Did Chirac know?

Posted by Alex 

French daily Le-Figaro published its investigation into the disappearance of Zuheir al-Saddiq, star witness in the probe on former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri's murder. I translated the relevant parts to English, below. I am not a professional translator. Please refer to the original article for reference.

disparition du faux témoin de l'affaire Hariri
(Disappearance of the false witness of the Hariri affair)
Georges Malbrunot
Le Figaro
11/04/2008

Some months after the assassination of [late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq] Hariri in February 2005, his entourage came in contact with a man, [Assadiq] who claimed to have important secrets and to be the chauffeur of a Syrian General. During Assadiq's pre-screening in Saudi Arabia, those close to Saad Hariri, the heir to his father, undertook the task of briefing Assadiq. At the time Detlev Mehlis, the German persecutor in charge of the Hariri investigation, had difficulties … There were many testimonies but none that implicated Syrians. The pro Hariri people who were collaborating closely with the Mehlis commission wanted to attribute to Assadiq information gathered by others. There was a need for a place to conduct the interrogation. In the name of friendship which bonded Jacques Chirac with Rafiq Hariri, the [French] ex-president accepted that the UN investigators come to France to question the suspect and that Assadiq be pre-screened by French authorities.

Did Jacques Chirac realize that it was a setup? … not sure.

However, as soon as his initial interrogation commenced, the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, France’s foreign intelligence agency) realized what Assadiq was, and handed this hot potato to the DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, a directorate of the French National Police operating as a domestic intelligence agency). Assadiq was then guarded by French elite intervention team, équipe RAID (Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion] which quickly asked to be relieved from their responsibility of protecting him since he was “uncontrollable”. According to a person who is familiar with his file, “the false witness” ended up telling the policemen that “he had been paid to say what they wanted him to say so that the investigation moves in the desired direction”.

At the end of 2005 Assadiq called his brother Imad and informed him that he has become a millionaire. The man became an embarrassment. But what can be done about him? …Several hypotheses are possible for his disappearance. The false witness left at his own initiative, the Syrians recuperated him in a clandestine operation, the French have hidden him so that they can later hand him over to international justice.

The most obvious hypothesis is otherwise. An intelligence expert who has followed the affair stated that “those who brought him to France, that is the Hariri camp, have neutralized him by sheltering him”… was this done without French involvement?

“it is technically possible that the French did not have a role in his departure” adds a police officer, since no charge had been laid against him and Assadiq was free in his movements and he was not under permanent  surveillance. In fact, according to a diplomatic source “France, since last September, did not want him anymore, the Hariri clan cutoff his living allowances to make him leave, but today those close to Saad Hariri are keeping him clearly under their radar”.

By placing him in a secret location his manipulating protectors wanted to avoid being discredited by their client at the international tribunal.

Full article

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Meanwhile, the internet is rich in thousands of links to articles and opinion pieces from 2005, 2006, 2007, and even 2008 that continue to dedicate a paragraph to the initial Mehlis report which was based on Saddiq's testimony … "Syria implicated" in Hariri's murder.

Here are screen shots of a few samples.

 

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Comments (171)


Qifa Nabki said:

Ooooohhh, the plot thickens.

Tell me, ya shabab, what will we talk about after the Tribunal is finished?

Seriously… it’s going to be might quiet.

April 14th, 2008, 12:50 am

 

Enlightened said:

The humous and Thina strain in the Dna of people living in the Levant!

The plot also thickens with Assef reportedly under house arrest, with stratfor penning a new article on the weekend. Anyone with any relevant news?

April 14th, 2008, 1:02 am

 

Alex said:

Enlightened,

The only interesting thing I found in the way Asef’s story was reported is that Saudi Asharq Alawsat, typically very anti Syria, has taken the lead in denying there is anything wrong with Asef or his relations with his brother in law.

Why?! .. I have no idea.

First they reported that France denied that Bushra (his wife) was in France with the kids. Yesterday they reported that they had a photo of Asef congratulating new Syrian graduates of the officer’s college (or something similar).

April 14th, 2008, 1:18 am

 

Georges said:

Prediction: Syrian intelligence will turn up Al-Sadeeq; he will pull a Husam Husam and expose how he got implicated. Now, THAT would be fun!

April 14th, 2008, 1:20 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Georges,

Where have you been? I’ve pined for you.

April 14th, 2008, 1:35 am

 

Enlightened said:

Alex:

Yep, Arab media you just cant beat it! Nothing can be verified, and no standards. But if you get a hold of that picture, its surely one for the archives.

However get ready for Saudi/Syrian media Wars part 2!

Georges:

That would be interesting, but I think your scenario might be a little impossible. Surely the French, might be still holding him, living the life of luxury somewhere on the riviera, holding some good parties, with Harriris money?

This whole thing with the Tribunal is getting very, very messy, and un professional.

April 14th, 2008, 1:46 am

 

Ghassan said:

I don’t understand, if Asef is under house arrest, why can’t he hold a press conference and tell the whole world that he is ok anf his wife is on vacation somewhere?

April 14th, 2008, 1:55 am

 

Alex said:

Ghassan,

becasue

1) Head of Syrian intelligence never appears in public any way.

2) If he responded to this rumor, he will encourage “them” to cook many new rumors .. one every week … and then the regime will need to address each one … next week “rami has cancer”, then Bashar’s wife had a nervous breakdown …

Alsyassa is always there to produce rumors … they have been doing it for years.

I am not saying that it is impossible that there might have been any truth to the Asef rumor (this latest one) … But if the regime decided one day to move asef, it would more likely be to another position (VP national security?) … it won’t be the drama of firing him and putting him under house arrest for example.

April 14th, 2008, 2:03 am

 

norman said:

Alex ,

Do you think that the Saudies are trying to mend fences with Syria , That would be interesting.

April 14th, 2008, 3:05 am

 

Alex said:

Norman,

I think some of them are. But others are even more determined to cooperate with America (and Egypt) to put more pressure on Syria in the coming few months.

The king is not among those mending fences.

April 14th, 2008, 3:13 am

 

norman said:

I found this interesting,

NOSSTIA for maintaining Syrian expats` continuity with home

Damascus
SyriaTimes
economy
13-4-2008
Waad al-Jarf
“Many Syrian expatriates have been keen to render every possible help to their motherland, but some do not know how to start and with whom they have to make contact”, Vice-President of NOSSTIA Council of Governors, Rida Mortada said in an interview recently published by the local “al-Thawra” daily.

“There is a need for a compatibility between expatriates and their scientific and social backgrounds and between different Syrian bodies the expats will deal with”, he added. ‏

The “Network of Syrian Scientists, Technologists and Innovators Abroad” was deemed to be the best channel to maintain contacts between expatriates and their native home. ‏

NOSSTIA was founded six years ago with the objective of achieving continuity between Syrian experts and scientists living abroad and their motherland. The Network`s main office in Damascus has been making efforts to maintain interaction among the Syrian expats and make use of their expertise and scientific knowledge to serve the home. Among activities carried out by the expats have been to help prepare and finalize studies on the implementation of different scientific and socio-economic projects in Syria according to development plans drawn up by the government with the participation of the country`s private sector. ‏

Mortada told the local daily NOSSTIA has in the past years held conferences and symposiums on information technology, communications, energy and water resources. It also concluded cooperation agreements between members of the Network and their scientific and academic institutions abroad and between several Syrian universities, he said. Some scholarships were secured as a number of Syrian post-university graduates were accepted at foreign universities where NOSSTIA members work, Mortada added. ‏

He pointed out that the international ICTTA conference, held in Syria for the first time in 2004 and repeated every two years, is one of the main scientific activities of the Syrian network. ‏

The third conference of the “Information Communication Technology from Theory to Applications” was recently held in Damascus under the chairmanship of President of the NOSSTIA Council of Governors, Dr. Basel Suleiman. Since its foundation up to the present day, ICTTA conference is co-organized by NOSSTIA, the Arab School for Science and Technology, the Syrian Computer Society and the higher school of communications “ENST Bretagne” in cooperation with the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers and the two Ministries of Communications and Expatriates. ‏

About 40 Arab and foreign states took part in last week`s ICTTA Third Conference where a number of Syrian professors chaired its several sessions and meetings and 35 research papers on different scientific and technology branches were presented by the Syrians. Six workshops were held to deal with Information Communication Technology, electronic government, electronic-banking, engineering of programming, knowledge management and ICT security. ‏

Mortada said NOSSTIA achieved success in some of its activities in Syria but could not realize an effective and hoped-for breakthrough “because there is a difference in legislation, management and business environment between the country and American and European environments”. He called for reforming laws, improving environment and developing management in the country so that Syrian expats can render assistance and serve their motherland in terms of reactivating joint action between them and NOSSTIA. ‏

Mortada stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation between the Network and the Syrian Ministry of Expatriates which is in charge of expats and supports activities of Syrian scientists at home and abroad. He thanked Minister Bothaina Shaaban for her efforts exerted to back all Syrian expats without exception, facilitate their visits and maintain their contacts with their motherland. ‏

Chairman of the ICTTA Conference Dr. Suleiman and Mortada expressed the hope that further constructive cooperation will be maintained with the Ministry and other Syrian government institutions so that various activities of the Network are expanded and strengthened and new successes in projects are achieved in the interest of all Syrian expatriates, NOSSTIA members and their native home. ‏

April 14th, 2008, 3:25 am

 

jo6pac said:

I think that this a problem, we are going to have to rename the problem. Evil Axis isn’t going to work any more, please submit new names for a chance to win ?
jo6pac
Everything is on schedule, please move along.

April 14th, 2008, 3:48 am

 

Enlightened said:

Recalcitrant Axis?

re·cal·ci·trant (r-kls-trnt)
adj.
Marked by stubborn resistance to and defiance of authority or guidance. See Synonyms at unruly.
n.
A recalcitrant person.

April 14th, 2008, 3:55 am

 

Alex said:

That’s it Enlightened : )

But here is what President Carter had to say today to Akiva Eldar (haaretz):

This week you will visit Damascus. Do you believe that President Assad has an interest in renewing talks with Israel and that he can be distanced from what your president calls the “axis of evil?”

“In the long term, I have no doubt that Syria has to be involved in negotiations. I have known the president of Syria since he was a college student. If he feels that the U.S. considers him an enemy, he is much more inclined to cling to Iran. We don’t talk to the Cubans, we don’t talk the Iranians and we don’t talk to lots of people. But I believe that when we start a peace effort, all of the players that ultimately will have to be involved in this agreement ought to be involved in the negotiations to reach that agreement.

“I do not agree with the policy [about the “axis of evil”] or with the unwillingness to talk to someone who disagrees with you unless he agrees with all your prerequisites. I agree with the recommendation of the Baker-Hamilton committee, which recommended that we do include Iran and Syria in the determination of the Iraqi war.

“When I was elected [president], there was no pressure on me to even initiate a peace process between Israel and its Arab neighbors. In fact, Israel’s Arab neighbors were considered to be despicable and permanent enemies. Egypt had been to war with Israel 4 times in 25 years. I decided that the only way to make peace was to meet with everyone. I met with [Hafez] Assad in Geneva, Switzerland, I met with Sadat, I met with Rabin, King Hussein, all of them, because I didn’t see a way of achieving a peaceful solution without involving all the people – on a respectful basis – who would have to pay a crucial role in the final decision.”

April 14th, 2008, 3:59 am

 

Enlightened said:

Alex:

I have never being a believer in the “US Vs Them” mentality. It never achieves anything. Good posting point about Carter. Here is a enlightened thought for the day.

The only way I can envisage a lasting peace in the ME, is if the Next president (who ever that may be) appoints the Three Wise Monkeys ex Presidents (Carter, Bush senior and Clinton) and charts them with a mission to solve it once and for all. A peace on a respectful basis.

What do you think?

April 14th, 2008, 4:22 am

 

Alex said:

Absolutely.

All three, or any one of them will do. James baker too… Richard Murphy, Edward Djerejian

President Carter (God bless him) is getting old. And so is President Bush Sr.

April 14th, 2008, 4:33 am

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Back after 4 days of R&R and… I see not much has changed… 🙂 AIG’s still getting banned, the “Simo-Wizart-Naji” axis are still continuing their “I think you’re great! – No, I think YOU’RE great!” charades, everyone’s picking on Zenobia for supporting women’s rights and Zionism, and the Hariri plot thickens even more. Was nice to relax with the family, but a part of me very much missed those “tell-it-like-it-is” comments… so I’m back. Hopefully I won’t need to continue to convince people that I’m not a Nazi this week (or next), and maybe we’ll actually hear some positive opinions about anything, rather than only negative ones. With our leadership’s inability to meet Carter (aside from Peres), due to “schedule conflicts”, it looks like our week is starting off rather normally…

April 14th, 2008, 5:17 am

 

Enlightened said:

Alex:

What about Daniel Pipes? (LOL)

April 14th, 2008, 5:24 am

 

Alex said:

hahaha

You missed yesterday when everyone was praising Zenobia.

No more mention of the “N” word.

And AIG came up with quite a few good comments .. like “Syria treats women like shit” and … again … Tlass’s book proves that Syrians treat Syrian Jews like shit too… the long article I posted interviewing Syrian Jews in NJ did not convince him. It dose not matter what topic we are discussing today, we have to abide by his easy to follow propaganda rules: Syria is bad.

Enlightened,

Daniel Pipes is tired .. he worked hard from 2000 to 2008. Time for him to take a vacation .. I hope!

April 14th, 2008, 5:29 am

 

Enlightened said:

Alex:

Where is the better part of Syria?

hint hint

April 14th, 2008, 5:33 am

 

Shai said:

Yeah, well… I guess there’s some innate need for certain people on this forum to go bashing the other side, as if that’s going to make a difference somewhere. For the life of me, I never understood why people prefer the in-your-face style, describing reality “as it is”, while shunning away about 99.9% of the people they actually hope to change. Maybe it’s just a way of tension-relief. Maybe just plain sadism…

April 14th, 2008, 5:38 am

 

Alex said:

Enlightened, you trouble maker.

Alright. I am going to sleep early today. Good day to the one in Israel and good evening to the one in Australia.

April 14th, 2008, 5:51 am

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Good night. Dream of sheep jumping over the Syrian-Israeli fence (in the area where there are no land mines…)

April 14th, 2008, 6:04 am

 

Shai said:

If there’s one man in recent history that has done more for world peace than perhaps any other, it is indeed Jimmy Carter. The aging ex-President could have retired quietly on his Georgia farm, and let others do the “dirty job” of changing human perceptions of one another. Instead, he is more on planes traversing the globe than he is at home, spending time with his family… Talk about a hero.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/974464.html

April 14th, 2008, 6:56 am

 

Zenobia said:

Long live Jimmy Carter…

April 14th, 2008, 7:08 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Yeah, well… I guess there’s some innate need for certain people on this forum to go bashing the other side, as if that’s going to make a difference somewhere. For the life of me, I never understood why people prefer the in-your-face style, describing reality “as it is”, while shunning away about 99.9% of the people they actually hope to change. Maybe it’s just a way of tension-relief. Maybe just plain sadism

Yeah, well…. I guess that 99.9 % percent of Israelis want a change = peace sometimes. I guess that 99.9999 % percent of Palestinians want a fast change = peace now. I guess that 99.9 percent of Europeans are fed up paying the costs and hearing about this conflict.

It is plain sadism that Israelis are not wanting to find a solution.
Most Israelis oppose J’lem concessions’

Yeah majority of Israelis want peace but are not willing to give anything. Who believes that peace is achieved so? Well “we” must be friends for lets say 1000 years. Then Israeli Jews might consider to talk and give Palestinians their share, when their fear level has been reduced by holding the neighbours hands and Pals have been doing the low paid dirty jobs.

Shai the reality is what the poll tells. The reality is that Israel doesn’t want Saudis to buy advanced US weapons. The reality is that Israeli tanks roll into northeastern Gaza. The reality is that Peres said that Carter damaged peace process, because Carter wants to speak with the movement the majority of Palestinians supported in free elections. The reality is that IDF is probing why Palestinians were held 16 hours at checkpoint and their car tires punctured.

So is the reality on Nisan 9, 5768. Well, well everything is like normal and Israelis want a “change”. Carter wants a change and is ready to speak about the reality in real terms. Indeed a hero.

I never understood people who prefer stay-indoors-when-the-house-is-burning style. It is pure propagandist BS to say that 99.9 percent of people want a change. Of course they want. But that change for different population groups is not the same. And that is the reality of the problem. Problems are not solved by avoiding speaking about them. Carter knows that.

How should we approach the reality in a constructive way? Well I try: No tanks and plenty of oil in Gaza. No new missiles for Hizbollah. Iraqis are happy and love US soldiers. No plans to attack Iran. No nukes in Israel. Women sit for fun in the back of Jerusalem’s buses. There are no settlements and Pals are happily queuing on the check points established for their security. All want peace and be friends and to eat a good dinner in Damascus.

Well that is easier than I thought. Maybe we all should consider not to talk about how Syria will be democratic or Lebanon’s problems and forget completely Israel – because that is constructive “reality” talk. Or maybe we should constructively put all our efforts in discussing how good the different foods of Middle East are. What if we all begin to write poems about peace instead of trying to understand the world as it is? We need a change.

PS.
Shai I have never praised anybody (it is not my style). I have not picked Zenobia for women’s rights. I have not called you or anybody else Nazi. So stop using that victim strategy. Real men and women can tolerate different views even when the views are not in-line with own.

April 14th, 2008, 7:17 am

 

Zenobia said:

Although you are exceptionally frustrated, I am not sure you are going to succeed in getting them to cut out the friendly and often trite banter and teasing.

Good luck with that.

April 14th, 2008, 7:31 am

 

Shai said:

Zenobia,

If after suggesting that Carter is a hero for not “staying-indoors-when-the-house-is-burning”, all we hear back is further yelling and hatred spewing, then what can you expect?

April 14th, 2008, 7:43 am

 

Shai said:

You know, Simo, I’ve just about had enough of your constant hatred-driven negation of any attempt of any Israeli to say something positive about anything. Your way of discussing “reality” is to put down anything and anybody that disagrees with your way of thinking or that, god-forbid, criticizes you. Who the Hell are YOU to lecture me about my country? You think you know more, sitting there in your Finnish sauna, reading articles on the Internet? What have you ever done to fight racism in YOUR country? You think that by verbal-rallying Arab readers on this site you’re going to see a better day in the Middle East? All you’ll see is hardened views, further hatred, and continued hopelessness.

You think you understand reality on the ground better than all the Arab readers here? They LIVE through it, not only watch it on TV shows in Finnish. But since you’re not going to participate in any peace-opting initiative (like getting Jews and Arabs together, to talk, not to remove nukes or missiles), and you know that as soon as peace does arrive in our region, you’ll have nothing further to yell about, you’re trying to make your limited time here as efficient as possible. The more Arabs hear your hatred (“reality”) of Israel, the more you’ll achieve, and the happier you’ll be.

