What we need to know about Syria
July 18th, 2012
10:16 AM ET

What we need to know about Syria

By Fareed Zakaria

The death of Syria's defense minister – in an apparent suicide bombing for which the Syrian rebels have claimed responsibility – is a sign that the rebellion is gaining strength and the Assad regime is cracking. I certainly hope so, but it's important for us to admit that we actually know very little about what is going on in Syria.

Naturally, our hearts are with the rebels and the Free Syrian Army, so when we hear reports about this bombing, we hope it is a sign of their growing reach and effectiveness. But we don't really know much about the circumstances. Is the use of suicide bombing, for example, a sign of the greater involvement of Islamic jihadis?

Similarly, when we hear about a massacre, such as reports last week surrounding events in Hama province, we naturally assume that it has been done by the Syrian military in the most brutal possible way.

And in most cases it’s true. But in some cases we really don’t know enough to be sure. In this most recent massacre, there’s some evidence that perhaps the Syrian government’s version of events was closer to reality than we had realized. But what that highlights to me is not that the Syrian government is less culpable – this is a government that has systematically and brutally used violence against men, women and children. Bashar al-Assad and his henchmen have the blood of innocents on their hands. So whether all the stories are completely accurate or whether some of them are exaggerated seems to me largely irrelevant from a moral point of view.

What is relevant is this: we don’t know much about the rebels. We don’t know, for example, how organized they are or whether they are bands of free floating groups. We don’t know what is their agenda or agendas. And we also, despite today’s reports, don’t really know how effective they are.

The rebels don’t control any part of Syria. In fact, as far as I can see, they don’t seem to have even been able to hold a town in Syria for more than a day. They can launch sporadic attacks – sometimes very effective ones such as the bombing yesterday – they can keep government forces on edge. But they haven’t been able to hold territory. Compare that with Libya, where the Libyan rebels were able to hold almost a third of the country and they took control of a major city, Benghazi.

Now Libya is a very different place – it’s much bigger, with more open spaces to hide in. But that’s precisely my point – for reasons of geography, perhaps, or maybe because of lack of organization, the Free Syrian Army hasn’t been able to succeed in some basic ways. Perhaps it’s because the Syrian military is very powerful and effective. Perhaps there are other, sectarian, explanations.

The first step toward figuring out what we can or should do – understanding the situation on the ground.

What we need to know are the following: is the opposition fighting together in a coordinated way? Who leads it? Does the Syrian National Council — the main exile opposition group – have any sway over these forces? Do the groups on the ground have any sectarian flavor? Are they largely Kurdish or Sunni? What is the role of the jihadi militant groups in the Syrian rebellion?

All this is not an argument for inaction – I’ve laid out a strategy to put intense pressure of the Assad regime earlier. But we need good information. And I’d say this applies not just to Western governments, but to the Western media as well.

Post by:
Topics: Media • Middle East • Syria

soundoff (334 Responses)
  1. Amir Ali

    Sir its some internal n some external why HRH assad killing peoples and why syrian army killing to innocent peoples of syria n why world silent on killings...

    July 18, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      The Syrians are dying because:
      1. Muslims are not doing anything except whining and selling arms to both sides.
      2. China and Russia have vetoed any attempt by the civilized world to help.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Reply
      • QQ

        Troll alert

        July 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • Patrick

        QQ – allah innik

        July 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
      • Eissa

        Patrick,
        Muslims and Arabs are not wining. They have condemned the Syrian regime and imposed sanctions on it. The only thing remaining for them is to militarily intervene, which would cause a war with Iran, who are not sunni Muslims (like the vast majority of Muslims around the world) or Arabs, and who would not permit such a thing. Iran supports Syria because it is ruled by a branch of Shia and pro Iran. For this reason we are helping the opposition without directly intervening.

        July 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
      • Patrick

        Eissa
        And you felt you had to explain this to me because?

        July 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
      • Eissa

        Ishaq:344 "I wonder at Allah's deed. None can defeat Him. Evil ever leads to death. We unsheathed our swords and testified to the unity of Allah, and we proved that His Apostle brought truth. We smote them and they scattered. The impious met death. They became fuel for Hell. All who aren't Muslims must go there. It will consume them while the Stoker [Allah] increases the heat. They had called Allah's Apostle a liar. They claimed, 'You are nothing but a sorcerer.' So Allah destroyed them."

        July 19, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Amir Ali

      The only innocent are Sunni. Allah will kill the rest of you non believers and your children and your cats and your dogs. Allahuakbar!

      July 19, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply
      • Amir Ali

        Bukhari:V4B52N137 "The Prophet said, 'Let the n*gro slave of Dinar perish. And if he is pierced with a thorn, let him not find anyone to take it out for him.... If he [the black slave] asks for anything it shall not be granted, and if he needs intercession [to get into paradise], his intercession will be denied.'"

        July 19, 2012 at 9:25 am |
      • TiredOfPaying

        Nice religion you got there. If only Hitler had been muslim he might have had enough cannon fodder to enact his Final Solution. Islam would have fit in nicely with his plans, except for the fact that he was trying to create a Master Race and eliminate undesireables like, well... you.

        I say 'go for it.' Please get your 'moderate muslims' to move to full endorsement of your horrid ideas and start your plan. That way the fence-sitters who don't realize that Islam is the greatest Evil ever to inflict itself on this planet will finally see Islam's true side and allow the rest of the world to erase this mistake called Mohammed from history.

        July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
      • DC Observer

        My dog is a Muslim. How do I know this? He poops with his ass pointed toward Mecca 3 times a day...

