First, I would like to start this post by wishing all a serene Passover and Easter. May we all celebrate next year in a Syria liberated from tyrants.
OK, so it seems that we have two different points of views on 7ee6an, both expressed eloquently and with passion and both defended and criticized strongly. At risk of extreme over simplification, the first idea may be summarized as arguing that armed resistance only aggravates the regime and provides it with excuses to inflict more violence and horror, not to mention being a failure in comparison with the “more effective” national scale civil disobedience, which should be pursued at all costs towards bringing down the regime. The second argument, and again risking oversimplification, stresses the right of people for self defense, and highlights that the regime’s use of force is independent of the level of violence exerted by any armed faction in the revolution, which in turn if sufficiently armed, will exact punitive blows at the regime’s barbarity, especially in enhancing the odds for further defection from the ranks of forces under its control.
To me, such discussion justifies all the efforts that went into launching and maintaining 7ee6an and the hard work we all have done so far to ensure a quality of discussion that distinguishes the contributions to this blog from hysterical rants of absurdity. This discussion reflects the ongoing mental anguish many among those supporting the revolution are going through. I myself continue to have hard time making my mind regarding which option to support. But given both tracks of thinking it would seem that the advocacy for a full scale “non violent” civil disobedience, by its nature and intellectual grounding and legacy does exclude an armed resistance track of the revolution, especially if it calls for halting any plans to arm the FSA. On the other hand, the presence of armed factions, especially one borne, as the argument goes, to protect peaceful protest, does not exclude the preparation for and the carrying out of “non-violent” actions and strategies with increasing organization all the way to the desired nationwide civil disobedience. It does however complicate that strategy and makes pursuing it much harder.
The Assad regime has pursued the “violent” option with vengeance and brutality from day one. It may now tolerate a few non-violent demonstrations here and there primarily as a matter of setting priorities in terms of sequencing its wanton destruction of the country and scheduling its next bombardment target. Those arguing for full exclusion of armed opposition, and for starving the FSA should be mindful of the slogan “الأسد أو نحرق البلد ” (Assad or we scorch the country) painted by the regime thugs and soldiers in every place they scorched and advertized on the walls of their headquarters and even public busses. In this slogan, the regime loyalists, which are part and parcel of the regime, declare their adherence to the Assad’s cult. The adherent of this semi religious cult are now drunk with blood and smoke after a year of relentless efforts to remove all traces of scruples that may inhibit further brutality and barbarity on their side. They need no excuses to exact their violence, which has been proven time and again as an inherent part of their cult and of the fabric that binds the regime. The shelling continues throughout the country despite of the absence of any armed resistance in most areas being shelled. Snipers, who according to loyalists on other blogs are to be excluded from Annan plan since they don’t use heavy weapons, continue to terrorize innocent civilians in many Syrian streets and the list of their victims continues to increase. Terror in regime torture dungeons never stopped and will never stop, even with the presence of international monitors, and demonstrations in Aleppo and elsewhere continue to be suppressed with increasing brutality and use of live ammunition contrary to the earlier “appease Aleppo” approach. The number of victims of regime brutality has not gone down with many murders occurring in areas where FSA is either none present or has not been very active.
All of this should put to rest the notion that the presence of FSA as an impetuous for regime violence. Violence is the hallmark of this regime with or without FSA. Such violence has been extended beyond destruction into deliberate theft and looting of areas invaded by regime forces, as happened to many areas in homs including those with large presence of certain minorities. The regime propagandists and shrill shills persistently claims that these thefts and destructions are the work of FSA or “islamist”, “saudi” funded “mercenaries. But I have strong evidence that would put the hysterical defenders of the regime to shame, if they know any, which is unlikely based on their continuing mental and ethical degeneration. Fear for the safety of friends whose homes and businesses in Homs have been ransacked and looted by regime forces is the only reason I am not sharing these evidence, which I hope to be used in a court of law in the near future.