And when finally some very few Israelis come here to show fellow Arab bloggers that there is still hope, on our side, with people still working day and night to change public opinion, to bring about a different leadership, to stop the course of our miserable 60 year history, what do you do? You bash them into pieces, every way you can. A few Israelis and Arabs are starting to “sweet talk” one another, displaying first their hopes and dreams, and then starting to crunch out the steps that need to be taken before restarting negotiations, and what do you do? You yell at them “Wait, NO, don’t waste your time talking! Let me remind you of reality! Let me show you AGAIN how terrible the situation is. Wait, you think it’s bad? No, I’ll show you how much worse it can be! Don’t be fooled into useless peace-talking. They’re not interested!”

I am becoming utterly convinced that you, Simo, under the pretense of wanting to see a better day are, in fact, doing everything you can to make sure it never happens. You’re terribly good at closing doors, but quite poor at opening them even ever so slightly. Instead of using your unique position of seeming so-called objective, to find ways to bring Jews and Arabs together, you use all your verbal might to separate us even further than we already are. And if that’s your cup-of-tea, enjoy it!

April 14th, 2008, 8:31 am

 

T said:

Shai,

I didnt see any hatred spewing out of Simo in his entry above. But I did see a challenge for Israel to back up its words with objective actions. And a refusal to let words replace them.

Why not let behavior do the talking? Why not dismantle the settlements? Instead there are thousands more being built.

Words of peace or peace parks, when Gaza has no fuel, medical care, food and its unemployed people live on 75 cents a day, and are being ruthlessly bombed as you discuss peace, rings a little shallow. I suppose pointing that out is “sadistic”? (Is ‘sadistic’ the new ‘anti-semite’? Or just use “hater”- that works too. It is bound to shame and shut one up. And win allies.)

Very, very manipulative Shai.

The onus is on Israel to change. Not because it is Israel and not because it is jewish, but because Israel overwhelmingly holds all the power in the Israeli-Palestinian equation. (While ever assuming the victim mantle.) The dynamics of a master-slave relationship… since you yourself injected the concept of ‘sadism’ here.

BTW- I for one am very proud of Jimmy Carter and agree with you on that score. His efforts are really brave, impressive and so appreciated. I hope his action sets a precedent among top leaders the world over. Carter is a hero!

PPS: I have been on the ground there- Gaza, W Bank, Israel, Syria and Lebanon many times over a period of at least a decade so I am not just safe in my comfy home- I have seen stuff first hand.

April 14th, 2008, 9:08 am

 

offended said:

So Al Siddique has been paid to implicate Syria?

Shocking! Horrible! Horrendous! Acrimonious!

Sounds like one of Michael Connelly’s where the inexperienced prosecutor seeks out for a snitch to support his feeble case.

Hey Shai, what’s up? 😉

April 14th, 2008, 9:17 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

If after suggesting that Carter is a hero for not “staying-indoors-when-the-house-is-burning”, all we hear back is further yelling and hatred spewing, then what can you expect?

You Shai are simply an astonishing guy. You reserve your self the right to criticize and denigrate others from starting from first comment after your family brake. Still you are completely unable to answer in a correct way and you begin using that personal defamation strategy, which seems to be your only way you can really debate.

What have I been yelling and hatred spewing? Did I call you with names, ask put your head you know where (as you have commanded me to do several times) or gossip with others about your “character”.

All the points of the reality in my comment were picked from today’s news. What hatred spreading is that? My comments were directly related to you claims of 99.9 percent people want change and your reality whining.

Actually Shai I see you as the most immature and dangerous person here commenting. You want obviously this comment section to degenerate to a “polite” chat forum with rather irrelevant personal ass licking. Do we really need here tens of those “Good night sleep good, dream about lambs on mine fields” level comments?

You seem to have created with your supporter an equivalent of Campus Watch, SC Watch, with personal insulting, open gossiping and taking other’s words out of the context where the words were said. If somebody uses here in SC comments frequently personal insults it is you Shai. Isn’t that hatred sweeping if something is?

Carter is a hero because he is ready to speak with different parties and call the reality as it is – Apartheid in Israel for example. Is Carter popular in Israel? Not really = in reality.

April 14th, 2008, 9:25 am

 

Shai said:

T,

What do you prefer? We can just have the same reality, but without “words of peace or peace parks”. You think reality will change faster that way, or get worse? If you’ve given up all hope, then fair enough. But if you still think somehow things can change, you better be pragmatic enough to realize that it’ll only happen through “shallow-sounding” initiatives. Of course I don’t expect the Arab side to change as much as Israel should – I never claimed that. Thank you for suggesting that I’m trying to manipulate – perhaps you should ask Alex what he thinks about my “tactics”. Carter, by the way, is viewed by most Israeli politicians now as harming the chances for peace by talking to Khaled Mashaal. I happen to think the opposite. By receiving and sending messages back and forth, he is attempting not to force his own understanding of justice upon any of the parties, but rather create dialogue and mutual understanding. This is how he helped bring Nepal to have democratic elections, this is how he did the same in the Palestinian territories, despite the fact he believes its timing may have been a mistake. Again, instead of seeing who is standing in front of you (me), you are responding to some Israeli amoeba as if it represented only one stance. If you are indeed suggesting that the future can change somehow without first talking, then I’m afraid you’re in for further disappointment. If you read the map of today correctly, you will realize that Israelis are nowhere near ready to make the changes you expect. They were, 15 years ago, however. First, public opinion has to change. And that’s what we’re trying to do – believe it or not. Words should not replace action, but they do have to precede them.

April 14th, 2008, 9:26 am

 

Shai said:

Simo,

When you find something positive to say to a peace-seeking Israeli, let me know.

April 14th, 2008, 9:31 am

 

T said:

Shai,

You have been “talking” for 40 years- and building settlements all the while. How many Palestinians will die while you talk?

I prefer words WITH objective action. They can and must go together.

“If you read the map of today correctly, you will realize that Israelis are nowhere near ready to make the changes you expect. First, public opinion has to change. And that’s what we’re trying to do – believe it or not.”

I do believe it. But can you throw the slaves some crumbs while you endlessly discuss?

Isn’t it possible to talk and act at the same time? Give the slaves some food, heat and medicine.

Or you could fix that sewage tsunami in N Gaza that broke once and killed several Palestinians. What an apt, horrendous metaphor for this entire crisis. Literally sickening.

April 14th, 2008, 9:40 am

 

Shai said:

T,

Your mistake is again bunching all Israelis together. I haven’t been talking for 40 years and building settlements, because I was only born 38 years ago. I’m trying to express to you the side of some 20-30% of Israelis, who are still holding on to their last bits of hope and optimism, and those fewer who are working hard to switch over another 20-30% to where they were in Rabin’s days. I also prefer words WITH action, so? I can prefer and opt and believe and wish all I want. We could do that together, if you like. But it is not going to happen because you want it to. It will happen ONLY if we first change public opinion in Israel. As much as Israel is not a Democracy, as some here point out, leaders here especially today still cannot make dramatic changes without the consent of the public that elected them. While you might be thinking only about the struggle of the Palestinians, we in Israel have to think about their struggle, and also ours, inside our country, for public opinion.

You think if I took your words of wisdom, and those of Simo’s, and presented them to the Israeli public, that they’ll say “You know, they may be right…”? You know the answer to that as well as I do. But if I come to them, and to potential leaders, and show them the kind of responses you see here by people like Alex, Ford Prefect, Honest Patriot, Norman, Qifa Nabki, Zenobia, Offended, Enlightened, Sami D., Naji, and others, then I might be able to change some existing preconceptions. If you think we could do it any other way, I’m open to hearing your suggestions. But if you think that by bashing every statement made by an Israeli on this forum you’re going to better the situation of the Palestinians, you’re wrong.

April 14th, 2008, 9:50 am

 

T said:

You dont have to get the Israeli public’s permission to take the suggestions I have given. Just follow International Law.

For God’s sake, and for your nation’s own image on the global stage- Give the starving some humanitarian aid. What a disgrace.

April 14th, 2008, 9:53 am

 

Shai said:

T,

I agree with you much more than you’d ever know, or care to admit. I do think it’s a disgrace, and a horrendous crime, to suffocate the lives of 1.5 million Palestinians. Would you like to label this statement a “manipulation” as well? What can we do, we are sworn enemies of one another, and one side is without a doubt the stronger, more cruel and devastating than the other. But we have to find a way out, especially seeing as many amongst the stronger side believe they’re the ones under threat. As preposterous as this may sound to you, that is reality as viewed subjectively by this public, whose opinion we must change. You want to just sit there and go on about justice and International law, and to continue bashing those few of us Israelis still trying to change this reality?

April 14th, 2008, 10:04 am

 

T said:

Oh you poor, poor victims! The world’s most powerful ethnic group, with the world’s largest military at your disposal, an intl community that fears confronting you, and tables groaning under the heavy weight of food…. With billions of dollars of aid pouring in… Everyone’s trying to bash you and malign you.

Just follow the law, the Geneva Conventions or basic human decency.

Without it, all the talking in the world is useless.

Can you commit to at least getting them some food? Or clean water?

April 14th, 2008, 10:16 am

 

Shai said:

T,

Thank you for your last comment.

April 14th, 2008, 10:20 am

 

T said:

You are welcome. Will you get them some food?
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m43044&hd=&size=1&l=e

April 14th, 2008, 10:21 am

 

Shai said:

T,

If I could, I would give them my house. But I would certainly not discuss those options with someone as disrespectful as you. Have you no self-control, or the minimal decency, to at least recognize that the person talking to you actually agrees with most if not all of what you say? I’m on your side, and yet you insist on pushing me out? Is that smart?

April 14th, 2008, 10:28 am

 

why-discuss said:

Shai

You are a very decent person and your efforts to build bridges is laudable. Unfortunately you belong to a country that has a appalling records in human rights and in obeying international laws. I know all this is out of fear of being destroyed and I understand that, but the bloody regional chaos that the creation of the state of Israel has provoked is something I have hard time digesting and neither forgiving nor forgetting (as the israeli believe). And I belong to the lucky ones who have not been displaced and thrown into camps waiting that the world countries repares the injustice they have contributed to create in the region.
I just wish your way of thinking triggers something in the israeli community to realize that the state of Israel as they have been used to is a thing of the past. The surprising IDF weakness in 2006, the growth of stronger and more resilient resistance around the country calls for a radical review of what is Israel and what is its future and what it offers to the jews who came here for a better life away from the european hatred , ghettos and racism.
What is the future and role of Israel in the region? that is the question many of you should ask yourself. Holding on to the notion of a militarized country, constantly in defensive/aggressive wars, buying weapons and building shelters, is a recipee for more disaster to come. Israel must start to re-invent itself now otherwise on long term it may disappear.

April 14th, 2008, 10:37 am

 

T said:

Oh so now its attack by character assassination? Name calling and guilt trips? You really are a piece of work. I can almost feel you beating your breast in self pity!

Those who dont buy the victim tactic are sadistic, disrespectful etc etc?

C’mon Shai. Dont play those games- I’m not buying. I am not pushing you out of anywhere. I AM pushing you to stop the excuses, exercise your clout with the Ministry and call them to allow the Red Cross in if you all wont do your humanitarian duty in Gaza.
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m43017&hd=&size=1&l=e
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m43026&hd=&size=1&l=e
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m43016&hd=&size=1&l=e

April 14th, 2008, 10:43 am

 

wizart said:

Public opinion in Israel doesn’t change by one or two Israelis using a Syrian blog as a propaganda tool to show Israel in positive lights despite the ugly reality on the ground. People like Simo, T, Alex, Naji, Zenobia, Joe, H.P, Enlightened, George, Annie, Alle, Why Discuss, Qifa Nabki, Nour and countless others try hard to give as true a reality check as possible on Syria through their real life experiences with Syria with real authenticity and courage.

If Israelis were interested in Syria’s opinions we would have listened from more than a couple of them here repeating the same arguments and getting “hurt”, manipulative and insulting “often!”

Countless opinions have been turned off and silenced by the mirage of false hope and salvation campaign that has been attempted here under peace pretenses which serve to hide the true reality of the state of occupation, waste everyone’s time and positive energy while going on with tangents designed to put the blame on Syria.

My opinion is well represented by Simo and T in recent remarks.

April 14th, 2008, 10:54 am

 

Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

You and I have engaged each other on a few occasions, and have found the way to discuss with respect, with an open mind and heart. I wish some more here could do the same with an Israeli like myself.

I agree with you about what Israelis will have to do to “re-invent” ourselves. But I disagree about when and how that should take place. We are nowhere near ready to start a process of introspection. For that to happen, most Israelis have to feel confident enough and not interpret their surrounding environment as a threatening one. This can only occur when two things take place: Peace with Syria, followed by an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When peace agreements are signed, and (yes, superficial) peace begins to form, Israelis will see for the first time in their modern history that they can indeed live safely in this region. And the same will happen with our Palestinian neighbors. A generation or two later, reconciliation and forgiveness could start between our people. And then, most will begin looking into themselves, will start to understand, and will begin to create a different future for this region.

It won’t happen any faster, I’m afraid. For now, the best we can hope for is a two-state solution, while still maintaining a mutual level of distrust and suspicion. Time will change that, I hope.

April 14th, 2008, 10:55 am

 

Shai said:

T,

What you, Wizart, and Simo, don’t seem to understand is that I haven’t used any “excuses” for what my country is doing. The fact that for some unexplained reason you insist on remaining deaf to my endless attempts to express complete agreement with you about my country’s ongoing crimes, is indeed not helping any Israeli find you reasonable or truly open to discussion. You, as I’ve argued about Wizart and Simo, see us Israelis as all the same. If we don’t do something that you can see on CNN this afternoon, then our efforts are meaningless to you. If we can’t change the situation tomorrow morning, then we’re just “talking”. Well, I don’t know what you do outside of this forum, aside from talking, but I happen to be doing a bit more, including very active work (ask Alex if you need some proof).

How can you guys take yourself seriously, when someone like Wizart says the following: “Countless opinions have been turned off and silenced by the mirage of false hope and salvation campaign that has been attempted here under peace pretenses which serve to hide the true reality of the state of occupation, waste everyone’s time and positive energy while going on with tangents designed to put the blame on Syria.” Who’s opinions have been turned off? Who was silenced (besides AIG)? Peace pretenses? Am I trying to market Occupation as a pretense for peace? Put the blame on Syria? Who’s blaming who in this little “discussion”?

April 14th, 2008, 11:11 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

What have you ever done to fight racism in YOUR country?

Well my wife is a Muslim and non-European foreigner, so we have concretely encountered racism in my country (not much but still). I have done plenty against racism in my country. What have you done concretely? Are you a member of Refusing for Israel? I doubt that.

You know, Simo, I’ve just about had enough of your constant hatred-driven negation of any attempt of any Israeli to say something positive about anything.

What positive did you say today before my first comment? You said that 99.9 percent of people want change, which would be positive if you had argued it further – what kind of change and how. Left alone with out arguments it is only poor quality propaganda and cheep point hunting. You mocked others (which is not positive). You said good night to Alex (which is positive).

By the way Akbar and AIG very rarely say anything positive about Arab countries and often negative? Are they on your SC Watch list? Why not yell and mock them? Why only to me and some others who are not so convinced about avoiding criticising Israel’s policy as a country is the fastest track towards peace.


Simo,
When you find something positive to say to a peace-seeking Israeli, let me know.

OK Shai. When you have something positive to say about how in reality Israel is seeking peace as a country, let me know. I hope you have good news for me soon.

Meanwhile I continue saying my opinions about how Israel as a country is not seeking peace. I hope it is not disturbing you and you do not have bring up Finnish sauna in future. By the way in the sauna the temperature is 90 – 110 Celsius, very few people read / write in the sauna or have computers in sauna. Maybe you have developed in Israel sauna proof computers (that would be a positive news from Israel). May I ask you do you wear that funny hat your people seem to wear? Black or coloured? Do you have a long beard, I don’t.

I’m trying to express to you the side of some 20-30% of Israelis, who are still holding on to their last bits of hope and optimism

Does that 20-30% percent include the Israeli Arabs? If it does then 0 – 10% percent of Israeli Jews have optimism and hope. Do you Shai think that South-Africa’s apartheid would have ended if the world would not have been discussing about it? You and I know it would have not, even some white and black activists had peace building contacts for decades.

Well Shai you have made your “positive” points and I my “negative” points. We have different opinions Shai, simple as that. Grow up and try to tolerate my right to express my opinions, we not living in “Internet Soviet Union”. If I sometimes comment your comment, do not take it so personally. I admire your peace building efforts and understand some of your motives in many ways. But trying to influence Israeli popular opinion is done best inside Israel, not by trying to silence outside critics. When Israel gets better we rude North Europeans have to choose other “targets”. Well, there are plenty, sadly, of those in the world.

PS.
Shai I do not see you Israelis as bunch of same minded people. When I speak about Israel I mostly mean the country a whole, the policy its government and military “perform”. When I speak about Israelis I mean mostly the Jewish majority. Of course I know You agree with the mistreatment of Palestinians. That is not the point. The critics is targeted against Israel, not you personally or trying to sabotage your efforts.

April 14th, 2008, 11:18 am

 

Shai said:

Simo,

I happen to like Saunas, but I also don’t use computers there. No, I’m sorry to disappoint you, I do not wear that “funny hat your people seem to wear? Black or coloured?”, nor do I have a beard. Most Israelis, believe it or not, are not West Bank settlers, nor religious zealots. And, you might find this shocking, I actually never considered banning anyone’s comments, as long as they are said in a respectful, constructive manner. They don’t need to be things I like to hear. In fact, do you honestly think I’d come to Syria Comment, of all places on earth, if I was only looking for things I agreed with? If you truly wanted to listen to me, and was willing to voice your criticism of me in a respectful manner, you might find a very open ear and, as I’ve hinted in the past, you might even see that we agree on much more than you think we do. But give an Israeli a chance, don’t just verbal-spray every tiny thing I say, and don’t assume you know my intentions in advance. That will only bring an equally disrespectful response, which is of course a shame, because you and I at least pretend on a daily basis to be mature individuals in our day-to-day lives, right?

You know, I’m not seeking any personal ass-licking on this site – I can do that in real life, by just going to a number of engagements all throughout this country, as well as Europe and the U.S. where Jews and Arabs meet, and discuss peace. I’m actually much more interested in directing my knowledge and understanding at the Israeli public, and its decision makers, so that one by one, we can influence them, and cause a change. Sitting in a circle of a bunch of well-dressed, slightly overweight Israelis and Arabs, who all nod in agreement with each other before uttering a single word, is not the way to change reality. But in order to influence Israelis, I do learn a lot, and I do benefit greatly, by also hearing supportive statements here on SC. When we have a group of Israelis meet (academics, business people, well-connected and influential people, etc.), and they have seen or heard about our engagements on SC, they can find a different angle than they’ve known before. That is the beauty of this cyberspace, and that is the only reason I’m “wasting” precious hours day after day here.

