Syria

How Sectarian is Syria?

A few days ago, I blogged about the debate that has begun to emerge among Mideast analysts with respect to the situation in Syria. One of the major sticking points in that debate is the question of what role Syrian “sectarianism” is playing in the anti-Assad protests and the regime’s counter-propaganda. A couple pieces of commentary caught my eye today, and I think they do a good job of illustrating the two main lines of argumentation on this issue:

(1) Joshua Landis & Ammar Abdulhamid at Blogging Heads: This interview is highly worth watching in its entirety. Landis asks all the relevant questions, and Abdulhamid — a Syrian dissident exiled in Washington and a leading opposition activist –provides a very interesting take on several issues, including: (1) the origins of the protests; (2) the multi-faceted character of the opposition; (3) what happens the day after the regime falls; (4) the future of Syria’s relationship with Iran and Israel.

On the question of Syrian sectarianism, Landis challenges Abdulhamid to respond to those who fear that Syria could disintegrate into a sectarian civil war, like Lebanon during the 70′s and 80′s, or Iraq after the US invasion. Abdulhamid’s response, to my mind, is not particularly convincing. He argues that Syria is exceptional; it is unlike Lebanon and Iraq, and will find a way to withstand a sectarian conflagration because it is “a country of minorities”. Furthermore, this exceptionalism is something that the regime itself has always touted.

The logic is easy to pick apart. Lebanon is even more diverse, minority-wise, than Syria and this did not prevent a sectarian civil war. Furthermore, it strikes me as problematic to use regime propaganda to bolster a claim of Syrian exceptionalism. Note that I am not arguing that Syria is actually a sectarian powder-keg; I just don’t think that Abdulhamid’s argument is very convincing.

(2) May Akl, “The False Hope of Revolution in Syria,” (Foreign Policy): In this piece by Michel Aoun’s US spokesperson, the Syrian protests are characterized as a fringe phenomenon instigated by Salafist elements who don’t have Syria’s best interests at heart. No real evidence is presented for this thesis beyond the notion that a recent army ambush had the tell-tale signs of a jihadi operation. Akl plays the sectarianism card with gusto:

Syria is a secular country where minorities are protected, and as much as they might want to see a regime change in their country, the majority of Syrians cannot accept their country becoming another Iraq — in terms of security — or another Saudi Arabia — in terms of religious rule.

Obviously a majority of Syrians — or, for that matter, the citizens of any country anywhere in the world — would prefer not to see their nation disintegrate into a bloody civil war. But that’s neither here nor there. The issue is whether or not the levels of dissatisfaction with the regime will eventually prevail over whatever anxieties may indeed exist about inter-sect relations.

Incidentally, it’s also worth comparing this Aounist position on Syria with Aoun’s own statement at a fundraiser in the US in the early 2000′s (Arabic YouTube clip; English translation below):

Hizbullah is the extension of the [foreign] policy of two countries — Iran and Syria — in Lebanon, and its operations are controlled by these two countries. We refuse to say that the responsibility [for Hizbullah's actions] lies with one organization only; when Syria itself is dealt with, Hizbullah will disappear from Lebanon. But if Hizbullah is hit in Lebanon, Syria will bequeath us a second Hizbullah and a third, and a fourth, and a fifth. In a spirit of friendship with the Syrian people, I wish them salvation from a terrorist regime, because this people was the first victim of terrorism. Let’s not forget that Hama was the first example of terrorism, when in twenty-four hours the Syrian regime killed more than 30,000 citizens because they were opposed to its rule.

My point is not to play a game of gotcha with Akl or Abdulhamid, but simply to say that we should all recognize that the sectarianism question is very much open. We just don’t know how it is going to feature in the fallout of the Syrian revolution, assuming the protesters can prevail.

Can anyone recommend some solid reading on the current state of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood? Who are the experts?
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Discussion

308 thoughts on “How Sectarian is Syria?

  1. R2D2:

    The comment is excellent, succinct, and details the two “sides” quite nicely.

    The problem is the solution. The Arab world has stagnated intellectually. And if the Arab “Baath” failed to deliver true secularism. It failed. They had 50 years to perfect their experiment, and they failed. It’s time to let others run the show to see what they can do. That, after all, is what Democracy should be about- booting the failures.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 25, 2011, 12:29 pm
  2. R2D2 #201, thanks, interesting comment.

    Nadim #49, indeed, JL is very clever!

    Posted by Nour | April 25, 2011, 12:40 pm
  3. Sorry, please read “R2D2 #199, thanks, interesting comment.”

    Posted by Nour | April 25, 2011, 12:41 pm
  4. Iceman,

    Seriously dude. Grow up.

    Believe me, I have no interest in “re-establishing” communications with you. And if I reference you in my commentary, it’s nothing personal. I am arguing against your Platonic archetype. It’s nothing personal.

    The truth is, I don’t think your idealogy is the sort of idealogy that will be positive for this world.

    If along the way, I have hurt your feelings, please accept my sincerest apologies for your hurt feelings. It was not personal.

    This is a forum to debate ideas, not to form personal friendships, and political alliances. It’s not a match… Maybe you see it that way (and if so, by all means, take all the points if it will make you happy!). If you don’t like/disagree with something I wrote, by all means, tear it apart.

    But this childish speaking in the third person is rather silly.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 25, 2011, 12:42 pm
  5. This post might be of interest to you guys.

    Posted by sean | April 25, 2011, 1:15 pm
  6. Israel’s war criminals/assassins, the Syrian Assad/Alawite dynasty of thugs, Asef Shawkat, Maher’s snipers and killers, the Infamous White House Murder INC, nurtured by CIA/MOSSAD the Siamese Twins…, are inseparable in an orgy/Joint Venture of violence for decades…The Syrian and Lebanese people know that very well, hence Assad’s Mafia will be no more soon. Fascists of a feather fly together….

    Posted by HK | April 25, 2011, 1:57 pm
  7. Wow. I gotta say, I am completely flabbergasted at reading Norman’s narratives…

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 25, 2011, 2:09 pm
  8. I understand why the mobile phone circuit in the Deraa region was cut by the regime, but it took me some time to figure out why electricity has also been cut.

    How do you recharge your mobile phone or video cam without juice?

    Posted by R2D2 | April 25, 2011, 2:37 pm
  9. Gotta love Wahhab’s latest “conspiracy theory”. Israel, the USA and – of all people – the salafists are in cahoots apparently, to topple the Arab regimes…

    Wow!

    Just wow!

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 25, 2011, 2:40 pm
  10. “Seriously dude. Grow up.”

    No dude. It seems YOU decided finally to take a baby step to growing up:

    “If along the way, I have hurt your feelings,please accept my sincerest apologies…”

    That’s ONLY one step. Can you start walking now? Let’s see if you can take other steps in line with this ‘gem’:

    “This is a forum to debate ideas, not to form personal friendships, and political alliances. It’s not a match…”

    And shut the hole up and avoid your childish comments as in 5, 7, 9 above and others in previous posts that went unanswered. We’ll see and judge.

