Syria at the Olympics

AFP PHOTO / HASSAN AMMAR: Syrian Ahed Joughili competes during the 105 kg category of the men's weightlifting at the 15th Asian Games in Doha, 06 December 2006 at which he won the gold medal in his class.

Eight Syrian Olympians at Beijing

Eight Syrian athletes took part in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, competing in shooting, swimming, track and field, triathlon and weightlifting events. Politics overshadowed their sporting performances, however, when Syrian swimmer Bayan Jumah pulled out of her event after being scheduled to compete against an Israeli athlete.

Syria’s 2008 Olympic team included its largest swim team ever, represented by Jumah, Souhaib Kalala and Saleh Mohammad. Fadwa Albouza and Majed Aldin Gazal competed in track and field events, Oma Tayara in the triathlon, Ahed Joughili in weightlifting and Roger Dahi in shooting.

Juma, the swim team’s only female athlete, pulled out of the women’s 50m freestyle event after being scheduled to swim against an Israeli opponent in the first round. For the other team members, Kalala finished fourth in his first round heat of the men’s 100m backstroke, while Mohammad finished 19th in the men’s 10km marathon.

In track and field, Albouza finished eighth in her first round heat of the women’s 100m hurdles. Gazal finished 14th in the men’s high jump first round heat, while Oma Tayara finished 49th in the men’s triathlon.

Ahed Joughili finished 13th in the men’s 105 kg weightlifting event while Dahi finished 41st in the men’s skeet shooting event

Syria first competed in the summer Olympics in 1948. Its medal haul since that time includes one in each colour; gold, silver and bronze. Ghada Shouaa won Syria’s only gold medal the heptathlon in the 1996 Games in Atlanta. She remains one of only two women in the Arab world to claim Olympic gold and one of only three in the wider Middle East. She also represented Syria at an international level as a basketball player.

Joseph Atiyeh claimed silver for Syria in the freestyle wrestling 100kg division at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, while Naser al-Shami won bronze in heavyweight boxing at the 2004 Athens Games.

Photo: Ghada Shouaa (Arabic: غادة شعاع‎) won Syria's first and only Olympic gold Meal at the 1996 Summer Olympics winning the heptathlon.

If Syria is not a rising star at the Olympics, it is a comer in the world of cuisine. As QN reminds us, the old adage is "“The second best source of Arabic cuisine is the Lebanese restaurant. The best source is the Syrian kitchen.”

Matthew Teller from the Observer went on one of these culinary tours of Syria. His article is.. delicious!

The foodie road to Damascus Syria is known for its deserts and ancient ruins, but now its cuisine is starting to draw visitors too. Matthew Teller is a delighted convert.

After decades out in the cold, shunned by Western travellers and overshadowed by its faster-moving neighbours, Syria is – slowly – starting to gain the recognition it deserves as a vibrant, fascinating country. If you’ve never visited, whatever you’ve heard about the place is quite likely to be wrong. Political rhetoric notwithstanding, there’s a more tangible air of menace in Guildford.

And as the country opens up to outsiders, ways to explore it multiply. I had visited Damascus before, but this time I was going to experience it through the eyes of Anissa Helou, chef, broadcaster and writer on the cuisines of the Mediterranean. A Londoner for 20 years, Anissa grew up in Beirut but remembers idyllic childhood summers spent in the Syrian highlands. Now she has returned to launch small-group culinary tours, taking ingredients, cooking styles and methods of production as a starting point to explore and understand this much-misunderstood country.

Admiring Damascus’s historical monuments, or taking time to appreciate the architecture, was firmly off the agenda. Instead, we began by exploring the souks. I watched as Anissa strode through the crowded lanes, casting to left and right, stopping to watch an old man cooking omelettes, pausing to ask a passer-by how she prepares her vegetables, picking out oranges from a pile on a barrow. I followed her into the back lanes, where we discovered a half-hidden factory making sugared almonds: a single, bare room lined with great copper drums for turning the toasted nuts in syrup.

The manager, Qusay Sukkari (sukkar is the Arabic word for sugar so, delightfully, this was Mr Sugary the Sweetmaker), welcomed us and explained the process, but apologised for having none of the product to sample. No matter, we said, and nipped round the corner to buy qatayif – sweet pastries filled with cream, deep-fried to a crunch and drenched in treacle. Old-fashioned calories still matter in Syria.

