Of Interns and the Boy-king

 I have not posted over the past four weeks. In the meantime, the Assad’s army entered Homs, and then Idlib.  As FSA withdrew from both cities, massacres have taken place in both cities aiming to flame sectarian tension. Car bombs have returned to the scene, just as Kofi Annan is expected to send a team of experts as happens with the Arab Observers. However, the recent car bombs have targeted areas with Christian majorities including today’s explosion in Aleppo’s Sleimanyeh quarter. This is consistent with warnings signs that came out last week regarding the regime’s intent to wrap up its perceived victory by increasingly forcing Syria’s Christians to take a sectarian side and with previous shady explosions during the Arab observers’ mission.

Here are a few comments on specific issues.

Batta

Batta (Duck), a befitting address by a “modern” wife and by an admiring young woman to a man whose army assisted by vile militia gangs is terrorizing and murdering Syrians ever since some of these Syrians declared that they have had enough of his family’s totalitarian control over their lives and are no longer willing to take it.

Oddly enough, absent (to-date) from the leaked emails are indications of Assad engaging senior government officials, business partners, religious figures, or even well known social climbers’ in his boy-king narrow circle. What we notice is the critical role of two intern-level women (Shehrazad Gaafari and Hadeel Al-Ali) along with the notorious Luna Al-Shible in proposing and carrying out media campaigns and in passing information and summaries to the boy-king who is occupying his busy time with state affairs in parallel with trivia such as downloading teens songs from I-tune and playing harry potter games among other life occupations.

The men in the emails are different. They are security oriented. One passes advises (or commands) from key Iranian and HA contacts, still through the interns. Another (Khaled Al-Ahmad) seems to be the personal envoy-spook of the boy-king traveling throughout the country’s hot-spots and making observations and recommendations, as well as major decision and plans on how to put the uprising, while connecting, when possible, with regime-friendly Lebanese tycoons. The father in law remains heavily engaged as well, putting to rest claims of his family’s distance from the murderous regime and placing himself at risk of being the first member of the regime to be successfully tried in the west for abetting and aiding crimes against humanity. He may be followed by his daughter, who may now be tried in the UK for violating sanctions, independent of what trivial, yet expensive items she seems obsessed with purchasing.

What comes out drives a dagger at the heart of the loyalists and regime-made opposition claims that they oppose the revolution because it threatens to destroy the institutions of the state. It also obliterates the loyalists frantic efforts to retain the fraudulent image of a “normal” president and state. Clearly, when a young, albeit seasoned diplomat such as Jihad Maqdisi has to rely on intern level advisors to pass his opinions to the head of state, one must wonder the extent at which the Assads believe in these institutions. Similarly, when journalists such as Nir Rosen and Barbara Walters have to make their contacts through these same inexperienced, and quite shallow interns, in order to receive audience with the boy king, one would question the respect the head of the regime has for his ministers and for the state.  Needless to say,  pro-freedom thinkers and intellectuals have argued from day one that under the Assads, there are no institutions or state, as all are simply overshadowed by a cancerous criminal-security apparatus and mafia family.

Some curious people will get busy trying to decipher the interpersonal relationships of the boy-king now sarcastically known as Batta in attempts to demonstrate the increasingly isolated family. However, the presence of these intern-senior-advisers and their impacts on the actions taken by the regime can not and should not be trivialized by sarcasm. Information provided to the boy-king by these people were acted upon and may have resulted in deaths, including those of journalists in Homs. Curiously, one of these adoring interns focused on an issue that we have discussed here on 7ee6an regarding the boy-king’s separation from reality, which was evident during his meeting with some youth. Ms. Hadeel Ali, sent a copy of the narrator’s facebook page, in hope that the regime’s security will track down the real names of those who commented negatively about her “cute” president. If anything, the action taken after the intern’s advise indicate that the boy-king is in control and has directed actions either by transferring the information to his henchmen, or by directly ordering actions based on recommendations reflecting flawed judgement. These intern-senior advisers are not merely providing media advise, but far more sinister advises. Furthermore,  and even if the emails do not reveal direct orders from the boy-king to his high ranking officers and henchmen, the compartmentalization of connections only illustrates his lack of trust in the state and its institutions not to mention his derogative description of his own fraudulent reform laws. It is no wonder that regime apologists on Syria Comment are now blasting Joshua Landis for publishing the little he did of these emails. The little that was published of the leaked emails exposes their own moral degeneration and worries that the boy-king is stripping one more piece of his clothes every day.

 In the aftermath of the continuing leaks, Nir Rosen is now in a hot seat. On at least two occasions, he was described by both the intern and the in law as being “helpful” to the regime. Although it is more than possible that in both cases, the two “inner-circle” members have interpreted any critique of the opposition as favorable to the regime, and thus bestowed the “helpful” title on Rosen, critiques of Rosen seem to focus on the implication that he may have divulged information that was used to help the regime’s aggression against Homs. Rosen himself has written an post protesting his innocence. I will now from opinion on his response and would leave it to the readers to decide.

Where to:

It has been a year since the spark of the Syrian Popular Revolution. Regime propagandists are now arguing that the battle lines are now drawn in the regime’s favor.  Many have argued that this is due to the militarization of the revolution, which has given the regime the upper hand since it possesses the stronger force and the resources of the state behind it. The regime has relied on a strategy of isolating towns one after another and as seen from emails Khaled Al-Ahmad emails, it seems that the strategy and policy has been approved by Assad himself. However, it is fitting to remind those blaming FSA or other armed groups that the regime had already murdered more than 4000 Syrians  before any bullet was fired in return. It is also noteworthy that the regime continues to murder protesters in areas where FSA has not made any challenge or presence as is the case in Raqqa during the past three days.

Problems continue to plague the SNC, but the question is how relevant is the SNC nowadays with most of the world powers having decided to remain silent, and several GCC countries having decided to provide weapons support to armed groups directly and not through SNC? Any attempt to analyze the situation results in more questions than yielding answers

Dialogue seeking opposition was dealt two blows recently. The first was in Kofi Annan’s indicating his deep disappointment with the regime’s responses to his proposals. The second was in the regime’s attack on an the opposition rally organized by the NCB the moment the demonstrators uttered the first demand for the regime’s fall.

The seemingly stronger position of the regime is as deceptive as the strong position of the armed opposition during the first two weeks of the attack on Homs. While regime forces continue to raid villages and cities and to bombard neighborhoods in Homs and other towns, the revolution continues to spread geographically. Raqqa, the city chosen by Assad for special praise and a festival prayers is now in full scale revolt as the cycle witnessed in every city gets repeated. Demonstration leads to murders, then more murders during funerals and even mass massacres. News of a fist fight between the city mayor and the head of the local Baath party surface yesterday. In addition, an increasing number of Aleppo neighborhoods is now restive, along with continuing flash points throughout the country. The north-to-north east front is now connected through Raqqa and the number of villages and towns to subdue is far beyond the regime’s capacity, especially as Daraa seems to get back in action. Subduing Homs and Idlib seems to have been temporary as indicated by the regime’s shelling of Homsi neighborhood earlier today.

