Moustapha: We know “the Gates of Hell” would open beneath us if we planned a nuke

The Syrian nuke issue remains a "he-said-she said" issue until the photos are made available for public scrutiny.

Interview with Imad Moustapha, Syrian Ambassador to Washington.

The Israelis know very well, and the United States knows absolutely well, that there is no Syrian nuclear program whatsoever. It’s an absolutely blatant lie. And it’s not like they think we have but they’re not sure. They know. Let me be clear about it: Syria has never, ever contemplated acquiring nuclear technology. We are not contemplating it today. We are not contemplating doing this in the future – neither for military nor for civilian purposes.

All I’m saying is that every story that has to do with a Syrian nuclear program is an absolutely false story, full stop. Nothing whatsoever that Syria is doing has to do with nuclear technology for reasons that are simple for anyone to analyze: We are realists. We understand that if Syria even contemplated nuclear technology, then the gates of hell would open on us.

In Syria, we believe that the only way forward is to reach a peace agreement with the Israelis. We are realists. We do understand that the Israelis enjoy military superiority compared to the Syrian capabilities. … We also understand that the Israelis know very well that, despite their sheer military superiority, they cannot impose on us forever their policies of occupation. …

Then what did Israel attack?

Israel attacked a military installation in Syria. This is not unprecedented in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. … It was a military warehouse. …  

I have written three letters to The New York Times telling them: Have you forgotten what you have done prior to the Iraq war, when you published all the fallout stories about the Iraqi WMDs? Don’t you realize that you’re being “Judith Millered” for the second time within five years? I’m trying to tell The New York Times: Look, be careful. Can’t you see that you are being led into extremely dangerous territory? You are accusing a country of doing something it has not even contemplated doing – based on nothing. Based on leaks from Israeli agents who are very happy playing this game.

Photographs Said to Show Israeli Target Inside Syria
By Robin Wright and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 24, 2007; Page A01

Independent experts have pinpointed what they believe to be the Euphrates River site in Syria that was bombed by Israel last month, and satellite imagery of the area shows buildings under construction roughly similar in design to a North Korean reactor capable of producing nuclear material for one bomb a year, the experts say.

Photographs of the site taken before the secret Sept. 6 airstrike depict an isolated compound that includes a tall, boxy structure similar to the type of building used to house a gas-graphite reactor. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, say experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

U.S. and international experts and officials familiar with the site, who were shown the photographs yesterday, said there was a strong and credible possibility that they depict the remote compound that was attacked. Israeli officials and the White House declined to comment.

Addendum: t_desco wrote in the comment section,

"Speaking of picturesSyrian Reactor Update CBS News.

To me it does look similar to the Yongbyon reactor, which is compared in this article:

ISIS Imagery Brief: PDF
Suspect Reactor Construction Site in Eastern Syria: The Site of the September 6 Israeli Raid?
by David Albright and Paul Brannan
October 24, 2007

 'Airburst' tests signal Syrian intentions for missile warheads

WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence has acquired evidence that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has enhanced its nonconventional warheads for the Scud C and Scud D ballistic missiles. Officials said Damascus has developed airburst capability for its ballistic missiles that would enable the warheads to detonate in the air. "Airburst capability would make chemical and biological weapons warheads much more lethal," an official said. Officials said the Syrian military has conducted ballistic missile airburst tests over the last year for both conventional and nonconventional warheads. They said the program was meant to develop a warhead that would explode several hundred meters in the air to allow for maximum distribution of lethal agents. The U.S. intelligence community has been unable to determine the success of Syria's efforts, officials said. But they said the airburst requirement was crucial for Syria's chemical weapons program. Syria has been aided by North Korea and perhaps Iran in developing airburst capability, the officials said. Both countries have established a significant presence in Syria and were facilitating Damascus's ballistic missile and nonconventional weapons programs. The intelligence community has also determined that North Korea was helping Syria advance in its nascent nuclear program. But the community has been divided over the pace of Syrian nuclear development. In July 2007, Israel relayed satellite images to the United States of a building said to be used for Syria's nuclear weapons program. Officials said the Bush administration was divided over the significance of the Israeli intelligence, which led to an Israel Air Force strike on a Syrian military base near the Iraqi border on Sept. 6.

Comments (116)


t_desco said:

Speaking of pictures

Syrian Reactor Update
CBS News

The Google Earth/Ogle Earth link I gave earlier showed the same structure.

To me it does look similar to the Yongbyon reactor.

ISIS Imagery Brief: PDF
Suspect Reactor Construction Site in Eastern Syria: The Site of the September 6 Israeli Raid?
by David Albright and Paul Brannan
October 24, 2007

October 24th, 2007, 4:36 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

The evolution of the Syrian version about the target:

Version A: They didn’t hit anything.

Version B: A military building under construction

Version C: A military warehouse

Version D: (coming soon?)

October 24th, 2007, 5:02 pm

 

Kamal said:

“Iraqi women whose husbands or fathers are dead or wounded from the war are most at risk…”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071024/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_refugees_prostitution

This takes me back to Jordan, where I had the misfortune of hearing coworkers (Jordanian and Palestinian) boasting about sex with teenage Iraqi prostitutes 🙁

October 24th, 2007, 5:31 pm

 

Friend in America said:

Follow the link in T_DESCO’s comment to the ISIS article for photos and the exact reasoning of the ISIS experts. Better than the full news article in the Washington Post.

October 24th, 2007, 5:42 pm

 

farid said:

On October 23, Syrian Ambassador to the US Imad Moustapha spoke at a “roundtable discussion” hosted by the Institute on Religion and Public Policy. With only twenty people in the room, it was an intimate affair. If Moustapha prepared remarks, he did not use them, stating his preference to move directly to Q&A. The presence of two members of the Syrian National Salvation Front went unnoted until near the end of the discussion, when Moustapha acknowledged their presence and declined to take questions from them. However, the Syrian opposition’s presence did not stop the Ambassador from spinning half-lies and misrepresentations. From the looks on the faces of the audience, few found his comments compelling, let alone factual.

October 24th, 2007, 6:03 pm

 

bilal said:

On October 23, Syrian Ambassador to the US Imad Moustapha spoke at a “roundtable discussion” hosted by the Institute on Religion and Public Policy. With only twenty people in the room, it was an intimate affair. If Moustapha prepared remarks, he did not use them, stating his preference to move directly to Q&A. The presence of two members of the Syrian National Salvation Front went unnoted until near the end of the discussion, when Moustapha acknowledged their presence and declined to take questions from them. However, the Syrian opposition’s presence did not stop the Ambassador from spinning half-lies and misrepresentations. From the looks on the faces of the audience, few found his comments compelling, let alone factual.

October 24th, 2007, 6:14 pm

 

Observer said:

This is now an old yarn. Until and unless there is new real information let us move to something more interesting

October 24th, 2007, 6:35 pm

 

Observer said:

This is much more pertinent reading regarding WWIII
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IJ25Ak01.html

October 24th, 2007, 7:09 pm

 

t_desco said:

Well, we now have a picture of a building, we have two nuclear experts saying that it could be a nuclear reactor (“The tall building in the image may
house a reactor under construction and the pump station along the river may have been intended to supply cooling water to the reactor” (my emphasis).). If the building isn’t a Magnox reactor, what else could it be? Will Syria let inspectors/journalists visit the site?

I think the story just became a lot more interesting.

October 24th, 2007, 7:28 pm

 

bilal said:

No Room to Breathe,
State Repression of Human Rights Activism in Syria.

http://hrw.org/reports/2007/syria1007/

October 24th, 2007, 7:43 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

This kind of large square formed building can be anything. From the Google Earth pictures it seems that the building site is rather “ready”. Though the picture resolution is rather low, there seems not to be much building activity. Only a couple of trucks. No houses for workers etc. A nearby water pumping station doesn’t prove anything. The along the river must be tens if not hundreds of pumping stations for the large fields etc along the river.

I would see the target much more likely to be some kind of long range radar station, than a nuclear reactor. Building a nuclear reactor on a hilltop doesn’t seem very clever. A radar station would be an a high spot.

Maybe it was an early warning radar station for Iran, which Israel had to take out before teaching “democracy” in Israeli style to Iranians.

For comparison. Olkiluoto 1000 MW nuclear power station building site lat=61.2359694345, lon=21.43. Even though this nuclear power station is much bigger the building activity of an nuclear reactor is always “intense”.

October 24th, 2007, 8:12 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

T-desco,

Indeed. As I said from day one, why can’t Syria invite the inspectors and reporters to the site to verify the claims. Rather than writing to the NYT three times, the Ambassador could have arranged for this visit instead. If this is a radar station, let us show it to the world and put this issue to rest

October 24th, 2007, 8:14 pm

 

Nour said:

T-Desco and EHSANI2:

There could be a multitude of reasons why Syria wouldn’t want to invite reporters to the site, including the possibility that it is some military building that they do not want to expose. The argument that the mere fact that Syria hasn’t invited reporters to the site automatically renders the nuclear reactor claims more credible is tenuous at best.

October 24th, 2007, 8:28 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

I totally understand why Syria didn’t want to invite reporters to the scene.

They probably didn’t want the world to know that they have a warehouse.

October 24th, 2007, 8:48 pm

 

b said:

Well – the “experts” of ISIS cited in WaPo assert that the Syrian “reactor” is build on a NoKo reactor which they say is of Russian design.

These “experts” (one has a BA in Government and nothing else) miss that Yongbyon is based on a British design with no Russian thingy at all.

Funny experts.

Robon Wright wrote a month ago that the Israeli hit was near the Turkish border. Now she reports that ISIS claims it to be in the middle of Syria but doesn’t explain her prior piece.

Funny reporter.

What is left in the WaPo/ISIS report is a “boxy structure” of the same dimension, except the roof, as a NoKo reactor. Doesn’t that fit the WaPo headquarters too?

Folks – stay serious – this is simply disinformation.
Proving links at http://www.moonofalabama.org/2007/10/smoke-over-syri.html
my place or use Google.

On this very new threat of “airburst ammunition”. Well – Germans and Brits used that against air targets in 1917/18.

Really dangerous new shit the Syrians are developing there ….

October 24th, 2007, 9:04 pm

 

Alex said:

IsraeliGuy said: Edit

I totally understand why Syria didn’t want to invite reporters to the scene.

They probably didn’t want the world to know that they have a warehouse.

lol

: )

October 24th, 2007, 9:06 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Nour,

It could be a military building that they don’t want to expose?

The building has already been identified and hit. Worrying about its exposure does not seem to make sense, does it?

October 24th, 2007, 10:01 pm

 

abraham said:

Sigh. Stupidity. This is the only thing I can think of that would give people the idea that these reports coming out have any credence.

The satellite imagery in the PDF report from ISIS looks suspiciously like those provided by Colin Powell to the UN during his infamous speech in which he showed “proof” of Iraq’s reconstituted WMD program, which ultimately was found to not exist. Credibility of poor resolution satellite photos showing ambiguous buildings and structures that can be interpreted in anyway anyone pleases: 0.

Robin Wright is becoming the Judith Miller of the Washington Post.

October 24th, 2007, 10:10 pm

 

abraham said:

Indeed. As I said from day one, why can’t Syria invite the inspectors and reporters to the site to verify the claims. Rather than writing to the NYT three times, the Ambassador could have arranged for this visit instead. If this is a radar station, let us show it to the world and put this issue to rest.

For reasons similar to why Israel won’t let reporters visit its Dimona site. Though in Israel’s case, we know for a fact that they have nukes.

October 24th, 2007, 10:11 pm

 

t_desco said:

The building is in a small valley, so it probably isn’t a radar station. You can see the entrance of the valley in this picture (and also here), on the other side of the river, behind the bridge. If the picture were taken today, one would see the “pumping station” (or whatever it is).

Yesterday William Arkin wrote that it was “hard to believe that Syria … is stupid enough to think it could build a nuclear reactor and get away with it”. Steve Clemons raises the same question:

“But on a more theoretical level, I guess one question I have is why would Syria even start down that path given all that Iran is now going through. Missile enhancements seems understandable — but this nuke path, if correct, doesn’t make strategic sense.”
The Washington Note

October 24th, 2007, 10:24 pm

 

Nour said:

EHSANI2,

Yes, the Israelis hit something, but they may not be aware exactly what it was that they hit. This happens a lot, where countries do not want to expose military secrets. All I’m saying is that the mere fact that Syrians are not inviting reporters to the site doesn’t mean the target was a nuclear reactor.

October 25th, 2007, 12:00 am

 

EHSANI2 said:

Of course not. But, when others think that it is nuclear inviting international inspectors can go a long way to help you refute the allegations

October 25th, 2007, 12:16 am

 

Alex said:

I don’t usually do this, but there was one word in this story that reminded me of someone who has been using it in every comment on Syria.

Israel pressuring ill Palestinians to be informers, activists say

By Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy Newspapers Wed Oct 24, 4:21 PM ET

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Yasser Hiyya didn’t know why he was always so weak and tired until this summer, when doctors discovered a small hole in his heart. Israel gave Hiyya permission to leave the Gaza Strip last month and cross Israeli territory for immediate surgery in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank .

But when he arrived at the Israeli border crossing, he learned that there was a catch. In a daylong interrogation, Hiyya said, Israeli intelligence offered him a deal: Tell us about your brother, a wanted militant, and we’ll let you enter Israel for the operation you need.

When Hiyya refused, they turned him away.

Human rights groups charge that Hiyya’s case is one of nearly a dozen they’ve documented in which Israelis allegedly have tried to recruit ailing Palestinians as informers in the low-intensity war with the militant Islamic group Hamas .

Since Hamas won control of Gaza in a mid-June military rout of its rival, the secular group Fatah , Israel has worked to isolate the coastal strip and its 1.5 million residents. About the only people allowed out of Gaza these days are Palestinians who need emergency medical care.

Now, the rights groups charge, Israel is trying to turn them into collaborators.

“To prey on the most vulnerable is not only unlawful, it’s also despicable,”

said Fred Abrahams , a researcher at Human Rights Watch who documented some of the Gaza cases. “It’s a slow tightening of the noose, and people are dying.”

