if some of these youtube videos were doctored? Did you really get to this degree of callousness with human life and suffering to tackle the revolution in Syria from that angle? Dear sir, you just simply have no idea. Brutal is an understatement. It is the highest degree of virtue to shut up when you do not know what you are talking about.

  117. Dear SGID,

    While Zabadani is predominately Muslim, I believe Bloudan has a large Christian constituency. I know of many family friends that have farms there, spent many summers up there. Great food to be had on the way there in Ain Feijeh and Ain Khadra, restaurants that are right beside the water, provide with some natural cooling in the Summer months (and magnificent views).

  118. My fellow Damascene( Son of Damascus)
    every shami knows Mora, can you imagine that once a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city has tunred into this

  119. I feel a kinship with Camille Otrakji, in that he is Canadian and has long lived in one of my favourite cities of all time, Montreal. That kin feeling deepens a bit when I think about all the things we take for granted in a place like Montreal. It gives me pleasure to think that Camille and I are together under a strong Canadian regime of law. We likely agree that the Charter is the most important law of the land, and each of us could probably beat our chests a bit considering how far this nation has pulled itself up on the top shelf of freedoms. He may very well be the compleat Montrealer, a passionate friend to all.

    But as a Canadian interested in Syria, Camille falls down badly in a couple of areas by my measures: he does not rank human rights concerns particularly highly, and he does not empathize with the suffering. This is so basic, I always wondered at his writing. Where was his compassion? Why did he always seem more annoyed with an SC commenter than with the vile practices of the Syrian Mukhabarat? Where was the thoughtful evocation of the suffering,
    his portrait of the peoples, of Dera’a, of Homs, of the countrysides?

    I can clearly see an attention to Syria in his historical and collecting works (which are good), , but what does he know, in his flesh, what does he feel? Does he feel a part of the humiliation and long sorrow of Syria under authoritarianism? Can he tell me about Syria, about this Syria, the Syria in struggle right now? Can he speak for “most Syrians”?

    No, not to my eyes. He is different from Them who have suffered and who suffer still, and who could really use the help of a cosmopolitan Canadian. They are Them and he is (or claims to speak for) Syria.

    So when he gives ten reasons why “Syrians” think whatever, I say to myself, Nope. No, Camille, you speak for yourself, your own self, and you do it without a lot of compassion for those you inspect.

    Twenty-odd years in Canada, and it seems the lessons of living have yet to fully potentiate. I figure Camille’s children will do that last part: “Dad, you were for ASSAD hanging around? Were you INSANE?”

  120. 10 reasons why Syrians are not interested yet. My response is simple: instead of pontificating and giving reasons for this or that and become a stupid pretzel of convoluted arguments why not ask the people what they want. After 40 years of Socialist Arab One Party rule and with free education for everyone literacy should be able to allow for an independent monitored and free and fair referendum on what the people want.
    This the same type of circular argument put forth by anyone who wants the facts and the data to fit the conclusion and I hear this argument from others like Alex and Josh and namely those that are for example attributing to the Quran all the elements of democracy that were ever invented or thought of by all of humanity for all time. They want to fit the facts to a predetermined conclusion.
    This is hogwash and Maysaloon did a good job refuting the arguments.

  121. SGID:

    “after the hezballah- Israel conflict of 2006 zabadnai was littered with hezballah flags. it is quite ironic that they are accusing hezballah of attacking them now.”

    They are not the only ones who simpathized with hezballah, many Arabs were too. We are hungry to see the underdog succeed and push back Israel’s aggression in Lebanon (nightly supersonic booms, etc…). Clearly, many Syrians who supported hezballah had a change of heart since the uprising.

    The important thing to note is that with Syrians and among each other there was no sectarianism and a Shi’ite can be looked upon as hero by a Sunni!

  122. Two beautiful tragic clips by abdart74

    The film from the pain of the Syrian people :

    Don’t know how to embed; hope this will work

  123. Son Of Damascus,

    When Maher Arar returned to Canada after 374 days in a Syrian jail, in a far-off land of torture. Together with his wife Dr. Monia Mazigh beside him, held a news conference detailing the horrors he had been through, she sat beside him.

    “If it were not for her, I believe I’d still be in prison.”

    Despite her high visibility, though, there has been little said or written about Mazigh herself.

    “She has inspired Canadians with her unrelenting efforts to raise awareness of what happens when the rights of citizens are trampled in the name of so-called national security. We are all deeply indebted to Monia Mazigh,” McDonough said. “We pay tribute to this remarkable woman.”

    “Monia is a communicator’s dream: she’s highly intelligent and focused. She has an intensity about her. She has a sense of humor. She’s humble and unassuming. She’s extremely articulate” — in French, English and Arabic.