Supporters of the argument against arming FSA and/or other rebel forces also have their own strong case in Idlib’s country side to add to Baba Amr story book. Idlib’s country side has been turned into a wasteland by the regime’s “scorched country” policy presenting a serious refugee crisis internally as a slightly lesser one externally (yesterday more than 2500 refugees from Idlib’s country side crossed the border to Turkey). The presence of refugees, especially children from Homs and other areas is exacting its toll on the people, and at the same time is (also not addressed in Anan’s plan) will compound the situation
The slogan “Assad or we scorch the country” should not be taken lightly. It is a well known slogan of Assad forces from days of the dynasty founder. It has been demonstrated repeatedly and the fact that it continues to be ignored by regime propagandists (even those pretending to be intellectual peace loving) removes any pretense to ethical grounding on their side and shows clearly that they do concur with it despite of their claims that “they are not pro regime” and that they “have some criticism of the regime”. But more important is that it tells of the mentality of the hard core loyalists. While to the ignorant shabeeh or loyalist it may simply be the result of decades of brainwashing and propaganda aiming to replace the national identity with Assad cult, it is an existential reality to the real power centers behind the regime. Many of the wealthy elites of Syria owe their wealth and privileges to the Assad clan (which includes non family members across all sects). As a class, they may have members with conscious who now side with the revolution, yet as a class, their loyalty and interests will continue to be vested in the system of corruption and coercive terror that is founded on disregard and contempt for the masses (as argued by Yassin Haj Salih in the article linked by Zenobia). There is no point in pursuing their support for the revolution, for they are part of the problem and of the regime’s power structure. Members of this elite now hide sometimes behind secularism and others behind law and order in their opposition to the revolution in both its armed resistance and non-violent form, but they know that if the regime is gone, they are to follow even if national reconciliation is to commence. Their participation as partners in the economic crimes of the regime make many of them complicit in the civil right violations and graft and intimidation against honest members of the business community in Syria and such crimes are bound to be investigated and/or exposed during reconciliation. I am eager to hear the opinion of most esteemed Son of Damascus on this point and would love to be corrected if such is possible.
Getting back to topic, given that violence was the regime’s option and strategy, it could be argued that the question is not whether FSA has caused damage to the revolution in the sense of justifying the regime’s brutality and mayhem, but that whether the current starving of FSA can have adverse effects on the revolution, and whether a regime so attached to violence can be realistically overthrown by non-violent means such as civil disobedience.
To answer this question one has to recognize that even Sharp himself warns that civil means do not guarantee success. This is perhaps most clear in Syria, where for months, the revolution maintained a non violent character, and where such character remains to date the most obvious of the revolution that is being put down with a combination of physical brute force and hysterical media campaign by the regime and its unholy band of partners and supporters (internally and externally). Then, one must also consider that unlike other countries, the size of the “government” remains huge in Syria, which complicates civil disobedience efforts as the regime has used the “state” to its advantage and has mobilized its human resources into its campaign of terror against Syrians. It is well known that many workers in regime factories have been mobilized into the regime’s gang squads “populist phalanges” either because of the bonus and high salaries received by shabeeha or because of the utter reliance on state salaries by these workers and through coercion. The presence of the baath party and security informants in every juncture of the Syrian state will continue to greatly frustrate efforts towards wide-scale civil action in government structure unless the power of these security agencies is first weekend significantly and unless the baath party members and security informants involved in the suppression are made to fear for their own safety if they continue the practice. In all cases, their coercive capacity should not be underestimated and their ability to maintain the critical functions of the regime running will continue to be a problem as long as the regime has the financial means of supporting them. To that effect, we must also consider the rumors that the regime is negotiating billions of dollars worth of bonds with the Chinese and Russian governments and with the Iranian regime. It should be made loud and clear to all that all dept incurred by the regime as of March 2011 will be uncollectable in hopes that such continuing financial infusion will be stopped by rational policy makers who will eventually recognize that this regime has no viable horizon to lead a healthy Syrian recovery capable of paying such wasteful dept.
An added complexity is the tragic level of unemployment in the country, which when coupled with the deliberate destruction of ethos over forty years, will sustain the regime with a supply of willing militia, again as long as the regime is capable of providing financial means. Needless to say, the added bonus of looting and unrestrained power given to regime forces will probably reduce the regime’s financial by allowing the thugs to obtain directly from the people what they have not been receiving lately from their employer. Looting, ransom, and graft are now the primary compensation mechanism for shabeeha in areas where the regime continues to exercise some control. This is not only consistent with “Assad or we burn the country”, it is part and parcel of that policy.
