The Observers’ crisis

 

Isn’t it wrong to give the one you claim to be doing very dangerous crimes the chance to wash his traces? Is it logical for the observers to be led by the ones they should observe?!

On the other hand, isn’t it right that each stat has its sovereignty that it should fight for? Isn’t it wrong for the enemy to become the judge? How could Syria accept a protocol that has been made by the ones it accuses of being behind its current crisis?

Syria has come up with some amendments to the Arab League protocol in order to make it acceptable but the Arab League on Sunday announced its rejection of the amendments proposed by Syria to the draft protocol regarding sending observers to Syria.

The AL General Secretariat claimed in its statement that the amendments and changes proposed to the protocol by the Syrian side “would affect the core of the document and would radically change the nature of the mission which is to oversee the implementation of the Arab initiative to end the crisis in Syria and protect Syrian civilians.”

The statement said that the AL decision came “following consultations between the AL Secretary General Nabeel al-Arabi and Chief and members of the Arab ministerial committee in charge of the Syrian issue.”

Official Syrians Sources said that the changes proposed by Syria were designed to protect the country’s sovereignty and dignity.

Syrian officials do not want it to be called an observing mission, but prefer calling it an Arab League mission in order to be acceptable. Such changes, the sources added, do not affect the spirit of the mission.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Sunday that some phrases of the Arab League’s monitoring protocol were “unattainable” and reflected “unbalanced stances.”

Al-Moallem said that the protocol, submitted to the Syrian government by the AL to permit observers into the country to verify whether it has taken measures to protect civilians, fully ignored the Syrian sovereignty: “The protocol includes broad phrases, some of them are unattainable” the Foreign Minister said, adding that the protocol should come as a result of a negotiations between two parties and shouldn’t be dictated from one party on the other.

“We have nothing at all to hide,” he said, adding that all that Syria has asked for is to be informed of the places the AL ministerial committee plans to head to.

Syria has offered amendments to the protocol that don’t interfere with the nature or the details of the mission of the AL observers, al-Moallem said, adding that the amendments aim to facilitate the work of the AL mission in a perfect way.

He went further saying that the amendments came from Syria’s keenness on the national sovereignty and the government’s role in preserving its people’s security.

The AL issued on the 16th of the month in Rabat, Morocco a draft deal on the Arab mission of 500 observers to Syria and gave the Syrian government three days to sign it after the regional group suspended Syria’s membership.

On Thursday, al-Moallem suggested modifications on the AL deal. However, the AL rejected on Sunday Syria’s proposed modifications on the mission, saying that the proposed modifications introduce “radical changes” to the mission of the observers.

Syrian Views

These Ping-Pong media massages put us in front of big questions, the answers of which we tried to get from the people of Syria themselves.

Joumana. Na, 28 years old woman said: “As long as the observers keep their observations to themselves and the security forces can continue butchering civilian people, then they will agree to the League’s deal.”

Ammar. Ah, 24 years old, said: “The Arabs have been observing mass-murders among their people for at least 1000 years; now they want front row seats?! This is a fake protocol; they have put it only to be rejected so they can execute the American agenda.”

Iman. KA, 49 years old, woman said: “I can’t find any logic in the amendments, I can’t believe that our government is asking the AL to do such amendments, because it is clear that they are trying to fool everybody! When you have a war you cannot talk about sovereignty, the blood is covering the streets in Hama and Homes and they are talking about changing the title of the protocol! They are not serious, I was optimistic about the protocol and that it will save the Syrian blood from both sides (the protesters and the army) but the government had destroyed all my hopes in a new start that saves the Syrian blood.”

Nour. Sh, 36 years old, said: “We have seen the result of western interference in the Middle East: Chaos everywhere. I am sure that they-the regime-will agree. They have no choice; they will remain the leaders of the nation and bring changes. The nation will settle down. I suspect that the US and Israel, who have alternative motives could make the AL present such a protocol. This protocol could open the door wildly in front of the enemy, Mr. al-Moallem and his assistants had made the right choice by giving such amendments.”

“This revolution is a little about democracy and a lot about settling old scores.” Ghada. SH, 36, woman said. She added: “It was started by freedom and reform seeking Syrians. Now, its momentum is maintained by Muslim Brotherhood activists, and supported by Sunni regional powers, currently in a state of cold war with Iran, in addition to anti-Syrian regime Lebanese who have lost their beloved ones during the years where the Syrian army was in Lebanon. So, such amendments have been put to impede the observers, no one asks for such amendments unless he wants to hide something. The AL has made the right decision by refusing the amendments, they don’t want to be unfair with the Syrians, they are practical and they are working for the good of the Syrian people.”

Moulham. Za, 39 years old, male said: “Supporting a revolution for the sake of supporting a revolution is insane. Gaddafi came to power through a revolution. In 1979, young Iranians were chanting for ‘freedom and democracy’; look at the great example of freedom and democracy in Iran that resulted from that revolution! So, what the AL seeks is to implement the American agenda in Syria and to destroy the last standing country against Israel and the American imperial project in the Middle East. As for the amendments, I agree with Mr. al-Moualem, he is the man whom we should rely on to save Syria from the conspiracies.”

Ghofran. AS, 46 years old, man said: “About one third of the casualties in the current conflict were Syrian soldiers and pro-regime civilians. These numbers are provided by anti-regime activists. Out of the remaining two thirds there is a percentage of innocent protesters killed by savage murderers. There is also a percentage made of armed insurgents. This is confirmed by countless reports from Syrian family members and friends in addition to YouTube videos. And the government is still asking for amendments?! What the hell, I don’t believe the way they use to gain time, this protocol will help to save Syria from the coming war, but what I can’t understand is how did the Syrian officials manage to put more than 18 amendments to a protocol of two and a half pages, I have heard that they asked the AL to change the title! I can’t believe how cheap the Syrian blood has become!”
Ahmad. So, 36 years old, male said: “The rejection of the amendments is the proof that this league and committee is nothing but toys in the hands of America. All what they need is to force Syria to kneel in front of the enemy, but they will never see us kneeling. The protocol is a flagrant violation to the sovereignty of Syria, 500 observers to walk and move in Syria freely?! No one can accept that, they want to send their agents to Syria, Syrians can solve their problems, to hell with the AL.”
Farhan. Ka, 48 years old, man said: “With a regime tightly controlled by a sprawling military/intelligence apparatus, and its members armed to the teeth and fearful for their lives, supporting a weak revolution that has little chance of toppling that regime by force (with the unlikely possibility of military intervention in Syria) is only going to lead to more blood and innocent deaths. A more logical approach is to pressure both sides to sit down and negotiate a peaceful resolution.”


Samaoa`l Ja, 46 years old, said: “This protocol is the passport for external intervention, it will lead to nothing but more misunderstanding. I refuse the protocol and admire the government because they are awake and have open eyes that can discover the hidden plans and intentions behind it. The government is protecting our history and shaping the future of Syria and the Syrians.”

Hanna. AH, 34 years old, housewife said: “What a waste of time! Anything proposed by the west, is used as means of intelligence for future attacks.  Don’t do it Syria, they are not on your side.  Just go and finish your civil war. Russia, Iran, and China have your back.  Don’t fall to al-Qaeda and western pressure. They are trying to defeat you, to destroy the last reluctance castle against Israel and imperialism, this protocol is a trap, but they-in Syria-are awake and know what is going on around them, so Syria will be fine and will never bow in front of anyone, or under any circumstances.”

Global points of view

“World powers will do as much as they can to turn up the heat on the Syrian government”, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday, calling President Bashar al-Assad’s so called crackdown on eight months of protests “appalling and unacceptable.”

Hague was speaking before a meeting in London with representatives of Syrian opposition groups, in an intensification of British contacts with Assad’s opponents.

 

“We will increase the pressure on the Syrian regime,” he said, adding that he had spoken to the Arab League after Syrian government ignored its Saturday deadline to pull the military out of urban centres, free political prisoners and start a dialogue.

