Syria

Syria and the Arab Rebellion

It’s Syria’s turn.

Some friends and colleagues better positioned than I to speculate on the likely outcome of the protests in Der`aa have promised to write a few commentaries on the subject, perhaps early next week.

In the meantime, let’s have an open forum on the subject. Please do post links to news items and videos in the comment section, and I will add them to the main post. Here are a few things worth reading, just to kick us off:

As Protests Mount, Is There A Soft Landing for Syria? (Joshua Landis, TIME.com)

The Baathist regime that has ruled Syria for 48 years is on the ropes. Even President Bashar al-Assad himself seems to have been shocked by the level of violence used by Syria’s security forces to suppress demonstrations that began a week ago, and on Thursday afternoon his office announced unprecedented concessions to popular demands. But the question of whether those concessions assuage protesters’ concerns or prove to be too little too late may be answered on the streets after Friday prayers.

The protests began a week ago in the dusty agricultural town of Dara’a, near the border with Jordan, over the arrests of high school students for scrawling antigovernment graffiti. Those demonstrations quickly spun out of control, with thousands joining in, inspired by the wave of revolutions that have rocked the Arab world, to demand political freedoms and an end to emergency rule and corruption. The government responded brutally, killing over 30 demonstrators and wounding many more, according to activists. Gruesome videos of the crackdown, disseminated via the Internet in recent days, have enraged Syrians from one end of the country to the other. (keep reading)

LIVE UPDATES on Syria Protests (from NOW Lebanon)

Graphic courtesy of NOW Lebanon (click to follow)

A very good feed of news reports, videos, images, etc. on the unrest in Syria and at Syrian embassies worldwide.

Thousands March to Protest Syria Killings (NYT)

Syria‘s repressive leadership came under unexpectedly heavy pressure on Thursday as thousands of angry demonstrators massed again in the southern city of Dara’a, demanding democratic reform and protesting the deaths of more than a dozen people shot by security forces in the past week.

The government of President Bashar al-Assad, unaccustomed to concessions, rapidly announced a series of reforms, including a salary increase for public workers, greater freedom for the news media and political parties, and a reconsideration of the emergency rule that has clamped down the nation for 48 years.

Mr. Assad also ordered prisoners taken during the crackdown this week to be freed. An adviser said publicly that Mr. Assad had ordered troops not to fire live rounds at protesters in Dara’a and that “there were, maybe, some mistakes.” (Keep reading)

International Crisis Group Conflict Risk Alert on Syria

Syria is at what is rapidly becoming a defining moment for its leadership. There are only two options. One involves an immediate and inevitably risky political initiative that might convince the Syrian people that the regime is willing to undertake dramatic change. The other entails escalating repression, which has every chance of leading to a bloody and ignominious end. Already, the unfolding confrontation in the southern city of Deraa gives no sign of quieting, despite some regime concessions, forceful security measures and mounting casualties. For now, this remains a geographically isolated tragedy. But it also constitutes an ominous precedent with widespread popular resonance that could soon be repeated elsewhere. (keep reading)

Syrians For Peaceful Reform and The Syrian Revolution 2011 are two very different Facebook groups, both worth checking out.

Andrew Tabler: Syria Protests Call for Strong U.S. Stance

…Thus far, the Asad regime has refused to accept Washington’s criticism of its record on human rights and democracy. This month’s protests provide Washington with the opportunity to reiterate calls for universal freedoms — whether Damascus likes it or not. On March 24, the State Department condemned the “Syrian government’s brutal repression of demonstrations, in particular the violence and killings of civilians at the hands of security forces,” and also said, “Those responsible for the violence must be held accountable.” To achieve this, and to ensure that Asad follows through with his promises to enact domestic reforms, the United States should publicly pressure the regime to respect human rights and political freedoms, and institute rule of law in the country. (keep reading)


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Discussion

240 thoughts on “Syria and the Arab Rebellion

  1. GK,

    I agree that so far what has happened can only help Lebanese democracy and stability. Politics is never pretty, but usually much less bloody than revolutions.

    Danny,

    At some point the Syrian regime will understand that in order to get the economic growth that it needs for stability, it will have to part ways with Iran. It will not happen tomorrow, but in the next few years, if they stay in power, they will reach this inevitable conclusion or be responsible for grinding the Syrian economy to dust Zimbabwe style.