While the NCB demonstration, which attracted few hundreds only, exposed the anemic support NCB enjoys on the streets of Syria, it also shows that a great deal of activities are now largely internal. To illustrate the point, no one in the SNC that I know of has predicted Raqqa’s joining in such large number. Yet, the successful mobilization in the city is indicative of a significant level of planning and organizing that has been undergoing for a while. Similar situation now exists in Aleppo, and while SNC and other external opposition forces seem dismayed at Aleppo, people in contact with internal opposition seem more optimistic about Aleppo as well as about Damascus, albeit requesting patience so that the groundwork for major demonstrations in the two cities is well prepared.  A friend of mine, who was recently in Aleppo and has participated in one demonstration and witnessed another described the situation as following,

The people of Aleppo are liberated, it is only now a matter of liberating the streets.

Describing the demonstration he witnessed in one of neighborhoods in Allepo, my friend said:

It was beyond strange. The demonstrators, numbering in a couple of thousands were besieged by security forces and shabee7a. There was a stalemate for few minutes, until the shabee7a decided to descend on the demonstrators. It was only then when an eerie silence prevailed for a few seconds, only to be broken by the sound of automatic locks on main gates of the neighborhoods buildings clicking opened one after another, click … click … click…. And so on in a rapid succession. Within a minute or two, the street was almost empty, and the shabee7a were confronting locked gates. Those who did not manage to get into the buildings snuck into side streets. Shabee7a found few people and beat them to pulp before getting them on the busses, which had to leave with far less than their capacity.

It was only few months ago when the same sounds of building gates would be signaling the residents locking their doors in the face of demonstrators and leaving these young people to their fate at the hands of the vicious, murdering regime shaاbee7a.

The events of Homs and Idlib had two effects. On the one hand, they satisfied regime proponents, who have asked the regime to hit hard and with no mercy. But at the same time, they have alienated many others on the silent side and forced them to reassess their image of the regime. As a result, those pre-disposed to fearing regime’s brutality have sunk deeper into their fears and started talking incoherently about a revolution that will destroy the country. As a result, they now project their fear of the regime against the revolution and parrot regime’s propaganda about terrorists. Another response has been for many to realize that this regime is not only brutal, but also careless and hell bent on survival even if they have to shred the country into bits and pieces. This was amplified by the recognition that regime supporters were behind the sectarian massacres in Homs and reinforced by the disgusting attempts of the regime propagandists to blame the revolutionary forces for this massacre.

Internally, there is now a balance in existence. The regime can’t end the revolution or turn the clock back to pre March 15, 2011. The revolution is also incapable of removing the regime or its key figures. But time is against the regime for the following reason:

1. Continuing economic collapse, the regime will not be able to provide relief, turn on the electrical power or recover anytime soon.

2. Even if the regime establishes precarious military presence in cities, such presence has not led to improving the situation for the residents, to the contrary it has amplified the suffering of most residents including those who have not yet returned to their homes, which have been looted by a combination of Shabbee7a, army thugs, and common criminals after the FSA forces left the area.

3. The streets are increasingly ambivalent to the external opposition. This has a positive effect in the sense that it deprives the regime of its primary propaganda weapon against the revolution (an externally funded and made chaos). With many becoming vocal against the political leadership of the opposition, including the MB’s leadership and attempts to control the SNC, new political forces and coalitions are emerging inside without the distraction of having to follow one or another current. A new more pragmatic leadership is emerging within local coordination committees, and even those affiliated with some “semi-oppositional” groups are becoming more active in LCCs. The popular nature of the revolution is becoming more obvious and the string of pathetic antagonistic remarks and name calling of SNC members from regime propagandists now look more irrelevant and sophomoric than ever.

In conclusion, there are reasons for worry. And chief among these reasons is possibility of heightening sectarian tension. Yet, there are more reasons to be optimistic, including some of those I have listed above. 

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67 Comments

  1. Generally very good article! Interestingly the FSA has now “liberated” chunks of Der al zoie.

    It is very clear that Raqqa and Der al Zoie can do this because of the shifting of forces from area to area.

    You should also mention an article about the leaked internal documents of the inner circle that dealt with security surrounding the demonstrations in Damascus in particular.

    They had only 20000 in all of Damascus and its suburbs to deal with demonstrations. They had about 100 check points.

    So in effect if you take those manning the check points, you are left with a number that just cannot survive on its own without military intervention.

    It seems reasonable now. The idea that Bashar the “I am too sexy for your shirt” fan lol can reverse it is well nigh, well at least very very difficult to say the least !

    We do not have the crucial tipping point because one main reason at the moment

    ……critical mass in Halab and Damascus (as well as other cities) because of the lack of ammunition the FSA has. I would actually voucher that supplying the FSA with simple bullets and RPGs of more advanced quality would be enough to wipe out the check points in Damascus and Halab.

    Once that happens critical mass would quickly develop and his already over stretched remenants of loyal battalions would fall into chaos. This latter point is easily seen as each of his plethora of intelligence units and battalions actually hate each other and try to blame each other for failures. This lack of coordination because of the utter corrupt nature of the regime could be one of its weak points

    Allah knows best

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  2. Excellent comment Jarthouma, thanks… I tried to be more general. But details such as the ones you dug are very important.

    Also on the bullets issue, it is curious that Khaled Al-Ahmad in one email to the boy-king states that besieging western Homs succeeded in making the cost of ammunition very high to the FSA, which may have contributed to their decision to withdraw from town.

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  3. Tweets from Amal Hanano, مندس و لا منداس الموت و لا المذله, I think they are in response to Nir Rosen the “so called undercover journalist” with a visa, he was exposed in the leaked emails.

    “Any Syrian & journalist knows, it’s impossible to “hang out” in Syria for 4 months w/o regime connections. There’s a price for everything.”

    “I wish some journalists wouldn’t come to Syria to repair their careers at the cost of the people. Find another conflict & leave us alone.”

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  4. Nir Rosen is a snake. He took advantage of traditional Syrian hospitality. Next time FSA shoyld be damn careful about anyone connected or sympathetic to Iran, Israel, or even the plethora of so-called “resistance” associations.

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  5. Another thing, Al Jazeera also has some small-time collaborators and regime sympathizers, for the simple fact that the channel chooses to hire Syrians and Lebanese in such large numbers ( probably for photogenic reasons).

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  6. Jarthouma, FSA is attacking points around Baba Amr ? Where did u get this from ?

    It would certainly be delightful if FSA could recapture Baba Amr and the citizens could move back in, sooner rather than later.

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  7. Jarthouma made an important point about the media in the previous post, also note how the media is saying that “Homs has fallen” rather than “baba Amr has fallen” , who are they kidding ? the regime is in control of only the southwestern and southeastern sections of Homs, the Old City, Khaldiye, Bayada, bab Dreib, etc. are all firmly in the hands of the opposition. Now the media is also saying “Idleb has fallen” whereas in reality the regime has not been able to control even a singke village other than idleb City itself. They have not been able to enter even Maarat al Numan, Khan Sheikhun, or Ariha.

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  8. First the bombs then expect the regime to relatively decrease it hostility over the next week or so in response to Moscow and the Kofi Anan initiative. Man they are so predictable. They still blamed al Qaeda today! Look Bashar, listen to advisors! It looks bad if you claim al Qaeda did it 3 to 5 minutes after the event and then concoct some fake al Qaeda claim of responsibility on the internet. Man these claims are so bad! I still remember the Harriri one.

