“Markers on the route to Damascus,” by Itamar Rabiniovich

Itamar Rabinovich has always been excellent on Syria. His hard nosed analysis does not prevent him from assessing the advantages of a possible peace. He believes Asad may be serious about peace because of domestic pressure. Rabinovich's ultimate goal is to distance Syria from Iran. It is interesting to note that Syria's alliance with Iran has given Damascus new leverage with Israel, a leverage that Syria has not had for many years. President Bush continues to insist that the US can bring Iran (and Syria) down a few notches by tightening relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Rabinovich is skeptical of this strategy. Just as he knows there is considerable public pressure in Syria for a closer relationship with the West and for a settlement with Israel, there is considerable public pressure in Saudi, Egypt and Jordan against closer relations with Israel and the US in order to fight what many Arabs still see as an American-Israeli agenda. Although Sunni fears of Iran and Shiites more generally have been fanned in the last few years, the rift between the sects is still not so strong as to "flip" these states. Public opinion will keep their governments from getting in bed with Israel in order to defeat Iran. It only goes to prove how central the Arab-Israeli conflict remains to getting the other problems of the region sorted out. There will be "linkage," whether Israel and the US like it or not. Getting the border issues between Israel and Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine sorted out cannot be avoided if Washington hopes to gain support for its other undertakings in the region.

Here is the Rabinovich article:

Markers on the route to Damascus
By Itamar Rabinovich
Haaretz, Dec. 29, 2006

In 1974, the Agranat Commission published its report, which examined the principal failure and the secondary failures that led to the Yom Kippur War. Inter alia, the commission recommended that, in order to prevent future mistaken "conceptions," the pluralism of intelligence assessments in Israel should be strengthened by reinforcing the research divisions of the Mossad and the Foreign Ministry. This recommendation was implemented only partially; Military Intelligence maintained its dominance for many years. The authors of the Agranat Report are currently enjoying a late blooming of sorts, as decision makers, Knesset members and the general public are being exposed to public disputes between the heads of the Mossad and of MI's research division.

While the former dismisses "peace offensive" of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime, his uniformed colleague regards it in a positive light. Appearing last week before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mossad director Meir Dagan stated that he could not see Syria proposing the renewal of talks with Israel. In contrast, the head of MI's research division, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, this week told the very same committee that Syria's peace signals are genuine.

This disagreement has added to the confusion that has existed regarding a peace agreement with Syria since last summer's second Lebanon War. During the six years preceding that war and after both the collapse of Israeli-American-Syrian talks and Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Israel focused on the Palestinian issue – first on the fighting of the second intifada and then on disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The Lebanon War and the exposure of the threat posed by the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis generated a fundamental debate over the Syrian question. While the war was still in progress, Defense Minister Amir Peretz spoke of the need to renew negotiations with Syria. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appointed a small team to study this issue, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert totally rejects the idea of talks with the Syrians. He has declared that Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights and has explained both directly and indirectly that the Bush administration opposes Israeli-Syrian negotiations. In recent days, Olmert has softened his public proclamations on this matter. The two opposing schools in the internal cabinet debate and in the public debate in Israel can be characterized thus:

– Opposition to any peace settlement or talks with Syria. As in every debate on these topics, the disagreement revolves around intentions and capabilities. The opponents of an agreement claim that Syria under Bashar Assad will continue to demand a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in return for a cold peace and partial security arrangements. While some people reject a withdrawal from the Golan in principle, others believe that Assad's intentions are not serious and that his capabilities are limited. In other words, Assad is interested only in talks, not a settlement, because he wants to stop being an isolated pariah. In any event, he is incapable of actually effecting a settlement with Israel. Thus, if Israel agreed to talks with Syria this would create tension with the U.S., alienate the conservative Arab states and heighten domestic tensions, producing no tangible results for Israel and political dividends for Syria.

– Support for Israeli-Syrian talks. This school argues that Assad is interested in serious negotiations with Israel and an agreement and has the will and the ability to effect a settlement. Furthermore, this school argues, it is in Israel's interests to attain a settlement with Syria, even at the cost of withdrawing from the Golan, because it would regularize relations with an important Arab state and potential military enemy; help solve "the Lebanese problem,"; would weaken the Palestinian rejectionist front and may even help Syria to disengage from the Iranian sphere of influence. The U.S. and the conservative Arab states would presumably change their position once they see Iran lose one of its chief levers of influence in the region.

To understand the significance of the debate between the two schools, the respective positions of the three chief players in the Israeli-American-Syrian triangle should be analyzed:

– The Olmert government. Olmert is Ariel Sharon's successor on the Syrian issue as well. Four Israeli prime ministers in the 1990s (Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak) were prepared to withdraw from the Golan in order to reach an agreement with Syria and to base the peace process on the Syrian, rather than the Palestinian, track. Sharon, however, chose to focus on the Palestinian issue and adamantly opposed a Golan withdrawal.

Olmert was elected prime minister on a platform calling for continued disengagement from the Palestinians. Although the Lebanon War temporarily diverted him from this course, he wants to breathe new life into the Palestinian channel. Olmert believes that progress with the Palestinians is vital to building a de facto coalition with the conservative Arab states against the principal threat to both them and Israel – Iran.

However, after trying to free himself from Assad's "peace offensive" for several months, Olmert has modified his thinking and no longer totally rejects the idea; instead, he is stipulating certain preconditions for the initiation of talks. Nonetheless, he clearly still prefers the Palestinian channel. He apparently believes his government lacks the political capacity to achieve a final settlement with Syria, whereas progress can still be made with the Palestinians in the form of interim settlements.

– The Bush administration. President George Bush and the hard core of his administration have opposed in the past, and continue to oppose, the renewal of Israeli-Syrian talks. The Baker-Hamilton report, which calls for talks with Iran and Syria, has in effect been rejected by the administration and has encountered opposition and criticism from other circles as well. President Bush is personally angry with Assad. He holds Assad and his regime responsible for the shedding of American blood in Iraq and considers them the chief threat to the "democratic revolution" in Lebanon, which he regards as one of the major achievements of his ideological foreign policy. In his eyes, the initiation of Israeli-Syrian talks would award a terrorist regime and be a slap in the face to the conservative Arab states that have friendly relations with America. This approach is reinforced by a personal negative attitude toward Assad and a low estimate of his capabilities.

– Assad and his regime. Even without access to intelligence material, one can conclude that Assad personally wants to initiate talks with Israel, and not just because of his desire to end his isolation and to free himself from American and French pressure. Like any other country, Syria has a public opinion, and that public wants to know what the regime is doing to win back the Golan. Egypt has retrieved the Sinai Peninsula, Jordan has ended its conflict with Israel, the Palestinians have attained some partial achievements, and Israel has withdrawn from South Lebanon; however, regarding the Golan, Israel is talking about expanding its construction activities there. The critics of Assad's regime are demanding that it either go to war or initiate negotiations. Assad's capabilities are not all that clear. Some people in the Baath regime oppose the idea of a peace settlement with Israel, arguing that peace and openness will destroy the foundations of both the Baath regime and Alawi rule. This opposition existed even during Hafez Assad's regime; but he was able to exercise power and authority that allowed him to overcome it. (During the last months of his life, the opposition strengthened and came to the surface). Will Bashar be able to neutralize the opponents of a peace settlement if negotiations are launched and if progress is made in those talks? This remains an open question. In light of the above, Israel's policies should rest on three fundamental principles:

– A conditional "yes," not an outright rejection. No Israeli government should ever issue a categorical "no" to an Arab rival that has declared a desire for peace. Nor should preconditions be presented that amount to a de facto rejection. If talks are initiated between Israel and Syria and if progress is made in those talks, Israel could justifiably demand the termination of Syrian aid to Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If such demands were presented as a precondition for the initiation of talks, the response would be a total Syrian refusal.

