“President Bush to make first trip to Syria,” by Alex

The following is a false story. It is a fabricated piece of positive news. Unlike the widespread use of fabricated negative Syria news which often made its way to Washington through numerous sites and blogs that Washington supports or trusts, such as some Syrian opposition or Lebanese March14th sites.

American Middle East policies are affected by the systematic distortion of the facts… and probably one of the reasons why President Bush never wanted to meet the Syrian president for the past seven years.

2 hours ago

WASHINGTON (APF) — US President George W. Bush will make his first trip to Syria in January, hoping to help forge a peace deal between Syria and Israel before he leaves office one year later, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

Analysts expect the president to also discuss Syria's role in facilitating Lebanon's presidential elections.

The January 8-16 visit will also take him to Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to promote talks launched at a peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, late last month, said Dana Perino.

bush_assad.jpg

 

The President will indeed visit The Kingdom of Bahrain (253 sq mi), but will NOT visit Syria.

To find the extent of the fabrication of negative Syria news, read my earlier post below which has numerous examples.

Comments (81)


norman said:

OH MY GOD.you fooled me.

January 3rd, 2008, 6:52 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
So let’s see if we understand your position.
1) Bush is an idiot
2) Sarkozy is an idiot
3) The Saudis are dumb
4) The Europeans are dumb
5) Olmert is an ass
6) Most Lebanese do not understand Syria
7) Etc

BUT

According to Alex, Asad is God’s gift to the world and is simply misunderstood.

Most of the world beleives Asad is the PROBLEM. You think he is the solution. How unfair, what can a dictator do nowadays to get some respect? Why, he hasn’t even killed a pro-syrian politician in Lebanon for a while! Doesn’t that count for something?

Are you beginning to wonder whether Asad will survive the last year of Bush? Don’t worry, Asad will survive. It is Syria that may not do so well. The Zimbabwe model comes to mind.

January 3rd, 2008, 7:41 pm

 

Honest Patriot said:

Goodbye seriousness of the main posts on syriacomment.com, now I really have to get back to work. A stunt like this one is OK on April 1, Alex, but not the way you did it.

January 3rd, 2008, 7:50 pm

 

Alex said:

HP

If I posted it on April 1st no one would believe it : )

This is just one example of what I felt like when reading the hundreds of fabricated childish stories on all Syrian opposition, Lebanese, and neocon sites. (read my other post below)

AIG,

That was YOUR way of understanding my post. It was simply a call for the gentlemen who have relied on a daily disinformation campaign to stop playing with fire. Michael Young today quoted a false story in Assyassa again … he is trying to alarm the US administration by suggesting Damascus is trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia.

This has been going on for years now.

January 3rd, 2008, 8:26 pm

 

Friend in America said:

In the previous posting “Syria Stands by its Lebanon Friends” the Reuters news article (see link in AIG Jan 2, 3:30AM; first reported by Norman Jan 1 8:25 AM) is not going to make headlines around the world but the incident has serious implications.

Representative Kennedy is the grandson of President John F. Kennedy. His cause is human rights world wide and his connections are extensive. His uncle, Ted Kennedy, is the senior Democrat in the U.S. Senate who has been a outspoken critic of the Bush administration for not having direct dialogue with Syria and Iran. I think Patrick went on this trip on behalf of his uncle. Arlan Spector is a senior Republican Senator who was chair of the most important committee in the U.S. Senate in the last term. It was he who put Guantanamo on the agenda and it was his criticisms that lead to the resignation of the previous Attorney General. It was Senator Spector who urged Condellesa Rice to invite Syria to Annapolis despite her misgivings because of Syria’s past diplomatic behavour. Both know their words will be read seriously by the political leadership in Washington and elsewhere. In watching his career over the years and in my contacts with him, there is no doubt about Senator Spector’s integrity.They did not fabricate.

So now these two advocates for a change in policy for the middle east have been embarrassed and are forced to agree Condellessa Rice was right. Combining this with the rebuff to President Sarkosy, it is clear Syria is not now prepared to engage in the diplomatic negotiations that the world has become accustomed to, and prefers a standoff in Lebanon and with Israel to an agreement that will advance peace. The standoff seems to be more important than regaining the Golan. For those of us who wish Syria peace and prosperity, it is one step forward and three backwards.

There is a clue in the Reuters article that suggests what happened. It is the statement that ‘no one can interfere with Syria’s internal politics.’ It is the security people that would make such a statement. It shows the old guard got the upper hand and succeeded in getting the decision to go to Annapolis to negotiate reversed. Syria is now back on its traditional stance. That must have been some argument in Damascus.
——-
Watch for a major policy speech when President Bush is in Bahrain. He will urge middle east countries to loosen up on economic restraints, encourage more enterprise, increase the standard of living for all citizens, allow more freedom for the citizens, increase trade with each other and allow more freedom of expression (since it already is happening on the internet).
——
Alex: What is there to be gained by Bush visiting Damascus?

January 3rd, 2008, 8:31 pm

 

G said:

Michael Young’s quoted report is not false. The Saudis themselves have talked about how the Syrians were plotting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Beirut. That’s what Syrians do, they kill people.

January 3rd, 2008, 8:33 pm

 

Alex said:

Sure … and Seniora does not answer to the Saudis, and the Saudis have not told any lies about Syria so far.

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=542

January 3rd, 2008, 8:36 pm

 

G said:

Alex, as usual, when confronted with facts, you evade. It’s a fact. Review the Saudi press back in the spring sometime. There were open accusations of Syria’s attempt on Khoja’s life, with documents and people arrested in Lebanon plotting it. The Saudis at the time also accused Syria of the assassinations in Lebanon. What you think is irrelevant. These are facts.

January 3rd, 2008, 8:40 pm

 

Alex said:

FIA,

Let President Bush make the trip and he will find out. Do you know how many hours he spent talking to Bashar since year 2000? .. before he lost his patience supposedly.

G,

You want me to discuss Saudi accusations about trying to assassinate their ambassador in Lebanon?

First, we know by now that they have been paying Assyassa to spread lies every week for years. Next, I was referring to the specific case of waht Michael Yong quoted in Asssyassa:

This week, a story in the Kuwaiti daily As-Siyassah quoted a Lebanese diplomat in Cairo as saying the Saudis believe Syria has sponsored anti-regime Salafists in the kingdom itself. As-Siyassah is close to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and no Lebanese diplomat would have made such a charge on the record without getting a Saudi green light to do so. Whatever the truth of the accusation, it is an extremely serious one, underlining that the Saudis are increasingly willing to label the Assad regime a threat to their stability. The logical flip side is that Riyadh might retaliate by playing domestic Syrian sectarian politics.

January 3rd, 2008, 8:47 pm

 

Sasa said:

Alex, mate, I feel stupid.

I just made two urgent phone calls to inform people of the news.

Then I wrote a whole post, based on my feelings/reaction to Bush’s Syria visit. Before I pressed submit, I looked on the wires, and couldn’t find anything. Then I finished reading your post. Yes, that was an entertaining 20 minutes.

This was the final line of my post…
(I’m now off to triple check I read the original story correctly – it can’t be, can it?).

And no, I hit delete not submit. Wise?

January 3rd, 2008, 8:49 pm

 

Alex said:

Remember this one? : )

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=324

Trying to convince Israel to hit Syria!

Love those angels … Saudi Arabia … the citadel that protects the Arab world!

remember this one?

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=431

Similarly, I recall when Prince Fahd bin Abdal Aziz called me to a meeting very late one evening in the early days of the 1973 war and asked me to send an urgent personal message from him to Richard Nixon informing the president that he had felt obliged to contribute a brigade of Saudi troops to the Golan front to support the Syrian offensive there, but that he had personally instructed the commander of the unit not to fire a single shot. That, Fahd told me with considerable emotion and obvious sincerity, was his solemn promise to his American friend. Again, prudence, wisdom, and desire to maintain a traditional and mutually valuable relationship — motives that were not, I regret to say, received in Washington with the respect and appreciation that they deserved.

Ray Close

January 3rd, 2008, 8:51 pm

 

G said:

نقل الديبلوماسي اللبناني عن نظرائه السعوديين هؤلاء قولهم »ان احد شروطهم لاعادة العلاقات مع دمشق ولو بنسبة محدودة، هو ابعاد فاروق الشرع عن منصبه كنائب لرئيس الجمهورية، والاعتذار العلني الواضح من بشار الاسد عن تصاريحه وخطبه السابقة المعادية للمملكة، وعن محاولة اغتيال السفير السعودي في بيروت عبدالعزيز خوجة التي تأكد وجودها فعلاً، لا لسبب الا لانه حاول ويحاول تقريب وجهات النظر بين المعارضة والاغلبية اللبنانيتين لوقف النزف الحاصل الذي من الممكن ان يؤدي الى فلتان امني لا تحمد عقباه

January 3rd, 2008, 8:51 pm

 

Alex said:

Yes .. but your are quoting liars and liars … and you are again refering to something different … I was talking only about today’s Young quote of Asssyassa:

This week, a story in the Kuwaiti daily As-Siyassah quoted a Lebanese diplomat in Cairo as saying the Saudis believe Syria has sponsored anti-regime Salafists in the kingdom itself. As-Siyassah is close to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and no Lebanese diplomat would have made such a charge on the record without getting a Saudi green light to do so. Whatever the truth of the accusation, it is an extremely serious one, underlining that the Saudis are increasingly willing to label the Assad regime a threat to their stability. The logical flip side is that Riyadh might retaliate by playing domestic Syrian sectarian politics.

January 3rd, 2008, 8:54 pm

 

G said:

Yes of course Alex. Only you and the Syrian regime don’t lie! You realize how funny you sound?!

The claims quoted by Young are hardly confined to the Siyassah report. They can be found in a number of other reports in other publications and they’ve been around for months. You’re splitting hairs — a sign of how desperate and pitiful your position is.

January 3rd, 2008, 8:55 pm

 

Alex said:

The Syrian regimes lies too … they are politicians.

I do not lie.

Why don’t you catch a collection of lies liek the one I linked in my earlier post today of your Saudi and Lebanese M14 and “Syrian opposition” friends?

List 5 things I wrote that I claimed are facts (not my personal opinion) where you can prove I was not telling the truth!

When you can do that, then come back here and laugh as much as you want. Until then, YOU sound funny.

January 3rd, 2008, 8:58 pm

 

G said:

I keep forgetting that you are challenged intellectually. You sound funny because your entire premise is that the Syrian position is right because Saudi Arabia and the usual suspects you dub “my friends” for some odd reason are “liars.” That premise is what’s funny. Apparently the joke is lost on you.

You think I have time to waste on collecting whatever nonsense you’ve written here or elsewhere. Apparently someone needs to pop their balloon of self-importance.

January 3rd, 2008, 9:03 pm

 

Alex said:

Sasa,

I’m sure you are not the only one : )

A year ago .. I used to get phone calls and emails from Syrians who just read the stunning stories in As-Siyassa… Bashar is immigrating to London … He is quitting and going to live in Qatar!

Bushra and Asef took the children to live in France …

January 3rd, 2008, 9:04 pm

 

Alex said:

I understand G .. the truth hurts. Now go back to your imaginary world where everything is just the way you like it.

January 3rd, 2008, 9:09 pm

 

Sasa said:

But Alex, we trust you. I don’t think anyone is stupid enough to trust As-Siyaseh (apart from me very occasionally!).

I understand your point (I think) – but maybe a disclaimer much earlier on in the post wouldn’t go amiss. I, myself, made a satirical post last week entitled ‘America withdraws Ambassador to Pakistan and imposes sanctions’. I did the same – waited till the end to clarify that it was all just satire. But I think it annoyed a few people.

January 3rd, 2008, 9:50 pm

 

Honest Patriot said:

From: http://www.lbcgroup.tv/LBC/En/MainMenu/News/News+Details?ID=516

[Sounds logical, well analyzed, and well presented to me – Typical characteristics of Siniora fare]

ردَّ السنيورة على كلام نصر الله في بيان وزعه مكتبه الاعلامي كالآتي

“ان كلام السيد حسن نصر الله الذي ورد في مقابلته مع محطة “أن.بي.إن” كشف حقيقة المشروع الذي يحمله “حزب الله” للبنان والذي يقوم على تغيير كل مرتكزات النظام السياسي اللبناني نحو نظام سياسي آخر يكون للحزب فيه حق الفيتو أو السيطرة على كل شيء، ضاربا بعرض الحائط كل الأسس التي قام عليها النظام الديموقراطي البرلماني اللبناني.

