March 15th, 2012
10:54 AM ET

Few good options for Syria, but arming the rebels may be the worst

By Aryn Baker, TIME

Kofi Annan, the former secretary general of the United Nations now tasked with finding a solution to the year-long crisis that has engulfed Syria, returned from Damascus on Sunday with little more than vague words of ill-placed optimism. “You have to start by stopping the killings and the misery and the abuses …. and give time (for a) political settlement,” he told reporters, saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad needed to embrace change and reform. “I have urged the president to heed the African proverb which says you cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail.”

It would appear that Assad doesn’t think African proverbs translate very well in the Middle East. Syrian army troops poured into the rebel stronghold of Idlib over the weekend, threatening a repeat of the carnage visited on Homs last month where hundreds were killed, thousands left homeless and parts of the city annihilated by sustained shelling. International reaction has been defined by despair, frustration and paralysis as the death toll exceeds 7,500.

Read more at TIME's excellent Global Spin blog.

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Topics: Syria

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. ,,,,..,attck syria now before it is too late

    i agree with J mccain he is our hero all the other village idiots are cowered how i wish he was usa president
    syrian shiia thugs killed about 12,000 people so far not 8 , and prisoned more than 132,000 people , ra pe more than 2000 women. klled 3000 children. those killers , syriam leader and russain leaders must be put to trial as war criminals ,. we must act now .... 30 large trucks crossing from syria to hizboallah in lebanon every day full with arms, cash and chemical weapons i saw that in my eyes.

    March 15, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      We want to help, but your opposition is deeply divided. Several groups formed a coalition, the Syrian National Council (SNC), but it is dominated by the Sunni community and exiled dissidents. The SNC disagrees with the National Co-ordination Committee (NCC) on the questions of talks with Assad's regime and foreign intervention, and finds it difficult to work with the Free Syrian Army – army defectors who seek to topple Mr Assad by force. How can the outsiders do, if you can't get your act together.

      March 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        please read: the SNC finds it difficult to work with the Free Syrian Army – army defectors – who seek to topple Assad by force and rejects Mr. Kofi Annan's advice.

        March 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Roma

      LAIR

      March 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  2. .......///....IRAN IS EVIL

    WE MUST ARM THE FREE ARMY SYRIAN THUGS ARE CRIMINALS

    March 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  3. FK THE SHIIA CULT

    FK IRAN FK BASHAR AL KALB FK IRAQI SHIIA THOSE ARE EVIL CULT

    March 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  4. FK THE SHIIA CULT

    FK KHOMINI FK AL JALABI AND AL JA3FARI FK AL MALEKI IN IRAQ AND FK MOQTADA AL QATHER FK BASHAR AL KALB THOSE ARE EVIL SHIIA THUGS FK IRAN ATTACK THEM NOW

    March 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      I know that you like so many others here don't like the Shiite Muslims but please don't use that nasty Tea Party lingo above to express you're dislike for them. The English language today already has a rather extensive vocabulary so that the use of that Tea Party lingo in quite unnecessary and uncalled for!

      March 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Reply
  5. Count Yob

    Has CNN addressed the video evidence showing that Danny Abdul-Dayem's interviews with CNN were staged?

    March 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  6. URGENT

    IRAN SENDING MILLIONS OF CASH, CHEMICAL WEAPONS AND ARMS TO HIZBOALLAH CROSSING IRAQ TO SYRIA AND LEBANON, ACT NOW AND ATTACK THOSE EVIL NOW
    كشفت مجموعة من الرسائل الإلكترونية التيتخص الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وحصلت عليها صحيفة ذي غارديان البريطانية أنه تلقى خلال الثورة السورية نصائح وتوجيهات من إيران وجهات حليفة عن سبل مواجهة الانتفاضة الشعبية الواسعة التي تطالب برحيله عن السلطة.

    وقبل كلمة الأسد -التي ألقاها عبر التلفزيون في ديسمبر/كانون الأول الماضي- تظهر الرسائل أنه تلقى مذكرة تحمل لائحة طويلة من الاقتراحات من مستشاره الإعلامي، الذي أوضح بأنه استشار بدوره "عددا لا بأس به من الشخصيات بالإضافة إلى المستشار السياسي للسفير الإيراني في دمشق".

