Petraeus Asks that Palestinians be Considered Middle Eastern and Not European – Politics Prevail over National Interest

The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story
By Mark Perry in Foreign Policy [See Mark Perry’s new book: Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies– excellent]

On January 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command (responsible for overseeing American security interests in the Middle East), arrived at the Pentagon to brief JCS Chairman Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region, and that Mitchell himself was (as a senior Pentagon officer later bluntly described it) “too old, too slow…and too late.”

The January Mullen briefing was unprecedented. No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue; which is why the briefers were careful to tell Mullen that their conclusions followed from a December 2009 tour of the region where, on Petraeus’s instructions, they spoke to senior Arab leaders. “Everywhere they went, the message was pretty humbling,” a Pentagon officer familiar with the briefing says. “America was not only viewed as weak, but its military posture in the region was eroding.” But Petraeus wasn’t finished: two days after the Mullen briefing, Petraeus sent a paper to the White House requesting that the West Bank and Gaza (which, with Israel, is a part of the European Command – or EUCOM), be made a part of his area of operations. Petraeus’s reason was straightforward: with U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military had to be perceived by Arab leaders as engaged in the region’s most troublesome conflict.

The Mullen briefing and Petraeus’s request hit the White House like a bombshell. While Petraeus’s request that CENTCOM be expanded to include the Palestinians was denied (“it was dead on arrival,” a Pentagon officer confirms), the Obama Administration decided it would redouble its efforts – pressing Israel once again on the settlements issue, sending Mitchell on a visit to a number of Arab capitals and dispatching Mullen for a carefully arranged meeting with Chief of the Israeli General Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi. While the American press speculated that Mullen’s trip focused on Iran, the JCS Chairman actually carried a blunt, and tough, message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: that Israel had to see its conflict with the Palestinians “in a larger, regional, context” – as having a direct impact on America’s status in the region. Certainly, it was thought, Israel would get the message.

Israel didn’t. When Vice President Joe Biden was embarrassed by an Israeli announcement that the Netanyahu government was building 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem, the administration reacted. But no one was more outraged than Biden who, according to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, engaged in a private, and angry, exchange with the Israeli Prime Minister. Not surprisingly, what Biden told Netanyahu reflected the importance the administration attached to Petraeus’s Mullen briefing: “This is starting to get dangerous for us,” Biden reportedly told Netanyahu. “What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.” Yedioth Ahronoth went on to report: “The vice president told his Israeli hosts that since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic terrorism.” The message couldn’t be plainer: Israel’s intransigence could cost American lives.

There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers – and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military. While commentators and pundits might reflect that Joe Biden’s trip to Israel has forever shifted America’s relationship with its erstwhile ally in the region, the real break came in January, when David Petraeus sent a briefing team to the Pentagon with a stark warning: America’s relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America’s soldiers. Maybe Israel gets the message now.

Addendum: Read further about Perry’s sources at “War in Context” by Paul Woodward, “Israel is putting American lives at risk”

Ibrahim Hamidi writes in al-Hayat that the Obama administration will take several steps in the coming weeks to assure that Washington’s “engagement strategy” with Damascus moves forward.

سلسلة خطوات أميركية نحو سورية لـ «تأكيد استمرار الانخراط»: نحو تثبيت السفير وزيارات لهوف وفيلتمان وشابيرو
الأحد, 14 مارس 2010

دمشق – ابراهيم حميدي
يزور دمشق في الفترة المقبلة عدد من المسؤولين الأميركيين، بالتزامن مع عقد لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في مجلس الشيوخ جلسة استماع للسفير المرشح في دمشق روبرت فورد الثلثاء المقبل قبل التصويت على تعيينه في الأسابيع المقبلة، ما يؤكد استمرار إدارة الرئيس باراك اوباما بـ «استراتيجية الانخراط» مع دمشق نظراً الى «الدور المحوري» الذي تلعبه سورية في المنطقة.

وعلم ان فريدريك هوف مساعد المبعوث الأميركي لعملية السلام السيناتور جورج ميتشيل، سيزور دمشق نهاية الأسبوع الجاري، وان الموعد الأولي هو الخميس المقبل، وذلك في ضوء الزيارة الأخيرة التي قام بها ميتشيل لدمشق بداية العام الحالي، وتضمنت تجديد التأكيد على سعي ادارة اوباما «تحقيق السلام الشامل على جميع المسارات، بما فيها المسار السوري».

وكان ناطق رئاسي أفاد ان الرئيس بشار الأسد أكد خلال لقائه وزير الخارجية التركي احمد داود اوغلو قبل ايام «عدم وجود طرف اسرائيلي يرغب بتحقيق السلام على رغم وجود وسيط تركي نزيه يعمل مع سورية على إحلال الأمن والاستقرار» في الشرق الأوسط. وفيما قال داود اوغلو في حديث الى «الحياة» ان الأرضية جاهزة لاستئناف المفاوضات غير المباشرة بين سورية واسرائيل، وان المسؤولين الأميركيين «اكدوا بقوة» دعمهم استئناف المفاوضات غير المباشرة، ما يزال الجانب الإسرائيلي يعلن رفضه الدور التركي في عملية السلام، مع العلم ان مساعد وزيرة الخارجية للشؤون السياسية وليام بيرنز زار انقرة بعد دمشق في 17 الشهر الماضي.

وبحسب معلومات متوافرة لـ «الحياة»، فإن الاجتماع الطارئ للجنة تفعيل مبادرة السلام العربية الذي خصص قبل يومين لمناقشة قرار حكومة بنيامين نتانياهو بناء 1600 وحدة استيطانية جديدة في القدس الشرقية، تضمن تنويه ممثلي عدد من الدول، بما في ذلك الأمين العام للجامعة العربية عمرو موسى، بتحفظ دمشق على قرار لجنة المتابعة العربية لمبادرة السلام دعم مفاوضات غير مباشرة بين الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين. كما ان دمشق دانت بقوة الانتهاكات الإسرائيلية في الحرم القدسي الشريف.
وستأتي زيارة هوف بعد يومين من جلسة الاستماع المقررة للسفير فورد في لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في مجلس الشيوخ. وتأكد ان السيناتور جون كيري لعب دوراً في تقديم موعد الجلسة لـ «تأكيد الاستمرار في الحوار بسبب الدور المحوري لسورية» بعد طلب ثمانية من اعضاء الكونغرس الجمهوريين من وزيرة الخارجية هيلاري كلينتون تأجيل بحث موضوع تعيين السفير، وقولهما بضرورة «عدم الانخراط لأجل الانخراط».

وعلم ايضاً ان واشنطن قررت إجراء اتصالات مع الجانب السوري لترتيب زيارة لوفد اميركي يضم مسؤول الشرق الأوسط في وزارة الخارجية جيفري فيلتمان، ومسؤول الشرق الأوسط في مجلس الأمن القومي دانيال شابيرو في الأسابيع المقبلة، وعلى الأرجح في الشهر المقبل بعد اعقد القمة العربية في ليبيا بين 27 و29 الشهر الجاري. وتجنبت مصادر السفارة الأميركية في دمشق تأكيد «الإعلان عن موعد» زيارة فيلتمان وشابيرو، لكنها قالت لـ «الحياة» انهما «سبق وزارا سورية لدعم استراتيجية اوباما للانخراط، وان اي زيارة مقبلة ستكون منسجمة مع هذه الاستراتيجية».
الى ذلك، اكدت المصادر ان واشنطن ابلغت وفدها لدى منظمة التجارة العالمية بـ «عدم معارضة» بدء مفاوضات انضمام سورية الى المنظمة، بعدما كانت ادارة الرئيس جورج بوش عرقلت الطلب السوري في كل مرة قدم الى المنظمة منذ عام 2001. وقالت المصادر ان قرار واشنطن «جزء من استراتيجية الانخراط عبر تحديد المصالح المشتركة وردم الفجوة في القضايا الخلافية بين البلدين»، وان هذا القرار «يعزز عملية الإصلاح والتطوير» في سورية. وتؤكد دمشق بضرورة ان يقوم الحوار بين الطرفين على اساس «الاحترام المتبادل والمصالح المشتركة»، اضافة الى «اقتران الأقوال بالأفعال» في ما يتعلق بالعمل على تحقيق السلام الشامل في الشرق الأوسط والزام اسرائيل متطلبات السلام في المنطقة.