        July 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  2. Saie

    is the opposition fighting together in a coordinated way?
    most of them working as one body and they have only one target which is anything belongs to Bashar , their way of fighting is unique and tells us that they are working in a coordinated way , they established an assassination department , intelligence department and a protection department for helping the people ,and there is also the martyres unite which is specialized in sending individuals to blow themselves up with their targets , this unite is part of the free Syrian army , it's not as you said a speratted one made by the individuals themselves .
    Who leads it?
    unknown individuals but they are deserted lieutenants , they are very qualified in the military affairs and they gather together to put the plans where to direct all the forces .
    Does the Syrian National Council — the main exile opposition group – have any sway over these forces?
    no ,certainly, the leaders of the free Syrian army declared many times that the syrian national council is a lost game and it has nothing to do with them , and there is no any relationship between them and this syrian national council , and they disowned themselves from the heads of the syrian national council .
    Do the groups on the ground have any sectarian flavor?
    they are muslims and they declared it many times we are muslims whatever our sect is , whatever our nationality is and they welcome anyone wants to fight with them from any muslim state .
    Are they largely Kurdish or Sunni?
    muslims and this includes kurds
    What is the role of the jihadi militant groups in the Syrian rebellion?
    the free syrian army is a jihadi army .

    Their agenda is an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law and they are aware of what usa is doing in the ground and they know that america ordered the gulf governments to stop supporting them by weapons and money and they know that Anan's plan is just a trick to give Bashar time to halt their revolution .

    July 18, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Arun

      Do the groups on the ground have any sectarian flavor?
      - They cannot focus on Sectarian groups now. they might focus on that once they find a resolution on syria. They will deal with kurds and sunnis at a later date.

      Are they largely Kurdish or Sunni?
      – does not matter now, they will exterminate each other once this drama is over.

      What is the role of the jihadi militant groups in the Syrian rebellion?
      - All he left for his followers is Jihad. let it prevail all over arab world.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • smartA33

      Their agenda is an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law ?? Hezbollah leader just announced that the Syrian government is their only way of survival! he went on to commend the Syrian gov for their contribution of weapons and support to fight "the enemy" i.e. Israel. how do you describe Assad's state? the peaceful and democratic state?

      July 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  3. Jim

    And people wonder why we spend money on human, signal, communications, and other intelligence assets... or the CIA and NSA in general... Let me say this:

    It is for this very reason.

    Because when you have a properly funded intelligence apparatus, sending agents into areas to see what the lay of the land is, they give information back to us. This allows us to make the right calls, issue the right orders and shove other countries' noses in it (out of sight of public opinion... NOTE THAT WIKILEAKS) to get the world on board with the right course of action.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  4. oobo

    this could get as bad as america's civil war..

    July 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      The American Civil War was a very long time ago and the Americans have learned many lessons over it.
      It is doubtful that any muslim country will learn anything from all these violent deaths. The muslim countries will elect another assad and then complain that they are being taken for a ride. Round and round we go.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
      • the guy

        "the muslim countries will elect another assad..."

        Really Pat, "elect'? Now you're just embarrassing yourself.

        July 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
      • Osama

        Please send over George Bush and we will vote for him!

        July 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
      • Patrick

        Guy, you mean you anti democracy?

        July 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
      • Rob

        PAtrick is right. look what's going on in egypt. they ELECTED a muslim radical president.
        this won't bring any good to the world nor to egypt.

        July 19, 2012 at 2:16 am |
      • Will

        "PAtrick is right. look what's going on in egypt. they ELECTED a muslim radical president."

        Assad isn't a Muslim radical you doofus.

        July 19, 2012 at 11:17 am |
      • Will

        I am an illiterate and sometimes, even when I do understand, I lie (Thank be to Allah) and I pretend the other guy said something stupid.

        July 19, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • oobo

      Ishaq:341 "Allah favored His Apostle and humiliated the unbelievers. They were put to shame in captivity and death. The Apostle's victory was glorious. Its message is plain for all to see. The Lord brought repeated calamities upon the pagans, bringing them under the Apostle's power. Allah's angry army smote them with their trusty swords. Many a lusty youngster left the enemy lying prone. Their women wept with burning throats for the dead were lying everywhere. But now they are all in Hell."

      July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply
  5. econujjwol

    I wish china and russia support the rest of the super-powers in the security council. that would create tougher sanctions against bashar al assad's regime. learning from this post and others of yours, I assume the regime will collapse soon.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
  6. Bob

    Well written article. Our government should approach this entire situation with extreme caution. We may be aligning ourselves with future genocidal maniacs. If the Allowites lose they are finished as a people in Sryia. Perhaps in a few months or in a year we will see the wholesale slaughter of Allowites by Sunnis. To the authors point, nothing is what it seems.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  7. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Well done hindu ignorant west, falling in to their own death trap, plans of Osama's popular strategic planning at work's, only way to get rid of hindu Jew's, criminal self centered is to get rid of hindu terrorist camp labeled as Israel by hindu Jew's, criminal secular s of Persia and Egypt to hind ,fool humanity, by popular uprising and getting rid of so called governments in Muslim countries by hindu imperialist west. One way or the other ultimate target are hindu Jew's, criminal secular s and their hindu criminal bases in the west.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Mohd_chowd

      what did you say?

      July 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
    • Saurov

      i am a Hindu if you consider religion as important. it is a funny unintelligible statemnt. My nation suffered a lot from Islamic barbarism. Now they are killing each other. Islam a religion of peace – what a joke.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
      • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

        hinduism, absurdity is not a religion but hinduism, criminality of pot head hindu sanatans, filthy goons, word hindu is driven from Latin word hindrance, negativity, Hun, great, Han to be in greatness, hind, negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity, get some education, knowledge before spewing your hinduism, absurdity about Muslims and Islam hindu, ignorant.

        July 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • Patrick

        hinduism source of hindufilthyracism = Saeed = JAL

        July 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
      • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

        hinduism, negativism.

        July 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Will

      Wow, this guy's an unhinged lunatic.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • Fearless Freep

      Could you translate that into english ?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • tom

      Coo Coo!!