قال السيد نصر الله بصراحة إن استمرار الوضع على ما هو عليه أفضل بكثير من التسليم للأكثرية بأن تحكم كما تريد باعتبارها أكثرية وصلت بشكل ديموقراطي وعبر الانتخاب، والتي تتم محاسبتها مستقبلا عبر انتخابات مقبلة كما هو معمول بالأنظمة الديموقراطية. لقد كشف السيد نصر الله بموقفه هذا أن “حزب الله” لا مانع لديه من استمرار الفراغ في رئاسة الجمهورية حتى يحصل على المطالب التي يريدها والتي سماها الثلث الضامن أو المعطل وغلفها بشعار المشاركة، لكنه شرحها بقوله إن الحصول على هذا الثلث يعني الحؤول دون: التوطين، ومعالجة العلاقة مع سوريا، ومعالجة موضوع سلاح المقاومة والاتفاق على السياسة الاقتصادية والاتفاق على تركيبة ونهج المؤسسات العسكرية والأمنية وإقرار قانون الانتخابات.

بطريقة أخرى قال السيد نصر الله إنه يريد أن يكون صاحب القرار بكل هذه القضايا وأنه لن يوافق على انتخاب رئيس للجمهورية إلا بعد أن يضمن حق التقرير في مصير هذه الملفات، أي عمليا هو يريد استمرار حالة الفراغ إلى حين البت بهذه الأمور.

إن السيد نصر الله كشف من دون أن يدري أن هدف “حزب الله” تغيير النظام اللبناني ونسف أسس اتفاق الطائف في ذات الوقت الذي قال فيه انه ليس مع تعديل الطائف في هذه المرحلة، وقد ظهر ذلك عبر النقاط التالية في حديثه:

هو قال انه لا يريد تغيير الطائف لكنه طالب بعرف جديد يقوم على إقرار مبدأ تشكيل الحكومات حسب النسب التي تتشكل منها الكتل النيابية في مجلس النواب. وهذا أمر مناقض تماما لروح وجوهر الدستور القائم على مبدأ الأكثرية والأغلبية ويطيح كليا بأسس النظام الديموقراطي البرلماني اللبناني ليتجه به نحو النظام الفدرالي. وهو في هذه الحالة يحيل الحكومة إلى نسخة مصغرة عن مجلس النواب ويطيح بالمبدأ الذي يقول بالفصل بين السلطات ويعطل المبدأ الديموقراطي القائم على المحاسبة في البرلمان.

قال بأنه لا يريد تغيير اتفاق الطائف لكنه لا يقبل أن يتم انتخاب رئيس للجمهورية إلا بعد الإقرار بالمبدأ الذي اسماه الثلث الضامن وهذا أمر لا ينص عليه الدستور بمعنى أنه اقترح تثبيت عرف جديد يقوض الطائف والدستور الذي لم يضع شروطا لتشكيل الحكومة بل يطيح بكل الصيغة الفريدة التي ارتضاها اللبنانيون.

إن “حزب الله” عبر كلام السيد نصر الله يريد إبقاء البلاد بحالة الفراغ إلى أن يحصل على مطالبه وهو يفعل ذلك مقابل وعد بأنه مستعد لمناقشة موضوع سلاح المقاومة وذلك إثر الخضوع لهذه المطالب، أي انه بذلك يمسك بالسلاح الموجود لديه، ويريد من خلاله تغيير أسس النظام اللبناني وذلك مقابل وعد بالنظر بموضوع السلاح بعد تحقق شرط الاتفاق على ممارسات سياسية جديدة مخالفة لدستور الطائف وكذلك الاتفاق على الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية والسياسة الاقتصادية والعلاقات مع سوريا…الخ

كشف السيد نصر الله في حديثه شروطا جديدة منها أنه يريد في الحكومة المقبلة تمثيلا لأطراف غير ممثلة في البرلمان حين أشار إلى انه يجب أن يكون هناك ممثلون في الحكومة عن السنة والدروز الموجودين في المعارضة.

إن حديث السيد نصر الله حمال أوجه فهو مع قوله إن الحزب لا يريد استخدام السلاح إلا للدفاع عن لبنان بوجه إسرائيل، إلا انه المح إلى أن الحزب الذي سيعمد مع المعارضة بعد عشرة أيام إلى دراسة الخيارات البديلة للمواجهة التي أسماها مدنية لكنه في ذات الوقت هدد بطريقة غير مباشرة بأن “حزب الله” ليس وحده على الساحة، وليس وحده القوة الوحيدة على الأرض وأن الأمور يمكن أن تفلت عن السيطرة، مما يعني أنه يقول إنه وفي أحسن الأحوال قد يغض النظر عن قوى في المعارضة تريد استخدام العنف في النزاعات الداخلية لكنه تجاهل أن كل القوى الأخرى تدور في فلكه وتتسلح وتتدرب وتمول بإشراف منه.

ان السيد نصر الله ناقض نفسه بنفسه فهو أعلن أن الحزب مستقل عن إيران بل ذهب إلى القول إن الحزب بات مؤثرا في السياسة الإيرانية وليس العكس متناسيا خطابات قيادات الحزب وأدبياته وممارساته التي تقول وتلتزم بولاية الفقيه وبالتالي بالتوجيهات الآتية من إيران.

ان السيد نصر الله قد كشف عن عمق التماهي مع سوريا حين اعتبر أن سوريا قد ضحت في سبيل المعارضة بأنها رفضت المغريات الغربية وفضلت رفض هذه المغريات للوقوف عند رأي المعارضة ومطالبها فيما الصحيح أن “حزب الله” سلم سوريا وإيران كل ملف التفاوض وهو لكي يبرر إحالة ملف التفاوض إلى العماد ميشال عون بعد سحبه من يد الرئيس نبيه بري اعتبر أن الرئيس بري هو الذي طلب أن يتنحى عن التفاوض لمصلحة تسليم هذا الملف إلى العماد عون بمعنى آخر، فكأنه هو الذي قال للرئيس بري إنك لم تعد مسؤولا عن التفاوض باسم المعارضة وهو بذلك يقول إن الذي يفاوض في حقيقة الأمر هي سوريا أما في الشكل فهو العماد عون.

إن السيد نصر الله الذي ينادي بالشراكة اعتبر أن المشكلة هي مع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وليس مع قوى الأكثرية لكنه اعتبر أن هذه القوى خاضعة إلى الإرادة الأميركية، فكيف ينادي بالشراكة الوطنية ويضع الآخرين مسبقا في الخانة الأميركية وخانة المشروع الأميركي؟.

الأخطر من ذلك أن السيد نصر الله استخدم موضوع التوطين، واعتبر أن مطالبته بالثلث الضامن في الحكومة لمواجهة مشروع التوطين، وهو بذلك يحاول أن يسترضي المسيحيين وتبرير إبقاء الفراغ في سدة الرئاسة الأولى بالقول إنه يعمل لمكافحة التوطين مع العلم بأن كل اللبنانيين قد أعلنوا أكثر من مرة أنهم ضد التوطين، وهذا أمر ارتضاه اللبنانيون أن يكون من ضمن دستورهم، فلماذا الاستمرار في استعمال هذا الأمر فزاعة لإثارة الفتنة. إضافة إلى ذلك أليس من المستغرب أن السيد نصر الله و”حزب الله” هما اللذان يحميان الوجود الفلسطيني المسلح داخل المخيمات وخارجها. وقد كانت مواقف السيد نصر الله في خصوص نهر البارد واضحة حين وضع خطوطا حمراء أمام الجيش اللبناني الذي كان يخوض معركة مكافحة إسقاط سلطة الدولة في الشمال من خلال مواجهة التمرد المسلح الذي قامت به “فتح الإسلام” في حجة القضية الفلسطينية، وأكد مواقفه نفسها في حديثه البارحة.

ان كلام السيد نصر الله عن أن مشاركتهم في الحكومة أحالتهم الى شهود زور، وأنهم لم يكونوا مطلعين على الخطط الاقتصادية أو على الخطط في شأن قطاع الكهرباء أو الزراعة أو غيرها…، هو من قبيل الدعاية غير المقنعة إذ أن البرنامج الاقتصادي كان قد وضع بمشاركتهم وموافقتهم منذ البدء عند وضع البيان الوزاري، وتمت مشاركتهم في مناقشة تفاصيل البرنامج، حتى في الفترة التي كانوا فيها معتكفين حيث ساهموا في الجلسات النقاشية التي عقدت في السرايا الحكومية في مطلع العام 2006. كما كان لهم كامل المسؤولية في وضع السياسات القطاعية التي هي من صلب مهماتهم الوزارية حيث اعتمدت الحكومة سياسة قطاع الطاقة التي تقدم بها الوزير محمد فنيش. كما وافقت على المشروع الذي تقدم به وزير الطاقة يومها محمد فنيش لمعالجة قطاع الكهرباء، وكل الاجتماعات التي كانت تعقد كانت في حضوره وعلمه ومشاركته أو مشاركة مستشاريه وفريق عمله، وكان آخرها مشروع قانون يسمح لوزارة الطاقة بإصدار تراخيص لخصخصة قطاع الإنتاج في الكهرباء، والذي أقره مجلس النواب في جلسته الأخيرة في نهاية العام 2006. كما اعتمدت الحكومة الخطط القطاعية الأخرى لوزارات الزراعة والعمل والتي كانت وضعت من قبل الوء المعنيين بعد مناقشتها في مجلس الوزراء.

واستغربت الحكومة الكلام الخطير الذي يبرر من خلاله السيد حسن نصر الله صوابية التعطيل مبررا ذلك بأنه يدافع عن القطاعات الإنتاجية والعمال والموظفين وهو يعلم كل العلم مدى التأثير السلبي لتلك الممارسة على إيجاد فرص العمل الجديدة وهي التي تراجعت بسبب هذا التشنج السياسي وعن الاعتصام في وسط المدينة وأسهمت وبشكل كبير في حصول الهجرة الكثيفة للأدمغة ناهيك عن تراجع النمو الذي ينعكس سلبا على القدرة الشرائية لأصحاب الدخل المحدود والفئات الفقيرة والذي تزيد تلك الممارسات من تهميشها. وهو بالإضافة إلى ذلك ينتقد الحكومة التي أمنت للبنان دعما فاق السبعة مليارات دولار بناء على برنامج اقتصادي واجتماعي شامل وطموح وحافظت على الاستقرار الاقتصادي والنقدي في أصعب الظروف وأمنت الدعم للمواد الأساسية من خبز ومازوت وكهرباء وغيرها من دعم لقطاعات كالزراعة والصناعة وللمؤسسات التي تضررت بسبب العدوان الإسرائيلي. وأمنت المساعدات لأكثر من مائة ألف وحدة سكنية في الجنوب والضاحية وغيرها وأعادت بناء الطرق والجسور والمستشفيات والمدارس وغيرها من البنى التحتية”.

وأشارالبيان الى “ان التعطيل الذي أصاب المجلس النيابي قد فوت فرصا كبيرة على لبنان وأدت إلى تعطيل الاقتصاد والقطاعات الإنتاجية وعطلت مشاريع تستفيد منها المناطق اللبنانية كافة ناهيك عن أنها عطلت الإجراءات التي كانت لو اتخذت لأدت إلى تخفيف انعكاسات حرب تموز على كاهل المواطنين وعلى الاقتصاد ومستقبل تطوره.

وحذر من خطر استمرار التعطيل على مستقبل الاقتصاد اللبناني الذي يخسر فرصا كبيرة من الاستثمارات الجديدة التي كانت ستتحول إلى فرص عمل جديدة لشباب لبنان وإلى تحسين في مستوى ونوعية معيشة اللبنانيين”.

واستخلص البيان “أن السيد نصر الله بات مع كل ظهور يحدد موعدا للبنانيين مع القلق وينذر باستمرار الأزمة، فبعد أن كان قد اعتبر في إطلالة سابقة أن الشرط هو شخصية الرئيس التي تعتبر ضمانة جاء في هذه الإطلالة ليعتبر أن الشرط هو الاتفاق على سلة الشروط ليختمها في حديث الأمس بإبلاغ اللبنانيين إن الفراغ مستمر إلى أن يحكم سيطرته على لبنان وعلى الدولة ولو حتى على أشلائهما”.

وختم بالقول: “ان من يريد الشراكة الحقة يبحث عن الحلول الوسط لا عن إعلان الشروط والتمسك بها، فالشراكة لا تكون بالغلبة ولا بالبحث عن تسجيل الانتصارات بل بالبحث عما يحقق مصالح الجميع عبر تبادل الخطوات من كل الأطراف، فالشراكة يجب أن تكون متبادلة من جميع الأطراف، كما أن تمسك كل طرف بوجهة نظره لا توصل إلا إلى الخراب الذي سيطال الجميع”.

January 3rd, 2008, 11:09 pm

 

Shual said:

Great work, Alex.

January 3rd, 2008, 11:37 pm

 

Joseywales said:

OK you got me to click on your stupid blog. FU.

January 4th, 2008, 12:10 am

 

offended said:

Alex,
I knew this was a sham the moment I saw Bush’s smiley face : )

Just to add to the sample list of liars, hypocrites and co** suckers, here’s a piece written by the great illuminati Dr. Joseph A. Kechichian in the gulf news today:

In fact, it is amply clear that Arab leadership will not come from Damascus anytime soon, but must refocus on the critical Cairo-Riyadh axis. With awakened leaders who are learning to respect their citizens and subjects, and who can remind one and all that they are able to lead, without interferences.

