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Noura

Notes On The Syrian Uprising.

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Notes on the Syrian Uprising

by Omar Dahi

One of the many hidden gems in Jamal Barout’s groundbreaking four-part series on Syria’s political economy is the brief story of the three meetings that took place between former Syrian president Hafez al-Asad and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Based on archives he accessed from the Presidential Palace, Barout narrates that Gorbachev met with Hafez Al-Asad three times, in June 1985, April 1987, and April 1990. In the first two meetings Gorbachev was full of “determination, bravado, and will to implement his programs of ‘perestroika’ and ‘glasnost.’” By the last meeting, however, poor Gorbachev was reportedly despondent and gloomy complaining to Asad about the downturn of events, even asking the latter how he managed to rule Syria for so long.

It is possible that the dramatic collapse of the socialist bloc taught Asad and the Syrian “inner circle” that even minor political reform may lead to catastrophe. That is to say, the structure of the Syrian regime, which relies on the Presidential Palace-army-security apparatus-Party nexus cannot be reformed without precipitating a total collapse regardless of whether or not the president is willing to reform. At any rate, at the time, and under those conditions, the political reforms promised by the Syrian president in 1989, including major Congresses for the Party and National Progressive Front Congress, as well as amending the emergency law, never materialized. Instead, the regime continued a pattern, started since Hafez al-Asad came to power and lasting until the start of the uprisings, of substituting political reform for economic liberalization or “economic pluralism.” Fast forwarding to today, ten months into Syria’s uprisings, over several thousand dead or wounded and tens of thousands of arrests later, the Syrian regime appears to be still standing.

There has been an impressive cohesiveness and unity within the regime’s structures aside from the defections within the army. Mutual political and sectarian assassinations are on the rise and fatigue and frustration are setting in among some protestors and their allies. The extreme level of violence inflicted by the regime has led to the rise of the Free Syrian Army, which is attempting a dual role of civilian defense and guerilla warfare against the regime. In short, the overall situation is more complex and the mood inside Syria much darker than just a month or two ago. The evolution of the uprising and its dynamic is in danger of robbing Syrians themselves from agency over their future. The Syrian revolutionaries are caught between a killing machine and its allies. On the other hand they are receiving the proclaimed support from what one brave journalist recently referred to as one of “the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth” and its allies. Many activists are no longer hopeful but are thinking along the lines of least-worst options.

Drawing on recent Syrian history as well as academic and non-academic writings on Syria before and after the uprising I try to answer the following questions in a three-part series: What have the uprisings accomplished? What explains the dynamics of the Syrian uprisings? What explains the evolving strategy of the regime? And what are possible directions or endgames for the crisis in Syria? In Part I, I focus on the accomplishments of the uprisings. Part II focuses on evolving regime strategies as well as internal and external complications, which includes a critical reappraisal of opposition strategies and mistakes. Part III tries to draw on the first two parts to suggest possibilities for the path forward. My goal is not a comprehensive history of the Syrian uprising but to focus on certain issues that contain direct relevance for thought and action today.

Part I: Accomplishments

As the bloodshed continues and the regime appears to be still standing, many people are wondering if the revolution might fail. However, the reality is that the revolution has already succeeded in ending the regime’s effective power and ability to govern, including among other issues, the very fact of territorial control over the country. Ending the regime is not the same as consummation of the uprising into a democratic transition. Nevertheless, before discussing the complexity of the current and likely coming situation—and there is plenty to be pessimistic about—it is worth noting other aspects of the uprisings.

Just a few days into the uprising, with the destruction of the first statue or tearing down of the first pictures of the current president or his father (and late brother), the revolution succeeded not just in destroying the so-called “fear barrier” but also in what political scientist Lisa Wedeen refers to in her book on Syria Ambiguities of Domination as the façade of “acting as if.” Ridicule and contempt for the regime inside Syria did not start on March 15, it has always existed. The difference is that it was kept secret, behind closed doors, among the closest confidants. Wedeen argues that the Syrian regime did not enjoy legitimacy in the traditional “consent of the governed” sense but that a collection of regime practices, including the use of spectacle and mass mobilization, gave it a sense of inevitability in the eyes of each citizen. For example, she argues that no one truly believed in the cult of Asad—developed and refined by former Minister of Information Ahmad Iskander Ahmad in the 1970s—which gave the president godlike status and accomplishments. However, while no one would believe that Asad was, for example, the First Pharmacist, people acted in public “as if” they did.