You, Simo, can indeed help me achieve some of these goals, which I believe are common to all of us, by helping me engage you respectfully, and by trying hard to find common ground. Again, if we could put aside our personal-stuff (and let’s not get again into who started, or who’s done more… I believe we’re both guilty of that), then we can seriously engage and discuss the issues. After all, what good will come out of anything else? I’m again ready to put our “history” aside, and to start fresh, if you are as well. I very much respect Finland, I having nothing against it or its citizens, and I do think Europeans can and should influence matters in the Middle East more. Certainly these past 8 years needed more European intervention, but unfortunately too many of its governments were afraid to disagree publicly with George Bush. I’m hoping that the next administration in Washington will be much more open to hearing others’ opinions, and to seeking creative solutions jointly with the EU, so that a truly unified front is in place and, yes, even in front of Israel.

April 14th, 2008, 11:41 am

 

Shai said:

T,

I’m willing to accept that. Wait, where’d your comment go?

April 14th, 2008, 11:44 am

 

T said:

I’m throwing in the towel on this thread. It may be better if I call my Congressmen and gripe to them directly!

April 14th, 2008, 12:00 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

Yes, I have contacts in the FM. Yes, I have used them to pressure for a complete lifting of the sanctions against Gaza. Yes, I have voiced this on endless occasions, and meetings with influential people. No, I have not been successful. No, I have not given up.

Any more from this “hopeless bureaucrat”?

April 14th, 2008, 12:01 pm

 

T said:

Shai,

Well you can always give them that house of yours…! (I’d put that smiley-face emoticon in here but I dont know how tech-wise.)

Thank you for doing that.

April 14th, 2008, 12:08 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

Please trust my intentions. You don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a people that on the one hand you’re proud of (for one thing, for managing to exist for 2 millennia despite being dispersed around the globe without a nation of our own), and on the other you are ashamed of, because of the price others had to pay and are paying daily because of us. Though it is very hard to hear or accept, I can honestly understand those few Israelis who already in the 1960’s began to fear where our society was heading (towards Nazism?) by occupying another people, by controlling their fate, and by dispossessing them of their most basic human rights. I feel even more ashamed, knowing that we, of all people, should know what it is like to be the oppressed, and yet we still allowed ourselves to do so much evil. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, nor wish for its end. I do try the best I can, please know that, to influence people here, and to cause a change. There is nothing more that I want, than to see a peaceful life for all the people in our region, especially for those who have suffered for so long.

April 14th, 2008, 12:14 pm

 

T said:

Shai,

Do you know how to attach the emoticons here at SC? Please advise.

April 14th, 2008, 12:50 pm

 

idaf said:

History brings tourists to Syria
BBC

Syria is enjoying a boom in foreign tourism, its government has said, with visitors attracted by its stability as well as the richness of its history.

Visitor numbers rose 23% in the first quarter of the year, the state-owned news agency Sana reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Tourism.

Syria has prioritised tourism development since 2002, offering foreign firms tax incentives to invest.

A British travel firm said Syria was increasingly appealing to Europeans.

‘Historical bent’

“It has a very strong historical bent – more so than anywhere else – and a lot of Gulf Arab money has been channelled into the country,” said Andrew Hunt, who arranges upmarket holidays to the Middle East and North Africa for Audley Travel.

Syria has become increasingly popular as a holiday destination in recent years with annual growth in visitor numbers of up to 15%, double what it witnessed in the 1990s.
..
..
“In the aftermath of the Lebanon problem, we were obliged to pull Syria as a destination,” Audley’s Mr Hunt said. “We have been demand-led in bringing it back.”
..

April 14th, 2008, 1:03 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

I use the shift on the key to the right of L, or “:”, then the minus sign “-“, then a right parenthesis “)”, to make a smile… 🙂 But the techies here can probably tell you how to do it much quicker I imagine…

April 14th, 2008, 1:20 pm

 

T said:

Shai,

Ok, I’ve always wondered how people did that, and was afraid I’d blow up the machine here if I pressed the wrong combo of keys.

Thanks again for taking some action to help Gaza- it is quite painful to see their situation and be able to do nothing. _))_ (well I tried, that was supposed to be a smiley face).

We all tremendously appreciate anything you did to help them – even AIG- tho he’d never admit it, because he always wants to look so tough.

If its any comfort- I raked the Palestinians over the coals just as hard as I did you, when they destroyed their greenhouses in Gaza. (for which they called me a Mossad agent!?) So you’re not alone! It was not personal.

April 14th, 2008, 1:40 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

No problem. I don’t want you (or anyone else) to “sugarcoat” any criticism of Israel so that it would suit my conscience better. But when I’m in complete agreement with you, and have common ground on which to start building, at least be open enough to hear that, even from a “hopeless bureaucrat” like myself… 🙂

April 14th, 2008, 1:49 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Wow you must have a team of Shais writing those numerous comments with astonishing speed. I just have time to re-read my last comment and correct some of the many typos and read the few past comments and there is a lengthy reply comment waiting. Joking about the team, naturally.

Well Shai I do not like sauna. Even I have a rather large good sauna at home, my wife has to drag me to sauna. I prefer a shower or bathtub and I go to sauna only if I am demanded and sometimes even those demands do not “work”. So we do not even find common ground with this sauna topic. 🙂

Well the problem is that I REALLY (honestly) do not know after past experiences what you see as respectful manner. I can’t use the word Jews to describe the “nation” or at least be extremely careful in using that term, I can’t criticize Israel’s behaviour as a country, because some in Israel are against their country’s behaviour, I can’t mention my opinion that Israel is a strategical threat for Europe as well as for Muslim countries, I can’t correct some comments made of the heroic Osirak attack or Saddam’s gas usage etc. Well that is really a problem for me. You seem to take everything personally when it certainly is not meant to be taken personally. I know perfectly well that you are on of many in a complex country.

Still I must say that I have never insulted deliberately anybody here or started using non relevant personal insults. The remark for Zenobia about the usage of capital letters was not indented as an insult. It was made simply for my reading “purposes”. Well now later I must admit it was not diplomatically said. But I am no diplomat, I am the first to admit that severe handicap.

The remark about “funny hat” and beard was meant as direct warning for you Shai, that if you continue on your chosen path of making rather useless “national” insults, I can bite back.

The most harsh language I normally use is to say that an opinion is idiotic or astonishing. But I do not say that the person is an idiot (well I might have said long ago to Akbar or AIG after a lengthy circle debate) and most importantly I always try in my best way to explain in details why I see the opinion unfounded.

Instead of boring the other readers by continuing this rather fruitless discussion, you should exactly describe what you see as respectable manner and give me exact rules what is allowed to say about Israel/ Israelis and how to criticize Israel’s actions or Israel’s present appearance in the respectful way you want. But I do not want any kind of direct email contact. Send the rules for me if you want through Alex, if it suites him.

April 14th, 2008, 2:23 pm

 

Shai said:

Simo,

There’s no need for “rules”. I think your last comment now was explanatory enough, and I accept everything in it. Let us start anew, that’ll be more than enough for me. I do want you to know that I respect what you’re doing here on SC, and that I’m truly willing to listen. Don’t worry about what you can and cannot say – I’m open to everything. I guess we needed this “ice thawing”, and now we’re behind it. Let us try to help each other achieve our goals, I believe we do have much more in common than not.

April 14th, 2008, 2:32 pm

 

kingcrane jr said:

I know where Siddiq is.
He is washing dishes in the basement of a restaurant in West Beirut.
The restaurant is co-owned by Hariri and Jumblatt.
Based on the bribe that he cashed, he will need to wash dishes for 68 years and 2 weeks and 3 days.

April 14th, 2008, 3:12 pm

 

Naji said:

One has to say to Israel’s credit, I guess, that they have managed lately to surpass most of the rest of the world in military technology. Even hi-tech that is imported from the US is often improved upon in Israel and sold back or exchanged with the US. Projects are now often conceived of in America and developed in Israel, or vice versa. This is happening in the most advanced areas of rocketry and missile defenses, but is particularly convenient for projects that would be too controversial, or even illegal, to develop and test in America. Great success has been achieved in the areas of “interrogation”, “counter-insurgency”, “urban warfare”, “asymmetrical fourth generation war”, “special operations”, and many many other wonderful fields:

Military Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’

A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers.”

Since the start of the Iraq war, there’s been a raucous debate in military circles over how to handle blogs — and the servicemembers who want to keep them. One faction sees blogs as security risks, and a collective waste of troops’ time. The other (which includes top officers, like Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell) considers blogs to be a valuable source of information, and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, both at home and abroad.

This 2006 report for the Joint Special Operations University, “Blogs and Military Information Strategy,” offers a third approach — co-opting bloggers, or even putting them on the payroll. “Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering,” write the report’s co-authors, James Kinniburgh and Dororthy Denning.

Lt. Commander Marc Boyd, a U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman, says the report was merely an academic exercise. “The comments are not ‘actionable’, merely thought provoking,” he tells Danger Room. “The views expressed in the article publication are entirely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy or position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, USSOCOM [Special Operations Command], or the Joint Special Operations University.”

Denning, a professor at Naval Postgraduate School, adds in an e-mail, “I got some positive feedback from people who read the article, but I don’t know if it led to anything.”

The report introduces the military audience to the “blogging phenomenon,” and lays out a number of ways in which the armed forces — specifically, the military’s public affairs, information operations, and psychological operations units — might use the sites to their advantage.

Information strategists can consider clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers or other persons of prominence… to pass the U.S. message. In this way, the U.S. can overleap the entrenched inequalities and make use of preexisting intellectual and social capital. Sometimes numbers can be effective; hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering. On the other hand, such operations can have a blowback effect, as witnessed by the public reaction following revelations that the U.S. military had paid journalists to publish stories in the Iraqi press under their own names. People do not like to be deceived, and the price of being exposed is lost credibility and trust.

An alternative strategy is to “make” a blog and blogger. The process of boosting the blog to a position of influence could take some time, however, and depending on the person running the blog, may impose a significant educational burden, in terms of cultural and linguistic training before the blog could be put online to any useful effect. Still, there are people in the military today who like to blog. In some cases, their talents might be redirected toward operating blogs as part of an information campaign. If a military blog offers valuable information that is not available from other sources, it could rise in rank fairly rapidly.

Denning, the report’s author, has promoted controversial opinions before. In the early 1990s, when she was chair of the Georgetown University’s computer science department, Denning emerged as the leading advocate for the so-called “Clipper Chip,” a cryptographic device for protecting communications — until the government wanted to listen in. The project was cancelled by 1996.

In her 2006 paper, Denning warns that blogs can and will be used by America’s enemies. These sites, she argues, can also be used to serve U.S. government interests.

There are certain to be cases where some blog, outside the control of the U.S. government, promotes a message that is antithetical to U.S. interests, or actively supports the informational, recruiting and logistical activities of our enemies. The initial reaction may be to take down the site, but this is problematic in that doing so does not guarantee that the site will remain down. As has been the case with many such sites, the offending site will likely move to a different host server, often in a third country. Moreover, such action will likely produce even more interest in the site and its contents. Also, taking down a site that is known to pass enemy EEIs (essential elements of information) and that gives us their key messages denies us a valuable information source. This is not to say that once the information passed becomes redundant or is superseded by a better source that the site should be taken down. At that point the enemy blog might be used covertly as a vehicle for friendly information operations. Hacking the site and subtly changing the messages and data—merely a few words or phrases—may be sufficient to begin destroying the blogger’s credibility with the audience. Better yet, if the blogger happens to be passing enemy communications and logistics data, the information content could be corrupted. If the messages are subtly tweaked and the data corrupted in the right way, the enemy may reason that the blogger in question has betrayed them and either take down the site (and the blogger) themselves, or by threatening such action, give the U.S. an opportunity to offer the individual amnesty in exchange for information.

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/03/report-recruit.html

April 14th, 2008, 4:14 pm

 

Naji said:

Simo, Wiz, T :

If I may, I would like to complement you on your comments above.

Alex, Enlightened, Georges, Norman, Offended, Idaf, W-D, QN, Zeno… I enjoyed reading your comments too…!

Oh, …and thank you all for indulging me in my mischievous little “I think you’re great! charade”… it did make me feel better… 😉

April 14th, 2008, 4:36 pm

 

Shai said:

Naji,

No, I think you’re great! 🙂 And I also enjoyed reading all those people’s comments above.

April 14th, 2008, 4:57 pm

 

Zenobia said:

I would like to complement Shai that he weathered that two front storm that I thankfully slept through.

April 14th, 2008, 5:29 pm

 

offended said:

Anybody else, apart form me, thinks that it’s useless to entangle oneself in unwieldy discussions?

Come ‘n ys all, SC server is busy enough these days…

April 14th, 2008, 5:33 pm

 

Shai said:

Zenobia,

I guess we’ve entered the “And I just want to thank my parents for… “-stage, no? 🙂 Simo’s right in that we sometimes get a little carried away with silly stuff. But, I guess that does make this forum representative of normal conversation, engagements, and even friendships, a bit more than of a purely professional one. By the way, as much as we sometimes use an entire silly comment for “check your email”, or my “good night Alex” (Simo, you’re right, that was silly…), this forum still seems to me to be a thousand times more serious and constructive than a lot of crap I’ve seen on the net. No doubt that’s one of the main reasons I’m here.

April 14th, 2008, 5:42 pm

 

Alex said:

Ok, I’ll take a break from work to say

1) offended: You know it, but the wonderfully lazy journalists who still include “Syria was implicated in the Hariri murder” might finally understand how and why Saddiq said what he said … quoting Le Figaro interviews of French intelligence officers who said that Saddiq was probably paid to implicate Syria, is more reliable than quoting champress and Al-Manar say the same thing.

2) Shai and Simo … wow! … this time it sounds like you really did reach a solid agreement. This is very encouraging.

Simo … Shai is really working hard for peace. He is not like the Israeli politicians who pretend they are seeking peace while authorizing more settlements. And his organization (Alon Liel’s) already adjusted their positions in a way that takes into account some of the things they learned from interacting with all of you here on Syria Comment.

But Shai loves his country and he cares about his people like anyone else, so please allow him to be sensitive sometimes at least.

Shai … Simo and others here sometimes criticize Israel relentlessly in order to make a statement … all the watchdogs that Israel’s friends created in order to silence any criticism of Israel has caused a lot of anger and frustration. Believe me, Arabs in North America are more scared to criticize Israel than their cousins back home in Egypt or Syria are scared to criticize the government there. At least in Egypt and Syria you can criticize almost anything about the government if you cover yourself by expressing your admiration to the president at the same time. In North America, criticizing Israel can often (not always) lead to a career penalty if you are a journalist or a university professor.

Actually i’ll take this opportunity to tell you that a few people who used to write here do not anymore. The presence of AIG and others made them fear that their occasional criticism of Israel is monitored and that it will hurt them at work. Whether this is exaggerated, true or not, it is a common impression.

A similar phenomena goes with regime critics. Go to some pro-Khaddam blogs and you will see people are criticizing the Syrian regime full time… no one can get anyone of them to say a single good thing about the regime.

Also, Syria used to limit the ability of western reporters to report from Syria. That practice pushed many reporters to be forever anti-Syria years later.

Suppressing freedom of speech is wrong in our dictatorships, and it is wrong when AIPAC and http://www.camera.org target anyone who dares to criticize Israel in the western world.

Then you get someone like me who is also “focused” on another problem .. the media. I am not angry, but I believe that the Murdoch owned WSJ and Lonton Times and Fox news, in addition to the Hariri or Saudi owned media have created a monster out of Syria … sometimes reflecting truly questionable or objectionable Syrian behavior, but more often fabricating stories or twisting the truth.

April 14th, 2008, 5:47 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Shai

I hope you enjoyed your break this weekend. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to write to you. I’ve got a lot of work, the next three weeks. I promise to get to it.

April 14th, 2008, 5:52 pm

 

Alex said:

Here is an example of what I am talking about .. these lunatics want to scare reporters who dare to claim that Israel’s settlements are illegal or that they are “on Paestinian Lands” .. Camera.org wants them to issue an apology and call it “disputed lands” .. the west bank.

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=54&x_article=1479

and of course they are after president Carter AND THE PUBLISHING HOUSE that dared to make money from publishing his book:

The book is an opportunity to restate essential facts and to underscore the need for reform of publishing houses, such as Simon and Schuster, that violate basic standards of accuracy, while promoting and profiting from such non-fiction books.

April 14th, 2008, 6:07 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

I’m afraid you’re right, and I do understand better the almost innate frustration and anger towards Israeli (or Israeli-supported) attempts to silence critics out there. I think doing so only backfires, because most people aren’t stupid, and see these attempts for what they are. If we truly do claim to be a democracy, the least we can do is allow people to voice their opinions. Funny thing is, that inside Israel, you’ll hear opinions that bash to bloody hell our government, our leadership, our corruption, you name it. But for some reason, internationally, it seems we’re afraid to be seen as less united in our stance (as if we have only one stance). I’ve always argued that the last thing Israel needs in N. America is a Jewish community (or an AIPAC for instance) that always agrees with our government’s policy. They immediately rule themselves out as being one-sided, subjective, and therefore predictable and irrelevant. If the Jewish PAC’s really wanted to help forge a better future for Israel, they need to adopt their own political outlooks, and criticize Israel when it contradicts it, and support it when it follows it. Same goes for Jewish-controlled media. Much of why people hate Jews around the world stems from this, but of course it is easier to label everyone an anti-semite, and not have to dig too deep into the “why”. Having said that, there are also plenty of those who give Jews and Israel no chance whatsoever, and even the few peace initiatives that do appear every so often, by few of us, or many (depending on the leadership at the time), get dismissed as either another manipulation, or sheer fantasy.

QN, No worries, take your time.

April 14th, 2008, 6:08 pm

 

Observer said:

I find it incredible that the French do not know where a witness in the Hariri assassination is located.
I also think that the rumors of a rift within the ruling family circle are probably planted by the Syrian intelligence service to bait its opponents.
I also think that Khaddam does not know his elbow from his a….s
Spengler at atimes.com has an article arguing that the only logical conclusion for the present Israeli leadership is to strike at Syria and that the military exercises are designed exactly for that kind of operation. He claims that militarily, the contest will be easy, quick, surgical, and definitive. This I believe is a mistake. Having failed to defeat HA, the military may very well want to deter the opponents by hitting Syria with the asumption that the armed forces are weaker than HA and in a technological battle the Israeli forces are heavily favored. I know that the armed forces of Syria are no match for Israel, but I know that they are learning and learning fast from their Iranian friends on how to inflict pain equally well.
Here is the reading for you
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JD15Ak02.html
Enjoy.

