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Syria moves towards resolving its ‘Kurdish problem’

April 1st, 2011 · 32 Comments · Politics

One of the most embarrassing things about Syria has been the pre-Baath denial of rights to Kurdish citizens. But that could be about to change in a very quiet announcement that’s just been made.

In 1962, the ‘Hasaka Survey’ was carried out, named after one of the country’s main Kurdish population centres. In that census, 120,000 Kurds were shamefully registered as ‘foreigners‘. They have identity cards (with the word ‘foreigner’ written on it) but they and their decedents have been treated like second-class citizens.

Now, the government is ‘looking into’ giving them equal rights. It is the subject of one of three committees, but only two had been made public until today: the investigation the ‘incidents’ in Daraa and Lattakia, and the committee ‘looking into’ revoking the emergency law.

It is easy to dismiss this as a weak promise of reform (I have been the quickest to do exactly that, in the wake of Wednesday’s speech). But this is the way Syria works. The President doesn’t believe he can be seen to make concessions to the protestors. Instead, he delegates the reforms he would like to make to ‘committees’.

The key thing is that these three committees have very very short deadlines. Within two to three weeks they will have made their decision. And I am willing to bet that by the end of April, the emergency law will have been revoked, and the Kurds will have full rights.

Syria has a history of making quick decisions that end up saving the regime…as Robin Yassin-Kassab says, in the first of today’s must-read articles…

Dinosaur in Denial, Robin Yassin-Kassab

Mixed in with the brutality, the Syrian regime has often proved itself highly adaptable to changing circumstances. But not during yesterday’s speech. Bashaar missed his (already very belated) historical moment, revealing himself to be a cold and unimaginative operator. The president appeared to be in a state of denial. He appeared to enjoy the parliamentarians’ false applause far too much. He came across as an archaism in this new era, as a dinosaur. This doesn’t necessarily mean the regime is about to fall, but it does mean there’s a great deal of trouble ahead. Which spells disaster for Syrians of all backgrounds, as well as for anyone who cares about Syria’s vital regional role. …

The head of the regime – President Bashaar – enjoys a degree of genuine popularity. It’s the regime’s body – Bashaar’s corrupt cousins, and the stalwarts of the security services – who are much more fiercely hated.

Next, Brian Whitaker argues, exactly as I have in this post, that Bashar isn’t one to make hasty concessions, but will eventually give the protestors what they want.

The boldness of Bashar Al-Assad, Brian Whitaker

So Assad is trying a different tack. Reform, yes, but all in good time. There will be no hasty concessions to protesters as happened in Tunisia and Egypt; that would be a sign of weakness and would only encourage further demands. Instead, the relevant ministries will announce their plans in due course, after full and careful consideration, etc, etc.

That is certainly a bold strategy, but in the midst of growing turmoil it’s either a sign of supreme confidence or extreme recklessness.

And finally, to The Economist, which continues this intriguing talk of divisions at the top.

Crisis in Syria: Holding the Fort

A well-orchestrated demonstration in favour of Mr Assad on March 29th drew tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Damascus, many of them genuinely keen to support him. …

Rumours of discontent within the regime are swirling. Many Syrians blame the president’s brother, Maher Assad, who heads a crack army division, for the regime’s excesses. Outrage at the killings and propaganda has been compounded by Mr Assad’s defiant speech, which sorely disappointed his own reformers.



32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ralph // Apr 1, 2011 at 3.51 pm

    Are you looking at the streets? No seriously, do you guys live in lalaland? This is what you decided to hang on??? Solving the Kurdish PROBLEM in a few weeks??? “Problem” you minimize it?
    You’re so far from reality, jailed your brains on what SANA is feeding you, hiding behind your arrogance and savagery to escape reality.
    How about you post some links to the hundreds of videos coming out of Syria every hour, showing proud citizens demonstrating peacefully for the rights you have taken from them after years of deceit? You think the Kurds are second class citizens? Then you say they don’t even have IDs, so they’re not even citizens to be second class. You know who is 2nd class citizens, the Syrians are second class citizens under your regime. The Kurds are now going to get the right to become equal to 2nd class citizens! Thanks!
    Anyway, the dices are rolled, all this doesn’t matter anymore. More Syrians are tasting freedom today, and it tastes really good!
    You on the other hand are swallowing more lies, hiding behind more bars.
    Turn your computer off and go join your people on the street, they want a better country for you and them.