This process gave the regime a sort of strength despite the fact that people were well aware of themselves and of others performing this lie. The regime thus achieved a hegemony of sorts, with individuals being in awe of a regime that could get these masses to publicly profess the ridiculous. The regime did not care whether or not people really believed the lie. All that mattered was that they publicly perform it. In fact it was even better, from the regime’s perspective, if they rebelled against this lie in the safety and privacy of their household because this would give each citizen the illusion that “no, the regime does not own me,” which in turn allows the process to continue. In fact, in this scenario, the most dangerous people would be those who took regime rhetoric seriously—particularly on social justice—and would try to publically contrast its rhetoric with its actual actions. Or those who appropriated regime slogans but used them in a way that would subvert the regime rather than support it. Wedeen provides numerous examples in her book but I recall a famous one, perhaps an urban legend, of a group of people arrested in the early 1990s after chanting, “Ya Allah hallak hallak, bidna al-Asad mahallak” [God, your time is over over, we want Asad in your place].

But what is the fallout from the crumbling of this façade? First, it may help to explain the cognitive dissonance some regime supporters had between the alleged popularity of Bashar al-Asad and the actual level of hatred that people had towards the regime. Many people also mistook the level of hatred as coming from the violent regime response to the uprisings themselves and not, as in fact they were, an accumulation of decades of oppression. Second, once the “acting as if genie is out of the bottle, it cannot be pacified with any amount of reform. Although the regime has not offered any meaningful political reform, there is a certain truth to what many insiders believed: no amount of reform can placate the protestors. Therefore, I do not believe, as many do, that the President’s first speech could have been a dramatic turning point. If the President had come out in favor of an immediate democratic transition, he may have placated the demands of some, but it is unlikely to have altered the way the protests spread across the country. Yes, the President’s arrogant speeches made him increasingly the target of the protests, but the uprising was really an expression of the collective anger against the structure of terror that is the Syrian regime. In that sense, the removal of the Asad family from power as a precondition for a comprehensive post-uprising solution is a result of more than just the crimes the regime committed in the immediate aftermath of the uprising.

An account of Syria that does not contain a political economy analysis that touches upon the structure of material interests, social forces, and ethnic balance cannot capture the complexity of responses to Syria’s uprisings. Many people perhaps did not believe Asad was the “First Engineer,” but they thought these lies or exaggerations were necessary evils to maintain a regime that is allegedly better than its alternative. At the same time, an extreme materialist explanation of people’s dispositions is not convincing either. For example, the simplistic and crude argument that “regime beneficiaries” are supportive while others are not is not really borne out by personal experience and intimate knowledge of these groups. Defining who was a ‘beneficiary’ and who was not is a tricky subject to begin with, and not all who accumulated wealth in the past decades did so due to simply being regime insiders. Many non-‘beneficiaries’ may be ideologically clinging to a certain aspect of the regime’s rhetoric (e.g. “resistance”), while others including even those who had close contact to the upper echelons of power, were in fact at the front lines of humiliation, reminded constantly of the power hierarchy inside the country. In the words of a prominent businessman I spoke with, “they [upper echelons of the regime] always remind you, when you sit with them, that you work for them as if to say, if you’re wealthy it’s because they are allowing you to be wealthy.” Whether this means such “beneficiaries” will speak out, fund the regime or the uprising, or stay silent is a different issue. Despite the fact that the roots of the uprisings lay in part in the economic deprivation of increasing strata of society, the personal disposition of many Syrians cannot be easily gauged by simplistic readings of material benefit. This of course had (and has) direct implications for opposition strategy since it includes a large number of potential allies against the regime (which I will discuss in more detail in part III).

The crumbling of the façade has also had other more complicated implications. One of the nastiest aspects of the regime was the way that it tried to implicate Syrians by making them support its indefensible actions or at least stay silent about them. The uprising has thus provided a chance to be “born again,” a cleansing process or clean break from the disturbing past. However, in the rush to condemn the regime, there were some who increased the rhetorical dosage a bit. It was probably an attempt to perhaps break with a past they do not want to remember, to break with a time in their lives when they could have spoken out more but did not, and to loudly state their opposition to the regime and condemn all those who support it. By contrast, many dissidents who had publicly spoken out against the regime before 15 March were the least rhetorical, despite their unwavering support for the revolution. There is no shame in any of this of course, and this rhetorical overkill is understandable—it is also driven by legitimate outrage at the repression of the regime itself. However, it can and has in many instances become a barrier to debate or to creating consensus on political action, especially when people do not separate political propaganda or media war (which is a necessity of any political struggle) from actual political platforms and constructive paths forward.

