News Round Up (1 July 2009)

Reports emerge of Syrian-Saudi summit
Detente between Damascus, Riyadh could include Hariri – reports
By Nicholas Kimbrell, Daily Star
Thursday, July 02, 2009

BEIRUT: Days after officials in Washington announced that a US ambassador would soon be sent to Syria, reports have emerged of an upcoming Syrian-Saudi Arabian summit to be held in Damascus that could include Lebanon. Conventional wisdom holds that any improvement in Syrian-Saudi ties generally contributes to increased stability in Lebanon, and according to experts on Levantine politics, Lebanon may already be benefiting from those nations’ thawing ties and a revamped US policy in the region.

“Any relief or stabilization in the Syrian-Saudi relationship will be positively reflected in the Lebanese political life,” Chafik Masri, an international law professor at the American University of Beirut, told The Daily Star Wednesday.

“The tension between Syria and the regional competitors and the international players now has some relief,” he added.

On Sunday, Saudi Prince Abdel-Aziz bin Abdullah and Information Minister Abdel-Aziz Khoja, a former ambassador to Beirut, visited Syrian President Bashar Assad, and regional media have report widely on a likely meeting between Assad and Saudi King Abdullah on July 16.

According to a number of sources cited in the pan-Arab press, that summit, an indication of dŽtente between Damascus and Riyadh, could also include Premier-designate Saad Hariri.

Syrian-Saudi relations appeared to publically improve following summits in Kuwait and Doha in January and March of this year, following Israel’s three-week bombardment of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. In the wake of those summits Lebanon witnessed a relatively calm election campaigning season and peaceful parliamentary elections.

Following the elections, won handily by the March 14 coalition, Hariri, the leader of that coalition and the Future Movement was quickly tapped for the premiership and charged with forming a government.

Masri said the easing of regional tensions had given Lebanon more “flexibility” and “room for compromise” to build a new government. Ahead of the Syrian-Saudi summit, he added, many believe that a cabinet will be formed, Hariri will be invited to the Damascus meeting and the US will resume full diplomatic ties with Syria.

The US recalled its ambassador from Syria in 2005 after the assassination of Hariri’s father, Rafik Hariri, a former premier himself. His murder was widely blamed on Syria, although Damascus has denied any involvement.

Syria expert Joshua Landis, co-director of Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the founder of the popular Syria Comment Web site and newsletter, said the current movement in the region and its effects on Lebanon had a historical precedent.

“If we look at the 1990s as model … Saudi Arabia and Syria worked hand in glove and you got the flowering of Lebanon, under Hariri oversight with a Syrian security presence … There was an understanding. America, of course, was a part of this,” he said.

But this “triangular entente” collapsed under former US President George W. Bush, who tried “to pull Lebanon out of the Syrian sphere of influence,” he noted. “What we are seeing is the re-establishment, under [US President Barack] Obama of the triangular entente of the 1990s.” According to Landis, in the past, Syria used Lebanon as a tool or instrument to push various interests. The Bush administration, he said, tried to reverse that method and use Lebanon against Syria, with no success.

Now Syria may be more interested in the broader ramifications of Obama’s regional peace strategy.

“Syria wants to move ahead and get beyond Lebanon. So it needs to neutralize Lebanon, put Lebanon in the freezer,” Landis said, adding that in this sense Damascus wants to maintain the status quo and was satisfied with Lebanon’s election results.

The country wants to play an integral role in the Obama administration’s comprehensive Middle East peace strategy, Landis noted, and needs Saudi Arabia as a partner. “From a Syrian point of view, it’s very important that the Saudi Arabians and Syrians come together,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia needs Syria too,” Landis added. “The only strategy against Iran is one of Arab unity.”

What Lebanon’s position is in a broader push for regional peace is not entirely clear. The resumption of US-Syrian and Syrian-Saudi ties are expected to help bridge Lebanon’s internal divisions, but the country’s security could still be manipulated by foreign influences.

Without substantive action, that satisfies Syria and Saudi Arabia and is accepted by Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, “all of this is going to be like band-aids,” Landis said.

Moreover, the rapprochement between regional powers can contribute to stability and security in Lebanon but it can’t ensure it.

Former Ambassador Abdullah Bou Habib, the executive director of the Issam Fares Center for Lebanon, noted that despite current geo-political trends, the burden of political and sectarian divisiveness ultimately rests with the Lebanese.

“There is no doubt that any agreement between Syria and Saudi Arabia would close much of the gap between the Lebanese,” he said. “But it does not close it completely.”

United Nations: Ensuring quality education among challenges for Syria
2009-06-30 20:53:50.169 GMT

Syria has made advances in achieving globally agreed development targets related to women and children, but still faces challenges in ensuring quality education, according to the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Syria is …

Barak, U.S. Envoy Discuss Settlements
(By Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post)

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak huddled for four hours yesterday with former senator George J. Mitchell, the Obama administration’s special envoy for Middle East peace, seeking to resolve an impasse between their two governments over the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. ….