Sure! Mubarak and Abdullah represent the aspirations of the Arab masses. And they are able to lead without interference.
One might ask though, Interference by whom?
What a load of garbage that is!

G , I highly recommend Kechichian piece, it’ll serve as a placebo and help you sleep better, at least for tonight.

January 4th, 2008, 12:43 am

 

Alex said:

Thank you Shual.

HP,

I will agree with Seniora in one thing. Nasrallah wants to make some serious changes to the Lebanese formula.

But there is no escaping these changes. If they want to eventually take away Hizbollah’s weapons, they need to find a way to empower the Shiites a bit more.

I think there is s way .. but as long as internationally the situation is a mess … with the Saudis and Americans not talking to Syria, it will be too difficult for outsiders to mediate between the various Lebanese parties.

Both Nasrallah and Mouallem hinted to this point: What the French agree on with the Syrians can be worthless if America is not part of this agreement.

Hizbollah is indeed trying to help Syria by making the point that if America does not talk to Syria then solutions in Lebanon will have to wait.

Sasa … I edited the post and made it a bit more obvious : )

and … I got a lot of emails today : )

January 4th, 2008, 12:44 am

 

norman said:

Alex, I believed your story because i am hoping and dreaming that President Bush will make a last Minute stop in Damascus to visit the tomb of John the Baptist and to improve America;s stand in the Arab world. and have a comprehensive peace as everybody knows that without Syria Bush can dream and dream then wake up to nothing.

January 4th, 2008, 12:50 am

 

Alex said:

French mediation with Syria still on: Nasrallah

AFP, BEIRUT
Friday, Jan 04, 2008, Page 6

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday that France’s mediation with Syria on Lebanon’s political crisis would go on despite the two countries breaking off contacts over the issue.

The head of the pro-Syrian Shiite militant group said in an interview with Lebanese television that “France’s mediation has not finished, despite President Nicolas Sarkozy inappropriately raising the tone” of the talks by officially halting contacts with Syria.

“The French and the Syrians are attempting to arrive at a compromise … but if this mediation fails, there will not be others, and the opposition will mobilize using all peaceful means possible,” he said without providing further details.

January 4th, 2008, 1:05 am

 

offended said:

Oh, sorry, here’s a link to Dr. Kechichian article on the Arab leaders awakening:

http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/01/03/10178941.html

January 4th, 2008, 1:05 am

 

offended said:

Test

January 4th, 2008, 1:15 am

 

norman said:

THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Lebanese opposition insisting on veto power
By Hussein Dakroub, Associated Press | January 3, 2008

BEIRUT – No president will be elected in Lebanon unless the Hezbollah-led opposition gets veto power in the future government, the leader of the militant group declared yesterday.

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah accused the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority of creating the current presidential deadlock by refusing a partnership with the Syrian-backed opposition.

“A solution lies in a partnership through a constitutional guarantee [and] through a veto power for the opposition, which represents more than half of the Lebanese people,” Nasrallah said in an interview with the private Lebanese NBN television.

A parliamentary session to elect a new president was postponed for the 11th time on Dec. 28 with feuding factions deadlocked over a constitutional amendment and the shape of a future government.

A new parliament session has been set for Jan. 12.

The crisis over the presidency has capped a yearlong power struggle between anti-Syrian politicians, who hold a slim majority in parliament and support the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, and the opposition led by Hezbollah.

The ruling coalition accuses the opposition of obstructing the presidential vote under orders from Syria and Iran, which back Hezbollah.

In turn, the opposition claims progovernment groups in the parliament majority follow US policies.

Nasrallah accused the United States of obstructing the presidential vote by telling its allies in the parliamentary majority not to give the opposition a veto power in any future government.

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

January 4th, 2008, 1:38 am

 

Alex said:

January 4, 2008
Al Jazeera No Longer Nips at Saudis

By ROBERT F. WORTH
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — When a Saudi court sentenced a young woman to 200 lashes in November after she pressed charges against seven men who had raped her, the case provoked outrage and headlines around the world, including in the Middle East.

But not at Al Jazeera, the Arab world’s leading satellite television channel, seen by 40 million people. The station’s silence was especially noteworthy because until recently, and unlike almost all other Arab news outlets, Al Jazeera had long been willing — eager, in fact — to broadcast fierce criticisms of Saudi Arabia’s rulers.

For the past three months Al Jazeera, which once infuriated the Saudi royal family with its freewheeling newscasts, has treated the kingdom with kid gloves, media analysts say.

The newly cautious tone appears to have been dictated to Al Jazeera’s management by the rulers of Qatar, where Al Jazeera has its headquarters. Although those rulers established the channel a decade ago in large part as a forum for critics of the Saudi government, they now seem to feel they cannot continue to alienate Saudi Arabia — a fellow Sunni nation — in light of the threat from Iran across the Persian Gulf.

The specter of Iran’s nuclear ambitions may be particularly daunting to tiny Qatar, which also is the site of a major American military base.

The new policy is the latest chapter in a gradual domestication of Al Jazeera, once reviled by American officials as little more than a terrorist propaganda outlet. Al Jazeera’s broadcasts no longer routinely refer to Iraqi insurgents as the “resistance,” or victims of American firepower as “martyrs.”

The policy also illustrates the way the Arab media, despite the new freedoms introduced by Al Jazeera itself a decade ago, are still often treated as political tools by the region’s autocratic rulers.

“The gulf nations now feel they are all in the same boat, because of the threat of Iran, and the chaos of Iraq and America’s weakness,” said Mustafa Alani, a security analyst at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. “So the Qataris agreed to give the Saudis assurances about Al Jazeera’s coverage.”

Those assurances, Mr. Alani added, were given at a September meeting in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, between King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and top officials in the Qatari government. For the meeting, aimed at resolving a long-simmering feud between the nations, the Qataris brought along an unusual guest: the chairman of Al Jazeera’s board, Sheik Hamad bin Thamer al-Thani.

Al Jazeera’s general manager, Waddah Khanfar, did not reply to phone and e-mail requests for comment. But several employees confirmed that the chairman of the board had attended the meeting. They declined to give their names, citing the delicacy of the issue. The governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia have remained silent on the matter.

Repercussions were soon felt at Al Jazeera.

“Orders were given not to tackle any Saudi issue without referring to the higher management,” one Jazeera newsroom employee wrote in an e-mail message. “All dissident voices disappeared from our screens.”

The employee noted that coverage of Saudi Arabia was always politically motivated at Al Jazeera — in the past, top management used to sometimes force-feed the reluctant news staff negative material about Saudi Arabia, apparently to placate the Qatari leadership. But he added that the recent changes were seen in the newsroom as an even more naked assertion of political will.

“To improve their relations with Qatar, the Saudis wanted to silence Al Jazeera,” he wrote. “They got what they wanted.”

The changes at Al Jazeera are part of a broader reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In December, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, announced that Saudi Arabia would send an ambassador back to Qatar for the first time since 2002. Also in December, the Saudis attended the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Doha, Qatar’s capital, which they had refused to do the last time it was held there. The Saudis have also indicated that they may allow Al Jazeera to open a bureau in Riyadh.

The feud between Qatar and its much larger neighbor, for all its pettiness, has had real consequences. It led to the creation of Al Jazeera in the first place, which in turn helped shape perceptions — and, perhaps, realities — across the Arab world and beyond over the past decade.

The feud began in the mid-1990s, when the Qatari leadership accused the Saudis of supporting a failed coup attempt. Soon afterward, Al Jazeera was founded with a $150 million grant from the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and began reshaping the Arab media. The station was helped when the BBC’s Arabic-language television station, co-owned by a Saudi company, collapsed, thanks in part to Saudi censorship demands. The BBC journalists flocked to Al Jazeera.

The mere establishment of the station was a challenge to the Saudis, who since the 1970s had used their oil wealth to establish control over most of the pan-Arab media in an effort to forestall the kind of populist media campaign led in earlier decades by Gamal Abdel Nasser when he was Egypt’s president, said Marc Lynch, a professor of political science at George Washington University and the author of a book about Al Jazeera’s role in reshaping the Arab media.

But the feud grew worse in 2002, after Al Jazeera broadcast a debate on Saudi Arabia’s policy on the Palestinian question, shortly after the unveiling of a peace initiative for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by King Abdullah, who was then the crown prince. The debate included fierce criticisms of the Saudi ruling family, and the Saudis, deeply offended, responded by withdrawing their ambassador from Qatar.

Al Jazeera’s lengthy broadcasts of videotapes by Osama bin Laden — whose cherished goal for years has been to overthrow the Saudi monarchy — also provoked the Saudis. Al Jazeera has often been accused of helping make Mr. bin Laden into a celebrity, and indirectly helping him to recruit more people across the Arab and Islamic world to his cause.

An added frustration was the way Qatar benefited from Al Jazeera’s anti-Americanism, even as American military support and money poured into the tiny country.

“Qatar became immensely popular during the 2003 war, because of Jazeera — despite the fact that the planning for the war was all taking place at Centcom, in Qatar,” said S. Abdallah Schleifer, a veteran American journalist and a professor emeritus at the American University of Cairo, referring to the United States Central Command.

Al Jazeera’s coverage gradually evolved and grew more moderate, partly for internal reasons and partly in response to American pressure. In 2003, Al Arabiya was founded, largely as a Saudi answer to Al Jazeera. It has sometimes countered Al Jazeera’s criticisms of Saudi Arabia with attacks on Qatari policy, as have other Saudi-owned media outlets.

But the recent changes underscore how much Iran’s nuclear ambitions have affected the region.

“It was the fear of a possible Iranian reprisal action, should it be attacked by the U.S., that ultimately appears to have persuaded the Qatari leadership to underline G.C.C. solidarity by mending relations with Saudi Arabia and rein in Al Jazeera’s coverage,” said Neil Partrick, a gulf analyst with the International Crisis Group, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council. On a smaller scale, the Qataris clearly wanted the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting to be a success, which it would not have been without Saudi involvement, Mr. Partrick said.

Some members of Al Jazeera’s newsroom staff say they believe that the station would not ignore or play down major news developments in Saudi Arabia, whatever promises the management may have made. But other Arab journalists said Al Jazeera’s seeming willingness to toe the Saudi line was proof that there still were no truly independent media outlets in the region.

“The Arab media today still play much the same role as the pre-Islamic tribal poets, whose role was to praise the tribe, not tell the truth,” said Sulaiman al-Hattlan, a Dubai-based media analyst and the former editor in chief of Forbes Arabia.

January 4th, 2008, 4:34 am

 

Shual said:

“The specter of Iran’s [nuclear] ambitions may be particularly daunting to tiny Qatar, which also is the site of a major American military base.”

Nuclear OUT. Conventional IN. “The Defense Department on Thursday notified Congress of a potential $328 million sale of … 3,510 TOW-2 [Anti-Tank] missiles + 35 missile launchers”

Thats a cool deal. For every soldier [8-hour-shifts] a missile.

Aaaaaah. Sh… its for Kuwait, not Qatar.

January 4th, 2008, 5:00 am

 

why-discuss said:

No one should touch sacred KSA! It has enough money to buy all the newsmen and most arab politicians. The Kingdom has the power of money and money these days talks more than ideologies. So either you shut up or you stay poor. Thank God there are still leaders who think about the people’s aspirations, justice and freedom. Because these are not particulartly recognized in KSA where gang-raped women are condamned, women are considered like second class citizens and where the highest of people’s aspiration is to buy another Rolex or Porsche and to find easy sex in Dubai. The only aspiration left is the one of terrorism and it seems to work well as most of the terrorists come from this land of serenity.

January 4th, 2008, 8:47 am

 

ausamaa said:

Alex,

For the first few seconds after reading the title of the article, I was really bewildered, buzzeled and then scared, not re-assured or feeling a sence of triumph or ease. It lasted until you explained a few lines later the that it was a joke.

For, nowadays, it is much better to be a Bush Adversary than to be his Friend. We do not want him, we do not want his visits, we do not want his ignorance, stupidity and his hallucinating visions. We do not want someone who thinks that God Speaks to him and says this in public before millions of people.

The facts on the ground in the world have wrecked his neo-con grand designs and have beaten his ill-guided and stupid policies of venegance and subjegation. So if he comes at such a moment, it is to save face, and to salvage by trickery or threats what he and his shock and awe and his local allies and tools could not achieve on the ground.

It was really a scary few seconds until you clarified it later.

The majority of the American people, to whome has lied repeatedly, do not want him. Why should Syria welcome a visit by him? We do not want anything to do with Bush and his bunch, and I think that may be the “understanding” or the “agreement” reached during Blosi visit. But we welcome and want a dialouge and a visit by a US President who has integrity and prespective if not a sense of justice. Traits that this gentelman, and his discredited and humilated neo-con administration, have proved they do not possess.

We just do not believe in anything that comes from a defeated nowadays King Midas; but one who turns everything he touches to Aches, not Gold.