Second, the revolution discourse has achieved cultural, political, and economic hegemony. At the political level the Syrian uprising was a militant civil rights movement against the security-party-military nexus. It is worth remembering that as recently as a year ago, merely signing a petition calling for some more freedoms could be punishable by several years in prisons under charges such as “weakening national morale” and other Orwellian phrases. In the first scattered demonstrations that took place in Damascus, even before the incidents at Dar’aa, the main slogan chanted by the demonstrators was “the Syrian people cannot be humiliated.” Political debate was stifled and discussions in public were guarded and reserved. Syria’s authoritarian regime was not just a danger for political dissidents; navigating daily life in Syria was a struggle for most ordinary and lower class Syrians. The state security apparatus had extended its tentacles to all aspects of Syria’s political economy. Everyone, from the taxi driver and street vendor all the way up to businessmen had to curry favor, and to bribe and appease the mukhabarat to get the simplest task done, or simply to be left alone. The grievances against the Syrian state have been well-documented. The more claustrophobic side of daily life in Syria—with ubiquitous security presence—had lessened or improved in the last decade. It is worth noting however that many aspects of regime corruption got worse, not better, under the rule of Bashar Al-Asad. The revolts were thus an expression of anger against economic deprivations, corruption, inequality, and poverty. Jamal Barout found that according to some measures of poverty, the percentage of Syrians living under the poverty line rose from eleven percent in 2000 to thirty-three percent in 2010. That is, about seven million Syrians live around or below the poverty line.

The last decade has seen increasing marginalization, especially of the rural areas, that has exacerbated the increasing desertification of the country, most notably the devastating drought. The International Crisis Group report stated that the dispossession of several hundred thousand farmers in the Northeast as a result of the drought should not be thought of as merely a natural disaster. The increase and intensive use of land by agro-businessmen—including land previously kept for grazing—as well as illegal drilling of water wells, facilitated by paying off local administration, has contributed to the crisis of agriculture. Both are a manifestation of the inability of the Syrian government under Bashar Al-Asad to check the power of influential businessmen or to perform basic regulatory functions. So at a more fundamental level, the protests denounced the capture of the state by a few oligarchs. This could be best seen by the level of anger against Rami Makhlouf, the cousin of the President. Makhlouf and his close associates had turned Syria into their private fiefdom over the past decade, building a large economic empire through a mixture of coercion and intimidation, instrumental use of state and judiciary power, and outright fraud. As Bassam Haddad argued in a recent article, the “private sector’s march in Syria is undermining both state and market” due to extreme cronyism and patronage networks which are unable or unwilling to change despite the fast changing pace of events in the country.

Therefore, the uprisings emerged to discipline a corrupt structure unable to discipline itself. Even though the military apparatus has occupied cities, effectively it is the regime itself that is under siege on several levels. The public declarations of a turnaround in economic policy, signaling support for manufacturing and industry, cancelling of free trade agreements, and so forth, was acknowledgement of this fact. So was the attempt to blame all the economic ills in Syria on Abdullah al-Dardari. Undoubtedly, Dardari supervised an economic liberalization process that implemented World Bank or International Monetary Fund-style orthodox economic policies, which increased foreign direct investment but also increased poverty and inequality. However, he is hardly the main scapegoat here. Syria’s economic policies are an outcome of the struggle of powerful social groups to advance their interests, of which Dardari was “the right man for the job.” But if Dardari did not do the job, someone else would have replaced him just as Tayseer Radawi was removed after he voiced complaints about inequality and elite capture of the state.