    Posted by AIG | March 28, 2011, 4:30 pm
  2. AIG,

    Agreed on the Syria/Economy comment.
    However, one has to wonder what takes priority in a regime such as the one in Syria (or Zimbabwe, for that matter): Economic prosperity or staying in power. Mugabe has shown he favors the latter. I’m not entirely sure Assad would feel otherwise. Such regimes tend to put regime preservation at the top of all priorities, no matter the economic or human consequences. Examples abound: Saddam, the guys in Myanmar, Mugabe, etc.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | March 28, 2011, 4:39 pm
  3. BV,

    Call me a softy :) but I do believe that Bashar and Asma are instilled with too many Western views to be completely ruthless like Hafez Assad. Some other people in the regime are and this may lead to conflict. I may be wrong and Bashar is a completely ruthless bastard like his father, but if not, maybe he will take chances that may put his regime at risk. Weirder things have happened. I’m not holding my breath but I think the Syrian people will not accept a Zimbabwe outcome and Bashar will have to take some risks either way.

    Posted by AIG | March 28, 2011, 5:28 pm
  4. I dunno much about Bashar’s personal morals. I don’t think it matters much, really.
    Ultimately, all these kinds of regimes are focused on survival only. There comes a time where they have to choose between the regime itself and economics. Usually, 9 times out of 10, regime preservation wins out. It may not be up to Bashar himself anyway.
    Time will tell though. But let’s say I’m not as optimistic as you. I see this going down towards more violence.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | March 28, 2011, 5:43 pm
  5. AIG,

    Bashar is even more ruthless than his father. He has made more mistakes then his dad. His ass is most likely on the line with the STL indictments looming. He cannot change the course of history. Tomorrow he will bring out a parade in his support of people who work for the government and school kids! A la Soviet style.

    Bashar will die clinging onto Iran. He has had ample opportunities to move away from Iran but his desired prize; which is Lebanon; will not be handed over to him. HA will not allow that!

    As for KSA…The king better worry about his flank in Yemen doesn’t bite him in the ass!!

    Posted by danny | March 28, 2011, 6:05 pm
  6. I agree with BV’s 204.

    An empty suit doesn’t have morals and doesn’t even think. His government is much bigger than he is.

    Another Ramirez Homerun:

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 28, 2011, 6:20 pm
  7. Bard @198, I agree my statement might be confusing, but it is not incorrect. If one takes portion of logic going from point D to point M, one can find the string of arguments leading along this path to be compelling. However, to agree, one must also agree with the initial premise/axiom of D, which is not necessarily the case if the starting point, say A, is agreed upon, but then the A-to-D sequence is not, or if simply A is a matter of opinion on which there is disagreement.
    For a more in-depth explanation of my logic, see:

    http://tinyurl.com/turboentabulator

    Well, ok, the statement was confusing, period. Rather than praising the logic maybe I could have praised the style, despite the fact that piecewise continuous portions of the logic were clear and rather compelling.

    How’s all that for dodging? Do I qualify as a potential politician yet?

    Cheers

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 28, 2011, 6:42 pm
  8. HP,

    You do not need to dodge anything or justify yourself. Your statement was clear and I by no means took it as a praise, and wasn’t even expecting you to agree with me. I only thanked you for being candid.

    As for the guy who is presenting a one line grievance without supporting himself, the fault becomes his.

    The issue is supported by clear historical evidence that can even be further expanded. He can easily check and verify for himself, instead of presenting a silly interjection. End of story.

    Posted by anonymous | March 28, 2011, 7:32 pm
  9. Badr, not Bard — blame it on temporary dyslexia

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 28, 2011, 7:57 pm
  10. Official Syrian spokesperson says the decision has been taken to lift the state of emergency – after over 40 (50?) years.
    The question is how do they justify keeping it for so many years and then, all of a sudden, deciding to lift it.

    President Bashar el-Assad, described as a reformer, is the one who called former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora “obediently subservient slave to an obediently subservient slave”
    (“عبد مأمور لعبد مأمور”),
    thus characterizing the duly elected prime minister of a democratic country being challenged by an illegal militia with weapons facilitated by the Assad regime.

