Friday, July 08, 2005

Syrian Opposition Unites - Deborah Amos reports

"There will a televised announcement tonight from London uniting ALL the strands of the opposition."

This is what Deborah Amos of National Public Radio in the United States told me this morning. Deborah is in Damascus to report on the opposition; She was told this by "one of the chief "Damascus Spring" guys." As Deborah remarked, "If true, it should cause a huge stir here." Deborah has been following this story like a hawk. She was in London last week talking to Syrians.

If this story is true, it will go so some way to explain the recent crack down on the opposition: the inexplicable closing of the Attasi forum last Saturday, the killing of Khasnawi, the hushing up of several noted opposition members, etc.

Opposition members of every stripe have been calling for the formation of a "broad national front" for months now. This means bringing together the secular opposition with the Islamic currents, particularly the Moslem Brotherhood in London.

Ever since President Bashar extended the Presidential term of Emile Lahoud in Lebanon, Syria has been going through a second Damascus Spring that was only halted a few weeks ago.

The opposition has been growing in numbers and in confident since UN resolution 1559 was passed and the debacle in Lebanon. Bashar opened up debate while US pressure was used to squeeze Syria out of Lebanon. More people were getting educated by the opposition members who were speaking out. The Lebanese press was important in educating people and riling them up, especially after it broke its silence over Syrian affairs, following the Hariri murder and Cedar uprising.

Everyone in Damascus has been visiting everyone else and speaking more frankly about things than they ever have before. Some parties, such as Riad al-Turk's, renamed themselves and tried to snaz up their programs to get in fighting trim. New parties have formed, most notably the old "Peoples Party" of Aleppo, which relaunched itself after having been closed in 1963.

The Kurdish Parties formed a unified committee that brought together four of the 12? 13? Kurdish parties in order to better coordinate their efforts. Khaznawi held talks with diplomats and Islamists in Europe.

The Muslim Brotherhood, based in London, has been revamping its program to align itself with the secular opposition. It has softened the purely "Islamic" nature of its program and reached out to secular opposition members by insisting it is for democracy and free elections. It now calls for the lifting of emergency rule, the legalization of all political parties, and the respect for human rights and separation of the judicial and executive branches of government. This retreat from a revolutionary program to one of republicanism and reform by the Muslim Brothers has been matched by most other parties. By becoming more "responsible" and less threatening to the general public, Syria's political parties are creating new possibilities and a general respect for liberal dialogue.

The readership of Syria's alternative press (all new in the last two years) and internet sites have been playing a growing role in educating and connecting people. Syria had only 5 bloggers in January - It now has over 60. It had no Arab bloggers last year. It now has many.

These are some signs of the growing activities of the "opposition," and growing political consciousness of Syrians in general as they discover that they can actually talk about politics openly after 40 years of repression and seek to reach out to each other in order to organize and play a larger roll in society.

If there is an announcement tonight that "all strands of the opposition have been united," it will only be a first step in building effective alternatives in Syria. The opposition will remain fragmented because they disagree about the future direction of Syria. It will remain weak because there are not many organized groups to unite.

All the same, the intellectual atmosphere in Syria has been going through a real tectonic shift. People are beginning to think differently about their future and about their own ability to change things. Bashar al-Asad has played a great roll in this. His basic belief that hearing different opinions and arguments from Syrians is good for the country - a point of view he expressed clearly when he first came to power - has shifted the ground under the Syrian state.

Regional and international events have also added to this intellectual watershed. The rapid collapse of the Baath regime in Iraq changed Syrian perceptions about the power of their own state and frightened them. Everyone has been saying that it is the duty of the state to engage with the opposition to rebuild trust between the citizenry and rulers in order to avoid a similar catastrophe in Syria. No longer do Syrians believe that silence is a form of strength, or that blind unity produces power. Only if citizens begin taking responsibility for the future of their country will things improve and governmental mistakes be corrected, rather than repeated.