Syrian ambassador charts route to peace for Israel in Middle East: Moustapha: Relations with U.S. better with Bush gone
By Lee Howard, The Day, New London, Conn., 12 March 2010

New London – Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha told a crowd of about 100 at Connecticut College Thursday that “there should be a historic exchange of land for peace” in the Middle East.

Moustapha, speaking to members of the Southeast Connecticut Committee on Foreign Relations at the college’s Blaustein Hall, endorsed the so-called Pan-Arab Peace Initiative. The proposal, adopted at an Arab summit in 2002, calls for Israel to adhere to internationally recognized borders – essentially giving back territories it acquired in a series of wars last century – in return for Arabs’ recognition of the Jewish state as well as normalization of relations.

“If they want to be accepted by their neighbors, they need to stop their policy of occupation and expanding settlements,” Moustapha said of the Israelis. “If they want peace … this is the only way to move forward. In my heart, I believe this is inevitable. If this is inevitable … why not do it today instead of next year?”

Moustapha, responding to a question, noted the Israelis greeted Vice President Joe Biden’s visit this week with an announcement that they had expanded more settlements into occupied Arab territories.

“When will the Israelis realize this is insane and counter to their own national interests?” he said.

Moustapha questioned Israel’s commitment to the so-called two-state solution and wondered if it would continue a policy that he said essentially has turned it into an “apartheid state.”

Moustapha blamed the United States for allowing Israel to continue the policy unchecked. While acknowledging that the Obama administration has been much more amenable to working with the Syrians than the Bush administration, he said he still believes America can do more to push peace in the Middle East.

The United States “should have the moral courage to tell a friend that what you are doing is absolutely wrong,” he said.

Still, under President Obama, Moustapha said Syria feels like it’s at the table as “part of the solution” to peace in the Middle East, rather than being depicted as part of the problem, as under President Bush.

Moustapha said Bush’s “flagrant hostility” toward Syria grew to a boiling point after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which led to 1.2 million Iraqi refugees flooding his country and 4.2 million stateless people taking up residence throughout the Middle East – what he called the biggest exodus in the history of the region.

Moustapha said he had no direct contact with high-level members of the U.S. government for four or five years after the conflict started, despite the fact that Syria, after 9/11, invited Americans to share their intelligence on the terrorist organization al-Qaida. Syrian intelligence helped snuff out al-Qaida attacks against Americans in both Canada and Bahrain, he said.

Moustapha pointed out that Syria had also joined the United States in the 1990s Gulf War after Iraq’s invasion of neighboring Kuwait. Yet when Syria tried to dissuade the United States from going to war with Iraq a second time in 2003, Moustapha said the neoconservatives in Washington “mocked us in our face.”

“That was the breaking point between us and the Bush administration,” he said. “All that cooperation came to a standstill when the United States decided to invade Iraq.”

Now, though, Moustapha sees some signs of progress in Washington’s stance toward Syria. Just a few weeks ago, the United States sent its special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, in talks that Moustapha found encouraging.

Moustapha was not as hopeful about the future of what he called the “failed state” of Iraq. And, though he views democracy as historically inevitable, Moustapha said “democracy by brute force,” as imposed by the United States in Iraq, created a reaction that may have hindered democratic progress throughout the Arab world.

“It needs to happen from within; it can’t happen from without,” he said.

But Moustapha said he doesn’t want to point fingers. Rather than reliving the turbulent history of the Middle East and quibbling over who wronged whom, he suggested that Arabs, Israelis and Americans put the past behind them.

“The question is do you want to live in peace or do you not want to live in peace?”

From All4Syria: Mahdi Dakhlallah, Syria’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia explained that:

“Syria’s relations with Saudi Arabia went beyond traditional diplomatic ties to the extent that by now it represents a model for Arab-Arab relations. He also spoke about coordination between the two countries aiming to protect Iraq’s unity and stability through support for the national movements in Iraq facing those with ties to the United States or the separatists or the federalists”

Andrew Sullivan and Jeffrey Goldberg argue over the meaning of the following map. Goldberg claims that it is propaganda and pushes a lie. Sullivan argues that the maps tells an irrefutable truth.

“The point of the illustration was to provide some background to the now-unavoidable fact that Israel has every intention of expanding its sovereignty to the Jordan river for ever, to segregate Palestinians into walled enclaves within, and to station large numbers of Israeli troops on the Eastern border.

Via Politico/ Ben Caspit in today’s Maariv, excerpts below: [Thanks FLC]

It was supposed to be a visit that would restore our trust. It was the visit that destroyed trust. Binyamin Netanyahu kicked over the bucket that contained no milk. Biden was supposed to fill it. Instead, Biden burned with anger. “They stabbed me in the back,” the vice president said last Tuesday in meetings that he held. “They hurt me, President Obama, the United States, the peace process, trust, and everyone who believed that something could be done here.” He was furious. On Tuesday, he spoke with President Obama. The conversation included condemnatory language unfit for print. He was on the verge of canceling dinner with the Netanyahus. Again and again, he changed the speech that he was to give on Tuesday at the university. He did not know what to do with himself, where to take his frustration, his feeling of betrayal, of lost opportunity. […]

[Biden] was supposed to restart the process. To create, finally, a relationship of trust with Netanyahu. Instead, the moment he landed, he discovered a plan to construct sixteen hundred dwelling units in Ramat Shlomo. Where the heck is Ramat Shlomo? The absurd thing is that there is no significance to the registering of this zoning plan. There are no tenders or anything that could not have been done three months ago or in six months from now. Much ado about nothing whatsoever. […]

Anyone who has been listening over the past several weeks to Yitzhak Molcho, Netanyahu’s closest and most intimate representative in the political sphere, and his partner Mike Herzog (who is about to retire), heard both of them saying the same thing: the peace process is hopeless, it is all tactics, Netanyahu has no intention of going to real peace … In short, the settlers can relax. But see—the settlers are not relaxed. Because they know Bibi. Today it is one way, tomorrow it could be otherwise. It depends on who is pressuring him and who scares him more. …

High-ranking American officials said this week that Israel was not behaving like an ally of the United States. There is no worse thing to say at such a critical time, when Iran is charging toward the last stretch on its way to the nuclear bomb. At this stage, At this stage, there should have been blind coordination between ourselves and them. Netanyahu should have been Obama’s best friend. A word is a word and a promise is a promise, and all the details of the operation to stop Iran’s progress toward the nuclear bomb, including the negotiations with the Palestinians and the Syrians (even in neutral) were supposed to be kept secret for the sake of calming things down on the ground and neutralizing ticking bombs. In reality? There is nothing. Only the broken glass of the souvenir that Bibi prepared for Biden and shattered with his own hands. […]

Next year [Palestinian PM Fayyad] will show the world a quiet PA, a law-abiding PA with institutions and reforms with one military, one law, one authority. And then, he will ask for recognition of the Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. As it seems now, he will get this. From everyone except from us. [….]

Comments (68)

Roger said:

One suspects that the issue is not the Arabs have suddenly come to their senses but that either they are being a little more forthcoming. Or that the US military is being a bit more honest with the political leadership.

In any case, don’t hold your breath waiting for change in ME policy. And that’s something you definitely can believe in.

March 14th, 2010, 6:25 pm


i said:

“Sullivan argues the maps tell an irrefutable truth”

1. The whole concept of Palestinian Land is Anachronistic. Most of the land in Historic Palestine belonged to the government, be it the Ottoman Empire or the British Mandate and later Israel and Jordan. (The kingdom of Jordan constitutes 80% of Historic Palestine). At the time there was no Palestinian land the way we perceive it today.

2. There seems to be a confusion between the concept ownership of property (Land) and the concept of sovereignty. they are not the same.

March 14th, 2010, 6:26 pm


Andrew said:

When asked to make a choice between the safety of US servicemen and Israel, the record of the US political leadership is clear. Israel First!