“The behaviour of that regime is appalling and unacceptable and of course we will do what we can to support democracy in Syria in the future,” Hague said.

Hague said international pressure had already been ratcheted up on Syria, pointing to European Union sanctions on Syria’s oil exports. “We are working this week on a further round of sanctions which I hope we can agree next week,” Hague added.

In turn, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West was urging regime’s opponents not to seek compromise.

“We see a situation in which the Arab League is calling for an end to violence and the start of talks, while absolutely contradictory calls are coming from Western capitals and the capitals of some regional countries,” he said.

 

Those nations, which Lavrov did not name, are “directly recommending that the opposition not enter dialogue with the regime”, he said, according to Interfax. “This is like a political provocation on an international scale.”

 

Opposition’s views

 

Inside Syria, Syrian opposition members said that Syria’s stance was just a stalling tactic: “We have warned in the past and we warn again that these are the methods of the regime to waste time,” said Omar Idilbi, a Beirut-based member of the Syrian National Council, an umbrella group of regime opponents. “This is just an attempt by the regime to gain more time.”
Syrian activists called the protests after weekly Muslim prayers on Friday to urge countries around the world to expel Syrian ambassadors, a move they hope will isolate the regime. The protests led to more than 20 being killed on Friday alone.

Syrian authorities blame the violence on foreign-backed armed groups which they say have killed some 1,100 troops and police. According to a United Nations account, more than 3,500 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the unrest.

 

The protocol, the amendments, and the sanctions are the recent dilemma in Syria, no one knows what will happen for sure, but all what they know is that Syria should  escape this bad period and shape the new bright future as soon as possible.

The Syrian opposition as seen by Syrians

After decades of being in the shadow the Syrian opposition members are now in the spot light and are facing the tough mission of standing before the Syrian people to be judged and evaluated. Are they going to be accepted by the people? Would they be able to gain their trust, or would they remain the victims of pre-judgments and suspicions?

Are they really capable of bringing true change and development to the country while maintaining its unique social fabric or are they carrying a sectarian agenda that can destroy that fabric once and forever?

In this long and 2-parts report we will try to sum up the most known figures of the Syrian opposition and see what Syrians from different backgrounds have to say about them. Please always remember that getting a Syrian citizen to say his opinion is a much tougher job if he is pro-opposition than it is if he is a pro-regime. Therefore, the percentage of negative opinions against positive ones does not reflect in anyway the true balance of power in the Syrian society.

Dr. Burhan Ghalioun

President of the Syrian National Council

Born in 1945, in Syria, Dr. Burhan Ghalioun is a Syrian (Also carries a French passport) political scientist and professor of political sociology at ‘Universite de Paris-Sorbonne’, and, as of August the 29th, the president of the Syrian National Council, the main body of the current Syrian opposition.

One of the common accusations pro-regimers always make about Syrian opposition figures is being Islamists or members of the ‘Muslims Brotherhood’. An accusation that cannot be used against Dr. Ghalioun, who is known to be one of the most famous theorists for secularism in the Arab world or even on global level.

Burhan Ghalion is also the director of the ‘Centre d’études de l’Orient Contemporain’ and professor of Arabic civilization at the ‘Sorbonne-Nouvelle-Paris-III’ University. He is the author of numerous books, dealing with sociological and political issues of the Islamic world, most written in Arabic with several of them translated to French.

H.M, 32 years, teacher said: “This man is nothing but a tool in the hands of the western monsters, he is implementing the famous agenda of imperialism, and I don’t care whether he is a political scientist or a fisherman. He is not human; he leads the massacre in Syria by leading the SNC. We kicked him out of Syria before because his attitudes were not acceptable in Syria, so now he is trying to take revenge on the regime, so he is not thinking about any kind of reforms, he simply seeks revenge. I will never trust such a man and will never live in Syria if he and his gang ruled it.”

Maher.O, 35 years old, said: “I have heard and read about him, actually I respect educated people, and he is very educated, but to lead Syria, I don’t think so! Because to lead Syria you have to have the proper experience that allows you to manage the problems and to give the proper solutions, he doesn’t have such an experience. Besides that, he can’t make any step forward without being led by foreign powers. As a human I respect him because he is a very educated man, but I don’t want him to be an official in Syria, he is leading the opposition who has caused free killing of the citizens. He should forget Syria and, as for me, I will never vote for him under any circumstances.”

“Of course I support him” KH.S, 50 years old, engineer said, “He is the man who will fulfill the demands of the free people in Syria, he is the new hope; a very educated man who knows what he is doing and understands the needs of free Syrians. I trust him because he has suffered enough to be ready to come up with the right plans regarding how to rule Syria and lead it to the free and respectable life. He is good enough for me and for everyone else to lead the reforms. He has the experience to lead the development process in Syria. Of course I will vote for him and will support him to the end. By the way, I don’t believe that he is being led by the super powers in the west; he was one of the poor people in Syria. At least he will be working in his graduating filed.”

Radwan Ziadeh

Member of the Syrian National Council

A Visiting Scholar at ‘The Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES)’ at ‘Elliot School of International Affairs’ at George Washington University.

He is most recently a Prins Global Fellow at Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University and Visiting Scholar at The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University.

Before that he was Reagan-Fascell Fellow at National Endowment for Democracy (NED) at Washington DC and Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University in New York City. He was also a Visiting Fellow at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) in London and a visiting scholar at Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University (2008-2009). In 2007-2008 he was a Senior Fellow at United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC.

Basheer. Ba, 36 years old, male said: “Do you call him a man?! Do you imagine him talking on behalf of the Syrian people?! I can’t accept dealing with this butcher, how the hell do you ask me about considering him as an official? OMG, he has the voice that everybody on earth hates, I will kill him myself. He doesn’t know anything about politics, he doesn’t have the respectable appearance that could make you proud of in front of the world. I know his past, he is nothing but a boy who used to reject everything and theorize everything. He is not suitable for Syria the land of lions and eagles, the land that fights the most dangerous enemy on earth; Israel. He is a childish, he is a toy in the American hands, I don’t know how the Americans think! Do they really believe that Syrians will follow such a boy?! Is he a Syrian at all?! I have never heard that he works in politics before. I will not allow anyone to lead Syria or let’s say destroy Syria while he is sleeping in the lap of the Americans!”

Khozama. Na, 38 years old, female said: “I think he belongs to a specific group of people in Syria, even though, this group of people refuses him as the rest of the Syrians do. I don’t believe that there is one Syrian who could support such a man, who tends to allow the external intervention in Syria. He is begging for external intervention, he and the rest of the gang (SNC). Anyway, I don’t respect him and I will never accept him as a Syrian citizen, I have many suspicions that he bought his certificate from American universities, he should forget what he is doing and stay home.”

Riad Seif

Born on 25 November 1946, Seif is a Syrian political dissident, formerly a member of the Syrian Parliament and a prominent businessman, who founded and led the Forum for National Dialogue. Seif was elected to parliament in 1994 as an independent and again in 1998. He is also a businessman who, for many years, held the rights for Adidas trademark in Syria.

According to Seif, his career in industry started with a workshop for manufacturing shirts in 1963, and in 1993 he began building the new ‘Adidas’ workshops in Syria, the first of their kind.

Ehssan Re, 45 years old, male said: “I used to respect this man, he was a hard working man, but I don’t know what happened to him, he lost his mind, he denied all what the Syrian regime offered him and all the facilities he had got to build his career! He is a thankless man, and I don’t respect or nor trust him anymore, he bit the hand that offered fed him, and he doesn’t have the experience that allows him to be a neutral and good official in Syria. Syria is facing a war because of his and his fellows’ attitudes.”

Mouna Hu ,36 years old, female said: “He is a merchant, so, Syria is just a deal for him, he is trying to win, he will not pay all this time and money just for the sake of the Syrians. We all know the greed of the merchants and how they think. He used to be a member of the parliament, he tried to take advantage of his position, but when the regime out-casted him, he turned against it. He is not a good Syrian citizen; I will never support him ever.”