Let Saudi, Jordan, Israel and Egypt, and all the “moderates”, roll out the red carpets to welcome him, hug him, participate in his dump plans, look him in the eye and smile while contemplating what new disasters he will bring the area and the world, and how they can surive them, or temporarily benifit from them.

It was an unpleasant joke..!

January 4th, 2008, 10:34 am

 

Honest Patriot said:

Ausama,

You are right about Bush not being popular and about his mixing religious inspiration with politics causing a lot of dismay with many Americans. You say “We do not want someone who thinks that God Speaks to him and says this in public before millions of people.” The majority of Americans now agree. To be fair and consistent, however, you should also reject the religion-based structure of any group or country in the Middle East, including Iran and Hamas (and KSA, for that matter). Religion overreaching to control political life and social structure (as opposed to being limited to personal faith and supplemental social charity and support) is the worst ingredient of human organization and is responsible for the most vicious and savage wars throughout history. No one religion can claim to be exempt from this. A simple reading of history is all it takes.

January 4th, 2008, 12:32 pm

 

ash-shakkak said:

Who is this Alex character? Whoever he is, rein him in, Josh. Idiotic little stunts like this hurt the credibility of your well-regarded blog, and stupid little smiley faces don’t excuse them. 🙂

January 4th, 2008, 12:49 pm

 

Shual said:

“For the first few seconds after reading the title of the article”

Ausaama, maybe I am different cause we germans are ice-cold calculating cynics. Or my brain works different. Or my nose was itching. Whatever.. “Trip – Syria – Bush” has a plausibility of 0.2% even from a person of 100% credibility. And I think, from time to time its very helpful to produce such stories. The intrested persons are always walking on the small path between truth and lie and they should train their senses from time to time. Thats only my opinion and it must not be the right one.

PS: Next one: “The Katyusha rocket that hit the northern part of Ashkelon…” … Wow! Islamic Jihad is cool! They can disguise their Katyushas as Qassams! http://www.haaretz.com/hasite/images/iht_daily/D030108/250qasam030108_LE.jpg

January 4th, 2008, 12:59 pm

 

Observer said:

That was an interesting posting today. The news coming out of the NYT about Al Jazeera no longer nipping at the KSA is most interesting. The station also did not say anything about the one week riots that broke out in Bahrain and that involved the Shia community. A Kuwaiti family visiting told me that there are Shia quarters in Kuwait where the police dare not enter and that the Iranian secret service reigns supreme. Al Hakim came out in Iraq in praise of the Awakening councils and he would not do that without an OK from Iran. The US has just entered the presidential race year, the administration of GWB is a lame duck one. The results of the Iowa vote yesterday have produced two earthquakes: on the Democratic side strong winds of change and hope; and on the Republican side a non establishment candidate. In essence, we are going to see over the next year a major shift in the Congress and in the Presidency whoever the President is going to be. What does this mean for the KSA is that it is on its own now. Relying on the US except in extremis is no longer a guarantee. Iran is holding a hand to the KSA in Iraq and is willing to compromise to bring stability to the region, but there is no escaping that it had become the top regional dog. There is a big difference between Iran and Nasser’s Egypt for Iran has money, technical expertise, long range strategy, solid local community support, and an impecable position on the Palestinian issue from the popular point of view. What we are seeing now is the results of making Bandar the National Security Advisor. He unfortunately has one way only of dealing with the situation which is the use of dirty tricks and the use of bribery and under the table dealings. He has no strategy per se and I am confident that the influence of the KSA is rather waning rapidly. If there is a breakthrough on the Peace initiative, then the KSA will have a breathing space for a while until the new president is sworn in next January. I doubt however that anyone can pressure Israel during an election year and with a lame duck administration. What I am saying is that the US is now one of the major and heavy players on the world scene; it is not the only one regionally. We can see this with the NIE that came out to nip in the bud any adventure against Iran, we can see that in the climate change conference in Bali, we can see that in the energy transport and exploitation system that is land based and not ocean based, we can see that with China refusing safe harbor and visitation of the US navy to Hong Kong, we can see that with the South American forging ahead without US coordination.
One last thing

HP
The greatest conflicts that befell the human race were not religion based. DeBoton ( if I am not mistaken ) in his book : ” L’art de Reduire les Tetes” argues that the ideology of a superior human being of Hegel led to the development of Nazi atrocities and WWII as well as Marx’ ideology of reducing man to a unit of production resulted in Communism and its huge devastation. It is not religion that kills, it is human ideology gone amock in any of its forms. Examples: the total population of natives in Uruguay was killed in one single battle by the Spaniards. The entire population of Herero was killed in an organized Genocide by the Germans in East Africa. The vast majority of the Libyan population was put in concentration camps by the Italians during the revolt of Mukhtar. The first air bomabrdement was in Ethiopia by Italian planes. The first use of Chemical weapons in Iraq was ordered by Churchill in 1920 against what he called “barbarian” tribes and he was shocked that MP were shocked at his use of chemical weapons. The Nazi plan for Russia was to exterminate at least 10 million people “after” the conquest and enslave the rest. The first to be gazed at Aschwitz were Russian prisoners. My father in law was a prisoner of war in Germany and he was sent to a farm where he worked with three other Polish prisoners of war. The other three were treated worse than the animals. This is where the age of Enlightnement has been crucial in its premise that man is capable through reason and discourse to find solutions to many a problem and any time any ideology is used for exclusivist use it will lead to disaster.

January 4th, 2008, 3:14 pm

 

Alex said:

Why discuss,

Read this one by Andrew Hammond, Senior Correspondent for Reuters news agency in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia’s Media Empire: keeping the masses at home

To observe close-up how Saudi media influence operates I’ve chosen an episode from earlier this year in the endless mudfights and slanging matches that go on in the Arab media. In April Al Jazeera ran an in-depth interview with Heikal spread over two hour-long programs in which he discussed the regional political situation in light of the tension between Iran and the United States over Iran’s nuclear energy program and Saudi diplomatic efforts to regulate various regional political disputes, notably with the Mecca agreement in February 2007 that established a short-lived Palestinian unity government between Hamas and Fatah.[5] Heikal was direct in his criticism of the Saudi diplomacy led by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former Saudi ambassador to the United States and intimate friend of the Bush family, in particular the idea that Iran should be considered an Arab enemy, and placed Saudi efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict within a context of providing the United States with a fig leaf for military action against Iran.

Heikal appeared to have hit the mark. Saudi media immediately and comprehensively swung into action to belittle Heikal. The strongest response came in an opinion piece by the editor of the Saudi daily al-Riyadh, Turki al-Sudairy. Al-Riyadh is owned by group of businessmen and thus officially independent, but it is in effect under the control of Riyadh governor Prince Salman. Journalists on the paper say Sudairy was obliged to write his rebuttal.[6] The title of the article sets a tone which is typical of this kind of attack on the credibility of particularly effective critics—ajir li-ajir, which might be translated as “from one hireling/hired pen, to another.”[7] The implication was that Heikal was paid to throw mud by a channel that is in turn also paid to throw mud. Sudairy accused Heikal of having been an official “state writer” in Nasser’s period, or the leading scribe in the state media who reveals to the masses and the world, through hints or more directly, the thoughts of the leadership. As former editor of al-Ahram, Egypt’s flagship state paper, this he undoubtedly was. But Sudairy said Heikal had subsequently mounted an unsuccessful bid to become Saudi Arabia’s official scribe, before finally finding a new home in Qatar. “Finally, Heikal found an opportunity to be a ‘state writer’ but in a statelet with hardly half a million people, when this mole of a country (habbat al-khal) Qatar made him its clownish official spokesperson … against the kingdom, which I can affirm does not pay him any attention,” Sudairy wrote. “This is Heikal—pay him and he’ll say anything … It’s difficult to accept any information from a hired pen who has not been deterred by the fact that he is now eighty years old. And what makes it worse is that he is a hired pen working for another hired pen.”

Two regular columnists in the Prince Salman family vehicle Asharq al-Awsat also laid into Heikal. Mamoun Fandy, an Egyptian columnist and senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, accused him of arrogance and going beyond the limits of political politesse for attacking the “Arab peace initiative” launched under Saudi sponsorship in March 2007 and describing Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak—a close Saudi ally—of “living in a world of fantasy” in the Sinai tourist resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.[8] Employing humor, Fandy mocked Heikal’s attack on diplomatic envoy Prince Bandar, writing: “If a camel’s leg went lame in Never-Never Land, he [Heikal] would say Prince Bandar bin Sultan was behind it.”[9] Heikal in his Al Jazeera appearance had claimed that he had taken former U.S. Secretary of State William Rodgers into his bathroom for secret conversations that could not be picked up by surveillance. Playing on the double meaning of the phrase al-‘ada al-sirriyya (literally, “secret habit” but also a euphemism for masturbation) Fandy wrote: “Heikal practiced the same ‘secret habit’ on his farm at Birqash whenever he wanted to discuss confidential affairs, as he told Al Jazeera, since the Israel Academic Bureau is located in the floor below his appartment in Cairo.”

Finally, Lebanese columnist Samir Atallah wrote a more sobre critique of Heikal in another piece in Asharq al-Awsat. “We don’t know how long Heikal will continue writing history from one perspective, repeating the same thing and the same conviction, forgetting that he has a special responsibility since he is not an ordinary historian or journalist but a political and ideological figure from a critical period during the nation’s history,” he wrote.[10] It wasn’t until the last paragraph of the article that it transpired that Attallah was in fact writing to refute Heikal’s criticism of Saudi Arabia. His closing words: “Saudi Arabia entered into conflicts with Nasserist Egypt on its own borders, not the borders of Egypt, and in its own cities not those of Egypt. As for Egypt’s wars with Israel, Saudi Arabia joined them alongside Egypt in a manner that no one understands more than Heikal. Saudi Arabia also helped Egypt in its war of attrition, militarily and economically.”

This is just one example of a phenomenon that consistently repeats itself in the Arab media and in particular with respect to Saudi Arabia. It demonstrates the power of the Saudi media to respond to criticism, its intolerance to criticism, and its use of non-Saudi writers—the coopted liberal intelligentsia—to deliver the counterpunches. Saudi influence reaches far and wide into many other areas. When Rafiq Hariri was Lebanon’s prime minister in 2003, the Lebanese government cut transmission of New TV over a programme that examined the effect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on Saudi Arabia’s domestic political situation. When an Egyptian doctor was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 1994 for complaining to the authorities over the alleged rape of his son by a Saudi schoolteacher, Egypt’s state-owned newspapers avoided the story for fear of offending the kingdom. Throughout the 1990s there were numerous instances of censorship or state prosecution of newspapers and journalists in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and GCC countries for unfavorable coverage of Saudi affairs.

January 4th, 2008, 3:22 pm

 

Alex said:

And another one:

Saudi Arabia’s Media Influence

Ultimately, Saudi influence over the media is having a negative effect on journalistic ethics, investigative reporting, balanced coverage and providing substantial information to the Arab public about issues that are important to the region. Furthermore, with criticism and insightful stories about Saudi Arabia off limits to most Arab journalists, the problem is compounded by non-Arab journalists not able to take up the slack due to onerous visa regulations and limited access to sources, particularly for stories that relate directly to the state, which is notoriously secretive in handing out information.

As Aburish summarizes in his book The House of Saud: “The ability to influence the Western press comes on top of total control of Saudi internal media and the elimination of opposition within the pan-Arab media. The combined effect produces a false picture which everywhere overlooks, ignores or distorts the House of Saud’s misdeeds. In prospect is a world waking up to a country in flames and wondering why things have gone so far without anybody knowing about them.”[13]

Paul Cochrane is a contributing editor for Arab Media & Society and a freelance journalist based in Beirut. He has reported for The Independent on Sunday, The Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, The Straits Times, and Jane’s. He holds a MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut and a BA in International Politics and International History from Keele University, England.

January 4th, 2008, 3:40 pm

 

Observer said:

Here are two good readings from atimes.com that I found right after I did the post above
http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JA05Df02.html
http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JA05Ak03.html

January 4th, 2008, 3:48 pm

 

Alex said:

Ash-Shakkak,

You missed the meaning behind this “stunt” which you believe “hurt the credibility” of this blog.

When Michael Young, opinion editor of Neocon favorite source of information “the Daily Star” references again one of the Kuwaiti As-siyassa’s lunatic Syria-is-evil inventions (Syria is using Salafis to destabilize Saudi Arabia) then YOU should be upset.

This post (and previous one) are meant to make it stick in the minds of those who read them that the next time someone bases his opinion piece on something that the prolific writers in As-Siyassa invented, it should not be taken seriously … like it has in the past.

The persistent Saudi/M14/neocon campaign of lies have caused a lot of damage in the middle east, not only for Syria (the intended target) but for many in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq who are part of the battle against the Syrian regime.

If you have something against my argument you are welcome to explain.

