To the Honorable………

Our Silence Kills them

I hope that you receive this letter in good health. I also hope that you receive it while in a state of non-partisanship you promised during your election campaign and with the clarity of mind, determination to serve, and the zeal for the interest of our country and its values that we expect from you as a member of one of the two chambers of this August Body.

I am writing to you to concerning the upcoming vote on the authorization for President Obama to use military force in response to the abominable use of chemical weapons against women and children by the Assad regime of Syria. I will not tell you how to vote, because the moment you were elected by your constituents was a moment when a heavy historical burden was thrown on your shoulders. It is your job to weigh in the evidence, and it is your job to define what constitutes our national interests and to provide the executive branch with the means to assure that these interests are realized and not jeopardized by friends or foes. All I can do, Honorable, is to tell you a few things that I, as an American of Syrian roots what I believe and know.

Within hours of the Massacre, and before the regime's official denial. Facebook pages of the loyalists and members of the cyber-terrorist Assad Electronic Army were boasting that "finally the Syrian Chemical has been launched". Calls on regime to use chemical weapons were mounting including from some of the regime loyal singers and popular figures. Such is a standard operation procedure to emotionally charge loyalists and prepare them to go-with-the-flow.
A loyalist Facebook page boasts: “finally the Syrian chemical has been launched”. Calls on regime to use chemical weapons were mounting in weeks prior to the attack even from loyal singers and popular figures. Such is a standard operation procedure to emotionally charge loyalists and prepare them to go-with-the-flow.

I will not go at length on evidence concerning the regime’s unique capacity or its use of SARIN,  I am sure that what you have probably far exceeds what is available to me from non-classified releases or to an activist on the ground in Ghouta or elsewhere in Syria.  One piece of information, which disturbed me, was a report that came out yesterday concerning an intercepted radio communication between regional commanders of Assad’s army and an artillery captain who expressed initial reluctance to launch a chemical weapon attack, but yielded after having been threatened with execution. The outcome of that diabolical exchange was 27 chemical warheads launched within the span of 14 minutes leading to the death of more than 1400 civilians, with one third of those murdered being children. Syrians knew this was coming, so did the world months ago. But no one took action, and this is why we now face an emboldened habitual war-crime regime. The last two and a half years are full of stories in which Syrian soldiers and officers who tried to adhere to their oath to protect their nation and were executed on the spot by thugs loyal to Assad and willing to participate in his murderous plans to burn Syria for the survival of this thuggish and corrupt rule of the 23 million Syrians, of for that matter, those who may be left after he accomplishes his “Assad or we burn the country” genocidal plan against Syrians and their homeland.  This captain has failed the moral and human test, and he should, like his superiors be held liable for committing war crimes. But the main murderers remain Assad (in Arabic) and his inner circle of thugs and no one else.

The Debate

You will be debating war. A war in which our nation will be using missiles and bombs to punish the regime of a war criminal and to deter the war criminal from ever thinking of using chemical weapons again. I confess that the thought of one cruise or tomahawk missile missing its target and hitting a civilian area horrifies me. Likewise, I am also horrified by the thought of our soldiers placing themselves at grave risk, only to fire missiles at installations that were emptied of regime thugs and hardware and filled with innocent Syrians, moved from the numerous torture chambers in Assad’s dungeons of horror and murder, and placed in various chemical weapon production and storage facilities to become target of the free world’s strike. I am horrified by the word collateral damage, which I believe shouldn’t even exist in our dictionaries, other than as an archaic word. Like you, like any soldier, father, mother, sister, or child, war terrifies me.

I am also horrified and abhorred by all kinds of torture. My horror is real, for even though I have not been subjected to such torture, I have, however, met and talked to many wonderful Syrians who have been subjected to horrific torture at the hands of Assad thugs, and have barely avoided death by torture, unlike some of my other brilliant, wonderful, and civilized friends, who have lost their life at the hand of Assad torturers in one or another of the countless number of torture chambers perfected by the Assads over forty years of their murderous rule of my home of origin.

The Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo before and after regime's shelling.
The Minaret of the Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo before and after regime’s shelling.

Our nation is now finding an ever increased interest in our Natural Heritage as well as our historical heritage. Yet, part of our history and heritage as humanity, lies in Syria, where some of the oldest continuously inhabited cities like Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, and others are being demolished by the vicious and unending bombardment of missiles, barrels of death, and now mas murder internationally banned chemical weapons. The regime of Bashar Al-Assad is the culpable, we know it, and you too. These crimes against Syrians and their land resulted not only in murdering more than 100,000 Syrians, but also in the shameful destruction of Syria’s precious heritage of humanity with unparalleled levels of hate and vengeance. Thousands of years of history have been destroyed by Assad and his thugs in these cities. In most of these cities, more than 70% of the historical districts were destroyed by Assad bombs and rockets with the rest remaining under constant threat. Unfortunately UNESCO stands horrified and unable to stop such destruction despite of repeated calls to stop the carnage. This is a regime that stands against all what humanity holds dear, including our shared heritage. Its head and enforcers find it necessary to destroy the cultural and historical heritage of the place that gave birth to our alphabet and that shaped our earliest attempts to domesticate wild grains. It has bombed people standing in breadlines, one should not be surprised if it bombed and looted museums and cultural icons in its custody. There is no redeeming qualities in them, and especially in the head of the regime, his thuggish clan, and his henchmen in the web of “security-agencies” horrific organizations that form the core of this genocidal regime.

What Peace Movement?!!!

From your window you can probably see a group of people who just decided to get their “anti-war” attire out of dusty closets, and summoned the long dormant depths of their “anti-imperialist” hearts to decry the potential death Syrian children, presumably to be killed by a Free World’s punishment of Assad and his gang of thugs. They will try to convince and lobby you; “their eternal imperialist enemy”, and “lobbyists slave”; to vote as they tell you. If I may be informal with you, I am going to ask you to please look closely and to tell me whether you can see them marching next to those carrying the photos of thug Bashar Al-Assad with his smug smile and shouting his name as the “leader for eternity” and the hero of “anti imperialism”. These are no fools, useful idiots, may be, traitors; definitely not, but lying hypocrites would be applicable but insufficient adjective to describe them. I am of course proud of friends who stood with the Syrian People from the first day of their ordeal, but now do not agree that a military action is useful or helpful not out of fear for or attempts to protect Assad, his control over the army and security agencies and his lasting rule, but out of genuine fear for the Syrian People. As for the others, especially those beholden to fascist ideologies of the Baath and its like-minded atrophied but destructive parties,  I can only reiterate the question most free Syrians ask: Where were they when the barrels of death from Assad’s Russian made, Iranian supplied, and North Korean upgraded airplanes rained on the neighborhoods and villages of Syria? Where were they, when the best minds of Syria, and the hope of civil society emergence were tortured and murdered in Assad’s dungeons? And where were they when Assad thugs were forcing millions of Syrians into refuge, only to bombard them again in open air, or send thug-agents to poison the water supplies of their refugee camps erected like cities of misery in neighboring countries? I have not seen a single protest from these hypocrites for two and a half years of daily ongoing slaughter of Syrians and destruction of their country at the hand of Assad and his regime. As for Assad supporters, who are now protesting, i can only be disgusted at them because these pathetic characters continue to enjoy all the fruits of democracy and protection of law the free world offers. Yet, they continue to deny Syrians the least of these fruits, which is the right to say no to a thuggish, criminal and terrorist regime without being murdered, turned into refugees in their own country and beyond, and be traumatized by the continuous death, under most horrific torture of their best, most civilized, young men and women. Worst yet, these dictator’s loyalists have been constantly drumming the mantra of American conspiracy against the eternal leader and the dwindling list of like-minded tyrannical regimes. Whatever your decision is, their points of view is irrelevant, if not criminally culpable.

The killing of Syrians themselves as well as the vicious murder of their hopes of rejoining civilization after half a century of despotism is the punishment the Assad regime and its friends dealt and continue to deal to those who dared  to say yes to civility and no to perpetual murderous despotism. For the pretentious hypocrites marching and writing in defense of tyranny, the act of defying a tyranny causes them grave concern, for as tyrannies disappear and the world’s opportunity to become a safer and better place increases, they lose fame, exposure, and chances for self-righteous sophistry.

Me or my Chaos

Me or my chaos. The artist depicts what many Syrians know for a fact. The  Assad regime is the creator,  and nurturer of terrorist organizations he claims to fight against. The systematic targetting of non-violent protesters in the early days of the Syrian Revolution was intended to promote violent elements and to both depict the revolution as being dominated by terrorists as well as to exact revenge on those who dared to defy Assad.
Me or my chaos. The artist depicts what many Syrians know for a fact. The Assad regime is the creator, and nurturer of terrorist organizations he claims to fight against. The systematic targeting of non-violent protesters in the early days of the Syrian Revolution was intended to promote violent elements and to both depict the revolution as being dominated by terrorists as well as to exact revenge on those who dared to defy Assad.

Some, even if well-meaning analysts will warn of impending chaos upon the fall of this tyrant and his regime.  This, can also be disingenuous in the context of eliminating such a vicious hateful tyranny. Stability that comes at the expense of the human rights of citizenry was soundly rejected by our founding fathers who found it abhorring and unnatural.  I do understand your grave concerns about the spread of terrorism, and In fact I share much of these concerns.  I have a heightened sense of anxiety concerning terrorist gangs such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, Al-Nusra, and other Al-Qaida offshoots, which were brought in and nurtured by the Assad regime. I and most freedom yearning Syrians are very concerned should these terrorists be allowed to maintain a foothold in Syria, especially in economically viable areas in the north where they can continue to control both Syrian oil and the bread basket region of the country.  This would not be in the interest of Syrians nor in the interest of the United States or the free world.