Since June, at least five Palestinians have died after being denied permits to leave Gaza for emergency medical treatment, according to Physicians for Human Rights, an Israeli human-rights group that’s working to help patients in Gaza .

October 25th, 2007, 12:17 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

And now that this information is out, we will have a debate in Israel whether it is moral or not. What do we owe our enemies and how to balance assisting people in need and the security of Israel. That is how democratic society works.

In Syria the government does not let any coverage and there is no freedom of speech or press. How can syrian society improve? It can’t. The syrian regime is hiding untold atrocities and human rights violations. Otherwise it would not be so afraid of a free press and free speech. That is a simple equation that everyone understands. Oppressive regimes do not want the truth about them known.

October 25th, 2007, 12:59 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Now back to the reactor.

Can it be a warehouse? Warehouses are built near main roads with easy access. Military warehouses are built inside camps and are not very tall. Obviously, this is not a warehouse. It is isolated and not in a camp.

Radar station? Why build a radar station in a valley and why does it need a water pumping station? Also the Syrians would build a radar station close to the Israeli or Lebanese border or near the sea.

It is clear that the location near the Euphrates river is important. What structures need dedicated pump stations? Certainly not warehouses or radar stations.

All the evidence together shows that the Syrians are lying about what was bombed.

October 25th, 2007, 1:09 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

And why would Syria build a nuclear reactor? Simple, it is not in the interest of Syria but it is in the interest of the regime. Bashar saw the different way the world dealt with North Korea once it had the bomb, and wanted a bomb as an insurance to keep the regime in power. When you have an a-bomb, you virtually have a guarantee against a regime change by force.

Also, it is probably paid for by Iran. The logic is simple. Divide the risk between two countries, and if one gets hit, maybe the other will survive. Again, Asad is overplaying his hand and adopts brinksmanship. But sometimes, when you walk on the edge, you fall off.

October 25th, 2007, 1:19 am

 

Alex said:

Of course .. you did not even have to tell me. Your democratic society is wonderful.

I am just worried about time constrains … you know that you only have 24 hours per day … will you have enough time for all those democratic and constructive debates you will conduct for each of those instances of your people acting in the most racist and savage ways? .. you know there are many other similar cases you will need to debate. Maybe you should have a super-debate? … discuss the root of all these problems … racism …arrogance … over confidence … lots of arms … a mentality of subjugating your environment to meet your wishes by force … and mommy (America) will cover for you every time you commit a crime. … president Bush will not talk about the Palestinians you kill in his weekly press conferences like he always expresses his anger when the despicable Bashar jails a political opponent.

Anyways, that’s not my problem. I just wanted to admit that we Syrians do not have a monopoly on “despicable” behaviors, apparently.

Happy to share most of it with you.

October 25th, 2007, 1:25 am

 

Alex said:

AIG explained the latest news of Israelis killing innocent Palestinians this way:

“In Syria the government does not let any coverage and there is no freedom of speech or press”

Wait a minute … didn’t you teach us that we can not apply the forbidden tactic of “two wrongs make a right”??

October 25th, 2007, 1:37 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

At least we have debates. The problem in Syria is that you cannot have an honest debate, and that is the root of your problems.

Was the US racist in the 1960’s. You bet. But through internal debate and the civil rights movement it got better.

Are there racists in Israel? You bet. And the Israeli press does its best to identify them and expose them. You constantly quote Israeli and Israeli newspapers in your examples. That is how democracies advance.

And that is why Syria is way behind. Without internal debates, how can it advance? How can it become less antisemitic? It can’t. Nobody could write against the blood libel put forward by Tlas. The Jewish community in Syria could not react. The defense minister of Syria accuses Jews of killing Christians and using their blood and nobody can say anything back.

I hope you understand the point. Israel is not perfect. Far from it. But because it is a democracy it is on a path of getting better. Syria is a police state. It cannot have true and honest debates and that is why it barely advances if at all.

It is not only Bush that thinks Bashar is despicable. It is Sarkozy and Merkel and most of the European leaders. They also do not find Olmert and Israel despicable. It is because they see that Israel is doing what is necessarry to protect its citizens, and they would have done the same. What is despicable is hosting terrorist organizations and destablizing your neigbors while oppressing your own people. That is why they don’t like Bashar. Perhpas he and you should start listening.

October 25th, 2007, 1:49 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
If I would have said that Israel is justified in doing what it did because Syria is not a democracy then your criticism would be correct. But I never said Israel is justified. I said this is an issue worth an internal debate. I myself have not made up my mind. Once I know all the facts and hear what others have to say, I will make up my mind. But I certainly do not rule out the possibility that what was done is immoral and not worth the additional security obtained.

Again, this is how democracies work. People get information and debate it. If the government tries to cover up, the press is responsible to uncover it. This is not how police states like Syria work. Therefore, it is not natural to you.

October 25th, 2007, 1:54 am

 

norman said:

To all,( Syrians),
I do not think you should waist your time on AIG , there are many problems in Syria that we can debate and hopefully seek a solution for ,AIG has nothing to offer, so I say ignore him, Isn’t amazing that the people who went through the Holocaust rarely raise their voices to condemn the same racism that put them in ghettos and now they are doing the same to the Palestinians , AIG , remember karma. what goes around comes around. and at that time you will have no friends to protect you , DO NOT CALL ON THE ARABS AT THAT TIME.

October 25th, 2007, 1:57 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

we still do not know the truth yet

October 25th, 2007, 1:57 am

 

norman said:

IT is simple ,

It is a building that it’s final use was not determent and can be a warehouse, a radar station , or a military installation or a future nuclear reactor.

October 25th, 2007, 2:03 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Norman,
Why the pump station then?
What buildings do you know that require pump stations?
Why the isolation? What buildings do you know of that are intentionally isolated?
Why the similarity to the North Korean reactor?
Why the Syrian lies?

And right, soon the europeans will come again to attack us in Israel and the Arabs could be the ones to protect us. As i wrote before, my karma run over my dogma.

October 25th, 2007, 2:09 am

 

why-discuss said:

If the Israelis and Robin Wright are so sure about that ‘nuclear site’ why they just don’t alert IAEA? Until this official and international organization, who is the watchdog of anything having to do with nuclear, is involved , I think these are just are speculations that can be very dangerous because they are being used by the media and the US to demonize Syria and make Israel look smart.

October 25th, 2007, 2:44 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Why,

Let’s say Israel would have given the info to the IAEA, the Syrians would deny and what then? You think Bashar would allow inspections? If he would have, he would have agreed to an inspection now. He doesn’t agree to an inspection now, and he wouldn’t have agreed to an inspection by the IAEA if Israel would have given them the info. So what is the use?

October 25th, 2007, 3:09 am

 

abraham said:

AIG brayed:

And that is why Syria is way behind. Without internal debates, how can it advance? How can it become less antisemitic?

I think it is rather disingenouous to suppose that the reason Syrians do not like Israelis is because they (Israelis) are merely Jewish, rather than the actual reason, which is that they occupy a significant chunk of Syria, and they occupy (brutally) fellow Arabs and steal their land, kill their children, and destroy their homes and orchards with impunity. Especially since most Israelis are actually foreign Western (European or American) transplants. Please refrain from ascribing your own narrow thinking to all Syrians.

We need more honest Israelis like Ilan Pappe.

October 25th, 2007, 3:33 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Interesting comment on Syrian nuclear ambition:
http://beirut2bayside.blogspot.com/2007/10/never-say-never-again.html

And Abraham, accusing the Jews in 1840 of killing Christians and using their blood, has nothing to do with Israel. It is pure antisemitism, and that is what Tlas did and nobody said a word in defense of the Jews in Syria. Calling Jews sons of apes and pigs is also pure antisemitism and nothing to do with Israel. It was done by a Syrian deputy minister.
Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damascus_affair
The part about Tlas is in the end.

October 25th, 2007, 3:45 am

 

Nour said:

First, let’s set something straight. Syria absolutely has the right to have a nuclear program and to possess nuclear weapons. I hope no one is interpreting this debate as one in which we are disputing the right of Syrians to pursue military and technological ambitions. And certainly the Israelis, who possess over 300 nuclear warheads, are in no position to lecture anyone on the right to produce such weapons.

The issue is whether or not Syria did actually have a nuclear program. It is clear from all the articles that the pro-Israel and pro-war crowd are mounting a propaganda campaign to justify an attack on Syria by fabricating evidence of the presence of a nuclear program in Syria. Those were the same people who manufactured intelligence establishing the presence of WMD’s in Iraq in order to justify the brutal attack of that country.

October 25th, 2007, 4:55 am

 

Alex said:

AIG,

“At least we have debates. The problem in Syria is that you cannot have an honest debate, and that is the root of your problems.”

No.

Debates can only go so far … at some point you need to stop debating how to fix the symptoms and you need to face the source of these problems … the fact your country revolves around the IDF and their successes and their superiority to their neighbors’ armies … and the fact your settlers are fanatic and armed … and the fact that many of you hate the Arabs … all will generate one group of violent Israelis after another.

You keep saying: “Why do we care to make peace with Syria .. we’ll wait” … yes, in many ways you can wait … there are those smart Israeli kids who are coming up with the most successful high-tech ideas and there are all the other good and successful Israelis … but there are too many sick ones too … these are indications that you have structural damage, and not only isolated cases.

When we had large numbers of Syrian Jews in he early 90’s …. no Muslim or Christian Syrian would touch them or treat them badly. If we had a fraction of the racism (violent actions, not just talk of a senile defense minister which goes nowhere) that you have … we would have worried. You seem content that “at least we have democracy and we can fix everything that through open debates”

well … you are not succeeding … you might come up with a new procedure for your soldiers patrolling the occupied territories which reduced soldier’s violence, but another violent behavior will take place somewhere else in Israel … until you stop debating the symptoms.

The same thing is happening in Lebanon … you watch Lebanese channels (the Hariri one, the Berri one, the pro Geagea one) … you will hear lots of debate … they are “a democracy” … I love it … much more interesting that watching Syrian television.

But things are not working well in that democracy either … and the solution in not by blaming the Syrian dictators again … it is by admitting that there is a structural problem in that country too… even if no foreign ambassador interferes in Lebanon … the Lebanese democracy will fail.

I met many Lebanese and Israelis and Iranians who participated in wars … they killed many human beings … they called them “enemy” … sadly … the ones I met were sick people … like some of the poor American soldiers who are fighting in Iraq today … tens of thousands of them will come back to live a long life of nightmares, aggression … fears. War and fighting messes up many young people who can not adapt to war.

But .. you are too hooked on your military superiority that you do not want to stop watching your IDF champions win another match every year.

And every “victory” gives you a large number of messed up soldiers who will do something “despicable” that you will continue debating.

October 25th, 2007, 5:36 am

 

Alex said:

You know AIG .. you have a serious problem with information that threaten your perception that Israel is a moral country.

Are you serious? .. you are sill ignoring the fact that Syrians did not treat a single Syrian Jew badly for decades … preferring instead to convince your self that Syria has a serious antisemitism because two ministers in 30 years said something anti-semitic??

When you see info not to your liking you don’t notice it … when you notice it, you don’t read it .. when you read it you don’t understand it .. when you understand it .. you justify it through “yeah but we are a democracy” … and then you erase it from your memory thus living at peace again with your dogmatic belief that Israel is the mother of morality in the Middle East

Here, for the second time, is my answer to your Tlass comments which had nothing to do with Syria’s actual policies towards Jews.

Read AIG, … read and remember, and understand.

Here is the nice collection from Israel’s top political and national leaders .. heir racist words translated into serious actions .. they were not just words like Tlass’s stupidity.

“We must expel Arabs and take their places.” — David Ben Gurion, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”– Golda Meir, statement to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969.

“How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.”– Golda Meir, March 8, 1969.

“This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”– Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971

“We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!”– Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

“[Israel will] create in the course of the next 10 or 20 years conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the west Bank to Jordan. To achieve this we have to come to agreement with King Hussein and not with Yasser Arafat.”– Yitzhak Rabin (a “Prince of Peace” by Clinton’s standards), explaining his method of ethnically cleansing the occupied land without stirring a world outcry. (Quoted in David Shipler in the New York Times, 04/04/1983 citing Meir Cohen’s remarks to the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee on March 16.)

“[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”– Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the ‘Beasts,”‘ New Statesman, June 25, 1982.

“The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized …. Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever.”– Menachem Begin, the day after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine.

“The past leaders of our movement left us a clear message to keep Eretz Israel from the Sea to the River Jordan for future generations, for the mass aliya (=Jewish immigration), and for the Jewish people, all of whom will be gathered into this country.”– Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declares at a Tel Aviv memorial service for former Likud leaders, November 1990. Jerusalem Domestic Radio Service.

“The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It’s that simple.”– Yitzhak Shamir, Maariv, 02/21/1997.

”(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”– Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

“Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”– Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.

“The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. — Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

“If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force….”– Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, quoted in Associated Press, November 16, 2000.

“It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”– Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”– Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.

“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”– Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online.

Let us count how many Israeli top leaders were in this list. Now go out and find me Hafez and Bashar’s racist quotes to continue playing this game.

October 25th, 2007, 5:45 am

 

Nour said:

http://amconmag.com/2007/2007_10_22/article2.html

Phantoms Over Syria

Eveything Israel wants you to know about its secret airstrike

by Philip Giraldi

On Sept. 6, Israeli F-15s and F-16s attacked a site near Dayr az-Zawr in northern Syria, though the strike wasn’t confirmed for nearly two weeks. The Washington Post reported on Sept. 13 that according to a former Israeli official, “it was an attack against a facility capable of making unconventional weapons.” Two days later, Syria had an accomplice: “Israel had recently provided the United States with evidence—known by the code name ‘Orchard,’” the Post reported, “that North Korea has been cooperating with Syria on a nuclear facility.”

Beyond that, details are sketchy—perhaps deliberately so. On Sept. 19, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged the attack, but said it was “too early to discuss this subject.” Pressed at a White House news conference the following day, President Bush twice refused to comment—though he did warn North Korea about selling nuclear weapons or expertise.

