Encouraging Sectarian War as a Means to Bring Down Asad

Farid Ghadry of the Reform Party of Syria has responded to Sharaa's speech in his most recent circular. His advice is to drive the conflict between Syria and Washington forward on the presumption that Syria has reached the breaking point and that the Sunni insurgency in Iraq is preparing to turn against Syria. Ghadry stipulates that by opening up a sectarian war inside Syria, the regime will fall. He encourages Washington to facilitate this and to — "stir trouble amongst the Sunnis of Syria" — with the goal of causing the collapse of the Asad regime, preferably by a coup.

His reading of Syrian politics is that the Assad regime is on the run in Iraq and has overplayed its hand. He writes: "Assad fears that his policy against Iraq may be backfiring and he needs to complete a deal with the United States pronto so he can start dismantling all of the terrorist organizations he helped erect." But no deal should be offered in order to encourage the Sunnis of Iraq to launch their attacks which will threaten Syria with civil war. The second prong to the US attack should be the aggressive pursuit of the Hariri trial, which Ghadry believes will indict and convict no less a figure than Bashar al-Asad. He writes:

It is quite evident that the best interests of the United States are not served by opening a dialogue with Syria. Just the contrary, it behooves this administration to call Assad's bluff in light of the Iraqi Sunnis new posture and the pressure of the international tribunal hovering, as a sword, over Assad's neck. As David Schenker expressed on Kalam Al-Nass, a Lebanese popular TV show with Marcel Ghanem, the following idea: If the tribunal finds Assad guilty, the Europeans will have no choice but to stop any economic dealings with Syria. Assad has taken flight recently from the US Dollar to the Euro. And if Schenker is right, Assad will have no choice but to switch again.. this time to the Ruble maybe. That will mean the end of the Assad era.

The policy that suits the Syrian dissident community is continued pressure on the regime until internal security and army personnel decide it is time to save Syria from disaster and take matters in their own hands.

Ghadry believes the Saudis are supporting and funding this game plan by supporting the National Salvation Front or Khaddam – Muslim Brotherhood alliance. He writes:

The Saudis are hedging their bets just in case Iran becomes uncontainable by supporting Sunni puritanism as an alternative to Baschar al-Assad. It behooves the Saudis to play the proxy game by helping Lebanon, Syria, and part of Iraq fend off Iran, just in case, by creating a Sunni wall that extends from Lebanon (with the Hariris), to Syria (still testing the Khaddam and the Muslim Brotherhood combination), to Iraq.

Read the whole Ghadry article, here.

Ghadry is wrong that Iraqi Sunnis are strong enough to bring down the Asad regime or that they are inclined to attack Syria. We have no indication of that. On the contrary, the US constantly accuses Syria and the Iraqi insurgents of being in bed with each other.

The interesting aspect of Ghadry's policy recommendation is that he takes the neocon policy of "creative chaos" to its logical conclusion, which is to fan the flames of the sectarian war being waged in Iraq to bring down the neighboring regimes and break the Middle East wide open. He presumes that Washington will end up siding with the Sunnis in Iraq against the Shiites and harness Saudi Arabia to this task. This is a policy option still open to the US and being debated in Washington. It may also become a defacto policy if Washington "refuses" to change course and the sectarian militias end up dominating politics in Iraq or even bringing down the Maliki government.

The Baker-Hamilton proposal is crucial in this context, because it offers Washington a way to step back from escalation and to find a modus vivendi with Iraq's neighbors, if one is possible, that will avoid total sectarian war.

Whether the International Court will be an effective instrument to break Syria is also in doubt. A spat has broken out between Mehlis and Brammertz, the two lead investigators. Here is what T_Desco writes in the last comment section.

This is rich: Detlev Mehlis (who did great damage to the UN investigation by relying on dubious witnesses like Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq) has the nerve to attack Serge Brammertz !

Magazine report (i.e. Mehlis; t_d) accuses UN’s Hariri probe of foot-dragging

Berlin- A German news magazine report to be published Thursday accuses the Belgian United Nations special investigator into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri of slowing down the probe. The weekly Stern magazine also alleges that the former UN investigator into Hariri’s killing, Berlin state prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, is convinced that Syrian President Bashar Assad was involved in the killing.

Mehlis gave his Belgian successor, Serge Brammertz, confidential witness testimony and other evidence on Assad’s role when he stood down in January 2006, said Stern, citing a secret UN document is says it obtained.

