The “Arabized” and the boy-king

As expected, the Syrian regime has rejected the new Arab League decision, which was announced in a press conference led by the foreign minister of Qatar and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States. The press conference followed a meeting of the Council of the AL, during which a decision was made, partially in response to the report of the controversial AL monitors mission to Syria but more so as a last ditch attempt to allow a face-saving and reasonably short time exit to the regime. The full text of the decision is available on several web-sites along with summaries in English and Arabic. I have taken the liberty of removing the introductory part of that decision, which generally contains the “legislative mandate” and a great deal of references to previous decisions and sequence of communications. In the end, the following items were agreed on, with Algeria expressing reservation regarding the security council issue, and Lebanon distancing itself from any decision that may “impact Syria” while Iraq abstaining with no comment.

Below is the decision component of the document, first in Arabic and then translated to English to reflect the spirit of the decision as it was transmitted (To the best of my abilities). I had it ready on the night of the decision but I was unable to post it for personal reasons that have distracted me from 7ee6an for nearly three days and will likely continue for a while. I urge everyone to read it carefully, because I expect it to be the underlining “solution map” to be adopted by the Security Council. Events are hearing in that direction and this decision is likely to be with us for a while.

1-ضرورة وقف كافة أعمال العنف والقتل من أي مصدر كان حماية للمواطنين السوريين.

مطالبة الحكومة السورية بما يلي:

2-الإفراج عن المعتقلين، وإخلاء المدن والأحياء السكنية من جميع المظاهر المسلحة، وفتح المجال أمام منظمات الجامعة المعنية ووسائل الإعلام العربية والدولية للتنقل بحرية في جميع أنحاء سورية للاطلاع على حقيقة الأوضاع ورصد ما يدور فيها من أحداث.

3-سحب الجيش السوري وأية قوات مسلحة من مختلف التشكيلات إلى ثكناتها ومواقعها الأصلية.

4-ضمان حرية التظاهر السلمي بمختلف أشكاله وعدم التعرض للمتظاهرين.

5-دعوة الحكومة السورية إلى تسهيل مهمة بعثة المراقبين والسماح بإدخال كافة المعدات خاصةً أجهزة الاتصالات.

6-الاستمرار في دعم وزيادة عدد بعثة مراقبي جامعة الدول العربية وتوفير ما يلزم لهم من الدعم الفني والمالي والإداري، والتعاون مع الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة لدعم البعثة.

7-دعوة الحكومة السورية وكافة أطياف المعارضة السورية إلى بدء حوار سياسي جاد تحت رعاية جامعة الدول العربية في أجلٍ لا يتجاوز أسبوعين من هذه الدعوة وذلك لتحقيق المبادرة التالية:

أ-تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية خلال شهرين من تاريخه تشارك فيها السلطة والمعارضة برئاسة شخصية متفق عليها تكون مهمتها تطبيق بنود خطة الجامعة العربية، والإعداد لانتخاباتٍ برلمانية ورئاسية تعددية حرة بموجب قانون ينص على إجراءاتها، بإشراف عربي ودولي.

ب-تفويض رئيس الجمهورية نائبه الأول بصلاحيات كاملة للقيام بالتعاون التام مع حكومة الوحدة الوطنية لتمكينها من أداء واجباتها في المرحلة الانتقالية.

ت-إعلان حكومة الوحدة الوطنية حال تشكيلها بأن هدفها هو إقامة نظام سياسي ديمقراطي تعددي يتساوى فيه المواطنون بغض النظر عن انتماءاتهم وطوائفهم ومذاهبهم ويتم تداول السلطة فيه بشكلٍ سلمى.

ث-قيام حكومة الوحدة الوطنية على إعادة الأمن والاستقرار في البلاد وإعادة تنظيم أجهزة الشرطة لحفظ النظام وتعزيزه من خلال تولي المهام الأمنية ذات الطابع المدني، وتتعهد الدول العربية بتمويل هذا الجهد بالتنسيق مع جامعة الدول العربية.

ج-إنشاء هيئة مستقلة مفوضة للتحقيق في الانتهاكات التي تعرض لها المواطنون والبت فيها وإنصاف الضحايا.

ح-قيام حكومة الوحدة الوطنية بالإعداد لإجراء انتخاباتٍ لجمعية تأسيسية على أن تكون شفافة ونزيهة برقابة عربية ودولية، وذلك خلال ثلاثة أشهر من قيام حكومة الوحدة الوطنية وتتولى هذه الجمعية إعداد مشروع دستور جديد للبلاد يتم إقراره عبر استفتاء شعبي، وكذلك إعداد قانون انتخابات على أساس هذا الدستور.

8-تكليف الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية بتعيين مبعوث خاص لمتابعة العملية السياسية.

9-دعوة المجتمع الدولي إلى تقديم الدعم لحكومة الوحدة الوطنية لتمكينها من تنفيذ مهامها.

10-الطلب من رئيس اللجنة والأمين العام إبلاغ مجلس الأمن لدعم هذه الخطة طبقاً لقرارات مجلس الجامعة.

The Ministerial council decides

1 – to recognize the need to halt all acts of violence and murder from any source in order to protect the Syrian citizens.

Demands the following from the Syrian Government:

2 – The release of detainees, and the removal of all forms of arms from the cities and residential districts, allowing the League’s relevant (concerned) organizations and the Arab and international media to move freely in all parts of Syria to assess the reality of the situation and to monitor the ongoing events.

3 – The withdrawal of the Syrian army and armed forces of any of the various divisions to their barracks and their original locations.

4 – To guarantee the freedom to demonstrate peacefully in all its forms and to not confront protesters.

5 – Call on the Syrian government to facilitate the mission of observers and to allow the introduction of all of their equipment, especially communications equipment.

6 – To continue to support and increase the number of Observer Mission of the Arab League and to provide them with technical, financial and administrative support, and to cooperate with the Secretary General of the United Nations to support the mission.

7 – Invite the Syrian government and all elements of the spectrum of the Syrian opposition to start a serious political dialogue under the auspices of the League of Arab States within a period not exceeding two weeks from this initiative, to achieve the following:

A – A national unity government within two months from this date with the participation of government and the opposition and that is led by an agreeable person the task of implementing the provisions of the Arab League plan, and preparing for pluralistic parliamentary and presidential elections under the in accordance with law specifying the electoral procedures and Arab and international supervision.

B – The delegation by the president of the republic to the first Vice-President of the full authority to carry out a full cooperation with the national unity government to enable them to perform their duties in the transitional period.

C – Declaration by the so formed national unity government that its goal is to establish a democratic, pluralistic political system in which all citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations and sects and denominations and whereby power is transferred peacefully.

D – The national unity government is to restore security and stability in the country and to reorganize (restructure) the police force to maintain order through taking over all civilian security matters. The Arab States undertake to fund this effort in coordination with the League of Arab States.

E – the establishment of an independent body mandated to investigate and decide on the abuses suffered by the citizens and to compensate the victims.

F – The national unity government is to prepare for Arab and internationally monitored transparent and fair elections of a constituent assembly within three months of the formation of the national unity government. The assembly is to prepare a draft new constitution to be adopted through a referendum, as well as to preparation of an election law on the basis of the Constitution.

8 – To request the Secretary General of the League of Arab States to appoint a special envoy to follow up the political process.

9 – to invite the international community to provide support to the national unity government and to enable it to carry out its functions.

10 – To request the Chairman of the Council and the Secretary-General to inform the Security Council in order to support this plan in accordance with the resolutions of the League’s Council.