We spent the day working our way through the different areas of the souk, buying zaatar – a fragrant blend of thyme, marjoram and sesame – in the Souk al-Bzouriya (the ’seeds market’), sampling boiled sweets and sipping fresh mulberry juice. Then we headed over to the Souk al-Tanabel (’lazybones market’), which sells only pre-prepared vegetables: the stalls are piled with bags of sliced carrots, cored squash and ready-chopped herbs – convenience food, Syrian-style.

Eating is, obviously, a major part of a culinary tour, and we ate in a succession of fabulous restaurants. Particularly memorable was Al-Khawali, housed in an eye-popping 14th-century palace in the heart of the Damascus souk, concealed from the street’s bustle by beautifully carved wooden doors. Inside, floors of patterned marble led to an airy internal courtyard, with tables laid around a central fountain dotted with jasmine and citrus trees. Anissa ordered a clutch of meze – small, sampler-style dishes that included alangi (stuffed vine leaves) and exquisite shanklish, a tangy sheep’s cheese dusted with pepper and thyme. We dipped and nibbled our way through about eight meze dishes, plus mains of tender grilled lamb: the food – formal, sophisticated, charming – suited the ambience perfectly.

Old Town, a rather unimaginatively named restaurant in Damascus’s Christian quarter, was another highlight, serving pungent, fiery muhammara – a spicy dip of chopped walnuts and red pepper – and succulent chicken kebabs.

The tour continued in Aleppo, some four hours north, where we met the vastly knowledgeable Hassan Khouja, a researcher from the Académie Syrienne de la Gastronomie (such a body does exist), for a meal at Bazar ash-Sharq, a restaurant hidden in vaulted cellars just outside the old city walls. Hassan claimed this was the best kitchen in Aleppo. Its kibbeh nayeh, raw lamb chopped with spices and bulgur wheat – one of the most difficult meze dishes to get right – was superb: soft, moist and earthily flavourful. As we tucked into Aleppan meatballs with quince, Hassan talked about Syria’s culinary roots, and how Aleppo’s location on the east-west Silk Road historically drew in both Persian and Turkish influences, most notably with the mixing of savoury and sweet in the city’s trademark spicy kebabs with sour cherries.

Damascus, on the other hand, far to the south and cut off from eastern influence by the desert, always looked more to Lebanese mountain cuisine, for subtler combinations of herbs, beans and vegetables in meze dishes and salads.

The difference was still tangible: the zaatar we bought in Aleppo was sharper and more peppery than that in Damascus, and while our Damascene sweet treats were candied apricots and local ice cream – egg-free and beaten by hand – in Aleppo we were offered elegantly crafted confections of spun sugar with Iranian pistachio nuts.

As well as opening world-class restaurants, Syria is also starting to take a leaf out of Morocco’s boutique-hotel book. The lanes of Damascus’s Bab Touma district shelter a number of upmarket conversions of 17th- and 18th-century courtyard town houses. At Beit al-Mamlouka – the first and still one of the most stylish – all eight bedrooms were taken when we visited, but the engaging owner, May Mamarbachi, nonetheless served us tea in the orange-scented courtyard and showed us around, pointing out original features and inviting us to return.

While I plumped for a simple room above the workshop of Syrian sculptor Mustafa Ali, Anissa stayed first at the Dar al-Yasmin, another heritage conversion featuring marble fountains and beautiful pointed arches, then moved to the Talisman, a small hotel converted from a wealthy merchant’s residence on a dusty lane in the old Jewish Quarter. The Talisman’s French owners have deliberately overlaid the traditional Syrian architecture with a ragbag of design elements: Indian trinkets hang beside Cairene lamps, while a Moroccan red wash covers the walls – gaudy rather than chic.

More endearing was the Mansouriya Palace, down a narrow alley near the medieval Bab Qinisreen gateway in Aleppo’s old quarter. Within another serene mansion of white marble, its courtyard shaded by Seville orange trees, lie nine suites, each over-themed to the point of kitsch. The Hittite Suite comes complete with stone lions flanking the bed and a bath and sink carved from single blocks of marble, while the Ottoman Suite is dominated by a four-poster bed decked in swags of heavy silk.