In summary, the Assad regime, knowing well that national scale civil disobedience is a serious threat to its survival has opted from day one to convert the struggle into an armed warfare that could be dressed in sectarian language. It has made its fall a considerable security risk by forcing the people to take arms to defend themselves and thus create a fear of undisciplined armed insurgents trough a combination of false flag operations and media hysteria along with excessive brutality to further entice more young people into carrying arms. The results of this strategy include a preview of “Assad or we scorch the country” ideological underpinning of the regime and its supporters and the conversion of swaths of the country into ungovernable areas wastelands.
How does this play out with respect to civil disobedience? The following concept was presented in a recent off-line discussion with a journalist friend who is heavily engaged in non-violent movement in Syria: Let us consider those disaster zones where the regime has shelled the area forcing most if its people out, or where the regime has confronted both civil action and/or the presence of FSA with its standard barbaric brutality. In the end, these have become no-regime zones in the sense presented by Azmi Bishara who argued that the regime’s need to push its tanks into the streets of Syria is by no means a victory but a defeat. Areas with tanks, soldiers and regime thugs are areas where the regime is not functioning as the money and graft generating scheme it is designed to be and where the regime’s claims to equating itself with the state are shown as farcical joke. They have been turned, by regime’s action, into rebellious areas where normal life is no longer possible due to murderous snipers and raids by regime thugs. As a result, swaths of several cities have in fact turned into a situation resembling the effects of “civil disobedience” in terms of halting of productive life and making these areas increasingly ungovernable by the regime’s representatives. In essence, these areas are under control but ungovernable, which is similar to the practical result of civil disobedience, but with more distinguishing characteristic of resistance against a foreign occupation than those associated with combating a dictatorship or a repressive regime. After all, only foreign occupiers have used “scorched earth” policy on such a large scale.
The centrality of the Assad figure to the regime has caused many in the opposition to receive the Annan proposal with lukewarm suspicion if not outright rejection initially. The absence of a clause stipulating the departure of Bashar al Assad or the delegation of authority to a vice president have been the primary reason for such initial rejection. However, cooler heads are prevailing, especially after the strong language from the former Secretary General regarding the continuing violence and his ability to extract a time-table from Assad. Mohamad Al-Abdallah wrote on his FB page an outstanding short article in support of the Annan’s plan. His basic premise is that Annan is no Dabi, and the UN is not the AL. If the plan is to be implemented, then the regime will risk major demonstrations throughout the country. If the regime falters as everyone expect the pathological liar Assad to do, then the regime would have squandered the last opportunity for political solution to the crisis, a solution that was supported by both China and Russia. The regime’s failure will put the two countries in a very awkward situation in the Security Council when it will have to decide on further action against Assad and his gangs. Pessimist argue that the regime will resort to playing the “negotiation game” and will initiate, as expected, false flag operations and explosions, particularly in areas with sectarian tension in order to justify its continuing military operations. This may have already started with an unknown group threatening a large number of explosions in Aleppo. It is also expected that the careless and callous regime will redress its army and security forces in civilian clothes giving an impression of a “loyalist” demonstrations and continuing to conduct arrest and intimidation campaign at lower intensity.
It is incumbent on all armed-resistance groups to agree to the plan and to declare a halt to all operations as of April 10. However, it is also no wonder that shrill shills on SC are now propagating hairsplitting interpretation of what “heavy weapons mean” and whether the April 10 deadline is deadline for full withdrawal or for starting the withdrawal with open ended process. This in itself is a sign of things to come and it shows that the regime and its supporters continue to think that they can outsmart the world with their pathetic sophistry aiming to drag thing long enough for them to reestablish a pre March 2011 conditions.
