Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 06, 2013

Syria: Assad's Speech

The Syrian president Bashar Assad held a great speech today. He talked for about one our in front of a full opera house in Damascus. The speech was interrupted by several standing ovations. At its end, when the president tried to leave the stage, he was practically mobbed by supporters trying to shake his hands.

Assad acknowledging the trouble his country is going through and renewed his offer for national reconciliation, including a new constitutional process, a referendum, new elections and a general amnesty. Meanwhile the fight against terrorism would continue.

He rejected any outer interference in Syria's political process. Foreign help was only needed to stop the weapons and fighters coming in from the outside.

He thanked and saluted the soldiers of the Syrian army for their sacrifice. He rallied the fence sitters:

Since the attack is launched against the homeland with all its human and material components, the mindful citizen has certainly known that passivity, waiting for time or others to solve the problem is a sort of pushing the country towards abyss, and not participating in solutions is a kind of taking the homeland backwards with no progress towards overcoming what the home is going through.
In what will irk the supporters of the insurgency against Syria, Assad renewed the commitment to resistance and the Palestinian cause:
Those who placed their bets on weakening Syria to forget Golan and its occupied lands are mistaken…Golan is ours and Palestine is our cause that we won't give up on…We will remain the supporters of resistance against the one enemy. Resistance is a culture, not individuals.
The "west" did not welcome this defiant speech and renewed calls for Assad to step down. But why should he? Military the conflict is at a stalemate but, in recent weeks, with slight and growing advantages for the Syrian army. All cities are still in the Syrian governments hands and the state institutions are still working.

The biggest problem now is the systematic looting by the foreign supported FSA of food and other necessities. The enemies of Syria have mostly given up on their aim to change its government and are instead, as first explained in September, trying to dismantle the country:

Destruction of the infrastructure, economy and social fabric of Syria is the [insurgents] and their supporters aim.
But there are also signs of an even further retreat from the original war aims. The neo-ottomans in Turkey are slowly changing their tact and the stream of weapons and money to the insurgency has somewhat deminished.

For now the most ardent supporters of a continued insurgency (last graph) and arguing against any negotiations are the "western" Zionists. But as they have little influence on the ground their support for the terrorism campaign against Syria might not matter. There is not a chance of a further "western intervention".

They key are still the Turks without who's support the insurgency would soon suffocate and die away. As more they become convinced that Assad will stay as sooner will they be willing to file for peace. Assad's speech today certainly helped in that regard.

As more trouble is coming back to Turkey from the trouble it is organizing in Syria as sooner will the Turks be pressed to withdraw their support for the terrorist. Here is where some renewed initiative, be it by the Russians, Iranians or Syrians, can achieve the most.

Posted by b on January 6, 2013 at 09:44 AM | Permalink

Comments
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Laughfable: British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Assad's speech was "beyond hypocritical." In a message posted on his official Twitter feed, Hague said "empty promises of reform fool no one.".....

Posted by: georgeg | Jan 6, 2013 9:49:53 AM | 1

I guess there is a US Russian agreement on influence spheres. And maybe an understanding with Iran.

Turkey will have a problem. It is evident that Europe has not been asked for their opinion.

And yes, Assad got a good speech writer for a change. He has won the "narrative".

Posted by: somebody | Jan 6, 2013 10:06:55 AM | 2

"I guess there is a US Russian agreement on influence spheres".

There sure is.
It goes something like this...
"Don't sent NATO to attack Syria and we won't make you and NATO look like a bunch of whining cowards and girlie-boys."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 6, 2013 10:18:37 AM | 3

it is more than that - they are not supporting rebels anymore

DAMASCUS, Syria, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Syrian rebels have abandoned plans to try to overwhelm the forces of President Bashar Assad and will focus on a war of attrition, members of the opposition say.

The strategy changed after the rebel coalition failed to receive increased military aid, even after getting diplomatic recognition, The Guardian reported Saturday.

Supplies are drying up as Western governments resist arming the rebels, says a Syrian businessman who has helped fund the opposition. Arab countries that have provided equipment are sending less each week.

Consequently, the businessman said, rebel forces no longer see Assad being defeated in a grand sweep through the country. Rather, they are planning their battles one at a time, besieging military bases and capturing weapons.

In the past two months, Western nations including the United States have declared the rebel coalition "the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people," but have pinned contributions to proof the coalition controls rebel forces and that none of the aid will go to Islamist groups.

Many Syrians have declined to openly support the rebels out of uncertainty over who might win, The New York Times reported.

In some cases, Assad's crackdown has made protest much riskier. However, there's also a suspicion the rebellion is spawning warlords and creating cycles of revenge that could be difficult to eliminate, the newspaper said.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 6, 2013 10:25:39 AM | 4

Has the speech been published in full maybe even subtitled? Link, anyone? So far I could only find small parts of it on rt.

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 6, 2013 10:47:07 AM | 5

Assad's speech..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGeGHVAjG5c&feature=youtu.be

The Turkish FM had the nerve to say Assad doesn't understand the Syrian people. This idiot has appointed himself the spokesman of all Syrians. I believe the word here is desperation. After two years of trying everything, Assad's still there.

Assad's survival is their defeat.

Posted by: Zico | Jan 6, 2013 11:00:32 AM | 6

thanks for the link, man!

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 6, 2013 11:15:48 AM | 7

I find it perverse that twitter, with posts constrained to 140 characters, has been used by the British foreign secretary to provide an assessment of a 45 minute speech delivered by the Syrian President. Hague's comments essentially amount to a 'I know you are, but what am I' and 'well you started it' position that one might expect from an prepubescent simpleton.

@Zico - Not only Assad's survival, but it seems peace is also their defeat, unless they can secure their place at the table for when posts are handed out for any new puppet Government. The longer the opposition rejects negotiations, the more risible they appear.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 6, 2013 11:21:42 AM | 8

Syrian factions seem to be able to duscuss peacefully in Australia and Australian tv seems to be pretty good:

youtube

8) To be fair, Assad said all the right things, but has not conceded an inch. Hague is a sore loser.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 6, 2013 11:30:07 AM | 9

@ 4.
UPI probably transcribed that from a State Dept Memo.
Imo, Syria's Military & Intel are the only people with the expertise to target US-NATO's "rebels" with minimal collateral damage to the Syrian population and infrastructure. The typically US-style 'rebel' SNAFU has developed a life of its own. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that as soon as the 'rebels' realise that they're being eaten alive by Assad loyalists, they'll turn their attention to the Kookie Little Paradise (aka "Israel") next door.
Despite all the bloodshed and bullshit this little adventure in "seemed like a good idea at the time" right-wing cowardice could still get VERY amusing...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 6, 2013 11:48:08 AM | 10

4 "it is more than that - they are not supporting rebels anymore"

Yes they are, they are only lowering their publicised backing. Perhaps "killing off Bin Laden" didn't give them the kind of PR to openly support their "Arab" terrorism they hoped removing "the mastermind" and his unsavoury image would? The support will continue through the "back doors", like they do with less politically viable insurgencies - like their support and management of student self-immolations in Tibet, the "Uyghur" terroroists (and drug runners) used against China, the disgusting crap they spread in Latin America, using Columbia as a base, in Africa through afcom, etc. The Israeli-Americans may appear to be backing off, but it is for image, they'll keep at it other ways less obvious. This desire to dominate is to them like interest is to banksters, they'll never give it up.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 6, 2013 12:05:58 PM | 11

How dare the turks do to Syria these dastardly things. It was the Syrians who took the Armenians in after suffering genocide at the hands of the turks. It was the turks who killed tens of thousands of Greeks, Arabs, Armenians, et al at the turn of the century and before. It was the turks who for 500 years subjugated one of greatest if not the greatest cultures and people in all of history--the Arabs...algebra, alchemy, the 0 for mathematices, the preservation of historical data that awakened a sleeping Europe and so much more. How long must the Arab world suffer? The barborious turks for 500 years, and for the last 120 years the zionists, the Americans, the french, the english, and enabler traitorous fascist arab monarchists who have been put in power to serve their lords in Europe and America.

Posted by: Charles | Jan 6, 2013 12:09:08 PM | 12

ah, come on, Charles, British colonialists were not any better, probably worse ...

Posted by: somebody | Jan 6, 2013 12:12:10 PM | 13

Well done analysis by b.

This is how the speech was greeted in Iran:

Syria conflict between nation, enemies: President Assad

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/01/06/282069/syria-conflict-between-nation-enemies/

China:

Syrian president offers new vision for political solution in Syria

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-01/06/c_132084396.htm

Russia:

Assad’s speech – significant event: expert

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_06/Assad-s-speech-significant-event-expert/

Somewhat different than the miserable rubbish said by the western zionist media. It might be interesting to see later today and monday what the so=called western alternative media has to say (by that, I mean the "progressives" tried to rally support in left/progressive circles for the Israeli-American war against Syria - Dem. Now, The Real News, Huff. Post, Mondoweise, etc.)

Posted by: вот так | Jan 6, 2013 12:29:35 PM | 14

OT: Egypt,

What do you think?

http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/wasat-party-denies-facing-us-pressure-constituent-assembly-withdrawal

The moderate Islamist Wasat Party denied Sunday that it faced US pressure to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly, after the Constitution it drafted was approved last month in a popular referendum.

Private satellite channel ONtv reported that the party’s spokesperson, Amr Farouq, had confirmed a report published by independent newspaper Al-Mesryoon claiming that the US Embassy pressured the party to withdraw.