But the real discovery remained the food. Bypassing Syria’s famous ruins for an indulgent week of near-continuous eating and snacking in the company of Anissa, whose knowledge and enthusiasm are boundless, turned out to be a great way to get under the skin of this often hard-to-fathom country. Food is one field where Syria excels, and it deserves to be celebrated.

Photo: The ubiquitous yummy Kabab

This shot … well, a Syrian school girl.

Comments (18)


1. norman said:

For Syria to improve in health care , education and the olympics it should make donations to these causes tax deductible , That will stimulate activities .

In sport Syria should concentrate on single sports like running and swimming and should stay away from team sports , we are better with personal achievements.

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August 24th, 2008, 10:49 pm

 

2. Alex said:

The Aga khan visited Bashar yesterday

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August 24th, 2008, 10:51 pm

 

3. norman said:

Alex,

Who is Aga Khan?.

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August 24th, 2008, 10:59 pm

 

4. Alex said:

Norman?! … don’t ask such questions. Dr. Charles will not be impressed

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aga_Khan_IV

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,442180,00.html

His Highness is a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

and .. these too:

Decorations

* Commander of the Order of Merit, Mauritania (1960)
* Grand Cross of the Order of Infante D. Henrique, Portugal (1960)
* Grand Cross of the National Order, Ivory Coast (1965)
* Grand Cross of the National Order, Upper Volta (1965)
* Grand Cross of the National Order, Madagascar (1966)
* Grand Cross of the Order of the Green Crescent, Comoros, (1966)
* Grand Cordon of the Order of the Crown of Iran, Nishan-i-Taj-i-Iran (1967)
* Nishan-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan, (1970)
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (1977)
* Grand Officer of the National Order of the Lion, Senegal (1982)
* Nishan-e-Pakistan (1983)
* Grand Cordon of Ouissam-al Arch, Morocco (1986)
* Knight of Labour, Cavaliere del Lavoro, Italy (1988)
* Commander of the Legion of Honour, France (1990)
* Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit, Spain (1991)
* Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, Portugal (1998)
* Order of Friendship, Tajikistan (1998)
* Order of Bahrain (First Class) (2003)
* Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE), United Kingdom (2004)[13]
* Honorary Companion of the Order of Canada (2005)[14]
* Grand Cross of the Military Order of Christ, Portugal (2005)
* Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart, Kenya (2007)[15]
* Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali (2008)

[edit] Honorary degrees

* LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Peshawar, Pakistan (1967)
* LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Sind, Pakistan (1970)
* LL.D. (honoris causa) McGill University, Canada (1983)
* LL.D. (honoris causa) McMaster University, Canada (1987)
* D. Litt. (honoris causa) University of London, United Kingdom (1989)
* LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Wales, United Kingdom (1993)
* LL.D. (honoris causa) Brown University, USA (1996)
* Honorary Professorship of the University of Osh, Kyrgyzstan (2002)
* LL.D. (honoris causa) University of Toronto, Canada (2004)
* Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, American University of Beirut, Lebanon (2005)
* Honorary Doctorate, University of Évora, Portugal (2006)
* Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, American University in Cairo, Egypt (2006)
* Honorary Doctorate, University of Sankoré, Mali (2008)
* LL.D. (honoris causa) Harvard University, USA (2008)
* LL.D.(honoris causa), National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland (2008)

