Bashar Will Always Have Paris: Obama has AIPAC

Sarkozy has officially invited Assad to attend Bastille day, France's national Holiday, celebrated on July 14 with military parades and lots of pomp on the Champs Elise. Both French opposition members and Washington have criticized him for this. The Socialist Party warned it would be "unwise". Centrist leader Francois Bayrou said "The Syrian question raises real concerns in Lebanon, particularly the prospect of seeing the Syrian head of state taking a front-seat place" at both the summit and the July 14 celebrations. He urged the government to "think very carefully".

Rice was critical of France's invitation and warned the French President to be stern with Syria's leader and to dress him down about Lebanon, Isreal, and the long list of things the US is stern about with Syria.

Rice also defended the sending of Canadian Maher Arar to Syria under a contentious extraordinary rendition program. Arar was sent to Syria legally, according to the State Department, which insisted that, "It was not a rendition. This is a myth. Arar was removed pursuant to a legal framework." Just last week, a government investigator said he couldn't rule out the possibility that U.S. officials wanted to send the Canadian to Syria because they believed he would be tortured. Last October, Rice admitted American officials mishandled the case but didn't apologize to Arar.

Experts say Sarkozy is hoping Assad's presence will boost the launch of the Mediterranean Union project, which has received a lukewarm welcome from some European and Arab states.

Sarkozy's move to resume ties also drew a cautious reaction from Washington. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday she hoped Paris would send the right message to Damascus.

The two sides finally reached agreement on May 21 in Doha, leading to the election of then army chief Sleiman after a six-month power vacuum.

Sarkozy called Assad immediately afterwards, saying France's conditions for renewed dialogue — "positive, concrete developments" towards ending the Lebanese crisis — had been met.

The Christian Science Monitor's Julien Barnes-Dacey writes that Syria sees warming ties in Middle East:
There is certainly a relaxation of the strength of the criticism directed at Syria," says Rime Allaf of Chatham House, a London think tank. "The Syrians are stronger today than they were just a few months ago."

The May settlement essentially met Syria's longstanding desire to prevent the emergence of a pro-US government. Syria compromised on some points, including the reappointment of anti-Syrian Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. But the new president is relatively pro-Syrian and the Syria-backed opposition has a cabinet veto.

"Syria got what it was always calling for," says Suleiman Haddad, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee.

Analysts say the deal reflects the recognition of Syria as part of the solution. "The Doha agreement was the result of not being able to isolate Syria," says Ms. Allaf. "There was a realization … that without Syria nothing was going to happen." …

Analysts say Syria faces other challenges to its rehabilitation. Allaf notes that Lebanon could still implode as political parties struggle to form a government. Syria also remains under suspicion for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Others point to the continued tensions with regional powerhouses Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Poll: Growing Israeli opposition to Golan pullback in Syria peace talks

Pollsters say Israeli opposition to handing the Golan Heights back to Syria as part of a peace deal has leapt since the announcement last month of renewed talks between the sides.

A survey conducted by the Hebrew University and a Palestinian think tank also shows most Israelis and Palestinians see no point to current peace negotiations.

The survey was published Thursday, and said that 67 percent of Israelis are against returning the strategic plateau, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War. That's up from 56 percent in a March poll.

It said 55 percent of Israelis and 68 percent of Palestinians feel talks between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are going nowhere and should be shelved.

Iraqi Refugees between Precarious Safety and Precipitous Return:
This is an excellent and comprehensive study of Iraqi refugees. (Thanks MSK)
By Layla Al-Zubaidi and Heiko Wimmen
Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Middle East Office in Beirut

Sami Moubayed, Why now?

A brief look at the domestic Syrian scene shows revenue from the oil sector is now in deficit. Surpluses from state-run agencies and industries are in decline; they are no longer making money after decades of mismanagement. Meanwhile, expenditure is increasing by 19%. Syria still has a gigantic civil service (1.3 million employees) and cannot lay off people by nature of the socialist system. Their salaries, as well as those of retired workers, means salaries and pensions account for 50% of the state budget.

Syria seriously needs to consider new resources for the state treasury, which simply won't come while there are American sanctions, tension with certain Arab states, and talk of war looming with Israel. It becomes difficult to attract investment while the Israelis are maneuvering on the Syrian border, where Syria has to mobilize for war whenever that happens, and where the lion's share of the treasury goes to military spending.

