News Roundup (8 May 2007) Rice Says Yes to Chapter VII Tribunal

US Secretary of State urges establishment of Hariri tribunal in Lebanese newspaper editorial

(AP)–U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged the establishment of an international criminal tribunal to bring to trial those responsible for the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In a front-page editorial published in the leading Arabic-language newspaper An-Nahar, Rice warned the U.N. would act on its own if the Lebanese parliament failed to give the go-ahead for the establishment of such a court.

Lebanon’s parliament must approve its establishment, but the process has been deadlocked amid deep political divisions. Although it is supported by the U.S.-backed government, the opposition led by the pro-Syrian and pro-Iranian Hezbollah has balked at supporting its establishment. The editorial was apparently aimed at assuring the U.S.’s allies in Lebanon that there was no change in policy after Rice’s meeting with Syria’s foreign minister last week.

The parliamentary impasse prompted the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority to demand that the U.N. Security Council impose the tribunal on Lebanon, but the Security Council has so far refrained from taking such a decision. “The special tribunal for Lebanon will help end this sad era of impunity,” Rice wrote in the editorial, titled ‘A tribunal for Lebanon: time to end impunity for murder.’

Although Rice’s position wasn’t new, its publication in a leading Lebanese daily ensures widespread dissemination of the U.S. view. Rice wrote the tribunal wouldn’t only help uncover those responsible for the killing, but help strengthen security and stability in the country. She added the U.S. believes the “best option” would be for the tribunal to be approved by the Lebanese parliament. If that proves impossible, then the international community “consistent with its pledge to help the Lebanese people achieve their vision of a free and democratic Lebanon will use every means at its disposal to further the pursuit of justice and to put an end to the current campaign of assassinations.”

Rice added the “enemies of truth have resorted to subterfuge and intimidation to prevent the establishment of the tribunal” to deprive the Lebanese of justice. She also criticized the opposition’s campaign to unseat the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora. Hezbollah is on the U.S. list of the terrorist organizations.

EHSANI2 added: Dr. Landis,

Yesterday, Mr. Assad downplayed the significance of the Rice-Mouallem meeting, claiming that it was not a breakthrough. As the story above shows, Secretary Rice has chosen the An-Nahar to give a very clear signal about her country’s intentions. This sure sounds consistent with what your friend told you in the post above. There are also reports that Brammertz has already started sending some of his investigators home as his report is almost complete.

As one Lebanese friend keeps telling me: "If the U.S. will lose Lebanon to Syria, it should pack and leave the region once and for all. If it cannot win in a nation of 4 million people with over 50% who support it, what chance does it have in the wider Arab world?" The U.S. needs to show a victory somewhere. If Bashar beats them in Lebanon, it would send a huge message in the region. Rice is trying to tell people that this will not happen. Let us see what the next 4-6 weeks bring. (we keep waiting for the next 4-6 weeks.)

Rice Says U.S. Is `Not Looking to Leave Iraq': Charlie Rose

Ehsani Writes: "I just watched a charlie rose interview with Rice. She left absolutely no doubt that the tribunal will take place. Asked if there was an exit strategy in Iraq, she said that "we are not looking to leave Iraq" till we have done our work and make sure that Iraq's neighbors do not meddle with its affairs."

DAMASCUS, Syria: Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday said last week's talks between his country's foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were not a "breakthrough," instead accusing the Bush administration of making Damascus a scapegoat for the failures in Iraq.

Thursday's talks on Iraq's deteriorating security situation between Rice and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem were billed as a diplomatic turning point for the Bush administration, which has long refused to talk to Damascus.

But Assad would not go as far to say the talks were the end to poor relations between the two countries, saying it is difficult to make progress over Iraq's security when there are "bad political relations."

"It's too early to say it's a breakthrough. …We are still waiting to see how they (the U.S.) want to start," Assad said during an interview with NBC'S "Today" show.

The Rice-Moallem talks — held on the sidelines of an international conference on Iraq's future at Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik — were the first Cabinet-level talks in years between the countries.

NBC interview with Assad by Ann Curry. President speaks about US allegations it is supporting Iraqi resitance.

Syrian ambassador says the U.S. 'obsessed' with military solution in Iraq By ANDREW DeMILLO, AP, 8 May 2007

Syria's ambassador said the Bush administration is obsessed with seeking a military solution for Iraq at the expense of diplomacy, and noted it might be too late for the White House to bring stability to the strife-torn country.