Farouq had said that he had personally received a call from an embassy official ​​in which the official almost threatened him to withdraw.

Farouq had said he admitted to the matter during his meeting with the Wasat Party’s media trustees, but that the incident was concealed until it was published by a journalist who had attending a meeting between political figures and party head Abul Ela Mady.

The party’s media secretariat then issued a statement stressing that Farouq’s remarks were published by mistake, and denied facing US pressure.

Were embassy officials calling Egyptian politicians to pressure them to resign from the constituent assembly?

If so, what does that mean?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jan 6, 2013 4:10:42 PM | 15

Sorry the last sentence should not have been double blockquoted.

Do you think US Embassy officials were calling Egyptian politicians to pressure them to resign from the Constituent Assembly?

If so, what does that mean?

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jan 6, 2013 4:12:11 PM | 16

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy supports calls by people in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad to be tried for war crimes, he told CNN on Sunday in an exclusive interview.

No wonder he was given recently a pro Israel award by JPost.

Posted by: hans | Jan 6, 2013 4:15:20 PM | 17

@14 "miserable rubbish" Um, as always. I caught a few minutes of a Fisk radio interview this morning, and Fisk's incisive analysis consisted of comparison that the speech was delivered at an Opera House, and golly gee, Hitler gave a speech at an Opera House before he declared war on America. It's turtles rubbish all the way down.

Posted by: DM | Jan 6, 2013 5:02:33 PM | 18

18

Fisk is probably setting the pace for the other stealth zionist weasel word merchants.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 6, 2013 5:08:53 PM | 19

To me, astonishing interview of Belarus President. He is another hated man by fascist's West. No diplomacy, no reading between lines, straight shooter, as is.

I do not know where is journalist from, but he is an idiot. An idiot rarely seen. When you came in US you are told "There is no stupid questions", like, you can ask anything. Yes, there is stupid question

"President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko talks about Syria"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_44CbkV5Zo

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 6, 2013 5:14:56 PM | 20

I do not know is he survived an interview but his questions are insult to intelligence of any sane person. I thought President Lukashenko is going to eat him.

I have just general insight in Belarus situation, but he is fearsome.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Jan 6, 2013 5:26:34 PM | 21

@ Arnold Evans: The denial of it by the Al-Wasat Party should sound correct or very plausible to you and to any else, given (a) our knowledge of stated US foreign policy w.r.t. Egypt, and (b) the impotence of US diplomats to influence the fundamental domestic policies of any political party in Egypt, including Al-Wasat. Al-Wasat is a party with principles and a party that is trying to win the support of the Egyptian people. Al-Wasat policymakers are subject to no pressure whatsoever from the politial opinions of external actors like US diplomats in Cairo, when it comes to domestic Egyptian policy matters. Your doubtfulness, Arnold, indicates to me that you have terribly overinflated ideas of the power of US government influence. In my opinion the comment by Amr Farouq is meaningless and inconsequential no matter whether it is true or false, because of (b) above. I'd also suppose that there's likely to have been misinterpretation on the part of Amr Farouq on what US people were saying to him.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 6, 2013 5:43:36 PM | 22

Regarding Bashar Assad's speech today, SANA-SYRIA will undoubtedly publish a complete transcript in English within the next couple of days -- they've always done that before for similar speeches by Bashar.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 6, 2013 5:52:00 PM | 23

@14, Mondoweiss does not fit your list. I went over there and searched out "Syria". The pro-Assad side seemed well-represented. Don't know about Democracy Now, or The Real News but Huffpo is just celebrity drivel; only a fool expects to be enlightened there.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 6, 2013 5:57:17 PM | 24

On Friday 14 Dec 2012 there was an interesting and pretty well-attended anti-government street protest in Yabroud town in Outer Damascus. Interesting because the protest crowd cheers for Osama bin Laden by name, and cheers for terrorism. They cheer when the speaker exalts Osama bin Laden and when the speaker says to the crowd "if they call me a terrorist I will consider it an honour. Our terror is blessed, a divine call." The video, 90 seconds, comes with English subtitles and I recommend watching it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsq5ZRir-0k

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 6, 2013 5:57:56 PM | 25

@ somebody [#2]

Europe is rightfully treated as the silly putty it is. I, for one, can't simply see Russia give up its base and sole entry point to the Mediterranean. Imho,, the west is slowly [and very reluctantly] beginning to realize the wishes of its Frankenstein bride, and it ain't nuttin' to do with western values. As I asked before: are the FSA/ABCDEFGH/IJKLMNOPQRST/UVWXYZ forces capable and willing to feed, clothe, house and protect every ordinary Syrian citizen, you know, the ones constantly caught in the crossfires? Too bad many people think history is one of MJ's tracks.

Posted by: DanielRich | Jan 6, 2013 6:17:40 PM | 26

20

That was a very thorough, and very satisfying to watch, smack-down of that propagandist. Thanks for posting it. Too bad who the interviewer was or the network he worked for wasn't given.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 6, 2013 6:19:49 PM | 27

The video from Yabroud town I posted at #25 is the most interesting, but here are some more the same kind from around Syria.

Here's a video from Jobar neighborhood in Damascus dated this past Friday 4 Jan 2013, in which the crowd chants "the people want an Islamic Caliphate" (with English subtitles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d20EEhIqLBY .

That crowd also chants the very commonplace slogan, a slogan so common that it can be taken to be the main logo or tagline of the rebellion:
Qae-idna lil abad!
Say-idna Mu-hammad!

= "Our leader forever! Our master Muhammad [the Prophet]!".

Next, here's a smaller gathering in Kafr Hamrah suburb of Aleppo where the chant is "Our revolution is Islamist. The Caliphate will surely return. O God, break for us the throne of tyranny and of secularism." With English subtitles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVr_NuwamU0 . Another of the same from Aleppo on Friday 9 Nov 2012 calling for rule by a Caliphate (has English subtitles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bEH3d26b-E . Another small one, this from Bab Dreib in Homs City 9 Nov 2012, "the people want an Islamist State" (with English subtitles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-gRinZ11qc

The following video dated late November 2012 has street protesters in Binish town in Idlib province chanting for Islamist revolution ("thaura islamiya") and cheering for "Jabhat al Nusra" (Syrian rebel group recently designated by USA as a terror group): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewn539T8a0o . Binish town is longstandingly well-known for that sort of stuff -- e.g. once before on this board I posted video of a crowd in Binish on Friday 20 Apr 2012 chanting they want to re-establish a Caliphate and chanting "Death, Death to Israel" (with English subtitles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQgMmgBxi_o .

With similar flavour as the above, here's a compilation of older footage highlighting the Islamist spirit among the Syrian rebels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Bi92GeCs0QU#t=428s

Expressing similar spirit, the following is a commonplace type of video from Syria in which a well-armed Syrian jihadist group formally announces it is joining an Islamist fighting coalition -- no English subtitles in this one, but see the uploader's comments in English about what the speaker says: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjSd8t7A8_g

More anecdotally, here's one psychotic Syrian rebel forecasting that after the rebels win in Syria, they'll sweep into Jerusalem and then move on to liberate Iraq: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps70vl33McY . And here's another psychotic Syrian rebel talking about what the future of the rebellion will be (with English subtitles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRtOpMpMzcQ

Everyone knows that some substantial percentage of the rebels are Islamist. The Islamist element has been growing. What's the percentage now? Certainly, now, it is well more than half. And the remaining non-Islamist rebels are being converted to Islamist. Soon it will be an almost a pure Islamist rebellion. The non-Islamists rebels have no discourse or vision to hold out against the Islamist rebels. The bulk of the rebels are poorly educated people, who have received education in Islamic teachings, and Islam is the only discourse that can make their rebellion honorable for them in their own eyes.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 6, 2013 6:23:06 PM | 28

@ Horsewhisperer [#3]

Q: "Don't sent NATO to attack Syria and we won't make you and NATO look like a bunch of whining cowards and girlie-boys."

R: The Russian language can be a bit tricky at times, when it comes to translating it into the English language. For example the translation of 'girlie boys' actually should be 'boiling girls,' but that's just a footnote in history's constantly twisted pages. A big Thank You! to all the 'freedom fighters' inside Syria. May your home countries be liberated one day as well.

Posted by: DanielRich | Jan 6, 2013 6:32:33 PM | 29

24

"Mondoweiss does not fit your list."

They most definitely do. To be clear, I am talking of what the site publishes, not what the comment writers respond with, which are most often critical of Mondoweiss' support for the Israeli-American terrorists. I imagine what the censors there are not letting through is even more critical, given what I've read describing how they were censored there. The material published at Mondoweiss (with the exception of one, maybe two, articles by Annie Robbins)is either low brow propaganda in support of this ziofascist/fascist terrorist war, or takes pushes the "both sides are bad" routine. That latter is mean't to dissuade people from standing up for the target of Israeli-American aggression because they are "bad people", and the "facts" used to paint them as "bad people" is the usual smear bs these propagandists use. Below is a list of the articles at Mondoweiss which are either the same blatant "Iraq has WMDs" style propaganda the rest of the zionist media uses, or biased "balanced" pieces which reinforce the propaganda, without overtly pushing for intervention by the west. All of these pices, whether pretending to be "balanced" or overtly stumping for western "regime change", favour the propaganda put out by Israel-America (through the terrorist proxies, as their preferred sources. Which is a dead give-away of which side they are promoting.