    Posted by iceman | April 25, 2011, 2:45 pm
  11. Iceman:

    And shut the hole up and avoid your childish comments as in 5, 7, 9 above and others in previous posts that went unanswered. We’ll see and judge.

    Dude. Those posts did not go unanswered. They were in fact answered quite poorly, as in #6 and #8, where you posted links to Saudi propaganda.

    Either way, there is no obligation for you to answer anything. I don’t post anything waiting for an answer from you.

    Nor have I torn a page out of your personal philosophy book whereby I asked you or anyone for that matter to:

    shut the hole up and avoid your childish comments

    .

    If you have nothing intelligent, or intelligible to say, as in Comment#200, sometimes, the correct action is to say nothing at all!

    Good luck with your process in maturing!

    Posted by Gabriel | April 25, 2011, 2:57 pm
  12. Is this a chrysalis moment? The caterpillar is fading out, and no one knows what the butterfly will look like.

    Posted by mj | April 25, 2011, 3:39 pm
  13. mj

    I guess for the people of blind Godly faith it must be.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 25, 2011, 3:46 pm
  14. “Good luck with your process in maturing!”

    You will need all of it. So keep your meaningless wishes to yourself and relieve the public of such parasitic utterances. That is one step backward. Remember this is a forum blah blah blah by your own initial step. But it is very normal in the early stages for a relapse to occur. Find someone else to train you as you do not have much good will left from this end as of this moment.

    Posted by iceman | April 25, 2011, 4:03 pm
  15. ok,ok ya Habibi.

    You’re right. Everything you say is right.

    Kil-shee wala tiz3al ya ru7 albi.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 25, 2011, 4:37 pm
  16. R2D2,

    Can you link the post you were referring to please, cannot find a decent #69 anywhere there.

    Posted by Maverick | April 25, 2011, 7:32 pm
  17. Here’s a clip for Norman about Assad the reformer…The BUTCHER.

    Posted by danny | April 25, 2011, 8:33 pm
  18. Danny,

    I have yet to see a video showing armed demonstrators. In your video above I hear rapid fire shooting into this crowd. Quiet, and then screaming as people realized they’re alive and their friends have been shoot or killed.

    Who’s going to jail for that?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 25, 2011, 9:00 pm
  19. danny,

    This is an old one, like few days ago. It is the one I referred to in 101. I did not want to post it then. But thanks for posting it

    There’s new one coming up which makes this one fades in comparison. It just happened today but the clip is not as long, about a minute or so. It wouldn’t look as dramatic and graphic as this one because it is so short. But you could see people walking on the street and would just fall off all of a sudden.

    Mrs. Clinton is of course not responsible for the massacre(s). But would it have made a difference if she just kept her mouth shut a month ago?

    Speculative but intriguing….

    Dera’a is bombarded by tanks as we speak. Hims is surrounded by the army and Maher ‘security’ thugs are roaming in the streets.

    There are unconfirmed reports of mutiny from army units but not the ‘security’ thugs of course. From the number of those killed from the military, it looks like it is happening at least in individual cases.

    Posted by iceman | April 25, 2011, 9:15 pm
  20. Do you guys remember Bashar’s usual motto?

    “WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO RESPOND AT THE PROPER TIME AND IN THE PROPER PLACE”

    Posted by iceman | April 25, 2011, 9:18 pm
  21. The only way for Bashar to come out of this, is to turn those tanks,and the popular revolt against the cronies in the regime including his loose cannon brother.The question is, does he have that ability and does he have the guts.
    I think the majority will favour this if the only viable option is chaos and civil war.That includes Syria’s neighbours and the West.

    Posted by Maverick | April 25, 2011, 9:42 pm
  22. First to Maverick,

    Bashar = the cronies

    There is no difference.

    ….

    Here is a video from today shown on CBS. It is not the one I saw earlier which I referred to in
    220; I’ll keep looking for it. Joshua Landis appears in it and if anyone still has doubts about him being a REAL …HOLE, then think again,

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7363819n

    Posted by iceman | April 25, 2011, 10:12 pm
  23. Maybe they just took a little snippet out of a lengthy interview,so it seemed like it was far fetched, otherwise, Josh needs gets real.

    Iceman,

    Do you think Bashar is calling the shots? he makes a good figure head, and is the Alfredo of the family.
    I’m just saying, without a clear solution, no formidable and united opposition, no “people’s army” ala Egypt, what will ensue is chaos and bloodshed, if not initially,(that’s if the Syrians weather the impending sectarian storm), then eventually the power vacuum will lead to groups fighting for a stake, and since no political parties are present due to the Orwellian nature of Assad rule, groups will be naturally formed on confessional lines. The rest is obvious.
    I believe most of the 23 million Syrians would do anything to avoid this scenario. The Lebanese and the Iraqis, Jordanians and Saudis, would want to avoid this scenario if they knew what was good for them too.Not mentioning the Turks and the Iranians.
    So without a viable option Bashar can save himself and Syria, by going after the cronies that are responsible for these massacres, allow the people to demonstrate in peace and start implementing some goodwill gestures.

    Posted by Maverick | April 25, 2011, 11:06 pm
  24. Maverick,

    “Do you think Bashar is calling the shots? he makes a good figure head, and is the Alfredo of the family.”

    “So without a viable option Bashar can save himself and Syria, by going after the cronies that are responsible for these massacres, allow the people to demonstrate in peace and start implementing some goodwill gestures.”

    I don’t understand your thinking. You think Freddo (I assume that’s what you meant to say)is going against Mikey??

    Get real brother and stop imagining things. Bashar is as bloodthirsty as his next of kin. I can not believe how naive some people are trying to go for spins and fear mongering.

    Gabriel(assuming he is not of Christian faith based on his ignorance of the Christian faith’s observances) had made a comment above:
    “On an unrelated note, I’m a little perplexed by the amount of typically “anti-Syrian” “Xians” who are now concerned for Bashar on account of the “Xians” in Syria.

    Kudos to you for keeping it real and sticking to your principles.”

    Dude it is called Christians and NOT Xians. Please be respectful in debates. I would assume more than 15% of Syrians would be of the Christian faith including Assyrians, Armenians and others…What does that have to do with the revolution against tyranny? No fear mongering should stop people from demanding their basic rights. There will be fanatics in every religion and race. I believe that in today’s global society the age old racist and religious fear mongering is passe!!

    AP, I hope the Assad’s hang by their cojones for that.

    Posted by danny | April 25, 2011, 11:37 pm
  25. Maverick,

    You got it figured out.

    But that is exactly what makes Bashar equals the cronies, i.e. being the Alfredo of the family.