"The situation has deteriorated to a level that, to be honest, we don't know how it can be salvaged from further deterioration," Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha said during a Monday night speech at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

Moustapha spoke after the first cabinet-level talks between Syria and the United States last week, and said the United States is not focusing enough on the political process in Iraq but is "obsessed with a security solution."

He added: "every day that passes without some attention to finding a solution will make it more and more difficult."

Iraq's embattled prime minister has been leaning on the U.S. to engage Syria and Iran, arguing they could help lessen the violence in neighboring Iraq. Washington accuses Syria of looking the other way while fighters from many countries cross its border join the ranks of al-Qaida and other insurgent groups in Iraq.

Compounding Iraq's problems, Moustapha said, is the fact that most of the 1.5 million Iraqi refugees who have fled into Syria are middle-class workers such as teachers, lawyers and doctors.

"The middle class is staying out," Moustapha said. "Without the middle class, you can't have a state."

"This is why we're saying probably now it's too late after four years of disasters," Moustapha said.

Syria still wants to help and believes that the United States could still solve the problems in Iraq.

"We believe this is an opportunity for the United States to change its attitude toward the region and start engaging us and the rest of the region," Moustapha said.

Moustapha said he was hopeful that last week's talks on Iraq between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem were a starting point for a new relationship between the two countries.

"Across the political scene in Washington, attitudes are starting to change toward Syria," Moustapha said.

Hezbollah rejects forming tribunal under Chapter 7, DPA, May 6, 2007

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said late Sunday that a proposed international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri must first be ratified by the Lebanese Parliament.

The leader of the Lebanese Shiite movement said that Hezbollah rejects any imposed United Nations Security Council decision to form an international tribunal in the Hariri case without first receiving approval in the politically divided country.

Nasrallah meant that the UN should only approve the tribunal after parliament ratification, not just by agreement with the Western- backed Beirut government. For months, Hezbollah has calling for the Lebanese government to step down.

‘We consider any resolution issued by the Security Council (on the tribunal) illegitimate and illegal and without value because it violates the Lebanese national interest,’ he said in an interview with Iran’s Arabic-language al-Alam state television station.

‘We hope that things don’t get there.’

NSC Chairman: Syrian call for peace talks with Israel ‘authentic’, By Shahar Ilan, Haaretz, 07/05/2007

National Security Council (NSC) Chairman Ilan Mizrahi said Monday that “Syria’s call for dialogue with Israel is authentic.”

Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mizrahi added that it is difficult to determine whether Syria is interested in peace, or just a peace process.

The NSC chairman briefed the committee on the process of the strengthening of Islamic extremism, saying Al-Qaida is establishing itself in Lebanon – among other reasons, in order to play a role in a potential future power struggle in the country. At the same time, the organization is active in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, and is trying to gain a foothold in Jordan, Mizrahi said.

UN Chief in Syria says Assad not preparing for war, Jerusalem Post, May. 8, 2007

Says more military activity in Israel than in Syria; Israeli defense officials reject assessment; NSC head: Peace overtures genuine.

“Within my area of responsibility, there is no military buildup,” Jilke told the Post in his first interview since taking up the post in February. “From my point of view there is nothing on level of strategic interest that could or would lead to concern [for Israel].”

Jilke said Syria was repairing trenches and positions along the border with Israel, but that within the areas of limitation, Syria had only amassed 40 percent of the permitted forces. There was more military activity on the Israeli side of the border, he said.

“We are much below the allowed figures,” Jilke said. “There is a peaceful atmosphere and there is no intention to prepare for war.”

"Talk to Syria," By Dennis Ross, New Republic Online, May 7, 2007

…. If Syrian President Bashar Assad is willing to talk, shouldn't Israel engage Syria and see if a war can be averted? (For some, there is the possible added benefit that discussions with Syria might also be useful for weaning Syria away Iran and for imposing limits on Hezbollah and Hamas.) …

The lesson here is that the Bush administration needs to think far more carefully about its position on talks with the Syrians. Rather than simply telling the Israelis "no," it should work out a coordinated game plan with the Israelis, including common red lines for the talks. It should coordinate with the Lebanese to reassure Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government about the purpose of the talks — and then give them regular briefings on what takes place in them. Ultimately, the Bush administration has very little interest in an Israeli-Syrian war. Maybe it is time for it to shape an approach to negotiations and not allow either the United States or Israel to be driven into talks in a way that reduces our respective leverage. That would be an act of effective statecraft.