The Annan plan also requires a huge effort on the civilian side of the liberation campaign. Names of all detainees and missing persons must be collected meticulously and the regime’s security apparatus must be exhausted with constant demands for their prompt release and for information on those missing. Furthermore, the anticipated negotiation must be viewed not as negotiation to end the liberation campaign, but as negotiation for the departure of the regime and its symbols and for transfer of power to a legitimate authority. Such would require mass mobilization of demonstrations, especially in Damascus. The negotiators must be very careful not to view the negotiation as a trial of the regime but primarily as a hostage negotiation with a well armed brute who has taken the entire country hostage and the primary objective is to separate the brute from his victims while at the same time maintaining bereaved parents of those who were executed by the brute thug under control so that they do not complicate the situation further. It is also important that no media frenzy against international observers be conducted by the opposition. They should be approached by the liberation movement with respect, honesty, and truth, and not with contempt and derision.
Of course, the above assumes that the regime will allow the plan implementation to reach that stage. According to the plan, negotiation is not the first step. The regime has to withdraw fully, release all political detainees and allow for demonstrations to take place unmolested. With these conditions, it is well understood why Mohammad Al-Abdallah wrote: “this is a very good plan, and the worst thing about it is that it will not be implemented”. How can it be when “Assad or we scorch the country” is the operative slogan of the regime and its supporters. In the end, if they try to keep this more fundamental and the only promise they seem intent on fulfilling, one would hope that the world, including the regime’s friends will take other actions.
Yassin Haj Salih, in a recent article wrote about the “Assad or we scorch the country“: “in reality presents two choices of destruction of Syria. The first is the destruction of the country through living under Assad with no dignity, freedom, and opportunity, and the latter is the physical destruction of the country. In both cases, they are choices of destruction. Regime shills should take note of what they are defending before they shout that the revolution is destroying the country. This is a revolution and a liberation movement to build a country and to take it back from those who shamelessly proclaim their intent to burn it.
The Syrian regime has proven over the past nine months capable of pushing back at the opposition using a combination of misinformation campaign and brute force. While we spend inordinate amount of time analyzing the motives and personalities of pro-regime and/or fence-sitting people at the individual level, drawing our intellectual resources into sideline confrontations, events on the ground race with our responses to these events being nothing but outrage, impotent in many cases, that we direct at what we see as the hypocrisy of those who refused to join us or are incapable of seeing the light and the moral righteousness of the revolution due to certain fears, associations, and pre-conditioning.
In the end, whatever analysis we may come up with on that issue will have little or no impact on what goes on the ground other than giving ourselves the impression that we now understand the opponent better and have exposed their bankruptcy. The real opponent is clear, it is a brutal regime with security tentacles that infiltrate all strata of society. Building on fear of the unknown, on latent, but easily aroused sectarian feelings, and most importantly, on purposefully demolished ethical and moral inhibitions among its instruments of oppression on the ground to inflict both vengeful mayhem and to return, against all logic, the status to that of pre-uprising fear and docility. Cheerleaders for the regime are as inconsequential as cheerleaders for the revolution. How much does analysis of the cheerleading add to the knowledge of the reader regarding the unfolding events in Syria and the situation in the traumatized country? I am afraid to say, nothing, other than giving a little glimpse into our own personalities. It was necessary exercise, and I thank all who participated in it in all seriousness, but we have to move a head.
We need to go beyond that. We need analysis of the situation tactical and strategic. At this stage, I am no longer interested in analyzing inconsequential posters on other forums or demonstrating their intellectual or ethical deficiencies, or their fears. We have occupied ourselves far too long with this exercise and it has reached the point of diminishing return with respect to our ability to influence public opinion about the Syrian revolution other than discrediting ineffectual writers, who are doing exactly the same but in the opposite direction.
Meanwhile, we are missing news of economic disaster in the making and of its impacts on a wide segment of the population, of horrendous brutal campaign racing against time to end the uprising or liquidate as much as possible of those participating in the heroic efforts at the street level, and we are missing significant events on the ground in Damascus and Aleppo, who seem to go up in bursts, only for the two cities to slide back to watchful calm. We are also missing a better understanding of the changing nature of the uprising, which now threatens to become a prolonged struggle with constant seemingly calibrated bleeding.
While the regime can count on continuing cat and mouse game with the observers and AL after having de-fanged the mission by reducing its size and scope and its chances for real exposure to what really goes on the ground, we, in the external opposition, are plagued with ineffectual advocacy, polarized leadership, lack of focus and direction, and very reluctant Syrian National Council, who has now bloated into 300 members, hindering any effective action, both internally and at the diplomatic, media, and relief level.