    Around 1985 butcher senior faced similar dilemma, but not from the people. It was about to become an army instigated chaos. The different brigades were about to start shooting at each other right in the middle of in Damascus – Ali Douba, Rifaat, Aslan, and others were about to call the shots. One single shot would have ignited the whole city and Syria. The units were facing each other with guns pointing at each other for almost two weeks.

    Butcher senior did not hesitate to sacrifice his own brother in order to save himself and the regime. He came out of it shrewdly. I am familiar with the details but they are lengthy to explain here.

    Junior Butcher does not have this resolve as the senior even though he has absolute power. He is not a military man as his father and he doesn’t know the army. So he cannot trust it and sack the security.

    I think it is too late for avoiding the scenario you described at least for Syria.

    Iraq is already in the scenario.

    Turkey will avoid it and it has all the means to eventually benefit from the situation.

    The Gulfies will weather it. In fact they are already doing better than the US diplomatically. They seem to have solved the Yemeni crisis. I just read the opposition accepted their plan.

    Lebanon may or may not weather it.

    Iran will follow Syria. Ahwaz (South West of Iran) and Kurdistan (North West) are already on the move.

    Posted by iceman | April 25, 2011, 11:40 pm
  26. danny,

    Just to give the doubters about Bashar the benefit of the doubt, Bashar chose to become a butcher because he doesn’t know any better. So your assertion that he is as bloodthirsty as the cronies remains valid.

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 12:02 am
  27. Danny:

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Xian

    Much like the X in Xmas, it comes from the Greek name for his Lordship XPICTOC.

    (In case you can’t read that sequence of letters, it is because its Greek).

    You didn’t address my question. In my own personal experience and circle, I find a lot of Xians who have been quite anti-Syrian who seem all of a sudden to be concerned. My sample size may be unrepresentative, but still!

    PS. Why are you curious about my faith. I’ve already stated I am Godless!

    Posted by Gabriel | April 26, 2011, 12:03 am
  28. Here’s the news about Yemen,

    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D2BDCB66-3132-407A-9EA2-62D3A216C121.htm?GoogleStatID=9

    This is an A+ for GCC.

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 12:26 am
  29. Gabriel,

    I can not answer to your “circle”…Whether Christian or not ( BTW your link makes no difference, You better be respectful of everyone if you would like to be treated with respect); it is worrisome the situation about any minority in a war ravaged region.
    I personally am worried but hopeful that eventually the calm heads will prevail and justice will triumph prejudice, racism, fanaticism and hatred.

    Posted by danny | April 26, 2011, 12:29 am
  30. Danny:

    “Dude it is called Christians and NOT Xians”

    The link was intended to educate you about the use of the word Xian. Take it, and appreciate the new thing you learned today!

    I personally am worried but hopeful that eventually the calm heads will prevail and justice will triumph prejudice, racism, fanaticism and hatred.

    I didn’t expect you to speak for my circle, only for yourself.

    In that sense, thanks for the honesty. I haven’t heard any Xian express any other sentiment.

    The way I see it, you’re hopeful cooler heads will prevail, and Norman is not so hopeful.

    Time will tell which narrative prevails.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 26, 2011, 12:39 am
  31. Gabe,

    You should educate yourself and NOT rely on Google.

    I am not hopeful about cooler heads only ya gabby… I know that the world is a different place than you think it is. :D

    Posted by danny | April 26, 2011, 12:49 am
  32. Danny,

    I don’t have the energy. I have to sleep.

    The use of Xian is one that comes from the English language. I don’t need Google to tell me that. I provide you a link so that you don’t need to take my word for it.

    Seriously, it’s there for you next time you want to abbreviate the word when you’re lazy typing. Stop drilling this silly point. If you don’t want to use the word “Xian”… LaTeezee.

    I am not hopeful about cooler heads only ya gabby… I know that the world is a different place than you think it is.

    Given that I fully support the overthrow of the regime, I am not sure what you mean when you say the world is a “different place than what I think it is”.

    I quoted your position (that you are hopeful).

    We’ll revisit this point in 6 months, or a year, and we’ll compare and contrast your position with that of Norman, based on the realities on the ground.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 26, 2011, 12:57 am
  33. Maverik #217

    The comment #69 by From Damascus, as well as all comments by others thanking him for it have been removed by Joshua Landis.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 26, 2011, 2:16 am
  34. R2D2, Maverik,

    R2D2: Your opinion of JL got the better of you.
    The comment in question has been shifted down due to new nicknames having to wait for moderation. Click right here to see it.

    Posted by Badr | April 26, 2011, 5:15 am
  35. US and Turkey may be discussing future of Syria after Assad and a possible role for Turkey,

    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/04/26/146823.html

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 11:23 am
  36. I seriously do not understand this narrative about Bashar being a reformer that’s somehow being overshadowed by a hardline “faction” in the Syria regime. I have not seen any evidence of this in the 11 years Bashar’s been in power. Do the people who subscribe to this theory know something I don’t? Or do they just make up theories that suit their worldview?
    Bashar has had ample opportunity and time to reform or at the very least, to side track said “hardline faction”.
    And vice versa, if there’s a faction that’s so opposed to his reformist tendencies, they have had ample time to take over and boot him out in the past 11 years.
    I have not seen one shred of evidence in 11 years that indicated Bashar may be a reformer at heart. On the contrary, every single action or inaction of his in the past 11 years has been quite consistent.

    So please, you guys who keep trotting out this argument, please enlighten me.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 26, 2011, 2:09 pm
  37. BV:

    In the absence of arguments, one must speculate as to the reasons for the argument.

    Here’s mine, derived from snippets of conversations with the regime sympathetic.

    Bashar studied in Londres. And he’s married to the Rose in the Desert.

    http://www.vogue.com/vogue-daily/article/asma-al-assad-a-rose-in-the-desert/

    She hit Vogue. Now tell me, how can you be married to Asma and not be a reformer!

    Posted by Gabriel | April 26, 2011, 2:17 pm
  38. Gabe, LOL!

    Sadly, in all seriousness, those really are the types of arguments I hear. Which really leave me scratching my head.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 26, 2011, 2:38 pm
  39. BV:

    In all seriousness, at some point, is the question itself not really moot?

    I think the attacks on Bashar are becoming “personal”. Whether or not that’s justified is another question, and perhaps a valid one.

    It is entirely plausible that the Assads (Bashar and wife) would like nothing better than to move to Europe and pursue other interests. If so, does it really matter at the end of the day?

    Even if Bashar himself were to come out on TV and say that the buck stops with him. Would this be credible?

    It’s a complex system of political interests and business interests, all weaved together. Is he just a figure head? Maybe. Maybe Not.

    Facetiousness aside, I think the argument is that people had hoped that since both he and his wife lived in a society with strong democratic traditions, they would slowly introduce that into the system. But as everyone else has noted, none of this has been in evidence on the ground over the last 10 years.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 26, 2011, 2:58 pm
  40. BV,

    But even more sadly is that the average Joe now knows Bashar is a full-fledgeed dictator, a butcher and far from being even close to be a reforemer, and Mrs. Clinton did not figure it out.