(1) USS Liberty.
(2) 1973 stripping of US Nato forces in Europe of munitions supplies to resupply the IDF.
(3) Resupply in 2006 diverting resources from Iraq and Afghanistan.
(4) Failure to supply the Lebanese Army in its fight at Nahr Al Balad against Islamic jihadists for fear of upsetting Israel’s QME over the Lebanese Army.

March 14th, 2010, 6:45 pm


norman said:

It looks like ,as always , the tail wags the dog , Israel is controlling the US , the question is , will the dog wake up , the problem is , even if he wakes up he is going to find that his neck is controlled with a leach that the Israeli lobby holds ,

March 14th, 2010, 6:57 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

No matter how you count the numbers, you will not find 61 Knesset members, who will vote in favor of establishing a new Arab state, east to Israel. Not in this present Knesset. Not even with ‘Kadima’ in the coalition. You are welcomed to check the numbers.

There’s no linkage between the difficulties of the US forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Israeli Arab conflict.
As shown in the BBC-ABC opinion poll among Iraqis, they don’t care about Israel. The Iraqis are bothered with their own internal issues.

Looks like the American military establishment is looking for a scapegoat, to blame it’s failures on.

March 14th, 2010, 7:31 pm


Alex said:

The Israelis will do just enough to avoid this becoming a crisis in their relations with the Obama administration. Just like Netanyahu managed to go through the 1996 to 1999 period where he had to deal with Bill Clinton who hated him without having to actually sign any peace treaty that led to territorial compromises.

Expect one of the following two scenarios:

1) Israel will be the victim of some terror attack and the whole world will worry so much and will rush to side with Israel. Although Hezbollah and Hamas are by now aware of the way Israel can benefit from such an operation and most likely continue to avoid opting for such a strategy. That’s why you see Israel trying harder and harder to lead the Arabs to more frustrations so that they can make that mistake….

2) Israel might start to call for all kinds of peace negotiations … Peres will call on the Syrian President to meet Prime minister Netanyahu, They will call on the Arab summit next month to not withdraw support for the 2002 Arab (Saudi) peace initiative … And of course, more useless negotiations with the Palestinians…

Anything to waste time until Obama is out and Sarah Palin is in… then it is GWB/Netanyahu/Clean Break all over again.

March 14th, 2010, 7:50 pm


offended said:

Mark Perry’s article is fascinating.

March 14th, 2010, 8:02 pm


Shai said:


“Anything to waste time until Obama is out and Sarah Palin is in… then it is GWB/Netanyahu/Clean Break all over again.”

After 8 years in office, GWB cannot return as President. Sarah Palin, of course, can… But in 3 years’ time, Netanyahu will also be towards his end, and I doubt we would see a reenactment of the “Clean Break”.

I disagree with Norman, I think things are starting to change in Washington, very much not in favor of Israel. The fact that Jewish Congressmen marched down to demand punishment for this latest “insult”, that Patreus is involved in shaping policy in the ME, that Clinton is ready to “reprimand” Netanyahu over a 43 minute phone conversation, and that Obama was reportedly super-pi##ed, are all indicative of a substantial change. It seems, that the traditional Jewish lobby in DC isn’t as threatening to Obama as Netanyahu might hope it would be.

This latest development could be an opportunity. It could be the time to press Israel not only on the Palestinian path (which I still maintain is hopeless, at this point in time), but indeed also along the Syrian path. I disagree with you, if the U.S. is able to make Netanyahu’s government stop building in the West Bank, and start negotiating with Bashar Assad, there’s a good chance we’ll see a major breakthrough. The main reason, because Netanyahu will not be able to survive politically by merely wasting time talking to the Syrians. He’ll have to gamble on all-or-nothing, because most of his current coalition will dump him in any case the minute he starts talking.

Israeli papers are saying that now’s the time for him to decide which path he takes. He could try standing up to Washington, but this will likely have terrible consequences for his government, and for Israel. Or, he could go for it all, for Peace, and probably reconstruct a new government with Kadima. I believe most of his new coalition would back a withdrawal from the Golan, if the opportunity came up (i.e. if talks were restarted).

Time to take advantage of the current crisis between Washington and Jerusalem.

March 14th, 2010, 8:11 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Mubarak,will need radiation,and chemotherapy,he has tumor of the right colon,

March 14th, 2010, 8:20 pm


Petraeus and Palestine « Christopher Phillips said:

[…] 14, 2010 · Leave a Comment Posted on Josh Landis’ Syria Comment. Fascinating. On January 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior […]

March 14th, 2010, 9:53 pm


offended said:


Are you sure?

March 14th, 2010, 10:01 pm


norman said:

Do you think that the crises with the US is what Netanyahu was waiting for to convince his people that he has no choice but to seek peace ,….., That will be the day ,

March 14th, 2010, 11:34 pm


norman said:

Majed, offended,

Do you know what is disgusting to me is that Mubarak could not find in Egypt with more than 60 million people a medical team that can take care of him in a hospital in Egypt , I do not see that in Israel , India, China or any other country , only Arab leaders do that , what a disgrace , shame on them ,

Medical care in these countries are good for their people but not good for themselves and their families , president Assad was an exception ,

March 14th, 2010, 11:44 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

Do you mean to tell me that after General Jones spent year in the area, Admiral Mullen still needed to be briefed?? The Chairman must be as dense as a stone.

March 15th, 2010, 3:31 am


Majhool said:

this is a very interesting post.

March 15th, 2010, 4:58 am


Shai said:


No, I’m not suggesting this. But some others in Israel are, like our own President Shimon Peres. He claimed, just a few weeks ago, that Netanyahu is interested in Peace, but can’t move, because of his very right-wing coalition. Who knows, wouldn’t it be “neat” if this whole crisis was set up between Netanyahu and Obama? 🙂

But what is more likely, is that Netanyahu really doesn’t have the courage to make Peace, and was simply treading water as long as he could, and made one too many mistakes in the process. Personally, I don’t care which it is, but I do want to see the U.S. start to pressure Israel like they haven’t in nearly two decades.

If the U.S. can be our “big brother” when it comes to money, arms, early-warning, and protection, it can and should also have the right to tell us what to do every now and then, while “little brother” is growing up.

March 15th, 2010, 5:04 am


Shai said:

Where’s Akbar when the Party starts? Surely he’s not missing all this good stuff, is he? I’d like to hear HIS thoughts on what Israel is doing to bring its relationship with the U.S. to a new 35-year low (according to current Israeli Ambassador in Washington)?

March 15th, 2010, 5:10 am


Off the Wall said:


Where’s Akbar when the Party starts?

Probably Busy lobbying to implement Orem’s instructions.

March 15th, 2010, 6:29 am


Nicolas92200 said:

Sorry for diverting the discussion a bit back towards business/power generations.

Elie, just for clarity in response to your comment in the previous section on the power generation topic.

In regards to the “rush” of MENA countries to acquire nuclear power; this is mainly driven by the massive needs for energy which cannot be satisfied with conventional or renewable sources (at least at this stage of their development). In regards to conventional power plants, these require important amounts of natural gas to run, and this is simply not available (I’m happy to elaborate on this but it would turn the comment into an expose of MENA energy map). Also, for renewable (wind/solar), cost per MW is very high; the technology is not yet commoditized and not capable of producing higher volumes per unit or area (sqm). Also, almost all renewable projects require government subsidies to become economically viable. In Europe, states can afford this because it is part of their long term energy source transformation, in MENA, the financing is simply not there (unless the EU provides the subsidy, like is the case in Morocco).
In regards to production capacity, the Abu Dhabi and Jordan projects are 2000MW plants each. ie, a single plant will cover all Syria’s requirements as you quoted standing at 1800. Compare this to the figures you quoted from the link and this should give a view on the capacity size gap. 600MW nuclear plants are not considered as “large”, more “lower average” if you fancy labeling.
As for operations, actually all the plants being talked about are to be operated under an IPP structure. This means that the international operator (ex: Areva, Westinghouse, KEPCO, etc) with the relevant expertise will be running them. The operators will include training local resources/personnel as part of the package to assume control or some role in the operations, but operations and good running of this remains their responsibility. This normally includes delivering the agreed power capacity under very stringent safety and environmental conditions imposed by the buyer (government) and also by the lenders (who have almost all signed up to the World Bank Equator Principles which impose these rules otherwise lenders cannot lend to the project), and also burdensome liabilities in case of any safety or operations malfunctions. Granted, this would not be enough to compensate for one Chernobyl type-incident; but again, how many more of these of these have taken place?