American intelligence has been unable to confirm the existence of any Syrian nuclear program, and the Post admitted, “[M]any outside nuclear experts have expressed skepticism that Syria, which has mostly focused on chemical and biological weapons, would be conducting nuclear trade with North Korea.” But facts may not be prime property in this situation.

In the intelligence community, a disinformation operation is a calculated attempt to convince an audience that falsehoods about an adversary are true, either to discredit him or, in an extreme case, to justify military action. When such a campaign is properly conducted, information is leaked to numerous outlets over a period of time, creating the impression of a media consensus that the story is true, as each new report validates earlier ones.

We’ve been here before: the leaking of unreliable information to New York Times reporter Judith Miller was just one example of disinformation used to make the case for the invasion of Iraq. More recently, Iran has been on the receiving end of what appears to be an officially orchestrated but poorly executed disinformation campaign regarding its involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now a new operation—brought to us by the old players—may be unfolding.

A chronology of the case against Syria is revealing, and the role of former UN ambassador and leading neoconservative John Bolton is key. Bolton, now at the American Enterprise Institute, has repeatedly clashed with the intelligence community over the issue of Syrian intentions, most notably in 2002 and 2003 when he was undersecretary of state for arms control. At one point, Bolton was forced to strike from a speech language suggesting that Syria had a nuclear program. On another occasion, Bolton’s judgments on Syria were challenged by Robert Hutchings, director of the National Intelligence Council, who charged that Bolton “took isolated facts and made much more of them … cherry picking … to present the starkest possible case.”

On Aug. 31, one week before the Israeli attack on Syria, Bolton wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that concluded, “We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic-missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched. Whether and to what extent Iran, Syria or others might be ‘safe havens’ for North Korea’s nuclear-weapons development, or may have already benefited from it, must be made clear.” Perhaps this was just good timing. Perhaps it was something more—possibly representing information provided by Bolton’s excellent contacts within the Israeli government.

Comments made by a State Department official on Sept. 14, in the wake of the Israeli attack, bolstered the neoconservative argument that Syria is a serious threat. Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear non-proliferation policy, stated that Syria was on the U.S. nuclear “watch list” and that Damascus “might have” a number of “secret suppliers” from which to obtain nuclear equipment as part of a covert program.

Across the Atlantic, on Sept. 16, the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times of London published an extremely detailed story on the attack that clearly derived from Israeli sources. The piece unambiguously portrayed the bombing as “a successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.” A Sept. 23 follow-up claimed that before the site was bombed, an Israeli commando unit had seized nuclear material, which had been tested and confirmed to be of North Korean origin. A second story headlined “Snatched: Israeli commandos ‘nuclear’ raid” also appearing in the Times on the same day, under the same byline, provided additional details, noting that Syria, Iran, and North Korea now constitute a new “axis of evil.” It also quoted David Schenker, of the neocon Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who described Syria as a “client” of Iran.

On Sept. 18, Bolton resurfaced, telling an Israeli journalist that the United States would stand behind any preemptive attack by Tel Aviv on neighboring countries believed to have nuclear-weapons programs. The Wall Street Journal added a piece by editorial board member Bret Stephens asserting that the bombing in Syria was a reprise of the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor.

By Sept. 21, the Washington Post also appeared to be convinced by the story, featuring a front-page headline “Israel, US Shared Data on Suspected Nuclear Site.” The article stated that Israel provided intelligence to President Bush during the summer indicating that North Korean nuclear experts were in Syria. Bush was reportedly “troubled” by the information. The Post added, citing anonymous sources, that “the United States is believed to have provided Israel with some corroboration of the original intelligence before Israel proceeded with the raid,” but then, farther down in the article, the Post conceded, “The quality of the Israeli intelligence, the extent of North Korean assistance and the seriousness of the Syrian effort are uncertain…” To give the story even greater resonance, leading neoconservative Charles Krauthammer, in his column in the same issue, accepted as fact that Damascus was pursuing nuclear capability and warned that Israel will not accept a “nuclear Syria.”

In the days that followed, the New York Times offered a more measured headline: “Israeli Raid on Syria Fuels Debate on Weapons” and referred to allegations about Syria’s weapons program as “Israel’s private claims,” noting, “American officials have been extremely cautious about endorsing the Israeli conclusion.” Other outlets also picked up the story, but even those that were careful left the impression that Syria was seeking to obtain nuclear weapons, and North Korea was suspected of having supplied materials.

The pieces have a common thread: they rely entirely on information provided by Israeli sources without independent corroboration. And the ongoing play they are getting in the international media, without much critical commentary and without direct attribution to Israel, mark them as classic disinformation.

A review of the sources for the various stories and the descriptions of them reveals a great deal of ambiguity in the claims being made. The frequently cited Andrew Semmel’s apparently damning comments are laced with expressions like “possible,” “may have,” and “may have been.” What Semmel is actually saying is that nearly all of the information he has comes from Israel and cannot be verified. The conveniently anonymous sources who claim to the Washington Post that the U.S. is “believed” to have provided corroboration for Israeli intelligence are clearly unable to state whether it did or didn’t, rendering the comment little more than opinion. The Post editor who crafted the headline asserting that there was a “sharing” of information was disturbingly clueless or deliberately misleading as there was no evidence produced in the article or elsewhere to indicate that any American intelligence agency could confirm the Israeli allegations. Any “sharing” went only in one direction: from Israel to Washington.

Also lost in the shuffle is the fact that Syria has vehemently denied having any nuclear-weapons program, and North Korea isn’t known to have ever exported nuclear technology or material. The prevailing consensus is that Syria does not have an economic or technical base that would enable it to develop a nuclear weapon even if someone handed it the fissile material. The feverish imagination of John Bolton aside, even Syria’s enemies concede that there has been no evidence of nuclear-weapons development. It has but a small Chinese-built research reactor that, by one account, is less capable than those in use at a number of American universities.

There are other reasons that depicting Damascus as the latest nuclear aspirant is suspect. Destroying a weapons facility would scatter traces of radioactive material that could be detected, especially since the attack took place close to the Turkish border. No such evidence has been reported. Also notable is the absence of solid intelligence. If Israel knows conclusively that Syria has a nuclear program, surely it would have made its case in the wake of the Sept. 6 raid. Far from doing so, Tel Aviv has kept a security lid on the incident, suggesting that it would prefer to promote the story of a military success against Damascus without being too specific about the details.

Even the Bush White House, generally willing to use any hint of malfeasance to condemn Damascus and Tehran, has been reluctant to confirm the story. It doesn’t need to. Official silence—narrated by a compliant press taking uncorroborated dictation—is cementing a public impression. That’s the way disinformation works. Done right, no one stops to ask where it came from—or who benefits.
__________________________________________

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, is a partner in Cannistraro Associates, an international security consultancy.

October 25th, 2007, 6:13 am

 

abraham said:

AIG:

accusing the Jews in 1840 of killing Christians and using their blood, has nothing to do with Israel.

You are going back to 1840, 167 years in the past, to an entirely different political era that has nothing to do with the present, to come up with some obscure event in order to justify Israel’s attack 2 months ago? That is so typically zionist. The affair of which you speak is unbelievably irrelevant. Your statement is absurd.

Anything before 1948 is irrelevant, let alone anything that happened over a sesquicentennial ago.

You know, it’s funny that you have to stoop to this level in an attempt to make a point. Pathetic, really. But then, this is all that you have to work with, since your argument has no moral foundation. You are only here to disrupt the conversation by attempting to turn it into a useless debate on semantics and hundreds year old blood libels.

October 25th, 2007, 7:16 am

 

abraham said:

Alex said:

Are you serious? .. you are sill ignoring the fact that Syrians did not treat a single Syrian Jew badly for decades … preferring instead to convince your self that Syria has a serious antisemitism because two ministers in 30 years said something anti-semitic??

I know, and it’s not like Syria has someone like say, Avigdor Lieberman, who weekly calls for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. But you would never hear AIG talk about him, because he’s a contemporary figure, and AIG is only interested in ancient history (i.e. before the sins of the modern state of Israel were committed).

A good day is one in which an innocent Palestinian civilian bystander is not killed by Israel in their 59 year occupation of Palestine, and this creep wants to talk about democracy and morality?

October 25th, 2007, 7:33 am

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy

Will you accept it if Livni says it?

Livni behind closed doors: Iran nukes pose little threat to Israel

By Gidi Weitz and Na’ama Lanski, Haaretz Correspondents

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few months ago in a series of closed discussions that in her opinion that Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel, Haaretz magazine reveals in an article on Livni to be published Friday.

Livni also criticized the exaggerated use that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears. Last week, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy said similar things about Iran.

October 25th, 2007, 8:29 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

Why don’t you take your own advice. You say:
“Debates can only go so far … at some point you need to stop debating how to fix the symptoms and you need to face the source of these problems ”

Everyone agrees that Syria is an oppressive dictatorship. Why don’t you face the source of the problem and do something about it? That is what this whole debate here is about.

You have a deeply mistaken view of Israel and Israeli people and you do quote the leaders out of context. But this is not a blog about Israel. It is about Syria. And let me remind you of the rule: Two wrongs don’t make a right. Even if you think that Israel is racist or what not, it does not change or justify the fact that Syria is deeply antisemitic. Abu Sattar made his despicable comments not in 69 or 82 but in 2005 and 2006 and Tlas wrote a book published in 2002:
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=subjects&Area=antisemitism&ID=SP121706
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=subjects&Area=antisemitism&ID=SP43202

Did anybody say a word in Syria? Did anybody speak out against this blatant racism? No, because there is offcial Syrian antisemitism. It is a policy backed by Bashar. (Abraham, this is something that happened in 2002, not 1840. The blood libel of 1840 was used by Tlas in 2002 as an antisemitic tool and this was supported by the regime in Syria.)

Do you think that if any Israeli leader today said that Palestinians murder Jews and use their blood, or that the Palestinians are apes and pigs, there would not be tons of criticisms of him and he would suffer in elections? Of course that would be the case, because, yes, Israel is a democracy. Do you think this leader would not lose the support of Jews abroad?

But in Syria, nobody says anything. That is the difference. Again, there is racism in Israel, and I am not justifying it. I am just showing you how through public debate, things can get better. I am sure that there are many Syrians that find what Tlas and Sattar write as horrible. But can they say or do anything? No. So what happens? Only the antisemitic view is aired and discussed. It is given legitimacy. That is the problem in Syria. And the problem is made worse when Syrian expats like you still support Basahr and not acknowledge racism in Syria.

And as for Jews in Syria not being harmed in 30 years. Are you kidding? All Jews left as soon as they could because they were living under an oppressive regime. The Jews were denied basic freedoms, so how were they not harmed?

Ha’aretz is entitled to their view about Iran. I have heard Livni speak in public many times about the Iranian issue and I do not find what they report credible. I think the Iranian bomb is an existential issue for Israel as do most Israelis and most experts. Ha’levy said that Israel has ways to deal with the Iranian nuclear project, not that it is not a major problem for Israel. I read carefully what he said.

October 25th, 2007, 11:00 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

And as for how Jews are treated in Syria:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/syrianjews.html

Just one example: When partition was declared in 1947, Arab mobs in Aleppo devastated the 2,500-year-old Jewish community. Scores of Jews were killed and more than 200 homes, shops and synagogues were destroyed. Thousands of Jews illegally fled Syria to go to Israel.

Let people read the full report above and make up their own minds whether the Jews were treated well or not. There were 30,000 Jews in Syria in 48 and less than a hundred now.

According to wikipedia, there are less than 30 Jews living in Syria now:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Syria

Check out the segment called “Recent Times”.

Alex, your stories about how well Syria treats its Jews are just stories. In fact, they were hounded and oppressed until in 60 years the Jewish community in Syria has basically disappeared.

October 25th, 2007, 11:30 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, I don’t know if the Haaretz report regarding Livni is true, but if it is, I hold the opposite opinion.

It’s worth saying that this Israel is not alone here.
The international community (via the UN Security Council) have already put some minor sanctions in place over Iran an now the talk is to toughen them even further.

With further sanctions or without them, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re moving into an inevitable military conflict.

October 25th, 2007, 11:39 am

 

MSK said:

Ya Alex,

do you think that Bashar al-Asad’s support for Turkish military operations inside Iraq against the PKK is good?

I just found myself wondering: What’s the difference between Turkey striking PKK bases in northern Iraq and Israel attacking Palestinian bases in Lebanon/Syria/Jordan?

Palestinians are fighting for their right of selfdetermination. So do the Kurds in Turkey …

–MSK*

October 25th, 2007, 11:40 am

 

abraham said:

AIG, quoting MEMRI does not earn you any points. In fact, it takes them away.

All you have is your conjecture that Bashar Asad is anti-Jewish (surely you mispeak when you say “anti-Semite” since Bashar is himself a Semite?) It is your opinion, not backed by any facts, only your own personal spin and innuendo. Yawn.

As far as hate speech, Israelis and supporters of Israel incite hate against Palestinians on a daily basis worldwide. Just turn on any news channel and wait for a story about Palestine. Avigdor Lieberman calls for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and he’s still in office. That tells you all you need to know about Israeli society and their so-called “democracy” (or rather de-mock-racy).

And once again, Israel is not a democracy. Half of its inhabitants do not have equal rights, including the right to vote. Jews are priveleged over non-Jews. Property of non-Jewish citizens is regularly and arbitrarily confiscated. It is a theocratic police state run by a mafia.

I dare you to challenge anything I write here. Bonus points if you can do it with a straight face.

October 25th, 2007, 11:43 am

 

abraham said:

AIG:

With further sanctions or without them, it’s pretty clear to me that we’re moving into an inevitable military conflict.

Only if Israel has a deathwish.

October 25th, 2007, 11:44 am

 

abraham said:

If the Kurds didn’t throw their lot in with the zionists of Israel then I might have been more prone to support their independence

Not anymore.

October 25th, 2007, 11:45 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Abraham,

As for memri, I will let the readers of this blog look there and decide. Their translations are accurate and the raw material is always referenced so anyone with doubts can always go to the original.

