“Syria had committed no crime, and Israel had no legal justification to carry out its attack” Scott Ritter

Evidence-based Bombing   (Thanks T)
By publishing intelligence on a possible Syrian nuclear facility, the US has endorsed after the fact Israel's illegal use of force in attacking it

By Scott Ritter
26/04/08
"The Guardian"

It looks as if Israel may, in fact, have had reason to believe that Syria was constructing, with the aid and assistance of North Korea, a facility capable of housing a nuclear reactor. The United States Central Intelligence Agency recently released a series of images, believed to have been made from a videotape obtained from Israeli intelligence, which provide convincing, if not incontrovertible, evidence that the "unused military building" under construction in eastern Syria was, in fact, intended to be used as a nuclear reactor. Syria continues to deny such allegations as false.

On the surface, the revelations seem to bolster justification not only for the Israeli air strike of September 6 2007, which destroyed the facility weeks or months before it is assessed to have been ready for operations, but also the hard-line stance taken by the administration of President George W Bush toward both Syria and North Korea regarding their alleged covert nuclear cooperation. In the aftermath of the Israeli air strike, Syria razed the destroyed facility and built a new one in its stead, ensuring that no follow-up investigation would be able to ascertain precisely what had transpired there.

Largely overlooked in the wake of the US revelations is the fact that, even if the US intelligence is accurate (and there is no reason to doubt, at this stage, that it is not), Syria had committed no crime, and Israel had no legal justification to carry out its attack. Syria is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and under the provisions of the comprehensive safeguards agreement, is required to provide information on the construction of any facility involved in nuclear activity "as early as possible before nuclear material is introduced to a new facility". There is no evidence that Syria had made any effort to introduce nuclear material to the facility under construction.

While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global watchdog responsible for the implementation of nuclear safeguards inspections, has pushed for the universal adherence to a more stringent safeguards standard known as the "additional protocol of inspections", such a measure is purely voluntary, and Syria has refused to sign up to any such expansion of IAEA inspection activity until such time as Israel signs the NPT and subjects its nuclear activities to full safeguards inspections. While vexing, the Syrian position is totally in keeping with its treaty obligations, and so it is Syria, not Israel, that was in full conformity with international law at the time of Israel's September 6 2007 attack.

The United States and Israel contend that the Syrian-North Korean construction project was part of a covert nuclear weapons programme. However, even the United States admits that the facility under construction in Syria lacked any reprocessing capacity, meaning its utility for producing plutonium for a nuclear bomb was nil. Rather than serving as the tip of the iceberg for a nuclear weapons programme, it seems more likely that the Syrian facility was intended for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Following the same path as Iran, Syria most probably was positioning itself to present the world with a fait acompli, noting that the current US-Israeli posture concerning the regime in Damascus would not enable Syria to pursue and complete any nuclear programme declared well in advance. By building the reactor in secret, Syria would be positioned to declare the completed facility to the IAEA prior to the introduction of any nuclear material, and then hope to hide behind the shield of the IAEA in order to prevent any Israeli retaliation.

But this is all speculation. By bombing the Syrian facility, Israel not only retarded any Syrian nuclear ambition, peaceful or otherwise, but also precluded a full, definitive investigation into the matter by the international community. Perhaps fearful that Syrian adherence to the NPT would underscore its own duplicity in that regard, the Israeli decision to bomb Syria not only allowed the Syrian effort to be defined as weapons-related (an unproven and unlikely allegation), but by extension reinforced the Israeli (and American) contention that the nuclear activity in Iran was weapons-related as well.

The international debate that has taken place about the Syrian facility shows how successful the Israeli gambit, in fact, was, since there is virtually no discussion about the fact that Israel violated international law in attacking, without provocation, a sovereign state whose status as a member of the United Nations ostensibly affords it protection from such assault. The American embrace of the Israeli action, and the decision to produce intelligence information about the nature of the bombed facility at this late stage in the game, only reinforces the reality that the United States has turned its back on international law in the form of arms control and non-proliferation agreements.

The Bush administration seeks to use the alleged Syrian nuclear facility as a lynchpin in making its arguments against not only the Iranian nuclear programme, but also to scuttle the current discussions with North Korea over its nuclear weapons activities. Having embraced pre-emptive war as a vehicle to pursue its unilateral policy of regime change in Iraq (and having sold that conflict based upon hyped-up weapons of mass destruction charges), it should come as no surprise that the Bush administration would seek to support, and repeat, past patterns of behaviour when pursuing similar policies with Syria, Iran and North Korea.