    And ironically, the UN Security council is still deliberating a resolution, which may or may not pass, as at least ‘super power’ Lebanon will vote against it, which still calls on Bashar to implement his ‘reforms’.

    Deraa is still under siege, and now the water tanks supplying the city have been blown up. Banias is under siege as well as 7Hims. People cannot even burry the dead. There are unconfirmed reports of army mutinies at least in the 7Hawran region.

    I saw a video today, presumably uploaded yesterday, showing the people of the city bravely going out to meet the army tanks and calling on the army to their side while sniper fires could be heard apparently originating from roof tops. You cannot but admire the bravery of the people in that scene.

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 3:06 pm
  41. Link to Sabah article (English) reporting secret CIA head Panetta’s 5- day visit to Turkey to discuss region and Syria. Sabah not shy about identifying opposition as Sunni & posits possible Turk role in offering Assads refuge:

    http://www.sabahenglish.com/National/2011/04/26/cia-director-pays-very-secret-visit

    Posted by lally | April 26, 2011, 4:55 pm
  42. The discussion about Bashar is like asking wether the software upgrade can solve a problem; when its the operating system that needs changing and cannot be reformed.

    Posted by Nadim Shehadi | April 26, 2011, 4:58 pm
  43. Nadim,

    Exactly.

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | April 26, 2011, 6:13 pm
  44. The funny thing is, the situation is so desperate, without even a hint of a solution in sight, all of a sudden Bashar the reformer seems to be a given, compared to anarchy and violence.
    Yes, desperation does that.
    “Bashar the reformer”, imagine that.
    Like Ivan the terrible and Alexander the great, Bashar the reformer enters the annals of History.

    Posted by Maverick | April 26, 2011, 6:54 pm
  45. All things true about the brutal Syrian police State and the Assad legacy of butchery and tyranny, also understandable that the Syrians yearning for freedom, democracy and reform would want nothing less than the removal of Bashar and the Baath regime. But let’s think of the alternatives and the most probable outcomes, a Salafist, MB rule? Or civil war and chaos in Syria? How would these scenarios translate in Lebanon, Iraq and the region? Some predictions are truly scary to even think about.

    Posted by V | April 26, 2011, 7:10 pm
  46. V,
    That was my point.
    Even staunch anti-Assad Syrians are cautious of a post-Assad Syria, so much as to create an illusory aura around Bashar himself as a lesser of two evils, or in this case, many evils.

    Without a multilateral peace keeping force, not necessarily the U.N. (Turkey and the Gulfies should play a vital role), there is no doubt violence will ensue,and Syria will go back another couple hundred years adding to its long list of incredible economic,social,political obstacles.

    For Syria’s neighbours and the West to stay silent, The Bashar option will remain, either in crushing the rebellion, or in so called “reform” phase.
    The Americans dont mind seeing Bashar sweat it out a little, before offering a helping hand, off course there is a pro quid pro in that.The Saudis echo the American stance, hoping for a Syrian/Iranian divorce. The Israelis enjoy their holidays to the dead sea thanks to quiet border with Syria.The Turks fear the chaos spilling over their borders.
    There is too much at stake for the bigger players, Bashar once again has proven his significance and indispensability just for being in circumstances favouring him, geo-politically speaking.

    In Lebanon, they are just waking (even the haters) to the stark reality of the situation if the chaos spiralled out of control, no doubt lebanon will be inundated with refugees,to tilt an already sensitive situation.

    All of a sudden those who were riding the wave of revolutions in the ME, cheering for the people, stopped to think for a moment. What do the Syrians really want?

    Posted by Maverick | April 26, 2011, 8:05 pm
  47. V

    So what if the MB come to power?

    Why delay the inevitable. If Syria is really just full of people who would like nothing better than to live under “Divine Law”….

    Or maybe as Danny assures us, the world really is living in the 21st century where cool heads are prevalent. And the scenarios you paint are simply inconceivable.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 26, 2011, 8:25 pm
  48. Erdogan had this to say today,

    http://nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=264792#ixzz1Kf06Mh1q

    There was a previous report couple weeks ago purporting that Erdogan gave Assad until the end of the month to see results. Erdogan is already treating Assad as an employee.

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 8:48 pm
  49. The Wacky World of Middle East Politics

    Wow. Erdogan is giving Assad until the end of the month? That’s great. I wonder how long Erdogan would give Netanyahu if he killed 400 unarmed protestors who weren’t trying to club anyone to death>

    So what if the MB come to power?

    As long as they hold free elections every so many years, I’m all for it.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 26, 2011, 9:28 pm
  50. “I wonder how long Erdogan would give Netanyahu if he killed 400 unarmed protestors who weren’t trying to club anyone to death”

    Is Netenyahu out looking for a job, AP?

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 9:45 pm
  51. What I do not understand is what is holding King Abdullah of Jordan from sending his army to Deraa and teaching those Maher thugs the lesson of their lives?

    Some may say the King himself is afraid of his own backyard. Well, that is nonsense. This is his chance to appear as a ‘hero’ to his own people and to the people in Syria particularly in its Southern region.

    Some may say the Jordanian army is no match to the Syrian army. That’s also nonsense. The Jordanian army decimated a whole Syrian armoured brigade when Hafez attempted to come to the aid of the Palestinians in the 1970s. After that Hafez shut his mouth up, licked his wounds and as usual reserved the right to respond in the proper time and proper place.

    Some may say the King cannot justify invading a neighbouring country. That is also nonsense. Most of the people in the south of Syria have extended families and close blood ties to Jordanians in the North of Jordan.

    I also happen to think, that the Syrian army would actually be happy to see Jordanian forces on the ground in Syria as it will give them leverage against the roaming thugs.

    The death toll in Deraa since the army moved in yesterday is now 35. Even today there was a demonstration in that city.

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 10:37 pm
  52. Is Netanyahu out looking for a job?

    Iceman,

    No, he just wants to know why Erdogan is giving Assad time and all he got was this cheap T-shirt.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 26, 2011, 11:13 pm
  53. The video clip I referred to in 220 finally appeared in NowLebanon in this article,

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/BlogDetails.aspx?TID=1422&FID=6

    AP,
    Are you saying Netanyahou would be happy to see Erdogan teaching Assad a lesson?

    Posted by iceman | April 26, 2011, 11:26 pm
  54. So what if the MB come to power?

    As long as they hold free elections every so many years, I’m all for it.

    AP.

    Why is it a chip off your shoulder if its 1 man 1 vote 1 time in Syria?

    I was over at now Extremely, and I mean Extremely Angry, Angry Arab. He’s a fan of the Zionist entity.

    Anyways, the poor chap is about to pop a vein and suffer a brain stroke over recent developments in Syria.