Stern says Mehlis urged Brammertz to summon Assad for questioning as a potential perpetrator, said the magazine in its report, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday, a day ahead of publication.
DPA

Report by Al-Akhbar and in German.

The Russians have also prepared the ground for a potential attack on the legality of the international Court that will preside over the trial. They have insisted that they will work with the court only if it is established completely constitutionally. Its constitutionality is still in doubt. The following appeared in the Herald Tribune.

Russia's deputy foreign minister said Sunday, the U.N.-created international tribunal to prosecute the suspected killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri must be legal and constitutional.

"Moscow's stand is obvious on the necessity of this court to be clean, legally and constitutionally," Alexander Sultanov told reporters in Damascus, following meetings he held with President Bashar Assad.

Sultanov, whose country is an ally of Syria, did not elaborate. His comments, however, came a day after Lebanon's U.S.-backed government voted to approve the tribunal, overriding the objections of the pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud and the Syria-backed Hezbollah guerrilla group.

Lahoud and Hezbollah consider the vote to be illegitimate because it was held in the absence of six pro-Hezbollah ministers — five Shiite Muslim and one Christian — which they consider to be a breach of the constitution.

Russia had raised questions about the constitutionality of the agreement to establish the tribunal because of the differences between the Lebanese prime minister and president. But the U.N. Security Council agreed Monday that any constitutional issues should be decided by the Lebanese government — not the United Nations.

Comments (36)


1. Guess Who said:

Josh,

Is Ghadry a Syrian puppet for the regime, or a confused Syrian patriot ?

And does he still uses French words when interviewed in Arabic, and is he as stiff and starched in interviews as he was when I last saw him on AlJazeera during the American illegal war on Iraq?

I truly disguise the guy, excusez moi!

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December 8th, 2006, 11:20 pm

 

2. G said:

It’s amazing to see you rationalize and justify the use of sectarian incitement and murder when it’s done by Assad, and when it’s suggested in the other direction, you get all indignant.

When it’s done by Assad it’s intelligent, pragmatic, and “realist.” When suggested in the other direction it’s “neocon” and “creative chaos.”

There’s a word for that, it’s called hypocrisy.

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December 8th, 2006, 11:25 pm

 

3. Abhinav Aima said:

I guess there is no shortage of people who want to ride into Damascus on top of American tanks. Pretty much like Chalabi and Co. rode into Baghdad.

And while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died in this Bush War in Iraq, Chalabi, of course, now lives in London.

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December 8th, 2006, 11:46 pm

 

4. t_desco said:

NIce find: Al-Qa’idah-for-Sanyurah.

On the other hand, Fathi Yakan (who had also expressed sympathies for bin Laden in the past while criticizing al-Zarqawi) lead prayers for the protesters in Beirut on Friday.

Siniora’s response to Nasrallah’s speech was forceful, though – I have to say this – not quite on the same level as Rani Mukherjee’s memorable performance in Bunty Aur Babli. 🙂

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December 9th, 2006, 1:37 am

 

5. majedkhaldoun said:

I do not know anyone who likes Ghadry

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December 9th, 2006, 3:10 am

 

6. John Kilian said:

While sectarian strife directly bringing down the regime in Syria seems unlikely, the same sunni/shia division in Lebanon could act to deny Syria their cherished labanese portfolio, and this could be Assad’s undoing. Perhaps this is already the case.

The assassinations in the past year and the recent rally against the government recently indicate the temperature is rising and civil war is close. The Israeli incursion has left political kindling the way fire bombings in WWII took place in two stages: first bomb things to splinters and then set it aflame. Lebanon is in splinters today. How much more heat do you need before it becomes incendiary?

A two part question: Under the circumstances, does Aoun’s bid to form a new government seem like the only way to prevent civil war in Lebanon?, and perhaps the only way to postpone Assad’s tenure at the same time?

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December 9th, 2006, 3:33 am

 