Mounaf. Ya, 45 years old, male said: “I respect him and I will support him. I’m sure that he knows what is he doing, he doesn’t want to destroy Syria, he is trying to shape a new future for Syria, he is a good Syrian citizen and his family has its history in serving Syria through the hard times. He loves Syria and plans with his fellows to create the chance for the Syrians to choose the way they want to live the future. He is a very ambitious man and he is trying to rescue Syria.”

 

Riad Shakfeh

Secretary General of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood

Born in Hama 1944 and married with 6 kids. He used to work in the ‘Syrian Company of Irrigation Constructions’. He was a military leader in the Muslim Brotherhood.

He was involved with the Muslim brotherhood when he was very young, he once heard his father praising the teachings of Imam Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology), and so he was eager to join the Muslim Brotherhood. He started attending the open meetings of the Muslim brotherhood in Albahssa mosque in Hama in 1956.

Shakfeh is currently the Secretary General of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Ena’am Mo, 41 years old, female said: “Are you serious?! Is that what they -the protesters-need?! The Muslim brotherhood again?! The killers of the innocent people! Do you really know who this man is? He is responsible for the bloodiest massacres in the history of Syria, he is a very dangerous, and malicious man. I have read a lot about him, I don’t trust him and I haven’t met anyone who trusts him or wish to deal with him, he is not open minded. He is cunning and he will destroy peaceful coexistence in Syria. I can’t imagine that there is anyone who will or could support this man or his movement.”

Tareq Sa, 25 years old, male said: “Actually I am a protestor, but I will never support him, I believe in secularism and I don’t want any kind of religious ideas or slogans to participate  in shaping the future of Syria. This man represents the fanatic Islam so he is not suitable at all to join the reforming plans. We all know the history of this man and the bad events related to his name. I don’t care if he is an educated man or a good political person; I refuse his attitudes and directions.”

Moukhtar Ba, 49 years old, man said: “Are you kidding me? AL-Shakfeh! He is not the one who will build the new Syria; do you like to replace the cars with camels?! He belongs to a very dangerous movement that has tried to destroy Syria in the past; I have heard that he, himself, had committed many crimes against humanity in Syria. I have many suspicions about his new supporters. I will never trust him or his party.”

Mohamed. Da, 40 years old, said: “Syria needs new blood, new minds and ideas, this man is too old for new Syria or even for being a candidate for any small position in Syria, I will fight against this man, he is not suitable because of his admitted crimes and his frozen mind. He belongs to the fanatic Islam which could destroy any society in the world; here in Syria we need open-minded people not criminals.”

To be continued

Beginning of an end or End of a beginning

After a long and agonizing trip between Cairo and Damascus, the Arab League has come up with a solution for the Syrian dilemma that could potentially destroy Syria’s society, infrastructure and its strategic stock. This solution was to suspend Syria’s membership in the Arab league effective from November the 16th and to giving the Syrian government no more than 4 days (ended yesterday) to execute the now well-known Arab initiative, an initiative that has been officially accepted by the Syrian government, but “they did nothing on the ground to help executing it” according to the Arab committee.

The Arab committee also threatened to impose diplomatic and economic sanctions on the Syrian government and regime. The Syrian government and refused these “pre-fabricated decisions” and explained that the Arab committee is nothing but a tool in the hands of the colonial powers used to destroy Syria, the first and only country that fights against Israel and the greed of the imperialism.

Tareq Neman, Baladna

Mr. Youssef Al-Ahmad the Syrian ambassador to the Arab league announced that “The Arab League today-the day of the meeting-turned into a tool for executing foreign agendas against a fellow Arab country. We tell them: You will be defeated. Syria will emerge stronger under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad. We tell them: You made a bad bet, a losing bet and Syria will win, no matter what the deceptive channels say. The decision that was issued today does directly or remotely concern us. Syria had commitments in the Arab League initiative but the other countries should’ve also stopped their media incitement. We lost confidence in those cheap tools who were not faithful to their own mission. I have an obligation to say everything with full transparency.” he added. “Those who drafted this decision will be punished”.

 

Will be punished!!!!

This phrase holds many dangerous meanings and leads to more dangerous results. So how the Syrians understand this phrase? And what do they expect now that the 4 have all but run out?

Some answered on the streets…

Many Syrians (pro-regimers) rushed to the streets immediately after the meeting of the committee to express their anger against every Arab country that has approved the final decisions of the committee, accusing them with being agents to Israel and the Zionism. They attacked the embassies of Qatar and KSA, and followed that by attacking the Turkish embassy, all of this is claimed to be out of spontaneous anger.

Ahmad, 25 years old pro-regimer said: “This is an unfortunate step taken by the Arab League. This obsolete League has done nothing but promote the interest of the enemy of Arabs. If Syria can be punished for such actions then why does the Arab League not condemn the Western power, operating in the Middle East, who killed millions of people in Iraq and Libya? Why don’t other members of the League like Qatar give democracy to its own people? This dualism should be stopped. Today they suspend Syria’s membership at the time of crisis, and if Syria falls in the hands of Israel and America because of the actions of the Arab League members then who will be safe? So we should not tear our ranks and through ourselves into the hands of our enemies.”

Zafer Quadry, 48 years old said: “What happened to people’s rights in Syria. Syria has strong military and its role should be to protect against external enemies not to use the Syrian tax payers’ money to kill Syrian people. Wake up regime, learn from Libya and Egypt. Allah is watching over Syrian people. I agree with the decisions, all of them, let it burn.”

Azzam Safi, 35 years old explained why he hates the Arab League: “The Arab League consists of
1, Saudi Arabia, A US gas station and a good happy customer of US weapons producers.
2, UAE, a money transit center for US and western banks and money laundry center for low level criminal like drug smugglers in the Middle East and with minor tropical tourist attractions. Also a good happy customer of US weapons producers.
3, Bahrain, a US Navy base and a good happy customer of US weapons producers.
4, Qatar, a US air craft carrier that does not move and a good happy customer of US weapons producers.
5, Oman, a Trust fund for bailing out US criminals in the Middle East, whether they are mercenaries shooting people in broad daylight in Pakistan or Hikers in Iran.
6, Iraq, a country full of business opportunities for companies like Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, Xe Services (previously Black Water). For US citizens they can proceed there with no caution, feel free to shoot, kill, mutilate, torture, rape or do whatever you want, they can’t do anything to stop you.
7, Egypt, a revolted country which has overthrown former US puppet Mubarak, but pretty much nothing has changed over there.
8, Jordan, a complete joke as an Arab country.
9, Libya, a country that has recently overthrown its dictator and still has more than 200 billion worth of assets frozen and will be forever frozen in European countries. Also, the terrorists there who have been financed, armed and trained by Americans and Europeans won’t accept to lay their weapons down.
Seriously, these people want to criticize Syria? Or just want to destroy it? We have a very wise leadership that can stand against this conspiracy. There will be no war, our president is a diplomatic man he will never choose the war as an answer.”

Another man agreed with Azzam saying: “What is the worth of this organization? It is a group comprised of a bunch of US puppets and stooges and as expected they took no time to respond to the dictates of their masters. The greatest joke is that two of the countries in this group are Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the two who acted together as hand and glove to carry out the most brutal suppression of their Shiite population. What right do these morons have to suspend Syria’s membership? Americans seem to be unable to learn any lessons. All countries in the world act according to their interests except USA which sees everything especially in ME from the perspective of the interests of the Zionist Regime. It is ready to sacrifice its interests to make sure that the Zionist regime continues to survive. It influenced the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to come out with a fraudulent document against Iran, it coaxed the Arab League to suspend Syria’s membership and it is sabotaging a democratically elected government in Lebanon through its local puppet Hariri.”

What will happen?

