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A Mistaken Case For Syrian Regime Change

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#1 Z

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 11:37 PM

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Aisling Byrne is Projects Co-ordinator with Conflicts Forum and is based in Beirut.

"War with Iran is already here," wrote a leading Israeli commentator recently, describing "the combination of covert warfare and international pressure" being applied to Iran.

Although not mentioned, the "strategic prize" of the first stage of this war on Iran is Syria; the first campaign in a much wider sectarian power-bid. "Other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself," Saudi King Abdullah was reported to have said last summer, "nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria." [1]

By December, senior United States officials were explicit about their regime change agenda for Syria: Tom Donilon, the US National Security Adviser, explained that the "end of the [President Bashar al-]Assad regime would constitute Iran's greatest setback in the region yet - a strategic blow that will further shift the balance of power in the region against Iran."

Shortly before, a key official in terms of operationalizing this policy, Under Secretary of State for the Near East Jeffrey Feltman, had stated at a congressional hearing that the US would "relentlessly pursue our two-track strategy of supporting the opposition and diplomatically and financially strangling the [Syrian] regime until that outcome is achieved". [2]

What we are seeing in Syria is a deliberate and calculated campaign to bring down the Assad government so as to replace it with a regime "more compatible" with US interests in the region.

The blueprint for this project is essentially a report produced by the neo-conservative Brookings Institute for regime change in Iran in 2009. The report - "Which Path to Persia?" [3] - continues to be the generic strategic approach for US-led regime change in the region.

A rereading of it, together with the more recent "Towards a Post-Assad Syria" [4] (which adopts the same language and perspective, but focuses on Syria, and was recently produced by two US neo-conservative think-tanks) illustrates how developments in Syria have been shaped according to the step-by-step approach detailed in the "Paths to Persia" report with the same key objective: regime change.

The authors of these reports include, among others, John Hannah and Martin Indyk, both former senior neo-conservative officials from the George W Bush/**** Cheney administration, and both advocates for regime change in Syria. [5] Not for the first time are we seeing a close alliance between US/British neo-cons with Islamists (including, reports show [6], some with links to al-Qaeda) working together to bring about regime change in an "enemy" state.

Arguably, the most important component in this struggle for the "strategic prize" has been the deliberate construction of a largely false narrative that pits unarmed democracy demonstrators being killed in their hundreds and thousands as they protest peacefully against an oppressive, violent regime, a "killing machine" [7] led by the "monster" [8] Assad.

Whereas in Libya, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) claimed it had "no confirmed reports of civilian casualties" because, as the New York Times wrote recently, "the alliance had created its own definition for 'confirmed': only a death that NATO itself investigated and corroborated could be called confirmed".

"But because the alliance declined to investigate allegations," the Times wrote, "its casualty tally by definition could not budge - from zero". [9]

In Syria, we see the exact opposite: the majority of Western mainstream media outlets, along with the media of the US's allies in the region, particularly al-Jazeera and the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV channels, are effectively collaborating with the "regime change" narrative and agenda with a near-complete lack of questioning or investigation of statistics and information put out by organizations and media outlets that are either funded or owned by the US/European/Gulf alliance - the very same countries instigating the regime change project in the first place.

Claims of "massacres", "campaigns of rape targeting women and girls in predominantly Sunni towns" [10] "torture" and even "child-rape" [11] are reported by the international press based largely on two sources - the British-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights and the Local Co-ordination Committees (LCCs) - with minimal additional checking or verification.

Hiding behind the rubric - "we are not able to verify these statistics" - the lack of integrity in reporting by the Western mainstream media has been starkly apparent since the onset of events in Syria. A decade after the Iraq war, it would seem that no lessons from 2003 - from the demonization of Saddam Hussein and his purported weapons of mass destruction - have been learnt.

Of the three main sources for all data on numbers of protesters killed and numbers of people attending demonstrations - the pillars of the narrative - all are part of the "regime change" alliance.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, in particular, is reportedly funded through a Dubai-based fund with pooled (and therefore deniable) Western-Gulf money (Saudi Arabia alone has, according to Elliot Abrams [12] allocated US$130 billion to "palliate the masses" of the Arab Spring).

What appears to be a nondescript British-based organization, the Observatory has been pivotal in sustaining the narrative of the mass killing of thousands of peaceful protesters using inflated figures, "facts", and often exaggerated claims of "massacres" and even recently "genocide".

Although it claims to be based in its director's house [13], the Observatory has been described as the "front office" of a large media propaganda set-up run by the Syrian opposition and its backers. The Russian Foreign Ministry [14] stated starkly:
The agenda of the [Syrian] transitional council [is] composed in London by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights ... It is also there where pictures of 'horror' in Syria are made to stir up hatred towards Assad's regime.
The Observatory is not legally registered either as a company or charity in the United Kingdom, but operates informally; it has no office, no staff and its director is reportedly awash with funding.

It receives its information, it says, from a network of "activists" inside Syria; its English-language website is a single page with al-Jazeera instead hosting a minute-by-minute live blog page for it since the outset of protests. [15]

The second, the LCCs, are a more overt part of the opposition's media infrastructure, and their figures and reporting is similarly encompassed only [16] within the context of this main narrative: in an analysis of their daily reports, I couldn't find a single reference to any armed insurgents being killed: reported deaths are of "martyrs", "defector soldiers", people killed in "peaceful demonstrations" and similar descriptions.

The third is al-Jazeera, whose biased role in "reporting" the Awakenings has been well documented. Described by one seasoned media analyst [17] as the "sophisticated mouthpiece of the state of Qatar and its ambitious emir", al-Jazeera is integral to Qatar's "foreign-policy aspirations".

Al-Jazeera has, and continues, [18] to provide technical support, equipment, hosting and "credibility" to Syrian opposition activists and organizations. Reports show that as early as March 2011, al-Jazeera was providing messaging and technical support to exiled Syrian opposition activists [19] , who even by January 2010 were co-ordinating their messaging activities from Doha.

Nearly 10 months on, however, and despite the daily international media onslaught, the project isn't exactly going to plan: a YouGov poll commissioned by the Qatar Foundation [20] showed last week that 55% of Syrians do not want Assad to resign and 68% of Syrians disapprove of the Arab League sanctions imposed on their country.

According to the poll, Assad's support has effectively increased since the onset of current events - 46% of Syrians felt Assad was a "good" president for Syria prior to current events in the country - something that certainly doesn't fit with the false narrative being peddled.

As if trumpeting the success of their own propaganda campaign, the poll summary concludes:
The majority of Arabs believe Syria's President Basher al-Assad should resign in the wake of the regime's brutal treatment of protesters ... 81% of Arabs [want] President Assad to step down. They believe Syria would be better off if free democratic elections were held under the supervision of a transitional government. [21]
One is left wondering who exactly is Assad accountable to - the Syrian people or the Arab public? A blurring of lines that might perhaps be useful as two main Syrian opposition groups have just announced [22] that while they are against foreign military intervention, they do not consider "Arab intervention" to be foreign.

Unsurprisingly, not a single mainstream major newspaper or news outlet reported the YouGov poll results - it doesn't fit their narrative.

In the UK, the volunteer-run Muslim News [23] was the only newspaper to report the findings; yet only two weeks before in the immediate aftermath of the suicide explosions in Damascus, both the Guardian [24], like other outlets, within hours of the explosions were publishing sensational, unsubstantiated reports from bloggers, including one who was "sure that some of the bodies ... were those of demonstrators".

"They have planted bodies before," he said; "they took dead people from Dera'a [in the south] and showed the media bodies in Jisr al-Shughour [near the Turkish border.]"