    “At a meeting when we were discussing the Arar case, a lawyer in the room said, `This woman belongs on the Supreme Court of Canada. She has a wisdom beyond her years, and an impeccable sense of justice and how it is supposed to work.”

    Never an activist, she was a private person until she got a phone call, while holidaying in her native Tunisia, from her mother in Ottawa that Arar had been detained in New York.

    “I was shocked and surprised,” she said in a phone interview. “But I thought it would be a matter of days — it might be related to the new immigration laws.”

    “Very few people would listen to my story.”

    But, “I called my MP every day. They don’t call me back. But I call. I write letters.

    “I decided I was going to do that all my life” — if she had to.

    Two more things kept her going: her children and her faith.

    “My children. I was upset seeing them growing up without their father. And I worried about their future, that they were going to be treated in the same manner as their father.

    “I did not want them to be treated like second-class citizens. I did not want them to be accused or suspected of being a terrorist because of their origin, because they are Muslim and they bear a name that has an Arabic sound.”

    The Arar family members are happily living together serving their adopted homeland, a land were institutions protects citizens.

    His torturers are well and alive. The pen Shabeeha on SC are well and alive. They should be disgusted, they live in a web of lies, they have no conscience whatsoever.

    Finally, she was asked, how is Arar doing?

    “Alhamd-o-lillah, every day is a new day.”

    She was born and raised in Tunisia and emigrated to Canada in 1991, at the age of 21. She was denied university for wearing a headscarf. Mazigh has a Ph.D. in financial economics from McGill University and speaks Arabic, English and French fluently.

    Published on Sunday, November 23, 2003 by the Toronto Star
    New Canadian Heroine Emerges from Arar Case
    by Haroon Siddiqui http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1123-04.htm

  124. Dear N.Z,

    Thank you for that post on Mr. Arar’s wife, when I expressed that his marital status should not be important when it came to his story, if I in anyway I came across as sidelining his wife importance,I apologize sincerely I did not intend on belittling Dr. Mazigh. She is a true heroin that fought for her husband and family through thick and thin, and without her he would have most probably be forgotten in jail; and I truly don’t believe he left her for a 20 year old as someone on SC claimed without any corroboration. I just felt that his marital status currently does not and should not eclipse any of the horrors this man so unjustifiably endured.

  125. Ok now I feel like a complete ass, I just called Dr. Mazigh a highly addictive drug substance that has brought ruin to so many families. I meant to call her a heroine, not heroin.

    Excuse the major typo

  126. Dear Annie,

    you don’t need to embed a video on Walls blog, just copy paste the link and the video will embed locally.

  127. Dear SGID,

    Hopefully someday soon we can share a Shawarma plate at Siddiq, in a Syria that we can truly call our home, without the fear of Big Brother.

    Stay safe,

  128. Dear N.Z.
    Women, not the SNC, the NCB, or even the FSA are the real backbone of this revolution. Many people are in for a great shock when we will write the real stories of the revolution. I believe that if it wasn’t for them, no one would have been able to sustain this for 10 month and on..

  129. From Facebook

    Rasha Omran

    شباب من شباب طرطوس ، بمثاب ابن لي ، سألته عن وضع الجيش الحر أجابني بالتالي :

    __________________________________________________________
    خالتو رح قلك معلومات أكيدة
    أنا من الناس اللي عم تاخدلن أكل للجيش الحر وعم نظبط معن بالمظاهرات
    لما يعرفو اني علوي لا تتخيلي فرحتن وثقتن
    بتتخيلي إنو غالبيتن مابيعرف انو في علوي معارض ومع هيك بيقلك لاللطائفية
    ناس بسيطة فقيرة وعفوية
    هدول هنن
    رح قلك حادثة مؤكدة
    بخان شيخون كان في ناس حاملة سلاح بس مدنيين وعاملين حالن جيش حر وبدن يدفعو الناس أتاوات بالاجباري مقابل حمايتن وبيمنعو الولاد يروحو عالمدارس
    بيفوت الجيش الحر النظامي عالمدينة وبيلقطن لهدول وبيرفعن فلق بنص المدينة وبيرجع الولاد عالمدرسة وبيدفعو مصاري لمدير المدرسة منشان يستمر بشغلو
    هدول هنن الجيش الحر
    كتير بسطا
    خالتو مو ذنبن إذا ما سمعو حدا غير سني معارض ولا حدا غير علوي موالي
    لا تتخيلي ما أبسطن
    حكى واحد منن معي منشان طلعلن أكل وكنت عم اتغدى وشي راجع من الشغل وطالع عمظاهرة
    سألني شو متعمل قلتلو عم اتغدى وطالع لعندكن سألني شو عم تتغدى قلتلو زيت وملح وبصلة
    قلي يا عرص
    عندك زيت
    خالتو صدقا ما معن ياكلو
    طلعتلن ابريقين زيت
    أوادم كتير عنجد

  130. Where is Najati Tayyara?
    Looks like he is finally at home. Welcome home Najati.

  131. OTW, right on.

    Women ” are the real backbone of this revolution.” Without diminishing the role of Syrian women in this revolution, our men and women are in it together, to end oppression. I did not think for once that Syrian women are not at the forefront of this noble cause, they’ve always been. The West’s obsession with ” freeing ” Muslim women is a Western fixation, that has no basis among the majority of women in the Arab world, when the whole society is oppressed it makes no difference whether you are a man or woman, a boy or a girl.