7. Ehsani2 said:

From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)
By Yochi J. Dreazen and Neil King Jr.
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has spent the past six years shaking
its fist at Syria because of Damascus’s ties to Islamic extremists across the
Middle East. But now Iraq’s civil war is sparking calls for the U.S. to reach
out to Syria, raising the possibility of a U.S. policy shift that could put
Washington on a collision course with Israel.
Members of the Baker-Hamilton commission, backed quietly by a number of
senior Bush administration officials, say it is critical for the U.S. to find a
way of persuading Syria to abandon its close ties with Iran and drop its
support for Hezbollah and other militants. They want the White House to offer
Damascus a series of economic and political incentives, including America’s
help in pressuring Israel to relinquish the disputed Golan Heights.
The approach would be a high-stakes turnaround for the Bush administration
that would be certain to anger Washington’s closest ally in the Middle East;
senior Israeli officials are already publicly objecting to the possibility of
new U.S. overtures to Syria. But advocates of greater engagement with Syria
argue that there may be no other choice. They say a decision by Syria to use
its influence over Iraq’s Sunni population to help calm the situation there —
paired with Syrian moves to end support to Islamic-militant groups like Hamas
— could significantly improve conditions in Iraq and across the region.
Securing Syrian assistance would come at a high cost, and so far the Bush
administration has reacted coolly to the idea. Senior administration officials
question both the intentions and the capabilities of Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad, whom they deride as weak and untrustworthy.
These officials argue that Mr. Assad — who took power in 2000 after the
death of his father, strongman leader Hafez — is unable to control his
government or military firmly enough to ensure that a formal Syrian commitment
to cut ties to Hezbollah or Hamas would be honored. “He’s not his father,” one
senior official said.
The calls to engage Syria are alarming many Israeli officials, who fear
Washington’s need to extricate itself from the morass in Iraq may result in new
American pressure for Israeli territorial concessions.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this past week said that his government
disagrees with the “attempt to create linkage between the Iraqi issue and the
Mideast issue” and that it would be premature to resume peace talks with Syria.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice Saturday to relay her government’s concerns, Israeli
officials said.
Edward Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria who drafted a good
portion of the Baker-Hamilton commission’s report, said that Syria is the key
to the regional puzzle and that the U.S. can ill afford to ignore it. The
panel, a congressionally funded group of five prominent Democrats and five
leading Republicans, said in the report issued this past week that the
administration’s Iraq policy is failing and called for most U.S. combat troops
to leave the country by early 2008.
In an interview, Mr. Djerejian said the aim of any future U.S. negotiations
with Syria should be to persuade Damascus to cut off its aid and trans-shipment
of Iranian arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian
territories. In addition, Syria should be pressured to cajole Hamas into
recognizing Israel’s right to exist, a move — however unlikely — that could
rejuvenate the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Mr. Djerejian said talks with Syria would have a second, important goal:
driving a wedge between Damascus and Tehran, whose growing political and
military alliance is sparking fears of an Iranian-dominated “Shiite crescent”
stretching from Iran to Lebanon. The U.S. is already making a broad push to
enlist traditional Sunni Arab powers like Egypt in a coalition to offset Shiite
Iran’s growing regional power, but Mr. Djerejian said the effort is doomed to
fail without Syrian involvement. Syria is controlled by members of its Allawite
minority, a form of Shiism that is rejected as heretical by some Sunnis.
The heated debate over Syria reflects growing concern in Washington over the
dire situation in Iraq, where a civil war has left tens of thousands of Iraqis
dead, along with nearly 3,000 American military personnel. The chaos there has
sparked fears of a wider, regional conflagration.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003, President Bush argued that getting
rid of Saddam Hussein was the best way to boost the chances for a settlement of
the Arab-Israeli conflict. Now, the Iraq Study Group is arguing the reverse:
that ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, particularly the long-running dispute
between Israel and Syria, would do much to improve the odds for success in
Iraq.
Critics in the U.S., in Israel and among some Arab allies have questioned
that assertion. They say the approach recommended by the commission
co-chairmen, former Secretary of State James Baker III and former Democratic
Rep. Lee Hamilton, risks further empowering Damascus and Tehran, with slim
chance of getting anything in return.
Dennis Ross, a former Mideast envoy in the Clinton and first Bush
administrations, said he favors greater engagement with Syria provided that
Washington first tells the Assad government that it would pay a price for
choosing not to cooperate. He said the administration could threaten to fully
enforce the Syria Accountability Act, legislation enacted in 2003 that imposes
travel and economic sanctions on the country, or impose other punitive
measures. The U.S. could also make clear that it could make a new push for a
Syrian-Israeli peace accord if Damascus drops its support for Hamas and
Hezbollah.
“It’s important to not convince Syria that we need them more than they need
us,” Mr. Ross said. “You have to concentrate their minds with what they will
lose by not cooperating before you can get them to change their behavior.”
Israeli officials and their congressional supporters question the Iran Study
Group’s recommendation that the U.S. convene a new round of Mideast peace talks
with an eye toward cajoling Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria. The
group said in its report that the strategically important plateau, which Israel
seized in the 1967 Six Day War, is the biggest incentive that could be offered
to Syria. The Clinton administration during its last year in office tried to
broker an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for security
guarantees and a full peace accord with Syria, but the talks broke down in 2000
and haven’t resumed.
Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said in a
critique of the Baker report that “it is particularly disturbing” that the
panel “does not call for the complete dismantling of international terrorist
organizations in Syria as a precondition for the Israeli-Syrian agreement it
foresees.”
Messrs. Baker and Hamilton have said they are hopeful that Syria might be
open to cooperating over Iraq, a confidence they don’t share vis-a-vis Iran.
Mr. Baker said he isn’t making Israel a pawn in a plan to rescue the U.S. in
Iraq. “The road to peace in Iraq lies through Baghdad,” he said this past week.
“The road to Arab-Israeli peace lies through Jerusalem. We are not linking the
two, but there is a relationship.”