Coalition of Syrian artists: Resistance liberates the imagination from slavery

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/coalition-of-syrian-artists-resistance-liberates-the-imagination-from-slavery.html

Syrian repression continues and intensifies: Assad regime kills 150 since Friday

http://mondoweiss.net/2011/04/syrian-repression-continues-and-intensifies-assad-regime-kills-150-since-friday.html

Posted by: вот так | Jan 6, 2013 7:22:40 PM | 30

More articles showing the Mondoweiss bias:

Yes, what about Syria?

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/yes-what-about-syria.html

Syrian crisis moves into the camps: 20 Palestinians killed in Damascus refugee camp

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/syrian-crisis-moves-into-the-camps-is-al-assad-targeting-palestinian-refugees.html

Posted by: вот так | Jan 6, 2013 7:26:22 PM | 31

Still more anti-Syria propaganda examples from Mondoweiss:

The road to Damascus runs through Palestine: Linkage and a comprehensive peace

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/the-road-to-damascus-runs-through-palestine-linkage-and-a-comprehensive-peace.html

‘Al Jazeera’ reports Syrian regime committed Houla massacre in effort to ignite sectarian conflict

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/al-jazeera-reports-syrian-regime-committed-houla-massacre-in-effort-to-ignite-sectarian-conflict.html

The truth of Syrian opposition is lost in the media’s narrative of hate

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/the-truth-of-syrian-opposition-is-lost-in-the-medias-narrative-of-hate.html

#24

"Don't know about Democracy Now, or The Real News but Huffpo is just celebrity drivel; only a fool expects to be enlightened there."

The anti-Syrian propaganda at DN and TRNN has been essentially similar to that from Mondoweiss, though probably more frequent. Agree with your assessment of Huff., but they are considered to be a major progressive site in the USA, whatever that is worth....

There are quite a few other sites with similar claims of "progressive greatness" as the ones I've listed who are pushing the same reprehensible rubbish. I only singled out those above because I remembered having read or heard anti-Syria propaganda from them when I posted the comment.

Unfortunately, the number of progressive sites who have not debased themselves plugging these terrorist Israeli-American foreign policies is much less than those who are. It was the same when Israel-America attacked Libya (the 4 I singled out above all pushed for that assault).

Posted by: вот так | Jan 6, 2013 7:41:49 PM | 32

DanielRich @ 29.
You've misunderstood my comment. It was irony (me putting words into Putin's mouth). But I'm 110% certain that that is what he's thinking, and will do.
USUK-NATO's effeminate cowards, liars, poseurs & fuckwits, are nowhere near ready to risk starting a hot war with Russia.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 6, 2013 7:56:27 PM | 33

@ Hoarsewhisperer,

Sorry for that. I thought my 'misspelling' your name was a giveaway of my tongue-in-cheek remark. Well, time to put my foot back in my mouth. I guess the Russian missiles at the Tartus base do reach either side of the Syrian shoreline, hence no 'no-fly-can-do' zone.

Posted by: DanielRich | Jan 6, 2013 8:19:53 PM | 34

@ BOT TAK [#30],

off topic: yes, I wholeheartedly agree. Annie Robbins has proved [through her actions] to be a consistent pearl to the crown of those who are seeking truth and justice. I'm a secret admirer of hers... Oh, f***!! Now that cat's outta da bag.

Posted by: DanielRich | Jan 6, 2013 8:22:49 PM | 35

At Parvyzi and Arnold. I don't know if the threat is true but I find it entirely plausible. One may take a look at the size of the US embassy, the number of staff and how many meetings they have with Egyptian politicians, military and government officials, and then compare that with, for example, the Italian embassy.

I haven't bothered with the research and I'm not sure the information is easily accessible. But I think we would find that the US embassy is MUCH(!) bigger than any other and meetings with officials is very frequent. What is they talk about at the meetings?

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 6, 2013 9:05:32 PM | 36

Daniel @ 34.
No harm done; it was clarification, not a rebuke. Might I respectfully suggest that deliberate inconsequential spelling errors are indistinguishable from accidental ones, here and elsewhere on the www, and thus, possibly, a little too subtle to attract attention?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 6, 2013 9:17:53 PM | 37

вот так, good points. The both-sides-are-equally bad meme is, in fact, part of the Hasbara playbook, which was first explained to me at Mondoweiss. Somebody once wrote the whole list there but I can't find it.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 6, 2013 9:36:18 PM | 38

'b' says at the top of this thread: "There is not a chance of a further Western intervention". I agree and what follows is one item of supporting evidence from inside Syria. "Jabhat Al-Nusra" is the organization recently listed as a terrorist organization by the American government. Street protests in Syria on Friday 14 Dec 2012 were branded by the rebel organizers as "The Friday of We Are All Jabhat Al-Nusra." It was also branded as "The Friday of No to American Intervention And We Are All Jabhat Al-Nusra." In Arabic: جمعة لا للتدخل الأمريكي كلنا جبهة النصرة

Here are some examples of the street protesters chanting and exalting the name "Jabhat al-Nusra" in Syria in December 2012, mostly 14 December:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JdwZXxnc9g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV9q_vrxyLs&feature=player_detailpage#t=104s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGPy5vV99S0&feature=player_detailpage#t=19s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZBSSkhoR2o&feature=player_detailpage#t=22s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6WS2TsfM40&feature=player_detailpage#t=15s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoBGZS926iQ&feature=player_detailpage#t=305s
and many more such videos are available at youtube by searching for the Arabic text كلنا جبهة النصرة

By the way I said at #25 above that I was impressed with a street protest video from Yabroud town in Damascus province on 14 Dec 2012 in which the speaker incants to the crowd: "If they call me a terrorist I will consider it an honor. Our terror is blessed, a divine call." (and the crowd cheered). I've since come across the following video from Heraytan town in Aleppo province on the same date which has a speaker incanting the same words (but no English subtitles this time, and there's no mention Osama bin Laden): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7khexwMOSLc&feature=player_detailpage#t=55s

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 6, 2013 10:29:43 PM | 39

@ Parviziyi [#39],

Thanks for the links. Do you have any human intel from Syria? I'm trying to figure out what ordinary Syrians think, but am chasing my own tail.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: DanielRich | Jan 7, 2013 1:12:45 AM | 40

I would not dare to decide which "side" in Syria is doing what because of this age old technique anybody can use (Syrian border area must be quite crowded now by all sorts of secret services - they all work from the same toolbook).

agent provocateur

So who knows. The "opposition" however seems to be incapable of defining a code of conduct of what behaviour they accept and what they do not support. So they end up publicly supporting Al Nusra.

It is evident that people being financially supported by Qatar and Saudi Arabia are not supported to fight for democracy. The "West's" support of the spread of Wahhabi ideology is descpicable (and will haunt us, Russia is right there). Though Assad's suggestion that the "West" is using Syria as a trap to get rid of Al Qeida is interesting.

Assad in his speech made the obvious point about this not being a revolution: No political program, no leaders. There is no one who would stand up and give a speech - in Syria or abroad - after Assad's speech - explaining the stance of the opposition. All you get are youtube videos with rebels stroking cats, atrocities or imaginary military achievements or Al Qeida bosting of being Al Qeida and "warnings" in the Western press that this will be a horrible war of attrition.

Assad definitely raised the standard for speeches to the nation, you may agree or not, he gave a complex analysis. You do not get that from Western politicians.

To assume that the Syrian government's aim could be anything other than to remain in power first and foremost using all means to do so is naive. To expect anything good coming out of a Muslim Brotherhood "revolution" is equally naive.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7, 2013 2:59:51 AM | 41

P.S.
you get analysis from Western politicians behind closed door to donors.

Maybe Obama's observation that rural voters cling to guns and religion applies in Syria, too which makes me wonder who are Syria's 47 percent.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7, 2013 3:28:16 AM | 42

The Turkish position gets interesting

No right to intervene’

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also denounced messages given by Damascus and said it was up to the Syrian people to decide on the future of the country. “We have no right to intervene in a decision to be given by the people of Syria [on the country’s future]. I think not any foreign country should have such a right to intervene,” Erdoğan said yesterday, just hours before al-Assad was to make his speech. According to the foreign minister, al-Assad’s speech shows how distant he is from reality. “It seems he’s locked himself in a room and only reads the intelligence reports,” Davutoğlu said, adding that Turkey’s stance will support what the Syrian people want to take place and that al-Assad no longer has the “representative authority; his words have lost persuasiveness.”

A transition period needs to be completed swiftly through talks with representatives of the Syrian nation for a political solution, Davutoğlu said. “If al-Assad will not do anything new, then the U.N. Security Council must decide on a stance on the situation in Syria. The first decision needs to be made on distributing aid to Syrians,” he said. “A clear message has to be sent to tell al-Assad that he should not stand in the way of aid distribution.”

I do marvel about the "if" in Davutoğlu's sentence above.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7, 2013 4:18:45 AM | 43

I wonder if directly reffering to Russia, China and Iran was more of an attempt to "incriminate" rather than to thank. Incriminate is probably the wrong word; more like saying we're in this together. If these countries were hoping at any stage to distance themselves from the Syrian Government, Assad has attempted to have them tied in.
Maybe not, just a thought.
But the call for the mobilisation of all his supporters, the "incrimination" of the Russians etc, the way he almost pleaded with the West to stop arming the rebels, his apparent willingness to negotiate with the puppet masters, the detail on which he spoke about the suffering in Syria...
Dunno, but he sounded on the edge to me.