      July 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  8. Lee

    American people are no longer peacefull . Their multinational greed and war monger politician can destroy the world . Who helped you in your civil war ? Anyone ? Did you help all oppressed people ? But when you will be benefited , then American start shouting their stupid human rights and invade a country and steal their wealth . Let syrian take step . It is their business not yours .

    July 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • borbos

      I quite agree with you, Lee. Why do people from the West think that they should be involved in any conflict especially in the East? Is it not a job of diplomats to solve the conflicts in a peaceful way? Something is wrong with this world, it seems we all need to rethink our values. Why killing people in one country is ok (Kyrgyzstan) while in another (Syria) it is bad? When shall we get rid of double standards?

      July 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
      • Marine5484

        I couldn't agree with you more, borbos. As long as the right-wing fanatics remain in control of things, unfortunately, double standards will remain also!

        July 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
      • borbos

        Tabari VII:61 "When the Prophet had finished with his enemy, he gave orders that Abu Jahl should be found among the dead. He said, 'O Allah, do not let him escape!' The first man who encountered Abu Jahl yelled out and I made him my mark. When he was within my reach, I attacked him and struck him a blow which severed his foot and half his leg. By Allah, when it flew off I could only compare it to a date-stone which flies out of a crusher when it is struck. Then his son hit me on the shoulder and cut off my arm. It dangled at my side from a piece of skin. The fighting prevented me from reaching him after that. I fought the whole day, dragging my arm behind me. When it began to hurt me, I put my foot on it and stood until I pulled it off.'"

        July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Patrick

      Thank you, Lee. You said it all.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
      • Patrick

        You have advocated killing Americans and other civilized people on the name of Allah. That makes you a good Sunni
        What a barbaric culture Islam.

        July 19, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Patrick

      I mean you said all the stupid lies I could think of.
      Am I going Schysophrenic?
      What did I put in my hooka?

      July 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Reply
    • Lee

      Ishaq:315 "It was so criminal, men could hardly imagine it. Muhammad was ennobled because of the bloody fighting. I swear we shall never lack soldiers, nor army leaders. Driving before us infidels until we subdue them with a halter above their noses and a branding iron. We will drive them to the ends of the earth. We will pursue them on horse and on foot. We will never deviate from fighting in our cause. We will bring upon the infidels the fate of the Ad and Jurhum. Any people that disobey Muhammad will pay for it. If you do not surrender to Islam, then you will live to regret it. You will be shamed in Hell, forced to wear a garment of molten pitch forever!"

      July 19, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
    • TiredOfPaying

      My vote will go to the politicians who will ACTUALLY STEAL the land/resources/treasure of any country we invade from now on. I'm done supporting 'humanitarian actions' designed to 'liberate' countries and give them 'freedoms.' Next time, I want to see caravans of booty being dished out to Americans. You're 'lucky' that it is the US which destroys your pitiful armies... any other country would not spend its lives and treasure trying to rebuild a better country for you.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:26 am | Reply
      • Wastrel

        Got to agree with that. We should be pumping all the oil from Iraq and stockpiling it here in the US and selling the refined products cheap to US citizens, who are paying for the war. As for Afghanistan.... there's nothing there worth taking, so why are we there? We got bin Laden through intelligence sources and a raid. Our troops should come home, but all the Islamic countries will require supervision (heh) with drones until Islam reforms or is destroyed.

        July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am |
      • Wastrel

        Qur'an 33:69 "Believers, be not like those who annoyed Moses. Allah proved his innocence of that which they alleged." Bukhari:V4B55N616 "Allah's Apostle said, 'The Prophet Moses was a shy person and used to cover his body. An Israeli insulted him, saying, "He covers it because of some defect like leprosy or scrotal hernia." Allah wished to clear Moses of this allegation, so one day he took off his clothes, put them on a stone and started taking a bath. When he moved towards his clothes the stone took them and fled. Moses picked up his staff and ran after the stone saying, "O stone! Give me back my clothes!" He reached some Israelis who saw him naked, and found him to be the best of what Allah had created. The stone stopped there and Moses took his garments and started hitting the stone with his stick. By Allah, the stone still has some traces of the hitting, three, four or five marks. This was what Allah meant when he revealed the surah saying: "Believers! Be you not like those who annoyed Moses. Allah proved his innocence of that which they alleged."'"

        July 19, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • American Civil War and Contempary War....Very different

      The difference in America's Civil War vs. any contemporary civil war is the sheer disparity in weaponry. Artillery, helicopters and heavy weaponery vs. ak47s and grenades at best. You cannot compare the two without looking completel ignorant of modern warfare, standing armies and sectarian differences.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  9. Yang Xi Gua

    Bashar himself and his brother Maher both married Sunni women. The majority of Sunnis have no problem with the al Assad regime. It is the minority radical Sunnis who do. These men do not represent Sunnis in Syria and they are terrorists bent on violence and destruction. They would not win unless NATO is dragged into the war on their side.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • Yang Xi Gua

      Bukhari:V7B71N643 "I heard the Prophet saying, 'If anyone of you dreams something he dislikes, when you get up, blow thrice on your left.'"
      Bukhari:V9B87N115 "If you spit on the left side of your bed the bad dream will not harm you."

      July 19, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
  10. Lee

    And Zakaria brilliantly defended western media propaganda about Syria . Dear American your newsmedia is washing your brain about Syria . BBC news co editor has also confessed his sin .

    July 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • Lee

      Ishaq:301 "As the Muslims were laying their hands on as many prisoners as they could catch, the Prophet, saw disapproval in the face of Sa'd. He said, 'Why are you upset by the taking of captives?' Sa'd replied, 'This was the first defeat inflicted by Allah on the infidels. Slaughtering the prisoners would have been more pleasing to me than sparing them.'"

      July 19, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
      • Will

        Assad's the one who isn't religious, the people who are fighting against him are the Muslim extremists/al-queda types.