According to the current situation in Syria, after the sanctions by the United States, France and UK, many political analysts seem to be sure that Syria will follow the Libyan path:

“I think there will be a wide war in the ME, I believe that Syria does not have the same natural resources as Libya, but Syria is important for its strategic geographic position.” Somar.Ha said in an attempt to analyze the near future of the ME and Syria, “If the West launches a war on Syria, they will probably have to pay a price that is much higher than the price they in the Libyan War. The war probably will even turn into a blasting fuse and lead the entire Middle East to an irremediable chaos. Therefore, it is a gamble for the West to launch a war in Syria, and it is uncertain whether the West will win or not. Syria has a far stronger military than Libya. Syria’s military is probably the strongest in the Arab world. If Assad resolves to fight to the end, the Syrian war will be much more crueler than the Libya war, with more deaths and longer duration.” Somar ended.

Amal.Ko, 28 years old, refused the possibility of the war: “I don’t think there will be a war, no one can afford it after the war of Libya and the chaotic situation in USA and UK, they are trying to push Syria to the end and force it to comply with the Arab League decisions. No war will take place in Syria and Israel will not give Iran the chance to hit it with a nuclear weapon.”

As another opinion; “From the West’s viewpoint, the Arab League is mainly seen as an alliance of dictators; however, expulsion from the ‘club’ will have diplomatically damaging consequences for Syrian regime. This is to be welcomed, for it will be the first diplomatic step on the path to the removal of the tyrant; it will also be the first official Arabic condemnation of al-Assad’s regime. So they will do whatever it takes to get rid of this regime , there will be a great war, the mother of all wars, USA and other countries will exploit it to take revenge from Iran, Israel will take the chance to end its enemies in Palestine and Lebanon. If a war in Syria occurs, blood, violence, and chaos will again become key buzzwords in the Middle East and North Africa. Under current circumstances, a Syrian war would cost Western powers dearly, and it would be an unwise move and a risky gamble to launch such a war.” Aktham.F, 48 years old said.

Nadia IsHak, 50 years old, said: “I believe that the president will never let it go to war, he is a wise man and he will step down if he surely concludes that there will be a war. But, as I think, what will happen is the following: The Arabs will discover that Syrians are doing the right thing, and they are ready to do more to avoid the Libyan scenario, so the Arab League will give the regime another chance to re-write the future and to end everything in a very peaceful way, otherwise, Syria will get rid of the Arabian nationality and will join the Persian alliance.”

Syrian only Republic, no Arab

“I know that the Baath party will not agree with what is going on and will take the decision that Syria will not belong to the Arab nationality any more, actually the Arab nationality is a big lie. Syria is too civilized to be part of the Arab nationality. I believe that Syria will get rid of the League and its crazy people and will start a new future far from their-the Arabs- ignorance and cheats. Syria is fine, and nothing is going on the streets, all the army forces are in camps and the protesters are becoming fewer more and more.” Huda Ahmar,23 years old said.

Many people have agreed with Huda in changing the name of Syria from Syrian Arabic Republic to Syrian Republic, and they all agreed that there will never be a war in Syria, too.

Omar Houmaid, 35 years old said: “There will be no war, if Western powers launch a war against Syria, al-Assad may fire missiles on Israel, which will plunge the entire Middle East into an even greater chaos. Not long ago, al-Assad said during a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister that he would shower Israel with missiles if NATO or the United States attacks Syria. They are sure of that now, so there will be no war against Syria, but I believe that there will be a war among the Syrians themselves and it will be bloody and long. If you think that the situation in Syria will settle then you are wrong, the war will take place and last till 2014 the year of the presidential election. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to see a repeat of the Libyan scenario in Syria for many reasons, be it Syria’s strategic location or its important political role in regional stability.”

Kollet. GH, 39 years old female said: “Everything is possible; the Syrian regime has lost many of its supporters, even if this has not been openly declared out of fear of repression and arrests. If the Syrian regime guarantees the right to protest and commits to protect protesters or at least not to attack them, which is highly unlikely, we will certainly witness huge protests that will probably outnumber the pro-regime demonstrations.  The regime is going through a crisis which might lead to divisions within its ranks in the coming few days. Its structure does not allow it to exist except in the way it did before the outbreak of the Syrian uprising on 15 March. It will collapse because it will lose China and Russia and will stand alone and lost between the inside protesters and outside threats”

A man who refused to mention his name said: “The fog is overwhelming the ends, no one can expect what will happen in Syria even the most educated diplomats can’t Speculate the future of the Syrian dilemma. But all what we can say is that it could be better only if the reactions of both sides were logic and humane. Whatever the results are, Syrian people are waiting and expecting the worse because they have been a subject to a very dangers brain washing tactics to plant the idea of sectarian war and the new holocaust for some sects in Syria. So, it will be a massacre, the end of Syrian society is coming”

The final decisions of the Arab Committee are supposed to be declared late after this issue of Baladna is printed, and no matter what these decisions are; they will have a dramatic effect on the way the situation in Syria develops. This will be the subject of our upcoming report in the next issue of Baladna.

The Arab Solution…Will it work?

Isn’t it good to hear the news of the last solution for the Syrian Crisis? Isn’t it good to know that the Arab initiative will put an end to the crackdown in Syria with all the souls that this will save? Is the Syrian regime going to accept this initiative as it is, without thinking about the protesters, especially that the initiative imposes immediate army withdrawing from all civilians areas? Or is it just another way to buy more time?

The long road in brief

At an emergency meeting held at the Arab league headquarter at the Egyptian capital Cairo on October the 16th, the Arab League decided to give Syria a 15 day deadline to enact a cease-fire and agreed to form a committee led by Qatar with representatives from Algeria, Sudan, Oman and Egypt, and the Arab League chief Arabi to supervise the situation in Syria. Moreover, the Arab foreign ministers called for a national dialogue between Syrian authorities and the opposition.
According to the Arab initiative, solutions to end the crisis in Syria include initiating dialogue between Syrian government and the opposition, releasing political detainees and demonstrators, forming a national unity government led by an acceptable figure, as well as holding presidential elections by 2014.

Syria has rejected previous Arab initiatives, and it was not clear if this would be different, or if the regime was trying to gain time to try to crush the uprising.

Arab officials held a ‘frank and friendly’ meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, October the 26th, the head of the delegation said at the beginning of an Arab League effort to resolve a bloody seven months revolt, the most serious challenge yet to the 40 years old regime.

The Arab League Ministerial Committee, which includes the foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Sudan and the Arab League General Secretary Nabil al-Arabi, arrived to Damascus on October the 26th to discuss ways of ending the seven-months-long crisis through dialogue between Syrian government and the opposition.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad held a meeting in the Syrian capital with the Arab League Ministerial Delegation, which seeks to end the violence in Syria, SANA reported that the meeting was “positive”.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani was quoted saying that the Arab delegation felt that the Syrian government is eager to work with the Arab committee “in order to reach a solution”, “We feel Syrian government’s keenness to work with our committee,” said Jassim.

After a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, visiting Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, who heads an Arab League Ministerial Committee, said in a press conference with Syrian Foreign Minister Waild al- Moallem that the second meeting between Syrian leadership and the committee would be held on Sunday, November the 30th.

“The ministerial committee’s meeting with al-Assad was clear and friendly. We will continue our meeting on October the 30th,” the official SANA news agency reported Sheikh Hamad saying.
“What is important for us is that there should be no more victims from any side in Syria,” Sheikh Hamad told reporters. “The fighting should stop and the dialogue should begin between the Syrian brothers so that, God willing, they agree on points that fulfill people’s demands.”
Sheikh Hamad told reporters that the Arab committee and the Syrian government will hold another meeting on the 30 of November either in Syria or in Qatar.
The regime, as evident through its different media outlets, has taken a negative stance towards the initiative. For example, according to the pro-regime ‘Champress’, a Baath Party leader views the initiative as emerging from a US, European and NATO agenda, rather than Arab sovereignty.

The 2 sides met again on October the 30th in Qatar with Syrian Foreign Minister Waild al- Moallem heading the Syrian delegation, Surprisingly it is romoured that the 2 sides have reached an agreement the details of which will be announced while this issue of Baladna is being printed.

Optimistic, pessimistic and rejecters

People in Syria are divided into optimistic, pessimistic, and rejecters when it comes to were they stand against the initiative. And what’s interesting is the ‘rejecters’ are from both sides and for completely different reasons.