    Almost bad as that red necks attempt to blame al Qaeda for his crude plot post 9/11

    Anyway, unfortunately unfolding events may not allow it to 🙂 and they will go back to blaming armed terrorists and Russia will say you see…..then it will go on

    Antoine, I wouldn’t get too excited lol At the moment it is only attacking peripherally some check points here and there..

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  9. OIC and UN “technical mission” has entered Syria to asses “humanitarian situation” , the regime has not included Idleb on the itinerary and has inscluded Latakia, Tartous and Aleppo City on the itinerary *facepalm* *angry*

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  10. As of now, there have been 34 reported defections from the Army in Raqqa, and 25 martyrs, all wihtin the last 3 days.

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  11. Thanks for the story about Aleppo’s demonstration. I felt like you were describing the early Insha’at protests. If the locks on Aleppo buildings keep opening to welcome protesters, and slowly the ones inside join the protesters, then the revolution has overcome a major obstacle.

    And welcome back. We missed you.

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  12. ليوم بعد التفجير اللي صار بحلب .. ولما العالم عم تبكي وتركض لتشوف ولادا .. والامن عم يشتخدم اوسخ الكلمات مع الاهالي .. بينط جار من الطابق الاول .. بقلوا لعنصر امن .. لا تعيط عالعالم كلهون خايفين ومتوترين قدك والف مرة .. قلوا دخول لجوا وانضب .. برد عليه الجار وبقلوا .. هلق صرتوا زلم .. لما خبرناكون وقلنالكون في سيارة غريبة بالمنطقة ورجعنا خبرناكون بعد ساعة ونص وانتوا لا حياة لمن تنادي هلئ صرتواااا زلم يا حيف عليكون ..

    طريق التصرف من عدد من عناصر الامن يمكن اكتر من 10 .. انو بيرفعوا الروسية “سلاح” بوش الجار وهو بعمر ابوهن ..

    اكيد السيارة شغل القاعدة !!!!!!!!!!

    المرسل .. ناشط حلبي

    Today, and after the explosion in Aleppo, and while people were crying and running to check on their children… and while the security forces were using the dirtiest language with the public, one of the neighbors in a first floor flat looked down and told one of the security members,…. don’t shout, everyone is scared and tense thousands times more than you are… .. The security man told him get inside and shut up the neighbor answered now you become brave… when we called you and told you there is a strange car in the area and we called again after an hour and a half and you did not act at all… now you are men…. shame on you…..the response from a number of security men, may be 10 or more, was to hold their AK47 up and point them at the neighbor who is their fathers’ age….

    !!!!! ya, sure the car is the work of Alqaida…..

    Sent by… an activist from Aleppo.

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  13. Thanks to SYRIALOVER on SC.

    Assad: faithful student of ruthlessness

    By Roula Khalaf , Financial Times, March 18

    Excerpt:

    Experts who have studied the trove of Assad emails say the Syrian leader is not a conventional dictator. James Fallon, an American neuroscientist who has written on the mind of dictators, says Mr Assad shares some of the characteristics of other tyrants – lack of empathy and need for flattery (he surrounds himself with young female aides who seem to be in awe of him). But he finds him “an incomplete dictator” who appears to lack a personal sadistic streak. “He comes across as a pathetic adolescent little tyrant. a weak leader … a sorry character,” says Prof Fallon.

    Article link (needs free registration)

    I think OBSERVER and SYRIAN HAMSTER will agree. Both of them have for long argued the same about the pathetic character of Mr. Assad

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  14. How long will this go on while the world continues to watch?
    Syria’s interfaith tradition is now one of Assad’s many hostages.
    ——————————————————————————-

    Bashar Assad holds Syria’s diversity hostage

    By Haroon Siddiqui Editorial Page

    In the Syria that existed before the rebellion and crackdown, it took some time to grasp the evil manifestations of the police state. But you were immediately struck by two pleasant aspects of the country.

    It has mostly escaped the architectural crimes of “modernization” and kept its historic mosques, homes and labyrinthine bazaars, especially in Damascus and Aleppo.

    And Syrians had retained the relaxed pluralism that once characterized the Levant.

    It is this inter-religious and ethnic harmony that Bashar Assad sometimes cites to justify his massacres. Others see him stoking minority fears to preserve his power.

    (…)

    The uprising began as a non-sectarian and non-violent struggle. But faced with Assad’s murderous crackdown, it is turning into an armed insurgency. Its religious pluralism is still intact, despite government thugs burning Alawite and Christian shops and blaming them on Sunnis.

    http://fb.me/TlZaHRRI

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  15. Good to have you back, OTW.

    About the attack in Mezzeh: about an hour ago I watched AJA’s Skype interview with a bearded young man from the Revolution Leadership Committee لجنة قيادة الثورة السورية (?) and he said that an operation was staged by 10 FSA fighters against “a prominent regime military/security figure” by storming his private house/residence in Mezzeh and only 50 m. from Asef Shawkat’s residence, but the house was soon surrounded by more than 200 security elements, a shootout ensued where, he said, numerous regime security members were killed or injured. Then the building was abandoned by all regime occupants/guards leaving the attacking FSA fighters inside, it was completely encircled and heavily bombarded from all directions by the regime forces using all fire power at their disposal, resulting in the virtual destruction and setting on fire of the building. All ten FSA fighters are presumed dead, and the fire had yet to be extinguished at the time of the interview, according to this man.

    I don’t know what to say, I suppose better they targeted such high profile figures in the regime than Syrian Army forces (which may include some hapless young conscripts dragged to the scene against their will), but still these are highly dangerous operations that are more likely to end badly since such personalities’ homes and offices are very heavily defended. And I wonder about the effectiveness of knocking off one, two, three, maybe even ten “feet” of the mafia millipede; you will still be left with 990 more to deal with!

    From now on we have a completely confused situation with many uncontrollable players. It may be a lot more than everybody, the regime, the revolutionaries and the people of Syria had bargained for.

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  16. Dear MGB
    Thanks for the details. Couln’t agree more with your statement that no one bargained for this. It is more than crazy, it is reckless.

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  17. I suppose better they targeted such high profile figures in the regime than Syrian Army forces (which may include some hapless young conscripts dragged to the scene against their will),

    This is exactly what was tried in the late 1970s – early 1980s, targetting of high profile figures (including Hafez himself, which resulted in the infamous Tadmur Prison massacre). The Army as a whole must be targetted, soldier by soldier, Tank by Tank.

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  18. Dear OTW,

    Great post.

    I have a question, to your knowledge has the SNC or any opposition group worked on a new constitution to replace the Assadist constitution?

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  19. Dear Son of Damascus
    I am not aware of SNC efforts. However, Mr. Bunni has put together a comprehensive proposal.

    That said, I am of the conviction that only an elected constitutional assembly can oversee a draft of the constitution and individual or groups’ proposals will be relevant only after being discussed by an elected group with a full suite of constitutional experts.