March 15th, 2010, 7:48 am


Elie Elhadj said:


Thanks for the comment.

OFF THE WALL differentiated between “fear” and “dread”. Fear becomes dread when future potential losses from a particular nasty event occurring, like a nuclear accident, become too high to accept.

There is no disagreement between us regarding the catastrophic consequences a Chernobel-like accident. Your last statement is clear. The disagreement between us surrounds the probability of a chernobel-like accident materializing.

I believe, regardless of how infinitesimal this probability might be, discounting the monumental losses that could result from such an accident by the tiny probability of it happening would still leave me with an unacceptably high potential loss.

Under such conditions, therefore, solar and wind, to supplement existing oil and gas power stations, would be the safe course to pursue.

The Abu Dhabi nuclear plant will have a capacity of 5,600 MW upon completion. It will include four nuclear reactors of a capacity of 1,400 MW each.

Two innocuous solar plants of 600 MW each (plus another 200 MW) would by far be preferable, to me at least, than one potentially dangerous 1,400 MW nuclear reactor. If capacity is a criterion, future solar and wind technological advancement could confidently deliver larger units. Again, Syria’s Euphrates turbines are 103 MW each and Egypt’s High Dam turbines are 175 MW each. Small units are necessary to meet peak electricity demand in the Summer months (one would not build huge units to meet a couple of hours of peak demand per day).

A 600 MW conventional turbine is considered large, even in today’s standards. Likewise, a 600 MW nuclear reactor is considered large. The majority of reactors in existence today are under 600 MW.

The propagandists of the the nuclear industry would make us believe that nuclear reactors are not only safe, but also clean environmentally. Such stories stretch the truth. What about toxic waste. Solar and wind power are the truly safe technologies.

As to cost, the question is what price is safety and environmental protection?


March 15th, 2010, 10:32 am


Akbar Palace said:

Probably Busy lobbying to implement Orem’s instructions.

Shai, OTW,

I don’t know about you, but the party has already started. Not to worry, I have a designated driver!

Just FYI, we’ve been here before, a la James Baker. If Obama wants to reserve satellite time to seek out whether the settlers are placing planters on their balconies they are welcome to do so. The issue is bigger than that of course. No agreement was forthcoming with Arafat after half the Old City was proposed including East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Now that the Palestinians have abdicated their sovereignty to the Arab League, the bottom line is that no agreement will be signed no matter how much you pressure the GOI.


March 15th, 2010, 12:50 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Though the article as a whole is comically interesting, I think it’s the usual over-dramatization of the latest events in the Middle East that gets the people to talk about the periphery and forget about the center of gravity .

It laughable to think that such news was shocking to the White House. In fact, it hardly shocked the White House, the US Congress, and everybody in between who is fully aware of the situation. No one is shocked by such a revelation unless they have been asleep for the past 60 years (and woke up with a really bad hangover).

To think that the US did not have advance knowledge of Israel’s latest announcement of settlement expansion is ludicrous.

A 33-slides, 45-minutes PowerPoint presentation shocking Washington about the erosion of US power in the Middle East? How funny!

March 15th, 2010, 2:33 pm


Ford prefect said:

You are right, all signs indicate that Netanyahu is too afraid of peace. After all, his ruling coalition is fragile and any wrong signal could be the end of his government. After all, God sent Israel Abbas, a well-dressed, White House-presentable character that pretty much says “yes” to anything. if making peace with Abbas is that much difficult, what is Israel dreaming of, an Abbas-lite version?

But regarding the “Big Brother” notion you you mentioned, nothing will change in the US regarding Israel until a new and forward-thinking US Jews have taken over the hijacked AIPAC. The emergence of organizations like J Street is beginning to win the hearts and minds of young Jews who understand, like you do, that Israel’s security and survival is more related to peace than war.

At the same time, we Arabs need to transform accordingly. We often get lost on how leaders acts and behave and forget that after 60 years of hostilities, the need for a “transformed” generation of Arabs and Isralies is as important now as it ever was.

March 15th, 2010, 2:51 pm


almasri said:

We Arab patriots must recognize and be abundantly grateful to our great amigo His Execllency Alois Ignacio Lola Da Silva, the President of Brasil.

No doubt, Mr. Da Silva is an honorable and a great and true human being. Mr. Da Silva instructed the protocol office of his government to cancel a planned visit to Jerusalem while visiting Israel in order to avoid having to perform the ritual of laying a wreath on the tomb of so-called Hertzel the so-called founder of zionism. The visit to the tomb was planned before he departed from occupied Palestine yesterday at dawn.

We also thank, from the bottom of our hearts, Mr. Da Silva for his kind gesture for visiting Ramallah and offering respect to the great martyr hero, Mr. Arafat.

March 15th, 2010, 3:11 pm


norman said:

Print | Close this window

Saudi Arabia plans aid to Syria as ties improve
Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:33pm GMT
* Differences linger, but agreement on Lebanon

* Saudi investor appetite for Syria recovers

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS, March 15 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia is discussing extending development loans to Syria as ties between the two countries improve but there will not be direct cash assistance, the Saudi central bank governor said on Monday.

Diplomatic activity between Damascus and Riyadh picked up in the last months after they agreed to set aside their political differences and lower tension between their allies in Lebanon, which is a recipient of large Saudi cash injections.

Ties deteriorated after the 2005 assassination of Rafik al-Hariri, a Saudi-backed Lebanese member of parliament and former prime minister, resulting in the waning of Saudi investment appetite and aid to Syria.

“Syria is one of the most important Arab economies. It’s a promising market to whoever has money to invest,” Muhammad al-Jasser, head of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, said after attending a banking conference in the Syrian capital.

“The Saudi finance minister was in Damascus and talked about this and what the Saudi Fund for Development is doing along with other Saudi government institutions,” he added.

Syria needs billions of dollars in investment to overhaul its infrastructure, resuscitate its drought hit east, lower unemployment and deal with a 2.5 percent annual population growth.

Most of the investment has been by amongst others Syrian expatriates and from the Gulf into banking and real estate. Economic growth fell to 3 percent last year compared with 5.2 percent in 2008, according to the World Bank.

Asked whether Saudi Arabia could deposit cash directly into the Syrian central bank, as it did with Lebanon, Jasser said such a move “will not be considered”.

But he said that the Saudi Fund for Development signed a memorandum of understanding with the Syrian finance ministry last week to lend $140 million to raise output at a power station in Syria.


If extended, the loan will be the first since the Hariri assassination, which Saudi-backed politicians in Lebanon blame on Syria. Damascus denied any involvement.

Syria, which is under U.S. sanctions for its support of militant groups, has opened several sectors of the economy to private investment, especially banking and insurance, since President Bashar al-Assad succeeded his late father, Hafez al-Assad, in 2000.

The ruling Baath Party, which Bashar controls, nationalised large parts of the economy and enacted bans on private enterprise when it took power in 1963. It also imposed emergency law which is still in force and banned any opposition.

In a sign of changing investor mood, Saleh Kamel, a leading Saudi businessmen, addressed an investment forum in Damascus this month.

He said Syria was underperforming compared to Lebanon, its much smaller neighbour, because of what he described as antiquated laws, corruption and a lack of pro-investment culture.

Syria supports the Lebanese opposition led by the armed Shi’ite movement Hezbollah, which is also backed by Iran. Saudi Arabia is the political patron of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, son of the late Rafik al-Hariri.

© Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved. Users may download and print extracts of content from this website for their own personal and non-commercial use only. Republication or redistribution of Thomson Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters and its logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Thomson Reuters group of companies around the world.

Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

March 15th, 2010, 3:13 pm


Ghat Albird said:


[…] 14, 2010 · Leave a Comment Posted on Josh Landis’ Syria Comment. Fascinating. On January 16, two days after a killer earthquake hit Haiti, a team of senior […]

Just came across the above. The comment could have been a bit more direct and infer a point or two or three ….. a) did the Palestenians ever claim that they were “European” and not Middle Eastern? …b) is Petraeus hinting that the Palestenains are definitely not from MOLDOVA like many of the Israelis are and therefore have more “dibs” to their claims?…..c) or that since the Palestenians are from the Middle East they are entitled to a “separate state” than the one claimed by Europeans from Moldava?


March 15th, 2010, 3:56 pm


Shai said:

Ford Prefect,

In’shalla my friend, in’shalla.

March 15th, 2010, 4:16 pm


jad said:

Dear OTW, Elie and Nicolas
When big projects doesn’t work we have the ability to separate the electric shares into fragments, instead of building huge solar fields when we don’t have enough financial support for that, we can always made the process in small pieces.
Every building in Syria can become a solar lab, our building have flat tops and it’s mostly unused but to satellites and antennas and garbage, those roofs can be easily transformed into a smart solar energy collectors, and it won’t cost the government more than couple rules and some financial supportive programs and a smart body of researchers that work with the municipality offices to determine the amount of energy that every building can produce and manage the process from technical point of views, every city, twon even village should have something similar to this:
so residents can be part of the solution and they will understand the process, the cost and the idea of having a cleaner environment and cheaper expenses for their families and their kids future.

When it comes to industrial buildings some kind of obligatory law should be put in place to use alternative energy either wind or solar or geothermal or biomass or whatever clean source that can support the building energy use. That wont necessary get rid of the need to use fossil fuel in the industrial process but it will make our industry less dependant on it in the long run by using less and saving our natural resources for longer time instead of dry them out in couple years time and when clean energy technology become more efficient things will be much easier and faster to do the 100% switch to it from the fossil fuel.

March 15th, 2010, 4:44 pm


Zman said:

Uri is one of the best.

Biden Brouhaha: Just a Matter of Bad Timing?

by Uri Avnery, March 15, 2010
Email This | Print This | Share This | Comment | Antiwar Forum
Some weeks the news is dominated by a single word. This week’s word was “timing.”

It’s all a matter of timing. The government of Israel insulted the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, one of the greatest “friends” of Israel (meaning: somebody totally subservient to AIPAC), and spat in the face of President Barack Obama. So what? It’s all a matter of timing.

If the government had announced the building of 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem a day earlier, it would have been OK. If it had announced it three days later, it would have been wonderful. But doing it exactly when Joe Biden was about to have dinner with Bibi and Sarah’le – that was really bad timing.

The matter itself is not important. Another thousand housing units in East Jerusalem, or 10,000, or 100,000 – what different does it make? The only thing that matters is the timing.

As the Frenchman said: It’s worse than criminal, it’s stupid.


The word “stupid” also figured prominently this week, second only to “timing.”

Stupidity is an accepted phenomenon in politics. I would almost say: to succeed in politics, one needs a measure of stupidity. Voters don’t like politicians who are too intelligent. They make them feel inferior. A foolish politician, on the other hand, appears to be “one of the folks.”

History is full of acts of folly by politicians. Many books have been written about this. To my mind, the epitome of foolishness was achieved by the events that led to World War I, with its millions of victims, which broke out because of the accumulated stupidity of (in ascending order) Austrian, Russian, German, French, and British politicians.

But even stupidity in politics has its limits. I have pondered this question for decades, and who knows, one day, when I grow up, I might write a doctoral thesis about it.

My thesis goes like this: In politics (as in other fields) foolish things happen regularly. But some of them are stopped in time, before they can lead to disaster, while others are not. Is this accidental, or is there a rule?

My answer is: there certainly is a rule. It works like this: when somebody sets in motion an act of folly that runs counter to the spirit of the regime, it is stopped in its tracks. While it moves from one bureaucrat to another, somebody starts to wonder. Just a moment, this cannot be right! It is referred to higher authority, and soon enough somebody decides that it is a mistake.

On the other hand, when the act of folly is in line with the spirit of the regime, there are no brakes. When it moves from one bureaucrat to the next, it looks quite natural to both. No red light. No alarm bell. And so the folly rolls on to the bitter end.

I remember how this rule came to my mind the first time. In 1965, Habib Bourguiba, the president of Tunisia, took a bold step: he made a speech in the biggest refugee camp in Jericho, then under Jordanian rule, and called upon the Arabs to recognize Israel. This caused a huge scandal all over the Arab world.

Some time later, the correspondent of an Israeli paper reported that in a press conference at the UN headquarters, Bourguiba had called for the destruction of Israel. This sounded strange to me. I made inquiries, checked the protocol, and found out that the opposite was true: the reporter had mistakenly turned a no into a yes.

How did this happen? If the journalist had erred in the opposite direction and reported, for example, that Gamal Abd-el-Nasser had called for the acceptance of Israel into the Arab League, the news would have been stopped at once. Every red light would have lit up. Someone would have called out: Hey, something strange here! Check again! But in the Bourguiba case nobody noticed the mistake, for what is more natural than an Arab leader calling for the destruction of Israel? No verification needed.

That’s what happened this week in Jerusalem. Every government official knows that the nationalist prime minister is pushing for the Judaization of East Jerusalem, that the extreme nationalist minister of the interior is even more eager, and that the super-nationalist mayor of Jerusalem practically salivates when he imagines a Jewish quarter on the Temple Mount. So why should a bureaucrat postpone the confirmation of a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem? Just because of the visit of some American windbag?

Therefore, the timing is not important. It’s the matter itself that’s important.


During his last days in office, President Bill Clinton published a peace plan, in which he tried to make up for eight years of failure in this region and kowtowing to successive Israeli governments. The plan was comparatively reasonable, but included a ticking bomb.

About East Jerusalem, Clinton proposed that what is Jewish should be joined to the state of Israel and what is Arab should be joined to the state of Palestine. He assumed (rightly, I believe) that Yasser Arafat was ready for such a compromise, which would have joined some new Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem to Israel. But Clinton was not wise enough to foresee the consequences of his proposal.

In practice, it was an open invitation to the Israeli government to speed up the establishment of new settlements in East Jerusalem, expecting them to become part of Israel. And indeed, since then successive Israeli governments have invested all available resources in this endeavor. Since money has no smell, every Jewish casino-owner in America and every Jewish brothel-keeper in Europe was invited to join the effort. The Biblical injunction – “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God, for any vow; for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 23:18) – was suspended for this holy cause.

Now the pace is speeded up even more. Because there is no more effective means of obstructing peace than building new settlements in East Jerusalem.


That is clear to anyone who has dealings with this region. No peace without an independent Palestinian state, no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem. About this there is total unanimity among all Palestinians, from Fatah to Hamas, and between all Arabs, from Morocco to Iraq, and between all Muslims, from Nigeria to Iran.

There will be no peace without the Palestinian flag waving above the Haram al-Sharif, the holy shrines of Islam which we call the Temple Mount. That is an iron-clad rule. Arabs can compromise about the refugee problem, painful as it may be, and about the borders, also with much pain, and about security matters. But they cannot compromise about East Jerusalem becoming the capital of Palestine. All national and religious passions converge here.

Anyone who wants to wreck any chance for peace, it is here that he has to act. The settlers and their supporters, who know that any peace agreement would include the elimination of (at least) most settlements, have planned in the past (and probably are planning now) to blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount, hoping that this would cause a worldwide conflagration which would reduce to ashes the chances of peace once and for all. Less extreme people dream about the creeping ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem by administrative chicanery, demolition of houses, denying means of livelihood, and just making life in general miserable for Arabs. Moderate rightists just want to cover every empty square inch in East Jerusalem with Jewish neighborhoods. The aim is always the same.


