Syria is Not Against the UN

Michael Young has written an interesting article criticizing his government for suggesting that al-Qaida types are responsible for killing the 6 UNIFIL soldiers. He would prefer that the blame be pinned on Syria. In particular, he singles out Ghazi Aridi, Lebanon's Information Minister for being weak on Syria and Hizbullah.

Information Minister Ghazi Aridi noted that "[t]here is a link between the attack which targeted the Spanish contingent of UNIFIL and the fighting between the Lebanese Army and the terrorists of Fatah al-Islam in Nahr al-Bared." He went on to say, "Lebanon is the victim of a terrorist wave striking from the North to the South in which the latest target was the Spanish contingent. This attack was preceded by confessions from arrested terrorists about preparations against UNIFIL." You have to wonder what Aridi was talking about. He and his political allies have been arguing, with considerable legitimacy, that Lebanon is today facing a Syrian effort to return to the country and torpedo the Hariri tribunal. In that case why fall back on a charade – a Syrian-created charade at that – that everything going wrong is the work of an obscure Salafist group facing annihilation in Nahr al-Bared? Once that fight is over and the bombings and killings continue, who will the Siniora government then blame? Indeed, who do we blame for the bombings and killings in 2005, when Fatah al-Islam wasn't even present in Lebanon?

Michael's main argument is:

By going along with the argument that an alleged Al-Qaeda group is the one targeting UNIFIL, the [Lebanese] authorities are downplaying that what is taking place is the methodical dismantling of Resolution 1701. And that's not Al-Qaeda's priority; it is Iran's and Syria's priority, and Hizbullah's.

I am quoted:

Even an academic sympathetic to the Syrian regime saw its hand in what happened last weekend. On his blog, Joshua Landis wrote: "I think the bombing of the UNIFIL troops was an indication of the troubles that the UN can look forward to if it presses the Syrians or their ally Hizbullah."

Michael is absolutely correct to suggest that Syria hopes to dismantle Resolution 1701, but this is only true so long as UN troops in Lebanon are used to ensure that the Golan Heights is not returned. The UN's selective application of UN Resolutions is designed to prevent Syria from getting back the Golan Heights – at least that is the way Syria interprets the UN's actions, and it is not wrong in this. Any weakening of Hizbullah before the Golan is returned diminishes the chances of its eventual return. That is why Syrians of every stripe were ecstatic when Hizbullah stood its ground against Israel's attempt to destroy it and assassinate its leaders in the summer of 2006. It is also why Israel and the US insisted on stuffing as many foreign troops between Hizbullah and the Israel border as possible through the agency of Resolution 1701 while at the same time refusing to engage Syria. or encourage Israel to reopen peace negotiations. All of this maneuvering is designed to help Israel consolidate its hold over the Golan. That is the only way Syria can interpret it. Syria's strategic objective is the return of the Golan. So long as Resolution 1701 is used to prevent this, it will also be Syria's objective to undermine it. 

Where Michael is wrong is to argue that al-Qaida does not seek to kill UNIFIL troops as a strategic priority. Al-Qaida has made it perfectly clear that it will target UNIFIL troops. This fulfills several al-Qaida objectives.

1. Ridding the Middle East of foreign troops is the primary objective of al-Qaida

2. Al-Qaida has proclaimed its next objective, ever since establishing itself in Iraq, to be to expand beyond the Iraqi theater into Bilad al-Sham, or the Levant, from where it can open a front with Israel, the center of the Crusader-Zionist presence in the Islamic World. Killing UNIFIL troops fits this bill perfectly.

3. Al-Qaida was upset by Hizbullah's success in 2006. Its amour propre was wounded because Shiites had upstaged it and became the anti-Israel heroes of the Islamic World.

4. Al-Qaida groups in Lebanon have repeated on several occasions that the best strategy to implant itself in the Levant is to force conflict between Syria and Lebanon, thereby weakening both governments. The creation of failed states is the preferred strategy of al-Qaida. This was Zarqawi's rational for sparking civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. He knew that civil war in Iraq was the surest way to guarantee the failure of the "American government" installed government in Iraq and of frustrating US designs to implant itself permanently in region. Al-Qaida wants to do the same thing in Lebanon. What better way than killing UNIFIL troops and having analysts sympathetic to the Siniora government accuse Syria of the crime?

For these reasons, targeting UNIFIL troops is a strategic objective of al-Qaida.

What is more, the bomb that killed the UNIFIL troops was identical to the bomb that killed the Lebanese MP over a week ago, which the Lebanese government quickly blamed on Syria. Aluminum powder, which was particular to both bombs, was found in large quantity in the apartments of al-Qaida operatives in Tripoli. These facts have pursuaded most analysts of al-Qaida's authorship of the two crimes. They should not be dismissed lightly, even if they are politically inconvenient. There can be little dispute that al-Qaida is an independent force in Lebanon that does not share Syria and Hizbullah's strategic objectives.

Syria is not anti-UNIFIL in principle, as is al-Qaida. Syria is only anti-UNIFIL so long as UN troops are used to inhibit the return of the Golan to Syria. If, however, UNIFIL leaders pressure the UN and Europe to reopen the Golan question, as they should and as Bashar al-Assad has requested on many occasions, Syria will support and protect UNIFIL. There is no reason why the UN cannot be an advocate of both countries' sovereignty.

There is a shared interest between UNIFIL, Syria, and Hizbullah in combating al-Qaida, stabilizing Lebanon, and encouraging peace and the application of all UN resolutions in the region. It only needs to be agreed upon and pursued.

When an Italian envoy spoke to President Assad and Vice President Sharaa following the UNIFIL bombing, he was asked about the Golan. We can presume that Syria's leaders were making this argument with him. Most likely Sharaa explained that if the Italians could push forward talks to have the Golan returned, there would be no reason for Syria to oppose the presence of UNIFIL in Lebanon. On the contrary, it would be in Syria's interest to combine forces to protect UNIFIL troops and destroy al-Qaida in Lebanon.

Hizbullah would take the same approach. Hizb has no love for al-Qaida, but it will work to undermine UNIFIL troops in Lebanon if their presence is used by the Siniora government to prevent an agreement being hammered out between the Shiite party and March 14 leaders to guarantee Shiites a larger share of power in Lebanon.

Many members of the Future Movement fear a possible agreement between Syria and Hizbullah on the one hand and UNIFIL leaders and Europe on the other. They do not want more Hizbullah or Shiite influence in Lebanon. The door for such an understanding has already been opened by the Sarkozy government, when it invited Hizbullah to Paris later this month and claimed that it was not opposed to engagement with Syria. Responsible international leaders seem willing to explore this way out of the regional quagmire.

Such an agreement can be good for Lebanon and help restore its sovereignty. It should be in the interest of both the Lebanese government and Europe to encourage bringing Hizbullah and Syria into the peace tent. Al-Qaida types will proliferated in the absence of regional peace.

To use such terms as "alleged al-Qaida" and argue for al-Qaida's innocence in the latest bombings in Lebanon, Young insists that only Syria and Hizbullah are interested in murdering UN troops. The evidence suggests otherwise. There can be little doubt that Syria can share al-Qaida's strategic interest of destabilizing Lebanon if it is forced into a corner, but this is not what Syria wants. Syria wants the Golan and the application of the UN resolutions that ensure its justice. Syria will only stand against the UN so long as the UN stands against it.

Here is Young's entire article:

The dismantling of Resolution 1701
Michael Young, 28 June 2007, Daily Star

Beirut — For those following events in South Lebanon, the deadly attack on Sunday against soldiers of the Spanish contingent of UNIFIL was expected. Among the United Nations troops, it was the Spaniards who had the reputation for most forcefully implementing their mandate. The undermining of UN Security Resolution 1701 has, plainly, started. However, before we assume that the South is on the verge of turning into a new Iraq, with foreign troops transformed into walking targets, a more subtle degradation of the resolution may be in the works.  

There were probably two principal reasons, aside from the kill factor, for the car-bomb attack against the soldiers. The first was to make UNIFIL more timorous in its patrolling of the border area, in such a way that, with the removal of Lebanese Army units to fight in Nahr al-Bared, more room would be cleared up for Hizbullah to rebuild its military infrastructure south of the Litani River. That's not to say that Hizbullah detonated the device that killed the UN soldiers, but it's very difficult to accept that the party was unaware of what was about to take place. Hizbullah, for all its declarations of sympathy for UNIFIL, views the international force and the Lebanese Army as grave obstacles to the pursuit of "resistance" in the South. For an organization that could not survive without armed struggle, that recently saw its Hamas comrades establish an autonomous territory alongside Israel in Gaza, now is the time to act, in collaboration with Iran and Syria, to again make of South Lebanon a front line against Israel. 

The attack was also a warning to the UN not to contemplate sending observers along the Syrian-Lebanese border to prevent the supply of weapons to Hizbullah. Syrian officials have consistently spoken against such a deployment, and even threatened to close the borders with Lebanon. However, it's not clear the Syrians can do so without Iraq and Jordan closing their crossing points with Syria. Amman and Baghdad have not publicly said they would retaliate in this way, but there were reports last week that they might, which supposedly prompted Damascus to leave the Masnaa crossing open. If the information is correct, then Syria's most effective way of blocking an observer mission might be to hit UNIFIL through its Palestinian proxies in Lebanon, showing what would happen if the force expanded out of the South.

Even an academic sympathetic to the Syrian regime saw its hand in what happened last weekend. On his blog, Joshua Landis wrote: "I think the bombing of the UNIFIL troops was an indication of the troubles that the UN can look forward to if it presses the Syrians or their ally Hizbullah."

The oddest statement, however, came from the Siniora government. Information Minister Ghazi Aridi noted that "[t]here is a link between the attack which targeted the Spanish contingent of UNIFIL and the fighting between the Lebanese Army and the terrorists of Fatah al-Islam in Nahr al-Bared." He went on to say, "Lebanon is the victim of a terrorist wave striking from the North to the South in which the latest target was the Spanish contingent. This attack was preceded by confessions from arrested terrorists about preparations against UNIFIL."

You have to wonder what Aridi was talking about. He and his political allies have been arguing, with considerable legitimacy, that Lebanon is today facing a Syrian effort to return to the country and torpedo the Hariri tribunal. In that case why fall back on a charade – a Syrian-created charade at that – that everything going wrong is the work of an obscure Salafist group facing annihilation in Nahr al-Bared? Once that fight is over and the bombings and killings continue, who will the Siniora government then blame? Indeed, who do we blame for the bombings and killings in 2005, when Fatah al-Islam wasn't even present in Lebanon?

Perhaps the Siniora government doesn't want to state the obvious: that what is going on in the South might involve Hizbullah more than it is prudent to admit at a moment of ambient sectarian tension. Maybe that's why Walid Jumblatt last week thanked Hizbullah for distancing itself from the rocket attack against Kiryat Shmona two Sundays ago. However, for the government to keep lines open is different than falling back on an absurd line of reasoning where it only discredits itself. By going along with the argument that an alleged Al-Qaeda group is the one targeting UNIFIL, the authorities are downplaying that what is taking place is the methodical dismantling of Resolution 1701. And that's not Al-Qaeda's priority; it is Iran's and Syria's priority, and Hizbullah's.

The killing of the soldiers is worrisome for other reasons. If the European contingents that form the backbone of UNIFIL become more timid in the South (and according to a senior March 14 politician, the Sunday bombing "scared" their governments), there is a risk that they will become gradually more dependent on Hizbullah, which has the most interest in neutralizing their mandate. Already, the word out among many journalists is that Hizbullah is protecting UNIFIL forces far more than UNIFIL is protecting the inhabitants of South Lebanon. If that view becomes generalized, if it reflects the reality of the situation in the border area, than we can start kissing Resolution 1701 goodbye. 

Perhaps most disquieting is that if the UNIFIL mandate begins breaking apart, it will be Israel that looks for ways around Resolution 1701 to defend its northern border. This would suit Hizbullah and its Iranian and Syrian patrons just fine, since it's the Israelis who would take the blame for returning South Lebanon to where it was before the summer 2006 war.

But the Israeli shift may come with an addendum: the next war in Lebanon, if there is one, could become a regional war. That's why the UN must do some serious thinking about how to respond to the Sunday bombing, beyond issuing verbal condemnations. And that's why it must press forward with controlling the Syrian-Lebanese border, even if there are electronic means to ensure that UN troops are not sitting ducks. 

Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR.

Comments (103)

ausamaa said:

Michael Young very “preceptively” wrote: The Dismanteling of Resolution 1701. Well, Mike, that is only for a start, keep on the look out for the Dismanteling of 1559 and Other relevant stuff. You know, same as happened to your celevrated 17 May thing. Remember.

Did you ever have a serious doubt about such things happening in Lebanon while you have entrusted your official policy to Sinorina and Saado, advised by Ja’Ja, Junblat? And dont blame Bush or Chirac, they were doing what they good for thier countries as opposed to your gang doing what wss good for the same “countries’. Bush and Chirac “countries” I mean.

I hear the four Generals in custody are packing to leave detention as there is now no reason to hold them any longer, has the good news reached you yet?


June 28th, 2007, 3:11 pm


t_desco said:

Iraq PM warns of al Qaeda attacks on other nations

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Thursday the interrogation of al Qaeda operatives captured in Iraq showed the Sunni Islamist group was planning attacks in a number of countries, his office said.

Maliki made the comments in a speech to anti-terrorism officials in Baghdad, a statement from his office said.

