British Envoy Visits Asad

Ibrahim Hamidi gets the scoop again. He reports in al-Hayat that a high level envoy of Tony Blair — Nigel Sheinwald, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser — visited Damascus unannounced yesterday and met with President Asad and Syria's Foreign Minister. This is the first time in two years that such a high level British visit has been made to Damascus and signifies that one more European finger has been taken out of the dike built up to isolate Syria. The Spanish Foreign Minister is due back to Damascus in a few days.

Peter Ford, Britain's Ambassador to Syria is leaving and just met Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmad Arnous on Sunday for his official going away ceremony. The two expressed their "keenness to have relations between their two countries improve." I guess they must have been chortling over that one.

John Jenkins will be replacing Ford as Ambassador in December. He is presently serving as HM Consul General in Jerusalem. By all accounts he will make an excellent replacement and should have an easier time of it than his predecessor if Anglo-Syrian relations continue to improve.

Ambassador Bolton has gone on the rampage again, accusing Syria of trying to destabilize Lebanon's democratically elected government by smuggling arms into Lebanon. AP has the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

France's Ambassador to the UN Jean-Marc de La Sabliere isn't buying Bolton's barrage. He said "we don't have at this stage evidence" of violations.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters his country was fully complying with the arms embargo and all U.N. resolutions. The Lebanese defense and foreign ministers and a Lebanese intelligence chief had denied reports of Syrian violations, he told Al-Arabiya television.

The opinion of a high level Saudi official 

A friend conveyed the following assessment of a high level Saudi official. The official is very pessimistic re Syria and the Americans and Israel. Suffice to say, he believes the Americans want to squeeze the Syrian regime till there's regime change – using upcoming report on Hariri for starters – and won't allow the Israelis to talk to Syria. Khaddam and the NSF are seen by Americans as potential alternatives to regime, he says. He says he can't believe how stupid Americans have been in the region.  

The new issue of Mideast Monitor is available
THE MIDEAST WAR

Hezbollah and the Political Ecology of Postwar Lebanon by Gary C. Gambill
H
ezbollah's conflict with is Israel is fueled substantially by local political conditions in Lebanon.  

Implications of the Israel-Hezbollah War
The outcome of the recent Israel-Hezbollah war may prove to be a stable equilibrium. Gary C. Gambill 

Briefing: Lebanese Public Opinion 

SYRIA Divided They Stand: The Syrian Opposition
Tony Badran
Syrian President Bashar Assad's efforts to exploit ethnic, sectarian, and ideological divisions within the opposition have failed to obstruct its growing unity.  

The Islamic Revival in Syria
Sami Moubayed
In response to growing Islamist militancy in Syria, the Assad regime has incrementally abandoned the ruling Baath Party's longstanding secularizing mission and encouraged the growth of Islamist civil society loyal to the state.  

Syrian-Saudi Media Wars
Tony BadranTensions between Riyadh and Damascus have led to a lopsided war of words in the media.      

Dossier: Bushra Assad
M. Daoud
Assad's older sister shuns the spotlight, but her political influence has been decisive at times.

Comments (8)


1. Innocent_Criminal said:

Its not only Bolton who is making these claims. He has the UN’s Larsen as back-up vocalist.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3321710,00.html

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/965FDAED-EB71-47B8-9C79-72C88BD8C991.htm

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October 31st, 2006, 10:17 am

 

2. simohurtta said:

Innocent_criminal is Hizbollah really the only armed militia in Lebanon? Maybe the other groups are also arming themselves. Or even the Lebanese army.

Lebanon army: We shot at IAF jets during mock raid.

USA is arming and training PLO in Palestine. How should we see that in respect of democracy, elections and legitimate government and contra Syria’s behaviour. Is encouraging a Palestinian civil war really a wise thing to do for USA?

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October 31st, 2006, 2:32 pm

 

3. Innocent_Criminal said:

Of course other groups are arming themselves. Wouldn’t you if you were they?

Democracy? Elections?? and legitimate government???? What are these strange words? All we have ever seen are moves toward improving US strategic interests in the region while completely ignoring these concepts. I hope you weren’t buying that crap they have been trying to sell for the past 6 years ;)

I full agree with you that Palestinian civil war would be disastrous. One has to admit though, that the Palestinians have been quite skilled in averting mass clashes (so far) considering the circumstances. But it’s been obvious from the start that the Americans, Israeli’s and their Arab puppets have been adamant on bringing down the Hamas government. If economic and political hardball doesn’t work, they will resolve to violence to accomplish their goals.

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October 31st, 2006, 4:55 pm

 

4. t_desco said:

More arms shipments to Lebanon (if one can believe these reports):

Al-Akhbar, Al-Manar

Any chance that Roed-Larsen is going to mention them in his next report…?

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October 31st, 2006, 6:40 pm

 

5. ammar said:

This doesn’t make sense:
“He says he can’t believe how stupid Americans have been in the region. ”
The saudis are pushing for the same thing!!!
Everyone is! Nobody wants to see this regime stay any longer, so what’s going on????

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October 31st, 2006, 10:58 pm

 

6. Innocent_Criminal said:

Ammar,

The Saudi “regime” is no better (actually its worse). You make it sound like they are doing the “right” thing because it fits with your interests. But this is NOT good vs. evil, instead everyone is trying to increase their clout and empower their supporters. so please lets not get overly dramatic.

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November 1st, 2006, 7:09 am

 

7. ivanka said:

Don’t you just love the Evangelical-Wahabi alliance bent on bringing democracy to the middle east? I love it.

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November 1st, 2006, 9:28 am

 

8. Innocent_Criminal said:

Ivanka,

I hate to sound contradictory to my previous comment but I think you’re being overly dramatic this time. My girlfriend is Saudi and a WORKING dentist. So women can work but cannot drive. And as long as you follow certain guidelines, albeit they are quite restrictive, you can have a good time there (unless you care for basic human rights ;)).

And though I know you were trying to make a point, your comparison of Iran and The Netherlands scared me since I live in the latter ;)

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November 1st, 2006, 9:57 am

 

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