January 4th, 2008, 4:12 pm

 

Shual said:

“The greatest conflicts that befell the human race were not religion based. DeBoton ( if I am not mistaken ) in his book : ” L’art de Reduire les Tetes” argues that the ideology of a superior human being of Hegel led to the development of Nazi atrocities and WWII”

Observer, I have not read that book but I can not think that Dany-Robert Dufour makes such mistakes. We had that topic [Popper, Kiesewetter, Toplitsch] “Volkish closeness” comes from Hegel, Marx, especially Platon a.s.o. in Germany. Popper said that Hegel was a reactionary liar who wrote for the sake of Prussia and indirectly influenced totalitarian systems with that. As you should know: Hitler as an Austrian was a great fan of Prussia and Prussia sent out a wave of propaganda in Hitlers youth and this is quite a direction. But on the other hand, Hitlers myth was deduced from theorists of “Edda”, like Gobineau, Chamberlain, aso. and his final NS-myth is far away from Hegel as we from the moon. And Popper and his fan-club … well, the most of their colleagues think the idea of the hegelian Hitler is [censored]. Toplitsch even stranded on the side of David Irving.

And Plato made Hitler? Well, as we know every human beeing is either platonist or substitutes Aristoteles. 50% chance.

I hope the book of Dufur has more than that.

January 4th, 2008, 4:44 pm

 

t_desco said:

Fatah al-Islam Emerges in Ain al-Hilweh

The terrorist Fatah al-Islam group has claimed responsibility for detonating explosive devices last Monday targeting “renegades and disbelievers inside Ain al-Hilweh camp.”
The pan-Arab daily al Hayat on Friday said it received the Arabic-language statement by fax at its office in Beirut.

Al Hayat said the statement carried the signature of “Fatah al-Islam’s Press Bureau.”

The statement, addressing those who believed that Fatah al-Islam had lost its might, said: “Our flag is still hoisted and our swords are still turned against the necks of disbelievers and renegades.”
Naharnet

January 4th, 2008, 5:39 pm

 

ausamaa said:

Shual,

“we germans are ice-cold calculating cynics. Or my brain works different. Or my nose was itching. Whatever.. “Trip – Syria – Bush” has a plausibility of 0.2%”

I know, but the mere thought of it sent shivers down my spine! Besides, Bush has not been the living legend of consistency or rationalism, so anything can be expected from him.

Honest Patriot,

I Could not agree more with you about the futility of the religion thing, but we have to make distiction between the “halucinations” of the President of the supposed “Free World” who is acting out of the safety and comfort of the Oval Office in DC, and between the homeless, hungry, oppressed people of Palestine and other such places, who when the emancipated UN and the Civilized World could not resolve their misery and stop the shedding of their blood at the hands of Israel, had no where to turn but to Religion?

BTW, was it not the “more sane” pre-Bush Administrations who gave rise to Sunni extremisim as exmplified by the Afghani Mujahideen and OBL to counter the Soviets in Afghanistan in the eighties? The saying: you harvest what you saw is very applicable here. So let us not forget who created and then gave rise to current Islamic extremisem in the first place.

January 4th, 2008, 6:49 pm

 

Atassi said:

We got your message Alex,
we should not take seriously the Saudi/France/M14/M16/M9/neocon/ democratically versed intellectuals, freedom seeker TO BE, sectarian-less society advocate, Civil society promoters, …. NONE Baath regime\Assad clan seeker… ” ..
Then asking us to stick behind a clumsily ideas, clearly marked dead-end path, politically and socially flaws visions and repeatedly proven to be a chartless regime

January 4th, 2008, 7:51 pm

 

Bashmann said:

Alex,

You never ceases to disappoint me. Your stunt is an axiom to your
insincerity in seeing the truth about the regime in Damascus.

If you think Bashar has the interest of Syria in his actions and deeds you would be better off proving us wrong, all here in SC and the world for that matter, with a credible arguement that we can all see the wisdom of your logic. Accusing the West and the rest of the world of chicanery and crookedness and making Bashar the misunderstood Messiah of his time is a bit egocentric, don’t you think?

I will reserve my final judgement on your loyalty to Bashar ’till the international tribunal finish its work. Your resilient stand is only matched by the regime’s authoritarian hold on power.
Don’t you think your efforts can better be served by helping to speak the truth about the regime’s abuses of power and by helping those prisoners of conscious languishing in Syrian jails?

Your misconcieved notion of protecting Syria by defending the regime’s position against the will of the international community in bringing peace and stability to the region is actually hurting the efforts of true patriots in bringing Syria out of the dark ages of monocracy and despotism.

I do not expect you to change your mind but in case one day you decide to do so, here are a couple of Syrian patriots that were arrested in the last two days that you can start helping;

خبر صحفي

فيما يعتقد أنه على خلفية نشاطه العام و مشاركته في اجتماع المجلس الوطني لإعلان دمشق اعتقلت أجهزة المخابرات في العاصمة السورية دمشق حوالي الساعة العاشرة من صباح الخميس 3/1/2008 عضو المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان (سواسية ) الكاتب و المحلل السـياسي الأستاذ فايز ساره و اقتادته لجهة مجهولة.

– الكاتب و المحلل السياسي فايز محمد ديب ساره تولد جيرود التابعة لريف دمشق عام 1950.

– متزوج و له أربعة أولاد.

– كاتب في العديد من الصحف و المجلات و الدوريات العربية منها (الحياة اللندنية والسفير والمستقبل اللبنانية والنور السورية والعرب اليوم الأردنية ) و محلل سياسي ومهتم بالشـأن العام المحلي و العربي و الدولي .

له العديد من الكتب و المؤلفات نذكر منها:

موسوعة الكاريكاتير العربي ( جزأين)

الأحزاب و القوى السياسية في تونس

الأحزاب السياسية في المغرب

كما شارك بتأليف الموســوعة الفلسـطينية.

– ناشط في مجال حقوق الإنسان و المجتمع المدني و من مؤسـسي لجان إحياء المجتمع المدني و المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان و شغل منصب عضو مجلس إدارة في المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان لأكثر من عام كما شارك في العديد من المؤتمرات و الندوات و ورشات العمل في مجال حقوق الإنسان إضافة لعضويته في الهيئة الدولية لمكافحة الفقر.

– شارك بصفته ممثلاً للجان إحياء المجتمع المدني في تهدئة الأوضاع في محافظة الحسكة بعد الأحداث المؤسفة في آذار من عام 2004ومارفقها من احتجاجات.

– يعاني من وضع صحي حرج جداً جراء إصابته بمرض القصور التام في عمل الغدد الدرقية و هو أحوج ما يكون للمراقبة المستمرة و العلاج الدائم.

تذكر المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان السلطات الأمنية بضرورة احترام إعلان الأمم المتحدة الخاص بحماية المدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان الصادر في ديسمبر عام 1988.

ترى المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان بأن الضرورة الوطنية تسـتوجب طي ملف الاعتقال السياسي من الحياة العامة و الشروع في حزمة الإصلاحات الموعودة و المنشودة و إرساء ثقافة الحوار بين جميع الشركاء على أرض الوطن تحصيناً للوحدة و اللحمة الوطنية.

خبر صحفي

فيما يعتقد أنه على خلفية نشاطه العام اعتقلت أجهزة المخابرات حوالي الساعة العاشرة من مساء الأربعاء 2/1/2008 في الرقة راشد محمد الصطوف من منزله في الرقة شارع الوادي و اقتادته لجهة مجهولة.

راشــد محمد الصطوف تولد الرقة 1958.

– متزوج و أب لطفل ( تيم ) تولد 2006.

– سـياسي معارض من كوادر حزب العمل الشيوعي في سوريا ( سابقاً ) و ناشط اجتماعي على خلفية الحراك المجتمعي العام ( تظاهرات – إعتصامات ) و متابع لحراك ربيع دمشق إبان فترة المنتديات و عضو في المجلس الوطني لإعلان دمشق إلا أنه لم يحضر اجتماع السبت 1/12/2007.

– درس بالمعهد العالي لدار المعلمين ثم انتقل للدراســة في كلية الفلسفة بجامعة دمشق إلا أنه لم يتمكن من متابعة الدراسة نظراً لملاحقته أمنياً في بداية الثمانينات.

– سبق له و انتمى لحزب العمل الشيوعي و توارى عن الأنظار منذ عام 1984 و استمر في حالة التواري متنقلاً ما بين المدن السورية لثلاث سنوات إلى أن اعتقل بدمشق بشهر نيسان عام 1987 و أحيل بعد ما يقارب الخمس سنوات من الاعتقال للمحاكمة أمام محكمة أمن الدولة العليا بتهمة الانتماء لجمعية تهدف لتغيير أوضاع المجتمع الأساسية سنداً للمادة / 306 / عقوبات و مناهضة أهداف الثورة وفق المادة / 3 / من المرسوم / 6 / لعام 1965 إضافة لمقامة النظام الاشتراكي و التي أصدرت حكمها عليه بالأشغال الشاقة لمدة خمسة عشر عاماً.

– أفرج عنه عام 2001 وقد بلغ من العمر في ذلك الوقت حوالي / 44 / عاماً ، و بعد ثلاث سنوات من محاولات الاندماج مع المجتمع وجد عملاً في قطاع التعهدات الخاص و بمسعى فردي و شخصي من أحد الأصدقاء.

– يعاني من شـكاية قلبية ( تسرع بالقلب ) و التهاب أربطة مفاصل اليدين و القدمين و الظهر جراء ما تعرض له إبان فترة الاعتقال الأولي سابقاً.

– متابع للحراك المجتمعي العام و يعتقد أن احتجازه الأخير كان قد تمّ على خلفية عضويته في المجلس الوطني لإعلان دمشق.

تؤكد المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان على ضرورة طي ظاهرة الاعتقال السياسي من حياتنا العامة لمخالفتها الدستور والقانو و العهود الدولية التي صادقت عليها سوريا من جهة .

و لخطر استشـراء هذه الظاهرة التي لن تخلف في نهاية المطاف إلا مزيداً من مشاعر الأسى والإحباط من جهة أخرى.

و تطالب المنظمة الإدارة السياسية بوضع حد لهذه الظاهرة و الشروع في حزمة الإصلاحات التي يرنو لها المواطن السوري و يعلق عليها كبير الأمل.

– دمشـق 4/1/2007 المحامي مهند الحسني

– رئيس المنظمة السورية لحقوق الإنسان

Cheers

January 4th, 2008, 8:07 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

As usual, everybody is wrong and has to change except Asad.
He is perfect. He is the dream come true of every Syrian and every true Arab. He is the only one holding his head up high.

It is Asad and Alex that decide what the “natural” borders are in the middle east. The Lebanese need to understand that they are really part of Syria (just as the Syrians understand that the Golan is really a part of Israel now).

The Saudi regime is an awful one, but it is ranked in the 2006 UN development report at number 76 well ahead of Syria at 107. It speaks volume about Asad that he cannot take care of his people better than the godawful Saudis.

January 4th, 2008, 8:18 pm

 

Tareq Majid said:

I should say this is a stupid joke from Alex.
Why waste time and read this blog anymore. This site lost it sense of seriousness. Good bye.
Tarek

January 4th, 2008, 8:33 pm

 

Alex said:

Attasi Bashmann and AIG,

blah blah blah …

The synchronized swimming team is here.

I like it how you all appear together at the same time to attack the same thing… it makes me more sure of what I am doing.

A year ago I was reading people telling me how shocking it was that I criticized Mamoun Homsi .. and now that he is outside Syria, he proved to all what a low character he was .. taking money from “the kingdom” to defend the wise king on LBC ..meeting with Farid Ghadry and Eliot Abrams…

You are ready to bring the generic weapons … “Democracy” … “human rights” … “freedom of the press” …

You want me to state the obvious? … that I am for freedom of speech?

I have stated many time my disappointment in the regime’s total refusal to allow any political reforms… and their using tactic of teaching political activists a lesson by putting them in jail and not letting them have proper medical care while in jail. But my kind of opposition is Michel Kilo, Aref Dalileh, and Riad Seif… not the pathetic group of liars in the links I listed in my previous post.

I am putting my energy in recovering the Golan Heights, reaching a comprehensive peaceful settlement with Israel, Good relations with America based on a good understanding of the region, and not allowing Saudi Arabia’s hegemony over Syria or Lebanon… and no Syrian Hegemony over Lebanon either.. I have written many times against the Syrian army’s presence in Lebanon.

And the Syrian regime is not perfect, not at all… but Bashar is considerably smarter than many others. So is Efraim Halevy, so is James Baker, Colin Powel, many CIA analysts … and our Lebanese friend Qifa Nabki .. many people are smart and constructive. But not the Neocons, not the predictable and generic and useless and and always negative regime haters in “the opposition” and in “M14″‘s parties and forums.

In the mean time … you can repeat the same tired arguments that those “freedom” and “opposition” sites keep repeating everyday. And you can continue to distort my arguments to please yourself that you are on the side of goodness … mashallah how impressive.

We’ll see a year or two from now.