“The prime minister …. warned of a widespread and dangerous plan by the terrorist al Qaeda organisation to target a number of countries which suffer religious and sectarian problems,” the statement said, without naming any countries.

“The confessions by members of al Qaeda captured in Iraq uncovered a plan to cause panic and insecurity in those countries.” …

(my emphasis)

Some could interpret this as “a plan to cause panic and insecurity”:

Un des détenus de Bar Elias avour avoir voulu déclencher des combats

De source médiatique, un des détenus de la cellule terroriste sunnite découverte à Bar Elias a avoué avoir été délégué par ses confrères afin de lancer des obus à partir de villages chiites de la Béqaa en direction de localités chrétiennes dans le but de semer la discorde entre les deux communautés et diminuer de la sorte la pression sur ses complices sunnites assiégés au Nord Liban.

Selon le quotidien Asharq al-Awsat, cet activiste aurait également avoué qu’une des trois voitures piégées devait exploser à Zahlé. Les investigations ont permis de savoir également que le chef de cette cellule terroriste de Zahlé, incarcéré depuis plus d’un an, est le frère d’Ismaël al-Kahtib, décédé lors des premières enquêtes contre lui et le groupe de Majdel Anjar en 2004.

Pour rappel, les forces de sécurité libanaises avaient démantelé en 2004 un réseau soupçonné d’avoir pris pour cible les ambassades de certains pays occidentaux, notamment l’ambassade italienne de Beyrouth. Les membres de cette organisation ont bénéficié de l’amnistie votée en 2005 par le parlement libanais, amnistie qui a également bénéficié des personnes impliquées dans les incidents de Deniyé en décembre 1999, et le dirigeant des forces libanaises incarcéré depuis 1994.


June 28th, 2007, 3:33 pm


F. said:

Cannot we just ignore that childy Young, I think there is no reason to argue his ideas, since a lot of respected analysts agree to say he’s not independant at all…I can agree that nobody can be trusted to be completely independant, but this guy is to close to the 14 march movement to propose anything of a respectable analysis.


June 28th, 2007, 3:50 pm


G said:

Right, regime agent. This is why al-Qaeda has yet to declare responsibility for any of the so-called “Al-qaeda” attacks in Lebanon.

Your paymasters are the killers. You are a supporter of killers. That makes you an accomplice killer.

June 28th, 2007, 5:28 pm


G said:

Ho much is Imad Moustapha paying to spread the al-Qaida theory that they tried to spread after murdering hariri in 2005, eh regime agent?

June 28th, 2007, 5:29 pm


FreeSoldier said:


You keep stating that Syria wants to have the Golan Height returned to it.
What has Syria done in the last 30 years to regain the Golan? Nothing, zip!. No military resistance, no diplomatic effort nothing whatsoever.
Why don’t they create a military resistance ?
Answer: They were never interesed in the Golan and prefered to have Lebanon instead.

June 28th, 2007, 5:31 pm


G said:

Syria will support and protect UNIFIL.

This is a UN Security Council resolution, regime agent. This is not one of your paymasters’ protection rackets. If Syria attacks a UN force, it should be blasted. Ok regime agent?

June 28th, 2007, 5:33 pm


G said:

claimed that it was not opposed to engagement with Syria.

Are you stupid, or do you lie so compulsively that you are blind to what the French are actually saying and doing?

June 28th, 2007, 6:04 pm


K said:

Prof Landis,

I can’t believe you are pushing the line that UNIFIL is being “used to prevent Syria from attaining the Golan”. This is so screwed up, it contorts the mind. UNIFIL is “being used” to maintain peace in Lebanon! To prevent wars like the one which reduced parts of our country to rubble only last summer… It is our only buffer between Israel and Hizballa, both bloodthirsty, armed to the teeth and ready for war at any second. How UNIFIL is “being used” against Syria is just beyond me, unless one simply ASSUMES a Syrian right to use Lebanese territory and Lebanese proxies to battle Israel!

Syria has no God-given right to use Lebanon’s land, people or proxies to battle Israel. NO RIGHT! Syria must find alternative means to regain the Golan that is not over the corpses of Lebanese citizens and the charred ruins of Lebanon. To impose this strategy through a policy of murder and the cruel destabilization of an entire country is just repugnant.

Syria has every right to regain the Golan. It also has the right to protest the failure of the international community (because of US obfuscation) to hold Israel to account for its many ongoing crimes. But it has NO RIGHT to punish Lebanon for this and hold Lebanon hostage for its own ends.

The Lebanese people have the right to resist by any means necessary this brutal, exploitative, cowardly, and yes, EVIL strategy. Faced with this assault, the Lebanese people have every right to assassinate Syrian tyrants, to execute Lebanese collaborators with the Syrian enemy, and to lobby foreign powers, including Israel, to crush this miserable dictatorship and all its supporters.

If only Israel would live up to its word and attack Syria, rather than Lebanon, for the next provocation by Syrian proxies in Lebanon… if only.

June 28th, 2007, 8:04 pm


MSK said:

Dear Josh,

a little less “statement” and a little more “it might be” or “it is probable that” would’ve strengthened your post. Neither you nor anyone of us knows what the strategic objectives of Al-Qa’idah are in Lebanon – if we did we’d either work for the CIA or be busy being interrogated in one of their jails.

Ditto for “The UN’s selective application of UN Resolutions is designed to prevent Syria from getting back the Golan Heights” – that’s an awful big ladle of mu’ammarah kabiirah there … as if the UN is aiming to prevent the return of the Golan to Syria …

And forget Michael Young – it starts to look like your blog is developing an (unhealthy) obsession with his writings similar to Tony Badran’s with you. Everyone knows MY’s stance & bias – and he’s not particularly influential, neither in Lebanon nor abroad. There are more important journalists to analyse …


June 28th, 2007, 8:13 pm


G said:

Syria wants the Golan and the application of the UN resolutions that ensure its justice.

Yeah, but not the Chapter VII tribunal, I guess. Eh, regime agent?

June 28th, 2007, 9:29 pm


Alex said:


You are starting to get on everyone’s nerves with your obligatory “regime agent”.

After reading it from you a million times, I think it is enough.

I will have to remove all your comments from now on if you do not stick to opinions, criticism, and ideas … minus the repetitive part.

June 28th, 2007, 10:34 pm


Alex said:


Regarding your earlier comments,

We (Syrians) really do not want Syrian control or manipulation of Lebanon. We disagree with you regarding the innocence and goodness of hte M14 group .. you feel that they are acting out of defence of Lebanon’s freedom and independence, we believe they are a combination of bad people and foolish people.

I believe that after Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, the M14 group wasted a historic opportunity to reestablish Lebanese Syrian relations in a solid, healthy form. Instead, they decided to play the exciting international politics games … play against Syria… as part of the Bush, Chirac team.

By now, Syria might or might not be supporting (or allowing) some of the anti M14 developments. But I see it mostly as a defensive strategy … you can not simply call it Syrian hegemony.

Akbar asked if Lebanon launched any missiles at Syria.

“Lebanon”, or the M14 group more specifically, was part of the fiercest political offensive on Syria … and Syrians support their government’s efforts to defend the country against these attacks.

My comments are too obvious, but I wanted to explaint o K why Syrians would support their government’s position regarding Lebanon’s M14 group.

June 28th, 2007, 10:49 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

G is one ugly droogish troll.

June 28th, 2007, 11:24 pm


THOMAS said:




June 28th, 2007, 11:28 pm


ausamaa said:


Please do not answer the smart question of THOMAS. Take the Fifth.
As an accessory to all the terrorist acts comitted in Lebanon, You might incriminate your self by devulging such secrets!!

And please, please, please, can we imagine for just one week that the Great Empire of 14 Feb Lebanon does not exist, and focus on other more relevant and less obscure things. It is becoming so booooooring.

And Alex, why bother explain to K or to G or to whoever of the same species anything? Try to teach monkeys reading and you will get better results, more respect and some gratitude? AS they say, you can take the donkeys to the water, but you can not make them drink. So why bother? If they do not like your opinion, tough luck. Let some one else some where else be “corteous” to them. (Is corteous spelled right?)

June 28th, 2007, 11:52 pm


ausamaa said:

And when the HELL is Syria gonna close Al Massna crossing completely? Knock some sense into some senless turncoats and stupid ungratefull loud mouths.

June 28th, 2007, 11:57 pm


why-discuss said:

In view of the deep political divisions in Lebanon, I guess lebanese border guards are letting pass weapons destined to the political group they openly or covertly support. Thank God that the Fatah el Islam was not affiliated to any lebanese political group, it would have collapsed the army. When will Siniora and his clique finally understand that as along as the country is divided by their refusal of a national union governemnent that may reconciliate the lebanese, it will be impossible to protect it or to prevent weapons and money from being smuggled in, from terrorists encouraging the divisions to create more chaos?? The stupidity and stubborness of Siniora and the 14 march who believe that more western forces and more security resolutions are enough to protect the country is pathetic and dangerous. It is just creating more rifts and radicalism.

June 29th, 2007, 12:25 am


majedkhaldoun said:

I think Josh is right,this is how Syria interpret 1701,but I believe those who killed the spanish troops,are those who want to plant the seeds of trouble,(fitnah),either Samir Gaegae,or General Lahd,who lives in Isreal,both are isreal agents,infact it is mentioned before that Gaegae went to Isreal ,in secret trips,and got instructions from Mossad,this guy is a criminal,and traitor,March 14 needs to abandoned him,keep him out of their movement,if they want to have any respect to their movement.

June 29th, 2007, 12:40 am


EHSANI2 said:

WSJ(6/29) Washington Wire
2007-06-28 20:56 (New York)
By John Harwood

ALARMED OVER rising violence in Lebanon, U.S. and Lebanese officials explore
dispatching international troops to seal Syrian border. Bush administration
views Syria as primary conduit for arms and militias that have proliferated
inside Lebanon.

June 29th, 2007, 1:23 am


Alex said:

Yes Ehsani

The visit of the Saudi King yesterday to Amman for the first time and Condi’s “we have to send Syria a very strong message” …

Syria will not back down. The Syrian army is ready to seal the border from Syria’s side if they put those troops.

So what do they want to do next?

June 29th, 2007, 1:45 am


EHSANI2 said:

In my opinion, the leadership in Damascus will treat this as an act of war. Please note that we are no longer talking about international observers but international “troops”. Also note that we are no longer talking here about monitoring the border but “sealing” it. The Washington wire is a serious source. Let us see if a front page article will follow in the near term.

June 29th, 2007, 2:13 am


sam said:

Thomas, Tripolis and Beirut have been for decades the place to go to get contra-band.I got my first air rifle there when I was ten. It’s mostly organized crime and black market. Why is Syria always to blame? I’m sick and tired of all the Lebenese cry-babys. The only term Liban to me means the mountain only. All of Liban and Israel, and some of Palistine is Syria Kubbra. Face it all you so called Lebenese you need Syria more than any country on this planet. Be pragmatist for once, take the stuck up look of your faces! If it wasn’t for Syria you Libans would be throwing rocks at IDF tanks as well. Show some gratitude for the 10000 Syrian soldiers that died defending your country, with your fellow Hizb. Alex hit the nail on the head. M14 should have tried to reconcile with Syria. Who knows how different it would be(definatley safer) War of 2006 wouldn’t have happend.

June 29th, 2007, 2:42 am


Ford Prefect said:

Alex, what they want to do next is turn Syria updside down so that nice secterian wars would rage from Iraq to Lebanon to Palestine. Syria is the last man standing.

Question, where is Hamas getting its heavy weapons and missles from? Syria too?

June 29th, 2007, 2:49 am


why-discuss said:

Listening to the hysterical pro-american 14 march lebanese, Syria has surely developped a sophisticated network of tunnels to bring weapons to Hezbollah, Fath al Islam in Nahr al Bared , Gaza’s Hamas, Iraq’s sunnis and shia insurgents and, why not, Afghanistan’s Talibans. So there is no need to seal the borders, Bravo Syria, great achievement!

June 29th, 2007, 3:10 am


Akbar Palace said:

Alex writes to K:

We (Syrians) really do not want Syrian control or manipulation of Lebanon.

Shirley, you must be joking. You could be lying or course, or you could be in denial, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Good one!

We disagree with you regarding the innocence and goodness of hte M14 group .. you feel that they are acting out of defence of Lebanon’s freedom and independence, we believe they are a combination of bad people and foolish people.

Alex, you began your post by stating “We (Syrians)”. Therefore, you can “disagree”, “feel” and “believe” all you want, but let me remind you that Lebanon is a sovereign, independent country, and member of the UN. Thus, no Syrian has the right to tell a Lebanese how to run their own country. Lebanon has a democracy already. Perhaps you should stick your political nose into your own motherland first.

I believe that after Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, the M14 group wasted a historic opportunity to reestablish Lebanese Syrian relations in a solid, healthy form.

Lebanon doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want.

Instead, they decided to play the exciting international politics games … play against Syria… as part of the Bush, Chirac team.

And the Lebanese can conduct their international relations with whomever they want. Syrians do not have a seat in the Lebanese parliament.

By now, Syria might or might not be supporting (or allowing) some of the anti M14 developments. But I see it mostly as a defensive strategy … you can not simply call it Syrian hegemony.

Syria’s complicity into arms smuggling against UN resolutions and murders of Lebanese leaders is Syrian hegemony, and in the context of the War on Terror, I support strong UN sanctions to pressure Syria to stop.