Antisemitism is hatered of jews and not of semites. Just as the word dogma has nothing to do with dog or ma. It is a term coined in the 19th century. So yes, Bashar is an antisemite even if he is a semite. And the people in Aleppo that in 47 murdered the Jews there are antisemites.

The 20% Arabs that are Israeli citizens have full rights under Israeli law. There are Arabs living in the occupied territories and they are not citizens of Israel. Soon I hope they will be citizens of the Jewish state.

Lieberman is not for ethnic cleansing. He is for letting Arabs stay on their land but transferring this land which is now Israel to the future Palestinian state. In principle, Palestinians should support this. In practice, they prefer to be part of Israel because it is democratic, free and economically advanced. That is why they don’t like his plan.

October 25th, 2007, 11:59 am

 

MSK said:

Abraham,

Syria threw in “its lot” with Khomeini at the heyday of his cultural revolution that purged Iran of any dissenter (& who, btw, made an arms deal with Israel). It’s called Realpolitik.

Btw, how did the Kurds “threw in their lot with the Zionists”? In what way? I’m not disputing your claim – I’m just asking for some data.

–MSK*

October 25th, 2007, 12:04 pm

 

Jamal said:

Poor old AIG is being given a hard time here.

I appreciate him staying around and holding up his end of the boxing match. He’s a decent guy and provides a fair fight even though he’s isolated behind enemy lines.

I am willing to read what he says, and respect that he’s hard wired to defend the things he does just as I and others here are hard wired to attack them.

Let’s steer away from personal attacks and keep up the civilized debate.

October 25th, 2007, 12:45 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

In two post above I wrote: Soon I hope they will be citizens of the Jewish state.

I meant of course: Soon I hope they will be citizens of the Palestinian state.

Jamal, I am not hard wired to any ideology. Nor do I feel alone. I know that most Israelis think like me. I also believe that there are also many Syrians that agree with a large percentage of my views but are not comfortable speaking out. But I do sincerely appreciate your call for a civilized debate and will certainly try to keep it that way on my part.

October 25th, 2007, 2:43 pm

 

ausamaa said:

ANOTHERISRELIGUY,

I surely hope that most Israelis DO NOT think like you. If they do, that is why we will never have a solution to “your” problem.

And as far as Israel is concerned, The Good News is that THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE SYRIANS agree on one Fact: Israel is an illigitemate state stolen by bthe Zionists in 1948, but “if” this state shows proper inclination to be integrated into its surrounding, then we might reach an accommodation with them.

However, the BAD NEWS is that Israel had never given any indication that this is a direction that Israel based on its bloody and isensetive and being a willing servant (or instigator) to any Syrian or Arab matter, and based on past and present Israeli practices, they DO STRONGLY BELIEVE that this is not the direction Israel intends or is heading into.

Given the above,,, draw your own conclusions.

If the Turkish people in a recent poll List Israel as their Number ONE Enemy, how do you think the Syrians or other Arabs feel?

Keep preaching…

October 25th, 2007, 3:09 pm

 

Alex said:

MSK,

I would have preferred that Bashar did not have to make a statement on the conflict between Turkey and the PKK… I’m sure that if it were up to him he prefers to, as usual, not make any public statements on sensitive issues.

We discussed the Kurdish situation before, and you found my opinions to be so annoying that you decided not not continue the discussion. So this time I would listen to you. If you were a Syrian citizen (not Kurdish) … what would you like to see in regard to the Kurdish situation and the question of Kurdistan … Given how Syrians feel about the way Iraqi Kurdish leaders (such as their lovely foreign minister) many of them were protected in Damascus for years from Saddam’s threats, now took the side of the neocons against Syria … how do you think most Syrians want Bashar to deal with Kurdish demands?

Also … a wider question: do you think 20 years from now the Middle East will retain its current borders?

As for your comparison between Palestinians fighting for their independence and Kurds fighting for their independence.

I want you to think of this difference: Syria did not kick out millions of Kurds and import in their place “Arabs” from Russia and Ethiopia. Instead, Syria imported, during the past 50 years, tens of thousands of Turkish and Iraqi Kurds… Syria took them as refugees.

If Israel wanted to give all the Palestinians of the west Bank and Gaza the same status and rights like any Jew in Israel … then I would compare your two cases. Syria for decades gave the Kurds their rights just like any Syrian citizen, or you might prefer to say that Kurds had the same limited rights that all Syrians had.

October 25th, 2007, 3:20 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

All Arab states are dictatorships and oppressive regimes. Why would Israel want to be like them? Once you become democracies, we will have something that we can integrate with. And frankly, until there is a democracy in Syria, I don’t care what the Syrians think, I care what Bashar does. When you will have a democracy, I will pay close attention to what you say. But as things stand, Syrian public opinion, whatever it is, does not matter.

October 25th, 2007, 3:22 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Jamal, I salute you for your fairness and for your general approach towards civilized debates.

October 25th, 2007, 4:07 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ausamma states:

I surely hope that most Israelis DO NOT think like you. If they do, that is why we will never have a solution to “your” problem.

Israel’s problems are relatively small, and compared to the problems of Israel’s neighbors, the problems are tiny.

And as far as Israel is concerned, The Good News is that THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE SYRIANS agree on one Fact: Israel is an illigitemate state stolen by bthe Zionists in 1948, but “if” this state shows proper inclination to be integrated into its surrounding, then we might reach an accommodation with them.

We are aware that a few governments still support terrorism (Iran, Syria, etc) and still claim Israel is illegitimate. This is nothing new. Other Arab and Muslim countries have successfully passed and survived that major hurdle, and now they can address the more pressing issues within their respective countries. It is a process of evolution. Some people take longer.

October 25th, 2007, 4:18 pm

 

fadal said:

it is getting funny…believe it or not even the amba does not know what is happening. he is just like us. syria cannot say anything because they know that israelis know what they already know and to know what they know we need to know if they know…soon israel will release real time clip of the incident if syria dared to say come and have a look.

O’ syria, what shall i say?!!!what a disgrace and humiliation mingled with stupidity…..,..

October 25th, 2007, 4:40 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

The 20% Arabs that are Israeli citizens have full rights under Israeli law. There are Arabs living in the occupied territories and they are not citizens of Israel. Soon I hope they will be citizens of the Jewish state.

AIG Israel is as democratic as Iran. Yes they have elections in Iran and basically parties. Both countries are ruled by religion and have religious legislation. In Israel the role of dominant religion is a little better hidden, but in human rights aspects Iran is certainly not worse than Israel. Both countries are as far from real democracy as Syria. The proportion of religious extremists is in Israel certainly not less than in Iran.

Democracy is a much lager thing than elections and parlament. The main criteria of democracy is that people are equal regardless of their religion and race. And both Israel and Iran have serious problems with that basic idea.

The democracy level of Israel and Iran is easily proven. Imagine that EU countries, Canada, Australia, etc would have a similar legislation like they have in Israel or in Iran. What if we in Finland would have an entity like JNF, which would take care that non Christians would not be able to buy land. Certainly Jews and Muslims would not see that as democratic. Yes there are secular Jews in Israel, but the problem is, like in Iran, that the whole system is build on religion and the need of to preserve that religions dominant role.

Stop AIG that your bullshit Israel is democratic and Syria is an oppressive dictatorship. Israel is a racist multi party non democracy and Syria is a one party non democracy, far from the most oppressive dictatorships. Those relative few of us westerns which still see Israel as a real democratic country do not have enough knowledge of Israeli legislation and practices. When they are better aware of the real Haredistan, they change their views. We all know the problems with Arab countries democracy level.

October 25th, 2007, 4:45 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Bashar.. democracy… Bashar… democracy.. Israel is a democratic country … all arab countries are dictatorship.. we are the best. You are unhappy… we are happy .. You should become like us… everybody loves us.. we are so compassionate … we are a success story (said Sarkozy) … Bashar… democracy…
Shall I start again?

October 25th, 2007, 4:45 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Russia’s Dilemma on an Iranian Request
http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tab=wn&scoring=n&q=%22Russia%27s+Dilemma+on+an+Iranian+Request%22

Click on the above link from Google News to read the full Stratfor premium article for free.

October 25th, 2007, 5:31 pm

 

Friend in America said:

Alex raised sveral questions that I have been pondering for several years. One is in 20 years will the boundaries be diffrent? Maybe it is time for adjustments.
Consider Syria and Turkey saying ‘enough with those Kurds – they are more of a problem than they are worth (i.e. contributing to the country economically and politically). So let them go their separate ways and since they will be neighbors, let them go peacefully with a hand of our friendship extended.’ The present Iraqi Kurdish provinces trade with Turkey and Syria extensively and need the friendship of either if not both for access to the sea. If this were to happen, Iran would ultimately follow.
There is a precedent for this. Czechosolvakia divided into the Czeck Republic and Slovakia in this very manner about 20 years ago and today they are primary trade partners with each other. Comments?

October 25th, 2007, 5:43 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Friend in america

Kirkuk, north of Iraq, represents 40% of Iraq oil reserves. It may be annexed after the 2007 referendum ( postponed to 2008) to the Kurdish Regional governement. If then the Kurds secede, Iraq will loose that oil.
In addition, secession will also instigate the Kurds who are more 20% of Turkey’s population to join, that would cause a breakdown of Turkey… so the chances are slim that Kurds will ever have a nation.

October 25th, 2007, 6:12 pm

 

why-discuss said:

SIMOHURTTA

let me point out to you that non-moslem iranians represent 2% of the population, so their democatrical representation , while existing in the parlement, is insignificant compared to Israel 24% non-jews.

October 25th, 2007, 6:19 pm

 

abraham said:

MSK:

Syria threw in “its lot” with Khomeini at the heyday of his cultural revolution that purged Iran of any dissenter (& who, btw, made an arms deal with Israel). It’s called Realpolitik.

I’m glad you brought this up.

Khomeini wasn’t the Shah, who was a blood-sucking ally of Israel and a puppet dictator for the US. Realpolitik was Iran buying weapons from Israel, taking advantage of another stupid power play by idiots within the US government who were acting illegally to fund a war of terror on central America’s indigenous population. By the way, the same guys that brought you the current mess. Why are these people allowed to be recycled by Washington regimes? We need a death sentence for government workers who violate their oath to uphold the constitution. I hope Reagan is burning in hell, that lousy son of a bitch. Anyway, I digress.

But the reason I’m glad you brought this up is because it points out, clear as day, the hypocrisy of Israel. Khomeini’s rhetoric towards Israel was well established by then. If Iran was such a threat, why was Israel transferring weapons to them? It is but one, bald-faced example of Israel’s treachery and hypocrisy, and gives lie to everything they are saying about Iran today.

Btw, how did the Kurds “threw in their lot with the Zionists”? In what way? I’m not disputing your claim – I’m just asking for some data.

The Stab in the Back: Israel plays the Kurdish card – and Americans are caught in the crossfire
http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=2859

Seymour Hersh: Israeli Agents Operating in Iraq, Iran and Syria
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/22/148253

In Kurdistan, Mossad Gets in Washington’s Way
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/printer_092805H.shtml

Israeli agents working in Iraq’s Kurdistan, Iran: report
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmafp/is_200406/ai_n6842282

The Arabs (and Turks) have not been very good to the Kurds historically so it is understandable that they would take any ally they could find to help realize their struggle for self-determination. But when you allow Israeli agents to use your territory as a base for covert operations against Israel’s enemies, I’m sorry but your dreams and aspirations can all be cast into hell for all I care.

Jalal Talabani recently called on the Arab countries to show “Arab solidarity” and support the Kurds against Turkey’s impending attack into northern Iraq. What a insulting joke. Now that Talabani needs help to save his corrupt empire, he wants to call himself Arab? He can go to hell, too.

October 25th, 2007, 6:38 pm

 

Kamal said:

Abraham wrote:

> If the Kurds didn’t throw their lot in with the zionists of
> Israel then I might have been more prone to support their
> independence
>
> Not anymore.

The idiocy and moral vacuity of Arabism is exposed when it comes to Kurdish issues. Switch “Palestine” for “Kurdistan” in any Arabist rant and watch the Arabist reaction shift from self-righteous militancy to indifference or worse, blatant racism and hatred.

This shows Arabists care little for the actual premises (rooted in law, justice and human rights) of the Palestinian Cause and are merely using these principles to cover their tribalism. They defend members of the (mythical) “Arab” tribe and despise other tribes, especially those like the Kurds who have the temerity to resist Arabist hegemony.

Other oppressed minorities languishing under Arabist hegemony are also routinely slandered and demonized as “Zionist sympathizers” including Blacks, Jews, Maronites, Copts and Berbers.

Abraham’s comment, above, is a case in point. This lout makes his support for a people’s human rights and self-determination CONDITIONAL on their leadership’s alleged political alliances. Obviously he knows nothing of human rights, which are “inalienable” by definition. Nor does he care; he is merely in the business of bullying perceived opponents and venting his tribal prejudices in the process. And the sad part is this tribal thug probably considers himself to be quite the progressive thinker. Poor child.

October 25th, 2007, 7:09 pm

 

Alex said:

Friend in America,

Today, most Arabs feel that “borders are sacred”. Everyone is highly suspicious of Israel’s secret strategy to break down Arab countries in to smaller, weaker entities. Many Lebanese are afraid Syria is planning to invade their borders again …

Touching national borders will be disastrous. The kurds have a minute chance of getting Syria and turkey to happily give them parts of their respective territories to form “kurdistan”

But … in 25 years (or in 20 or 40 …whatever it takes) … assuming everyone is over the sensitivity to protecting national borders after Israel gives Arabs back the lands it took by force … then Middle Easterners would be able to stop associating land with dignity and they would be willing to look at creative solutions …

Lebanese might be eager to “unite” with Syria … Jordanians and Israelis … Syrian Iraqi Turkish borders might be practically open … in which case the Kurds can move freely and trade freely with their brothers in the neighboring countries … that might make it irrelevant if they are living in “Kurdistan” or not … they will feel for the first time they are in a virtual Kurdistan that covers all the areas where Kurds are the majority.