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  20. A message to the Syrian people:
    We Syrians excel in blaming people’s actions or inactions on their affiliations rather than on who they are as people. I understand and concur that religion, ethnicity and social class affect people’s behavior and color their opinions, however, I vehemently refuse to narrow a human being’s core values and motivations to his or her religion, ethnicity or social class. This is taking stereotyping to whole other level.
    We all know that in every family there are people who are for and people who are against the regime. How do you explain that? And why can’t this make you understand that the only reason why someone believes something is individually attached to that person and not to his or her affiliations.
    When you convince me that all the members of the regime are Alawites, I will start blaming all the Alawites for murdering the people. You know you can’t.
    When you convince me that all the defectors from the army are Sunni, I will start believing that the Free Syrian Army is a Sunni force. You know you can’t.
    When you convince me that all the demonstrators are Salafis, I will start believing that this is a Salafi uprising. You know you can’t.
    When you convince me that all the members of the Syrian National Council are Muslims and Arabs, I will start believing that the SNC is an Arab, Muslim organization. You know you can’t.
    When you convince me that the only people who live in Kassaa are Christians and the only people on the streets in Kassaa were Christians, then I will start believing that the bombing targeted Christians. You know you can’t.
    The mere fact that the vast majority of people from one background are doing one thing does not put all the people from that background in the same camp.
    Please start taking personal responsibility for your actions and give others the chance to take personal responsibility for theirs.

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  21. Sitting for negotiations with the regime would be suicide. They can be defeated only by force.

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  22. I do not know the extent of damage these brave souls did in Mezza. They clearly knew it was a suicidal mission. I also doubt that it was done in a random manner. Clearly this operation has been coordinated and had inside help

    This kind of operation can be successfull if it instills fear and paranoia among the inner circle

    The FSA also abducted a senior army officer recently in Damascus with success as you guys remember the recent clip

    Still…. The success will be viewed by how the regime reacts. If it manages to cut off the inner leaks becaus of this and forces the FSA to restart an intelligence process then it will probably be immature.

    As for targeting senior figures, well this is a dictatorship! Yeah it will make a difference.

    Finally, Antoine the idea that we should target every soldier is a bit silly. Our problem is not with individuals in the army but with loyal battalions and para military death squads and intelligence agencies (irony I know )

    In fact, I can promise you that the army in effect has disintegrated and he has only a Gaddafi style force now. What prevents the large scale defections is the air support and free zone

    That is why the Assadists are scared to engage because the army just fragments, unfortunately mainly on sectarian lines. That is also why he has to keep changing the army personal because he officers are scared shit when they repeatedly get refused orders. Alot have been shot by soldiers who defect.

    His concentration of loyal battalions, of course, cannot be used everywhere and are used as reinforcements and the main stay when they do a concentrated strike.

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  23. You cannot negotiate with this regime! This is a fight to the bitter end. People have to smell the coffee and wake up to the reality of our opponent.

    What exactly is the regime going to give us?! The very basic demands will spell its end

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  24. “People have to smell the coffee and wake up to the reality of our opponent. ”

    You meant “people have to smell the blood and wake up mourning their beloved ones”. After one year of continuous misery a chapter after a chapter, what have we achieved? and till when do we want to keep trading with these people’ blood from five stars hotels or behind keyboards?

    At this stage, this revolution is proven fruitless and a drastic change is needed in order to achieve the goal and pay a minimal amount of respect to our martyrs. And yeah let’s stop dreaming of Turkey handing us a buffer-zone on a golden plate or stop the fantasy of the world providing our FSA with needed weapons.

    Sheila,

    Very thoughtful of you. However, it’s too late and when the real-deal civil war breaks out everybody will be judged and treated according to his sect irrespective of his/her own stand of the revolution. Say good bye to the old days of prepare your piece instead.

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  25. Betho or “Batta” (as he likes to be pampered by his online mistress) is gone, sooner or later he’s finished and now it’s just a matter of time played by the big players to decided When: will be ousted? Who: will replace him? How: will he be judged “ended”?

    My deepest concerns are directed toward those daily innocent causalities, who are dying everyday with no one paying attention to their piling numbers after these numbers of death became part of the daily norm (similar to the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation and terror) . On the other hand, it’s Syria as a whole we should be concerned and worried about.

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  26. True, yes their have been sacrifices and their will be sacrifices but you also dream that the revolution will stop and go back to the good old Assad days.

    We will go on and on and on until this leech is dead.

    What exactly are we going to negotiate anyway. Some nominal position in his fake parliament ?

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  27. “but you also dream that the revolution will stop and go back to the good old Assad days.”

    Who said I was dreaming of so?

    “What exactly are we going to negotiate anyway. Some nominal position in his fake parliament ”

    He’s got the upper hand so negotiation is not an option for the time being.
    What I’m saying is that this revolution will go nowhere if we keep the same old practice in addition to keep heading blindly with no strategy or a plan in mind ya3ni heek “3alyhom ya 3arab”!!

    If we can’t get our shit together after one year of trial-error process and lots of sacrifices then it’s better to go home rather than keep killing and destroying others lives. Sending people out every Friday to get killed is not a strategy or even a plan it’s just an irresponsible act of those who got the titles of leaders.

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  28. and let’s stop claiming fake victories when one of those high ranking (late-wave-riders) defects or when we manage to kill a bunch of poor conscripts. Let’s cut the bullshit and be practical of admitting the problem and finding the solution instead.

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  29. and let’s stop claiming fake victories when one of those high ranking (late-wave-riders) defects or when we manage to kill a bunch of poor conscripts. Let’s cut the bullshit and be practical of admitting the problem and finding the solution instead.

    True, the recent high-ranking Generals cannot be called “late wave-riders”. Why ? bcz there is no “wave” as such, these Generals have everything to lose and nothing to gain by defecting, losing a salary and a home, and moving into a refugee camp with family. Yes, when during the last 2 days of Assad, there will be multiple high-ranking defections, those can be called wave-riders, not these, who don;t have anything to gain by defecting (infact have a high chance of being targets of a smear campaign).

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  30. Sending people out every Friday to get killed is not a strategy or even a plan it’s just an irresponsible act of those who got the titles of leaders

    Hello, the tea-drinking “intellectuals” “leaders” are not the ones

    Sending people out every Friday to get killed

    , the people themselves tok a decision to do so, you might as well tell the people, hey, don;t bother going out on every Friday and get killed.

    You have no logic, True.

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  31. I want to share a very disturbing post on SC, if this has some truth, then we have a lot to worry.

    71. Syrian Nationalist Party said:
    “He used so far about 15% or less of the loyal forces capacity, not the entire Syrian Army. He even can send the entire army of 300,000+ and even new conscripts if necessary, we know how it will be done by the regime and with very little defection and possible threat to the Baathist regime”

    83. Aldendeshe said:
    And that is not going to be like an easy drive to Baghdad, it will be way more financially and casualty costly. Assad will not just sit or hide in a hole like Saddam, and the Syrian army is not going to play the per-planned game of acting as defending while the units are plummeted by U.S. Forces as the Iraqi Defense minister agreed with the Americans before the invasion.

    The very first U.S. Air force drop will unleash everything in Syria possession at Israel, Turkey and kiss the Middle East oil fields and installations, loading facilities and ports goodby. Whatever arsenal left is stock is then handed to Hezbollah and to the real Islamic extremists, not fictitious Alqaida, Afterward, they will go into hiding, knowing that the world has bigger problem to deal with than chasing the Assad’s in Iranian villages or Siberia

    Your thoughts Jarthouma ( the poster is not pro-regime)

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  32. I have no logic then!! fantastic. point taken

    Ok I deeply hope you’ll find all the logic needed from the five stars hotels SNC useless meetings and of course from the “never coming” American and Turkish support for our FSA. and don’t forget to enrich your logic while counting the causalities every Friday, that’s of course while you’re enjoying your coffee at the downtown.