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December 9th, 2006, 3:46 am

 

8. Enlightened said:

Ghadry’s article is quite funny! ( figurately speaking here ) that an ex Syrian National would advocate this smacks of desperation form the neo conservative side of politics. (we have been led to believe on this site previously that Ghadry is sponsored by the right! )

Given The debacle in Iraq, and the release of the Baker/Hamilton report, and the Secterian nature of The Lebanese civil war which is vivid to most residents of the Levant one has to question the pursuit of this strategy.

If there are any trained psychiatrists on this site, I urge you to isssue an invitation to Ghadry to spend a couple of sessions on the black leather couch for some therapy!

Seriously some people’s pleasure is another persons misery!

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December 9th, 2006, 3:53 am

 
 
 

11. Ford Prefect said:

Dr. Landis,
The notion that Ghadry can articulate a policy for Syria is as absurd as his switching from a failed businessman to a born-again Syrian nationalist when the neocons stumbled upon him. Ghadry is a vulture opportunist looking for any leftover carcass. No, he did not write the article you referred to, as his arrogance and ignorance of any subject form the basis for his primitive intellects. Please spare this beloved intellectual forum from the mentioning of Ghadry and his cohorts, as they add nothing to the rational debate. The Syrian people, out of pure intuition, managed to completely ignore him, why can’t we?

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December 9th, 2006, 11:10 am

 

12. t_desco said:

Kim Ghattas is competing for the title of being the BBC’s most unbiased reporter, though it may prove difficult for her to top Greg Morsbach who is on record as saying that Venezuelan society is “more or less evenly split”. (Yeah. I mean, obviously. 63:37, that’s dead even. In another statement, Mr. Morsbach declared that 2+2=5.) So this morning in a particularly hard-hitting interview Kim Ghattas basically handed over the mike to a March 14 organizer (sorry, I missed her name) who criticized the current protests for being… too well organized. Yeah. She also said that the protesters were “killing off” the center of Beirut. Clearly, the polluting presence of all those Dalits is causing great suffering to the poor Brahmin residents who just want to go shopping for Gucci revolutionary stuff.

Though not explicit, “the disdain for the poor and the Shia by the elite of Beirut and Lebanon who support the March 14 coalition”(Sean C. Lee ) was fairly obvious in the interview.

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December 9th, 2006, 12:23 pm

 