I believe that the road map renders the monitors’ report to secondary importance. If summarized,  The decision calls for the withdrawal of all armed forces and their return to their barracks, for guaranteeing freedom of demonstration and facilitating and supporting the mission of the AL monitors and ensuring free and unhindered access to Arab and International press access to the country. However, article 7, with its six points makes a sharp turn against the Syrian regime. The six points do present a new AL plan (roadmap), that will take Syria into a pluralistic parliamentarian system within a timeframe far shorter than what the regime has in mind and some bloggers have called for (i.e., 2021, which is the end of Bashar Al-Assad’s third term). The AL new plan consists of starting a “serious” dialog between the regime and all factions of the opposition within two weeks, to be followed by the formation of a national unity government from both sides within two months that is headed by an agreeable personality. The national unity government will be responsible within a short period of time for calling an election of a constitutional assembly, drafting new constitution, establishing peace, guaranteeing, the rights of citizens to protest peacefully, and most importantly restructuring the “police” force to bear the sole responsibility for civil peace. The national unity government is to also form an independent committee to investigate complaints of abuse and to coordinate the compensation of victims albeit with no mention of punishing perpetrators, which indicates that the AL envisions a committee styled more as a national reconciliation committee than a criminal investigation panel or court.

Thanks to annie, we have a copy of what the steadfast, always polite Revlon wrote especially on some of the key aspects of the AL new roadmap, But in international crisis-resolution initiatives there is no substitute for the full text.  Sometimes ambiguities speak more than clear text and I think in this case, ambiguities were intended to allow both the regime and opposition margin of negotiation instead of outright rejection of the decision. The reactionary regime of course could not but reject the roadmap claiming that it first violates Syrian sovereignty and that it falls short of the “reforms” the great leader has already initiated where none of the decision’s signatories have undertaken similar initiatives. The opposition, especially the SNC remain cautious regarding rejection, and have considered the decision to be a recognition from the Arab states of the legitimacy of the revolution, and the first practical step towards internationalization of the issue through the security council.

A customized version of the GCC’s Yemen initiative, the AL decision could have been easily used by the regime to its advantage and to guarantee a semblance of acceptance to its intended joke of a national unity government albeit with a lot of negotiation towards the forming of this government. Several regime-made opposition personalities (no leaders) are already scrambling to position themselves to play leading role in that national unity government, some in hopes to influence what they believe is going to be the next stage of Syria’s evolution towards pluralistic politics under the leadership of the “great leader”. The regime could have also interpreted the text  in item 7-B calling for delegation of authority to state that only those authorities required to facilitate the national unity government need to be delegated and that does not mean departure of the despised “great leader”. There are several similar examples where the regime could have found ample margin for maneuver and I expect that it will at some point in time request that this decision be undusted and revived as it enters into some sort of negotiation only to find that like the protestors and having been rebuffed and lied to constantly, AL members would by then raise the ceiling of demands in response to the regime’s continuing brutality.

Alas, the reactionary regime has decided on continuation of the brute force option. News of tightening the siege on Hama and increasing fortification of the regime’s positions inside the city along with complete communication black-outs are ominous signs of the brutality of the next phase of the Assad mafia clan plan to finish off this revolution in the midst of total melt down of the state authority and of the regime’s hold on many parts of Syria. With the exception of Aleppo, and the central core of Damascus, the presence of regime forces and thugs in any locality can no longer be equated with control of such locality notwithstanding the successful ejection of the regimes goons in few localities. There are signs of possible change in the Russian position, but I would not count much on that in the sense that any Russian plan would aim first to protect the structure of the regime apparatus even if it involves the departure of the Bashar Al-Assad.

As I wrote earlier, article 7 of the decision represents a road map. The opposition can also rely on it to shape the next step and in fact some of the elements listed in article 7 represent the minimum level of the demands from the opposition. The AL even addresses, rather diplomatically and again with a degree of ambiguity, the issue of restructuring civil security forces (Article 7-D) as well as the issue of forming an investigation panel (7-E). Overall, the plan could have formed a good start but the reactionary regime, thinking that it will be able to suppress history, thought otherwise.

Muallem’s Press Conference

As I write these words, Muallem is now giving a press conference berating Arab states for their “conspiracy” against Syria, It seems that he is trying to turn on the table to refocus attention on the “regime-friendly” monitors report, which now seems to have been written by the Syrian regime. He is claiming that the report validated the Syrian regime’s adherence to the AL earlier initiative. Muallem is still selling the “reform” package. He is now asking others to “learn from Syria” with extracurricular classes. It is telling that Muallem (the foreign minister) is saying that the request to extend the mission is being studied, and the moment they (him and his team) receive directives, they will go ahead with the necessary steps. My question is who is going to send the directive, and who is in the circle that “instructs” him as he seems to declare himself as a non entity with respect to policy, something every Syrian knew for long time. He is very persistent in talking about “armed groups”. Al-Alam TV is asked Muallem to take a decisive action against “armed groups” and to close the “Qatari” embassy. So now a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime is instructing the Syrian regime in what to do. Had any other foreign press representative asked questions with that tone, he would have been accused of violating the sovereignty of Syria. Muallem showered praise on the head of the observer mission General Al-Dabi. Al-Jadid TV  also tried to advocate a “speedy” resolution of the “armed groups” issue to an enthusiastic Muallem. In response to the Chinese TV question about sanction, Muallem admitted that half of the current economic difficulties in Syria are due to the sanctions. In response to “Lebanese” NBN, Muallem declared the Arabs’ role dead, but at the same time seem to insist on the extension of the observers’ mission!. He threatened now to break the glass houses left by the colonialists in all Arab countries (naturally with the exception of Syria!)

Muallem’s use of the report to the advantage of the Syrian regime will be a death sentence of the observers’ mission and will discredit the mission and its leadership more than they are already discredited. A good step from the AL now would be to dismiss the head of the mission and re-constitute the mission with far more neutral leader. Al-Dabi has by all means removed himself from being a suitable head of the mission after recent declarations. It is also noteworthy that the SNC has asked the LCCs to stop cooperating with the extended observers’ mission.

The Secretary General of the League of Arab States met today with the Ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council. At the same time, the Chair of the AL council and the Secretary General made a formal request for a meeting with the Secretary General of the UN regarding the crisis in Syria. The internationalization machine has started, and I hope that the SNC will be careful, dynamic, and smart in the coming phase.

To say that the AL plan intended on helping Assad is a mistake, I think the Arabs have finally figured out how dumb and suicidal the Syrian regime is, every time a survival rope is extended, these bozos turn it into another knot in the noose. Figuring this out, Arab League will hopefully continue to extend them helping ropes and to make these ropes thicker and thicker in cynical hope that the regime will use these ropes in the same manner it used every single help.   Aleppo has a little vulgar proverb that says “يللي بيجاكر طيزو بيعملها بلبيسو  ” which translates into, “to spite his asshole he defecates in his underwear”, with the closest English proverb would be “cutting of the nose to spite the face”. The regime has always been a contemptuous gang. Expect it to continue to smell as stinky as it has made itself. Those carrying water for this regime, should look in their containers and probably smell their content before it is too late.

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Bashar Al-Assad, Crimes Against Humanity, Syria and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 300 Comments.