While many people are talking about regional and international gains from peace, the decision mainly stems from a domestic need to move forward.

What should have been said to AIPAC
in Chicago Tribune

When politicians speak before the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, they do so to burnish their credentials as friends of Israel.

As longtime State Department Middle East adviser Aaron David Miller reminds us in his new book, "The Much Too Promised Land," "it's hard to compete and be successful in American politics without being good on Israel." And so when the AIPAC annual conference coincides with a presidential election, as it did this year, these speeches become bidding wars to demonstrate the fervor of the candidates' support for the Jewish state. Sen. Barack Obama declared himself the "true friend of Israel." And Sen. John McCain set the late Sen. Henry Jackson's uncompromising pro-Israel stance as his "model of what an American statesman should be." For both, friendship with Israel means embracing the notion that the Jewish state faces dire threats that require unwavering American support.

But the mark of real friendship, as abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher put it, is "to speak painful truth through loving words." By that criterion, neither of the presidential candidates qualifies as Israel's true friend. Rather, it has been individuals like former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretaries of State James Baker and Henry Kissinger who have been Israel's real friends. As public officials, they had a realistic view of Israel's situation and were willing to criticize the Jewish state and push it at critical junctures in its history for it own good.

No doubt Israel faces threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. But Israel's security situation is by no means as perilous as the candidates imply. ……

A fun Jon Stewart Youtube send up of the three candidates appearance at AIPAC, here

How Obama's speach at AIPAC is analyzed on TV in Tehran:

What do we actually know about Mohammed?
Patricia Crone at Open Democracy (One of my favorite academics on Islam or anything else.)

The early years of Islam compose an exciting field of current scholarship that is yielding fresh insights and understanding, says Patricia Crone, professor of Islamic history at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. ….

Condoleezza Rice Reflects on the Lessons of the Past Eight Years  Read her new essay | Read her 2000 essay The secretary of state offers her defining take on Iraq, Iran, democracy promotion, and American foreign policy in general.  – Condoleezza Rice, Foreign Affairs July/August 2008

Comments (121)

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101. Majhool said:


Just yesterday you somehow did not recognize the importance of standards by which education can be measured against. you said

“the education System is in good shape with the right students”

therefore an objective discussion with you is not possible. nonetheless I will still answer your question:

Of course the US has Mukhabarat and there are many of them out there. I am not calling for the dismantling the mukhabarat in Syria. I am against the Mukhabarat/Baath ruling Syria.

Unlike in Syria The FBI/CIA do not appoint the deans professors, janitors of every public University here in the US . The US has all the checks and balances needed to sustain their democracy.

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June 14th, 2008, 7:02 pm


102. ausamaa said:

If so, how come a US President with ratings in the low twenties is still doing what he does best to his Nation and to its institutions: Lie!

He drags his Nation into a War on false pretence and is still attempting to darg it into another.

So much for “effective” checks and balances. They always look very good on the Day After!! Or if they are written in English.

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June 14th, 2008, 7:19 pm


103. Shai said:


But look at the system in America – at least it enables you and I to come to those similar conclusions about George W. Bush. And, if we’re Americans, we can choose whether we still vote for him, or not. In few places around the world do you find a system that open, and that capable of leaving its nation’s fate up to the people, rather than their leaders. True, GWB did use lies and every manipulation in the book to lead his nation into the bloody wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. But since then, he could have been impeached, thrown out, not voted for a second term, etc. It is the American people (or 50.1% of them) who are guilty of having GWB in power, not even the man himself… Not that I particularly like him. I don’t.

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June 14th, 2008, 7:45 pm


104. ausamaa said:

Sure, the US President is elected by the People. They do sit around and debate his credentisals and policies and Vote for or against! Right?

The amounts of Election Money availlable to the candidate, the Special Interest groups, the Lobbies, the hidden Agendas of the various die-hards, the Paid Media efforts and the candidates Parties’ Political Machines play a small role only…Right?

The Perfect Democracy! You say what you want, HE does what he wants, and in the end, history and the “due process” clears it all up later perhaps. Except, by then, it is way too late! And the average John Doe usually has a short memory.

However, if I remember anything from my first days in college in the USA, it is a thing from a Polical Science 101 and the teacher said that the whole US System is based on Compromise of Special Interests and not on the Will of the People. He was not very wrong it seems.