January 4th, 2008, 8:48 pm

 

Observer said:

In 1965, a Jew refused to have his telephone used during the Sabbath to call an ambulance for a non jewish neighbour who suffered a heart attack. This incident led Israel Shahak to ask the highest Rabbinical court in the land to issue a verdict and the court’s decision was that not only the Jew was in his right to refuse the use of the telephone but also that he did the “right” thing by oberving the Sabbath. Simiarly, riots broke out in Brooklyn when a van carrying Orthodox Jews swirved and hit a group of bystanders (mostly african americans) and the Orthodox Jews immediately called for an ambulance to take their lightly injured passangers ahead of the more seriously injured bystanders. Both of these incidents and the recent report by the Israeli Arab Human Rights group have shown that anyone, even the victims of the Holocaust can use whatever ideology based on religion, ethnicity, nationality or tribe are capable of atrocious acts based on centrist ideas. I copied this article from Jonathan Cook
Evidence of Israeli ‘cowardly blending’ comes to light

By: Jonathan Cook

Nazareth- It apparently never occurred to anyone in our leading human rights organisations or the Western media that the same moral and legal standards ought be applied to the behaviour of Israel and Hizbullah during the war on Lebanon 18 months ago. Belatedly, an important effort has been made to set that right.

A new report, written by a respected Israeli human rights organisation, one representing the country’s Arab minority not its Jewish majority, has unearthed evidence showing that during the fighting Israel committed war crimes not only against Lebanese civilians — as was already known — but also against its own Arab citizens. This is an aspect of the war that has been almost entirely neglected until now.

The report also sheds a surprising light on the question of what Hizbullah was aiming at when it fired hundreds of rockets on northern Israel. Until the report’s publication last month, I had been all but a lone voice arguing that the picture of what took place during the war was far more complex than generally accepted.

The new report follows a series of inquiries by the most influential human rights groups, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to identify the ways in which international law was broken during Israel’s 34-day assault on Lebanon. However, both organisations failed to examine, except in the most cursory and dismissive way, Israel’s treatment of its own civilians during the war. That failure may also have had serious repercussions for their ability to assess Hizbullah’s actions.

Before examining the report’s revelations, it is worth revisiting the much-misrepresented events of summer 2006 and considering what efforts have been made subsequently to bring the two sides to account.

The war was the culmination of a series of tit-for-tat provocations along the shared border following Israel’s withdrawal from its two-decade occupation of south Lebanon in 2000. Almost daily for those six years Israel behaved as though the occupation had not ended, sending war planes into Lebanese air space to create terrifying sonic booms and spy on the country. (After the war, it resumed these flights almost immediately.)

In response Hizbullah, a Shia militia that offered the only effective resistance during Lebanon’s period of occupation, maintained its belligerent posture. It warned repeatedly that it would capture Israeli soldiers, should the chance arise, in the hope of forcing a prisoner exchange. Israel had held on to a handful of Lebanese prisoners after its pullback.

Hizbullah also demanded that Israel complete its withdrawal from Lebanon in full by leaving a fertile sliver of territory, the Shebaa Farms. Israel argues that the area is Syrian territory, occupied by its army along with the Golan Heights in 1967, and will be returned one day in negotiations with Damascus. UN catrographers disagree, backing Hizbullah’s claim that the area is Lebanese.

The fighting began with a relatively minor incident (by regional standards) and one that was entirely predictable: Hizbullah attacked a border post, capturing two soldiers and killing three more in the operation. Hizbullah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah proposed a prisoner swap. Israel declared war the very same day, unleashing a massive bombing campaign that over the next month killed nearly 1,200 Lebanese civilians.

An editorial in Israel’s leading newspaper Haaretz noted again this week that, by rejecting Hizbullah’s overtures, “Israel initiated the war”.

In the last days of the fighting, as a UN-brokered ceasefire was about to come into effect, Israel dropped more than a million cluster bombs on south Lebanon, of which several hundred thousand failed to detonate. Since the end of the war, 39 Lebanese civilians have been killed and dozens more maimed from these small landmines littering the countryside.

Israel’s own inquiry into its use of the cluster munitions wrapped up last month by exonerating the army, even while admitting that many of the bombs had been directed at civilian population centres. In Israel’s books, it seems, international law sanctions the targeting of civilians during war.

Veteran Israeli reporter Meron Rapoport recently noted that his newspaper, Haaretz again, has evidence that the army’s use of cluster munitions was “pre-planned” and undertaken without regard to the location of Hizbullah positions. The only reasonable conclusion is that Israel wanted south Lebanon uninhabitable at any cost, possibly so that another ground invasion could be mounted.

Human Rights Watch, which has carried out the most detailed examination of the war, was less forgiving than Israel’s own investigators — as might have been expected in the case of such a flagrant abuse of the rules of war. Still, it has failed to condemn Israel’s actions unreservedly. In a typical press release it noted the wide dispersal of cluster bombs over civilian areas of south Lebanon but concluded only that their use by Israel “may violate the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks contained in international humanitarian law”.

In this and other respects, HRW’s reports have revealed troubling double standards.

During the war two charges were levelled against Hizbullah, mainly by Israel’s supporters, and investigated by the human rights group: that the Shia militia fired rockets on northern Israel either indiscriminately or in a deliberate attempt to target civilians; and that it hid its fighters and weapons among its own Lebanese civilians (thereby conveniently justifying Israel’s bombing of those civilians).

Hizbullah was found guilty of the first charge, with HRW arguing that it was irrelevant whether or not Hizbullah was trying to hit military targets in Israel as its rockets were not precision-guided. All its rockets, whatever they were aimed at, were therefore considered indiscriminate by the organisation and a violation of international law. Worthy of note is that HRW expressed certainty about the impermissibility of Hizbullah firing imprecise rockets but not about Israel’s use of even less precise cluster bombs.

On the second charge Hizbullah was substantially acquitted, with HRW failing to find evidence that, apart from in a handful of isolated instances, the militia hid among the Lebanese population.

Regarding Israel, the human rights organisations investigated the charge that it violated international law by endangering Lebanese civilians during its bombing campaigns. Given that Israel’s missiles and bombs were supposed to have pinpoint accuracy, the large death toll of Lebanese civilians provided indisputable evidence of Israeli war crimes. HRW agreed.

Strangely, however, after submitting both Israel and Hizbullah to the same test of whether their firepower targeted civilians, HRW deemed it inappropriate to investigate Israel on the second allegation faced by Hizbullah: that it committed a war crime by blending in with its own civilian population. Was there so little prima facie evidence of such behaviour on Israel’s side that the organisation decided it was not worth wasting its resources on such an inquiry?

HRW produced two lengthy reports in August 2007, one examining events in Lebanon and the other events in Israel. But the report on what happened inside Israel, “Civilians under Assault”, failed to examine Israel’s treatment of its own civilians and focused instead only on proving that Hizbullah’s firing of its rockets violated international law.

HRW did made a brief reference to the possibility that Israeli military installations were located close to or inside civilian communities. It cited examples of a naval training base next to a hospital in Haifa and a weapons factory built in a civilian community. Its researchers even admitted to watching the Israeli army firing shells into Lebanon from a residential street of the Jewish community of Zarit.

This act of “cowardly blending” by the Israeli army — to echo the UN envoy Jan Egeland’s unwarranted criticism of Hizbullah — was a war crime. It made Israeli civilians a potential target for Hizbullah reprisal attacks.

So what was HRW’s position on this gross violation of the rules of war it had witnessed? After yet again denouncing Hizbullah for its rocket attacks, the report was mealy-mouthed: “Given that indiscriminate fire [by Hizbullah], there is no reason to believe that Israel’s placement of certain military assets within these cities added appreciably to the risk facing their residents.”

In other words, Israel’s culpability in hiding its war machine inside civilian communities did not need to be assessed on its own terms as a violation of international law. Instead Israel was let off the hook based on the assumption that Hizbullah’s rockets were incapable of hitting such positions. It is dubious, to put it mildly, whether this is a legitimate reading of international law.

An additional criticism, one that I made on several occasions during the war, was that Israel failed to protect its Arab communities from rocket attacks by ensuring they had bomb shelters or early warning systems — unlike Jewish communities. On this issue, the HRW report had only this to say: “Human Rights Watch did not investigate whether Israel discriminated among Jewish and Arab residents of the north in the protection it provided from Hezbollah attacks.”

Of Hizbullah’s indiscrimination, HRW was certain; of Israel’s discrimination, it held back from judgment.

Fortunately, we no longer have to rely on Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International for a full picture of what took place during what Israelis call the Second Lebanon War. Last month the Arab Association for Human Rights, based in Nazareth, published its own report, “Civilians in Danger”, covering the ground its much bigger cousins dared not touch.

The hostile climate in Israel towards the fifth of the population who are Arab has made publication of the report a risky business. Azmi Bishara, Israel’s leading Arab politician and a major critic of Israel’s behaviour during the Lebanon war, is currently in exile under possible death sentence. Israel has accused him of treason in helping Hizbullah during the fighting, though the secret services have yet to produce the evidence they have supposedly amassed against him. Nonetheless they have successfully intimidated most of the Arab minority into silence.

Also, much of the report’s detail, including many place-names and maps showing the location of Hizbullah rocket strikes, has had to be excised to satisfy Israel’s strict military censorship laws.

But despite these obstacles, the Human Rights Association has taken a brave stand in unearthing the evidence to show that Israel committed war crimes by placing much of its military hardware, including artillery positions firing into Lebanon, inside and next to Arab towns and villages. These were not isolated instances but a discerible pattern.

The threat to which this exposed Arab communities was far from as theoretical as HRW supposes. Some 660 Hizbullah rockets landed on 20 Arab communities in the north, apparently surprising Israeli officials, who believed Hizbullah would not target fellow Arabs. Of the 44 Israeli civilians killed by the rockets, 21 were Arab citizens.

Israel has cited these deaths as further proof that Hizbullah’s rocket fire was indiscriminate. The Human Rights Association, however, reaches a rather different conclusion, one based on the available evidence. Its research shows a clear correlation between an Arab community having an Israeli army base located next to it and the likelihood of it being hit by Hizbullah rockets. In short, Arab communities targeted by Hizbullah were almost exclusively those in which the Israeli army was based.

“The study found that the Arab towns and villages that suffered the most intensive attacks during the war were ones that were surrounded by military installations, either on a permanent basis or temporarily during the course of the war,” the report states.

Such findings lend credibility to complaints made during the war by Israel’s Arab legislators, including Bishara himself, that Arab communities were being used as “human shields” by the Israeli army — possibly to deter Hizbullah from targeting its positions.

In early August 2006, Bishara told the Maariv newspaper: “What ordinary citizens are afraid to say, the Arab Knesset members are declaring loudly. Israel turned the Galilee and the Arab villages in particular into human shields by surrounding them with artillery positions and missile batteries.”

Such violations of the rules of war were occasionally hinted at in reporting in the Israeli media. In one account from the front line, for example, a reporter from Maariv quoted parents in the Arab village of Fassuta complaining that children were wetting their beds because of the frightening bark of tanks stationed outside their homes.

According to the Human Rights Association’s report, Israel made its Arab citizens vulnerable to Hizbullah’s rockets in the following ways:

* Permanent military bases, including army camps, airfields and weapons factories, as well as temporary artillery positions that fired thousands of shells and mortars into southern Lebanon were located inside or next to many Arab communities.

* The Israeli army trained soldiers inside northern Arab communities before and during the war in preparation for a ground invasion, arguing that the topography in these communities was similar to the villages of south Lebanon.

* The government failed to evacuate civilians from the area of fighting, leaving Arab citizens particularly in danger. Almost no protective measures, such as building public shelters or installing air raid sirens, had been taken in Arab communities, whereas they had been in Jewish communities.

Under the protocols to the Geneva Conventions, parties to a conflict must “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas” and must “endeavour to remove the civilian population … from the vicinity of military objectives”. The Human Rights Association report clearly shows that Israel cynically broke these rules of war.

Tarek Ibrahim, a lawyer and the author of the Association’s report, says the most surprising finding is that Hizbullah’s rockets mostly targeted Arab communities where military installations had been located and in the main avoided those where there were no such military positions.

“Hizbullah claimed on several occasions that its rockets were aimed primarily at military targets in Israel. Our research cannot prove that to be the case but it does give a strong indication that Hizbullah’s claims may be true.”

Although Hizbullah’s Katyusha rockets were not precision-guided, the proximity of Israeli military positions to Arab communities “are within the margin of error of the rockets fired by Hizbullah”, according to the report. In most cases, such positions were located either inside the community itself or a few hundred metres from it.

In its recommendations, the Human Rights Association calls for the removal of all Israeli military installations from civilian communities.

(Again noteworthy is the fact that Israel has built several weapons factories inside Arab communities, including in Nazareth. Arab citizens are almost never allowed to work in Israel’s vast military industries, so why build them there? Part of the reason is doubtless that they provide another pretext for confiscating Arab communities’ lands and “Judaising” them. But is the criticism by Arab legislators of “human shielding” another possible reason?)