April 14th, 2008, 6:16 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai,

I have started two years ago to email Haaretz articles to Syrians (journalists and diplomats) … to show them how Akiva Eldar and others are not like the AIPAC filtered journalists in North America. Many were impressed with Haaretz and its honesty. Indirectly, many were impressed also with Israel’s freedom of the press.

But those Israel PACs and watchdog groups in north America with their endless resources of volunteer lawyers have gone overboard and yes … they cause growing hatred to Israel and unfortunately to … Jews.

Mearsheimer told me … they are not bad people .. they really think they are helping a good cause … but they are stupid.

April 14th, 2008, 6:18 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Yeah… well… a lot of good people, believing they’re helping a good cause, aren’t.

April 14th, 2008, 6:30 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

My turn to take a very quick break from work:

What do people think about positive measures that can be taken on the “Arab” side, to counter-act the influence of groups like AIPAC, Camera, etc?

You know, we can criticize these groups all we want, and laugh about how stupid they are, but in the end of the day… the joke is on us.

Why?

Because (as AIG says), they are not doing anything illegal. They are fully exercising their rights as citizens in a democracy to fight for a cause that they believe in. And they’re very, very good at it.

We may disagree with them. Unfortunately, however, we can disagree until we’re blue in the face, and it won’t make a single jot of difference if we don’t get off our rear ends and be proactive.

My experience with Arab-Americans is that they are largely apolitical… they regard America as a place where they don’t have to think about politics. They often have strong views about Israel and American foreign policy, but they don’t get involved. By contrast, many Jewish Americans who I know are sympathetic towards Israel (even if critical at times), but the salient aspect of their sympathy is that it is institutionally rooted: they are on mailing lists, they receive notices and brochures from the myriad pro-Israel organizations out there, they contribute money to Israeli causes, they go to benefits, fundraisers, etc.

Very few of these people are hard-core Zionists. Many of them are very liberal and generally feel bad about the situation of the Palestinian people. However, they still give money to Israel. Why? Because nobody else is asking them for money. Nobody is sending them glossy, informative publicity materials in immaculate English, describing worthwhile initiatives to help end the terrible situation in Palestine, and bring about peace. For even these potentially sympathetic Jewish Americans (not to mention the very sympathetic Arab Americans!), the Palestinians are largely represented by corrupt Fatah and militant Hamas.

So, I think that what is needed — more than complaints about AIPAC — is serious work on our part to provide the counter-narrative, set up funding networks, and put pressure on our politicians.

April 14th, 2008, 6:49 pm

 

Shai said:

Observer,

Spengler is an idiot. He understands nothing about military affairs, nor about what Israel is capable of doing. Even our forefather, David Ben-Gurion, understood (and stated) that Israel cannot defeat the nations around us, in the classic sense of conquering them, and enforcing our will upon their people. We cannot do that, simply because we are too small a nation to place 500,000 or one million soldiers on another land, as the U.S. and its allies have done in Europe, Japan, and recently in the failed attempts on Iraq. The most Israel can do, is temporarily thwart attempts to destroy her (such as 1967, 1973, and 1981 – Simo, you’ll forgive me, we’ll argue about Osirak later…) Perfect examples of how Israel cannot afford to conquer anyone else is 18 years in Lebanon, and 40 years in the Palestinian territories.

So how can Israel “defeat” Syria? How can Israel bring about a regime change? It can’t. The most it could do, and even that is doubtful, is fight a technological war against Syria and any of her allies, defeat standing armies, destroy HQ’s, infrastructure, leadership strongholds, etc. But it cannot physically remove anyone from power, nor destroy the will of the people to continue to fight another day. Despite our so-called astonishing victory in only six days, against numerous Arab fronts with well-equipped armies and air-forces, 1967 has brought more pain and misery to Israelis and to our neighbors than most care to consider, or certainly admit. Since the likelihood that Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, or Hamas, will introduce WMD’s into any upcoming conflict is almost nil, Israel will have no legitimacy to use any of its “other” capabilities. It will therefore have to use classic warfare of planes, tanks, infantry, artillery, etc. After destroying 10% of your enemy’s strength, normally either surrender takes place, or retreat. In Syria’s case, they will most likely retreat their troops further into Syria. Long before Israeli fighter-jets, and pilotless aircraft will be able to “hunt” all those down, the international community will interfere, and require all sides to stand down. It will then impose upon us a ceasefire, and create the conditions for negotiations to start.

But in the meantime, while the battles ensue, thousands of SCUD missiles will land atop every major town and city in Israel, not to mention possible Shihabs from Iran in support, and likewise from HA and Hamas. Few Israelis will be able to say “I saw the war only through my TV set”, like most did with Lebanon 2006. Many more will die in this war than in any other previous one in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and in the end, no one will come out a winner. So Spengler can go on pontificating about “victory”, and regime changes, and whatnot. But between him and reality, there’s at least the same Atlantic ocean and Mediterranean that separate N. America from the Middle East.

April 14th, 2008, 6:51 pm

 

Naji said:

Shai said:
“Yes, I have contacts in the FM.”

Alex said:
“Shai is really working hard for peace. And his organization (Alon Liel’s) already adjusted their positions in a way that takes into account some of the things they learned from interacting with all of you here on Syria Comment.”

Hmmmmm….!!!?

Alex,
I have only joind this forum a couple of months ago. Is the above the first disclosure of Shai’s professional/official capacity and affiliations, or has this been made clear before and I am the only dupe around here who did not know it…???!

April 14th, 2008, 6:52 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

I don’t know much about CAMERA.org (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), but their name does suggest a certain contradiction in terms… 🙂 , that’s also been said before about the CIA…

April 14th, 2008, 6:55 pm

 

Shai said:

Naji,

For some reason, T’s comment asking me if I had any contacts in the FM, and if I would ask them to do something about Gaza, had disappeared. I responded by saying that I do have some contacts, and that I have been trying to use them to influence our decision-makers on completely lifting all sanctions but, unfortunately, I have not succeeded. I also said that I haven’t given up yet. Israel, as you know, is a very small country. Most of us either know directly, or indirectly, just about every man, woman, or child here… So no, I’m sorry, I haven’t disclosed much about my affiliations by saying this… 🙂

April 14th, 2008, 7:03 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Alex,

It seems offended is not alone in the mysterious case of the disappearing comment. T’s comment disappeared as well, apparently.

Maybe it has something to do with the French government.

😉

April 14th, 2008, 7:12 pm

 

Shai said:

Yes, at least two of T’s comments today disappeared. They were online for just a minute or so, then gone.

April 14th, 2008, 7:18 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Lebanese Demand Facts of Missing Believed to be in Syria

Lebanese families fighting to learn the fate of hundreds of their relatives believed to be held in Syria have been encouraged by the unexpected release of a prisoner after 16 years in Syrian detention.
“Milad Barakat, a Lebanese, arrived in Beirut about a month ago after spending 16 years in a Syrian prison. His family had lost trace of him for seven years,” said an organization called Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile (Solide).

Barakat is one of 650 people whom the organization says remain in Syrian custody.

“To put it bluntly, they either remain in Syria or died as a result of torture they endured while in Syrian custody in Lebanon or Syria,” Solide president Ghazi Aad told AFP.

He was referring to a 1987 Amnesty International report that documented 38 methods of torture practiced by Syrian security forces at the time.

“Lebanese intelligence arrested Barakat in April 1992 and turned him over to Syrian intelligence,” Aad said, adding that a Syrian court sentenced Barakat to 15 years in prison for fighting the Syrian army in 1990, after which he was tortured.

The organization said that Barakat refuses to see anyone except his family as he remains in a state of shock after being confined under difficult conditions for so long.

Toward the end of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, Gen. Michel Aoun headed a temporary government and launched a “war of liberation” against Syria, which had troops deployed in eastern and northern parts of Lebanon.

Syria’s forces spread throughout most of the country on October 13, 1990, the day on which many of those still missing were captured. The Lebanese army was split at the time, with most supporting Aoun and the rest Syria.

Aad said that Barakat’s mother, similar to many of the missing, had visited him in the Sednaya prison in Syria until 2000 when she lost track of him and reported him missing.

“Many families reported visiting their sons in prisons in Syria only to find them gone thereafter,” Aad said, adding that most depend on released prisoners for news of their loved ones.

Solide drew up a list of names, including Barakat’s, of those held or missing in Syrian prisons and submitted it to a Lebanese-Syrian commission established in 2005 for this purpose.

According to Aad, the Syrian response was terse: “We do not have any information about any of the names on this list.”

In spite of this, Barakat was released to the great joy of his family who had spent seven years in the dark about his whereabouts.

Aad said that the Syrian authorities kept Barakat in prison for an additional year after he served his sentence, finally releasing him in the fall of 2007. He returned to Lebanon in mid-March.

Aad said that the case of George Shaalawit is similar. He is also Lebanese and like Barakat, was included on the list of the prisoners who the Syrian authorities denied were on their territory.

“Shaalawit’s parents lost all contact with him around the year 2000.

They were pleasantly surprised by his release in December 2005 after 11 years in a Syrian prison without due process”, said Aad.

Members of Solide have pleaded the case of missing Lebanese thought to be in Syria to political leaders of all confessions.

Fifteen lawmakers from the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority put a petition before the Lebanese government urging it “to strive to find a final solution to this issue as soon as possible with or without the Syrian government”.

Sonia Eid is the president of the Commission of the Parents of Missing. She is seeking her son, a Lebanese soldier detained by Syrian forces in Lebanon in 1990 when he was 20 years old.

She remembers having visited him only once in a Syrian prison in 1990. Until 1996, Eid continued to receive news of her son from prisoners who were released. But she hasn’t heard anything since 1996.

“I went to see Barakat three times after his release in the hopes of hearing something about my son. But the former prisoner was in a state of shock and completely refused to speak,” said Eid.

“All that I ask the government is that it works faster and more seriously on the case of the missing,” said the mother whose son would be 38 years old on Monday.(AFP)

April 14th, 2008, 7:18 pm

 

Naji said:

QN,

…or, from the above report: http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/03/report-recruit.html
“At that point the enemy blog might be used covertly as a vehicle for friendly information operations. Hacking the site and subtly changing the messages and data—merely a few words or phrases…” …!!?? Shai, after all, does keep repeating that we are “sworn enemies”…!!

I am really more interested in Alex’s response to my question, though…, if a response is coming…?!

April 14th, 2008, 7:24 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

There’s an excellent piece in the New York Review of Books this week, entitled “Into the Lion’s Den”, by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley.

It deals with Israel, Palestine, and Syria, and several of the questions that we have been discussing on this blog. I recommend reading it.

Here’s a sample:

“Syria will not break ties with its allies but might act in more subtle ways. Neither Hamas, Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad is a Syrian proxy. But they depend on vital support from Damascus and can read the regional map. Today, they feel winds in their sails. They sense a rejectionist popular mood and believe that with Syrian and Iranian help they can steer it toward their goals. A resumption of Israeli–Syrian talks and an eventual agreement would send unmistakable signals that those winds are shifting, the map changing, and their strategic depth narrowing. In the event of a peace agreement, Damascus knows it will have to rein in its militant allies and stop supporting their military activities. Inevitably, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad will reconsider their options. They are unlikely to modify their ideology. But they could be forced to alter their behavior, a result more practical and, one would think, of greater import.

What applies to them also applies to Iran. Having consistently said it would accept whatever deal Syria entered into, Tehran would need to adjust its relationship with Damascus and its approach to the Arab–Israeli conflict. It might choose to pursue its conflict with Israel but would have to do so by different means. Supporting military confrontation through other parties would become difficult because Syria could not allow it and because Iran could not afford to alienate Syria on so critical a matter. The two countries have much at stake, and so their alliance will likely endure. Yet like the militant groups it supports, Tehran would be compelled to adapt to new circumstances. Instead of Iran radicalizing Syria, Syria could moderate Iran. Rather than being suppressed, tensions between the two—over the future of Iraq, for example, or of Lebanon— could be accentuated, as the primacy of the Israeli–Syrian conflict recedes. That may not be ideal. Still, all told, Iran’s influence in Syria after an Israeli deal will be far less than its influence in Iraq after the American war.”

April 14th, 2008, 7:29 pm

 

Alex said:

T did you delete your comments yourself?

If not, then we officially have “them” hacking SC again.

We cahnged all the pass words last week .. but hackers are good, especially the paid ones.

No problem.

Naji,

Shai is an associate of Alon Liel, they are both in the Israel/syria peace org.

Alon is not anymore part of the Israeli government, he used to be director of Foreign ministry of Israel (few years ago). Now he is a professor and peace activist.

QN,

Too late … : )

We will either have peace or another war with Israel before the Arab Americans do anything useful.

Besides, after 9/11 they are scared to seem like they are pro anything Arab or Muslim … I’m sure you noticed that some of them change the topic if you are talking to them on the phone about mideast politics.

Those who do not like it are going back to live in the Middle East.

April 14th, 2008, 7:33 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Alex

Do you think that on the day there is a peace treaty, suddenly everything will be beautiful in Gaza and the West Bank?

The peace treaty is the first step of a very very long process. I believe we won’t see any kind of true “normalization” for at least 10-15 years post peace treaty.

April 14th, 2008, 7:42 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Actually i’ll take this opportunity to tell you that a few people who used to write here do not anymore. The presence of AIG and others made them fear that their occasional criticism of Israel is monitored and that it will hurt them at work. Whether this is exaggerated, true or not, it is a common impression.

Certainly the fear is not exaggerated what comes to seeing who writes from where. The site meter tells far to much even for an amateur “opinion agent” like me. Shai is obviously an Mac user. 🙂 🙂

Lucky that the site meters log is only 100 entries. Maybe you should consider replacing the site meter with a simple hit counter.

I personally do not care and bother to hide my IP using some proxy service. I am waiting with excitement the black helicopters and Mossad team to arrive. Or maybe they use local sayanims, who knows. 🙂

Today I heard an helicopter sound so I decided not to tease Shai for a while. Then the helicopter sound stopped.

—-
Hmmmm
Alon Liel

The construction of the fence should be seen in the world as separation to prevent apartheid.

April 14th, 2008, 7:48 pm

 

Shai said:

Simo,

We had mechanical failure… 🙂 Sorry… BTW, I really do want to discuss Osirak with you again, but not today (my brain’s full).

Alex, here’s another good article by Akiva Eldar: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/974473.html

April 14th, 2008, 7:52 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

I really do want to discuss Osirak with you again, but not today (my brain’s full).

What is there to discuss? Osirak was a small research reactor under IAEA control. That is fact.

April 14th, 2008, 8:03 pm

 

Alex said:

QN,

No : ) .. I don’t think that anything changes abruptly in nature.

But after “peace’ … there could be significantly less friction between Israel and the Arabs, and consequently, camera.org and AIPAC can relax just a little bit and perhaps they might allow some criticism of Israel.

If the Arab Americans managed not to have their own organization while Israel was at war with theri countries of origin, they will manage when Israel is officially a peaceful neighbor.

But more seriously … it is too difficult … “Arabs” can not agree on much … Saudi and Egyptian Arabs do not agree with Syrian Arabs who do not agree with Lebanese Arabs … and even Syrians …. there are those who hate the regime and want to mention it in every minute you talk to them, and there are those who do not.

April 14th, 2008, 8:04 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

But more seriously … it is too difficult … “Arabs” can not agree on much … Saudi and Egyptian Arabs do not agree with Syrian Arabs who do not agree with Lebanese Arabs … and even Syrians …. there are those who hate the regime and want to mention it in every minute you talk to them, and there are those who do not.

I can’t believe that the Syrian Arab nationalist is telling the Lebanese-first guy that the Arabs are not united enough to get their crap together.

Khalas, I’ll let you win this ‘argument’ and the next time we talk about the Arab ’cause’, I know what I’ll be quoting.

😉

April 14th, 2008, 8:13 pm

 

Shai said:

Simo, ok, so we won’t discuss it then… I actually wanted to tell you that despite the overwhelming support for the operation (after it took place, as most Israelis knew nothing of it before, obviously), there were voices in Israel that blamed Menachem Begin for ordering this attack for purely political purposes, right before an election during which Likud had won their 2nd victory in Israel’s history. Before 1977, only Leftist governments ruled. Then Likud won, and again in 1981. Peres, for instance, was completely against this operation, especially as it would risk our relationship with the French.

As to what was actually there, and whether there was more planned for Osirak than the IAEA scientists and inspectors on the ground knew or saw, I’m certainly not one that was privy to that information. From what I’ve heard, upon much pressure by JFK in the early 60’s, Israel eventually had to allow American inspectors into the Dimona reactor to see what’s there. Rumors are, that our scientists took the inspectors on such routes, that “helped” them conclude it was purely a research facility as well. I’m not saying Osirak wasn’t, but I certainly wouldn’t know, and I’m probably much less certain of IAEA reports nowadays either. I guess if you really want to fool someone, you probably can find the way to do so. Or, perhaps we were fooling ourselves… I don’t know.

April 14th, 2008, 8:19 pm

 

Seeking the Truth said:

Qifa Nabki said My experience with Arab-Americans is that they are largely apolitical…
I think, this has something to do with the lack of culture of democracy in the Arab world, and I’ll leave it to you to make the connection.

April 14th, 2008, 8:54 pm

 

Naji said:

Alex,

My question was whether the (quasi-)official mission/agenda of this Shai was properly disclosed to his interlocutors on this forum. Perhaps I am naïve about blogs and the internet, but I thought I was simply having an honest discussion with individuals with no hidden agenda. I did not know I was being part of somebody’s harebrained “peace park plan”, a criminal project, in my humble opinion. If I knew that our utterances and opinions were supposed to be paraded to convince Shai’s peace-loving friends what good little Syrians we were, perhaps I might have behaved… differently…!! If I knew that our brains were being picked so that Liel and his little circus can “adjusted their positions in a way that takes into account some of the things they learned from interacting with all of you here on Syria Comment”, I might have said something different, or not said anything at all. If I knew that all the pathetic pandering was to win over a few Syrian “useful idiots”, I might not have disclosed that I was even Syrian; I certainly have many other identities. If I am going be part of somebody’s experiment or project, it would have been decent to at least let me know about it…!!

I don’t really know the established norm for these things in the age of the internet, but I would have expected at least a university site to adhere to academic ethical standards in these matters. I don’t know if Professor Landis is part of this “experiment”, but I would be very disappointed if he knew about it and condoned it. I am very disappointed in you Alex.