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June 14th, 2008, 8:09 pm


105. Majhool said:


Ausama holds the anti-Semitic notion that democracy is a Jewish conspiracy aimed at controlling the world.

That’s why democracy in Syria is dangerous because it could be manipulated by the Jews and the Saudis.

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June 14th, 2008, 9:13 pm


106. ausamaa said:


As I did not suggest any conspiracy theories such as the one you mentioned above. Then, may I recommend that you attempt to see the same Shrink I earlier advised AIG and AP to seek. Seriously, your case seems to be a more sever one than theirs: seeing “things” that do not exist except in your own imagination!


Imagine what democracy would be like in Syria with “perceptive” and “objective” guys like you pushing its cause..

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June 14th, 2008, 9:26 pm


107. Majhool said:


I will take your advice seriously. thanks

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June 14th, 2008, 9:42 pm


108. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Thank you for pointing out the beautiful catch-22 people like Ausamaa find themselves in. The only to beat Israel is for the Arabs to become democratic. But if they do that, people like Ausamaa think that they are surrendering to American “hegemony”. Therefore they are stuck supporting dictators who are hindering the development of the Arabs on all fronts: education, technology and military. It will take time for this backward thinking to go away. In the meantime, Israel benefits.

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June 14th, 2008, 9:47 pm


109. Shai said:


I’m not suggesting in the least that America is the “perfect democracy”. I spent many years there – I know how the system “really works” as well. But still, and certainly when you compare it to most other nations on earth, it is far more open and free. Manipulations, self-interest, even outright corruption, exist everywhere. But if you had a choice, would you choose another system that you know of (not a theoretical one)? Do you know of many nations where the Director of Central Intelligence has to sit in front of a Senate hearing committee, on live public television, and hear one of the members ask him “Mr. Director, please tell me what it is that you must do, for me to fire you?” I don’t.


I’ve met a few antisemites on this site (very few). Ausamaa is not an antisemite.

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June 14th, 2008, 9:49 pm


110. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

How do you know Ausamaa is not an antisemite?
There is a simple way to find out: Why don’t you ask him if believes the Jews have the right of self-determination? Are the Jews allowed to define themselves as a nation? You can also ask Nour this question and find out the truth.

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June 14th, 2008, 9:52 pm


111. Shai said:

AIG, I don’t know anything about Ausamaa. He doesn’t sound to me like an antisemite. We’ve had a few antisemites here before, and I think you’ll recall the distinct fashion by which they addressed you and me. I admit, I haven’t administered the “Antisemite Litmus Paper” test to Ausamaa. Nor do I wish to.

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June 14th, 2008, 10:02 pm


112. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Then just ask him. What have you got to lose?
I am pretty sure what the answer will be.

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June 14th, 2008, 10:06 pm


113. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Right, you would rather close your eyes and imagine a perfect world. It’s your call.

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June 14th, 2008, 10:08 pm


114. karim said:

Aussama in what maher asad is different from rifaat ?
And why did you never dared to attack khaddam when he was the friend of hafez ?
And why only bashar deserve presidency and not the sons of Tlass,Al Ahmar ,Masharqa are they not enough baathists ?
There are a plenty honnest and smart syrians to replace this mafia ,we have dalileh ,labwani,kilo,fidaa horani,ghassan rifai and why not you,norman,nour and alex ? are you more corrupt than bashar ?are you capable sending to jail professors , intellectuals and even children ? and if you want to fight imperialism ,zionism ,globalization ,with wich tool ?their stolen villas,mecrcedes,hummers and syriatel in listening to ali deek ?

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June 14th, 2008, 10:10 pm


115. Alex said:


Why don’t we stop this antisemite testing instead?

I think we have done enough of that.

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June 14th, 2008, 10:20 pm


116. karim said:

Nour i didnt say illeterate but nearly read my comment again.
As for bashar ,the increase in corruption ,material and moral,his agression on the syrian intellectual elite,his green light to the iranian regime to interfere in domestic and religious syrian affairs are enough to make him detestable and dangerous for Syria.

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June 14th, 2008, 11:00 pm


117. Alex said:

إقليم دمشق الكبرى .. 6 ملايين نسمة عام 2025 والتخصص في الصناعات الالكترونية

الاخبار المحلية

تنمية المنطقة الصناعية بعدرا وإنشاء أخرى في الكسوة ومدينة تقانة معلومات بقطنا

التركيز على التوسع جنوبا والتعمير المضغوط شمال وغرب دمشق

اقترحت الوكالة اليابانية للتعاون الدولي “جايكا” في تقريرها النهائي حول مشروع “دمشق الكبرى” خططا لتنمية منطقة دمشق وريفها في مجالات العمران والتنظيم العمراني والنقل ومشاريع المياه واستعمالاتها والأنشطة الاقتصادية حتى العام 2025.