I share with some analysts and bloggers, including some of those who were against the US intervention in Iraq, the belief that ridding the world of the Assad regime should be one of our priorities because such is in our national interest.  I will even go further to state that it was the Assad regime that funded and funneled terrorists, with their car bombs into Iraq killing our soldiers as well as innocent Iraqis. These terrorists are the same ones the regime has facilitated back in Syria to threaten the world with “me or chaos“. Let me assure you that even in their strongest of dens, these terrorists are facing daily challenges from normal Syrians in the liberated Areas. Syrians have rejected them, their weapons, their tactics as well as their ideological adventure into an era that never in reality existed in our history. The problem lies with the regime, which while claiming to fight terrorism, kept bombarding civilian areas with vengeance, but left its handmade terrorists unmolested. In many cases in the north of Syria, the regime even-handed the terrorists swaths of land to do the regime’s bidding. These regime-made terrorists are now focusing their terror campaigns of arrest, torture, murder, and intimidation against the same activists who were the primary targets of the regime. Members of these gangs are suspects of being regime informers and agents who simply grew a beard, changed to black attire, wore a mask, and imported terror-tourists from other countries for help. But they remain beholden to the regime as it is clear from their lack of interest in participating in real military activities against its forces that are shelling the cities and from their focus on replacing the regime hated security apparatus with their own draconian version of the “emirate of fears” serving by that the interests of the Assad regime and giving it, in the eyes of unknowing world an image of a regime fighting terrorism rather than the criminal terrorist regime it really is.

The Real War

Free Syrians, including both non-violent activists and members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are now fighting on two fronts. The first front is against the criminal Assad regime, and the other against the regime’s handmade branches of Al-Qaida. Both represent regressive societal and political traits. While it is nearly certain that the terrorists will be dealt a major blow with their benefactor regime gone, it is more than certain that things will not be easy when this regime collapses and its hand-made Al-Qaida branches are left without it. There will be car bombs (a trade mark of both the Assad regime and Al-Qaida terrorist operation), of assassination of their opponents, and plenty of counter-revolutionary anti-democratic violent groups. I believe that the Syrian people will find their way to kick these terrorists out and to reduce their threats to Syria, to the region and the World. They need help now, and they will need it in the future.  But that help will not come from the liar regime, or its defenders who created these terrorist groups in the first place.

A terrorist regime can not be trusted with combating terrorism or with establishing stability. Thinking otherwise will be unwise, suicidal, and detrimental to our national interests. The battle in Syria is not between the regime and Islamist terrorists, it is between freedom seeking Syrians on the one hand, and the regime and its hand-made, customized Jihadi terrorist groups, on the other hand. Any other depiction, such as the one being perpetuated by some academics is misleading at best, and purposely so, at worst. These academics would go at great length in describing the origin of these terrorist groups, but they would not venture into exploring the similarities between the regime and these terrorists, the intersection of their tactics, and their mutual avoidance of confronting one another. All of these issues, ignored by such academics, are now rather obvious to all freedom seeking Syrians, who speak loudly and clearly about the obvious connection between these terrorists and the criminal regime. Today, I read the story of a Kurdish father whose defecting son was murdered by the masked thugs of the Islamic State or Iraq and the Levant on his way to safety.  Syrian rebels, affiliated with any of the FSA multitude of groups would have welcomed the young man’s bravery and ensured that he reached safety. Likewise, only regime agents have an interest in the disappearance of the much revered and iconic figure of the revolution father Paolo dall’oglio.

The threat of these regime-made and/or facilitated terrorist organizations should not be considered independently of their founder. Its demise is the beginning of theirs. Fear from their actions should not inhibit our actions. If it does, Bashar Al-Asad, who expressed, in no uncertain terms in his interview in with the French LeFigaro magazine yesterday that the only way to deal with the opposition to his rule is to annihilate them, would have accomplished his goals. The fact that liar Assad claims that 80% to 90% of his enemies are Al-Qaida is sufficient for many Syrians to believe the opposite. Realities on the ground support the assertion that the terrorists are not his enemies, they are his agents, and their job is not merely to provide propaganda fodder and to tarnish the revolution, but to also exact his vengeful horrors on those who dared defy his sick rule.

Throughout its history of oppression, the Assad regime tried to appear as the mediator holding magic keys to many problems in the region. Whenever an American was kidnapped, the chief thugs of the regime tried to present themselves as “diplomats” resolving the issue. The reality has always been that they were behind these terrorist crimes. Many at time, our country had to pay dearly in precious blood and treasure to “cope” with the cheaply orchestrated terrorist acts of this regime and its appendages. It is a benefactor of terrorism, one of its principle planners and trainers. This regime is a threat to peace and stability and it will not reform, whether the next heir spends a year or a decade in the west. Annihilating all who protest their despotic rule is a family business as we have all witnessed in Hama, in 1982, in Lebanon, through 30 years of occupation, and over two and a half years of increasingly brutal crimes against humanity in Syria.

Needless to say, over decades of obstructionism, this regime has played its cards well. Hiding behind sovereignty that itself violated countless time, not the least of which during the theater of the absurd that led to the coronation of a spoiled, unethical child of privilege. That child of privilege is now known as Syria’s mass murderer and the head of the corrupt despotic clan. Attempts by the free world to “contain’ the “western educated doctor” failed miserably. The experience of the thirteen years of his reign shows that criminal thugs like Bashar Al-Assad can’t be rehabilitated and that they will turn out to be worse than their fathers.

Before I conclude this long letter, I must highlight that the Free Syrian Army is not a terrorist group and it does not belong to the same category of regime-made branches of Al-Qaida. Rather it has fought against those on many occasions. FSA is composed of Syrians from every walk of life. Some of whom believe in a plural democratic Syria, others hope to see a Syria with an emphasized Islamic identity that has nothing to do with the brutal image of an Islamic state nurtured by Al-Qaida and its affiliates. Syrians, much like most Americans do have faith. As Senator McCain stated earlier, like an American soldier does, an FSA fighter is likely to thank god, to pray, and to say “Allahu Akbar”, which means God is Great. Watch some of the You-Tube clips of real FSA fighters and you will find them doing that when they shoot, or when they succeed in capturing a regime point. In this case It is a sign of gratitude  as well as an affirmation of the righteousness of their cause (which should be true in the case of those fighting tyranny) . Watch another clip of people gathering around the wreckage of a building just demolished by one of Assad’s scuds or barrels of death, and you will hear the same phrase, it is in this case an appeal to God to exact punishment on those who intentionally ordered and executed such a cowardly act against civilians.

Leaderless, and in much need of honest and appropriate representation, the grass-root Syrian revolution is nonetheless alive and well and is creating its own leaders at local levels. It is not led nor dominated by terrorists as some academics and “regime-made” opposition have been trying desperately to hype it. Nor it is all armed. Non-violent and civil groups continue to emerge despite of the constant threats, assassination, kidnapping, and murder by the Assad regime and by its clients in the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and their offshoots. A much longed for cadre of honest and effective civil servants is emerging in some liberated areas despite of the bullies. The Free Syrian Army is making progress, despite of the regime’s use of chemical weapons, and the regime is losing ground every day, again despite of the continuous supplies of weapons from Russia and the non-stoppable supplies of men and arms from Iran, Hezbollah and Iran’s agents in Iraq. I don’t want to paint a rosy picture, but the regime and its chaos can and should go to hell for Syria to have any chance of reconciliation and for the blood-letting to end. The administration of president Obama is right in stating that there should be no place for the Assads in future Syria. The longer they last in its present, the darker Syria’s future will be.

Vote your conscious, not mine. I trust that you will try your best to do the right thing.

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87 Comments

  1. Great letter; would love to send it to my rep and senator were I an American citizen. But I have a feeling that if a real congressman or senator got such a letter, they may not read beyond the first paragraph 😉 which also reminds me of Dima al-Khatib’s tweet wondering how many congressmen were rushing to a world map to see where Syria was!

    While listening to a BBC Arabic program discussing the Arab League’s decision on intervention in Syria I was amused then distressed to see the stark difference between the Saudi position and the Egyptian one. The Saudis paid billions and gave public support of al-Sisi’s coup, yet they could not get them to formulate a position closer to their own on Syria!

    And here i am now listening to al-Maliki speaking, with a forked tongue, announcing his opposition to any action against Syria, the same bastard that became Iraq’s PM on the back of America’s invasion of his country.

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  2. So thoughtfully written OTW.

    Cannot agree more on your analysis regarding the so called ‘jabhat al nusra’ “islamists” or whatever name their ‘Operators’ choose to call them.

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  3. something good to sahre..

    Ali Habib, heard very good things about him. He refused to act against the Revolutionists in Hama, this is from close sources, he was against both Asses. Patriotic, serious..

    Not sure about all the rumours, whether he defected or not. But giving him a role in the transitional government will assure the Syrian Alawites that they are – as always have been- Syrians, and they have nothing to fear after the Infamous and his henchmen disappear one way or the other to hell.

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  4. Thanks to both N.Z and mgb.
    Fully agree on the length. May be I should re-title the letter to:

    Dear Congressional Aid/Intern of the Honorable ….

    and then replace every “you” with “your boss” … 🙂

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  5. Gideon Levy interview with ‘sister’ Agnes! Hallelujah! God Is Great..

    I met Sister Agnes-Mariam this week in a convent in Jerusalem’s hills, not far from Abu Ghosh. She is visiting Israel for a few days and next week will return to Syria, where she has been living for the past 19 years. Her life story is as surprising as her statements about the situation there.

    “If this regime is toppled,” she says, “it will be worse than Iraq. It will have consequences for Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, and it’s not a situation that will promote security.”

    Lover of Israel
    I first met her at an international peace conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she delivered a stunning speech and presented shocking video clips on what, in her view, is being committed by the jihadists. When I was introduced to her, she told me she loved Israel and that the Jews should serve as a light unto the nations. I was surprised to learn that she had come to Israel for a brief visit.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.544616

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  6. The slinging nun || On visit to Israel, Syrian-based nun backs beleaguered President Assad
    Why a Carmelite nun believes the chemical attack in Damascus was faked.
    By Gideon Levy | Sep. 1, 2013 | 8:25 AM

    Sister Agnes-Mariam de la Croix feared that the United States would attack Syria on Saturday night. She expected the attack to be massive and would bring disaster to Syria and the entire region. According to Sister Agnes-Mariam, there are today 150,000 well-trained jihadist fighters from 80 countries in Syria, with arms they have received from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and even from the United States. She says some of them are in a drugged state, induced by Captagon pills.

    Tzipi Livni or Waze Founders? Who will be Haaretz Person of the Year?

    The nun lives in Syria and is the abbess, or mother superior, of the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated. She argues that these jihadi fighters control 60 percent of the populated areas of Syria. She claims that Islamic-Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra, which the United States has designated a terrorist group, is responsible for the acts of mass murder, rape and looting that have been committed in Syria. She also claims the Chechen fighters are exceptionally cruel and that, among the foreign fighters, there are a fairly large number of released prisoners and citizens of western countries. In her opinion, most of Syria’s citizens support the regime of President Bashar Assad because they fear a takeover of the country by Islamic extremists.