    He posted a note from one of his comrades who asserts that part of the Chants in Syria is:

    “Al-Alawiyi bil Taboot, wil Masee7iye 3a beirut”.

    It’s got a beautiful poetic ring to it in the Lingua Franca of Heaven. It translates to: “Alawites in the Coffin, and Christians off to Beirut”.

    Syria has a population of some 22 million people, and if we use Danny’s Maths, 15% of those are Christian. That’s around 3 million people.

    Add to that a few hundred thousand Iraqi Christians too poor to immigrate to Londres or Toronto or Detroit, and the situation for Xians seems almost ideal. Finally, the balance of power can shift once again to their favor in Beirut!

    Before you know it, the Zionification of the Middle East will be complete. A Divine state for the Shia in Iran. Several Divine States for the Sunnis (Turkey, Saudi, Syria, etc). A Christian Divine state in Lebanon, where henceforth, no-one shall take the Christ out of anything!

    And last, but most certainly not least, a Jewish state in Israel.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 26, 2011, 11:32 pm
  55. This is perhaps the latest clip that came out of Syria,

    http://www.aljazeera.net/channel/

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 1:19 am
  56. Gabriel
    What’s your point exactly? Is one man one vote
    (who said one time)ok in Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, etc., and not in Syria? Is that what you mean? Why are all the staunchest anti-sectarians the most worried about the destiny of sects all of a sudden?

    Posted by mj | April 27, 2011, 2:35 am
  57. The US Diplomats, Robert Ford, The US Embassy in Damascus and Foggy Bottom are immaterial in Syria/Lebanon. The policy for these 2 countries is directly run by CIA… Period, all the declarations by the WH, UN, visiting US Congressmen etc, are dust in the air…., C’est du trompe l’oeil….

    The only protection afforded to the Assad Regime for decades comes from CIA/MOSSAD and the proximity of the Assad Mafia to the Infamous White House Murder INC, and their Shenanigans in the Levant for decades….
    Notice when the US declares that they want to impose sanctions on Syrian officials in the Security apparatus, you find several names, but not the most Infamous Butcher/assassin: Asef Shawkat, who is the CEO of the Infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant since January 24th 2002…., and the main force behind crushing the peaceful uprising of the Syrian people today…., and yet his name is nowhere to be found?

    Posted by HK | April 27, 2011, 4:24 am
  58. Gabriel & whomever has become champions of the Assad the reformer…based on the “non sectarian” nature of the Bashar and his family. All the fear mongering will not work. Just FYI; it was Assad the master Butcher who erased over 10,000 souls who belonged to MB. That was not sectarian?

    I do not believe that an angy Arab and his buddies are the litmus test for the mood of the Syrians. People of Syria are move evolved and into the 21st century than the Iraqis for example and there are no history of sectarian conflict among them. I would assume that once leaders of the all minorities together denounce the butcher and his regime (it has happened already)there should be no place about unfounded innuendo. Granted all societies have religious zealots that can be marginalized by the populace with the establishment of a constitution and laws that protect all.

    Gabriel you are riding too long in the arctic north. You need a vacation…and you had to bring in the Zionist at the last day of Passover. :D

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2011, 7:25 am
  59. MJ:

    I had to read you question several times, and I still can’t say I understand it. Maybe it’s because I just woke up.

    What exactly have you taken exception to?

    What’s your point exactly? Is one man one vote
    (who said one time)

    I think to answer this, your best action is to re-read the comment that you did not understand.

    It’s a response to AP, who said he has no problem with Syria electing MB, as long as the MB are democratic.

    My point is, who cares if the MB is democratic or not. Why is he fussing?

    What’s your point exactly? Is one man one vote
    (who said one time) ok in Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, etc., and not in Syria?

    Why do you read in the post that it would not be ok for Syria. It very much HAS to be ok for Syria! Even if it produces a MB government.

    Is that what you mean? Why are all the staunchest anti-sectarians the most worried about the destiny of sects all of a sudden?

    LoL. No, I’m not worried about the destiny of sects. While I think it would be terrible if the “Protesters” turn around and kill every last Alawi or Christian or other minority, much as I think any killing is terrible… in the grand scheme of things, it will be remembered as an event in history.

    I’m taking the “worst that could happen” situation, and saying essentially… So what?

    MJ, there is a tendancy for people in the Middle East, as evidenced in this tiny microcosm, the QN forum… to pretend they are progressive, 21st century people who look beyond sect.

    Let’s cut the crap.

    The Middle East is highly sectarian.

    Let’s not pretend that the tears that some people are shedding for dead people in Syria are nothing more than crocodile tears- sectarian tears if you will. (Here you can extend the meaning of sect to be beyond the religious, and include the political).

    Like everything else, there are those who support events in Syria for wholly good reasons. Others do so for “sectarian” reasons. Pointing out the latter is not a testament that one rejects the former.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 27, 2011, 7:57 am
  60. Are you saying Netanyahou would be happy to see Erdogan teaching Assad a lesson?

    Iceman,

    No. What I’m saying, simply, is that Israel gets scrutinized and judge with a whole different set of parameters. Erdogan popped a vein when Israel killed 9 “peace activists” beating them with bars.

    OTOH, Erdogan calls for “restraint” when it comes to the Baathist Butcher.

    Why is it a chip off your shoulder if its 1 man 1 vote 1 time in Syria?

    No, that’s fine with me. That’s democracy.

    I was over at now Extremely, and I mean Extremely Angry, Angry Arab. He’s a fan of the Zionist entity.

    Not sure who this is. Provide a link.

    “Al-Alawiyi bil Taboot, wil Masee7iye 3a beirut”.

    It’s got a beautiful poetic ring to it in the Lingua Franca of Heaven. It translates to: “Alawites in the Coffin, and Christians off to Beirut”.

    Not good.

    Before you know it, the Zionification of the Middle East will be complete. A Divine state for the Shia in Iran. Several Divine States for the Sunnis (Turkey, Saudi, Syria, etc). A Christian Divine state in Lebanon, where henceforth, no-one shall take the Christ out of anything!

    Part of learning about democracy is learning to live with different people. Tolerance. Israel is learning, and so shall the rest of the ME.

    And last, but most certainly not least, a Jewish state in Israel.

    Well, for another few years anyway;)

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2011, 8:02 am
  61. Danny:

    Are you not getting tired of the replaying the same record?

    You have a tendancy to pluralize any discussion. “The people of Syria”, “we all”… etc.

    Take a political position (as you have) and simply state it. Don’t speak on behalf of the “People of Syria”, and don’t speculate if they are full fledged 21st century folk or not. If they are “more evolved” than the Iraqis.

    This kind of position is highly speculative.

    I’m not saying change your position, but for the love of X…. be humble about it at least.

    Even your buddy Iceman has added all sorts of disclaimers to his position (he doesn’t know what’s going to happen in Syria and Lebanon, if Sectarian outbreak ensues, it will be what is reaped from what Assad is doing now, etc).