President Obama has demanded that Israel fulfill a commitment in the 2003 “road map” peace plan for a full settlement freeze, including a halt to expansion to accommodate “natural growth.” The Israeli government has responded with a series of counterproposals, including a temporary freeze with caveats, none of which the administration has accepted.

“We have not changed our position at all,” a senior administration official said yesterday after the Barak-Mitchell meeting. “Nor has the president authorized any negotiating room.”

An Israeli official who accompanied Barak to the meeting in New York characterized the talks as positive. He said a meeting between Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which was canceled last week, will probably take place this month. ….

U.S. Targets Firms Tied To N. Korea Arms Trade
By Glenn Kessler, Wash Post
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Obama administration yesterday began a campaign to curtail North Korea’s ability to finance its trade in missiles and nuclear materials, with the Treasury and State Departments announcing actions against two North Korean companies, including one allegedly connected to the building of a nuclear reactor in Syria.

Administration officials said they are determined to ramp up pressure on the North Korean government in response to a series of missile tests and the detonation of a nuclear device — its second — this year. The playbook is drawn from similar efforts in the Bush administration — and largely directed by the same person, Stuart Levey, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence — that were abandoned by President George W. Bush in late 2006 in an effort to win North Korea’s cooperation through diplomacy.

raq contains some of the worlds richest oil reserves, but low fees being offered by Baghdad kept refiners away.

raq contains some of the world's richest oil reserves, but low fees being offered by Baghdad kept refiners away.

Anxious Oil Giants Pass on Iraq
BAGHDAD, June 29 — Iraq’s effort to woo foreign energy companies to help resurrect its ailing oil fields fell flat Tuesday, as most companies balked at the financial terms offered by the government despite the lure of the country’s vast reserves. …

During a day-long live auction for eight 20-year service contracts, the Iraqi Oil Ministry was able to nail down just one deal — for the giant Rumaila field in southern Iraq. The Iraqi Oil Ministry reached an agreement with British Petroleum and China National Petroleum Corp. only after BP and CNPC accepted a much lower fee than they originally sought in return for raising the field’s output beyond current levels. Rumaila, Iraq’s biggest oil field, has an estimated 17 billion barrels of oil reserves, an amount equivalent to more than half the reserves of the entire United States. …

In the current bidding round, Iraq said it would reimburse companies for costs and pay them a per-barrel fee for increases in production from the country’s abundant but long-neglected fields. But it did not offer the companies an ownership stake in the crude, which would have been a more attractive type of contract. It also demanded nearly $3 billion in “signing bonus” loans for the six oil fields, which are active but underproducing, and two largely undeveloped gas fields.

BP and China’s national oil company submitted a joint bid to raise output at Rumaila from about 1 million barrels a day to 2.85 million barrels a day for a $3.99-per-barrel fee. The ministry said it would pay a maximum of $2 a barrel. In the end, the companies agreed to that price. “We’re pleased with the process so far and look forward to concluding the contract in due course,” said BP spokesman Toby Odone. …

La chaîne France 5 : le Président ASSAD a fait de la Syrie le point d’équilibre du Moyen-Orient (Tichrine du 24 juin) Thanks Syria Report

“Les opinions ici mentionnées, reprises de la presse syrienne, n’engagent que leurs auteurs et non pas le groupe sénatorial France-Syrie, ni le Sénat.”

La chaîne de télévision française France 5 a affirmé que le président Bachar AL-ASSAD a réussi à transformer la Syrie en point d’équilibre du Moyen-Orient. La chaîne a diffusé un documentaire de 50 minutes consacré au Président ASSAD et réalisé par les journalistes Christian MALAR et Bernard VAILLOT. La chaîne a qualifié de « sage, nationale et courageuse » la politique du Président ASSAD, soulignant les réformes qu’a connues la Syrie sous sa direction et les efforts qu’il déploie pour garantir la prospérité économique à son peuple.

« Le Président ASSAD a pu surmonter les tentatives de pression et de blocus visant à ébranler la stabilité politique, économique et sociale en Syrie » a affirmé la chaîne, tout en ajoutant qu’il a placé la Syrie au centre des évolutions politiques au Moyen-Orient. Le programme a également évoqué la volonté sérieuse de la Syrie d’établir une paix juste dans la région tout en s’attachant à ses principes patriotiques et à sa dignité nationale. Le programme a été suivi par un nombre important de Français résidant en Syrie et par la communauté syrienne à Paris.

Damascus Stock Exchange to Increase Trading Days, Chief Says
2009-07-0, By Nadim Issa

July 1 (Bloomberg) — The Damascus Securities Exchange will add another trading day later this month to increase the volume of transactions, said the exchange’s Chief Executive Officer Mohamad Al-Jleilati. “In 15 days from now we will have three trading days instead of two to increase volume,” Al-Jleilati said today in a telephone interview from Damascus.
Volumes traded have risen to 36.3 million Syrian pounds ($790,000) on June 29 from 11.4 million Syrian pounds on June 22, according to the daily bulletin on the exchange’s Web site. “The reason for the increased volume is the heavy activity on two stocks — Bank of Syria & Overseas and Arab Bank-Syria because investors are cashing in,” Al-Jleilati said. “These investors want to use the money to participate in the initial public offerings of Qatar National Bank-Syria and the rights issue to increase Bank Audi-Syria’s capital.” Bank Audi-Syria’s share offering started on June 24 and QNB-Syria’s is expected to offer shares on July 12. The exchange will open on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday each week instead of Monday and Thursday previously, said Al- Jleilati.

