back to article iPhone banned in Steve Jobs' ancestral home

There may be a fine line between "administration" and "regime", but Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has definitely crossed it. His government's latest repressive move? Banning the iPhone. To be sure, Assad's regime has committed crimes far more serious, as the over 4,000 men, women and children killed since protests against …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iphones would have banned in Prussia also. That's why I never got one.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm moving to Syria!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The distinction between a 'government' and a 'regime' is we support the former, and oppose the latter. Nothing to do with their governmental structure, or respective levels of tolerance or repression.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      here here!

      "The distinction between a 'government' and a 'regime' is we support the former, and oppose the latter. Nothing to do with their governmental structure, or respective levels of tolerance or repression."

      Clear eyed thinking at its best.

      Our governments are -at best- pragmatists. Meaning a body of self-serving bunch of cunning and amoral people. As long as the limits are broadly (and often, hazily) outlined in laws, and the judicial system is reasonably sticking to said laws (not too corrupt, not handpicked according to some fascist ideology), and the enforcement of said judicial system (the police) is held accountable - well hey! not much will go wrong!

      It's all a question of legitimacy. But that's another question of "in whose eyes", so I let it rest there (ideally, ... ... ).

      The Arabic Nations thing is another misnomer (not the "union" of countries, but the nations themselves). Many of the "countries" that are arabic came to existence after World War I, probably over many pints of beer and bottles of wine, over a map, by european guys wielding rulers. Arabs in that period were not much nationalistic you see, the culture was more or less homogenious but the social organization was based on much older tribal stuff. Which was taken advantage of.

      The western world, being more "with it" global-power-hungrinesswise, and all that land sitting on The Energy Resource of the century, could not let a self-aware group of people take advantage of it. But they could not let each other have it too. So they split it up, did all in their power to destabilize it, put puppets or power-hungry egomaniac god-delusioned dictators on the splits. No rich western post-colonial county who depended on oil (and its profits) wanted the middle eastern fire to end (But then came Baas, then some land became Israeli, then came whatnot, but all was stupid, blood was spilt, billions were made, etc. Same old, same old)

      I suspect none of these oil-company-controlled countries wanted Saddam or Gaddafi spilling their guts on how (and from whom) they got their money and their weapons (or their WMD's) etc. So they conveniently got dead without a tribunal. (many more stories like this, but I've digressed way too much already)

      I also wonder how the Saudi Arabia still keeps together, but anyway. People are in general stupid. Not individually maybe, but definitely as herds. Less educated and empowered as some may be, no herd is more (or less) hazy as the next, be they british or norwegian or arabic.

      The Assad "regime" (or up to recently, "government") is blind, as is usual with any dictatorship. Ban the iphones, so what.. Any semi-decent nokia or better yet, two-cent droid can tweetbook+ just as well.. Better cut the internet, be done with it, no? (but geeks will find a way anyhow)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's a fascinating sounding bit of text you have going there, but I'd love to see some more sourcing on it all than a comment on a tech blog, if you could.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Another thing that "we" do about "regimes" is make up stuff about them.

      Even some reports about the conduct of Iraq invading Kuwait were totally fake. Was that necessary? Well, probably, because otherwise "we" wouldn't have cared as long as the oil kept coming, which apparently was what the war was -about- - Kuwait allegedly had invented a clever sneaky technique of drilling sideways and nicking the stuff under Iraq. Er, and according to Wikipedia, Iraq owed money to Kuwait.

      Kuwait has democracy when graciously permitted by the Emir (King), and since 2005 even has it for women, but not for non citizens, which is most people - this again from Wikipedia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I hate to break it to you, but the majority of nations do not let non-citizens vote. It's not really oppression.

        Now, if you mean access to the rule of law, that's different. But I suspect that even in Kuwait, access to the rule of law, as we see it in the west, is limited for everyone - citizen or no.

    3. GougedEye

      "The distinction between a 'government' and a 'regime' is we support the former, and oppose the latter. Nothing to do with their governmental structure, or respective levels of tolerance or repression."

      Good enough for me.

  4. albaleo

    You give the impression of knowing as little as I do about Syria.

  5. Drefsab

    Thats ok :)

    Just give any spys/international reporters/government undesirables a HTC android phone :P

  6. BigG


    Success for Samsung's lawyers.

  7. Asgard

    I doubt this will stay as just iPhone. I bet its far more about seeking to suppress the mobile phone cameras and the ability to communication, both of which can expose their totalitarian leaders and the crimes of their oppressive violent supporters.

    Looks like the perfect time to send in many thousands of free satellite phones to distribute around the protesters. :)

    Icon for allowing free speech.

  8. Drew V.

    No, no, no, Bashar, that's not how you do it. You're supposed to make a business deal with Apple that increases their profits while making Apple do all the censoring and snooping for you. Just like China did with Google between 2005 and 2010.

    Jeez, doesn't this guy understand anything about the synergy between autocratic government and multinational corporations in the 21st century?

  9. Spud2go

    Just the iPhone?

    I would have thought all smart phones get the axe if they're intent on stifling mobile communication.

  10. scarshapedstar

    Best not bring your Galaxy S, either

    After all, they're indistinguishable, right Steve?

    1. Jedit Silver badge

      Steve can't hear you

      Not because he's dead, mind you - he just can't get a stable connection on his iPhone 4.

  11. heynownow

    I wonder if those idiots know that Android smartphones have the same anarchy friendly features as iPhones

  12. LarsG


    That's all its about, 4s retails in the UK at over £600, retails in Thailand £120 retails in Syria free with 1 years stay in comfortable state prison.

