Farid Ghadry’s Leadership of the Reform Party of Syria Expires

Farid Ghadry’s “term” expired as President of the Reform Party of Syria March 2009, so “he is completely out,” one person explained to me. The bank has foreclosed on his house in Washington DC, which has not sold, permitting him to remain as a renter.

The following email was circulated by the RPS: “For Immediate Release March 27, 2009”

Today expires the two-term presidency of Farid Ghadry of The Reform Party of Syria.

Mr. Ghadry has served the party over the last two terms. During his tenure, Mr. Ghadry helped energize the Syrian opposition and took bold decisions that broke from past Syrian oppositionist actions.

“I have had the privilege of serving RPS over the last two terms and will continue to support the organization in any capacity I can. My hope is that a new, progressive leadership of Syrians can take responsibility and dedicate itself to a democratic, secular and a free Syria.”

RPS executive committee will meet soon to vote for a new president. Mr. Ghadry will retain temporary stewardship until a new president is voted by RPS Executive Committee.

Oriental Goods shop, Sahat Al-Hatab, Aleppo. by Ketan Gajria, 2009

Oriental Goods shop, Sahat Al-Hatab, Aleppo. by Ketan Gajria, 2009

Comments (12)


1. Mick said:

What? The great leader of Syria is no more? I am so sad.

Sad that anyone took him serious in the first place.

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April 11th, 2009, 12:52 am

 

2. norman said:

It is so interesting to see how things change with the change of the American policy toward Syria , I guess everybody is seeing the writings on the wall, It started with KSA playing friendly to Syria after years of trying to divide it and destroy it from within and without , then came King Abdullah of Jordon , then the Muslim brotherhood , and now reform party of Syria , everybody who lost the war against Syria is trying to get on Syria’s side ,

Syria should be calculating and understand that they are all trying to get Syria to do with honey what they could not get with vinegar.

Seeing Syria acting in the last few years gives me confidence in it’s leadership in general and president Assad in particular ,

Bashar Assad proved in the Last few years that he is as much of a heavyweight as his father was.

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April 11th, 2009, 1:12 am

 

3. norman said:

Syria is moving forward,

SYRIA: List of top 100 businessmen signals another turning point

Just one month after Syria launched its fledgling stock exchange, the country appears to be taking another step down the path of economic liberalization with the release of the very first “Top 100 Syrian Businessmen” list by the Syrian business magazine Al-Iqtisadi.

Similar lists appeared regularly on the pages of Forbes until Wall Street’s collapse turned the formerly celebrated Fortune 500 CEOs into reviled symbols of market excess almost overnight.

And so, even as the U.S. gets ready to nationalize large sections of the financial sector in a move that right-wing critics are calling seeping socialism, Syria is struggling to shed its semi-socialist protectionism in favor of free(er) market capitalism and the foreign investment that comes with it.

But lack of transparency has proved a major obstacle to attracting this much-needed investment, and gaining access to the financial records of Syria’s most powerful men constitutes a major feat of investigative journalism.

“[The list] took nearly a year to compile,” Al-Iqtisadi executive editor Hamoud Mahmoud told Syria-news.com. “It took a lot of research to get all the information, which is being published for the first time.”

The list includes short biographies of 100 businessmen from 39 families, along with indicators of their wealth, such as the number of companies in their name and the estimated value of their investments in Syria and abroad.

Most of the individuals on the list made their fortunes in manufacturing, trade and car sales.

“The magazine tried, via the Iqtisadi100, to give the major businessmen their rightful recognition and increase transparency in the business sector, which carries the Syrian economy towards a new economy,” Mahmoud said.

Still, there are holes.

Mahmoud told Syria-news.com and confirmed to Babylon & Beyond that it was nearly impossible to get exact numbers on many wealth indicators because the Ministry of Finance refused to share information from their own list of the largest taxpayers in Syria based on an agreement between the businessmen and the ministry.

“Some of [the businessmen] did not even want to tell us how many people they employed, because they were not paying taxes on them,” Mahmoud told Babylon & Beyond.