        Is your post meant to defend Assad?

        Anyway, judging by your name (named after "Robert E" I'm assuming) you're probably Southern evangelical trash, hence your anti-Muslim rant.

        July 19, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • Will

        Ishaq:565 "The Apostle sent Khalid to destroy the idol Al-Uzza in the lowland of Nakhlah. The Quraysh used to venerate her temple. When Sulami heard of Khalid's approach, he hung his sword on Al-Uzza, climbed a mountain, and shouted: 'O Uzza, make an annihilating attack on Khalid. Throw aside your veil and gird up your train. O Uzza, if you do not kill Khalid then bear a swift punishment or become a Christian.' When Khalid arrived he destroyed her and returned to the Apostle." Tabari VIII:187 "'I have destroyed it,' he said to Muhammad. 'Did you see anything?' 'No.' 'Then,' Muhammad said, 'go back and kill her.' So Khalid returned to the idol. He destroyed her temple and broke her graven image. The shrine's keeper began saying, 'Rage, O Uzza, display one of your fits of rage!' Whereupon a naked, wailing Ethiopian woman came out before him. Khalid killed her and took the jewels that were on her. Then he went back to Allah's Messenger and gave him a report. 'That was Al-Uzza,' Muhammad said. 'Al-Uzza will never be worshiped again.'"

        July 19, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  11. Malfean

    You're all arm-chair generals. I live in Beirut, so I see and have seen 1st hand what this guy has done and continues to do. And Lee? You are almost completely clueless. When you've lived in Beirut, among these people as I have since 1999, then you can talk to me about 'brainwashing', and propaganda.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  12. Rair

    I agree! We don't know enough about the rebels. For all we know, the rebels might be next osama and for all we know, worse than Al Assad. I think west and other countries around the world should just support Assad to help setup a fair election rather than supporting rebels. Afterall, with all these recent killings by the rebels, whats the difference between the rebels and Assad regime when both have each others blood on their hands ?

    July 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    It's obvious that this attack was an inside job as many in the Syrian government had started to defect! Good job! The coward thug and cold blooded murder Assad is next! Unfortunately the idiot didn't learn a thing from the faith of Ghadaffi who was too defiant and arrogant to relinquish power. And unfortunately, he didn't learn anything from Hosni Mubarak who heed the call from the international community and his own people to step down. Good riddence Assad! Too bad your pretty face western wife is goanna get herself all bloodied up too!

    July 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      I have no idea what is really going on but I will say something even if it makes me look like a total moron,

      July 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Reply
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Bukhari:V5B59N702 "Allah did not admonish anyone who had not participated in the Ghazwa [raid] of Badr, for in fact, Allah's Apostle had only gone out in search of the Quraysh caravan so that he could rob it. But Allah arranged for the Muslims and their enemy to meet by surprise. I was at the Aqaba pledge with Allah's Apostle when we gave our lives in submission, but the Badr battle is more popular amongst the people. I was never stronger or wealthier than I was when I followed the Prophet on a Ghazwa.'"

      July 19, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
  14. Firas

    I disagree with a point Mr. Fareed Zakaria mentioned comparing the current situation in Syria with the situation in Libya months ago. In Libya, there was a direct support from the NATO to the rebels, known for the world and it wasn't any kind if support, It was a powerful one to terminate a whole dictatorial regime. Talking about regimes, the Syrian regime is not better than the former Libyan, it's even worse. But in Syria, there isn't any direct and strong support from the west to the rebels. Actually, I would say that there is some support but it's hidden and indirect, due to the presence and influence of three big nations in the whole Syrian current situation, Russia, China and Iran. In addition, we can't say that the Syrian Free Army is less organised than the Libyan rebels, as there isn't any direct and on ground guidance from the west. Nevertheless, the Syrian official army is considered to be powerful. Therefore, without any direct and on ground support from the west to the Free Syrian Army, occupying regions in Syria would be a bit hard. Actually in my own opinion, if the Libyan rebels were not supported by NATO, I would say that terminating the former Libyan Regime would have been much harder or even impossible to do so.
    Finally, I hope there would be quick and strong support to the Syrian Free Army and I hope the whole situation will move on the road of a peaceful and democratic future for Syria.

    July 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Justin

      I respectfully disagree with you Firas. History does not support your position. The Bolsheviks not only held territory but were able to topple the Czar and win the Russian Civil War without any foreign support, with in fact 24 countries intervening directly (with troops) and supplying the Whites with weapons. The Iranians toppled the Shah without foreign support, and in the face of massive foreign support for loyalist/royalist forces. For the last two decades FARC in Colombia has been able to control territory without foreign support, even while the United States gives 10s to 100s of billions of dollars to their enemies inside and outside the Colombian government. People who advocate assist foreign powers in invading their countries and attempt to destabilize their countries with terrorist attacks to open the way for such invasions are more traditionally called traitors or 5th columnists. I assure that such actions are as illegal in Western liberal states as anywhere in the Middle East. Real revolutionaries can win without foreign support; they do have trouble winning without popular support though. The evidence in Syria is that Al-Assad has more support than the "rebels" and if you doubt this I encourage you to look into the poll from the Qatar foundation (enemies of Bashar Al-Assad) conducted about a year into this ongoing conflict.

      July 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Reply
      • steve jones

        the bolsheviks were disproportionately Jewish.

        July 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • steve jones

        Did you know that I wear my wife's underwear on my head.
        It is so refreshing to share!

        July 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
      • steve jones

        Ishaq:289 "Muhammad summoned the Muslims and said, 'This is the Quraysh caravan containing their property. Go out and attack it. Perhaps Allah will give it to us as prey."

        July 19, 2012 at 9:44 am |
      • Basket2012

        @ Justin well said.

        July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
      • Basket2012

        I am gay.I like you Justin. Do you like me?