  • 2 BIBA // Apr 1, 2011 at 3.56 pm

    I did comment my opinion in several forums in the past. It is all well and good for Syrians to revolt against the government. Tunisia, Egypt and Libya began this chain. Until now, we have’nt seen any worthwhile replacement in any government. It always seem great to hastely topple a regime when a replacement could be much worse than what we bargained for. Take a recent example that we all have witnessed… (IRAQ). Ask yourselves this: “Do you want to end up like the present Iraqi!!” I don’t think I would…
    I agree that in Syria, these demonstrations served the purpose of being heard, and taken notice of, I also believe that President Bashar has taken the necessary actions to begin a process of a radical change in his country. Such matters cannot be achieved overnight. Progress need patience and efforts by everyone concerned, including the public at large. Give them the chance to succeed.

  • 3 Syria Almighty // Apr 1, 2011 at 5.21 pm

    Ralph can’t read. Not surprised.

  • 4 abu kareem // Apr 2, 2011 at 2.27 am

    I am not sure what the purpose of saying “the pre-Baath denial”. We are talking about 48 years ago. Denial of Kurdish-Syrians citizenship has always been shameful but the Baath party has had half a century to redress this injustice.

  • 5 Syria Almighty // Apr 2, 2011 at 4.25 am

    More ‘peaceful protesters’ killed by Syrian security forces. Oh wait, they’re not dead!!

    How many more people have to pretend to die before the regime realizes that it has to go?????

  • 6 Ralph // Apr 7, 2011 at 2.42 pm

    Seems that bashar is paying $20,000 to the families of the “terrorists” his security apparatus killed, the same terrorists he accused of shooting on people, burning cars and properties. Seems also that he wants to be friend with the Muslim Brotherhood by closing the only casino in town and allowing the hijab back to public workers. Hey Syria Alfarty, what’s going on? That’s your dad’s retirement being spent on the “abnormal” syrians, on murderers and looters, on extremists…
    Maybe you should start protesting!!!

  • 7 Syria Almighty // Apr 7, 2011 at 5.32 pm

    Lol, stupid Ralph doesn’t know anything about anything. Looks like he will complain, no matter what.

  • 8 Ralph // Apr 7, 2011 at 11.45 pm

    Hahaha, that’s your answer you morron.. anything anything anything blalala hahahah.
    loooooooooooser, daddy’s going to lose his job tomorrow? Loooooooooooser you wana be friends with the muslim brotherhood now? Looooooooooooooser did you start packing? coz bashar is already halfway out, seems he moved some 2billions out of Syria today. Did you daddy move his money out too?
    It’s so falling appart, what a beautiful sight!

  • 9 Syria Almighty // Apr 8, 2011 at 7.42 am

    Ralph is the living proof of the stupidity of the average redneck American. I wish I could see the look on your face when your Doomsday wishful scenario doesn’t happen, and what you idiotic excuse will be. You seem to not care that these ‘protesters’ are only a few people, and they are not growing. They have also lost a lot of legitimacy with all of the fake stunts they have been pulling off. But you are dumb enough to believe it all. I bet I could sell you a cardboard box for $1,000,000 and tell you that it’s a boat. You’ve believed much worse before.

  • 10 Il Morto Che Parla // Apr 9, 2011 at 7.42 am

    So someone called “Ralph” speaks for the Syrian people? lol

  • 11 Ralph // Apr 9, 2011 at 6.35 pm

    The average redneck american is by far smarter than your pissident. The av. redneck follows and respects the law. He might have redneck thoughts and ideas but he never puts a gun on someone’s head and oblige the non-rednecks to be rednecks.
    Again alfarty, your answer is deprived of any sense of logic and shows how narrow-minded SANA turned you to be. “Few people” hahaha, you remind me of another hallucinating characters, a stooge of the same kind of regimes as the one you are staunchly defending, who claimed that US soldiers were commiting suicide rather than attacking Baghdad while a US helicopter was roaming freely above Baghdad airport in the same camera-frame as him.
    I know exactly what kind of people you and the likes of you are: the lowest bipedes that this earth has created. And like any lowlife you are destined to vanish and I’m so glad that the “doomsday” of the like of you is so close.
    Day after day your tyrant is losing more and more legitimacy among his people and the people around the world, regardless of what SANA and the puppets in the “People’s Council” say or do.
    Every day I wake up with more hope, every day you wake up with more paranoia.