[edit] Awards

* Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal in Architecture, University of Virginia, USA (1984)
* Honorary Membership, Pakistan Medical Association, Sind, Pakistan (1981)
* Institute Honor of the American Institute of Architects, USA (1984)
* Honorary Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP), Pakistan (1985)
* Gold Medal of the Consejo Superior de Colegios de Arquitectos, Spain (1987)
* Honorary Citizen of Granada, Spain (1991)
* Honorary Fellowship, Royal Institute of British Architects, United Kingdom (1991)
* Silver Medal of the Académie d’Architecture, France (1991)
* Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects, USA (1992)
* Honorary Citizen of the City of Samarkand, Uzbekistan (1992)
* Hadrian Award, World Monuments Fund, USA (1996)
* Key to the City of Lisbon, Portugal (1996)
* Gold Medal of the City of Granada, Spain (1998)
* Archon Award, International Nursing Honour Society, Sigma Theta Tau International, Sweden (2001)
* Insignia of Honour, International Union of Architects, France (2001)
* State Award for Peace and Progress, Kazakhstan (2002)
* Honorary Citizen of the Islamic Ummah of Timbuktu, Mali (2003)
* Vincent Scully Prize, National Building Museum, USA (2005)
* Honorary Citizen of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2005)
* Key to the City of Ottawa, Canada (2005)
* Die Quadriga Award, Germany (2005)
* Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, UK (2005)
* Tolerance Prize of the Evangelical Academy of Tutzing, Germany (2006)
* Key to the City of Austin, USA (2008)
* Citizen of Honour of the Municipality of Timbuktu, Mali (2008)
* Associate Foreign Member, Académie des Beaux-Arts, France (2008)

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August 24th, 2008, 11:25 pm

 

5. Qifa Nabki said:

Why did she pull out of the swimming just because of the Israeli athelete? I don’t get it. The Russian and Georgian volleyball players competed against each other while their countries were at war.

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August 25th, 2008, 12:04 am

 

6. norman said:

Alex,
Thank you , I am comfortable in my skin , I do not care what Charles or any body else say , Except you my friend.OK You too QN.

QN ,

The Georgians are mercenaries from south America , they are not real current day Georgians.

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August 25th, 2008, 1:54 am

 

7. Qifa Nabki said:

lak khallili yek ya Ammo Norman

But I still think that the Syrian athelete should not have dropped out. Do you think it was her choice or that she was “encouraged” to do so? It seems a shame to train so hard for many years to make it to the Olympics and then withdraw from your event in the first round because one of the other seven swimmers happens to be an Israeli.

If she was pressured to withdraw, then I feel bad for her. But maybe she did it of her own accord, in which case I think it was foolish.

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August 25th, 2008, 2:31 am

 

8. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

QN,
Have you asked yourself, why is it that the Syrian athlete withdraw just when she was supposed to swim in the the same race as the Israeli? She knew that there would be Israelis in the event before hand, but only withdrew when she actaully had to swim in the same heat with one. Perhaps she believes Israelis contaminate the water.
In any case, I will leave it to Shai to explain how he would do the same if he were in the Syrian shoes and it is something we should understand. If he can easily understand supporting terrorism and would do it if he were Syrian, I am sure he will find some reasons to understand this action also which after all only hurt Syria and the Syrian athlete.

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August 25th, 2008, 3:12 am

 

9. norman said:

Israel is occupying Syrian land and until Israel leaves that land and gives the Palestinians their human rights , please do not expect normalization of relation and being body body at least in public.

Rabin and Perez made a big deal of shaking hand with Yasser Arafat while they are still occupying Palestine and denying the Palestinians their rights , I am sure you wold not shake hand with Mangala if you had the chance , so expect from others what you expect of yourself.

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August 25th, 2008, 3:37 am

 

10. Shai said:

AIG,

You’re back to suggesting I support terrorism? After all this time? Because I understand Syria’s investment in Hezbollah and other resistance groups, it means I support people blowing up innocent women and children on a bus? Where do you get this stuff from? What are they feeding you there? 🙂 (stay away from the grits, they’re effecting your disposition…)

QN,

Here’s my explanation, at AIG’s request. The Syrian swimmer realized that the Israeli swimmer was occupying part of her lane as well, and was going to hold on to it, because it was her legitimate right (she had won it in war). Since experts like Uzi Dayan had suggested the Israeli swimmer should never relinquish that part of the Syrian’s lane, swimming together would become somewhat difficult. Sitting on the Judges row, AIG was about to vote for the return of the Syrian’s part of the lane, but then placed a precondition that 50.1% of all Syrians phone the Beijing hotline, and claim they are interested in this. Seeing this may take a while, the Syrian swimmer reluctantly left the arena. And went out and bought a gun. A Russian-made gun…

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August 25th, 2008, 4:37 am

 

11. Enlightened said:

Sorry Shai: ” You have it all wrong”

The Syrian Athlete recognized the inalienable rights of The Israeli Athlete to the Water.

It was about water rights- get it right!