Salah Kaftaru arrested ….

* اعتقال صلاح كفتارو بناء على اتهامات تتصل بعمل مجمع كفتارو الإسلامي
ذكرت مصادر صحفية في سورية أن السلطات اعتقلت صلاح كفتارو، مدير مجمع كفتارو الإسلامي ونجل مفتي الجمهورية الراحل، بناء على اتهامات تتصل بعمل المجمع وتمويله.

Al-Maliki’s Views of the Democracy in Iraq

It is perhaps ironic that Nouri Al-Maliki chose the U.S.-funded satellite television channel Al-Hurra on which to denounce the current political system based on consensus democracy which has catapulted him to the top. Al-Maliki said that a consensus was necessary in the early stages of transition to democracy after the fall of the Saddam region, but that if the rule by consensus should persist, it will turn into a disaster. He said “Democracy means the rule by the majority and the idea of consensus democracy is not compatible with [true] democracy and, in fact, contradicts it.”(3) He called for limiting the force of agreements that guarantee certain positions to the Kurds (the presidency of the republic), to the Sunnis (the presidency of parliament),(4) and, of course, to the Shia (the premiership). It is a system of power sharing commonly referred to in Iraq as has-hasah which, when taken to extremes, has meant that every single position in government, from the president of the republic to the office messenger, is distributed along the power-sharing principle according to a numerical formula based on a census taken decades ago.(5) This formula for distributing government positions could drastically change if the preparations for census to be conducted next year proceed on schedule.

Al-Maliki said that after the next round of national elections he “will call to put an end to the consensus.” His critics quickly claimed that a strict majority rule means a rule by the Shi’a.

Comments (28)


1. norman said:

From Monsters and Critics.com

Middle East News
Syria changes “honour killing” law
By DPA
Jul 2, 2009, 11:06 GMT

Damascus – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree changing the penalty for ‘honour killing’ to at least two years in prison, Minister of Justice Minister Ahmad Hamoud Younes said in a statement Thursday.

‘The number of wife-killings has increased recently on the pretext of adultery, and the article that was abolished by the President pardoned these crimes,’ the official SANA news agency quoted Younes as saying.

The new law reads: ‘He who catches his wife, sister, daughter or mother by surprise in the act of committing adultery or having unlawful sex with another and then unintentionally kills or hurts either of them can benefit from attenuating circumstances, provided that he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’

Women rights groups welcomed the change with reservations.

‘This is only a small contribution to solving this problem, for in this new version too the paragraph still invites murder,’ said Women of Syria group in a statement on its website.

‘The new law still leaves a wide door open for the killers. Who gave men the right to kill women?’ the statement added.

Last May a Syrian court sentenced a man who deliberately killed his sister and her lover to only only seven and a half years in prison, as the case was considered an ‘honour killing.’

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This notice cannot be removed without permission.

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July 2nd, 2009, 12:23 pm

 

2. norman said:

Obamas’ are welcome to visit Syria, says nation’s First Lady
by ANI on July 2, 2009

in World

Syria’’s First Lady has told Sky News that she would welcome the Obamas’ should they decide to visit the country’s capital, Damascus.

Asma al Assad’’s comments are the latest in a series of signs that US-Syrian relations are improving after years of tension.
“The fact is President Obama is young, and President Assad is also very young as well. So maybe it is time for these young leaders to make a difference in the world,” she said.

“I can see myself hosting them in Damascus in the old town, meeting with people, getting a sense of how we live, who we are and what Syria’’s about,” she added.

The comments follow news that America is to send an ambassador to Syria for the first time in four years.

It follows President Obama’’s offer of a “new beginning” in relations between the US and the Muslim world in general.

Relations were strained under the Bush administration, which regarded Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism.

They condemned its support of Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups and blamed Damascus for failing to prevent insurgents crossing Syrian borders into Iraq.

Asma al Assad was born and raised in London and only moved to Damascus after marrying Syrian President Bashar al Assad nine years ago.

This week she is launching the latest phase in a youth movement called Massar, which is one of her great passions.

Syria needs to make more progress to benefit its people, she said.

Related News

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July 2nd, 2009, 1:39 pm

 

3. jad said:

Finlay!!
A clear government statement about not only ‘halting’ the proposed shame but ‘canceling’ it and start again but from the statement’s language they didn’t want it to sound as a full surrender plain politics.