The Cedar revolution in Lebanon has also played an important roll, as well as Syria's desire to engage in world markets and grow its economy. The Ministry of Planning's steady campaign to educate Syrians about the economic dangers they face in the future has also alerted Syrians to the need to get organized and press ahead with reform.

Ultimately, the emergence of an effective and responsible opposition will strengthen Syria. If the government can respond to it properly, it can also be good for those in power today.

34 Comments:

At 7/08/2005 04:24:00 AM, Anonymous Tarek said...

I guess we are going to have to wait and see if this is really true. But if it is then this is obviously big news. Nevertheless I would like to go out on a limb here and project that the opposition’s untied view would be for change of behavior and action by Damascus rather than its government’s downfall. If that is truly the case and the message is more moderate. Then the government should (at least officially and publicly) welcome open dialogue. But there is one major problem; the hatred between the Muslim Brotherhood and the leadership in Damascus is notoriously ugly and I dont see the government willing to make any direct contact with the MB or any Kurdish separatist party. The moderate opposition parties have their work cut out for them.

And everyone is in limbo again.

 
At 7/08/2005 05:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it have been smarter from the gov't part to organize a conference in Damascus with all the opposition parties (probably exlc. MB and the seperatists)? In this conference, which the Baath and the its satellite parties would have attended , and chaired by the President, Bouthaina Sha3ban would have announced the new party law, and real discussions and propositions about how to move the country forward andface its current problems would have been discussed. Isn't this a much better scenario, rather than having both the govt and the opposition waste time and energy on trying to knock each other out! Is is possible that no one in the govt thought of this? (espciaclly after the Baath part conference?). Bashar is back in power now (really in power), unless he does soemthing in this line he will lose the credibility that has been building! Let’s hope he doesn’t sink into the power trap and turn out to be just another dictator! He still has the benefit of the doubt even from ani-baath and anti-current-govt people (me for example). But this has been dragging on for too long.
Syria is lucky to have a descent oppostion, nationalistic and refuses to become the US puppet, Bashar needs to build on these before Mr. Ghadri comes to Damascus on board an American tank!

 
At 7/08/2005 07:16:00 AM, Anonymous Tarek said...

So true, but proactiveness is not a trait our government can claim to carry.

Actually, the whole Lebanon withdrawl affair was a direct result of their inability to see the dangers that was so clearly ahead of them.

 
At 7/08/2005 08:19:00 AM, Anonymous Fernando said...

Josh, we hear stories and read reports about Rami Makhlouf's move to Dubai. What are you hearing about that? How are relations between Bashar and Maher? What's the role of Assef Shawkat? What does Makhlouf's departure signify in terms of the future direction of Syria? What about the possibility of a new cabinet? What about the opposition(s)? Who are the rising stars? Who's resonating in the Syrian street?

This is the kind of analysis and insight that we are expecting to hear/read from you as someone who's following Syrian affairs from within. This is the added value that you can provide, particularly from a country that is so closed. We can all cut-n-paste, and read other articles published online.

I hope you can keep the focus on Syrian issues - internal and external. Thanks.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:52:00 PM, Anonymous Agha,Syrian Republican Party said...

Syrian Opposition united? Baathist dictator hold dialog meeting. HeHeHeHeeeeeeeeeee. I am becoming addicted to this funny forum.

Ok, have the opposition wait another 40 years for dialog meetings or come to me. I accept cash, any currency up front, allow 6 months for delivery, promise you systems that the CIA and Pentagon will orgasm over.Hahahahahahaaaaaa
I can't believe traders buy this crap.

Disclaimer: The preceding announcemnet was for demonstration purposes only and should not be construd to suggest any other implication or facts. SRP is a responsible oposition group (Josh term not mine) and will not in any way offer or sell any software or hardware to non-responsible group of opposition who intent on hurting our father and great leaders or the awsome government they run that re so great it must be the one created another great one that of heavenly Kim Il Song.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My biggest concern about creating this broad based opposition coalition is that it could become the next Iraqi National Congress. By that I mean it could become a useful tool for the US to generate propaganda about Syria inorder to extract a UN resolution legitimizing US military action against Syria.