While extreme pro-regimers refuse the initiative claiming that it represents an American and Western agenda, pro-revolution also refuse any initiative that doesn’t guarantee the immediate falling of the regime and even “criminalizing the regime with all the massacres it has committed” as Ephraim. A, 58 years, civil engineer said. He continues: “Although I know that the regime will never accept the initiative without any modification to make it doable and to form it in the suitable way to achieve his ambitions. Reports say that they have killed more than 3000 people, do you think that they will withdraw the army from cities? You are dreaming we all know the tricks of the regime I experienced its tricks and lies for more than 30 years. They will withdraw the army but will keep the security forces, law enforcements and the (Al-Shabbeha) surfing in the seas of blood they have already made.”

Sarah Sarhan, 29 years old, teacher said: “I don’t think they will accept the initiative, it will destroy them if they do. Don’t you see the people in the streets? they are not afraid of any kind of force, so imagine the situation when the official accept to withdraw the army; no one will stay at home and the demonstrations will overwhelm Syria. They are not fools; they will come up with a suitable form that will help the regime to keep his iron fist on Syria. We all know the low moral level of the Arab diplomacies; they will believe the regime while he slaughters the people in the streets”

“As it is known to all, the Arab initiative cannot stop the bloodshed, let alone launching the wheel of purposeful reforms. However, it is necessary in the context of the Arab and international actions in form at least. As for the regime, with its ‘spontaneous’ million-man loyalist demonstrations, it will only resolve the political conundrum towards which it has led Syria when it recognizes the widening and depth of the opposition represented by the youth on the streets and in the towns of Syria.” Ahmad. S, 45 years, lawyer said.

Ghofran.N, 26 years, Law Student said: “They will accept it, but according to their own conditions, they will accept it to implicate the oppositionists and push them to the edge to force them to accept the initiative. They know that the people refuse the initiative, so they will accept it to put the opposition in a tough spot: accept it and lose their internal supporters –the people-, or refuse it and lose their global supporters. This is the trap, and this is what will happen. The officials will say that they will withdraw the army but they will ask for permission to locate some check points to keep the cities safe and calm, then they will start to take revenge on each family and citizen in Syria with the absence of the media of course, as I have heard that Syrian officials have put an amendment to the original initiative, this amendment is to include controlling the media and stopping the so-called ‘biased’ campaigns against the Syrian regime and all its practices, which means that people will be killed without even a hope of being recognized by the world.”

“Officials said last Tuesday that they have reached a deal with the Arab League committee tasked with finding a way to end seven months of unrest and starting a dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents. I have heard the state media reported the deal, without giving details, saying that an official announcement of the agreement would be made at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Wednesday. They (the Arab league) have sold the Syrian revolution whether the regime has accepted it or not.” Samer. Z, 51 years old, teacher said.

The optimistic people are very happy and awaiting the Syrian answer to the initiative: “We trust the government and the president, they will choose and do the right thing for the good of Syria, they will accept the initiative and will deal with it. President Al-Assad has the wisdom to foresee and follow the safest way to rescue Syria. This initiative is a hope but it is not complete, so the Syrian officials have amended it and made it as good as possible to be doable and useful.” Joumard. A, 25 years, student said.

Many people tried to show the unlimited trust and full support to the government. Ahmad Ka, 29 year, student said: “You must be sure that the Syrian government will accept this initiative because they want the best to the Syrian people, they want to stop the bloodshed. They want to save the Syrians from being victims of the disinterested media; the oppositionists will feel shame and will ask for forgiveness when they will know how wrong they were.”

With all that said and done, we still have to wait for the final agreement to be unleashed and the conflict in the Syrian streets will be about how useful the initiative will be and how many days it will take the government to put the initiative into effect, and whether it will be actually executed on the ground or bot, and how many people will fall before achieving the goals of this initiative.

Syria rediscovers Ninjas!

‘Ninja’ is the name of the almost mythical sects of assassins and thieves in medieval Japan, they are known for their stealth, ruthlessness, efficiency and their astonishing ability to disappear and appear out of nowhere! However, if you are wondering about the connection between those medieval Japanese bandits and today’s Syria; read on… Is it possible for the regime or the government of any state to destroy its country to preserve one single lie? Isn’t it right that the world’s super powers and Israel were bothered by Syria’s firm stances and attitudes against their imperial tactics? Can’t they be trying to destroy Syria from the inside by supporting the armed terrorist groups? On the other hand, is it believable that the state which is famous for having more than 14 independent official security agencies with virtually unlimited authority could have this massive number of terrorists sprang out of nowhere and spread all over its territory?! Isn’t it the same state (Syria) that all its officials kept boasting for decades about its unrivaled levels of safety, security and stability? 

 The armed terrorist groups are invading the minds of Syrians: How on Earth did they manage to spread all over the Syrian land? Do they really have the power to hold on against the massive attacks of the law enforcements? What are their weapons? How could they return to the area that has been already cleared of them? Are they that smart and powerful or is it just the unlimited outside support that is keeping them active till now? Is that really what’s going on, or is it all a one big fat lie? State-run news agency SANA said “The competent authorities in Homs have seized two cars loaded with various types of weapons and ammunition on Homs-Tartus Crossroads as four wanted members of the armed terrorist groups were arrested.” While people on the ground said that armed men are nothing but the members of the security forces, they are shooting everywhere and anywhere! These contradictions are the daily bread of the citizens in Syria; many of them are supporting the story of the armed terrorist groups, while many others are refusing this story and accusing media and government of creating such a story to “justify the massive attacks on civilians”. The ‘I don’t believe’ camp Khaled is one of the people who lost a relative during the recent events: “It is a full war out there, the army and law enforcements are using all kinds of weapons, they are using military air crafts over the cities! I can’t understand how the armed terrorist groups managed to move from city to city and from town to town with such excessive numbers of security members and law enforcements! They are everywhere, the army and the security forces, no one can pass from one street to the other without presenting his ID, tanks are everywhere on the main crosswords between all governorates in Syria, I don’t understand , how are the armed terrorist groups managing to escape from town to town! Are they dealing with genies or playing magic?! I believe that there are no such groups but in the minds of the Syrian media people and their followers.” Ahmad Jamal, a 69 years old, retired teacher said: “8 months of fighting the armed terrorist groups and they are growing horizontally and vertically, what a lie! It is as if they are from Mars! Where the hell did they manage to buy weapons and armors to fight from? I watch the local news every day and they keep telling us that the army and the security forces are controlling everything in Syria, but after two or three hours they say that the armed terrorists group has killed so and so of the army members! Are they -the armed terrorist groups- invisible? At the very early beginning of the recent dilemma, they said that they have destroyed the armed terrorist groups in Dara’a, but, after a while, they discovered that there are some remnants of such groups who have managed to move to Edleb, then the same remnants have become an undefeatable army that needs more than 50.000 soldiers, and more than two months to destroy! Yet, after destroying them, they appeared again in Homs then in Hama then in Edleb again! Then in Damascus country side! Oh, while all what we see during the protests is the security forces and the army members. I live in a critical area in Homs and I haven’t seen any armed terrorist man up till now, actually I saw members of the defected army nothing more. I don’t really believe the story of external support, we all know the way the government follows to control the customs, the passengers and the money transferred from and to Syria. There are no armed terrorists groups, people are simply defending themselves.” “During the last eight months many officials said that they will present the overwhelming evidences about the well organized armed terrorist groups, but they haven’t yet! All what we saw are well –ordered weapons and some dizzy people! Every time I saw an interview with a supposed terrorist guy, I became sure that there are no organized terrorist groups, because such people and such wishy-washy people can’t be organized in the way they are supposed to be in order to be able to invade Syria the way they did or they are claimed to have done” Saloum .H, 28 years old employee said. Najat .H.A, 57 years, house wife and former CEO in a famous company expressed her feeling and anger against such stories and contradictions in the official statements during the last eight months: “I strongly advise the local media to respect our minds and to avoid the dangerous contradictions in what they announce, in my opinion if they are really organized groups why didn’t they show themselves on the TV or through the internet to announce their demands and their existence? Are they working in the shadow just to destroy Syria without any purpose? Do they not have requests? Would they not ask to share the authority when the regime falls? How would they prove that they were here? I don’t know, but the big disaster is if they are not organized groups how the hell did they manage to spread all over Syria in this fast and well-studied way, where were all those security forces during the last ten years? What were they doing if they couldn’t manage to discover thousands and thousands of weapons spread all over Syria? We all know the strong and ultimate authority that such officials and members have. It is very dangerous to find yourself in front of two painful choices: Believing in the idea of the organized armed groups which means that our army and security troops are not able to stand against any external danger without destroying Syria, or to believe in the idea that they are small terrorists groups which means that we don’t have any qualified official security agency! The big shocking fact is how could they be the protectors of the Palestinian cause while they can’t protect the land that they are supposed to protect in the first place?! There are no armed groups, in my belief it is the people who been struck and violated, the only people who shoot the army and security forces are the defected army members.” Najat concluded.

