“New Media is Straining Government Tolerance In Syria,” by Deb Amos

Deb Amos on NPR:  A really good story about how the New Media is  Straining  Government Tolerance In Syria

Photo: Honey al-Sayed, the queen of morning drive time radio in Damascus, has pushed the boundaries of free speech in Syria. The autocratic regime in Syria has been forced to accommodate new media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Elie Elhadj writes about the latest diatribe against Syria by the Gemayyel family

As long as the Lebanese are unequal at the ballot box, injustice and societal tension will persist.

That the Lebanese Shi’ites, around 40%+ of the population, share 21% of the parliamentary seats, while Christians, roughly 35% of the population, enjoy 50% of the parliamentary seats make Shi’ite men and women as if they were lesser voting beings than Christian men and women. That the Maronites get 26.6% of the seats, while they constitute around 15% of the population is wrong.

A One-person one-vote voting system will evolve in Lebanon sooner or later. When that happens, extremists Gemayel, Geagea, and co. (may be described as Maronite Taliban) will be put in their place.

Western-backed Lebanese faction slams Hezbollah
By BASSEM MROUE (AP)

BEIRUT — A Western-backed alliance in Lebanon’s government accused the militant group Hezbollah and its allies Wednesday of trying to take the country back to the days when Syria dominated this tiny Arab nation.

The alliance is struggling to maintain its political clout as Hezbollah and its patrons in Damascus gain strength in Lebanon. The March 14 coalition is named for a day of massive demonstrations in 2005 when millions turned out and forced Syria to leave Lebanon after nearly 30 years.

“Lebanon is being subjected at the present time to a wild coup attempt that aims to take us back to the time before the March 14, 2005 independence uprising,” Fares Soeid, a senior official with the alliance told reporters Wednesday.

Robert Fisk: Freedom, democracy and human rights in Syria
Ribal al-Assad gives our writer a rare insight into the dynasty that has shaped modern Syria
Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ribal al-Assad doesn’t look like the son of a war criminal; fluent English, fluent French, fluent Arabic (of course), fluffy black hair and brown eyes, a youngish 35, Boston graduate, self-assured, a member of the Damascus elite, sitting in a Marble Arch hotel, turning down my offer of coffee, talking about freedom and democracy and human rights in Syria, denying – gently but forcefully – that his father, Rifaat, is a war criminal.

The Maliki government in Iraq is looking to improve relations with Syria. This is an important development, as Iraq is the last country Syrian neighbor that has failed to reconcile with Damascus since the Bush administration left the White House. Of course Syria’s relations with Israel remain terrible.

Syria welcomes agreement to transfer crude Iraqi oil via its territories… (thanks to mideastwire.com)
On September 14, Al-Watan daily carried the following report by Janbulat Shakai:

In a step pointing toward a new action to overcome the past stage of relations between the State of Law Coalition and Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is receiving today a high level delegation from the Coalition headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose term has ended. In the meantime, Syria welcomed – via an official source – the signing of an agreement between Baghdad and Damascus to allow the transfer of Iraqi crude oil and gas to the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea via the Syrian territories. Iraqi sources stated to Al-Watan: “A delegation from the State of Law Coalition headed by Minister of State for National Security Affairs Shirwan al-Wa’ili, and official in the Dawa Party Abdul Halim al-Zuheiri, arrived in Damascus yesterday at noon.”

“The sources added: “The delegation met with Assistant Vice President Brigadier General Muhammad Nassif over a business dinner,” indicating that the delegation’s program featured a meeting with President Al-Assad this morning. The sources then mentioned: “The delegation will try to normalize relations between the Dawa Party and Damascus after a year of severance, which followed the accusation made by Al-Maliki to Syria of being behind the bloody explosions which rocked Baghdad in August 2009, assuring that the delegation will be carrying “an apology” from Al-Maliki to the Syrian command. The sources pointed out that the Iraqi government previously tried to mend its relations with Damascus, as its official spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh visited Damascus mid-August, in addition to the phone call made by [Syrian] Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari to his [Iraqi] counterpart Al-Maliki on Eid el-Fitr last Thursday.

“They added at the same time that “the approval of the extension of a gas pipe from Iran to Syria via Iraq by Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahrastani, also contributed to the alleviation of the climate between the two countries… – Al-Watan Syria, Syria

Do Israelis Want Peace?
Matt Duss

israeli palestinian flagsIsraeli Ambassador Michael Oren takes to the L.A. Times op-ed page today to respond to last week’s TIME cover story, which claimed that “Israelis are no longer preoccupied with” the peace process. From the TIME article….

Tal al Muloohi, a 19 year old female blogger, was arrested last year for writing a poem on her blog. Muloohi was in high school and her whereabouts are unknown. Her parents have contacted many state officials but without any progress.