Lets hope that they wont change their minds tomorrow.

http://nesasy.org/content/view/7599/110/
سورية تختار وطنها، وترفض الفكر الظلامي: إلغاء مشروع قانون الطوائف!
بسام القاضي
2009/ 07/ 02
ما الذي يمكن أن نقوله أكثر من ذلك: “سورية تختار وطنها”؟ هذا كاف. فالمشروع الذي هدف إلى إثارة الفتنة الطائفية وانتهك كافة الحقوق الأساسية والفرعية للمرأة والطفل في سورية، بل والرجل أيضا، وجد طريقه أخيرا إلى مكانه الطبيعي: سلة القمامة!

هذا ما أكدته الصيغة “الخاصة” التي نشرت اليوم على لسان “المكتب الصحفي” في رئاسة مجلس الوزراء (!)، والذي نقلته سانا، وقال:

“أوضح المكتب الصحفي في رئاسة مجلس الوزراء أن بعض وسائل الإعلام تناقلت في الآونة الأخيرة معلومات غير دقيقة حول مشروع قانون الأحوال الشخصية لا تستند إلى وقائع ومعطيات حقيقية في هذا المجال.
وقال المكتب إنه وبهدف تصحيح هذه المعلومات وتصويبها وعرض الخطوات والإجراءات المتعلقة بهذا الموضوع وحسما للجدل الدائر بهذا الخصوص نوضح الآتي..
بدأت الحكومة بعد عام 2000 بإجراء تقييم شامل للتشريعات النافذة بغية إعادة النظر فيها وتعديلها بما يلبي متطلبات التطوير وعملية التنمية الاقتصادية والاجتماعية ولاسيما التشريعات التي مضى زمن طويل على العمل بها وهذا ما أكد عليه مجلس الشعب في دوراته المتعاقبة.
في ضوء ذلك طلبت رئاسة مجلس الوزراء من وزارة العدل كغيرها من الوزارات النظر بتعديل بعض القوانين الأساسية ومنها قانون السلطة القضائية وأصول المحاكمات المدنية وقانون الأحوال الشخصية الذي يعود نفاذه إلى عام1953.
وتنفيذا لذلك رفعت وزارة العدل جملة من مشروعات القوانين ومن ضمنها مشروع قانون أصول المحاكمات المدنية ومشروع قانون الأحوال الشخصية.
ولدى تدقيق قانون الأحوال الشخصية من قبل رئاسة مجلس الوزراء لم توافق عليه شكلا ومضمونا فأعيد إلى وزارة العدل لدراسة الموضوع مجددا وبالتنسيق مع كل الجهات المعنية ذات الصلة.
وعند إعادة الموضوع من وزارة العدل إلى رئاسة مجلس الوزراء خلال الفترة القادمة سوف تتم دراسته طبقا للآلية المعتمدة في دراسة مشاريع القوانين وذلك من خلال عرضه على اللجان الوزارية المختصة ومن ثم على مجلس الوزراء ثم رفعه بعد إقراره إلى الجهات العليا المختصة للنظر بإحالته إلى مجلس الشعب ليصار إلى عرضه على اللجان المختصة بالمجلس ومناقشته وفق الآلية المعتمدة في هذا المجال وطبقا للآلية التي تم عرضها فإن دراسة مشروع القانون ستكون كافية للوقوف بشكل دقيق على كل وجهات النظر والآراء والمقترحات التي تطرح حول هذا المشروع.”. (انتهى البيان)

بالطبع لا يغيب عنا بعض النقاط الواردة في البيان الصحفي الهام جدا، لكننا سنركز الآن فقط على أن إلغاء المشروع بحد ذاته هو قرار حاسم بالغ الأهمية، كما أن تأكيد البيان على أن “الموضوع” وليس “المشروع” هو ما أعيد إلى وزارة العدل لدراسته، وتأكيده أن ذلك مشروط بـ”التنسيق مع كل الجهات المعنية ذات الصلة”، هما نقطتان مهمتان جدا، وإن لم يحدد البيان طبيعة هذه الجهات. ولكننا نفترض، وندعو، أن تقوم وزارة العدل بتكليف الهيئة السورية لشؤون الأسرة بالتعاون مع الاتحاد العام النسائي، والجهات الناشطة المعنية، بتشكيل اللجنة التي ستقوم بإعداد المشروع الجديد.

مع العلم أن لدى الهيئة السورية لشؤون الأسرة مشروعا لم تكتمل مسودته بعد لقانون أسرة عصري وحديث يلبي الكثير من المتطلبات الأساسية لاحتياجات تطور المجتمع في سورية، وقد استغرق وضع مسودته التي ساهم/ت فيها أسماء لامعة في القانون وغيره، استغرق عدة سنوات.