 “Don’t you think that terrorists should hit the enemy army and areas? So, if these armed groups do exist then they should attack Aleppo and Damascus” Abdo Al-rahim, 45 years old, carpenter said, “why don’t we see the armed groups in the pro-regime areas? Is it reasonable that there is not even one armed terrorist man or woman in a city of more than 6 million people, is it easier to hide in a small town than in a giant city? The armed terrorist groups are nothing but a scare crow to control weak people.” He concluded. The ‘I believe’ camp Buthaina Shaaban, a top adviser to president Bashar al-Assad argued that the government is not attacking peaceful protesters: “Security forces are there against armed groups, we’re not targeting demonstrators. I think peaceful demonstrators have made their point, and they are making their point every day. We have no problem with that.” Shaaban said that the government would like to “talk to peaceful demonstrators” and is not opposed to peaceful protests. What it wants to do, however, is to “isolate armed militants.” Shaaban said that while demonstrators have “legitimate grievances,” there are extremists who are using protests “as a cover to incite sectarian violence in Syria” and are badly hurting the economy. This is the formal story of the Syrian government about the armed terrorist groups in Syria; this story is adopted by the all pro-regimers in Syria. Pro-regime people are so optimistic and appreciative regarding the efforts of the law enforcements to control the situation in Syria: “They are dying there; do you think that the Armey is losing such huge number of its member just for the sake of a lie? Of course not, Syria is full of terrorist groups; they are destroying and killing and raping Syrians, every day we see them admitting their crimes on national TV. How did they manage to spread all over Syria? Well, they didn’t they were already in all Syrian cities, they have been planning for these massacres for a long time, so they are in everywhere by now. Don’t you ever think that they moved from governorate to another? No, they are a well-organized terrorist network, they were here before the eight months you are talking about, and they are in Damascus and Aleppo too, but, as everyone knows, they form what we call ‘sleeper cells’, they are waiting for the zero hour to start attacking the innocent people here and there. They are well armed people, they have very advanced communication technologies, and they have American and Israeli weapons. They hide them once the army enters the city and they pretend that they are peaceful protesters and once the army leaves this city they get back to their work of destruction and rioting.” Osama, 37 years old, Head officer in cars agency said. Ahmad.E.D, 28 years old, employee said: “When half of the world is conspiring against Syria, don’t ask how they managed to spread in Syria? And how did they get their financial support? 65000 people are engaged and involved with this; Syria has 14 governorates and 65000 terrorists, with some math you will discover that each governorate will have 4643 armed men! They are a fully-armed army and they are increasing, because they are tempting weak and poor people with money. Syria is facing the biggest danger ever, I watch their confessions; they are not humans, they kill for money, all of them have admitted that they took money for shooting the protesters and the law enforcements, they have tons of weapons and tons of armories.” About how did they manage to organize themselves under the nose of the famed security system in Syria Ahmad said: “Syria has long uncontrollable borders with Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon and we all know the military history of those countries? Even the most developed country in the world, the US, cannot control its borders with Mexico. So, if we suppose that after 2003 -the occupation of Iraq- the terrorist managed to smuggle only one pistol, one machine gun, one RPG, one box of ammunition and one grenade per day can you imagine the number after 8 years?! It will be about 5040 piece each witch means that there are more than 25500 illegal weapons! Of course such terrorist groups will manage to smuggle more than one, let us say they can smuggle 100 each day and you do the math. Syrian borders are more than 2200 km and no one country on earth can have full control on its borders. They are snuggling people to France and Italy, which is easier to smuggle a 190cm tall man or a gun?” “What are you talking about?” Sanaa wondered when I asked her if she thinks that Syria is full of armed groups or not: “are you still asking if they do exists or not? Oh my god, all the dead bodies are not enough for you to admit there are armed terrorists groups?! I can’t believe that there are people who don’t believe the government! They are killing law enforcements and civilians there. They are moving from town to town, using smart and advanced ways to take cover and to hide. Of course they are organized, they are taking their orders from Mr. Arour, the juggler of this world, he gives them the orders on air, he guides them -the Arourian people-, they are moving from town to town tempting the people of Syria, and giving them money to mobilize them against the authorities. They are the armed hand of the so called Syrian National Council. So, of course they are organized and guided by external forces, but they will lose at the end, no one can stand against the will of the Syrians and against the wise leadership of president al-Assad. We are ready to sacrifice ourselves and children for the sake of Syria under the leader ship of Bashar al-Assad, and the Arourian people will feel sorry too late, and will never have a place among us. We are the honest and the people who have the right to enjoy Syria not them.” She added, Sana is 39 years old, civil engineer. Today’s plants will bear the fruits of tomorrow Under this atmosphere of confusion, people from both sides are dying and entire neighborhoods are being destroyed in the absence of wise and logic actions and reactions. Whether there are armed groups or not, Syrian should pay more attention to the future and should remember that future is the fruit of the tree we plant today. According to a none-official survey on facebook, the numbers of the people who believe that there are no armed groups in Syria exceed those of the people who do believe in their existence.

 

The Arab initiative, medicine or poison?

8 months of protests and clashes between protesters and government have passed, clashes that have left -and are still leaving- an excessive number of dead (some 4200) from both protestors and Syrian military (although who is killing army personnel is still a matter of debate). Initially, the international society decided not to do anything and not to interfere with the Syrian internal affairs, but the blood flood kept on and international intervention became an eminent threat that could have severe aftershocks on the whole region. That’s why the the gulf-cooperation-council (GCC) countries decided to call for an urgent meeting for Arab Foreign Ministers in the Arab league to discuss the situation in Syria, and it was decided to form a committee to plan and oversee a dialogue between the authorities in Syria and all factions of the Syrian opposition. It is also quite known that most of those factions have united under the flag of the Syrian National Council (SNC).

This committee was refused by both sides (the authorities and the SNC) for various reasons that start with the chairmanship of the Committee (Qatar), and does not end with the symbolism of this dialogue as the Syrian authorities consider it a reorganization of the SNC, even the opposition factions who refused to join the SNC have many criticisms against this committee.

Michel Kilo, the well-known Syrian oppositionist who had previously criticized the SNC for not including all oppositionists in Syria, said that he is ready to talk more to the council to avoid divisions that could harm the unity of the opposition. Burhan Ghalyoun, the SNC leader said: “There is the council and there are the other opposition members, and we will do everything to make sure there is a united voice for the opposition,” and he added: “I don’t think that the opposition is divided. I think the opposition is unanimous on one objective; to bring this regime down.”

The officials in Syria refused to recognize the SNC and insist that such council is a weapon in the hand of the enemies of Syria, they have even warned to take ‘tough measures’ against any country that recognizes the newly-formed opposition entity. Under this Ping-Pong game, Syrians are suffering and looking for good and feasible solutions. Although, they are divided into supporters, oppositionists, and the lost people in-between who or don’t know what to do or how to keep living the life they used to live, all Syrians have heard about the Arab initiative and all of them have understood its circumstances, they are, however, divided about taking a serious attitude in favor of the initiative or against it.