Damascenes have taken over public space in Damascus for private use.

This study, a PFD document, documents the urban development of Damascus in the 1960s and 1970s. The study by the ETH Studio Basel- an institute of urban research- describes the social, political, and demographic forces that shaped the development of Damascus in the second half of the 20th century. In particular the study focuses on three districts Mezzeh, Dummar, and Barzeh. The Authors also document the unplanned development around these districts and the large scale illegal modifications and additions to the exterior as well as to the shared public spaces within buildings in these areas. ETH Studio Basel Contemporary City Institute Elsa Wifstrand, Rujun Jia, Prof. Jacques Herzog Prof. Pierre de Meuron Manuel Herz Shadi Rahbaran, Ying Zhou, The Middle East Studio Wintersemester 2009

Envoy Mitchell flies to Syria for talks with Assad
Phil Sands, Foreign correspondent
September 16. 2010 12:18AM UAE

DAMASCUS // The US special envoy George Mitchell arrives in Damascus today for talks with the Syrian president Bashar Assad.

The visit is being viewed as a sign that Washington is seeking to engage Syria more deeply in the Middle East peace process. While Israel and the Palestinian Authority have renewed direct talks, Syria and Israel remain technically at war and are not involved in negotiations, even indirectly.

Mr Mitchell was in Egypt this week when the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, held their second round of face-to-face discussions since talks reopened in Washington a fortnight ago.

After meeting Mr Assad today Mr Mitchell is expected to travel to Lebanon for discussions there. His visit to Syria comes three days after Claude Cousseran, a French presidential envoy, came to Damascus in an effort to restart Syrian-Israel negotiations.

Comments (37)


1. 5 dancing shlomos said:

new media straining gov tolerance in syria.

shame same cant be said for us of a. here media, to include npr, propagandizes for 2 govts: amurderkan and israeli.

and

the entity known as jewry.

this site is the slowest. at least with the computers i borrow. each click takes minutes.

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September 16th, 2010, 9:19 am

 

2. WHY said:

Shlomo,

cut your continuous stupid and racist remarks..

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September 16th, 2010, 10:19 am

 

3. 5 dancing shlomos said:

“militant group Hezbollah”

hezbullah always “militant”. dont think so.

the militant jewish state. the militant american state.

and

the militant western-backed alliance(comprador) within the lebanese govt.

israel’s only preoccupation with any peace process was/is to make the process into a successful land, resource theft. and palestinians expunged.

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September 16th, 2010, 11:26 am

 

4. Majhool said:

Elie,

Your math does not make sense to me. 40% Shi’ats+ 35% Christians. This Leaves Sunnis, Alawis and Druz to be 25%.

Also, Its already one man one vote. a large number of Christians seats are controlled by Shia and Sunnis.

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September 16th, 2010, 6:17 pm

 

5. Akbar Palace said:

Walt’s Disney

Answering Professor Josh’s question from August 2010:

Will Obama Abandon the Bush Policy of Punishing Mid East Countries that Oppose Israeli Expansion?

It seems to me Obama is rewarding nations that conduct face-to-face negotiations.

Sounds like a good idea to me. But hey, what do I know, I’m a pro-Israeli Jew…

George Mitchell discusses “World Jewry” with Dr. Bashar q:o)

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/09/16/2740942/us-also-committed-to-israel-syrian-peace-mitchell-says

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September 16th, 2010, 10:40 pm

 

6. Elie Elhadj said:

MAJHOOL,

You said: “Your math does not make sense to me. 40% Shi’ats+ 35% Christians. This Leaves Sunnis, Alawis and Druz to be 25%”.

It is difficult to know with accuracy the population size of each of Lebanon’s religious sects. The last official census was taken in 1932. No census since that date was allowed to take place. Today, the general consensus is that Lebanon’s Shi’ites are guesstimated to be around 40% of the population (possibly a bit higher), Christians roughly 35%, Sunnis about 20%, and Druzes some 5%.

That no official census since 1932 has been allowed and that Lebanon’s parliamentary seats are divided along sectarian lines using 1932 census data, as agreed upon in the 1989 Taif Accord, encapsulates the root cause of Lebanon’s unstable political structures.

The Taif Accord ended Lebanon’s last civil war (1974-1989). The Accord stipulated that the 128-seat parliament would be divided equally among Christians and Muslims and that these are then subdivided among the country’s religious sects: Maronites (34 seats), Greek Orthodox (14), Greek Catholics (8), Armenian Orthodox (5), Armenian Catholics (1), protestants (1), and another seat for minorities. Sunnis and Shi’ites get 27 seats each, Druzes get eight, and Alawites two.