Recent reports have cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the false narrative peddled daily by the mainstream international press, in particular information put out by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the LCCs.

In December, the mainstream US intelligence group Stratfor cautioned:
Most of the [Syrian] opposition's more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue ... revealing more about the opposition's weaknesses than the level of instability inside the Syrian regime. [25]
Throughout the nine-month uprising, Stratfor has advised caution on accuracy of the mainstream narrative on Syria: in September it commented that "with two sides to every war ... the war of perceptions in Syria is no exception". [26]

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and LCC reports, "like those from the regime, should be viewed with skepticism", argues Stratfor; "the opposition understands that it needs external support, specifically financial support, if it is to be a more robust movement than it is now. To that end, it has every reason to present the facts on the ground in a way that makes the case for foreign backing."

As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov observed: "It is clear that the purpose is to provoke a humanitarian catastrophe, to get a pretext to demand external interference into this conflict." [27] Similarly, in mid-December, American Conservative reported:
CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] analysts are skeptical regarding the march to war. The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad's soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. The Agency has refused to sign off on the claims.

Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained and financed by foreign governments are more true than false. [28]
As recently as November, the Free Syria Army implied their



numbers would be larger, but, as they explained to one analyst, they are "advising sympathizers to delay their defection" until regional conditions improve. [29]

A guide to regime change
In relation to Syria, section three of the "Paths to Persia" report is particularly relevant - it is essentially a step-by-step guide detailing options for instigating and supporting a popular uprising, inspiring an insurgency and/or instigating a coup. The report comes complete with a "Pros and Cons" section:
An insurgency is often easier to instigate and support from abroad ... Insurgencies are famously cheap to support ... covert support to an insurgency would provide the United States with "plausibility deniability" ... [with less] diplomatic and political backlash ... than if the United States were to mount a direct military action ... Once the regime suffers some major setback [this] provides an opportunity to act.
Military action, the report argues, would only be taken once other options had been tried and shown to have failed as the "international community" would then conclude of any attack that the government "brought it on themselves" by refusing a very good deal.

Key aspects for instigating a popular uprising and building a "full-fledged insurgency" are evident in relation to developments in Syria.

These include:
"Funding and helping organize domestic rivals of the regime" including using "unhappy" ethnic groups;
"Building the capacity of 'effective oppositions' with whom to work" in order to "create an alternative leadership to seize power";
Provision of equipment and covert backing to groups, including arms - either directly or indirectly, as well as "fax machines ... Internet access, funds" (on Iran the report noted that the "CIA could take care of most of the supplies and training for these groups, as it has for decades all over the world");
Training and facilitation of messaging by opposition activists;
Constructing a narrative "with the support of US-backed media outlets could highlight regime shortcomings and make otherwise obscure critics more prominent" - "having the regime discredited among key 'opinion shapers' is critical to its collapse";
The creation of a large funding budget to fund a wide array of civil-society-led initiatives (a so-called "$75 million fund" created under former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice-funded civil society groups, including "a handful of Beltway-based think-tanks and institutions [which] announced new Iran desks)" [30];
The need for an adjacent land corridor in a neighboring country "to help develop an infrastructure to support operations".

"Beyond this," continues the report, "US economic pressure (and perhaps military pressure as well) can discredit the regime, making the population hungry for a rival leadership."

The US and its allies, particularly Britain [31] and France, have funded and helped "shape" the opposition from the outset - building both on attempts started by the US in 2006 to construct a unified front against the Assad government, and the perceived "success" of the Libyan Transitional National Council model. [32]

Despite months of attempts - predominately by the West - at cajoling the various groups into a unified, proficient opposition movement, they remain "a diverse group, representing the country's ideological, sectarian and generational divides".

"There neither has been nor is [there] now any natural tendency towards unity between these groups, since they belong to totally different ideological backgrounds and have antagonistic political views," one analyst concluded. [33]

At a recent meeting with the British foreign secretary, the different groups would not even meet with William Hague together, instead meeting him separately. [34]

Nevertheless, despite a lack of cohesion, internal credibility and legitimacy, the opposition, predominately under the umbrella of the Syrian National Council (SNC), is being groomed for office. This includes capacity-building, as confirmed by the former Syrian ambassador to the US, Rafiq Juajati, now part of the opposition.

At a closed briefing in Washington DC in mid-December 2011, he confirmed that the US State Department and the SWP-German Institute for International and Security Affairs (a think-tank that provides foreign policy analysis to the German government) were funding a project that is managed by the US Institute for Peace and SWP, working in partnership with the SNC, to prepare the SNC for the takeover and running of Syria.

In a recent interview, SNC leader Burhan Ghaliyoun disclosed (so as to "speed up the process" of Assad's fall) [35] the credentials expected of him: "There will be no special relationship with Iran," he said. "Breaking the exceptional relationship means breaking the strategic, military alliance," adding that "after the fall of the Syrian regime, [Hezbollah] won't be the same." [36]

Described in Slate magazine [37] as the "most liberal and Western-friendly of the Arab Spring uprisings", Syrian opposition groups sound as compliant as their Libyan counterparts prior to the demise of Muammar Gaddafi, whom the New York Times described as "secular-minded professionals - lawyers, academics, businesspeople - who talk about democracy, transparency, human rights and the rule of law" [38]; that was, until reality transitioned to former leader of the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group Abdulhakim Belhaj and his jihadi colleagues.

The import of weapons, equipment, manpower (predominantly from Libya) [39] and training by governments and other groups linked to the US, NATO and their regional allies began in April-May 2011, [40] according to various reports [41], and is co-ordinated out of the US air force base at Incirlik in southern Turkey. From Incirlik, an information warfare division also directs communications to Syria via the Free Syria Army. This covert support continues, as American Conservative reported in mid-December:
Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons ... as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council ... Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers. [42]
The Washington Post exposed in April 2011 that recent WikiLeaks showed that the US State Department had been giving millions of dollars to various Syrian exile groups (including the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Movement for Justice and Development in London) and individuals since 2006 via its "Middle East Partnership Initiative" administered by a US foundation, the Democracy Council. [43]

Leaked WikiLeak cables confirmed that well into 2010, this funding was continuing, a trend that not only continues today but which has expanded in light of the shift to the "soft power" option aimed at regime change in Syria.

As this neo-con-led call for regime change in Syria gains strength within the US administration, [44] so too has this policy been institutionalized among leading US foreign policy think-tanks, many of whom have "Syria desks" or "Syria working groups" which collaborate closely with Syrian opposition groups and individuals (for example USIP [45] and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy) [46] and which have published a range of policy documents making the case for regime change.

In the UK, the similarly neo-con Henry Jackson Society (which "supports the maintenance of a strong military, by the United States, the countries of the European Union and other democratic powers, armed with expeditionary capabilities with a global reach" and which believes that "only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate") is similarly pushing the agenda for regime change in Syria [47].

This is in partnership with Syrian opposition figures including Ausama Monajed, [48] a former leader of the Syrian exile group, the Movement for Justice & Development, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was funded by the US State Department from 2006, as we know from WikiLeaks.

Monajed, a member of the SNC, currently directs a public relations firm [49] recently established in London and incidentally was the first to use the term "genocide" in relation to events in Syria in a recent SNC press release. [50]

Since the outset, significant pressure has been brought to bear on Turkey to establish a "humanitarian corridor" along its southern border with Syria. The main aim of this, as the "Paths to Persia" report outlines, is to provide a base from which the externally-backed insurgency can be launched and based.

The objective of this "humanitarian corridor" is about as humanitarian as the four-week NATO bombing of Sirte when NATO exercised its "responsibility to protect" mandate, as approved by the UN Security Council.