13. Clever - SYRIAN said:

To you all…. Your views on Syria and Syrian people’s attitude towards the current events have the same misguided logic and this is typical of all foreigners attempting to analyse this simple and I repeat simple issue. It does not need all this complication to arrve at the crux of the matter only Syrians can understand that and as Syrian let me explain:
Syrian people and the present gang ruling Syria have only one thing in common and that is FEAR.
The Syrian people, in its entirety fear the merciless gang and this fear has been with the Syrians for two generations. The motto “hear nothing,see nothing and say nothing and most important do nothing ” have become their way of dealing with their miserable daily life.
Fear and to a lesser degree from what might happen if this gang is removed particularly in the the same way the Iraqi gang was removed -to them better the devil you know than the one you don’t . The Syrian people are justified in both feelings,however their fear from the gang is not invincible and all it requires to break this fear is a lot of courage and sacrifice; what they need is some martyrs to put themselves on the sacrificial altar to get the ball rolling.The other factor that can contribute to facing up to their fear is the conclusion by the international committee to the investigation of Hariri assasination because most Syrians belive in the story told to them that this is a good cause but the aim from using it is a bad one for Syria.If the international court was held and proceedings were fair and seen to be fair might produce psychological results that can do the trick in breaking this fear.So far we Syrians see the investigation are being played upon by the US and Co. by using it as the stick and the carrot for asad and Co. and therefor it has lost its moral impact.
Asad and Co. since formation have been in fear of the people no matter how secure they seemed to be, they were and will never be satisfied. One has to look at the security system and its implications in the day to day life to know the extent of that fear and this will continue because they know that they are illigitimate full stop. So toying with socialism by adopting the BAATH doctrine, or enlisting the asperations of the ALAWITE sect or enlisting the help of the opportunist Sunis (DAMASCAN Saying goes like this HE WHO WILL MARRY MY MOTHER I WILL CALL HIM UNCLE).This is permanent and perpetual fear and with it there is no hope of salvation or correcting attitudes and changing things until this Gang is removed.
Their second fear is what might happen in the international arena. I am sure the elder ASAD has anticipated many senarios. He was the cunning type with extended vision and a great one at devising the counter punch. Syria was at no time in its history ruled by persons with such cunnng and ruthlessness, that was why he succeeded and there is no doubt in my mind that he left enough advice to his son on how to meet each event.
Events may have overtaken asad junior; in Lebanon maybe asad senior had not evaluated his junior’s capability wisely and who can blame his judgement. ASAD senior was not infallible after all.He had not anticipated that Junior will enlist the not so bright people to do his work in Lebanon; he choose GAZALEH instead of KANAAN both ruthless but the latter had style and that is why he was forgiven by the STYLE conscious Lebanese
He made a blunder in not keeping the mount he rode on to power and that is reforms, had he done that then I as one Syrian among a similar multitude would have said to him “GO ON NOW AND HAVE NO FEAR BECAUSE YOU WILL BE IN OUR HEART AND SOUL. Now no matter what he does it will be as the saying goes ” ALL FOR THE ARABS IS SOAP ” what this
means is THE DAY OF RECKONING IS INEVITABLE IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME.
Syria will change but it will stay intact and no matter who says what ,it will be from within and it will be very soon ” Mark my words”.

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December 9th, 2006, 2:25 pm

 

14. Akbar Palace said:

Abhinav Aima whines –

“And while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died in this Bush War in Iraq, Chalabi, of course, now lives in London.”

Yes, and who were you crying to when Saddam was in power? He killed quite a few more.

Tell the Arabs (including Assad) to clean up their act or the killing will continue.

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December 9th, 2006, 3:10 pm

 

15. Innocent_Criminal said:

Akbar, I will repeat my request for you to seek therapy. You seem to be suffering from mass delusion. I think your ailment is called “The World According to Fox News Syndrome”.

Instead of throwing accusations and comments right and left maybe you can kindly share with us some evidence to back up your claim? Cause all i have been reading is quite the opposite. As bad as Saddam was, living under him was better and safer than under the American occupation.

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December 9th, 2006, 3:34 pm

 

16. Mike said:

Innocent_Criminal, can’t you see that Akbar is just making the very simple rhetorical mistake of abstracting in his mind the essence of one leader’s moral being (namely Saddam Hussein), and using this, rather than the objective historical experience of Iraqis, as a measure of judging history and thus making shockingly idiotic claims?

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December 9th, 2006, 5:44 pm

 

17. SANDRO LOEWE said:

VOLKER PERTHES ON SYRIA – NOV/DEC 2006 – “DOING NOTHING”

http://www3.swp- berlin.org/en/common/get_document.php?asset_id=3406

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December 9th, 2006, 6:22 pm

 

18. Obai said:

Josh,

Your account of Mr. Ghadry’s article is an obvious misrepresentation. The article clearly articulates the position that the Syrian regime and Saudi Arabia are moving towards proliferating a much wider and uncontrollable sectarian strife across the region. The Saudi’s have been explicit in their plans to counter Iranian ascendancy, and that of their regional proxies, by accelerating material and financial support to islamists in Iraq and the Levant. This is a recipe for disaster that the Asad regime has steadily developed; Asad and Shawkat will not be able to place the proverbial islamist ‘genie’ back in the bottle, the terror pipeline that runs from Tripoli into Latakia and Haskah and down into Mosul and Anbar is self sustaining. The Asad clan in their desperation to secure their rule and amateurish attempts to bleed US forces in Iraq are stoking the flames of a much bloodier and violent sectarian conflict that will drag with it the Syrian people. The Saudis, Iranians, and syrian governments have made it apparent that they have no qualms in sacrificing the countless lives that will be lost because of their designs for regional dominance. The Syrian regime is shrewd enough to attempt to leverage sectarian strife, contrary to conventional thought that the Alawite regime cannot afford to do so. But they are, and the evidence lays in the camps in Lebanon, and the ones in Latakia province, and the steady flow of salafist extremists from Saudi Arabia through Syria and into Iraq.