    She calls on the world not to attack Syria, and to stop the flow of foreign fighters into its territory and the supply of arms they are receiving. When she journeys through Syria today, she feels as if she is in Afghanistan or Somalia. An American attack on Syria will hurt its army and open the door to a complete seizure of the country by the global jihad movement, she firmly believes. “If this regime is toppled,” she says, “it will be worse than Iraq. It will have consequences for Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, and it’s not a situation that will promote security.”

    She also believes the pictures of the victims of last month’s alleged chemical attack in east Damascus are fabrications.

    I met Sister Agnes-Mariam this week in a convent in Jerusalem’s hills, not far from Abu Ghosh. She is visiting Israel for a few days and next week will return to Syria, where she has been living for the past 19 years. Her life story is as surprising as her statements about the situation there.

    She was born Fadia al-Laham, 61 years ago in Jounieh, Lebanon (her parents had fled Nazareth in 1948). When she was 15 her father died, and, as she herself admits, over the next few years she became a hippy and flower child who used drugs and drifted between Nepal and India. On her palm, concealed by her nun’s habit, she still has a few tattoos from India – a memento of that time in her life. She says she loves to listen to The Doors, The Rolling Stones and Santana. Her Indian experiences led her to embrace a cloistered life and, for 22 years, she lived in utter solitude in a Carmelite monastery in Lebanon’s highland region.

    Sister Agnes-Mariam moved to Syria 19 years ago and, together with two other nuns, rebuilt the ruins of a monastery on the main road between Damascus and Homs, not far from the village of Qara. She became mother superior of the Monastery of St. James the Mutilated. In addition to the nuns of the convent, there are 20 Sunni refuges who have sought asylum from the horrors of the war.

    She was forced to leave the monastery in June 2012, after the threats on her life increased because she was suspected of being an agent of the Assad regime. Her monastery is situated between the area controlled by the Free Syrian Army and the area controlled by the “foreign legions.”

    Currently she lives in Damascus and is an international peace activist trying to warn the world of the dangers of a jihadist takeover of her adopted country. She is fighting what she considers a pack of lies, trying to counter the propaganda and disinformation in the Arab and international media, and documenting the atrocities of the war for the organization she has established. She arrived this week to visit relatives in Nazareth and to participate in an interfaith conference in Israel.

    Lover of Israel

    I first met her at an international peace conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she delivered a stunning speech and presented shocking video clips on what, in her view, is being committed by the jihadists. When I was introduced to her, she told me she loved Israel and that the Jews should serve as a light unto the nations. I was surprised to learn that she had come to Israel for a brief visit.

    As a Lebanese, she argues, she cannot be suspected of being an agent of the Assad regime because Lebanon is, as she sees it, actually under Syrian occupation. She presents these arguments to deny the allegations that have been made against her, including the accusation that she is personally responsible – in January 2012 – for the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier, 43, a TV reporter who was on assignment for the French channel France 2. She completely denies any responsibility for his death, arguing that she only helped him enter Syria.

    She believes the Assad regime is the only thing that can save Syria from a takeover by Al-Qaida, and that most Syrians support the present regime. This, she explains, is why Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled so quickly and why Assad is still holding his own.

    In late 2011, she says, she began to understand two things: First, that there was no truth in the reports about a Syrian opposition that was committed to democratic principles; and, second, that the rebellion was being launched primarily by foreigners. At first, she recalls, they were referred to as unidentified forces; however, she points out, their real identity emerged a few months later.

    When the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television channel reported in the early stages of the fighting that a massacre had taken place in one of Damascus’ neighborhoods encircled by the Syrian army, she set out to see for herself what had happened, and was amazed to discover that the report was completely false. According to Sister Agnes-Mariam, when she expressed her condolences to the local priest of the neighborhood, he could not understand what she was talking about.

    In December 2011 she traveled to Qusayr, after it was reported that civilians there had been massacred by the Syrian army. In the local hospital she was shown 100 bodies of civilians who had been murdered the night before; however, according to the testimony she gathered, she claims, the massacre was really carried out by gangs of foreigners.

    Sister Agnes-Mariam believes the casualties are primarily caused by the fighting between the rebel forces themselves. And, in some cases, the Syrian army collaborates with the Free Syrian Army against the foreigners. In her opinion, the foreigners want the Islamic Sharia law to apply to all spheres of life in Syria, are establishing popular courts, and are executing people. For instance, she claims, the judge who was appointed in the northern town of Saraqib is actually someone who repairs tires.

    In the past few months she has visited Homs, Aleppo, Qusayr, and other places where fighting has taken place. In addition, she has visited hospitals and private homes in her efforts to collect evidence for the Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria organization; she is the founder of the organization’s international branch.

    During the alleged chemical attack on August 21, she was in Damascus. The week before the attack, she relates, a shocking massacre was carried out in Latakia, where at least 500 civilians were killed by organizations belonging to Al-Qaida, yet the world media barely reported this event.

    As she sees it, Syria has returned to the most barbaric era in its history, and the media is staying silent. She believes Jabhat al-Nusra is committing massacres of both military personnel and civilians and is a threat to the entire civilized world, especially Lebanon and Israel – if Assad’s regime is toppled, a jihadist dictatorship will emerge in Syria. Thus, she claims, the United States is actually helping to strengthen Al-Qaida.

    Sister Agnes-Mariam believes the pictures of last month’s alleged chemical attack were fabricated. Most of the civilians in that area had already fled, she claims, so how could there suddenly be dozens of children there? This part of Damascus now has 20,000 fighters from Jordan, she argues. If chemical weapons were used, she wonders, why do the photos show physicians and dozens of people standing in the immediate vicinity of the scene of the attack without gas masks or any other form of protection? After all, she says, the chemical weapons would be dangerous for them as well.

    In the first alleged chemical attack, in Aleppo – where chemical weapons brought in from Turkey were employed – the physicians did not even dare to get close to the bodies of the victims. In the video clips that have been disseminated around the world and which allegedly document the most recent chemical attack, one can see dozens of people standing around the bodies. She points out that she was in Damascus that night, and that 50 bodies of soldiers who had suffocated, having been killed by gas in the army’s tunnels, were evacuated to a hospital. She claims an Islamic battalion was responsible for that attack, and that this was the only chemical attack to have taken place so far in the Syrian civil war.

    The only thing that can stop the jihadists, she argues, is the Syrian army. In her opinion, if the present regime falls the situation in Syria will be worse than what it is today in Iraq. She implores U.S. President Barack Obama not to participate in what she sees as another war crime, as another atrocity committed against the civilian population. She cannot understand why the world is determined to go to war now because, she believes, the result will be that Syria will be controlled by chaotic, extremist groups.

    The United States is not concerned with what is best for the Syrian people, she argues, but is operating in accordance with its own interests. Furthermore, she cannot understand why America wants to ignite yet another regional war, which will only lead to the emergence of one more cruel Islamic regime. “Why do you [the West] fuel a regional war to support radical Islam?” she asks. “Why?

    “The United States says it has proof, but that’s not enough. They are a part of the conflict, so they can’t be a judge. It’s very dangerous when one nation tries to be the judge and the police of the world. This is not the first time they made a mistake.” She adds, “We don’t need another false war.”

    “What can the West do?” she was asked. She replied that it should stop fueling the rebels with arms. “It’s a scandal what the West is doing.”

    The original headline for this story was mistranslated from Hebrew

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  7. A Syrian soldier who was ordered to shoot civilian protesters and imprisoned for refusing to do so speaks with Andrew Slater about life in the Army and the crimes of the Assad regime.

    In the coming days the United States and other countries will make a decision on the use of military force against Syria. The consequences of this decision will affect not only the Assad regime loyalists but also the foot soldiers manning bunkers, barracks, and installations across the country. For the vast majority of Syria’s conscripted soldiers, military service amounts to a brutal prison sentence of unknown length now that the war has extended service periods indefinitely. Though the Syrian army does contain true believers who believe that it’s their duty to defeat the rebels and any means justifies this end, many are draftees with no ideological sympathy for the regime and are merely following orders to survive.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/04/former-syrian-soldier-describes-life-in-the-army-at-the-start-of-war.html

    Like

  8. One of my favourite Syrian bloggers posted a divisive piece, pitting one group against the other..is that what we need the day after? Absolutely NOT!!

    For the sake of all those who gave their lives for a Syria free of tyranny, Syria’s martyrs, for those who defined bravery..empathize before judging. We do not want to become rivals against each other. We want to rebuild in unity..

    واعتصموا بحبل الله جميعا ولاتفرقوا

    Like

  9. Did anyone heard anything about Father Paolo Dall’Oglio?
    Did the Vatican voiced any concern?
    Is no news good news? I hope saw.

    Like

  10. https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Where_is_Father_Paolo/?aXewsbb
    Why this is important
    Where is Father Paolo? Why is there not enough media attention? Why are the Syrian Opposition not taking this seriously? There has not been enough media attention on the whereabouts of Father Paolo, a priest who served in Syria for many years and in 2011 chose to join in solidarity with the Syrian people’s call for freedom. It is important that more light is shed on this case as to apply pressure on those who have him captive and open way for negotiations over his release.

    Father Paolo Freedom Center (FPFC) call on all intellectuals, politicians and those genuinely concerned around the globe to sign and share this petition to push for investigation and immediate action in finding out the whereabouts of Father Paolo dall’oglio. FPFC and those who sign this petition see importance that all the parties involved in the disappearance of Father Paolo to help reveal his whereabouts in the soonest time possible. FPFC also calls on all individuals, groups or organizations that have any evidence or information regarding Father Paolo’s disappearance to be forwarded to FPFC or the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to contribute to finding out the truth.

    Father Paolo took a sudden trip to the province of Raqqah on the 28th of July 2013 with intention of meeting with the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who goes under the name: Abu Maria al Qahtany. He wished to also meet with other influential individuals in ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra. The goal of the meeting was to encourage the groups to take another look into considering the release of an Italian Journalist and a group of other journalists who had been taken captive by the groups. It’s worth noting that that Father Paolo’s disappearance took place on the same day he participated in an evening demonstration held by civil society activists in the province in which he gave a speech hailing the liberated city and encouraging civil society expansion.