    With all his genteel demeanor during interviews with Western media and for all the distinction that the Syrian first lady conveys upon this first Syrian family, the actions internally and in interacting with Lebanon betray the otherwise respectable impression that they create. Sure, it may be a problem with the environment and with Pres. Assad’s constraints on how quickly he can maneuver and make things happen in such an environment. On the other hand, even such excuse would betray – one would think – a certain weakness of character. The reality, in my opinion, is that he could have long ago solved all these problems through a more willing negotiating approach with Israel and through less coziness with Iran.

    Of course we’ll wait and see but at the same time we shall not forget. We may forgive but we shall not forget.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 28, 2011, 8:12 pm
  11. I hope everyone remembered to give thanks for the arms and army of The Resistance, who today prevented the “israelis” from invading Lebanon while everyone was distracted by Libya and Syria.

    Posted by dontgetit | March 28, 2011, 8:51 pm
  12. Resistance™ NewZ

    dontgetit,

    The Resistance™ I’m seeing is against Arab despots. Which channel are you watching?

    HP,

    I can’t see things remaining status quo in Syria even if the government backs off and tries to introduce freedoms.

    Clinton calling Assad a reformer is another indication of the stupidity of the Obama administration.

    Watching Obama tonight, I thought I was watching GWB. Then I turned off the TV when Obama started mentioning “mass graves”. Obama was one of a few US senators that voted against the war in Iraq. Mass graves didn’t interest him then…

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/02/12/us-usa-politics-obama-idUSN0923153320070212

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 28, 2011, 9:06 pm
  13. It may come as a surprise to dontgetit (true to his moniker) that if Israel decides at any time that invading Lebanon to crush HA is in its interest then it will flatten the country, push it back 50 years and obliterate HA, and Syria and Iran will remain as cowardly as in 2006 and not lift a finger. We will all remember to thank the Resistance then as well.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 28, 2011, 9:13 pm
  14. “Lysander,

    Thanks for taking the time to find/post the clip.

    But I didn’t hear “Bolton practically begging the Egyptian Military to do what is being done in Syria right now”.

    Obviously one of us has a hearing disability.”

    Cue up to the 35 second mark and you will hear Mr Bolton say something along the lines of,

    “This is not the personal regime of Mubarak, but a military regime in power for 60 years and they will not hesitate to use force if these demonstrations continue. Which is unlike Tunisia.”

    Now, I grant you he did not use the words “please kill all the demonstrators.” But given the above statement, combined with Mr Bolton’s talk about dangers of the MB, importance of Egypt as an ally, camp David treaty, etc. combined with what we know about his view points, he struck me as being very hopeful the Egyptian military would suppress the demos with violence.

    At any rate, anyone can watch the youtube and decide for themselves what Mr Bolton actually meant and whether my original description is an accurate representation of his sentiments.

    Posted by Lysander | March 28, 2011, 10:09 pm
  15. Well, after Obama’s speech today–no matter how you want to interpret and twist his words–the message is clear: the US government shall not engage in “liberating” oppressed people aiming for “self-etermination”! The case of Libya is an exception, however, since “crimes against humanity” may be at issue!!! Notwithstanding this line of argument, a contradictory line of argument is introdcued: The US only acts as the “gendarme” on the world scene to protect its “national interests”–and not to support “freedom” and “democracy”….

    George W. Bush and his early entourage of ideologues could not have obfuscated it better! This stand is much more refined than the one articulated by couth and idiotic ideologues (like John Bolton, who seem to have some admirers here), but it is no different in both its intentions and its effects. It is a continuation of an unethical approach to world affairs at best (unethical in the sense that it does not subscribe to an ethical system, whether kantian, utilitarian, or Aristotelean) and a continuation of imperial hegemony at worst.

    While very few are deluded enough to believe that there are still “indigenous” ways of living and relating to the world under consumer or cultural capitalism (just refer to all the empty “hopes and dreams” or “delusions” on this site: laws of the land; constitutional frameworks; popular democracy; freedom of speech and of thought; etc.). I think it is about time political scientists, economists, and political activists of all stripes pay attention to what is really driving movements today, and revise their antiquated views about social movements and the possibility of self-governance and autonomy.