إذا، حدث اليوم، بعد 37 يوما من افتضاح المشروع الأسود، أن اتخذ القرار الذي كان يجب أن يتخذ في مساء 5/4/2009، تاريخ اللحظة التي ذيل فيها المشروع بـ”تم مشروع قانون الأحوال الشخصية السورية في 5 نيسان 2009″!
وفيما إذا قبلنا، جدلا، أنه فاتهم ذلك، فإنه كان يجب أن لا يمضي كل هذا الوقت لكي تقال هذه الكلمات! وبكل تأكيد، ما كان يجب لرئيس مجلس الوزراء أن يدافع عنه مرتين! ويتنكر لوصوله إليه مرتين! ويؤكد الاستمرار بالعمل عليه مرتين! فيما يعمم على كافة وسائل الإعلام السورية أن تصمت! وطبعا هذا التعميم لم يشمل تصريحات رئيس مجلس الشعب، ولا تصريحات رئيس مجلس الوزراء، التي ما كادت تخرج من فمه حتى سارع الصامتون إلى إبرازها في عناوينهم البارزة، كما لو كانوا يخوضون الحرب مع من دافع عن سورية المواطنة والحداثة! بدلا من أن يقوموا بواجبهم بأن يتجاهلوا التعميم كليا، ويخوضوا غمار المعركة!

ألغي المشروع، ولكن ما يزال الفكر الذي صاغه وتمكن من الوصول إلى هذا المستوى موجودا. وهو ما يفرض علينا أن نعمل على تشريح هذه النصوص البائدة التي باتت في حكم الملغاة، بهدف إيضاح مدى الخطورة في مثل هكذا تشريع، ومساهمة في درء خطر تسلل أي من هذه الأفكار الطائفية المؤيدة للعنف ضد المرأة والطفل إلى أي مشروع جديد.

كما أننا سوف نبدأ سريعا مرصدا جديدا في عملنا، نسميه “مرصد التطرف”، سوف يعمل على فضح وتوثيق والرد على كل نشر للفكر الأصولي المتطرف، سواء في خطب الجوامع أو الكنائس، في الإذاعات أو التلفاز أو الجرائد، في مواقع التدريس أو على الأقراص المضغوطة (CD)، وفي كل مكان نستطيع فيه رصده.

وندعو كل من يرصد مثل ذلك، أن يراسلنا فورا، موثقا الانتهاك الذي رآه أو سمعه أو رصده، وسوف نتعامل بكل جدية واحترام، وسرية، مع أية مراسلة مثل هذه. لكن طبعا لن يقبل أي رصد غير موثق.

فقد أدى هذا المشروع غرضا هاما للغاية، هو أن الصمت على هذه الانتهاكات اليومية، والترويج اليومي للتطرف والعنف، بات أمرا خطيرا لا يمكن السكوت عنه.

وفي الوقت ذاته، فإننا سوف نعمل اعتبارا من اليوم، على وضع كافة المنظمات والأحزاب السورية، الرسمية منها وغير الرسمية، والهيئات والمؤسسات الدينية، وعلنا، أما مسؤولياتها تجاه قضايا المرأة والطفل في سورية. فلم يعد مقبولا صمتها على ذلك تحت ذرائع مثل “العادات والتقاليد”، أو “الصراع الطبقي”، أو “المرحلة السياسية الحساسة”، أو “أولوية قضايا أخرى”.. أو ما إلى ذلك.

فشكرا لكل سورية وسوري، بغض النظر عن الأسماء والصفات والألقاب والمناصب، ساهم/ت في فضح هذا المشروع، وعملت على منع تمريره بأي شكل كان، وتحت أي مسمى كان، حفاظا على بلدنا، ومواطنيتنا، وحياتنا، ومستقبل أطفالنا. وشكرا لك من أغلق الطريق أمام مشروع فتنة وانحدار شكل خطرا داهما بكل معنى الكلمة.

وتحية خاصة لكل الصبايا والشباب، الرجال والنساء، الذين عبروا عن غيرتهم على وطنهم خلال هذا الشهر المرّ بكل طاقاتهم، وأطلقوا سلسلة من المبادرات على كافة المستويات لمواجهة المشروع، وفكره الظلامي، وأفشلوا الحصار الإعلامي الذي ضربته رئاسة مجلس الوزراء على الإعلام السوري.. هؤلاء من يعرفون الآن أنهم يستطيعون أن يتركوا أثرا حين يفكرون جيدا ويهتمون جيدا ويبادرون. فمهما كانت الصعاب، سوف يبقى عملنا من أجل بلدنا، وأهدافنا في حياة مواطنة نستحقها وتستحقنا، وإلغاء كافة اشكال العنف والتمييز.. سوف يبقى قادرا على أن ينهض بحياتنا.
فالمستقبل هو للحياة، وليس للموت.. للأحياء، وليس للموتى..

http://www.sana.sy/ara/2/2009/07/02/233832.htm
>رئاسة مجلس الوزراء: المعلومات التي تناقلتها بعض وسائل الإعلام حول مشروع قانون الأحوال الشخصية غير دقيقة ولا تستند إلى معطيات حقيقية

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July 2nd, 2009, 5:13 pm

 

4. jad said:

Norman
This is the clip of the first lady’s interview

فيديو: أسماء الأسد ترحب بزيارة لأوباما وزوجته إلى دمشق!
http://all4syria.info/content/view/11028/122/

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July 2nd, 2009, 5:19 pm

 

5. jad said:

This new suggestion by Mr Quadi of creating a new ‘Radical Watch’ project is a brilliant idea that we truly need to implement into our Syrian society as a tool to advance and make people aware of what radicalism is and how we should deal with it, we do need that.