You said: “Also, Its already one man one vote. a large number of Christians seats are controlled by Shia and Sunnis”.

Yes. However, the weighting of the vote differs according to the Taif formula.

Elie

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September 17th, 2010, 2:36 am

 

7. Majhool said:

Elie,

Could you please provide your sources on the subject of the ” the general consensus”

The only reliable data i can think of is the Electoral registrations numbers in which Shia Lead Sunnis by a mere 2000-3000 voters.

I suggest that readers beware of journalistic narratives.

I am not sure what you meant by “weighing the votes”. what I am saying is that although Christians hold half of the seats, these seats are controlled, to a large extent, by sunni and Shia voters.

Therefore, your narrative of Shia Marginalization does not really hold. The shia along with their allies ( Christians that they helped in the Elections) Have a parliamentary majority already.

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September 17th, 2010, 3:39 am

 

8. Elie Elhadj said:

MAJHOOL,

In the June 2009 parliamentary elections, the March 14 candidates won 657,000 votes (44.5% of the votes), which gave them 71 seats (55.5% of the seats).

The March 8 candidates won 819,000 votes (55.5% of the votes), which gave them 57 seats (44.5% of the seats).

For details:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_general_election,_2009

Elie

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September 17th, 2010, 5:02 am

 

9. Majhool said:

Elie,

How does this support your census estimate? Why not look into the electoral registration numbers?

Lebanon page on Wiki ( your source) state that sunni population is 20% citing The US State department website. I checked the website, it appears that it was misquoted

the website says:

The country has an area of 4,035 square miles and a population of 4 million. Because parity among confessional groups remains a sensitive issue, a national census has not been conducted since 1932. However, the most recent demographic study conducted by Statistics Lebanon, a Beirut-based research firm, showed 28 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim, 28 percent Shi’a Muslim, 22 percent Maronite Christian, 8 percent Greek Orthodox, 5 percent Druze, and 4 percent Greek Catholic. Over the past 60 years, there has been a steady decline in the number of Christians as compared to Muslims, mostly due to the emigration of large numbers of Maronite Christians and a higher than average birth rate among the Muslim population. There are also very small numbers of Jews, Baha’is, Mormons, Buddhists, and Hindus”

This is more inline with the registration numbers.

I am still would like an explanation on how the current system marginalizes the Shia, given that Shia and Sunni control of christian seats.

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September 17th, 2010, 6:29 am

 

10. Ghat Al Bird said:

The only democracy in the Middle East is becoming the “only” fascist one.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148201/watch%3A_as_israel_slides_toward_fascism%2C_citizens_and_supporters_swear_their_loyalty

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September 17th, 2010, 8:38 am

 

11. Elie Elhadj said:

MAJHOOL,

You said: “Why not look into the electoral registration numbers?”

Electoral registration numbers do not reflect population size. Shi’ites under 21 years of age are greater proportionately than those of other sects due to the higher rates of growth in Shi’ite communities.

Estimates of Lebanon’s sectarian make up is a sensitive issue. That no census was allowed since 1932 stands to witness. Each sect, as well as the supporters of the specific sect, want to magnify their size for obvious reasons.

Islamicweb shows 41% of Lebanon’s population to be Shi’ites:
http://islamicweb.com/beliefs/cults/shia_population.htm

Shi’a Muslims in Lebanon are 35% of the total population:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Lebanon#cite_note-irfrLeb2008-14

As of 1987, the Shias constituted the single most numerous sect in the country, estimated at 919,000, or 41 percent of the population:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/lebanon/religious-sects.htm

A table showing worldwide Shi’ite population on a website called adherents.com (supported by East Haven University) puts Lebanon’s Shi’ites at 40%:
http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_598.html

A 1986 estimate by the United States Central Intelligence Agency of the confessional distribution of the population showed 27 percent Sunnis, 41 percent Shias, 7 percent Druzes, 16 percent Maronites, 5 percent Greek Orthodox, and 3 percent Greek Catholics:
http://countrystudies.us/lebanon/34.htm

Juan Cole Website says that Lebanese Shiites are usually estimated to be about 40 percent of the population, which would make Lebanese Sunnis 20 percent:
http://www.juancole.com/2005/03/lebanon-realignment-and-syria-it-is.html

Accordingly, 40%+ appears to be the common wisdom.

You said: “how the current system marginalizes the Shia, given that Shia and Sunni control of christian seats”.

The fact that 45% of the popular vote in 2009 generated 55% of the parliamentary seats for the March 14 grouping and that 55% of the popular vote generated 45% of the seats for the March 8 grouping is an indication that something is unfair in the system.