"Divide and Rule: U.S. Blocks Israel-Syria Talks," by Stephen Zunes

Foreign Ministry conducting project to prepare to renew talks with Syria

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is currently conducting staff work to prepare for the possibility of a renewed peace process with Syria, sources in the Foreign Ministry told Haaretz.

No conclusions have yet been presented to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, as the project is not finished. However, a ministry source said, “If the prime minister decides that he wants to hear it, we have a prepared plan – from the operational aspect as well.”

Damascus moves to center stage By Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS – Fifty years ago, alarmed that Syria was becoming dangerously close to the Soviet Union, US president Dwight Eisenhower authorized a series of operations aimed at isolating, weakening and eventually overthrowing the regime of president Shukri al-Quwatli.

The Central Intelligence Agency tried to pull off two coups in Damascus. Both of them failed. The US then pursued a policy of

funding the Syrian opposition. US intelligence reports on Syria during the years 1956-58 are hauntingly similar to press reports coming out of Washington in 2005-07 – only the word "Soviet" is replaced by "Iranian".

Why Israel is after me," by Azmi Bishara, LA Times, 3 May 2007

Amman, Jordan — I AM A PALESTINIAN from Nazareth, a citizen of Israel and was, until last month, a member of the Israeli parliament.

But now, in an ironic twist reminiscent of France’s Dreyfus affair — in which a French Jew was accused of disloyalty to the state — the government of Israel is accusing me of aiding the enemy during Israel’s failed war against Lebanon in July.

Israeli police apparently suspect me of passing information to a foreign agent and of receiving money in return. Under Israeli law, anyone — a journalist or a personal friend — can be defined as a “foreign agent” by the Israeli security apparatus. Such charges can lead to life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

The allegations are ridiculous….

These trumped-up charges, which I firmly reject and deny, are only the latest in a series of attempts to silence me and others involved in the struggle of the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel to live in a state of all its citizens, not one that grants rights and privileges to Jews that it denies to non-Jews….

Addendum: Posted Later in the day

Saudi Terror Cells Held Al-Qaida Links Through Syria, 2007-05-08

RIYADH, Saudi (AP)–One of the seven recently exposed Saudi  terrorist cells used Syria as a base for coordinating with al-Qaida in Iraq and held  training camps in the Yemeni desert, a newspaper owned by Saudi royal family said Tuesday.

The Al-Watan paper report provided new detail on the what Saudi authorities have described as the biggest terrorist plot ever uncovered in the kingdom. The government in April announced a monthslong sweep had netted 172 militants, some of who had trained abroad as pilots and planned attacks on government and military targets inside Saudi Arabia. The militants were said to have been organized in seven cells. "One of the uncovered cells used Syria as a 'safe house' for meetings and coordination with active elements of al-Qaida in Iraq," Al-Watan claimed.

Comments (27)


1. K said:

The sections in Sami Moubayed’s piece that deal with Lebanon are extremely biased. His portrayal of the M14 Movement is a pure regurgitation of regime propaganda. Moubayed is about one step removed from Imad Moustapha on the spectrum of independence from the party line.

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May 8th, 2007, 6:40 pm

 

2. majedkhaldoun said:

the question is what is it that Rice can do once she leaves office?

also Syria objective is to pass time,till Bush leaves office and democratic adminstration take office of the presidency, they hoped Sarkozy loose but he won,in France and their hope in USA may not materialize either, we have to wait and see.
USA and Isreal objective is to get rid of HA, so USA can strike Iran,and stop their nuclear projects, for Asad he must know it is just like to throw your last tromp card.
Asad, so far, he gained strategic position in Syria and Iraq, but he is loosing badly in Lebanon, he needs to reach out to Saad Hariri,settle and improve relations with him,seperating him and the sunni sect from 14 of march, the price is high,the diplomacy is hard, but it sure worth it, this way he will win, give concessions to Isreal is the wrong approach.