The report avoids dealing with the wider issue of whether the Israeli army located in Jewish communities too during the war. Ibrahim explains: “In part the reason was that we are an Arab organisation and that directs the focus of our work. But there is also the difficulty that Israeli Jews are unlikely to cooperate with our research.”

Israel has longed boasted of its “citizen army”, and in surveys Israeli Jews say they trust the military more than the country’s parliament, government and courts.

Nonetheless, the report notes, there is ample evidence that the army based itself in some Jewish communities too. As well as the eyewitness account of the Human Rights Watch researcher, it was widely reported during the war that 12 soldiers were killed when a Hizbullah rocket struck the rural community of Kfar Giladi, close to the northern border.

A member of the kibbutz, Uri Eshkoli, recently told the Israeli media: “We deserve a medal of honor for our assistance during the war. We opened our hotel to soldiers and asked for no compensation. Moreover, soldiers stayed in the kibbutz throughout the entire war.”

In another report, in the Guardian newspaper, a 19-year-old British Jew, Danny Young, recounted his experiences performing military service during the war. He lived on Kibbutz Sasa, close to the border, which became an army rear base. “We were shooting missiles from the foot of this kibbutz,” he told the paper. “We were also receiving Katyushas.”

So far the Human Rights Association’s report has received minimal coverage in the Hebrew media. “We are facing a very difficult political atmosphere in Israel at the moment,” Ibrahim told me. “Few people inside Israel want to hear that their army and government broke international law in such a flagrant manner.”

It seems few in the West, even the guardians of human rights, are ready to hear such a message either.

* Jonathan Cook is a British journalist and writer based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest book, “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East”, is published by Pluto Press. His website is http://www.jkcook.net

January 4th, 2008, 9:09 pm

 

Shual said:

“I know, but the mere thought of it sent shivers down my spine! Besides, Bush has not been the living legend of consistency or rationalism, so anything can be expected from him.”

Ausamaa,
“anything can be expected from him” is equal the “Alex-hoax” and after reading your explanation in the first post everyone can understand that the conclusion must be found in between. The [ambitious] hoax brings [ambitious] thinkers back into the question what really could happen.

Unpleasant joke about Bush? I don’t think so. You expressed the “feeling”, the true “opinion” [“We do not want”] and I know that you are able to talk about the real things that can be expected. I think that this place is quite able to process your conclusion and thats why this place can be used for hoaxes, too. [If its not getting a hoax-only-zone.] On the other hand, everyone is going “too far”, writes “unpleasant conclusions or stories”, is one-sided and thats only a normal thing.

Contrary to that: In Germany you can take your statement into mass-media blogs and your statement will be feeding the bipolar war of the paranoid mass of members that only use it as a proof for their fixed world view. They will eat you alive [an ARAB! Hunt him!] 45% will hail you, 45% will condemn you. Your conclusion makes you a victim and vehicle. And thats why I said “Great work” in my first post [and I am talking about the Alex-hoax]. It can hit you really anywhere, and sorry, but if you shiver because of that hoax, you can not have very much experience of cyberwar-battles in [german or american] mass-medias with thousands of idiots.

And thats all what I can say about this story.

PS: I never use “anything can…” I try to use silly pictures like [Jerusalem visit] “Once upon a time a guy named Jesus came to Jerusalem on a donkey and the security procedure was to lay out palm leaves. Now, 2007, the donkey comes alone and they have to close the whole city”. A simple and silly method to escape the hoax-conlusions we all want to cry out.

January 4th, 2008, 11:41 pm

 

Jay said:

Both Alex & Joshua, I think you should move to Syria since you’re so infatuated with this regime. Then when subjected to their ‘freedoms’ come back and tell us how great things are…

January 5th, 2008, 12:01 am

 

Alex said:

Ausamaa,

regardless of how one feels about President Bush, I am sure if he meets with Bashar FOR THE FIRST TIME he will change his mind about many things. He will not fall in love withe the Syrians of course .. but the net result will be positive.

He never ever met with Bashar .. seven years of talking about Syria without meeting the president of Syria

Bashar tried to go to the United States a couple of years ago .. to attend the UN general assembly session. The administration advised him that if he insists on coming to America, he will regret it…. street demonstrations, not being invited to any UN receptions or dinners … basically being treated like an “evil man”.

This post, as Shual explained, is an experiment … what if they met and talked about all the mess everywhere?… why not?

Can anyone here suggest the real reasons why President Bush never met Bashar? … even long before Harir was killed … since 2000 when the Queen of England, Blair, Chirac, Hariri, Abdullah were all meeting with him .. President Bush did not want to get anywhere close to him. Why?

January 5th, 2008, 12:16 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Thank you Observer for showing the huge difference between Israel and Syria. Cook lives without any problems in Nazareth and has no problem publishing his outright lies and fabrications. No harm whatsoever is done to him. However, try just to criticize the regime in Syria a little and you know where you will end up. That is the whole difference. That is why Israel has been winning for 60 years and the Arabs have been losing. That is why the average Israeli is 6-7 times richer than the average Syrian. It is called democracy, and every time you paste criticism of Israel by a resident of Israel that is exercising his freedom of sppech, you are just proving how democratic Israel is and how different Syria is in this context.

The irony is that you don’t even understand the lesson from your postings.

January 5th, 2008, 12:27 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
So now Bashar is smart and constructive. Tell that to the Lebanese and to the millions of oppressed Syrians that will have to live a life of poverty because you Alex decided that ONE person can decide the fate of 19 million.

You are putting your energy in supporting a dictator and are working against democracy by doing so. You have every right to do it and we have every right to point out that what you are doing is not considered acceptable in the western world. It is the Syrian people that should decide the fate of Syria. Not one man, no matter how smart he is. Even if you don’t understand this simple truth, we will keep putting it forward.

And what is especially mind boggling is that in Canada you would DEMAND the rights that you so casually accept that Bashar does not grant the Syrian people. How can you live with this blatant inconsistency? Why are you against the Syrians having the same basic rights as you?????

January 5th, 2008, 12:37 am

 

Alex said:

?????

Even though I already answered this question many times.

the answer, again, is that “Change” is difficult and risky .. especially int he Middle East.

Canada is already stable. I am not trying to make it anything radically different.

I lived in Egypt for 5 years .. I did not demand any changes there either despite everything I did not like.

You insist on ignoring that I obviously want the same democracy for Syria …in due time … within 7 to 14 years (one to two presidential terms)

We both like democracy … I understand Syria, and I care about Syria. You don’t … and that is the real difference between us.

January 5th, 2008, 12:41 am

 

Shual said:

“This post .. is an experiment … what if they met and talked about all the mess everywhere?… why not?”

I know a guy that has to… “for a class at university I am these days preparing a fictional Memorandum of Understanding between Hizbollah and Mustaqbal as the two most powerful actors of the opposing camps in order to overcome the current crisis in Lebanon.” [Starts with: The following fictional memorandum is based on the assumption that both movements have the intention to de-escalate current tensions and contribute to a stable Lebanon.]

THIS is an experiment. 🙂

January 5th, 2008, 1:32 am

 

Friend in America said:

Alex (jan 3 8:47 PM). When heads of state visit another country there always is an agenda (such meetings usually are mostly ceremonial). I don’t think I would even suggest President Assad visit Washington or President Bush visit Damascus without an advance agenda. I would visit. You would too, but the world would not watch us and hundreds of press would not ask us to disclose what we talked about.
More seriously, I gather from your remarks there is much President Assad and his Ministers would say to President Bush and his ministers if they had the opportunity. If so, the door is open and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Damascus knows how to start and who to contact. That would be terrific.

To the others: Do not rule out George Bush in 2008. What he does internationally between now and when the next President is sworn in, in January, 2009, will define in many respects what the next administration will assume and complete. International affairs does not change much from adminstration to administration.

January 5th, 2008, 2:51 am

 

Nour said:

AIG,

I guarantee you that were Syria a state submissive to Israel but with the same dictatorial regime, you would have no problem with it, just as you have no problem with Jordan, Egypt, and KSA. I wish you would at least be courageous enough to be honest and stop pretending like you care in the least bit about the Syrian people. Many Syrians all over Syria have struggled and sacrificed for the sake of improving their country and we Syrians see the fruit of their sacrifices little by little. We know our country and we know what it takes to bring change there. You don’t know Syria, nor do you care to know Syria, and are merely concerned with what Syria’s position is vis-a-vis Israel and its murderous, criminal actions.

The bottom line is that you represent an ideology bent on the eradication of an entire people and the establishment and maintaining of a racist, exclusivist entity. You want to assure that this agenda continues to prevail without any hinderance, and this is the extent of your interest in Syria and its people. There are many brutal dictatorships around the world. Can you honestly say that you log into other websites and internet forums for the sake of denouncing those dictatorships and promoting democratic change?

January 5th, 2008, 3:11 am

 

Honest Patriot said:

Nour,

May I humbly suggest that your tone is somewhat categorical towards AIG. Specifically:
“Israel and its murderous, criminal actions”
“you represent an ideology bent on the eradication of an entire people and the establishment and maintaining of a racist, exclusivist entity”
“You want to assure that this agenda continues to prevail without any hinderance”
One day there will be peace between all arab countries and Israel (there already is peace between Egypt and Israel, Jordan and Israel). The “exclusivist” approach followed by Israel is seen everywhere as nothing more than one prompted by survival instincts of a small country surrounded by a sea of hostile nations. Sure they have their own extremists and fanatics but these are the minority. Granted that the facts on the ground were created by an unfair move some 60 years ago, but dealing with it cannot be done by “throwing Israel into the sea” or by “diluting its Jewish population into extinction” which is the implicit or explicit mantra of many arab extremists. There is plenty of blame to go around to every country in the ME, Israel included. Constructive solutions though can only come about from forward thinkers looking generations ahead and working towards the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of these “cousins.”
Criminal acts are committed by individuals, by nations, and by groups (in the latter case called terrorist groups). What’s the solution? It sure is NOT by name calling, escalating the rhetoric, and perpetuating hatred.
Folks like AIG, Akbar Palace, etc., have a genuine interest in the region, in Arab culture, politics, that go beyond just the cold self-serving agenda you attribute to them. Sure Israelis help each other. Sure Jews worldwide for the most part try to hang together and support each other. So do Armenians. By contrast (with many exceptions of course) Arabs in general end up with infighting, or at least have done so for the recent decades. Let’s work on making it just a phase that will be outgrown. If the Arabs united together and worked through peaceful means to enforce their rights, they would have succeeded a long time ago at creating prosperity for their people and at finding a peaceful coexistence formula with Israel. Let’s not make excuses by saying that it’s just hard, and change takes too long, and the structure of this or the other arab country does not permit a Western style democracy. At the root of it is simply true educational progress for all the people. The rest follows naturally. Israel is the example. Let’s call our friends you target in this forum cousins rather than enemies.

Peace

January 5th, 2008, 4:15 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nour,
I have stated many times that Mubarak and Abdallah are almost as bad as Bashar and that I don’t want peace enforced by dictators. If the people of Jordan and Egypt do not want peace with Israel, then there shouldn’t be peace between the two countries. This is my position on Syria also. Let the Syrian’s decide, not Bashar or Alex, whether they want peace with Israel.

Would you accept any American (or Canadian) saying: Hey I know Mexicans, they will only be ready for democracy in 14 years, we don’t need to give them rights like any other people now. But as a Syrian, you accept saying this about your fellow Syrians while YOU live in a democracy. And your lame excuse is that since you know your fellow countrymen it is ok to deny them rights now. I am not talking about your enemies that you want to deny rights to. It is your own fellow country men. You are supporting oppressing them. It is mind boggling.

Are Syrians little children? Let them vote and let’s see if Bashar is elected for another two terms. What are you afraid of?

By the way, most Israelis don’t mind at all that Bashar is in power since he keeps Syria weak and backward and there is quiet in the Golan. They also think the Muslim Brotherhood maybe worse for Israel. I am categorically against this view. Democracy is the only way for people to reach their full potential and it is a right that every Syrian has even if some of their fellow countrymen (and women) want to find excuses not to give it to them.

January 5th, 2008, 6:13 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

HP,

I certainly share your vision for the middle east.

But as long as there are many people like Nour who would deny freedom and rights to their own countrymen just to spite Israel or the US, the middle east is in big trouble.

January 5th, 2008, 6:20 am

 

Alex said:

FIA

“If so, the door is open and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Damascus knows how to start and who to contact. That would be terrific.”

Why are you sure the door is open? : )

I don’t think it is.

Ask ambassador Imad Moustapha how many open doors did he find in Washington the past few years.

January 5th, 2008, 6:38 am

 

offended said:

AIG,
Here’s a good idea for you; since the malicious Arabs states and factions (namely Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas…etc..) are constantly using Israel as an excuse to keep themselves in power and deprive their own people from freedom; then why don’t you, Israelis, make this excuse void by :
1- Returning the occupied territories.
2- Granting refugees right of return.
3- Dismantling settlements.
4- Relinquishing your nuclear arms as a gesture of good well toward the Arab masses.