        July 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  15. Justin

    This article interesting because it highlights several moral and legal problems involved in the Syrian uprising. For example, the Geneva conventions only apply to internal armed conflicts to protect groups and that do control territory, have a unified chain of command, have a specified military policy for their soldiers and a judicial process for trying there own soldiers who violate this policy. Furthermore, in order for soldiers to be protected they must be in a group that fulfills these criteria and in addition they must be uniformed. Spies, and saboteurs are not protected by the Geneva conventions; neither are "armed riots" (the conventions words). To the extent that these criteria are not met the Geneva convention actually give countries the right to kill as many of their own people or neutral people as they like (but not peoples of countries that they are at war with). If anyone doubts this I encourage you to read the Geneva conventions; they are at available online (the ICRC website has them). Rather than crying about human rights abuses and war crimes that are not substanitiated, I'd rather see our media (including CNN) actually explains were and when and how they think the conventions have been violated (specifically). Likewise, I'd like them to address polls (such as one a few months ago by the Qatar foundation) that show that Bashar Al-Assad with greater public support than the opposition. Communist insurgents might be able to claim moral superiority without majority public support, but how do pro-democracy insurgents?

    July 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  16. Marine5484

    Well said, saeed. You're one of the few people here who know right from wrong while the majority of others seem to have been brainwashed by this government! In the long run, ignorance is what will bring this country to it's very knees!

    July 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Who is ignorant?
      Fareed, the rebel Free Syrian Army seems to benefit from the expertise of Assad's defected forces and make significant progress lately. True, it's confusing that both the FSA and a jihadist group calling itself Lord of the Martyrs Brigade claimed to be behind the security headquarters bombing. The operation – Damascus Volcano – a final battle for the capital. is a zero-sum game, with a winner-take-all outcome. The question is no longer "if" Assad will be ousted, but "when". Indeed more surprises may lie ahead of us.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Americans are stupid and will be brought to their knees. One day they will beg for Allah's help. Allahuakbarh!

      July 19, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
    • Marine5484

      Qur'an:33:9 "O ye who believe! Remember the Grace of Allah, on you, when there came down an army. But We sent against them a hurricane and forces that ye saw not. Behold! They came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, stupefied with terror, and ye imagined various vain thoughts about Allah!"

      July 19, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
    • ActionJackson

      troll much?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • Chris Honry

      You guys are laughable. The American gubmint will do the same to you and your family if you resist with arms- you will be brutally attacked and most likely killed. Just try to rebel here and see what happens. Bunch of hypocrite American idiots preaching revolution in other countries when they talk Democracy, but you won't risk your life doing it here, will you cowards?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Wes

      My son was a Marine for 12 years, so whoever you are, dude, you are no Marine–you are an idiot!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • sd

      I think its clear Allah is on America's side. Just look at our country. Happy, safe, 1st world, best medicine, best lifestyles and freedom. Thank you Allah.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • Dr Dr..

      at Marine5484

      Were do you get your information? plus I don't care about your Koran, the only good used would be toilet paper and that provably would be a bit uncomfortable, don't take wrong I don't like the bible thumpers either..

      July 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
    • ActionJackson

      Spea:
      Bukhari:V1B4N156 "The Prophet said, 'Whenever anyone makes water he should not hold his penis or clean his private parts with his right hand. While drinking, one should not breathe in the utensil.'"
      Bukhari:V1B4N163 "The Prophet said, 'Whoever cleans his private parts with stones should do it with an odd number of stones. And whoever wakes up should wash his hands before putting them in the water for ablution. Nobody knows where his hands were during sleep.'"
      of stupidity

      July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • Nodack

      Nice article Fareed. I agree, we don't know much about who's doing what in Syria.

      All religions are man made cults. All of them. I don't care what your books say. Love thy brother, but if he makes you angry kill him in the name of God. Do this and you will go to heaven and where everything is perfect. Did I sum up all the books pretty well?

      July 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  17. Patrick-2

    I'd like to know just how many of these weak minded people here have ever read the Coran. That appears to be very few indeed. By all this Muslim bashing here, these people are only spewing their own ignorance over Islam.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • Saurov

      And how many Muslims do u think have properly read and really applies of Islam?

      July 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • Patrick-2

      As you all know I am weak-minded and I have a hard time understanding things.
      I will ask my best friend Saeed, he is much smarter than me.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
      • Patrick-2

        Hello, Phunnie boy. I was wondering when you were going to get around to this. You already usurped my original name, Patrick and now my new screen name. Have you noticed there is another Patrick posting on this web page? That wouldn't be you, Phunnie boy or would it?

        July 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
      • QQ

        What's going on buddy. Are you alright?

        July 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Patrick-2

      Tabari IX:69 "He who believes in Allah and His Messenger has protected his life and possessions from us. As for those who disbelieve, we will fight them forever in the Cause of Allah. Killing them is a small matter to us."

      July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • truthordare7

      Are you muslims this stupid to recommend people reading your nonsensical hate mongering book? It is a disgusting bigoted book filled with hatred for people with different points of view. Maybe more educated muslims should actually read it instead of cherry picking verses they like and think critically whether they actually want a murderer and a pedophile as a role model in the 21st century.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  18. rosie

    "What we need to know". Who gives a crap. "We" don't "need" to "know" anything since we cannot do a damn thing about any of it. Besides, what does CNN know anyway????

    July 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    • Patrick-2

      ignorance is bliss.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Reply
      • Killer O'Bama

        Let's hope that's true, Phunnie boy. Ignorance is what's going to get me reelected if Mitt Romney doesn't use it too much to his advantage next November.

        July 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
      • Killer O'Bama

        What am I saying, I AM IGNORANT. It's me that is IGNORANT.

        July 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
      • Killer O'Bama

        Qur'an:33:60 "Truly, if the Hypocrites stir up sedition, if the agitators in the City do not desist, We shall urge you to go against them and set you over them. Then they will not be able to stay as your neighbors for any length of time. They shall have a curse on them. Whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain without mercy – a fierce slaughter – murdered, a horrible murdering."