Posted by: Shay | Jan 7, 2013 4:42:55 AM | 44

Q: Turkey’s stance will support what the Syrian people want to take place

R: Sure. You can ask any Armenian how that worked out for them.

I had a little bit of hope back in the day because of this and this. That bit of hope is long since dead.

Posted by: DanielRich | Jan 7, 2013 5:03:22 AM | 45

@ DanielRich #40: What the large numbers of Syrians are thinking is exceedlingly important and I fully agree with you that it's a non-trivial task for outsiders to figure out what the large numbers of Syrians are thinking.

There isn't a concise way to demonstrate what they're thinking. Multiple perspectives are needed, reinforcing (or contradicting) each other. One perspective that's been influential in my own thinking was posted by me on this board on 16 Jul 2012. It begins: "This long post is presenting evidence of the strength and depth of the political support for the Assadists in Syria. It is a collection of videos of live music concerts in Syria in various years in the decade of the 2000s (and none from 2011 or 2012)." http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/07/tremseh-massacre-was-a-legitimate-military-operation-.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0167688a75ae970b

The Syrian government has repeatly said that the government's power comes from the people and from listening to the people. Outsiders don't have the ability to evaluate that claim, and outsiders have biases that cause them to erroneously discount the claim. Bashar Assad in his speech yesterday said the following words, and I say that there's nothing in these specific words that is spurious and nothing in the words that would be received as spurious by the majority of Syrians:

"There must be a popular referendum on anything that is major, particularly in these difficult conditions. Any major political proposal that comes from outside or inside Syria must pass through popular referendum, not through the president, government, National Dialogue conference, or any other such thing. This constitutes a type of guarantee to always take steps that actually express popular consensus and national interest.... We [the government] won't take any initiative or action except based on Syrian reality and on the interest and desire of the people."

"The conflict is one between the homeland and its enemies, between the people and killers, between the citizens' material and security needs on the one hand and those who are depriving them of such on the other.... Are those revolutionaries? They are a bunch of criminals.... Our people rejected them and unveiled their lies.... They are the enemies of the people.... The majority of Syrians have risen against terrorism." The full English transcript of Bashar's speech is now available at http://sana-syria.com/eng/21/2013/01/07/460536.htm

On what ordinary Syrians are thinking, another point is that the Syrians are divided, in a state of civil war. The pro-goverment Syrians are the majority. But the rebellious Syrians exist in non-tiny numbers. Contrary to Bashar's speeches, most of the armed rebels are Syrians, not foreign Islamists. Contrary to Bashar, it's a Syrian problem, and it is not a foreign conspiracy (though the foreigners are of course cheering for the anti-government side and giving it moral support and giving it relatively smallish amounts of material support, and I say this exacerbates the Syrian problem, but isn't the problem itself).

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 7, 2013 5:55:21 AM | 46

Shay, I did not hear "the mobilization of all his supporters" what I heard was the equivalent of "don't think what the country can do for you, think what you can do for your country" to be precise, there definitively was no call to arms.
I do not think that arms are the problem for Assad now, the problem is the economic situation and supplies of essential goods (that what the "international community" i.e. the "West" has been targeting all along with sanctions and with the rebel strategy. Yes, that is targeting civilians.

I thought Assad was taunting the rebels saying he would talk not to them but to their masters ...

Of course, Assad made sure that negotiations will be with him not about him - Russia made that clear weeks ago. Iran's proposal which would have shifted power subtly was rejected weeks ago - it probably was the last chance to get something different in Syria.

Russia very clearly also stated weeks ago that you either protect chemical weapons or support the "rebels" but that you cannot do both.

If Assad had not acknowledged the pain, he would have been rightly called inhuman. Any good politician would have acknowledged this.

Let's face it, the speech was good and probably very efficient, it was analytical and though the analysis was selective, it was not wide off the mark.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7, 2013 5:55:47 AM | 47

@40,41
I think that there is not much reliable news coming out of Syria. I can trust neither the state media nor (in fact even much less) the western media.
In the absence of reliable reporters on the ground to observe the events and report the true stance of the Syrian people, I try to make comparisons with the historical cases for which we have a clear understanding of what was going on and use my common sense to 'guess' whats going on in Syria today.

For me the best 'historical case' which could serve as a yard stick is the Cuban revolution: some less than 20 guerrillas with no money, ZERO support from outside, almost no meaningful weaponry (guerrillas mostly relied on the weaponry seized from Batista's army to arm themselves) relied SOLELY on the Cuban people, their support and recruitment from peasants and defeated in 2 years a fully equipped army which had the FULL support (both military and financial) of the world's most powerful superpower which was a stone's throw away from Cuba. Now this is a REAL revolution!

As opposed to that we have a bunch of PAID mercenaries an unknown number of which are not even syrian, fully trained, armed and financed (not to mention having even artillery support from Turkey in some cases) by the worlds biggest military organization (NATO), taking on a state which has pretty much ZERO support from outside (I am not talking about morale support by Iran or the UNSC support by Russia/China). Instead of their ranks being flocked by the supporting syrians, the rebels have to invest and aim for "defections" of high rank officials, which is more in line with 'coups' rather than revolutions (no revolutionary movement with a strong popular support would deign to endorse and include the corrupt officials of a state which it tries to over throw, after all if we are to work with the regimes corrupt officials then why bother overthrowing the regime at all?).
So one would guess that given that the rebels don't have the popular support, perhaps the people support their antagonist (ie. the Assad government). But then again let's make a comparison with Cuba, bay of pigs 1961: with the full support (including air support) of USA an invasion attempt was made. It took for the Castro forces which had the OVERWHELMING popular support less than 3 days to rout the invading forces and completely eradicate/capture them.
In comparison the Syrian army has not been able to even maintain security inside big cities, and push back the "paid foreign fighters"!
So based on these comparisons my "guess" is that while both the rebels and the government have some support among the people the majority of the Syrians support neither one side or the other (if it had been other wise the side with the popular support would have won the war ten times over!). Personally I would guess that given the shady character of the relationship between the rebels and the West/Israel, there is less support for the rebels than there is for the government, but the majority of the Syrians support neither side and even if they had to choose the lesser of the two evils and were to pick Assad over the rebels, this reluctant support won't be enough to motivate them to stick their neck in support of the government against the barbarian rebels.
In the end I would like to say where I stand. I am a realist. I look at a nation and see what are the "viable alternatives" produced by/available for that nation. Among the viable alternatives I pick one as the lesser of the two evil WITHOUT SUPPORTING IT and without ceasing to try to create the viable alternative of my own (which is much easier said than done and can happen only in the course of history through social change).
So...which do I pick to deal/negotiate with? The worlds biggest military machinery and economic power and their puppets? or a rag-tag authoritarian government with a bunch of out-dated MIG-23s and no outside support (in fact weakened with outside antagonism)? which one is more likely to make a compromise to me? the former or the latter?
Well, based on commons sense it should be easy to take a guess on which side I would chose.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 7, 2013 6:15:04 AM | 48

Somebody, I broadly agree with your comments.

But, Assad said this: "Since the attack is launched against the homeland with all its human and material components, the mindful citizen has certainly known that passivity, waiting for time or others to solve the problem is a sort of pushing the country towards the abyss, and not participating in solutions is a kind of taking the homeland backwards with no progress towards overcoming what the home is going through."


So basically, stand up and be counted. I interpreted this as a rallying call - you're either with us or against us. It's about semantics I suppose. Doesn't matter what I think anyway :p

Posted by: Shay | Jan 7, 2013 6:18:51 AM | 49

@Shay

It's about semantics I suppose. Doesn't matter what I think anyway

True right

@Parviziyi
What are you trying to imply with all the youtube videos?

Posted by: hans | Jan 7, 2013 6:37:46 AM | 50

In case this hasn't been posted:

Syria: How Many People Have Been Killed? The Procurement of “UN Figures”


UN's Syria Study Contractor Benetech Has "Anonymous" Funder, State Dept Funds Affiliate

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-how-many-people-have-been-killed-the-procurement-of-un-figures/5317891

Posted by: johnf | Jan 7, 2013 7:31:57 AM | 51

Pirouz @ #48 makes the guess that "the majority of the Syrians support neither one side or the other". He's wrong. The majority of Syrians voted for the government in the elections on 7 May 2012 and in the referendum in the new Constitution on 26 Feb 2012. Consider the hypothetical: if the majority of Syrians don't support the government, then what is it that they support, and who are the representatives of these views, and why are the representatives totally invisible today? Pirouz is correct that "the Syrian army has not been able to even maintain security". But that does not imply his inference that the majority does not support the army. Bashar said in his speech yesterday and I agree: "The cohesion, steadfastness and national unity of the armed forces reflect those of the generality of the people of Syria."

As further rebuttal of Pirouz's guess, on 19 Mar 2012 on this board I gave a list of 20 reasons why the government's party was going to be the winner in the 7 May 2012 parliamentary elections by a wide margin; http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/03/open-thread-2012-07.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0168e90185c0970c .

One of the 20 reasons was:

Under the new Political Parties Law enacted in August 2011, eight new political parties have recently registered themselves and will be competing in the elections, but the bulk of the Syrian population including the better educated population don't even know the mere names of any of those new parties, never mind what their political platforms are. They are generating very little chatter; the population is exhibiting very little interest in alternative political parties at the moment. Another point is that the Syrian Parliament has contained for many years, in addition to the Baath Party majority, a variety of independents and government critics, and also has some organized opposition parties, yet year after year they've failed to win much popular following.