    "
    قام الأسد بتشكيل حلقة من المساعدين الثقاة الذين يرفعون تقاريرهم إليه شخصيا متخطيا بذلك الأجهزة الأمنية وأعضاء طائفته العلوية المتنفذة، الأمر الذي يعتبر تطورا هاما في طريقة عمل النظام السوري
    "
    وقد تضمنت المذكرة نصيحة للأسد باستخدام لغة "قوية وعنيفة" في خطابه وأن يحرص على إظهار امتنانه من الدعم الذي تبديه "الدول الصديقة". كما نصحت المذكرة بأن يقوم الأسد بإظهار مدى القوة العسكرية التي تتمتع بها سوريا وأنها قادرة على مواجهة تحد عسكري.

    كما كشفت الرسائل التي تم تنزيلها من قبل ناشطين سوريين من حسابات بريد إلكتروني خاصة بالأسد وزوجته السيدة أسماء، أن الأسد تلقى تقارير عن وجود صحفيين أجانب في حي بابا عمرو في حمص، وأصدر توجيهات بناء على ذلك في نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني الماضي تقضي بـ"تشديد القبضة الأمنية" على المدينة وبابا عمرو بالذات.

    وتبين الرسائل أن الأسد خلال الانتفاضة السورية، قد قام بتشكيل حلقة من المساعدين الثقاة الذين يرفعون تقاريرهم إليه شخصيا متخطيا بذلك الأجهزة الأمنية وأعضاء طائفته العلوية المتنفذة، الأمر الذي يعتبر تطورا هاما في طريقة عمل النظام السوري، ومؤشرا على شعوره بالخطر الداهم.
    وكانت الرسائل الإلكترونية التي تم رصدها تستخدم نظاما بريديا خاصا بموقع اسمه الشهباء دوت كوم، وهي مجموعة شركات تابعة للنظام السوري لها مكاتب في دبي ولندن. وقد تم اختراق نظام الرسائل الإلكترونية للموقع في شهر يونيو/حزيران الماضي واستمر الناشطون بالتمتع بدخول حر وكامل للحسابات البريدية ونسخ كل شيء موجود فيها. استمر هذا الوضع حتى تم اكتشاف الاختراق في فبراير/شباط الماضي أي بعد ستة أشهر.

    وتلقي الرسائل الضوء على قيام الأسد بتشكيل لجنة من المستشارين لوضع إستراتيجية إعلامية وكيفية مواجهة موجة الانتقادات العالمية المتصاعدة ضد قمعه للانتفاضة الشعبية السورية المطالبة برحيله عن السلطة، والتي ذهب ضحيتها حوالي عشرة آلاف سوري إلى حد الآن حسب تقديرات حديثة.

    وقد منح اختراق حسابات البريد الإلكتروني للأسد فرصة للناشطين لتحذير زملائهم في دمشق من نوايا النظام السوري في مناسبات عديدة.

    وقد وفر الاختراق معلومات هامة وحساسة عن النظام السوري ورئيسه، ومن بينها رسائل من رجل أعمال لبناني يتمتع بصلات وثيقة مع النظام الإيراني وحزب الله اسمه حسين مرتضى. وقد قام مرتضى طبقا للرسائل بالكتابة إلى الرئيس الأسد بعد حادثة انفجار سيارتين في دمشق قبيل وصول المراقبين العرب، وحثّ مرتضى الأسد على التوقف عن اتهام القاعدة بتدبير انفجارات السيارات المفخخة، وأفاد مرتضى بأن اتصالات وردته من إيران وحزب الله توافقه الرأي ووصف اتهام القاعدة بأنه خطأ إعلامي تكتيكي يصب في مصلحة الولايات المتحدة والمعارضة السورية.

    "
    رجل أعمال لبناني مقرب من إيران وحزب الله نصح الأسد بالسيطرة على الميادين والساحات العامة بين الساعة الثالثة عصرا والتاسعة مساء لحرمان المعارضين السوريين من فرصة التجمع
    "
    وفي رسالة أخرى، أبدى مرتضى للأسد اعتقاده بأن على قوات النظام السوري السيطرة على الميادين والساحات العامة بين الساعة الثالثة عصرا والتاسعة مساء لحرمان المعارضين السوريين من فرصة التجمع.