As we bicker amongst ourselves, and as we watch with dismay at the confusion and lack of effectiveness on the side of SNC, suspicious groups are moving in for the kill. I have information about an increasing presence of one such personality in donation collection for. I have argued that one should not shy from supporting FSA, at least in enhancing their sustainability, safety, and ability to protect civilians. However, there is alarming news about groups trying, effectively I am afraid, to jack up vengeful and sectarian hatred and to collect donations for various militant groups with clear sectarian motivation. In response, individuals continue to collect donation in small amounts, and to send them through personal channels to Syria instead of coordinated efforts, primarily because they are afraid that organized donations will end up helping militarization of sectarian fringes. I am waiting for some information on these issues and will share it with you when I have bullet proof confirmation. One solution would be to initiate a campaign requiring international relief agencies to have access to disaster conflict areas, and to force the regime, through international pressure to allow such access. Such should be discussed but has been completely absent from the radar.
You see, friends, there are far more effective ways to support the revolution. Should we continue on our current path, I am afraid that we are going no where. This is not what I had in mind. Time for a change and suggestions are welcomed. More welcomed off course are analyses on the model Observer and hazrid have been trying to infuse on this site. I am open for new type of main posts and urge anyone with the capacity to make such contribution to do so.
I am off course the most to blame. A blog about Syria is a serious issue, and I should do better. I hope to be able to count on the help of 7ee6anis.
I will be away for few hours. Please have a go at defining the future of this blog.
I tend to agree with Maysaloon (the boy who cried wolf) , Robin Yassin Qassab (Now the Bombs) , and few others who were very rational in withholding judgement about who was behind the recent explosions in Damascus. I find both posts to be well thought and encourage reading them both. Many have also posted and wrote about the possibility that it was the Syrian regime, using arguments that the names of the victims have not been announced (i have seen some names on FB discussions), the hurrid way of pinning the crime on Al-Qaida, the timing and the whole atmosphere of celebration of death accompanying the regime’s “see, this vindicates us” unethical use of the dead. Notable, off course is the absence of the “it is not my army” head of the regime in the whole thing.
While I withhold judgement, I share with some 7ee6anis the notion that it is naive to exclude the possibility of an orchestrated act by the Syrian regime. It was very interesting to see that both SHEILA and I had similar responses to Joshua Landis’s article (Suicide Bombing Changes Nature of the Syrian Revolution). SHEILA writes
Dear Dr. Landis,
You said: ”I was asked by journalists today what I thought about the notion that the Syrian government planned the car bombs to provide a pretext for their increasingly violent crackdown on the opposition. It reminds me of the notion that Washington was behind the World Trade Center bombing to provide a pretext for invading Iraq. I don’t give either much credibility”.
I am a little shocked at this statement. Comparing the 9/11 conspiracy theory to the bombings in Syria is not something that an “expert” in Syria would do. The 9/11 conspiracy is very far fetched. For the US government to plan an attack on the scale of 9/11 and keep it as a secret is very near to impossible. The way the US government works makes it so. However, the way the Syrian regime works make it very plausible for it to do such things and never be exposed. The Syrian regime works and thinks like a Mafia. A group of criminals that are capable of doing anything. The regime today is under immense pressure, do you really put something like this beyond them? I am not saying it is a certainty that the regime did it, but not to give any credibility to such a claim is naïve at best. (no disrespect intended).
On 7ee6an, i wrote
I really did not want to chime in on the explosions story. But i think that my dear friend Joshua has it wrong. To begin with the US politics, despite of all the deal making remains deliberative politics and the system works with a pile of checks and balances that would eliminate any chance of a conspiracy such as the one required for Sept 11 to be a US government made disaster.
On the other hand, the Syrian thuggish regime is a conspiratorial regime by its nature. Any one who watches the official media and its dirty sisters will recognize the cheep and stupid conspiratorial nature of this regime. The regime, being so, also views and perpetuates a conspiracy explanation of event. Equating the two is a nativity i had not expected from Joshua. I think that rationality has limits, and those limits are not dictated by how rational the person analyzing the events but by the irrationality of those making the events.