– Coordination with the U.S. The Bush administration's opposition to negotiations with Syria should not be taken lightly. However, if Israel concludes that such talks make sense and could be beneficial, it can initiate a serious discussion with the Americans on the advantages and drawbacks of such a move. For its part, Washington would not take lightly the serious prospect (if such a prospect emerges) of distancing Damascus from Tehran.

– A discreet inquiry. The three agreements Israel signed with Arab partners (Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians) were attained following clandestine negotiations in which the principles of the arrangement were defined. It would be pointless to embark on full, open negotiations with Syria before a discreet inquiry has been made. It would have to address such key issues as Syria's readiness to make good on its declarations and to end its partnership with Iran as part of a settlement with Israel and a process of reconciliation with the U.S. Two obstacles stand in the way: Syria's desire for public negotiations and the difficulty involved in maintaining secrecy on the Israeli side. The Israeli government has two main options: It can progress along the Palestinian channel, which would make it easier to build a de facto partnership with the conservative Arab states against Iran, or it can initiate talks with Syria, if it emerges that these talks have the potential for distancing Syria from Iran and for distancing Iran from Lebanon. A discreet inquiry with Syria would enable the prime minister to choose between the two options and to broadcast to the Israeli public a clear message that would perhaps put an end to the confusion and havoc that currently prevail.

Prof. Rabinovich is the president of Tel Aviv University, and in the past served as the Israeli ambassador in Washington and the head of the negotiating team with Syria.

Comments (94)

Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. simohurtta said:

Considering the skills Pentagon has shown in ruling Iraq and the news of counter attacks in internet there is a slight “possibility” that Akbar Palace is a paid “commentator”. Akbar’s complete lack of knowledge of the world outside Disneyland and level of argumentation which is limited in repeating a couple of slogans however contradicts that theory. Not even Pentagon can be so desperate to hire such idiots. Or are they?

Happy new year however Akbar. Maybe you should send your CV to Pentagon. By adding you to their Middle East strategy planing group only lifts the average IQ of that group.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 31st, 2006, 8:32 pm


52. Ahmad said:

To Habib

Who is going to pay me or pay anyone if we are against Bashar?

Do you know that I am 52 years old and this is my first year that I can express my feeling about the Asad regime without any fears from my Government.
And I can only write a few blogs over the internet…..
so before you accuse people just think…
Think, that I have the right to feel shame that Bashar is the one that is making all the trouble around the Middle-east, and the only thing he cares about is to survive at any price.

So don’t accuse people that they are getting paid to add some comments on a blog.
because that will not change or play with people mind.

What is make difference is people like Joshua Landis who did blogs just to support Bashar.
And I think that people who are improtant and can make dicision they read what Joshua saying, and they don’t read some onone people comment.
So you could accuse Joshua that he is the one that got paid but not us.

Finally, I wish one day we can express our feelings without any fear from the Asad regime.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 31st, 2006, 8:32 pm


54. norman said:

Israel should rush to have peace with Syria ,time is running out,

Syria poised to assert itself
By Seth Wikas
Originally published December 28, 2006
Hafez el Assad, the father of Syrian President Bashar Assad, established Syria’s primacy in the Levant and transformed a country ravaged by nearly 30 coups in 24 years into a country led by one leader for nearly 30.

The elder Assad made sure that Syria manipulated events in the Middle East, and not the other way around. Seeking greater influence outside his borders, he succeeded in bringing Lebanon under his heel and made Syria a main patron of the Palestinian cause. Intervention in the latter became so pronounced that Patrick Seale, Hafez el Assad’s biographer, remarked that Mr. Assad believed “the Palestinian problem was too important to be left to the Palestinians.”

Although Bashar Assad does not possess the same state-building skills as his father, the American quagmire in Iraq, Syria’s strong ties to rising power Iran and Damascus’ support of Palestinian terrorist groups have all recently converged to offer Mr. Assad his first real opportunity to manipulate Middle Eastern affairs on a grand scale.

With Washington and Jerusalem shutting their doors to dialogue, Mr. Assad is forging his own way ahead in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United States and Israel think Syria will be a regional “spoiler,” but neither country is offering enough or threatening enough to make Syria a “helper.” Instead, they continue to offer little more than tough talk.

Over the past few weeks, Syria has woken up to its two most pressing problems: the continuing deluge of Iraqi refugees and a dire economic crisis. While President Bush has refused to answer any telephone calls from the Presidential Palace in Damascus, Syria has gone ahead and reopened its embassy in Baghdad and begun a series of bilateral agreements with Iraq on migration and border control. Syria’s resources to deal with its 800,000 (and growing) Iraqi refugees are stretched to the breaking point, and this problem is more important for it to address than the international community’s wish that Syria stop the 150 foreign fighters who cross each month into Iraq from Syria’s eastern border.

Syria is also keen on stabilizing this border in order to restart the Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline. In the 1990s, oil discoveries in eastern Syria fueled Syria’s economy, accounting for more than 50 percent of exports. No new major oil discoveries have been made in the past 10 years, but Syria has continued its dependence on oil income. From 2000 until the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Syria illegally imported discounted crude from Iraq for its domestic needs, while exporting its own oil on the international market. By 2009, Syria could become a net importer of oil. With oil production decreasing and an economy slow to reform, the country is headed for an economic crisis.

Saving Syria, of course, is Iran, which has invested many millions of dollars in the country. This financial assistance and Iran’s growing influence in the Gulf have changed a previously balanced relationship to more of a patron-client arrangement.

Syrian-Iranian ties have also changed Syria’s sphere of influence in Lebanon. While Hezbollah vies for greater influence in government, and the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri drags on, it is unclear whether Syria will regain the supreme hegemony it once had in Lebanon unless the Lebanese government buckles under the pressure of Hezbollah, which is unlikely.

What is clear is that Syria still plays a dominant role in Palestinian politics. With Hamas leader Khaled Meshal ensconced in Damascus, Mr. Assad is a welcoming host, allowing his guest to be the main arbiter in the formation of any viable Palestinian government. This is most crucial for the future role Syria can play on the Israeli-Palestinian front. Although Syrian influence in Lebanon may never be what it once was, Damascus – with its influence over Hamas and Hezbollah – continues to be the key to the settlement of a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors and the formation of a Palestinian state. Mr. Assad has indicated a willingness to conduct peace negotiations with Israel without preconditions, but the full return of the Golan Heights has been and always will be the price of Israeli-Syrian peace. At this point, such a return seems unlikely as Syria talks about both peace and war while Israel issues more construction permits in the Golan.

Like any other country, Syria does what is in its best interests. The crisis in Iraq affords Syria the opportunity to lurch forward in dealing with its economic and refugee problems, and it will use this progress as leverage against other states. While it vigorously protects key Palestinian leaders, Damascus’ strong ties with Iran insulate Syria from Israeli military action. Without official Israeli or American interest in engagement, Syria continues to solidify an axis that grows increasingly impenetrable.

Mr. Assad’s father would be proud.

Seth Wikas is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His e-mail is swikas@washingtoninstitute.org.


Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun | Get Sun home delivery

Talk about it E-mail

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 2:54 am


55. LOUAI said:

Most Arab countries are now aware that Israel’s policy in the Arab region is no longer a threat to the Arab national security. In fact, Iran’s policies and its regional plans represent the real danger even though the Arab people, the fundamentalist parties, the nationalists and the Syrian regime define danger in another traditional way; Israel is the only danger for the Arab security and stability. The Syrian regime has profited from this definition since it is using it as a pretext to cover-up the major role that Damascus plays, despite the Syrian’s will, to ease the Iranian spread in many countries like Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.

First of all, enemies’ qualities always change with time as friends’ ones do. While studying the criteria of the real danger threatening the stability and security of the Arab region, we have found out that Israel does not benefit from financial and human capacities to spread its hegemony, for a long term period, on some regions of an Arab country. As a result, Israel has retreated its troops from the occupied territories after a short period; a measure embodied in the high strategies of countries aiming at expansion as Israel did in the West Bank, South of Lebanon and Sina’. However, Iran has acquired human and financial resources as well as an ideology that allows it to extend its hegemony on the Middle East for long periods, through using all local Arab puppets.