    Rebellions throughout the ME are not driven by anything tht can be translated into social or political or cultural capital; it is driven by discontent and by a desire for change that cannot have “objects”. Both the discontent and the desire for change will only succeed in transforming Arab societies into more neoliberal societies, where individuals are not subdued directly by force but indirectly through manipulation, control, and domination of needs, desires, and affects.

    I need to follow a disucssion blog where participants think more radically instead of floating on the shallow discourses, produced and packaged in basements or in skyscrappers! Any recommenadtions?

    Posted by Parrhesia | March 28, 2011, 10:25 pm
  16. Well, after Obama’s speech today–no matter how you want to interpret and twist his words–the message is clear: the US government will not engage in “liberating” oppressed people aiming for “self-determination”! The case of Libya is only an exception since “crimes against humanity” were at issue and the US could not stand without intervening in that case. All this is followed by a contradictory line of argument: The US only acts as the gendarme on the world scene to protect its “national interests” and not to support any/all struggles for “freedom” and “democracy”….

    George W. Bush and his early entourage of ideologues could not have obfuscated it better! This stand is much more refined than the one articulated by couth and idiotic ideologues (like John Bolton, who seems to have some admirers here), but it is no different in both its intentions and its effects. It is a continuation of an unethical approach to world affairs at best (unethical in the sense that it does not subscribe to an ethical system, whether Kantian, utilitarian, or Aristotelean) and a continuation of imperial and neocolonisalist hegemony at worst.

    I cannot understand how some of us on this post/blog could be as deluded as to believe that there are indigenous (or authentic) ways of living and relating to the world under consumer or cultural capitalism. What can we make of all the empty “hopes and dreams” driving people’s positions on this site: laws of the land; constitutional frameworks; popular democracy; freedom of speech and of thought; etc. I think it is about time political scientists, economists, and political activists of all stripes pay attention to what is really driving “movements” today, and revise their antiquated views about social movements and the possibility of self-governance and autonomy.

    Rebellions throughout the ME are not driven by anything that can be translated into social or political or cultural capital; it is driven by discontent and by a desire for change that cannot have real “objects”. Both the discontent and the desire for change will only succeed in transforming Arab-Islamic societies into more neoliberal societies, where individuals are not subdued directly by force but indirectly through manipulation, control, and domination of needs, desires, and affects.

    Posted by Parrhesia | March 28, 2011, 10:46 pm
  17. I am sorry for the double posting; please ignore #215–it is the draft of 216! Thanks!

    Posted by Parrhesia | March 28, 2011, 10:49 pm
  18. Parrhesia,

    As requested, see bellow a radical, inspiring and thought provoking blog for you to follow.

    http://quiltinggallery.com

    Posted by V | March 29, 2011, 4:53 am
  19. Concern should be focused on what Israel has failed to do to make a just and lasting sound peace with her neighbors that will endure all revolutions, and not on who might next come to power in Syria or anywhere else…. Such misplaced priorities of concern in Israel/USA is sick, absurd and very devious indeed!

    Posted by HK | March 29, 2011, 5:20 am
  20. The United States government public statements about Libya as a “special case” may be how it thinks now, and even what is wishes for now … but it isn’t how the U.S. Government would feel if the regime started to commit a genocide against democratic protestors.

    The U.S. government, initially said it wanted a “stable” Egypt when Mubarak was dictator – that was the position until the day the army decided it couldn’t carry the dictator any more.

    And the ruling party in ankara has every reason to support move to competitive election framework in Syria – it is likely a conservative, traditional “family values” party allied to the AKP’s world view would emerge with majority.

    There is no way, in my opinion, that the Turkish and American governments would sit back and let there be a genocide in Syria. It doesn’t matter what they say now or feel now.

    In the past 30 years, U.S. governments were worried before move to democracy in Indonesia, in Taiwan, in S Korea, S. America – even after Franco in espana – but once it happened, things quickly accepted – national interests get closer and Americans become biggest defenders of the democratic systems once they there.

    Meanwhile, in the state that is liability against U.S. interests, the House of Saud has announced local city elections – everyone can contest (if you a man, not a woman!) Saudi Arabia should not be allowed to be member of international organizations – it is an unacceptable state as it is.