Closer to home, American lives are being lost because of Asad’s machinations and his foolhardy attempt to manage destructive extremist forces, forces that will tear syria and Lebanon apart, so that the regime may orchestrate joint nefarious designs with the Iranians.

How many Oklahoman reservists have lost their lives as an Al qaeda in Iraq logistics commander in Damascus, nestled in a dark and inconspicuous room, makes the call to place another order for the next batch of explosives, jihadists, or weapons to enter Iraq ? Your priorities are quite frankly misplaced.

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December 9th, 2006, 6:24 pm

 

19. Abhinav Aima said:

I have heard the argument that “Saddam killed quite a few more” time and time again – and it is easily dismissed with one quick observation:

Who supported or enabled Saddam, from his days as VP and head of Iraqi security services, to his slaughter of Kurds and Shia in 1991? The periods in history where Saddam did his most brutal work were periods in which he received active aid or positive inaction from the United States.

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December 9th, 2006, 6:46 pm

 

20. why-discuss said:

OBAI

“The Saudis, Iranians, and syrian governments” THE US GOVERNMENT “have made it apparent that they have no qualms in sacrificing the countless lives that will be lost because of their designs for regional dominance”

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December 9th, 2006, 6:59 pm

 

21. Stephen said:

Didn’t Ghadry get the memo — the neo-con agenda failed and there is no more political will in the U.S. for Bush Co’s misguided democratization effort in the Middle East. Was the conflagration in Lebanon in August and the U.S. elections in November not enough for him to conclude that Uncle Sam is no longer his knight in shining armor? Not to mention the fact that he is still parroting the absurd idea that the dissidents will step in at just the right moment and pull it all together before chaos ensues. Where on Ghadry’s resume does it show that he has the experience necessary to make order out of chaos? Incessant blogging and making a web site does not a master of the universe make. Didn’t someone say that once?

I find Russia’s call for constitutionality to be very interesting. Which constitution does Russia refer to? How long will the international community stand for Russia’s call for “constitutionality” when Putin is implicated in the assassination in Britain of an ex-KGB spy? I think a real legal brawl is about to ensue.

I was amazed at how closely Syrians follow lawsuits in the media when I visited Syria last year. Whether the Mehlis investigation, Saddam’s trial or Judge Judy, Syrians seemed very eager to see justice being served. This is a great sign, but it may lead the Syrians to great dissappointment. The forum for delivering justice against state conduct is even less than fair than trying to get justice from a Syrian court. International law does not allow the prosecution of heads of state very easily — not without being deposed, like Sadam. If the Hariri investigation gets far enough along to show that Asad had a direct hand, there will be a lot of backroom maneuvering to prevent him from ever being tried on the matter. It would actually require an invasion of Syria, and who’s going to do that now that the adventure in Iraq failed and Bush is a lame duck President? Plus, it would be unprecedented for a nation to be invaded in order to try its President. It’s never happened. Nor has any modern head of state ever willingly appeared for trial.

But, perhaps the most interesting part of Russia’s plea for constitutionality is the legal axiom that states: when the law is on your side, argue the law; when the facts are on your side, argue the facts; and when neither are on your side, argue the process. Is the Assad regime tacitly acknowledging its guilt?

Which leads me to my final point — if the Syrians (and/or Lebanese) want to see justice come out of the Hariri investigation, they will have to mete it out themselves. I only pray that Clever Syrian is correct – it’s around the corner. Insha’ allah!

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December 9th, 2006, 7:00 pm

 

22. Chris said:

Ghadry sounds a little crazy.

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December 9th, 2006, 7:02 pm

 

23. t_desco said:

Thanks for the complete Perthes article, Sandro Loewe. It is indeed “excellent”.

Corrected link here: PDF.

Regarding our previous discussion about al-Sharaa, Perthes had this to say:

“This is not to say that there are no divisions within the Syrian government about how to handle the current situation. Hard-liners, such as Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa, reportedly believe that a confrontational stance would serve Syria better than open signs of moderation. But a Western offer to reengage Syria could tip the balance in favor of moderates, weakening the influence of such hard-line opinions.”

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December 9th, 2006, 8:03 pm

 

24. SANDRO LOEWE said:

What Gadry says makes as much sense as what Assad offers. It is exactly the other side of the same coin. Assad says “the only solution is my regime, otherwise I guarantee (in an active way) disorder, unrest and chaos”. Gadry says “OK, since there is no alternative let’s accept the bet, let’s play chaos and disorder because I do not accept the regime”. It seems to me that this is a suicidal position and very much simple.

