Curating the news on Syria: Sunday June 19th

Friday Lunch Club has some really interesting links on Syria that you won't read anywhere else on the blogosphere.

Today's Zaman: The not so peaceful demonstrations

The reporters said that the town smelled of blood and smoke, whilst almost all the social and public facilities such as post offices, hospitals, banks, the court house and security buildings had been destroyed, pointing to heavy clashes that had clearly taken place between the two sides.
The countless number of bullet holes on the walls of the intelligence building where 72 soldiers lost their lives, the blood stains which marked the spots where soldiers died, and the horrifying traces of the soldiers who were beheaded are still fresh.
One of the residents of Jisr al-Shughour told reporters that a military intelligence officer's head had been exhibited in the town for three days after he was beheaded by the members of an armed opposition group. Adding to the sheer horror of the clashes is the remains of dead soldiers who were killed by armed groups that line the River Asi.

From The Economist:

The simple answer is that Syria is—and always was—too big and complicated for outsiders to step in. Liberal intervention is not about charging blindly in, but about using force judiciously when possible. Whereas Libya, though vast in desert area, is a country of 6m-plus fairly homogeneous people living on a narrow coastal strip, Syria is a web of religions and sects embracing 21m people scattered across an area that abuts the Middle East’s most combustible flashpoints, including Israel, Lebanon and Iraq.

From Le Figaro: Jumblatt lobbying to give Bashar another chance (In French.

From Gulf News: UN resolution on Syria 'difficult'


Jad said...

Dear Sophia,
Please read this horrible Guardian article, Syria now is an Apartheid...Seriously why they keep those writers around?

Face the facts – Syria is an apartheid state
The west is conniving in Bashar Assad's brutal suppression of opposition


Sophia said...

Dear Jad,

I would say that the west is conniving in the destruction of Syria.

Nick Cohen is rather a lousy writer on any subject matter except that this article is one of those tactics neoliberalcons use to intimidate their governments into pseudo humanomiliatry action. I wouldn't mind also with the apartheid state label. Cohen, an Israel apologist, must know that Israel is the only aparthie state in the region. I wouldn't mind the intimidating tone of Cohen's article snce it tells you how much the west is powerless when it comes to regime change in Syria.

But Syria was already an aprtheid state and it came from the cold many times. They are threatening Lebanon also because its government doesn't please them. This is the west's hypocrisy laid bare before our eyes time and time again. One shoudn't be affected by this.

Sophia said...

By the way, I was shocked by the photo of the Alawis that was posted to illustrate an article on Syria where you know. It reminds me of the worst orientalist cliches. The way the news are presented also there is very disheartening and I believe it is intended to be this way in order to win over people by discouraging them.
It is really a strategy of bait and switch that has happened there, the whole site has become a farce on Syria and clearly a manipulative information machine in the open. People are hooked and don't know what to do and eventually they will come to adopt whatever this site will present as the truth on Syria.

Believe me, nobody can pretend ot hold the truth, especially on this very complex and sensitive matter. And we should think clearly and outside any influence in these difficult times.

Jad said...

I agree on you know where site, the site strategy is in favor of the anti-regime even when many of them are obvious liars.

I agree with you about the picture used for that old post, it's very orientalist cliche. I believe that the owner of you know where is stuck with sectarian/ethnic/divided views of Syria, he can't see Syria as a country without doing a horrible anatomy to everything in it and even when he discuss with others he asked for the uprising organizers to over use the sectarian element so they can win..not to forget that he is actually a consultant for certain board....I can't believe that someone will even think this way.
The only thing we can do as you wrote to keep our thoughts free from any influence

Sophia said...


Free of any influence and resilient. There will be better days.

Look at Lebanon, they fought 15 years of an ugly civil war, a million displaced, millions injured, we don't know hoe many killed but probably in the hundred thousands, for what? we went back to the situation that prevailed before, a sensitive sectarian divide of power. In Lebanon, if we are to belive our distinguished economist and political scientist Geroges Corm, our survival depends on our ability to live together and there is no other solution for such countries as Lebanon and Syria.

Remember Gramsci's maxim: Pessimism of the mind, Optimism of the will. So let's make everything possible to help our countries and our people and the first thing is to stop listening to those who do not understand us and who wish us ill.

Jad said...

Did you read about the new 'National Council' and the 'New Government' they formed?
They actually formed them according to sect, ethnicity and tribal background, it's so strange that the same people who criticize Lebanon and Iraq on their sectarian and ethnic parliament are doing exactly the same for Syria which show that with all the negative the Syrian regime has it proved to be way better that this destructive opposition plans.

Sophia said...


