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The Semi-Free City of Hama

But the Syrian regime and its domestic opponents share a view of Israel

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Protesters in Hama, Syria.(Moises Saman/NYT)

Intrepid New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid and photographer Moises Saman were perhaps the first Western journalists in Hama, Syria’s fourth-largest city, since the regime, which elsewhere continues to violently crack down on dissent, essentially abandoned the city. Shadid’s report and Saman’s pictures are essential reading and viewing. Hama is currently some sort of large-scale experiment, a place in Syria that is actually free, except with the knowledge that the current state of affairs cannot possibly last.

Hama is also uniquely situated: It was the site of one of the most brutal crackdowns in modern Middle Eastern history, when Syrian President Bashar Assad’s father, Hafez, killed 100,000 to put down an Islamist uprising in 1982; and indeed, Islamism is more pervasive in Hama than in most other Syrian cities (the absence of members of the Assad family’s Alawite sect was a large reason why the regime decided to withdraw). I noted yesterday that the regime has resorted to playing the Israel card in a bid to unify the people, and if Shadid’s article is any indication, it can be played right back: A protest banner in a main square reads, “Here is Hama. It is not Tel Aviv.” Hama seems to tell us that no matter what emerges from what can increasingly be termed an all-out Syrian civil war, it is not likely to be particularly friendly to its Jewish neighbor (even as said neighbor wishes it well).

In Scarred Syria City, a Vision of Life Free From Dictators [NYT]
A Western Photographer in Hama, Syria [Lens]
Netanyahu to Arab Media: People of Syria Deserve a Better Future [Haaretz]
Earlier: Amidst Crackdown, Syria Recognizes Palestine

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Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

“Syrian President Bashar Assad’s father, Hafez, killed 100,000 to put down an Islamist uprising in 1982″

Ummm, I am the last one to defend any member of the Royal House of Assad, but I think you are off by about an order of magnitude.

Although I don’t think there was an accurate count of the number killed in Hamma (even the most creative members of the human rights NGO industry couldn’t attribute this one to Israel, try as they may so I guess their intrepid “battle tested” investigators didn’t make such a big deal of this one), the range that that is generally accepted is 10,000 to 20,000 killed. I believe this is also the number range that is used by the ostensibly omniscient demi-god Tom Friedman of the allegedly august NY Times (a.k.a. Valhalla) when he coined the term “Hama Rules”.

Jerusalem / Efrata

Garry says:

What a disappointment to Jewish liberals and leftists. Do you think for a momemnt that changes in governments in the Islamic world will change their attitude towards a Jewish (to them infidel) state in theior midst? Get real. Democracy is not the same as an electric switch that you turn on or off. It takes hard work and generations of time. There may be regime changes in the Muslim world but their attitude and polciy towards Israel is unchanged and is unchageable. The sooner you realize it the better. As things stand now, peace as we mean peace is not achievable in the Middle East. If Israel returns to the armistice lines of 1949 (yeah-the so called 1967 borders are the 1949 borders) nothing will change except the danger to Israel. Sorry, leftists and Haaretz. Stop smoking whatever you are smoking.

George One says:

Right on, Garry. I wish more people would see the sense of what you’re saying.

I do consider all of the ideas you’ve introduced for your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very brief for starters. May just you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

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The Semi-Free City of Hama

But the Syrian regime and its domestic opponents share a view of Israel

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