That is why analytical attempts to explain Syria’s economic policy as a product of a “Trojan horse,” as one account does, misunderstand the structure of decision making in Syria as well as the endogenous process by which economic reform in Syria was produced. After the uprising, the public sector Ba’athist defenders of the regime, who had been gradually losing the battle to defend the socialist public sector model, found themselves rejuvenated—that their time has come. Scholars who held this view included Munir al-Hamsh who was critical of regime liberalization. Yet the tragedy of the Syrian economy in the past ten years lies in the fact that serious developmental policy, of the kind advocated by the late ‘Isam al-Za’im as well as Samir Seifan, fell victim to the struggle between both the “public sector Ba’athists” as well as the “economic liberalizers.” Za’im and Seifan had advocated a model of the Syrian economy that included serious restructuring which retained a role for the state in the economy as well as public-private sector partnerships. This option represented a threat to both the public sector Ba’athists as well as the liberalizers, and was thus eliminated. The current Minister of the Economy Muhammad al-Sha’ar has made several statements along a developmentalist option. I believe this to be a wise economic policy for a future regime, but it is too little too late for this one.

The “cognitive horizon” of all Syrians is now shaped by the uprisings—everyone is thinking, talking, and reacting to the revolution, including the regime despite the increased polarization and demonization of pro and anti-regime sides. However, the cultural hegemony of the uprising is true at the level of art, theater, media, jokes, and satire, even if regime continues to give the illusion that it dictates the course of events and holds all the cards. The deafening sound of regime violence is drowning out these exhilarating developments and the countless debates and discussions taking place daily in cafes and a social media about all sorts of possible directions of every aspect of Syrian society. At a broader level, the revolt has delegitimized the regime’s institutions, all of which are interconnected (presidency, army, security apparatus). This is important to keep in mind when thinking about where the Syrian revolt is at in comparison with that in Egypt and Tunisia—it seems to be far behind, but in fact there is more to the story, and they may be at more similar stages than it first appears. Unlike in Egypt and Tunisia, there are no semi-independent institutions, which of course is what makes the Syrian uprising more difficult. While the Egyptians toppled the head of the former regime, they are now pushing to dismantle the other hierarchical entrenched institutions. In Syria, the process will happen all at once; the fall of Asad means all of Syria’s main political, judiciary, and economic institutions will need to be rebuilt. This means that Syrians must plant the seeds of the future Syria even while the regime continues to cling to power. It is worth recalling the collapse of the socialist bloc, which I referenced at the start of this article. Although it contains lessons for the regime, it also contains lessons for Syrians wishing to build a better future. Forty years of ideological and political distortion are hard to negotiate through and reverse in a short period of time. Attempting to completely ‘reverse’ socialist era policies, particularly economically, lead to social catastrophe.

I will discuss this in more detail in part III. Part II will focus on “complications,” which include evolving regime strategy over the past ten months, mistakes made by the opposition, as well as the role and reaction of outside powers.

http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/4382/notes-on-the-syrian-uprisings-(part-1)

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Guest EndlessEndeavor

Great article. Lest we forget this country has operated one of the most brutal mukhaabarat (intelligence) services over the past 20 years. No one could speak against the Government in the past.

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Great article. Lest we forget this country has operated one of the most brutal mukhaabarat (intelligence) services over the past 20 years. No one could speak against the Government in the past.

That would be the American and Israeli regime.

The article is by an institute that is based in Washington DC, like your article from Aljazeera, both engaged in NATO propaganda. Not worthy of reading.

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Guest EndlessEndeavor

That would be the American and Israeli regime.

The article is by an institute that is based in Washington DC, like your article from Aljazeera, both engaged in NATO propaganda. Not worthy of reading.

(salam)

I think you are mistaken on that matter. As someone who has visited Syria several times before these uprisings, I am well aware of their brutal intelligence services that left people very afraid. I also know some people who suffered from their brutality.

I know there are various views on the uprising and whether it is legitimate or not, but the facts about the Government and how their intelligence used to operate does not change. A terrible Ba'athi institute that silenced the people from any criticism for many years. I remember once a madman threatened to swear at Bashar and people rushed to silence him and so instead he wanted to curse Allah swt.

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The article is by an institute that is based in Washington DC, like your article from Aljazeera, both engaged in NATO propaganda. Not worthy of reading.

(salam)

Al Jadaliyya is not for israel and is against them, they are also against the gulf regime, and were against the nato intervention on libya.

That would be the American and Israeli regime.

And the syrian people deserve a civil free democracy like everyone in the middle east not a super brutal dictadorship like the baath has been were it has been implemented..