Well we all know that, for the moment at least, Israel is not going to allow Gadry to be satisfied, since they prefer a poor and weakened Syria under Assads than chaos.

Gadry election is from my point of view stupid since opposition will be crashed by the regime anyway. For US and allies it is better to keep a potential opposition without being used but also without being destroyed.

It is written, Syria must be weak and stable, for the good of the Jewish state. When the weakness gets the maturity point then changes will come accerelated, but until then Syria is designated to remain poorer and weaker as a regime.

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December 9th, 2006, 8:08 pm

 

25. ivanka said:

Farid Ghadri is the most immoral and the most stupid person on earth. Here he is advising civil war. “Let’s have a civil war and let a few hundred thousand people die. It will be for a good cause, making me president.”

Before the Iraq war, Bush used to say Saddam killed 300 000 people during his 24 years. Well, Bush has killed 700 000 in 3 years and a half. Who is the criminal here?

Ghadri is stupid to think he can rule Syria. If Ahmad Chalabi couldn’t rule Iraq for like 6 months, he will not be able to rule Syria for 6 weeks.

He is also stupid to think he is important or will be listened to. The neocon train is leaving and will not come back. He was a puppet to the neocons and now he has to find a new master or to shut up.

Above all, this staunch democrat has something like 0% popular support among Syrians. But he still thinks he has the right to -or imagine he can- influence Syria’s future.

IT IS EASY TO FIND JUSTIFICATION FOR HIS IDEAS WHEN YOU DON’T LIVE IN SYRIA. I DO LIVE IN SYRIA AND TO ME CIVIL WAR IS DEATH, IT IS FEAR AND IT IS A LIFE WITHOUT HOPE. I DO HAVE A LIFE AND I DO HAVE HOPE AND I DO NOT WANT TO LOSE THEM.

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December 9th, 2006, 9:13 pm

 

26. ivanka said:

And please please, the Iraqi insurgency is 80% Baathist. When foreign journalists interview it’s leaders they interview them where, in Damascus. Their money is where, it is in Damascus. They are not against the Syrian regime. This is just a myth. Bashar Assad didn’t spend years erecting the Iraqi insurgency. He was not president when the Iraqi insurgency was being erected, several years before the invasion. How can he erect the isurgency if it started 2 weeks after the invasion. Like he created several organizations in 3 months and armed them. Please.

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December 9th, 2006, 9:18 pm

 

27. G said:

Again, it’s so interesting to see all the Syrian readers get all indignant about Ghadry meanwhile they were all giddy about their leader *doing* (as opposed to Ghadry theoretically analyzing) exactly that to other neighboring countries. Assad doing this gets the cheering of the Syrian readers here, and the minute it’s suggested that it might happen in Syria, everyone gets holier-than-thou and cast moral judgements!

Such hypocrites. Amazing.

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December 9th, 2006, 10:21 pm

 

28. Alex said:

No G, even though your point seems to be valid, but it is not.

I don’t think I will be able to convince you. But i’ll exlain anyway because your point is very reasonable:

Ghadry would love to start a civil war in Syria so that he can become the King of Syria. From day one, he supported American invasion of Syria.

Syria, on the other hand, is betting that today, no one will want to risk another civil war in the area … and that’s why they are just daring the Americans, the Saudis and the Israelis… so they are playing with fire, I agree, but they believe, and many of us here believe, that they know how to play with fire without causing serious damage.. they’ve done it for decades… unlike the Americans who played with fire in Iraq and .. you know how many Iraqis had to burn as a result.

I have heard all the stories about Syria’s secret role in starting the Lebanese civil war in 1976 … stories are only stories, but the truth is that Syria is the country that saved millions (total) of refugges from all the violence in the surrounding countries … Turkey (Armenians, then Kurds) Iraq(1990 until today) Lebanon (in 1976 and in 2006), and Palestine (1948)… this is consistent Syrian behavior since the Armenian genocide in turkey in 1915… until the recent Israeli war on lebanon.

In case you have not read it (I posted it a million times already), this is what Syrians are really like … don’t compare us to Ghadry.

So if we, Syrian readers, are smiling, it is becasue we are assuming that Syria will again manage to go to the brink without jumping, just like they usually do. No one here will be happy if civil war starts in Lebanon… we are not the Ghadry type.