    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Where_is_Father_Paolo/?aXewsbb

    Like

  11. The residents of Tal-Abyadh woke up to be greeted yet by another ISIL crime, three civilians were executed in cold-blood in one of the city’s square. Ridding Syria of Assad will allow the energy of the FSA and others to focus on kicking these bastards out and on killing them.

    Recent revelation on Aleppo’s “Air-force Security” branch highlight the relationship between ISIL and the branch. ISIL is only a servant of the regime and it is too bad that Kerry committed not to attack non-state actors. hold the thought…. they call themselves a state… so they could be and should be attacked.

    Like

  12. Dear OTW
    Can you tell us more about those recent revelations and where we can read more about the subject of ISIS – Da3sh and their links to Assad’s stasi. Would be appreciated.

    Like

  13. Oh, this reminds me of what somebody wrote on fb in answer to another’s question as to what DA3SH stood for: Dawlet Assad fil 3raq wa Shaam 🙂 so I think the Arabic acronym is a much better representation of those criminals than ISIS !

    Like

  14. Dear OTW
    This is excellent letter, but you sent it to the congress,congress is not concerned by humanitarian issues,they are concerned about US Security
    I sent my letter
    Not to go on with the strike is a serious matter, which have serious consequences against US security
    1- Persia will dare to test the US resolve, and will be encouraged to make nuclear bomb.
    2- the rebels in Syria,when they see no response to CW use, they will seek to acquire CW, probably Jabhat Al Nusra can acquire these weapons and will use them.
    3- Other countries will rush to manufacture CW, making it easy for AlQaida to acquire them,this means future terrorism will depend on the use of CW,this represent major threat to US security.
    It is too late to stop

    Like

  15. Please spread this film around , people will happily watch a video before reading a one-page article. This is a vvery powerful film.

    Like

  16. Forgot to mention that the above film was made in 2012..it probably would be great if the producer could add the nearly one extra year’s worth of the Assadist regime’s crimes, including the latest chemical horrors.

    Like

  17. Dear mgb:
    The Veto film is now on the right-side banner of the blog. Thanks for pointing it out.
    Regarding your question,. The source has been several conversation, along with some facebook posts concerning the relationship between ISIL and the regime intelligence agencies. ISIL’s actions in the past few days have even confirmed that it is merely an agent of the regime aiming to simply replace it with its own opressive criminal gangs when the regime leaves.

    The assads’ hate for Syria and . Syrians is unparalleled in the history of humanity. The slogan “Assad or we burn the country” is being applied with intent not only to destroy Syria, but its future and existence. If there is no assad, there will be no Syria or Syrians. This is what these bastards have been doing all along.

    Have you heard about the recent attacks on the Tabqa Dam?

    Like

  18. From Facebook

    بدأ التشويل ما بين جبهة النصرة و الدولة الاسلامية ..
    دخل قسم من جبهة النصرة إلى مقر الامن السياسي سابقاً و أتخذوه مقراً بشكل سلمي فقام عناصر من الدولة الاسلامية بتشويل عنصرين من عناصر الجبهة فقام أبو سعد الحضرمي بتشويل عناصر بعض الحواجز على طريق حلب الرقة إنطلاقاً من مركزهم في الطبقة باتجاه الرقة

    (تشويل : خطف لأن الخاطفين يدعون شوال على رأس المخطوف )

    Like

  19. I assume this is the video OTW was referring to, Tabqa Dam!

    The video shows how Assad planes bombed Euphrates Dam. No real damage, but a clear warning. Evilness without boundaries..

    Like

  20. I don’t think Obama is going to do it. In fact, partly I would not be surprised if the reason he decided to go to congress was not a matter of principle, but rather purely looking for a way out… an excuse not to do it- if he can evade blame. He never really does evade blame- as it comes from all sides. But I don’t think he cares as much about the condemnations from those who will say he is weak or lost his nerve, as much as he fears ending up being responsible for entering the US in to another quagmire or being responsible for a lot of destruction.
    Destruction is what we are going to get, in all likelihood with a unilateral military intervention. Personally, I have come a lot way over this year from having a very anti-military attitude, so one where is someone could guarantee me a scenario of success and precision- I would not be against bombing the shit out of the Syrian airfields, or the presidential palace, or assassination of that fucker. Seriously. It is not on principle that I think I am against intervention at even this point.
    It is my complete lack of faith in the abilities/motives of the Pentagon and the US military to do anything correctly or with a real adherence to a supposedly “limited” consequences. The power of the military and the blunt tools they use- are never “limited” nor precise, nor have they even made anything known about how to achieve that. (partly understandably not wanting to publicly notify the Syrian regime of exact plans…but still….we need to know)

    So, it is with dismay that I oppose this kind of action. Frustration. Despair.

    I have never been so unable to have a strong opinion and conviction about things as now. Never. But this dreadful situation leaves one helpless.

    Yesterday my cousin sitting in Damascus… and I know – literally up over the mountains that house so many military installations above the city… a hop skip and a jump past that ‘palace’ I wish were blown up…… viber texts me….. asking me what I think will happen.

    ASKING ME…..what am I supposed to tell her??? I feel terrible. I tell her my reasons for thinking maybe it won’t happen. ( in her world – a president would never suggest he was going to do something he wasn’t going to follow through with…. but I tell her it is possible he could back out if the congress won’t support it, pride be damned)
    I tell her… maybe…. there is a chance. But I cannot not speak the the truth of the other possibility – my fear- that all hell is going to break loose with Iran and Israel if this goes through. Syria will ‘just’ be collateral damage.

    “We don’t know what to do” she says, “we are very scared”….

    what can I say to her? I sympathize…. but I am not sitting up over the other side of mount Qassioun. I am not sitting in the direct path of all those roads to 4th division bases, and I am not one of those poor prisoners who might be deliberately moved to be shackled to those very targets of the possible “precision”missile bombs.
    The sadists are not above this kind of vicious action- they will hope to maximize Obama’s responsibility.
    And I know this….
    Sadists can ‘win’ against the most blunt and powerful military in the world- because they know how to deliberately inflict the most pain against the weak and powerless in retaliation.
    Someone is going to pay if they don’t kill him and those around him …. and it is not going to be us sitting outside…

    Like

  21. Well, well, well…here is Obama’s chance to say… “phew, that was close”, and give a sigh of relief. In typical Assadist regime devious cunning fashion they ‘accept’ the Russian suggestion..(ya, right) in a flash, and are falling over themselves to seem reasonable and caring about the ‘safety of our citizens’ obviously the safety of the citizens of BabaAmr mattered not! And as if the world knows exactly the extent of Syria’s cw stockpiles so they can collect all of them and destroy them. Just a ploy to stall for time, if you ask me.

    Like

  22. Assad, you bad boy, BAD BOY! You dred to killed all those people with chemical weapons?! You deserve what’s coming now: we’re going to punish you by locking up all those chemical weapons in your cupboard and install a live webcam over it. Go play with your guns and barrel bombs and scuds. Naughty boy!

    Like

  23. Just want to summarize:
    This noble popular Syrian Uprising did expose liars and traitors, Blood Suckers, from individuals to nations and in between.
    Syria’s Slaughterer is their pampered blue eyed dictator , an indispensable entity whose role in destroying everything Syrian is not yet finished.
    The 5 Pimps- US, Russia, France, UK and China are bargaining who gets what, of course with the help of our traitors. Al Saud and all their likes in the region who are instrumental gigolos.
    We are witnessing the final blow, the most painful, the destruction of our social fabric that coexisted for over 1400 hundred years. The very rich, most harmonious society in the world is being destroyed by Assad, in the name of al-Qaida. These JN and ISIL are no different than Assad the Gigolo. His thugs.
    After the Gassing of innocent civilians, watching their painful death, may they all rest in peace, I thought the Jewish community around the world will go up in flame. They remained bashful and sheepishly silent.

    Like

  24. Somehow I believe Putin is making fun of Obama

    Majedkhaldoun,

    No question about it.

    Personally, I have come a lot way over this year from having a very anti-military attitude, so one where is someone could guarantee me a scenario of success and precision- I would not be against bombing the shit out of the Syrian airfields, or the presidential palace, or assassination of that fucker.

    Zenobia,

    The US could have doing “target practice” with the very accurate missiles at our disposal. I think Russia and Iran are bluffing. The Israelis have been bombing Syria this past year with no consequences.

    Obama is a weakling and a fool.

    The issue is, what happens after the rebel gain control of the country.

    How does the US arm the good guys and combat militant jihadis who will be roaming the country to make Syria a Sunni or Shia state?

    Like

  25. The hyena is known for its aggression, its determination to attack and kill human beings as well as animals, its reputation as a grave robber, and above all its hysterical laughs!

    Like

  26. ” أجزم أننا في المعارضة نخدم المجرم بشارأكثرمن إعلامه بالحديث على السلاح الكيماوي بصيغ مرعبة:نقل السلاح هرّب السلاح فيصدق الأثول أوباما”

    Like

  27. @AmbassadorRice:

    On Syria, need to move forward on substantive, serious negotiations that put Assad’s #CW under international control.

    And what if Syria has no CW, like Saddam after Halabja? Will the WHITE HOUSE start rolling out the red carpet?

    We need all to move forward on substantive! 200,000 souls were murdered, 4.5 million displaced refugees inside Syria, 2 million refugees in neighboring countries, and thousands of detainees are being tortured in his dungeons! Noticeably: THE RED LINE WAS CROSSED -not with anger- BY SYRIA’S ASS** DEFYING THE MOST POWERFUL MAN ON OUR PLANET, THE PRESIDENT of U.S.A!

    Like

  28. “How many more times do we have to say that weapons of mass destruction were used, and as bad as it is to decapitate somebody, it is by no means equal. We can’t use this false moral equivalence about what’s going on right now. They tried to do it in the second World War, they tried to do it in Bosnia, they tried to do it in Rwanda, and they’re trying to do it now. There is no moral equivalence.” Christiane Amanpour

    When the others tried to jump in, Amanpour shouted, “Wait just a second!” She firmly argued that Obama simply cannot allow Assad to get away with using chemical weapons, noting how Bill Clinton is still apologizing for Rwanda. Sullivan jumped in to say, “This is not reason, this is emotion.” Amanpour fired back, “It’s not emotion. This is history coming out.”

    Listen to Christiane Amanpour, phew!