  1. some guy in damascus

    A kid was watching the news and asked his father: daddy, why are they killing all those men?
    The father replied: because they are scared
    Kid: why are they scared?
    Father: because we are no longer scared

  2. I hear the same from my friends in Damascus, they used to say back in October come over its all good, now the same folks told me that they did not even visit a birthday party in one of the old city restaurants. This reading in between the lines reminds me of the Stasi days when the east german muhabarat would tape phones. My father used to say hi to the muhabarat officer if he hear a funny sound in the phone, i guess not many would do that in Syria. I wonder if the regime still has the resources and the attention to tape phone calls.

  3. A well knows story happened in Damascus few months back when two young girls were using the landline, they were discussing some poem related to Arabic subject “Nosos” and after a while they both heard someone saying “ma fi shi bas banat ma ydersen” which means “Nothing important just two girls talking school”.

    Surely phones are taped in Syria but I have no idea whether branch 225 has the capacity to tap every call or it’s just a matter of random choices. In the US specific words would trigger an alert and the call will be taped and traced spontaneously.

    Skype and all HTTPS applications are still safe to use.

  4. Just talked with some friends in Damascus over skype and they told me they are very very scared.

  5. It seems Besho’s anal sphincter is doing the rounds ! Russia must have told him behind the scenes to hurry it up. This whole new level of violence seems haphazard, rushed and counterproductive even from his own point of view. Their is a silver lining here. If this is the brunt of his force, an almost last gasp then he really is in trouble. The battles in the suburbs of Damascus are not working ( ironically it seems to be a recruiting manoeuvre, 300 have defected today). At best he will get some more army check points which will be hit again over the next week or so. This hit and run is getting dangerously close to the Capital.

    Also Rastan, yet again is pushing the Assad militia hard.

  6. Thanks True
    can you specify what branch 225 is ?

  7. Aboud Bab Amr is being hit hard! Bashar has made his move ! Allahu Akbar ya Kalb, Hama and Homs will be your graveyard inshallah

  8. Thanks for any comments directed at me.

    I do not think I am being pie in the sky. My response is not a reflection of who I sympathize with most – that is not even under question. Nor does it reflect some lack of sympathy or “heart” for the people of the outer areas or Homs or for the FSA. It is so painful – I really can’t even talk about it. I am speechless in this regard. It goes without saying how horrible it is. And I DO UNDERSTAND – how they got where they are… and the nature of building up people to be able to fight and to face fear.
    It is completely understandable and I am not condemning it. Nor am I saying it shouldn’t be. It has to be, of course, but in what form and in what style and in cooperation with who and with what support and under what parameters are all up for debate.

    My attitude is one of pragmatism and upset at behavior that I really think will defeat their own cause.

    I do not believe it is correct to think the Syrians are anywhere close to bringing down the dictator.
    I am sorry, perhaps I will be proven completely wrong. But this is honestly what I think right now.
    Haytham Khoury popping in to say ‘we are sooo close’ …. any day down the Assads will be finished, does not reassure me at all. In fact it makes me think a lot of people are living in a complete fantasy.

    Call me crazy, I DO believe that there are still hundreds of thousands, dare I say millions, of ambivalent and scared people, and fence sitters who are obstructing this successful overthrow because they are not actively supporting it. Yes, as I think Aboud was saying if I understood him, the situation is increasingly extremely polarized. I can’t but agree – as the Arwa Damon video posted above bespeaks.
    However, I believe the majority not supporting are in the middle.
    Aboud said there is no middle ground anymore.
    God I hope you are wrong.
    For I am convinced that when there is no middle ground at all anymore – the result is that everyone is going to get killed.
    I do not think that the FSA or with only those completely with the cause already can win this by themselves. I really think it impossible. And the result even if someone assassinated the Pres tomorrow – would still be polarization of sentiments to a degree where – you do not a have viable country to move forward.
    It is not JUST about military power of the FSA or if only they could get support from outside – success is assured. What kind of success is that ? if derived from force? I do not think it will be a real success.
    Without winning the hearts and minds, as they say, of a clear clear super majority of the public – I do not think you have a country. You have a big mess.
    Some might say – let us get there and then we will truly see that the super majority is actually all with the revolution. I do not trust this assertion.
    I think it is false confidence.
    Things are too murky to tell. If you are sitting in Homs or Hama I am sure it looks obvious and true. But from Damas and Aleppo and from outside even – it is very seriously under question.

    @ True’s comment: “Instead of pushing UNSC to adopt the AL initiative of leveraging Betho’s power to his deputy, the Arab should push for “humanitarian corridors” within Syria and give Turkey the needed cover for Northern Buffer-Zone.”

    Why can’t they do both?????

    My attitude is that the people on the outside and the political participants and the SNC and the expats and all the non- FSA components of this situation have to provide the other aspects of this effort.
    I am told there are no protests with out the FSA, but there were in fact protests before the FSA came to be. And now – this may be necessary, but it is only a part of what is necessary for success.
    The opposition inside and outside is not part of the FSA – and despite OTW’s idea of the need to assert control over the FSA -which is one approach but not sure how feasible since it is not even clear that the leadership of the FSA has control over everyone calling themselves FSA (I tend to believe not- if even quite the opposite according to Nir Rosen), I think that they should stay very very separate in terms of mentality.
    The opposition should not be following the voice of the FSA or the armed part of this revolt. They have to be political and think not with the hysteria of the street or the fear and survival mentality of the street but with the pragmatism of a political leadership entity. (see Crisis Group, Peter Harling’s paper for FP)

    All paths should be pursued at once.
    for those who didn’t bother to read Mr. Harling’s article, or who could use some highlighting of it, I have broken the recommendations aspect into numbered points. I do not know if I agree with everything- but I do not think anything is mutually exclusive or precludes taking other decisions or other actions.
    Those who believe in the power of warriors to achieve everything or that there are sufficient numbers already to take the country by storm, or that if they prove they are right in this that the result will be a actually viable country to lead – will be disheartened by Harling’s suggestion that a negotiated transition is an acceptable path and the most pragmatic. But You must look at the entire package to understand why this is possible and under what conditions it is not done as a concession to Bashar Assad or to the current authority structure.

    I could say more, but I will hold it.

    From the paper by Peter Harling of Crisis Group: “Collectively Failing Syrian Society”

    Instead of following the voice and mood of the street in revolt, Opposition should be leading the way forward, including the possibility of :

    1) Opening the door to a negotiated transition as opposed to shutting it.

    2) Suggesting ways that the Arab League initiative can be optimized

    3) Articulate a credible working strategy

    4) Offering a prospect of a reconciliation process for those who have participated in the repression

    5) Creating a model for a “smooth process for overhauling the existing security apparatus

    And within the context of forming a Security Council Resolution:

    6) Forming an agreement on what would be a reasonable U.N. Security Council resolution that does not endorse foreign military intervention

    and that endorses:

    7) Calling all parties to a cease fire

    8) Recognition of the regime’s responsibility for bring the country to the brink

    9) Hold the regime responsible for seeking a solution

    10) Demanding the regime implement the Arab League transition plan

    11) Insist upon the regime accepting peaceful protests under a reinforced observer mission with the additional deployment of Arab monitors embedded within the security apparatus where required in the face of armed groups.

    A security Council resolution is the ‘available lever brought to bear on the regime that can:

    12) Fix the prevailing divisions on the international scene

    13) Provide guarantees to the Alawite community; a phased hand over of power; and the assurance of institutional continuity.

  9. Hello Zenobia

    “I do not think that the FSA or with only those completely with the cause already can win this by themselves”

    On that point, I don’t disagree with you.

    “I am told there are no protests with out the FSA, but there were in fact protests before the FSA came to be”

    Once a week, and when people tried to protest during the week they were very rushed and quick demos. Certainly the carnival-like atmosphere we see in Khaldia wouldn’t be possible without a ring of fighters protecting it off screen.