  132. Rime’s article that Aboud posted above – is much appreciated. Clearly…. although perhaps it is a coincidence- she must be as annoyed as I was to read certain repeat offenders continuing to spout the supposition that revolutions will lead to ‘islamists’ further oppressing women. Maysaloon answered this item in one way- pointing out the fact that women were not living in a bastion of freedom already to be taken away. But I think there are many further arguments to be made why the original assertion is both offensive and wrong.
    I would add right now to NZ and OTW’s notes that there is more freedom to be attained all around – women and men. Being Muslim or Islamic is not the central issue but rather people should be judged on their conduct and treatment of others regardless of what religion they hold. Oppressed societies can work towards the lifting of oppression on all fronts at once – and what benefits the whole should naturally benefit the particular condition of women as well.
    However, women certainly don’t need to be “freed” by others from afar (as NZ noted) – western or eastern- or by the men right next to them. They are the agents of their own freeing ultimately, (otherwise it wouldn’t really be freely chosen, would it).
    I would argue that revolutions and the struggle for self determination – are precisely the occasions when women are often able to seize the moment to advance their own journey towards an expansion of freedom to have more roles in society, more options for self expression, more positions of power and responsibility and authority, more of voice to be heard and honored, more influence on the public sphere, and more opportunities to work in solidarity with men in ways that demand respect and a lived experience of equality of meaning to their lives. I think that no matter what setbacks and backlashes their are in the wake of revolutionary moments, the gains far outweigh the pain, suffering, and violence that women may be subjected to along that path towards liberation for the whole and for their selves.

  133. Najati Tayara has indeed been released. Several times the regime had released him only to have another security branch arrest him. Hopefully, this time his release will be permanent.

    Najati Taraya in jail was a freer man than the menhebaks living in the mental straight jacker of Besho worshiping. No matter how badly junior bungles things, the menhebaks cannot criticize him in any shape, way or form.

    “Syrian tribal leader: I praised Assad at gunpoint
    Sheikh Nawaf al-Bashir has since fled to Turkey; wants overthrow of regime”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46030517/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/

    I’m sure more than a few words of praise for the giggling child were said at gunpoint.

  134. Another 37 protesters were slaughtered today, the butcher is getting away with murder as the world is watching and his men are doing what they know best, oppression, humiliation, torture and mass murder.

    After 10 months of unbearable conditions in Homs, Hama, Idleb…they are those who are foolishly asking for dialogue! These people are no less crooks, than the crook himself.

    By construing the suffering of Syrians to their own agendas, inventing excuses and philosophical arguments, empty rhetoric, “pardon and excuse me”, all these explanations will not impregnate.. as they say in Arabic, ” kil-hal haki, ma bi-habbel”. They seem to be in a deep slumber, either stupidly or conveniently. The latter is more plausible.

    Those on ground zero, the noble revolutionists, care neither for the crook nor the crooks. Their goal is, to the end..till the regime is plucked, ass-a-dists gangsters, one by one. A Free Syria by God’s will, and the will of the brave men and women on the ground.

    The butcher and his conspirators will very soon become history.

  135. N.Z.

    Would you be willing to entertain a clean exit for the baath to save 5 years of civil war (and save 100k+ dead, more wounded) if it took 1 or 2 years with current system (with b.s. reform)?

    I understand you and especially the mothers of the fallen want justice, but at what point do you say make a settlement with the devil (if one is even possilbe) to save 1 million Syrians.

  136. I am not a devil, will never envision myself with one.

    The train has left the station, your suggestions/assumptions do not resonate with me, but most importantly, will not resonate with the activists on the ground. The revolution is spreading geographically and numerically. They, the Revolutionists, have the first and the last word. We are here to campaign for their cause without questioning their vision. They are the movers, we are the shakers.

    We have to, all, put our feet together and look forward to a future free of oppression.

    As Maysaloon said: ” I think a dawning realisation that nobody will come to help should not necessarily lead to self-despair, but to a stronger sense of self-determination and independence. No more father-leaders, no more saviours from other countries, wouldn’t it be amazing if Syria became a truly independent country that set its own standards for morality and expected the best from its people and for its people. There would be no need for foreign intervention, but rather our neighbours would look to us for help and for guidance – for a change.”