Elie

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September 17th, 2010, 11:15 am

 

12. Majhool said:

Here is another source:

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/DF237A1C-7F36-4376-B505-D60ABFF288C0.htm

In the last census Sunnis were more than Shia, Sunni and Shia, being Muslims, have similar family size. No reason to believe that Shia would outnumber sunnis in large numbers.

Some want to believe this narrative to spell a moral side to the power struggle.

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September 17th, 2010, 5:56 pm

 

13. Norman said:

Elie ,

The only reason to know the number of Christians , Sunni, Shia is to have quotas and set aside which the exact Opposite to what Lebanon needs , If they like the parliamentary system that they have and they need 122 members of Parliament they can let the people vote for 122 members and whoever get the most vote will make to Parliament depending on the numbers of votes they get ,

People who do not live in Lebanon should be allowed to vote or run and outside money even from Lebanese abroad should be allowed to be used in th election ,

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September 17th, 2010, 8:48 pm

 

14. Elie Elhadj said:

Norman,

Agree with you. Reforming Lebanon’s elections system is needed sooner than later.

“People who do not live in Lebanon should be allowed to vote or run and outside money even from Lebanese abroad should be allowed to be used in th election”

Should paying taxes not be a condition before one may vote? Why should someone who does not live and not pay taxes in the country be eligible to vote!

MAJHOOL,

Each sect, as well as the supporters of the specific sect, want to magnify their size for obvious reasons. Jazeera is not innocent of an agenda. They’d say that, would they not?

Since Lebanon’s Shi’ites are the poorest and Sunni families are generally better off, Shi’ite families tend to have more children than Sunni families.

Elie

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September 18th, 2010, 2:52 am

 

15. Mr. PRESIDENT said:

Majhool said:

“In the last census Sunnis were more than Shia, Sunni and Shia, being Muslims, have similar family size. No reason to believe that Shia would outnumber sunnis in large numbers.”

Majhool, Elie nailed you intellectually many times. Give it up. You lost the argument. You are talking about a census that happened in the thrities. We are in 2010.

Lebanese Shias were and are still marginalized. They are the poor. They are the village population. They were neglected and robbed by the power elite (Christians and Sunnis) for the last 100 years. Poor and village population does not have a similar family size like the rich Sunni and Christian population.

I visited their Lebanese villages and cities. What a shock to see their rundown places and ghettos. Especially, after I had seen the very highly developed infrastructure of Lebanon Christian towns and cities. The Lebanese Sunnis and Christians want to continue to rob the MAJORITY Lebanese Shias of their rights, wealth, dignity, and humanity for the next 100 years. That is exactly what is going on in Lebanon at the current time. Lebanon Christians and Sunnis keep brining up new tricks from their magic bags. This is to include the continuous refusal to do a new census, the four-year+ Hariri Special Tribunal (Mossad and CIA infested agency), supporting Israel in the 2006 war, supporting George W. Bush’s plans to destroy Syria in order to weaken their Lebanese Shia brothers and sisters,….

cheers

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September 18th, 2010, 3:54 am

 

16. Norman said:

Elie,

Sorry , I meant should NOT be allowed to vote or run and Should NOT be allowed to send money to influence the election ,

MR President , I agree with you , it is unfortunate that the Lebanese do not see that the WASP in the US agreed to affirmative action and the civil rights laws in the US to prevent a revolution that was coming to the US and is coming to Lebanon if not all Lebanese are treated equal , and more invested in all areas of Lebanon ,

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September 18th, 2010, 7:14 am

 

17. majedkhaldoun said:

would Netenyahoo extend the settlment freeze or not?.or modify it?

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September 18th, 2010, 1:24 pm

 

18. Majhool said:

Mr. President.

You are funny.

Norman and people like him (with all due respect) Will always agree with you.

So what happened since the 30s? Sunni families started having 0.75 children?!! I told you are funny.

I since, checked 2008 electoral registration numbers, and guess what Sunnis are more.

I spoke of political marginalization, not economical one. Although I agree with you that many Shi’as are poor, i suggest you visit “”Sunni” Akkar and see how poor it is. Go to the sunni north-eastern Syria and see how poor it is. Poverty is everywhere. Very few people believe in these narratives.

Elie is a gentleman, he knows how to debate. You do not. Plus you are secterian, i.e. you support advancing the interests of a certain religious group. So don’t take it as an insult.

Norman is funny, in one hand he lends his support to a sectarian (Per Elie) authoritarian regime and now speaks of Affirmative action (per his US exposure)

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September 18th, 2010, 11:34 pm

 

19. Majhool said:

The notion that Sunnis are wealthy is not founded. Yes the Sunni elite is wealthy. But the vast majority is not. Akkar, Bika’, and the slums of Tripoli and Beirut is where the majority of Sunni live.