    Defectors need some place to defect to. The FSA’s efforts offer those places. Currently there aren’t a sufficient number of defectors, but no negotiated solution is even remotely possible until the regime and its supporters are faced with a superior force. The regime perceives the opposition as being weak, and it’s encouraged in that view by yes-men like Landis, who in 11 months couldn’t bear to criticize junior in any shape, way or form (yeah yeah, Besho is an angel, the problem is the people around him yaaaaaaaawn).

    One doesn’t not negotiate when the other side perceives them as being weak. How, other than through increasing the strength of the FSA, does anyone else propose to project strength? The regime doesn’t care if its own supporters are reduced to subsistence existence. The world community has comprehensively condemned the regime, but former allies are now apparently part of a “conthpirathy”. This is a regime whose supporters like Alex and Landis find it acceptable to excuse the butchery of a family of 14, sectarian little sh*ts that they are.

  10. I definitely don’t want to waste any breathe defending Camille or Joshua. They are irrelevant in the big scheme of things regardless of my support or disgust.

    the FSA, in my view, has proved again and again that it is gaining strength on its own. And I am not saying that is necessarily a bad thing. I was just reading today’s BBC article on the defector presence in Damas suburbs, and I cannot help but be pleased in part of myself.
    Nobody cannot admire the people’s resourcefulness and steadfastness.

    However, I am highlighting the problem that the formal opposition is so pathetic and has been ineffectual. And I am throwing some credibility to Peter’s argument that the formal Opposition needs to tack in a different direction – ie, be not functioning to support the armed uprising, but to be working towards the pragmatic and political solutions. They are failing miserably at this point. They are not holding up their component of the whole effort. And there is reason to be cautious about what approach they take.
    As I said in the earlier comment, I do think that the political actors should include in their proposals getting international support for safe zones and areas for what they are worth that can be guarded as humanitarian zones of protection.
    This makes sense to me, but I am just not sure if it is concretely possible. Is it politically possible, I think yes, but on the ground feasible… i have no idea. Where do you put these?
    And how can they be ensured without turning it into a military action? I don’t think the political opposition should be in the business of enacting military efforts. So it is a problem… that experts need to way in on…how do you do something that is more like peacekeeping and humanitarian – and not an ‘invasion’ by outside forces that are viewed as intruders and biased ‘agents of the west’ so to speak.
    The UN is the only body (despite Assads insults) that has the credibility to spearhead such efforts. The GCC does not, and Nato does not. The rest of Syria will view anything coming from these last two entities as hostile and suspect and a threat.

    It would go a long way for me if your “fighters” were renamed “protectors”….sorry but I was a rhetoric major, and everything is in the language… :: ))

    Issue of perceived strength and weakness.
    I see your point, but do you really think the palace is not scared right now?
    I do not think that they are taking the FSA or the defection potential for granted at all. They are completely on the offensive because they are very very worried.

    Second, I don’t think it is desirable or realistic that you are going to get “superior force”…. not sure, but I just get exhausted with this as a goal or a subject of endless detailed discussion…. what kind of weaponry is needed or the tactical plans etc and so forth.
    The FSA, like everybody else – doesn’t need superior force to win the day. They just need strategic force, the ability to be sufficient protectors (not perfect or complete) and to hold forth long enough for the political opposition to come up with solutions that move things forward.
    The reason things are as bad as they are is not because the FSA isn’t impressive enough. It is because the political opposition is so pathetic and has wasted so much time.

    We could say (as one external SNC member said to me a few days ago) – that the SNC should be given credit for what they have become in such a short period and how it is such an accomplishment considering they were created from zero in the midst of crisis after a history of complete lack of political organizing in recent times. Ok, this is true to a certain extent.
    And then it is time to be relevant and step up to the plate. They will be blamed for failing their country if they do not start producing and acting responsible for not coming up with compromised and forceful consensus agreements to bring to the UN Security Council NOW… not another ten months from now….after thousands of people more are killed.

    Again, let me reiterate. The FSA must do what it is doing. I am pretty confident that it will keep growing without any outside help at all. But some humanitarian and strategic protection should be added if at all possible. But this must be done – under three conditions. It must be done under an non- combatant format safeguarded by neutral international entities. I mean “neutral” in the sense of not belonging to a particular national sponsor.
    Second, it must be done without escalating the military front of the entire revolutionary effort.
    Third, it must be done with requiring that the political opposition become synonymous with it – and allowing the political actors to make decisions and pursue compromises that may be in tension with the actions of the FSA. That is to say, the political actors must differentiate themselves and be free to pursue cease fires and pursue efforts to negotiate possible transition plans without it being seen as abandoning the FSA mission, and with the cooperation of the FSA in standing down fire when this is required to move forward.
    This arrangement necessitates cooperation, collaboration, and compromise on both parts in so far as it does not endanger anyone’s lives.

  11. sorry, important correction in the last paragraph:

    “Third….it must be done with requiring that the political opposition NOT become synonymous with it -“

  12. also…experts on humanitarian corridors and safe zones should “weigh in” …not ‘way in’…obviously…. : ) (I sure wish we had the ability to fix typos around here…..)..

  13. After a short call to a Friend in Damascus, the late Ibrahim Kashoush words, were playing vividly in my head.

    Freedom is very near, oh leave ya bashar!

    The rallying cry for the opposition that started in Hama and spread quickly throughout Syria!

    Heavy gunfire is heard all around Damascus, the Damascenes are embracing themselves for the worst, knowingly that The Beast family, true to their original family name will burn, kill and maim with a vengeance. They have mixed feelings. They know what is awaiting them. Already talking more freely, they are vigilantly hopeful!

  14. CNN = Criminal/Communist News Network.

  15. I think Louay Safi is a decisive guy abd younger ppl like him should get be SNC President, certainly not old fossils and Communists like Georges Sabra, ppl like him are part of the problem – the West don’t trust them or even take them seriously, the Arabs hate them, and the regime pities them.

  16. The Arab League has frozen its observer mission.

    Endgame ? or Green Light for Final Massacre ?

  17. NZ

    Those songs are for you and all with good hope.

    Freedom will prevail!

  18. Juergen,

    What was the attitude of the East German people towards the Soviet Union ?

    Also, I think Russia has a histiry of blatant and shameless aggression against unarmed peoples,

    Hungarian Uprising of 1956

    Czech Uprising of 1968

  19. “I definitely don’t want to waste any breathe defending Camille or Joshua. They are irrelevant in the big scheme of things regardless of my support or disgust.”

    True. Thanks for a clear headed statement of fact.

    “However, I am highlighting the problem that the formal opposition is so pathetic and has been ineffectual”

    True as well. I wouldnt use such harsh words myself, but this is the first revolution in history where the masses are ahead of the people who are supposedly supposed to be leading. They aren’t, unfortunately we need to see much better and inspiring leadership from the SNC.

    “The UN is the only body (despite Assads insults) that has the credibility to spearhead such efforts”

    Also true. Agree on that point.

    “It would go a long way for me if your “fighters” were renamed “protectors”

    I once suggested the name Inter-neighborhoods Defense Force (IDF). For some reason I got alot of strange looks. Weird.

    “I do not think that they are taking the FSA or the defection potential for granted at all. They are completely on the offensive because they are very very worried. ”

    Sometimes I wonder just how deep and thick Besho’s reality-distortion field is. None of his interviews or speeches indicates he has a firm grip or understanding of events.