ويتضمن التقرير ,الذي حصلت سيريانيوز عليه, خططا يتم تنفيذها على ثلاث مراحل تنتهي الأولى عام 2013 والثانية حتى 2020 والمرحلة الثالثة تنتهي عام 2025.

ويبين هذا التقرير أن الناتج الإقليمي لإقليم دمشق الكبرى يقدر بـ30% من الناتج المحلي لسورية, وأن ناتج الفرد في هذا الإقليمي أكثر بـ 39% من الناتج المحلي للفرد في سورية.

ويتوقع الفريق المشارك في الدراسة أن “يستمر إقليم دمشق الكبرى بلعب دوره كبوابة وقاعدة للسياحة الدولية التي سينتج عنها خدمات واسعة ذات صلة”, وترى أن على الإقليم أن “يقدم خدمات متطورة أكثر باستخدام كميات أقل من المياه في ظل العائق المائي الشديد, كما يجب توفير خدمات اجتماعية على درجة عالية من أجل الإقليم والدول المجاورة مثل التعليم والبحث المتقدم والرعاية الصحية المتخصصة”.

صناعات إلكترونية بدلا من الصناعات التقليدية

وتؤكد الدراسة على أن “إقليم دمشق الكبرى يجب أن يتخصص في الصناعات المبنية على المعرفة بما فيها مجال تقنية المعلومات والاتصالات والصناعات الالكترونية بدلا من الصناعات المعتمدة على الموارد مثل مواد البناء والصناعات الغذائية “.

وتشير الدراسة ,التي أعدها خبراء يابانيون وسوريون, إلى أن “المياه الممكن استثمارها في إقليم دمشق الكبرى تكفي لتوفير حاجة 5.79 مليون نسمة كحد أقصى عام 2025 وذلك في حال بقيت وحدة الطلب على المياه عند 250 ليترا مكعبا في اليوم للفرد الواحد”.

خفض النمو السكاني وستة ملايين نسمة في 2025

وتقترح الدراسة خفض معدل النمو السكاني في مدينة دمشق وريفها ليصبح 2.17% حيث سيزداد عدد سكان إقليم دمشق الكبرى من 3.8 مليون نسمة حاليا إلى 6 مليون عام 2025 وفقا لهذا المعدل.

ويبلغ معدل النمو السكاني في دمشق حاليا هو 1.08%, وريف دمشق 3.82%. كما يشكل عدد سكان إقليم دمشق الكبرى حاليا أكثر من 21% من عدد سكان سورية ويضم نحو 27% من المنشآت الصناعية, فيما تشكل مساحته أقل من 10% من مساحة سورية.

وتشدد الدراسة على المحافظة على الزراعة في إقليم دمشق الكبرى على أن تتم إدارة زراعات ذات إنتاجية أعلى وقيمة مضافة أكبر, وترشيد استعمال مياه الري واستعمال مياه الصرف الصحي المعالجة للزراعة.

وفي مجال التطوير العمراني, تدعو الدراسة إلى السعي إلى اقتصاد التكتلات والعمران المضغوط عبر تركيز الناس والفعاليات الاقتصادية في مكان واحد لتخفيض تكاليف التعاملات الاقتصادية, على أن يترافق هذا مع تخطيط عمراني يكفل تحسين شبكة الطرق وفعالية النقل العام وإدخال وسائط نقل جديدة وتوفير مرائب كافية, وذلك للحد من تراجع الاقتصاد نتيجة التركيز المبالغ فيه.

ويعتبر فريق الدراسة ,حسب التقرير النهائي, أن العمران المضغوط الطابقي “يساهم في استخدام أكثر فعالية لموارد المياه المحدودة أصلا, كما أنه يترك مساحات أكبر للزراعة في المناطق النائية عن المناطق العمرانية”.

وتشترط لتطبيق هذه الإجراءات أن يتم “دعم إقليم دمشق الكبرى بشبكة من الأماكن المريحة للمشاة والسلامة المرورية وإدارة الكوارث والأمن الاجتماعي”.