 

Debating the initiative

After the media conference that announced the Initiative, Syrian officials refused it because they refuse Qatar to be in the leadership of the overseeing committee, the opposition, also, refused the Initiative because it doesn’t reflect their-the SNC’s-needs and aims.

Ordinary Syrians, have their own opinions too: “I don’t trust any member of the SNC, they are all agents for the western countries, I encourage the officials here in Syria to stand against this. We don’t want to talk with murderers and spies, Arab countries! They are nothing but a steering wheel in the hands of the western leaders,” says Abbas, 28 years old, marketing manager.

The initiative stated that the meetings should be out of Syria at the Arab league’s headquarters in Cairo, this turned out to be a problem on its own, while the other important subject of debates was whether Syrians should recognize the SNC or not: “I don’t care,” says Solaf, 25 years old, house wife and mother of four “I refuse the idea of recognizing the SNC so I will not discuss the place, but I will say that, if the subject is about Syria then they should meet in Syria. I don’t know what they will discuss! Protesting activities should stop first, and then they can discuss anything, although, I already know that they will gain nothing from this meeting.”

“Of course they should, it’s the only hope that we have to stop the Syrians dilemma, they should meet and discuss everything, step by step, and they will find out useful connections between each other, no matter where the place is, all what I know is that they should meet, I think they will manage to cooperate to achieve the best for Syria and its international relations. I thank the Arab league for the initiative” Hadi, 36 years old dentist, said.

Ammar Hamed, 58 years old, a company owner  shouted: “No one should rely on Arab countries, they want to forget six months of dead people, six months of clashes and battles, no I don’t want the SNC to meet the officials in Syria, the meeting means that all what is going on here in Syria will be lost and for nothing. We will never accept that, the supports call it protests, but I call it a revolution, so we should continue to the end to achieve our aims and our freedom. They should not meet in Syria, I don’t trust anyone here; they will arrest them and put them in cells forever! The officials will gain more time to execute their wishes and the SNC will lose time and bodies”. As for the meeting venue, he said: “I don’t know, in any neutral country such as Egypt, Jordan, or in Africa, I don’t know, but I say it again: They shouldn’t meet, it is useless.”

The contradictions that lay between the attitudes of the supporters and the oppositionists are becoming deeper and complicated. The leadership of the committee sponsoring this dialogue became yet another problem: “Qatar! what a sarcastic coincidence?! The country that supervised-and still is- the bloody events in Syria is the judge! How could we trust such a committee? I will never ever trust the people who have helped the ‘armed groups’ here in Syria. Anyway, this meeting will lead to nothing, and there will never be any good results out of such meeting.” Says Mahmoud Assaf, 47 years old, manager of a food industry. When we asked him about the possible good results of such a meeting he answered: “ I think, stopping the crisis and killing the armed groups in Syria is a good result, pushing the intruders away is a good result, giving the Syrian economy a break to take its breath is a good result. But nothing of these results is going to happen. I know that our officials will never accept the meeting and will never accept the committee under the leadership of Qatar.”

“The reality of the new initiative is clear, which is to give the SNC the time to meet with the officials in Syria and to give the officials the chance to understand the needs of the SNC, but this is not going to happen. The officials here are closing their eyes and ears, they don’t want any solution from anyone, they believe that they are able to manage their own business alone. But, as we can all see, they can’t, I think someone is afraid from the truth, they are afraid from the people and the fact that such a step could force them out of their chairs.” Nuha Fadoul, 24years old, diplomatic studies student said. Nuha believes that “such a dialogue will uncover the reality and will put the officials face to face with their lies. If this happened; It will be the meeting of the century, it will bring great and useful benefits for Syria and Syrians. We will have -for the first time in the history of modern Syria- an official opposition to share the leadership here and monitor the official work, and this will be magnificent.”

Nuha sees that the place of the meeting is not important and will not affect the dialogue as long as there will be an overseeing committee, but Somar, 25 years old, student, has another opinion: “They should meet in a neutral country, to prevent the psychological distress on both sides, and to give the committee the freedom of movement between both sides. I hope that both sides accept this initiative, because it will help to end this situation in Syria. No one can withstand another six or seven months, if not more. Anyway, I pray for them and I believe in the Syrian officials, they can choose the best for Syria and Syrians.” Somar was talking while his eyes were holding suspicious looks about what he is saying, but, anyway, he said what he has in mind, while others couldn’t.

Double rejection

Ghoson. Sh, 32 years old, engineer said: “They refused it, both of them -the Syrian officials and the oppositionists-! I don’t know the full details, but I know that the government rejected it because they don’t recognize the SNC and they don’t accept Qatar as a mediator or leader of the mediating committee. I wish to kill all the SNCs, they are all traitors, they started the bloody events, then they present themselves as peaceful people. I hate them, they will never get what they want, the meeting will begin with sitting at the table with Syrian officials, this is an honor that they -the oppositionists- will never have! It will lead to nothing and will never give anything useful, we as Syrians -all of us- believe in Mr. Bashar al-Assad and his wise leadership, he will fix everything in Syria and will make Syria one of the most developed countries, Syria is protected by God”.

The leadership of the committee is a big obstacle in the way of implementing the initiative because the officials in Syria are rejecting and refusing it. Therfore, the officials in Qatar showed that they are ready to leave the chair for someone else in order to give a good push to the initiative, Mr. al-Arabi Secretary General of the Arab league said that choosing Qatar to lead the committee was not by purpose, it was because Qatar is the chairman-state of the resent current session. However, Ahmad Ali, 26 student has a different point of view: “They have chosen Qatar because they knew that Syria will refuse it, so in order to clear their side when they order the NATO forces to attack Syria, they chose Qatar to say that the Syrian are refusing the whole initiative. They don’t want to put an end to the dilemma, they don’t want to cooperate with international community.” Ahmad was angry when he said that and continued: “I don’t want them to negotiate with the SNC, they should arrest them all, they should hunt them down as they have hunted al-Harmoush, one by one, and lock them in dark wet cells.”!

The supporters of the SNC also refused the meeting and said that this is a big trap, and that they (Arab leaders and Syrian authorities) want to kill the Syrian revolution. They will never accept any solution but the fall of the regime. They believe that the SNC is very strong and will achieve its goals sooner or later.

Talking about achievements, it is worth mentioning that the interim council in Libya has recognized the SNC and offered them the Syrian embassy building in Libya to be used as their headquarters. Some recognized this as another step forward while others considered it a union of killers.

“The SNC and the Syrian officials are now against a tremendous challenge in front of the Syrian people and the whole world, they are the only ones who have the ability to change and to save Syria from the greed of the other nations, they should throw their psychological complexes away and understand the rules of the new world. I don’t think that the European league, USA, half of Africa with three-quarter of the Arab countries are planning for one thing, even so, I don’t think that one country or one council will manage to stand against them! No one can stand against a flood; we shouldn’t be like the scorpion, who will kill itself if it couldn’t find anywhere to go” Joumana Ba, 69 years old, retired journalist said.

The Syrian National Council in Syrian eyes

Every problem has a solution, the current cracks in Syria, however, have yet to see any glimmer of hope of or solution even after the opposition (external and most of the internal) have gathered and formed the ‘Syrian National Council’. The situation in Syria is still as dark and as foggy as it has always been since the start of the crisis with a crackdown that has reached some unbelievable levels of violence according to Syrian activists.

Many Syrians, no doubt, support this council, while others (pro-regimers) consider it as the first step on the road to hell.

How do Syrians feel about this council? How are they going to interact with it? Should this council replace the current regime or should it become part of the current regime and government? What are the possibilities?

“The political vision of the council will give a push escalate the revolutionary work we are seeing,” said Sumaya Kadamany, the general secretary of the council said.