See this article about lowering the voting age.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iPSZZd4l5-cB1jSzYQTkITxaUDPQ

Here is a quote:

Analysts estimate that lowering the voting age would add more than 50,000 Christians to the electorate, mainly Maronites, and about 175,000 Muslims, roughly equally split between Shiites and Sunnis.

What this tills you that the birth rate is similar in both the Shia and Sunni communities. And given that Sunnis outnumber the Shia in electrol registration numbers, that makes this about equal +/-

20% difference if huge. It is dangerous to base the power struggle narrative on such hazy estimates.

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September 19th, 2010, 12:49 am

 

20. Majhool said:

I wonder why some Syrianslike the idea that expats should not vote.

Most countries in the world allow it.

Here is an article

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jul/21/voting-abroad-citizen-right

I fear that the reason has nothing to do with Taxes.

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September 19th, 2010, 1:11 am

 

21. Joshua said:

majhool, the reason many object to expats voting is that in Lebanon’s 1932 census, the last one taken, counting expats boosted the Christian population in the census giving them the majority. Read the following selections from this article….

Rania Maktabi, “The Lebanese Census of 1932 Revisited. Who are the Lebanese?,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (1999), 26(2), 219-241.

“The inclusion of Lebanese emigrants in the 1932 census was vital for securing the political aspirations of the Christian political leaders and buttressing the state-idea of Lebanon as a Christian nation. Table 2 show that while 35% of the total Christian citizenry were emigrants, only 9% of the total non-Christian citizenry were emigrants.

Table 2 shows furthermore that the inclusion of the emigrants benefited first and foremost from the numerical strength of the Christian communities; 85% of the emigrant citizenry was Christian while Muslim emigrants constituted only 15% of the total emigrant population. All in all, nearly one-fourth of the Lebanese citizenry in the 1932 census were emigrants. However, while Christian emigrants constituted approximately 20% of the total Lebanese citizenry, non-Christian emigrants constituted approximately 4% of the total Lebanese citizenry.” P. 233.

Nearly half of the total Lebanese emigrant population was Maronite (48.4%). While the Maronites constituted 29% of the resident citizenry. When immigrants are added to the total Maronite population, the Maronite sect increases the percentage of the total Maronite population to 33.5% of the total Lebanese citizenry. The Sunni community which constituted 22.%% of the resident citizenry is reduced to a share of 18% of the total Lebanese citizenry, while the Shi’a community which constituted 19.5% of the resident citizenry is reduced to approximately 16%. In sum, the inclusion of the emigrant was decisive in establishing what eventually appeared as a Lebanese population with a Christian majority.

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September 19th, 2010, 1:52 am

 

22. Majhool said:

Joshua,

Thanks for the candid comment. Your points noted.

Just to clarify, I was not suggesting that 10 million expats should vote. What I was suggesting that boosting Shia numbers as well as resiting some reform in expat voting is mostivated by a bias in favour of HA.

Expat voting should be rationed. The Taif constiution needs to respected. The civil war just ended, with muslims wining, its dangerous to push the “marginlization of Shia” narrative and further distablizie the situation in Lebanon.

Elie numbers that you published are used by many to jsutify the effort to destabilize the Lebanses State amd bush HA to control Lebanon.

As I said, Shia and Sunni already have the political upper hand. Not to mention the Shia military control.

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September 19th, 2010, 2:32 am

 

23. Badr said:

How about integrating Hezbollah militia into the Lebanese army in exchange for reforming Lebanon’s electoral system?

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September 19th, 2010, 2:45 am

 

24. Majhool said:

Badr,

Thats a great thought. But what kind of reform? Alreday HA & Future Movement have absolote control.

The only senario that may suite HA is to move into a presidential , winner takes all, type of government. Although this will not fefuse the conflict since Sunni and Shia will be in comptition.

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September 19th, 2010, 2:51 am

 

25. Norman said:

Badr,

That is the plan after a peace treaty between Israel , on one side and Syria , Lebanon and the Palestinians on the other side ,
The only reform that will work in Lebanon is not what the sectarian Majhool has in mind , he thinks that being Sunni and from (( Good family )) gives him and advantage , as he explained in previous comments of set a side and quotas is one man one vote and no restrictions on who can be president , prime minster, , so all Lebanese can aspire to be what they want to be ,

Joshua,

Expat should not vote because they do not have a complete stake on the direction of the country ,Jews are not allowed to vote in Israel if they do not live there and have residence and an address there ,

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September 19th, 2010, 8:15 am

 

26. majedkhaldoun said:

The criteria for voting is citizenship,it has nothing to do with where you live or if you pay tax or not,No one looses his citizenship if he chooses to live in another country,unless there is court order to deny him citizenship.
In Lebanon the president has to be christian,so Syria requires the president to be moslem.