Edited by Noura

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Noura, even Fox News has shows against the Persian Gulf regimes and invasion of Libya, they are not really against those factors. That is how propagandists save face, they 'portray' to show the two sides, and let 'the viewer decide', knowing they are dominating the rest of their propaganda with dubious points of views. You should be honest and stated that they are in Washington, are injected with capital investments from interest groups in Washington and are widely cited and referred to as yet another 'prominent' source for the "Arab Spring", the same goes for your source Al Jazeera, which is owned by the Qatari dictatorship. The prominence of Al Jazeera reflects the hypocricy of those who desire change in one country they call a dictatorship, with the help of another dictatorship, and its Wahhabist militants, leaving many people cynical.

A country that shares a border with a Zionist state occupying territory has every right to have tight controlled security forces, that is not 'brutal', that is calculated. We've seen the bomb plots and assassinations by foreign regimes there in the past.

Syria, prior to the Wahhabist terrorist massacre was known in the Middle East as a hotbed for spies. If it were truly a police state, and information, borders were that tightly controlled, it would have never meant the import of foreign mercenaries, black ops and foreign journalists endorsed by the American oligarchy being smuggled in with ease.

.

Edited by bolbol

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Noura, even Fox News has shows against the Persian Gulf regimes and invasion of Libya, they are not really against those factors. That is how propagandists save face, they 'portray' to show the two sides, and let 'the viewer decide', knowing they are dominating the rest of their propaganda with dubious points of views. You should be honest and stated that they are in Washington, and are widely cited and referred to as yet another source for the "Arab Spring", the same goes for your source Al Jazeera, which is owned by the Qatari dictatorship.

A country that shares a border with a Zionist state occupying territory has every right to have tight controlled security forces, that is not 'brutal', that is calculated. We've seen the bomb plots and assassinations by foreign regimes there in the past.

Syria, prior to the Wahhabist terrorist massacre was known in the Middle East as a hotbed for spies. If it were truly a police state, and information, borders were that tightly controlled, it would have never meant the import of foreign mercenaries, black ops and foreign journalists endorsed by the American oligarchy.

.

So you want us to listen to PressTv and become a sheep like you?You are such a propagandist :lol:

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Nice to have you back Bangladeshi. You were banned, remember?

Press TV is transparent, it is a communication of government towards people. It has no double agenda, it merely echoes the voice of government and is recognized as doing so. One sided information, you know what you get.

Aljazeera is real propaganda, it demands democracy, freedom, self determination, dignity for the rest of the Arab world and pretends to be a proto-French Revolutionary idealist channel, whilst being a mouthpiece of a ruthless Wahhabist regime where people have no right to self determination, are a satellite state held hostage by the American regime, no legitimate elections and no sovereignty, recognition of Zionist regime. Purely concerned with other countries. Those who quote this channel can be seen as having similar, double standards.

Edited by bolbol

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Nice to have you back Bangladeshi. You were banned, remember?

Press TV is transparent, it is a communication of government towards people. It has no double agenda, it merely echoes the voice of government and is recognized as doing so. One sided information, you know what you get.

Aljazeera is real propaganda, it demands democracy, freedom, self determination, dignity for the rest of the Arab world and pretends to be a proto-French Revolutionary idealist channel, whilst being a mouthpiece of a ruthless Wahhabist regime where people have no right to self determination, are a satellite state held hostage by the American regime, no legitimate elections and no sovereignty, recognition of Zionist regime. Purely concerned with other countries. Those who quote this channel can be seen as having similar, double standards.

I am not Bangladeshi, where did you pull that one out? Aljazeera is not owned by the Sunni regimes, aljazeera is independent media unlike PressTv, which you admitted to being owned by the Iranian government.

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Noura, even Fox News has shows against the Persian Gulf regimes and invasion of Libya, they are not really against those factors. That is how propagandists save face, they 'portray' to show the two sides, and let 'the viewer decide', knowing they are dominating the rest of their propaganda with dubious points of views. You should be honest and stated that they are in Washington, are injected with capital investments from interest groups in Washington and are widely cited and referred to as yet another 'prominent' source for the "Arab Spring", the same goes for your source Al Jazeera, which is owned by the Qatari dictatorship. The prominence of Al Jazeera reflects the hypocricy of those who desire change in one country they call a dictatorship, with the help of another dictatorship, and its Wahhabist militants, leaving many people cynical.

A country that shares a border with a Zionist state occupying territory has every right to have tight controlled security forces, that is not 'brutal', that is calculated. We've seen the bomb plots and assassinations by foreign regimes there in the past.