        July 19, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Patrick-2

      The one thing CNN does know rosie, is how to spread right-wing propaganda like the rest of the right-wing news media!

      July 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
      • Patrick-2

        or is it left-wing?
        Is there a centre-wing?
        ahahahahahaha...

        July 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • rosie

      Bukhari:V4B52N256 "The Prophet passed by and was asked whether it was permissible to attack infidels at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, 'Their women and children are from them.'

      July 19, 2012 at 9:38 am | Reply
  19. american orthodox christian

    Zakaria, you are a blood thirsty person. The truth always matters. If we falsely report on Syria, the blood of innocents will be on us...

    "Back in February, a Christian priest in Homs shared of how dire the situation was getting in the city.

    “The armed Islamist Opposition in Syria has murdered more than 200 Christians in the city of Homs, including entire families with young children. These Islamic gangs kidnapped Christians and demanded high ransoms. In two cases, after the ransoms were paid, the men’s bodies were found,” Barnabas Aid, a charity organisation helping persecuted Christians around the world quoted him as saying.

    “Christians are being forced to flee the city to the safety of government controlled areas. Muslim rebel fighters and their families are taking over their homes. We need your prayers and we need them urgently,” he added. "

    http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/54917.htm

    The New York Times reported that the "massacre" last week was NOT a massacre but a battle and that the Opposition purposefully LIED and falsified information....CNN did NOT report on this. WHY?

    There have been rebel suicide bombers, snipers, IEDS, etc in Syria for a while now. Iraq has claimed that Al-Qaeda is moving into Syria from its border with Iraq – the AP reported this. Why has CNN NOT reported this? Why has CNN reported a ONE sided story? Why? Do we all not realize that our actions carry consequences for ourselves and others? Do we not realize that if we falsely portray events we are guilty of falsehood? In the end, which side do you want to be on? The side of falsehood, or the side of truth? As much as is possible, portray both sides, report on the atrocities of both sides…Do not take sides, but report with as much non-biasness as possible…verify your facts, if something cannot be verified, don’t report it. All falsehood leads to death, all truth leads to life, if not in this life, then the next. Purposefully giving a one sided story is akin to propaganda and no better than government controlled news. I am sorry to see my favorite news outlet stooping to that. I am really disappointed in cnn. I thought it was better than one sided stories…

    July 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • You need to also calm yourselves

      If you think this is all true, then why are ALL foreign media banned from the country. The bashar regime has been proven liars. They certainly have massacred their own people. Whether the FSA has done the same to Christians, i wont say they havent. But until SYRIA's government opens up for transparency, then what do you expect CNN to do? You have no journalistic evidence, you are spreading rumors.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Reply
      • american orthodox christian

        No, the ones spreading rumors are the ones who only take one side of the story and do not verify their facts. CNN could have displayed an article about how the opposition lied about a massacre last week like the NYTimes did. They could have worked with the AP on their coverage about how the Iraqi government has evidence that Al-Qaeda is entering Syria through Iraq. They could have taken a non-biased side, but instead it has been one sided, facts have been concealed. The opposition's side is taken as truth, while the government media of Syria is taken as always false and anything that puts the rebels in a bad light is left out. Opposition leaders say such and such is going on and this cannot be verified. You tell me I am spreading rumors when I quote Christians who have said such and such? Why? Why does the opposition, which is heavily biased towards their cause and has been shown by the NYTimes and other media to twist the facts in their favor – why do they have more reliability than simple people on the ground who don't want war but peace?

        Anyone who supports the opposition wants more war and bloodshed. Simple as that. Anyone who is for peace doesn't support any side, doesn't give a one-sided story. Suicide bombings? Snipers (CNN has video on them!)? Foriegn fighters from Turkey and Lybia? Reports of Al-Qaeda? Bahrain, which crushed its "Abrab Spring" is against Syria. Saudi Arabia? Qatar? Jordan? Turkey? These countries are not democracies or true democracies. These countries suppress their people as well. It is all hypocritical. It is all about politics and personal gain and little about freedoms. Here's a photo for you:

        http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/54762.htm

        The rebels have committed attrocities. The Syrian government has committed attrocities. They have all committed attrocities. Stop giving a one sided story. Verify your facts. CNN took the word of the opposition that a massacre happened last week. The UN went in and reported that it was not a massacre. Where is this story on cnn?

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/world/middleeast/details-of-a-battle-challenge-reports-of-a-syrian-massacre.html?pagewanted=all

        NYTimes has it. Other news agencies have it. Verify your facts before you spread "rumors." Do not trust one sided stories.

        July 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • american orthodox christian

        Further, not all foreign media is banned:

        http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/hostile-territory/1863

        Verify your facts.

        July 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • IsPeaceADream

      Sorry, but Zakaria is making assumptions about all Americans. My heart is NOT with the rebels. The FSA has blood on their hands too. We are bullies to any country that doesn't kiss our ass. It's always our way or the highway which is wrong. We also love to meddle where it isn't our business and risk the lives of innocent civilians as well as the lives of our soldiers. Let's be clear here – we only get involved when it's in our "national interest" (oil or nukes). Jeez, we are the ONLY country who's citizens can't travel freely to Cuba unless you qualify to get a "special permit"of their political disposition. I find it disconcerning that our president condemmed the terrorist attack in Bulgaria but kept his mouth closed on the terrorist attack of govt employees of a SOVEREIGN nation. Until both sides put down their weapons and start a real dialogue for change and elections the killing will continue. Sorry, but I don't see the FSA putting down their guns now that they've had a taste of blood and glory. With todays veto by Russia and China it is clear that a proposal that isn't one-sided is necessary. Be careful what you wish for. Syria isn't our business and we need to stay out.