All this is not to say that there isn't a genuine popular demand for change in Syria against the repressive security-dominated infrastructure that dominates every aspect of people's lives, nor that gross human-rights violations have not been committed, both by the Syrian security forces, armed opposition insurgents, as well as mysterious third force characters operating since the onset of the crisis in Syria, including insurgents, [51] mostly jihadis from neighboring Iraq and Lebanon, as well as more recently Libya, among others.

Such abuses are inevitable in low-intensity conflict. Leading critics [52] of this US-France-UK-Gulf-led regime change project have, from the outset, called for full accountability and punishment for any security or other official "however senior", found to have committed any human-rights abuses.

Ibrahim al-Amine writes that some in the regime have conceded "that the security remedy was damaging in many cases and regions [and] that the response to the popular protests was mistaken ... it would have been possible to contain the situation via clear and firm practical measures - such as arresting those responsible for torturing children in Deraa". And it argues that the demand for political pluralism and an end to the all-encompassing repression is both vital and urgent. [53]

But what may have began as popular protests, initially focused on

local issues and incidents (including the case of the torture of young boys in Dera'a by security forces) were rapidly hijacked by this wider strategic project for regime change. Five years ago, I worked in northern Syria with the United Nations managing a large community development project.

After evening community meetings, it wasn't uncommon to find the mukhabarat (military intelligence) waiting for us to vacate the room so they could scan flipcharts posted on the walls. That almost every aspect of people's daily lives was regulated by a sclerotic dysfunctional Ba'ath party/security bureaucracy, devoid of any ideology apart from the inevitable corruption and nepotism that comes with authoritarian power, was apparent in every feature of people's lives.

Tuesday, December 20 was reportedly the "deadliest day of the nine-month [Syrian] uprising "with the "organized massacre" of a "mass defection" of army deserters widely reported by the international press in Idlib, northern Syria. Claiming that areas of Syria were now "exposed to large-scale genocide", the SNC lamented the "250 fallen heroes during a 48-hour period", citing figures provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [54] Quoting the same source, the Guardian reported that the Syrian army was:
... hunt[ing] down deserters after troops ... killed close to 150 men who had fled their base". A picture has emerged ... of a mass defection ... that went badly wrong ... with loyalist forces positioned to mow down large numbers of defectors as they fled a military base. Those who managed to escape were later hunted down in hideouts in nearby mountains, multiple sources have reported. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that 100 deserters were besieged, then killed or wounded. Regular troops allegedly also hunted down residents who had given shelter to the deserters. [55]
The Guardian's live blog-quoted AVAAZ, the citizen political advocacy/public relations group, which "claimed 269 people had been killed in the clashes", and cited AVAAZ's precise breakdown of casualties: "163 armed revolutionaries, 97 government troops and 9 civilians". [56] They noted that AVAAZ "provided nothing to corroborate the claim".

The Washington Post reported only that they had spoken to "an activist with the rights group AVAAZ [who] said he had spoken to local activists and medical groups who put the death toll in that area Tuesday at 269". [57]

A day after initial reports of the massacre of fleeing deserters, however, the story had changed. On December 23, the Telegraph reported:
At first they were said to be army deserters attempting to break into Turkey to join the FSA [Free Syrian Army], but they are now said to be unarmed civilians and activists attempting to escape the army's attempts to bring the province back under control. They were surrounded by troops and tanks and gunned down until there were no survivors, according to reports. [58]
The New York Times had, on December 21, reported that the "massacre", citing the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, was of "unarmed civilians and activists, with no armed military defectors among them, the rights groups said".

It quoted the head of the Observatory who described it as "an organized massacre" and said his account corroborated a Kfar Owaid witness' account: "The security forces had lists of names of those who organized massive anti-regime protests ... the troops then opened fire with tanks, rockets and heavy machine guns [and], bombs filled with nails to increase the number of casualties. [59]

The LA Times quoted an activist it had spoken to via satellite connection who, from his position "sheltering in the woods" commented: "The word 'massacre' seems like too small a word to describe what happened." Meanwhile, the Syrian government reported that on December 19 and 20, it had killed "tens" of members of "armed terrorist gangs" in both Homs and Idlib, and had arrested many wanted individuals. [60]

The truth of these two "deadly" days will probably never be known - the figures cited above (between 10-163 armed insurgents, 9-111 unarmed civilians and 0-97 government forces) differ so significantly in both numbers reported killed and who they were, that the "truth" is impossible to establish.

In relation to an earlier purported "massacre" in Homs, a Stratfor investigation found "no signs of a massacre", concluding that "opposition forces have an interest in portraying an impending massacre, hoping to mimic the conditions that propelled a foreign military intervention in Libya". [61]

Nevertheless, the "massacre" of December 19-20 in Idlib was reported as fact, and was etched into the narrative of Assad's "killing machine".

Both the recent UN Human Rights Commissioner's report and a recent data blog report [62] on reported deaths in "Syria's bloody uprising" by the Guardian (published December 13) - two examples of attempts to establish the truth about numbers killed in the Syrian conflict - rely almost exclusively on opposition-provided data: interviews with 233 alleged "army defectors" in the case of the UN report, and on reports from the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, the LCCs and al-Jazeera in the case of the Guardian's data blog.

The Guardian reports a total of 1,414.5 people (sic) killed - including 144 Syrian security personnel - between January and November 21, 2011. Based solely on press reports, the report contains a number of basic inaccuracies (eg sources not matching numbers killed with places cited in original sources): their total includes 23 Syrians killed by the Israeli army in June on the Golan Heights; 25 people reported "wounded" are included in total figures for those killed, as are many people reported shot.

The report makes no reference to any killings of armed insurgents during the entire 10-month period - all victims are "protesters", "civilians" or "people" - apart from the 144 security personnel.

Seventy percent of the report's data sources are from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the LCCs and "activists"; 38% of press reports are from al-Jazeera, 3% from Amnesty International and 1.5% from official Syrian sources.

In response to the UN Commissioner's report, Syria's ambassador to the UN commented: "How could defectors give positive testimonies on the Syrian government? Of course they will give negative testimonies against the Syrian government. They are defectors."

In the effort to inflate figures of casualties, the public relations-activist group AVAAZ has consistently outstripped even the UN. AVAAZ has publicly stated it is involved in "smuggling activists ... out of the country", running "secret safe houses to shelter ... top activists from regime thugs" and that one "AVAAZ citizen journalist" "discover[ed] a mass grave". [63]

It states proudly that the BBC and CNN have said that AVAAZ data amounts to some 30% of their news coverage of Syria. The Guardian reported AVAAZ's latest claim to have "evidence" of killings of some 6,200 people (including security forces and including 400 children), claiming 617 of whom died under torture [64] - their justification to have verified each single death with confirmation by three people, "including a relative and a cleric who handled the body" is improbable in the extreme.

The killing of one brigadier-general and his children in April last year in Homs illustrates how near impossible it is, particularly during sectarian conflict, to verify even one killing - in this case, a man and his children:
The general, believed to be Abdu Tallawi, was killed with his children and nephew while passing through an agitated neighborhood. There are two accounts of what happened to him and his family, and they differ about the victim's sect.

Regime loyalists say that he was killed by takfiris - hardline Islamists who accuse other Muslims of apostasy - because he belonged to the Alawite sect. The protesters insist that he is a member of the Tallawi family from Homs and that he was killed by security forces to accuse the opposition and destroy their reputation. Some even claim that he was shot because he refused to fire at protesters.