تشجيع التنمية في المناطق خارج دمشق

واعتمد الفريق الدارس عدة استراتيجيات تتلخص في التنمية الخدمية للحد من الطلب على المياه, وخفض الضغط السكاني على مركز الإقليم من خلال تشجيع التنمية في المناطق والأقاليم الخارجية, وتطوير القدرات الفردية والمؤسساتية والاجتماعية بشكل واسع من أجل تخطيط عمراني فعال.

وتقترح الاعتماد على العمران المضغوط في دمشق ومناطق التوسع العمراني, وتوجيه العمران باتجاه الجنوب إلى خارج حدود ريف دمشق نحو حوض اليرموك في درعا, ووقف العمران في الجهة الجنوبية الشرقية حيث تمتد الأراضي الزراعية.

كما تقترح تشجيع التنمية العمرانية الذاتية إلى الجهة الشمالية الشرقية إلى ما بعد يبرود, وإنشاء مراكز عمرانية جديدة شمال وغرب دمشق (باتجاه التل وقدسيا, وداريا وقطنا) وتطوير المدينة الصناعية في عدرا بمنطقة سكنية أكبر من المخطط لها, والحد من التوسع العمراني باتجاه الزبداني للحفاظ على أماكن الاصطياف.

تقسيم ريف دمشق إلى مناطق حسب أولوية العمران

وقسم فريق دراسة تنمية إقليم دمشق الكبرى المناطق حسب أولويات التركيز على العمران, حيث أعطت الأولوية لمناطق الحجر الأسود والمليحة وجرمانا والكسوة وعربين, وتتلوها في سلم الأولويات مناطق يبرود و الرحيبة والتل وحرستا وكفر بطنا وقطنا وداريا ووصحنايا.

وتعطي الدراسة المرتبة الثالثة في سلم أولويات العمران لمناطق النبك وجيرود والزبداني ودمر والنشابية والغزلانية وبيت جن, وفي المرتبة الرابعة معلولا والقطيفة وصيدنايا وسرغايا ومضايا وعين الفيجة وقدسيا وحران العواميد ودير عطية. فيما أتت مناطق عسال الورد ورنكوس والديماس في آخر سلم الأولويات.

وتقترح الدراسة تنمية المدينة الصناعية في عدرا, وإحداث مدينة تقانة المعلومات في قطنا والمدينة الحكومية مدينة صناعية في الكسوة, إضافة إلى إحداث مراكز عمرانية متعددة الوظائف مثل مركز تجارة وأعمال في الشرق ومركز سياحي وثقافي في الجنوب الشرقي ومركز اتصالات عالمية في الجنوب الغربي وغيرها.

تنظيم 42 منطقة سكن عشوائي دمشق وريفها

وتضم الدراسة قسما خاصا يتعلق بمناطق السكن العشوائي, حيث تشير إلى وجود حوالي 30 منطقة مخالفة في مدينة دمشق يبلغ عدد سكانها نصف مليون نسمة إضافة إلى 12 منطقة مخالفات في ريف دمشق, حيث ترى ضرورة تنظيم هذه المناطق كمبدأ أساسي, ما عدا المناطق ذات الطبيعة الصعبة مثل المنحدرات الشديدة والفوالق الجيولوجية والمناطق التي تعاني نقصا في المياه, حيث تقترح لهذه المناطق أن يتم تحسين الوصول إليها كأولوية استعدادا لأي كوارث.

وتقترح أن يتم العمل على تنظيم هذه المناطق بالتشاركية مع القطاع الخاص, وعلى الشراكة مع القطاع الخاص في تنفيذ المشاريع التنموية في الإقليم على اختلافها.

وفي مجال النقل تشمل الدراسة مشاريع لإنشاء طريق مرفوع من ساحة الأمويين إلى عقدة الفيحاء بدمشق وتحديث مقاطع طرقية بطول 50 كم للربط بشكل أفضل بين مركزي انطلاق الباصات في الشمال والجنوب وتوسيع هذين المركزين.

وتعتبر الدراسة أن إنشاء مرائب سيارات تحت الحدائق “أصبح ضرورة ملحة حاليا, على أن يؤخذ بالاعتبار تسهيل الإنشاء المستقبلي لمترو دمشق”.

وتشمل الدراسة أيضا خططا لإدارة دمشق القديمة والمناطق التراثية وتحسين مرافق المدينة القديمة وترميم واستخدام المجمعات السكنية القديمة وإنشاء قاعدة بيانات تراثية.