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September 19th, 2010, 10:13 am

 

27. Ghat Al Bird said:

Is Russia supporting the Syrians “stand up” to the Obama/Clinton/Mitchell trio ?

/www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/russia-we-will-provide-syria-with-advanced-missiles-despite-israel-u-s-protests-1.314339

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September 19th, 2010, 10:33 am

 

28. Norman said:

Majid,

Presidents in Lebanon should not be limited to Christians and Presidents in Syria should not be limited to Muslims , a country should not be prevented from taping the talents of all citizens , as in the US no limit on who can be president , don’t you agree ,

Only in the Mideast people keep their citizenship if they take other nationality , American who take other nationalities lose their American one , and can not vote in the US ,

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September 19th, 2010, 10:44 am

 

29. majedkhaldoun said:

Norman
I agree the law should not prevent anyone from becoming president based on religion, it should be based on patriotism,however it is not going to change in Syria till both Syria and Lebanon agree to change, one should not forget that in the military there are officers of different religion,and one can stage a coup at anytime, if we have guaranteed freedom and democracy,then this requirment must be erased from the constitution.
In USA you can have two citizenships such as american and Israeli one,or american and Syrian one.
One can hide his religion and citizenship.

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September 19th, 2010, 11:53 am

 

30. majhool said:

Norman,

You resintment to your fellow syrians is evidnt. This resintment is blurring your judgment and as well as your memory for i never suggested such an advantage. I suggest you read a book caled “Think” by Michale R.L.it will help with selective and contradoctury thought process.

All the best, and lets stick to healthy debate and respect the rules of this forum.

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September 19th, 2010, 1:46 pm

 

31. Alex said:

Really nice pictures here:

http://swaidanews.com/site/swaida_news/637.html

This is what I love about Syria’s regional policy … Syria wants to undo or attenuate, whenever possible, the unnecessary burdens of the area’s artificial borders.

Another interesting “open borders” type of gathering in southern Syria … this time it was Druze delegations from Syria, Lebanon, the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and from … Israel/48 Palestine!

Everyone was there, including Druze leaders Talal Arslan and Waleed Jublatt

الرئيسية | أخبار السويداء | السويداء تجمع دروز المشرق – وليد جنبلاط و طلال ارسلان دعوهم من دمشق للوحدة
السويداء تجمع دروز المشرق – وليد جنبلاط و طلال ارسلان دعوهم من دمشق للوحدة

دروز المشرق اجتمعوا أمس تحت سماء السويداء، قادمين من الجولان المحتل، من فلسطين، من لبنان و من كافة أنحاء سوريا. اللقاء يعد الثاني من نوعه بعد اجتماع عام 2007، حيث تميز آنذاك بحضور النائب العربي سعيد نفاع الذي غاب اليوم بسبب محاكمته من قبل السلطات الإسرائيلية على خلفية تنظيمه للرحلة إلى سوريا

وكان اللقاء هذا العام فرصة للم شمل العائلات بعد فراق دام عشرات السنين، وكأن حدود سايكس بيكو لم تكن

وحيا شيخ عقل الطائفة في سوريا حمود الحناوي مشايخ الجولان المحتل وفلسطين خلال استقباله لهم في مقره في سهوة البلاطة. وقال: “لقد رفضتم ترك ارضكم و صمدتم في وجه الاحتلال و اخترتم السير على خطا اجدادنا الابطال، متمسكين بهويتكم العربية الاصيلة.ان النصر آتٍ لا محال”. و اكد سماحة الشيخ الحناوي على ضرورة وحدة الصف وأشاد بنضال أهل الجولان لحفاظ الهوية العربية السورية للجولان المحتل، ونضال دروز ال48 لرفض الخدمة الإلزامية في جيش العدو. كما اشاد بالرئيس بشار الاسد الذي ضمن نجاح مشروع التواصل و تعزيز الروابط بين عرب الداخل مع اخوانهم في سورية و لبنان. كما زاروا المشايخ ضريح قائد الثورة السورية الكبرى سلطان باشا الأطرش و صرح شهداء الثورة في بلدة القريا بحضور محافظ السويداء الدكتور محمد مالك علي و زاروا مقام عين الزمان في السويداء و مقام تل شيحان في مدينة شهبا و لبوا دعوات الشيخ حسين جربوع و الشيخ احمد الهجري

ومن جهة اخرى دعا وليد جنبلاط من دمشق دروز الـ 48 وأبناء الجولان إلى الوحدة في مواجهة التطويع والتجنيد الإجباري في الجيش الإسرائيلي. وقال رئيس تكتل “اللقاء الديمقراطي” النيابي، خلال لقاء عقد في قصر الامويين للمؤتمرات في دمشق مساء يوم الجمعة مع الوفود التي ضمت أكثر من 800 شخص قدموا إلى سورية الخميس من الجولان ومن عرب الـ 48، “ان وقفتكم يا أبناء الجولان التاريخية في مواجهة الاحتلال، حاربتم وصمدتم في مواجهة الاحتلال ورفضتم أشكال الاذعان والتطويع”.