    يذكر أن إيران وحزب الله قد كانا متهمين طوال سنة -هي عمر الانتفاضة السورية ضد الأسد-، بأنهما يقدمان دعما عمليا على الأرض لنظام الأسد، مثل إرسال مقاتلين وخبراء تقنيين لتعقب الناشطين السوريين الذين يستخدمون الإنترنت، إلا أن كلا من إيران وحزب الله قد دأبا على إنكار تلك التهم.

    من جهة أخرى كشفت المراسلات المسربة أن الأسد اعتمد بشكل كبير على امرأتين سوريتين درستا في الولايات المتحدة، في مجال الاستشارات الإعلامية. وتظهر المراسلات أن المرأتين هما شهرزاد الجعفري وهديل العلي واللتان دأبتا على إحاطة الأسد بأهمية التواصل على شبكة الإنترنت.

    وكان التلفزيون السوري قد أفاد في فبراير/شباط بعد اكتشاف الاختراق وقبل نشر الرسائل المسربة أن العناوين الخاصة بموقع الشهباء دوت كوم لا تمت بصلة للرئيس الأسد وذلك في محاولة لنزع الثقة عن أي ترسيبات مستقبلية.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  7. sjdsh

    Time to Now to STOP arming the psycho/sectarian US/Alciaduh Inc.'revos'. Bravo Syria!!

    March 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  8. jal

    Crimes against humanity have been committed. Demand Assad set up a safety corridor for civilian exit through Turkey, and put him on a timetable. A short one. Tell him he will like his better than NATO's.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  9. Count Yob

    CNN doing its part trying to lie us into another war for Israel.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  10. jean alexander steffen careaga

    there is no need to arm ALL the rebels; just one of the ex-soldiers that defected, one that is a very good sniper, give him the best sniper gun that the west can get him, smuggle him all the way to damascus, put him in good place from the presidential palace, aim and kill AL-ASSAD, then move out of the place calmly, and deny eny western involment.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Reply
    • nannou

      Извините...В первый раз не увидел :( надпись:Your comment has been saved and will be sbivile after blog owner approval.И дважды отправил почти одинаковый текст...

      April 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  11. IRAN=RUSSIA=SYRIA BASHAR AL ASAD=IRAQ=HIZBOALLAH

    IRAN IS ARMING THE FK SYRIAN AL ASAD ALONG WITH RUSSIA AND IRAQ THOSE SHIIA THUGS ARE KILLERS AND SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO TRIAL AS WAR CRIMINALS, SHIIA ARE UNFIT TO RULE ANY COUNTRY THEY ARE EVIL THEY ALL HELPING THE TERRORISTS HIZBOALLAH AND SENDING CHEMICAL WEAPON TO THEM IN THE LAST WEEK... LIKE LIBYA MUSLIMS...Those evil muslims in Libya killed and ra ped many people, tortured as islam allow them that, kill the leader after sado mized him, then put his body on the floor so other idiots muslims can take pictures for the dead as islam allow that, then they didnt give the body to his family to barry him and barry his body far in the desert for no reason as islam allow that evil things to happen, they dont have val;ue for life and dead people this is islam ./.

    March 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  12. SHIIAZIM = EVIL

    WE MUST ACT NOW OR THE WORLD WILL GET ANOTHER HITLER.. BASHAR AL ASAD AND AHMEDI NEJJAD ARE SHIIA THUGS NERDS AND RETARDED PEOPLE THEY MARRY THERE COUSINS AND SISTERS AS SHIIAZIM ALLAOW THAT. THEY ARE MOTAA PEOPLE.

    March 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  13. the wise

    Stop fighting Israeli wars my good comrades.

    You owe them nothing. Not your pity, and certainly not blood and treasure.

    Tragic things if this sort will continue, as long as we bloody our hands on israels behalf.

    Jewsagainstzionism.com

    March 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply
  14. Rz

    FOR SALE:

    1. NEW ! Guided asteroids and meteorites. Accurate to within 3 meters. Various shapes and sizes. Now level a building, a few city blocks, or an even entire countries. Guidance system and any traces of human/earthly involvement completely vaporize upon entry. Send destruction naturally from space and blame it on God.