Yet, a pathetic attempt to pin the explosion of the Muslim Brothers of Syria, and by extension on the entire Syria National Council was made, exposed, and is now in tatter along, perhaps, with the sanity of a young man who worked for the regime’s propaganda.
Mr. Email K. Nasrallah, the man accused of faking the fake Ikhwan wab-site was quick to purchase privacy service for his web sites after the exposure of his relationship t the fake site (Ikhwan-sy.com) which was reported on 7ee6an first by hazrid, and then by Syrian Hamster. All of his sites were taken off-line and the privacy shield was activated within a very short time after the story was found. Soon afterward, regime propagandists, one them is an SC commentator, tried to peddle a technically sounding story, which links the owner of the privacy name server providing the privacy service just activated by Mr. Emile K. Nasrallah as the culprit. Hamster confronted the new fake, made a mistake in numbering the relevant SC comment, corrected it, but provided no technical details except for his usual hit and run savage attacks on the SC hypocrites as once described by our dear friend WSS.
Meanwhile, a young IT specialist, who is not connected in any way to the Ikhwan was working on the story, discovering one trace after the other and following Mr. Emile K. Nasrallah foray in the world of Syrian regime lies and deceptions. Below is the results of his work.
Why is this story extremely important. While I am no friend of MBs, but in the 1980s a series of events rocked Syria, these consisted of assassinations of Alawite intellectuals, a massacre in the military academy in Aleppo, and several explosions that resulted in many deaths and injuries. Some of these, especially the assassinations do have typical signature of the then active Ikhwan’s military wing, but some of the crucial events, such as a major explosion and the Azbakyya district of Damascus, paved the way for the regime of Hafez Assad to enact law 49, which punishes membership in Ikhawn with death, and has initiated much of the torture, executions, and very long jail terms of thousands of Syrians as described in the Novel Shell recently brought to the attention of 7ee6anis by Sheila. Many have argued that that particular explosion was in fact a Hafez’s regime false flag operation, but lacking investigative resources, and the fact that his regime continued in the regime of his criminal son, made it hard for anyone to identify truth from lies in the decades long regime’s propaganda against islamists in general, and more particularly, the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria. Then, a declaration of responsibility was issued, and most people, despite of the protestation of the Ikhwan’s leadership, believed it. Twafiq Hallaq, a well known TV anchor, who recently defected, alluded to the incident in a very sharp post on his own FB page.
Today, and 30+ years afterward, two explosions rock Damascus. Within minutes, the regime declares AlQaida as the perpetrator. This was stupid because while it may give the impression of lending credence to the regime’s story of militant groups operating in the country, the series of events leading to this accusation included a very recent lie, orchestrated with the help from the Lebanese defense minister (a HA guy) declaring that Al-Qaida has been active, moving between Lebanon and Syria in the rough terrain area of Ersal. The Syrian foreign ministry spokesman claimed that there was a formal warning from Lebanon regarding the plans of Al-Qaida to start operating in Syria, which was belied later by the Lebanese Foreign Minister. Immediately, regime propagandists had an explanation that it was Iran who has warned Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq of the upcoming wave of Al-Qaida massacres.
Notwithstanding the holes in the regime’s earlier story, it also had a fatal tactical mistake, and that was the implicit recognition that if Al-Qaida was moving into Syria, such move was inaugurated with the security buildings explosions, which fails to pin the numerous numbers of deaths that have occurred until now as being the results of militant groups and in linking the explosion to the current groups participating in the Syrian opposition . There was a need for immediate recovery and linkage to Syrian opposition. And there comes the alleged involvement of Mr. Emil K. Nasrallah.
Recently, a web site surfaced that claimed to represent Al-Ikhwan Almuslimoon of Syria (Muslim Brothers of Syria). The site (Ikhwan-sy.com) had made several claims that hinted to Ikhwan’s semi-control of the FSA and claimed Ikhwan’s responsibility for recent operations resulting in killing many soldiers and regime sympathizers. The language and tone of these declarations were modeled on printed pamphlets in the eighties, but a good examinations by experts points to inconsistencies and errors that are unlikely to be made by someone who reads Quran and Islamic texts as would someone in charge of Ikhwan’s media operations.