It is not that hard to imagine this opposition getting frustrated by their lack of progress in making the Baath regime change its ways and opting for an alliance with the neocon elements in the Bush administration. After all most of the opposition is made of intellectuals and "old families" that tend to be divorced from the largely religious and traditional masses.

It is not hard for this opposition to manufacture "evidence" about the culpability of Bashar and the Baath in the assasination of Rafik Hariri and other Lebanese leaders. This will get France on board for a UN resolution on Syria that could be used as a pretext for military action by the US. If the "Syrian Ahmad Chalabi" Ghadri is part of the coalition, then it is more likely for the US to co-opt the opposition to serve its own interests.

 
At 7/08/2005 12:58:00 PM, Anonymous Metaz K.M. Aldendeshe said...

Hay dude Josh, we can have a responsible Syrian opposition groups, can you assure these responsible morans that there will be responsible Syrian Government, one that will not assasin, arrest, torture and excile those united, moranic, responsible Syrian opposition.

 
At 7/08/2005 01:26:00 PM, Anonymous Agha, Syrian Republican Party said...

to anon @12.56 PM
You said: "After all most of the opposition is made of intellectuals and "old families" that tend to be divorced from the largely religious and traditional masses."

Yes Moran, you are right. Forgot “you idiot” that the poor class of Sunni Moslems, religious fakes and other lower class non-family of shop keepers, peasants and workers etc. of Syrians MUTT non-families were the one that brought and cheered the Baath and like parties on to power, and kept it in power for all those 43 years. What a Fu^%$#^%#ing idiot.

No wonder why I utterly despise lower classes of people like you. Human scum, I dedicate my life and risk all to improve Syria and so as notable “OLD FAMILY” members like the Atassi and Ghadri’s and low class scum like you hides behind an anonymous name. What a trash of being.

I should have listened to my Russian wife and to the 270+ members of SRP who quit politics and activism after September 11 and rather enjoy my life in Europe and California and leave a human scum lower class “ New Families” like you under Baath rule for another 40 years.

 
At 7/08/2005 01:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to SRP,

Please do. Spare us the painful reading of someone who is pissed off that he is not the one in power. We syrians don't have easy lives and we certainly do not need to listen to your ass telling us about your comfortable life in europe and calif.

Hope you will take your wife's advice and stop posting.

 
At 7/08/2005 01:40:00 PM, Anonymous Agha said...

Pisst off not in power! how the f^%$^%uck told you I want it. I only wants to chase human scum like you back into the hole you craweled out o. Bad news for you, I will succeed.

 
At 7/08/2005 01:45:00 PM, Anonymous Agha said...

Even on the Devil back, I will chase you into that hole in the dirt your "New Family" crawled out off.

 
At 7/08/2005 01:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You gotta learn how to control that anger dude. its not healthy for an aristocrat like yourself to be pissed off at what an ignorant peasant from syria thinks of you. Just ignore me and I might go away.

 
At 7/08/2005 02:46:00 PM, Anonymous Agha, Syrian Republican Party said...

Control my anger? hehehehe. It is Friday near 1 pm California time and the New York Stock Exchange is minutes from closing. I am on my third Margarita dude. Beautiful well dressed blonds (with tummy showing, the way I like it), green, blue and gray eyed ladies that are half my age are all over and my table is reserved at Romeo Cuccina in Laguna Beach, afterward a stroll on the beach on the wild side on the sandy beach of Crescent Cove. It is party time NEW FAMILY MEMBER. So you think I am angry? hehehehehe.


Obviously, you are the angry peace of garbage, because your lower class of NEW FAMILY that cheered and backed the Baath party is no longer satisfy and can feed it's children’s off the crumbs that President Assad's tossed on the floor for your NEW FAMILY.