    “The reason things are as bad as they are is not because the FSA isn’t impressive enough. It is because the political opposition is so pathetic and has wasted so much time. ”

    I’m not sure what the political opposition can do. If Russia is adamant that it won’t let junior fall, and a large part of the country is too intimidated to rise up for their freedoms, there isn’t much the most gifted oratory genius of a politician can do. Churchill was in the political wilderness until Hitler went a step too far, he came to prominence just when Britain needed a war leader the most. He would have remained confined to the wilderness had the British found Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policies more convenient.

    “Third, it must be done with requiring that the political opposition become synonymous with it – and allowing the political actors to make decisions and pursue compromises that may be in tension with the actions of the FSA”

    Very very true. As things stand right now though, the SNC does not exert any influence over the FSA, and the FSA under Riyad Asaad exerts almost no influence over the field commanders in each city and town. There is a very good reason why officers in the US armed forces are not allowed to publicly criticize the political leadership.

    I’d like you all to look up a painting called The Raft of the Medusa. Where on that raft do you imagine each person in the country is.

  20. “I’m not sure what the political opposition can do. If Russia is adamant that it won’t let junior fall, and a large part of the country is too intimidated to rise up for their freedoms, there isn’t much the most gifted oratory genius of a politician can do. .”

    Does that mean it will be a long time before Besho falls ? Does that mean we will have to go through a long, dark tunnel before we see light ? ( if at all) ?

  21. Juergen, thanks for sharing, ” Freedom WILL prevail ” God willing. I forgot to mention one other point during the conversation, the friend repeatedly brushed away glimpses of fear that I was expressing, ” do not underestimate the peoples’ wisdom, specially in the suburbs”.

    I always believed in the goodness of the people, their wisdom and patience.

    The sectarian card that the regime tried cunningly to play with, failed. Sectarian genes are not in our make.

    Given the hardship, and the disconnect with the outside world for 3 decades -before the advancement of satellite TV and the internet- we are open minded people. Syrians are ready for law and order.

    With an environment free of oppression, and the good genes we possess, the sky is our limit.

  22. Nusayyif

    There were mixes feelings about the Russians, most older folks espeacially the generation of my grandmother never liked them and basically hated that the russian army stayed in our country. Most women of her generation had similar feelings, a lot of rapes took place when the Russian army liberated Germany. In my grandmothers case it was the russian army which made her leave her house in Poland, and she and millions of others had to make her way walking towards Germany. Many like in my generation were raised in the memory of an good and brave nation which brought us under great pain the freedom. We learned russian in school and visited with russian students living in our school. The russian army was omnipresent and had almost police rights, no one dared to have trouble with them.

    Sure they had a problem with freedom, no country was let into total freedom, funny was that Ceaucescu was kind of seen as an rebel to the Kremlin after his refusal to fight alongside against the Czech revolution. But we have seen how much of a bastard that was afterall to his people.

    I wonder how many russians are in Damascus still, i know some worked there, even there was a russian culture center near Sahat Yusuf al Azmeh.

  23. “Does that mean it will be a long time before Besho falls ”

    No, it means that the politicians in the SNC can only do so much without tangible power at their finger tips that they can bring to bear. Since NATO has said time and again that it has no intention of doing a “Libya II”, that leaves the FSA. Now do you see why people place such a large amount of faith in them? They have been infinitely more effective and have produced far more results than all the politicians.

    In fact, what the FSA managed to do will rewrite the books on urban guerrilla warfare. And no I’m not indulging in hyperbole.

  24. “In fact, what the FSA managed to do will rewrite the books on urban guerrilla warfare. And no I’m not indulging in hyperbole.’

    Let us not forget the heroes of Sarajevo. For 4 years they were surrounded on all sides by the strongest Army in the Balkans, one intent on complete genocide, rape and annihilation, while the entire World looked the other way.

  25. Juergen,

    Is your family Prussian, I mean originally from German occupied lands in Poland /East Prussia / Hungary ??

    Also, another thing I’ve studied is that, when the two Germanies were re-united in 1989, Poland and Czech Republic, including liberas like Havel and Walesa, were not happy, they did not want to see a united Germany. What could be the reason ?

  26. Branch 225 is part of the Syrian mukhabart which oversees and controls all IT and telecom related matters. The Syrian Electronic Army (Thugs) are operating from its floor of Alnaser switch near Alhijaz.

  27. “Branch 225 is part of the Syrian mukhabart which oversees and controls all IT and telecom related matters. The Syrian Electronic Army (Thugs) are operating from its floor of Alnaser switch near Alhijaz.”

    How long before the FSA Branch Arbeen yakes them out ?

  28. Wazup Zenobia

    You’re making a lot of valid points which I agree with, and I’m really glad to see you “conditionally” acknowledging the FSA comparing to your attitude months ago, so well done.

    I say there’s no point of wasting times trying to gain some political advantage over Betho by passing an empty resolution. At this stage everything is clear and the only proven pain-causing recipe to Betho is the FSA so all efforts should be directed to support this entity with money and weapons.

    The West in addition to AL have already asked Betho to step down/leverage power so what’s the point of wasting more time to pass a resolution which states what have been said for the last 11 months. What is needed is a strong resolution to stop weaponry import to Syria and a cover to Turkey to implement the buffer-zone.

    GCC has already paid the bills so let Russians shove their UN veto up their bums!!

  29. SNC is doing its best so let’s not blame them for something out of their control. They’re improving day by day and hopefully getting prepared to spread some needed political umbrella to the coming wave of FSA activities.

  30. Assad’s victims today 98. This is the cleansing the butcher promised.

  31. Dear TRUE
    Please check your email

  32. OTW,

    Where did you get the figure from ?