Despite the difficulties he and his news team encountered, Mahmoud is optimistic about Syria’s new direction. “In the last few years, they have amended the tax laws and issued new ones” holding businessmen more accountable, he said.

“It still needs a lot of effort, but it’s definitely getting better,” he added.

— Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: The front page of the issue of the Syrian magazine Al-Iqtisadi which included a cover story about the country’s 100 richest men.

08:43 AM PT, Apr 10 2009 in Business , Syria | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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April 11th, 2009, 1:43 am

 

4. Sasa said:

Mick, well said!! Haha.

I am delighted at this news, and I’m not going to hide it.

Goodbye Bush, goodbye Bush-dreamer. Ghadry was only taken seriously in neo-con circles in Washington. Their sun has set, and so has his. I hope that’s the last we see of this scavenger.

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April 11th, 2009, 8:35 pm

 

5. Sasa said:

And the picture of Ghadry in front of a blue-and-white flag just sums him up doesn’t it. I hope he gets a nice house over there. Next door to some used-up SLA warlord.

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April 11th, 2009, 8:39 pm

 

6. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Any Arab who is being photographed with the Israeli flag in his
background, is ( in my eyes ) a pathetic clown.
Not to be trusted by Arabs, and especially and certainly not by Jews.!!
.

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April 11th, 2009, 11:21 pm

 

7. norman said:

Amir,

You are right , It is better to have a respectable enemy than a sleazy friend.

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April 12th, 2009, 1:28 am

 

8. Shai said:

“Any Arab who is being photographed with the Israeli flag in his
background, is ( in my eyes ) a pathetic clown. Not to be trusted by Arabs, and especially and certainly not by Jews.!!”

Amir, according to that logic, you should be ready to trust Hamas. They’re certainly last to stand next to an Israeli flag.

It isn’t the flag that should cause Arabs (and apparently Jews) concern – it’s the guy on its side – who is barely representative of himself, certainly not Syria. The same reaction should be had whether it was an Israeli flag, a Saudi, or a Micronesian one.

By the way, for the sake of “balance”, let it be clear that an Israeli leader standing aside any Arab flag (certainly a Palestinian one) is also deemed a traitor by many a Jews in Israel. To them, he has no more authority or right to negotiate with Arabs (give away land) than Ghadry does with Jews.

I particularly liked Ghadry’s message to Israel: (paraphrased) “Don’t give back the Golan to Bashar Assad. Wait until I’m President of Syria, and make peace with me…” Could even the wishful in Israel keep a straight face when hearing this from Ghadry?

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April 12th, 2009, 4:04 am

 

9. KarimMB said:

I can’t stand this guy…what a disgrace…I wonder what power hungry corrupt traitor they will put in place of him at the RPS! A group that at one point was encouraging the US to repeat its Iraq adventure in Syria – how can someone/group claim to care about Syria when they are calling for the destruction of the country and the killing of its civilians so that they can take power!?!? For Ghadry’s sake, I hope I never run into him.

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April 12th, 2009, 9:53 am

 

10. norman said:

Print | Close this window

Arab foes of U.S. warm to Obama, old allies wary

Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:00am EDT
By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent – Analysis

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Barack Obama’s open-handed approach to the Middle East has won him praise from some Arab leaders viewed by previous U.S. presidents as deadly enemies.

“Obama is a flicker of hope amid the imperialist darkness,” Muammar Gaddafi told a rally of his supporters last week.

The Libyan leader, once a thorn in America’s side, was dubbed a “mad dog” by former President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. He has mended ties with Washington since 2003.

“He (Obama) speaks logically. Arrogance no longer exists in the American approach which was previously based on dictating to the rest of the world to meet its own conditions,” Gaddafi said.

Obama has also earned conditional tributes from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Palestinian Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and Lebanon’s Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah — all at times linked by Washington with terrorism.

Even non-Arab Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has recognized that Obama might offer something new. “We speak with great respect for Obama. But we are realists. We want to see real change,” he told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. “We feel that Obama must now follow his words with actions.”