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May 8th, 2007, 6:55 pm

 

3. why-discuss said:

Condoleeza Rice has also affirm with asurances on TV that there was not doubt Saddam Hossein was plotting with Al Qaeda.
I think she expresses her views on the tribunal just to convince herself and the Al nahar readers. Ban Ki Moon does not seem very enthusiastic about the Chapter 7. US will need a lot of arm twisting (and the support of Sarkozy) to have the security council vote a Chapter 7 led tribunal opposed by a large part of the lebanese population and the governemnt, let alone powerful states that can harm USA badly in Iraq. If it is voted, Lebanon is embarking in a few years of uncertainties and a chaotic presidential election that may end up with 2 governments. The US are used to create messes when they interfere in a country internal affairs and in their relations with neighboring countries: This is going to be another exemple of their short-sighted policy.

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May 8th, 2007, 7:07 pm

 

4. Ford Prefect said:

K,
Caught you again, so I will repeat:

Is the word “regurgitation” taught at the March 14th International School for the Advanced Studies of Syrian Animalistic Orientation (M14-ISASAO)?

It was previously used, exclusively, by another March 14th supporter (where in the world is Gibran?) to a point that it lost its meaning.

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May 8th, 2007, 7:15 pm

 

5. Observer said:

The tribunal will not happen without a Lebanese compromise. The UN is not interested in being used for the internal vendettas of the mafia families that control Lebanon. Russia does not want a precedent that can be used in the future. Saudi Arabia is abhorent of instability and three fires burning in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq is more than it can tolerate. Bandar was brought back and put on a leash. This is why Cheney is going there to re establish some contacts. Rice can editorialize as much as she wants. The fact that it is in the Nahar and not in the NYT or Washington Post says a lot about how much clout she has left. If the Marsh 14 group think that Sarkozy or Bush is coming to the rescue they will be disappointed. Nothing will happen until Iraq is stabilized and I believe it will only after the US concedes defeat. Iran and Syria would like to continue to bleed the US longer and perhaps at a slower pace. The US public outside of a hardened Republican base has tuned Iraq out completely. All you have to do is to listen to the cable news and realize that the Kentucky Derby is more important than all of Lebanon and its travails. Sorry to say it but the Kentucky Derby is actually more important than Lebanon in my mind as well.

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May 8th, 2007, 7:36 pm

 

6. K said:

Majedkhaldoun,

As cynical and cruel as your prescription for Syrian policy is towards Lebanon, you are actually correct in your analysis of how Syria can effectively manipulate Lebanese sectarian politics.

Syria’s domination of Lebanon was made possible by the cooptation of the Sunni sect, which received a piece of the pie in proceeds from corruption and portion of power. During those dark decades, the Christians constituted the sole resistance to Syrian occupation: the LF, the FPM, and later Qornet Shehwan. So long as Lebanese resistance was a Christian phenomenon, it had little international credibility, especially in the Arab world. After all, the Christians WOULD be disgruntled after having lost the war and much of their power. Thus the regime and its puppet Lebanese apparatus invaded college campuses to violently break up demonstrations, arrested and tortured and assassinated activists, shut down TV stations with impunity.

The Lebanese movement against Syrian domination was only taken seriously by the regime when Hariri became unsatisfied with his status as Syrian puppet, and made overtures to the Christian opposition. Bashar believed he was decapitating this realignment by killing Hariri, instead, he propelled Lebanon’s Sunnis towards their Christian countrymen in a manner unprecendented in Lebanese history. Sunnis have never before taken to the streets en masse adorned with Lebanese flags, under the banner of a LEBANESE cause. The traditional Sunni role in Lebanon has been pan-Arabist and pro-Syrian…

A Sunni-led movement, and a multisectarian Sunni-Christian-Druze movement, suddenly gains credibility in the eyes of the Arab world. Especially when the movement’s opponent is a sectarian Shi’a fundamentalist paramilitary organization funded, armed and influenced by imperialistic Iran. The Sunni reaction to the Hariri assassination is what determined the outcome of events. They could have played their traditional role, and chosen subservience to Damascus over alliance with their Christian countrymen, but to Syria’s surprise and mine, they chose Lebanon.

To kill our movement, split it along sectarian lines. Coopt the Sunnis once more, and tear them away from the Christians. (The Druze will quickly line up with the dominant group). Use sectarian politics to shatter this unprecedented cross-sectarian Lebanese unity.