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/amanpour-explodes-at-cnn-syria-panel-stop-spewing-false-moral-equivalence/

    Like

  29. She firmly argued that Obama simply cannot allow Assad to get away with using chemical weapons…

    NZ,

    Can you explain to me why arab countries that are armed to the teeth, Eygpt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc can’t do anything to help their Syrian brethren? Please tell me why Assad is Obama’s responsibility, especially after all the “love” the US got for conducting regime change next door in Iraq?

    I would love to see Obama get more aggressive with Assad, but on the other hand…

    Like

  30. I was anticipating a different reaction from you and your ‘brethren’, the Jewish community,
    not now, not yesterday and not after Obama spoke, On August 21st 2013, when SYRIANS were GASSED TO DEATH.

    AP,

    Why do we have to be constantly reminded of Hitler’s monstrous crimes of the past century if the same crimes WHEN reenacted by another Hitler on another group of people must go unchecked?!!

    Like

  31. لعنة الله عليكم يا حكام العرب, من أي أبواب التاريخ تدخلون والله أنه أسوء الأبواب… باب خيانة دماء المسلمين.

    Like

  32. This post is related to The Arab Awakening. I find it very interesting in light of what is happening in and around the world!

    Dany Assaf

    I’m Albertan and a Muslim, not an ‘other’ Canadian

    Published Thursday, Sep. 12 2013, 1:01 PM EDT

    Can a timeline tell a story? As a born and bred Albertan, who happens to be Muslim, it seems surreal to be watching a part of my identity being portrayed as the “other” in recent debates in Quebec and elsewhere about values and the place of Muslims (and others) in Canada. In that light, the years 1867, 1938, 2012 speak to me.

    1867: We live in the greatest country on earth and you just have to pick-up this newspaper or any other on any given day and read what’s happening in other parts of the world to remind us. But this didn’t happen by accident. While nowhere near perfect, especially with regards to the treatment of first nations, the founding of the country in 1867 that carved out a place and space for both the English and French cultures and their predominant religions is unique. In modern history, it’s hard to find countries where past conflicts were not allowed to fully define the future character of a nation; and where minority rights were both protected and promoted.

    1938: My great-grandfather and the early Canadian Muslim community he belonged to built the first mosque in Canada (and likely North America) in 1938 in Edmonton. It was not built in isolation by an insular community, but with the support and generosity of non-Muslim Albertans. It really was the first little mosque on the prairie. Growing up in Alberta with such deep roots, with this great Canadian heritage, it never was in reality – nor ever in imagination – a question of whether we were fully integrated. That mosque is now literally a part of history, as it was preserved and relocated to Fort Edmonton Park as a testament to its historical significance. Of course, the Canadian Muslim community is not the only one to benefit from the generosity and inclusiveness of Canada, as successive pools of immigrants were welcomed; this is but one powerful example.

    This year happens to be the 75th anniversary of that mosque, which is why it was particularly hurtful to see, in the wake of the debate in Quebec about a charter of values, that a Quebec mosque was sprayed with pig’s blood and the message “integrate or go home”. But what if you’re already home? In my mind, the vandal is the one who needs to integrate. That person is compromising the Canadian values that originally preserved the ability for all of us to practice our faiths and cultures in the past and today make this such an extraordinary place. This person may think they are not acting out of hate because they are “protecting” their idea of Quebec culture (which in my experience is one of warmth and life). However, from what I’ve observed elsewhere, sectarianism is often not born out of the heat of hate but the passions of cultural pride that can seduce one to exclude and marginalize. Canada was and will hopefully never be a place where who you are determines what you can really be. If so, Canada, including both my home province of Alberta as well as Quebec, would be a very different place.

    2012: About 85 years after my great-grandfather came to Canada to make a life for himself and future generations, I got to watch my son – his great-great grandson – have the honour of carrying the Canadian flag in the opening ceremonies of the 100th Anniversary of the Grey Cup on behalf of ALL Canadian youth. As a dad from Edmonton, who grew up loving the CFL and this great country, I thought of my great-grandfather and the immense embrace Canada had shown him and shows all of us. I also thought, God Bless Canada. My family’s experience may be different but not unique. After 146 years, it seems we’ve collected plenty of evidence that Canada works for all of us and my historical timeline is only one proof. I hope history doesn’t have to start all over again in 2013.

    Born in Alberta, Dany Assaf is a Toronto-based lawyer

    Like

  33. From Twitter: اغين الزعبي ‏@agh_yan

    From Day 1 many opposed the Syrian revolution under the guise of “not wanting to support the MB led opposition” this happened in first year

    As time passed by this reason started to be hollow in comparison to Assad crimes. So the ISIS monster had to be created and nurtured

    ISIS became the face of the Alternative to Assad whether we liked it or not. We all helped in the creation of that monster

    Assad Planted the seed and environment for that ISIS virus to survive and we gave it the bodies to continue to thrive and grow

    So when the time came to act on Syria the world was in agreement: Assad is the lesser of all evils and is best of all the worst options

    ISIS helped justify the Assad regime in the same way AQ justified US war on terror.

    Like

  34. mephe
    you propbaly mistook this blog for someone who cares to spread assad’s propaganda. Your comment on a previous post is rejected with advise to post it or anything like that on Syria Comment, there are a lot like you over there. This is an assad-free zone.

    Like

  35. Paul Heinbecker ‏@Paulheinbecker

    Putins insistence on international law is self-serving; he neglects the three vetoes he cast to shield the butcher of Damascus.

    Like

  36. It has been 1.9 months since Jabhat Al Nusra was officially recognized by the western powers and their mouthpieces, JAnuary 2012. Islamic State of Iraq and al-­‐Sham, ISIS, was officially unveiled after ‘Jolani’ and Baghdadi exchanged letters/speeches that was bullshit, one said something..the other responded, boom!!

    All zee experts agreed with Ass-hole that they are ‘islamist’ groups in our beloved Syria!

    Now, ALL these experts speak the same language, meaning, they use the same vocabulary in describing such groups, however, these experts have a common background, they’re all Islamophobes or anti-Arabs, or both. They work tirelessly and rob people’s tax dollars or state wealth. They come from all creeds and colors.

    To make my point, in short, as they say, these so called ‘islamist’ in Syria are targeting doctors, journalists and top notch leaders of the Noble Syrian Revolution! Let us not forget, Abuna Paolo, who was expelled by the ASS-Sadists only to be captured by ISIS! Father Paolo WAS THE BEST ambassador for ALL Syrians! They silenced him, i hope temporarily..

    A majority of us were so quick to believe Z Western media, they keep on repeating the same lies, with different trumpets, and unfortunately, like herd, we repeat behind them.

    إذا كان #داعش قد أتوا لنصرة الشعب السوري، لماذا لا يذهبون إلى الغوطة حيث قوات الأسد لها الأفضلية؟مشغولون بقتل الجيش الحر و الأطباء في إعزاز؟

    So instead of protecting #Syrians and helping #FSA as #ISIS initially claimed, they are now helping #Assad killing the rest of us. OMG!!!

    The answer to these two tweets is simple: ISIS, JN are government stooges..

    Ibrahim Qashoush words were prophetic from the inception of this revolution, the game has been exposed. This rings true for all states.

    May they rest in peace, may the ill recover and the refugees return to their homeland.

    God bless this lovely country and the Syrian people.Amen

    Like

  37. I was anticipating a different reaction from you and your ‘brethren’, the Jewish community,
    not now, not yesterday and not after Obama spoke, On August 21st 2013, when SYRIANS were GASSED TO DEATH.

    NZ,

    I have supported the opposition from Day 1. I have stated numerous times, that freedom and democracy for the Syrian people is a WIN-WIN for everybody. I think 100% of Jews would agree with me, but no one interviews us or asks us for our opinions.

    The GOI has to be very silent on the issue. For some strange reason, no Arab wants to be seen as an Israeli ally, so the GOI can’t back one side over the other. Further, there are serious concerns about who takes power after Athad is removed from power. With the new regime be Iranian Shia Hezbo-jihadists, Sunni al-Queda jihadists, or moderates?

    Lastly, as far as the carnage Syrians have experienced and the ruthlessness exhibited by the regime and also by some fringe foreign jihadists, I think we can all agree that it is horrible. I am proud that the GOI is taking in a few of the injured near the northern border. I am thankful that a few organizations are helping widows and civilians by giving aide.

    Outside of all that, perhaps the Jewish community could e3xhibit more outrage. I think you have a point here. I am outraged, and I want Obama to stop talking a start bombing.

    However, I have a few questions of my own. Why was Assad so popular before the “awakening” when he was busy sending terrorists missiles and training them on Syrian soil? If Assad applied his methods against Israel instead of his own people, who in the arab world would stand up and object? Gas or no gas?

    AP,

    Why do we have to be constantly reminded of Hitler’s monstrous crimes of the past century if the same crimes WHEN reenacted by another Hitler on another group of people must go unchecked?!!

    I don’t recall invoking the Holocaust. And I don’t feel comfortable invoking the Holocaust, and I don’t feel comfortable making comparisons. A 100,000 dead and destroyed cities and 2 million refugees is terrible and horrible, no matter who or when or where.

    YOUR comment from September 11, 2013 at 17:12 invoked Nazi past crimes.

    Hoping this conflict ends ASAP,

    AP

    Like

  38. والقائد السادي في مخبئه
    يفلسف الخراب…

    نزار قباني

    “لقاء المالكي على محطات غربية والاسد على محطة امريكية وروحاني على محطة امريكية نحن بانتظار لقاء نصرالله على القناة العاشرة الاسرائيلية …قال شو دول مقاومة ممانعة وكل ما يشغلها هو رأي الغرب وامريكا”

    Like

  39. The Promise of the Arab Spring

    It’s easy to be pessimistic about the Arab Spring, given the post-revolutionary turmoil the Middle East is now…

    Don’t miss reading Sheri Berman’s essay

    The fundamental mistake most commentators on the Arab Spring make is underestimating the scale, scope, and perniciousness of authoritarianism. Tyranny is more than a type of political order; it is an economic and social system as well, one that permeates most aspects of a country’s life and has deep roots in a vast array of formal and informal institutions. Achieving liberal democracy is thus not simply a matter of changing some lines on a political wiring diagram but, rather, of eliminating authoritarian legacies in the society, economy, and culture as well. This is almost always an incredibly difficult, exhausting, and protracted process. It didn’t happen in many parts of Western Europe until the second half of the twentieth century, in fact, which is why so many earlier democratic experiments there were flawed or outright failures. And it still hasn’t happened in all of Eastern Europe and Russia.