  • 12 Ralph // Apr 9, 2011 at 7.13 pm

    More hope:
    The editor of Syrian government owned newspaper Tishreen confirmed on Saturday she had been fired over remarks to Al-Jazeera television criticizing security forces for shooting with live ammunition on anti-regime protesters.

  • 13 Syria Almighty // Apr 10, 2011 at 12.33 am

    If you think you are even remotely close to being human, Ralph… lol. Go back to eating hamburgers you useless redneck, and don’t speak for us superior Syrians.

  • 14 Phil // Apr 10, 2011 at 4.11 am

    This is why nothing is ever solved in the Middle East. Nobody can control their angry impulses and hatred and work toward the future. Nobody trusts because nobody can be trusted. The “revolutionary” Egyptian army is killing its own people today, because too much trust was put in them. The Palestinian issue never gets resolved. Minorities can’t let go to majorities, because they in turn destroy minorities. How does this ever end? Have moderates, if they even exist, given this any thought?

  • 15 Ezzat // Apr 10, 2011 at 4.55 am

    Moderation, ya Phil, is something that unfortunatly doesn’t exist in our region. We are either extremly arabist, so we opress the non arabs, or extremly religious, so we opress the seculars, or extremly secular and opress the religious (like ben ali did). Each and everyone beleives that his entire country must think and behave like him. Jibran Khalil Jibran said it better than anyone (????? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???)

  • 16 Ezzat // Apr 10, 2011 at 4.57 am

    Apparently arabic alphabet takes the form of interregation marks on this blog. the quote was “Al waylu li oumaten asba7a kullu farden fiha oumma”

  • 17 Phil // Apr 10, 2011 at 5.20 am

    Put Ezzat in charge.

  • 18 Ralph // Apr 10, 2011 at 5.42 pm

    superior in what? torturing people, killing people, enslaving minds and thoughts, stealing public money, sucking your countries ressources and send the $ to Switzerland, traficking drugs, smuggling weapons, finance terrorist groups… yeah, that’s what you’re superior in!

  • 19 Norman // Apr 10, 2011 at 7.40 pm

    As long as religion is an essential part of what drive people and it is what decide the majority and the minorities i see no chance of a peaceful reform, add to that that people in the Mideast do not know how to accept defeat gracefully, Until then they do not deserve democracy as the election that brings any group to power will be the last legitimate election,

  • 20 Ralph // Apr 12, 2011 at 5.00 pm

    Where is the author of this blog? Overwhelmed by the news? Hiding? Arrested maybe because of the change in tone? What did alfarty do to you? Did he snitch on you, telling bashar that you’re using the money the tyrant gave you to run this bag of lies that you call blog to start sending messages of discontent?
    Or did he use his brain and started thinking LOGICALY and saw that the end is near for the terrorist regime he’s been defending?
    Should we post the news for you? Should we add links to videos and articles about the massacres happening in all of Syria? Should we write ourselves about the students demonstrations IN Damascus? Should we tell the story of Daraa? Should we post links about the siege on Banias?
    WHERE ARE YOU? Get back here and do your job you stooge, you puppet, you liar and spreader of false news!!! Write your propaganda articles about the harmony between Syrians, and go around the whole web trying to find an article that says a nice word about your tyrant.
    Where are you you deserter? What has come of your majority of regime supporters, where are the articles of those corrupt journalists you used to quote?
    I guess all my questions will remain unanswered, this blog is dead, just like the assassin’s regime.
    Save yourselves petits bourgeois, run and ask for forgiveness, join your people on the streets, your brothers in universities. Save Syria from the tyrant, save your souls from damnation.
    Run rabbits, run!!!

  • 21 Syria Almighty // Apr 12, 2011 at 7.46 pm

    I think it’s about time this retarded Ralph extremist was banned.

    Here’s a video for you, jackass. Your so-called Syrian revolutionaries attacking an ambulance and killing the passenger:

    You are sick to even think of supporting these animals. They are ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS, you know, the same people your crap country likes to tell people it is fighting against.

  • 22 Syria Almighty // Apr 13, 2011 at 6.36 am

    Well well, look at that. The army gave the town of Banias a time limit to hand over all terrorists and weapons, or the army was going to comb the entire town for them. Hundreds surrendered, and many of them confessed.