Syria, prior to the Wahhabist terrorist massacre was known in the Middle East as a hotbed for spies. If it were truly a police state, and information, borders were that tightly controlled, it would have never meant the import of foreign mercenaries, black ops and foreign journalists endorsed by the American oligarchy being smuggled in with ease.

They are based in Wasghington and Beirut that is the arab studies institute, and they are non profit and controlled by nonone like al jazeera is controlled by Qatar. Also lebanon has a democracy and shares a border with Israel, and is not an absolute dictadorship even with the imperfections . Also, the syrian dictadorship is an incredibly corupt oligarchy, that is why some terroist elements have come into syria, but big groups of oppoistion like those led by Haytham al mana or Michel Kilo, or even the SNC has called for pacific rallys against the dictadorship, it was the the syrian regime crackdown and torture, and killing which forced people to get arms and for people in the army to defect.. It has nothing to do with Israel, Israel wants Bashar because bashar like his father since the october war has done nothing to upset the natrual balance that exists.

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"Non Profit" is another title for "Willing to parrot for capital investments"...especially in Washington and Brussels,anyone that is in the NGO business knows that. Come now.

Aljazeera is a regime mouthpiece, do you deny this.

Lebanon's intelligence is ridiculous and requires the attention of Hezbollah. People are assassinated and followed on a daily basis.

SNC is yet another national council of Western oligarchs that have no connection with Syrian people. Like Libya, Venezuela e.a. these "National Councils" comprise of exiles who are willing to do NATO and IMF's bidding for power.

There is no evidence of torture, only claims by those who want to overthrow the Syrian government, and oppose it without shame. It reminds us of the PR agencies and "NGO" that concocted claims about murdering and torturing in Latin America of their people, such as in Cuba and Venezuela. On the other hand, cracking down is completely legitimate by a sovereign government for security purposes.

Killing is done by rooftop snipers and random acts of killing, attributed to the government. Something we have also seen in just about any color revolution, including Iran 2009. Those are old, recycled claims which are unconvincing.

Assad has already set up the blueprint for a wide variety of elections, has engaged with the opposition to speak with them, they have declined and want war. Any blood that flows is on their hands. When is your Qatari and Washington oligarchy going to abolish the Electoral Council, and the King's absolutist power?

.

.

Edited by bolbol

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especially in Washington and Brussels,anyone that is in the NGO business knows that. Come now

Who are they controlled by, and is everyone who does business in Washington controlled by someone ?

Aljazeera is a regime mouthpiece, do you deny this.

Yes , but Al Jadaliyya is way way different then Al Jazeera

SNC is yet another national council of Western oligarchs that have no connection with Syrian people. Like Libya, Venezuela e.a. these "National Councils" comprise of exiles who are willing to do NATO and IMF's bidding for power.

SNC is not the only group it is one of many and is a big group with different people.

There is no evidence of torture, only claims by those who want to overthrow the Syrian government, and oppose it without shame. It reminds us of the PR agencies that concocted claims about murdering and torturing in Latin America of their people, such as in Cuba and Venezuela. On the other hand...

Actually there are several videos of torture and I will post them if you want the evidence .

Killing is done by rooftop snipers and random acts of killing, attributed to the government. Something we have also seen in just about any color revolution, including Iran 2009. Those are old, recycled claims which are unconvincing.

Assad has already set up the blueprint for a wide variety of elections, when is your Qatari and Washington oligarchy going to abolish the Electoral Council, and the King's absolutist power?

And you have proof. Also their have been elections with the baath regime in 2007 and bashar won more then 95 % no one trust his election and in his supposed reforms to the constitution he will still be president until 2028 . And if it was up to me the middle east would be a democracy every country, would be like Turkey or Europe and not backwards.

Edited by Noura

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Who are they controlled by, and is everyone who does business in Washington controlled by someone?

Welcome to the country of Realpolitik. Or as American bureaucrats like to say: You scratch our back, we scratch yours.

SNC is not the only group it is one of many and is a big group with different people. Yes, and they are fighting against each other, too

Actually there are several videos of torture and I will post them if you want the evidence

Did you read what I said? Those 'videos' of torture are produced by the opposition. We've all seen them in every single country that has the nerve to defy America's regime, from Caracas to Tehran, 'innocent people' are being 'beaten and tortured' for their basic civil rights, convenient.

And you have proof. Also their have been elections with the baath regime in 2007 and bashar won more then 95 % no one trust his election . And if it was up the middle east would be a democracy every country, would be like Turkey or Europe and not backwards.