Akbar asked if Lebanon launched any missiles at Syria.

Yes, they did, against the UN’s mandate to prohibit such action. Therefore, if the elected government of Lebanon requests international and UN help to prevent rogue groups from firing missiles into Israel, the international and UN should come to Lebanon’s aide with full force.

“Lebanon”, or the M14 group more specifically, was part of the fiercest political offensive on Syria … and Syrians support their government’s efforts to defend the country against these attacks.

What “offensive” and what “attacks” has the Lebanese government committed against Syria? Is this another one of your jokes?

My comments are too obvious, but I wanted to explaint o K why Syrians would support their government’s position regarding
Lebanon’s M14 group.

Blah, blah, blah…… just leave Lebanon alone or face the music.

New Palestinian PM wants to work with Israel

This is good news (not for rejectionists and jihadists of course)

June 29th, 2007, 3:17 am


Alex said:

Exactly Ford Prefect,

Hamas has rockets and tons of arms that they use on a daily basis .. they defeated Fatah fighters with ease … SO LET’S GO TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND PUNISH EGYPT AND ISRAEL BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THE REAL WEAPONS ARE COMING FROM!

And the rich Gulf Arabs are paying for them through private donations!

Speak to American mideast experts about it and you will hear them suffering as they try to find an excuse for Egypt: “oh, they have to do few things to satisfy their own Islamists, if they stop Hamas’ supply then they might get an angry reaction and accusations from their people” … so it is OK if the Syrian government can risk its own Islamists rebelling if it listens to the Americans and kicks out Mashal from Damascus.

Then there is the other excuse: “Actually Egypt did close some of the Hamas tunnels in Sinai” … can Syria get away with controlling “some” of the roads through which HA supposedly gets those weapons from Syria?

June 29th, 2007, 3:28 am


Alex said:

Akbar 7abibi,

WHEN one day in the future Israelis come to their senses and make peace with Syria and the rest of the Arabs, THEN they will be able to enjoy the fun games of mideast politics just like any other regional player … for example you might be able to try to seduce “Lebanon” to abandon Syria and become your partner instead.

BUT for now, “Lebanon” is to a large extent those who remember your savage air force that destroyed their country last summer … for every G here on Syria comment, there is an M, N, O , P and Q there who consider you their ugly enemy. For every bomb that Syria supposedly, allegedly smuggled to someone in Lebanon to place it inside some Lebanese politician’s car, there are hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs that your IDF dropped on LEBANESE CIVILIANS .. and for every bombing mission you conducted over Lebanon that summer, a Syrian family opened its home to a Lebanese family of refugees that ran away from your savagery into the safety of Damascus.

Go play alone for now until you are 10% as civilized as Syria.

June 29th, 2007, 3:47 am


Majhool said:

Ya Alex,

You keep going in circles. Just accept it

1) Syria has always work to undermine the PLO and have harbored projectionists and to the dismay of almost every Palestinian I met.
2) Lebanon is an independent country. And 14M has the right to take Anti-resistance even talk to Israel. If Syria does not like then let them shut the boarder peacefully but Syrians use violence. And that’s not playng with the rules.
3) Syrian government is not accountable.

There is no need to justify your support to the Syrian regime, you Obviously believe that they will come out winners so you are betting on the winning hours and hence your support the fragmentation of Lebanon and the Palestinian authority using violence and covert action.

I did not see missiles coming out of Lebanon towards Syria, I did not see M14 supplying Syrian opposition with arms, I don’t see M14 blowing up buses in Syria (Like Turkey did 10 years ago). M14 just want Syria out.

I don’t support M14. But I believe that if they don’t like us we punish them in a lawful manner (shut the border, impose tariffs, etc..) that’s what decent countries do. he

June 29th, 2007, 4:07 am


Alex said:

My friend Majhool,

THe problem with your conclusions about the way the Lebanese and Palestinians feel about Syria’s strategic policies is very simple: it is always about “all the ones I met”

The ones you meet in San Fransisco are not a scientific sample. You are free to form your own conclusions about how YOUR Palestinian contacts feel, but I prefer to remember that during the last REAL ELECTIONS, Hamas won a huge majority.

Syrian policy is not popular with ALL Palestinians and ALL Lebanese … have you heard of any politician winning the hearts and minds of 100% of the population of a neighboring country?

You can not prove that Syrian policies are not popular by listing exceptions.

Having said that, in Lebanon, there are large numbers of Lebanese who are very much opposed to anything that comes from Syria Not only government policies). the M14 group and their supporters are not a small minority. But on the other hand, Hizbollah, Amal, Suleiman freangieh supporters, Aoun supporters, and many other small groups … they add up to anywhere between 50% to 65% of the Lebanese people… these are not opposed to a balanced Syrian role (not hegemony or occupation)… Syria surrounds Lebanon from every side! … what do you expect?! The Americans and the French and the Israelis have national interests to protect in Lebanon but you want Syria to be 100% out of Lebanese politics?!

I understand you prefer to make the M14 friends of yours happy. I prefer to stick to Syria’s sound long-term strategies because as I told you yesterday, the Syrian regime has more experience in handling that part of the middle east than all of them combined.

Just look at America’s handling of “peace keeping” in Iraq and compare it to the way Syria did it in the 90’s in Lebanon.

I’m sorry to tell my Lebanese friends that for now, the Middle East is still one continuous region in trouble .. don’t dream that your country is isolated from its surroundings just because you have a flag and borders. If you think that this is how clear and simple it is, then you are mistaken … because it is much more complicated

Same applies to every country in the region and not only you. To help yourself in the long term, you have to help Syria in the short term.

Syria might be using Lebanon … but everyone is using Lebanon … that’s how regional games are conducted .. you can only play on the gounds of the smaller nations. The US ambassador issues orders on a daily basis. Israel invades and showers the country with bombs. “majhool” .. please don’t act like a “Jahel” … I know that your math skills and your ability to observe are both good… I think you need to redo your calculations.

June 29th, 2007, 4:21 am


Majhool said:


Tab we agree!! Syria is using Lebanon! you just need to say it more often and louder!! You are with Syria using Lebanon (becasue it make sense to you) and I totally see how it does. I on the other hand sympethize with (40%-50% as you suggest) of Lebanese who want to go on with their lives

Disagreement is healthy. but what I am totally against is political violence. call it nieve, stupid, It’s just agasint my nature, is that allowed? Plus I never saw how an improved geopolitical position for syria in Leabanon benifited the average syrian. the years between 94-2005 simply sucked for the average syrian.

June 29th, 2007, 4:57 am


majedkhaldoun said:

the leaders of march 14 are united against Syria,Syria must avoid Lebanon so they fight each other, they are like mafia bosses.
If Syria close its border,it can do it for limited time ,otherwise it will be self imposed sanction.
those who oppose for lebanon to fight Isreal,and say Syria is using Lebanon as proxy war country, they must understand,the one who is fighting Isreal is HA,and they represent HA,and all the forces that are against Isreal, those are 60-65% of lebanon,so it is hardly proxy war,the 20% who do not want to fight Isreal,are saying that, because of their hatred to HA,but they are minority,even that they want to say they are majority, they have all the right to speak,but has no right to pretend they are the majority.

June 29th, 2007, 5:12 am


K said:


Very disappointing comments from you, especially this piece of bullying:

> Help Syria to help your self … Syria might be using Lebanon … but
> everyone is using Lebanon … that’s how regional games are
> conducted … you can only play on the gounds of the smaller
> nations.

Ford Prefect,

On the topic of the Palestinian civil war, Hamas gets its weapons from Iran and other sources, smuggled through the Egyptian border. It does buy weapons on the black market (including from Israeli sources) with funding that comes from…. Iran (and jihadi-supporting elements in Saudi Arabia).

It is completely disingenuous to compare Iran-Hamas smuggling through Egypt to Syria-Hizballa smuggling into Lebanon, as Alex does above. The Egyptian authorities could do a better job of controlling Hamas smuggling, yes. But in the case of Hizballah on the other hand, Syria IS the smuggler!

Syria shares responsibility for the Palestinian civil war, along with the US, Israel, Iran, and the Palestinian factions.

And Alex, for your information, the Palestinian election was not won by a “huge majority”. Hamas won 44% of the vote compared to 41% for Fatah.,,2104857,00.html

That was then. As for now: “In new legislative elections, among those polled, Fatah would get 43 percent of the vote, unchanged from March; Hamas would get 33 percent.”,Q27Q25Q25Q274rDVKQ27i8KKVXXRQ3CeQ27Q25Q25i8KXRQ3CewQ5EeiV

June 29th, 2007, 5:13 am


Alex said:


Ask Ehsani our resident economist (who does not like the Syrian regime much) and he will tell you that the 90’s were years of growth in Syria. And they were years of cooperation in the Middle East …. Bush the father and Clinton meeting Assad and visiting Damascus, Assad and Mubarak and King Abdullah meeting regularly … Israeli and Syrian peace talks that almost reached a conclusion twice (Israel messed up in both cases) … Syrian role int he Middle East was just fine to everyone.

Then things got messed up, mostly NOT because of Syria’s new president as their media would like us to believe, but because THEY messed up almost everything as they tried to rearrange too many things at the same time, and to arrange it to their liking, not to the benefit of every nation in the Middle East … it does not work that way. And they still don’t get it!

Majhool, I remember that you told me that you are a student of political science … print our discussion here and show it your profs. Show it to your Palestinian profs as well .. I am sure there is at least one in every department of political science.

You know,

June 29th, 2007, 5:19 am


why-discuss said:

Brammertz is packing…
Contrary to the speculations that Brammertz could preside the Hariri’s International Tribunal, he is simply leaving the investigation on Hariri’s murder to an unknown person as he is joining the International Tribunal for ex-Yougoslavia. Before leaving, in the next three months, he will present 3 reports.

L’Orient-le jour 29 june 2007
” En effet, le magistrat belge va remplacer la magistrate suisse Carla del Ponte au poste de chef procureur du Tribunal pénal international pour l’ex-Yougoslavie de La Haye pour ce qui a trait aux poursuites engagées contre les auteurs présumés des violations du droit humanitaire commises dans l’ex-Yougoslavie….« On ne sait toujours pas qui le remplacera à la tête de la commission internationale d’investigation sur l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri. Aucun nom de magistrat n’a encore été retenu ni soumis au Conseil de sécurité », a indiqué à L’Orient-Le Jour Michèle Montas, porte-parole du secrétaire général, tout en laissant ainsi entendre que de nombreux noms ont déjà été avancés.

…Selon des informations diplomatiques parvenues à la délégation libanaise à l’ONU, M. Brammertz, qui s’est abstenu de présenter un rapport d’étape le 15 juin comme cela était initialement prévu, a l’intention de publier coup sur coup trois rapports au cours des trois prochains mois.
Les raisons de cette précipitation des rapports n’ont pas été dévoilées et l’on ne sait toujours pas s’il y aura du nouveau dans ces documents sur les investigations menées par la commission. Ce qu’on sait, c’est que cette dernière continue d’entourer l’enquête du plus grand secret, au point où aucun responsable gouvernemental et politique n’en sait quelque chose.”

June 29th, 2007, 5:31 am


why-discuss said:

Another “machiavelic plan” of Syria: bring Khadhafi in Lebanon

Kuwait news reports that an opposition Libyan activist believes that Syria has convinced Iran to close the Moussa Sadr disparition case with Libya, so to allow Libya to re-establish its influence in Lebanon and finance sunnis in Lebanon allied to Iran!! What a strange story! Syria accused again!

L’Orient-Le jour 29 june
Le secrétaire général du Front national pour la sauvegarde de la Libye (opposition), Ibrahim Sahad, a accusé hier l’axe syro-iranien de chercher à impliquer le régime libyen dans la crise libanaise.
Cité par le journal koweïtien al-Raï el-Aam, le responsable libyen affirme que Damas et Téhéran s’emploient à proposer un marché au régime de Mouammar Kadhafi : en contrepartie de la décision de la Syrie et de l’Iran de clore le dossier de la disparition (en 1978, en Libye) de l’imam Moussa Sadr, la Libye effectuerait un « come-back » sur la scène libanaise en finançant des alliés sunnites de l’axe syro-iranien.
L’opposant libyen souligne sur ce plan que Téhéran a désigné il y a quelques jours l’adjoint du président de la République islamique pour les affaires juridiques, Ahmad Moussaoui, comme émissaire spécial pour le règlement de l’affaire Moussa Sadr.
Cette démarche, croit savoir l’opposant libyen, vise à clore le dossier de la disparition de Moussa Sadr afin que Tripoli puisse rétablir son ancienne influence au Liban et financer ainsi certaines fractions sunnites inféodées à l’axe syro-iranien.
Selon les sources de l’opposition libyenne, citées par le journal koweïtien, c’est la Syrie qui aurait convaincu l’Iran d’intervenir afin de tirer un trait sur l’affaire Moussa Sadr.

June 29th, 2007, 5:39 am


Majhool said:

Growth in the 90s? You must be kidding!! Yeah when you start from rock bottom there will have to be some growth (basic physics, low inertia when you start from zero), but as you well know, that growth was not sustainable (it was merely “tanfesef” to create a new elite that would support the regime when needed) and needless to t say that the salaries in the 90s did not exceed $100.

