Posted by Joshua on Thursday, September 27th, 2007
Nazareth — Israel's air strike on northern Syria earlier this month should be understood in the context of events unfolding since its assault last summer on neighboring Lebanon.
From the leaks so far, it seems that more than half a dozen Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace to drop munitions on a site close to the border with Turkey. We also know from the US media that the raid occurred in close coordination with the White House. But what was the purpose and significance of the attack?
It is worth recalling that, in the wake of Israel's month-long war against Lebanon a year ago, a prominent American neoconservative, Meyrav Wurmser, wife of Vice-President Dick Cheney's recently departed Middle East adviser, explained that the war had dragged on because the White House delayed in imposing a ceasefire. The neocons, she said, wanted to give Israel the time and space to expand the attack to Damascus.
The reasoning was simple: before an attack on Iran could be countenanced, Hizbullah in Lebanon had to be destroyed and Syria at the very least cowed. The plan was to isolate Tehran on these two other hostile fronts before going in for the kill.
But faced with constant rocket fire from Hizbullah last summer, Israel's public and military nerves frayed at the first hurdle. Instead Israel and the US were forced to settle for a Security Council resolution rather than a decisive military victory.
The immediate fallout of the failed attack was an apparent waning of neocon influence. The group's program of "creative destruction" in the Middle East — the encouragement of regional civil war and the partition of large states that threaten Israel — was at risk of being shunted aside…..
Hizbullah: If Israel attacks Syria, we'll respond , Roee Nahmias, 9.27.07, 22:32 / Israel News,
Senior members of Lebanese, Palestinian organizations vow to stand by Damascus if Jewish state launches war. 'Doors will be open which have not been open before. Israel will pay a heavy price,' they warn.
"If Israel dares to make an adventurous move against Syria, it will pay a heavy price," a member of Hizbulla's political council warned Thursday.
In an interview with the Nazareth-based Kul al-Arab newspaper scheduled to be published on Friday, Dr Ahmad Malli warned Israel against considering an attack on Syria, saying that the Lebanese organization would respond to such an offensive with full force.
"I believe that things have changed," Malli explained. "The times when everyone was afraid of the Israeli threats are over. The Zionist entity knows more than anyone that the price of such adventurousness would be heavy, and the Israelis know the price more than anyone.
"Since 2006 we have begun a new stage in the Arab-Israeli conflict and have demonstrated this during the Israeli aggression in July (the Second Lebanon War). If anyone wants to make an adventurous move, it will baer responsibility for this aggression."
Asked whether he was referring to aggression both against Lebanon and against Syria, Malli replied, "We are all in one Middle East."
Ahmad Jibril, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, also warned Thursday that if Israel attacked Syria or Hizbullah his organization would also respond.
In an interview with the al-Hadat newspaper, which is published in Arabic in the Galilee city of Tamra, Jibril warned that Israel planned to invade Syria in coordination with Arab countries. The interview is scheduled to be published Friday.
According to Jibril, if such an attack takes place, Iran and Hizbullah will stand by Damascus and respond in full force.
"I believe that the Israelis and the Americans will carry out attacks against Syria as soon as possible, in other words in the near future. I do not reject the possibility that the Israeli aircraft will attack us – the Palestinians in Syria.
"I also do not reject the possibility that they will attack the Palestinian headquarters in Damascus. We, the Palestinians in Syria, will not stand idly by. We will be at the front posts. I also believe that Hizbullah will take part in this war," he said.
Jibril added that Israel's plan was to isolate Syria from Iran and the rest of its allies, after identifying it as the weakest link.
"I stress that the plan to isolate Syria will not go by easily," he declared. "I am certain that this war will last for months and will open doors which have not been opened in the past."
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with her Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem in New York on Wednesday, Arab-Israeli newspaper al-Sinara reported on Thursday. Livni's entourage in New York denied the report.
According to the report, which was based on a senior Arab sources the meeting came after Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani surprised Livni with a proposal that she convene with the Syrian FM at the UN headquarters in New York.
After consluting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Livni agreed to the meeting, which ended up lasting for over an hour.
During thier meeting the two reportedly discussed tensions that have built up between the two countries, and the need to calm things down.
Nabih Berri sitting and smiling with Hariri who just called for Bashar to be removed.
Saudi brothers dump on Syria as well, underscoring Syria's isolation from Arab governments. If you read the comment section of the article, you will notice that few Saudis support al-Rashid's diatribe against Syria even though Syria is an ally of Iran.
Alex writes about Rashid's article:
Abdel Rahman Al-rashed (director of Saudi satellite TV Al-Arabia, and former editor of Asharq al-Awsat) wrote again today accusing the Syrians of being evil (more or less).. blaming them for everything, including Barak’s “cold feet” 1999 reversal of the Golan deal.
Read the readers’ comments … even the typical anti-Syria readers of Asharq found Al-Rashed’s article to be outrageous.
Alrashed is suggesting that the Syrians be invited to the peace conference but they should be kept is a separate room … otherwise they can spoil the conference.
As if without Farouk Shara in that good-guys’ room everything will go smoothly and Israel will give the Saudis everything the Palestinians always wanted and more.
Al-Rashed’s great idea reminds me of his friend Mamoun Fandi’s other invention: in 2005 he wrote an opinion piece in Asharq al-Awsat suggested the following:
“Syria is now in real trouble. What can be done to save Syrian people from paying the price of their governments wrong decisions? The solution is a meeting between all Arab countries including Syria, on the condition that Syria listens without being allowed a single one of its long disdainful speeches. The aim of such a meeting would be to give Syria a political cover to use in coming out of its current bottleneck. It would also present Syria with a frame to preserve its dignity as it withdraws from the pack of policies that reflect a state of obstinacy. Without such rapid Syrian withdrawal and without a similarly rapid Arab political involvement we will watch Syria move confidently towards hell with the speed of light. A group of foolish Arabs will remain applauding Syria as it heads to the bottom of the rank of Arab nationalism. I also hope that Syria will not imagine that this scenario will take many years to be executed, or that the Bush regime may have departed before the effects fully impact Syria.”
That warning was in 2005. We’ll see what Al-Sharq’s writers will be writing when the Bush administration has indeed departed.
The prelude to a break down of the state, Lebanon’s Farmers harvest a massive marijuana crop this year, the largest since the civil war ended.
Saudi Religious Police Attacked by Girls
Monday 24 September 2007
By Sultan al-Kholaif
Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat-
According to the head of the commission in Khobar, two girls pepper sprayed members of the commission after they had tried to offer them advice.
According to Dr. Al-Marshood, the two commission members approached the girls in order to "politely" advise and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing.
Consequently, the two girls started verbally abusing the commission members, which then lead to one of the girls pepper-spraying them in the face as the other girl filmed the incident on her mobile phone, while continuing to hurl insults at them.
The Eastern Province's head of the commission also revealed that with the help of the police his two employees were able to control the situation.
The two females were then escorted to the police station where they apologized for the attack, were cautioned and then released.
He Is Said to Have Sought $1 Billion and Information on Arms
(By Karen DeYoung and Michael Abramowitz, The Washington Post)