    Just like we have known all along. Muslim Brotherhood, framing, foreign funding and support, paying people to protest, etc.

  • 23 Ralph // Apr 14, 2011 at 6.15 pm

    This neanderthal is amazing, I’m so happy he keeps posting so that i can keep coming back. Still there ya alfarty, I thought you ran to Iran. Isn’t your father among the high ranked officers who moved their families to other countries? Or are you posting your basharwood videos from Tehran?
    You know what you can do with your “confessions”… deep huh… just like bashar puts it to you. Hahaha

  • 24 Ralph // Apr 15, 2011 at 2.46 am

    you want to watch some videos you piece of shit, how about this one?
    Here’s your proud shabiha beating people laying on the ground, handcuffed and defensless. Filming their prouesses, standing on human bodies and taking the victory picture while in the background other animals are shouting: Allah Syria and bashar!
    And you want to convince me that you and your pissident deserve a place among human beings?
    Thank God your day is near.

  • 25 Ralph // Apr 19, 2011 at 2.49 am

    Where are you alfarty?
    Where is the author of this blog? sasa? or is it norman? all of you baath-shit, where are you?
    I haven’t heard a word from you suckers for a long time, not that I miss you but I thought you retards won’t surrender that fast.
    I bet you’re running for your lives, trying to reach Gaza or Tehran. Do you really think you’ll be safe there? think twice morrons coz there is not a safe place in the world for the likes of you.

  • 26 tsunami in syria // Apr 24, 2011 at 10.34 am

    Final warning to Bachar Al Assad !

    The fact that the Syrian regime continue to kill innocent citizens like in the genocide of the last two days, and continue to pretend or wish to keep a control on the country, shows the total irresponsibility, unconsciousness, absence of discernement, panic and especially loss of control on the situation.

    instead of seizing the opportunity of the historical and deep changes affecting the arab world, and engaging a serious and fair dialogue with the Syrians and all the representatives of the civil rights, political, economical causes that concerns syrian citizens, Bachar al Assad, a young and supposedly smart Dr, intellectual and political man, chose a cruel and inhuman punishement, a shamefull response towards his compatriots and citizens of the country that he have the responsibility for !!!

    No one can forgive what happened to innocent, young and peacefull protesters, no one can forgive shooting peacefull people during funerals, no one can forgive killing innocents just for claiming peacefully their rights for democraty and dignity ! No crime will go unpunished ! No criminals will escape justice !! Bashar, shame on you, you’re not only disappointed, but you have exceeded the red lines ! how can you order the crimes and assassinations against your people !

    President Bachar al Assad and all the pillars and collaborators of his regime must understand that this is their last chance to save themselves and their families from a shamefull, ugly and tragic end like the one Moubarak and Ben ali had, and soon Kadhafi will get. you’d better start preparing to face Syrian justice, and if not, prepare to leave Syria or die like a coward.

    History will have no pity for you !

  • 27 Syria Almighty // Apr 25, 2011 at 2.37 am

    Bashar al-Assad has given you radical Sunni Islamists everything you have asked for, yet you still go out into the streets chanting death slogans against Alawites, Shi’ites, and Chrsitians. There is nothing innocent about the people dying, other then the ones being killed by the so-called peaceful protesters. May there be no mercy shown upon you as you draw your last breaths from this Earth. You will be obliterated, this I assure you. Syria is for the Syrian people, not radical Sunni Islam scum. This is your final warning, Muslim Brotherhood. Should you fail to head this warning, the justice brought upon Hama in 1982 will appear as if it were a friendly stroll through the city compared to the days to come.

  • 28 Ralph // Apr 25, 2011 at 9.34 pm

    You piece of shit, murderer, you and your fucking dictator, you’re going to be hanged upside down and your carcasses left for the dogs!! you think anybody still believes your crap? you’re a dead dog alfarty. DEAD!!! screw you and that motherfucker bashar the trash of the trash. Now you’re befriending the muslim brotherhood? Your mother should be torturing herself for bringing a monster like you to this world. I used to feel bad for the families of dictators but you piece of shit I’ll be happy to strangle your chicken neck with my bear hands, coz that’s what you are, an animal and not a human being. Start running you rat, go hide in a hole and stuck your empty threats deep in your ass. Obliterated? hahaha. You are not fighting a gang here to obliterate them, or a small militia or even the whole population of Syria, your lost battle is with FREEDOM and Freedom always always prevail! Bring the muslim brotherhood after you, give them the country if needed be, the people of Syria will kick their asses just like they kicked yours and just like the people of Iran will kick theirs (or their likes) too!
    Your days are numbered!
    Show us if you have balls enough to put a name behind your threats. What’s your real name you coward? Dare and put it!!! Let’s see how sure you are of your pissident’s victory!