Yes, elections by the people was announced for the near future in public by Assad. The elections currently in place are not elections by the people but within the Baath party, which considers Assad the most fit to rule in a one party state. Nothing strange about that. In America, the regime has two parties that are not chosen by people, and receive 100% of the vote. I believe using 2 parties is worse, since you are giving people the illusion these parties are somehow 'in conflict' for the 'public interest' while they serve the regime's interest. This is completely in line with Founding Fathers of America, who thought Americans were too ignorant to vote for politicians, and needed obstacles. That is why America is not a democracy, but a Republic. It is ridiculous how Institute of Arab Studies has a base in such a country, and then wants democracy in another. Surely you know this.

Also, if it was up to Middle Eastern people, countries would be pseudo-Caliphates, not democracies. Turkey is a Junta based on ethnocentrism and Europe has a similar checks and balances system for the public like America. Why would anyone that has dignity want to follow those systems.

Edited by bolbol

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Welcome to the country of Realpolitik. Or as American bureaucrats like to say: You scratch our back, we scratch yours.

Who are they controlled by or is the fact that they are anti assad and anyone who is anti assad is a person controlled by zionist or americans, like they say in el donia ?

Yes, and they are fighting against each other, too

Actually no, they may disagree and some groups like snc may be controlled by the ihkwani but they all agree that bashar must leave.

Did you read what I said? Those 'videos' of torture are produced by the opposition. We've all seen them in every single country that has the nerve to defy America's regime, from Caracas to Tehran, 'innocent people' are being 'beaten and tortured' for their basic civil rights, convenient.

Watch this video and you will see that it was shot by the sadistic soldires of bashar not the opposition .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4gq7owwa6o&skipcontrinter=1

Yes, elections by the people was announced for the near future in public by Assad. The elections currently in place are not elections by the people but within the Baath party, which considers Assad the most fit to rule in a one party state.

The one in 2007 was not in election of inside the baath, bashar was already apointed leader of the baath. \

Nothing strange about that. In America, the regime has two parties that are not chosen by people, and receive 100% of the vote. I believe using 2 parties is worse, since you are giving people the illusion these parties are somehow 'in conflict' for the 'public interest' while they serve the regime's interest.

Yes but people actually vote in those elections and canidates rarely win more then 51 % of the vote and if somone does not like the power in power they can vote them out and both parties are not homogeneous but have different ideological strains in them. So you prefer a dictadorship like syria which tortures its people and improsns people without any trials, so i guess the kassafi was not bad nor mubarak nor ben ali right nor is the muhammed in morrco or khalifa in bahrain by your logic they are okay ?

This is completely in line with Founding Fathers of America, who thought Americans were too ignorant to vote for politicians, and needed obstacles. That is why America is not a democracy, but a Republic. It is ridiculous how Institute of Arab Studies has a base in such a country, and then wants democracy in another. Surely you know this.

Yes it is a republic were the people have the check and balance of votting out people they don't like and the party in power is not in power for 40 years nor is the president. The people want freedom in Syria, and the right to keep the people in power in check with elections and the freedom of not being tortured for their believes or a system that is corupt, or one that makes them worship a figure head like the syrian baath, or like the iraq baath did.

Also, if it was up to Middle Eastern people, countries would be pseudo-Caliphates, not democracies. Turkey is a Junta based on ethnocentrism and Europe has a similar checks and balances system for the public like America. Why would anyone that has dignity want to follow those systems.

People want democracies that is what they fought for in Egypt and Tunisia and Libya, and Morroco, and in Syria, the only reason they do not do it in the gulf is that the regimes their bribe them .

Edited by Noura

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Watch this video and you will see that it was shot by the sadistic soldires of bashar not the opposition .

watch this vidio and see for yourself how minuipulative, cunning, heartless and savage the Syrian insurgents are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3EegqoYcx0&feature=channel_video_title

Do both Bashar and the terrorists both lease out the same room to conduct their propaganda video??

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So, the people in the video are all terroist ? Are these guy the terroist also ?? And were the people in the video terroist those torturing and humiliating the innocent man ? And is everything a conspiracy in syria and Bashar has only been good ? ? ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5zdmrQ-QFw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtbX-RzN9jc&feature=related

Edited by Noura

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Watch this video and you will see that it was shot by the sadistic soldires of bashar not the opposition .