    You’re talking like you have a crystal ball, and you know nothing is going to happen the day after.

    Please. A little humility.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 27, 2011, 8:22 am
  62. Gabriel,

    The problem with you is that you are redundant. I will leave you with your Crystal balls.

    People like you who are closet sectarians… My political and humanist stands are clear. SFTOP THE BULLSHIT and nonsense about “your” (I am referring to the “reformers”) knowledge about the psyche of Syrians. I am for the people of any region to be able to decide their own destiny and political line with their own free will. I guess that’s how you will vote in Canada right? Or you are one of the whiners only and don’t vote but complain. :p

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2011, 8:39 am
  63. People of any region should be able to decide their own destiny, their defense strategy and political line with their own free will, whenever the State has voted “absent” for decades, whether in South Lebanon or Bahrain.

    What is taking place in Bahrain is a bloody crackdown by the puppets of the Saudi Wahabi regime against the majority of the population in general and the Bahraini Shia in particular. This crackdown is accompanied by massacres of civilians which are far worse than anything taking place in Libya and probably of the same order of magnitude as what is happening in Yemen or Syria, the other bloody crackdown “overlooked” by the Western and Arab corrupt corporate media.

    Urgent call : PLEASE help Bahrain

    Thugs of Bahraini regime

    Bahrain – Police and mercenaries

    Bahrain’s Dark Secret:

    Bahrain Protests Security forces open fire on crowds in Manama

    Bahrain: Regime’s Pakistani Thugs Destroy People’s Properties‏:

    Posted by HK | April 27, 2011, 8:49 am
  64. Danny:

    Again you’re blabbering nonsense.

    Discussing eventualities is part of a healthy debate. I’m not so sure about your political stand or your humanist positions. I see a closet-case fascist who tells people what they ought to think!

    No-one here has been as assertive as you (except in the one post where you admitted to being worried) on knowing what anyone thinks. And as I said, even Iceman threw in his disclaimers.

    If you’re not interested in discussing the topics, issues, points of views.. why come here at all? Just look at the mirror and shout all day long… Bashar the Butcher.. Bashar the Butcher… Down with Bashar the Butcher.

    The sound will echo back to you and you’ll get your chorus of approval!

    Posted by Gabriel | April 27, 2011, 8:51 am
  65. The odious White House Murder Machinations INC, in the Levant with Asef Shawkat at the Helm…

    “…j’ai assez fatigué la Patrie de mes avertissements dédaignés…

    Il ne me reste plus qu’à m’asseoir sur les débris d’un naufrage tant de fois prédit…”

    Posted by HK | April 27, 2011, 9:15 am
  66. BREAKING: CIA Director Panetta To Be US Secretary of Defense, General Petraeus To Be CIA Director ….and China to continue footing the US Bills….

    A spook running the grunts and a grunt running the spooks…. Well, that just makes a whole hell of a lot of sense, considering that Obomba’s rhetoric is filled with “Soft Power” shenanigans…and the perpetuating of the infamous White House Murder INC, in the Levant with Asef Shawkat…, the main Syrian Liaison to CIA/MOSSAD. The Syria policy will remain unchanged, CIA will continue to lead…

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_usa_pentagon_cia

    Posted by HK | April 27, 2011, 9:24 am
  67. Off course, danny, you need to ‘educate’ yourself about Syrians. They’re still living in the ’15th century’ as you can see from this,

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 9:27 am
  68. Gabriel,

    It seems you have had issues with people. That’s for a psychiatrist to evaluate. I can not help you with that.
    I wonder why you have been debating with me after all that hatred in #267.You do not have to answer or comment on my remarks on this blog.
    After all it is a privilege that has been bestowed to us by QN.

    You are childish and thin skinned and looking for validation of some sort or a friend..In the infamous words of Gordon Gekko: If you want a friend get a dog.

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2011, 9:41 am
  69. Iceman,

    I know man…It really is abhorrent when people supposedly non sectarian; shed their skin in the drop of a hat. It has everything to do with their sect and most likely their politics in Lebanon. What is so vague about this:
    ‘I am for the people of any region to be able to decide their own destiny and political line with their own free will.’?

    But for limited people and closet racists like Gabriel it is a” blabbering nonsense”…

    I leave him alone to humiliate himself as he does not need any help….

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2011, 9:48 am
  70. That is amazing….

    But there is a new post by the same ‘FROM DAMASCUS’ in Syriacomment. It is comment #3 under the current main topic. The guy is articulate and really knows what he’s talking about. Short of a video uploaded from Syria, he paints the most accurate picture of the Syrian street, the regime and Syrian society.

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 9:52 am
  71. There are still more unconfirmed reports from some eyewitnesses that fights are breaking out among Syrian army units,

    قال شهود عيان إن مدينة درعا ما زالت تتعرض لقصف وأنها تعاني من نقص في الأدوية والمواد الغذائية كما أفاد شهود عيان أنهم شاهدوا الجثث ملقاة في الشوارع.

    ففي درعا التي تعاني حصاراً وإطلاق نار منذ نحو ثلاثة أيام، أفادت أنباء مصدرها شهود ولم يتمّ التأكد من صحتها من جهات محايدة، أن الفرقة الخامسة في الجيش السوري اشتبكت مع عناصر أخرى في الجيش وأن المدينة تعاني أزمة مياه نتيجة قصف قوات الجيش للخزانات، إضافة الى نقص تغذية ولا سيما في مادتي الحليب والخبز.

    واتهم المحتجون من أهالي البلدة “شبّيحة” بدخول المدينة وونهب الصيدليات والأفران والمحال التجارية.

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 9:56 am
  72. Wow,

    The Geageaite and the Salafi have a political alliance going on :D.

    This next year will be uber-interesting as the local alliances shift and change in the region.

    Strange though that Danny is asking Iceman what’s wrong with:

    ‘I am for the people of any region to be able to decide their own destiny and political line with their own free will.’?

    Especially given Iceman’s position on Bahrain!

    Yes indeed. This coming year surely will be fun.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 27, 2011, 10:12 am
  73. Danny,

    Hatred? I don’t hate you. But I didn’t start any debates with you. You’re the one whose been dogging me! Re-read sequence of posts.

    Either way, there’s no hatred. Just mockery.

    You said at one point that (in one of those instances where you spoke in the plural, like a “multiplexor?!?” :D) that I should be respectful if I want people to respect me. That’s funny.

    I suggest back to you that if you want “people” to respect you, you should simply stop being an imbecile.

    Or of course, you can continue being an imbecile, and have the respect of fellow imbeciles.

    And what’s all this talk about shedding skins. Tell me Danny, since I’ve shed so much, what’s my “sect”?

    I’ll tell you this though, it takes a very special kind of imbecile to advise others to say “christian and NOT Xian”. And to persist on that point with a slew of equally ignorant remarks. And you expect me to respect you!