The third account is ignored due to the extreme polarization of opinions in the city [Homs]. The brigadier-general was killed because he was in a military vehicle, even though he had his kids with him. Whoever killed him was not concerned with his sect but with directing a blow to the regime, thus provoking an even harsher crackdown, which, in turn, would drag the protest movement into a cycle of violence with the state. [65]

Notes: [See footlinks on Page 3 of originating site.]

Aisling Byrne is Projects Co-ordinator with Conflicts Forum and is based in Beirut.

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#2 furry_animal

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:08 AM

You have got to be kidding me.
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#3 furry_animal

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:19 AM

"This is" the biggest load "of rubbish" [1] and perhaps you "should" explain to [2] the "dead muslims in Syria" which includes women and children "why you are in denial" [3]

[1] Says me
[2] Says me
[3] Says me
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#4 Z

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:39 AM

Intervention in Syria? An Assessment of Legality, Logistics and Hazards : Henry Jackson Society

Robert Fisk : From Washington this looks like Syria's 'Benghazi moment'. But not from here

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#5 furry_animal

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:49 AM

Fisk is part of the one true conspiracy!

Don't you see? Lack of intervention and lack of ending of the self-immolation and destruction of a muslim nation only furthers those goals, and thus is consistent with the one true conspiracy.
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#6 Z

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 01:06 AM

Generally, if you don't understand what you read the first time, you should try reading it again and again until you do.

Oh, and one more thing:

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#7 Z

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:02 AM

Good Guns, Bad Guns? US arms in reach of Syria rebels
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#8 furry_animal

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:19 AM

Oh boy, I don't know where to start.

I give up.

Let's watch what goes on shall we?
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#9 Aqeel.Shabazz

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 04:48 AM

I've seen some rebels on youtube armed with US and/or Turkish firearms.
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"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action, according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others." -Thomas Jefferson

#10 Z

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:54 PM

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#11 Z

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:03 PM

Syria through a glass, darkly

By Pepe Escobar

The current Syrian drama is far from the usual, clear-cut "good guys vs bad guys" Hollywood shtick. The suspension of the Arab League observers mission; the double veto by Russia and China at the UN Security Council; the increasing violence especially in Homs and some Damascus suburbs: It is all leading to widespread fears in the developing world of a Western-backed armed insurrection trying to replicate the chaos in Libya - a "liberated" country now run by heavily weaponized militias. Syria slipping into civil war would open the door to an even more horrific regional conflagration.

Here's an attempt to see through the fog.

1. Why has the Bashar al-Assad regime not fallen?

Because the majority of the Syrian population still supports it (55%, according to a mid-December poll funded by the Qatar Foundation. See "Arabs want Syria's President Assad to go - opinion poll" [1], and note how the headline distorts the result.

Assad can count on the army (no defections from the top ranks); the business elite and the middle class in the top cities, Damascus and Aleppo; secular, well-educated Sunnis; and all the minorities - from Christians to Kurds and Druze. Even Syrians in favor of regime change - yet not hardcore Islamists - refuse Western sanctions and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-style humanitarian bombing.

2. Is Assad "isolated"?

As much as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may wish it, and the White House stresses "Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now" and "must step aside" - no. The "international community" proponents of regime change in Syria are the NATOGCC (North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Gulf Cooperation Council) - or, to be really specific, Washington, London and Paris and the oil-drenched sheikh puppets of the Persian Gulf, most of all the House of Saud and Qatar.

Turkey is playing a very ambivalent game; it hosts a NATO command and control center in Hatay province, near the Syrian border, and at the same time offers exile to Assad. Even Israel is at a loss; they prefer the devil they know to an unpredictably hostile post-Assad regime led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Assad is supported by Iran; by the government in Baghdad (Iraq has refused to impose sanctions); by Lebanon (the same); and most of all by Russia (which does not want to lose its naval base in Tartus) and trade partner China. This means Syria's economy will not be strangled (moreover, the country is used to life under sanctions and does not have to worry about a national debt). The BRICS group is adamant; the Syria crisis has to be solved by Syrians only.

3. What is the opposition's game?

The Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella group led by Paris exile Barhoun Galyan, claims to represent all opposition forces. Inside Syria, its credibility is dodgy. The SNC is affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) - composed of weaponized Sunni defectors, but mostly fragmented into armed gangs, some of them directly infiltrated by Gulf mercenaries. Even the Arab League report had to acknowledge the FSA is killing civilians and security forces, and bombing buildings, trains and pipelines.

The armed opposition does not have a central command; it is essentially local; and does not hold heavy weapons. The civilian opposition is divided - and has no political program whatsoever, apart from "the people want the downfall of the regime", taking a leaf from Tahrir Square.

4. How are Syrians themselves divided?

Those who support the regime see a foreign Zionist/American conspiracy - with Turkey and parts of Europe as extras - bent on breaking up Syria. And they see the armed "terrorist" gangs - infiltrated by foreigners - as solely responsible for the worst violence.

Dissidents and the fragmented civilian opposition were always peaceful and unarmed. Then they started to receive protection from military defectors - who brought their light weapons with them. They all dismiss the government version of events as pure propaganda. For them, the real armed "terrorists" are the sabbiha - murderous paramilitary gangs paid by the government. Sabbiha (which means "ghosts") are essentially depicted as Alawis, Christians and Druze, adults but also teenagers, sporting dark glasses, white sneakers, colored armbands, and armed with knives, batons and using fake names among them; the leaders are bodybuilder-types driving dark Mercedes.

Even mass rallies are in conflict. The protest rallies (muzaharat ) were confronted by the regime with processions (masirat). It's unclear whether the people who joined them were constrained civil servants or moved by spontaneous decision. Syrian state media depicts the protesters as agent provocateurs or mercenaries and roundly dismisses the anger of those who live under a harsh police state with no political freedom.

An extra dividing factor is that the UN death toll of over 5,000 people (so far) does not identify pro-regime and opposition victims, and simply ignores the over 2,000 dead Syrian army soldiers (their funerals are on state TV virtually every day).

5. What do Christians think about all this?

The Christian West - who used to love shopping for bargains in the Damascus souq - should pay attention to how most Syrian Christians see the protests. They fear that Sunnis in power will crackdown on minorities (not only themselves but also Druze and Alawites). They view the majority of Sunnis as "ignorant" and "backward" Islamic fanatics, without the slightest idea about democracy, human rights or a slow, negotiated path towards democracy.

This illiterate bunch, according to them, lives in the periphery, have no respect (or understanding) for life in the big city, support the violence caused by armed gangs, and want an Islamic state (by the way, essentially what the House of Saud wants for Syria.) Secular Sunnis for their part criticize Christians, stressing that most Sunnis are businessmen and entrepreneurs and sport liberal ideas - and certainly don't want an Islamic state. It must be stressed that the opposition is trans-confessional - it does include Christians and even Alawis.

6. What's the Western strategy on the ground?

Borzou Daragahi from the Financial Times has just confirmed that militias in Misrata, in Libya, announced the deaths of three Libyan de facto mercenaries in Syria. These Libyan Transitional National Council assets landed in Syria - alongside weapons stolen from Gaddafi's warehouses - courtesy of NATO cargo planes.

For months now, as Asia Times Online has reported, French and British special forces have been training fighters in Iskenderun, in southern Turkey. The Central Intelligence Agency is involved in intel and communications.

The FSA uses the ultra-porous Syrian-Turkish border at will. Turkey built several refugee camps; and Ankara hosts the leaders of both the SNC and FSA. There's also the Jordanian front - the connection to the heavy Islamist (and backward) Daraa. But the Syrian-Jordanian border is infested with mines and heavily patrolled; that implies a long 200-kilometer detour in the middle of the desert.