Since the fifties, Israel has adopted the policy of occupying Arab territories to use them in negotiating the peace process. As for Iran, it has never been in a war-peace rapport with Arab countries. Therefore, Iran has refused to negotiate with the Arab Emirates on the three islands that it occupied in 1971 or to submit the case to the International Court of Justice since Iran has occupied these islands in order to keep them. The same goes to its military base established by the Hezbollah in South Lebanon while Iran refused any discussions for this base was said to be created to protect the Shiite’s rights.

In order to point out the regression of the Israeli danger facing the Iranian one, this is a list of the divergences between the two plans:
1- The Israeli danger was and still is preventive even though this reality annoys the Arabs whereas the Iranian danger is regional; it uses the so-called Arab puppets and is likely to become military and offensive later on.
2- If we consider the nature of both the Iranian and Israeli regimes, Israel has been handling carefully the International pressure and the public opinion since its reputation is built on democracy and its will to live in peace with its neighbours. Moreover, Israel usually undertakes a preventive operation, from time to time, to occupy Arab territories in a region where Medias always report that the Arabs will is to destroy Israel.
However, the Iranian religious regime has a “narrative” nature that allows it to ignore the international public opinion and stances as well as to be indifferent towards the external pressure, whether these were diplomatic or commercial. We have witnessed how the Iranian regime has transformed its conflicts with the International community into a tool of popular escalation inside Iran and the Islamic nations to serve its regional plans and its rebellious stands towards the UN principles and laws regarding the Human rights and those related to the nuclear weapons.

The course of the conflict that has shaken the region in 2007 will become clearer in the wake of the emergence of the Iranian danger in the Middle East. The European Union will be given a bigger role to play whereas the US role will be limited since the United States have failed to protect the Iraqis from the bloody Iranian- Syrian interference. As for Moscow and Beijing, their role will be set by the Arab diplomacy, while they are still resorting to the old Cold War methods in approaching or avoiding the coming conflict. As for the Russians, many analysts, and they are right, consider that Moscow is happy that Iran is preoccupied by the Middle East region instead of turning its attention towards the Asian Islamic countries of the ex-Soviet Union. The neutral stances of Moscow and Beijing are due to the Iranian behaviour. Iran has substituted the classical military colonisation by a new one based on the political influence through loyalists brandishing Iranian arms and raising Iranian clerics photos alongside with their country’s flags.

Despite the dimensions of the Middle East conflict in the next stage, we shall not expect the coming out of a coalition or a secret understanding between the moderated Arab countries and Israel to encounter the Iranian expansion supported by many Arab puppets. Such coalition requires good intentions from both sides as well as common standards to define the danger, strong institutions and a culture change done by the two old enemies (Arabs and Israel). Despite all these factors, moderated Arab countries know perfectly well that Israel has the ability to destroy Iran and to prevent its leaders from pursuing their plans in order to expand the Iranian influence to all Israel’s neighbours (Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and the calm Syrian borders). As for the big Arab countries, they can stop the Iranian puppets within the Arab environment by cutting the head of the Iranian lance represented by well-known Arab parties. Any delay in achieving such a target will have negative repercussions on these countries since the Iranian interference is spreading really quickly within the Arab region. Any delay will make the prevention more difficult.

Another factor makes any Arab-Israeli agreement almost impossible since the Israeli Cabinet is adopting an opportunist stance towards the aftermath of the Iranian expansion in the Arab region. This stance was revealed in the statements of close sources to the Secretary of State Tsiby Levny who considered that the coming back of the Syrian hegemony over Lebanon will calm down the situation in the north Israeli border.

Israeli officials do not give any future strategic view to the Iranian influence for it won’t be political and military but will be religious fighting the singular modernity aspects in the Arab societies. For that reason, the Islamic Sunnite movements have joined their forces to Tehran and have volunteered to become its puppets against Arabs who are scared of the expansion of the Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Therefore, Arabs should rely on themselves to fight the Iranian strategy related to the Middle East. The Arab political parties must understand that the Iranian danger has become closer to the Middle East and is conservative and venomous. Israel won’t inevitably be one of Iran’s victims, unless for the unaware Arabs since the Iranian citizen consider his country as the centre of the universe as a CNN reporter perfectly described it. This belief makes millions of Iranian at the service of their inflexible leader’s policies. The latter openly talked about the right of Iran to have an influence that is adequate to its financial and human capacities over the widest geographic area. If Israel possesses the suitable prevention army to protect itself, Tehran won’t sacrifice its expending national dreams by threatening Israel security, at least for the time being.

The reader might object by saying: the Iranian missiles have hit Israel last July!

This is a reality with three faces: first, the Israeli bombing didn’t reach any civilians in Tehran. Second, the Israeli army wanted to reinforce the UNIFIL forces in the regions from which they have withdrew and therefore were exempted from high expenses in case they have stayed longer in the south. Third, the Iranian katyoucha were headed against Lebanon after the cease-fire helping the Hezbollah, in the name of its destructive power, to overcome the Lebanese majority that expelled the Syrians during the 2005 revolution.
Finally, as for the Arab countries’ sovereignty and internal security, the successful leader is the one who enjoys all officers’ qualities, the one who determine the danger sources then destroy those which are the nearest to his defensive lines.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 9:08 am