The well being of the average person is what defines my politics. The fact that King Fahid used to kiss and hug the Syrian leadership in the 90s is of no benefit to the average person. The oppression was at a maximum in the 90s. Plus why do you think that the best and the brightest live abroad?

It’s simple some people refuse to be treated like sheep and as long the government is not accountable towards its citizens it will NEVER get my support. I am sure it’s ok with you, but remember that saying what I say constitute a CRIME in Syria.. Isn’t that just wrong? I cannot comprehend how you see any good coming out of a system that imprison people simply because they peacefully disagree.

June 29th, 2007, 5:44 am


Alex said:


I do not want to disappoint you. I am trying to explain reality … which of the parts you listed are not true (forget my opinion)

1)Help Syria to help yourself … says that when Syria wins Lebanon wins.

Why the disappointment? the above statement implies two parts:

– What affects Syria affects Lebanon, and more precisely,
– What affects Syria positively will affect Lebanon positively.

You might disagree with the above and believe that there is negative corelation between what is good for Lebanon and what is good for Syria and in that case you are considering the two states natural enemies that should end up going to war. I prefer to think that the two states are natural partners and they should eventually unite when both populations freely decide to do so.

2) Everyone is using Lebanon

Not true? .. maybe Somalia is not, but Chirac did, Cheney and friends are, Israel is, Saudi Arabia more than anyone else is, then there is Iran, and even some Palestinians … and Syria too of course.

3) That’s how regional games are played … on the grounds of the smaller nations

I did not invent the rules of the game. Please prove to me that Lebanon and Palestine were not the most popular places for every regional power (and not only Syria) to show its muscles in the Middle East

K, it is not my opinion that should disappoint you, it is the reality in the Middle East. … I am not enjoying what is happening in the Middle East. I just want to conclude the peace process in a fair and just way so that it can be a real and lasting peace. I am telling you my honest opinion that nothing else will work … fighting Syria, boycotting Hamas and trying to defeat Hizbollah in a summer war are all wrong strategies that will lead to more bloodshed… I have had enough of the idiots who think they know what they are doing. Don’t take my word for it. Read Aluf Benn in Haaretz today Tips for Tony

Egypt’s role in arms shipments to Hamas: ..hmm, is there really much difference between the Egyptian security monitoring almost every arms shipment going towards those tunnels and not stopping them although they really can, and between Syria allowing some semi-official Syrians do the same to HA … supposedly?

You tell me what is the differnece 1) in intentions (to allow the shipments to go through) and 2) in results (the shipments do go through)

And one more thing K, If Israel did nto decide to invade Lebanon, how many people died using those weapons that Syria supposedly sent to HA? … compare that to the number of people who died because Egypt sent weapons to Hamas.

And finally, sorry if I used the word “huge” to describe the way Hamas won the elections. Can I switch to the way the Washington Post reported it?.. Hamas sweeps Palestinian Elections

Today, Hamas is less popular .. why? .. because it is Syria’s friend? .. no, because your friends the good guys starved the Palestinian people to punish them for acting on the advice of the Americans and conducting free democratic elections.

June 29th, 2007, 5:47 am


Alex said:


What does a political science student know about physics and inertia?
: )

How did the average Syrian enjoy the improvements in the 90’s? .. how about access to toilet paper that was not available i the 80’s?

OK, I will go to sleep now. I am not living in San Francisco like you.

And did I tell you that I support everything in Syria’s political system of government? … not at all!

We will discuss those in detail next week on the Creative Forum as you know. You are welcome to write your opinions. Many other bloggers will tell us about what they would love to change or fix in Syria today.

I enjoyed this interesting conversation. To be continued.


June 29th, 2007, 6:14 am


MSK said:

Dear ALL,

When Mustafa posted the following at his blog ( I had initially thought that it was a bit on the extreme, but the recent comment sections posts here at Josh’s blog are slowly convincing me that that sentiment (attached below) is actually much more pronounced than I had already feared.


This comment by an Alarabiya reader ( is offensive on so many levels to Lebanon. It would have been funny if it weren’t a commonly held belief in Syria:

لبنان بمقام البنت العاصية لأمها سوريا اللتي ربتها وخافت عليها خلال فترة صغره وبعد ما بلغت سن الرشد عصتها ولكن من سيحميها دامها إمرأه فجناحها مكسور لكنها مرغوبه لدى الأخرين وكل الأشخاص في تنافس شديد عليها لو لا أن ترجع لأمها لتحافظ عليها لتحولت إلى هدف يسهل على كل الحاسدين تصفية حساباتهم باسمها وباسم ابنائها المغلوب عليهم ……. ولكن تبقى الأم رافعة راسها ما دام لديها إبن مطيع وبيت تأوي إليه

Translation (Mustafa)

Lebanon is like a disobeying daughter to her mother Syria who raised her and cared for her when she was young. But when she became an adult, Lebanon backstabbed her mother.
Who now is going to protect her? She being a vulnerable woman who’s desired by everyone. If only she would go back to her mother who will defend her before she becomes a territory that the envious would trespass to settle scores.. But the mother keeps her head high as long as she has an obeying son and a home she can go back to

Yalla, treat Lebanon (and, for some, also Jordan/Palestine) as if it “rightfully belongs” to Syria all you want. Go ahead. Seal borders. Keep supporting the Syrian dictatorship. Of course – it’s EASY to do when having a good life in the oh-so-despicable West, profiting from the “imperialist” Western economy, and enjoying the freedoms of the “oppressive” Western political system.

I don’t remember who posted it (Mahjol?) but I do find it interesting that those questions “What do YOU think should be done to improve the Syrian system?” did not get any responses, whereas the “people-elsewhere-bashing” (be that Lebanese, Americans, Israelis, Saudis, or anyone else – EXCEPT Syrians) just keeps going on … and on … and on …

“I will be self-critical and try to change for the better AS SOON AS THE OTHER ONES HAVE DONE IT” – Congrats, you’re no better than everyone you criticize and dislike.


June 29th, 2007, 6:29 am


Alex said:


Assuming you really are open minded enough to understand, and not to prove to yourself that you are right and Syrians are “funny” … the answers to your questions are everywhere in our comments if you wanted to see them.

The problem is that you come up once a week with one objection to something some Syrian says, then you disappear when we answer you.

If I am one of those Syrians you are accusing of avoiding the topic of Majhool’s “What do YOU think should be done to fix the Syrian system”, then you will be happy to know that the topic that I chose (since last month, ask George Ajjan) for the Creative Forum’s upcoming July discussion where I hope that many intelligent Syrians will answer a very similar question

What is the most essential change that needs to be made in Syria (political system, social factors, economics, regional policy, education, etc)

Explain how you would implement these changes successfully and without excessive risks. Explain how long they would take to implement, and if you expect your proposed change to be met with resistance, explain how you would deal with that resistance.

In other words … give a practical answer, not simply a boring “we want democracy TODAY” slogan that Ahmad Chalabi led Iraq with.

You are welcome Mr. M to write your own opinion if you are prepared to defend it and explain it in detail in the comments section under your article.

June 29th, 2007, 7:05 am


MSK said:

Ya Alex,

I did not say “everyone here thinks like that”. And I don’t see why you should feel addressed if you don’t fall under that category.

As for the quantity of my posts – I work 2 jobs now & thus don’t have time to engage in lengthy debates. If there are rules for participation in this comment section, then I’m sure Josh will announce them.

I’ve tried to have conversations here with others. They never got anywhere because people weren’t interested in having issue-based discussions but always started throwing accusations around. If you remember, a while ago I already posted on that topic.

And btw, in the last time I once commented on something a Syrian (Majedkhaldoun) had said because it needed to be said. As you can notice – he still keeps throwing unsourced rumors around. Oh well …

But, FOR THE RECORD, no, Alex, I did NOT mean you. I know that you try – within your self-imposed limits – to come up with ideas for positive change and are very open to hear everybody else’s opinion (although I do have my doubts how willing you are to actually consider that someone else could be right & you could be wrong). I admire your efforts on CreativeSyria – and have often enough stated that, for ex. on Rime’s blog.

Since I live in the region & travel to Syria quite often, I will respectfully have to decline your kind offer to submit my ideas for what essential changes need to be made in Syria (but, NO, outside military intervention isn’t among them).

And I maintain that I am somewhat amused as well as bewildered by how much space the “discussion” of Lebanese affairs takes up in the SYRIAcomment blog & its comments section.

Btw, did you know that those few hundred Palestinians that had wanted to escape the violence in Iraq are STILL holed up at the Iraq/Syria border because Syria refuses to let them enter?

From personal experience I can vouch for the fact that Palestinians in Gaza & the WestBank loathe ALL Arab countries for having sold them out again & again & again and used them for their own gains. Syria is on that list. It might not be fair, but it’s the way it is right now. Sentiments are often based on skewed perceptions. Such is life …


June 29th, 2007, 7:34 am


Alex said:


Thank you for excluding me from the Lebanon-is-Syria’s-child group. I called for a future union between Lebanon and Syria (one day, when both countries fix their garbage and look attractive to the other country’s population) .. a union, not annexation.

For now I want Syria to have its moukhabarat in Lebanon, and for Lebanon to have its moukhabarat in Syria… just so that they both know what is going on next door.

Now please tell me … When was the last time Syrian authorities arrested a German who called for democracy and human rights in Syria? : )

They are not angels, they are authoritarian, but they don’t arrest Germans!

I will tell you a true story about Walid Jumblatt that a friend of mine told me about, it is from the 90’s:

My friend: Walid .. what are you doing here in Damascus?
Walid: I said some nasty things about Hafez in an interview, so I decided to come hide here in the safety of Damascus… they never touch anyone in Damascus.

June 29th, 2007, 7:46 am


ausamaa said:

When will Syria close the Syrian-Lebanese Al Massna’a border crossing? I hope it happens soon. Time Syria started acting proactively.

Being nice to the opportunist Lebanese Feb 14 ammatures gets one nowhere, lets close it and watch them scatter around like mice in a closed box. Let Syria close it for a couple of months, then the opposition announces civil disobedience, then every Lebanese with some sense, and every “arab” moderate country will run and kiss Syria’s hand and start acting more seriously.

Let Syria start turning the Real Heat on. You can not really expect a wh… to reform herself without outside help or pressure. And let us then see who has real control over Lebanon; Bush and his allies, or Syria and its allies.

And, they have more than asked for it..

June 29th, 2007, 9:18 am


t_desco said:

Hariri case frozen pending request to remove judge

The Lebanese judiciary’s investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri and 22 others has been put on hold pending a court decision on whether to remove Judge Elias Eid as investigating magistrate in the case. Mohammad Mattar, the lawyer for the heirs of four Hariri bodyguards who died in the February 14, 2005, bombing, filed a request on Wednesday that Eid be replaced. Mattar cited Eid’s alleged “intention” to release former security officials Raymond Azar and Jamil al-Sayyed before the conclusion of investigations. He also cited Eid’s “overly friendly relations” with the lawyers and families of the four officers charged with involvement in the assassination: Sayyed, Azar, Ali al-Hajj and Mustafa Hamdan.

The request went on to express reservations about “direct praise” for Eid via the media by unnamed political factions.

Sayyed, through his lawyer Akram Azouri, submitted a new memorandum to Eid Thursday detailing what he referred to as “factors hindering justice” in the case. The former General Security chief asked for a decision from Eid regarding previously submitted requests that he be released from prison, his lawyer said.

The memorandum asked how Mattar could have obtained information that Eid intended to release Sayyed and Azar, adding that since the suspects’ release had been the topic of private talks between Eid and State Prosecutor Said Mirza, its coming to light indicated an “intentional leak” of information in violation of legal ethical principles.

Sayyed added that all evidence and witness testimony submitted by the investigating commission so far had supported his case for release from custody. The memorandum referred to a conversation between Mirza and lead UN investigator Serge Brammertz in Eid’s presence on December 8, 2006, in which Mirza pointed to “political considerations of national necessity” that required Sayyed’s continued detention.

It also said that on June 6, 2007, several personal lawsuits filed against the detained officers by families of victims of the Hariri bombing had been added to the case file. Sayyed said the file was with Mirza at the time and accused the Future Movement of organizing the lawsuits, which he said were unfounded.
The Daily Star

(my emphasis)

June 29th, 2007, 10:17 am


ausamaa said:

Come to think about it, its time for Syria to go on the offensive.

Look around you and watch how the anti-Syria front is in total disarray, from un-controllable Iraq, to un-attackable Iran, to an Abbas-led underperforming and besieged Authority, to a Lebanon that resembles a scene from a Don Corleone mafia wars movie, to an Israel that is acting more like a tourist strolling late evening New York streets worrying about being mugged, to an EU acting like a dump bride on her wedding night, to the fiasco of a “moderate” Arab front that is resembling a troubled airliner in a free fall. All signes or results of a master plan which has fallen apart. Majestically!

Time for a move, time for Syria to go on the offensive before another “failing plan” is concocted and put into action once again. Time for a move that will get everyone out of thier selfmade, and Bush made, misery as they are incapable of doing anything usefull themselves. Beats sitting around and watching more blood being spilled and more no-go scenarios being debated for ever.