Lo and behold, the site described above was fast in claiming responsibility for the explosions. Off course the Ikhwan denied it, and the story told above unraveled to expose a fake site, fake media operation, and cheep lies of a murderous regime.
While a definite proof will require far more serious investigation before convicting young Mr. Nasrallah of being responsible for the Massacre, which is unlikely, but his role in the fake site is as tight as possible. All circumstantial evidence point to his role in creating the site. What is left is to discern whether he was doing it on his own initiative or by dictate from the propaganda team of the Assad regime. This will be left to those in Aleppo, but more importantly, the physical safety of this young man, whose father is an advisor to the regime’s grand mufti of (Hassoun) and a well recognized and respected figure in Aleppo, must be assured at all costs. Needless to say, no one is accusing Mr. Emil’s father of wrong doing in this matter and no one should.
Request from OFF THE WALL
This just came out. It is the draft (project) for the Political program of the Syrian National Council (SNC). I will not comment on it now, and will leave that to the comments’ section and may be for a future post. But it is more than critical and urgent that all of us take a look and participate in discussing the various points. I try my best to convey your comments will to the SNC, and I am sure that Haytham will do so well
In a recent article in the Canadian Globe and Mail, titled ‘Untouchable’ Assad ruled by duty to family, Patrick Martin, the Middle East correspondent takes a shot at trying to analyze the Syrian president, whom he terms as “contradictory man” , who “speaks the lines of Western liberalism but plays the part of ruthless dictator.“. Quoting former Jordanian PM Marwan Al-Muashar, the correspondent writes:
Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s former foreign minister, wrote that he always found Mr. al-Assad more reasonable in private. His “habit of pontificating in public was abandoned in private settings,” he said. “He listened to opposing arguments … with a desire to understand other points of view.”
In my own opinion, the article is nothing more than the recycling of the standard-form western narration of the Assads’ family story, with the primary goal of overemphasizing the sectarian aspects of Syrian society we are accustomed to in western press articles about Syria. I read twice, and in both times i felt that Mr. Martin simply had to submit something, and he opted for the narration of only a minor aspect of the on-going struggle in Syria. In fact, I believe that our own Haytham Khoury’s “Immaturity as an origin of evil: Bashar al-Assad as a case study” analysis of Bashar Al-Assad has much more value to add in the attempt to understand the person even though Haytham does not delve too deeply into the family loyalty issue.
The Syrian society is a complex society, the pressure of despotism, the Baath party, and the layers of security arrangements over the past half a century have added tremendously to that complexity. Yet, at the core of the on-going revolt stand the simple absolute axiomatic issues of Right, Good, and Justice. Syrians’ quest for these principles, which have gone missing under the Assads, manifests itself in very subtle manner. Those failing to understand this concept always revert to the sectarian conditioning, which hides the much deeper meaning. Read the rest of this entry
The current Syria-related events and developments represent no disorder or spontaneous meaningless actions. A careful, detail searching eye can easily notice a pre-made orchestrated solfège being composed by many singers (i.e., stakeholders), the US starts with “Fa” to receive “Re” from the EU while Turkey amplifies with “Sol” and AL resonate with “Mi”. Contrary to the regime’s reactionist behavior, most of these lately rolled-out developments are pre-planned and systematically driven by many hidden and obvious interested parties, and indisputably a multi-phases strategy combined with an exponential applied-pressure plan is currently in place in order to reach multiple goals of ousting the current Syrian regime and reshuffling power-balance in the region. I’m happy to refer to this ongoing strategy as PLCPO.
Poking (achieved) → Lobbying (achieved) → Cornering (achieved) → Pressuring (In progress) → Ousting (Yet to come) Read the rest of this entry
I’m sorry about my limited contributions, I was busy with my mid-terms. Here is my post:
The first part of my post will discuss my latest trip to Damascus, and the second part is a response to a question asked by Dr. Haytham Khoury about developing sectarianism and radicalism we are witnessing( most of all on syria comment). I also believe this part will be relevant to OTW’s most recent post on his blog.