Most of all FSA fighters go back and forth from Lebanon. The privileged smuggling route is from the northern Bekaa valley in Lebanon toward the opposition strongholds, the Sunni-majority cities of Homs and Hama. There's another route from the central Bekaa valley going south toward the suburbs of Damascus (that explains how both strongholds are being supplied). But the whole thing is very dangerous, because Syrian ally Hezbollah is very strong in the Bekaa valley.

7. Who's winning?

Assad has promised - once again this Tuesday to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - there will be a new constitution and national elections by summer. Half-hearted or not, this is an attempt at reform.

Yet the usual, unnamed "government officials" have already leaked to CNN that the White House has asked the Pentagon to simulate game scenarios for a direct US military intervention in favor of the rebels. So a NATOGCC intervention bypassing the UN remains a solid possibility; a false flag operation blamed on the Assad regime might be the perfect casus belli.

8. And what about the Syria-Iran connection?
Syria is crucial to Iran's sphere of influence in Southwest Asia/the eastern flank of the Arab nation. BRICS members Russia and China want to keep the status quo - because it implies a regional balance of power that pins down American hegemony. For China, uninterrupted Iranian supplies of oil and gas are a matter of extreme national security. On top of it, if the US is tied up in the Middle East, so the much-touted Obama administration/Pentagon "pivot" towards Asia, and especially the South China Sea, will take much longer.

The bulk of Washington elites see regime change in Syria as a crucial way to hurt Iran. So this goes way beyond Syria. It's about shattering the Iranian regime, which is not a Western satrapy; energy flows from the Middle East to the West; the West's grip on the GCC and the intersection between the Arab and Persian worlds; and preserving the role of the petrodollar. Syria-Iran is a now a titanic match between NATOGCC and Russia/China - to try to expel them from the Middle East. The Pentagon's Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine is never more alive than when the jackals and hyenas of war are screaming and kicking.

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#12 Z

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:41 PM

Oh boy, I don't know where to start.

I give up.

Let's watch what goes on shall we?

How about you start with Hama, 1982.
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#13 Kostas


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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:58 PM

Good Guns, Bad Guns? US arms in reach of Syria rebels


"Bringing Democracy To The Middle East" they say.
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As an Australian of Greek lineage, with who knows... perhaps some Turkish that nobody in my clan has spoken of [wink].. I wish to examine all, and as a lover of free speech (short of inciting harm to others) I expect the right to critique all as freely as anyone.
Just like Socrates.. but keep your hemlock.
My opinions are my own and not necessarily endorsed by anyone.

Any barcode beginning with 729.... is not a perfect way of telling when a product is from Israel, but it is a good rule of thumb.

#14 koalaboi

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 03:38 PM

The Arab League Observer Mission has now asked the UN to intervene. Military intervention, whilst not specifically mentioned in the statement is neither conclusively in or out . Arab nations have been asked to ensure they honour the boycott and bring pressure to bear on the Assad administration.

An opportunity for the UN and Arab nations to work together is one to be grasped firmly but carefully. It could open a new dialogue on the Middle East between Muslim and non Muslim nations so, mistakes on both sides need to be avoided.

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#15 Z

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 03:34 PM

Abdul Halim Khaddam?
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#16 Z

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 04:34 PM

Syria and the Delusions of the Western Press » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The triangle of Khaddam-Abdullah-Hariri is well-known in the region as their wives are sisters.


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#17 Z

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:03 PM

SyriaHR.net (Warning) vs SyriaHR.org

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:27

Important Letter from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights about Rami Abdul Rahman.

Dear Sir/Madam

We would like to apologise for any confusion that you may be currently experiencing with regards to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

We would like to take this opportunity to give you some background information for your benefit.

Firstly, there is NO individual by the name of Rami Abdul Rahman. This is just an alias that was being used by all SOHR members and mainly by the founders of the SOHR when articles were being originally published.

There is however a gentleman based in Coventry whose primary profession is installing satellite dishes who volunteered at the SOHR in late 2010. This gentleman is called Mr Osama Ali Suleiman and as a volunteer he contributed in publishing the Arabic language news articles on the SOHR website www.syriahr.net. This was the full extend of his remit and contribution, as a volunteer of this organisation. It is worth noting that Mr Osama is unable to communicate professionally in English language and only had a very modest level of education in Syria.

In August 2011 the board of trustees asked Mr Osama to cease publishing news articles onto the syriahr.net website as it was alleged that he had established links with Mr Rifaat Al Assad (the uncle of the current Syrian President Bashar Al Assad). The very nature of the articles being published were also controversial as they were not verified by any other member of SOHR and they referred to incidents and deaths suffered by the Syrian regime security forces. The reasons as to why this raised suspicions is because the Observatory does not have any links with Syrian regime members in order to be able to state or verify any such incidents.

When Mr Osama was asked to give up his volunteer post he retaliated by changing all the username and password details of the www.syriahr.net website so that only he could access it and publish material and subsequently declared himself chairman. He started using the Rami Abdul Rahman alias which the rest of the memebrs abandoned as it was decided after the eruption of the Syrian uprising on the 15 March 2011 that, in the interest of transparency, only real names were to be used from that point on when communicating with the press.

The rest of the organisation decided that due to the swift developing nature of the Syrian uprising no time should be wasted in altercating with Mr Osama as the website that he was controlling doesn't ever hold any useful/recent information on Syria and that he would not be able to actually engage in any activity with the English speaking press. As a result www.syriahr.org was established and it gets regularly updated (in both Arabic and English) with the developments on the ground in Syria.

Ignoring Mr Osama for this length of time appears to have been a misjudgment by the rest of the SOHR members as it appears that Mr Osama has since sought and acquired some support from fellow friends in order to boost his claims and spoil the reputation of the SOHR. We are deeply concerned as we have been informed that Mr Osama himself is a member of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and these friends are suspected to be affiliated with same organisation as well.

Further proof of the isolation of Mr Osama is given by the fact that he currently has no operational team and that he acts authoritatively with no peers to verify, support or challenge his work.

You will already be aware that the SOHR is London based. This is because the majority of our members are based in London whereas Mr Osama is solely based in Coventry.

We at the SOHR are now seeking legal advice and are preparing to take legal action against Mr Osama whilst we remain committed to our cause of flagging human rights abuses committed in Syria to the international community and media.

Should you need any further information or clarifications please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours faithfully,

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (London)


A Statement of Condemnation of the lack of Professionalism of Osama Ali Suleiman (Rami Abdul-Rahman)

We the undersigned express our deep condemnation of the unprofessional news, which does not meet the minimum ethics of Human Rights or honorable media activities that Mr. Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdul-Rahman) has been publishing about the Syrian Revolution for the following reasons:

First: when he equals the executioner and the victim: through propagating false claims about imaginary numbers of the security and army elements killed, and that are stated only by Mr. Osama Suleiman (Rami Abdul-Rahman) who does not rely on any documentation of the numbers he gives.

Second: provoking sectarian tensions: especially in the areas where different sects live together by pretending that the crimes of the security forces are just sectarian fighting, the thing that is not true. Such behaviour of Mr. Osama does participate in generating certain reactions that do not serve but the regime in this sensitive stage of the national uprising longing for freedom in Syria.

Third: questioning the credibility of all Syrian commissions, committees, and figures interested in documenting the crimes committed by the Syrian regime: that is through questioning and unjustifiably attacking all other commissions and committees and stigmatizing their credibility and reports in an attempt to show that he is the only trusted source of information about the Syrian Revolution, despite of the fact that he has never supported any of the reports he issued since the eruption of the Revolution with the number of victims with their names or places in which they were killed; whereas, all other commissions and committee do this.