56. LOUAI said:

على الرغم من أن عودة الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية عمرو موسى إلى بيروت مرجحة بعد نحو عشرة ايام، إلا أن الوقائع اللبنانية لا تسمح باستشراف وصول الأزمة الراهنة إلى حل في المدى الزمني المنظور، لا بل ثمة قيادات تجيد قراءة المستقبل على غرار رئيس “اللقاء الديموقراطي” النائب وليد جنبلاط، تعتقد انه لا بد من الصمود حتى آخر حزيران المقبل، على الاقل.
وتؤسس هذه القراءة لانتظارات العام 2007 نفسها على معطيات يبدو أنها ترسخت في الأذهان، متجاوزة كل المعطيات المحلية التي تؤكد أن المنتشرين على الأرض يكادون يصبحون على الأرض.
نصر الله وبري وعون
وفي ذهن هؤلاء أن تحطيم الامين العام لـ”حزب الله” السيد حسن نصر الله لهالته العربية بيديه، وفقدان رئيس “حزب التيار الوطني الحر” مكانته المتقدمة في الوجدان المسيحي بأفعاله، وخسارة رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري لموقع المرجعية الوطنية بتحزبه، يستحيل أن يعدّل في مسار الأزمة، لأن سبب ما يحصل في لبنان حاليا لا صلة له على الاطلاق بتطلعات هؤلاء، بل هو محصور بإرادة المحور الايراني ـ السوري.
وهم يؤكدون أنهم بعد استطلاع الحقائق من أكثر من مرجع عليم بالخفايا، تيقّنوا من الآتي:
أولاً، أن السيد حسن نصر الله، في حقيقة الأمر، لا يملك قراره بل إنه، بتكليف مباشر من مرشد الثورة الاسلامية في إيران السيد علي خامنئي، مرتبط ارتباطا تبعيا بإرادة القيادة السورية، وهذا ما سبق وألمح اليه جنبلاط، مرارا وتكرارا، عندما أجرى الفوارق بين السيد نصرالله من جهة وبين الزعيم العربي جمال عبد الناصر من جهة أخرى، بحيث أكد ان نصر الله هو بمثابة ضابط رفيع في “حرس الثورة” وتاليا فهو مجرد تابع ينفذ الأوامر العليا ولا يتكفّل بصناعتها، في حين ان عبد الناصر كان “يعمل عند نفسه”.
ثانياً، أن الرئيس نبيه بري حاول ان يستفيد من هامش الاستقلالية المتوافر له، بفعل موقعه الدستوري، ليحل الأزمة التي كان يترقبها بالتي هي أحسن، ولكنه سرعان ما اضطر الى “الاستقالة” والانضواء كليا في إطار التحالف السياسي الذي ينتمي إليه، محلياً وإقليمياً.
ثالثاً، أن العماد ميشال عون الذي هدّم الجسور الضعيفة التي كانت تربطه بقوى الرابع عشر من آذار، ارتمى كليا في حضن “حزب الله”، علّ ذلك يسمح بوصوله الى رئاسة الجمهورية، الأمر الذي حوّله إلى تابع حقيقي.
الأسد وحائط موسى
وتأسيساً على هذه القراءة للشخصيات الرئيسة في “معركة الأزمة”، يتوقف قارئو انتظارات العام 2007 عند إرادة الآمر بالنزول إلى زواريب بيروت، فيؤكدون أن الرئيس السوري بشّار الأسد أبلغ تابعيه اللبنانيين موقفه النهائي: “إسمعوني جيّداً، أنا لا أريد أن أسمع بالمحكمة الدولية بعد اليوم”.
ولأن موقف الأسد هو كذلك، فإن تحرك عمرو موسى السابق اصطدم بالحائط المسدود، وتحركه المقبل سوف يصطدم بالحائط المسدود أيضاً.
وفي هذا السياق، يروي رئيس مجلس الوزراء فؤاد السنيورة أنه أبلغ موسى، عند الاتفاق على سلّة الحلول، أنه سوف يوقع على مرسوم توسيع الحكومة الحالية فور سماعه مطرقة الرئيس بري تعلن افتتاح الجلسة النيابية الرامية الى التصديق على اتفاقية تشكيل المحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي، ولكنه فوجئ بأن المطلوب توسيع الحكومة وفقدان الأكثرية للثلثين في مجلس الوزراء، قبل اتخاذ القرار، ليس بإحالة ملف المحكمة على المجلس النيابي، بل قبل إعادة هذا الملف مجددا إلى رئيس الجمهورية ليقرر هو إن كان سيحيله على مجلس الوزراء.
رهانات دمشقية وانتظارات “الشارع”
إذا لا حل في الافق، بل مثابرة في وضعية الأزمة.
ولكن ماذا تحقق “حركة الاول من كانون الاول” من ذلك؟
في ذهن هذه الحركة خمسة أمور وهي:
1 ـ أسر وضع اللبنانيين الاقتصادي والمعيشي، مما يضطر الأكثرية إلى الدخول في عملية مقايضة، بحيث تتم التضحية بالمحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي لمصلحة إنعاش الواقع اللبناني، على اعتبار ان ارتباط الأكثرية بمصالح الناس هو ارتباط وجودي.
2 ـ ستبقى الأكثرية حتى إجراء الانتخابات النيابية الجديدة، مسؤولة بشكل كامل عن الملف الاقتصادي، وسوف تجد نفسها في وضعية معقدة للغاية إن لم تتمكن من توفير الظروف لعقد مؤتمر باريس ـ 3 وإنجاحه، ولذلك فإن مناعتها بالصمود سوف تتدنى وتسلّم بوجوب “نسيان المحكمة الدولية”.
3 ـ إن الدول العربية، ولا سيما المملكة العربية السعودية، سوف تطبع علاقتها بسوريا في المدى القريب، على اعتبار ان سوريا في آذار المقبل سوف تتسلم رئاسة الجامعة العربية بعد استضافتها، وفق التسلسل الأبجدي المعمول به، للقمة العربية وهذا يعني تاليا أنه يستحيل دعم الحكومة اللبنانية في مسعاها لتشكيل محكمة دولية هدفها محاكمة جهاز الامن التابع للدولة المسترئسة، مما سوف يحدث انقلابات في الموقف العربي لمصلحة النظام السوري!
4 ـ إن الادارة الاميركية مضطرة الى الانفتاح على سوريا لتنقذ نفسها من الورطة العراقية، وفق توصيات لجنة بيكر ـ هاميلتون، ولكنها بحاجة إلى تمهيد داخلي ودولي لذلك، مما سوف يعين دمشق على تجاوز قطوع المحكمة الدولية إذا تمكنت من كسب الوقت، من خلال تعطيل الآلية الدستورية في لبنان.
5 ـ إن التخاطب العلني بين القيادة السورية من جهة وبين القيادة الاسرائيلية من جهة اخرى، سوف يقوّي الطرف الاسرائيلي الذي لا يزال يحمي النظام السوري، الأمر الذي من شأنه التمهيد لدخول اسرائيلي حاسم على الخط الاميركي من أجل تقديم المصالح السورية على المصالح اللبنانية، بالتراجع عن الدفع في اتجاه تشكيل المحكمة.
العلاج الجنبلاطي ووصفة الأكثرية
ولأن “حركة الاول من كانون الاول” تستند الى هذه المعطيات في نظرتها الى المستقبل، فإن خروجها من الشارع في المدى المنظور مستحيل كما قبولها بسلة التنازلات “المضبوطة جداً” للأكثرية.
ولكن ماذا في حَعْبة الأكثرية؟
حتى الساعة، وصفة واحدة تتردد على كل الألسنة: استراتيجية الصمود.
ثمة وصفة جديدة تتحضر في الكواليس: خليط من استراتيجية الصمود ومن استراتيجية القضم.
والوصفة الأخيرة، بدأ وليد جنبلاط باتباعها. كانت انطلاقتها بإفهام الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد أن القيادات اللبنانية لا تخشى من استراتيجة القتل التي يمعن في اعتمادها في لبنان، على اعتبار ان البديل الطبيعي للاحتكام الى العدالة هو الاحتكام الى الاندفاعات الشخصية التي من شأنها ان تخلق “نوّافاً” ما ينتقم من الاسد كما انتقم نواف الغزالي في البرازيل من الرئيس السوري أديب الشيشكلي. يخطئ من يعتقد ان جنبلاط، وبفعل الحملة التي ينظمها عليه أتباع النظام السوري سوف يتراجع عن موقفه، بل هو سوف يطوّره في اتجاه المناداة بحق اللبنانيين في إقامة نوع من أنواع توازن الرعب مع قاتلهم (لننتظر ما سوف يقوله الليلة على “قناة العربية” مع الزميلة جيزيل خوري) .
طبعا المسألة لن تقتصر عند هذا الحد في المواجهة اللبنانية، بل سوف تتخطاها الى مسائل عملية ومن أبرز ملامحها:
أوّلاً، الاصرار على عقد مؤتمر باريس ـ3 أياً كانت الظروف السياسية الداخلية، وسط استعدادات غير مسبوقة لتدعيم الاقتصاد اللبناني، للصمود في فترة الأزمة ومن ثم للانقاذ في فترة انتهاء الأزمة، مما يعني ان باريس ـ 3 الذي أنتجه باريس ـ 2 الذي اغتالته الأطراف السياسية نفسها، سوف يولد باريس ـ4.
ثانياً، الإصرار على محاكمة إميل لحود بجرم خرق الدستور، وفق أحكام قانون محاكمة الرؤساء والوزراء الصادر في تشرين أول 1990. العريضة جرى تقديمها، أمس، مستوفية الشروط الشكلية. مجلس النواب لا بد من أن ينعقد للتدقيق في هذه العريضة. لجنة التحقيق سوف تتشكل لان الغالبية المطلوبة لذلك متوافرة وهي الأغلبية المطلقة من عدد النواب. بعد توثيق في الوقائع والقانون للخرق الدستوري واستجواب لحود، فليواجه نواب “حركة الاول من كانون الاول” الرأي العام ويقدمون الحماية للحود من المحاكمة التي تحتاج للانطلاق الى غالبية الثلثين.
ثالثاً، إرسال العريضة النيابية التي وقعها سبعون نائبا لاقرار المحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي الى مجلس الأمن، مرفقة بدراسة قانونية ودستورية تبيّن كيف أقدمت الاقلية النيابية في وطن ديموقراطي بانقلاب غير ديموقراطي على إسقاط السيادة عن أعمال مجلس النواب، وحينها سوف يندم بشار الأسد على تلك الساعة التي رفض فيها محكمة مختلطة ليواجه محكمة تحت الفصل السابع. لن تكون موسكو في معونته، فهي نصحته بالسير في المحكمة بعدما شذبتها من “إمكانية الوصول الى رأسه”، كما لن يجد حليفا عربيا، لأن الجميع دعاه إلى ألا يحمي بعض ضباطه بتكسير لبنان، ولكنه لم يرتدع. و”ثوار لبنان” لن يستطيعوا إقناع أحد أنهم فعلوا ما فعلوه من تلقاء أنفسهم، لأن الحقيقة الكاملة أصبحت بعهدة عمرو موسى. ولا مخاوف لدى أي كان من إمكان الاحتكام إلى الفصل السابع، لأن الحكومة الحالية تكاد تبح صوتها ناصحة بالسير في المحكمة بطبيعتها الحالية، ووزير العدل شارل رزق لا يكل عن التحذير والتنبيه والشرح. وليس بين قوى الأكثرية من يتوهم ان الاغتيال سوف تزداد وتيرته مع التصديق على المحكمة الدولية بهذه الطريقة، لأن الجميع مؤمن ان سوريا قررت الانتصار على السياديين اللبنانيين بتصفيتهم، وهي على هذه الدرب تسير بمحكمة او من دون محكمة.
ومع ذلك، ثمة نقطة ضعف واحدة في استراتيجية الأكثرية تتمثل في اسرائيل التي تقدم، يوما بعد يوم، ما يكفي من أدلة على انها لن تتخلى عن بشار الأسد الذي لا يخجل من شتم القادة العرب والتمرغ على أبوابها.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 9:29 am