    2. NEW! WMDs for suicide bombers. Uses new secret explosive (US/NATO certified for conventional warfare) but carries the impact and destruction of a small nuke ! Level a street, district or a whole damn town (maximum radius of complete annihilation up to 1 kilometer). Comes in convenient packet sizes as small as your iPOD ! Perfect for vest linings, back packs, bags, boxes, and briefcases!

    3. NEW ! Genetic specific timed chemical engineered virus! We've created a real monster with this one! Guaranteed fatal airborne and tactically transmitted virus with maximum 90 day life span. Spreads like crazy for up to 90 days killing only those humans with specific genomes ! Just spread a drop on your palm and spray once with the special activation agent, and your ready to start shaking hands ! Watch as thousands drop dead around you over the next 3 months, then go visit another city. Drops cannot be stored for more than 30 days. Order restrictions apply.

    March 16, 2012 at 2:48 am | Reply
  15. Benedict

    It's hard not to want the people to protect themselves via the use of arms. Yet,it's true that arming various groups how have no figure head and no real organization is a recipe for disaster.

    March 16, 2012 at 6:07 am | Reply
  16. Heath

    the more they fight each other the less the we have to worry about. Let them kill each other, if theyre too stupid to sit there and kill each other then let them.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply
  17. Holland1990

    OK , Let the opposition without arm, help al-Assad to do massacres more and more!. Obama helps al-Assad secretly!!

    March 17, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • Heath

      The smart way would be for Obama to let them kill each other as they have been for hundreds of years.

      March 17, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
  18. attack iran now before it is too late

    October 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Reply

    DR ABO WAQASS- CALGARY -ALBERTA

    HOW CAN WE ATTACK IRAN- part 1 of 10 parts.
    I USE USA FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN INCREASE THE JETS FIGHTERS IN THAT SIDE.
    2- KEEP SOME GOOD FORCE IN IRAQ AND KUWAIT TO DEAL WITH THE SHIIA THUGS WHO WILL SUPPORT IRAN FORM the Iraqi evil government side.
    3- keep tanks and jets in Kuwait
    4- improve the bases in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and uae
    5- ask Qatar to not help or involve with Iran
    6- increase USA sea base and naval strength in Bahrain
    7-prepare the submarines in the red sea, Mideastern sea, and the Arabian sea
    8- close down the straight of hermoze and increase inspections on Iranians boat and ships
    9- keep forces in Turkmenistan north of Iran ,and the turkey borders.
    10-keep economic bloc-aid
    11- attack with multi nations France, Germany, Italy, holand, and UK ,use every thing you got to finish the mission
    12-help with money and arms the resistant ( KURDS, ARABESTAN, LOURS, TURKS, BAHA'I, PERSIANS, BELOOSH, SUNNIS , CHRISTENS , ASSYRIANS GROUP AND MUJAHEDIN KHLAQ FIGHTERS ) use every means of propaganda TV, radios, news and secret short wave radios to teach the masses what to do and where to get weapon and money and how to attack the enemy and destroy the enemy war machine and infrastructures,
    13- use virus to attack Iran computers and army computers, destroy their satellites, command and controls, nooks sites,
    and attack QUM as the mullahs will hide at their shrines and use it to make fatwas .
    14- freeze all Iran assets, stop them from immigrations or coming here as most are using USA and Canada to send money to Hezbollah and Iraqi thugs, stop Ahmad AL jalabi and arrest him as he is one of Iran spies
    15-help Dr ayad alawi to take over Iraq as he won the election but Iran put AL maleki instead, Al maleki pretend he is with USA but he is a lire,
    16 control the Iran Iraqi boarder and Syria Iraq border by using drones so no shiia can cross to Iran from Iraq and Syria
    17- Iraqi kurds can help from north Iraq, the Sunni can help from west Iraq and the resistant can attack from inside Iran
    18-Israel can take care of Hezbollah and leash hell if those terrorists Hezbollah attack Israel , that's why we must get red of Syrian regimes now to cut Iran arms before attacking Iran
    I will write part 2 in detail on how we can do it .

    March 18, 2012 at 5:31 am | Reply
  19. Burak

    Add me to the chorus of ppoele finding you via the Real Simple article! Congrats on 8 years, and a very informative site. I'm stoked for spring to kick in so I can use the advice I've found here!

    April 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply

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