Accordingly, we call for the necessity to stop all direct or indirect kinds of dealing with Mr. Osama Ali Suleiman (Rami Abdul-Rahman) as it may have a negative role in distorting the facts and the real situation in Syria, which might lead to elongating the sufferings of Syrians and deviating their struggle for freedom, and do badly for the efforts of thousands of pro-revolution activists, regardless of their ideological, racial or religious backgrounds, who have been working hardly as unknown volunteers in supportive for the great Syrian people and their human rights.

Damascus, January 4th, 2012.


- Abdul Wahab Omar (Head of the Syrian British Solidarity Campaign).
- Abdul Karim Afnan (Syrian journalist).
- Abdul Karim Rihawi (President of the Syrian Association for Human Rights).
- Abdurrahman Besma Ji (Syrian Human Rights activist).
- Abu Rami Al-Homsi (spokesman of the Syrian Revolution General Commission in the province of Homs).
- Adil Bishtawi (novelist and historian).
- Akaba Mushaweh (Syrian journalist and political activist).
- Aladdin Qatramiz (Syrian businessman and human rights activist).
- Ali Hassan (spokesman of Syrian Revolution General Commission).
- Amer Al-Sadiq (spokesman of Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union).
- Ammar Korbi (Head of Syrian Organization for Human Rights).
- Anas Al-Abda (a member of the Secretariat of the Syrian National Council).
- Anas Al-Khani (Chief of the British Solidarity for Syria).
- Anas Damiriya (journalist and human rights activist).
- Anas Mohamed (Syrian human rights activist).
- Anwar Al-Omr (engineer and Syrian activist).
- Bahia Mardini (President of the Arab Committee for Freedom of Opinion and Expression).
- Bashar Al-Haffar (General Coordinator of the Committee of March 15th Martyrs).
- Bashar Al-Hulwa (a Syrian lawyer in diaspora) .
- Bassam Jaara (spokesman of the Syrian Revolution General Commission in Europe).
- Dr. Mohammed Alnajjar (Memebr of the Syrian National Council and Chairman of the Coordination Committee of the Syrian Revolution in Britain).
- Dr. Mohamed Keskin Shadi (the founder of the martyrs of March 15th, and current Secretary General of the National Justice).
- Dr. Abdurazzaq Id (Syrian scholar and head of the National Council of Damascus Declaration in the Diaspora).
- Dr. Ammar Nasser (Syrian consultant physician and activist living in Britain).
- Dr. Fadel Al-Magribi (Secretary of the medical assistance in the coordination committee of the Syrian Revolution in Britain).
- Dr. Fadia Alladighani (human rights activist living in Paris).
- Dr. Ibrahim Al-Mari (Director of the Barada TV channel).
- Dr. Lina Jamul (human rights activist living in Britain).
- Dr. Mahmoud Al-Aqra (a surgeon and political activist living in Britain).
- Dr. Mehdi Ayyash (General Coordinator of the Syrian British Solidarity Campaign).
- Dr. Mohamed Al-Najjar (a member of the Syrian National).
- Dr. Musab Azzawi (Medical Doctor and Human Rights Activist).
- Dr. Nizar Tewba (Representative of the Free Syrians in Britain).
- Dr. Tamader Abdullah (a doctor and former political prisoner and Human Rights activist living in Britain).
- Dr. Teglib Al-Rahbi (representative of the Revolutionaries of Freedom and Dignity in Britain).
- Dr. Wael Al-Aji (the official representative in Britain of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria).
- Fadi Haddad ( chief coordinator of the Free Syrians in Britain).
- Ghalia Qabbani (Syrian writer and novelist living in Britain and a member of the Syrian National Council).
- Ghassan Ibrahim (Chairman of the Arab Global Network in London).
- Haitham Al-Maleh (founder of the Syrian Human Rights Association and a member of the Syrian National Council).
- Hakam Al-Baba (writer and Syrian journalist).
- Hakam Al-Wahib (artist).
- Hammam Al-Ajil (Syrian political activist).
- Husam Al-Din Mohamed (secretary of the editor of Al Quds Al Arabi) .
- Imad Derkzeli (coordinator of the free Syrians in Britain).
- Kamal Al-Din Tebab (Syrian activist in the diaspora).
- Khaled Abu Salah (spokesman of the Council of the Syrian Revolution in Homs).
- Khaled Al-Berzawi (spokesman of the Revolution Leadership Council in Damascus).
- Khaled Shahbandar (Political Bureau of the Syrian Revolution General Commission).
- Khelaf Ali Al-Khelaf (a Syrian writer and activist).
- Mahmoud Suleiman (journalist and activist).
- Majd Jad'aan (Syrian engineer and activist).
- Marwan Hammoud (spokesman and coordinator of foreign relations of the Syrian National Democratic Alliance - Todd).
- Marwan Mhasn (former political prisoner and human rights activist living in Britain).
- Milad Saqr (Syrian journalist).
- Mohamed Ali (Syrian activist).
- Mohamed Babi (Syrian activist).
- Mohammed Antabeli (Head of the independent Syrians Alliance in Britain).
- Mohsen Al-Halak (a Syrian lawyer).
- Omar Idlibi (the spokesman of Local Coordination Committees in Syria- LCC)
- Ourouba Barakat (Syrian Assembly of Freedom and Dignity).
- Rim Atassi (Syrian human rights activist).
- Saleh Diab (Syrian poet).
- Salim Al-Kabbani (Syrian human rights activist).
- Sowsan Al-Johmani (Syrian activist).
- Suhair Al-Atassi (lawyer and a leadership in the Syrian Revolution)
- Wafa Taqi Al-Din (Syrian journalist and writer living in Britain).
- Wajih Al-Baroudi (Syrian political activist).
- Walid Koutli (director of theater and film).
- Wehid Saqr (Secretary General of the Syrian Unified Coalition).

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 January 2012 11:56

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#18 Z

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:20 PM

Also from SyriaHR.org:

The Syrian regime casualties exceeded the number of 6275 Syrian Citizens

17 January

Media Statement

The Syrian regime casualties exceeded the number of 6275 Syrian Citizens

The number of the Syrian citizens who were killed by the Syrian regime reached 6275 citizens up to January 14, 2012 all recorded authentically according to the attached file with first, middle and last names, the town and date of execution.


The casualties come under the following categories:


The number of children killed by the Syrian regime reached 419, 73 female and 346 male and those under ten years old are 107.


The number of women killed by the Syrian regime reached 281; women in Syria play a role and support the activists in their blessed revolution.

Under torture:

This is horrible to describe and the most barbaric and brutal death, it is death under torture and at least 286 civilians died under torture. This number is terribly high and shows the barbaric action of the regime and indicated that this was planned and done under approval and formal commands from the president.

Senior Citizens:

Citizens over sixty years old didn’t find the mercy required for their age, at least 84 senior citizens were killed. Indeed this revolution included all ages from child under 10 to senior citizens above 60.

We, at the Syrian Revolution General Commission, put this list and statics in the hands of all Middle Eastern and international leagues and organizations and we request from all of the directly and clearly to fulfill their responsibility and take urgent action by immediate intervention with all different means possible to stop the genocide which is committed and ongoing against the unarmed civilians. There is a historic and moral responsibility which lays on the international community that is represented by the United Nation, Syria being one of its members, and the United Nation owes it to the Syrian civilians to save them from this genocide which is taking place. Witnessed by the United Nation while they are not taking any proper action; as if those who are getting killed don’t deserve to be included in the laws of humanity.

This systematic repeated killing of the unarmed civilians in Syria is the responsibility of the Syrian regime in the first place then Iran, Hezbollah, Russia and China secondly and thirdly the international community.