Well, for the record then: I absolutely do NOT support this stupid “peace park plan” or any plan that does not guarantee the rights of the Palestinians, before all else. I do not really care if the Golan, or any other piece of land, is ever returned if the refugees are not. As I have stated before, this is not some real-estate squabble, this is about people’s lives and DIGNITY. If Shai, Liel, or their cohorts were really acting on good conscious and out good will, they would be concentrating their efforts on making peace with the Palestinians, not with Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Zimbabwe, or anyone else that would help them to bypass the Palestinians and to continue with their frenzied genocidal orgy, aided by even more of that obscene impunity that they currently enjoy and that they, apparently, cannot get enough of. If they would make peace with their poor victims, there would be no need for any further efforts. They would automatically have peace with everyone else, and more importantly, with their conscience. I am no diplomat, and no military person: each of these types has his path to making peace. As an honest human being, my path to peace is to try to overcome and transform all tyranny in our region and in the world, be it Zionism, dictatorship, Saudism, or whatever… and to press for justice and dignity for all…!!

I am such a transparent person, that is why it never occurred to me to hide my identity and I wondered why most hid theirs. This is perhaps the most dishonest exercise I have ever been a victim of and I feel so violated… I can now empathize even more with the female commentators in their various plights that they discussed on the previous post… so I guess some good came out of all this…!

Good bye.

April 14th, 2008, 9:25 pm

 

Naji said:

This is by Professor Richard Falk who was banned from entering Israel on his UNHRC mission…written about a year, and several orders of magnitude, ago. My parting gift, as it were…

Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust

by Richard Falk; TFF; July 05, 2007

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

— William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

There is little doubt that the Nazi Holocaust was as close to unconditional evil as has been revealed throughout the entire bloody history of the human species. Its massiveness, unconcealed genocidal intent, and reliance on the mentality and instruments of modernity give its enactment in the death camps of Europe a special status in our moral imagination. This special status is exhibited in the continuing presentation of its gruesome realities through film, books, and a variety of cultural artifacts more than six decades after the events in question ceased. The permanent memory of the Holocaust is also kept alive by the existence of several notable museums devoted exclusively to the depiction of the horrors that took place during the period of Nazi rule in Germany.

Against this background, it is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to feel compelled to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as ‘holocaust.’ The word is derived from the Greek holos (meaning ‘completely’) and kaustos (meaning ‘burnt’), and was used in ancient Greece to refer to the complete burning of a sacrificial offering to a divinity. Because such a background implies a religious undertaking, there is some inclination in Jewish literature to prefer the Hebrew word ‘Shoah’ that can be translated roughly as ‘calamity,’ and was the name given to the 1985 epic nine-hour narration of the Nazi experience by the French filmmaker, Claude Lanzmann. The Germans themselves were more antiseptic in their designation, officially naming their undertaking as the ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question.’ The label is, of course, inaccurate as a variety of non-Jewish identities were also targets of this genocidal assault, including the Roma and Sinti (‘gypsies’), Jehovah Witnesses, gays, disabled persons, political opponents.

Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy. If ever the ethos of ‘a responsibility to protect,’ recently adopted by the UN Security Council as the basis of ‘humanitarian intervention’ is applicable, it would be to act now to start protecting the people of Gaza from further pain and suffering. But it would be unrealistic to expect the UN to do anything in the face of this crisis, given the pattern of US support for Israel and taking into account the extent to which European governments have lent their weight to recent illicit efforts to crush Hamas as a Palestinian political force.

Even if the pressures exerted on Gaza were to be acknowledged as having genocidal potential and even if Israel’s impunity under America’s geopolitical umbrella is put aside, there is little assurance that any sort of protective action in Gaza would be taken. There were strong advance signals in 1994 of a genocide to come in Rwanda, and yet nothing was done to stop it; the UN and the world watched while the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosnians took place, an incident that the World Court described as ‘genocide’ a few months ago; similarly, there have been repeated allegations of genocidal conduct in Darfur over the course of the last several years, and hardly an international finger has been raised, either to protect those threatened or to resolve the conflict in some manner that shares power and resources among the contending ethnic groups.

But Gaza is morally far worse, although mass death has not yet resulted. It is far worse because the international community is watching the ugly spectacle unfold while some of its most influential members actively encourage and assist Israel in its approach to Gaza. Not only the United States, but also the European Union, are complicit, as are such neighbors as Egypt and Jordan apparently motivated by their worries that Hamas is somehow connected with their own problems associated with the rising strength of the Muslim Brotherhood within their own borders. It is helpful to recall that the liberal democracies of Europe paid homage to Hitler at the 1936 Olympic Games, and then turned away tens of thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany. I am not suggesting that the comparison should be viewed as literal, but to insist that a pattern of criminality associated with Israeli policies in Gaza has actually been supported by the leading democracies of the 21st century.

To ground these allegations, it is necessary to consider the background of the current situation. For over four decades, ever since 1967, Gaza has been occupied by Israel in a manner that turned this crowded area into a cauldron of pain and suffering for the entire population on a daily basis, with more than half of Gazans living in miserable refugees camps and even more dependent on humanitarian relief to satisfy basic human needs. With great fanfare, under Sharon’s leadership, Israel supposedly ended its military occupation and dismantled its settlements in 2005. The process was largely a sham as Israel maintained full control over borders, air space, offshore seas, as well as asserted its military control of Gaza, engaging in violent incursions, sending missiles to Gaza at will on assassination missions that themselves violate international humanitarian law, and managing to kill more than 300 Gazan civilians since its supposed physical departure.

As unacceptable as is this earlier part of the story, a dramatic turn for the worse occurred when Hamas prevailed in the January 2006 national legislative elections. It is a bitter irony that Hamas was encouraged, especially by Washington, to participate in the elections to show its commitment to a political process (as an alternative to violence) and then was badly punished for having the temerity to succeed. These elections were internationally monitored under the leadership of the former American president, Jimmy Carter, and pronounced as completely fair.

Carter has recently termed this Israeli/American refusal to accept the outcome of such a democratic verdict as itself ‘criminal.’ It is also deeply discrediting of the campaign of the Bush presidency to promote democracy in the region, an effort already under a dark shadow in view of the policy failure in Iraq.

After winning the Palestinian elections, Hamas was castigated as a terrorist organization that had not renounced violence against Israel and had refused to recognize the Jewish state as a legitimate political entity. In fact, the behavior and outlook of Hamas is quite different. From the outset of its political Hamas was ready to work with other Palestinian groups, especially Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas, to establish a ‘unity’ government. More than this, their leadership revealed a willingness to move toward an acceptance of Israel’s existence if Israel would in turn agree to move back to its 1967 borders, implementing finally unanimous Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

Even more dramatically, Hamas proposed a ten-year truce with Israel, and went so far as to put in place a unilateral ceasefire that lasted for eighteen months, and was broken only to engage in rather pathetic strikes mainly taking place in response to Israeli violent provocations in Gaza. As Efraim Halevi, former head of Israel’s Mossad was reported to have said, ‘What Israel needs from Hamas is an end to violence, not diplomatic recognition.’ And this is precisely what Hamas offered and what Israel rejected.

The main weapon available to Hamas, and other Palestinian extremist elements, were Qassam missiles that resulted in producing no more than 12 Israeli deaths in six years. While each civilian death is an unacceptable tragedy, the ratio of death and injury for the two sides in so unequal as to call into question the security logic of continuously inflicting excessive force and collective punishment on the entire beleaguered Gazan population, which is accurately regarded as the world’s largest ‘prison.’

Instead of trying diplomacy and respecting democratic results, Israel and the United States used their leverage to reverse the outcome of the 2006 elections by organizing a variety of international efforts designed to make Hamas fail in its attempts to govern in Gaza. Such efforts were reinforced by the related unwillingness of the defeated Fatah elements to cooperate with Hamas in establishing a government that would be representative of Palestinians as a whole. The main anti-Hamas tactic relied upon was to support Abbas as the sole legitimate leader of the Palestinian people, to impose an economic boycott on the Palestinians generally, to send in weapons for Fatah militias and to enlist neighbors in these efforts, particularly Egypt and Jordan. The United States Government appointed a special envoy, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, to work with Abbas forces, and helped channel $40 million to buildup the Presidential Guard, which were the Fatah forces associated with Abbas.

This was a particularly disgraceful policy. Fatah militias, especially in Gaza, had long been wildly corrupt and often used their weapons to terrorize their adversaries and intimidate the population in a variety of thuggish ways. It was this pattern of abuse by Fatah that was significantly responsible for the Hamas victory in the 2006 elections, along with the popular feelings that Fatah, as a political actor, had neither the will nor capacity to achieve results helpful to the Palestinian people, while Hamas had managed resistance and community service efforts that were widely admired by Gazans.

The latest phase of this external/internal dynamic was to induce civil strife in Gaza that led a complete takeover by Hamas forces. With standard irony, a set of policies adopted by Israel in partnership with the United States once more produced exactly the opposite of their intended effects. The impact of the refusal to honor the election results has after 18 months made Hamas much stronger throughout the Palestinian territories, and put it in control of Gaza. Such an outcome is reminiscent of a similar effect of the 2006 Lebanon War that was undertaken by the Israel/United States strategic partnership to destroy Hezbollah, but had the actual consequence of making Hezbollah a much stronger, more respected force in Lebanon and throughout the region.

The Israel and the United States seemed trapped in a faulty logic that is incapable of learning from mistakes, and takes every setback as a sign that instead of shifting course, the faulty undertaking should be expanded and intensified, that failure resulted from doing too little of the right thing, rather than is the case, doing the wrong thing. So instead of taking advantage of Hamas’ renewed call for a unity government, its clarification that it is not against Fatah, but only that “[w]e have fought against a small clique within Fatah,” (Abu Ubaya, Hamas military commander), Israel seems more determined than ever to foment civil war in Palestine, to make the Gazans pay with their wellbeing and lives to the extent necessary to crush their will, and to separate once and for all the destinies of Gaza and the West Bank.

The insidious new turn of Israeli occupation policy is as follows: push Abbas to rely on hard-line no compromise approach toward Hamas, highlighted by the creation of an unelected ’emergency’ government to replace the elected leadership. The emergency designated prime minister, Salam Fayyad, appointed to replace the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniya, as head of the Palestinian Authority. It is revealing to recall that when Fayyad’s party was on the 2006 election list its candidates won only 2% of the vote. Israel is also reportedly ready to ease some West Bank restrictions on movement in such a way as to convince Palestinians that they can have a better future if they repudiate Hamas and place their bets on Abbas, by now a most discredited political figure who has substantially sold out the Palestinian cause to gain favor and support from Israel/United States, as well as to prevail in the internal Palestinian power struggle.

To promote these goals it is conceivable, although unlikely, that Israel might release Marwan Barghouti, the only credible Fatah leader, from prison provided Barghouti would be willing to accept the Israeli approach of Sharon/Olmert to the establishment of a Palestinian state. This latter step is doubtful, as Barghouti is a far cry from Abbas, and would be highly unlikely to agree to anything less than a full withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 borders, including the elimination of West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements.

This latest turn in policy needs to be understood in the wider context of the Israeli refusal to reach a reasonable compromise with the Palestinian people since 1967. There is widespread recognition that such an outcome would depend on Israeli withdrawal, establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty on the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as capital, and sufficient external financial assistance to give the Palestinians the prospect of economic viability. The truth is that there is no Israeli leadership with the vision or backing to negotiate such a solution, and so the struggle will continue with violence on both sides.

The Israeli approach to the Palestinian challenge is based on isolating Gaza and cantonizing the West Bank, leaving the settlement blocs intact, and appropriating the whole of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For years this sidestepping of diplomacy has dominated Israeli behavior, including during the Oslo peace process that was initiated on the White House lawn in 1993 by the famous handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat.

While talking about peace, the number of Israeli settlers doubled, huge sums were invested in settlement roads linked directly to Israel, and the process of Israeli settlement and Palestinian displacement from East Jerusalem was moving ahead at a steady pace. Significantly, also, the ‘moderate’ Arafat was totally discredited as a Palestinian leader capable of negotiating with Israel, being treated as dangerous precisely because he was willing to accept a reasonable compromise. Interestingly, until recently when he became useful in the effort to reverse the Hamas electoral victory, Abbas was treated by Israel as too weak, too lacking in authority, to act on behalf of the Palestinian people in a negotiating process, one more excuse for persisting with its preferred unilateralist course.

These considerations also make it highly unlikely that Barghouti will be released from prison unless there is some dramatic change of heart on the Israeli side. Instead of working toward some kind of political resolution, Israel has built an elaborate and illegal security wall on Palestinian territory, expanded the settlements, made life intolerable for the 1.4 million people crammed into Gaza, and pretends that such unlawful ‘facts on the ground’ are a path leading toward security and peace.

On June 25, 2007 leaders from Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority met in Sharm El Sheik on the Red Sea to move ahead with their anti-Hamas diplomacy. Israel proposes to release 250 Fatah prisoners (of 9,000 Palestinians currently held) and to hand over Palestinian revenues to Abbas on an installment basis, provided none of the funds is used in Gaza, where a humanitarian catastrophe unfolds day by day. These leaders agreed to cooperate in this effort to break Hamas and to impose a Fatah-led Palestinian Authority on an unwilling Palestine population. Remember that Hamas prevailed in the 2006 elections, not only in Gaza, but in the West Bank as well. To deny Palestinian their right of self-determination is almost certain to backfire in a manner similar to similar efforts, producing a radicalized version of what is being opposed. As some commentators have expressed, getting rid of Hamas means establishing al Qaeda!

Israel is currently stiffening the boycott on economic relations that has brought the people of Gaza to the brink of collective starvation. This set of policies, carried on for more than four decades, has imposed a sub-human existence on a people that have been repeatedly and systematically made the target of a variety of severe forms of collective punishment. The entire population of Gaza is treated as the ‘enemy’ of Israel, and little pretext is made in Tel Aviv of acknowledging the innocence of this long victimized civilian society.

To persist with such an approach under present circumstances is indeed genocidal, and risks destroying an entire Palestinian community that is an integral part of an ethnic whole. It is this prospect that makes appropriate the warning of a Palestinian holocaust in the making, and should remind the world of the famous post-Nazi pledge of ‘never again.’

Richard Falk is Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

April 14th, 2008, 9:33 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Rumors are, that our scientists took the inspectors on such routes, that “helped” them conclude it was purely a research facility as well. I’m not saying Osirak wasn’t, but I certainly wouldn’t know, and I’m probably much less certain of IAEA reports nowadays either. I guess if you really want to fool someone, you probably can find the way to do so. Or, perhaps we were fooling ourselves… I don’t know.

Of course you can fool. You forgot to mention about the extra walls rumour in Dimona. By the way were does Israel dump its considerable amounts of nuclear waste. Are the rumours of nuclear waste stored in the Dahlak Island’s Israeli naval base in Eritrea true? Or the rumours of Eritrea and Israel dumping the nuclear waste to Sudan?

By the way why is Israel supporting militarily Eritrea, which is no beacon of democracy and rather agressive. Actually Syria is more “democratic” than Eritrea. Well I leave answering for that to AIG.

The inspectors of IAEA act under the direction of the Finn Olli Heinonen, the deputy IAEA General Director. No wonder you do not trust IAEA. 🙂

What if Shai Syria would have nukes, wouldn’t the peace negotiations advance much faster and in constructive spirit? Actually all negotiations in the area would be easier if one did not have the monopoly of destroying others. Or should the one destroy the nukes? Well you should consider that.

——–

Naji do not give up. The voice of honest people like you is needed.

Use a proxy service and change you nick name every now and then. “They all” are not “Einstein’s”. Norwegians learned it in Lillehammer (not hinting that “they” would make such things as in Lillehammer).

April 14th, 2008, 9:36 pm

 

offended said:

Naji,
Check out this post: “A letter from Alon Liel / Chairman of the Israeli-Syrian Peace Society”

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=575

I think it explains everything.

April 14th, 2008, 9:57 pm

 

Alex said:

Naji

I think you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

I am spending a coupe of hours per day here to help Joshua with Syria Comment. I have not updated my own site (Creative Syria) in few months now. I don’t need anyone to tell me that he was used or lied to. If you missed the main post that Offended linked to .. it had almost 300 comments! …

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=575

You want me to think “what if Naji did not see those 300 comments”?

What else do I need to tell you? .. that “Shai” is a peace activist?? … you did not get that part yet? .. he knows people in their foreign ministry? .. I did not know that until now, just like you. Besides, Israel is like Syria . everyone knows everyone… and they all served in the army .. so he knows some army officers too, no?

Peace Park? … if you read my comments in the post above (Alon’s letter) you will see that I am strongly against the peace Park. Shai knows it.

If there is anything that Shai learned here is that most Syrians, the highly educated ones here, are as patriotic as they can be … everyone wrote to tell him they will not allow their government to abandon the Palestinians .. no one even wants to abandon HA or Hamas or Iran.

Besides … no one here is negotiating for Syria. We have a “regime” that will take care of negotiations.

So what is the problem? … really.

April 14th, 2008, 10:22 pm

 

Naji said:

Well, Alex, sorry if I over-reacted… but, before pouncing on you, I did repeatedly ask you if I was the only dupe who did not know who Shai was…! I wish you could have spared us both and just told me yes…but… this is what happened, and I got upset… not because of who he was, but because he was acting in some sort of a quasi-official capacity and on an agenda that went beyond simple intellectual discussion… and that this was not disclosed. But, as I said, I am kind of new around here.

Anyway, you do not have to be doing any of this, and you certainly did not have to write me, but you did and I appreciate it.

So, … I made a fool of myself…!? Oh well…

April 14th, 2008, 11:14 pm

 

norman said:

Alex,

Now i demand to know who Shai that i like is , Naji is not the only one dubed.

April 15th, 2008, 12:06 am

 

Alex said:

Norman,

I had a long day … ask Shai to write tomorrow when he wakes up.

April 15th, 2008, 12:11 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

If you haven’t yet played Douma, then check it out!!

Douma is an online video game, modeled after Street Fighter II, in which the characters are all Lebanese politicians.

It is absolutely HILARIOUS.

For all of those frustrated Lebanese (and others) who are completely fed up with the idiocy and remarkable staying power of our ridiculous politicians, this is a great way to “fish khil2kon”!

It is sheer brilliance like this that makes me so optimistic about Lebanon’s future, current paralysis notwithstanding. If young Lebanese are as creative and deliciously devious as Ziad Feghali, then we will be alright.

Play all the different characters, and don’t forget the “special move”!!

http://wixelstudios.com/douma/

April 15th, 2008, 12:25 am

 

norman said:

Naji,

I think it is very good deal to be able to talk to somebody influential in Israel , i never had the chance to talk to anybody with influence in Syria , except Alex , and i as Alex says never criticize the regime .

I think you should continue writing as i enjoy what you write and many times saves me from writing myself as i agree with you .

Where do you reside by the way ?.

April 15th, 2008, 12:47 am

 

Enlightened said:

QN:

You are such a child!

