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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Iranian contribution to the repression?

This has been a common motif heard among demonstrators. I remember talking with Ahmed, a university activist I met one day in Midan neighborhood (one of the stronghold of protests in Damascus), back in April. He was already convinced that Iranians were cooperating with Syrian authorities in quelling the uprising. "This country is ruled by Iranians, the authorities give them easily a job in Syria to help balancing demography in favor of Shi'as*. You'll easily find Iranians running a commercial activity and not speaking a word of Arabic." I admit during this talk I was quite skeptical about this 'Iranian invasion': in the end Ahmed is Sunni and we had other conversations, in which he was trying to convince me of how Shi'as are followers of a distorted version of Islam.

Having said this, the presence of Iranians contributing to the repression have been suggested to me in other occasions. During the talk I had with Omar (whose relatives are in Dara'a), which got published on the New Internationalist, he also told me about an attempt of demonstrators to seize snipers' weapons, when they found out that they were 'Made in Iran' and working exclusively through a retina recognition system.

Before yesterday I had a chat with Ibrahim, who is another university student from Damascus. He has just been to Deir Az-Zor, near the Iraqi border and he told me the security forces who checked his IDs were speaking Arabic...but when they turned chatting between them, Ibrahim has no doubt they were talking Farsi...

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