  33. From Khaled Haj-Saleh

    Khaled Al Haj Saleh

    الزبداني حرة حرة حرة!
    .
    .
    المجلس المحلي الحر في الزبداني

    بعد أن عاشت الزبداني الحرية مدة شهرين ، ثم بعد أن تمكن شبانها من رد الهجوم العنيف من قبل عصابات الأسد لاجتياحها وتخريبها ، وبعد إصرارها على الصمود في وجه كل هجوم محتمل . سعت لبدء تجربتها الديمقراطية الخاصة بها .. فتنادى أهل البلدة / المدينة لوضع نظام انتخابي خاص اعتمد على الانتماء الأسري .. حيث خصص لكل ألف مواطن :مقعد واحد , وتوافقت الأسر والعائلات على تشكيل مجموعات من ألف تقريبا ، وشاركت جميع مكونات المجتمع والطوائف و بشكل مميز المسيحيين في البلدة ، وألقى الخوري كلمة مؤثرة في المجلس التأسيسي.. و طلب من كل عائلة او مجموعة عائلات ان تنتخب عن كل ألف فرد فيها مندوبا عنهم، فتم تشكيل الهيئة العامة ،ترشح منهم 60 عضوا لانتخابات المجلس المحلي، وتشكل بناء على ذلك مجلس من 28 عضوا, توزعوا على عدة مكاتب وانتخبوا رئيساً للمجلس وأمينا للسر وعدد من المكاتب : مكتب سياسي , مكتب مالي . مكتب إغاثة وصحه . مجلس عسكري وأمني . مكتب إدارة وخدمات عامة . وبدأ المجلس والمكاتب بممارسة مهامهم .. وتوقف الإضراب العام , وأعادت المدارس فتح أبوابها ورفعت الأعلام الجديدة ، التي تتم تحيتها كل صباح ، مع الهتاف بسقوط بشار الأسد ونظامه البائس المجرم ، واستبدل أئمة المساجد بأئمة منتمين للشعب وملتزمين بالثورة ، وشكل فرع خاص للأمن والتحقيق وشكلت محاكم شعبية ، وهيىء مكان للاحتجاز .. ووضعت آليات الجيش الحر اللوحات الخاصة بها ,وبدأت تتجول وتشكل دوريات الرقابة والرصد ، لكل تحرك للقوات المعادية المتربصة. وتقوم لجان بتسجل كل دخول وخروج للغرباء . ويقوم الجميع بورشة عمل جبارة للتحضير لكل الأشياء اللازمة لصد أي هجوم محتمل , بما فيها العسكرية والتموينية والصحية .. وكذلك لإيواء اللاجئين والفارين إليها طالبي الحماية من بطش الشبيحة ونظامهم ، ومن ثم لإمداد المدن والقرى المنكوبة الأخرى ومساعدتها على التحرر .. ومنع مجلس المدينة الذي عينه النظام من الاجتماع تحت طائلة التوقيف والتعذير ، والمحاكمة لكل سلطة لا تأتي عن طريق انتخابات حرة ، و أعيدت تسمية الساحات والشوارع ، بأسماء الشهداء الكرام , واعتمدت عيادة المعارض الدكتور كمال اللبواني مركزا لمجلس المدينة الحر .. حيث الجامع الكبير ووسط المدينة التجاري القديم الذي تنطلق منه التظاهرات .. والذي سقط فيه أوائل الشهداء . الديمقراطية تجربة جديدة ومولود جديد بحاجة لرعاية ، والجميع يعرف أنه تنقصه الخبرة وثقافة الديمقراطية ، وأنه لا بد من الانتقال للنظام الحزبي ، لكن لا بد أولا من مناخ من الحريات لكي تتشكل وتتبلور وجهات النظر الحزبية ،.. إنها بداية .. وبداية موفقة إنشاء الله , ونريدها أن تكون باكورة تحرر لكل ربوع وأبناء الوطن الأعزاء الأبطال الذين يستحقون كل خير واحترام ودعم …. والله الموفق ..

    ولتبقى سورية وطن الحرية .

    مجلس مدينة الزبداني الحر

  34. I say “there’s no point of wasting times trying to gain some political advantage over Betho by passing an empty resolution.

    then let it not be an “empty” resolution. Let it be a full one.

    At this stage everything is clear

    nonsense True, the only thing that is clear to everyone is that the country is headed for disaster. The rest is not clear at all- what the level of that disaster will be and how many years it will take to clean it up.

    “The West in addition to AL have already asked Betho to step down/leverage power so what’s the point of wasting more time to pass a resolution”

    no, actually the UNSC did not pass a formal resolution. It has been unable to. And the key issue is how to get agreement to do so.
    “the West” is what??? America??? or European heads of State? Syrian authorities are not going to respond to that, and it becomes part of the “conspiracy”…. when it comes from them.

    I said NEUTRAL and collective resolutions, backed and within the context of a number of things. As well – it must present a route out and potentially a negotiated transition and outcome.

    this has not at all been collectively worked on or presented. Barack Obama asking Bashar to step down or any other president – has nothing to do with what has to happen.
    So, it is misleading to pretend that the efforts were already made and failed. No- they were not. And nobody has gotten Russia on board with any compromise resolution.

    “all efforts should be directed to support this entity with money and weapons.

    110% disagree. I wholeheartedly and unreservedly disagree with the above statement.
    In fact, my whole point was a warning against this, and I think a lot of Syrians who are not in the besieged areas are terrified of this potential outcome.
    If you want to make a country paranoid and incredibly dangerous, …yes, more dangerous than even now, than…. this is what you will allow….more arming of a completely uncontrolled entity that is actually comprised of many actors acting alone and under no supervision at all…. until the country is full of militias through and through.
    This will be a complete bloodbath potentially- before and after you get out Assad.
    This is a foolhardy strategy.
    And it is ultimately as destructive as anything anyone can come up with.

    I made the concession about FSA to underline the fact that I am not condemning the people involved for doing what they are doing, nor questioning why they are doing it. But they will not win this through trying to out force the forces. If you fight the devil with the devils tools, not only will you lose, but you will become the devil yourself in the process….let me just sum it up with that.
    So, my understanding of the FSA’s necessity does not in anyway endorse it as the correct mechanism, or that more of it and strengthening it should happen, nor do i concede that this is the way forward. I do not agree with that at all.

    finally, the SNC absolutely should be criticized and blamed for not taking a lead and offering a plan. Why is the Arab League in front of this!!!???
    They should be listening to the opposition – if the opposition was a credible and functioning body!… this is what they should be, and should be scorned for their failings and pushed to do better.

    I can’t believe my ears that you are suggesting that the SNC provide an “umbrella” for the FSA’s continuing activities.
    this is only again, 110 percent the opposite of everything I said.
    I said that they should be in coordination and in contact for purposes of attempting to support FSA to some limited degree and through communication develop collective agreement about the concessions and compromises that any political actions will necessary have to make.

    That’s it. No more than that. The SNC can attempt as OTW suggested (though probably will not be that successful) – in controlling the FSA, but it should be definitively separate and should be LEADING NOT FOLLOWING the street in terms of the path forward.
    The FSA is not a think tank, it is not busy developing a political solution, and as such cannot build a road map for the future or for the aftermath.

    The SNC must work on solutions and NOW. Their purpose is not to take responsibility for the FSA actions because most likely that will end up being killing.
    They cannot take responsibility for the FSA’s violence or moral choices.
    They have to be separate for this very reason.
    But moreover, they have to provide a vision of the future and the goals that can be attained.

    The SNC is not in control of everything, yes, of course, but they should be in control of themselves and should be in control of the message and the resolutions that are put forward to the international community. They are responsible for not building enough consensus and for not working out their differences with the collective members enough to be effective and to be listened to.

  35. Majed Khaldoun

    We are loosing 100 martyr a day, it used to be 30, in the future it will be 200 a day, in a year we will loose 50,000,the revolution may loose out of psychological depression and desperation, I wonder , at what point you will change your mind, Zenobia? and what is your plan, for accomplishing the change?

  36. A few points
    1. The regime is so corrupt and so entrenched in the security house of cards that it is beyond reform. It needs to be uprooted fully and radically. This would happen either with the collapse of the system within its own decay over time like the Soviet Union or by forceful change.
    2. The change can be peaceful as we saw in Tunis and Egypt if the security house of cards opts not to use force or it can be bloody and very protracted if force is used.
    3. The regime chose the route of force from the outset and in all honesty is finding it very difficult to subdue the revolution. If after 11 months it is now talking about the “crowds want a security solution” it speaks volumes about the huge divide between the majority of poor and destitute Syrians and the elite and its cronies and beneficiaries.
    4. With the choice of using force that the regime has embarked upon we are going to the abyss and the outcome is not clear at all. If the regime thinks that it can go back to have tourists and investments and cooperation from the region or the international community then it is even more delusional than I think. If it thinks that it can crush the revolution and go back to the status of the family clan rule then it is utterly stupid. If it thinks that it will not have to make reforms if it wants to usher in change that are so profound that it will spell the dismantling of the house of cards then it is in fantasy land.
    5. The events on the ground are a classic example of the people taking the initiative and are already beyond the AL and the SNC and certainly the UNSC. The quantities of arms that are pouring into the country with some very lethal weapons are now leaving the regime with one choice only and that is of using ground to ground missiles and air force massive bombing. They can punch through a main thoroughfare but are not able to enter into small areas and are being pushed out from more and more areas.
    6. The brutality of the regime has awoken in the people the desire never to give up ( I hope ) and in so doing have a cornered regime that is essentially doomed.
    7. For those that would like to have some modicum of order and structure for the change I can assure you that the entire institutional framework of the Syrian government have been gutted a long time ago by this incredibly stupid mafia. Al least the father understood that he needed to deliver some goods and to satisfy various groupings and to share some of the pie. This clique is utterly devoid of any humanity. Like Ghadaffi who called his people rats and Caucescu’s wife who called the Rumanian people worms, they have nothing but contempt for the average citizen.
    8. Those of us sitting in the West should have a minimum of humility in pontificating about what the solution SHOULD be. The solution will be found by the people on the ground. The opposition in the West will have to earn the trust of the people in Syria and I do not think that the Syrians who sacrificed are going to have some guy or girl who lived for the last 30 years in the West to just come in and have dinner at their expense.
    9. It is going to be messy no doubt and that is the price of freedom, with which all is possible even the freedom to disintegrate. The freedom of the Syrian people and of the Arabs is going to be essential for the liberation of both man and land.

