Syrian prime minister defects to opposition, accusing Assad of genocide


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What's Putin and Hu going to do about this?

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So... has he really defected or has he been kidnapped and now been killed as the "rebels" often do with their prisoners?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I heard he was offered a bazillion gazillion dollars.

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Bless his heart! I hope peace one day can smile upon their country!!

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After what happened in Libya, I think he finally realized that standing next to Assad now would have been as smart as standing next to Gadafi. The tide is going to turn, and he knows it. Sorry, but I am not buying the story about suddenly growing a heart. This is self-preservation. He can take up Rudolph Hess's old cell at Spandau Prison, and unlike poor Mr. Hess, this defector would actually deserve it!

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"I heard he was offered a bazillion gazillion dollars."

Behind the times aren't we?

Blackwater, at the behest of the PNAC, have been planning this coup for years.

The real Riad Hijab was briefly kidnapped for 6 hours by the CIA in Qunaytira in 2008 where notably DNA, fingerprints and retina scans (amongst other tests) were performed in advance to prepare for the actual body-swap with NATO's clone, the day before he was appointed minister of agriculture on 14 April 2011.

This isn't even a defection, he was under suspicion and fled as troops loyal to President Assad were on their way to arrest him.

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What a clown, he ran and didn't do a thing. How about putting a bullet in the back of Assads head and maybe making a difference. Spare us this crap f his great escape.

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has he really defected or has he been kidnapped and now been killed as the "rebels" often do with their prisoners?

??? The article says he is in Jordan. Did you read the article by any chance. Oh, Chuck, by the way, whatever happened to your claims of the rebels being about to use supposed nerve gas that you wrote about on July 17th? Perhaps the rebels read your post here on JT and decided against using it?

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Chuck, never mind, it seems Madverts has solved the question of the Syrian prime minister. So, now you can focus on explaining whatever happened to that supposed nerve gas.

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But I think it will be a Gaddafi-style end for Assad.....

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He was appointed as a token Sunni in an attempt to put together a semblance of reform.

It has been noted in some media outlets that Kofi Annan's efforts failed because the countries supporting the rebels continued to supply them arms and fight rather than to seek a political settlement.

The fact is that except for the USA and the UK, all of those countries are Sunni countries.

The 46-year-old Hijab was only appointed on June 6 following a widely boycotted May 7 parliamentary election that was hailed as a centrepiece of reform by the Assad regime but dismissed as a farce by Arab and Western governments.

Hijab was one of the leading Sunni Muslims in President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite-dominated regime.

He accused his former master of carrying out a "genocide" against his own people...

The descent into sectarian war has also been noted in various media outlets, and this talk of genocide is an expression of that, because the rebels are primarily Sunni, and the people fleeing the fighting are Sunnis fleeing to Sunni countries.

It is clear that Assad's "own people" are not the Sunnis that are trying to force the downfall of his "Alawite-dominated regime".

In that light, the "defectors" comment is an attempt to gloss over the sectarian aspect of the conflict, which boils down to Sunni vs Shia. And there is a concurrent news article in which the rebels holding Iranians hostage say that three of the hostages just died in a government attack on the house they were being held in, and that the remaining hostages would be executed if the government attacks didn't stop in so many hours.

I have a hypothetical question. What happens if Assad wins? It seems fairly likely that the Syrian army will take Aleppo within the next few days.

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"It seems fairly likely that the Syrian army will take Aleppo within the next few days."

Does it? I could only believe that if I was listening to Comical Ali on Assad FM.

I think the expression "shit or bust" best describes the massing of the Dictator's army at Aleppo. Assad is going to throw all he's got at the rebels, only they are going to use guerilla tactics which stacks the advantage to their side, despite being out-gunned, out-manned etc.

"I have a hypothetical question. What happens if Assad wins?"

He can only win by an absolute bloodbath, possibly by using chemical weapons. Today's defection shows even a senior cabinet minister has seen the writing on the wall for the Assad regime.

Ben is right - Assad will hang on to the bitter end like Gadaffi and all those other tin-pot dictators before them, and probably meet the same fate. Let's face it, after shelling fellow Syrians for protesting against the Assad dynasty - he deserves it, barbaric as it may seem.

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I'm not so sure that a blood bath would be necessary, as there have been reports of locals in Aleppo that have been highly critical of the rebels.

People should bear in mind that this Assad is a medical doctor that was educated in London. He is not a megalomaniac or a religious fundamentalist. In fact, the Alawite sect to which his family belongs have a somewhat syncretic tradition, from what I can gather from Wikipedia, perhaps incorporating some Christian elements. They keep some of their teachings secret, perhaps out of fear of being called infidels by more fundamentalist sects of Islam. Look at what they are doing to the Sufi shrines in Timbuktu...

The rebels, on the other hand, are often heard ending their statements with "God willing", as quoted in the English press. And they have already used suicide bombings.

after shelling fellow Syrians for protesting against the Assad dynasty

That is why the above statement seems to be overlooking the increasingly distinct sectarian character of this conflict.