Guess what, you will be a lot angrier soon. You see, why SRP is not part of any of those opposition uniting is because SRP is the oldest and most experienced opposition group around. In fact, and this really going to piss your low class family up, SRP for 4 years been trying to convince Syria's President Assad to stop feeding New Family like yours and to start giving back to the OLD FALILIES what your scummy ass took from them. In return, the OLD FAMILIES will back him up for another 40 years so human scum like you that he was feeding for all those 43 years out of our assets will finally stop shoveling pencils from one drawer to another and actually start working in fact and earn a living in the new factories, Five Stars luxury hotels and Plantations that we together with President Assad and his NEW BAATH PARTY FAMILY will enjoy the NEW SYRIA.

If his excellency, President Assad, were to stop listening to all those NEW FAMILLIES that his father and him fed and helped them crawl out of the dirt hole. Stopped listening to the crap the are feeding him to bring his demise and start listening to SRP OLD FAMILIES, we just might show you bastard scum and your NEW FAMILY how much we care about you, and how “divorced” from your NEW FAMILY we are.

 
At 7/08/2005 03:23:00 PM, Anonymous Firas A. said...

Josh,

I'm all for free, uncensored speech and agree that this forum, and others, should be open to all to express whatever opinions they have. However, it is not doing anyone any good to have posts by "people" such as this "Agha SRP" guy. He's just wasting mindshare and screen real estate while debasing the forum and its participants, and devoiding it of its value. If we degenerate from civilzed discourse to a profane slugfest, you'll quickly start to lose readership and eventually, we'll all lose this blog.

Everyone can get angry some times, and we can be tolerant of a slight transgression here and there. But, having said that, a code should be respected by bloggers to guard against uncivilized, profane posters. So, in the interest of this blog, I suggest keeping this place clean by blocking repeat offenders out!

Thank you.

Firas.

 
At 7/08/2005 03:30:00 PM, Anonymous Syrian Republican Party said...

Hey Firas No need, SRP already determined that this forum is packed by amatures. We will no longer post any commnets or monitor this page.

 
At 7/08/2005 03:52:00 PM, Anonymous Metaz K.M. Aldendeshe said...

Agree with you Imad. This is more like an intellectual and class sewage. Certainly not the type of people we would like to associates with.

 
At 7/08/2005 04:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to firas et al,

i don't think that anything short of josh censoring the "comments" section will make this a "clean" place. & i'm quite certain that josh won't do that. so, we'll have to keep up with "srp/ssprs/metaz aldendeshe" or whatever else he's gonna call himself next (funny enough - on his/their rather strange www.orontes.net website he goes under, hold your breath, "MIKE"). has anyone ever perused the respective (& always linked!) sites of ssrps & "metaz"? why is there always the title also in cyrilic script? ANYway... i suggest we all just read past his comments - let him enjoy orange county (where, if he's in laguna beach, he resides) -- i've lived in southern california for 6 years & know how boring that place is. plus, as an "ayyyrab" he'll have a tough time anyway - on the southern cal food chain he's even lower than the mexicans ...

--sebastian d'arfourt

 
At 7/08/2005 04:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear all,

if you would like more info on SSRPS / metaz aldendeshe -- check here:

http://members.cox.net/orontes/rossini2/rossini%20home.html

he also happens to be "chairman, chief of operation and chief strategist, founding member" of the SSPRS (see http://www.ssprs.com/framesets/structure.html)

fun, fun, fun ...

with compliments,

--sebastian d'arfourt

 
At 7/08/2005 04:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anybody see the interview with riad atturk and sheikh bayannuni on al-mustaqal? didnt catch the whole thing, but i almost choked on my dinner when riad atturk patted bayannuni on the arm and told him he was being "diplomatic" because he wanted to ally with the muslim brotherhood. he should have an interesting welcoming party when he returns to damascus...