  137. Husam,

    There won’t be any clean exit for the Baath, no chance. Bashar is merely a puppet, he is controlled by hardline Alawites and by Iranian geopolitical interests. Bashar is merely a puppet, he will simply disappear if he were to concede even an inch to the opposition. Iran, Iraq and Hezballah look upon this as a matter of sectarian prestige and geopolitical survival.

    Even in the regime, there is absolutely no chance of any internal reform, nor of a peaceful transfer of power. Every single intelligence thug knows he will come to a sorry end when if he surrenders. TOO MUCH BLOOD has been shed already for any peaceful surrender or peaceful transfer of power. Syrians are very touchy about issues of sharaf and mur’uah. They have been humilated and pillaged and killed beyond comparison for the last 10 months. 90 % of anti-regime people will never settle for a peaceful solution and will launch a Coup against anyone advociating so. That is why Ghalioun and Manna3 are hate figures on the ground. The people will settle for nothing short of proportional retaliation, not even blood money.

  138. ^^ Continuing on my comment above, the FSA will never agree to any “deal” with the Baathists in which killers are allowed to go scot-free. And you know what the FSA can do when it decides on something.

    Ultimately, the moderates like Manna3 will have to take the heat, in an ugly way. Never impose your scruples and principles over and above the popular will, the will of the shaab.

  139. Lets just hope that the “ceasefire” in Zabadani isn;t a regime ploy to put the FSA off their guard. That said, I think the FSA is going from strength-to-strength with each passing day, and along with the LCCs, it remains the few credible instituitons with popular support and capability to topple the regime.

  140. ” but at what point do you say make a settlement with the devil (if one is even possilbe) to save 1 million Syrians.”

    If the better part of that 1 million Syrians are regime thugs, mukahabarat, 4th Division, Peoples Council Members, etc. nobody will cry salt tears.

  141. Remember this little piece of sh*t? Well, there are reports that he was captured by the FSA. Gee, forgive and forget, or give him some “freedom”.

  142. Dear 7ee6anis
    For those interested. There is an excellent conversation between SON OF DAMASCUS and JAD going on SC. I will not interfere in it, but I urge you to read it. A good opportunity.

    Most of us are having similar conversations in bits and pieces over emails, facebook pages for those who have not purged their list of friends, or have not yet been purged , but not necessarily with such calm and curtness.

    Because the current post on SC is a rather lengthy one, i have extracted the links to the relevant comments. Here is the series:

    1. Jad-Comment
    2. SOD Response
    3. Jad Response
    4. SOD Setting the tone with a response
    5. Jad’s point by point reply
    6. SOD reply, again, point by point.

    I did not include intermediate comments in which both indicated that a response is forthcoming. but the conversation is likely to continue. Please note that since the current number of comments is huge (ANN and few others are still at it), it may take sometimes to load each of the above links. SO don’t try it on your mobile phone.

    Dear SON OF DAMASCUS
    I commend you for your efforts to reach out. And hope that you will hang around for post regime rebuilding. Cool heads like yours will be very much needed.

  143. Online database, containing the names of every victim of the regime’s crackdown

    http://www.syrianshuhada.com/

    Seeing these staggering numbers is shocking. This is the most depraved regime in the history of the Middle East, and its supporters are shameless, despicable enablers of murder and war crimes. A child in Baba Amr or Midan is worth ten of Asma and the chicken sh*t expat menhebaks. Wallak farjuna wijihkon bi Homs bas ya ekhwat el….

  144. Dear Off The Wall,

    Thank you yet again for your kind and generous words, what I wrote was truly from the heart. I wish I could write as eloquent and concise as some commentators here, and most importantly no get too sensitive (my post to the person before Jad is a prime example of that).

    Expressing my own opinion about our beloved country is a relatively new experience for me, but one I found to be very satisfying. I will always strive to better our country, it is an oath I swore and intend on following through with it.

  145. Dear Son Of Damascus,

    As Maya Angelou said, I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. What comes from the heart goes to the heart. Your honesty and unconditional love to your people is apparent in every comment.

    With each passing day, our hidden gems are resurfacing. After 40 years we are witnessing the rebirth of the Syrian values.

    Our true heroes will never be forgotten. The bravery and determination that we’ve seen so far, seems to be just the beginning of a new dawn, a new era and a New Syria.

  146. Dear N.Z.,
    Wonderful words. I fully agree. I have been hearing stories that brought me tears. I am getting surprised every day by the reservoir of courage I find in people around me. The Syrian revolution is forging a new Syria, a Syria that will look in the mirror and say, looks good… keep it up.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s