Another of the 20 reasons was:

The great majority of the people of Syria get the great majority of their political news and information about their country from information outlets that are based in their country. All of the widely circulating information outlets based in Syria are pro-regime. There isn't a single not-pro-regime information outlet based in Syria that gets even moderately wide circulation. Not-pro-regime and anti-regime information outlets are not illegal. Such outlets have to comply with certain rules which they dislike, especially the rule that defamatory stories have to be supported by high-quality verifiable evidence. The fact that rules-compliant not-pro-regime or anti-regime media outlets don't have significant market share is an indicator of the strength of the regime's support. The track record in the Arabic countries of the Middle East over the past 15 years shows that barriers to new entrants are not high in Arabic media markets (including Syria). If a biggish market window for opposition media hypothetically existed for Syria, we would've seen it being filled by now, and we would've seen it being filled before this past year. During this past year, as part of the comprehensive reform program, the government enacted additional liberalization of the legal framework regulating the information media. The text of the new law in Arabic is at http://www.moi.gov.sy/ar/aid19879.html . The law is basically the same as in any Western country in principles and in implementation. But it is worth mentioning that (a) Allegations of illegal and immoral behaviour of government officers (or of anyone) cannot be aired in the news media unless supported by very high quality evidence. Instead, such allegations must be brought to the public prosecutors. (b) Advocacy of violent rebellion is illegal. Advocacy of peaceful protest is legal. (c) All issues of public policy can be freely and openly debated in all media and all forums, by law. To repeat, there is no widely circulating not-pro-regime media outlet operating under these rules in Syria today.

Another one of the 20 reasons was

Syrians are nationalistic and the Assad regime has got a bone-crunchingly strong grip over how the nation and nationalism is defined. The definition of the nation that the Syrians are nationalistic about is the one developed and nurtured by the regime over decades. It is unchallenged and unchallengeable, and people are rallying around it at this time of stress. Nationalism sells well in national elections and no challenger can outdo the regime in selling nationalism.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 7, 2013 7:34:39 AM | 52

Pirouz @ #48 makes the guess that "the majority of the Syrians support neither one side or the other". He's wrong. The majority of Syrians voted for the government in the elections on 7 May 2012 and in the referendum in the new Constitution on 26 Feb 2012. Consider the hypothetical: if the majority of Syrians don't support the government, then what is it that they support, and who are the representatives of these views, and why are the representatives totally invisible today? Pirouz is correct that "the Syrian army has not been able to even maintain security". But that does not imply his inference that the majority does not support the army. Bashar said in his speech yesterday and I agree: "The cohesion, steadfastness and national unity of the armed forces reflect those of the generality of the people of Syria."

As further rebuttal of Pirouz's guess, on 19 Mar 2012 on this board I gave a list of 20 reasons why the government's party was going to be the winner in the 7 May 2012 parliamentary elections by a wide margin; http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/03/open-thread-2012-07.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef0168e90185c0970c .

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 7, 2013 7:40:33 AM | 53

@ DanielRich "Do you have any human intel from Syria? I'm trying to figure out what ordinary Syrians think, but am chasing my own tail."

SyrianPerspective uses actual Syrian sources, but its 100% pro-Assad, so some info may have bias. Nonetheless good to have such sources, among vast flood of West/arabs media's propaganda.

Like yesterdays intel what battles are fought, names of dead terrorists, etc.

http://syrianperspective.blogspot.com/2013/01/first-post-january-6-2013-news-from.html

Posted by: Harry | Jan 7, 2013 8:14:04 AM | 54

49) Shay,I agree, and it unerlines what Pirouz_2, 48 is saying. Assad's problem is not the "opposition" but lack of supporters.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7, 2013 8:14:09 AM | 55

@ 46 "Contrary to Bashar's speeches, most of the armed rebels are Syrians, not foreign Islamists."

How do you know? Maybe at the beginning indeed there were more Syrians (army defectors plus West's prepared rebels), but now there are mercenaries from all over the World, by thousands imported every month. Even rebels doctors, like french from "Doctors without borders" said more than half of fighters are foreign.

And not just in numbers, but in experience and skills too. Al Nusra is one of many fighters groups, but is the main fighting force. Because experienced Al Qaeda fighter after many wars and with extensive Qatar-Saudi arming and financing, every single one of them is worth more than 10 newbies from Syria or somewhere else.

There is a reason why over hundred of fighters and opposition groups signed petition: We are all Al Nusra!

"Contrary to Bashar, it's a Syrian problem, and it is not a foreign conspiracy (though the foreigners are of course cheering for the anti-government side and giving it moral support and giving it relatively smallish amounts of material support, and I say this exacerbates the Syrian problem, but isn't the problem itself)."

Since when thousands tons of arms and billions of dollars, including Syria's economic and military blockade and sabotage is just a "moral support"? West and arabs are going full steam, short of direct attack of Syria. Cut off foreign supplies and mercenaries, and even in this advanced stage war would be over in few months.

Lets not forget even before "rebellion" started, there was a long and extensive preparation of regime change in Syria by the West, and primarily US. If not that, there wouldnt have been any revolution. Some small demonstrations, pretty much it. Bahrain would look more serious in comparison.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 7, 2013 8:18:03 AM | 56

@ 46 "Contrary to Bashar's speeches, most of the armed rebels are Syrians, not foreign Islamists."

How do you know? Maybe at the beginning indeed there were more Syrians (army defectors plus West's prepared rebels), but now there are mercenaries from all over the World, by thousands imported every month. Even rebels doctors, like french from "Doctors without borders" said more than half of fighters are foreign.

And not just in numbers, but in experience and skills too. Al Nusra is one of many fighters groups, but is the main fighting force. Because experienced Al Qaeda fighter after many wars and with extensive Qatar-Saudi arming and financing, every single one of them is worth more than 10 newbies from Syria or somewhere else.

There is a reason why over hundred of fighters and opposition groups signed petition: We are all Al Nusra!

Posted by: Harry | Jan 7, 2013 8:20:30 AM | 57

"Contrary to Bashar, it's a Syrian problem, and it is not a foreign conspiracy (though the foreigners are of course cheering for the anti-government side and giving it moral support and giving it relatively smallish amounts of material support, and I say this exacerbates the Syrian problem, but isn't the problem itself)."

Since when thousands tons of arms and billions of dollars, including Syria's economic and military blockade and sabotage is just a "moral support"? West and arabs are going full steam, short of direct attack of Syria. Cut off foreign supplies and mercenaries, and even in this advanced stage war would be over in few months.

Lets not forget even before "rebellion" started, there was a long and extensive preparation of regime change in Syria by the West, and primarily US. If not that, there wouldnt have been any revolution. Some small demonstrations, pretty much it. Bahrain would look more serious in comparison.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 7, 2013 8:22:56 AM | 58

Channel 4's Alex Thomson: Assad’s warning – don’t let Syria become another Somalia

As ever in Syria, it depends where you are and who you are, in order to gauge reaction to President Assad’s weekend speech.

For example, it caused a campus demo at Aleppo University – but no such reports are coming from the three campuses of Damascus University.

Mind you, if all you have to go on are western media reports, you are probably amazed that the universities are even open.

They are. Just as the daily morning flight on Syrian Air leaves Damascus international for Aleppo every day. You won’t see it on IATA computer schedules around the world – but you’ll see it at the airport.

So Syrians are well used to reports of the imminent collapse of their state.

In Damascus, Homs, Hama and even parts of Aleppo, you could be forgiven for thinking the war isn’t happening.
...

Posted by: b | Jan 7, 2013 9:03:56 AM | 59

@Parviziyi #52;
I think that perhaps you misunderstood part of my post. Winning elections could also happen if you choose the lesser of two evils. However, a "reluctant support" as I mention in my post while could translate into wining elections does not necessarily translate into sticking your neck against head chopping animals to protect an authoritarian government.
To make it even more clear I draw your attention to the last part of my post where I describe my own stance. I don't like Bashar Al-Assad or his government and corrupt relatives. Nonetheless my choice will be clear if I have to *choose* between US puppets and the Assad government. But if it is not a matter of 'choosing' but rather 'fighting' and risking your life for one side perhaps I would choose to just try to dodge the bullets and 'survive'.
As I said in my previous message it is highly difficult for me to think that Assad has the vast majority's passionate support (ie. the vast majority of the Syrians would scream "With blood and soul we sacrifice for you, O Bashar!") and yet after two years he can't even provide security in the large cities.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 7, 2013 9:40:00 AM | 60

@58

I see your point Pirouz_2, but standing aside and "surviving" would be very shortsighted, for two main reasons (there are more, for sure)

1. If all Syrians would fight against aggression, it wouldnt HAVE to be for Assad, it could very well be for the country. I think that was one of Assad's speech points. If someone doesnt like Assad, as soon as country is secured, in upcoming free presidential elections they could vote for someone else they prefer.