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  33. Those are late-wave-riders. Harmoush and Tlass’ first task was to take up arms against the killer not to establish new entities to crack and challenge the FSA, and if you don’t know that’s all in preparation for receiving and managing the long waiting $$ for FSA.

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  34. Dear TRUE, Please read this article by Elias Khoury, I selected salient points relevant to our discussion. The full article is available @:


    سورية: لا عودة الى الوراء
    الياس خوري
    2012-03-19

    دخلت الثورة السورية عامها الثاني وسط الدم والدموع والتحدي. سنة كاملة وشوارع المدن والقرى السورية تصنع ما كان الجميع يعتقده مستحيلا. مظاهرة صغيرة في دمشق تحولت الى انتفاضة في درعا، قبل ان تعم الثورة مدن سورية ودساكرها، ويسقط هذا العدد الهائل من الشهداء، وتتحول حمص الى مدينة الحرية.

    لا اريد الدخول في نقاش ثقافوي بدا لي منذ البداية مملا وسقيما. المسألة في سورية وبقية البلاد العربية تبدأ من انفجار الوعي والارادة. اما الاستنتاجات السريعة حول من انتصر او سينتصر، فانها تتجاهل اننا امام مخاض سياسي واجتماعي طويل، لن تتبلور ملامحه سريعا. كل ما في الأمر ان على المثقفين الخيار بين موقفين: الحياد الذي يتضمن الانحياز للأنظمة لأسباب متعددة تبدأ بالممانعة وتنتهي بالخوف من التيارات الاسلامية، وموقف الانخراط النقدي، الذي يرى في العملية الثورية بداية تفتح للاحتمالات، التي على القوى الديمقراطية واليسارية والليبرالية ان تشارك في صنعها.

    […….]

    التضحيات الهائلة التي قدمها ويقدمها السوريون والسوريات منذ سنة تعلن بكل وضوح ان لا عودة الى الوراء. فالوراء صار مبقعا بالدم، والدمار الذي ‘انجزته’ القوات العسكرية التابعة للنظام صار شاهدا على ان سورية اليوم لم ولن تعود الى ما كانت عليه. مملكة الصمت سقطت، والتوريث على الطريقة الكورية الشمالية يتداعى، والبلاد صارت مهددة على كل المستويات.
    حصاد العام الأول من الثورة يبدو واضحا. النظام نجح في تحقيق انتصارات عسكرية هي اشبه بالهزائم، والشعب دفع ثمنا كبيرا كي يعلن ان هذه الثورة لا يمكن سحقها بالحديد والنار، وان زمن حماه على طريقة الأسد الأب، لن يتكرر على يد الابنين الأسدين.

    من وجهة نظر النظام، فقد حقق آل الأسد انتصارين: الأول هو الانجازات العسكرية في بابا عمرو والزبداني ودرعا وادلب. وهي انجازات تثير السخرية والحزن في آن معا. فقد اقتضى اقتحام بابا عمرو من قبل قوات النخبة في الجيش السوري تدمير الحي عبر قصف استمر ثلاثة اسابيع في مواجهة حفنة صغيرة من الجنود المنشقين. كما اقتضت الزبداني مفاوضات واتفاقات قبل ان تقتحم، والى آخره…

    اما الانجاز الثاني فهو تدويل الأزمة السورية. قوة النظام الأسدي مثلما ارساه الأب قامت على التدويل من خلال الدور الأقليمي للنظام. فالنظام الأسدي كان وظيفة خارجية. والآلة العسكرية المافيوية الحاكمة، استفادت من هذا الدور الاقليمي كي تحكم سيطرتها على البلاد. الأسد- الابن حاول ان يبيع البضاعة نفسها، لكنه امام ضغط الشعب، قرر احداث تحوير في الدور الاقليمي، فبدل ان تكون سورية لاعبا صارت ساحة. وبدل ان يكون استقرارها الداخلي في ظل الاستبداد مستمدا من لا استقرار جيرانها من لبنان الى العراق، صارت هي ساحة الصراع، التي تشتري حماية نظامها بالتبعية الكاملة، والاستعداد التام لبيع الامريكيين البضاعة القديمة اياها. ولا عجب ان ينجح النظام في استدرار العطف الاسرائيلي الذي يستتبع في العادة موقفا امريكيا مترددا.

    كان النظام يتمنى تحقيق انجاز ثالث، هو اغراق البلاد تحت شبح الحرب الطائفية، ولعل ابلغ مثال على ذلك هو مذبحة كرم الزيتون الهمجية، التي تهدف الى استدعاء الانتقام. غير ان وعي شباب الثورة لا يزال قادرا على تحجيم هذا المشروع من دون ان يكون قادرا على وأده، واغلب الظن ان النظام سوف يلجأ بشكل منهجي الى هذا السلاح في ما تبقى له من زمن احتضاره الطويل.

    الذين اعتبروا ان بقاء النظام سنة كاملة هو بمثابة انتصار للعائلة الأسدية، لا يعرفون سورية، وطبيعة الآلة المدمرة التي صنعها النظام عبر الزبائنية والابتزاز والاتكاء على البنى العشائرية والطائفية. ان مقارنة قدرة الأسد الاب على السحق السريع لانتفاضة حماه وبقية المدن السورية عام 1982، ببطء وارتباك الأسدين الابنين، تشير الى ان تكرار الماضي بات مستحيلا، وان عناد الأسدين الشابين لن ينقذ النظام، بل سيزيد في تدهوره.

    لكن مفارقة الثورة السورية ان الشعب هو اكثر اهمية ودينامية ممن يُفترض بهم ان يكونوا قيادته. انها ثورة بلا قيادة، او بقيادة جزئية. فالمجلس الوطني لا يزال متعثر الخطى، والمعارضة الأخرى التي تمثلها هيئة التنسيق سقط بعض قادتها في محاربة طواحين هواء التدخل العسكري الخارجي، تماما مثلما سقطت بعض قيادات المجلس الوطني في ترويج وهم امكانية هذا التدخل.

    بعد سنة من المناورات السياسية الدولية، يقول الواقع السياسي ان النظام هو من استجلب التدخل الخارجي عبر ارتمائه في الحضن الروسي، واعتماده المطلق على ايران، وان المعارضة رغم كل ما قيل لا تجد مصدرا واحدا لدعمها بالسلاح، وان التردد الامريكي هو النتيجة الحتمية للعلاقة الاستراتيجية بين الولايات المتحدة واسرائيل، كما يعود ايضا الى عدم وجود سياسة امريكية في المنطقة بعد حربي العراق وافغانستان الفاشلتين.

    حصاد العام الأول من الثورة السورية هو ان الشعب السوري وحده، نعم وحده، وكل كلام آخر هو الوهم بعينه. فالذين يعتقدون ان تغطية الفضائيات النفطية تكفي كي تشير الى دعم حقيقي هم مغفلون. لا الغرب ولا عرب النفط يريدون او يستطيعون دعم الثورة فعليا. كلاهما خائف، الغرب خائف على اسرائيل، وعرب النفط خائفون من ان تصل الثورة الى بلادهم، لذا لا همّ لهم سوى تسريب التيارات السلفية ودعمها علها تسحب من الثورات افقها الديمقراطي.

    السوريون وحدهم، لقد انتصروا على الخوف من دون مساعدة احد، وصاروا نموذجا للشجاعة والنبل والبطولة.
    عام من التحدي والصمود الاسطوري، اسس احتمالات الحرية، التي سوف تأتي وبشكل يفاجئ الجميع، تماما مثلما فاجأت الثورة الجميع.