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May 8th, 2007, 7:38 pm

 

7. ausamaa said:

This “unprecedented cross-sectarian Lebanese unity” mentioned above happens only to not include the following:

-Aounists
-Franjieh’s Maradah
-SSNP
-Amal
-Hizballah
-Al Huss, Karami, Slam, Miqati, Wakeem, Wahhab, etc,..
-Non-Junblat Druz, Non- F14 Armenians
-Nasserits, Baathists, Communists, etc,..
And a whole whole whole lotsa of Lebanese as Cross Sectarian as you can get!

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May 8th, 2007, 8:23 pm

 

8. Observer said:

In a response to K. This description of why Hariri was killed would make perfect sense as the motive for the Israeli intelligence services to actually kill the man. A contact in France told me that the French intelligence service are now convinced that the Israelis did it.

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May 8th, 2007, 8:58 pm

 

9. Ford Prefect said:

And Ausamaa, this Sunni-Christian coalition, by the way, does not include the majority of Lebanese Christians who voted for Aon more than any other Christian candidate. And never mind that Aon was the ONLY Lebanese who consistently spoke out against the Syrian presence (OK, fine, I was against it too) in Lebanon for a quarter of a century. Let us not forget also the Neyla Muawwad used to call herself Neyla Assad and Mr. Jumblatt was the darling of Khaddam and Kannan. They even created the election law of 2000 to get Jumblatt, Hariri, Berri elected and deny many Christians their legitimate right of fair voting.

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May 8th, 2007, 9:52 pm

 

10. K said:

Ausamaa,

I consider the FPM public to be part of M14, despite their leadership’s recent alliance. They share the dreams of M14.

Amal and Hizballa, of course, are the other side. They represent the one sect whose leadership placed its strategic bet on Syria and Iran vs. the rest of Lebanon. I believe there was once a moment when we could have brought them onboard and avoided the present impasse, but a certain General sunk that possibility.

The rest are a bunch of cheap Syrian puppets with little public support to speak of.

Observer,

I’m violating my policy to avoid debating the Hariri assassination with conspiracy theorists, just to point out your logical weakness. There was never a guarantee that Sunnis would team up with Christians in support of a free Lebanon, which they had never done before and was not their traditional position. Hariri’s killing could have had any number of repercussions. For example, when Syria assassinated Kamal Jumblatt, his son bowed his head to Damascus, and his hordes went on a murderous rampage against their Christian neighbors. Syria was banking on a similar outcome, but this time, the son rejected Syrian bullying instead of bowing, and he took his sect OUT of its traditional role.

A Sunni-Christian anti-Syrian alliance could never have been simply assumed by any party, including Israel, so it would have been stupid for Israel to do it, on the mere hope that M14 would result! Israel has better things to do than assassinate pro-Western Lebanese leaders, namely killing Hamas and Islamic Jihad! Hell, if they had such a great death squad/intelligence apparatus in Lebanon, they would have wiped out the Hizballa leadership by now, instead of wasting their time on anti-Syrian journalists.

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May 8th, 2007, 9:56 pm

 

11. majedkhaldoun said:

K:
you must understand that the majority of lebanese are muslems, and democracy is an advantage to muslems as they tend to have more kids,so the future is on the side of muslems,and christians must learn how to live just as their friends in syria, self interest is more important than religion,or patriotism,christians are at disadvantage in the levant, and fighting is not the answer,,and looking for help from europe or USA may not come ,since those, they have their own problems.

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May 8th, 2007, 10:00 pm

 

12. K said:

Ford Prefect,

You are right about Mou’awwad, Jumblatt, Hariri… all treacherously collaborated with the Syrian Occupation. Thankfully, they have changed course.

If you want to be accurate, the one leader, and the one Lebanese party that has been consistent in resisting Syrian occupation is Samir Ja’ja’ and the Lebanese Forces.

True, Aoun was once a great champion of Lebanese freedom from Syria, but he has since abandoned his principles and allied with his erstwhile foes, in a desperate bid for the presidency. I believe his followers have not been as quick to abandon the cause as he has.

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May 8th, 2007, 10:02 pm

 

13. Ford Prefect said:

K,
Thanks. But can you please address the number of votes that Aon received compared to the Lebanese Forces in the last election?

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May 8th, 2007, 10:18 pm

 

14. K said:

FP,

Aoun won overwhelmingly.

This was before the Aoun-Hizballa alliance, before the murders of Jibran Tueini and Pierre Jmayyil, before the Hizballa-instigated war, before the Hizballa-Amal riots in Beirut, before the Opposition shut down the country, and before Aoun comically addressed the Shi’a masses on the first day of the Opposition campaign.