ووجهة جنبلاط، الذي شارك معه في اللقاء الامير طلال الاسلان ووزير الأشغال العامة اللبناني غازي العريضي و وفد من دروز الـ 48 ورئيس وفد ابناء الجولان الشيخ طاهر ابوصالح التحية إلى “أهل فسطين العربية وادعوكم لتوحيد كلمتكم حتى نواجه شروط التطويع، أرجوكم بوحدة الكلمة خدمة للخط الوطني والقومي الأصيل، وكذلك في مواجهة الاحتلال في الجولان للوصول إلى رفع الغبن عن فلسطيني المحتلة وعن الجولان “.

واشاد جنبلاط بمواقف سورية التي رعت هذا اللقاء وقال “يتم هذا اللقاء برعاية كريمة حالية وتاريخية للسلطات السورية بقيادة الرئيس الاسد، وليس هذا الامر بغريب فقد أرسى الرئيس الراحل حافظ الاسد هذا التقليد بأن يجتمع العرب كل العرب إن في الداخل أو في الجولان أن يجتمعوا تحت شعار التواصل الوطني والقومي في دمشق العروبة والصمود في سورية”.

من جانبه دعا الوزير أرسلان إلى ضرورة وحدة الصف بين دروز الشرق وقال ” الوحدة هي مصدر القوة لنا جميعا خاصة وأننا في صدد مقاومة الغطرسة الإسرائيلية” واضاف “إن زمن الانحطاط العربي المتمثل بالتخلي عن الحقوق المنهجية لصالح الأشرار بات يتطلب منا بذل جهود مكثفة ومتواصلة لإقناع العرب بوجوب التضامن مع عرب فلسطين والجولان المحتل”.ودعا أرسلان لقيام “حملات تضامن مع أهالي الـ 48”.

وقال أرسلان في كلمته “ليعلم العرب قبل العالم أن الاحتلال صادر ما يوازي 85 % من الأراضي المملوكة تاريخيا للموحدين الدروز، وأن ونسبة الموحدين الدروز الذي يخدمون في حرس الحدود هي أدنى نسبة مئوية بين عرب الداخل حيث تشكل 0,49 % من المتطوعين في ما يسمى حرس الحدود” مشيرا إلى ضرورة القيام بحملات شرح وتوعية لتوضيح الصورة وخصوصا أن الموحدين الدروز مكون أساسي من مكونات الحركة الوطنية الداخل”. ودعا في الوقت نفسه إلى أن تكون دمشق المقر الدائم للقاءات الموحدين الدروز، وقال “من أجدر من دمشق لاستضافة لقاءاتنا على قاعدة الثوابت الوطنية والقومية وبوضح تام وبشفافية مطلقة، فدمشق قلب العروبة التي تشهد حدثا بارزا يسجله التاريخ باعتبارها المرة الأولى التي يجتمع بها شمل بني معروف في الشرق في مهرجان تاريخي برعاية الدكتور بشار الأسد”. وأشادت الكلمات جميعها بمواقف سورية قيادة وحكومة وشعبا تجاه القضايا العربية.يشار إلى أن وفد الجولان السوري المحتل وصل إلى دمشق عبر معبر القنيطرة ويضم 697 شخصا بينما وصل وفد عرب الـ 48 والذي يضم قرابة 189 للمشاركة في هذا اللقاء الذي يستمر خمسة أيام

وفي تصريح للصحفيين عقب الجلسة عن طبيعة الخلاف داخل حركة الموحدين الدروز في الداخل قال جنبلاط “الحركة في الأساس كانت موحدة ومن ثم طرأت ظروف وحدثت بعض الاجتهادات، ودعوتنا اليوم إلى العودة إلى الوحدة لأنه من خلال وحدة جهود العرب الدروز مع إخوانهم الفلسطينيين في الأراضي المحلتة في رفض الجندية العسكرية ومواجهة الاستيطان أفضل بكثير” وأضاف ” لا أشك بأنهم سيقومون بالعودة للوحدة ومن خلالها نستطيع نحن في سورية وبمساعدة السلطات السورية بقيادة الرئيس بشار الاسد أن ندعم هذا التوجه الوطني والقومي والعربي الذي أرساه الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد”