57. Ehsani2 said:

They telephoned officials of the marjaiya, the supreme religious body in Iraqi Shiism, composed of ayatollahs in the holy city of Najaf. The ayatollahs approved.

When A Prime Minister has to call the ayatollahs
before making a final decision, You know that this country is finished!


“Governing a country should not be done by reflexes,” Mr. Makki said. “It should be wisdom first. A panoramic view.


Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 11:51 am


58. Alex said:

“Either it’s terrible incompetence or it’s an act of revenge — a vendetta,” said Adnan Pachachi, a respected Sunni whose political career began long before Mr. Hussein took power. “That was the impression people had.”

And that impression of “terrible incompetence” is what I still have since the first day Baghdad fell to the American Army and the unguarded Baghdad museum was emptied of its priceless contents….

They did not care to think about protecting the Baghdad museum, since then I knew what to expect.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 4:36 pm


59. Akbar Palace said:

Ahmad –

Thank you for your kind words. I agree with you 100%. My hope is for peace everywhere in the Middle East. And there is NO REASON why this can not happen with a Jewish State.

It’s that simple.

I would one day like to visit a number of Arab countries and learn about their culture and see their magnificient cultural sites. I would hope Arabs could one day feel the same way about Israel.


Your analysis above was excellent!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 5:13 pm


60. Alex said:

Akbar Palace

That’s a great start for 2007!

I hope you maintain this politically correct and freindly tone as you continue to challenge your Syrian friends here with views from Israel’s side… without the confrontational tone.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 5:22 pm


61. Habib said:

I would say Akbar’s place is disrupting conversation, not contributing.

Its hard to speak with someone yelling in your ear.

Check out standwithus.com and view the mass disinformation for yourselves.

They are an army and we are few, yet brave of heart.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 5:41 pm


62. Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

I’ll try. It’s an emotional issue;)

BTW – I invite all here to observe and even participate on the following website:


(a website sponsored by a European NGO for promoting peace between Israel and her neighbors.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 5:55 pm


63. LOUAI said:

علم المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان من مصادر موثوقة في لجنة اللاجئين السياسيين السوريين في العراق ان مسلحين من فرق الموت اختطفوا في 21/12/2006 ثمانية مواطنيين سوريين من شارع حيفا في بغداد ثم اغتالوهم وقد وصلت جثامينهم الى مركز الطب الشرعي في بغداد الذي رفض تسليمها الى ذويهم رغم وجودها هناك منذ عدة ايام

والمواطنين هم – اللواء أحمد عبد القادر ترمانيني-خضر حسن الجبوري – عبدالله كركب المرسومي-كركب المرسومي- ابراهيم جدوع المرسومي- خلف عليوي-خضر حمد الحسن-علي ناصر

والجدير بالذكر انه تم تهجير 50 عائلة سورية من اللاجئين السياسيين من شارع حيفا في بغداد الى كردستان العراق ومنهم من دخل الاراضي التركية

ان المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان يحمل النظام السوري مسؤولية ما حصل لمواطنيه في العراق فقد رفض الاستجابة لكافة المناشدات التي طالبته بإصدار عفو عن السوريين اللاجئين في العراق الأمر الذي تسبب في مقتل العشرات منهم وسجن ما يزيد عن سبعين تعرضوا للتعذيب في مراكز احتجاز مختلفة

وبعد ان بلغت حالة السوريين في العراق مرحلة حرجة وخطرة تهدد بفنائهم جميعا وبعد رفض جهات في السلطة السورية الوفاء بوعودها اتجاههم والسماح لهم بالعودة دون قيد او شرط يطالب المرصد الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد سرعة المبادرة بالسماح بعودتهم إلى أرض الوطن دون قيد او شرط كما نطالب بالوقت ذاته المفوضية السامية لشؤون اللاجئين أن تقوم بواجباتها الأخلاقية والقانونية اتجاه هؤلاء وغيرهم من المتواجدين في مناطق الخطر في العراق

أن حالة السوريين في العراق لا تحتمل التسويف والتأجيل ومن هنا نهيب بمنظمة العفو الدولية وغيرها من هيئات حقوق الإنسان أن تبادر إلى الضغط على الاطراف المعنية في سبيل إيجاد حلول سريعة قبل أن يسقط المزيد من الأبرياء

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 6:28 pm


64. John Kilian said:

My family and I had the good fortune to be hosted on New Year’s Eve by a party of Sudanese, both muslim and christian. It was surprising to see them feasting together despite the intense history of conflict in their homeland between these people of different faiths. They were celebrating the sparing of Abraham’s son, and it occurred to me that that was about the last time the blood of Abraham wasn’t being spilled in the Holy Land.

We still live in a world where leaders often prefer to send troops into battle rather than come to terms peacably. Seeing people whose families have been slaughtered like common pests sitting down with the kin of the killers convinced me that there is in the common folk a great reservoir of good faith between all people, no matter how much savagery they have endured.

The U.S. has been pursuing a policy of turning people away from Islamic Fundamentalism through a strategy of regime change and nation building. What might make even more sense is to try to turn leaders away from violent acts to peaceful courses of action. Naive, it may be to say this, but I hope the new year will allow us to heal some of our old wounds and move pass the pain to better serve the need of our children to live without the threat of violence.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 6:48 pm


65. Akbar Palace said:

“What might make even more sense is to try to turn leaders away from violent acts to peaceful courses of action.”

John Kilian –

Which leaders did you have in mind and why?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 10:02 pm


66. Ford Prefect said:

America’s friends in the Middle East and elsewhere are the biggest performer and exporters of state-sponsored terrorism. The Wahabbi Sunni support in Iraq is just one more example.
“The US is going to prioritize security matters first.” I am sure you meant to say “Israel security matters first.” I got you, sure, that makes perfect sense. And by the way, all political prisoners in Syria are enemy combatants, and Syria’s support of Hamas and Hizbollah are are considered pre-emptive strikes in support of Syrian national security interests. Are we even now?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 11:42 pm


67. LOUAI said:

Israel is not in good terms with us in order to put us before a fake option like this. Moreover, the historical course of our conflict with Israel has seen very rare dramatic changes: Israel knows well that the Arabs will not like or consider it a pioneer, so it reduces its ambition to a peace it defines in a different way than the Arabs.