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  35. Dear Sheila,

    Thanks for posting your letter. If “after the revolution” people are judged (and worse than judged) according to sect, not to their actions, what will the revolution have accomplished, other than getting rid of the Ba’athist dictatorship? Iraq is there as an example.(And Yugoslavia…) Did only the fact that Iraq was subjected to an illegitimate foreign invasion determine the result? In one case and in the other, where is a plan for a post-dictatorship multi-ethnic nation for all its people? The demonstrations are not going to stop, and no one is sending the demonstrators out, but what is accelerating besides the level of violence?

    OTW — it is very good to have you back. Is there any recent word from George Sabra who seemed to have the confidence of a wide range of opposition groups/individuals on the ground ? Or anyone like him ?

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  36. Dear umm nuwâs

    Thanks, to my knowledge, during the commemoration of the one year since the start of the revolution in Paris, some members of the audience received Burhan Ghalyoun with boos, which made his delivery of a very thoughtful speech very awkward. George Sabra and Suhair Attassi where received with great enthusiasm and Sabra delivered an outstanding speech.

    I have not really followed SNC members in details lately. A possible surrender by US and UK to the Russian solution, which maintains the thug in chief in Syria by watering down the UNSC action through ignoring the AL road map will eventually increase the prominence of Haytham Manna’a, who has been positioning himself for this for a while now. I think those supporting such solution will be disappointed. The regime is bound to refuse to yield even an inch now that thinks that It has accomplished a defeat of the revolution.

    That may be True in the military sense, but it is far from true on the civil side of the revolution, which I think will disappoint those counting on the Joshua Landis proposal for increased sectarian leaning of this revolution as the only way the revolution will bring down this regime.

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  37. Shukran lak!

    can I find the texts of Sabra’s and Ghalyoun’s speeches anywhere ?

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  38. Either “forever” or this……? Neither! These young men taking the brunt of a nation divided, those who want to live in dignity and those who want to live in comfort without dignity.

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  39. Rime Allaf views on Joshua Landis, it only confirms what I knew all along. He is an apologist for the Butcher, he is not an academic, to put it mildly.
    These are Allaf’s tweets on his latest post on SC and the NY piece in 2005. Despicable indeed.

    Of course, the entire piece can be seen as a warning to those who might lean towards dropping the Syrian regime, eventually.

    The piece gets even worse after that, it’s hard to believe! http://bit.ly/GAXauZ

    “The opposition will have to rebuild itself to be more Islamic, militant & sectarian in order to take on the Assad regime” he says!!!

    That was 2005: http://nyti.ms/GAWW78. Today, it got significantly worse: Landis seems to be telling anti-regime people to get nastier.

    “For Assad to help the US, he must have sufficient backing from Washington to put greater restrictions and pressure on the Sunni majority.”
    3h Rime Allaf Rime Allaf ‏ @rallaf

    I didn’t think Josh Landis / #Syria Comment could get any more openly sectarian than in infamous 2005 oped pleading with Bush administration

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  40. Dear True,
    Yes, when the regime falls, there is bound to be some sectarian killIngs in particular of Alawites, however, they will be isolated incidents. Look at our history. Even the recent one during the French mandate. The French were the masters of divide and conquer. They gave the Christians in Syria tremendous clout and advantages. Yet, this did not preclude some Christians from joining the many revolutions or exact punishment on them after independence. My grandfather who was an Ibrahim Hanano supporter, was regularly punished by the French, yet he took in Christian families and protected them as he took in the rebels and protected them. If the Syrian people were any different, there would be no minorities left in Syria.

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  41. He is an apologist for the Butcher, he is not an academic, to put it mildly.

    N.Z.,

    I’ve been saying this for the last 5 years. Ever since I started posting on SC, he’s been excusing and apologizing for the Assad family.

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  42. @ Antoine 18″49
    you said: “The Army as a whole must be targetted, soldier by soldier, Tank by Tank.”

    so let me get this straight…. you are advocating killing the entire Army of hundreds of thousands of people?

    True said: “and till when do we want to keep trading with these people’ blood from five stars hotels or behind keyboards?

    At this stage, this revolution is proven fruitless and a drastic change is needed in order to achieve the goal and pay a minimal amount of respect to our martyrs. And yeah let’s stop dreaming of Turkey handing us a buffer-zone on a golden plate or stop the fantasy of the world providing our FSA with needed weapons. ” ….”this revolution will go nowhere if we keep the same old practice in addition to keep heading blindly with no strategy or a plan in mind…it’s just an irresponsible act of those who got the titles of leaders

    well well well….. how very true…. True with eyes wide open…

    Sheila @2:54…. where we should be for certain…. despite True’s rebuttal that people have already crossed over to the dark side not to return…

    @ Antoine SC quoting at 7:33, YES, no shit….does these predictions really surprise you? …. I am sure you would rather just keep posting night and day sad little tidbits about FSA “fake victories”… instead of acknowledging the big picture in front of us…

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  43. I thought that SC post opening was extremely badly written…at first I wasn’t sure if it is Ehsani writing it or Joshua. People seem to be confident it was Joshua, but I thought Ehsani was writing main post too.
    But to the point: Rime Allaf is not the almighty arbiter.. and taken out of context… it sounds much worse than what I think Joshua meant…. which is that – if the opposition is going to fight and win MILITARILY against the regime – without any major outside support forthcoming… the only way that is going to happen is if it become more sectarian and more militaristic and more ugly, basically.

    I don’t Joshua Landis is ‘RECOMMENDING’ this…. even though the way it was phrased was easily taken and pounced on, as if he is saying that in this form. I think he is doing his usual dire predicting….that this is the way it will go if the battle has to be waged in military terms, without regard to how palatable that is or whether it is unfortunate or undesirable.

    I don’t think that is so atrocious a prediction…..just because it goes against what we want to be true or whether we disagree with it.
    I happen to think , as well, – a military route leads to crappy ugly developments also. I don’t agree that it will necessarily be more ‘islamic’ but it would like have to rely on increased sectarianism…like ALL guerilla conflict do… precedents easily lend to this prediction.

    Landis is not an apologist…. that is not a fair assessment. He is in favor of negotiation instead of war and military conflict and intervention. Clearly he is not as repulsed by the idea of a negotiated transition as many are. And I am more repulsed by it than Landis, but less so than the average poster here. So this is all relative.
    I think it unfair for Rime Allaf to take a line from 2005 out of context again and use it as a spear.
    Nir Rosen is another example of someone who for years has been an un paralleled amazing war correspondent….and I don’t think somehow all the sudden this year only and in only the Syrian context….now we are supposed to believe that all his integrity went out the window in a flash….for what????
    what exactly would lead to that ??? he would want to destroy his own reputation and career??
    I don’t buy it. Even if the great Amal Hanano wants to skewer Rosen because she started down that road awhile ago….
    People have to judge for themselves. I think Rosen has more guts and realism than almost anybody out there…. He goes to lunch with the devil himself…if necessary… to get the interview…just like Fisk… and that doesn’t mean he likes or is working for the devil…
    People should know the difference.
    I applaud them. I think they are more on the side of reality than fifty CNN’s could ever be.