كما أننا سوف نبدأ سريعا مرصدا جديدا في عملنا، نسميه “مرصد التطرف”، سوف يعمل على فضح وتوثيق والرد على كل نشر للفكر الأصولي المتطرف، سواء في خطب الجوامع أو الكنائس، في الإذاعات أو التلفاز أو الجرائد، في مواقع التدريس أو على الأقراص المضغوطة (CD)، وفي كل مكان نستطيع فيه رصده.

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July 2nd, 2009, 5:23 pm

 
 

7. jad said:

Hi Alex
Where have you been?
We missed you!

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July 2nd, 2009, 5:37 pm

 

8. majedkhaldoun said:

responding to Norman comment #1
In Islam both men and woman will have the same treatment,this decree is specific for women, for this I do not think it is fair,if a woman catch her husband commiting adultary and she kills him she should has the same 2 year prison.
Also killing sister for commiting adultary,and her brother kills her should be punished by death.
the whole law should be canceled,the practice of honor killing must stop.

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July 2nd, 2009, 5:54 pm

 

9. EHSANI2 said:

majedkhaldoun,

Amen.

Indeed, I would have crafted a law that would punish those that commit honor (what a misnomer) killing double the sentence of other type of killings. A sentence of two years is a joke and is unlikely to deter anyone. Those that were committing such acts are not going to suddenly change their minds because they may end in prison for two years versus zero prior to this decree.

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July 2nd, 2009, 6:56 pm

 

10. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

1) I cannot play the video (Asma on SKY) on both sites.

2) Don’t get me wrong on this; from the pic of Mrs. Asad, I
see her in a tiny T-shirt that is more revealing than concealing.

I do support Asma’s appearance. She looks fresh, confident and “western”.
She looks as she just finished her daily swim in a Tel Aviv beach.

But I also feel that this appearance is somehow phony.
I mean.. if she so much wants to behave “western style” ( appearance + outfit ), then why not go all the way ?

She allows herself the “freedoms” of the “west” ( YES, I know this may
sound patronizing, but this isn’t my intention),
while the rest of Syrian women face a different existence.
.

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July 2nd, 2009, 8:07 pm

 

11. Alex said:

Thanks Jad … I have been busy learning Chinese : )

Majedkhaldoun, Ehsani

The new law is in practice a major improvement. Please keep in mind that most “honor” crimes are planned by the family and executed later … not on the spot, not spontaneously (which can lead to a reduced sentence).

Therefore, the majority of those crimes will be treated just like normal crimes.

But I do have a question … what happens when a child commits those crimes? … in the past it became a practice to send a 15 year old to kill the sister or cousin so that he will escape with a three month jail term.

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July 2nd, 2009, 8:10 pm

 

12. jad said:

Alex,
對你有好處! 😉
about your question:
還是一樣可怕局勢

Amir,
I can’t blame you not knowing our society.
In Syria we are very mixed, you find the conservative woman walking side by side with an ultra short skirt and half naked woman in the street.
So your statement that the Syrian first lady is ‘somehow phony’ is very wrong. She is a true and honest reflection of a lots of average Syrian women you might see in the streets of any city, town or village of Syria.
She supports many education and women oriented programs through a project called Masar and she is doing a very good work.

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July 2nd, 2009, 8:28 pm

 

13. EHSANI2 said:

ALEX,

This was an opportunity to come out with guns blazing against this barbaric and primitive crime. Sadly, the outcome did not go far or hard enough.

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July 2nd, 2009, 8:59 pm

 

14. Alex said:

Jad,

Did I say Chinese? .. I meant Japanese! : )

Ehsani,

I agree, but on the other hand I heard that the more conservative members of Syrian Parliament (and other conservative forces) made it clear that they believe that abolishing all special regulations dealing with reduced punishment for honor crimes would be similar to promoting adultery.

You know that in Syria “the regime” is careful not to look like extreme liberals.

But again, I agree with you and I think this is one place where we should have not given much attention to what the fundamentalists think or want.

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July 2nd, 2009, 9:11 pm

 

15. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

JAD,

I’m quite aware of the diversity in the Syrian ( and Lebanese too )
society. And that not all there wear the more traditional Arab outfits.
And I’m also aware of the social and educational work of Mrs. Asad.

What I meant is that an outfit is a political statement.!:

A’hmedinejad doesn’t wear a tie = thats political statement.
Qadthaffi of Libya wearing pseudo African king gown = political;
Women in Europe insisting on Hijab / Burka = political;
Mrs. Obama choice of non-designer dresses = political;
Mrs. Asad chooses to wear XXSmall T-shirt = political too.

Her choice, is a contradiction ( and maybe “phony” ) regarding previous
discussions here on SC, about (for example) the new Syrian acts
(marriage, divorce, adultery, “honor killings” etc.).