The new thing about balances in the region is the Iranian attempt to snatch regional leadership. Like anything new, this shakes existing alliances and puts up some questions in front of the existing players.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 1st, 2007, 11:52 pm


68. 3antar said:

I think mr Akbar is over-joyed with the amount of attention he’s getting rather than any form of constructive (or otherwise) information to the discussion. So here is abit more attention, enjoy it while it lasts.

Trying to give different view from a neo-con or ziolist perspective? please… you fancy yourself as an intellect or someone who’s sussed it all. your views have been heard before. Bottom line is, no one will experience peace or prosperity as long as there is injustice and/or illegal occupation. Peace treaties aren’t worth the paper they are written on pal. People have to be convinced too. The injustice that was born 1948 at the expense of innocent lives will not be forgotten. Sure there are injustices being perpetrated all over the region. But you have to admit, if the state of Israel had just been created in Poland instead and the Europeans had kept their problems rather than export them, our history and our present would be so different. The reality of the matter, as much as some like to repeat that Israel isnt going anywhere, well, nor is everyone else. Time is not on Israel’s side as its backers are loosing their influence or grip faster than they can say ‘Election time’.
I rest my case…. 😉

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 12:40 am


69. Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect said:

“The US is going to prioritize security matters first.” I am sure you meant to say “Israel security matters first.” I got you, sure, that makes perfect sense.

No, that doesn’t make perfect sense. More Americans have died since the Oslo facade. About 3 times more.

So after 9-11, when the US decided to conduct regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US government didn’t ask the Israelis which country to attack; the US government knew.

“…and Syria’s support of Hamas and Hizbollah are are considered pre-emptive strikes in support of Syrian national security interests. Are we even now?”

Which is why Syria will continue to be in isolation from the rest of the world, and under the microscope of the IDF and the Pentagon.

LOUAI said:

“Israel is not in good terms with us in order to put us before a fake option like this. Moreover, the historical course of our conflict with Israel has seen very rare dramatic changes: Israel knows well that the Arabs will not like or consider it a pioneer, so it reduces its ambition to a peace it defines in a different way than the Arabs.”

I’m just a layman, so perhaps you can translate what you said above into “provincial”, American english.

3Antar said:

“But you have to admit, if the state of Israel had just been created in Poland instead and the Europeans had kept their problems rather than export them, our history and our present would be so different.”

No Jew wants a homeland in Poland. And no “Jewish Arab” (which constitutes 60% of Israel’s population) is ready to learn Yiddish.

Jews immigrated to Palestine for a reason. They didn’t immigrate to Kenya for a reason. The Europeans didn’t export their “problem” anymore than the Iraqis or Eygptians exported their “problem”. For whatever reason, Jews left more countries than Poland and Germany to come to Israel.

And if that bothers you, too bad.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 2:08 am


70. Atassi said:

Ford Prefect,
In more general term, ALL Syrian citizens are being held as enemy combatants of the long standing military republic regime, not just the political prisoners
My New banner to you ALL:
*We Syrians citizens have the Right to Vote, without the right to change our governments* make a change “Vote for your beloved SOURIA in 2007”

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 2:19 am


71. Gibran said:

I hope I understood correct. You’re saying the upcoming ‘vote’ is a sham? I hope that’s what you’re saying.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 2:30 am


72. norman said:

Akbar ,I hope that this will change your mind about Syria and it’s goals in peace with Israel,

Help, he wants peace!

By Zvi Bar’el

In one of the news broadcasts that he presented last week on Channel 1 television, Haim Yavin defined the Syrian feelers as an “escalation in the peace attack,” no less. No one could better describe the panic that Syrian President Bashar Assad is arousing in Israel. Attacks are something we understand, and escalation is also a user-friendly concept for Israelis. Therefore, it appears that peace has no meaning unless it comes in the form of an attack.

The alarmed and the perplexed are split into two groups. The first consists of those who are convinced that everything Assad does is aimed at advancing his own narrow interests: ridding Syria of the stigma of being a country that supports terror, luring investors to the country and freeing himself from pressure over the Lebanese issue. In other words, becoming a country like any other country. This group of believers forgets that these are precisely Israel’s demands of Assad. But it wants eternal guarantees that after the Syrian president gets the Golan Heights back and no longer heads a country that supports terror, he will not turn on his heels and laugh out loud at the stupid Israelis. This is a reasonable demand, but it cannot be fulfilled before negotiations are actually held. Certainly such a demand cannot be a precondition.

The demand that Syria sever relations with Iran is also a deal-breaker. Israel did not demand this of Turkey, or of the leaders of the Islamic republics that broke away from the Soviet Union, when it signed peace treaties with them. It will also not demand this of Saudi Arabia, if and when a peace agreement is signed with that country. And how is it possible to explain Syria’s willingness to sign a peace agreement with Israel when its relations with Iran are so close? According to the alarmists, this is of course another lie, or at least part of a nefarious plot. Therefore, it is not superfluous to ask why Iran has not reacted to Syria’s feelers toward Israel, just as it is possible to wonder why Iran is not demanding that Turkey cease doing business with Israel. The answer lies in a mosaic of interests that goes far beyond the simplistic definition of the “axis of evil” or the division of the world into Shi’ites and Sunnis.


The precondition that Syria close the bases of Palestinian organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad is especially interesting. If the headquarters of these organizations are fated to live outside the territories, would it not be better for them to operate from a country that has a peace agreement with Israel, instead of being expelled to a hostile country from which they can operate as they please?

The second group of alarmists offers the learned argument that Assad cannot mean real peace, because such a peace would topple him, his regime and his minority sect, which controls the country. Alternatively, spokesmen for this group take refuge in the assessment that even if there is peace with Syria, it will undoubtedly be a very cold peace. They are forgetting that the younger Assad has already proposed peace, while the elder Assad already held discussions with Israel and obtained concessions and even talked about normalization. Is Bashar Assad risking more now than ever before? One can confidently assume that an improvement in Syria’s economic situation in the wake of an agreement with Israel, as well as the return of the Golan Heights, would do wonders for Assad’s standing.

There is nothing wrong with Assad currently wanting to advance “only” Syrian interests. This is precisely the motivation for which Israel should be looking. If peace with Israel serves his interests, it would be wise to set up a table somewhere and sit negotiators around it – people who would pull out what was concluded with Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak and tell Assad: This is where we are continuing from, and here is our list of new demands.

Assad’s intentions are not a matter for trust or faith, nor for prior examination. Rather, they are a matter for negotiations whose sole aim is to reach peace with Syria. Only in this way will it also be possible to shake off the profound self-righteousness that holds that “we” owe it to our fighters and our homeland at least to try. It is not trying that is needed here, but rather action and achievement. Similarly, the main consideration cannot be how we will look to the world if we refuse to negotiate with Assad, but rather how life in Israel will look if we respond in the affirmative.

Bookmark to del.icio.us

Digg It! new

State of the art
Amitai Mendelson, the man in charge of local art at the Israel Museum, has a vision.