This is the least bloody solution for meeting Kurdish aspirations without going all the way and creating a new country over lands taken by force (and total American backing) from all the surrounding countries … we tried that before and it gave us infinite bloodshed … Israel.

One other thing … I have been receiving emails on a regular basis from Assyrian and Chaldean Christian organizations outlining the latest human rights abuses by the Kurds who control northern Iraq now … like beating up Christian activists who complain too much. Kurds deserve to be treated by the Arabs as equal citizens … but they need to understand that they are not really angels themselves….

Again … somewhat like Israel.

October 25th, 2007, 7:11 pm

 

t_desco said:

Madayan accuse el-Qaëda de l’assassinat de Hariri

M. Rafi Madayan, secrétaire général de « la jeunesse de Georges Haoui » (ancien secrétaire général du Parti communiste libanais assassiné à Beyrouth en juin 2005), a tenu hier une conférence de presse au cours de laquelle il a notamment accusé « le fondamentalisme saoudien représenté par el-Qaëda d’avoir commandité l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri et les autres assassinats politiques (perpétrés depuis le retrait syrien), alors que le gouvernement libanais pointe un doigt accusateur en direction de la Syrie ». « L’Arabie saoudite désire-t-elle accuser la Syrie afin de détourner l’attention de tout suspect saoudien ? s’est interrogé M. Madayan. Qu’en est-il en outre des informations faisant état d’un financement libanais visant à mettre sur pied un parti syrien opposant qui œuvrerait à partir du Liban ? » Après avoir demandé à Mme Nazek Hariri d’« intervenir afin de mettre un terme à ce conflit syro-libanais, chiito-sunnite et libano-libanais », M. Madayan a accusé le Mossad d’avoir assassiné Georges Haoui.
L’Orient-Le Jour, Al-Akhbar, As-Safir

October 25th, 2007, 7:19 pm

 

abraham said:

Abraham’s comment, above, is a case in point. This lout makes his support for a people’s human rights and self-determination CONDITIONAL on their leadership’s alleged political alliances. Obviously he knows nothing of human rights, which are “inalienable” by definition. Nor does he care; he is merely in the business of bullying perceived opponents and venting his tribal prejudices in the process. And the sad part is this tribal thug probably considers himself to be quite the progressive thinker. Poor child.

Kamal,

I would take offense to these comments if I didn’t find them to be so ignorant.

I support the right of the Kurdish people to self-determination. However, the Kurdish leadership is working with the zionists to promote Israeli hegemony over the Middle East, and I will not countenance that, in the same manner that I do not countenance Mahmood Abbas’ and Fatah’s treachery and collaboration with Israel to save themselves at the expense of half the Palestinian population.

Your problem is not with me or “Arabism”. It should be with your leadership who are directing your people down a treacherous path.

October 25th, 2007, 7:26 pm

 

Alex said:

That’s right t-Desco … the secretary general of the youth movement of George Haoui … who was one of the “Lebanese martyrs” supposedly assassinated by Syria (god nows why!) … is now publicly accusing the Saudi fundamentalists of killing the Late Hariri and accusing the Mossad of killing his idol, George Haoui.

Last month, Nasrallah committed for the first time publicly, to a clear position … Syria is innocent.

Both men did not do so in the past … they reached this conclusion lately.

T-Desco … if you were forced to bet your reputation and pick the side that ordered Hariri’s assassination and the other Lebanese assassinations … who would you pick today?

You don’t have to answer … that’s not an easy question.

October 25th, 2007, 7:30 pm

 

why-discuss said:

ABRAHAM

The kurds have been betrayed several times in history by europeans who divided the ex-ottoman empire according to their national economical interests and made promises they did not keep. The arabs (and the Turks) have reluctantly accepted the Kurds and have often treated them in unfair ways, as they always and still suspect them of wanting to create their own nation. I am not surprised that the Kurds find a similarity in their destiny with Israel.The Iraqi kurds took the lesson: Stay on the side of the strongest i.e US because they are protected and they can develop economically after years of oppression.
They know very well that the US ‘s support is conditional to their not pushing for a secession that would harm US ally Turkey, but they know that this may or not come some day after they have developped enough strength in their autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.
The danger is that going too far in their alliance with Israel may alienate the arab countries and Iran with whatever consequences this may lead to.

October 25th, 2007, 7:41 pm

 

Nour said:

The problem with the Kurdish issue is that, rather than accept them and help them assimilate into our society, by considering them as equal citizens with equal rights and duties to all others, Arabists tended to look upon them as strangers and “guests” in our land. This led to an alienation of the Kurdish community, which continually felt like it cannot ensure its full rights unless it had its own autonomous region.

The only way to solve this problem without leading to further division and framentation of the countries of the middle east is to stop treating Kurds as foreigners, or as a group distinct from other groups within the nation, and rather grant them citizenship rights equal to all others. The backwards, reactionary mentality of differentiating between groups within a single society has resulted in nothing but disasters, and will continue to do so if an alternate course is not adopted.

October 25th, 2007, 7:58 pm

 

abraham said:

Nour, I agree with most of what you said above. Kurds and Arabs are one in the same, separated only slightly by language. There is no reason for the Kurds to be treated as second class citizens. Arabs should not emulate Israel in that regard.

October 25th, 2007, 8:07 pm

 

ausamaa said:

IS THIS THE POWER THAT SOME ARE COUNTING ON TO BOMB IRAN AND CHANGE “THE REGEIME” IN SYRIA?????? Sounds more someone trying to get the hell out before things get muddier. Sit down with the “neighbours” and work it out. Await the new occupant of the 1600 Penn Avenue and keep your fingures crossed:

US soldiers shy from battle in Iraq
By Dahr Jamail COUNTER PUNCH

WATERTOWN, New York – Iraq war veterans now stationed at a base here in upstate New York say that morale among US soldiers in the country is so poor, many are simply parking their Humvees and pretending to be on patrol, a practice dubbed “search and avoid” missions.

Phil Aliff is an active duty soldier with the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum. He served nearly one year in Iraq from August 2005 to July 2006, in the areas of Abu Ghraib and

Fallujah, both west of Baghdad.

“Morale was incredibly low,” said Aliff, adding that he joined the military because he was raised in a poor family by a single mother and had few other prospects. “Most men in my platoon in Iraq were just in from combat tours in Afghanistan.”

According to Aliff, their mission was to help the Iraqi army “stand up” in the Abu Ghraib area of western Baghdad, but in fact his platoon was doing all the fighting without support from the Iraqis they were supposedly preparing to take control of the security situation.

“I never heard of an Iraqi unit that was able to operate on their own,” said Aliff, who is now a member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). “The only reason we were replaced by an Iraqi army unit was for publicity.”

Aliff said he participated in roughly 300 patrols. “We were hit by so many roadside bombs we became incredibly demoralized, so we decided the only way we wouldn’t be blown up was to avoid driving around all the time.”

“So we would go find an open field and park, and call our base every hour to tell them we were searching for weapons caches in the fields and doing weapons patrols and everything was going fine,” he said, adding, “All our enlisted people became very disenchanted with our chain of command.”

Aliff, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), refused to return to Iraq with his unit, which arrived in Kirkuk two weeks ago. “They’ve already lost a guy, and they are now fostering the sectarian violence by arming the Sunnis while supporting the Shi’ites politically … classic divide and conquer.”

Aliff told Inter Press Service (IPS) he is set to be discharged by the military next month because they claim his PTSD “is untreatable by their doctors”.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking treatment for PTSD increased nearly 70% in the 12 months ending on June 30.

The nearly 50,000 VA-documented PTSD cases greatly exceed the 30,000 military personnel that the Pentagon officially classifies as wounded in both occupations.

VA records show that mental health has become the second-largest area of illness for which veterans of the ongoing occupations are seeking treatment at VA hospitals and clinics. The total number of mental health cases among war veterans increased by 58%; from 63,767 on June 30, 2006, to 100,580 on June 30, 2007, according to the VA.

Other active duty Iraq veterans tell similar stories of disobeying orders so as not to be attacked so frequently.

“We’d go to the end of our patrol route and set up on top of a bridge and use it as an over-watch position,” Eli Wright, also an active duty soldier with the 10th Mountain Division, told IPS. “We would just sit with our binoculars and observe rather than sweep. We’d call in radio checks every hour and say we were doing sweeps.”

Wright added, “It was a common tactic, a lot of people did that. We’d just hang out, listen to music, smoke cigarettes, and pretend.” The 26-year-old medic complained that his unit did not have any armored Humvees during his time in Iraq, where he was stationed in Ramadi, capital of the volatile al-Anbar province.

“We put sandbags on the floors of our vehicles, which had canvas doors,” said Wright, who was in Iraq from September 2003 until September 2004. “By the end of our tour, we were bolting any metal we could find to our Humvees. Everyone was doing this, and we didn’t get armored Humvees in country until after we left.”

Other veterans, like 25-year-old Nathan Lewis, who was in Iraq for the invasion of March 2003 until June of that year while serving in the 214th field artillery brigade, complained of lack of training for what they were ordered to do, in addition to not having armored Humvees for their travels.

“We never got training for a lot of the work we did,” he explained. “We had a white phosphorous mortar round that cooked off in the back of one of our trucks, because we loaded that with some other ammo, and we weren’t trained how to do it the right way.”

The “search and avoid” missions appear to have been commonplace around much of Iraq for years now.

Geoff Millard served nine years in the New York Army National Guard, and was in Iraq from October 2004 until October 2005 working for a general at a Tactical Operation Center.

Millard, also a member of IVAW, said that part of his duties included reporting “significant actions”, or SIGACTS, which is how the US military describes an attack on their forces.

“We had units that never called in SIGACTS,” Millard, who monitored highly volatile areas like Baquba, Tikrit and Samarra, told IPS. “When I was there two years ago, there were at least five companies that never had SIGACTS. I think ‘search and avoids’ have been going on there for a long time.”

Millard told IPS “search and avoid” missions continue today across Iraq. “One of my buddies is in Baghdad right now and we email all the time,” he explained, “He just told me that nearly each day they pull into a parking lot, drink soda and shoot at the cans. They pay Iraqi kids to bring them things and spread the word that they are not doing anything and to please just leave them alone.”

(Inter Press Service)

October 25th, 2007, 8:17 pm

 

ausamaa said:

Some sober Remarks to some un-sober people:

http://www.defense-and-society.org/fcs/sideshow_in_the_desert.htm

Sideshow in the Desert

Adam Elkus

Special to Defense and the National Interest
October 22, 2007

Strike Against Syria

Between September 5 and 6, Israel launched an airstrike, possibly aided by special forces on the ground, on Syria. Though details remain sketchy, there has been much speculation on whether the target of the strike was weapons bound for Hezbollah, nuclear components from North Korea, or Scud missiles. Whatever the target, the aim seems clear. As the Christian Science Monitor reported, Israel’s military decision-makers intended the strike as a signal to Iran and other enemies that Israel’s deterrence, devalued by its humiliating loss to Hezbollah in the August 2006 Lebanon war, “has been restored.” However, the strike does not demonstrate strength. It is only more evidence of Israel’s reliance on high-tech firepower that will not deal with graver threats to its security.

It is true that the strike – and the failure of the Arabs to criticize it – once again demonstrates that Israel has the most powerful military force in the Middle East, with the exception of the US forces massed in the Persian gulf. Iran will take note, as it always has, of this. But an Iranian nuclear strike is not the biggest threat to Israeli security. The view of some Israeli opinion-makers like Benny Morris that Iran will attack Israel with nuclear missiles out of pure hatred for the Jews is far-fetched.

Target: Iran?

For one, the International Atomic Energy Agency has not found any evidence of military use of Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear facilities. If Iran is in fact making a play for nuclear weapons, their purpose would be to counterbalance conventional US air, naval, and ground power deployed in the Persian Gulf and Afghan theaters. It would also aid Iran’s quest to project its power across the Mideast. Lastly, it would shore up Iran’s embattled clerical regime by appealing to Iranian national pride at having joined the nuclear club. None of those objectives would be accomplished by a suicidal nuclear attack that would lead to massive retaliation by Israeli strategic nuclear forces and American conventional airpower. Those who claim that Iran cannot be deterred have done nothing to prove their assertions. Instead, they recite doomsday fantasies of mad mullahs that have little basis in reality. The real threats to Israel lie elsewhere and cannot be defeated by sophisticated firepower.

The Real Threats to Israel

Israel’s northern frontier remains a source of disorder, with Hezbollah ruling an effective autonomous zone inside South Lebanon. As demonstrated during the August 2006 Lebanon war, Hezbollah’s mobile rocket teams can target Israeli territory and mostly elude Israeli retaliation. Israel’s targeting of civilian infrastructure during that war has also bolstered Hezbollah’s position by weakening the Lebanese government and allowing the predominately Shiite Hezbollah to claim it represents the Lebanese national interest. Hezbollah and its allies within the Christian community (led by Michael Aoun) are engaged in a face-off with a coalition of Sunni Muslims, Druze, and marginal Christian factions for control of the Lebanese government, a situation that could possibly degenerate into civil war.

Needless to say, history has shown that such a development would be detrimental to Israeli national security. War with Syria also remains a possibility, due to continuing poor relations. In the event of war, Damascus’s aging Soviet hardware would not pose a serious threat to Israeli forces, but the regime could conceivably employ commando teams, ballistic missiles possibly armed with chemical weapons, newly acquired anti-tank weapons, and guerrilla networks in an attempt to draw out such a conflict until the Israeli public loses the will to win. Yet, as Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) fellow Anthony H. Cordesman noted in a report on Syrian military capabilities, Damascus’ asymmetric capabilities would be little than an “irritant” in the face of vastly superior Israeli firepower.

In any case, the consequences from such a war would be bad for Israel. A limited war, the most likely outcome, would humiliate and radicalize the Syrian regime. The main consequence of this would be speeding up Syria’s ongoing project to develop a surefire means of deterring Israel with weapons of mass destruction. Syria already may be arming its Scud missiles for long-range chemical weapon delivery. If Syria really has been developing a nuclear capability defeat will not halt such a process. Additionally, as Cordesman also argues, Israel has nothing to gain by occupying more Syrian territory.