And where should such a Syrian offensive start? Lebanon of course! Time for the Lebanese people to force the little poodles of Feb 14 to end this senseless act. YThey had the control of ther country for over two years, and the Feb 14 gang not only performed miserably, but also stupidly thought (encouraged by all its very good, wise” and “sincere” lovers from “moderate” Arab supporters, to Israel, to Bush and Chirac)that you could play in the major league by attempting to do Bush’s anti-Syria and anti-Hezbollah bidding. Which had only turned Lebanon into a sacrificial lamb in a struggle way above its means, purpose and comprehension? And for this, some one should pay. And who better to pay other than the Feb 14 gang first, then their moderate instigators second. The tide has changed, the gamble did not pay off, and its time to pay the bills now.

Time for Syria to turn the tables -on the scale it can- to assert it role before the few important milestones are upon us? And few milestones are looming in the not so far distance. Starting from the US presidential elections, to the formula of what sort of US presence or un-presence would be tolerable in Iraq, to whatever the BUSH Admin and the Quartet think they can attempt in Palestine, to other local milestones.

Time for Syria to act…. Syria had survived, called off the real and false bluffs, withstood the pressures of the Boogieman himself and those of the half men, and got out as solid, strong, unified and unexhausted as can be. Time for the nice others to pay for their Miscalculations, Aggressions and Failures. Kindness, understanding and solidarity come much faster when the STICK is waved than when toothless appeals to brotherhood and reasons are made.

Now let us see who the real boss locally is!! Let us close that goddammend Syrian-Lebanses al Massna border crossing and take it on from there. What is there to be afraid from? Another Intl Tribunal, another UN resoulution, a demotivated and mentaly crippled IDF rolling across the Golan, B 52’s coming across the eastern desert? Lavish Wesrten and Gulf Economic aid cut off? Suspended Golan peace talks? Name it, it was not there. It is not there now neither. That is perhaps how “they” have cornered themselves and became irrelevant in today’s Middle East. In addition to not understanding and underestimating Damascus.

June 29th, 2007, 10:50 am


ugarit said:

Nothing to do with Lebanon 🙂

“In a move going largely unnoticed by developers, the OLPC project now requires all submissions to be hosted in the RedHat Fedora project. While this may not seem like a big deal, the implications are interesting. First, contributors have to sign the Fedora Project Individual Contributor License Agreement. By being forced to submit contributions to the Fedora repository they automatically fall under the provisions of US export law. So, no OLPC for Cuba, Syria and the like. Ever.”

What is OLPC? ->

June 29th, 2007, 11:35 am


George Ajjan said:

Don’t worry, Ugarit, even if Syrian kids had laptops, they still wouldn’t be able to log on to any website hosted by GoDaddy and some other American hosting and domain-name providers. Apparantly it’s a violation of US sanctions on Syria in the eyes of their attorneys to allow Syrian people to view the internet. This is why syriapol (subtitled: a Syrian Democracy Project) was blocked for many months.

More brilliant policy from the employer of Liz Cheney.

June 29th, 2007, 12:02 pm


why-discuss said:

Will Hariri’s investigation case be stalled because of UN and Lebanon judiciary reshufflings? The appointments of replacement to Judge Eid and Brammertz will certainly trigger political maneuverings from the influencing forces both in Lebanon and the UN? Are we on for another Mehlis?
Will that see the end of Syria positive collaboration with the investigation and consequently more pressure?
“The Lebanese judiciary’s investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri and 22 others has been put on hold pending a court decision on whether to remove Judge Elias Eid as investigating magistrate in the case”

“Contrary to the speculations that Brammertz could preside the Hariri’s International Tribunal, he is simply leaving the investigation on Hariri’s murder to an unknown person as he is joining the International Tribunal for ex-Yougoslavia. Before leaving, in the next three months, he will present 3 reports”

June 29th, 2007, 1:55 pm


Alex said:


There are still redlines : )

It is one thing to quietly oppose this administration’s policies in teh Middle East, but to announce it through loud speakers is to challenge the United States publicly.

Russia can do it, Syria … I am not sure.

That would make it difficult for the next democratic president to shake hands with Bashar … you don’t want to establish Syria as an enemy to the United States, nor can you give them (and their historians, later) an excuse to blame Syria for anything terrible that might happen in Lebanon… And it is not in Syria’s interest to push Lebanon into an uncontrollable internal conflict if we escalate… is it?

But I agree with your assessment of many of the M14 leaders … those who collaborate closely with Israel, the Neocons, younger Saudi leaders, and the others .. the fools and crooks.

I said many (not all).

June 29th, 2007, 3:07 pm


K said:

Ausamaa, so tough and macho when it comes to bullying Lebanon. I’d like to see you face up to a real opponent, like Israel, and try to liberate the Golan. Just think of the glory, your martyrdom poster would adorn alleyways all over Syria! But you would prefer to send brainwashed Shi’a fanatics from South Lebanon to take hits for you instead, coward. I really hope Syria’s dictator takes your stupid advice and escalates the situation across the board. It would hasten the destruction of your lousy regime and its supporters.

June 29th, 2007, 4:39 pm


K said:


> 1) Help Syria to help yourself

These words take on a very particular meaning at a time when Lebanon is subjected to relentless terrorism and murder from Syria. In this context, the words are pure bullying. The reality on the ground is also reflected in the words of pro-regime Syrian fanatics, as evidenced here and elsewhere, as they threaten Lebanon, attempt to bully us, and rejoice in our losses and misfortunes.

Second, not all that is good for Syria is good for Lebanon. What Syria are we talking about here – the regime? Because Lebanon’s interests and those of the regime, are at complete odds. Lebanon’s interest is the eradication of this murderous regime.

If you are talking about Syria’s true interests, then yes, we have a match. It would be fantastic for Lebanon to have a prosperous, friendly, secular, democratic, progressive Syria as a friend and ally. I would love to find more good Syrians who agree with me on this. We can then work together to free Lebanon and Syria of tyranny. I know many personally. Many others post on this blog. And the greatest heroes of them all are being tortured in dark dungeons as we speak.

As you know, Lebanon has ALWAYS been a welcoming haven for Syrian dissidents, intellectuals, artists and authors as well as apolitical businesspeople, and those seeking a liberal lifestyle, plus minorities escaping persecution… Our free press, our economic structure, our lovely country as a whole is and has always been at available to them, with open arms. These are Syrians with whom we share common interests. Not the scum who support the regime and egg it on to continue and escalate its murderous policies.

And you will not find a single Lebanese around the world who does not wish to see the Golan liberated and returned to Syria. Firstly on the basis of simple justice. Second, it would decrease Syria’s pretext for meddling in Lebanon. Every Lebanese dreams that Syria’s goal is really the Golan, and that Syria will relinquish Lebanon when it gets the Golan. Conversely, every Lebanese fears that Syria cares little for the Golan and is really after Lebanon. If the Golan is liberated but Syrian violent meddling ensues, we will see the situation more clearly and understand that Syria is in fact a mortal enemy of Lebanon, and that Israel, the Golan, Palestine, etc were merely pretexts all along.

> 2) Everyone is using Lebanon
> 3) That’s how regional games are played … on the grounds of the
> smaller nations

I am anti-imperialist, I condemn all imperialisms. (You?) I condemn each and every exploiter of Lebanon, in the right time and place. When I lived in the US, I was a nonstop critic of US policies. Here in Canada, I am a vigilant critic of Canadian policies. This is a Syrian blog so I focus on Syria. If I did not speak out on Syrian tyranny, on what basis could I criticize Israeli crimes? None whatsoever. Those who are silent on Syrian crimes but make a lifetime of bashing Israel are despicable hypocrites.

I also condemn my fellow Lebanese for letting themselves be used in this way – while understanding Lebanon’s plight as a small, diverse, and vulnerable country surrounded by tyrants, occupiers and criminals, in a backward region of the world. I wish Lebanon’s political leaders would distance themselves from the US and Saudi Arabia, but I understand the extreme difficulty of such a proposition at a time when they are literally being killed off one after the other. Hopefully we can benefit from their aid, stand on our feet, then distance ourselves gradually from foreign sponsors.

Furthermore, all “users” are not equal. There was a time in my life when my fury was more focused on Israel. Today, Syria (with Iran) is the source of blood and terror in my country. No nation on Earth presents a more sustained, insidious and dangerous threat to Lebanon’s very existence and way of life, than Syria.

Your stance that Lebanon is a free-for-all because others also exploit us, is morally depraved. This is like saying “Everyone was gang-raping her, so I had a little go myself, why not?”


June 29th, 2007, 5:16 pm


ausamaa said:


We are heading there anyway. We shall see. Patience has its limits.


“Lebanon’s plight as a small, diverse, and vulnerable country surrounded by tyrants, occupiers and criminals, in a backward region of the world”

Is this out of an Israeli Embassy Propoganda sheet describing Israel’s “plight”?

June 29th, 2007, 5:43 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

حظر دخول مسؤولين سوريين ولبنانيين الولايات المتحدة
I do not think Assef shawkat plans to visit USA,anyway.

I think it is a mistake to escalate the rhetorics,between Syria and Lebanon,and it is wrong for Syria to close the border,esp. if it is more than one month, Syria needs HA, and must keep the status quo for another year, it is just like divorced couple,they are not going to get back togather,if they keep fighting, they need to settle their difference,and compromise.

June 29th, 2007, 6:30 pm


K said:

BASHAR’S THREATS TO BAN Ki-MOON REVEALED,1-0@2-3218,36-928936@51-912531,0.html

La rencontre a eu lieu le 24 avril, dans le palais présidentiel syrien, à Damas. Le maître des lieux, Bachar Al-Assad, est un dirigeant banni de la communauté internationale. Le complice de Téhéran dans l'”axe du Mal” défini par Washington, blâmé pour son influence néfaste en Irak et au Liban. Celui qu’on appelait le”Lionceau”, en référence au “Lion” Hafez, son père, est devenu le “mouton noir” du Proche-Orient. Mais ce jour-là, il reçoit un invité de marque : le secrétaire général des Nations unies, Ban Ki-moon, représentant de tous ces pays qui le rejettent.

De leur entretien d’une heure un quart n’ont été publiés que des communiqués laconiques. La visite a été qualifiée de “positive” par les deux hommes. Mais les “minutes” de cette rencontre, transcrites par un personnel de l’ONU, dont Le Monde a obtenu une copie, montrent une autre facette du président syrien : sûr de lui, conscient de “jouer” sur son territoire. Et il le fait sentir à son interlocuteur.

La situation en Irak et la persistance des violences sont abordées brièvement. Le Liban occupe l’essentiel de la conversation. M. Ban met en avant le “rôle important” que doit jouer la Syrie pour enrayer les divisions libanaises. Damas doit aussi encourager la création d’un Tribunal spécial pour juger les assassins de l’ex-premier ministre libanais, Rafic Hariri.

La réponse du président Assad est sans appel. “Au Liban, dit-il, les divisions et le confessionnalisme sont profondément ancrés depuis plus de trois cents ans. La société libanaise est très fragile. Elle a connu sa période la plus pacifique quand les forces syriennes y étaient présentes. De 1976 à 2005, le Liban était stable alors que, maintenant, y règne une grande instabilité.”

“Celle-ci, renchérit-il, s’aggravera si le Tribunal spécial est créé. Particulièrement, s'[il] est établi sous le chapitre VII [de la charte de l’ONU et qui renforce son caractère contraignant]. Cela pourrait facilement déchaîner un conflit qui dégénérerait en guerre civile, et provoquer des divisions entre sunnites et chiites de la Méditerranée jusqu’à la mer Caspienne. (…) Cela aura des conséquences graves, qui déborderont [les frontières du] Liban”, avertit-il.

Ce Tribunal spécial a été formellement créé – sous le chapitre VII – le 30 mai, lors du vote de la résolution 1757 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU.


La Syrie, souligne M. Assad, joue au Liban un “rôle constructif, contrairement aux Etats-Unis et à la France”, dont les “rôles sont destructeurs”.

Le ministre des affaires étrangères syrien, Walid Mouallem, intervient alors pour “critiquer durement, selon le rapport, l’ambassadeur américain au Liban, Jeff Feltman.” “Feltman devrait quitter le pays, lance-t-il. Et je suis prêt à lui payer des vacances à Hawaï.”

M. Ban enchaîne, plaidant pour le rétablissement des relations diplomatiques entre le Liban et la Syrie. “L’actuel gouvernement du Liban est illégal, répond M. Assad. Le peuple syrien hait le Mouvement du 14 mars [dirigé par Fouad Siniora]. [J’ai] essayé de parler à Siniora, mais c’est maintenant impossible. Néanmoins, si un gouvernement d’union nationale [réclamé par l’opposition libanaise] était formé, la Syrie pourrait revoir cette question.”

Le diplomate sud-coréen évoque ensuite ses craintes au sujet de la politique menée par l’Iran en matière nucléaire. “En tant qu’Oriental, vous devriez comprendre, lui rétorque Assad. L’Iran est une puissance et doit être reconnue comme telle. Ils ont la capacité de perturber l’ensemble du Moyen-Orient et au-delà. (…) Il n’y aura aucune évolution sur ce dossier tant que l’Occident ne reconnaîtra pas à l’Iran le droit à être une puissance nucléaire.”

La rencontre se conclut par les remerciements de M. Ban au président Assad, qui lui glisse : “Nous sommes dans l’œil du cyclone. Vous allez donc avoir besoin de rester en contact avec nous.”

June 29th, 2007, 6:32 pm


K said:


If another war between Lebanon and Israel is to be prevented, the traffic of Hezbollah arms and fighters across the Syrian-Lebanese border must be stopped. That’s been clear since the last round of fighting ended nine months ago and the job of monitoring the border went to the Lebanese Army, backed up by an expanded United Nations force….