    Posted by J Estiphan | March 29, 2011, 5:48 am
  21. Here’s how the Assad clan encourage foreign investment in their country:

    The Nike agent for Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt is Lebanese. They opened up 3 stores in Syria last year. They spent $millions on locations and decoration and once fully stocked, they found their locations had been closed down by the government with red wax citing that it is illegal for Nike stores to operate in Syria due to the sanctions.

    The owner’s Syrian lawyer was then blatantly contacted by a lawyer representing Assad’s cousin. In brief, for 50% ownership of the operation in Syria, there would be no legal hassles and the stores could reopen.

    The Assad clan is now 50% partners in the Nike operation in Syria … without investing a piaster.

    Posted by R2D2 | March 29, 2011, 6:12 am
  22. Lysander,

    Thanks. I cued to the spot you recommended. As you noted, Bolton stated the fact that the Egyptian government is a military dictatorship and closely aligned with Mubarak and that they “wouldn’t hesitate to use force” against the demonstrators.

    In that sense, he wasn’t totally correct. The Egyptian military could have used much more force, but they didn’t. OTOH, more Egyptians died in demonstrations than Syrians (thus far).

    But your assertion that “Bolton practically begging the Egyptian Military to do what is being done in Syria right now” just isn’t true.

    Bascially Bolton was showing skepticism that these demonstations will lead to “Jeffersonian Democracy”. Bolton also recommended that the protestors “continue to push with whatever democratic changes they want”.

    Listen, John Bolton knows the score in the ME, and he would make a great Secretary of State or president. A whole order of magnitude better than our current president.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 29, 2011, 6:58 am
  23. Quite interesting contributions, albeit not really original. One read more or less the same wishful thinking and ‘canned’ analysis last year when the Iranian ‘revisionists’ were demonstration.

    I am watching the demonstrations in Syria, the ones that Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya radars seem to have missed, or felt that Libya and Yemen are more important…and I saw the level of support for the leadership/regime, while at the same time calling for fundamental change.

    Now I am not a clairvoyant, but it seems to me that the leadership/regime in Damascus could be the first Arab state that deal with calls for change in a manner conducive to unity and a less bloody process of change.

    Then again, I might be off the mark. But such a scenario could eventually be beneficial to the region (including the entity of Israel) and perhaps beyond.

    A word for my compatriots, in Lebanon and outside: it doesn’t serve our national purposes to be perceived as actively taking sides. I am not sure about the yet-to-be-confirmed reports about Al Mustaqbal’s involvement in shipping arms to Syria. If it is true, then I really advise a re-thinking of this policy. It is short term, insignificant in the larger scheme of things and could have negative repercussions on our country.

    Regards

    Posted by QuestionMark | March 29, 2011, 7:35 am
  24. A CIA asset on a special mission….جنبلاط يلتقي نصرالله

    استقبل الأمين العام لحزب الله سماحة السيد حسن نصر الله رئيس جبهة النضال الوطني الأستاذ وليد جنبلاط يرافقه وزير الأشغال العامة الأستاذ غازي العريضي وبحضور الحاج وفيق صفا، حيث جرى استعراض أهم التطورات على الساحتين العربية والمحلية والعلاقات الثنائية بين الطرفين، وكذلك تم التشاور والتباحث حول آخر المستجدات المرتبطة بتشكيل الحكومة اللبنانية

    The fun part is that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is totally aware of who Walid Jumblatt is….LOL

    Walid Jumblatt is a CIA asset, Walid Jumblatt will never change. He is a CIA asset since the Mid-70s and he still is a CIA asset today….even when he makes occasional U-Turns….it is meant to be one that serves better CIA. He is most useful to CIA when he can meet directly with Assad and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallh and the Clown Berri…etc. [ Knowing intentions and inner thinking of Leaderships does not come from OSINT..., it comes from direct meetings and face to face dialogue....]
    Walid Jumblatt goes where CIA says he should go…., Hence his enduring Friendship with Jeffrey Feltman…and others from the other side of the pond.
    Notice how Saad Hariri is giving clear instructions to his puppets never to criticize Walid Jumblatt, no matter what Jumblatt says about Hariri and his Clique…because Hariri knows what others don’t….