    LoL.

    QN, who has provided this forum ,for the purpose of debate has opened this thread specifically to debate the question of Syrian exceptionalism.

    Instead of contributing to this debate you have come here and barked ad-nauseum about Bashar the butcher.

    The smart Iceman has at least covered his positions with a thousand and one caveats and disclaimers.

    You think the Syrians are exceptional and different from the Iraqis… fine.

    But why not follow the debate line using one of Iceman’s assertions instead. Just to make it interesting?

    Let’s say that Syrians are so 21st century and progressive. That Bashar is overthrown, and a new system is put in place.

    And then the Iranians, who according to Iceman are continuing to breed “Al-Qaeda” decides to de-stabilize Syria by sending a few gifts over.

    Think outside your box and contribute some intelligence. Or at least stop acting like an imbecile and butting into any conversation that tries to address those questions and accusing anyone who even brings them up of being an Assad stooge or proponent of the Assad the Reformer theory.

    Clear?

    Posted by Gabriel | April 27, 2011, 10:26 am
  74. Gabriel…You have become really boring. I think you should be respectful of this blog’s readers and let this go…and try to find another hobby lol. Please!!!!!! scram… Respectfully.

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2011, 10:47 am
  75. Guys,

    Let’s not diverge into personal attacks.

    There’s bigger “fish to fry”.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2011, 10:50 am
  76. Besides the commanding exhortation that you should ‘modernize’ and swallow and use the ‘unique’ and ‘attractive’ term of X-ian as your most dearest ‘label’, which incidentally puts you right in the middle of China in the capital of the Shaanxi province until further notice and after we succeed in deciphering its supposedly Greek origin and know exactly what we’re talking about, you now have to put up being an ‘imbecile’.

    So we have a retarded idiot who gives himself the absolute right to label people left and right out of his rotten list of vocabulary that only retrogrades would be happy to use and yet calls himself a debater, not knowing that the first rule of debate is for the other party to be accepting of his engagement, which is becoming more and more evident that less and less are willing to oblige.

    Clearly we have a nutcase of a child who is unable to grow and present a coherent and intelligent message aside from looking in his prepared list of catch words or ready-made labels. And I wonder how long would the generous host put up with such regressive behaviour.

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 10:55 am
  77. Greetings from Shanghai!

    Nobody here cares much about the spelling of your deities from a Universal point of view.

    Mohamed can be also be spelled with a single or double m.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 27, 2011, 1:14 pm
  78. What’s Hassan Nasrallah’s problem getting ahead in the world?

    A spelling mistake?

    Posted by R2D2 | April 27, 2011, 1:26 pm
  79. That could be so in Shanghai R2D2. But try that in this part of the world and you could be sued and screwed for defamation and/or libel and inuendo. So fool not yourself R2D2 into believing in quasi- or pseudo-Liberalism which in fact is outright ‘anarchy’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_defamation_law

    There is a limit to your so-called freedom of speech to which you may have to pay a price when you misuse it by descending into ‘insulting’ individuals and/or whole communities.

    This is CANADA the land of ultimate diversity from which you should learn how to CO-EXIST and be thankful.

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 1:44 pm
  80. Mossad had a longstanding secret relationship with Bahrain, KSA, UAE & Qatar. Now we know why the U.S. permitted Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi/Takfiri crazies to massacre peaceful civilian Bahraini protesters. The orders came from Tel Aviv via Washington — the real way US foreign policy works…in BOTH the US and Canada’s ZOGs.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4053981,00.html

    http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=7636

    Hezbollah’s Valiant Resistance and its arms are paramount for self-defense of Lebanon and have been entirely vindicated in every way, not only in 2000, but in 2006 as well and still are today, till the dawn of an elusive comprehensive peace and the return of ALL our occupied land by Israel’s Zio-nazis….

    Posted by HK | April 27, 2011, 1:50 pm
  81. Wow, we have a couple of busy-bees here.

    QN:

    It appears a couple of your devotees are itching for you to start censoring your forum.

    Iceman:

    QN’s forums are not, at least not yet, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    If you don’t like what you read, here’s a novel idea, skip it.

    On specifics:

    Besides the commanding exhortation that you should ‘modernize’ and swallow and use the ‘unique’ and ‘attractive’ term of X-ian

    Please have a little class and don’t paraphrase.

    As per my comment #233 to Danny:

    Seriously, it’s there for you next time you want to abbreviate the word when you’re lazy typing. Stop drilling this silly point. If you don’t want to use the word “Xian”… LaTeezee.

    There is no commanding exhortation to use anything. This type of attitude is the one your beloved Saudis have honed and perfected.

    The rest of the world has good manners.

    Also, I’m quite impressed with your knowledge of China. Next time I plan a trip there, I’ll make sure to consult you.

    As for your doubts on the use of Chi to represent Christ, please put a sock in it.

    Your ignorance of matters “Christian” is to be expected. You don’t know “Good Friday” from “Easter Friday”. Where do you live? I would have expected you to know something as basic as that if you’re living out in the West, if not out of “respect” (which you pretend to have) for Christians, then at least out of minimal common knowledge.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chi_Rho

    Start your reading sessions. You have a long way to go.

    Cheers.

    Posted by Gabriel | April 27, 2011, 1:56 pm
  82. Ice,

    Personally, I don’t need anyone to educate me on co-existance and freedom … but you either contribute to the nation state of Canada … or Lebanon.

    If Lebanon is a lost cause to you … then spend your energy on your adopted nation and keep away from contributing on this blog.

    Canada also needs you.

    Posted by R2D2 | April 27, 2011, 2:07 pm
  83. The break-up of Saudi Arabia is inevitable no matter what the Wahhabi crazies do with their bigoted/sectarian politicking…

    When the British partitioned the Arabian Peninsula following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, the Saudis sought to expand their territories by occupying parts of Yemen…

    This unleashed the 1934 Saudi-Yemen war that resulted in the separation of three provinces — Asir, Jazan and Najran — from Greater Yemen.

    Nearly 80 years after the Saudi occupation, the border dispute remains fresh, with many Yemenis demanding the return of the three regions to the motherland…

    In November 2009, Saudi forces once again intervened in Yemen by launching an offensive against Shia fighters in the north, known as Houthis…and now they are occupying and destroying Bahrain.

    The massive offensive claimed the lives of a large number of people, including women and children, and led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands in the impoverished country.

    Saudi Arabia’s recent interventions in Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq also show that the Kingdom is bent on suppressing popular revolutions in the Mideast by following pro-Israeli crypto-Zionist Wahhabi agendas….

    Posted by HK | April 27, 2011, 2:20 pm
  84. Random thought:

    I was studying some defamation law material, and came across this definition.

    At common law, defamation covers any communication that tends to lower the esteem of the subject in the minds of ordinary members of the public

    Since it appears I’m making a complete fool of myself here, do you suppose I can sue myself for defamation?