What would president A’njad (Asad’s best buddy) say about this kind
of outfit choice..? Full-house of contradictions.

The reality on the ground doesn’t reflect the outfit. In my eyes only.
.

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July 2nd, 2009, 9:29 pm

 

16. Alex said:

Amir,

try not to read too much into those signals.

For example, President Assad is not wearing a tie today as he and his wife took part in ceremonies to start construction work a new interactive science museum in Damascus

http://www.sana.sy/servers/gallery/20090702-235221.jpg

And He is not Ahmadinejad’s buddy… Syria and Iran are very different, but they don’t try to influence each other’s way of life.

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July 2nd, 2009, 9:37 pm

 

17. jad said:

Alex, here you go in Japanese:
よかったね!
その状況はひどいと同じです

And before you reply; I attched the Korean too incase you still mixing the languages you are learning. wink wink!

당신에게 행운을!
끔찍한 상황은 여전히 동일하다

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July 2nd, 2009, 10:01 pm

 

18. SimoHurtta said:

The reality on the ground doesn’t reflect the outfit. In my eyes only.

Amir in Tel Aviv in Israel the outfit of your housing minister reflects the Israeli reality in the eyes of the world.
Housing Minister: Spread of Arab population must be stopped

http://www.haaretz.com/hasite/images/iht_daily/D020709/AtiasII.jpg

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July 2nd, 2009, 10:38 pm

 

19. Shami said:

Alex,
This is the very sad with the mini dictators sons of dictators(syria,egypt and libya) ,they want to appear nice and modern which is easy and in the same time they maintain the despicable on the ground.

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July 3rd, 2009, 1:06 am

 

20. norman said:

I want everybody to notice that the new law says that the minimum sentence no less than 2 years , I do not think that they have a maximum so the judges can decide ,and that can be much higher depending on the sentiment in the population , for that crime to be punished to it’s maximum then educating the people will have to start first making the crime more shameful than the reason for it.

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July 3rd, 2009, 1:37 am

 
 

22. Off the Wall said:

Alex
Welcome back.

too liberal?, who?

It is possible that this decree is merely a precursor to silencing Bassam Alqadi and his colleagues in nesasy.org and similar organizations. They will now tell him, OK, you got what you want, and you should shut up, the president has said his word and any objection to his decree is a red-line that can not be crossed.

Before the decree, anti dis-honor-murders activists were working within the confine of the semi-tolerable, their adversary was an old law, but after the decree, any attempt to continue the fight would look like snubbing the generous president and it would put the whole activist community directly against the regime not against an old law or a single minister or even few judges, now it is the president.

Here you go, it is politics. Diversion, and manipulation of circumstances to outflank human right activists with bone scraps. It usually looks like the activists got what they want, and as such there will be no need for activism. This is more than transparent. Sounds like token golf club membership.

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July 3rd, 2009, 8:21 am

 

23. Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Amir,

Always critical… You think you’re comfy in the peanut gallery but Simo was actually right on the money. Your comfy chair is a powder keg of ugly racism.

If you actually were able to listen to the interview you’d be blown away. Syria is very lucky to have Asma as a first lady.

I wonder what’s the political message in Sarah Netanyahu’s appearance by the way? She looks like a more-than-slightly neurotic wife of a Texan evangelist, kind of fits well actually. But she is also not representative of either the Tel Aviv hoties or the Orthodox who live 10 km away in Bnei Brak and shave their heads and cover from head to toe. She doesn’t represent the “reality on the ground” either way. But what can you expect, the Netanyahus are more American than Israeli.

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July 3rd, 2009, 8:52 am

 

24. Alex said:

OTW,

As I said, what we know is that most honor crimes are carried out later, .. planned.

In that case the new law says that they will be treated like regular crimes… and even the spontaneous honor crimes are now punishable by at least two years in prison.

I think this translates to an 80% solution … not perfect, but good enough for now.

But I still find it unacceptable that honor crimes still get special case treatment … as if it is understandable sometimes.

This comes from our education … they teach us in school that our “dignity” is sacred. Promoting dignity translates to many good things, and many bad ones too … like committing “honor” crimes.

Fighting honor crimes starts at school … teaching young Syrians to accept that sometimes they can not control their environment … if a sister has sex with a boyfriend, your dignity should not be threatened … your sister is not under your control.

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July 3rd, 2009, 5:06 pm

 

25. Alex said:

Ayman Abdel Noor’s All4Syria website is reporting changes at Syrian Intelligence:

Twice a year the syrian president who hold the rank of “ fariq” in the army ,issue a list contain the names (promoted – transferred – retired) officers for both the military and intelligence officers

The first list in 1st of January , the second in 1st of July
Last list include promoting “liwae” asef shawkat to a higher rank “ imad “ but send him out of the military intelligence in which he was the director since 14th Feb 2005 .

He was send to be a deputy chief of staff of the army that mean deputy of the Christian “ imad “ david rajha .