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December 9th, 2006, 11:51 pm

 

29. Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

Thanks for the link regarding Syrian policies on immigration and the comparison to the “Statue of Liberty”.

The fact of the matter is that the Syrians never gave Palestinian immigrants equal rights or citizenship.

Why? Because the Syrians and other Arab states want to use the Palestinians as pawns as part of the Arab World’s terrorist “foreign policy”.

You know, it’s about time we call a spade a spade.

http://www.forcedmigration.org/guides/fmo017/

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December 10th, 2006, 12:08 am

 

30. majedkhaldoun said:

the palastinean has home land it is palastine ,located ALL the land from the mediterranean sea till jordan river and from Lebanon to sinai,the Isreali goverment,not the people, must be thrown out to the sea.

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December 10th, 2006, 12:48 am

 

31. why-discuss said:

Akbar

The fact of the matter is that the Syrians never gave Palestinian immigrants equal rights or citizenship.

Why? Because the Syrians and other Arab states want to use the Palestinians as pawns as part of the Arab World’s terrorist “foreign policy”.

NO, it’s because your people have kicked the palestinians out to bring polish, russians, americans and one day everyone will return where he came from. The palestinians are in transit in the arab countries, same as the people living on stolen lands

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December 10th, 2006, 9:29 am

 

32. ivanka said:

G and all those who are saying I justify the regime’s crimes:

I am not for the regime. I am for liberty in Syria and for freeing all political prisoners. You are confusing yourselves. I am for freedome but against civil war. How do you think a civil war will free political prisoners? Have you ever heard of a civil war that lead to more freedome?

Why do you only see violent solutions to change in Syria? If you trusted or knew the Syrian people the least bit, you would know with a little help they can change things.

Today in Syria we have a lot of corruption and several hundred – up to one thousand – political prisoners. If there is a civil war there will be no economy left and tens of thousands of people will be persecuted. Wonderful? All the problems will be solved?

Also, if you live abroad, please stop posing as someone who wants to free Syria. The people who represent the Syrian opposition are the people who are brave enough to stay inside Syria and go to jail. At least their courage inspires others. Those who write in Israeli newspapers asking Israel to start a war against us don’t inspire anything but disgust.

Finally, if you have went to school or had any experience in life, besides watching TV, you should know that it is important to learn from mistakes. Do not repeat the mistakes of Iraq. How horrible is the failure of the US in Iraq when Coffi Annan says average Iraqis were doing better under Saddam Hussein. Even under Saddam Hussein..If an approach is so bad that it succeeds in being worse than Saddam Hussein, then it has to be pretty fucking bad. Don’t try it again.

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December 10th, 2006, 11:08 am

 

33. t_desco said:

“I am for freedom but against civil war.”

Indeed, Ivanka. I also think that this is the central problem. There are many aspects of the Syrian regime which would warrant a revolutionary solution, but how can you guarantee that the “solution” doesn’t turn into a sectarian bloodbath? That’s why, for the time being, I’d prefer an approach that advocates gradual change.

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December 10th, 2006, 2:52 pm

 

34. ivanka said:

” but how can you guarantee that the “solution” doesn’t turn into a sectarian bloodbath? ”

This is a very important question that we should all discuss. I will write my thoughts soon. I must think.

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December 10th, 2006, 5:21 pm

 

35. Karim said:

T DESCO ,the biggest mistake of the americans in Iraq is to dissolve the army and the police and debaathification,such thing will never happen in Syria ,baathists are our relatives.90% of syrian baathists are not belonging to this party for ideological reason,most of them are religious people.Dont forget that in Iraq ,Iran plays the evil game,in Syria they have no followers.

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December 11th, 2006, 1:44 am

 

36. Clever - SYRIAN said:

As a Syrian I am very sure that there will be no civil war in our country. The majority of Syrians are very pragmatic, all they want and yearn for is to exercise their freedom under a just and fair system devoid of nepotism and corruption and with no fear from the middle of the night callers.We don’t care whether the man at the top is ALAWIT,SUNI or DERZI and at times in the past there was a Christian prime minister ” FARES AL KHORI ” and I dont see why there cannot be a return to the life of freedom and democracy Syria enjoyed in the fifties 1954-1958. Fair and honest elections were held and people exercised their rights by electing the people of their choice,this did happen under a lot of presure and interference from outside. I don’t see why this cannot happen again. If Bashar Al ASAD had taken the road of reform, all Syria would have fallen behind him and no might on earth would have ruffled a hair on his head.

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December 11th, 2006, 2:00 am

 

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