Israel also has borne some of the brunt of the disastrous American failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fall of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban and the failure to put stable governments in the gaps has increased Iranian political and military power, triggering a struggle for influence between Iran and a coalition of Sunni states – again, not a good outcome for Israeli regional security. Should a joint Euro-American strike or an Israeli strike be launched against Iran’s nuclear facilities and armed forces, Tehran will retaliate against pro-Western interests with a range of lethal options. Iran could retaliate with naval asymmetric warfare against vulnerable oil shipping routes in the Persian Gulf and ballistic missile attacks against American allies. Additionally, Iran could also call up a multitude of guerrilla and terrorist proxies. American, Israeli, and European saber-rattling against Iran has not served to deter its behavior; it has only empowered hardliners and marginalized the already vestigial Iranian moderate opposition.

Finally, Israel faces a grave threat from within – a threat worsened by its own counter-productive actions. The Israeli-American strategy of marginalizing Hamas and backing the unpopular and corrupt Fatah has led to open Palestinian civil war and humanitarian disaster in Gaza, which has now been cut off from electricity and fuel and declared a “hostile entity” by the Israeli government. Israel has also carried out a strategy of targeted assassinations and limited military incursions within Gaza in the hopes of undermining Hamas and deterring its frequent rocket attacks.

Israel and the Bush administration hope that by doing this they can marginalize Hamas and elevate Fatah. However, Gazans blame Israel, not Hamas, for cutting off water and fuel. Without the support of the Palestinian population, Israel will not be able to neutralize the rocket teams. And Fatah – already unpopular due to its corruption and authoritarianism – has been tainted by its association with Israel and America. In any case, it will be hard to cut a deal with a party in control of only half the Palestinian territories. Should Hamas perceive such a deal as illegitimate, it would be easy for them to spoil it with a few well-timed rocket or suicide attacks. There is also a danger that the dismal conditions within Gaza will lead to further Palestinian radicalization, playing into the hands of Al-Qaeda strategists who have sought in vain to open a new front in their war against the West.

These threats are ultimately more dangerous to Israel than a hypothetical Iranian nuclear strike that will most likely never come. And as the 2006 Lebanon war proved, recycled versions of American military “shock and awe” doctrine will not protect Israel from its enemies. Expensive and flashy sideshows in the Syrian desert may delight defense contractors but have no real impact on improving Israeli security. Israel’s conventional military forces can deter invasion by Arab states and prevent an Iranian nuclear-strike. But they lack the capability to wage counterinsurgency warfare and the means to solve the mainly political problems that Israel faces.

An Imperative for Survival

What the Syrian strike instead demonstrates is a lethal combination of arrogance and weakness. Like the United States, Israel has a powerful military and national security state. And like the United States, it has found out the hard way that such power no longer offers protection. Israel would be better served by a strategy that aims to reduce tension with Syria, stop saber-rattling against Iran, cease the counter-productive isolation of Hamas, and work to conclude a genuine peace with the Palestinians.

Most importantly, Israeli decision makers must recognize that their national interests are not served by defining themselves as Washington’s proxy in the region. Recent Israeli security policies, most notably the invasion of Lebanon, were strongly supported by neoconservatives. With the US tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, they see Israel as a tool that could possibly complete the stillborn Bush administration agenda of Middle Eastern transformation. That agenda, however, empowers the very same terrorists that pose the most threat to Israeli security. And however much the neoconservatives may claim to love Israel, they do not have to live with the consequences of Middle Eastern instability. The writers of National Review and Commentary face down rude servers in Washington restaurants, not suicide bombers and rockets.

October 25th, 2007, 8:23 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,
Please stop your blatant lies. This is from the introduction about Israel in wikipedia:
Unlike most countries in the Middle East, Israel is a liberal democracy[10][11] and a developed country.[12] In the region, Israel is the least corrupt,[13] and the most progressive in terms of freedom of the press,[14] economic competition,[15] and human development.[16]

The full article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel

As you can see, the passage is fully referenced so the sources for all these facts are available in the article and can easily be followed. Furthermore, this is not a “contested” wikipedia article. So please, stop lying. Israel is a liberal democracy, and Syria is a police state. These are the facts even if they are inconvenient for your antisemitic theories.

October 25th, 2007, 8:23 pm

 

Jamal said:

Hey c’mon, AIG, you wrote: “I do sincerely appreciate your call for a civilized debate and will certainly try to keep it that way on my part.”

Your hardwiring is crackling with sparks.

You have an informed view – let’s hear it without reference to lying and antisementic theories. And Simo, appreciate the fact that an Israeli is willing to engage you and do better than declare it’s “bullshit”

October 25th, 2007, 8:32 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Alex
may I suggest that you limit the number of comments by any one to less than 30 per artlce

October 25th, 2007, 8:37 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Jamal,

If a person has racist theories, I will point it out. That is still part of civilized discourse.

October 25th, 2007, 8:43 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

إسرائيل تقرر خفض إمدادات الكهرباء والوقود لغزة

Israel is worst than nazi Germany, they are doing Holocaust against the palastinian

October 25th, 2007, 8:59 pm

 

t_desco said:

No building left:

Satellite Photos Show Cleansing of Suspect Syrian Site

New commercial satellite photos show that a Syrian site believed to have been attacked by Israel last month no longer bears any obvious traces of what some analysts said appeared to have been a partly built nuclear reactor.

Two photos, taken Wednesday from space by rival companies, show the site near the Euphrates River to have been wiped clean since August, when imagery showed a tall square building there measuring about 150 feet on a side.

The Syrians reported an attack by Israel in early September; the Israelis have not confirmed that. Senior Syrian officials continue to deny that a nuclear reactor was under construction, insisting that Israel hit a largely empty military warehouse.

But the images, federal and private analysts say, suggest that the Syrian authorities rushed to dismantle the facility after the strike, calling it a tacit admission of guilt.

“It’s a magic act — here today, gone tomorrow,” said a senior intelligence official. “It doesn’t lower suspicions, it raises them. This was not a long-term decommissioning of a building, which can take a year. It was speedy. It’s incredible that they could have gone to that effort to make something go away.”

Any attempt by Syrian authorities to clean up the site would make it difficult, if not impossible, for international weapons inspectors to determine that exact nature of the activity there. Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna have said they hoped to analyze the satellite images and ultimately inspect the site in person. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that released a report on the Syrian site earlier this week, said the expurgation of the building was inherently suspicious.

“It looks like Syria is trying to hide something and destroy the evidence of some activity,” Mr. Albright said in an interview. “But it won’t work. Syria has got to answer questions about what it was doing.”

The striking difference in the satellite photos surprised even some outside experts who were skeptical that Syria might be developing a nuclear program.

“It’s clearly very suspicious,” said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the Center for American Progress in Washington. “The Syrians were up to something that they clearly didn’t want the world to know about.”

Mr. Cirincione said the photographic evidence “tilts toward a nuclear program,” but does not prove that Syria was building a reactor. Besides, he said, even if it was developing a nuclear program, Syria would be years away from being operational, and thus not an imminent threat.

Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, declined to comment on the satellite pictures.

The satellite images of the Syrian site were taken by DigitalGlobe, in Longmont, Colo., and SPOT Image Corporation, in Chantilly, Va. They show just a smooth, unfurrowed area where the large building once stood.

The desolate Syrian site is located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River some 90 miles north of the Iraqi border and seven miles north of the desert village of At Tibnah. An airfield lies nearby. The new images reveal that the tall building is gone but still show a secondary structure and a pumping station on the Euphrates. Reactors need water for cooling.

The purported reactor at the site is believed to be modeled on a North Korean model, which uses buildings a few feet longer on each side than the Syrian building that vanished.

Mr. Albright called the Syrian site “consistent with being a North Korean reactor design.” Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States, said in an interview last week with The Dallas Morning News denied that his country was trying to build a reactor.

“There is no Syrian nuclear program whatsoever,” he said. “It’s an absolutely blatant lie.”

Later in the interview, he said, “ We understand that if Syria even contemplated nuclear technology, then the gates of hell would open on us.”
New York Times

October 25th, 2007, 9:22 pm

 

t_desco said:

Alex,

I think that it is possible that Zarqawi ordered the assassination, based on the link discovered by Nibras Kazimi. Having said that, the testimony by Faisal Akbar is not without problems. I am planning to write about it and the “cell of 13” (and also about Fatah al-Islam as both are linked to the Dinniyeh group), but I am kind of hoping that Nibras Kazimi will comment on the contradictions between the various testimonies which I find rather confusing. It is regrettable that there is not more discussion about this.

October 25th, 2007, 9:52 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Sim,
Please stop your blatant lies. This is from the introduction about Israel in wikipedia:
Unlike most countries in the Middle East, Israel is a liberal democracy[10][11] and a developed country.[12] In the region, Israel is the least corrupt,[13] and the most progressive in terms of freedom of the press,[14] economic competition,[15] and human development.[16]

On Cheshvan 13, 5768

Well AIG. Do you really claim that Israel is a liberal democracy because Wikipedia says so? Come-on. What is liberal with JNF and all those other religious practices there. If Israel would be liberal democracy there would be no religious laws and religious / racial discrimination made possible by laws. Well, the Law of Return is really “liberal”, mildly said. Jews can “return” others not. Liberal and secular indeed.

If Israel would be located in Central Africa AIG the Israel’s ranking result would be even better. 🙂

By the way what is anti Semitic or racist in trying to compare Israel’s and Iran’s systems? Both countries are ruled using religion. That is no lie that is a fact. Most Jews admit that Israel is a Jewish state, and even Wikipeadia mentions that in the first paragraph. Judaism isn’t that a religion?

October 25th, 2007, 9:55 pm

 

Peter H said:

AIG’s defense of Avigdor Lieberman is ridiculous. I agree that Arab-Palestinian Israelis prefer the relative prosperity & freedom of Israel to a chaotic & corrupt Palestinian Authority, but another reason they resist his proposals is the basic racism of it. No American politican would even think of advocating transferring portions of California, Texas & Arizona to Mexico so that America could deal with its “Hispanic problem” and preserve its “White Anglo-Saxon character. Not even Pat Buchanan has proposed anything remotely like that. By the way, in regards to AIG’s assertion that Lieberman does not advocate ethnic cleansing, this is what Lieberman told an Arabic newspaper in Israel:

“I certainly still believe that we should prepare a plan for expelling the Arabs who live in the State of Israel – those who do not recognize their obligations. Transfer also applies to those who do not recognize the state as a Jewish and Zionist state and do not recognize Hatikva as their national anthem – we don’t need them and we should expel them. Those who do recognize this – then there is no difference between them and I in terms of rights. It also depends on meeting all the obligations, including joining the Israeli army. My [Knesset] faction recently tabled the proposed Compulsory Recruitment Law relating to the Israeli Arabs, and we will do everything we can to implement this law. People who want all the rights have to meet the obligations.”

October 25th, 2007, 10:22 pm

 

Peter H said:

Yes, Arab Israelis (actually, the accurate term is “Palestinian Israelis”, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll use the more common term) have more political rights & economic prosperity than other Arabs, but compared to Israeli Jews, they are vastly unequal. Among the issue identified by the Arab Association for Human Rights, an Israeli Arab group:

Discrimination in the Israeli Law:
“Despite Israel’s ratification of the ICCPR and its guarantee to protect all of its citizens against discrimination, Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel are discriminated against in a variety of forms and denied equal individual rights because of their national belonging. Though this discrimination is politically motivated, the Israeli legal system is part of this political context. As well as offering limited provisions for equality or political participation to members of the Palestinian Arab minority, the law in Israel subjects them to three types of discrimination: direct discimination against non-Jews within the law itself, indirect discrimination through “neutral” laws and criteria which apply principally to Palestinians, and institutional discrimination through a legal framework that facilitates a systematic pattern of privileges.”

Land and Planning Policy:
“In 1948, the Palestinian Arab community owned and used most of the land within the State of Israel. Today it owns less than 3% of these lands. Palestinian Arab citizens ability to own or use the rest is severely restricted by a series of discriminatory laws and practices which are detailed below.”

Bedouins:
“Today approximately 110,000 Arab Bedouin live in the Negev, half in the poorest recognised localities in Israel. The other half of the Bedouin population lives in villages unrecognised by the state. They are denied all forms of basic services and infrastructure, and are unable to build or develop their communities in any way.”

UnreocognizedVillages:
There are over 100 Palestinian Arab villages1 in Israel that the government does not recognise officially. Over 70,000 Palestinian Arab citizens live in villages that are threatened with destruction, prevented from development and are not shown on any map. Despite the fact that most of the “unrecognised villages” existed before the establishment of Israel, state policy considers their inhabitants as lawbreakers. It prevents them from repairing existing homes or building new ones; withholds basic rights, such as drinking water and health clinics; and in certain cases even fences off whole villages. These measures coincide with a wider policy of concentrating Palestinian Arabs and “redeeming” their lands for new Jewish mitzpim settlements. Many of these settlements are built next to their unrecognised neighbours, often illegally, yet with a complete provision of services.”

By the way, this is not the mention that Israel only maintains its Jewish character by preventing Palestinian refugees by exercising their right of return.

October 25th, 2007, 10:24 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,

Israel is a liberal democracy not because wikipedia says so, because of the references it sites in saying so.

I think your problem is that you view Judaism as a religion while most Jews understand it as a nation that has special customs. The Jews were one of the tribes of the middle east that had a special way of life, like most other tribes that had special customs. These special customs are what we call now “religion”. Being part of the tribe meant living a certain way and living a certain way meant you were part of the tribe. Nation and religion were one and the same.

Judaism is not solely a religion. It is nation. I view myself as part of the Jewish nation, just as an Hungarian is part of the Hungarian nation and a Serb is part of the Serb nation. The homeland of the Jewish nation is Israel. Therefore, allowing any Jew to come to Israel makes sense, just as allowing any Hungarian to come to Hungary makes sense.