    None of this is meant to suggest that, say, Mohamed Morsi was a good leader in Egypt, or that the rebels in Syria are all Jeffersonian democrats, or that a bright future for the Middle East lies just around the corner. It almost certainly does not — as a look at, say, Europe from 1789 to 1945 would indicate. But it does mean that the problems of the Middle East today are more the norm than the exception, and that they have less to do with case-specific factors such as ethnicity, religion, or ideology than they do with the inherent difficulty and complexity of building truly liberal democratic regimes. Getting rid of authoritarianism is a long and nasty process; in the Middle East, at least that process has finally begun.

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139586/sheri-berman/the-continuing-promise-of-the-arab-spring?cid=soc-twitter-in-snapshots-the_continuing_promise_of_the_arab_spring-092113

    Like

  40. Yes, the Christians of Syria needs rescue…The Syrian Christians need to be rescued by all of us from the regime’s exploitation of them as merely cards, no more, in the game of its own survival and existence. They must be rescued from a hegemonic regime that does not at all protect the minorities (nor the Christians among them in particular), but it rather protects itself by the minorities and use them as a shield for its own rescue. The Syrian Christians must be rescued from the false discourse of the regime’s agents among their own clerical prelates, who propagate lies on the nature of the events in Syria and its true details. They must be rescued from the disastrous choice of these church leaders, who opted for stretching their hand of alliance to the owner of power and authority and rule, instead of deciding to open their arms toward the broader Syrian society and to embrace the people’s choices and defend the oppressed, tyrannized, terrorized and killed among those, who are supposed to be the Christians’ brothers and sisters in the nation. The Christians must be rescued from this option, for rules and regimes rise and fall, and only people and their co-existence remains.

    http://najeebawad.blogspot.ca/2013/09/the-syrian-christians-must-be-rescued.html

    Like

  41. AP,

    When we hear ‘GOI’ blasting Western leaders and Mr. Obama, by calling them “naive” vis-a-vis their support for the Arab Spring , as well expressing contempt towards Arab people’s ability to sustain FREEDOM by selecting their own leaders, yet you claim “that freedom and democracy for the Syrian people is a WIN-WIN for everybody” and that you think “100% of Jews” will agree with you?!

    Do you still consider the GOI “silent on the issue”?

    AP,

    We are DETERMINED to end decades of being held hostages by dictatorships and by ideologues who care not for the rights of all citizens, but for the selective few. Zionism like Islamism, both, have undermined traditional values and destroyed freedoms and are a threat to world peace.

    I, like you, hope that the slaughtering will end immediately. i also hope, all refugees will return to their homeland and that justice will prevail, in our midst and around the world..

    Like

  42. The Arab world like the Islamic Republic of Iran wants to be treated as EQUALS with RESPECT, Rouhani should look in the mirror like many of his counterparts.

    Like

  43. Syria, savagery, and self-determination: what those against military intervention are missing

    Military intervention, as regrettable and complicated as it may be, is the only way to stop Assad’s killing machine. This is what most Syrians are demanding from the international community. If we truly believe in the right to self-determination, then we are morally obligated to listen to them.

    A MUST READ..

    Conclusion

    Putting Syria back together again will take a long time. There are no quick fixes or easy answers. The trauma and devastation wrought by the Assad years will take generations to overcome. Populations that have lived under a police state for decades rarely emerge from the experience with liberal sensibilities. New political habits and social mores will have to be cultivated.

    And the legacy of the current war and its wounds will take a long time to heal. A formidable challenge that lies ahead is accommodating the legitimate fears of minority communities, especially the Alawites and Christians, and assuring them that they will have a secure future in a post-Assad Syria. This challenge is compounded by the rise of radical Salafist and jihadi groups, who will have to be confronted and disarmed. The policies of regional powers – Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Israel – pose a further challenge. For different reasons, none of them wants to see a prosperous and democratic Syria emerge.

    But the first step required in getting Syria on the path toward stability and self-determination is the removal of the Assad regime. This is what the Arab Spring is about; this is what most Syrians want. It is a precondition for a lasting peace; without it the war will continue and both Syria and the rest of the Middle East will plunge even deeper into this nightmare of bloodshed and chaos.

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/nader-hashemi/syria-savagery-and-self-determination

    Like

  44. بشار الاسد ‏@bashar__asad

    لو كانت داعش فرع أمن لما فعلت ما تفعله الان ولما خدمتني كما تخدمني الأن .. هذه الكائنات الداعشية تستحق جائزة الأسد للحيونة #الرقة

    Like

  45. Jenan Moussa a reporter from Al Aan TVfrom Dubai!

    Does anyone knows more about this 29 years old “established, reliable” reporter? She seems to be quoted by all ‘experts’ on Syria and specifically the “djihadists eggsperts”?

    Like

  46. I cannot say more than YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!!! Absolutely heart-rending. And there are people who still wring their hands at regime-disseminated propaganda of churches being defiled by “Islamists” (Robert Fisk, are you listening? you bloody regime apologist, you!), while the regime shamelessly and brazenly drop incendiary bombs on schools.

    And if at all possible, watch the related BBC Panorama documentary. Hopefully Australia’s ABC will air it maybe within the 4 corners program, and maybe PBS in America? If you have a VPN with access to a British IP address you can probably see it online.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/an-english-doctor-in-syria-pity-the-children–the-horror-i-saw-8847628.html

    Like

  47. MGB, here is the link to the documentary above. It was very very hard to read.

    ‘Please let it be over’

    We visited Ahmed, in a Turkish hospital, a few weeks after the incident.
    Described as a hard working boy with a smiley face, he now has 40% burns to his body.

    “I’m in a lot of pain,” he said. “I had a fever all last night. I’m in pain on my neck and my shoulder.

    “Why bomb us while we are at school. Why?”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24330521

    Like

  48. د.فيصل القاسم : الشرق

    مرت عملية إخضاع الشعب السوري الثائر بمراحل متعددة، كان أولها إطلاق النار من قبل قوات النظام على المتظاهرين السلميين، ثم إلصاق التهمة بـ”عصابات مسلحة” وهمية، ثم طبعاً انتقل النظام إلى استخدام كامل الترسانة الحربية من طائرات ودبابات ومدفعية وبراميل متفجرة، وانتهاء بالكيماوي. وعندما فشلت كل هذه الخطط، راح النظام يعمل على تخويف الداخل والخارج بالبعبع الإسلامي كي يقول للسوريين: “أنا أفضل لكم من آكلي أكباد البشر”. طبعاً الكثيرون باتوا يرون أن معظم جرائم التطرف في سوريا تقف وراءها إيران والنظام. وهي لعبة مفضوحة لا تنطلي على أحد. أما الجماعات التي تسيطر على بعض المناطق في سوريا فقد استغلت انسحاب الدولة من معظم وظائفها، وبدأت تقوم بعمليات تنظيم إغاثية. وهي بالتأكيد ليست بديلاً للدولة ولن تكون كما يزعم أولئك الذين يستخدمونها كبعبع لتخويف السوريين بها.
    إن كل من يصدّق خرافة أن المتطرفين سيحكمون سوريا فيما لو سقط النظام الحالي إما مغفل، أو ابن ستين ألف مغفل. فلا مكان للتطرف في سوريا، لأن تركيبتها الاجتماعية والقومية والحضارية لا تسمح للمتطرفين بأن يحكموها. فالعاصمة دمشق يسكنها منذ زمن طويل أناس محافظون دينياً، لكنهم لم يكونوا يوماً متطرفين أو متزمتين أو ظلاميين. كيف لا، وهم من أبرع وأمهر العاملين في المجال التجاري في العالم العربي، إن لم يكونوا في العالم، وبالتالي، فلا يمكن الجمع عملياً بين التجارة والتطرف. ناهيك عن أن دمشق قلب سوريا النابض لا يمكن أن تعيش دون التعامل التجاري اليومي مع بقية أطياف المجتمع السوري بمختلف توجهاته. وعندما تنظر إلى حركة البيع والشراء في “سوق الحميدية” رمز دمشق التجاري الأهم ستجد المسلم والعلوي والشيعي والدرزي والمسيحي والإسماعيلي وبقية مكونات المجتمع السوري التي تعايشت وتعاضدت على مدى زمن طويل.
    ولو نظرت إلى ثاني أكبر مدينة في سوريا، ألا وهي حلب عاصمة سوريا الاقتصادية، لوجدت أنها لا يمكن، في أي حال من الأحوال، أن تكون مدينة متطرفة، ولن تقبل بأن يحكمها المتطرفون. فبحكم موقعها الجغرافي وطبيعة أهلها الكرام المشهورين بمهارتهم العالية في التجارة والمهن والفن والطرب لا يمكن أن تكون حلب إلا مدينة حضارية منفتحة على الجميع.
    وبما أن أكبر وأهم حاضرتين في سوريا لا يمكن أن تقبلا بالتطرف، فلا مستقبل للتطرف في سوريا كما يحذر بعض الأبواق، خاصة العلمانجيين منهم. لا مكان أيضاً للمتطرفين في سوريا في المناطق التي غالبية سكانها من الأقليات الدينية. ولا خوف أبداً على تلك الأقليات التي تعيش في سوريا منذ مئات السنين معززة مكرمة قبل أن يأتي آل الأسد وبعثهم إلى السلطة بقرون. ومن الجدير بالذكر أن النظام السوري يحتمي بالأقليات ولا يحميها. باختصار، فإن التطرف الذي يحذر منه النظام في سوريا ليس أصيلاً، بل هو دخيل أو مفبرك ولا محل له من الإعراب على الأرض السورية، وهو من صنع يدي النظام الذي يحرض على ضرب مكونات المجتمع السوري ببعضها البعض على مبدأ “فرّق تسد” لأغراض سلطوية حقيرة ولتخويف السوريين من بعضهم البعض. ويذكر أحد المراسلين أنه حتى سكان المناطق الشمالية في سوريا المعروفين بأنهم محافظون أكثر من غيرهم دينياً اشتبكوا مع العناصر المتشددة التي ولجت إلى مناطقهم، لأن النسخة الإسلامية التي تروج لها تلك الجماعات تتعارض مع النسخة الموجودة في تلك المناطق والمصبوغة بالصبغة السورية الإسلامية المعتدلة. بعبارة أخرى فإنه ليست هناك حاضنة شعبية واسعة أو عامة لقوى التطرف في سوريا، حتى في المناطق التي تعتبر أكثر تشدداً من غيرها داخل البلاد. ومقاتلة بعض الجماعات المتشددة إلى جانب الجيش السوري الحر لا تعني أبداً أنها ستحكم المشهد السياسي فيما لو تغير النظام، خاصة أنها لا تشكل سوى نزر يسير جداً من المقاتلين، غير أن النظام يحاول تضخيم دورها في الثورة كي يصور الثورة على أنها ثورة متطرفين لتخويف الداخل والخارج بالخطر “القاعدي” المزعوم على سوريا تماماً كما فعل القذافي من قبل. وبالتالي، فإن كل من يحاول أن يخوّف السوريين بالمتطرفين فيما لو سقط النظام، إما أنه سخيف، أو أنه خبيث يحاول الالتفاف على مطالب الثورة وتشويهها لتمديد عمر النظام المتساقط، أو إحباط آمال السوريين في التحرر والانعتاق من الطغيان.
    ولنتذكر أن جماعة الإخوان المسلمين السورية لم تحصل على أكثر من عشرة بالمائة من الأصوات في خمسينيات القرن الماضي عندما كانت الديمقراطية في سوريا تعيش أزهى عصورها. وحتى لو فاز الإسلاميون في الانتخابات في سوريا، فإنهم سيكونون أقرب إلى النموذج التركي والتونسي. ويا مرحباً بالنموذج التركي، ناهيك عن أن صناديق الاقتراع ستكون الحكم في سوريا الجديدة، وليفز من يفز. وتذكر مجلة “إيكونومست” البريطانية المرموقة في تحقيق لها حول تركيبة المجتمع السوري بأن سوريا لم تشهد منذ أكثر من مائتي عام أي اعتداءات طائفية تذكر، مما يدحض تحذيرات أولئك الموتورين المأجورين الذين يحذرون الأقليات من تطرف الأكثرية ضدها فيما لو وصلت إلى السلطة. ولهذا، لابد أن نقول لكل من يخوّف العالم والسوريين من أن المتطرفين سيحكمون فيما لو سقط النظام: كفاكم كذباً وفبركات. لا يمكن لجماعات لا يتجاوز أفرادها بضعة ألوف أن يحكموا بلداً كسوريا، خاصة بعد أن كسر شعبها جدار الخوف مرة وإلى الأبد، ناهيك عن معظم تلك الجماعات تؤكد على أنها لن تبقى في سوريا لحظة واحدة بعد سقوط النظام.
    قبل أيام فقط سمعت ثائراً سوريا إسلامياً من مدينة إدلب المحافظة يقول:” بعد انتهاء الثورة سأحمل بندقية وأحارب كل دعاة التطرف والمتطرفين في سوريا”. وعندما تسمع مثل هذا الكلام من إسلاميي سوريا العتيدين، فلا شك أنك ستعلم عندئذ أن “البعبع الإسلامي” الذي يخوفون به الشعب السوري كذبة كبرى لا تنطلي على أحد.