The readiness of America’s adversaries to acknowledge that Obama has brought a more sensitive verbal approach to the region is striking. In contrast, some traditional U.S. allies such as Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak have kept tight-lipped.

Conservative Arab leaders may have misgivings about Obama’s overtures to their own regional rivals, Iran and Syria, and may fear that he will in time renew U.S. pressure for human rights and democratic reform in their own autocratic systems.

But for many in the Middle East, Obama’s search for dialogue with Iran, his declaration in Turkey this month that America was not at war with Islam, his stress on a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and his plans to withdraw from Iraq constitute a reassuring change from the perceived belligerence and pro-Israeli bias of his predecessor George W. Bush.

Now Arab leaders wonder whether Obama is able or willing to change the substance, not just the tone, of U.S. policy.

If so, some at least seem eager to do business with him.

“It is most natural to want a meeting with President Obama,” Assad told The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh by email.

Assad, whose officials conducted Turkish-mediated peace talks with Israel last year, has long called for the United States to play a more active role in Middle East peace-making.

TEMPERED OPTIMISM

Despite such hopes, Syria remains cautious.

“We see what Obama said as positive,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said in an interview with Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper last week. “But now we need to see how the United States will deal with the extreme right-wing Israeli government” led by new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has not endorsed a two-state solution. His foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has openly rejected it, dismissing U.S.-backed peace talks with the Palestinians as a “dead end.”

Those talks have excluded Hamas, shunned by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations for its refusal to recognize Israel or renounce violence.

But Meshaal says the great powers will realize they need the Islamist group, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since routing its Fatah rivals in 2007, to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“Regarding an official opening toward Hamas, it’s just a matter of time,” he told Italy’s La Repubblica daily last month.

Meshaal, based in Damascus, hailed Obama’s “new language,” adding: “The challenge for everybody is for this to be the prelude for a genuine change in U.S. and European policies.”

The United States and its allies have feuded for years with Iran, Syria and the radical Islamist groups they assist such as Hamas and the Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah movement.

Fadlallah, a Shi’ite cleric who was close to Hezbollah in the 1980s, when kidnappers snatched many foreigners and suicide bombers struck U.S. troops and diplomats in Lebanon, praised Obama’s “human values” and his sincerity toward Islam.

“But the question that presents itself is whether President Obama can realize any of these slogans when faced by the institutions that govern America and over which the president does not have complete control,” he told Reuters last week.

Fadlallah welcomed Obama’s quest to repair relations with Iran, predicting that concerns of conservative Arab states about Iranian influence would fade if U.S.-Iranian ties improved.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have both warned in recent months of Iran’s growing regional power, while simultaneously exploring accommodation with Tehran, rather than direct confrontation.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal last week welcomed Washington’s “positive approach” of seeking a diplomatic way out of the Iranian nuclear crisis and urged Iran to reciprocate.

But Obama’s outreach to Tehran appears to have discomfited Egypt, a longstanding U.S. ally, an Egyptian analyst said.

“It makes some Arab governments, particularly Egypt, quite unhappy because they would have liked to be on the same side with the Americans in dealing with Iran,” said Mustapha al-Sayyid, political science professor at Cairo University.

(Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Laila Bassam in Beirut, Aziz Kaissouni in Cairo, and Lamine Ghanmi in Tripoli; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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April 12th, 2009, 3:22 pm

 

11. Non-Syrian said:

The comment about Ghadry’s house is completely inappopriate. It smacks of spite and meanness.

It would be like someone writing some time in the future that “the disgraced scholar Josh Landis was refused tenure after certain incriminating documents were found in the archives of the defunct Syrian intelligence service (after the Asad regime collapses), and that, BTW, his wife is having an affair with the Mexican gardener.”

What goes around comes around. The victims of murderous regimes have unsettled spirits, and they still haunt the earth. They may come for you too.

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April 13th, 2009, 8:27 pm

 

12. Finance Crisis said:

Is there any Finance Crisis in Syria?

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April 14th, 2009, 9:29 pm

 

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