My last visit to Damascus only lasted for 2 days (20th and 21st of October). Just a few days prior to my arrival the regime “successfully” held a massive demonstration in the capital’s saba’a bahrat square( which hosts the nation’s central bank) . Transportation, advanced recording, food, drink, entertainment and most important of all SECURITY is provided to the pro-government demonstrators. The appropriate setting is given. A friend of mine who works for one of Rami Makhlouf’s multiple enterprises told me that he was forced to go, despite having a pro-revolution stance on the whole situation. Employees are threatened with dismissals from their jobs if they do not participate. Although the highly esteemed Robert Fisk was a witness to these one of these demonstrations ( the one held on the 26th in the Omayad square), his story that they are purely authentic is far from reality. The regime has done its homework and knows how to conceal its foul play. Read the rest of this entry
Words from OFF THE WALL
First, our best wishes, prayers, and thoughts go with our Dear TRUE. We all wish his mother a fast recovery, and hope that she and the family will overcome this health crisis with the grace we have known through TRUE .
Second, many thanks to 7ee6an’s nascent community and to all who are keeping 7ee6an alive and who are challenging me to really become better than what I am as I find myself the host of diverse ideas and concepts I myself do not necessarily agree with fully. I must say out of personal vanity that I never felt more satisfied intellectually than when I push the approve button on a post that I myself may fully disagree with.
Very Opinionated Words from OFF THE WALL (..& Others)
It is very interesting to go back in time and check old debates on Syria Comment on this subject. One of the most interesting was the debate following a main post by the capable Joshua titled “Is Syria Cracking Down on Religious Groups? Why?” As usual, the main post is lost with the first two comments, and the thread of comment was very interesting as LEOLEONI, OTW, MAJHOOL, and HUSAM debated each others and ELI. Please take a look, especially at the smart and thoughtful comments by Majhool, whose words along with those of LEO LEONI I would love to read on 7ee6an. We disagreed on the urgency of theological reforms, but as usual, Majhool got the more rational argument when confronting Eli’s argument by indicating that discussing theology is a futile exercise and I do now agree with him on such futility despite of my disgust at anyone trying to freeze Islam’s rich heritage to its first half a century.
I believe that conceptually, political Islam is a legitimate political movement, but it has gone astray during the 20th century. The enlightened ideas of Abdel Rahman Alkawakibi, who dreamt of an Islamic awakening that transforms Muslim countries into powerhouses of free thinking individuals gave way to a wide spectrum of movements, who in their struggle against tyranny lost their compass and converted the legitimate political struggle for freedom into a struggle for power. Their political discourse became silly and depressing discussion of Hijab, alcohol consumption, polygamy, children marriage, and bikinis on the beach as if these are the only fundamental issues our sick societies have to deal with. I have written about that in the past on Syria Comment, and at one point I have described my own concerns with many so called ulama, whose beliefs have informed the more radical fringes of political islam: Read the rest of this entry
It is heartbreaking for me to see my blog turning into a wall of obituaries for the martyrs of the Syrian Revolution. But again, in Syria, walls also serve as bulletin boards for Obituaries. The criminal regime of Syria, and its head, the pathetic tyrannical despot Bashar Al-Assad are making obituaries of Martyrs a daily occurrence. And it seems befitting that these virtual walls be no different from the real ones.
After targeting the leadership of the coordination committees with death under torture, and subsequent to the formation of National Council, Bashar Al-Asad is now deploying his death squads to assassinate highly effective opposition figures. On Friday, October 7, 2011, Bashar Al-Asad goons assassinated, mafia style, the Syrian Kurdish leader, intellectual, civil society activist Meshaal Temmo and wounded his son Marcel. Orders for this cowardly assassination could only have come from Bashar Al-Assad himself. Read the rest of this entry
Anyone following the events of the Syrian revolution would notice repeated calls by some loyalists for the regime to go on the attack. These call may include bombastic violent posts on blogs, usually posted right after yet a new atrocious murder is committed by the regime, all the way to articles written by regime-loyal opposition advocating that the regime cracks on those the loyalists claim to be tearing Syria apart for daring to profess their faith, or for rising up after their natural rights. Sometime it gets really Kafkaesque, when someone you respect and like writes such a statement. Your first reaction would be to ask whether the much hyped Syrian Electronic Army has succeeded in hacking into their account and are now posting under their names. But these calls continue. Read the rest of this entry