It was not necessary to take him out of the military intelligence in order to put him deputy chief of staff ?, as “ imad “ ali douba in the ninetieth was together deputy chief of staff & chief of the military intelligence .

After two years the deputy army leader “ imad “ ali habib will be retired according to his age , then he will replaced automatically by the chief of staff so the position of chief of staff will be vacant in two years .

Usually the older deputy of the chief of staff will replace him so if the president did this move for Asef to put him as chief of staff after two years he has to either retired the existing deputies or send them to another positions
We have to wait to see

More in Arabic:

http://all4syria.info/content/view/11030/96/

تفاصيل التنقلات الأخيرة في المخابرات السورية
طباعة أرسل لصديق
خاص – كلنا شركاء
03/ 07/ 2009

-تم ترفيع اللواء آصف شوكت لرتبة عماد ونقله من شعبة المخابرات العسكرية لنائب رئيس الأركان .
-نقل اللواء عبد الفتاح قدسية من رئاسة المخابرات الجوية لرئاسة المخابرات العسكرية .
-ترفيع العميد جميل حسن نائب رئيس مخابرات امن الدولة لمرتبة لواء ونقله لرئاسة المخابرات الجوية .
-التمهيد لترفيع العميد زهير حمد رئيس فرع المعلومات في امن الدولة لمرتبة لواء وتعيينه فورا بمنصب نائب رئيس امن الدولة ليتسلم كمدير ادارة خلفا للواء علي مملوك حين نقله لمكان اخر

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July 3rd, 2009, 5:14 pm

 

26. Off the Wall said:

Thanks for the explanation Alex. But it is well known that in the past premeditated murders were treated as honor crimes if the new decree stops that, then I am very happy. As for the two years, it is light, but in every country on earth there is something to cater for temporary insanity, which has to be proven in court by experts. This does not seem to be the case.

Do you have a link to the decree.

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July 3rd, 2009, 5:17 pm

 

27. Alex said:

Here is the legislative decree:

It says that the only exception (minimum of two years) will be for non premeditated murders.

فأقدم على قتلهما أو إيذائهما أو على قتل أو إيذاء أحدهما بغير عمد

http://www.sana.sy/ara/2/2009/07/02/233705.htm

دمشق-سانا

أصدر السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد أمس المرسوم التشريعي رقم 37 للعام 2009 القاضي بإلغاء المادة 548 من قانون العقوبات والاستعاضة عنها بنص آخر وفيما يلي نص المرسوم التشريعي..

الجمهورية العربية السورية

المرسوم التشريعي رقم 37

رئيس الجمهورية

بناء على أحكام الدستور

يرسم ما يلي..

المادة-1- تلغى المادة 548 من قانون العقوبات ويستعاض عنها بالنص التالي..

يستفيد من العذر المخفف من فاجأ زوجه أو أحد أصوله أو فروعه أو أخته في جرم الزنا المشهود أو في صلات جنسية فحشاء مع شخص آخر فأقدم على قتلهما أو إيذائهما أو على قتل أو إيذاء أحدهما بغير عمد على ألا تقل العقوبة عن الحبس مدة سنتين في القتل.

المادة-2- ينشر هذا المرسوم التشريعي في الجريدة الرسمية.

دمشق في 9-7-1430 هجري الموافق 1-7-2009 ميلادي.

رئيس الجمهورية

بشار الأسد

وزير العدل: المرسوم تصويب لمعالجة الحالات التي تنطبق عليها هذه المادة بما يتوافق مع أحكام القانون وقواعد العدالة

وحول المرسوم التشريعي رقم 37 صرح القاضي أحمد حمود يونس وزير العدل لوكالة سانا: إنه كثرت في الآونة الأخيرة جرائم القتل أو الإيذاء بحق الزوجات وغيرهن من القريبات بداعي مفاجأتهن بجرم الزنا المشهود أو في صلات جنسية فحشاء أو في حالات مريبة مع آخر وكان نص المادة 548 عقوبات الملغاة يعفي مرتكب جريمة القتل أو الإيذاء سنداً لهذه المادة في هذه الحالات من كل عقوبة ويحلله من أي مسؤولية أو عقاب على فعله.

وأوضح الوزير يونس: إن هذا الإعفاء يجانب القواعد العامة في التشريع السوري التي أناطت الحق بالعقاب وتقرير المسؤولية بالسلطة القضائية المختصة مبيناً أن النص السابق للمادة 548 المذكورة الملغاة كان مثاراً للجدل والانتقاد منذ صدور قانون العقوبات في عام 1949.

وأوضح وزير العدل: إنه وبإصدار السيد رئيس الجمهورية للمرسوم التشريعي رقم 37 تاريخ1/7/2009 يكون قد تم تصويب ومعالجة الحالات التي تنطبق على هذه المادة المعالجة الصحيحة التي تتوافق مع أحكام القانون وقواعد العدالة وهذه خطوة مهمة تضاف إلى الإنجازات التشريعية العديدة والمستمرة في تعزيز نهج الإصلاح والبناء والتقدم.

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July 3rd, 2009, 5:30 pm

 
 

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