    How soon are we going to see Walid Jumblatt in Damascus, meeting with the Dictator Bashar Assad…trying to understand the dynamics of the power struggle going on in Damascus…and the eventual Palace Coup D’état being contemplated by Asef Shawkat and his Goons in Rife Dimashk…..so that Walid Jumblatt can report back to his masters in Washington DC, Langley and Tel Aviv….???

    Posted by HK | March 29, 2011, 8:40 am
  25. How pitifully small we are compared to nature…. How ridiculous our puny and futile feuds when compared with forces like this….see the hardships that these people are going through in Japan…..

    The magnitude-9.1 offshore earthquake on March 11 triggered a tsunami that slammed minutes later into Japan’s northeast, wiping out towns and knocking out power and backup systems at the coastal Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant….and Highly toxic plutonium seeping from Japan’s nuclear plant; govt calls it ‘grave situation’

    More than 11,000 bodies have been recovered, but the final death toll is expected to exceed 18,000. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless, their homes and livelihoods destroyed. Damage could amount to $310 billion — the most expensive natural disaster on record.

    I wish everyone and anyone from Japan good luck, and best of hopes, our thoughts and prayers are with the People of Japan.

    Today, we are all Japanese.

    Posted by HK | March 29, 2011, 9:57 am
  26. HK, Amen brudda

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 29, 2011, 10:13 am
  27. AP #222

    After reviewing the video, I stand by my characterization of it. IE, he sincerely hoped that Mubarak, or a Mubarak clone would continue to rule Egypt and that (hopefully) The Egyptian military would do what it took to stop the demos. That is what I believe the video shows. Others are welcome to watch and draw their own conclusion.

    You are correct the Egyptian security forces killed a lot of people, most or a huge proportion, on the 28th of January. More than in Syria thus far. Odd that many of the same people (Senator Lieberman, et al) who supported Mubarak, are now attacking Assad.

    Certainly, I would love to see Assad join Mubarak and Bin Ali. Soon to be followed, I hope, by Ali Saleh and the two Abdullahs.

    I have no opinion on Bolton as president. I honestly do not think he will be substantially different (except in tone) than Bush or Obama.

    Posted by Lysander | March 29, 2011, 10:34 am
  28. About July 2010, I started hearing that Gaddafi was exerting heavy pressure on U.S. and British oil companies to cough up special fees and kick backs to cover the costs of Libya’s reimbursement to the families of Pan Am 103… Payment of damages for the Lockerbie bombing had been one of the chief conditions for ending U.N. sanctions on Libya that ran from 1992 until 2003. And of course the United Nations forced Gaddafi to hand over two Libyan men for a special trial at The Hague, though everybody credible was fully conscious of Libya’s innocence in the Lockerbie affair… (Only CIA, its cronies, disinformation agents and ignorant politicians trying to score publicity points say otherwise….)

    Knowing Gaddafi so well …, he’d done it… He’d bided his time until he could extort compensation from U.S. oil companies… He’s a crafty bastard, extremely shrewd, criminal and canny. That’s exactly how he operates… And now he was taking his revenge… As expected, the U.S., UK, France, Italy were hopping mad about it… Gaddafi wasn’t playing the game the way the Oil Bloodsuckers wanted… The Vampire of our age—the Oil Industry—roams the earth, sucking the life out of every nation to feed its thirst for profits… Only when they got to Libya, Kaddafi took on the role of a modern-day Robin Hood, who insisted on replenishing his Regime for the costs they’d suffered under U.N. sanctions.

    Backing up a year earlier, in August 2009 the lone Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people, Abdelbasset Megrahi, won a compassionate release from Scottish prison. Ostensibly, the British government and Scottish Courts granted Megrahi’s request to die at home with dignity from advance stage cancer—in exchange for dropping a legal appeal packed with embarrassments for the European Courts… The decision to free Megrahi followed shocking revelations of corruption at the special Court of The Hague that handled the Lockerbie Trial…. Prosecution witnesses confessed to receiving payments of $4 million each from the United States, in exchange for testimony against Megrahi, a mind-blowing allegation of judicial corruption….[ Remember that when judging STL's intelligence creeps manning that fake "Tribunal"... ]