مجلس إقليم دمشق الكبرى

وتقترح الدراسة إنشاء مجلس لإقليم دمشق الكبرى “بشكل عاجل” لتكون وظيفته في البداية التنسيق والإدارة, على أن يتم توسيع وظائفه لتشمل التخطيط والاستثمار والترويج والمراقبة والتقويم ,وفي النهاية, التنفيذ لبعض المشاريع. ليكون هذا المجلس “هيئة التنمية الإقليمية الفعالة”.

وتقدر تكاليف المشاريع والبرامج المقترحة بـ 108 مليون يورو (7.7 مليار ليرة سورية) موزعة على فترات التنفيذ الثلاث (2008-2013) و (2014-2020) و (2021-2025).

ووضع فريق الدراسة مخططات تفصيلية لثلاثة أنماط من المناطق هي منطقة المخالفات في القابون ومنطقة التراث العمراني في القنوات والمدينة الجديدة في قطنا.

واستغرقت الدراسة أكثر من عام وضمت فريقا من الخبراء اليابانيين إضافة إلى فريق سوري من وزارة الإدارة المحلية ومحافظتي دمشق وريف دمشق, وكان التقرير الأولي عرض في شهر آذار الماضي.

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June 14th, 2008, 11:08 pm


118. ausamaa said:

Karim said:

“we have dalileh ,labwani,kilo,fidaa horani,ghassan rifai…”

You sure have all those and many more although I am not familiar with any of them except through the term of dissidants. But what do they REPRESENT in Syria? Do they have grass-root support? Do they have a comprehensive outlook as to how to move Syria from Here to There and How? And if they do, why aint the Syrians chanting their names and distributing their great thoughs and ideology.If not is Syria, then where are their solid base outside? Heck, The Bush team have been racking their brains to come up with someone credible enough to crown him and the best they came up was that Al Ghadery.

You need immediate change? Go build a Party, a grass root movement, go get the people around you, maybe work within the System, Baath or non-Baath, to imporove it, and I assure you it will still take a lot of effort and sacrifices. Autocracy, beaucracy, routine, corruption and inefficency are epidimics everywhere you look around you not only in Syria. In Syria, and elsewhere. As to grass-root and civil-society psarticipation in change, Syria today is not as tough a society as was Iran during the Savak, nor as Russia was during the Checka and the NKVD. Start with the civil society organizations, the cultural institutes, neighberhood improvement action committees, whatever you can work with…and the best advise is, sacrofice some comfort and work from within the system, the results would not be insantanuous, but a bit by bit things will change faster and for the better.

And of course things take time and patience and a supportive environment as well. The lack of the last could be a GREAT cause of delaying what we all wish for.

But dont just curse whowever is at the top, at the bottom, and all those in between, and call this “cursing, frustration and confrontational approach” a patriotic struggle!

And be fair, things are changing in Syria, despite all the external pressures, despite all the tremendous obstacles being put in front of us, things are changing. Slowly but steadily. The world is opening up and Syria is part of it. And I sincerely beleive the leadership there is trying within the existing constraints to change things. Unfortunately, miracles do not happen over night, especially when you are in the eye of the storm.

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June 15th, 2008, 12:20 pm


119. Alex said:


Hopefully all of us will still be around SC next year. Ausamaa, Norman, and I are always blaming it PARTIALLY on the hostile environment. Next year I am expecting the trend to continue towards cooperation with, rather than “pressure” on, Syria.

If this will indeed be the case, and if by next year you don’t feel that there is tangible progress in economic and political reforms, then I will be more receptive to your negativity.

I know Arab dictators always blame external threats and they never reform … but a year is not a very long time … we’ll wait and see. I expect some signs of political reform … nothing perfect, but it will be a start.

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June 15th, 2008, 12:47 pm


120. karim said:

Alex bey ,Syria must stop this descent in the abyss,We pray that this transition to the normal will be peaceful ,we are young and patient but these intellectuals are in their 60’s and 70’s and are in poor health,no reason can explain their imprisonments.If bashar is less hateful than we think ,they must be freed today before tommorow.

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June 16th, 2008, 12:11 pm


121. suffer said:

Well… i think the problem is :
“Hizb al Baath al’Arabi al Ishtriraki”

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July 17th, 2008, 4:47 pm


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