Real estate bubble?
Prices in the center of the country rose steadily in 2006

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 2:35 am


73. Atassi said:

*We Syrians citizens have the Right to Vote, without the right to change our governments* make a change
”””””“Vote NO in 2007″”””””””
”””’For our beloved SOURIA”””””””’

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 2:45 am


74. majedkhaldoun said:

last time I voted was in 2000,Hafez was dead, and we have to say yes or no, I went to the embassy in Washington DC, me and my family, eight people sitting behind a long table, they opened the book, they told me to write my name ,address,,phone number,I live in USA, then I have to write yes or no for Bashar Assad, that was way in front of them, there is no secret voting,do not dare to say know,they know about me and how I voted,I was scared to say no, I had no choice but to say yes, since I go to Syria every year, those who do not vote they are not counted,that is why it was 100% approval.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 6:00 am


75. majedkhaldoun said:

I forgot to say, that now we know why President Bush went to Baghdad last time,it was to order Maliki to kill Saddam the first day of Mosslim holiday.that visit that nothing else came from it.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 6:29 am


76. Innocent_Criminal said:

Majed Khaldoun,

I can beat your story. When I was living in Beirut the voting booths there were not only empty, but you didn’t even have to be forced to write yes. Because it was ALREADY WRITTEN FOR YOU. Not just written but TYPED. The word Na3am was typed into the green circle. It seems that polling stations had a competition going on who will have the highest yes vote and got a little overzealous.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 8:43 am


77. Habib said:

Akbar relates without forethought, “[m]ore Americans have died since the Oslo facade.” The Oslo Accords in no way sanctified the US role. Nor has any, I repeat any American died in any capacity because of Palestinian national interests.

I can however name any number of American peace activists who have been run over/shot/or otherwise helped along to heaven by the Israeli security apparatus.

Akbar then ties in a bit of revisionism by stating, “Jews immigrated to Palestine for a reason. They didn’t immigrate to Kenya for a reason. The Europeans didn’t export their “problem” anymore than the Iraqis or Eygptians exported their “problem”. This is laughable, as the Europeans expressly exported their Jewish population with the connivance of Jewish authorities. Please refer to Jewish Philosopher Hannah Arendts Banality of Evil. It tells the truth of how Jews themselves came up with an idea of a homeland…first self-proposed in Madagascar.

Yes, Madagascar. If you want the truth about emigration, refer to Jewish sources in Europe who lead it…not an uninformed Israeli stooge.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 10:57 am


78. t_desco said:

US unit works quietly to counter Iran’s sway

WASHINGTON — For nearly a year, a select group of US officials has been quietly coordinating actions to counter the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, including increasing the military capabilities of Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

The group, known as the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group, or ISOG, is also coordinating a host of other actions, which include covert assistance to Iranian dissidents and building international outrage toward Iran by publicizing its alleged role in a 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina, according to interviews with half a dozen White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials who are involved in the group’s work.

Pentagon officials involved with the group intend to ask Congress as early as February to increase funding for transfers of military hardware to allies in the Persian Gulf and to accelerate plans for joint military activities. The request, which is still being formulated, is expected to include but not be limited to more advanced-missile defense systems and early-warning radar to detect and prevent Iranian missile strikes.

The existence of ISOG reflects an intensification of the Bush administration’s planning on Iran. Syria, which has linked itself to Iran through military pacts, is a lesser focus for the group. Its workings have been so secretive that several officials in the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau said they were unaware it existed.

The United States has repeatedly said its policy is not to overthrow the Iranian regime, but one former US official who attended a meeting during ISOG’s initial phase eight months ago said in an interview that he got the impression that regime change was a key goal of many of the meetings’ participants.

ISOG is led by a steering committee with two leading hawks on Middle East policy as chairmen: James F. Jeffrey, prinicipal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, who once headed Iraq policy, and Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser for “Global Democracy Strategy.” Michael Doran, a Middle East specialist at the White House, steps in when Abrams is away. Elizabeth Cheney, the vice president’s daughter, who was the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, served as cochairwoman before she took a maternity leave earlier this year.

ISOG is made of five main “pillars,” or working groups. The military group explores ways to bolster Arab defenses and create more military cooperation between the Persian Gulf states. …

A second working group deals with “democracy outreach,” focusing on the State Department’s effort to provide secret financial assistance to dissidents and reformist organizations inside Iran and Syria. It also seeks ways to use scientific exchanges and human rights conferences to learn more about what is happening inside Iran, officials said.

A third working group focuses on finances and the Treasury Department’s efforts to beef up bilateral restrictions on money transfers to and from Iranian banks. A fourth group focuses on Iran’s “special relationships” with Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and terrorist organizations. That group has closely followed Iran’s alleged role in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina.

A fifth working group coordinates media outreach to the people of Iran, Syria, and the region.
Boston Globe

Related news:

– Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group soon to deploy to the Gulf

– new Expeditionary Strike Group 2 command to move from Little Creek to Bahrain in February

Routine deployment or part of the “naval build-up” in the Gulf?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 12:17 pm


79. Akbar Palace said:

Habibi clarifies:

“It tells the truth of how Jews themselves came up with an idea of a homeland…first self-proposed in Madagascar.”

The “idea” was probably the 5 books of Moses….the Torah. No one forced the Jews to come to Israel, they came on their own, after centuries of discrimination and hardship. There were a number of “proposals”, and none of them amounted to anything.

Again, Jews don’t need you to tell them what their homeland is, and I’m sure Palestinians don’t need me to tell them where their homeland is.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 12:25 pm


80. 3antar said:

Akbar Place said:
“No Jew wants a homeland in Poland. And no “Jewish Arab” (which constitutes 60% of Israel’s population) is ready to learn Yiddish.”

one of many misconceptions you have stated in your numerous posted comments…
Jews constituted 60%? stop right there…. where did you get that number from? Jews in Palestine pre 1948 were a minority and continues to be a minority even while the subtle emigration of European Jews. They only became a majority after the continued terrorism of armed zionist gangs to locals, and later the expulsion of large number of Palestinians to neighbouring states. which explains the ridiculously hug number of Palestinians in modern state Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria who are not allowed the right to return in order to keep the demographic proportions. I am not surprised you come into your conclusions when you base your argument on so much falsifications.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 12:42 pm


81. Akbar Palace said:


I’m talking about today, 2007. The present.

You can not falsify what is factual. I suggest discontinue taking lessons from Ahmadinejad.


Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 2:45 pm


82. John Kilian said:

Akbar Palace said: (January 1st, 2007, 10:02 pm / #)

“What might make even more sense is to try to turn leaders away from violent acts to peaceful courses of action.”

John Kilian –

Which leaders did you have in mind and why?


I would say that the leaders in Damascus, Tel Aviv, Tehran, and Washington could all stand to alter their foreign policies to diminish the cycle of violence in the region. I would like to see negotiations to create a roadmap away from nuclear weapons, military incursions, surrogate terrorism and occupations of foreign lands.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 3:12 pm


83. Habib said:

Akbar intimidates gentiles by stating;

“The ‘idea’ was probably the 5 books of Moses….the Torah. No one forced the Jews to come to Israel, they came on their own, after centuries of discrimination and hardship.” I don’t remember there being a map in the Old Testament. And do you think it includes the Golan? I’m not sure, well if Akbar thinks Moses said so…then I’m not one to deny it.

Also as I recall, didn’t Noah in the Torah speak of slavery of the Africans by Israelites as kosher? Well, why don’t you move onto Africa too, as it was written.

Akbar then asks the readers to;

“discontinue taking lessons from Ahmadinejad.” Instead he suggests a wikipedia lesson on world Jewry. I won’t even comment on the reliability of this information. However, under “Distunguished Mizrahi figures,” the link shows Moshe Katsav as second most distinguished. Haha, Haha. That old hound dog.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 3:21 pm


84. Akbar Palace said:

John Kilian states:

“I would say that the leaders in Damascus, Tel Aviv, Tehran, and Washington could all stand to alter their foreign policies to diminish the cycle of violence in the region. I would like to see negotiations to create a roadmap away from nuclear weapons, military incursions, surrogate terrorism and occupations of foreign lands.”

Sounds good to me. I leave you in charge…

Habib replies:

“Akbar intimidates gentiles by stating… the ‘idea’ was probably the 5 books of Moses….the Torah.”