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  44. Zenobia,
    My attitude on Nir Rosen’s problem has been to refrain from judging his dealings with Assad’s spooks because I am cognizant that the priority for journalists is to get the story at all costs, and he has done that. He is no different form journalists who report on war, famine, or epidemics, and at the end of the day, get on their plane and head to the safety and abundance of hotel rooms to put their thoughts together and give us, the rest of the world and understanding of the misery and struggle of others. They are worse-off for what they do (some even pay heavy psychological price), but we are better-off because of their work, for which we have to be grateful. I don’t venerate him, nor would i consider him the best reporter or analyst on the region. He has been lucky to get access others have not, and part of it could be his history of supporting the Iran-Syria led “resistance” camp, which by now is standing on shaky legs morally. I am waiting for more clarification from him as recommended by the article I linked to previously. For now, I would leave him alone to take care of his own defense, apology, or whatever he decides to do to address some legitimate questions as well as unjustified accusations.

    As for Joshua Landis’s article, I think that you are being too kind and patient with Joshua. His emphasis on the Syrian issue as being sectarian does him disservice. After all these years I believe that he has developed a tunnel vision, very common among academics in all fields (me and mine included) who become fixated on one theory or on a narrow aspect of any issue they study.

    While i would respectfully decline to issue the same judgement as Rime Allaf, I still would love for any one to point me to a recent article or analysis by Joshua in which he delves deep into the socioeconomic aspects of the Syrian revolution, or try, through his contacts to better understand and help others understand the mechanism and working of local coordination committees, their differences, their evolution, or their contributions to /effect on/reliance on to existing political blocks and their view of critical issues pertaining to regional issues relevant to Syria and Syrians.

    Joshua’s focus on the sectarian facet may be helpful in providing a simplistic reductive view of Syria and of the Syrian revolution, but it overshadows many other variables that can can only be ignored at our peril. It provides an incomplete picture of the rich, multi-layered mosaic of Syria and forces a context that is neither correct nor sufficient to understand the ongoing revolution. It contributes to the creation of unreasonable fears and expectations and may inadvertently lead to decisions that can be detrimental to many Syrians. With all due respect, I find one single article by Yassin Haj Saleh to be far more illuminating of the constant changes befalling the country, its revolution, and the unraveling of the regime. That said, there are quite few good observations in his most recent article (e.g. overall 4 points characterization of the Phase II of the military insurgency, which IMHO is not the more significant part of the revolution) that while being noteworthy, are being debated in manners that will make his deterministic predictions less certain than they seem. It is his responsibility as an academic to construct a complete argument and providing the counter argument and addressing it is one of the basics of the constructing a good argument, even for an historian. We are no longer satisfied with single view of the multi-dimensional history of Syria nor should we accept that. We are not specialist, but we have enough common sense to recognize when a job is incomplete.

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  45. Antoine
    I would have to agree with Zenobia regarding your posting style. I would like ask you to kindly try to combine your successive thoughts in a fewer number of posts. Here on 7ee6an, we do write and read longer comments than other blogs.

    I have never viewed 7ee6an as a military strategy blog. I would like it to remain a place for free exchange of ideas, and I seek your help and the help of all members of our community in keeping it this way and not converting it into a single issue blog concerned with weapons, tactics, and strategies. It is very unlikely that Advises to FSA on operational matters will reach FSA through those who commonly read 7ee6an.

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  46. Joshua analysis is very simplistic its hard to imagine its coming from a professional. Its totally amateurish, and this from someone who has 30 yrs hands-on experience with Syria and marriage into a Syrian family….not….maybe his marriage is what colors his views, especially those on sect….and alas….this may indeed be how many ppl in the mountains of Tartous think.

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  47. OTW,

    You have mentioned that the regime has all but defeated the military aspect of the Uprising. Pls explain why you think so.

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  48. Antoine
    I don’t think it is fair to make the accusation that Joshua’s marriage colors his view. You know nothing of his wife’s political view, which makes your accusation unfair to two people not only to one.

    I don’t think the regime has defeated the military aspect of the uprising, but I do think it has defeated one type of military activities, and that is attempting to hold territories and conduct an urban warfare knowing that the regime has tanks, artillery, and rockets, not to mentioned helicopters.

    Zenobia
    Mucho thanks for the hint on the new virus. I have plastered it on quite few facebook groups, whose members may be susceptible to this virus.

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  49. Ok I deeply hope you’ll find all the logic needed from the five stars hotels SNC useless meetings and of course from the “never coming” American and Turkish support for our FSA. and don’t forget to enrich your logic while counting the causalities every Friday, that’s of course while you’re enjoying your coffee at the downtown

    What do you mean True ? If you had followed my comments carefully, I am totally against the tea-drinking “intellectuals” in the SNC and totally against Ghalioun, infact I am calling for the toppling of Ghalioun since the last month. I am totally for the FSA as a grassroots organization BUT and a big BUT you are wrong in saying that SNC is responsible for bringing people out on the streets on Fridays, hell when the people of Daraa decided to take matters into their own hands, 90 5 of people in Syria had not even heard of Ghalioun’s name. You were opposing mass rallies on Fridays on the premise that it gets people killed, sorry sir, its been happening long before there was any SNC or FSA around. I understand the emotional state you are in, but do read my comments carefully before replying.

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  50. Antoine
    I don’t think it is fair to make the accusation that Joshua’s marriage colors his view. You know nothing of his wife’s political view, which makes your accusation unfair to two people not only to one

    Three of the Professor’s brothers-in-law are officers in the Syrian Army, one of them supposedly got killed by “armed gangs” in Banyas back in April. His father-in-law is a retired Admiral in the Syrian Navy. I am sure you know every person’s opinion is colored by his environment.

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  51. OTW,
    agree very much.
    first on Rosen, to clarify yes, he is definitely not in the top of analysts. I don’t even see him as an analyst hardly at all actually – although he was writing more as such lately on AJ.
    Nor is he the best reporter in the quality of anthony shadid or others.. who are much better writers.
    but I feel he has his top spot for – his exceptional ability at trench reporting and getting his self into incredible locations. He did that in Iraq. He did that in Lebanon in a way nobody else could. That has to do ironically not with high up connections but rather with literally his personality, and physical being even – and clearly his ability to be like a good ethnographer would… blend right into his object of interest’s milieu and cultural environment and gain their trust. This is a great talent.
    Do I agree with every word of his ‘analysis’, certainly not. But we have to take what he has – that is direct quotes with some gratitude.
    Yes, i think he can defend himself, correct.

    as for Joshua, you are right – I am being kind, maybe too kind, but I am not interested to nail him to a wall – when the fat lady hasn’t even sung yet…in fact not even close to singing.
    plus, i still feel Joshua though careless at times- I just don’t believe he is in bad faith.
    What is bizarre about SC- and specifically this particular post in question..is that it doesn’t even sound like Joshua…
    the phase II phase III stuff was strange and not his area of expertise anyways… like to know if this was really his – idea…

    Secondly -you know the guy is on NPR every other day of the week now – or on NewsHour and the like…and… frankly, he sounds – at least in tone – completely different to me – than he does on SC. I felt this all year. I am not sure whether that is due to audience pull on SC or to American news outlets.
    but I give him the benefit of the doubt.
    You are correct- he could be doing so much more…..for analysis than he is right now. I could say the same for you – though…. but I forgive you because you have another job and life, whereas this is Joshua’s business.
    I agree with your critique….and the the comparison to someone like Saleh. No doubt.
    But again, I get somewhat defensive because ….like Rosen, I am not about to skewer the person as if every great work they did across the last seven years that we all appreciated previously is somehow now completely null and void and all suspect because right now they aren’t doing and saying what each one of us wants of them. I think it is unfair and hypocritical.
    Frankly I can’t find hardly one person I know now who is either saying or doing what I would like them to be doing or saying… regarding Syria. Not one. Granted my circle isn’t big enough…but still – I think it is pretty indicative of the travesty and tragedy of the situation.