    Like

  49. Ooops! Missed pasting the article’s headline, it says it as it is:

    كفاكم تخويفاً للسوريين بالبعبع الإسلامي. لعبتكم مفضوحة

    Hopefully he’ll write an article on orientalists egssperts . They all quote each other in their articles/podcasts/interviews, trying to become more plausible, by repeating and agreeing, NEVER!

    Like

  50. اقوال و حكم الفلاسفة ‏

    إذا رأيتَ الناس تخشى العيب أكثر من الحرام ، وتحترم الأصول قبل العقول ، وتقدّس رجل الدين أكثر من الدين نفسه .. فأهلاً بك في الدول العربية

    Like

  51. فيصل القاسم ‏

    لقد أظهر الربيع العربي أن معركة الشعوب الأشرس ليست مع الطواغيت الجاثمين على صدورها، بل مع كفلائهم في الخارج. سوريا مثالاً

    Like

  52. From Twitter:

    بدعة الإرهاب تشبه عقدة الهولوكوست الإسرائيلية إذا أراد نظام تسويق حرب او قرارات سياسية تعلل بالإرهاب وهو صاحب الإرهاب الحقيقي

    and

    لماذا يلومون شخصاً أكل كبد جندي من جنود الطاغية الأسد..والكل يعرف أن الأسد أكل أكباد ملايين السوريين حرقةً وألماً

    and

    من حق إيران أن تتحالف مع من تريد وأن تكون مع أمريكا خوش بوش، لكن ليس من حقها أن تضحك علينا بشعارات الممايعة والمقايمة والموت لأمريكا

    and

    قائد ميداني:حذار من ترديد اكاذيب أعداء الثورة السورية من غير قصد، خاصة فيما يخص شيطنة المقاتلين وتصويرهم على أنهم متطرفون

    and

    شيطنة الجهاديين وكذبة جهاد النكاح الايراني المنشأ وبعبع قطع الرؤوس هوما يفعله النظام السوري والايراني لوأد الثورة السورية

    and

    صحفي أمريكي.. لو قال الإعلام الأمريكي أن القهوة بيضاء لصدقته مجموعة كبيرة من الأمريكيين

    and

    الحمير على غبائها اكثر ذكاءمن طواغيتنا،فعندما تسقط في حفرة تتجنبها لاحقا.اما هم فلا يتعلمون من تجاربهم ولا من تجارب الطغاةالاحياء والنافقين

    And last..

    أضاع نصف #السودان وقتل وشرد الملايين في دارفور ورفع سعر الوقود عشر مرات ومازال يرقص بعصاه ملوحا بها بكل تبجح وسذاجة

    Like

  53. N.Z.
    What you quoted above is mostly on the mark except for the penultimate one: we can belittle and dismiss our rulers as dumb donkeys but only at our own peril. These ruthless tyrants have not managed to grab and stay in power for decades through brute force and repression alone but also through a high level of cunning and deviousness, which you cannot do unless you possess a high level of intelligence (being intelligent does not immediately guarantee morality). In fact, the Syrian dictatorship leadership have managed to outmaneuver the opposition in just about every move since the beginning of the revolution (I can provide a list as long as my arm of all the steps along the way where the tyrants manged to steer events to their advantage and exactly as they wanted, but I am sure you know what I’m talking about), and unless the opposition admit this, they -and I use the plural form here intentionally- won’t be able to come up with an effective strategy to execute the revolution forward.

    Like

  54. I miss Syria on fb Yesterday من صفحة

    النظام أشطر من المعارضة بعشرطعش ألف مرة …
    بدكون تسموه ذكي .. خبيث .. داهية .. مابتفرق …

    النظام قدر يحقق شو مابده …
    وبأيدي محسوبة على الثورة …

    قال جماعات متطرفة ..
    صارت ..
    قال طائفية ..
    صارت …
    قال إرهاب وقطاعين روؤس …
    صارت ..
    قال حرامية وسارقين …
    صارت ..
    قال جماعة ما بتهمون سوريا ولا وحدة اراضيها ..
    صارت ..

    النظام قاعد يقنع العالم ..
    من الشرق للغرب بانو حربو ضد الإرهاب ..
    فيما المعارضة قاعدة تضحك على كرش وليد المعلم ..

    النظام طول سنتين ونصف وهو يتعلم من اخطائو ..
    فيما نحن اخطائنا كل يوم بتزيد اكتر واكتر …

    بدكون تفاؤل .. بدكون نصر .. بدكون انتصارات وهمية ..
    فيني اضحك عليكون من اليوم لبكرا واجمع لايكات …

    وضعنا صار بدو ثورة ..
    وأول شي ثورة على تفكيرنا ..!!

    Eli Nabi

    Like

  55. Mind you, it isn’t to say that I agree 100% with the above. This was my comment about it on fb:

    But as to your entry here, it is partly correct. This is because most of the things the regime said would happen, they actually happened because it MADE them, CAUSED them to happen. جماعات متطرفة ..طائفية ..إرهاب وقطاعين روؤس …حرامية وسارقين .are either the regime’s creation or have been infiltrated by its agents or by the Russian FSB. ..جماعة ما بتهمون سوريا ولا وحدة اراضيها : as if the regime cared much about the unity of Syrian land or the Syrian people and did it ever put them ahead of its survival?! You are correct the mistakes by the opposition are catastrophic, but that is also -in part- because it has been infiltrated by people sent by the regime. You mean to tell me that all of those who defected (and some of them are now in high positions inside the opposition) can be trusted 100%?

    Like

  56. The opposition mistakes are catastrophic?

    Which opposition are we talking about? Those inside Syria? Or those outside?

    MGB, just want you to know how much I enjoy your comments, and i wish i had the same ease in expressing my thoughts as you do!..

    We have to keep in mind the two sides, a DETERMINED MAJORITY that wants JUSTICE, DIGNITY & FREEDOM.

    The other side, a CUNNING, DEVIOUS FAMILY -that comes from a lineage of traitors- with one goal in mind, hindering the advancement of Syrians and Arab countries. Stagnation.

    We were forced to survive in stagnant waters -in Arabic- mustanqa’ for over four decades, the moment these waters were shaken, the good the bad and ugly erupted.

    ASS-SADISM, the name says it. Our people are experiencing the worse kind of sadism that mankind have ever experienced, these hideous crimes are documented and distributed, everyone knows what is going in Ass-sadists dungeons. Surprisingly, the opposition is well and alive..and growing.

    Syria an ancient place with a rich and celebrated culture and history, littered with thousands of unstudied archaeological sites, it is a heaven for archeologists and historians alike. A wealthy nation, if not the wealthiest! Her people are proud of their history, they live among layers of civilization.

    Conquerors were defeated, many remained in Syria and became Syrian. Our love for Syria unites us.

    ASS-SADISM wants to erase both, our rich and celebrated culture and history, It will not.

    MGB,

    You said, In reference to a quote i posted.
    “we can belittle and dismiss our rulers as dumb donkeys.. These ruthless tyrants have not managed to grab and stay in power for decades through brute force and repression alone but also through a high level of cunning and deviousness, which you cannot do unless you possess a high level of intelligence (being intelligent does not immediately guarantee morality)”

    I feel sorry for donkeys, and truly mean it.

    ASS-Sadism intelligence? It does not fit!
    ASS-Sadism hideous perverts! It fits.