This reality is, of course, well known to Obama and his advisers. In the beginning they believed, in their innocence, that they could sweet talk Netanyahu and Co. into stopping the building activity to facilitate the start of negotiations for the two-state solution. Very soon they learned that this was impossible without exerting massive pressure – and they were not prepared to do that.

After putting up a short and pitiful struggle, Obama gave in. He agreed to the deception of a “settlement freeze” in the West Bank. Now building is going on there with great enthusiasm, and the settlers are satisfied. They have completely stopped their demonstrations.

In Jerusalem there was not even a farcical attempt – Netanyahu just told Obama that he would go on building there (“as in Tel Aviv”), and Obama bowed his head. When Israeli officials announced a grandiose plan for building in “Ramat Shlomo” this week, they did not violate any undertaking. Only the matter of “timing” remained.


For Joe Biden, it was a matter of honor. For Mahmoud Abbas, it is a matter of survival.

Under intense pressure from the Americans and their agents, the rulers of the Arab countries, Abbas was obliged to agree to negotiations with the Netanyahu government – though only “proximity talks,” a euphemism for “distance talks.”

Clearly, nothing will come out of these talks except more humiliation for the Palestinians. Quite simply: anyone building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is announcing in advance that there is no chance for an agreement. After all, no sane Israeli would invest billions in a territory he intends to turn over to the Palestinian state. A person who is eating a pizza is not negotiating about it in good faith.

Even at this late stage, Abbas and his people still hope that something good will come out of all this: the U.S. will acknowledge that they are right and exert, at long last, real pressure on Israel to implement the two-state solution.

But Biden and Obama did not give much cause for hope. They wiped the spit off their faces and smiled politely.

As the saying goes: when you spit in the face of a weakling, he pretends that it is raining. Does this apply to the president of the most powerful country in the world?

March 15th, 2010, 4:55 pm


jad said:

I made a mistake in the links before, here are the right ones:
(this is the map I meant to be done for our cities)

And here is another interesting product;txt

March 15th, 2010, 5:18 pm


Zman said:

“No Pain no gain”

We the Arabs have suffered the “pain” so we are willing to work to gain the “peace”. Israelis have not suffered any pain so they are not ready for peace.

Unless Israel suffers real pain, there will be no peace. It does not matter which party or prime minister is running the show. By real pain, I mean war on their turf and cities where their infrastructure gets destroyed, their people realize that they are not invincible anymore and collateral damages happen to them too.

March 15th, 2010, 5:31 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Latest PEW-Global opinion poll.

“Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations…
Little Enthusiasm for Many Muslim Leaders”

King Abdullah of Saud house the most popular leader in the ME !!!!

King Abdullah ?? that clown ?? I’m in shock !!! The Arabs are hopeless.. really.

March 15th, 2010, 5:45 pm


PaxMax said:

Mark Perry says “In America (…) no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the U.S. military.” Is that supposed to be good news?

March 15th, 2010, 5:54 pm


jad said:

Ya Mr. Prince,
I’m very anti WAHABI version of Islam and I blame this radical version of almost all the problems we have in our Arab societies today, and I disagree with many if not all KSA political views, but I respect King Abdullah, and I think that he is the most open minded, tolerant and the best thing that happened to Saudi Arabia in a very long time.
He is doing lots of changes that affecting women rights and education inside KSA, and we have to be realistic in our expectations and judgment. It is extremely difficult for him to be a rebellion overnight and go against the regime he is part of but he is trying in very small steps to do better to his society and for that alone I respect him.
I think that it was very rude of you to call him a clown while you really don’t know much of what he is doing on domestic level.

March 15th, 2010, 6:10 pm


Ghat Albird said:

According to press reports Bibi the ex-furniture salesman from Philadelphi, Pennsylvania and now PM of Israel stressed that “settlement constructions” in the West Bank will continue as they have been going on for the past 42 years and in accordance with the teachings of the Talmud which states under:

Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a “Cuthean”, (non-jew) there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a non-jew he may keep.

March 15th, 2010, 7:33 pm


Elie Elhadj said:


Thanks for your advocacy of micro solar solutions. Also thanks for the excellent links.

On the other hand, While Chernobel and Three Mile Island are the biggest disasters so far, there are hundreds of incidents that befell this dangerous industry, albeit on a much lesser scale:

For more listing of incidents:


March 15th, 2010, 7:47 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a “Cuthean”, (non-jew) there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a non-jew he may keep.


The modern state of Israel does not allow stealing from anyone, Jew or Gentile. Also, there is no death penalty in Israel. That goes for both Arab and Jew.

Pray tell, what do you know about dhimmitude in Arab countries?

Is it true that a Jew couldn’t testify against a muslim? Which Arab coutries still practice Sharia (Islamic law)?

BTW – Israeli Arabs have a more favorable opionion of Jews than an unfavorable opinion (56% to 35%, rerspectively, see p. 23)

March 15th, 2010, 10:55 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

A.p. said
Is it true that a Jew couldn’t testify against a muslim? Which Arab coutries still practice Sharia (Islamic law)?

March 15th, 2010, 11:37 pm


Ghat Albird said:


Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a “Cuthean”, (non-jew) there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a non-jew he may keep.


The modern state of Israel does not allow stealing from anyone,

“The PM of Israel stressed that “settlement constructions” in the West Bank will continue as they have been going on for the past 42 years and in accordance with the teachings of the Talmud


AP what do you call 42 years of constructing settlements in the West Bank by Israel? If not stealing what would you call it?

Or should you maybe ask the Pew people to undertake a poll before deciding.

March 16th, 2010, 12:13 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Here’s Masechet Sanhedrin for you. It has 11 chapters, each chapter no more than 12 verses.
1 million US$ from me if you find something with 57a. Google translate it.

Masechet Sanhedrin is a 200 AD legal-code, an interpratation on a 750 BC text, that is actually the biblical books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

In Leviticus 24, verse 22 (which is the source for Sanhedrin) you find this

“..Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country”.

You should contact the site that you follow www dot zieghail dot com, to inform them about their mistake.

March 16th, 2010, 12:41 am


Akbar Palace said:


Thanks for showing Ghat that the “fact” he cut and pasted is actually made-up BS.

AP what do you call 42 years of constructing settlements in the West Bank by Israel? If not stealing what would you call it?


Constructing communities on empty parcels of land or on lands purchased is not stealing in my book. Since there never was a Palestinian State before and after 1967 and since there has been no negotiated settlement, Israel can legally claim these lands as their own.

I leave it to the Israeli fine court system to determine what is stealing and what isn’t.

Majed quoted:


I wonder if God was angry at those that attacked the US on 9-11? I wonder if God was angry at those that decapitated Daniel Pearl.

March 16th, 2010, 1:23 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


You’re welcome.
I believe that this Ghat Albird thing, is not at all an Arab, but rather some
kind of an European redneck mutation, who thinks he could connect with Arabs
for the reason of their common hates.

March 16th, 2010, 1:53 am


majedkhaldoun said:

I am sure God angry at those who attacked US on 9-11
and I am sure God is angry at israeli like you,who are killing palasinians,confiscating their homes turning them to refugee
there are so many crimes your people has commited,it will fill pages.

March 16th, 2010, 2:24 am


Nur al-Cubicle said:

I’m glad Ford Prefect saw the humor of the PowerPoint presentation. In fact, it’s so laughable that I’m beginning to think the reporter was either duped or made it all up.

March 16th, 2010, 3:45 am


jo6pac said:

be-try-us only cares about his career, please take time to look at what he has said and done in the past. This rope/dope and as much as I would like the Amerika to stand up to this it won’t happen. This sad for us citizens of the planet.
no one believing be-try-us has finally found dog is a fool. It’s amazing but be-try-us is a fool and just now coming to this thought. If this does happen than Amerika we better be ready to help one another because the govt. has gone over the edge and won’t be coming back any time soon.

March 16th, 2010, 3:48 am


Yossi said:

Amir, Akbar,

Tsk tsk tsk, what kind of Jews are you? This is in folio 57a of Talmud Bavli!

On the page, scroll down to: דף נז,א גמרא

57 == נז

Back to the drawing board Amir…


Ask Amir to tell you whether this news piece

about a very popular book (a collection of fatwas if you will) was written in 200 AD or in 2009 AD. He’ll be very happy to tell you what this is all about, I’m sure.