And the fact that Bahrain has brutally suppressed protests by its Shia majority population is noteworthy.

And that fact that Western countries have largely been supportive of Bahrain, with only limited verbal support for the rights of the protesters, also indicates a bias. That lends support to the claims heard in some media outlets about geopolitical machinations of the countries arming the rebels.

As far as geopolitical concerns go, I personally am concerned with containing religious fundamentalists of all creeds, as they are prone to coming into conflict with people of other faiths and of destroying the cultural heritage that has been passed down to us through the ages.

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It also came as a bomb blast rocked Syrian state television headquarters in the heart of Damascus,

That's civilian target and constitutes terrorism.

As for the PM, the guy is a sellout, he's been offered a comfortable life and now he can retire on NATO's tab.

He's comments are nothing more than talking points handed to him by this NATO handlers, talking points meant for consumption by the masses.

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Bad day, NeverSubmit? Enjoying the show?

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I think it will be a Gaddafi-style end for Assad.....

Possibly, but a Castro-style end seems more likely ; )

I agree the "defector" is a sell out.

From ubikwit's quotes, it seems external forces are preventing Assad from carrying out reforms. It seems the power-that-be wants Assad out no matter what he does. Is it because he has grown Syria's economy while rejecting the debt-based banking system.that is ruining the rest of the world?

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Is it because he has grown Syria's economy while rejecting the debt-based banking system.that is ruining the rest of the world?

Nah, the mass murder is probably sufficient.

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Does anyone care to explain away the likelihood that the Syrian government's greatest foreign adversary now is neither the US or Saudi Arabia, but Turkey? A country they, until very recently, enjoyed good relations with, and who's leader, Erdogan, used to be a friend of, and vacation with, the Assads? And who's military is now reported to be training elements of the FSA?

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Good question regarding Turkey and Syria. I think that Hillary put to the screws to the Turkish leadership and forced them to turn on their former friends. Because of this, Turkey lost a lot of credibility in the region and is increasingly being viewed as Washington's lapdog in the region.

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Yeah, external pressure certainly had something to do with this. But I think another key factor might be the Syria-Iraq-Iran pipeline deal signed about a year ago, which may compete against the Turkey-Israel pipeline.

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here's an article with accounts from some locals in Aleppo that are not favorable to the opposition.

it seems increasingly untenable to try and portray this as conflict simply as a "popular uprising".

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@Iso Poika

Thanks for pointing out the finance sector and other economics points in relation to this struggle.

I have not seen the media bringing those to light--perhaps unsurprisingly.

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We can say Assad is evil, but do we really want ALQAEDA all over Syria??

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I wonder where the rebels get their weapons and co-ordination from? Seems the Libya conflict is sponsored by other major powers all at the expence of ordinary human beings. Whichever the regime, Assad or Obama, pls think about the people!

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Turkey is "increasingly being viewed as Washington's lapdog in the region"?

Is that the same Turkey that told G.W. Bush to shove it when he wanted to attack from Turkey into northern Iraq with the US 4th Infantry Division in 2003?

The same Turkey that has a populist Islamic government, and where a large majority of the population has a negative opinion of the US and Americans?

Hillary "put to the screws" to that Turkey?

No, I don't think so. I don't trust what comes out of the US. And certainly not Saudi Arabia or Qatar. But if the Turks have turned 180 against Assad, I figure they must know what the real score is.

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In reference to your earlier post, it would seem that there are several factors weighing on Turkey. The first I would imagine to be the Kurdish population in Syria, about whom they have repeatedly voiced their concerns. The second is the flow of refugees into their territory. Where are all of the Sunni opposition members going to go if Assad wins a clear victory?

In reference to you last post, I don't know whether Turkey knows what the real score is, but they have a good idea of what their interests might be. I've seen a report about a member of the Turkish parliament complaining about pro-opposition foreign intelligence operatives working out of Turkey in the province of Hatay on the border with Syria.

The legislator of the Republican People's Party, Refik Er-Yilmaz, said that thousands of CIA and Mossad agents are currently in the province and are moving freely in the area, Turkish media reported.

Even if that is exaggerated (thousands sounds exaggerated), the fact that Clinton visited Turkey and that Turkey seems to be on the band wagon of what has become the Sunni vs everybody else opposition, it's possible that the USA administration is applying pressure.

The conflict has become very one-sided in a way that is only now being acknowledged, and that is that it has become a conflict between a sectarian Sunni majority militia against Assad's minority Alawite-based regime, with the Christians and Kurds refusing to join with the Sunnis.

The Alawaites Christians and Kurds are all minorities whose collective numbers amount to almost half of the population, if I'm not mistaken. Obviously not all of the Sunnis in Syria are with the opposition, but if the outcome is a clear victory for the regime, even after democratic reforms are implemented, it's not going to be a form of government that is tolerant of Sunni machinations to monopolize power, so there will probably be some stringent measures put in place to protect minorities.

What do you think the Turks might see in that?

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