Truth, and the adherence to international law, have never been an impediment to implementation of American policy objectives under the Bush administration.

Comments (101)


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51. Qifa Nabki said:

Shai (now you really must be getting to bed)

You said:

But I keep fearing that at the end of the day, resistance movements that don’t morph into purely political parties have no choice but to continue to… resist.

I have a good deal of optimism regarding Hizbullah’s future as a political party, provided that certain leaders in the movement remain alive, and that the relationship with the FPM proves to be an enduring one.

To give you an example of what I mean, after the Hariri assassination, the international media was glowing with coverage on the so-called “Cedar Revolution”, and its gorgeous almond-eyed minxes with their red tanktops on the covers of the NYT, WashPost, etc. It was truly a made-for-TV revolution (which doesn’t detract from the sincerity of its million-plus participants, in my opinion… it’s not our fault if Lebanese women are good looking).

But to me, what is far more interesting was Hizbullah’s response. The pro-Syria rallies were, at first, decidedly lo-fi in the way of marketing. The banners and publicity materials harkened back to the martyrdom poster school of self-branding (referred to in the article you posted). However, since 2005, Hizbullah has ramped up its publicity wing to the point that it seriously rivals that of March 14. Their materials now are much sharper, smarter, and embody a real nationalist flavor. To me, it seems clear that the ship has been pointed towards a new horizon.

But they can’t just drop their guns and run. They need political guarantees, security guarantees… it’s going to be a long transition period, and of course everything depends on the regional security situation.

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April 27th, 2008, 8:28 pm

 

52. norman said:

The only way for the Mideast to have peace is for every body to have nuclear weapons , never a war started between two nuclear powers and mutual destruction is a strong motivation to seek a settlement.

Hezbollah will become a politecal party and put down it’s arms only when there is a well balanced government in Lebanon that represent all the people and after having a fair election law ,

Then and only then Hezbollah will become like the GOLANY Brigade in Israel as a mobilized well armed force , part of the Lebanese army , and the rest of Hezbollah as part of the national guard that Lebanon should have to protect itself.

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April 27th, 2008, 8:34 pm

 

53. Shai said:

Zenobia,

Many of these “talkback” people are simple people, who don’t care to understand anything other than their own view of life. They’ve probably never even met an Arab, so how could they think anything different other than what they’ve been “fed” all those years? It has always been the case that few have led the many, and here too, we’re looking to bring out enough of the “peaceful few”, to bring sanity back to our country, and our region. Not that long ago, during Rabin’s years, a clear majority in Israel wanted peace, was ready to make painful sacrifices, and understood that Jews and Arabs must live with one another. Soon, after peace talks restart, our task will be to “rudely awake” those 20-30% of either switched camps out of pessimism, or de-numb the ones that have become apathetic to the reality around them.

To respond to your previous comment, about my enthusiasm. Well, it certainly isn’t always easy. I too have felt a bit tired of hearing certain things here as of recent. If I could have a nickel for every negative comment I heard, i’d have… why, $25 at least! :-) (I haven’t been here that long…) But, what choice do we have? We have to keep our chins up, and not let things get to us, or get us down. The world is always more full of pessimists than optimists. It’s easier to be the first than the latter. And for those who choose to ride the emotional roller-coaster of the Middle East, there are indeed ups and downs. But, for me, I prefer to hop out of the violent river every so often, and look carefully at where we’re going, and try to navigate my way in the direction I’m interested in going, not where the river goes. In 30 or 40 years, when my daughters’ daughters will ask me “Saba, what did you do during those terrible and tumultuous years?”, I want to be able to say “I tried to make friends, and peace…” I prefer that, over saying “I tried to show people how wrong they were…” That’s also the easy way out. Bridging gaps, and bringing people together, is always tougher…

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April 27th, 2008, 8:38 pm

 

54. T said:

Zenobia,

Why not go to an Israeli blog? We dont want you to fall ill. It will be more comfortable certainly, and have much less confrontation/protest than you would find here from the small minority of us at SC that dont trust US-Israeli governments (the “negative thinkers” here, as you say).

Shai,

If you are honest- why have your posts on this subject not been filled with demands for Israel to be brought to court for the latest violation of intl law ? Why not take the offensive and go in that direction instead of advising how Syria should position itself from Israel’s latest attack? Shouldnt we be advocating that the abuser stop their violations? Esp after they allegedly bombed several sites in south Lebanon just a few days ago?