March 16th, 2010, 3:51 am


almasri said:

Do not forget to tune in to mbc1 on 2010-3-20 (next Saturday) at 1:00 PM GMT in order to watch the Turkish series ‘Rock Cry’ (صرخة حجر) which has already caused a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the Israeli midgets.

Please come back here, afterwards, to this comment section and review Leviticus 24 as presented in the link in #41 in order to examine the possibility of applying any of its commandments against the Zionist perpetrators of their most recent crimes as shown in the documentary. We’re not talking here ….1932, 1948, 1967….
These are the most most recent.

I personally would like to investigate the feasibility of applying the following rulings from Leviticus 24 to exact justice as ordained by the Lord:

”17 And he that killeth [1] any man shall surely be put to death. 18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. 19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; 20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. 21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death. 22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God”

The date and time again are ”2010-3-20 at 1:00 PM GMT” on ”mbc1”

For further information see:

March 16th, 2010, 4:27 am


jad said:

Very interesting exchange in versus between Judaism and Islam experts. I’m sure that ‘GOD’ is watching you now and I think that “he/She” is very mad at you; Ghat, AP, Amir, Majed + Almasri.
If I were you ‘ladies’ I wouldn’t sleep before praying and asking forgiveness for distracting SC from technical exchange to a very ‘intellectual’, ‘spiritual’, ‘meaningful’ and defiantly ‘constructive’ one. Is it Sanhedrin 57a, 57b or 2:190?
Enjoy your fun party but please let us know when you all reach your Nirvana with your ‘Yahweh’ ‘Allah’ ‘God’ and ‘Brahman’ because Buddha is waiting.

March 16th, 2010, 5:12 am


almasr said:

And what do you expect to achieve when Buddha comes?
We cannot all ASCEND. Some of us may not be allowed. Unless Buddha comes up with a way to DESCEND the wrongdoers, to say it mildly. Is this why some people who follow Buddha believe they may come back as animals?

If that is a possible solution, then we may have no problem. Some people were turned into monkeys as we are told. So, perhaps there is a way for us to deal with it with what we got, and we may not need Buddha after all.

Perhaps you should read more closer to home. If you cannot find references to how we can solve it on our own, then ask MajedKhaldoun he will provide you with the relevant verse numbers.

Salam from oum dunya.

March 16th, 2010, 5:39 am


almasri said:

And what do you expect to achieve when Buddha comes?
We cannot all ASCEND. Some of us may not be allowed, unless Buddha comes up with a way to DESCEND the wrongdoers, to say it mildly. Is this why some people who follow Buddha believe they may come back as animals?
If that is a possible solution, then we may have no problem. Some people were turned into monkeys as we are told. So, perhaps there is a way for us to deal with it with what we got, and we may not need Buddha after all.
Perhaps you should read closer to home. If you cannot find references to how we can solve it on our own, then ask MajedKhaldoun. He will provide you with the relevant verse numbers.
Salam from oum e-dunya.

March 16th, 2010, 5:43 am


Off the Wall said:

Dear Elie, Jad and Nicolas

In the initial years after Chernobyl, many argued that the catastrophe was primarily due to mistakes by a young inexperienced graveyard shift operator, who was expected to bring down the reactor to a lower production (600MW) in order to test an improvement aiming to provide power within the critical 60-75 seconds during reactor (Scramming), which is the process of near-shut-down of a reactor by bringing down the fuel rods. Granted the operators made few mistakes, and they may have ignored several warnings, which may have contributed to the accident. However, a second and subsequent IAEA investigation pointed the finger at a major design flaw that had to do with the way water was used in the system, resulting in the unstable operation during the experiment, and the subsequent explosion that scattered many graphite casings, and spread radiation throughout the region. Despite of this, most of the fatalities were among the workers in the reactor, and primarily among fire fighting squad who attempted to put out the graphite fires with little or no protection in the early hours after the accident. Adapted from wikipedia’s Length Article: Cernobyl Disaster

However, that does not negate the fact that both Prypiat (the town where power plant workers and builders lived) and Chernobyl, with a combined populaation of 75,000 are now ghost towns, that a huge area of land in three countries is now called aleination zone (restricted access), and most of it will be unsuitable for large scale habitation for nearly 200 years, and unsuitable for any use for at least a 100 year. As for the site itself, it will be 20,000 years before the radiation levels reaches the current allowable limits of exposure. Chernobyl is in fact the only level 7 nuclear disaster ever recorded, but it is not in any way the only time radioactive materials were released due to design flaw, operators’ mistake, or simple fluke accident. I understand how concerned anyone, including myself, would be with a nuclear reactor. But as Nicolas described, standards of design, operations, and finance are now much stricter.

Furthermore, few nuclear power plants were built at the initial estimated cost. In most cases, cost over runs have been staggering, and by the time many of these reactors were operational, the actual per KW capacity cost is nearly double the initial $1500/KW estimate (can reach $3500/ KW). There is no reason to expect that situation to be any different in any reactor built in Arab countries. Although more expensive per KW capacity, cost over runs in wind and solar farms are much less, mainly to the lower structural needs of these projects, as well as to the fact that these projects require no disposal of hazardous wastes, a very expensive undertaking, which must be taken into account in pricing every WATT of energy generated by a nuclear power plant.

On balance, Jad’s suggestion of micro solar, and I might add, wind power plants may be a good start. The efficiency of wind turbines is unlikely to substantially increase anytime soon, but the efficiency of solar power systems is likely to increase, along with significant reduction in costs as new materials and systems are invented daily.

Add to that the results of a Stanford study showing that wind power potentials in the MENA region is not as high as one may want, but increasing the density of turbine, along with utilizing larger farms nat compensate for the deficiencies in average wind speed at 10 and 80 meters (seems like these two numbers are tandards used to measure solar power potential at a given location)

It is undeniable that I am also pleased that Syria is not rushing to emberase nuclear energy. My preference would be a basket of sources ans systems, and I especially like local mini and micro solutions since their size and costs are not beyond the ability of the private sector. But to play the devil’s advocate, micro solutions may not be sufficient considering that for the same collection areas as those shown in SF-Solar map, many more homes must be pwered becasue of the vertical structure of our urban areas. Micro solutions may work well in off-grid areas such as rural communities, and some of the new fancy villas that are becoming commonplace in Syria’s suburbs attesting to the increasing class gap in a country that was once domniated by middle class. (sorry i coudl not but say it). I may be persuaded that a transitional framework relying on renewable energy may be a reasonable compromize, with one hoping that techology will make renewable alternatives a more viable option than nuclear erergy.

March 16th, 2010, 7:02 am


Elie Elhadj said:

Dear OTW,

Thanks for another informative comment.

While Syria’s disinterest in nuclear power plants is commendable, the interest of neighboring states in such pursuits is troubling. The area is so crowded with population centers that the potential ill-effects of a nuclear plant in one country should immediately become the worry of the others.

Abu Dhabi’s sudden rush into nuclear energy makes one wonder what the GCC means to its six royals and how co-operation amongst them works, or doesn’t work.


March 16th, 2010, 9:39 am


Akbar Palace said:

majedkhaldoun said:

I am sure God angry at those who attacked US on 9-11
and I am sure God is angry at israeli like you,who are killing palasinians,confiscating their homes turning them to refugee
there are so many crimes your people has commited,it will fill pages.


Thank you for providing your opinion about who you think God is angry at. It just so happened that a large portion of the “Arab street” was rather gleeful at the result of 9-11. Also, a large portion of the Arab street doesn’t even think it was caused by muslim jihadists.

Israel would not have killed any Palestinians if the arabs didn’t want to kick the Jews out of Palestine. And the goals of the Arabs haven’t changed in 60+ years.

I could never speak for G-d, but if you read the Old Testament, G-d wasn’t as forgiving to the Philistines as the Israelis are today. Read the story of Jericho or King Saul.


The fact of the matter is, no Israeli government uses the Talmud to determine the laws of theft. This is what you should be discussing.