You see AIG, the Arab masses are not fools, you can really win them to your side in the fight toward justice in the Middle East, only if you can do the list of things above.

Now go and start doing some homework, will you?

January 5th, 2008, 11:12 am

 

ausamaa said:

Alex,

I agree with the above, but I think the Hassan Nassrallah approach would produce faster and better results given the evasive mentality of Israeli leaders.

Who does the average Israeli respect more? Hussni Mubarak, Mahmoud Abbas or Hassan Nassrallah?

Wonder Why?!!!

January 5th, 2008, 12:02 pm

 

Observer said:

HP
I do think that there will be peace between Arabs and Israelis, when Israel is a unitary bi-national state like Belgium or Switzerland. What you think in my opinion is that the European colonialist division of the Middle East is the right thing that happened whereas you know that the vast majority of the people of the Middle East do not believe in it and as a matter of fact believe it is a profound injustice. The air of superiority that comes across is unmistakble, just like the one some on this blog exude lecturing us about their democracy; when we know that in reality it is an apartheid state where democracy is exclusively reserved for some chosen ones.

January 5th, 2008, 2:02 pm

 

K said:

Alex, the stunt was silly. I don’t speak for Landis but I doubt he would have given his permission, had you asked. If he did/would have, I’m disappointed in him too.

Norman is easy to fool.

Nour’s shrill tone sounds like it comes straight off the campus scene at Concordia or York University, where punk kids wear keffiyehs and fantasize of themselves as super-activists on the frontline, battling “Zios”. Dream on.

Then there’s people like Honest Patriot who restore one’s faith in humanity.

January 5th, 2008, 2:14 pm

 

guess who said:

This infamous head of state will never be welcomed in our beloved Syria, however, we can tolerate your dark humour, Josh.

He ” the infamous” will never be welcomed, EVEN in our dreams.

And I mean it from the bottom of my heart!!!!

January 5th, 2008, 2:51 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Nour said:

The bottom line is that you represent an ideology bent on the eradication of an entire people and the establishment and maintaining of a racist, exclusivist entity.

Honest Patriot said:

Folks like AIG, Akbar Palace, etc., have a genuine interest in the region, in Arab culture, politics, that go beyond just the cold self-serving agenda you attribute to them. Sure Israelis help each other. Sure Jews worldwide for the most part try to hang together and support each other. So do Armenians. By contrast (with many exceptions of course) Arabs in general end up with infighting, or at least have done so for the recent decades. Let’s work on making it just a phase that will be outgrown. If the Arabs united together and worked through peaceful means to enforce their rights, they would have succeeded a long time ago at creating prosperity for their people and at finding a peaceful coexistence formula with Israel.

Obsever states:

The air of superiority that comes across is unmistakble, just like the one some on this blog exude lecturing us about their democracy; when we know that in reality it is an apartheid state where democracy is exclusively reserved for some chosen ones.

AIG said:

But as long as there are many people like Nour who would deny freedom and rights to their own countrymen just to spite Israel or the US, the middle east is in big trouble.

AIG and HP,

Good points. All nations and all peoples have a right to live in peace. The Palestinians, the Israelis , the Saudis, the Syrians, the Lebanese, and all states in the region.

Nour and Observer,

Your enemy isn’t Israel, your enemies are the jihadists your leaders have nutured, promoted and funded over the decades.

And I agree with AIG, let each Arab nation and the citizens decide if they want peace or war with Israel. And peace treaties are not necessary either. If Palestine, Syria or Lebanon continues to shun peace treaties, that’s fine. But I wouldn’t expect Israel to allow missiles and suicide bombs to explode within her borders without a response. Nor would I expect the opposite.

January 5th, 2008, 3:42 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Offended,
How many times can you miss the point? Syria is not doing Israel a favor by democratizing. It is only helping itself.

Why do I need to win the Arab masses to my side (Israel’s side)? Only when there are real democracies in the Arab world that will be important. And what has this got to do with democratization in Syria? If the Arab masses prefer to be backward and undemocratic just because they think this spites Israel then they are fools (I don’t believe this is the case).

Let Syria organize democratically and still decide to fight Israel. What is the problem with that? Why do you think that only dictators can stand up to Israel when the opposite is actually true? Dictators make their countries weak and unable to stand up to Israel. So if you don’t like Israel, you should be a bigger fan of democracy. But you aren’t, which is mind boggling. You actually buy into the Asad propoganda.

January 5th, 2008, 4:33 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Although Alex’s thread was make-believe, the following message was real:

At its core, the battle unfolding in the Middle East is more than a clash of arms. It is an ideological struggle. On one side are the forces of terror and death. On the other are tens of millions of ordinary people who want a free and peaceful life for their children. The future of the Middle East depends on the outcome of this struggle, and so does the security of the United States. We know that societies growing in tolerance and hope are less likely to become sources of radicalism and violence. So America will stay engaged in the region. We will support democrats and reformers from Beirut and Baghdad to Damascus and Tehran. We will stand with all those working to build a future of liberty and justice and peace.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/01/20080105.html

January 5th, 2008, 5:10 pm

 

offended said:

Akbar,

You are the one who had actually missed the point.

But if I understand something from yours and AIG’s blabbering about democracy, it is that democratizing a state makes it better able to stand up to its enemies ?

Bunch of baloney!

Hezbollah, was able to kick your butt (man how much I enjoy saying this!) even though it is not a democratic organization.

Israel, being it a ‘democratic’ state, doesn’t make its crimes look any better to the sane person. And it certainly doesn’t entitle her to steal lands and expel people.

Syria, being it an undemocratic state, doesn’t make her stance (at least morally) any less righteous in defending its rights.

And again, if you are really after the application of the unswerving justice, then why don’t you practice SOME of what you’re preaching. Why don’t you exert some pressure on your government to correct the situation by giving back the stolen lands and by allowing people to come back to their robed farms?

January 5th, 2008, 5:12 pm

 

Alex said:

“We will support democrats and reformers from Beirut and Baghdad to Damascus and Tehran”

Akbar

I would start respecting those wonderful words when they are slightly modified:

“We will support democrats and reformers from Beirut and Baghdad to Damascus, Tehran, Cairo, Amman, and Riyadh”

Until then … it is politics. Nothing respectable at all.
The president is still full of praise to the Saudi King who recently pardoned the woman who was raped .. because she already got the punishment she deserves when she was raped by 7 men.

Just read the headline and think about it.

January 5th, 2008, 5:29 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Responding to Offended:

But if I understand something from yours and AIG’s blabbering about democracy, it is that democratizing a state makes it better able to stand up to its enemies ?

Yes. Why not? Don’t you want the honorable Syrian people to stand up to Zionist Aggression?

Hezbollah, was able to kick your butt (man how much I enjoy saying this!) even though it is not a democratic organization.

If you and the majority of Lebanese and Syrians and Palestinians and Iranian want to continue to kick Israel’s butt, then what’s the problem? Vote on it, do it, and in the meantime name your kids anything you want, get on Facebook whenever you want, and create a viable economy.

Israel, being it a ‘democratic’ state, doesn’t make its crimes look any better to the sane person. And it certainly doesn’t entitle her to steal lands and expel people.

I like how you’re so madly in love with “kicking Israel’s butt” but you can’t seem to afford Israel the right to defend itself. I know life isn’t fair, but you can’t have your cake and eat it habibi. Maybe in Paradise you can kick Israel’s butt without a expecting a response, but we are not yet there.

Syria, being it an undemocratic state, doesn’t make her stance (at least morally) any less righteous in defending its rights.

We’re just offering you suggestions so that the end of the Zionist Entity can come sooner rather than later so that you, and the great Arab nation, can finally live in peace and prosperity! (joke, laugh)

And again, if you are really after the application of the unswerving justice, then why don’t you practice SOME of what you’re preaching. Why don’t you exert some pressure on your government to correct the situation by giving back the stolen lands and by allowing people to come back to their robed farms?

My government (USA) did “pressure” Israel to give back “stolen land”. Gaza and Southern Lebanon. Bush will be in Israel this week to do the same. But so far, this “unswering justice” actually increased violence on Israel. That’s what the GOI will probably remind our pro-Zionist, US president.

January 5th, 2008, 6:22 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Offended,
As Akbar says, if you want to kick our butt, why don’t you do so being a democracy? You think the Hizballah model works and that they won great victories, no problem, create a democratic party and see how many people in Syria support you. It doesn’t seem that Bashar is willing to fight the Hizballah way so why are you supporting him??? You should be angry that Bashar has chosen to keep the border with Israel quiet and that in 2007 less Israelis died in the Arab-Israeli conflict than in decades (only 13 and by the way Hizballah has been so successful that the northern border of Israel has NEVER been more quiet). Who you support and what you do just does not make any sense.

No one denies there is democracy for Jews in Israel who are 80% of the population. So how about starting by having democracy for Syrians in Syria (let’s say 80% of them)? Why don’t you start with that small step?

January 5th, 2008, 7:30 pm

 

Torstein said:

Alex,

Although I understand what you’re trying to say, by fabricating news as an example of how others do it, you only damage the reputation of this blog and your and Josh’s names. As it stands now, it looks more like a personal rant or crusade, only the readers have to read the post below all the way through even to understand what you’re ranting about. Take it down.

January 5th, 2008, 11:41 pm

 

Alex said:

Alright, Torstein, I will modify it.

It clearly says that it is NOT true only 4 paragraphs later… in bold Red. So, for the 30 seconds that you need to reach that part, I don’t see how much of an issue it is.

But just for comparison, I would like you to note that the numerous other fabricated stories do not state at the end that they are fabricating stories … and they are used for political purposes … and there are there two years later… and no one found anything wrong in them! .. As-Siyassa is still producing them and all the blogs and even Michael Young are quoting them as facts.

Cheers.

January 5th, 2008, 11:51 pm

 

Shual said:

Torstein,
“damage [to] the reputation”. After nobody mentioned the [allowed] speculation that Bush will visit Lebanon [which he will not do, cause the election has not happend yet] I must admit the the results of lateral thinking of the readers here are a damage to their reputation.

Mayday in Syria – If some problems can be solved between Lebanon and Syria and Israel and Syria we can expect a meeting of Bush and Assad after his speculated visit in Israel in May. Cause:

American and European officials have visited Assad, “and yet we haven’t seen action. In other words, he hasn’t responded,” Bush said. “So the position of this administration is that the best way to meet with a leader like Assad or people from Syria is in the larger context of trying to get the global community to help change his behavior.” [reuters, Apr07]

“There has been speculation that Bush will also visit Lebanon and Iraq while he is in the region, but the White House has not confirmed that.” [JPost] [And so there needs to be a clear message to the Syrians from all us that you will continue to be isolated, you will continue to be viewed as a nation that is thwarting the will of the Lebanese people. There needs to be a focused voice, and so our efforts diplomatically are to convince others that they must continue to pressure Syria so that the Lebanese process can go forward.” -AP, Ya Liban-]

“There was a feeling this visit had more to do with domestic politics than us. If she [Pelosi] isn’t going to be very different from Bush, then why did she come?” asked Jihad Yaziji in The Syria Report. [No, the war against Pelosi is a rear-guard assault by the White House against moderates and liberals in both political parties who understand that the failed Bush policies have jeopardized American interests and hurt the Mideast peace process. What Wolf and Pelosi have in common is their endorsement of the Iraq Study Group’s proposals, which emphasize regional diplomacy, including direct talks with both Syria and Iran. Indeed, it was Wolf who first approached James Baker about undertaking the Iraq report, and who sponsored the legislation that paid for the group’s work. slate.com]

[….]

disclaimer: I hope that this opinion does not insult any reputation of living persons on the whole world, even I have not the permission of the Higher Censor Comittee of the WWW to produce opinions and texts.

January 6th, 2008, 3:13 am

 

norman said:

To All,

Please stop attacking Alex , It was a fun story that i hoped it was true ,

Good job Alex ,
you did not have to change anything , People especialy as smart as the people on this blog should not believe everything they read .

January 6th, 2008, 4:11 am

 

Alex said:

Thanks Norman. Don’t worry, I’m not offended.

But I changed it mainly because now it made it to Washington : )

The Washington Post!

It will disappear by tomorrow morning (it is a rolling list of “Just in” news stories)

January 6th, 2008, 4:16 am

 

Torstein said:

Look, I sympathise with your view and I’ve even had a feature article on print in a Norwegian newspaper about the fabrication of a case against Syria. But that does not change the fact that copying the dubious strategy of an adversary is a bad idea. The piece is a funny idea on its own, but it does not fit in on SC for the same reasons Sasa wouldn’t put it on his own blog.

It is like the post before it: it’s a good post and builds on good material, but it would have been a lot better if it had been written in a more professional tone along the lines of a media analysis. As it stands now, it is just too personal and sarcastic, and it’s painfully obvious that you are angry and hurt. That just does not make for good articles/posts.

That said, I miss the independent analysis that there used to be a lot more of here, so keep researching and writing your own pieces to keep SC from becoming only a news feed.

January 6th, 2008, 4:19 pm

 

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