Why not start a campaign to demand Israel be taken to the ICJ etc? (And not that Lebanon adopt some position of ambiguity).

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April 27th, 2008, 8:46 pm

 

55. Shai said:

T,

Even when I agree with you (100%, I believe I said), you still find me “very, very manipulative…” So if you prefer the “blunt thug approach”, as you called it, t’fadal, have it and enjoy it! But if you think you can make peace with such an approach, you’re sadly mistaken. By the way, if you’re still talking about justice, and bringing Israel to international court, etc., you really have to stop sniffing that good stuff… (joke). Justice is not going to happen for a long time, as we discussed all too often on SC. Now’s not the time to be right. Now’s the time to be smart. I believe Bashar Assad is demonstrating this far better than most people here sometimes understand, or want to accept. There’s a reason he’s offering Israel an opportunity to make peace, and it’s not out of capitulation. It’s out of wisdom, and a vision for the future of your and my children.

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April 27th, 2008, 8:50 pm

 

56. Zenobia said:

yes. it scares me here and there that the few lead the many, everywhere.

but you are right about all else too. I try to remind myself that no matter what …things keep changing, and it is not possible for all our debate and theorizing, that none of us can predict what will happen. there are too many variables for our little brains. And human nature is indeterminable… especially when we get to the realm of the social body interacting with the world. Anything is possible I think.

i have other questions but they can wait.
It is almost midnight, and QNabki keeps telling you to go to sleep. : )

he is obviously trying to look out for your well being.
Thanks.

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April 27th, 2008, 8:51 pm

 

57. Shai said:

Zenobia, QN, and yes, even T,

Lyla Tov (Good Night, in Hebrew).

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April 27th, 2008, 8:55 pm

 

58. Akbar Palace said:

Zenobia said:

Even that is why I think it ridiculous when the spinners bring up Iran just spontaneously attacking Israel. It doesn’t matter what their leaders say… they like to drum up the peons with bluster and inflammatory rhetoric. But in reality, what possible reason should they have to attack anyone including Israel? NONE. It would be a disaster. And there is very little to be gained and everything to potentially lose. This wouldn’t happen.

Zenobia,

You may be right. Perhaps Iran is just blowing hot air.

“Disaster”? Yes, but since when did “disaster” ever stop a dictator or a theocracy in the Middle East? Did “disaster” stop Saddam? Did “disaster” ever stop the Assads? Did “disaster” ever stop Hamas, Hezbollah or Fatah?

Disaster only affects the “martyrs” aka “the people”, aka “the Arab street”. And the people and the street love their self-appointed taskmasters and their self-appointed taskmasters love them. It is a marriage made in heaven.

I see no reason why Iran will stop arming the Iraqi insurgency, and their jihadist patrons in Lebanon and Palestine. And if none of these work, there is no reason to doubt that they could lob missiles into Israel just like Saddam Hussein did.

The only one who is potentially going on the offense is Israel/US.

It’s about time Israel went on the offense. After years of being on the defense (withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza), the threat has only become stronger and more lethal as we have seen.

HA is not stupid. They are in a very strong position politically speaking. I mean a stalemate is strong for them. So, why would they destroy that advantage by bringing a war on Lebanon. They wouldn’t.

They do what they want, because they have nothing to lose.

what happened in 2006 was a mistep and miscalculation that I doubt Nasrallah will repeat.

I hope you’re right. But I have no doubt they will repeat their same “mis-step”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/27/israelandthepalestinians.lebanon
____________

.. and then there were talkbacks from Israelis from all over the place. It was so disturbing. They are still talking about a “Jordanian Option”….(!?) isn’t this like thirty years old?

Let’s see 2008 – 1967 is just over 40 years old.

Has it occurred to these people that Jordan is not going take all the rest of the millions of Palestinians out of the territories for them….to make it very convenient for Israel to keep up the creeping annex of this land??? what fantasy are they in… that makes anybody…for even thirty seconds think that Jordan or the Jordanians would agree to that…or can even economically sustain such an idea? and what view of the people of Palestine have they…to imagine the people being ‘transfered’ and loaded up and sent down the road. Are they cattle?
I don’t understand… yes…it happened before. But now we are in 2008? this was still actually a discussion. I am overwhelmed by it.

No “cattle”, no “transfer”, just a one Palestinian-majority country (Jordan) taking control of another Palestinian terrortory that is having a difficult time governing. Jordan claimed the West Bank before, and I know Israel would prefer if Jordanian control like it did before ’67.