I also know from trusted sources that practically all politicians in Lebanon (including the new maronite patriarch) are worried by the prospect of the sudden departure of Assad and the possibility for sectarian war in Syria, except of course the hardcore of March 14th (Gea3gea and Hariri). Jumblatt specially is worried for the future of Lebanon and his own community.

Jad said...

All of people with the slightest dignity and brain cells will worry about a sudden change in Syria, it will be Iraq hell and Lebanese civil war 5 folds, it's the end of all of the Levant mixed fabric ethnically, religiously and culturally and I believe that the whole world will pay the price including Israel and Turkey and Europe will be dragged in it for many decades to come.

Sophia said...

We all know that the Syrian Baath has suppressed sectarian sentiments. This is a pocitive thing but it came back to haunt them. It is a matter of emotions, fear, never reason. So the ennemies of Syria are playing with the sentiments and fear of its people.

What I really like when I visited Syria is the innocence of the poeple in matters of sectarianism. Those fears were probably there but they were kept in check by the secular state and the secular society. I hope that this time will be back, I truly hope. Sectarianism is racism.

I am a levantine and nobody can take this from me, and we should work toward making sure that this spirit will live on despite the present extreme adversity.

By the way, my blog is read in Maryland these days.

Jad said...

Go willing things will get better, let's see what the president will say.
It'll be too little too late whatever he say for the blinded oppositions.
Will bug you later.
Have a great day :)

HS said...

I watched the president’s speech.
I don’t know who was attending.
I noticed at the end that several ( and only ) young women rush toward him when he left the room to talk to him.
I am quite sure the scene was not planned and spontaneous.
I find this show of support interesting.
A far cry from

HS said...

About the national council
their spokesman Jamil Saib, announced Sunday in a statement made near the Turkish-Syrian border.
"We announce the creation of a National Council to lead the Syrian revolution, comprising all communities and representatives of national political forces inside and outside Syria.

Council members included notably
Abdullah Trad al-Moulahim, one of the organizers of a Syrian opposition gathering in Antalya Turkey
Sheikh Khaled al-Khalaf
Mamoun al-Homsi.
three based in Syria,
Haitham al-Maleh,
Suhair al-Atassi and
Aref Dalila.

Any information on these people ?

maybe the name translation is not correct !!

Sophia said...


The fact that they are not known can either be one of two things:
-They have no support in Syria
-They are serving as a screen to other people

I watched also Bashar's speech (I didn't see the very end of it). And I agree that the applause was spontaneous at least on two occasions. When he spoke about himself and his family and when he spoke about the connection between the people of Syria.

Some would say that there was nothing new. I would say that this speech was intended internally. What we saw today is that Bashar delivered a reaslistic assessment of the situation and the steps taken to remedy the situation, taking into account only the people from inside Syria and not the ones who are calling for him to step down. This is significant for me because it means that the regime stands united. Either they survive together or they are going down together. The people who are betting on cracks in the regime stand no chance to seeing any cracks soon.

I think the speech was measured and grave but the only thing that worries me is that Bashar seems uneasy and unassuming again as during his first years in office. So in my opinion the people who are directing their anger against him are hitting the bad target. It was clear for me today that Bashar is only the face of the regime. It doesn't mean that he is powerless or anything, it doesn't diminshes him, it means that he took this responsibility against his will, that he will assume it until the end.

HS said...

Bashar Assad has been trained as an eye doctor ( the only surgeon not dealing with blood ) in London
( where he met his wife ).
He has to come back from England when his brother Basel , the military trained heir of the regime, died in a car "accident" .
Then , his father taught him the job of president and he also became the repository of the 20th century secrets of the Syrian politics.
When his father died in 2000 , he has to fight some historical hardliners of the regime to impose himself.
In 2005 , when he wanted to liberalize the regime, he has to fight the attempt of extremist who wanted to topple him.

In short , an honest intelligent and caring man in a crazy political ( and stupid media ) environment.

Sophia said...


I agree. read my post. The scapegoat is usually a victim not only of his ennemies but also of his own peple who agree to designate him as the scapgoat in order to clear themselves. It is an interesting theory about the origin of violence in HUmans.

HS said...

I would not follow on your "psychoanalytic" theory of the scapegoat.
I know that Bashar was very popular in Syria ( and abroad ) before March 15th.
His reputation had to be destroyed by the activists in the western (and satellite ) media.

Sophia said...

I agree.

But the theory here is not only psychoanalytical. It is religious, it is anthropological, and it is political. Girard's theory is that Christianity reversed the desire for ritual and sacrificial killings in primitive societies by refusing to agree with the persecutors that the victim is guilty and by symbolising the violence in the narrative of the life of Jesus.

Scapegoats, according to Girard, are autmotically loved once they are sacrificed in primitive society, they go from scapegoat to hero and saviour because they expunge the violence that threatens the existence of the society.

Since March 29th 2006