March 16th, 2010, 12:05 pm


jad said:

Dearest OTW,
You are one of the smartest men on SC..I like your ideas and I like your great way of writing, very intelligent and leaves me with lots of information, I like you 🙂

March 16th, 2010, 6:23 pm


Shami said:

Once again,the idea that arab and muslim societies support theocracy over civil,democratic and secular state has been proven wrong in Iraq.This is a clear trend despite the lack of choice , the iraqi politicians available or allowed to take part in these elections are not wonderful democrats.I hope this is a begining of a dynamic process towards an advanced society.This trend can be seen everywhere,even in the most conservative arab countries of the persian gulf.So what could be the mood of the electorate in countries like Syria,Jordan ,Egypt and the Maghreb.

March 17th, 2010, 12:43 am


OIff the Wall said:

Dearest Jad
Thank you very much for the kind words, the feeling is definitely mutual, on all counts. :). And once more you force me out of the house to accommodate my ego 🙂

March 17th, 2010, 4:27 am


Husam said:

Nuclear, solar, wind is out. Bloom Box is in. Ebay, Walmart, Google are testing this technology (wireless electricity, no kidding) and they have cut their consumption cost by 90% per kilowatt. View CBS 60 minutes full coverage.;contentBody

How soon can Syria benefit from this, perhaps the summer of 2099 🙂 They expect to have $3,000 bloom boxes within 5-10 years dropped in your back yard like a heat pump and bingo, electricity on your panel without wires.

March 17th, 2010, 11:52 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

Simply fantastic.
Truly incredible.
Thank you Husam.
Every one should watch the link you provided:;contentBody


March 18th, 2010, 11:05 am


Akbar Palace said:

Goldstone Sober

Notice the “international outrage” when a missile kills an innocent person in Israel…

No other self-respecting country sitting on the UNSC would put up with this.

The Gaza Siege Myth:,7340,L-3864592,00.html

March 18th, 2010, 11:13 am


Ghat Albird said:

Finally an “expose” as to whom really benefits from promoting and propagandizing as well as possibly financing Al Queda.

March 18th, 2010, 12:32 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Petraeus: Iran aiding al-Queda

The rest of the story that Ghat didn’t cover:

“I am concerned that we are heading toward a situation in the broader Middle East where our friends don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us, because both doubt our staying power, our determination, and our resolve,” Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the committee, said. “We may be heading there, but we aren’t there yet. And though this perceived lack of U.S. commitment may take a lot of time and effort to reverse.”

The U.S. military assessment was said to have been cited by Vice President Joseph Biden during his visit to Israel in March 2010. Biden, angered over Israel’s decision to build 1,600 apartments in Jerusalem, was quoted as having deemed Israel’s actions as harmful to U.S. military efforts.

“What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Biden was quoted as telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At the hearing, McCain asked Petraeus whether Muslim anger against the United States was based in the rejection of Israel’s existence. McCain also asked Petraeus what could be done to reduce Israeli-U.S. tensions.

“Isn’t it true that the Israelis left Gaza on presumption that there would be progress and instead they got rocket attacks?” McCain asked.

For his part, Petraeus called for an intensification in U.S. efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Arabs. The general said a peaceful Syria would also help block Iranian support to such proxies as Hamas and Hizbullah.

“A credible U.S. effort on Arab-Israeli issues that provides regional governments and populations a way to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the disputes would undercut Iran’s policy of militant resistance, which the Iranian regime and insurgent groups have been free to exploit,” Petraeus said. “Additionally, progress on the Israel-Syria peace track could disrupt Iran’s lines of support to Hamas and Hizbullah.”

March 18th, 2010, 12:54 pm


Shai said:

Akbar’s Bold-type Mythbreakers: The Gaza Siege Myth

“… with 738,576 tons of humanitarian aid being transferred into the Gaza Strip in 2009.”

But why is there a need in the Gaza Strip for humanitarian aid!?! Has some earthquake hit Gaza? Has a Tsunami? What natural disaster has caused the “claimed 1,300 fatalities”? Strange, the writer mentions no such catastrophe… Maybe the acclaimed is a myth as well?

“Of course, that is without mentioning that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for a near decade.”

That’s funny, one would almost assume Haitians = Palestinians, and Innocent Nearby Civilian Population = Israelis. Meaning that Palestinians have been attacking Israelis. Not the other way around. So “attacking” is judged by how many Qassam missiles land in empty fields, but NOT by how many people actually die at the hand of the other side. 10,000 Palestinian Qassams – 13 Israeli dead. 0 Israeli Qassams – 1,300 Palestinian dead. Who’s the attacker? The Haitians!

“Indeed, Ban Ki-moon should be visiting Kibbutz Nirim to see where a rocket destroyed a building just last week, instead of helping promote a myth by visiting the Gaza Strip.”

I see. The Sderot “Media Center” would prefer fewer visits to Gaza. Strange. I wonder why.

March 18th, 2010, 1:59 pm


Akbar Palace said:

But why is there a need in the Gaza Strip for humanitarian aid!


I think it is because the Hamas government there is more interested in continuing their war with Israel than providing anything to their people, and so the GOI sort or has to inspect what comes into Gaza. It’s all so surreal.

At least that’s what I’ve read in the free press. And like I was trying to alert our SC financial consultant, Ghat, practically all the Gaza aide is spend on weapons. Not only is there a “cycle of violence”, there’s also a cycle of “depriving the Palestinians” of the gobs of money that the Palestinians Palestinian leadership get from international organizations.

March 18th, 2010, 2:50 pm


Ghat Albird said:

Extract from a report on a well respected US website.

“Its ironic that the Bush Administration’s illegal wiretaps have finally turned up notable evidence of foreign covert action that threatens US national security and the integrity (such as it is) of our political process.

Not for the first time, the tapes show that such threats turned out to be NOT from AL QUADA or an avowed foreign enemy of the United States but by agents FROM our self-described major ally in the Middle East, ISRAEL.”

For some unknown reson such coverage never seems to appear in websites of the Washington Times or the World Tribune.

March 18th, 2010, 2:55 pm


Shai said:


“… continuing their war with Israel…”

Interesting choice of words. “Continuing war”, as if there is some balance here. The attacker send 10,000 rockets, and 13 die, in 10 years (about 3,650 days). The victim sends in a couple thousand soldiers, and 1,300 Gazans die, in 22 days (100 times more, in 1/100th of the time, in basic math that a ratio of 10,000:1).

And then there’s the word “their”, as if it’s isolated, not a response to anything, possibly ongoing, for over 40 years… nah. I know, I know, we withdrew from Gaza! What ELSE could the Palestinians want? (Btw, remind me who won the 2006 Palestinian democratic elections?)

March 18th, 2010, 3:00 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ghat “Chutzpa”?

For some unknown reson such coverage never seems to appear in websites of the Washington Times or the World Tribune.


I guess the coverage is from “well respected US websites”.

But I’m sure we, here at SC, would be most grateful if you could link us to this well respected website so we can read more about this Zionist plot.

The attacker send 10,000 rockets, and 13 die, in 10 years (about 3,650 days).


I agree with you wholeheartedly. Where does your Zionist manifestation get the “chutzpa” to respond so wantonly and aggressively if only 13 Jews (don’t forget the today’s foreign worker) die from 10,000 rockets. Your Zionist criminal monster state is actingly unlike any other civilized country (sarcasm very much intended)…

March 18th, 2010, 3:23 pm


Shai said:


In a minute I’ll start to think you’re dismissing 1,300 Palestinian lives. No sarcasm intended.

Thirteen dead Israelis is a horrible thing, and I wish to God it had never happened. Thirteen hundred Palestinians dead is also a horrible thing. A far more horrible thing.

You can’t keep brushing the proportionality-factor under the rug, Akbar. If I told you that on the planet Mars, Green-Martians have killed 1,300 Red-Martians in 22 days, while the Reds killed 13 Greens in 10 years, which would you call the Aggressor? I know, you’d say “That depends… are the Red-Martians by chance Muslim-Jihadists?”

March 18th, 2010, 3:46 pm


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