 
At 7/08/2005 04:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is even better:

on his website, metaz aldendeshe states in his biography that he is writing a book:

"One Book, English text. Work in progress for 15 years, now titled (The Beast). A chronicle of Amen/Marduk struggle, to become king of kings and lord of lords. His disastrous Two millenia's rule on earth, the coming world financial system collapse, the financial conflict that he will plunge humanity into the abyss and and his demise on the hand of the Annunaki Assembly. This book Decipher the mysteries hidden in the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, the Revelation and the Hadith about the One eyed dajjal (deceiver) of man. Very controversial book."

i am NOT making this up - check it out here:

http://members.cox.net/orontes/rossini2/rossini%20bio.html

with compliments of ...

--sebastian d'arfourt

 
At 7/08/2005 04:42:00 PM, Anonymous Metaz said...

sebastian d'arfourt?? Is that a person name or snail spicie?
Like Anyone is Syria giva a fuck about frog scumm with a name like that. BOOG,BOOG, taht is what happened when you are a frog and human eat your pears legs foe dinner. What a scumm of a creature.
And you thought we really will abandon monitoring a sewege like this where frogs and snail habitats.

 
At 7/08/2005 04:50:00 PM, Anonymous Syrian Republican Party said...

Sebastian, Hoooooh.. forget about the other shit in this spicie name. Night in Shining BOOAK BOOAK armor.

 
At 7/08/2005 04:53:00 PM, Anonymous Me again said...

HAHAHAHA, Fu&^$&^%ck I never in my life living 35 Years in the United States ever stooped that low to deal with this kind of scums. Jesus, these morans are such a low class.

 
At 7/08/2005 05:03:00 PM, Anonymous Me again chasing scums said...

I live like a king in Orange County and America. Did you really expect being a frog like you will find a home and friendly neigbors. You are a Fu&^%$&^%ing French, excuse mmy French, FROG. I am sure you never once in siz years said to anyone that you are decendant of a frog spiecie, you probably said that you are Canadian or German. And don't put down Mexican, human / frog scumm, you will be lucky if a Mexican snail ever befreinded you in your boring stay in Orange county. Don't come to the are poluting our nice beaches here.

 
At 7/08/2005 05:10:00 PM, Anonymous Sebastian D'arfucked said...

Any really strong male available here?

 
At 7/08/2005 05:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear metaz SSRPS agha a.k.a. mike rossini,

you are not in syria. you don't speak arabic, the language of the syria (as you stated in your own biography). you don't care what the people in syria think or want, what their lives are like. you don't care about what other people who participate in this blog think. you use invectives (that's "foul language" for you) to insult people who don't agree with you.

i wonder: why are you even writing comments here? are you so full of hate that you have to take it out on other people? if you do want to change things in syria for the better - then why are you not doing it? all we see is that you have english language websites (ssrps & orontes) where you write a lot & put up funny pictures of people you don't like, but we don't see that you are actually DOING anything.

cheers,

--sebastian d'arfourt

(ps: posting links to a porn site will not exactly bring you anyone's sympathies.)

 
At 7/08/2005 05:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Metaz, this is what you will run into in a Republican system. Kings and Dictators never step this low to deal with citizens of this class.

 
At 7/08/2005 05:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fu^%$#^%$off frog.

 
At 7/08/2005 05:34:00 PM, Anonymous sebastian d'arfourt said...

dear metaz ssrps agha,

i will not "fuck off". i will, calmly and persistently, keep working in/on grassroots projects, in syria, in lebanon, in jordan, in iraq putting my efforts in the service of helping the PEOPLE in those countries to better their daily lives, to educate themselves, to more and more attain control over their own lives so that - hopefully sooner than later - they can replace the current systems of totalitarianist parties - secular or religous - & zu'amaa with one of true self-governance, where the opinion and vote of EVERY citizen counts.

and THEN, we'll send you a postcard. don't worry - it'll be in english, so you can actually understand it. btw - how good IS your aramaic, seeing that you want to make it the official language of the future syria?

cheers,

--sebastian d'arfourt

 
At 7/08/2005 06:03:00 PM, Anonymous Syrian Republican Party said...