      July 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  20. gcnickum

    There is no excuse for the US government not knowing most of what you are asking, although it is admittedly hard for theh media to know some of this. However, we know enough to get off our rear end and help the rebels. There is no excuse for not providing weapons and perhaps a no-fly zone. These rebels demonstrated on the streets of Syria for months in a non-violent way for a democratic and free government and accepted numerous casualties from snipers and other government murderers. The death toll is horrendous and they haven't given up. What more proof do we need of their intentions? Also, even if a less than perfect government is eventually formed by them, how can it be any worse than the thugs in power now. We sit on the sidelines because we don't want to "make things worse". How can we make it worse? It is a full scale civil war and has been for a long time. We can make things better by helping the good guys win rather than watch another few years of stalemate and slaughter. The rebels aren't going away and every death they suffer makes them more determined. The regime will only go by force not by the diplomatic farce that is currently being played out by the US, UN, etc. We need to stop making excuses and help.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • gcnickum

      Dear allah, I am so stupid, ignorant and a total bigot.
      It is so liberating to get it out.

      July 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    • gcnickum

      Qur'an:59:2 "It was Allah who drove the [Jewish] People of the Book from their homes and into exile. They refused to believe and imagined that their strongholds would protect them against Allah. But Allah came at them from where they did not suspect, and filled their hearts with terror. Their homes were destroyed. So learn a lesson, O men who have eyes. This is My warning...they shall taste the torment of Fire."

      July 19, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
  21. asdf

    Keep believing that and when Russia loses one of it most valuable bases outside its country because the new regime will want nothing to do with it we can talk about winners and loser. The fact is simply Russia has a heck of lot more to lose than we have to gain in Syria.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  22. Paul

    What credibility does your opinion have if you can't even construct a proper sentence?

    July 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • kj5721

      Is that the best you can do? Challenge the validity of his argument based on his grammar? LOL. It's your argument that holds no water

      July 18, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Reply
    • Wes

      I like good grammar, too, but I know a lot of loggers who speak a brand of English few educated people wouldn't cringe at hearing; however, these same people come up with the smartest inventions imaginable. It is short-sighted to judge someone on wow well they write.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • DJS

      Paul done got told!

      July 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • sad

      some of the dumbest things have been said in well-constructed sentences

      July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
    • ass9

      I D I O T

      December 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  23. Richard Diamond

    Assad's regime is murderous, especially toward the Sunni part of Islam,. That being said, "Be careful what you wish for." There will probably be even more slaughter of innocents when the regime falls and the Sunnis take revenge for the atrocities of the past 30 years or so.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Richard Diamond

      In the end all non believers will die in the name of Allah.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
    • Richard Diamond

      haq:348 "They retreated in all directions. They rejected the Qur'an:and called Muhammad a liar. But Allah cursed them to make his religion and Apostle victorious. They lay still in death. Their throats were severed. Their foreheads embraced the dust. Their nostrils were defiled with filth. Many a noble, generous man we slew this day. We left them as meat for the hyenas. And later, they shall burn in the fires of Hell."

      July 19, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • Dr Dr..

      exactly... these people will keep kiling eachother. I heard a Sunni and all I could get from him is that if they win they will kill al on the other side including children.. bunch of animals..

      July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  24. Richard Diamond

    What we know is this. The Middle East (a marvelous British term) is a very dangerous place. In the 1980s, the Phalange Movement (a Christian movement in Lebanon) with the aid of General Sharon and the Israeli Army, slaughtered old men, women and children in two refugee camps in Lebanon. Actually, the incident that led up to this was the killing of an Israeli official in France. Problem was, it was the Black Sept. group, not the PLO. That didn't make much difference to the Phalangists. "Arab Spring" has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Military is still in control. The "freedom activists" of Egypt are out of the picture. Al Queda and the Muslim Brotherhood along with our buddies Saudi Arabia and the Wahabis are in the mix in Syria. AP reports that UAE is building an atomic facility for peaceful purposes. Of course they are not building in underground and it is open to inspection, but remember that the UAE are our friends and Saudi Arabia's and of course are SUNNI. Iraq, well is Iraq. More violent than ever. Things haven't changed much since 1920. Hezbollah, a Shi'ia group is THE power in Lebanon and with a Sunni win in Syria, there could be a spill over into Lebanon. The Christians in Syria are protected by the Alawites and if Assad goes, so might the Christians. That's a bad neighborhood.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Richard Diamond

      Qur’an 8:17, “It is not you who slew them; it was Allah who killed them. … in other words: If a Muslim kills unbelievers, he doesn’t have to feel guilty, because it was allah who killed for him.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  25. doabitofhomework

    "Naturally," our hearts are with the rebels?

    Excuse me? They're using suicide bombers. What does THAT say about those "noble rebels"? And who is Mr. Z., himself a Muslim, to tell US what is (should be) in our hearts? He's trying to mold our opinions HIS way.

    Guess what, Mr. Z? My heart is with NONE of them. And it's not because I am callous, because I am extremely empathic, and because I'm a liberal, I also do my homework. But I'm also nobody's fool. BOTH sides are brutal. If you don't know that much, Mr. Z., at least the rest of us do (I hope!). But considering that you are a Muslim, it's unlikely that you know less than we infidels do. I guess your own sect of Islam opposes the Alawites. You want us to cheer for the ones you side with most. Your "job" is to appear as objective as possible, for the Western infidel media, while gently pushing our minds (and hearts) in the direction of the sect YOU favor.

    At least you admit the one thing that people care little about: that we know next to NOTHING about the facts surrounding this violence. Our people tend to be lazy intellectually, and you know how to use this against us. But not ALL of us are that way.

    It's hard to deny that there is heavy violence going on. But the who, when, how and why of it, for both sides, is unknown to us. It's all second-hand stuff, and utterly unreliable. Maybe you know more about it, Mr. Z., since you are definitely rooting for the rebels.