  13. Ramazan

    So now they've got someone (Apple)

    to blame for toppling of their regime

  14. Steen Hive

    Massage, much?

    "To be sure, Assad's regime has committed crimes far more serious, as the over 4,000 men, women and children killed since protests against his rule broke out in late January make clear."

    Of those 4000 dead, about 1500 appear to be members of the security forces - presumably killed by the same mysterious "unarmed civilians" that magically appeared in Libya recently.

    The UN designates Syria as being in a state of civil war so if you are going to use the UN casualty figures, at least try to be less transparent about massaging them.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You are receiving an emergency massage.

      Uh oh! The wool has been pulled over our eyes by the UN and the liberal left wing lamestream media! Assad is a good guy; he's just misunderstood! Sure, ol' dad killed some shitload of people, too, and he's run an authoritarian, brutal regime for years and years... but goodness, he wouldn't go around *killing civilians*!

      I mean, maybe 3000, but not 4000. There's a difference, people! 3000 - that could happen by accident. Maybe you forget to poke holes in the lid of one of your new towns. Sometimes your driver has had a few too many, runs up on the sidewalk - a thousand here, a thousand there; it happens. Do -you- know for sure? Even if you were there, how would you know the screams of 50 from the screams of 100, or just how red the river must be with the blood of its citizens to indicate some pulled-from-the-air number of "deaths". For instance, those "victims" might merely have cut themselves shaving.

      It is clearly wrong to condemn Mr. Assad based on numbers so obviously ginned up - possibly even whiskeyed up - by those who have a well-known slant toward not being crushed under the heel of a reviled despot.

      What happened to fair and balanced coverage for the reigns of tenacious, callous tyrants? Where are the voices of those who would see their countries burn rather than give a single inch? Are they given their time? Of course not!

      It's unfair. Slanted, biased, and totally unfair - not only toward Assad, but toward dictators everywhere. Why, if Assad is toppled, what will stop the leftal liberists from moving on to the next tin-pot tyrant? Who will fall victim to these spin-meisters next? Kim Jong Il? Robert Mugabe? Whoever that guy is who's screwing up Kazakhstan? If these trumped up charges of so-called 'brutality' and 'murder' are allowed to continue - why, in a few decades, there might not be any dictators left at all! Is that what you want?

      No, I didn't think so.

      It's time to -end- the unfair smear attacks on psychopathic jackbooted thugs!

      1. xj25vm
        Thumb Up

        Sir, that is a good read. I thank you for the inspired post.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          Much obliged.

          This is what happens when you're sitting outside the door of your 3-year-old's room, waiting for him to finally fall asleep. Do you know how much of a pain in the ass it was to type that on a Blackberry PlayBook? Not much, actually; the keyboard is quite good. The worst part is looking down and seeing that I have a PlayBook - not so much that it's a bad device, since it's actually excellent, but due to my worrying about what others will think. My fragile ego is already torn by the "49 thumbs down"ses I get when I post something in defense of the United States. So even a single compliment on a sprawling mess of words, shoved together into a lumpy, haphazard ball of I-Think-I-Deserve-A-Column, is a wonderful, buoyant float into the uplifting loft of loquacious, lollygagging lith.... hang on here... was I saying something? Oh well. Where was I?

          Right, that's it, I wrote something. Thanks mucho for the compliment. Think I'm gonna get me some lunch. Thinkin' rifles-on-rye today. Hafta go out'n get some from the pickup, though.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Wit, irony, and intelligence

        Well-played, sir, well-played indeed.

    2. Ru


      Are you saing that members of the Iranian security forces are not people?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The post is about Syria, which does not even share a border, nor a language, with Iran.

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      @Steen Hive, @David W

      Steen - bizarre post. Any chance you might clarify why you seem to be apologising for Assad (who, even by my admittedly liberal stance is bit of a cunt), and explain the significance of the "unarmed civilians" paragraph?

      David - bravo! Perfectly pitched and written.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    So, uhh....


  16. Steven Roper

    Every once in a great while

    these despotic dictators do something right.

    Now if only we can get other governments to follow suit, ban all things Apple, and put this greedy, censorious, litigious fucking corporation out of business for good and all...

  17. tonysmith

    I was in the Mid east just before all this kicked off. A Syrian told me 'You think gaddafi is bad, you wait till things kick off in Syria'.

    Apparently Syria is run by a loony toon minority clan known as the Alawites. According to my Syrian friend they don't, in general, even live in the same towns as regular Syrians.

    He said that they'd have no problem marching in to a city and wiping out the lot without any fear of hurting 'their own kind' - That's what he said, sounds almost Nazi like - and the current leaders father actually did just that (see Hama massacre) where they flattened a rebellious town killing 10,000-40,000 probs!

    So if you think they'll stop at banning iPhones...this will get a lot worse.

  18. Hnk0

    smart arses not that smart

    I'd like to see all those smart alecs explaining to the kind man in a leather jacket holding electrodes that their HTC Desire is not an iPhone. I wouldn't be surprised if in Syria they use the term 'iPhone' for anything that can take photos and connect to the internet.

  19. Andy Watt
    Thumb Up

    Forum has better quality than the story!

    Gentlemen, there is more useful discourse and information in the forum postings than this rather "fruity irony alert" default register piece.

    Bravo. I salute you all.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    "It is enough for any person to own an iPhone to be suspect,"

    Fixed :)

  21. ReallyReally

    No Siri for Syrians?

    I wonder if Siri can recommend good boltholes to hide from the secret police?

  22. Unicornpiss

    Civil unrest? There's an app for that...

    But a regular cell phone with camera and text messaging is OK? What about Blackberry devices? They seem to be the phone of choice for UK anarchists...

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