The mercy is for our martyrs and the victory is for our people in Syria and the dishonor to the criminal regime and all who stands in their support verbally or in action.

Long live Syria with freedom and pride.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان

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#19 Kostas


    Agnostic Greek Australian

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 09:51 PM

Worth a look..
"High Tech Trickery" employed by USA's Ambassador to Sirya .
US State Department satellite images of Homs, posted on his facebook.

Blogger seemingly catches him out and breaks it down for all.

NOTE: As one comment states; The blogger "did not say that Assad has not killed any of his own people"


Edited by Kostas, 17 February 2012 - 09:53 PM.

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As an Australian of Greek lineage, with who knows... perhaps some Turkish that nobody in my clan has spoken of [wink].. I wish to examine all, and as a lover of free speech (short of inciting harm to others) I expect the right to critique all as freely as anyone.
Just like Socrates.. but keep your hemlock.
My opinions are my own and not necessarily endorsed by anyone.

Any barcode beginning with 729.... is not a perfect way of telling when a product is from Israel, but it is a good rule of thumb.

#20 Z

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:06 PM

Thank you Kostas.
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#21 Z

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 12:29 AM

Muhammad Al Yaqoubi: Religious extremists lack spiritual coherence

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#22 Z

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:13 PM

Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent born in the town of Beit Jala. His family was first evicted from Haifa after the “Nakba” of 1948, then from Beit Jala after the “Nakseh” of 1967. He lives now in the US, and publishes his articles on the web in both English and Arabic.

Friends (Enemies) of Syria Conference

Heads of states and representatives of 70 countries gathered on Friday 2/24/2012 in Tunisia in what they propagandized as “Friends of Syria Conference”. They came together, each has his own individual agenda different than the others’, yet they all agreed on one common goals; the removal of the present Syrian Bashar al-Assad’s political regime, the division of Syrian society into conflicting sectarian minorities, and the establishment of a new pro-Western/pro-Zionist and anti-Iran/anti-Hezbollah/anti-Palestinian regime similar to those in other Arabic Statelets such as Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen and other Gulf States.

Frustration and helplessness were highly apparent in the speeches and decisions of the major players in this conference. The frustration was due to the failure of Libyanizing Syria, the failure of all political pressures on Syria during the last eleven months, and the failure of Syrian armed militias to gain any popularity within the country and to affect any division within Syrian governmental institutions. The highest frustration came due to their failure of manipulating the United Nation and the Security Council against Syria due to the Russian and Chinese vetoes against any UN resolution attempting to legitimize any foreign military intervention in Syria.

Since its independence from the French mandate in 1946 Syria had marched slowly, though faster than many other Arab states, towards political reforms, human rights, freedom and economical growth. Syria has been governed by a constitution since 1973 unlike many Arab states that are still ruled by oppressive authoritarian absolute familial tribal monarchies such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia who pretend to call for democracy in Syria. Like all other Arab ruling regimes in the region Syria has needs for more improvements. Yet foreign induced rebellions and civil wars would bring chaos, destruction and more authoritarian regimes (Tunisia, Egypt and Libya) rather than steady gradual reform. Syria had moved towards such gradual reform during the last eleven months further than what most Arab States had gone for the last forty years.

Syria had played a major positive role in the Arab World. It was a major founder of the Arab League in 1945 and had supported many of the Arab causes especially the Palestinian cause. In 1975 Syria got involved in the 15 years long Lebanese civil war in an attempt to preserve peace. Syrian troops left Lebanon in April 2005 allowing the Lebanese to form their own independent government. Syria and Iran supported Hezbollah’s struggle against Israeli occupation of Lebanon until liberation in 2000 when Israel withdrew from Lebanon. In 2006 Israeli aggression against Southern Lebanon in an attempt to wipe off Hezbollah some Arab States stood utterly silent while Qatar and Saudi Arabia cheered on, but Syria kept arming Hezbollah and hosted thousands of Lebanese refugees. Syria had also hosted around two million Iraqi refugees after the 2003 American occupation and destruction of Iraq. When Israel sent all its military might in December 2008 to destroy the already besieged, impoverished and hungry small Gaza Strip while Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, Qatar and Saudi Arabia cheered on again, Gaza Palestinians and the democratically elected Hamas did not find any help from any Arab state except Syria.

Although Syria accepted and joined in the American alleged fight against global terrorism (Al-Qaeda) its leaders had rejected and opposed the American New Middle East Project bringing on itself American anger. This anger intensified when Syria joined Iran in military and economical alliance. This alliance brought on also the hostility of Gulf States notably Saudi Arabia and the American base host, Qatar.

Syria has been a main resistance and oppositional front against the Zionist expansionist dream, a major opponent to the American hegemonic plans for the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, and an important ally to Iran that is considered a major enemy by USA and Israel. To get rid of Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel needs to weaken Syria. To control the oil-rich Gulf region the USA needs to get to Iran through Syria. There arose, therefore, in the West a decision to destroy the Syrian secular state, to divide it into smaller conflicting sectarian regions, to displace or co-opt the Syrian national elite, and eventually to install a pro-Western/pro-Zionist regime similar to that in Qatar and Saudi Arabia or at least an American-compliant Islamic republic similar to that in Tunisia and Egypt. Qatar and Saudi Arabia became the instruments used to manipulate the Arab League towards regime change in Syria.

Since Syria is out of the American domain, does not depend on American financial aid, does not buy weapons from any Western country, and is not dependent on any Western economy or trade agreement, it becomes very difficult for any Western interference to affect a regime change. So a sinister plan was put together to urge Syrians to revolt against their government. This plan was called “Arab Spring”. It was hoped that Syrians would be encouraged to revolt against their government after witnessing the seemingly successful revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Please read detailed analysis of the Arab Spring in previous article: “The Snake Behind the Arab Spring”

To avoid the fate of Libya Syrian regime hastened to speed up reform. The regime lifted the state of emergency right away, declared measures for reform, cooperated with the mandates of the Arab League to the surprise of other Arab leaders, allowed Arab observers in the country, and called for dialogue with the opposition within Syria and later in Russia, and finally introducing a new more democratic constitution and offered it to the masses for a referendum. The majority of the Syrian people countered the anti-regime demonstrations with massive pro-regime demonstrations. But the protesters and the movers behind them have evidently much more far-reaching goals in mind. They had refused all the compromising gestures offered by the regime, and demanded regime change before any dialogue. I wonder whom are they going to engage in dialogue with if the regime is not there!

When demonstrations did not gain popularity the extremists of the oppositions were pushed towards forming what is called Free Syrian Army (FSA) to commit violent acts, whose objective is to draw in armed security forces including the deployment of tanks and armored vehicles in order to give the Security Council the justification of foreign military intervention under NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect” mandate. Sophisticated weapons were smuggled in through Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The FSA attacked government institutions, police and army personnel, murdered some demonstrators, and bombed facilities and infrastructures in order to accuse security forces of these acts. Some were trained and armed by Qatari, Turkish, and British special operations units, who have been fighting in Homs alongside the rebels. Captured Turkish officers confessed of being trained in Israel according to Syrian MP Khaled el-Abbod. Members of Turkish Parliament Human Rights Committee declared that Syrian militias are being trained in guerilla warfare in camps in Antioch, Turkey. The unfortunate FSA were not a match for the well-trained and well-equipped Syrian security forces. Some of them got killed in battle, others were captured, and many of them are now dropping weapons and surrendering to the army. Their leaders are urging their foreign operatives to seek cease-fire, thus we witnessed the so-called Friends of Syria Conference calling for a cease-fire to allow alleged humanitarian aid to reach needy civilians (militias).