    The Arab world is moving forward against all powers of darkness. It is not going to be easy taking into account all the currents coming our way. We will not be broken, we will not give up.

    Colonialists *GOI

    *GOI: Get Over It

    Like

  57. Thousands who protested peacefully languish in Syrian jails -HRW

    * Human Rights Watch: Detainees face abuses including rape

    * Says torture systematic in Syrian prisons

    * Activist who once gave roses to soldiers held for 2 years

    AMMAN, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people who peacefully demonstrated against President Bashar al-Assad are languishing in Syrian jails and are subjected to an apparent policy of torture, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

    Citing testimony from former prisoners, HRW said in a report that detainees have been raped and abused, including with electric shocks to the genitals, and beaten with batons, cables, metal rods, and wires.

    The report said rebel forces now fighting to overthrow Assad have also committed abuses by detaining journalists, humanitarian workers and civilian activists, and that they had executed some prisoners.

    “Behind the awful brutality of the fighting in Syria is the unseen abuse of political detainees – arrested, tortured, and even killed for peacefully criticising the government or helping people in need,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

    “Arbitrary detention and torture have become business as usual for Syrian security forces,” said the report, which HRW said aimed to draw attention to civilian activists held in at least 27 prisons across Syria.

    The report said many were in jail just for criticising the authorities or for providing medical help for victims of the violent crackdown on protesters in 2011 that helped turn a civilian uprising into a civil war.

    It said the use of torture appeared to be systematic and there was “strong evidence” that it constitutes state policy and a crime against humanity. Most detainees have been men but women and children “have not been spared”, it said.

    The HRW report cited figures by the Violations Documentation Center, a Syrian opposition monitoring group, that 1,200 people had died in Syrian prisons since the uprising began.

    “The authorities jail political detainees for months without charge, and torture, mistreat, and prevent them from communicating with their lawyers or families, leaving their families desperate to know what has happened to them,” it said.

    Syrian authorities decline comment on individual prisoners but deny holding political prisoners and say many of those arrested during the uprising violated laws against terrorism.

    HRW highlighted 21 individual cases, including 34-year-old Yehia Shorbaji, a construction worker from a Damascus suburb who became known as “the man with the roses” for having presented flowers to soldiers in the first months of the uprising.

    Security forces arrested Shorbaji along with his brother Mohammed and three other activists in a group called Daraya Youth in September 2011, according to HRW.

    “Government officials have refused to give Shorbaji’s family any information about him. One of the five, Ghiyath Matar, died in custody within days of his arrest,” the report said.

    Among prominent activists in jail are Khalil Maatouk, a Christian human rights lawyer, and Mazen Darwish, head of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/03/syria-crisis-prisoners-idUSL6N0HT3Q620131003

    Like

  58. Thanks N.Z., I could say the same about your ability to express your thoughts. I particularly like the image of mustanqa3…

    One catastrophic mistake I had in mind was their remaining fractured and un-united. But I do realize that it is difficult when there are ‘colleagues’ who were sent by the regime specifically to sow discord.

    Wow, I am shocked! There are still leftists who bother to look at the Syrian revolution long and hard and actually try to understand what is going on:
    http://socialistworker.org/2013/10/07/syrias-uprising-versus-counterrevolution

    Like

  59. فيصل القاسم ‏

    جائزة نوبل في الكيمياء قد تكون من نصيب النظام السوري هذا العام

    It is plausible according to Kerry and his wife:

    “The process has begun in record time and we are appreciative for the Russian co-operation and obviously for the Syrian compliance,”

    “I think it’s extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed.

    “I think it’s a credit to the Assad regime, frankly. It’s a good beginning and we welcome a good beginning,” Mr Kerry added.

    Teresa Heinz seems to be under Asma & Assad spell!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2410413/Teresa-Heinz-Kerry-attends-Syria-hearings-public-appearance-suffered-stroke-early-July.html

    Like

  60. My father, Edward Said: First the show, then the book – and now the interview
    Najla Said talks about her relationship with her father, her privileged upbringing and the guilt she feels toward the Palestinian people.

    “I am a Palestinian-Lebanese-American Christian woman, but I grew up as a Jew in New York City,” Said declares at the start of the book. Much of the memoir revolves around her personal ties with Jews and Israelis in New York, ties which, without the politics, would be straightforward and natural. However, in the current political climate she finds it difficult to reconcile her desire to be accepted in the community in which she was raised and lives, and her Lebanese-Palestinian roots.

    “Last night,” she says, “when that woman said that Palestine doesn’t exist, a statement that has nothing to do with my book or the reason I wrote it, it made me feel so bad. I told myself that I had been polite and courteous and humane, I told my personal story, and that woman attacked me just because of who I am and where I come from. Because I internalized that same criticism all my life, I found myself thinking again, ‘Maybe it’s true and I really am horrible and disgusting? Or maybe it’s the Zionist Jews in New York who react like that, because they also think that everyone hates them?’ And then I said to myself, ‘But I am saying exactly the same thing! I also feel that all of you hate me! So how can it be that you are the ones who are attacking me?’”

    This feeling of frustration is a constant presence in her. “I have a Jewish friend from South Africa,” she relates. “He is always telling me, ‘Najla, you could be the bridge between Jews and Arabs, you have to tell your story. Look at South Africa: It looked impossible that anything would change there, but the change happened.’ I reply, ‘Well, it’s exactly the same thing with Palestine!’ And he says, ‘No, it’s not’ – and starts to talk about the Holocaust.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/.premium-1.544242

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  61. We always get Jews complaining that Arabs want to wipe Israel off the map, yet they constantly, and without batting an eye, they wipe off a whole people from history and from existence with that one sentence: “Palestine does not exist, it never did”.

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  62. An excellent commentary by Ussama Makdisi, Najla Said’s cousin..

    …The violence embodied by the Syrian regime, in other words, is not simply the work of a solitary dictator. Rather, it is a systemic Middle Eastern tragedy in which the West, including the U.S., has been profoundly implicated for at least a century. The old colonial powers of Britain and France, and today, the U.S., are not neutral observers, nor impartial judges, of the Middle East. They have done much to make the region what it is today. Britain and France created new states in 1920 from the defeated Ottoman Empire; they spoke of self-determination, but crushed Arab resistance to their colonial domination. French forces infamously bombed Damascus in 1925 to enforce their subjugation of Syria. The British ruthlessly crushed uprisings in Iraq and Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s.

    The U.S., in turn, has tried repeatedly to reshape the Arab world to suit its putative interests. Unlike Britain and France, it speaks the language of partnership and peace, not of mandates and empire. Ever since 1948, however, the U.S. has both wanted to privilege Israel and secure oil from conservative pro-American monarchies — to ostensibly build a stable pro-American Middle East by changing Arabs rather than changing the U.S.’s priorities in the region. And ever since, there has been protracted Arab resistance to this notion that Arabs must conform to American expectations of them in their own part of the world.

    The U.S. has long buttressed an anti-democratic political culture in the Middle East by supporting the Shah of Iran until his overthrow in 1979, absolutist Gulf monarchies, Israeli colonialism, and authoritarianism in Egypt. It has also generated significant new forms of resistance to its vision of a docile pro-American regional order, evident today mainly in the form of an Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis.

    There is little way to reconcile the ostensible American need to teach Assad a humanitarian lesson with the reality that Western and American interests in the Arab world, just as much as Assad’s own interests inside Syria, have long been made to depend on the suppression of genuine democracy and the crushing of popular will. Western solicitude for the Arabs is ephemeral. Hubristic western intrusions into their lives are not.

    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/7/a-history-of-violencewesternempiresinthemiddleeast.html

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  63. Nelson Mandela: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

    “The Stones Cry Out”: Film puts spotlight on Palestine’s Christians

    Palestine is the cradle of Christianity, but “the living aspect of Christianity in Palestine is disappearing,” warns Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi in Yasmine Perni’s recent film The Stones Cry Out (2013).

    Perni, a native of Italy, has lived in the Arab world since childhood. A journalist, photographer and researcher, this is her first documentary.

    The film’s synopsis:

    In 1948, tens of thousands of Palestinian villagers were driven from their homes in what was officially dubbed “Operation Broom,” intended to literally sweep tens of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in the fertile hills and valleys of the Galilee, and make way for settlers in the newly created state of Israel.

    Elias Chacour, now the Archbishop of Galilee, was just a little boy when Israeli troops ordered his family out of the Christian village of Kifr Bir’am. He left the vilage with a blanket on his shoulder, walking to his new home, a cave.

    Today Kifr Bir’am is an Israeli national park, the houses of the village are crumbling, the church is abandoned.

    After the Galilee came the expropriation of the West Bank in 1967, the settlements, the wall. Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, is now hemmed in by the wall, cut off from Jerusalem, and robbed of much of its agricultural land.

    All too often media coverage of the conflict in Palestine has framed it as a conflict between Muslims and Jews, largely ignoring the fact that Palestine was the birthplace of Christianity, that Palestinians are both Muslims and Christians, and that Palestinian Christians have played a critical role in their land’s history and the struggle to maintain its identity.

    From 1948 up to today, through wars and uprisings, leading Palestinian Christians, including the late president of Bir Zeit University, Gabi Baramki, Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi, civil society activist Ghassan Andoni, Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah and others recount the unwavering and sometimes desperate struggle of all Palestinians to resist Israel’s occupation and stay on their land.

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/stones-cry-out-film-puts-spotlight-palestines-christians?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+imeu+%28IMEU+%3A+Institute+for+Middle+East+Understanding%29

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  64. This article is from Der Spiegel! All along Free Syrians knew that “Syrian President Assad’s regime is waging a PR campaign to spread stories that discredit its rivals and distract from its own crimes. Aided by gullible networks and foreign media, it has included tales of rebels engaging in “sex jihad” and massacring Christians.”

    I’ve never thought that a day will come and i might share an article from Der Spiegel.

    WAY TO GO, Der Spiegel!

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/assad-regime-wages-pr-campaign-to-discredit-rebels-a-926479.html

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  65. Here is the right link:

    “هشام الجخ” “التأشيرة” اداء رائع و مؤثر

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  66. Powerful poem, but as usual imo, the excessively sentimental soppy music (and it is so intrusive you can hardly call it BGM!) distracts from the words and the content behind them. The same mistake was made with the two movies about the Syrian revolution: Veto, and Not Any More, which I had linked here before.

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