April 15th, 2008, 12:51 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

High school student, Enlightened… high school student.

April 15th, 2008, 12:53 am

 

norman said:

QN,

How many years in high school .?.

April 15th, 2008, 12:57 am

 

norman said:

War is comming this Summer.

Report: Syria bracing for Israeli attack

(Video) Qatari newspaper al-Watan reports of Syrian preparations against Israeli strike during coming summer; says Israel looking to May, June as possible window for attack

Roee Nahmias Published: 04.14.08, 15:00 / Israel News

VIDEO – Is Syria preparing for war? Qatar’s al-Watan newspaper reported Monday that political and media sources in Damascus expressed concerns that war may breakout between Israel and Syria before long.

Video courtesy of infolive.tv

According to the report, the nationwide emergency drill held by Damascus in response to a similar drill held by Israel last week, is one of the preemptive steps taken by Syria, which is supposedly responding to reports of Israel holding strategy meeting with the US in an attempt to devise an attack on both Syria and Iran.

Assuagement

Olmert reassures Syria: Home front drill not a threat / Roni Sofer

(Video) ‘We are not seeking any military confrontations in the North,’ PM says as Israel launches five-day security drill meant to simulate responses to war, other emergency situations
Full story

Israel, claimed the report, is eyeing the period between the end of May to mid June as a possible window of attack; and the proof, as a senior Syrian official told al-Watan, is in the fact that the Israeli drill covering the Golan Heights was closely monitored by a high-ranking American general.

This close cooperation, added the source is evident that the two wish to send a message to the “resistance” in the area, namely Syria, Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, that any the US is aware of the fact that any American strike against Iran may entail the latter bombing Israel and launching two new fronts against Syria and Lebanon.

Advertisement

Though titled a readiness drill against natural disasters, the Syria-crossing drill, added the report, has raised public concerns of a Mideast war pending in the summer.

April 15th, 2008, 12:58 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Walla, Norman, I’ve been in high school now for six years. I keep failing 9th grade, but I think that I have a good chance of passing this year.

So, hopefully I’ll graduate in three years, but at this rate, it might take me another 18.

April 15th, 2008, 1:09 am

 

norman said:

QN,

I wish i stayed in high school to be as good as you are .

April 15th, 2008, 1:13 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Ya 3ammo Norman,

I wish I can graduate and become a doctor like you!

😉

ps: you ARE a doctor, right?

April 15th, 2008, 1:17 am

 

Enlightened said:

QN: Whats your take on this?

If HP was here he would Say Saniora is the man!

Report: Rice Says Saniora, Not Presidential Crisis is Priority

An Arab diplomatic personality quoted U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as saying that the absence of a president in Lebanon was not a problem and that her top priority was to keep Premier Fouad Saniora as head of the executive body.
“What’s wrong with keeping the situation in Lebanon as it is? Our priority is to keep Fouad Saniora as head of the democratically elected government…and that he acts according to the powers granted to him and the president,” the source, according to As Safir daily on Monday, quoted Rice as telling foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

“Even the issue of the next parliamentary elections (2009) is not a priority for us. We would welcome any formula that guarantees the extension of the current parliament’s mandate,” Rice added, according to the source.

The source told As Safir that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asked Rice during her latest visit to Moscow if her comments represented her country’s official stance.

“This is my personal point of view and many in the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon back it,” Rice replied, according to the source.

The deadlock between the parliamentary majority and the Hizbullah-led opposition has left Lebanon without a president since November.

The bickering parties have supported Army Chief Gen. Michel Suleiman as a consensus candidate but his election has been held up by the opposition’s demand to have veto power over future government decisions, something the majority strongly rejects.

According to As Safir, the well-informed source, who visited Washington recently, has said that there is a tendency to “neglect” the Lebanese political crisis and that the situation in Lebanon will continue as it is until after the presidential elections in the United States.

April 15th, 2008, 1:25 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Enlightened,

I think it is sheer foolishness… if it is true.

Who is their source?

April 15th, 2008, 1:56 am

 

norman said:

QN,

Yes , Can’t you tell from my bad handwriting.

April 15th, 2008, 2:11 am

 

Enlightened said:

QN:

article appeared in Naharnet. Doesn’t say about the source, the credibility of the article is certainly questionable.

It does however lead me to believe that the US, might not be sponsoring something belligerent (just yet) and is prepared to accept the status quo, at present.

If Sleiman leaves his Army post as he is threatening at present, given the deadlock, I will think his replacement will be the next focal point in the battle.

All quiet so far, which is good but so little news to talk about, until that Mughniye report! It should spice things up a little!

April 15th, 2008, 2:15 am

 

norman said:

This is very interesting and indicate that Syria , Hozbollah and Iran represent more the Arab’s oponion than The KSA, Egypt and Jordon , look at the popularity of president Assad.

Poll shows Arabs’ dislike for US
By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, Washington

Eight out of 10 people in the Arab world have a negative view of the US, according to a new poll.

By extension, governments supported by the US are unpopular, found the survey, which was released in Washington.

A recent BBC World Service survey found views of the US had started to improve by 4% globally, although they remained negative in the Arab world.

Only 6% of Arabs believe the US troop surge in Iraq has worked, according to the latest poll.

It was carried out by the University of Maryland and Zogby International.

A majority of Arabs believe that if US troops withdraw from Iraq, Iraqis would be able to bridge their differences, the survey found.

In contrast, an ABC/BBC poll conducted in Iraq and released in March, appeared to show a 20% increase in the number of Iraqis who felt the surge was succeeding and described the security situation as good.

Nasrallah’s popularity

While the Western-backed Lebanese government has reasonable appeal in its own country, the latest survey indicates it has barely any support in the Arab world.

While Sunni rulers in the region worry about Shia Iran’s growing influence, ordinary Arabs don’t seem to view Iran as a threat

Some 30% of Arabs sympathise with the Lebanese opposition, led by Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran.

Across the Arab world, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is also the most popular leader, followed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The three leaders are seen as the only ones standing up against US influence in the region.

And while Sunni rulers in the region worry about Shia Iran’s growing influence, ordinary Arabs don’t seem to view Iran as a threat.

Almost half of Arabs believe that if Tehran acquires nuclear weapons the outcome for the region would be more positive than negative.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/7347613.stm

Published: 2008/04/15 02:05:22 GMT

© BBC MMVIII

April 15th, 2008, 3:37 am

 

Shai said:

Naji, Norman, and anyone else…

I don’t know how my response to T’s question about whether I had contacts in the FM got into some “What is Shai’s quasi/official role here, and why haven’t we been told” Frenzy! For the record, I am here in NO quasi, official, unofficial, or any-ficial role. I am here as Shai, period. Also for the record, while I help Alon’s mission (making peace with Syria), I do not belong to his organization officially. Since I live in Israel, and since everything is an hour’s drive away, I have gone to some of their meetings, obviously to see how I can contribute. I am a private businessman, having nothing to do with government, FM, or any official whatsoever. Like Alex said, Israel is a small country, and people do tend to know one another, or their friends, so-to-speak. So, naturally, I also have contacts, and when it comes to making peace in the region, to lifting all the sanctions off Gaza, etc, I have and will continue to use them as long as is necessary. My aims are always to reach as high as I can, in the decision-making chain. I have no political aspirations, I am no politician, thank god.

Lastly, I actually do not agree with everything that Alon says, and I’ve voiced my opinion here on numerous occasions on those. For instance, I am not convinced that the Park idea will work either (though Naji, for the record, it was Syria’s idea, not Israel’s!). I am also convinced that Israel must NOT demand that Syria break off its alliances with Iran, HA, or Hamas. The opposite, I think Israel’s security and the general stability in the region will be far greater if those alliances remain in place, also after Israel and Syria sign a peace treaty together. Naji, I also used to think that Israel should first make peace with the Palestinians, and then with Syria. But after the Fatah/Hamas rift has occurred, there’s no point waiting – Syria has been reaching out to us for peace the past 3-4 years, and we need to withdraw from the Golan. The sooner, the better. Peace with Syria will only help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I believe.

I hope I’ve managed to calm some people down. I don’t know why this conspiracy thinking of intention and role-hiding ever took place. There are none! I’m here, like any of you. Of course I hope to show other Israelis (including officials) what Syrians and Palestinians and other Arabs are like, and also using Syria Comment. I would hope some of you would do the same. Is it wrong? If you’d rather I didn’t, let me know. It’s not like I’m copy/pasting anything from SC, and running to the FM in Jerusalem to show people… I’m merely telling friends, and contacts, that there is a lot about Syria and Syrians that they do not know or understand, and then I go into details. If I’m not supposed to even do that, what CAN I do then?

April 15th, 2008, 3:41 am

 

Shai said:

Simo,

Good Morning… It seems as of late I go to sleep with SC, and I wake up to SC… 🙂 (not sure my wife approves…)

As to our Osirak-talk, I’ll indeed let AIG respond to some of those other rumors. I’m in general against supporting any regime that suppresses its people, certainly if using Israeli technology. There’s something immensely immoral about that, and knowing that we have “another friend” in Africa, or wherever, does not allow me to sleep better at night, if indeed it comes at the cost of the people of that nation.

If IAEA acts under the direction a Finn, then my tendency is to trust it MORE, not less… sorry to disappoint you… 🙂 My so-called “reservations” about its reporting stem not from not trusting the IAEA, but rather from not trusting the parties is supposed to check or control. And I’ve more than hinted about Israel being one of those parties, in the 1960’s.

I agree with you, there’s no doubt in my mind that if Syria had nukes, peace with her would be easier to achieve, not tougher. Same goes for any other nation in the region. Problem is, that none have them yet, and in the interim period, no side trusts the other’s intentions. Destroying Israel’s nukes is an impossibility at the moment – it simply will not happen. Israel, fortunately or not, will have this monopoly also into the near future, unless Iran joins this “club”. No doubt that if Israel destroyed all its nukes that would be the most effective way to convince all in the region of our sincere wishes for peace. But, like so much else in geopolitics, what makes sense and what is actually done are two different things. Israel will keep all her capabilities out of fear that war will always replace peace. And in so doing, it will cause other nations not to want to have peace with her, and every now and then, war will occur. So the hope is that Syria, and other neighbors, will make peace with us soon (and us with them), so that we can begin a 10-15 year period of living quietly, safely, and to see finally that there is hope for this region. Once that happens, I believe a lot more could be discussed (nukes, two-state vs. one-state solutions, UME, etc.)

Yes, I concur about Naji. I don’t want him to give up either. His opinion is important, even when not “in line” with mine… As for Lillehammer, it was a disgrace on Israel’s part. Another “dark spot” on our history.

April 15th, 2008, 4:02 am

 

T said:

Naji,

I for one had no idea you were Syrian. SC, Alex and Joshua were very honest about Shai from the start, very upfront. It just isnt feasable to include biographical info at start of each day’s posts. That ordinary civilians were canvassed for their opinion on this blog (or where ever) about government subjects seems positive to me, not negative.

But even before Shai arrived: Any blog such as this- which is sponsored by a public American university- is bound to be monitored by all the gov/intel-types. What I call “The Committee”. And it is not Joshua’s fault, he can do nothing about it. None of us can. It happens on every political blog nowadays, irregardless of locale or sponsor under the rubric “war on terror” and “full spectrum information dominance.” Routinely, across all electronic communications outlets. The America/Israel Mukhabarat is far superior to other countries’ of course, as they’ve got such huge resources to steal from.

As for myself, I “address” my posts to Shai or AIG, or Whomever, but compose the real content of the message of my posts to The Committee behind that point of view. That is why some of my content seems screed-like. It is. (It is not meant to be personal attacks on the “addressee”.) I dont know who anyone is here and ultimately it doesnt matter. The Committee is forced to ingest all the posts equally- so if you’ve got a mission- force those sneaks to listen and start screamin’! (Perhaps my future posts should be addressed formally to The Committee, that way no individual person gets hurt or feels targeted.)

Just one person’s approach to this outlet.

April 15th, 2008, 4:04 am

 

Enlightened said:

Who is this committee? and if it exists can I join? I would like to play the role of a chameleon spoiler!

Is this committee similar to “The Firm”

April 15th, 2008, 5:16 am

 

Zenobia said:

Committee?
this is very weird.
why is everyone sounding so paranoid all the sudden??? do we care that much?

April 15th, 2008, 5:20 am

 

Shai said:

T,

When I write, I also sometimes word my comments in such way as would hopefully also send a message beyond that particular reader. But we’re all human beings, and not machines, and are at the end of the day talking to each other, not to governments. If I thought the Syrian government was reading my comments each day, I certainly wouldn’t waste her precious time with “good night Alex…” messages.

April 15th, 2008, 5:23 am

 

Enlightened said:

Shai:

I just need to remind you that this is Syria Comment! Not the Waltons!
Good night John Boy (er sorry that was a slip).

Everybody body needs to take a chill pill! However do we all need AIG to be here to remind us that he is the tyranny of all evil men?

April 15th, 2008, 5:42 am

 

Shai said:

Enlightened (or the Australian Government body behind you),

Thank you for that reminder… 🙂 But Simo’s right about the “good night Alex” comments – they are silly, and they don’t really belong on a serious forum as they do tend to clutter up things a bit. Still, sometimes we just want to be normal, and friendly, and silly… If anyone was doing a doctorate dissertation on SC, he/she would have to delete a lot of such “noise”. Thank god I’m not the one doing a PhD here… (good luck Zenobia!)

April 15th, 2008, 6:05 am

 

T said:

Well the Israeli trolls have come out in full force- any Arab trolls out there to comment? …You all know exactly what I am talking about.
But each to his own.
——————————————————
AIG,
How significant is this scouting? Could you assess? Your professional input would be appreciated. It seems we’re in danger of another conflagration? Oh brother. Like I said Naji- better start screamin’ before its too late, not after.

Israeli Foot Patrol Violates South Lebanon

The Lebanese Army on Monday said a squad of Israeli army infantrymen has crossed into Lebanon for 10 minutes.
A communiqué said the five Israeli soldiers crossed 15 meters into Lebanese terrain near the southern village of Kfar Shouba at 7 p.m. Sunday, and left 10 minutes later.

The terse communiqué, distributed by the state-run National News Agency, described the development as a “flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty.” It did not disclose further details.

Beirut, Updated 15 Apr 08, Naharnet

April 15th, 2008, 6:11 am

 

Shai said:

T,

I don’t want to steal AIG’s assessment of this event. But from what I understand, he’s banned for a week now… (Alex is so mean). I haven’t heard about this in Israeli media, which probably means that if indeed it took place, that no shooting occurred (otherwise, we would have heard about it). As for scouting, you don’t need to be an army expert to know that such activity always takes places, by all sides, all the time, everywhere. We just don’t hear about it, either because they’re never caught, or because the “other side” might be too embarrassed to disclose it. When I was a soldier, eons ago, we always knew that Beduins were crossing over from Sinai by foot all the time. And it was assumed, that at least some of them might be “scouts”, on behalf of Egypt, or others. Today, for instance, it is extremely likely that Al Qaida and/or Hamas are sending their own “Beduins” through our southern border, to learn how to best pass weapons, and whatnot, undetected. By the way, I believe that most of the “scouts” that pass back and forth between Israel and Lebanon are none other than… drug smugglers! Ask Boaz Wachtel about it – he knows a lot about this topic, as he happens to be a world-renown advocate of legalizing certain types of cannabis, in order to combat drug dealing and drug addiction worldwide.

April 15th, 2008, 7:08 am

 

why-discuss said:

Naji , thanks for posting this article

“Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust
by Richard Falk; TFF; July 05, 2007”

The more I read the more I a convinced that Israelis are been manipulated by hysterical and power greedy politicians who totally lack realism. This has been also encouraged by the bitter, paranoid or money minded american jews.
Instead of moving forward to some kind of recognition and peace, the country is getting deeper into more blood, injustices, opression and a decreasing loss of moral values. Fear, hatred and greed seem to lead Israeli politicians today. How would this stop? When will israelis realize that they are been lead into self destuction if they continue on this path? It is time to see the emergence of a moral and realistic conscience in Israel that is not directly connected to the US energy plans of the region and to the bribes Israel is getting to follow US policies in the region. How can Isreael who claim to be an “economically successful country” continues to accept billions of $ of charity from the US!

April 15th, 2008, 7:09 am

 

Shai said:

Why-Discuss,

I agree with much of what you say. Our society has been, and is being destroyed by corruption, by immorality, and by interest-driven politicians who care more about their fancy volvos and leather seats in Knesset, than about their constituents. The billions Israel is getting, by the way, come not in the form of $’s, but in military hardware. That’s why the U.S. is not viewing it as charity, but rather a re-investment in its own defense establishment… If you reside in the U.S., you should be aware of that – that’s where some of your tax dollars go.

April 15th, 2008, 7:20 am

 

T said:

Why was AIG banned? That is unfortunate. Maybe he is just traveling or something?

April 15th, 2008, 8:05 am

 

Innocent Criminal said:

There a few of articles online filled with anti-syrian propoganda and rumors about a build up of syrian troops on the lebanese border, claims that Syria will start a war soon, Hizbullah kidnapped Mughniye’s body, Asef Shawkat is seeking asylum. They usually come in bursts like this and oh the fun I have reading them. http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=wn&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&ncl=1150977100

If you want to a good laugh check out the 2 articles from Oliver Guitta in the Middle East Times who is a colleague of another fool (Tony Badran) at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

http://www.metimes.com/International/2008/04/14/whats_going_on_in_syria/6622/

http://www.metimes.com/Editorial/2008/04/14/something_happening_in_damascus/7802/

QN,
that game was so funny. but i was really hoping Hassan Nasrallah was one of the characters. I think the developers self censored by using Nabih Berry.

April 15th, 2008, 8:06 am

 

Shai said:

T,

I think this was the comment that caused him to be banned:
http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=664#comment-133220

April 15th, 2008, 8:58 am

 

offended said:

Enlightened, karma chameleon? George boy and the Culture club?

Hmmm,

I really doubt that will suit you!

April 15th, 2008, 9:11 am

 

Shai said:

Offended,

Sorry I missed your comment yesterday. What’s your take, as a UAE-man, about the supposed upcoming Saudi-Iranian joint defense agreement (just heard it on the news a few minutes ago)? How do the Gulf countries view the Syrian-Iranian alliance? Can an Iranian-Saudi alliance of some sort help ease the tensions between Damascus and Riyadh?

April 15th, 2008, 9:17 am

 

offended said:

T,
Did you use the word ‘imbecile’ in your comment that has disappeared?

Mine, which had also disappeared, have had that word which I used while addressing AIG.

Oh, and I don’t mean to malign AIG again while he’s pleasantly absent. I am just highlighting the circumstances behind this mysterious phenomenon.