    The Lockerbie conviction was full of holes to begin with… Anybody who knows anything about terrorism in the 1980s knows the CIA got mixed up in heroin trafficking out of the Bekaa Valley during the hostage crisis in Lebanon… The Lockerbie conspiracy had been a false flag operation to kill off a joint CIA and Defense Intelligence investigation into kick backs from Syria and Islamic Jihad, in exchange for protecting the heroin transit network…

    According to Dr. Richard Fuisz, who’d been stationed in Lebanon and Syria at the time, the CIA had established a protected drug route from Lebanon to Europe and on to the United States. His statements support other sources that “Operation Corea” allowed Syrian drug dealers led by Monzer al-Kassar (also linked to CIA and to Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal) to ship heroin to the U.S. ON Pan Am flights, in exchange for intelligence on the hostages’ whereabouts in Lebanon and other juicy matters in the area…. The CIA made sure that suitcases carrying heroin were not searched at customs… Nicknamed the “Godfather of Terror,” Al Kassar/CIA is now serving a prison sentence for conspiring with Colombian drug cartels to assassinate opponents….

    Building up to Lockerbie, the Defense Intelligence team in Beirut, led by Maj. Charles Dennis McKee and Matthew Gannon, suspected that CIA infiltration of the heroin network might be prolonging the hostage crisis. If so, the consequence was severe. AP Reporter Terry Anderson got chained in a basement for 7 years, while 96 other high profile western hostages suffered beatings, mock executions and overall trauma. McKee’s team raised the alarms in Washington that a CIA double agent profiting from the narco-dollars might be warning the hostage takers whenever their dragnet closed in. Washington sent a fact-finding team to Lebanon to gather evidence…

    On the day it was blown out of the sky, Pan Am 103 was carrying that team of CIA and FBI investigators, the CIA’s Deputy Chief assigned to Beirut, and three Defense Intelligence officers, including McKee and Gannon, on their way to Washington to deliver a report on the CIA’s role in heroin trafficking, and the impact on terrorist financing and the hostage crisis… In short, everyone with direct knowledge of CIA/Syrian kickbacks from heroin trafficking died on Pan Am 103…. A suitcase packed with $500,000 worth of heroin was found in the wreckage. It belonged to investigators, as proof of the corruption…

    The punch line was that the U.S. State Department issued an internal travel advisory, warning that government officials should get off that specific flight on that specific day, because Pan Am 103 was expected to get bombed. That’s right, folks! The U.S. had prior knowledge of the attack…

    Unforgivably, nobody told Charles McKee or Matthew Gannon. But other military officials and diplomats got pulled off the flight—making room for a group of students from Syracuse University traveling stand by for the Christmas holidays…

    It was a monstrous act! But condemning Megrahi to cover up the CIA’s role in heroin trafficking and Syrian complicity has struck many Lockerbie aficionados as grossly unjust… Add the corruption of purchased testimony– $4 million a pop— and Megrahi’s life sentence struck a nerve of obscenity…

    It struck Kaddafi as grievously offensive, as well—The United Nations had forced Libya to fork over $2.7 billion in damages to the Lockerbie families, a rate of $10 million for every death. Once it became clear the U.S. paid two key witnesses $4 million each to commit perjury, spook gossip throughout the summer was rife that Kaddafi had taken bold action to demand compensation from U.S. (and probably British) oil corporations operating in Libya… More than likely, Libya’s demands for kick backs and compensation extended to other European oil conglomerates as well—particularly France and Italy—who are now spearheading attacks on Libya.

    I knew last summer there would be trouble. Payback would be a b—tch on both sides. You don’t lock an innocent man in prison for 10 years on bogus charges of terrorism, and expect forgiveness. The United States and Britain had behaved with remarkable selfishness. You’ve got to admit that Kaddafi’s attempt to balance the scales of justice demonstrated a flair of righteous greed and some “nationalism”….

    Alas, Kaddafi was playing with fire, no matter how justified his complaint. You don’t strike a tyrant without expecting a tyrant to strike back….

    And that’s exactly what’s happening today.

    Posted by HK | March 29, 2011, 11:27 am
  29. Certainly, I would love to see Assad join Mubarak and Bin Ali. Soon to be followed, I hope, by Ali Saleh and the two Abdullahs.