A Jew, like a Syrian can live of course abroad, in the US for example. Then he becomes part of two nations. Both American and Jewish or both American and Syrian.

As for the Arabs living in Israel. They are not part of the Jewish nation but they are Israelis. Having worked with Finnish companies I know for a fact that there is a sizable Swedish minority in Finland. The consider themselves of the Swedish nation even though they are Finnish citizens. I hope you are starting to get the picture.

And because becoming a Jew means joining a nation, conversion is a difficult process in which the convert needs to show that he is committed to tying his fate to the fate of the Jews. It is not converting to a religion, it is more like joining a tribe. It means studying Hebrew and the customs and living under rabbinical supervision for months. It is not for the faint of heart or for people that are not serious.

So yes, the law of return is liberal and in fact is parallel to laws that can be found all over the world.

October 25th, 2007, 10:24 pm

 

Peter H said:

SimoHurtta,

Judaism is a religion, but Jews are also an ethno-national group. It’s more accurate to call Israel an “ethnocracy” than a “theocracy”. The issue is not freedom of religion in Israel; it’s the fact that Jews have more rights and privileges than the indigenous Palestinian population.

I do agree with AIG that anti-semitism is rife in Syria & other parts of the Arab/Muslim world. This is a largely a product of the Zionist-Arab conflict, but it doesn’t make it right. I absolutely believe that there is a legitimate distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, but that doesn’t mean anti-Semitism isn’t a problem. If anything, Arabs should take pains to confront anti-Jewish attitudes to show that anti-Zionism does not equate to being anti-Jewish.

October 25th, 2007, 10:30 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG, Akbar,

I will ask you to please stop accusing anyone of being an anti Semite. We are sick of hearing that word … this is not the place where you will expose violent antisemitic Arabs … most of us here have graduate degrees, are successful in business, respected by our friends and colleagues, secular enough and reasonable enough.

ALL of us want peace with Israel based on UN resolutions 242 and 338.

I rarely come across a real anti-semitic comment. This week there was one rude comment by someone who was not a fan of yours, and I removed the rude parts.

So I will have to tell everyone here who repeats personal opinions and accusations many times in a short period of time that I will be removing those comments.

I will leave a note to let you know that I removed them. If you don’t see your latest comment and there is no note from me (explaining why I removed your comment) then the anti spam filter removed it. In that case please send me an email and I will search the spam folder to restore your comment.

Akbar and AIG:

– Supporter of terror, Antisemitic, and Madrasa references need to be retired. After reading them a million times this month I think we all understand your personal opinion … not to mention that it is very rude to label decent people with such ugly accusations.

Dogmatic comments like “despicable murderous Syrian dictator is to blame for everything” might also be removed. Very few were balanced enough to be worth reading. The rest were pathetic. I will only keep intelligent comments … repeated statements in support of moral values (Human rights) are wonderful. We will be happy to hear them once or twice … but chanting them non-stop is better left for when you join an anti dictatorship rally in the park, not here.

Most people here do not feel you are qualified to teach them lessons in morality. It becomes a counterproductive exercise almost every time you started those lectures.

The others:

– Same rules apply. Initiating personal accusations against our Israeli commentators will also not be welcome. You can criticize Israel of course, but no need for repeating the same points … especially in the same discussion topic. I will remove comments which have been repeated by the same person more than once already.

At some point it is obvious that each side made his best case … that would be the time to decide to agree to disagree, then move to other issues.

Let us go back to sharing new articles, commenting on them, and preferably suggesting solutions and discussing others’ solutions.

Of course we won’t have 200+ comments per topic, but we can manage with 50-100 comments.

October 25th, 2007, 10:44 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex speaks –

I will ask you to please stop accusing anyone of being an anti Semite. We are sick of hearing that word … this is not the place where you will expose violent antisemitic Arabs …

Alex,

Are YOU in denial?? Didn’t YOU say you were a Hamas supporter?

I’m not sure if you know this, but Hamas is a VERY anti-semitic and a VERY violent Arab terrorist organization.

What do you think would be the best psychological diagnosis to describe your condition? “Dual Personality”?

We had this little discussion last week. Deja-vu perhaps?:

First, our Finnish friend compares Israel to Nazi Germany:

Well if you can call me an anti-Semite then you certainly are not offended when I call you and people like you modern time Nazis. You believe in religious/racial supremacy, you support occupation and the bad treatment of the slave races etc. Just like Nazis did. What is the difference in creating ghetto to Warsaw or to Gaza and West Bank? Nothing.

Then we have our resident psychologist doing what he does best:

Taking up for him:

Sim is not a bad antisemite, YOU are a bad Jew.

Thou shalt not murder
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.

Stop wrapping your violent aggressive and selfish attitudes with beautiful words like “Democracy”.

Anyone who tried to tell you that you are wrong, you call him an antisemite.

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=434#comments

Alex,

We, as human beings, have to take responsibility for what we say and what we write. No one is exempt from that.

That is why I take issue with a number of participants here.

That is also why I applaude a number of other participants here, especially Bashmann.

I am mature enough to tell someone they are wrong without accusing them of being an anti-semite. I am also responsible enough to call a person who equates Nazi Germany to Israel an anti-semite.

Now, in terms of the “rules” of this forum, I do not know what the rules are, who has the ability to enforce them, etc. So far, Professor Josh has seemed to leave the forum out of the grasp of the censors. But whatever the case may be, I will post my observations the way I see them for as long as the owners of this forum allow.

October 25th, 2007, 11:47 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
Let’s be clear what anisemitism is:
1) Attacking and murdering the Jews of Allepo who have been living there for centuries because the UN approved the partition plan is antisemitism.
2) Reducing a thriving community of 30,000 Syrian Jews in 48 to less than 30 old men now is state sponsored antisemitism.
3) Abu-Sattar calling Jews sons of apes and pigs is antisemitism
4) Tlas claiming in 2002 that in 1840 Damscus Jews murdered a Christian priest to use his blood in rituals is antisemitism.
5) Holding Jews to standards that you don’t expect from yourself is antisemitism.
6) Generalizing about Jews is antisemitism.

What is not:
1) The way Human rights watch criticizes Israel is not antisemitism. They hold everybody to the same high standard.
2) Criticizing Israeli foreign policy or Israel is not antisemitism BUT criticizing Israel for what is a world accepted norm is holding Jews to higher standards and is antisemitism.

October 26th, 2007, 1:11 am

 

abraham said:

With regards to “anti-Semitism”, I wrote a response that didn’t get saved for some reason, so I’ll try again.

AIG’s definition of “anti-Semitism” is preposterous. He is particularly annoying because he’s trying to give English lessons to native English speakers when he apparently is not, and it is obvious he does not even understand Latin roots. No matter what 19th century definition was applied to “anti-Semite”, the fact is that it can refer to Jews (and I would go further and say it should apply only to Jews indigenous to the Middle East) or Arabs. Furthermore, the indigenous Palestinian population are in fact Semites, as are the indigenous Jews, whereas the European and American Jews who illegally immigrated into Palestine are not. They are European.

Perhaps you should adopt “Judenhass” instead, since it embodies all the historical nuance that brought us to the situation in which we find ourselves today. Anti-Jew also suffices, and is more accurate.

Finally, I say that the true anti-Semites are zionists: they have developed a false narrative based on a purloined history of the Palestinians that they claim as their own; they stole Palestinian land and drove out the inhabitants and subjugated those that remained; and they defame the Palestinians with a blood libel, labeling them all as blood-thirsty terrorists hell-bent on destroying the Jews for no other reason than that they are Jewish. All this while making illegitimate claims to Palestine, denying the ethnic cleansing they carried out in 1948, and trying to convince the world that they are in fact the victim and that there is no occupation.

The Palestinians, Semites all of them, are the aggrieved party, and one day the zionists, the anti-Semites, will be held to account.

October 26th, 2007, 1:15 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

From wikipedia:
Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed at Jews. While the term’s etymology may imply that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, it is in practice used exclusively to refer to hostility towards Jews as a religious, racial, or ethnic group.[1][2]

Check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism

Got it? Antisemitism is ONLY hatered of Jews. That is what the word means.

Not convinced, try webster online:
http://www.webster.com/dictionary/antisemitism

Not yet convinced? Try dictionary.com:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anti-Semitism

Not yet? Try Britannica:
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9007807/anti-Semitism

Still not convinced? You are beyond all help.

October 26th, 2007, 2:04 am

 

abraham said:

AIG, I don’t care what any dictionary says. If zionists can play semantic games, so can I. The literal definition of the word allows me to use it in any context I choose.

The entire zionist enterprise is one big game of shifting semantics. Why do you get so angry when others play your own game?

But I’ll humor you. Let’s look at your definitons:

Wikipedia:

The term Semite refers broadly to speakers of a language group which includes both Arabs and Jews.

In recent decades some groups have argued that the term should be extended to include prejudice against Arabs or Anti-Arabism, in the context of answering accusations of Arab antisemitism; further, some, including the Islamic Association of Palestine, have argued that this implies that Arabs cannot, by definition, be antisemitic. The argument runs that since the Semitic language family includes Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic languages and the historical term “Semite” refers to all those who consider themselves descendants of the Biblical Shem, “anti-Semitism” should be likewise inclusive.

This entry includes excerpts plagiarized from other sources, such as the ones below, which are more instructive.

dictionary.reference.com (in part):

1881, from Ger. Antisemitismus, first used by Wilhelm Marr in 1880, from anti- + Semite (q.v.). Not etymologically restricted to anti-Jewish theories, actions or policies, but almost always used in this sense. Those who object to the inaccuracy of the term might try H. Adler’s Judaeophobia (1882).

There you go, Judeophobia is another alternative for you to adopt.

Britannica:

Although this term now has wide currency, it is a misnomer, since it implies a discrimination against all Semites. Arabs and other peoples are also Semites, and yet they are not the targets of anti-Semitism as it is usually understood. The term is especially inappropriate as a label for the anti-Jewish prejudices, statements, or actions of Arabs or other Semites. Nazi anti-Semitism, which culminated in the Holocaust, had a racist dimension in that it targeted Jews because of their supposed biological characteristics—even those who had themselves converted to other religions or whose parents were converts.

This is the most informative definition, as it is also the most credible.

Henceforth, as far as I’m concerned, Palestinians are Semites, and zionists are anti-Semites, by definition. I am wresting this word from you since zionists have abused it to the point of making it meaningless, and therefore have surrendered their right to claim sole ownership of it.

October 26th, 2007, 2:23 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

What more do you want than: Arabs and other peoples are also Semites, and yet they are not the targets of anti-Semitism as it is usually understood.

You want to invent a language of your own, be my guest.

Since you and I don’t speak the same language, when you read my posts, change antisemitic to Judaeophobic in your head. There, we are all set. As for all others that don’t invent languages of their own, they will understand what I mean.

October 26th, 2007, 2:31 am

 

abraham said:

Oh, I understand fully what you mean. I just don’t agree with your semantics.

And it’s quite silly for Israelis to accuse anyone of inventing their own language when they are masters of the art. For example, Israelis have twisted the word “terrorism” to mean, “anyone who lives on the other side of the security fence.”

Oh, and speaking of security fence, this is just an Israeli euphemism to describe what in actuality is a large, tall, ugly concrete wall that imprisons Arabs inside isolated ghettos. You call it a fence, the rest of the world calls it a wall. (I call it an abomination.)

What other Israeli language “innovations” can we discuss? How about “peace process”, which is all about process and nothing about peace. How about “settlements”? Israelis (and their zionist counterparts in America) have re-defined them as “neighborhoods”, whereas the UN calls them “illegal under international law”.

What Israelis call “Judea and Samaria”, the rest of the world calls The West Bank. What Israelis call “Israel”, Palestinians call Palestine. In this case, Palestinians have an actual valid historical claim.

Inventing language indeed.

I could go on, but I think the point has been well made.

October 26th, 2007, 3:13 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

We are discussing antisemitism in Syria and you want to bash Israel. The old two wrongs make a right routine. Sorry, it is now against the rules of this forum. Please explain how a thriving community of 30,000 Jews was reduced to 30 old men in 60 years if there is not state sponsored antisemitism in Syria. Explain why the Jews of Aleppo were attacked and murdered in 47. Explain Tlas and Abu-Sattar and the fact that no one cared to correct them.

And remember the rule, two wrongs don’t make a right.

October 26th, 2007, 3:48 am

 

abraham said:

Actually, we are talking about why Israel bombed Syrian territory unprovoked.

Remember, two wrongs don’t make a right (but three lefts do).

October 26th, 2007, 4:08 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Oh really? I’ll answer your question. Why don’t you answer my questions? Is it too dificult with the rule in force?

The reason Israel attacked the site:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/26/world/middleeast/26syria.html?loc=interstitialskip

October 26th, 2007, 4:13 am

 

Thomas said:

I find it interesting that 6 weeks ago when the Israeli strike occurred in Syria that the Dr. Landis was out in front arguing that Syria did not have and could not have any nuclear intentions. Furthermore, Dr. Landis argued that Mr. Bolton was wrong in his earlier assertions related to Syria’s nuclear intentions. Well looks like Dr. Landis’ arguments were likely very misguided…..just about the same way as U.S. intelligence was misguided about Iraqi WMDs. While the jury is still out on Syrian WMDs, the evidence is clearly favoring the NEOCONS on this particular debate. Just makes me wonder how many other things Dr. Landis is misguided on as it relates to this great place we know as Syria.

October 26th, 2007, 5:11 am

 

MSK said:

Dear Alex,

I didn’t say anything about Kurds in Syria. I was referencing Kurds in Turkey and Palestinians west of the Jordan River.

As for borders, I have no idea. Maybe some current countries will merge, maybe some current countries will split.

Maybe Lebanon/Syria/Iraq/Jordan will merge. Maybe Syria will split up into four different countries. Maybe “Syria-Euphrat” will merge with “West Iraq”. Maybe the Bekaa will merge with “Homs/Hama”. Maybe Israel will exist in the pre-67 borders. Maybe all of historical Palestine will have gone up in flames.