  37. This is no expense to me personally. I am not eating dinner in Syria, and don’t need to ever eat dinner in Syria if it became impossible. External opposition should have been building the bridges to internal all along. Most people are well connected with their families, and those people know who the minds inside are and what they have fought for way before this year. At least they should have. I thought they are working together. If not, why the hell not? whose fault is that?

    I don’t see the people on the ground in Aleppo and Damascus who are not in danger – doing very much. But I would love to hear more about it if they are. Why are all the videos we see and the news we hear – only about the outer areas protesting and the people who are dying.
    Meanwhile, if we don’t have any right to say anything or pontificating – then what is this blog for??
    why are you here? Why are you making lists? what is the purpose of talking and exchanging ideas.
    The larger whole will set a course that no one of us or one of anybody will determine, no doubt.
    But – if a verbal exchange helps to make sense of what is happening and to learn from each other – than that is its purpose.
    And if I see my blog patriots advocating things that I think have serious folly in it, I will speak.

    @ Majed,
    why would I change my mind? You have some assumption embedded in your question, as if I haven’t seen enough pics of dead people to warrant my thinking the FSA should lead the way to freedom.
    At least it seems like that is what is in your comment, but correct me if I am wrong.

    My reply is that your basic premise doesn’t match mine.
    I think the path of greater armament will lead to GREATER NUMBERS DEAD. This is necessarily so.

    Maybe there is somewhere in your mind -that the increase will be the other side- rather than the current victims. But actually it will be both. And moreover, let me say – to me DEAD PEOPLE IS DEAD PEOPLE, no matter which ‘side’ they are on. And if you think 3000 is making us cry now….and you are lamenting how it will accumulate if it stays at this rate- well what I am saying is that there needs to be political action to stop it, no doubt.
    However, if that action is simply to bring in even more arms and heavy weapons and try to match force with force….you will get nothing but greater numbers of people killed on all sides. That is my assertion.

    so WHY would I change my mind about anything I have said. My entreaty is my own attempt to try to prevent death – the deaths of anyone, because they are all the same to me- lives are lives, even if they are stupid asses in the military, or Christians or other groups who currently ‘support’ the president. That doesn’t mean it is ok to kill them.
    So many keep talking about “self defense” ….. what is that exactly??? do you think self defense does not involve killing people???? ! If you are being attacked – you will have to attack back. And you may be killed while you are providing self defense. And the other side… who are just people very often people swept up into their role with no true agency of their own, no choice, and no thought, who have been manipulated and used and tossed into the fray as cannon fodder.
    Lives are Lives!….
    Why would I change my mind – according to my logic, nothing I say will somehow stop being true even when people are still dying now.
    Nothing is going to change in regards to the need for a path to end the violence. Nothing will end the need for political and international support for ending it. There will remain the need for cool heads to propose solutions. This will continue to be necessary.

    People outside the fray are just giving in to the temptation to leave it all to might….leave it to the force meets force. The people on the ground have an excuse. They have to get from one day to the next alive.

    But the rest of us and anyone not in immediate danger have to see the forest beyond the trees.
    I know that it looks right. Because that seems like the only way out. Even Sheila thinks that. Even OTW seems to think that as he views that the spread of armed people is inevitable.
    But it is going to bring so much destruction – it will make the current situation potentially look mild.
    If that didn’t happen, we can kiss the ground.

    But there isn’t anywhere on this earth so far that goes into a military build up…. with MILITIAS…. rampant… and ends up not severely scared.
    Find me an example, and I will consider the possibility that maybe it can be avoided.

    And you know behind all this….. behind…are things nobody even talks about because it doesn’t even cross our minds…
    What does it mean to turn normal citizens into warriors…into ‘fighters’….and put them in the position of killing (even in defense) others? What does it entail to see half the population as enemies….people whom you must take their humanity away from so you can shoot your gun at them or kill their brothers….
    and in doing so – you lose part of your own humanity,… and who can give it back to you??
    Are you going to do population cleansing to get rid of all those people who didn’t agree with you and who fought you? or all the minorities who still comprise a fair percentage of the population of the country and maybe didn’t fire a gun but who are filled with fear and hate possibly, what of them?

    Then you have to come back together later and somehow undo all that hatred and dehumanization and reconcile?????
    The human psychological cost of that is stupendous.
    Here you have a country and population already stifled and traumatized by decades of deprivation and squashing of civil society….and then you are going to smash the living humanity out of them even more….

    and expect that you have won a war… for freedom and survival! Except the patient will be half dead on the table….

    It breaks my heart to think about it.
    People, even good people with the best of intentions….they don’t know what they are proposing.

    We keep talking about the children and the 3000 people dead….
    think how many people died in Iraq….or Lebanon…for that matter….a hundred thousand???

    There is no turning back. And it is unacceptable to turn back or acceptable to keep the dictator or his clan and gov’t. This is not the question.
    But why are we so ready to concede that the warriors must lead?

    We sacrifice young men, tell them they are the heroes…. let them be sacrificed … and their humanity ripped out of them… because we are being lazy….the leadership is being callous and lazy and ego driven and are failing the people.

  38. I just read an interesting article in Germanys leading investigative magazin, DER SPIEGEL. They are usually very good informed. They said that the appeasement politics conduczted by most arab nations regarding Syria is history now. The mission in Syria has failed, even though the monitors are still in the country to await further instructions, yet they think the mission will not go on.
    Nothing has changed with the mission, even reversly, the deathrate has risen eversince. The last credibility the regime had among arabs is gone by now.
    The Saudis were among the first to acknowledge that they are no longer willing to act as an fique leave for the regime, the other 5 gulf countries quitted the mission on Tuesday as well.
    Now as it looks like the Saudis will eventually grant the SNC full cooperation and will consider them the only spokespersons of Syria.
    DER SPIEGEL writes that there are ongoing discussions and as it looks like the military intervention becomes more and more likely.
    The general secetary of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul Latif Bin Raschid al-Zayani has met on a short noticed meeting with NATO general secetary Anders Fogh Rasmussen. There might be an consensus soon that the arab countries and western nations will act together.

    Here is the report in german:

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,812012,00.html

  39. Dear Zenobia,

    Even if the civilian ” political leaders” were completely unified and organized, it does not necessarily follow that they can magically come up with a plan that will satisfy both the Russians AND their fellow Syrians on the ground. Granted, being unified may work to convince the people inside to “follow” them as leaders, but I doubt that the people doing the dying are prepared to accept any watered-down proposals such as the ones that you can be sure the Russians will insist on.