How does explaining why Jews immigrated to Palestine (and not to Poland or Kenya) intimidate gentiles?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 5:08 pm


85. MSK said:

To AkbarPalace & friends,

I just came across an article by Uri Avnery on (ex-)General Giora Eiland’s “plan” to solve the Middle East conflict and wanted to share this quote:

Years ago Boutrus Boutrus-Ghali, then the acting foreign minister of Egypt, told me with a thin ironic smile: “You Israelis have the best experts on Arab affairs in the world. They have read all the books, all the articles. They know everything -and understand nothing, because they have never lived one single day in an Arab country.”



Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 8:15 pm


86. 3antar said:

Akbar Palace said:
“I’m talking about today, 2007. The present.

you can not falsify what is factual. I suggest discontinue taking lessons from Ahmadinejad.


first of all, we taking wikipedia as a reliable source of information now? surely this is joke.
perhaps you should practice less wiki and more reading, here

and to humour you, here:
I suppose you’re being anti-Semitic and you dont know it. you better be careful!

secondly, does critiquing a pro-zionist view mean that im taking lessons from Ahmadinejad by defautl? I suppose im anti-semitic as well. please dont say it. so what room is there left for dialogue? what kinda logic is this? in that case, how about you to stop taking lessons from South African Apartheid policies or perhaps even Hitler as a matter of fact.

thirdly, you cannot isolate history from the present. We need history in order to understand and deal with the present. you address issues on face value and dont bother going back to your sources that hold most of your answers.

and finally, one can falsify what one might presume is factual WITHOUT supporting it with evidence in order serve one’s motive. The fact you refuse to deal with a very relevant historical fact going back a mere 60 years, says it all. Its just a pity.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 8:17 pm


88. Ahamd said:

We miss you……

مستقبلنا في سورية ليس مكاناً نذهب إليه بل هو شيء نصنعه بأنفسنا وبأيدينا وعقولنا، والطريق إلى هذا المستقبل لا يكون إلا بالتوكل على الله أولاً وبالتخطيط العلمي والمنهجي الصحيح ثانياً، وأن نعمل ليل نهار على تعريف أبناء هذا الوطن بأن التغيير سنة كونية من سنن الله عز وجل، وأنه لا بد وأن يبدأ بالحرية أولاً وبالعدالة ثانياً وبالتنمية ثالثاً.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 2nd, 2007, 10:20 pm


89. Akbar Palace said:

“Years ago Boutrus Boutrus-Ghali, then the acting foreign minister of Egypt, told me with a thin ironic smile: “You Israelis have the best experts on Arab affairs in the world. They have read all the books, all the articles. They know everything -and understand nothing, because they have never lived one single day in an Arab country.”


There is something to be said about your quote above, so I guess I’ll take a stab at it.

There is a huge distrust of Israel by the Arabs and a huge distrust of Arabs by the Israelis. That said, I would agree with Mr. Boutrus-Ghali’s comment….to a point.

However, if Mr. Boutrus-Ghali believes Israel “understands nothing” about the Arabs, I wonder how much he thinks the Arabs understand Israel?

After all, quite a few Israelis have immigrated from Arab and Muslim countries and have high positions in acedemia and government.

So I have to diagree with him that Jews have “never lived one single day in an Arab country”. And BTW, how many Arabs have lived in a Jewish State?

I take his comment with a slight grain of salt, and, of course, Uri Avnery is no bright light-bulb either.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 3rd, 2007, 12:27 am


90. Akbar Palace said:


So you’re now you’re stooping to Khazar mythology. Which has been disproven.


“secondly, does critiquing a pro-zionist view mean that im taking lessons from Ahmadinejad by defautl? I suppose im anti-semitic as well.”

Not at all. But if your arguments are based on anti-Jewish mythology, Arab media screeds and blood libels, you won’t earn the respect of Professor Josh.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 3rd, 2007, 1:06 am


91. Atassi said:

Akbar Palace,
Are you aware that almost everyone is getting sick of your Jewish arguments and history lessons? I am not sure what your mission is, but please keep the noise down; you are getting on everyone nerves.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 3rd, 2007, 2:14 am


92. Akbar Palace said:

“Are you aware that almost everyone is getting sick of your Jewish arguments and history lessons?”


Oh, does that mean you believe the Khazar stuff too? If not, which Jewish history lesson are you referring to?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 3rd, 2007, 5:21 am


93. 3antar said:

to call Akbar’s babbling history lessons is giving him way too much credit.
he’s going around in circles avoiding key issues, as he likes to refer to the ‘present’ only.
any other argument is ‘mythology’.
while everyone arguing his views is blood thirsty.
they have to be. how else can he end an argument. 🙂
your very quick labeling people arent you Akbar? you must get a kick out of it. its like watching CNN or Republican Speaker.

Fact 1, (as much as it might hurt) Israel practices state terrorism. people have the right for resistance! But Akbar would probably call resistance terrorism. shocker!

Fact 2, Israel was build on terrorism. Inflicted on local Palastenians population and even British mandate occupying forces of pre ’48. Showing the indiscriminate violent nature of zionists. Kinda reminds me of the way crusaders behaved few hundred years previous.

then again, i dont expect Akbar to respond to historical clues or evidence as his memory span goes back to yesterdays date that falls in “2007”.
so to credit his rambling as history lessons, is an insult to history itself.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 3rd, 2007, 1:16 pm


94. Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

To Dr. Coutinho and few others,

First of all thank you for your clarification (to the non-Portuguese speaking forum participants), that filho means son. Absolutely unnecessary since I disclosed my family name, Nahas, and my Syrian ascendence.

When I mentioned that Syrians were there some thousand years ago, I was based on Biblical histories. Do not forget that when God promised Abram the land, he promised to Ismael and Isaac. Also when Josha conquered it, who did he conquered from? Who were worshipping Baal? Do you have any clue about Syrian ancient history, Baals Asherot, and so on? That Koine was spoken at that time, actually it only began about 50BC and ended about 200AD, so a very short period, when it was replaced by the “liturgical” Bizantine greek. BTW, I am fluent in Koine (and Biblical Hebrew, for that matter).
To the general public, i am not a priest, but an ordained Protestant minister. My criticism of the “Evangelicals” that because of this, support Israel unconditionally, I am only criticizing them because there is no scriptural basis whatsoever(at least on the NT)for this position, unless you are a Premilenist that adopts Dispensacionalism (that’s prety off topic here, so I’ll save others of this boring explanation).

I reiterate, Sr. Coutinho, I am a Protestant, I couldn’t care less what the Pope thinks or says, although this new one seems to be a VERY GOOD theologian.

I also repeat, I wanted to give to our Muslim brothers (and sisters?) a portrait of how the rest of the Christian world thinks about the Israeli/American problem. It is clear for us, non-American Christians that the US represents indeed much more a problem than a solution.
Personally, I think i as a Christian have WAY MORE theological similarities with Muslims than Jews, notwithstanding I have no problems whatsoever with the latter. Concerning Israel it’s a different ball game: Israel is today the most racist, aprtheid-er regime in the world, with the blessings and support ofthe US (you certainly knows the Portuguese/Brazilian proverb: Diga-me com quem andas e dir-te-ei quem es= tell me who you hang up with, and I’ll tell you who really you are).

The bottom line here is this: Israel provoked a war with Syria (see Dayan’s declarations); It took what it wanted; It is easy to give back desert, but arable land with water … that’s a different story. Israel feels it is above (international) law. It makes me think if the Sages were not indeed speaking from the heart (the killing rate 1 israeli for each 10 goim [or Arabs] in this case certainly applies).

Being a Christian means giving voice for the voiceless, empowering the poor ans oppressed, so don’t think that because I am a Christian (minister) I have the duty to be abused and like it, on the top of it. Some theology of liberation readings (LAtin American Christian Theology) would do good for those who think this way!

Christ told us to love your enemies… we don’t have to like them!!!!

I just wanted to respond and clarify my position.

Blessings to all in this new year,

Rev. Michel Nahas, filho

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

January 4th, 2007, 12:54 am


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

Post a comment