    I have this notion that I will NOT root for a side of a fight which is utilizing suicide bombers. That puts a kind of Islamic signature on the whole fracas. Yet, in your article, you back FAR away from that factoid.

    There's probably a big factor of "whose ox is being gored" here, but the biggest factor is that it is a sectarian HOLY WAR. And, as a Muslim, Mr. Z., you ought to know that better than we do.

    The Libyan rebels took cities, true, but their victory depended utterly on the help they got from NATO. The rebels in Syria launched their own rebellion, and were probably relying on getting the same help from NATO that Libya did. They didn't.

    And I hope they don't get it. The free world has no business supporting any side of an Islamic holy war. We got fooled in Libya. The "Arab Spring" told us they "yearned" for democracy, yet look at the new Islamic States they created. Enough is enough. We shouldn't let them – or you, Mr. Z. – fool us yet again.

    Despite the fact that Assad is a Muslim (but a Shi'ite-leaning Alawite), he did NOT make Syria an Islamic State. He let it remain a secular one. Unthinkable, to most Muslims of the world.

    The "Arab Spring" is nothing more than a group whose objective is to remove sectarian governments from nations with large populations of Muslims, and turn them into Islamic States. Which they have DONE, several times, already. It stuns me that we in the West can still think of them as benign and noble. Well, the oil, you see...

    We embraced the Arab Spring, and now we seem unable to admit our error and "un-embrace" them; instead, we cling more tightly. And that's as stupid as it can get. In roughly two years, we've seen them create a whole bouquet of new Islamic States. Benign? Democratic? People who love liberty and rights? In a pig's eye. In Libya, they're trying to convince us, somehow, that they are establishing an Islamic State, complete with Shari'a – and yet it will be benign to non-Muslims, upholding rights, liberties and democracy. Ahem? THEY know, even though we deny it, that democracy and Islam are the "inside-out" of one another. Don't expect them (or Mr. Z.) to enlighten us to that fact.

    Islam and democracy (the real thing, not a veneer) do NOT MIX.

    BOTH sides here are Muslims, of one stripe or another, and they are slaughtering one another over which stripe shall be supreme over all others. That "baby killing" stuff may or may not have been real, but it WAS used to push OUR buttons and get us to leap into the fray on the rebels' side. But the truth is that neither side here is above killing babies to gain its ends.

    When people butcher people in the name of their "god," I owe them and their faith precisely ZERO tolerance or respect.

    Though it is impossible, of course, I could wish for both sides to LOSE. And I fear greatly for anyone in these rebel-infested nations who is NOT a Muslim. Muslims no sooner get their way than the non-Muslims begin experiencing harassment, and, very likely, much worse. It is only the non-Muslims who deserve any of our compassion here. I shudder to think what they're going through. THAT is where my compassion lies.

    And, as a scholar of Islam for many years, I see no end at all to any of this. The ultimate goal of ALL Muslims, of any stripe, is to conquer the whole world – and by ANY means. That includes getting Muslims into our governments and media to help spread the propaganda. That propaganda uses OUR best attributes, like religious tolerance, in order to work their way toward the day when they will conquer us totally. That "peace and tolerance" stuff cannot be found in any of their holy books, EXCEPT as it applies to Muslims. Only to Muslims. For us non-Muslims, there ARE NO RULES, and it's time we realized this.

    But I don't think Mr. Z. is going to come clean about that. He's at CNN to "mold" our opinions of Muslims to his own preferences. I can see, fortunately, that with some of us, he is NOT successful.

    What we really DO need to know about Syria is that it is yet another major step along the path to total Islamic conquest of the world. Including US. The conquest has already begun, and we're too ignorant and stupid to see it going on right in front of our own eyes. Which means, of course, that their strategies work beautifully with us. The Muslims WILL win.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  26. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Saurov
    i am a Hindu if you consider religion as important. it is a funny unintelligible statemnt. My nation suffered a lot from Islamic barbarism. Now they are killing each other. Islam a religion of peace – what a joke.

    July 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Reply
    hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.
    hinduism, absurdity is not a religion but hinduism, criminality of pot head hindu sanatans, filthy goons, word hindu is driven from Latin word hindrance, negativity, Hun, great, Han to be in greatness, hind, negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity, get some education, knowledge before spewing your hinduism, absurdity about Muslims and Islam hindu, ignorant.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Richard Diamond

      there are a lot of Muslims who don’t know what is written in the Quran and who don’t visit the mosques. But they are strongly influenced on a cultural level. And there we see that especially anger is much more accepted in the Muslim culture.
      One example: in Western culture and also in other non-Muslim cultures, like in Asia, you see aggression and a sudden explosion of anger as something you’ll regret afterwards, something you are ashamed of. It is completely opposite in the Muslim culture. If somebody steps on your honor – what I as a psychologist would call self confidence – you are simply expected to show aggression and often also verbal or physical revenge. So, aggression gives you a low status in our cultures, but a high status in the Muslim culture.
      There is however another and much deeper reason for the wide spread anti-social behavior in Muslim communities and their strong aversion against integration – namely, the very strong identification that Muslims have with belonging to the Muslim culture.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  27. gazza

    Your heart might be with the AlQaeda backed rebels and terrorists but rational people understand this is part of an attempt by the Sunni dictatorships and US to weaken Iran. If Syria falls the warmongers will move to the next domino.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • gazza

      and by rational people, I mean muslims.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Reply
      • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

        hinduism, colonization once again. Gang of hindu criminal Jew's deniers of truth at work to make humanity their gentile, slave.,

        July 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
      • tom

        ah, the rational bus bombers, underwear bombers, shoe bombers, well poisoners, acid throwers, airplane hi jacking , hookah smoking, rocket launching people. those rational people. now we know who the rational people are, tx!

        July 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Leave a Reply to Patrick-2


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.