    ——–
    “I think the path of greater armament will lead to GREATER NUMBERS DEAD.”

    OK, and if there is no turning back, as you say, what about this question: will the path of LESS or NO armament lead to a smaller number of (zero?) deaths AND the desired objective?

    You may recall that I asked right here on 7eetan if anyone could outline a step-by-step scenario/plan-of-action to achieve our objective peacefully. I asked the question directly to Dr Haytham Manna’ on his FB page, and am always scouring the web for an answer because it is my preferred choice. I speak from the safety of an overseas location but two of my nephews languish in the regime’s dungeons, one for taking a video of a demonstration on his mobile, the other for publicly speaking out against the regime and giving medical treatment to injured demonstrators. I am on record for wishing we’d had a BenAli or a Mubarak instead of Jr, but unfortunately these are the cards that we have been dealt and now we (the Syrian people wanting real change) have the following choices:

    -give up and get arrested/shot, the living are rounded up back into the prison farm to slave away in fear for forty more years

    -go silmiyeh and get arrested/shot, the regime will NOT suddenly develop a conscience and be ‘shamed’ into surrendering real power, as has been argued (this includes playing along the ‘reform” game the regime is trying to peddle).

    -arm yourself and make it clear that the shabbi7a cannot expect to wantonly kill people without the possibility of being killed themselves. You are upping the ante, yes, but it gives 1) the ability to keep the opponents at bay and allows civilians to demonstrate in increasing numbers and to taste freedom in liberated enclaves like Zabadani, and 2) the possibility achieving your objective (I know you doubt this last one).

    I never thought I would be making the case for an escalation in armed resistance, but Syrians tried the Tunisian and Egyptian ways and got shot and shelled in return by their own brethren. You or anyone else can still sway me and many others like me with logical arguments. I am keeping an open mind for those who care to try.

  40. BTW, there is no doubt in my mind that Russia is going to use its veto in UNSC on Tuesday, if the proposal makes it that far.

  41. Zenobia
    What are external opposition? To me, they are internal opposition in exile. Many of whom could live outside syria for years and remain far more connected to the streets than some of the pathetic people who represent only themselves and a group not exceeding 10 or 20 intellectuals but remain on the inside as a token organized opposition.

  42. A new post coming up in moments. It is some of True’s observations (as usual controversial), while in Syria,

  43. OTW,
    I agree with you, but I was responding to the fact that others keep maintaining that “external opposition” is not trusted (see Observer above)-, or that they have no credibility, that no one in Syria will follow them.
    I hear this repeatedly from time to time, and I actually don’t know the background on this, ie, is there actually so much animosity- even within families??? between those inside and those outside.
    I hear a lot of sneering disdain – as if…’external’ syrian have no right to inform anyone or be any kind of leaders… because they are so ‘out of touch’ and biased by unrealities (having lived outside)…
    anyhow, I have no idea!… this isn’t the case in my family, but I am not sure where this theme comes from or how pervasive and attitude it is, or how justified.

  44. @ MGB,

    of course, yes, unified political leadership does not guarantee anything will work, but it seems to me this has been lacking and is a critical lack in terms of what has NOT been happening. It seems to me – the purpose of having a unified body or the process rather – of bring people who both represent the street and represent those who are not influenced by the throws of panic and can think about the larger picture of what is attainable – is that there will be something in the middle- that can represent a compromise between these two tensions and demands, those who want protection and force, and those who want compromise and who have to come up with something the international community, including Russia are willing to follow through on.

    In addition – it is my contention that this is the only way to get anything, because it is pure fantasy that the international – non-UN entities are not going to come to the rescue anyways – of the street demand for weapons and military support. This is unattainable, even if I thought it wasn’t foolhardy.

    you asked: “will the path of LESS or NO armament lead to a smaller number of (zero?) deaths AND the desired objective?”

    I am sticking by my assertion that it will lead to fewer deaths and destruction on all levels than armed escalation will. Not arming further will not in itself lead to the desired Objective, no. But if people weren’t putting all their energy into screaming and pushing for more guns or debating their countrymen about this factor – maybe they could be working towards other solutions in terms of both alternative proposals, AND towards rallying those inside who have remained on the sidelines to develop more sophisticated methods of civil disobedience. Protest is just one means of fighting, and that seems to be the only one used consistently.

    The ‘Tunisian way’ and the ‘Egyptian way’ are not the only way. As Tha’ir Deeb said in his interview, Syria has to develop its own model for revolution. This is a particular and unique situation that demand more creativity and pursuit of its own plan.
    So, saying that well we tried that -and it didn’t work and if we don’t build an army…all we have is more of the same round and round…. is a cop out in my opinion. Very little has actually been developed as strategy. At least I didn’t hear about it. People just want to pursue what they think is the easiest response which is getting more guns.
    I think you guys are really impatient. Your analysis is impatient and the response has been impatient.
    It is a myth that dictators are overthrown in a matter of weeks. As we can see with the other models- that is the least part of the story. People are being tortured in Libya right now. Egypt is in total turmoil. Iraq is a mess and still has bombs going off regularly and the government always threatening to split apart.

    Instead of saying – let us pursue strategies that might take a year to two years but we hope shorter – in terms of the political outcome, but in the meantime let the opposition try to get some internationally agreed upon protection for part of the population that is being targeted, people are just willing to concede that the only thing we want is more ammunition and that will solve it.
    It is bullshit in my mind, well meaning bullshit.

    I am not talking about surrendering to the authorities and giving in to their absurd claims that they will pursue reforms. Again, please refer to the items put down by Mr. Harling – for which I myself would like more details, but which generally are not conceding anything to ASSAD that they will do this themselves or that he would voluntarily step down. Nobody said that. It has to be a complex leveraging from the outside, combined with a strategy for gaining more numbers inside Syria and pursuing more sophisticated method of revolt – beyond just protesting. Even if it were mainly this – there has to be more people on board – and I believe that if the official opposition didn’t look so helpless and confused and unreliable and they could actually show that they can attain something from the international community- particularly something that is NOT militarized intervention by suspect nations- then more Syrians would actually come out of the shadows and become active members of a civil disobedience movement.

  45. “I hear a lot of sneering disdain – as if…’external’ syrian have no right to inform anyone or be any kind of leaders”

    Really? I’ve never heard that in Homs. Everyone here has a relative who had to leave the country during the 80s. People in Homs receive alot of financial and material support from Syrian expats in the Gulf.

    But to be honest, I don’t see much of a focus here on what the SNC says or does. The SNC are honorable, intelligent people, but leadership requires a way to inspire one’s followers. It’s kinda hard to be inspired by a leader who seems to need to be lead every step of the way.

  46. I see it in writing. but you are right, it makes no sense when everyone’s family has people outside.

    Movements require leadership, and yes it has to inspire confidence, so this is a problem when it doesn’t.

    Too bad, in my opinion, that people are easily emotionally activated by the vision of guns and the power of guns and easily inspired by notions of revenge.
    That is hard to compete with.

  47. Zenobia, no need to talk about human lives.

    300,000 Cubans had to die before their dictator was deposed

    500,000 Bosnians had to die before their country could be freed from Serb aggression and unified

    And between 1975 and 1979, 4 Million Cambodians were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime, just like that.

  48. precisely.
    but that is not an excuse to just use that as some rationale for letting it happen.

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