وعن تأثير هذا الاجتماع على الأوضاع الراهنة في فلسطين التي تشهد المفاوضات المباشرة قال جنبلاط” المفاوضات لن تؤدي إلى أي شيء والمهم هو وحدة الصف الفلسطيني في الداخل ووحدة الموقف”

حول تأثير هذا الاجتماع على الداخل اللبناني قال جنبلاط ” ناضلنا عشرات العقود من أجل تثبيت عروبة لبنان وهذا التواصل بين المقاومة السياسية في الجولان والعسكرية في لبنان والمدنية في فلسطين يشكل خطا بيانيا قوميا عربيا واضحا ممتدا من لبنان إلى سورية إلى لبنان إلى فلسطين”

وحول الإجراء التي ستلي الاجتماع أوضح أرسلان في تصريح صحافي “سندرس الإجراءات بتفاصيلها مع الأخوة في فلسطين والجولان لأن هنالك ظلم كبير يلحق بكل المواطنين العرب في الداخل المحتل ومن هنا ندعو الجميع إلى التوحد لأننا عندما نكون موحدين نستطيع المواجهة فإسرائيل تريد تقسيمنا طائفيا”.

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September 19th, 2010, 2:51 pm

 

32. Norman said:

Majhool ,

Aren’t you the one who said that your niece will win the election against the President of Syria if she can run , i might be mistaken but the assumption is , it is because she is Sunni ,

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September 19th, 2010, 5:14 pm

 

33. Norman said:

Majhool ,

This is what was said about you

49. Alex said:

“The pressure on the Syrian regime now is much stronger now than it’s been for decades … It is ’showtime’ for Syria”

Jack Straw, 4 Jan, 2006

Nafdik,

I am not hoping for a miracle (and I hope you are not with your “messy” democracy route). I am just explaining to our American readers that their country (and its wonderful coalitions) continue to contribute to the slowing down of reforms in Syria … just try to estimate the number of hours the Syrian President spent between 2003 and 2008 thinking about what needs to be done to deal with the daily “pressure” and “isolation” that Washington and its allies championed with incredible vigor.

Imagine all the reform files and folders that were not opened because they had to wait for years until Rumsfeld, Straw, Chirac, Bolton, Jumblatt, Bandar, and Bush and Cheney relaxed.

Jad,

When there is talk of attacking Iran next year, and talk of Israeli action against Hezbollah and Lebanon … again, a byproduct would be that no Arab leader will say “this sounds like the perfect time to introduce more uncertainty into the system and to have fun revolutionizing our system of government!”

Majhool,

Ya habibi, even if all the Arabs are choosing Bashar in many opinion polls over their own leaders, you will still believe that your 15 year old niece would make a better president.

You are sectarian habibi .. hopeless case. You are saying that because your 15 year old niece is Sunni, Bashar will lose to her.

Time for my dinner. I’ll be back tomorrow.

February 25th, 2010, 1:25 am

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September 19th, 2010, 5:27 pm

 

34. majhool said:

Norman,

Let me break it down and introduce you to the abstract notion of metaphors.

What I said was metaphor to illustrate that given how sectarian the society is that in a free election and no matter how competent the president is he will probably lose to the overwhelming sectarian tendencies.

As a matter of fact I don’t have a 15 year old niece. Also, FYI, I don’t believe in religions all together.

Broaden your mind a little.

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September 19th, 2010, 5:51 pm

 

35. Norman said:

Majhool Said ,

((( FYI, I don’t believe in religions all together.)))

That is exactly the problem , You are not religious , You are sectarian and fanatics , and that is what is wrong with you ,

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September 19th, 2010, 7:49 pm

 

36. Majhool said:

Norman,

Discussion is over. You are breaking the rules of this forum.

Best

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September 19th, 2010, 8:04 pm

 

37. LeoLeoni said:

Majhool and Norman,

Hello guys, I honestly don’t understand what you guys are disagreeing about. In fact, you have more in common with each other than not. It seems to me that we are all secular and we all agree that there is a problem with the voting & political system in Lebanon and how that could spread into Syria and destabilize the whole region. It doesn’t matter if the shiias are more than the sunnis or vice versa because after all we all agree that religion is a personal matter and laws and politics should not be based on those religious institutions! A system without quotas based on religious sects would allow voters to choose candidates based on their merit and their political program. This is what’s needed. Merit is what counts, the rest are all secondary.

Here are some points that I would like to comment on. I am a firm believer that anyone should have the right to perform a population consensus. People should never be obliged to answer what religion they adhere to. People could answer if they choose to answer. Governments have no business asking that question and should not ask it, but they should not prohibit private or research organizations from engaging in such surveys and asking such questions.

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September 20th, 2010, 12:45 am

 

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