    Posted by Gabriel | April 27, 2011, 2:45 pm
  85. Hi guys

    I’ve got a new post coming that is going to send you all into a frenzy. :)

    (Especially Iceman, Akbar, AIG [if he ever returns] and danny)

    Stay tuned. Mwahahahahahaha….

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 27, 2011, 2:49 pm
  86. You cannot be not serious R2D2 in 285.

    But let’s see what QN has in store, and hope he can keep the frenzy getting out of hand.

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 3:33 pm
  87. QN,

    In the famous words of the best president USA has ever had… BRING it on. :D

    Posted by danny | April 27, 2011, 3:55 pm
  88. QN,

    So are you really Nasrallah’s favorite nephew?

    Posted by AIG | April 27, 2011, 4:03 pm
  89. No one can take your place, AIG

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 27, 2011, 4:13 pm
  90. First time I read it this morning it was only 30 Baath members in Syria who resigned. Now the number has risen to 233, JL reports from AFP.

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 4:17 pm
  91. this is a must watch if you are interested in the latest and greatest in the ‘art’ of creating conspiracy theories. Do not miss the few comments, if you can read Arabic, on the clip,

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 4:35 pm
  92. @ AIG #291

    Come again? :)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 27, 2011, 4:35 pm
  93. HP,

    Everyday I drive past a graveyard and it reminds me, if I have already forgotten, that I am quite replaceable and that the world will be fine without me.

    Posted by AIG | April 27, 2011, 4:37 pm
  94. QN,

    Ok, the surprise will be something different…
    How disappointing :)

    Posted by AIG | April 27, 2011, 4:38 pm
  95. AIG, you are such a realist! Dream a little!
    All these years in the Middle East and you haven’t picked up the habit of Utopian thinking?
    I’ve been in the U.s. for 30 years this August and I still can’t shed the dreamy disposition acquired in my youth in the Levant.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 27, 2011, 6:39 pm
  96. HP,

    Maybe it is because you have lived there for 30 years that you cannot ‘shed the dreamy disposition’ that most Lebanese of the Diaspora know about.
    Try living there for a few years, and I’ll guarantee you that you will not only shed, but bury those dreamy thoughts.
    the diaspora get to see Lebanon through a passing train only stopping at attractions, sorta like the cheap video clip type advertisements of the tourism ministry.

    Posted by Maverick | April 27, 2011, 7:12 pm
  97. If you listen to SANA about 50 Syrian army personnel have been killed so far, 21 of them only today.

    We are talking here about the Syrian army with all its armor which moved into residential neighborhoods. If you believe SANA’s account then the opposition must be heavily armed with sophisticated weapons in order to achieve such a standoff with a heavily armed and presumably well trained and organized army.

    If you read al-Ahram of Egypt, however, the newspaper plainly accuses the regime of killing its own armed forces specifically because they are refusing orders to shoot.

    None of the videos we’ve seen so far showed demonstrators carrying guns not to mention the more lethal RPG’s and anti-tank missiles.

    But that is not all; the Ustaz Berri has now thrown his full weight and political acumen behind the official Syrian narrative. He regurgitates the regime’s version verbatim which is Syrian people must shut up and wait for more promises and thank the Assads, once when they wake up and once before they go to bed, for bestowing upon them four decades of stagnant and stable lives, because according to the Ustaz this is nothing but a conspiracy against the ‘holy mumana3a’ axis and those that are behind it are playing with fire. Not only that, according to the Ustaz one single drop of blood of a Syrian soldier is worth all reforms that anyone can imagine. The Lebanese are also part of this conspiracy because they have failed to create a government, and therefore legal course must be followed in order to determine the extent of Lebanese involvement in this conspiracy.

    Welcome to the Levantine circus.

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 7:20 pm
  98. Dumb Deputy PM should STFU given the Fatah/Hamas agreement and whining lil’ Bibi’s upcoming shnorrfest in DC:

    “Wednesday, April 27, 2011
    Dan Meridor: Obama gave carte blanche to Assad to slaughter his people Dan Meridor: Obama gave carte blanche to Assad to slaughter his people
    Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 27 April 2011

    Speaking in a live interview on the “London and Kirshenbaum” program IsraelTelevision Channel 10 this afternoon **Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor PMcharged President Obama with giving Syrian President Assad “carte blanche to slaughter his people”.

    Meridor also noted that while he did not prefer it, one of the real options for Israel is to annex the West Bank and give citizenship rights.”

    http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=5209

    “sounds like” HK, que no?

    Posted by lally | April 27, 2011, 8:07 pm
  99. Are you saying that the glamorizer of the ‘butcher’ of Sabra and Shatilla, and paradoxically ‘staunch supporter’ of ‘muqawama’, and the ‘genius’ buster of ‘White House/Mossad/Assad Murder Inc. is also in cahoots with ‘Dumb Deputy PM’?

    Posted by iceman | April 27, 2011, 9:00 pm
  100. Maverick, you are right, things look different when “you’re up to your neck un alligators,” so to speak. I get it. I do. Still, there may some advantage in observing things from a distance. Sort of like watching a chess game from the side.
    Some of the nonchalance and joie-de-vivre despite problems might also be genetic.
    In a way, by being expatriates, we have already expressed our definitive distress about the native country. Yet, with the perspective that time and distance provide, the heart aches, longs, and hopes.
    Salamaat ya 7abibi.

    Posted by Honest Patriot | April 27, 2011, 9:02 pm
  101. Friends Who Care

    Lally,

    Everytime I click on your posts I always read something about Israel or the US.

    Therefore, in the interest of mutual friendship a comraderie, I now present HK.

    HK, Lally.

    Lally, HK.

    Please get acquainted sil vous plait.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2011, 10:50 pm
  102. Another Qifa Nakbi free article for your enjoyment:

    “Understanding Post-Mubarak Egypt”

    http://www.danielpipes.org/9722/post-mubarak-egypt

    Posted by Akbar Palace | April 27, 2011, 11:03 pm
  103. Iceman is a shallow despicable Sectarian Bigot, rotten at Heart with a Deep pathological Hate for the Shia, just because they are Shia. Iceman is a student of the “agent provocateur” Mohamed Salam, the preacher of the Future Wahhabi movement of the skunk Hariri, the puppet of the filthy Wahhabi Kingdom.

    Posted by HK | April 28, 2011, 6:59 am
  104. HK

    Ease off with the personal attacks please.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | April 28, 2011, 8:28 am
  105. To be clear. May Akl has a Phd., she is highly respected, a 2010 Yale World Fellow, and I believe she was also the international press officer for Rafik Hariri, yet the only thing that sticks in your mind is that she’s also “Michel Aoun’s US spokesperson”. You really need to overcome this obsession. You’re becoming quite boring.

    Posted by GG | May 5, 2011, 5:45 pm

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