Okay, will gime you another chance.

zu'amaa is what those countries lack. You are skipping a necessary step in the process to modernization. "A unifying leader or a unifying group of leaders". The region and the people have not developed much in the past 40 years of secularlism. On the econtrary, they have regressed. As SRP went public after decades of operating in the background, we are amazed how the "Zaim" system gained added importance. This is a lengthy discussion that I can back by various data collected by the Web-Media of ssrps. Not interested, don't have the time. Sorry. But I can say that the people of the region as they are badly hurt, they have regressed to rely on basic instinct and basic human nature of clingging to each clan in more so than when the region gained independence in the 40s and 50s.

I take it that your are a member or supporter of SSNP. Review the FAQ on ssprs. The Republican system is the one that afford each citizen of the Republic a vote and equal rights, that is what the Syrian Republican party promotes.

Tahia Souria

 
At 7/08/2005 06:40:00 PM, Anonymous sebastian d'arfourt said...

dear metaz ssprs agha,

i am not a member of the ssnp or any other party / political organization. as a matter of fact, i don't subscribe to the national(ist) paradigm. "syria/syrian" is as historically constructed as "lebanon/lebanese" or, for that matter, "arab"...

i am a human being who is trying to put his (historically accidental) affluent upbringing into good use & have a few laughs in the process.

---

there are no "necessary steps in the process to modernization" -- the "modernization paradigm" is as outdated as the belief that the earth is flat. zu'amaa are not "needed" to help the people - in the political entities of syria, lebanon, jordan, or wherever - to attain a better standard of living, health care, education, political say.

"vanguard-of-the-masses" type organizations have proven to be, to put it lightly, rather unhelpful -> when- & wherever they did take power (bolsheviks in russia, other communist groups throughout the world, 3rd-worldists [like the ba'ath] in iraq, syria, algeria, egypt, etc.) they soon developed from "popular" to "populist" and then to "authoritarian".

as far as i (& most of my friends in damascus & syria) am concerned - if you want to live in "qasr al-sha'ab" & fly the ssprs flag on top of it - be our guest ... you can have it... just don't try to tell the people what they should do.

the region doesn't need another ahmad jallabi...

but then, if you keep insulting people whenever they don't agree with you, you won't even survive the way from the airport into the city...

 
At 7/08/2005 09:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@1.55

Hey man (ssrp), I'm just a dirt farmer who never got any benefit from the Ba2s. They took half my farm and put a road on it and then took the other half and stuck a stupid school on it. Whoever heard of dirt farmers needing schools or roads anyway. I was just saying that, after these guys took my farm I just got me some weed and chilled. I think I'll live till I'm 100 because I am sooo relaxed all the time. All I'm suggesting is you get yourself a joint and just read the posts without being so emotionally attached to the darn thing. its all entertainment anyway.

 
At 7/09/2005 07:36:00 AM, Anonymous Tarek said...

So I go out for a night of sever drinking and come back to see this? I am sorry to stray off the topic but I would like to thank the person who fished the info about "Metaz". I think this guy is a fake, I am not even sure what he does, check out all the "corporations" he has worked for. Maybe I am slow/blind cause I am hung over but I could not find a single website of these so called companies.

His own company “Orotes” does not even an independent website but instead hosted by cox.net. His so called defense company is fake, his hybrid generator does not exist, I am guessing that the different characters we see on this post and the SRP members are all just one lonely guy. There is NO Syrian-European nationalist committee or any of the other NGO on his cv. I am telling you the guy is like Kaizer Soze, just not as cool or scary.

And I think he believes in Chaldean mythology and conspiracy theories about freemasons, the all seeing eye etc. I wish I could leave an audio post because there is so much to tell but I am too tired to write. I suggest you guys do you own research and confirm/share.

 
At 7/09/2005 11:11:00 AM, Anonymous Agha said...

Bark tarek Bark, your days are numbered.

 

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