April 15th, 2008, 9:18 am

 

offended said:

Hello Shai, … I haven’t heard about such an agreement. But on the theoretical level, such an agreement should help to ease the Syrian-Saudi tension. And since most of the disagreements revolve around Lebanon and Syria’s support to Hezbollah, and since the Iranian support is not less, such coming closer on the shores of the gulf should help…

That of course, if you neutralized the ‘personal frictions’ part of the tension first.

Btw, I am a Syrian living in the UAE : )

April 15th, 2008, 9:26 am

 

Shai said:

Offended,

The news mentioned it was from the Al-Safir newspaper in Lebanon. Yes, I remember of course that you’re a Syrian living in Dubai… But you do see things also from UAE’s point of view, which I was wondering about, given the close proximity to both KSA and Iran.

April 15th, 2008, 9:34 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

But, like so much else in geopolitics, what makes sense and what is actually done are two different things. Israel will keep all her capabilities out of fear that war will always replace peace. And in so doing, it will cause other nations not to want to have peace with her, and every now and then, war will occur. So the hope is that Syria, and other neighbors, will make peace with us soon (and us with them), so that we can begin a 10-15 year period of living quietly, safely, and to see finally that there is hope for this region. Once that happens, I believe a lot more could be discussed (nukes, two-state vs. one-state solutions, UME, etc.)

Has Israel been able to guaranty its neighbours a period of 10 – 15 years of real peace. Not really. Has it tried that peace strategy? No it has certainly not. Israel has used every opportunity to attack and spread chaos outside its borders since the creation of Israel using rather “amusing” excuses. Why did Israel attack in 1956. Why in 1967? Why in 1982? Why in 2006? Israel doesn’t honour borders and it has given herself the right to do anything they want. So why would / should any kind of Arab government really trust Israel?

The Arab countries do not need the land area of Israel. What they need is to solve, because of national pride and internal reasons, the Palestinian problem and the status of the Muslims’ holy sites in Jerusalem. When that problem is solved there is no rational reason, besides the military, for Arab nations give any attention to the Jewish state. Israel has not integrated herself in the local economy which makes Israel basically completely irrelevant for Arab nations in the social and economical meaning in future “peace time”.

The old slogan that Arab and Muslim countries want to drive Jews to the sea and destroy Israel is pure propaganda. Israel is a reality and a strong reality, everybody knows it. Why would much weaker Arab countries and Iran be interested in destroying Israel, when there is so hope what so ever of victory? Or nothing to be achieved by that victory else than a tiny spot of land.

Piece and silence would mean that Israel would decline politically fast to the Denmark of Middle East. Nobody would make a big fuss when the Israeli PM comes to visit, as much as when the Finnish PM’s visits. The military industry of Israel would decline fast with the lack of own testing grounds and free advertising in the media. Without doubt most of Israelis would love such future. But the political and financial elite do not. Israel is a political and military second class superpower and it wants to keep that status. And it is possible only by using the “they throw us in the sea” argument and keeping up the tension. Israel’s elite needs the conflict and its aerial nuclear monopoly.

I am afraid that Israel wants to keep its “geopolitical status”. Not because of security, but because for the power it provides.

——-
Jewish extrimists from Moldova can make Nazi remarks and comparisons without getting in troubles
Lieberman: Tibi must go, Hitler too was elected democratically

Let’s see if Lieberman will be kicked out of Israel back to Moldova. 🙂

Shouldn’t it be seen so that an Israeli Arab knows best if Israel an apartheid state or not. Certainly better than a members of the ruling majority. Few whites in South Africa complained about treating blacks like shit. The blacks complained.

——-

It would be interesting to know AIG’s response to this (compared to his views about Syrian men)
2 Scandinavian tourists accuse Ein Gedi kibbutzniks of rape

Actually when reading the news of Israeli English news there are astonishing often stories about rape (much more as here in local newspapers). From the president to the “bottom”. Well let AIG explain the reason when he returns. I miss AIG. It is always a pleasure to discuss with him. 🙂

April 15th, 2008, 10:08 am

 

Shai said:

Simo,

I hope to provide you with some “pleasure” in discussion as well… 🙂 But yes, AIG is indeed missed here by many.

I probably won’t answer all your points, but here are some thoughts:

1. I agree that the “throwing us to the sea” excuse is old, irrelevant, and should indeed be “thrown to the sea”. I think it does us greater damage than good, because it enables many in Israel to remain cognitively numb about changing our view of the region, and our neighbors.

2. Arab governments do not trust Israel, nor vice-versa. But neither have a choice. If they want to remove the option of war, which seems to occur just about every decade or so, the only way to do so is to make peace. If Israelis will withdraw from the Golan, and the West Bank, and enable the Palestinians to finally have freedom and independence, then maybe one day, after 10-15 years, we’ll start to see a “warmer” peace. Until then, it’ll most likely be superficial, and tepid at best.

3. Unlike the rest of the Arab world, there is actually a near-100% dependency of the Palestinians on the Israeli economy, and a very major one vice-versa. It is almost impossible to foresee in the near future a significant separation between the two economies. In that sense, we are bound to interdependence on one another for quite some time.

4. Liebermann is viewed by many as a bigot and a racist. Unfortunately, close to 10% of Israelis voted for his party in the last election. But I don’t believe most of them are racist like him, just as I don’t believe most Hamas supporters in the last Palestinian election are religious zealots. Liebermann, like Hamas, managed to paint a “clean, honest, and direct” image, which found its way into the hearts of many voters who were sick and tired of the corruption in most other parties… Sounds familiar?

5. Yeah, rape seems to become a “more favorite” charge here in Israel as of recent. There was an amazing turnabout in our former President’s case in court, where instead of a rather-soft plea bargain (without mention of the word “rape”), he’ll now apparently have to face an entire court battle, with the more severe charges brought up against him, and all the supposed victims given their chance in court.

April 15th, 2008, 10:29 am

 

T said:

Offended,

No I have never called anyone an ’embecile’. The word’s a bit campy for me, and a bit male-oriented. (though I have been called that myself). My favorite epithet is “clueless”.

Do you have a PC? could you instruct how to use those emoticons that are so popular here? They are a very efficient emollient in discussions where comments can otherwise come across as rather sharp. (I have a PC, not MAC.) Thanks.

April 15th, 2008, 11:57 am

 

wizart said:

Hello T

Thanks for using words like epithet, emollient and campy where some of us might have to work a bit harder to be less “clueless” 🙂

————————————————————–

Emollients are substances that soften and soothe the skin. They are used to correct dryness and scaling of the skin. They are a key component in the manufacture of lipstick, lotions, and other cosmetic products.

Some side effects of these include rashes, added dryness, swelling of the skin, and skin breakage.

April 15th, 2008, 12:45 pm

 

T said:

Wizart,

Well the emoticon as emollient is meant to smooth the way via any bloogers here at SC who may be too thick-skinned with their postings- or too thin skinned as well. Anywhere needed. Maybe it could even smooth over dry sarcasm, inflammatory remarks, rash statements- or a few bannings/swelled egos. (In which case- are there frowns or ones that stick out their tongue at people? Even that could prove nicer than a screed!)

Can YOU instruct on how to use emoticon? I see you are fluent at it and I am clueless in emoticon, I’ll admit. I have PC, not MAC. I must follow the instructions carefully, so please type slow!?!

April 15th, 2008, 1:54 pm

 

wizart said:

T,

My apologies if I sounded offended or offensive by my mentioning the word emollient and describing it as i looked it up which I though might be appreciated by those visiting the site with less than perfect understanding of English. I know what you’re trying to say and I totally appreciate using creative writing to smooth out conversations.

My apologies again if I caused any unwanted emoticons 🙁

P.S: I think you need to leave a space between the last letter, : and ) for a smiley and ( for a depressed face 🙂

April 15th, 2008, 2:22 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Here’s something that might interest some people, about countering AIPAC:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/14/AR2008041402647.html?nav=rss_politics

April 15th, 2008, 4:00 pm

 

wizart said:

Here’s something that might disinterest young Israelis in committing war crimes in Gaza because many have already refused to go there:

http://www.couragetorefuse.org/English/default.asp

April 15th, 2008, 4:19 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

I’d like to take a “stab” at Sim’s comments, so here goes:

Has Israel been able to guaranty its neighbours a period of 10 – 15 years of real peace.

Israel has guaranteed peace with some of her neighbors, namely Jordan and Eygpt.

I’m surprised you didn’t know this.

Not really. Has it tried that peace strategy? No it has certainly not.

Actually, YES really. She not only “tried that peace strategy”, she has succeeded with it.

[Sim, your level of brainwashing and denial is most telling here]

Israel has used every opportunity to attack and spread chaos outside its borders since the creation of Israel using rather “amusing” excuses.

That statement is, of course, “true” if you discount the obvious attempts and successes with peace-making.

Why did Israel attack in 1956. Why in 1967? Why in 1982? Why in 2006?

Why should I answer these questions if we both already know you won’t accept the answers? For someone who believes Israel never made peace, you can see how futile this is.

Israel doesn’t honour borders and it has given herself the right to do anything they want. So why would / should any kind of Arab government really trust Israel?

Israel has honored borders it is not at war with. I can only think of one occurrance where this was broken (with Jordan), and then the GOI made an embarrassing apology to the GOJ and King Hussein.

The Arab countries do not need the land area of Israel.

I’ll let them know you said that.

What they need is to solve, because of national pride and internal reasons, the Palestinian problem and the status of the Muslims’ holy sites in Jerusalem. When that problem is solved there is no rational reason, besides the military, for Arab nations give any attention to the Jewish state.

Huh?

Israel has not integrated herself in the local economy which makes Israel basically completely irrelevant for Arab nations in the social and economical meaning in future “peace time”.

Obviously, you haven’t been to Israel. The local economy is very relevant to the Palestinians, and more trade than you would like to admit occurs between Israel and the Arab world. It only improves.

The old slogan that Arab and Muslim countries want to drive Jews to the sea and destroy Israel is pure propaganda.

Yes, especially for someone who thinks Israel never made peace.

Israel is a reality and a strong reality, everybody knows it. Why would much weaker Arab countries and Iran be interested in destroying Israel, when there is so hope what so ever of victory?

You would have to ask the thousands of Arabs and Muslims who believe this and large number of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian and Muslim clerics/politicians who espouse this point-of-view. If you want, I can send you plenty of movie clips with names and titles.

Piece and silence would mean that Israel would decline politically fast to the Denmark of Middle East.

How do figure that? Usually, without war, government taxation decreases, less is spent on the military, and the economies improve. More open trade (between countries that were once boycotting each other) usually means an upswing in the economy for both nations.

Nobody would make a big fuss when the Israeli PM comes to visit, as much as when the Finnish PM’s visits. The military industry of Israel would decline fast with the lack of own testing grounds and free advertising in the media.

Fuss/visit? Israel’s military industry would improve with peace, and would be able to sell much more to the arab nations now boycotting her.

Israel is a political and military second class superpower and it wants to keep that status.

Israel wants peace and security, labels aside.

And it is possible only by using the “they throw us in the sea” argument and keeping up the tension.

The “tension” and the desire to confront and defeat Israel was there at her inception and has continued even more so today. To pretend otherwise is denial.

Israel’s elite needs the conflict and its aerial nuclear monopoly.

Also, there is no “monopoly”. A number of nations have nuclear capability, including the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

I am afraid that Israel wants to keep its “geopolitical status”.

Yes, believe it or not, Israel wants to keep her country safe from real, outside threats.

Not because of security, but because for the power it provides.

Yes, Israel doesn’t care about her security she just wants enough power to take over all the Arab states and throw them into the sea.

(Although, I’ve never met an Israel MK who didn’t recognize an Arab or Muslim state)

Jewish extrimists from Moldova can make Nazi remarks and comparisons without getting in troubles

The notion of neo-Nazis in Israel is still so odd that the government has no laws against anti-Semitism. The eight men will be charged this week with causing bodily harm, illegally possessing weapons and denying the Holocaust.

I think if you bothered to look into this a little more carefully (instead of relying on your prejudices), you’d see that extremists get in trouble in Israel no matter who they are.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,504803,00.html

Shouldn’t it be seen so that an Israeli Arab knows best if Israel an apartheid state or not.

Some Israeli arabs believe Israel is an “apartheid state”. Some Americans think the US is an “apartheid state”, some Lebanese probably feel Lebanon is an “apartheid state” and some Finns probably feel Finland is an “apartheid state”. That’s my guess.

Certainly better than a members of the ruling majority. Few whites in South Africa complained about treating blacks like shit. The blacks complained.

The big non-secret now is that South Africa is, unfortunately completely “down the tubes” now that the ANC is in government. Murders are out-of-control and the rule-of-law is gone. Be careful what you wish for.

It would be interesting to know AIG’s response to this

Yes, I hope to hear from AIG soon. But I got here first!

April 15th, 2008, 4:52 pm

 

Shai said:

AP,

While I have very different views from you and AIG on many crucial topics, and I use a very different style of argument, it does seem that some here do prefer yours, rather than mine. Perhaps I need to learn something from you… 🙂

April 15th, 2008, 5:42 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai

JStreetPAC sounds interesting. The majority of American Jews who did not support the Iraq war should have their own PAC … AIPAC is not representing them.

But JStreetPAC has a long way to go before t grows into anything meaningful … for the next few years, it will still be AIPAC.

Where is my friend Naji? : )

T … I agree with your comments to Naji. There is no “committee” of course, but we all take into account the journalists and Think Tankers and diplomats who are reading these comments. Shai is not exactly the most “connected” here that Naji should have worried about : )

April 15th, 2008, 5:58 pm

 

ausamaa said:

SHAI

Once you learn something meaningfull from AIG and Akbar Palace please Do Not share it with us.. We know their views and can recite them chapter, verse and word… And we do not really care about them. They are intended for the ignorant and the uninitiated not for us who live this tragedy.

As to your goodself, the core issue of your well-intentioned argument seems to be: Arabs must show understanding towards the Israeli “cause”, seduce and lure Israel into negotiations by initiating good-will guestures, and first and foremost: Stop resisting so you do not look like the Bad guys.

Well, sorry, this is not what works in out world. What works is Actions. What works is getting ready to get by force, or the threat of force, what was taken from you by force. Israel withdrew from Gaza because the IDF was forced to. They withdrew from southern Lebanon because they were also forced to undere fire, they agreed to stop the war on Lebanon in July 2006 because they were forced to under fire again. And they do not dare to attack Lebanon or Syria, or far away Iran, now because the THREAT of the price tag is too high and because the end result can not be determined with any degree of certainety. Not because we the IDF has got two kind hearted generals on board or because they are afraid of the negative reprections of the World’s public opinion alone.

Again I have to say it to you: nice words, sympathy, understanding, rebuilding a Peace Movement, negotiating a Peace Treaty in a civilized manner, and reacing Peace itself is a Product of a Balance of Power, not a product of well intentions or sympathy. In this regard, what AIG and AP refuse to see, admit, acknowledge, or internalize, is that the Balance of Power is tiliting towards the other side by the day. They stick to the mentality of the good ol’ glorious days when the IDF or the IAF were the Rambos of the area. They refuse to digets reality. They do not read history and hence underestimate the dialectic of historical changes. They forget that a Super Nations called the US of A was once reduced to the shame of lifting off from the roof of an abandoned US Embbassy in Saigon. They refuse to see its mighty army and airforce bogged down in Iraq looking for either a way out or for a heavenly explosion somewhere that might save them face after they lost effectiveness and credibility. They forget that Aparthaid is today a thing of the past in South Africa, the Shah could not find a place to be buried, the Sovit Union collapsed, the Arabs left Andalusia after a seven hundred years of occupation, and mighty Israel, supported by the full might of the US presence in the area and by Bush’s moderate Arab allies could not realize a victory against the three thousand fighters of Hizbullah in July 2006, and they were sure supported by Syria, Iran and most Lebanese, neither could not force a starved Gaza to its knees. Such Actions and Changes bring Changes in our world.

AIG and AP refuse to acknowledge those changes and their consequences, you choose to get around or to avoid the effect of those changes in a more humane and idealistic way.

So please if you want to learn anything, learn from History, but not from the likes of AIG or Akbar Palce. We prefre History, not historical mummies like them. Once you do that, start reconsidering and “thinking” who should take the first step; Israel or the Arabs. If not for the sake of World Peace, then for the sake of the State of Israel.

April 15th, 2008, 6:19 pm

 

Seeking the Truth said:

Shai,

Could you provide a reliable source that the Peace Park was Syria’s idea, as you’ve said before.

April 15th, 2008, 6:28 pm

 

trustquest said:

This post is to AIG who I do not think should be treated like what Alex did, because he did not insult the Syrians when he said that Syrians treat women like a trash. I want to thank him for his stand with Democracy and I hope democracy to Isreal too.

On the other hand, Isreal’s government is not better than Syrian government from the point of treating some seqment of its population.
the following aired on Apri 15, 2008 from NPR, http://wunc.org/programs/tsot/

interviewed by Frank Stasio:House Demolision of palestinians in the West Bank:

Jeff Halper is an Israeli citizen who also considered himself a Zionist. That is, until 1998 when he witnessed Israeli bulldozers demolish a Palestinian friend’s house. That event transformed him into what he now calls a “critical Israeli.” Jeff Halper has just published a book titled “An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel.” He joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the broader context of Israel’s commitment to human rights and peace in the Middle East.

April 15th, 2008, 6:38 pm

 

wizart said:

Trustquest,

There was at least one woman and several men who felt insulted and that was enough. We don’t owe him anything in return for his insults!

I think Alex and many others have been extra tolerant and if you’re Syrian and have been around the blog for a while you might have felt differently so while we appreciate everybody feeling welcome here I would have to support that decision although it’s really not up to me.

April 15th, 2008, 6:58 pm

 

Shai said:

Ausamaa,

Forgive me for suggesting that you’re not reading me correctly. If you’d have read all my comments in the past (of course I don’t expect you to have done that), you would have heard yourself in echo. I also said that Israel did not withdraw from Lebanon, or from Gaza, because it suddenly “fell in love” with the Arabs. It did so because it saw that the price of staying was far worse than withdrawing. By the way, the same goes for peace with Egypt. The reason why Begin was willing to give up on the entire Sinai only 4 years after the 1973 war, was exactly because of seeing that the alternative to peace will be endless wars. I too completely agree that there needs to be a balance of power, and that the stronger the parties are (Syria, Palestinians, etc.), the better the chances for peace. This is precisely why I believe it is in Israel’s best interest NOT to try to weaken Syria by making ridiculous preconditions, or by supporting its isolation. Same goes for the Palestinians – I think it’s a terrible mistake for Israel to negotiate with a “friendly” enemy (Abu Mazen), who receives from us money, guns, and protection in his own territory. Instead, we should be talking to Hamas, or anyone else that can better represent the “enemy” side.