  • 29 Syria Almighty // Apr 26, 2011 at 8.22 am

    Lol, rednecks. I somehow ‘befriended’ the Muslim Brotherhood by speaking against them. Must be that great American education. Tell me, are the only words in your vocabulary swears and death threats? I also don’t know where you get that I am somehow a family member of a dictator. I am not related to any presidential family or royalty. Wow, you’re stupid. You just can’t stand the fact that the vast majority of Syrians support the president, and it’s eating you up inside. I love it :)

  • 30 Lutfi // Apr 28, 2011 at 12.53 pm

    Syrian brothers n sisters,
    As distant as in Pakistan here, I remember the warmth and hospitality offered by syrian friends and public in general during my stay there in 1992-93. I always took Syria n Lebanon like paradise, the only place on earth where the land and people are as decent as beautiful, as simple as generous, lovely souls. I used to believe that having Israel on borders, the system there was a necessity. But eyes are opening up now. We have groomed monsters in Arab world for decades and now that the masks are gone, truth is there with all cruelity and ugliness.Hosni Mubarak, Ali, Gaddafi, Bashar all are same in nature..monsters !! I wish and pray that Arab awakening completes its cycle. Those who think unrest in Syria is being provoked by enemies of Syria should either admit that its a hollow argument or they should declare that Syrian people as a whole are traitors and Bashar has this duty to kill them. Syria is trying to become a free land only.

  • 31 Ralph // Apr 28, 2011 at 4.42 pm

    Hey coward almighty, still can’t read your real name.
    chicky chicky chicky, what’s your name? Put your real name if you’re so confident that you’ll spend the rest of your life in bashar’s syria.
    You seem to be so sure that the majority is with bashar and yet you do not dare hold free elections to simply confirm it, and you know why, because the majority is on the streets burning, destroying and spitting on all the assads pics and statues.
    Little alfarty, what’s ur name you wuss, is it khara assad, is it kalb assad, is it byebye assad?
    Be a man once in your animal life, stand by what you think and shout it loud on the rooftops, put your name if you dare… but again, you were trained like a dog to hide behind threats and beligerance, wear black cloth, put a mask and go rampage on defensless people on the streets, we saw your videos, was that your brother punching handcuffed people laying on the ground? Was that your father climbing on their tortured backs and posing for a picture? Was it you filming?
    What’s your name you cockroach?
    What are you afraid of? black lists?
    your daddy’s name already on them along with yours and all the names of your degenerate family of torturers.
    Ready for tomorrow? Carefull huh, the millions of demonstrators will have pif-paf.

  • 32 Ralph // Apr 29, 2011 at 9.07 pm

    cockroaches cockroaches where are youuuuuuuuuu??
    rats rats why are you hiding?
    Did you hear them shouting under your window sasa?
    Did you see them burning bashar the dog’s picture in the street where you live norman?
    what about you biba, you still think that the regime paid killers on the streets are better than the vacuum of bringing down the murderer?
    (saving the best for last) and you little farty without name, where were you today? did you get scared of the millions of voices on the streets? did you hide in your closet so that your stink remains locked inside?
    Where are you all bunch of liars? did they cut internet on you too? Are the shabiha under your houses keeping you locked in. Did they “secure” your neighborhoods not letting the “extremists terrosists” in? be careful, coz what they really want is not letting YOU out, coz what bashar is afraid of now is not the Syrian population who took a clear stance in defiance to his ruthlesness. the dog is turning his thugs now against the animals he controls or at least used to, you are watched fuckers, day and night, show a small sign of dissatisfaction or discontent and they’ll raid your houses and take your kids to the same torture cells that you used to guard.
    You will soon taste what you preached, soon you will be persecuted by the same hand that used to feed and silence you at the same time.
    Goodbye petits bourgeois, the road ahead of you is even worse than the road you laid for your people, the Syrians at least will soon know freedom, but you animals will err in pain and misery and everywhere you go you will be spit on.

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