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  52. Zenobia
    Well said. I am not for skewering either and I am delighted to find that you are of the same POV. Thanks

    There is a new post by Syrian Hamster. He does skewer a “class” of people repeatedly.

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  53. You know what ‘antoine’…. you have been voicing these same paranoid thoughts about all the ‘infiltrators’ and potential spies for months now – albeit formerly under your other blog tag names ….

    you are still an instigator yourself… and thankfully – most of the intelligent world doesn’t support your low opinions and pseudo analysis of who is trustworthy or not and who has the proper motivations based on their class backgrounds and who they married…. suppositions that should be stuffed back where they came from…

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  54. As for Joshua Landis’s article, I think that you are being too kind and patient with Joshua. His emphasis on the Syrian issue as being sectarian does him disservice. After all these years I believe that he has developed a tunnel vision, very common among academics in all fields (me and mine included) who become fixated on one theory or on a narrow aspect of any issue they study.

    OTW,

    Exactly.

    Nir Rosen, by the way, was caught lying barefaced in Iraq. The guy is a spy.

    Antoine,

    Which begs the question: “Who is he spying for?” 😉

    You can have him!

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  55. “His emphasis on the Syrian issue as being sectarian does him disservice.”Thank you, OTW.

    Zenobia, I do not think that Rime Allaf is claiming to be an arbiter, in her tweets she posted the link, I flipped when I read what JL said. He seems to be fixated, unjustifiably so, his fixation is…. Zenobia, please read this, how else can it be explained? As Rime said, “SC cannot be more sectarian”.

    What he said in 2005 has been a constant hymn on SC for the past year.

    “Mr. Assad’s regime is certainly no paragon of democracy, but even its most hard-bitten enemies here do not want to see it collapse. Why? Because authoritarian culture extends into the deepest corners of Syrian life, into families, classrooms and mosques. Damascus’s small liberal opposition groups readily confess that they are not prepared to govern. Though they welcome American pressure, like most Syrians, they fear the deep religious animosities and ethnic hatreds that could so easily tear the country apart if the government falls.”

    In fact, I thank Rime Allaf for highlighting professor Landis latest post in her tweets. It is nauseating. I could not even bring myself to cut, paste and comment on it.

    A year later, all the sectarian drumming did not materialize. Now we come to this!

    “The opposition will have to rebuild itself to be more Islamic, militant and sectarian in order to take on the Assad regime. Opposition leaders on the ground, those who are actually fighting the regime, have already become more militant and Islamized. If the SNC doesn’t scramble to catch up, it will become irrelevant.”

    “In keeping with the Islamization necessary to recruit financial and military assistance for the revolution, opposition organizers in the West are rallying support from the broader Islamic community by presenting the Syrian struggle in clear religious terms.”

    By the way, I was the one to say that Joshua is an “apologist”, who is he? Why is the “sect issue” a sticky in every single post of his? I have no explanation.

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  56. Dear Zenobia,

    It was not me writing on SC. When and if I write, I make sure to sign my name at the top of the article and say – By Ehsani. Please note that when such does not appear, it is all Joshua. While on topic, I am writing very infrequently nowadays anyway. Thankfully, the “bad writing” was not mine this time.
    Best,

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  57. LOL. Ehsani….thanks for clarifying!….glad the bad writing wasn’t yours; I should know better. : ) keep up the good work, though infrequent.

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  58. NZ,
    I will open by saying I don’t want to spend too much time on this subject both because we have a wonderful new post to grapple with – and move on to- and also because I find it annoying that I should spend more than a little time defending Joshua Landis or Nir Rosen for that matter. Especially Joshua- I don’t want to nail him to the wall – but nor do I want to have to pull him out of the back dumpster when he gets tossed their periodically by former fans of SC or those who always opposed his commentary. Either way – it is not my quest.

    Regarding Rime, I will just say – she can be really harsh when going after other ‘experts’ – very very harsh. I think she gets too haughty. But I also like Rime a lot and appreciate her – and will be happy to defend her as well if she gets slammed by others. She is a very intense committed and intelligent analyst, but I don’t agree with her critique of others a lot of the time…that’s fine I think.
    This is just one of those moments when I think the spear is unnecessary.

    this next part will sound lame but i will put it out there anyhow..:

    The sectarian emphasis that Joshua tends to expound on – in all his talks – yes it is his thing- but I really think this is more academic and philosophical than some personal bigotry or disloyalty to any group. Qifa Nabki has had several posts / debates re Joshua’s schtick verses other ways of characterizing the regional conflicts and transformation going on.

    now to be controversial…..
    I kind of agree that – if one imagines that the military component of the revolution has to expand itself to take on- the full military of the Assad armies- what is that likely to involve? – to my mind- it will likely involve a need to exploit the usual sectarian themes – religious, ethnic, etc… this is human nature- and forced by the methods and framework that the regime defined FIRST, of course. But also who will fund this escalation were it to occur? The most likely will be the gulf countries and principally KSA. And realistically, why would KSA do this? They do it for their own regionally sectarian conflict motivations re: struggle for power with Iran. So, there are bigger themes of sectarianism and islamization that do exist and are like fuel on the fire that can’t really be denied….and would only worsen if by someone like Landis’s view- an escalation occurs that be dictated by a plan to take on the Syrian regime’s military power on its own terms.
    I did look at the post again- and found that, granted, he did not specify that he is making such predictions based on particularly the military struggle scenario. I am being kind to assume that is what he meant – because in terms of this circumstance- I don’t think it is such an outrageous thing to say. If this is what he meant – he could have been more specific and more qualified.
    Because I do think it unfair as an overall characterization of all the options available to the revolutionary potential. Then again, not many on the opposition side outside the country talk about these alternatives either! All anybody talks about it the military scenario 90% of the time…. so…why would Joshua Landis either.

    My opinion is if other paths of challenge and revolt and resistance are given principle strategic roles, the dangers of sectarianism, increased Islamization, or militancy that become worthy of Human Rights Watch condemnation…. will be minimized.

    I would love Syria to prove the analyst like Joshua Landis wrong. But actually, I think Joshua Landis would love it if Joshua Landis was proved wrong…..

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  59. I don’t want to nail him to the wall – but nor do I want to have to pull him out of the back dumpster when he gets tossed their periodically by former fans of SC or those who always opposed his commentary.

    LOL Zenobia, the last thing I would to do is to throw Joshua in any dumpster. He is a fine man and I like him a lot. I hope that my critique was not the spear you are talking about.

    As for the controversial part of your comment, It isn’t..Had Joshua put it this way, It would have registered as a great insight….

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  60. Jarthouma, FSA is attacking points around Baba Amr ? Where did u get this from ?

    It would certainly be delightful if FSA could recapture Baba Amr and the citizens could move back in, sooner rather than later.

    Like

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