    Lysander,

    I understand your POV. I guess the inner powers of the US and perhaps Israel still see Assad as “safe”.

    I, like you, think Syria w/o Assad would fare better. But, I see Syria through the eyes of a longtime enemy, so my POV, I guess, is moot.

    I have no opinion on Bolton as president. I honestly do not think he will be substantially different (except in tone) than Bush or Obama.

    Bolton,

    Is about as conservative as you’re going to get. He would be Ronald Reagen #2.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | March 29, 2011, 11:40 am
  30. HK, Ohio Gozaimas, Konnichia, Sayonara ;-)

    Posted by Honest Patriot | March 29, 2011, 1:30 pm
  31. Ohayo gozaimasu, konnichiwa
    Sayonara, konbanwa

    She’s not the same…

    Posted by HK | March 29, 2011, 1:54 pm
  32. It’s been pretty quiet in here lately. Today proved without a doubt that it was mostly Media Hype and Machinations Go back to my first comment in the thread Now Hariri for news??? on that first day you’d think the mass protests were spreading like wild fire. Tales about alshara’a or Bashar or Maher assad etc etc. The demonstration in Damascus was 200 people strong the dead in Lattakia were mostly police.
    To their credit the only two Lebanese papers that dared to criticize Assad were Alkhbar and Assafir though they both are supposedly Pro Syria and Pro HA.
    Here are some pictures of today’s demonstrations :

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?eid=26503&cid=21&fromval=1&frid=21&seccatid=23&s1=1

    as for comic relief here you go too articles :

    1- http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4049064,00.html

    2- http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/mar/27/syrian-rebels-dont-want-us-aid-at-least-for-now/print/

    Posted by elsheikh | March 29, 2011, 2:53 pm
  33. 233. Dude do you really believe your “unbiased” reliable sources? Nice pics buddy. So let’s get this straight: Schools are closed and all soldiers and government employees herded to march for Bashar…and that’s great for you as I am certain Bashar has the backing of 97.6% of all Syrians. :D
    Now dude, please let me know if there are no protests or are soooo small as you seem to be alluding to…Why has Bashar have his knickers in a twist? Why resignation of the cabinet? Why the army flooding all major cities? …and Why reforms ya effendi as Syrians are so proud and happy with him? Yalla let us know.

    Posted by danny | March 29, 2011, 3:13 pm
  34. whyo said there was no protests? I said they were not to the scale described by Now Hariri or AL 3ibriya TV.

    Yes there were demonstrations and yes around 70 people died (70 to many in my opinion) however if you look at the news Especially the ones i mentioned) you’d think it was tahrir square in Egypt all over again or even civil war.
    So your telling me these all were herded to March for the regime? i see hundreds of thousands but do not see any tanks or soldiers. How were they herded? could they not turn en mass against the regime once they were together?
    Syria needs reform as much as all the countries surrounding it, and i do hope that Bashar will take the lead. As for the cabinet resigning with 70 dead and i do not care how i am glad they were help accountable. I would be outraged if they were not resigning.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 29, 2011, 3:31 pm
  35. The problem Danny is that you did not want reform you wanted that pesky regime gone, you really did not care who or what replaced it.

    Posted by elsheikh | March 29, 2011, 3:32 pm
  36. elsheikh either you are playing stupid or you have no clue at all! Sorry for being harsh.

    Posted by danny | March 29, 2011, 4:54 pm
  37. HP #207, V #200, & anonymous #154 & #208,
    (hopefully the numbers won’t change)

    When I wrote my previous comment #198, I was not referring to any particular argument. If an argument is backed by a compelling logic, then, logically speaking, there can not be an option of not agreeing. Although one could still find the conclusion not to his liking, and for good reasons. After all, there are a lot of sad facts in life.

    Posted by Badr | March 29, 2011, 6:35 pm
  38. Thks for the great compilation!!

    You can check out mine at:

    http://www.arabdemocracy.com/2011/03/syria-scenarios-and-civil-war.html

    Posted by Jihad Bitar | March 30, 2011, 2:29 am
  39. HD video of protests in Damascus:

    Posted by Murtaza | April 3, 2011, 11:02 pm

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