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August 25th, 2008, 4:42 am

 

12. Shai said:

Enlightened,

Ever since ANZUS, you Auzzies just think you’re all geniuses, don’t you?!? Well, unless you own a penthouse in Manhattan, and can call yourself Dr. Enlightened, your words don’t mean nuttin’… 🙂 (Israeli rights to chlorinated water??? Next you’ll say the Israeli team suffocated the lives of 1.5 million Beijing residents… the equivalent of a small neighborhood.)

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August 25th, 2008, 5:01 am

 

13. Enlightened said:

Well, Well Mr T

I see, remember us Aussies have certain superior DNA when it comes to athletic performances in chlorinated water!!! As our performance in Beijing can tell you.

But since we are blaming “someone” “anyone” , as an Israeli do you want to take responsibility for the increase in house prices in Sydney and global warming which has forced our government to adopt a carbon trading scheme here in Aus?

On a side note, I feel a certain shame that the swimmer had to adopt this ( on top of Bashars running away and refusing to shake hands or acknowledge Olmert), if you recall a couple of posts ago I pasted a article on the AFL hosting a combined Israeli/Palestinian team to compete in the inaugural peace games here in Aus.

Sport and sporting interactions are certainly one way we can break down barriers.

Its all senseless.

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August 25th, 2008, 5:48 am

 

14. Shai said:

Enlightened,

You are absolutely right. It’s a real shame. What would it have cost the two swimmers to actually shake hands, or even exchange smiles just long enough to be caught on TV? Our two people must get to know one another. To see that we are human beings, on both sides of the border, not only war monger politicians and generals.

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August 25th, 2008, 5:59 am

 

15. Off the Wall said:

AIG

As unhappy I am about the fact that the Syrian Swimmer withdrew from competition because it entailed competing with an Israeli counterpart, i would not go as dramatic to place a racist tone on her action. After all, the US boycotted the Moscow (oops, Moskva) games. Could it be that the young woman thought that She is not entitled or authorized to make a diplomatic gesture on her country’s behalf. Nevertheless, my dear friend SHAI gave an explanation that is definitely more elegant than mine 🙂

Yet i believe that in an ideal world, where no one should politicize the Olympics, and in the spirit of the Olympics, countries or athletes who refuse to compete because of political reasons should forfeit their rights for subsequent completions during the same Olympic games. And countries should be informed that such acts will not be tolerated. The Olympic games are supposed to be a respite from politics and wars. But Syria is not the only country who does that, nor it will be the last. I must mention that many Europeans and American individuals have tried to politicize the Begin Olympics, be it for Darfour, China’s record on human rights, or for Tibet.

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August 25th, 2008, 7:06 am

 

16. Qifa Nabki said:

Guys,

It was the first round of the 50 meter freestyle. In all likelihood, both the Syrian and the Israeli would have been blown away by the Americans, French, Aussies, Swedes, Japanese, etc. and there would have been no shocking diplomatic gestures to worry about.

I really doubt that she was thinking to herself, “I shall withdraw, for surely will I win the gold and smash the world record in the process, and how will it look if I am forced to acknowledge the Israeli bronze medalist from my perch atop the podium?”

Sounds more like a case of cutting off our nose to spite our face.

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August 25th, 2008, 11:23 am

 

17. Qifa Nabki said:

Syria shift on Lebanon suggests hard-liner softens

By SAM F. GHATTAS – 22 hours ago

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — Syria’s diplomatic recognition of Lebanon marks a symbolic turning point in the two neighbors’ often turbulent history, and may have bigger significance for the Middle East and the chances of an overall peace deal with Israel.

By doing something Damascus has resisted for decades, Syrian President Bashar Assad is seen as being ready to make concessions and boost stability in the region, provided he remains a force in Lebanese politics.

At the same time, Syria and Israel are in indirect peace negotiations — another apparent sign that Syria is rethinking its approach to the big Middle East issues.

Lebanese have lived for much of the past 30 years under Syrian military and political domination. Just three years ago, the country was in turmoil over the assassination of a prominent former prime minister and the suspicion Syria was behind it. So Lebanese tend to be skeptical about the motivations behind Assad’s newfound willingness to exchange ambassadors and demarcate the ill-defined border between the two countries.