2. If terrorists arent defeated, country would indeed go the way of Libya, Somalia and the like. Army cant do it on their own without secured borders, therefore the choice is either to emigrate, or stay and fight. No one wants to live under medieval fanatical puppets, with their masters living somewhere else and not giving 2ct of crap about Syrians. Libyans are already paying heavy price for "wait and see" approach.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 7, 2013 10:37:10 AM | 61

@#59;

Very good points and I agree with all of them. My point though is that at least *so far* the majority of people must have preferred emigration rather than fighting. In fact that is EXACTLY my point: if the people had stood up and fought on either side by now the side supported by the people would have won the war ten times over.
Let us hope that there will be a change and Syrian people will stand up and fight the rebels, if not for Assad (hopefully not) at least for their country and for avoiding a fate as horrible as you brilliantly describe in the second part of your post.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 7, 2013 10:55:50 AM | 62

Al Monitor: Choice: ‘Somalia-ization’ of Syria Or a Political Settlement

The Obama administration is enduring a crisis that is fast developing into a major embarrassment. It is clear that some of the $25 million it allocated to the opposition National Coalition has been given to Jabhat al-Nusrah, something which caused a great deal of consternation, that has so far been kept hidden, particularly as Washington placed Jabhat al-Nusrah on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. It is said that certain American diplomats paid for this with their jobs.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7, 2013 11:19:49 AM | 63

#58

In a polity, no matter how the political framework is shaped, it is almost always the case that the majority of the population will not take arms to defend or fight the state. So what you are emphasizing on here is not adding any knowledge. On the other hand, sustained extreme positions exacerbate the situation and divide the social fabric. In the case of Syria, because of some perceived colliding interests, foreign powers are constantly fueling the extremists to weaken the state and ultimately collapse it. The proposals laid out in the speech, along with the previous Russian and Iranian initiatives, are to help re-consolidate the power of the state (security aspect), elevate its status back to the one of an objective arbiter and then reform it (dialogue). The political dilemma here is to reconcile the necessary de-polarization of the situation with the imperative for the state to fight the armed extremists. Now and here, this is the soundest policy path that the Syrian state can follow. Assad's speech was intended to clarify this aspect.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 7, 2013 11:34:11 AM | 64

@62;
You say:

"In a polity, no matter how the political framework is shaped, it is almost always the case that the majority of the population will not take arms to defend or fight the state. "

I absolutely disagree. I would refer you to the 'historical case' of Cuban revolution to oust Batista and then the people's support for Castro forces during the fight in the bay of pigs in 1961 which I talked about in my post #48
But history has many such cases, one other example would be my own country (Iran) during the first 2 years of Iran-Iraq war. In 1980, with a lame duck army many of whose officers were imprisoned, people fought almost with bare hands to defend the country against Saddams invading armies. In the city of Khorramshahr ordinary civilians fought with weapons as rudimentary as molotov cocktails to resist the enemy tanks and artillery for more than a month and when the city (which is right on the border!) finally fell, in a matter of 2 years Iranians managed to liberate it.
There are many other examples, why go as far as 1961 or 1980? How about people's resistence against the invading Israeli forces in Lebanon in 2006?
I think that the rebels have made it crystal clear that they are not interested in negotiations, therefore the only remaining choice is for one side to win the war. I don't see the inclination in the West to stop supporting the rebels so the only remaining option to get out of the current stalemate is 'IF' the Syrians decide to fight rather than emigrate.

So far...they have not done so...

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 7, 2013 12:24:56 PM | 65

There are ways of fighting without getting one's family raped or beheaded. It's possible for instance to tell the government forces which building the 'rebels' are hiding in.

Posted by: dh | Jan 7, 2013 12:38:29 PM | 66

There really isn't much of a comparison between the Cuban revolution and what's happening in Syria. Cuba was a revolution from within, Syria is an insurgency from without. The attack on Syria is foreign sponsored and run and the real fighting is mostly being done by foreign mercs and intelligence/special forces types. Syrian people are not much involved in the fighting on the insurgent side, other than as sacrificial cannon fodder for PR purposes. The planning, the strategy, the tactics, the heavy lifting, the operations are all carried out and lead by the foreign insurgency.

Probably the Nicaraguan contra terrorists are the closest one can compare to the terrorists operating against Syria. Though there are major differences between the Nicaragua of the 1980's and Syria today, what the Israeli-American fascists are doing to Syria is essentially a revised "contra" insurgency, updated and remodeled to fit their goals in Syria.

The tactics are similar. There are no fixed lines or territories between the government and the insurgents as the insurgents don't operate as an army. They don't seek to hold territory. They don't seek to gain Syrian allies. Their purpose is to terrorise the Syrian people into a situation where they fear the consequences of being associated with the government side. Hence the gruesome executions, random bombings, sniping and other terror tactics the insurgents rely upon. It was the same with the contras against Nicaragua.

There being no fixed lines between the opposing sides means this Syrian insurgency operates more like criminal gangs and deranged psychotic mass murderers. Fighting these terrorists is a lot like fighting the psychotic shooters like that Norwegian guy or the recent American school shooter or fighting a criminal gang. The majority of the insurgent ops are like those, where a trained group of terrorists infiltrate a region and then use hit and run terror attacks. The places these insurgents actually act like an army are areas where there is no, or little, Syrian army presence. They cut and run as soon as the army shows up. It's these ops where the duped/bought Syrian recruits are mostly used. The zionist media hypes their presence and they hold "the line" while the mercs and foreign professionals scoot to the border.

The terrorists also mold their "attacks" to cater to the PR machine in the zionist western media. This is especially the work of the foreign intelligence types running these operations. Slaughter several dozen people, post a video claiming the government did it, and the zionist media takes it from there to make sure people in the west are misinformed.

This is why I am especially disgusted with progressive outlets that peddle this repulsive crap. One expects the mainstream media do the propaganda, it's their job as being part of the fascist establishment, so many have come to rely upon alternative, supposedly progressive media to provide a more accurate picture, but many of these are putting out the same propaganda rubbish as the zionist run mainstreamers are.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 1:20:40 PM | 67

#63

Sorry, but I persist: in a politically organized society, i.e. possessing a state apparatus, the majority will rarely take arms to defend or fight the state (I meant that literally since you were giving percentages and numbers.) Even during a revolution or at the time of national defense, the majority follows the militant minority which might have taken arms against or in favor of the state. At the most, a case can be made that in Syria, the majority of the population not siding with the insurgents is effectively in the camp of the government.

Anyway, my point wasn't to argue on the resolve of the supporters of each camp. On the contrary, as I said in my previous post, I believe that emphasizing the reluctance, indifference or enthusiasm of the population toward one side or another won't serve the purpose of this discussion. In highly polarized situations, like the one in Syria, extremist elements are the ones that have the opportunity to influence the political context and the state's challenge is to calm down the situation and deprive the extremist from their tools of influence without weakening and ultimately collapsing. That's the crux of the political problem now and here.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 7, 2013 1:41:08 PM | 68

@Pirouz_2
To get answers to some of your questions posed I would suggest you enter them at http://syrianperspective.blogspot.co.uk/

Ziad is a Syrian living in the USA and has very good contacts with the government supporters in Syria. I believe his analysis.

Posted by: hans | Jan 7, 2013 1:57:38 PM | 69

@65
It's not a matter of "persistence" over one's own ideas, its a matter of providing evidence. I think I have provided enough evidence that when the overwhelming majority is supporting a side that side wins much faster and much more decisively than what is going on in Syria.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 7, 2013 2:01:01 PM | 70

#67

I don't have any qualm on what you stated right here. Although I can give you the example of Nicaragua after 1979 where the majority of the population was, I believe, on the Sandinista side but nevertheless the political extremism fomented by the US succeeded in the overthrow of the regime. What I was saying was that in the case of Syria and similar, the argument emphasizing the degree of support among the majority of the population for either side is ineffective in understanding the political reality at hand. A much betther approach is to look at the context at the extremes to determine the political outcome.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 7, 2013 2:57:10 PM | 71

My earlier comment didn't make it up. Hopefully it's just a temporary delay, like what has happened before a couple of times. And hopefully the following post doesn't fall into the same crack.

Media-bias, Syria and Russia - an Arab spin

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_07/Media-bias-Syria-and-Russia-an-Arab-spin/

"Syria and Russia will go to war, the US is not doing enough to funnel weapons into the area of the Syrian conflict, the US is giving the Russian Federation assignments, Brahimi and Russia intentionally railroaded their own peace plan and finally “Washington has always looked for a political solution… ” These are just some of the false statements that appear in the world’s press with regard to the Syrian conflict, but having them all in one place makes one really wonder who is pulling the strings.

What is intentionally being left out by the West in any debate concerning Syria is the fact that Syria is a sovereign nation and no matter how much one country might not like the leader of any nation and how badly the leader’s removal may be desired, it is, for lack of better phraseology “illegal” to bring about the forceful removal of a leader from the outside and it is also illegal to extra-judicially execute a head of state.

The continued vilification of Russia due to the position it has maintained from day one with regards to Syria is so patently transparent and self-serving that one wonders how dumbed down the writers believe the readership must be to be buying into it.

A recent article regarding Syria by Abdul Wahab Badrakhan in Al-Arabiya News reflects the blatant bias against Russia and Syria and the adage “if you repeat a lie long enough it becomes true”, but what makes the work in question stand out other than the Fox News style of repeating mindless talking points, is the fact that it chides the US for not doing enough and attempts to portray some sort of conspiracy between Russia and the US.

The Western reaction to a recent speech by Bashsar Assad was also indicative of the policy that the West is maintaining, namely if something does not fit into their pre-planned scenario, it has to be vilified.