There is a dari/farsi poem that goes-

dil badast aawar ki hajj-e akbar ast

az hazaran ka'aba yak dil behtar ast

it basically says that earning one person's heart is better than 1000 ka'abas. (sorry for botchy translation)

it breaks my heart to see the man robbed of his dignity.

May Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) help the people of Syria against a modern Pharaoh. Ameen : )

Shut up you retarded salafi!!! Do not mix your mental sickness with the plight of the innocent people. Focus instead on bangladesh.

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There is a dari/farsi poem that goes-

dil badast aawar ki hajj-e akbar ast

az hazaran ka'aba yak dil behtar ast

it basically says that earning one person's heart is better than 1000 ka'abas. (sorry for botchy translation)

it breaks my heart to see the man robbed of his dignity.

Shut up you retarded salafi!!! Do not mix your mental sickness with the plight of the innocent people. Focus instead on bangladesh.

Just because I choose to be from the followers of the Sunnah - doesn't make me retarded. I'm actually not Bangladeshi. Edited by Abu Muslim

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Watch this video and you will see that it was shot by the sadistic soldires of bashar not the opposition .

I've never been compelled to using swear words on an Internet forum out of anger, but after seeing that, I really have to prevent myself from saying what I'd like to.

I understand those who support Bashar are only doing it with Iran's interest at heart.. thus are displaying their political identity before their religious and spiritual one. It's as if they have the strategic interests of a nation-state at heart before the plight of real, everyday human beings who are suffering.

I'm not saying that there is an interest to exploit the demands of the opposition voices by other regional players and the American hegemony, but at the end of the day, all states act in self-interest.

If only the ideals of being against oppression and tyranny can be applied to this situation.

The fact that many on here had no qualms with the Ba'athist regime in Iraq (a Shia majority country with a Sunni minority in power) being ousted through violence, thus destabilizing the region and benefitting Iran in the longrun... yet seeing the same political system as being legit (despite a diametric situation of a Sunni majority country ruled by a secular Alawi elite) speaks volumes.

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Just because I choose to be from the followers of the Sunnah - doesn't make me retarded. I'm actually not Bangladeshi.

Real religion is in our heart and not on our flags the way it is for you deviant salafis or little salafi wanna be.

If you are not bengali then where are you from? Why you find the need to hide after you were exposed that you are not Arab? Are you ashamed of where you are from?

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Real religion is in our heart and not on our flags the way it is for you deviant salafis or little salafi wanna be.

If you are not bengali then where are you from? Why you find the need to hide after you were exposed that you are not Arab? Are you ashamed of where you are from?

I'm from Iraq ( my roots go back to Iran though ) - and I don't think I was ever exposed, as I recently registered. Edited by Abu Muslim

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So, the people in the video are all terroist ? Are these guy the terroist also ?? And were the people in the video terroist those torturing and humiliating the innocent man ? And is everything a conspiracy in syria and Bashar has only been good ? ? ?

No, im not going to start judgeing the whole regime on the actions of a few...until i see Bashar himsellf apear in videos like this, as Saddam used to himself, then i won't endorse the content of these videos as official regime crimes.

Plus the video i posted should at least give you the impression that these videos we are watching on the crisis may actually be just for propaganda purposes..

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No, im not going to start judgeing the whole regime on the actions of a few...until i see Bashar himsellf apear in videos like this, as Saddam used to himself, then i won't endorse the content of these videos as official regime crimes.

Plus the video i posted should at least give you the impression that these videos we are watching on the crisis may actually be just for propaganda purposes..

Yeah you want Bashar to appear on the screen laughing at the deaths of civilians. Get real, dude.

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Yeah you want Bashar to appear on the screen laughing at the deaths of civilians. Get real, dude.

emeritie prince personally seen torturing political opposition.

Where was the massive public outcrty

Edited by south-lebanon

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emeritie prince personally seen torturing political opposition.

Where was the massive public outcrty

emeritie prince personally seen torturing political opposition.

Where was the massive public outcrty

emeritie prince personally seen torturing political opposition.

Where was the massive public outcrty

If I am not mistaken, it was over few thousand dollars.

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emeritie prince personally seen torturing political opposition.

Where was the massive public outcrty

That wasn't about political opposition, the guy being tortured is an Afghan businessman who owed him some money after he lost some stock.

The "prince" is still a lowlife dog of course.

But you should call out oppression wherever you see it. I'm not afraid to.

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