But Edmond Saab, executive editor of An-Nahar, a leading daily which is seen as anti-Syrian, reads a positive message in Assad’s move — “that he desires peace and that Syria is a factor of stability and not a threat … It is a country that knows what it wants and goes for it.”

What Syria wanted was assurance that it will still have influence in Lebanon through its allies and that its back will remain relatively secure — the Lebanon border is only a 20-minute drive from Damascus.

It got all that with the creation last month of a new government in Beirut that gives Syrian-and Iranian-backed Hezbollah significant power. The new president, Michel Suleiman, is also considered relatively friendly to Syria, having been army chief for 10 years when Damascus controlled Lebanon.

Once those changes were in place, Damascus was open to a historic turnaround.

Ever since Lebanon was created by the region’s French rulers in 1920, Syria had refused to acknowledge its sovereignty, leaving the Lebanese with a permanent feeling of living on borrowed time. Now Syria has agreed to recognize that sovereignty.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Patrick Seale, a British expert on Syria. “The Lebanese get diplomatic recognition and the Syrians get recognition of vital interests in Lebanon.”

The move also suggests Assad is stepping out of the shadow of his late father, from whom he inherited the presidency in 2000. Besides the new approach to Lebanon, Syria, long regarded as the most implacable of Israel’s foes, is talking peace.

Shlomo Brom, senior researcher at the Jaffee Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel, says Assad’s Lebanon gambit “indicates that Assad can be trusted more in negotiations because he is willing to make positive and far reaching changes.”

Not all in Israel are convinced. Hawkish lawmaker Yuval Steinitz says Israel should stop negotiating with Damascus because “Lebanon is still not independent. It is under the Syrian-Iranian occupation via the Hezbollah power over the Lebanese government.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently warned that “if Lebanon becomes a Hezbollah state” and guerrillas attacked Israel again, Israel would hit back harder than it did in the 2006 war.

For Lebanese, Syria remains a formidable challenge. Seventeen times bigger than Lebanon and four times more populous, Syria has long had powerful allies here, and the question is how that they will act from now on — especially Hezbollah, whose 34-day war with Israel in 2006 triggered widespread Israeli bombing of the country.

Brom, former chief of strategic planning in the Israeli army, said he expects Syria to go on meddling in Lebanon.

Sateh Noureddine, managing editor of the Lebanese As-Safir daily, which tilts toward Syria’s Lebanese allies, said Syria’s clout may even “grow stronger and more organized.”

Syria deployed troops in Lebanon as peacekeepers during the country’s 15-year civil war, and they stayed long after it ended in 1990. The Syrian intelligence chief, based in Lebanon, amounted to a de facto governor, approving presidents, prime ministers and governments, which all vowed allegiance to Syria. Opponents were driven out, or even assassinated.

That grip began to slip in 2005, when Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated. Widely accused of responsibility — something it has always denied — Syria was forced to withdraw its troops. But the assassinations of anti-Syrian figures continued.

Lebanon’s agony poisoned Syria’s already troubled ties with the West, particularly the U.S., which demands it leave Lebanon alone and stop backing Hezbollah and others Washington considers terrorists.

But cooperating on Lebanon has already helped break Assad’s international isolation; French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to reward Damascus by visiting the Syrian capital in September.

After eight years in power, Assad may feel strong enough to resist any pushback from internal opponents of the concession on Lebanon. But he faces problems at home. Last month, his top military adviser, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Suleiman, was assassinated. His killers are unknown, but the slaying has raised talk of rivalries within the leadership.

These may not be related directly to Lebanon, but they are being read here as a signal to Assad to step carefully.

Sam F. Ghattas the AP’s Lebanon correspondent, has covered Lebanese affairs for two decades. Associated Press Writer Josef Federman contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

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August 25th, 2008, 11:37 am

 

18. Shami said:

Ahlan wa Sahlan to the Agha Khan in Syria.
And we thank him for his interest to our medieval architectural heritage revival which suffered a lot under the baathists and more from ignorant Syrians as result of nawarization dynamic in the syrian society.
If we believe Agha Khan’s claims that his ancestors were from Al Salimiyeh ,so he deserves the Syrian nationality.

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August 26th, 2008, 2:08 am

 

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