I was also disturbed in the talkbacks to see some Israelis in the Golan… listing their location as: town name, Golan Heights, Israel.

wow. they think they are in Israel. Somebody needs to explain this to me.

Israel annexed the Golan and it is now considered Israel. You may not like it, but I’m just explaining how, after a full generation, this land is thought of.

Who are these people…has no one in Israel explained to them that they are in Syria?

People like Shai and other Israeli peace activists may have tried to explain this to other Israelis. There is free speech in Israel to do this. But most Israelis feel that the Golan is theirs and that, perhaps, under the right conditions, they could return all or part of it for peace. Until then, they go on living on the land just like they go on living in Jerusalem’s Old Cidy or Hebron.

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April 27th, 2008, 8:58 pm

 

59. Zenobia said:

T,
you make my case. Since it really doesn’t matter whether something is an “Israeli” blog or anything else. SC is about Syria and Syrian issues but it isn’t an “Arab” blog. And it is irrelevant anyhow how you want to characterize it.

I shouldn’t have to forfeit this blog to the likes of you. YOU are the ‘thug’ actually. And I should be less ill if you would go to your own wacko…blog and be the stereotyped antagonist that you obviously like to be.

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April 27th, 2008, 8:59 pm

 

60. Friend in America said:

Shai-
Your reply clearly defines the world’s nuclear proliferation dillemma. The dillemma is like, which is the worst choice?
Non proliferation allows the current instability throughout the ME to continue while the ME undergoes the tremendous changes we are witnessing. Israel has nuclear capability its neighbors have learned to live. Over the years they have engaged in hostilities without genuine fear of being nuked (as a footnote, several here have expressed Syria’s deep fear for its national security. Whether real or imagined (many will say real), it needs to be properly addressed).
The other choice is nuclear proliferation in a time of strife both within the middle east and on the ME’s edges. I can envision some ruler (yet to be known) desperate enough (or perverted enough) to believe that incinerating his neighbor’s children is fulfillment of God’s command.

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April 27th, 2008, 9:05 pm

 

61. Zenobia said:

akbar,

Re: Iran. I think Iran is not a Hamas. They are not equivalent to militia with very little to lose from disaster. They are in a nice comfy position right now. And yes, they have no intention of leaving Iraq alone. So why forfeit it for a disaster. Same goes for HA.

I think HA would have a lot to lose if they started a conflict and got clobbered. No, they are more interested in this showdown in Liban and their strategy to gain power in the government. This would move in the wrong direction if more damage would be inflicted on Lebanon because of HA aggression. I think they got out of the last one… somewhat unscathed and took their power to bear on these internal interests. That is where their energy is no directed. And they would lose some of this pressure if they got preoccupied and potentially wounded by external conflict.

ok but i am confused. Maybe 40 years ago the Jordanian option meant pre-67 when Jordan was in control of the West Bank. But I said thirty because my understanding was that post 67 war there was the idea that the territories could be settled and more Pals moved out of it.
But in this article i am talking about, they weren’t referring to this scenario of Jordan taking over the West Bank. I understood the dialogue or comments to be about moving Palestinians out of the West Bank into Jordan proper, getting rid of the people problem basically. This is of course preposterous not to mention immoral. Just pragmatically speaking, Jordan would not allow this. Why should they. They barely can sustain economically the people they have already.

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April 27th, 2008, 9:11 pm

 

62. T said:

Zenobia,

Hon, you need to stick with policies and not get into personal attacks. I didnt call you some ugly personal things that I certainly could have done. I dont know you personally and am not interested in attacking you personally.

There are many here who post things unrelated to Syria- I am far from the only one.

But maybe you dont like the anti-Israeli/anti-US stuff I post?
Too bad. Then live with it and dont read my posts. (As I sometimes skip others’).

For example- I didnt see any response to Israel’s recent attack on south Lebanon from folks here at SC?

Shai- can you comment on that? Can you lead the charge for accountability?

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April 27th, 2008, 9:13 pm

 

63. sam said:

Silence is golden….Syria had to clam up about the site. The problem that probably occured was, Syria was so caught off guard by the attack, that by shear embarrassment, time lapsed, for the Isrealies to intentionally reveal what happend before the Syrians can. Letting them tell their side before Syrias. The worst feeling in life is not knowing for sure of something. If by keeping quiet for the past and present, future revelations can vindicate Syria. That the facility was not nuclear. Than the PR comes to play!