It’s an open question how his followers would vote in a future election. There are signs that many have abandoned him, but there are also plenty of fanatics who would follow him off a cliff. The future of Lebanon might well depend on this very question.

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May 8th, 2007, 10:37 pm

 

15. Ford Prefect said:

K,
Thanks. Well said. It is an open and an important question.

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May 8th, 2007, 10:42 pm

 

16. EHSANI2 said:

MajedKhaldoun,

Your comment summarizes the reasons our Christian brothers and sisters are leaving this region in droves. Regrettably so, I might add. So long as religion has such a dominant effect on our political future, minorities and moderates will continue to seek a safe exit out. The only happy campers will be those who believe that more religion is the solution to our ills. A grim future awaits us indeed.

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May 8th, 2007, 10:47 pm

 

17. Joshua said:

K,
Many thanks for your insights and patience. Thanks, Joshua

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May 8th, 2007, 11:24 pm

 

18. K said:

Prof Landis,

Sometimes I call you names 🙂

But I do appreciate your links and commentary, and I thank you for providing this forum for us to hash out these issues.

I also promote your blog to anyone interested in Lebanon and Syria.

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May 8th, 2007, 11:33 pm

 

19. Joshua said:

K,
Ya mizwiq, Min zouqak.

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May 8th, 2007, 11:45 pm

 

20. ausamaa said:

and K will reply: Habeeb Alby..

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May 9th, 2007, 1:20 pm

 

21. Joshua said:

Ausamaa,
Balash al-mugamala di!

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May 9th, 2007, 4:11 pm

 

22. ausamaa said:

Hader

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May 9th, 2007, 6:30 pm

 

23. Alex said:

K,

Believe me it is much more complicated than the way you prefer to see it. Aoun supporters happen to have a somewhat different psychology than the supporters of other M14 leaders… And Aoun still has considerable support in the Christian areas.

If you were a Christian leader, how would you handle relations with the Shia? … you do not like Aoun’s approach. What works best in your opinion?

If the M14 approach is the one you’ll adopt, then how come things are going downhill? How come Syria is not forced to submit to the wishes of the M14 group and Chirac and Blair and Bush?

Wouldn’t you at least consider the possibility that Aoun may be right after all in not acting like an enemy of Syria?

I happen to believe that if Aoun becomes your next president, within months there will be a Syrian embassy in Beirut, and there will be clearer (but no yet final) Syrian position on the Lebanese Syrian border. It will be final when the Israelis return the Golan, but Syria will agree in public to Lebanon’s border demands.

If an M14 man is the next president … the opposite will happen.

IS Aoun really bad for Lebanon? if yes, then in what way?

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May 9th, 2007, 11:05 pm

 

24. Manhal said:

Ihasani,
Maybe a religion-based/semi-democratic solution is the solution to our ills. It could be that there is no other solution that is acceptable or applicable to the Arab masses and to the people of the Middle East (including Muslims Christians and Jews). It is funny that we talk about reform, modernization, and democracy as if this is the first time such tools were tried in the Middle East and the Arab land. Reading history, going back to the Abbasi Khalifas all the way to the Ottoman time of Sultan Abdu El-Hamid (who ruled during the time of my grand father), most of these smart guys tried reform big time. All have failed big time. Even the late Assad of Syria, who tried very hard to reform the country socially, educationally, and religiously he faced massive walls by the masses.

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May 9th, 2007, 11:59 pm

 

25. EHSANI2 said:

MANHAL,

Assuming that we are not ready for democracy and reforms, are you recommending that our next choice ought to be a religious leadership or a dictatorship?

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May 10th, 2007, 12:15 am

 

26. why-discuss said:

K, I agree with you. Aoun is the only personnality that may bring an end to the rift between Syria and Lebanon. He has been consistent in his views and never hateful. I would like to see him elected, but some destructive and spiteful personnalities in the M14 would say : “On my dead body”. Maybe this is what should happen !

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May 10th, 2007, 9:23 am

 

27. ausamaa said:

The “rift” is between Syria and the Feb 14 crowd and not between Syria and Lebanon. Nobody has died and left Feb 14 crowd a king, so that Feb 14 and its surrogates can speak on behalf of “Lebanon”.

It also seems that a lot of “things” will happen over the Feb 14 crowd “live” body.

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May 10th, 2007, 11:41 am

 

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