I’m not a political scientist – I don’t make predictions. And I’m not Michel Hayek, either. 😉

Dear T-Desco,

I’d asked Nibras Kazemi on his blog about some of the gaps in the story but he never responded. (Although we may all want to hold our final comments until he publishes the last parts of the transcript & his own analysis, as in the last part Faisal seems to have recanted much of what he’d said earlier and it also transpires that he gave a lot of false statements.) I am very much looking forward to your post, which I hope Josh or Alex will put on the main blog page so it doesn’t get lost among the comments.

–MSK*

October 26th, 2007, 6:13 am

 

why-discuss said:

Israel and jewish diaspora
“It might seem extraordinary to Zionism’s founding fathers that even today, many more Jews choose to live outside Israel than in the Jewish State.
In very rough terms Israel accounts for about one third of the world Jewish population. Rather more Jews live in the United States than in Israel.”

BBC NEWS

October 26th, 2007, 6:17 am

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

“Are YOU in denial?? Didn’t YOU say you were a Hamas supporter?”

No .. sorry. I do not have dual personality. I am not a Hamas supporter and I am not an enemy of Hamas.

I would not live in a place governed by Hamas if I had the echoice.

But few years ago Hamas won democratic elections. Hamas is still one of the top two parties (if you want to call them a party) representing the Palestinians. So I do not believe you should boycott Hamas or try to destroy Hamas.

If you want to score a point, you can continue to understand my words in the most messed up way… but this simplification “Hamas supporter” is what I will start to delete … as I said earlier: enough silliness.

As for the rules, you are right .. we do not have rules… Joshua is quite flexible. But this flexibility was intended to make the comments section more interesting.

Repeating “hamas supporter” and “anti Semitic” a million times is not interesting. Your challenge is to answer with logic, not with personality attacks and insults. I remember we had two Lebanese “contributors” here .. Gibran and G. Both had nothing to say other than “the filthy Syrian regime” and “regime supporter”. I told them at the time that I will not allow anymore insults … they disappeared… they had nothing constructive to say.

AIG,

Antisemitism will always be there … the world is full of Anti everything. Go to some parts of the Untied States and ask them what they think of Muslims … go to Saudi arabia and ask them what they think of Hindus and Buddhists.

As I said, this s not the place to participate in a rally against antisemitism or democracy. you made your point already… repeating it is only useful for name calling.

So I am comfortable asking you to please reduce its use dramatically … only when it is really necessary to analyze a related event… not as an automatic entry in the first paragraph of your replies to SimuHurrta. I bet you that Simohurrta was not this negative regarding Israel when he first started participating in Syria comments … but a year of listening to Akbar Palace calling him antisemite everyday … YOU make him have increasingly negative attitudes towards you when you insult his intelligence.

If you have any doubt … compare how I communicate with you with how I communicated with the Israelis on my Creative Syria Golan Forum.

So I have had enough trying to counter your negativity with equal negativity .. what you called “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

Now for the more relevant question: Antisemitism in Syria

Yes, we have many people who would say “I hate those Jews the dogs”… and yes, few decades ago there was real hate for the jews … when you took Palestine … did you expect them to love you?

But the short answer to your fears … Syrians will not be killing Jews. They will continue to welcome any Jewish American visitor with generosity that they won’t experience anywhere else they travel.

As I said … it is not worse than antisemitism in many other places.

I will give you one case where you deserve to be upset at “the regime” … when Bashar welcomed the late Pope in Damascus … he mentioned that Jews killed Jesus Christ!

That was terrible thing to say … I have no idea what was the point.

But I know (not a guess r analysis) that it does not reflect in anyway his real positions and beliefs.

I can explain much better .. but it is totally a waste of time .. you don’t read well .. you don’t trust.

October 26th, 2007, 6:31 am

 

Mark Pyruz said:

Returning to the specified topic, I’ve the following to contribute from Alastair Crooke @ Conflicts Forum

“The Syrians saw on their radars the four Israeli aircraft that penetrated into Northern Syria from the Mediterranean; but they also saw the much larger numbers of Israeli aircraft that were flying in a holding position close to Cyprus. The Syrians had no intention of disclosing their anti-aircraft missile capacities to Israel; and the intruders continued without hindrance to drop munitions and their long-range fuel tanks without pressing any serious attack. The four aircraft then circuited to re-join the larger group still flying a holding pattern off Cyprus, before all returned to Israel as a single formation.”

“The Israeli objective remains a matter of speculation (no-one seriously credits the stories of North Korean nuclear malfeasance); but the general conclusion is that Israel was only ready to run such a risk against unknown air defenses either to test reactions; or, given the size of the numbers of aircraft off Cyprus, to destroy some target – possibly Syria’s long-range missiles – that for whatever reason they were unable to find, or destroy.”

BTW: Nour, thanks for posting those comments from Philip Girardi.

October 26th, 2007, 6:46 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

As for the Arabs living in Israel. They are not part of the Jewish nation but they are Israelis. Having worked with Finnish companies I know for a fact that there is a sizable Swedish minority in Finland. The consider themselves of the Swedish nation even though they are Finnish citizens. I hope you are starting to get the picture.

Actually AIG that is not true what you say about the Swedish minority in Finland. The Swedish speaking minority is attached to their right to speak Swedish as their first language not to Sweden. That minority has been living in Finland for centuries. They do not consider themselves as Swedes, they consider themselves as Finns. Swedish speaking people can get their basis services in Swedish. Finland has a autonomic island state, Åland Islands. For the people there their main identity is to be an Åland citizen, not so much a Finn.

By the way, there numerous people with Finnish origins in Sweden. Some have moved there in the 60’s and 70’s, some’s ancestors have moved there centuries ago. Only the first generation Finns in Sweden identify themselves as Finns.

Finns and Swedes share a long common history and religion. Finland was part of Sweden until 1809 (and part of Russia 1809-1917). Once Norway, Estonia etc were parts of Sweden.

One can’t change his religion to become a member Finnish or Swedish nation. There is no law of return. 🙂

First, our Finnish friend compares Israel to Nazi Germany:

Well if you can call me an anti-Semite then you certainly are not offended when I call you and people like you modern time Nazis. You believe in religious/racial supremacy, you support occupation and the bad treatment of the slave races etc. Just like Nazis did. What is the difference in creating ghetto to Warsaw or to Gaza and West Bank? Nothing.

Still I can’t see any anti Semitic in that. I did NOT say Jews are Modern times Nazis. I referred clearly to people, who see Jews as a super race (Ûbermenschen), support Eretz Yisrael and bad treatment of Palestinians. Naturally I know that many Jews in Israel and abroad do not share this “Ûbermenschen ideology” and do not like the occupation and I have said it numerous of times.

When I have compared Nazi Germany and Israel I have done it only to point out the similarities in overblown nationalism and believe in own racial supremacy, racism, methods in treating the minorities and the aggressive “tendency” in creating more Lebensraum (Eretz Yisrael). There is nothing anti Semitic in making that comparison. Also is there nothing anti Semitic in comparing Iran and Israel on the basis that both nations are ruled using religion. AIG, IG and Akbar you are all the time comparing Arab countries to Israel.

People have the right to speak about, analyse and criticize Israel, like they have with any other country. If I criticize for example Burma’s junta, am I anti Buddhist? But when I point out, that Israel has been selling for a long time weapons to Burma’s junta I am said to be anti Semitic. When I criticize the wars and child soldiers in Africa, am I anti Christian/Muslim, anti Black etc? But when I point out that Israeli companies are actively behind the illegal arms trafficking and diamond trade in these wars, I am accused of being anti Semitic. Funny…

AIG, IG and Akbar you are inflating the word anti Semitic and it looses its effect. Israelis have during year accused several Nordic ministers for anti Semitism in criticising Israel policies and behaviour. Nobody takes those accusations any more seriously. And every time the word anti Semitic is used against “legitimate” critics of Israel it looses more of its effect. Sad, that you do not have any other arguments to defend Israel than using the famous anti Semitic defence. That only shows that there are very little factual arguments to be used to defend Israel’s behaviour in many cases.

October 26th, 2007, 6:50 am

 

Guy Regev said:

We’d like to hear from the Main Man.
Professor Landis, you’ve seen the pictures, talked to your contacts and to journalists, heard Syrian officials.
What do you make of this?
Do you still believe it a neocon-hyped sham?
If you don’t, can you tell us a little about the Syrian rationale in building a reactor, the Israeli rationale in attacking it, the US debate about supporting the raid?
Are the Syrians still afraid of an Israeli ground attack this fall?
How does this reflect on the Iranian Issue?

Don’t leave us in the cold, Josh!

October 26th, 2007, 11:00 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

“But I know (not a guess r analysis) that it does not reflect in anyway his real positions and beliefs.

I can explain much better .. but it is totally a waste of time .. you don’t read well .. you don’t trust.”

You are right that I develop trust slowly. You don’t trust Israelis also. That is what 60 years of conflict will do.

Maybe I won’t understand (though I read every word carefully) but others will, so why don’t you try to explain Bashar’s actions and why you are sure that these are not his true beliefs. Why would he say something like that, especially if he doesn’t believe it?

October 26th, 2007, 12:09 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex,

I know you probably mean well, but I feel that your new set of rules is a grave mistake.
Free speech is the very essence of any valuable discussion and limiting it will simply kill this wonderful blog as a platform for good open discussions.

Free speech doesn’t come without a price.
Often, you’ll hear things that you’re not comfortable with, that you hate and that will make you angry, frustrated or sick.

There’s always a temptation to moderate the discussion and make it more “efficient”, “clean” or “civilized”.
I strongly disagree with such a strategy and it will kill people’s desire to participate in such debates.

If it was up to me, I’d censor only very extreme cases of racism (terms like Nigger, Kike, etc), spammers, blatant curses and that’s basically it.
If I’m in doubt regarding a specific borderline comment, I’d prefer to leave it untouched than erasing or modifying it.

I often hear Israeli Arab politicians who keep repeating the same arguments, which I believe to be totally false.
So what? It’s they’re right to say whatever they want and whenever they wish.

If I don’t want to listen, I can always move to another channel or read another article, but I won’t shut them up and forbid them from expressing their ideas, opinions and beliefs – even if they piss me off (and let’s face it – they do).

If they want to call Israel a racist state, Olmert a murderer and the IDF a state sponsored terror group – let them.
That’s the price of democracy that I’ll happily pay.
Well, maybe not happily – but I will pay it and I’ll never vote for the more convenient alternative.

I have to say that I find great pleasure in reading some great stuff here.
Some of the commentators here have fascinating things to say and I read every single word of their comments with great thirst.

There are probably only VERY FEW real racist and Anti Semite commentators that I’ve learned to know and I usually simply skip their comments.

Alex, censoring people is a bad idea – whatever the reason.
I urge you to reconsider the new policy and leave this pearl as it is.

October 26th, 2007, 12:14 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

The more efficient way of trying to convince you would be to ask Joshua to find me the link to a story he published a year or two ago. A Jewish American graduate student wrote a long paper on Syrian Jews in America. He interviewed many. He asked them specifically about what Bashar said in the presence of the Pope. I remember their answer was that it does not matter. We know he is a good man, like his father”

Some of them talked about the meeting they had with Hafez Assad, and how he promised them he will make sure they will feel safe and welcome in Syria just like any other Syrian citizen.

When Hafez Assad died, Syrian Jews in NJ mourned him.

Anyway, Joshua if you can please find that link, I’m sure many would enjoy reading it.

Israeliguy,

I will not overdo it, don’t worry.

I agree that many of the comments here are brilliant… and the vast majority are reasonable. But I have been asked many times lately to do something about the repetitive comments … it is getting boring to read the same thing again and again.

Any moderator on TV would do the same when he/she detects that one of the guest analysts is starting to repeat the same thing. They usually cut them and move to another person.

Besides… it is crazy to have 200+ comments. It is intimidating to many people who show up here once a week. They simply skip the comments section. Also, some journalists try to spend 30 minutes reading the comments section before they write a Syria related story .. they don’t have the time to read 200 comments.

Again, don’t worry. Here is how it works:

Let’s say AIG again accuses Simohurrta of being antisemitic. I will allow SimuHurrta an others to reply … once. Then if AIG and Simuhurrta try to do another round I will start deleting.

Please remember that this is not about if SimuHurrta is antisemitic or if Alex is a supporter of Hamas or if AIG is a racist …

We have many, many more interesting topics to discuss in the middle east … unfortunately.

October 26th, 2007, 4:09 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
I have to admit that I don’t understand your answer. So what if a few Jews gave a diplomatic reply to a journalist? How does that explain or justify what Bashar did? And how do you know he didn’t really believe it?

And as for the reaction of Syrian Jews to Assad’s death, here is a more nuanced view:
http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/13909/edition_id/269/format/html/displaystory.html

Did you see fiddler on the roof? Jews always tend to “bless” the secualr ruler. In russia it is the Tsar who was despised. The “blessing” was: “God bless the Tsar . . . and keep him far away from us.”

I think this sums up what the Syrian Jews thought about Hafez. They “blessed” him after under pressure from the US he let 4000 leave.

October 26th, 2007, 8:23 pm

 

Alex said:

Joshua .. please find us that post. Can you?

October 26th, 2007, 8:27 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
The facts on the ground are that the Jewish community in Syria was 30,000 in 1947 and is less than a 100 now and most probably less than 30. This just is not compatible with your story that any Asad promised to take care or actually took care of the Jews and made them feel safe.

A community that is taken care of, or feels safe, does not disappear. It prospers. You have to face the fact that official state antisemitism over 60 years brought to end the 2,500 year presence of Jews in Syria. Sad but true. The results speak for themselves.

October 26th, 2007, 9:19 pm

 

trustquest said:

AIG,
The fact is that the Jewish community and the non-Jewish community in the Diasporas have more in common together than the Jewish community and the Assad sympathy for the Syrian Jewish community in New York. Notice that both communities grown in number for the same reason, dictatorship in Syria.

October 27th, 2007, 12:32 am

 

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