The Clinton State Department either did not actually listen to Assad’s speech or chose to ignore all of the points made by Assad. The statement released after Assad’s speech is what we have heard all along: "… another attempt by the regime to cling to power and does nothing to advance the Syrian people's goal of a political transition… His initiative is detached from reality, undermines the efforts of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi …” and of course the ever repeated calls for Assad to step down...."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 3:43:32 PM | 72

An interesting take:

Assad Calls for “Purely Syrian” Solution

http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/01/assad-calls-for-purely-syrian-solution/

"On October 28, 2012, the Syrian army conducted a mop-up operation on the outskirts of Deir al-Zour, a city situated about 420 kilometers northeast of Damascus, engaged a group of armed men and shot dead Ammar Nawar al-Hajr, an al-Qaeda leader. In a recent development, 59-year-old Mohamed al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri has been arrested by Syrian military forces in the city of Dara’a, southwest of Damascus. He was arrested while he was having a meeting with opposition militants in Dara’a.

The militants insist that Mohamed al-Zawahiri was engaged on a humanitarian mission and that he had, in fact, ‘proposed a local truce to enable aid to get through’. The assertion roughly runs counter to the so-called fatwa his brother Ayman al-Zawahiri has issued, calling for a jihad against the “pernicious, cancerous regime” of Bashar al-Assad...."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 4:13:54 PM | 73

# 28 @ Parvizyi

Though I totally oppose the syrian rebels and islamist ideas/movements you should be cautious with your assessment of the slogans you quoted as being chanted at rebel demonstrations.
There is indeed a major difference between islamiC and islamiST.
There is nothing or at least little wrong with demanding an islamic state in a country with broad muslim majority. Demanding or advertizing an islamiST state however is worrying. If in fact people tend to regard sectarianist mass murderers such as Bin Laden as heroes or if they praise the Taliban and Mullah Umar (as happened in Binish) then this is a troubling development.

The ordinary already quite pious Sunni population listen to sermons by people like Yusuf al Qaradawi, who has a high reputation as authoritative "source" in the Sunni world. So, when that guy calls Iran (and Russia) the "worst enemies of Arabs" (thus ignoring the role of US and Israel) and denounces Shias as "heretics" he is actively and dangerously promoting racism and sectarianism. The impoverished Sunni countryside Arab of Syria (in worst case) considers Assads regime an "Iranian" regime of heretics, as though Assad and the Baath party had any rulings in place that would suppress Sunnis in their religious practice.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Jan 7, 2013 4:14:30 PM | 74

The following is what was said about Assad's speech at Hypocrisy (oops, Democracy) Now:

"Assad Vows Continued Crackdown in Rare Public Speech

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is vowing to continue his government’s fight against rebel groups while ruling out talks with the armed opposition. In his first pubic address in six months, Assad called Syrian rebels a tool of foreign intervention.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: "We are now in a state of war in every sense of the word. We are now confronting a vicious, external war. This form of war is more fragmenting and more dangerous than conventional war because it does not utilize its equipment to hit us, but it pulls us into carrying out its plans. This war targets Syria using a handful of Syrians and many foreigners. It’s trying to use us to tear down our trees and destroy our foundations, and it is with pity that this is happening with help from some of our own."

Assad said he is open to dialogue, but only with those opposition groups tolerated by his regime. His appearance came days after the United Nations reported the death toll from nearly two years of fighting in Syria has reached around 60,000. In the rebel-held town of Aleppo, a Syrian resident said his fellow citizens don’t trust Assad.

Aleppo resident: "Any normal citizen listening to his speech heard him say that he asks for the refugees to return to their homes. At the same time, he says he will not be deterred in fighting terrorism. How can a citizen go back to his home when at the same time Assad forces are attacking them with missiles and tanks? There is great contradiction in his speech. We’re at a point where citizens don’t believe a word he says."

This is the sort of betrayal much of the so-called progressive media in the USA peddles to their audiences. They say the "right thing" (or close to it) on most issues to gain a credible reputation, but when it comes to something important to the zionist-fascist establishment, they soft sell their propaganda in a way designed to "hook" their perceived audience with the "proper" message. They really are not better than the rest of the zionist media, they are more deceptively clever at wording the fascism in such a manner it sells better to their particular audiences. Think of these people as "color revolutionaries" for the "home front".

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 4:38:06 PM | 75

@71 "There is nothing or at least little wrong with demanding an islamic state in a country with broad muslim majority."

Do you mean a majority of one type of muslim, two, several? And if a "state" will there predominate in positions of influence one, two, several types of muslim? What about those clinging to a different set of beliefs every bit as plausible as a muslim's? Laws will have to be crafted and bribes/threats paid/offered to keep them in the minority.

Why not an officially non-of-the-above state? Sounds sensible to me.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 7, 2013 4:38:58 PM | 76

The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

Posted by: hans | Jan 7, 2013 5:26:23 PM | 77

@73
I personally favor a secular, not-religion-based multiethnical state.
What I meant was that it is by itself neither astonishing nor catastrophic if poorer and less educated rural population demands an islamic state. In their opinion there is nothing wrong with "Islam".
They may not directly associate Islam with Bin Laden, Taliban, beheadings etc. but with "good values", higher ethics, etc.
As said, if those folks demand islamism (instead of Islam), meaning a macho society with severe restrictions on women, little rights and freedoms for non-muslims, persecution of "apostates" (meaning Shias/Alawis..), forced public prayers, etc., then this is indeed alarming.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Jan 7, 2013 5:29:19 PM | 78

Most westerners don't realise how much their "secular" states are manifestations of the dominant Judeo-Christian backgrounds of the citizens. So Americans balk at the idea of women being required to wear veils, but see reason why they shouldn't be required to cover other parts of the body - such as their breasts. If it was put to a vote in the USA, probably half the country would want more restrictions, based upon their reading of Christian values, than the "dreaded" Sharia laws the media harps about. There is a lot of hypocrisy in western talk about "Muslim" restrictive societies vs the enlightened westerner, secular, or not.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 5:39:00 PM | 79

"but see reason why they shouldn't be required"

but no see reason why they shouldn't be required

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 5:39:44 PM | 80

This assessment from Lamb is very interesting, in regard to his remarks on Assad's personality, the views of the Syrians he observed and his info about the Saudis and their divisions.

Tipping Point or Turning Point?



Assad at the Opera House

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/01/07/assad-at-the-opera/

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 6:28:15 PM | 81

The following piece about the who and whys surrounding these attacks on Syria does a thorough job of connecting the dots.

The Syria Endgame: Strategic Stage in the Pentagon’s Covert War on Iran

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-syria-endgame-strategic-stage-in-the-pentagons-covert-war-on-iran/5317907

While it may look like Israel-America are backing off, such should be considered in light of Israeli tactics and strategy towards the Palestinians. They appear to back off from time to time (when they want to cool off the bad PR they are getting), but each year sees less land under Palestinian control and more under Israeli control. They always keep the pressure on Palestine, the perceived backing off is just a slight lightening of that pressure till circumstances allow the zionist to increase it again.

This is likely how they will continue trying to wreak Syria. They are like ants confronted with a cube of sugar. They don't give up.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 7, 2013 7:03:29 PM | 82

@#68

"Although I can give you the example of Nicaragua after 1979 where the majority of the population was, I believe, on the Sandinista side but nevertheless the political extremism fomented by the US succeeded in the overthrow of the regime."

I am not familiar with the details of the sandanista revolution and the subsequent elections. However, based on my limited knowledge Nicaragua is not a good example for your case, Sandanista lost the elections to UNO in 1990. It is being rightly said that
those were not real elections and that US coerced Nicaraguans to vote for UNO, but nonetheless fact remains that a majority succumbed to US pressure and voted for UNO. So in essence US forced (or bought if you will) the Nicaraguans to abandon Sandanistas and vote for UNO. Which sort of makes my point that *IF* the government manages to command the majority's passionate support it should be able to gain an upper hand against foreign sponsored terrorists. But if for any reason -be it Americans buying the vote of majority as in case of Nicaragua or the majority not being that deeply fond of the authoritarian state, as the case is in my opinion in Syria- the majority start to act "passively" or "submissively" then there can be a stalemate between state's armed forces and the army of the paid mercenaries, where there are liberated zones in almost all major cities.
You also say:

"What I was saying was that in the case of Syria and similar, the argument emphasizing the degree of support among the majority of the population for either side is ineffective in understanding the political reality at hand. "

I think on this particular issue at least Bashar Al-Assad would agree more with me than with you. He very clearly emphasizes that people must leave submissiveness to a side and take action:

"Since the attack is launched against the homeland with all its human and material constituents, the mindful citizen has certainly known that passivity, waiting for time or others to solve the problem is a sort of pushing the country towards the abyss, and not contributing solutions is a kind of taking the homeland backwards with no progress towards overcoming what the homeland is going through."

In the end I would like to ask you elaborate on something you said:

"A much betther approach is to look at the context at the extremes to determine the political outcome."

Can you elaborate a little bit on what you mean?