It is important to recognize that the Syrian opposition is comprised of at least two major factions; the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC). The SNC, whose leaders are outside of Syria in Europe and the US, was established in Istanbul, Turkey and seems to be the driving force behind the Free Syrian Army. It calls for the immediate and non-negotiable end of Bashar el-Assad’s regime and the establishment of a western-style democracy. The SNC calls for and welcomes Western intervention, and many of its leaders had openly called for Western and even Israeli military intervention. The SNC is supported by many Western countries and has been recognized on February 24 as “a, but not the only, representative” of the Syrian people.

The NCCDC, which was formed at a congress in Damascus, is largely based inside Syria with few members abroad. It is more moderate in its oppositional approach than the SNC. The NCCDC is strongly opposed to Western intervention although it is open to Arab intervention. It believes that the best solution to the Syrian crises is through dialogue with the Syrian regime in order to achieve a peaceful transition to a democratic rule. Although the NCCDC had, initially, sent a delegation to what is called “Friends of Syria” conference it boycotted the conference criticizing it of hijacking the will of the Syrian people through imposing and legitimizing who represents the people, and of escalating calls for military intervention.

The Friends of Syria Conference was doomed to failure since the planning. Thousands of Tunisians picketed the conference calling it “Friends of Israel” conference, denouncing the attendants, and chanting for Syria. Saud bin-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, withdrew from the conference complaining of its inefficiency because it did not support his call for foreign military intervention to protect the Syrian people by ousting al-Assad’s regime. His hypocrisy is so apparent in his oppressive absolute familial monarchy who is murdering the increasingly daily demonstrators in Qatif and Awamiyah demanding justice, freedom and democracy. Saudi Interior Ministry, Prince Naif bin Abdulazziz, described these demonstrators as terrorists and threatened to use iron fist against them. Close to 25% of Saudis, according to official consensus, are living under the poverty line; a scandalous fact in a super rich oil producing country, where all citizens could live leisurely have their rulers not horded the oil revenue exclusively for themselves. (Check youtube’s poverty in Saudi Arabia). Saudi’s alleged support for democracy does not appear in its sending the Peninsula Shield Forces to savagely murder freedom-seeking Bahraini peaceful demonstrators. Saudi’s sympathy for other Arab citizens was not apparent when its leaders cheered on for Israeli troops attacking South Lebanon in 2006 and in late 2008 when Israeli phosphorous bombs rained on helpless hungry Palestinian children in Gaza Strip.

Thrown by Syria’s cooperation with the mandates of the Arab League and by the failure of his financed terrorist armed militias (Free Syrian Army) and their recent calls to be saved from the attacks of the Syrian army by demanding a cease-fire, Hamad bin Jassim, the Prime Minister of Qatar, called for safe passage in Syria for what he claimed to be humanitarian aid to needy Syrian people, a ploy he used in the past in Libya’s case to smuggle weapons and to justify NATO’s military intervention. He also called for the formation of joined international and Arab military force to intervene in Syria. It is known to many that Qatar, the host of the largest American base, has been playing a major pro-American/pro-Zionist role in the region. This role could be seen in the destruction of Libya, in oppressing the Bahraini freedom-seeking demonstrators, in arming the so-called Free Syrian Army, and lately in manipulating the Palestinian/Palestinian (Fatah/Hamas) reconciliation efforts. According to Al’alam TV reports Saudi Prince Talal bin-Abdulaziz, the brother of Saudi king Abdullah bin-Abdulaziz, has exposed a Zionist/Qatari conspiracy to subdivide Saudi Arabia into smaller chunks, to destroy Syria and its regime, and to designate a part of Saudi northern desert as refugees camp-ground for Palestinians who will be evicted from occupied Palestine. It is worth noting here that the internet if full of pictures of Hamad bin Jassim and his absolute monarch Hamad bin Khalifa warmly shaking hands with Israeli criminal leaders such as Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni.

The Tunisian position had caused some French and Qatari resentment even days before the conference convened. Tunisia wanted to invite in particular Russia and China stating that without them the conference would have no real value. Also Tunisia, alongside with Iraq, Lebanon and Sudan, rejected Qatar’s request to recognize the SNC as the only legitimate representative of Syrians. At the opening of the conference Moncef Marzouki, the Tunisian president, rejected the idea of any military intervention in Syria and called for the formation of an Arab only peace keeping force in Syria accompanied by political efforts to convince el-Assad to leave the country by offering him judicial immunity and political asylum such as in Russia.

The Western countries, including the USA, have not yet found a suitable heir to el-Assad, who would meet their likings. Therefore, none of them is volunteering any of its troops as a peace keeping force or calling for any military solution. They wanted to spare their troops by having a Libyan style civil war where Arabs fight Arabs. The contrasting division between the different Syrian oppositional groups was not encouraging either. The only things they could offer are accusations of, and warnings to the el-Assad’s regime. President Obama threatened that he would use “every tool available to stop the slaughter in Syria” calling for further international pressure on el-Assad’s regime. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had nothing to offer except false predictions that el-Assad’s regime is getting closer to collapse. Obama and Clinton had left it to pro-Zionist senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman to call for “tangible actions” should be taken, such as providing Syrian opposition (SNC and its FSA) with weapons, intelligence tools and aerial drone surveillance to “ensure that the Syrian people have the means to protect themselves against their attackers”.

Meanwhile el-Assad’s regime is moving along with political and social reforms. A draft of a new constitution was offered to the people in a referendum to be voted on Sunday 2/26. This draft deletes Article 8 of the old constitution stating that the Ba’ath party is the only ruling party in the country. It also offers a state system based on political pluralism, multiple political parties, political rule exercised through democratic vote, and assures the independence and free functions of executive, judicial and legislative powers. It also provides that society will be based on solidarity and respect for the principles of social justice, freedom, equality and preservation of human dignity of every individual, and that citizens have equal right and duties without discrimination based on sex, origin, language, religion or creed. It also ensures the freedom of press and publications as well as the independence of the media. Similarly, women are provided all opportunities that will enable them to contribute fully and effectively in all avenues of the country including political, economic, social, and cultural life.

Most important the new constitution also stipulates that the presidency will be open to candidates above 40 years old who will be elected by universal and secret elections, and limits her/his term to seven years with the option for a second term only if voters deemed it worthy.

Despite call for boycotting the referendum, by 5:00 pm Syria time it was estimated that between 70 -75% of the population had a taste of their new democratic right to vote. Peaceful achievement of genuine democracy is triumphing in Syria.

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#23 furry_animal

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:27 PM

The very last bit....

"Peaceful achievement of genuine democracy is triumphing in Syria."

Do you believe that, Z?
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#24 Z

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:46 PM

Syria’s Electronic Warriors Hit Al Jazeera

Emails said to reveal dismay among Al-Jazeera staff over its “biased and unprofessional” coverage of Syria have been leaked by pro-Assad hackers.


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#25 Z

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:14 PM

Mahdi Lock: Advising Today's People to Honour Those in Charge of Their Affairs
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#26 MAK

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 01:41 PM

Removed a whole bunch of links as one contained a virus/trojan

if you don't have an anti-virus installed (and you run windows) I suggest avg-free
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"Humility and courtesy are acts of piety."

Mohmmad son of Abdullah peace and blessings be upon him

#27 Nour1


    Walk behind those you are leading

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:01 AM

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?? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ???????? ?? ?????????? ? ????????? ? ???????

#28 Mounir


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Posted 04 July 2012 - 08:08 PM

^ I love this Sheikh!
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Allah is One and loves unity

#29 Nour1


    Walk behind those you are leading

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 09:54 AM

Don't we all? :)

may he who's sake you love him for love you back
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?? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ???????? ?? ?????????? ? ????????? ? ???????

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