“In terms of external actions, the council will be seeking to fill the vacuum identified by the international community, as an alternative to the government and represent the position of the Syrian revolution in an efficient and credible way,” says Yaser Tabbara, a Chicago-based lawyer, who was in the steering committee for the council and was named among its members.

“We’re really committed to the demands of the people inside Syria, and we’ll seek a meaningful dialogue with those inside on the next step that they want us to take,” Tabbara said.

Many people, however, look to the council with suspension and some of them are even upset and angry. Visiting the markets and trying to get some opinions was very difficult, many were nervous and refused to talk about it because it is (the council) illegal and related to the west -the land of the conspiracies-!

“I want to know why do they hate Syria and its leadership this much, I want to know what do they –the council members- want from Syria and where do they want to take the country. They are vindictive people, they are trying to destroy Syria just because of their personal reasons, all of them have ties with western agendas and live outside Syria, they are strangers we will not support strangers to destroy our country. And they call themselves educated people!” says Solafa Dan, a teacher in a high school, 44 years old.

Her roommate Danya Shawky said: “This is not acceptable, such a council is a big team that wants to destroy Syria and to allow the invaders to occupy our country and loot its resources. By the way: I noticed that they are not forming one front, they are divided and they don’t have one specific place to go to, they meet in turkey, France and Belgium, no one is adopting them and no one will, this council is the most dangerous thing that could happen to Syria, I will never ever support such people who want to deliver Syria to the west”.

They are against each other

Haytham Manna is a Syrian writer and spokesman for the Arab Commission for Human Rights and one of the most known Syrian oppositionists. He said that “this council does not represent him or the whole opposition”. He accused the members of the council that “they are a group of hateful people, they live and eat by the western will, he (the west) pays them money to execute his needs and wishes, their agenda is an Islamic agenda that hides spies and low principles.”

“This council is nothing but a cancer it has been created to eat Syria and to destroy the Syrians. We all know that Europe, USA and Turkey are besieging us -us means the Syrian people – so they don’t care about us, and they are supporting the council, I can’t understand how they besieging the people who they want to save.” This is what Ammar SA, dentist, said about the council and about why he refuses to support it. “I will never support the people who want Syria to become another Iraq,” he added.

The conflicting views show the hidden danger and the dangerous reactions that could be found among people: “We will never surrender, we are ready to die to save our Syria, we are the people of Syria, they -the members of the council-are not,  I cannot recognize anyone of them. MRs. Kadamany is a member in more than three American committees, all of them will never refuse to work against Arabs for the sack of Israel, Bourhan Ghalyoun is an agent for France. They are paying him to attack Syria. It is the same Iraqi situation they want Syria to be divided into many states to control it and to steal its wealth, I will never support or admit such a council of agents. Oh my God; the image of the American soldiers walking through the streets of Damascus is not leaving me, I can’t accept that, no one can accept it” says Elham Al-Shofi, 37 years old, pediatrician.

Nour E, 28 years, HR manager in one of the biggest companies in Syria, says: “I prefer to support the people of the parliament although they don’t do anything useful, but I will never support the national council, I will never support people I don’t know or recognize, this is madness! We are talking about Syria, the state that fought for more than 30 years against Israel and its conspiracies against Arabs. I know that such council is nothing but a puppet to execute the wishes of the American and Israeli administrations. This is what I heard on Addounia TV last night, they proved that the council is an agent and will work for the good of America and Israel, no one in Syria is supporting them and no one will. They are crazy, they are dreamers of the impossible. Who are they? Who the hell are they? They have their life out there, they have their jobs and their families, just let them leave Syrians alone, we don’t want them.”

Asking people about the council is a journey of surprises; people claim to know everything, even the supposedly-secret things they know them and will tell you about them as a top secret information that only they knew about, what are the sources of such information; God only knows: “I know that France has given Ghalyoun more than 20 million euros to support him and to show him its commitment. They paid him the money at night in his hotel and asked him to raise the hostility tone against Syria and to keep this support as a secret” Omran KH, a baker in Old Damascus uncovered the news to us!!

The official attitudes against the council were so sharp and serious, Almoualem, Syrian foreign minister has threatened any state that will support this council or recognize it and asked them to kick it out because it is nothing and will lead to nothing: “Syria will take strong measures against any country that recognizes the opposition council formed in Turkey. I am not interested in what they seek,” he said, according to SANA. Mr. Bader Hasson, Syrian general Moufty said: “We will destroy any country that will support this council and will send our suicide bombers –who are already there- to attack USA and Israel.”

All this, however, was not enough to limit and control the actions of the council.

Limited steps and supports

International powers are mounting more pressure on the Syrian regime, providing the newly-formed opposition group with an umbrella of key backers in the Arab world. The new opposition movement, the Syrian National Council, has received backing from a coalition of Egyptian parties named: The Democratic Alliance for Egypt. The alliance and the council held a meeting in Egypt, said Sayed el-Badawi, whose al-Wafd party is a member of the alliance.

“The meeting aimed to forge a stronger relationship between the Syrian Council and the Egyptian parties,” Adeeb Shishakly, a senior member of the Syrian National Council told CNN. “At the conclusion of the meeting, the 43 parties recognized the Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” he said.

Egypt’s military and political leaders have not recognized the Syrian opposition group, despite the delegation’s efforts. The Arab League has not recognized it either. But in Libya, the new authorities there have recognized the Syrian National Council as the ‘sole representative of the Syrian people’.

Double-Edged Sword

The EU has welcomed the formation of the Syrian National Council (SNC) as a “positive step forward” the statement, agreed on by EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg, called on other countries to do the same. It comes just a day after Syria warned that it would take “tough measures” against any country that recognizes the SNC.

“They are supporting the people of Syria why should we hate them?” says Nuha, a news editor in a foreign news agency who came to Syria to be close to the events. She add: “ They all know the situation here in Syria and all of them feel sorry for us, this council will help us to save the blood of the citizens and the army members. Such a council will help to control the armed groups and the brutal actions of the security forces on the streets.”

The supporters of the SNC are very optimistic, they feel secure and they “know that the world will never ignore us any more” a company manager said. “It will stand for us and support us, it is the right step to harvest the fruits of seven months of protesting. I am supporting the council in all its decisions, they know what to do and how to do it, I refuse any external interference, but -of course- I refuse what is going on in Syria especially in the hot spots”.

The announcement of the Syrian National Council at a conference in Istanbul appeared to be the most serious step, yet, to unify a deeply fragmented opposition. It includes representatives from the Damascus Declaration grouping; a pro-democracy network based in the capital, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood; an Islamic political party banned in the country, various Kurdish factions and above all the ‘Local Coordination Committees’ which have led the protests’ movement across the country; as well as other independent and tribal figures.

Istanbul conference spokesman Ghalioun said: “One major benefit of the council to the Syrian opposition would be to provide a single body with which other countries could coordinate. He urged Syrians everywhere to support it and said that it will function as a mechanism for democratic change.”

“The SNC will end the farces in Syria, it will stop the blood flood and will put an end to the irresponsible acts of the security personnel in Syria” says Amal Naser, 30 years old, engineer.

Regarding whether the SNC will represent her or not she said: “I care about how they will stop the killing here, if they manage to stop the killing then they deserve to be the leaders no matter what their belongings were.”

The Syrian opposition consists of a variety of groups with differing ideologies, including Islamists and seculars, and there have been many meetings of dissidents claiming to represent Syria’s popular uprising since it erupted seven months ago. But the new council is the broadest umbrella movement of the revolutionary forces formed so far. This pushes some people to be suspicious about it: “The SNC council is representing me. I assure you that all the people in Syria are supporting this council but they can’t say that due to the tight security, they are afraid. The supporter of the government said that the members of the council are supported by imperialism so they are our enemy, if we judge people according to their supporters, how the hell should we judge an authority that is supported by China, Iran, and Russia; all of which are known by violating human rights.” Says Abbas M, 67 years old, male.

The dilemma in Syria is not a small anymore; it needs very unique solutions, and the gathering of all efforts. Denying or fighting against the SNC will bring nothing but more blood and more dead bodies.