That still leaves what is surely the most crucial need: cooperation rather than mischief from the Syrian side. Ever since Damascus pulled its troops back home — in the wake of the almost certainly Syrian-ordered assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister — Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has seemed determined to prevent Lebanon from reclaiming its full sovereignty.

Mr. Assad seems to believe that Syria’s international clout is strengthened by a well-armed Hezbollah and a Lebanon unable to control its borders. The Security Council needs to summon the will to convince him that he is wrong.


WHILE THE hapless West stands by, a Syrian campaign to retake Lebanon is unfolding as crudely as the plot of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.”

One by one, three anti-Syrian members of the Lebanese parliament have been murdered, reducing the majority of independent Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to a slim six seats. President Emile Lahoud, a puppet of Syria, and the pro-Syrian speaker, Nabih Berri, refuse to allow elections to be held to replace them. But that’s perhaps a moot point, as Berri hasn’t allowed the parliament to meet at all since last summer. The parliament should have elected a new president in 2004, but under Syrian threat, then-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri — in whose subsequent murder Damascus is also implicated — extended Lahoud’s term three more years. Now the parliament must elect a new president by September, and Damascus and its allies rightly fear that the current body will not anoint another Syrian lapdog. There can be no benign interpretation of the latest assassinations….

Although this page has endorsed engagement with Syria, there can be no compromise on the work of the tribunal, which is as vital as any war crimes tribunal. And there can be no retreat from Lebanon’s right to sovereignty.,0,6941166.story?coll=la-home-commentary

June 29th, 2007, 6:39 pm


Thomas said:


June 29th, 2007, 8:20 pm


Ford Prefect said:

You have forgotten to press the “Caps Lock” key when you typed your masterpiece comment above. You will easily find that key right above the “Shift” key and to the left of the “A” key on your keyboard.

Also, the myth indicates 72 virgins, not 20; and they are certainly not ugly according to all the myths covering this subject.

Otherwise, with some training, vitamins, and anti-itch crème, your brain can certainly blossom.

June 29th, 2007, 8:34 pm


why-discuss said:

“Today, Syria (with Iran) is the source of blood and terror in my country. No nation on Earth presents a more sustained, insidious and dangerous threat to Lebanon’s very existence and way of life, than Syria.”
Can you explain to me why for all the lebanese shias and many christians living in Lebanon, the US and Israel are the ‘bloodthirsty, insidious and dangerous” threat while Syria and Iran are the friends. It seems that you and the anti-syrian lobby is doing a bad job with your fellow citizens.

June 29th, 2007, 8:46 pm


t_desco said:

For the record:

Al-Hayat reports that the Saudi explosives expert of the Bar Elias cell, Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Meghamis, has admitted links to Ismail al-Khatib as well as to at least one of the leaders of Fatah al-Islam.

June 29th, 2007, 8:48 pm


why-discuss said:


You made a translation mistake, i guess, or else

The title of the Monde article you refer to is:
“Dialogue de sourds entre Bachar Al-Assad et Ban Ki-moon” which means ” Dialogs of deafs between Bachar al-Assad and Ban Ki-Moon” and not what you wrote “Threats to Ban-Ki Moon revealed”
Your interpretation shows your bias.

June 29th, 2007, 8:54 pm


ausamaa said:


“it is just like divorced couple,they are not going to get back togather,if they keep fighting, they need to settle their difference,and compromise.”

But not if that slut of a WIFE has been sleeping with every one who knocks on their appartment door while they are seperated..

June 29th, 2007, 9:24 pm


Alex said:


I know you are a very decent man (woman?)… but I hope you get down to our level, savage Syrians, so that you can listen and understand.


Why? … here on this forum we exchange news items, we try to analyze events, we try to predict sometimes what will happen, and some of you like to make statements condemning certain actions.

You are upset because I was “analyzing” instead of condemning Syrian actions?

I’ll tell you why Syrians are at this point mostly supporters of their regime, because:

1) The US administration
2) The Saudis (some of them at least)
3) Saad Hariri
4) the Kuwaiti Assyssa
5) Mr. Chirac
6) Israel

All the above went way too far in condemning any thing “Syria” did not do that would get the approval of mother theresa…

And then they invented bad news for Syria on a daily basis!

In the mean time …the administration caused hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq .. While Israel sprayed Lebanon with a million bombs … The Saudis abused human rights and women’s rights and minority rights and armed every wahabi lunatic group they could find, while the Egyptians rounded up thousands of political prisoners, while Chirac tried to convince Israel to invade Syria, and while Jumblatt called for US invasion of Syria and for assassinating the Syrian president

Habibi K … we have had enough with this bloody joke. Don’t expect us to concentrate on criticizing Syria exclusively … the biggest danger on the lives of people in the Middle East is not coming from Syria … you won’t believe it because you are brain washed with all the invented stories that the Hariri group and their friends paid to get published.

You know, since you live in Canada … remember to hold your judgment of what “Syria” did and who Syria killed in Lebanon the past few years .. until you have something we call in Canada “a proof” … How many people can you prove that Syria killed in your country since it withdrew in 2005? … none!

If we follow your approach (suspicion instead of proof) then we would by now boycott the Russians because we are sure that the KGB ordered the assassination attempt on the late pope, and we would hate all non-catholic Americans because they supposedly killed president Kennedy …

Please … don’t mix fiction with reality, keep some balance, and calm down.

I will say it only once: Although you are a good person, YOU are not as noble as you like to think … not even close. But this is none of my business, we are here to learn from each other, not to judge each other and get angry at each other.

June 29th, 2007, 9:41 pm


ausamaa said:

Right Alex,

But that slut of a wife ( in MAJEDKHALDOUN divorced couple example)still needs to be taken care of… the sooner the better..

June 29th, 2007, 9:49 pm


Qifa Nabki said:


If you’re going to be fair in your role as a moderator, you should also inform AUSAMAA that his chatter has become offensive. If G’s “regime agent” refrain is objectionable, then surely AUSAMMA’s references to Lebanon as a whore and a slut deserve to be muzzled.

June 29th, 2007, 10:12 pm


Qifa Nabki said:


Nobody is calling you a savage Syrian. The single point of contention here is the regime and its actions, particularly in relation to Lebanon. You tirelessly reiterate the terrible deeds of the Americans, Saudis, Israelis, Egyptians, etc. and their proxies in Lebanon, but we seldom hear *any* criticism of Syria from you, let alone a discourse which “concentrate[s] on criticizing Syria exclusively.”

If you are the progressive liberal that you say you are [and I think you are] then where is the criticism of your own leadership? I am not fond of any of Lebanon’s leaders with the exception of a thoughtful few. My ideal candidate for prez/PM would combine the shrewdness and charisma of Nasrallah with the ambitiousness of Hariri (RIP), and the integrity of … hmmm… I’ll have to get back to you on that one. Al-muhim: I’m happy to dish out the criticism for our leaders. Do you know why? Because I’m Lebanese. Complaining and speaking out about the failings of our leadership is a Lebanese national sport (sometimes a contact sport). Why can’t we expect a squeak of protest from you? Instead, it’s a discourse of absolute conviction in the crimes of all of Syria’s neighbors, and a relativistic, sterile discourse of geopolitical interests when it comes to Syria, peppered with a healthy dose of “allegedlys” and “supposedlys”.

And on this last point, this is what truly enrages supporters of the tribunal. You want proof, but you reject the means to arrive at this proof. Of course, in your view these means are flawed; they are only a means to a pre-arranged indictment of Syria. But what is the alternative? What would satisfy you?

June 29th, 2007, 10:33 pm


Alex said:

Qifa Nabki,

Please note that I started deleting G’s “regime agent” after he wrote it over a 300 times… about three times per day for few months now.

But since everyone wants to hold Syrians accountable to higher moral standards than the rest of the Middle East, Ausamma please do not use that kind of language again… you already said it about four or five times this week.

But seriously … can we have an agreement?

1) Syrians stop insulting Lebanon and the Lebanese people
2) Lebanese stop calling Syrians murderers and thugs and evil and killers …

Are all of you willing to stick to facts and to opinions based on proven facts?

June 29th, 2007, 10:44 pm


Alex said:

Qifa Nabki (part II)

You are right. I agree with your criticism.

Honestly, I like Syria’s regional role… not every single action or decision they took, but overall it is my favorite from among all the others. Besides, I am trying to balance the crazy PR campaign that they are feeding us everyday … since presidents Bush and Chirac are always ready to go on TV to talk about every Syrian who goes to jail for his political views, then I don’t want to repeat anything that those idiots are saying.

But I write emails in private to some decent people in Syria to ask for the release of those prisoners. That is less damaging than joining the public American/French Saudi press campaign for human rights in Syria.

I really am not into making statements about what is right and what is wrong … I am not an authority .. my statements carry zero weight.

If you want me to criticize them, then please read my piece next week (July 7th) on the Creative Forum’s second discussion topic .. Reform in Syria.

I will criticize everything I do not like. There is a lot to criticize… but its mostly internal policies.

June 29th, 2007, 10:54 pm


G said:

2) Lebanese stop calling Syrians murderers and thugs and evil and killers …

A lie, as always. I have called the REGIME murderers and evil thugs, which is what they are. You want to support them and defend them, that makes you one of them. But I never said the “Syrians” are evil, etc.

In fact, that itself is a regime ploy which you also follow, because you support them.

June 29th, 2007, 11:57 pm


why-discuss said:

An interesting review of the Lebanese situation
Lebanon’s Agony
By Max Rodenbeck
The New-York book Review

“This country is like a cake. On the top it is cream. Underneath it is fire.” So a Hezbollah spokesman told me last June, speaking in the shabby Beirut apartment that served as the party’s press office until an avalanche of Israeli ordnance leveled the building, along with the surrounding neighborhood, in the war that flared a few weeks later. Intimated as a bit of finger-wagging local wisdom, the clumsy metaphor seemed hackneyed at the time….,

June 30th, 2007, 12:49 am


Qifa Nabki said:

Happy to abide by the new arrangements.

Habibi, yislamle hal 3ayntayn; uTlub wa-tmanna, to2borne inshallah.


June 30th, 2007, 1:27 am


Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

Since you are so fond of Ha’aretz, I thought I’d treat you to an interesting article I found there:

Mubarak: Olmert should ‘forget about’ talks with Saudi officials

By Reuters

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who called in April for a regional conference with Arab leaders, should “forget about” holding talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah.

In an interview with Israeli television, a transcript of which was published by Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper, Mubarak said circumstances in conservative Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, prevented the Saudi monarch meeting Olmert.

“Forget about meeting with the king… The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has circumstances that differ from those of any other state. They have holy lands and men of religion,” Mubarak said.

The cavemen are afraid to leave the cave.

June 30th, 2007, 2:02 am


Alex said:

(we just missed the last elections).

June 30th, 2007, 4:30 am


Alex said:


You know, yes … I think I read Haaretz before I read anything else in the morning.

As for that Mubarak quote … I can not disagree with him at all.

Saudi Arabia is a nation in transition … there are the MIT Ph.D. Saudis, and there are the scary Wahabis. Predicting how the Kingdom will act is like flipping a coin.

As for peace with Israel (careful, here comes my Syria P.R.) … I can’t see the Saudi rulers risking being perceived like American tools by being the first to visit Israel, or sign a peace treaty with Israel. Getting to Saudi Arabia will require you to make peace with either Syria or the Palestinians (the “hard liners”)… THEN the Saudi rulers will have a good excuse to go for it … Remember the first Gulf War? … President Bush Sr. and Jim Baker were convinced from day 1 that they need Hafez Assad’s approval and participation if they were to assemble the coalition they needed to fight Iraq … an Arab country.

June 30th, 2007, 4:46 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Mehlis stayed in Lebanon six month,trying to investigate Hariri killing,then he returned to germany,and found his wife pregnant three month,he started his investigations,the initial report is that he suspect syria behind that.

June 30th, 2007, 4:52 am


Alex said:

And I just checked Haaretz today, here is a Haaretz backup for my argument about the type of serious damage that is coming from Lebanon… damage to Syria, and to the whole Middle East. AND about how peace with Syria is a prerequisite to peace with the rest of the Arab world.

G, you might want to check if Haaretz editors are also Syrian regime agents… because they are saying exactly the same thing!

On Israel’s northern border, roles have been reversed: We used to need a Syrian arrangement for peace with Lebanon; now we need a Lebanese arrangement for peace with Syria. That was the message from the Bush-Olmert meeting. The American president will apparently cling to the Cedar Revolution until Lebanon resembles Iraq, there will be no serious U.S. engagement with Syria and therefore no Israeli-Syrian peace process. But the appearance of Al-Qaida-inspired Fatah al-Islam in Tripoli and the Jund al-Sham and Usbat al-Ansar in Sidon should focus minds in Jerusalem.

The political stand-off in Lebanon and potential for escalation and collapse is regionally destabilizing. Here, too, a political deal that recognizes the Lebanese reality should be brokered, and if Jerusalem needs to explain this to Washington, so be it. While Lebanon will certainly not be handed back to Syria, all sides will have to swallow hard and reach an ugly compromise, including on the Hariri tribunal.

Discussions with Syria will not only have an impact on the Golan and on Hezbollah’s options, but also facilitate movement on the Palestinian track and effect Hamas’ calculations – helping to create a positive and mutually re-enforcing regional trend. Israel would then also be in a position to reap benefits from the Arab League initiative.