Now, as to what I’m asking here, occasionally. I’m not asking you to make the first move, though I do believe that the current Israeli leadership is so impotent that it cannot possibly do anything useful towards peace in the region. So either we wait for it to be replaced (as well as Washington’s), or we have your side doing something dramatic to try to speed up that eventuality (such as: surprise visit by Assad to Tel-Aviv, serious marketing work by Syria in various world capitals showing Israel’s true “face”, war (!)?) I’m not suggesting any of these is a good idea, or likely, or effective. I’m just using them as examples to show that it is not inconceivable that your side will initiate something to try to influence our side, despite the perceived imbalance.

And that brings me to this very point – balance of power. To you, and perhaps to 99% of the readers here, including Arabs and non-Arabs, Israel is clearly the strongest side in our conflict. I also agree with that. But believe it or not, many Israelis believe they are still the victim, and that they are the ones truly threatened, even existentially so! You don’t have to accept it, you don’t have to understand it, you and I can argue it until we’re both blue in the face, but ask some Israelis, and you’ll see that this is what they believe. And if this is the case, then the balance of power is much more balanced than you may believe. After all, this balance is nothing more than how people perceive it to be. During the Cold War, and especially its first two decades, there was a perception in the U.S. that the U.S.S.R. has strategic capabilities that could destroy her at any moment. In fact, we know today that the so-called Bomber and Missile Gaps were very much in favor of the U.S., and that the U.S.S.R. could barely destroy a single city in the U.S., let alone the entire nation.

So if Israelis perceive the Arab world as far stronger than it might truly be, this is a perfect opportunity to make peace with Israel! Syria has wisely created its alliances with HA, Hamas, and Iran, because it knows that its army is no match for the IDF. But Israelis fear Syria in a purely emotional way, not a rational one. They still envision Syrian tanks surprising us along the Golan, and heading down towards the Lake of Galilee. What a ridiculous idea, if you ask me, given today’s spy satellites, and our ability to probably see the letters on the oil can changed once a month in the tank shops, well before those tanks roll out. Surprise attack is probably something that belongs more to the 20th century than to this one, but most Israelis cannot fathom that yet. Same goes for the Palestinians. Imagine, that most Israelis are truly afraid of Hamas, despite the fact that it has no real army, no sophisticated weaponry, no tanks, no airplanes, no satellites, no electronic jammers, no pilotless aircraft, etc. I am astounded at how capable Jews seem to be of harboring fear, even when it is utterly irrational, useless, and in fact, counterproductive.

Still, I repeat, I do not expect you to make the first move. It is absolutely your right to wait for us, or for someone else who’ll push or force us to change. Certainly Syria has done more than enough to demonstrate its willingness to sit down and talk with Israel. Yet we seem to prefer the Dubya way of looking at the world, through his “good guy – bad guy” lens made complementary of Neocon Ltd., Washington D.C. But this too will hopefully change soon. What I do wish to see more, from your side, is the most minimal level of support or recognition, of those few who indeed are working hard to change public opinion, and the potential leadership, in Israel. And when I say “minimal level”, I mean not to continue to depict us in the wrong light, as I believe you have done in your last comment (I imagine not intentionally, but from how you viewed my stance). Try to see that some of us are in fact more on “your side”, at least in recognizing your rights, in recognizing our responsibility, and in doing everything we can to change our reality. That’s all that I’m asking. The rest is up to us.

April 15th, 2008, 7:00 pm

 

Shai said:

Seeking,

Listen to Alon Liel’s lecture at the Middle East Institute of a few weeks ago (the podcast link is: http://www.mideasti.org/podcast/can-israel-and-syria-break-middle-east-deadlock). Alon is as reliable as one gets. You can verify that with Alex, and anyone else that knows Alon. In fact, just to be 100% sure that the idea was STILL on the table (it was brought up during the meetings a few years ago), Alon checked with Syria through his Turkish contacts, and the response he got was along the lines of “What do you mean, it was OUR idea.”

April 15th, 2008, 7:06 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Akbar most interesting to read your comments.

Well lets start from the guaranteed the neighbours peace issue. Actually Israel peace (paid by USA) has guaranteed Egypt and Jordan a situation where the rulers and the people are far apart = unable to do necessary social reforms. Both countries also suffer from the instability the Palestine problem reflect on the whole area.

Israel’s elite needs the conflict and its aerial nuclear monopoly.

Also, there is no “monopoly”. A number of nations have nuclear capability, including the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Well Akbar then there is no problem if Iran and Syria develop nukes. Why not. They also want to keep their countries safe. With the same justification as Moldovian Liebermans and American Akbars in the Jewish home land. Everybody needs security and peace.

—-

Of course Israeli Arabs know best if Israel is an apartheid. Especially a person elected to the national parliament and is a leading member of the Arab community. A slave owner is not very competent to say is slavery good or bad, the slave is. It is amusing propaganda when an American Jew like you says that Israel is no Apartheid state, but it is not amusing when the vice speaker of Knesset, an Israeli Arab, says Israel is. He lives there, you do not. He knows the situation and laws, you do not.

Why Jews are allowed to compare and make analogies between Arabs (and others) and Nazis, if they do not allow others (Jews, Arabs, Europeans) make such comparisons? That is difficult to understand.

Not really. Has it tried that peace strategy? No it has certainly not.

Actually, YES really. She not only “tried that peace strategy”, she has succeeded with it.

That interoperation of Israel’s peace strategy’s successfulness is simply amusing. What peace strategy? It is a domination strategy paid buy USA.

I think if you bothered to look into this a little more carefully (instead of relying on your prejudices), you’d see that extremists get in trouble in Israel no matter who they are.

Well are those tens of thousands extremist Israeli Jews, called settlers getting in troubles? No they are not. Well you have Jewish Nazis in Israel, that is interesting? What has it to do with non Jews? That is an internal problem. By the way Akbar there were many Jews in Nazi land and served in the Army. It is estimated that 150.000 Jews served in Adolf’s army. Even as generals and admirals. Well that is history, which is not allowed to be spoken.

Certainly better than a members of the ruling majority. Few whites in South Africa complained about treating blacks like shit. The blacks complained.

The big non-secret now is that South Africa is, unfortunately completely “down the tubes” now that the ANC is in government. Murders are out-of-control and the rule-of-law is gone. Be careful what you wish for.

Hmmm Akbar you seem to prefer order before liberty, so did Adolf H. and Josef S. Be careful what you say.

April 15th, 2008, 7:34 pm

 

Shai said:

AP, Simo,

What Jimmy Carter has said, is that if Israel does not hurry, it will soon find the two-state solution no longer relevant, and it will then have to choose between either granting all the Palestinians equal rights (voting, etc.), or become a state of Apartheid. There was another politician who voiced a very similar opinion, not too long ago, in front of the entire Israeli Knesset, and his name is Ehud Olmert (our Prime Minister). I happen to agree with both. Hence the need to hurry.

April 15th, 2008, 7:43 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Shai

As Jimmy Carter is saying and I have been repeated that: time is ticking for Israel, not for the arab world! Israel as you know it may dissapear and your obstinate and hysterical politicians with them. Israelis should wake up and instead of being paranoid about the arabs, they should see the dead-end their stupid politicians are carried them to. They must ask for a change, and a deep one, not just one more raid on Gaza! Israelis, wake-up!
There is an urgency for Israel to make any peace just to get back on a safety wave. But Israeli politicians are so used to proudly dictate their conditions to flex their muscle in front of their people (similar to that stubborn 14 march group in Lebanon) with the support of the short-sighted US neo-cons that they can’t imagine making needed heavy sacrifices for peace. This stubborn attitude maybe bring the end of Israel. The arabs have no problem to wait, Israel is on the brink of a psychological and existential disaster. Do Isrealis understand that? or do they still believe in their mighty IDF to protect them and to destroy the bad guys of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran. If they don’t wake up now, they will wake up to a totally different reality, not a pleasing one.

April 15th, 2008, 9:42 pm

 

Alex said:

Trustquest said:

This post is to AIG who I do not think should be treated like what Alex did, because he did not insult the Syrians when he said that Syrians treat women like a trash. I want to thank him for his stand with Democracy and I hope democracy to Israel too.

Dear Trustquest,

I hope you can separate your obvious admiration of AIG’s endless criticism of the Syrian regime from the reasons why I banned him for a week.

I sent him a checklist of four items to help him be here without offending people as frequently as he does … It works for a couple of days, but he keeps going out of line every few days.

Others go out of line occasionally, but AIG is all over the place. If he had a couple of comments per day like Akbar, I don’t think many here would complain much. But AIG goes into each topic relentlessly arguing without knowing when to stop. He never ends up saying “ok, you convinced me, I guess I did not understand that about Syria” .. he never stays out of things he does not know about .. he commented on Fairouz, he commented on Syria’s celebration of Damascus as a capital of Arab culture … he wants to monopolize the whole blog.

Regardless of whether he is intentionally trying to push people away from this blog, he is succeeding in doing that. Do you notice that George Ajjan and Ehsani are rarely here anymore? … people do not want to see an endless stream of useless arguments between AIG and Alex or AIG and Simo, or AIG and Aussama, or AIG and Offended, or AIG and Naji, or AIG and Wizart, or AIG and Zenobia …

If you re such a fan of his, straight from the heart, “Democracy in Syria NOW” crusade, please ask him for his email and the two of you can write about it ten hours per day. But excuse me if I do not want him to destroy this blog.

And finally, he did not say “trash” …

April 15th, 2008, 10:03 pm

 

Alex said:

Here is an interesting interview that Mubarak gave to Israeli TV in 1998 (Arabic)

“Syria does not have any trust in Israel anymore .. you (Israel) have created an atmosphere of lack of trust .. and this is very dangerous”

Ten years later (in 2008) … Israel is still not giving anyone any reason to trust.

April 15th, 2008, 10:18 pm

 

trustquest said:

Alex,
I hate exclusion, and that what most Syrians suffer from and I do not like it to be applied here, the guy said a sentence and he is entitle to defend himself for once, like someone should ask him to explain why he said that sentence and to bring a proof, if he failed then you should banned him. Second, I’m not either with or against, I’m a reader and I hope this SC stay neutral so all views will be presented. Third, notice that there are no representations to the Syrian oppositions or its spectrum, on this side I read from all over, (exception is some articles from Joshua Landis who bring some sense to counter balance that tilt to the “With”. The people who are not “with” they do not always get into heated discussion with all subjects, some only comments partially on a subject like the previous subject no one gave opinion from the other side. AIG has a good stand on Democracy even he is an Israeli and even I believe there is no democracy in Israel as I sent him the piece of Mr. Jeff Halper, who is a Zionist and he prove in his segment that Israel is apartheid to the Palestinians. Note: I know what he said exactly, and I would say in general that the absence of civil society, and with the culture of domination, yes most people in Syria treat female like trash, it is my observation.

April 16th, 2008, 12:04 am

 

Alex said:

Trustquest,

AIG often has many useful comments and no one interferes when he does. He is smart and he has a very good backup of supporting materials behind him.

No one is banned here for his opinion. Akbar Palace is not banned is he? … Bachmann is not banned is he? Atassi is not banned is he? Majhool is not banned, is he?

But when AIG works systematically to destroy the blog, I will ban him for a week at a time. It is his choice to participate in moderation, or to try to create chaos in this blog.

I am a fair judge.

April 16th, 2008, 12:29 am

 

trustquest said:

Only the devil complement himself or President Nixon who maintains that he is not a crock.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGui5OrFT00
It is more beneficial to have the opposing points of views, and AIG bring that balance and without him the site a little boring.

I also find SC to be absolutely the best and all others do not come close in analysis and coverage, but that does not mean everything is great and dandy.
After I have said that, take this response to your comment not seriously but as a joke.

“I suggest running this Poll with these questions:
1- How much this site inclusivity, give percentage %.
2-Is this site neutral (fully, partially, Tilted to Syrian regime, Tilted away from the Syrian Regime)
3-Does this site reflects all points of views regarding Syrian affairs.
4-Is all parties of interest in the Syrian affairs represented (all the time, sometimes, never).
5- Am I, Alex Camille, a good judge, Grade me?
6-Who is better moderator, Alex, Wizart or ….”

April 16th, 2008, 1:42 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

1- How much this site inclusivity, give percentage %.

95%

2-Is this site neutral (fully, partially, Tilted to Syrian regime, Tilted away from the Syrian Regime)

Slightly and sometimes not-so-slightly tilted to SR.

3-Does this site reflects all points of views regarding Syrian affairs.

Many.

4-Is all parties of interest in the Syrian affairs represented (all the time, sometimes, never).

Sometimes.

5- Am I, Alex Camille, a good judge, Grade me?

Alex is the best judge.

6-Who is better moderator, Alex, Wizart or ….”

Alex is the best moderator.

Alex is also the best looking…

April 16th, 2008, 1:59 am

 

Alex said:

Trustquest,

You are welcome to be the moderator if you want.

The site lately (this year) is more pro-Bashar, pro-syria .. true.

But this is not by forcing anyone to change his opinion. I hope you realize that part.

There was an opinion poll this week that can explain to you why this blog is no different from the rest of the Arab world … Apparently Bashar is the most popular Arab president lately

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7347613.stm

If you want me to bring balance back to this blog by bringing AIG who will single handedly post 30 messages per day telling us why Bashar is bad for Syria then I seriously would suggest you question what you are hoping for.

Try going to the archives of this blog .. in 2004 2005 the Syrian regime was considered a failure and it was not very popular … the comments section was more to your liking at that time.

Who knows .. maybe in the future there will be many mistakes from the Syrian regime and many successes from the Saudis and Americans and “Syrian opposition” … then you can get again people here criticizing the Syrian regime. But until then, I hope you tolerate the opinion of the majority.

There is nothing funny about what you are doing .. you are trying to use the case of banning AIG for a week to imply that I am somehow systematically preventing people from expressing their opinions and THAT explains why the majority of Syrians here are not posting opinions to your liking.

Not very impressive Trustquest. I am sure you do not want me to go after you with insinuations like you did repeatedly above.

Qifa Nabki

It shows you did very well in your exam today : )

Thanks.

April 16th, 2008, 2:10 am

 

Enlightened said:

Trustquest:

I don’t want to be seen to jump to Alex defence!

But in all fairness AIG needed to be banned for suggesting that Syrian women are treated like ……

There is a difference between decorum and impartiality, AIG has said far worse.

He should have been banned for two weeks not one. Check his comments.

His last doozey stating that Nadia El Hajjs’ work was crap, did it for me, excitement or no excitement its good to not have him here this week, everyone needs a break from craziness in a little while.

Alex you treated AIG unfairly and you should increase his absence to two weeks, I am putting in a protest!

April 16th, 2008, 2:20 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

AP,

While I have very different views from you and AIG on many crucial topics, and I use a very different style of argument, it does seem that some here do prefer yours, rather than mine. Perhaps I need to learn something from you…

Shai,

Thanks, but I think your style is very good.

As far as AIG goes, I think he is extremely articulate and passionate about his cause. I, myself, simply do not have the time to reply to every question or comment, and, I suppose, AIG does. Nevertheless, my take on the “AIG issue” is that AIG is so articulate and makes so many good points, that it does tend to drown-out the anti-Zionist sentiment here on Syria Comment.

AIG is still vastly outnumbered here;)

So I can understand the desire to maintain this site as a “feel good” site about Syrian or Palestinian nationality, but if this were the case, we (the lonely 3 Zionists here) wouldn’t have much to say. Personally, that is why I stay on the sidelines when the topic is internal to Syria.

As a suggestion, I would only ban participants if they begin to attack someone else personally. I wouldn’t ban someone for posting “too much”. I wouldn’t ban anyone for supporting terrorism either (it would get very lonely around here;).

April 16th, 2008, 11:26 am

 

T said:

AP,

What is the difference between ‘passionate’ and being ‘compulsive’? (I am not being sarcastic here, I am interested in your take on this.)

Alex,

By The Committee, I was referring only to intell agencies like Mossad, CIA, NSA etc. Not the civilians. Only those who comprise the Dark Side?!?

April 16th, 2008, 12:12 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

What is the difference between ‘passionate’ and being ‘compulsive’?

T –

I don’t know. Perhaps being “compulsive” refers to the inability to tolerate other ideas.

So in terms of being “passionate” and/or “compulsive”, I think there are many participants here that fall into these categories, myself included.

April 16th, 2008, 4:01 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar said:

“As a suggestion, I would only ban participants if they begin to attack someone else personally. I wouldn’t ban someone for posting “too much”. I wouldn’t ban anyone for supporting terrorism either (it would get very lonely around here;).”

Akbar,

I like many of AIG’s comments … he often does a good job challenging Syrians here. But the problem is that when he posts tens of comments per day and lets say, 20% of them are really offensive (in many ways) then he often succeeds in getting various people here engaged with him in arguments that no one cares about … and it makes it boring for the thousands who read the comments section to see AIG/Offendded/AIG/Offended/AIG/Offended … endless comments.

He does not know how to stop, even when he is clearly making no sense anymore. To him winning a useless argument is more important than keeping the comments section interesting to readers.

His continued use of the Tlass book as “proof” that Syria has been treating its Jews in a terrible way is frankly very cheap. And his insistence on saying that “Syrians treat women like shit” was outrageous.

Basically .. when he is allowed to do whatever he wants here .. he destroys the blog…. and I strongly suspect that this is what he wants .. because he hates it how successful this blog is and how his watchdog oranization (whatever it is) is not in control … yet.

Remember he started trying to shut up everyone by calling them antisemites … at some point, the only thing one could read about in this comments section was the various conversations between AIG and various people here trying to reply to AIG’s antisemitic charges.

Besides Shai, the other smart Israeli who was here for a while but is not anymore was the original Israeli guy (IG) … he was not for peace with Syria now (like AIG) but he was much smarter and much more respectable … never used AIG’s cheap tactics.

April 16th, 2008, 4:29 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

How ironic is it that we can’t stop talking about AIG, even when he’s not here!

I tell you, these sneaky Zionists and their tactics…

😉

April 16th, 2008, 4:56 pm

 

T said:

QN,

I was thinking the same thing?! Like the guy who says to his date: “I want to hear all about you and what you think. So, tell me everything- what do you think about ME?” !! (wink, wink in lieu of the smiley emoticon which I can not figure out.)

April 16th, 2008, 9:26 pm

 

Shai said:

T,

If there’s one thing I can do to make the world a better place, it is to help you make a smile emoticon… and I’m going to do just that:

1) make a colon “:”
2) without a space after the colon, do a minus sign “-” (not underline “_”)
3) and last, again without a space, do a right parenthesis “)”, for a smile, or a left parenthesis “(” for a frown.

In’shalla, this helped some. There is no justice in having a frequent blogger dying to get an emoticon out, and not being able to. 🙂

Good Day!

April 17th, 2008, 4:46 am

 

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