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 7, 2013 7:12:50 PM | 83

@ Parviziyi [#47],

Thank you for the link and sharing your pov. I can't help but agree with you. I've been fortunate and traveled extensively around the globe and haven't been in a single country where there isn't one group or another that's dissatisfied with or over one thing or another. 'We' westerners [very much in general] are very presumptuous in believing that we ooze democracy out of every pour we possess, simply because we have 'free-speech-zones' en the cops only tazers, teargas, pepperspray and beat the crap out of us with batons, when we are being democratic. If the way 'we' dealt with the Waco rebels is anything to go by, the US would have nuked these rebels to oblivion, so the western preachers should sing very humble songs about our crusaders' glory and such. Sectarianism doesn't need to be about religion or culture, it's even exposed [in a much less complex and milder way] when two opposing base/basket/football teams' fans run amok. I've also never liven in a country where the population spoke with 'one voice.' Thus it will be a 'leader's' task to be able to unite all those various tunes into one. And that, my friend, in essence explains why dictators can exist. I'm no fan of Assad or what he stands for, but I'm wholly against western interference in other countries and again, I've seen a lot of that too. So, I hope the Syrian people will succeed, but, in all honesty, I've lost hope in human beings being capable of dealing with the concept of 'demos.' It seems quite a few are focusing on 'demons' instead and quite happy with it.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 7, 2013 7:15:47 PM | 84

@76 whatever Sharia may be it is based on the words of the only Witness Who, very conveniently, cannot be called upon to verify His testimony.

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 7, 2013 9:19:50 PM | 85

side note [it does prove me wrong in what I said in an earlier message]: Pamplona's locksmiths join revolt as banks throw families from their homes

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 7, 2013 10:59:33 PM | 86

One could be forgiven for thinking that Pirouz_2 is a French or Israeli troll. Its whole case is based on the evidence-free presumption that the 'rebels' are doing OK and the conflict could still go "either way."
One could only arrive at such a preposterous conclusion if one had been soaking in meaningless YouTube clips posted by 'rebels' discharging weapons, in empty streetscapes, at unidentified (ie imaginary) targets.
Clips of this kind are preferred by the Western MSM because images of streets deserted, except for 'rebels' (in charge of absolutely nothing), are designed to create the impression that all of Syria looks like that. But nothing could farther from the truth. In most parts of most Syrian cities life is going on more or less 'normally'. The situation in Syria in 2013 is much the same as it was in Britain during WWII - not completely normal but as close to normal as 'wartime' conditions allow.
The Syrian 'rebels' are fucked. They just haven't realised it yet.

It's a pity for them that they are so divided and disparate that they don't have access to reliable information and are being reported to the authorities as soon as local residents become aware of the presence of murderous and clueless vandals.

Despite what the "Israelis" and French would have us believe, Syrians are normal people, just like us, and are doing all the same things you and I would do if we were in their shoes.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7, 2013 11:17:48 PM | 87

I apologise in advance for mentioning this ... but it was 'disappointing' to see several of the 'sharp' minds posting here asking for an English translation of Assad's speech when b had posted a link to it in the first line of his intro.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7, 2013 11:42:08 PM | 88

#80

Bashar Assad is a political leader. His rationality, like any other political actor, is based on determining the actions that can assure the continuation of his leadership. His words are uttered for this purpose only, or if they are not, then he has made a political mistake that will be used by his opponents.

We, on the other hand, analyze the situation. Our reason therefore should essentially be oriented toward finding the truth not seeking followers. Thus the need for us to have a correct rational approach. Logically, the political dynamic is better understood when the extremes are clearly identified. Concepts like, the mass, the majority of the population, democracy, pluralism etc... are not the best criteria for this analysis. When I see a reference to these topics in a political forum I usually conclude that the goal is to propagandize, not seek the truth. Since your objective sounded to be initially understanding the logical political connections between the facts relating to Syria I thought that my remarks would have helped. Unless, obviously, you are looking to influence and manipulate.

Posted by: ATH | Jan 7, 2013 11:58:57 PM | 89

While this validates one of my other points.

And I think we should send in Alex to scare the Syrian beheaders [and anyone else who's got a few braincells up and running] Link + Link and Pierce to do the mopping up.

I sincerely hope the Syrian population picks up arms and fights either way, to get their country back and stop the senseless deaths of way too many innocent men, women and children.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 8, 2013 2:09:21 AM | 90

BeSa Center associates discuss the implications of Syria’s civil war and impending break-up

This is how the leeches of Israhell think!

Posted by: hans | Jan 8, 2013 2:09:59 AM | 91

84 Horsewitherer, the problem is not really military. "Rebels" and "the West" have been attacking Syrian infrastructure and economy. Syria is running up huge debth to Iran and Russia (presumably China). Tourism is dead. So yes the "rebels" and "the West" have enough negotiating chips. And there is terrorism. People get killed. People will arm themselves if the state cannot provide security. That is the road to sectarian warfare (see agent provocateur), Assad's legitimacy based on family rule is weak to say the least.

ATH, frankly I would trust noone who pretends to have no agenda and to be objective.
Armed extremism which obviously exists in Syria helps the Syrian government, makes the unarmed opposition irrelevant, who obviously, for patriotic reasons, now have to rally around the government (Assad was using this in his speech to the max) and it can be defeated militarily. Armed extremism is a very good excuse for any security state for almost any measure. The US is a good example.

The fact that the armed "Syrian opposition" is not capable of denouncing this extremism and follows a strategy of destroying infrastructure and attacking food supplies proves that they are not representative of Syrians but are indeed following orders from outside.

All this just means that Syrians are presented no choice. It does not mean they support Assad. And that is the point Pirouz_2 is making just deriving it from a different angle: If Assad had the full support of the Syrian people the "rebels" could not have lasted that long.

And I add: If you feel the state is hostile to you, you do not help the state.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8, 2013 2:18:34 AM | 92

82

"@76 whatever Sharia may be it is based on the words of the only Witness Who, very conveniently, cannot be called upon to verify His testimony."

The point I was making with my comment is that people take for granted their own culture's idiosyncrasies to the point many of these are not even realised, and will be overly aware of the idiosyncrasies of another culture which are different than what they themselves are used to. This isn't to say one culture is better or worse than the other. Such is not relevant to what I meant to say and would in fact detract away from the meaning of the post.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 8, 2013 2:43:08 AM | 93

So it is back to fighting terrorism now:

Study shows rise of al Qaeda affiliate in Syria

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8, 2013 2:46:43 AM | 94

ATH

I am sorry but what you say is starting to sound like gibberish.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 8, 2013 3:15:27 AM | 95

@ BOT TAK [#90],

Public breastfeeding is one of those examples where everyone goes ape. When the wife of a samurai was about to commit seppuku after she'd received the news of his death [in battle or a bar], would tie her legs together so as to not expose herself in death. Try patting a Thai kid on its head with your left hand = suicidal. You're right though. The hypocritical tunnel vision is breathtaking at times; literally.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 8, 2013 3:15:50 AM | 96

Chemical Weopons Scare revisited

So now the danger is extremist groups could use it - well, either Assad or the extremists ...

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8, 2013 3:22:46 AM | 97

Hoarsewhisper #84 said, and it's true: "In most parts of most Syrian cities life is going on more or less 'normally'." At youtube there are a number of uploaders who regularly upload videos of mundane pedestrians and street traffic so you can verify the normality with you own eyes without being in Syria.

Hoarsewhisper #84 said: "The Syrian 'rebels' are fucked." It's true that the rebels can't win. That was also true six months ago, twelve months ago and eighteen months ago. But what's the timeframe for extinguishing the rebellion? In Algeria in the 1990s it took the government almost a whole decade to put down that rebellion, and even then there were still a few clueless and murderous holdouts left at large in Algeria. Based on what's happend during the past six months everyone on the Syrian government's side has to admit that the future date when the security crisis is over is farther away than they used to think it was.

@ Hoarsewhisperer #85: The link to Assad's speech 'b' linked to at SANA had its content updated during the day last Sunday by SANA. On Monday morning it contained the complete transcript, but on Sunday the same link only contained highlights from the speech.

# 89 somebody said: "Assad's legitimacy based on family rule is weak to say the least." That is false. Assad's legitmacy is NOT based on 'family rule' and it is NOT weak. Assad as President was approved by the Syrian public by very wide margins in referendums that had very high turnout in 2000 and 2007, and I see good reason to expect the same in the presidential election scheduled for 2014. In pure raw politics terms, Assad is good as a politican in Syria, and will trounce all competition in the 2014 election, and all competitors will be positioned somewhere between very feeble and essentially non-existent.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 8, 2013 5:20:46 AM | 98

Parviziyi | Jan 8
Look Parviziyi I am German, have close relatives who used to live in the GDR and I visited the GDR regularly. The GDR had a Baath style one party nomenclatura system (meaning all major positions are decided by the political system, i.e. for career reasons you had to be a party member with few exceptions). Saying it was a one party system is not correct in a literal way, as there were recognized "opposition" parties who had a chance of getting exactly nowhere. Yes there were regular elections. You knew the outcome beforehand.
The SED knew they were governing against the majority of the population and that their power was based on Soviet Union tanks. They also knew they had to follow the policies of the "great brotherly peaceful Soviet Union".
So when Gorbachev warned them that they were "late" they just gave up.

There is no way you can convince me that it is natural that Syrians have voted for the Baath party for 40 years. Especially when you look at Syrian history before then.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8, 2013 5:54:11 AM | 99

When you look at the elections results in the ex-GDR now - "Die Linke", the SED successor gets close to 30 percent of the vote. My estimate would be the same for Syria if Syrians had a real choice i.e. more than two parties. If there are just two parties Islamists versus Baath my guess is Baath would win.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8, 2013 6:03:55 AM | 100

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