Wanted: An Israeli school of realism

June 30th, 2007, 5:01 am


THOMAS said:



June 30th, 2007, 5:57 am


ausamaa said:

OK Alex, no problem,

Feb 14 Lebanon is a very faithful and honorable lady.

June 30th, 2007, 6:27 am


Alex said:

And the two of you will go see a marriage councilor? : )

June 30th, 2007, 6:51 am


ausamaa said:

Do you think Whoever divorced her would ever want to get trapped back with her again?

June 30th, 2007, 7:34 am


Alex said:

As I said, in 10 years I think you will learn to be more understanding of her (plus you will be richer and more trendy).

She will be more appreciative of your irreplaceable role in her life, and you will go back to each other

: )

Ok, enough of that! … time for me to go to sleep.


June 30th, 2007, 7:46 am


SimoHurtta said:

The cavemen are afraid to leave the cave.

Do you Akbar mean by cavemen Israelis or Saudis? Do you mean by cavemen those bearded men, of whom Haaretz told some months ago, who in groups beat women in buses? Or maybe those bearded settlers, of whom Haaretz told, who run around disgracing Arab graveyards and trying to block Palestinians harvesting their own olive trees?

Haaretz is one of the few things Israel can be proud of. Haaretz publishes such stories about modern days Israel not even Finnish papers would not dare to publish. Why, well because the Israeli embassy and a part of local Jewish population would at once begin their normal loud anti-Semitism crying (not because that the stories are not true, but because such scandalous truths should not told to westerners).

There is also one big difference with Haaretz and Finnish newspapers. Haaretz allows in its internet edition such reader comments which Nordic papers would / could never allow. If somebody would write such racist and threatening comments about Arabs here in the North, as some Israeli and their extreme supporters write, he/she and editor in chief would to make a “Paris Hilton holiday”.

June 30th, 2007, 7:50 am


t_desco said:

Nabil Rahim’s links to the Abu Samra cell:

Sheikh Dai al-Islam al-Shahal “agreed with earlier reports that the militants killed belonged to a “nameless” group led by a man called Nabil Rahim, who has disappeared since the incident. Shahal said he knew Rahim well.

“Rahim has naturally disappeared from sight, but he never wanted this to happen. He just gathered some youths around him,” said Shahal.

“Nabil had a Lebanese group. I do not know how foreigners came to be part of his group – they could have been introduced to the group by other members,” he added.

Shahal said Rahim’s group and other Sunni militants were arming themselves either in anticipation of a possible security vacuum after the Syrian withdrawal and last year’s summer war with Israel, or to fulfill what they see as a religious duty to have weapons.”
The Daily Star (June 26, 2007)

See also these reports by Ad-Diyar (June 25, 2007) and by Al-Kifah Al-Arabi (June 29, 2007). The latter also speaks of a link to the Bekaa cell.

Nabil Rahim also features prominently in this four-part series by Al-Akhbar (April 1-4, 2007) on al-Qa’ida in Lebanon which begins with an account of his narrow escape when Bassam Hammoud/Abu Bakr was arrested on Jeddah airport.

I am still looking for a source regarding the claim of a link between Nabil Rahim and Ahmed Abu Adass. The Ad-Diyar article which I quoted earlier only stated that he was arrested (and tortured) in connection with the Hariri investigation. Ad-Diyar is not a very reliable source, but it is possible that he was detained, for example, as one of the “usual suspects” (in the Casablanca sense). A direct link to Abu Adass would be extremely significant, obviously, but at the moment, based on the information that is publicly available, such a link does not seem very probable. However, we don’t know any details about the material “of a fundamentalist Islamic nature” (Mehlis) found on Adass’ computer or about the “extremist groups” (Brammertz) at the Al-Huri mosque frequented by him.

June 30th, 2007, 12:07 pm


Ford Prefect said:

T_Desco, very interesting posting and analysis above. We are lucky to have you around. Thanks!

June 30th, 2007, 2:36 pm


Ghassan said:

Since Hafez Assad had his coup and we hear that Syria wants to have the Golan Height returned to it.

But what did Syria do in the last 30 years to regain the Golan? Nothing! Actually, they did but occupying Lebanon for 26 years!!!

If you want the Golan back, start a military resistance IN THE GOLAN NOT LEBANON!!!!!!!!!

June 30th, 2007, 3:31 pm


Alex said:


This point has been raised a million times but I will try to answer you again, although with your “!!!!!!!!” I doubt you are willing to listen.

Syria’s leaders have three possible options

1) Sign a peace treaty with Israeli that recovers the eastern part of the Golan only.

If they did, they Syrian people will not let it happen. Compromising over the Golan’s full return will be an unforgivable sin. Then, they will be the joke of the neighborhood. They will be reminded that Sadat “the traitor” managed to get all of Egypt’s lands back. Basically, going for a weak peace deal with Israel will lead to bigger trouble for the region, and not only for Syria.

2) Go to war hoping to recover the Golan:

Unfortunately, one way or the other, Lebanon will most likely be part of this “Golan” war war that will be much bigger than last summer’s war. I doubt that Syria and ISrael will sign a gentlemen’s agreement to not involve the close-by Lebanese territories in such a war… and, did I mention that Hizballah will surely call for its soldiers and its population to take part in this war?

You think Lebanon can be isolated from Syria if this war started in the Golan?

3) continue today’s strategy that you hate. But you know, this strategy does not need to go forever. It already seems to be working! …

But it is your M14 group who are Lebanon’s worst enemy because THEY are doing their best to put pressure (through begging, craying and issuing Michael Young style “warnings” to scare the freedom loving Americans) on the US administration and on France to not talk to Syria, and to not allow Israel to talk to Syria! .. Forget peace in the Middle East! .. what the people of the Middle East need the most urgently is revenge for Hariri’s assassination!

Don’t like my words?… Here, again is the opinion that you can read today from a frustrated Haaretz Israeli journalist:

On Israel’s northern border, roles have been reversed: We used to need a Syrian arrangement for peace with Lebanon; now we need a Lebanese arrangement for peace with Syria. That was the message from the Bush-Olmert meeting. The American president will apparently cling to the Cedar Revolution until Lebanon resembles Iraq, there will be no serious U.S. engagement with Syria and therefore no Israeli-Syrian peace process.

Helping Syria regain its Golan Heights back is the shortest and best way for your vindictive M14 leaders to help Lebanon. They don’t have to do anything really … just shut up and stay away from International politics … let Syria sign the dignified peace treaty it is trying hard to achieve.

But of course, it is more fun for an M14 leader to be received like a celebrity at some international meeting in Paris where you can see your pictures with European and American leaders in tomorrow’s newspapers. They will continue to “help” Lebanon’s cause by trying to create as much obstacles to Syrian Israeli peace as is possible.

June 30th, 2007, 4:44 pm


3antar said:

Its irrelevant what role Lebanon plays in retrieving the Golan.
Simply because Lebanon shouldn’t be involved in the first place. This is a Syrian – Israeli affair.
Peace negotiations with Israel should be conducted without any Lebanese involvement. The Syrian government is responsible for regaining the Golan. Full stop. Not the Syrian people. How? That’s not for the average Syrian Abu 3abdo to concoct. Its for the government.
Could Syria go to war with Israel? Thanks to the Baath party, the answer is no. Syrian military is in such dire state that Syria could only flex its muscles against or via disadvantaged militarily government, vis-a-vi Lebanon.
Against a modern army such as Israel’s? no chance. The Baathists in Damascus like to boast and fill everyone’s confidence with hot air, nothing more.

Long story short, after 30 years, what have the Baathists have to show for it? People have the right to demand and ask. Peace treaty is translated by Syrians as surrender. Facing the reality after all these years of rationing, rhetorical (vacant) speeches, and Arabism (as if), we are still backward and should just accept whats being dashed out. Peace or not. That’s fine. Bas el 3atab 3al ras el kbeereh. Who’s responsible and what is he or they prepared to do about it? by negotiating a slow and arduous return of the Golan. it could be partial, over 5 years, demilitarized zone… who’s putting conditions on who here? The subjects have the right to demand their governments to deliver. Perhaps thats true if the governments were voted in. In this case, Syrians have no right to demand anything since didnt they really didnt vote anyone into office. Its a bloody monarchy.

June 30th, 2007, 6:08 pm


Alex said:


– When it comes to settlement with Israel, I assure you the Syrian government is very much sensitive to what Syrians will support or oppose. The same way the Saudi king would not appear on TV with a vodka drink in his hand even though he is the ultimate authority in his country who can, theoretically, do whatever he wants.

– Since the early 90’s Syria has been doing the right thing … trying to reach a peaceful settlement … Rabin was assassinated, Barak got cold feet … then 9/11 took place and the American Administration adopted Neocon strategies … Syria was next, no matter what (ask general Clark)… I don’t think Bashar made any strategic mistakes.

– I think some of you here really do not understand what going to war against Israel means …. Syria is not Hizbollah. Last summer’s war was started by Israel and it was an offensive war (from Israel’s side) … There was no existential threat to Israel there. So the war was stopped by Israel a month later.

BUT if Syria was as powerful militarily as you would have wanted it to be, and if it did launch a successful war on Israel … what do you think Israel would have done?

We can’t read the future, but we can remember the past and learn from it… What did Israel do when Syria initially did very well in the 1973 war?

They prepared their nuclear weapons to be used in case Syria and Egypt continued doing well.

Remember that Moshe Dayan was a dove compared to today’s Israeli leaders.

Tell me again … what are Syria’s options?

Lebanon does not need to help Syria get the Golan back .. all it has to do is not work hard lobbying America and Europe and Israel to boycott Syria.

June 30th, 2007, 7:46 pm


EHSANI2 said:

My friend Alex,

Do you really think that the Bush Administration’s policy towards Syria is contingent on whether the Lebanese politicians are lobbying for or against Syria?

For 30 years, what Lebanese politicians said or did not say to American Administrations hardly mattered.

This is a much bigger geopolitical issue than the lobbying of politicians or the writings of M. Young.

This is an epic confrontation between Iran and the US/Israel. Syria made a strategic choice to continue to side with Iran when it comes to the regional game of chess. Syria and its leadership will now have to live with the consequences of this decision.

The Syrian peace overtures towards Israel have largely been regarded as an opportunistic tactic to ease off the pressure that Damascus finds itself in with the tribunal. The U.S. is well aware that sanctioning such talks will entail wiping the past and starting with a new page. It is clear that the White House is not ready to do this.

The U.S. botched it in Iraq. It will try very hard to do better in Lebanon. Were it to lose a country of four million people with close to half of its population supporting it, then one can argue that the U.S. does not have a chance in this region. This may ultimately happen. But, this administration will not give up this easily.

June 30th, 2007, 9:54 pm


K said:


Now you are blaming M14 for blocking a peace deal between Syria and Israel? This is just crazy, brother. I think your paranoia is far out of proportion to reality. It’s not M14 who have an exaggerated view of their role in the world – it’s you who has a wildly unrealistic perception of the power and influence of M14! How, when and where did M14 express an interest in blocking such a deal, and even if that’s what we wanted, what power to we have to do that?

Our real fear is that Lebanon will be a sacrificial lamb in some grand bargain between Syria and the US, like the one between Bush I and Asad I, which was a Nazi-Soviet pact with Lebanon as Poland. But of course, this is probably a dream come true for you, because you are under the impression that the era of Syrian tyranny in Lebanon was a Golden Age of Love and Happiness! It was a hellish period, my friend, during which dozens of people from my family alone abandoned Lebanon in heartbreak, and emigrated to the West, including many who had remained in Lebanon throughout nearly 2 decades of civil war…

Our real fear, grounded in reality, is that Syria interprets overtures from the West as an opportunity to assert itself in Lebanon. We pay a price in blood for every visit by a foreign dignitary to Syria! Tell me, if Syria stopped battering Lebanon and seeking to dominate us through violence, why on Earth would we object to anyone talking to Syria? I second the LA Times editorial I pasted above: Engagement with Syria, yes, but not over Lebanon’s dead body! Promise us that our rights will be guaranteed, then engage to your heart’s content.

We are like a little child who says “Please, don’t forget about me” while the major powers decide our fate. This is the meaning behind Big Bad Michael Young’s editorials. “Please don’t make a deal at the expense of Lebanon. Please remember Lebanon, and consider the consequences your actions will have on Lebanon.” We have no power, no interest, and no desire in stopping Syria from regaining its rightful territory, the Golan. All we can do is beg to be remembered. Our dream deal is Syria gets the Golan and reliquinshes Lebanon. Find me one Lebanese on Earth who would object to this!

Sadly, this is not your goal, Alex. You do not want to relinquish Lebanon and acquire the Golan. You want the Golan AND Lebanon. You frame the concept more humanely and more positively than street thugs like Ausamaa, and I appreciate that. But you are still proposing something anathema to the Lebanese people – a nightmare.

What has the world come to when Syrians actually and truly feel victimzed by Lebanon (and I think you really believe it) – a complete inversion of reality. Maybe it’s a psychological necessity for you to justify Syria’s actions. You convince yourself that Lebanon is the one threatening Syria, and that eases your conscience? Then you can blame us for our “stupidity” while we are getting killed.

And, when you are challenged by Akbar Palace (the Israeli stands up for Lebanon!) as to how Lebanon has ever posed a threat to Syria, your only support for this paranoia is that we lobbied foreign powers to please defend us from Syrian aggression, and “Jumblat called for Bashar’s assassination”. Now I am not a follower of Jumblat but this is a guy who has been on the Syrian hitlist for 2.5 years now, who is hiding for his life in a fortress, whose father was killed by Syria, and whose #2 (Marwan Hmadeh) barely survived a Syrian assassination attempt, and who will be killed eventually, I believe, and he believes the same. And many of you will rejoice at his death, while at the same time accusing Israel, Ja’ja’, Lahd etc.

Wake up brother.

June 30th, 2007, 9:59 pm


K said:


Your words are a breath of fresh air.

June 30th, 2007, 10:01 pm


Alex said:


Let’s take it one point at a time, and let us both get out of it, we will stick to facts my friend.

1) If today’s Haaretz opinion piece agrees with me in everything I mentioned that you are seeing as a paranoid Syrian perspective. Are they also paranoid? go back to the quote I selected and read it slowly … Tell me what does it say?

2) I have a problem with your wild accusations .. if I quote Jumblatt promising to oner day kill the Syrian president you brush it off as just a poor Lebanese just asking to live peacefully, tehn you come up with an alleged Syrian threat to kill Jumblatt over the past 2.5 years! … and then you want me to accept YOUR Hariri and Saudi press version of events? .. and to disvcuss the Middle East based on STUPIDITIES?

Habibi K … I’m sorry to remind you that Hariri’s pen in his pocket that Chirac gave him and that recorded Bashar’s threat to him was an invention! … and that the four Lebanese officers who have been in jail for years did not “admit everything” .. and their meetings in that apartment to plan the crime was an invention … and that the bomb that killed Hariri that was supposed to be planted underground by Syrian intelligence turned out to be a bomb in a truck driven by a suicidal driver … and that “Syria is implicated in Hariri’s kiling” that many newspapers still repeat refers to the two testimonies by the two idiots Husam Husam and Saddiq! … who France is hiding now because it is so embarrassed to admit the fiasco that Mehlis produced! … there is nothing that proves Syria killed a single Lebanese the past few years!

Please forgive me if I shake my head when you want to base your whole analysis on “Syria is killing everyone in Lebanon” while it is only YOUR politicians who are on the record threatening Syria and calling for US invasion of Syria.

Ehsani: Again you are reading me as if I was you, with a 180 degree difference in opinion.

Did I blame Lebanon for everything? did I say that the US has no strategic positions in the Middle East to defend?

Why do you insist on making my comments sound comical by taking them to an extreme knowing very well that I hate extremes?

The M14’s efforts are part (not a zero, not 100%) of the anti-Syria group … Every time Seniora or Jumblat meet with with some Neocons they not only give them more ideas, but they also give them “moral” backing for their foolish policies … you know, that THe Neocons are really trying to help the Lebanese Democracy to survive against Syrian tyranny …

There is also the influence of many of our wonderful “Arab moderates” who in the past supported the Muslim Brotherhood with everything they needed to terrorize Syria for years. Today, as we heard from many sources (Israeli and American) some of our Arab brothers supported the Israeli war on Lebanon and some wanted Syria to be hit as well.

So, you have a president Bush who has no idea what the Middle East is made of, who has a strong vice president who knows exactly what he wanted few years ago, but it ain’t working too well. Ther is pressure on him (Baker etc) to talk to Syria … but he really does not want to. So here comes Jumblatt to re-inforce his old strategy (stay the course!), then comes a certain Saudi prince to tell him to stay the course.

When all these smart Middle Easterners support you, it becomes easier for you to go to Baker and tell him … look! … the Saudis and the Lebanese and the Jordanians are all telling us that we are on the right track!

Where is Joshua … he has a thing or two to tell you about how these things are really making a difference in a totally divided and totally lost administration that HAD a strategy but is not sure anymore today what to do.

At least Chirac is gone now. He did a lot of damage to the possibility of peace talks taking place.


June 30th, 2007, 10:47 pm


K said:

We come back to this game where, one one hand, Syria’s actions in Lebanon are justified as “strength”, “time is on our side”, “Syria cannot be ignored”… and on the other hand, Syria’s authorship of the war against M14 is denied. (Similar to the game played by pro-Syrians in Lebanon where, one one hand, they rejoice and give each other high-fives for the murder of their M14 enemies, and on the other hand, they deny responsibility).

So let me ask you: what steps has Syria has taken against M14, in your opinion?

Let’s agree that M14’s steps against Syria are: political struggle to disarm Hizballa which complicates Syria’s desire to use Lebanon for proxy battles against Israel, lobbying world powers for UN troops to separate Hizballa and Israel in S.Lebanon and to patrol the Syrian border to stop the smuggling of arms and weapons, political and media support for Syrian dissidents, and a rhetorical/media attack against the Syrian dictatorship. I’ll even throw in “serving as a political cover for the neocons to dress up their fight for US strategic interests in the Mideast as a struggle to protect democracies (etc)”. (Anything else?)

Now, please tell me what steps Syria has taken against M14.

June 30th, 2007, 11:14 pm


Alex said:


I will tell you about Syria’s efforts in Lebanon. But you need to know that the Syrians know very well that some 20 to 30% of the Lebanese people either hate them or at least completely dislike them and do not trust them. So Syria does not imagine that it will go back to Lebanon, or that it will push its agenda against your will.

Syria hopes to see Aoun And Salim Hoss types in power .. that’s the maximum it hopes to achieve in Lebanon over the next 5 years at least (if not more)… and they are not Syrian puppets as you know. But they are very reasonable and they are acceptable to a majority of Lebanese.

Please remember that Hafez Assad did not annex Lebanon, Bashar withdrew 60% of the Syrian army by 2005. So they are not into taking everything but rather into making small changes at a time and seeing if people do not rebel against those changes.

Although I do not know anything about this issue, but I would not be surprised if Syria rearmed Hizbollah, either directly, or by facilitating shipments by sea from third parties.

What else did they do to the M14 group? … political support to the opposition… coordination on how to make life difficult for the M14 group… not through killing them (we really do not know who is doing those things, despite your strong opinion) but through the Aoun HA Frangieh actions that you know.

So, there is nothing illegal, but rearming HA, if it was true.

If the M14 group moved to a truly neutral policy on Syria Syria has no need to take revenge from them. The Syrians will never talk to Jumblatt I know, but they can live with the rest … like Hariri.

But I honestly don’t think this is possible … new elections in Lebanon will be the way out. It is not for Syria’s sake (although it would help) it is to allow everyone to know their real support. I wish you can do a referendum as well … there are many issues where politicians (from both sides) assume or pretend that they have the support of “the Lebanese people”.

June 30th, 2007, 11:57 pm


K said:

> So, there is nothing illegal, but rearming HA, if it was true.

That’s a good start. Let’s take it from here.

The majority of the Lebanese people are against this (personal estimate: 60-70%) and M14 has taken steps to counter it: We asked the world for UN troops to monitor the border with Syria. Syria of course opposes this step and expressed itself in strong terms on this matter.

What was Syria’s counter-step?

July 1st, 2007, 12:28 am


majedkhaldoun said:

it would take 40-50 thousand UN troops to monitor the border between Syria and lebanon,it is not practical,no country will send troops,and UN does not have the money for this,even monitoring the border with sofisticated equipments will fail,
The lebanese ,they do not control their destiny,not in the past nor in the future,
HA , after 1701, is no longer a threat to Isreal,unless it starts causing trouble to the UINFIL,Syria must depend on Hamas in the west bank,if proxy war is to continue.
what Syria wants from lebanon is not te get it back,or fight Isreal, it is to get rid of the tribunal,which they consider as their worst trouble,so they want to get rid of Hariri,and Seniora ,the christians are NOT Syria’s enemy,and they must understand gaining the Goaln Height,is not their priority, it is for public consumption only, the regime will never fight for it.

July 1st, 2007, 1:10 am


trustquest said:

It is nice to have a pool of ideas and thoughts and even different views in discussion. I wished the Syrian regime had free press so he can develop his thoughts and use the brilliant brains in the country and rid it selves from the outdated monolithic thinking. Unfortunately, we hear on this form some appreciation to this type of thinking. Also, it is nice to hear wise voices every now and then with little to say on this forum, which clearly value diversity. Ehansi, your comment is like the icing on the cake.

Thank you

July 1st, 2007, 2:21 am


norman said:

K ,
I have an idea for you , I feel you pain from this terror harbouring Syria , You should close the border with Syria and decalre Syria an enemy state ,
I tried to convince Syria to that and get rid of all of Lebanese but Syria keeps looking after Lebanon no mater how mean and hatefull you guyes are.

July 1st, 2007, 3:05 am


Alex said:


I agree that when it comes to re-arming HA, probably a majority of Lebanese does not approve. And I’ll agree that there is a good chance that Syria is still doing that which, in theory, supports your position that Syria is interfereing in your country’s affairs.

But this is where is gets complicated… because in practice, this re-supply of missiles (if it is indeed taking place) does not change anything in terms of the internal balance of power. If Hizbollah lost a portion of its missiles during the last war and Syria tried to replenish that supply back to, say 20,000 missiles … what difference does it make to you? if Hizbollah ONLY had the remaining 13,000 missiles would that make it weaker in relation to Jeajea and Jumblatt for example?

Those extra missiles (such as the latest anti-tank missiles) are good for destroying Israeli tanks that occasionally invade your country. They are not going to be used against Seniora’s palace… Hizbollah’s existing 13,000 missiles and their fierce fighters would have had more than enough power to overthrough any Lebanese government in a day or two if they wanted to… or, in your way of seeing things, if Syria wanted them to.

So while Syria might be cooperating with some Lebanese factions and sending them weapons, those are NOT meant to overthrow the M14 anti-Syria government, they are meant to be part of the regional conflict … Lebanon can not be out of that conflict, regardless of what Syria does. There are many Lebanese who want to continue playing the nationalistic role… Syria did not force them to do so.

Please think twice before you believe that Syria is killing members of parliament so that they lose the majority … that majority is not going to disappear through assassinations. You really think Nasrallah and Aoun will one day say “oh look! … after the last ten assassinations, now it seems we have the majority!”

They are not that silly and they are not that desperate. And Syria is not that stupid and not that “thuggish”… a one-day overthrow of the government would have been faster and less torturous than this slow assassinations campaign that is gaining Syria more enemies in Lebanon with every new assassination.

July 1st, 2007, 4:10 am


EHSANI2 said:

My dear friend Alex,

I did not try to make your comments comical by taking them to an extreme. My attempt was to highlight that America’s strategic choices in the region today stand in contrast to those of Syria.

Jumblatt and others in his camp have made it clear that they would like to see the Syrian leadership lose power in Damascus. It would not surprise me if the so-called Arab moderates share those same feelings, though they may choose not to be as vocal as Jumblatt to be sure.

Why are they doing this?

Because they feel threatened. Syria’s increasing strategic shift towards Iran has made it very difficult for the Arab regimes to continue to argue in favor of Syria’s stands. This shift of sentiment has not been restricted to one or two parties in the region. Indeed, it has been almost wholesale in nature. It is Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others.

The leadership in Damascus ought not have been surprised by the shifting sands in the region. It is well aware that Iran’s increased influence in the region sends shivers down the spines of most Arab regimes. When you sign a full defense treaty with that country, you cannot expect the rest of the Arab world to pretend that business is as usual.


You seem to believe that the leadership in Damascus has made the correct calls when it comes to picking its partners and foes. I am more skeptical of the choices and the strategic decisions that have been made. History will judge who is right. In the meantime, we must not be surprised at the regional reaction to our country. You may argue that our leaders had no choice but to react this way once they saw the neocon’s plots to take them down. Again, call me a skeptic. Where you have blind trust in the ability of the leadership to play this regional chess game, I wonder if the continued losses of its pieces has not rendered it too weak and isolated to put the good fight. Again, only the history books will resolve the answer to this question.

By deciding to actively sabotage American interests in this critical region, Syria has taken on a monumental task. The only way for it to have a chance in this confrontation was to get into a catholic-type marriage with Iran. This has certainly made it harder for its foes to take her on. But, such a massive undertaking comes with a heavy price and unpredictable consequences. Let us hope that the leadership in Damascus has worked a good exit plan out of this predicament.

July 1st, 2007, 4:49 am


Alex said:

Dear Ehsani,

This time you read me right .. almost : )

No “blind trust” : ) … they make mistakes too.

But in comparison to the way all the others have consistently failed miserably even though they had each other to make it work, I find that the Syrians (with their country’s limited resources) showed exceptional skills the past few decades.

Now, I beg to differ an the cause and effect part, the “Arab moderates” did not gang up on Bashar because he woke up one day with a stupid idea .. to get close to Iran. Bashar got closer to Iran AND TURKEY when he realized that the United States, Chirac, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, a group of Lebanese politicians close to Saudi Arabia, and in a semi committed way: Egypt .. all were on their way to gang up on Syria … again. THey have done it many times in the past that by now yo can easily tell when they seem to be convinced that there is a new window of opportunity to take on the Syrian regime, and on Syria’s role in the Middle East.

Am I sure the Syrians will make it through this big challenge? no.

But I am relatively confident they will.

Am I happy that they are taking on the monumental task of standing up to the Americans and all their friends? No.

But I am convinced they tried not to, however this administration did not have any role for Syria in the “New Middle East”.

As you said … we’ll sit and watch. We should know “the results” within two years …max.

July 1st, 2007, 6:26 am


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