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April 27th, 2008, 9:19 pm

 

64. sam said:

Who knows, maybe this is all planned by all the parties involved, including Syria, ie the way Lybia got caught. Bringing Syria out of the Iranian orbit we have been hearing so much about.

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April 27th, 2008, 9:24 pm

 

65. Qifa Nabki said:

“It will be more comfortable certainly, and have much less confrontation/protest than you would find here from the small minority of us at SC that dont trust US-Israeli governments…”

T,

Seriously, spare us your self-righteousness. You and Bondo are a courageous duo, aren’t you, fighting crime and leaping from tall buildings… exposing the evils of America for what they really are, for the ‘majority’ of us here at SC who have blinders on.

Since you prefer the thug approach, why not take your own advice to Zenobia and spend some more time on Israel blogs?

Contrary to what you might think, you’re needed there far more than you are here, especially if you think we need educating.

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April 27th, 2008, 9:35 pm

 

66. T said:

Shai,

Here is what I find manipulative- the underlying foundation of your argument (even supposedly to help Syria) assumes that Syria should reshuffle its defense in the media vis a vis the Israeli attack.

The subtext here is that Syria was the initial aggressor. It wasn’t. One would think it was Syria that attacked an Israeli site and not vice versa.

Then the passage about Syria being on par w/ Israel and a real military threat:
you said:

“T, you and I both know that Syria IS strong. It has strategic capabilities that can bring every citizen of Israel down into our underground shelters for a month or two, far more than HA was able to do in Summer 2006. And Syria is quite likely continuing their chemical and biological program as well (like other nations in the region). So why suddenly, around the issue of nuclear reactors, become so defensive? The weak party must act weak?

Perhaps the opposite? If Israel knows the facility was not nuclear, certainly Syria could have benefitted PR-wise from that. And if Israel (and Syria) know that it was a reactor, why must Syria deny it? I still vote for ambiguity. Better for Syria, better for Israel, better for peace… ”

Israel, the overwhelming military power in the region launching an unprovoked attack on another nation(whose economy is in tatters and whose military is not much better, and which has none of Israel’s global PR capacity)- whether for alleged nukes or not- is in total violation of intl law. Instead you advocate the continuation of the entire charade by suggesting Syria adapt and lend credence to this manipulation by responding ‘ambiguously’. Which still leaves the tacit ‘agreement’ of Syria having been the initial law-breaker here, intact. That I do find manipulative. Or maybe less offensively put- er, subtle.

I suggest Syria should do a full-frontal counter attack and start demands for an accounting from Israel for its first strike. Stop letting the other side author the narrative that needs to be responded to. Whether it was nuclear or chemical or biological or whatever.

Now if that means you and I are actually saying the same thing on this issue-great- then we do agree!

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April 27th, 2008, 9:39 pm

 

67. Zenobia said:

I think calling someone manipulative (in a context of implying that they are disingenuous in their purpose for engaging) is obnoxious and quite personal.
so, you stick to the rules, and i will too… otherwise i will give it back to you… when you ruin the discussion by being personally aggressive to a rather mild mannered and valuable participant (Shai).

and frankly, this was after days and days of hearing your not very helpful comments… prior to this. It has nothing to do whether they are critical of Israel or the US. I could care less about that. You are the one who directed your remarks at the people making the comments in disagreement with yours.

and btw, don’t call me “hon”. I am not your honey. I might be a hon to some others here, but not you.

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April 27th, 2008, 9:40 pm

 

68. Qifa Nabki said:

Test Hamas’ offer of a 10-year truce
By Rami G. Khouri
Daily Star staff
Saturday, April 26, 2008

Is Hamas’ offer of a 10-year truce with Israel sincere? Is it a plausible gesture that should be carefully studied as a possible prelude to a comprehensive peace?

Hamas clearly is sending strong signals that it is prepared to play the diplomatic game – but not at any price, as Fatah and Yasser Arafat did for years. Hamas’ offer of a long-term truce with Israel is neither permanent peace nor recognition of Israel. Those might follow from future negotiations, but only if Palestinians enjoy their equal national rights simultaneously, and this requires rules of the diplomatic game that are more even-handed.

Two pertinent issues are involved here. The first is whether Islamist movements like Hamas, Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood can be trusted and taken at their word when they speak of accepting democratic pluralism or negotiating with Israel. Many in Israel, the West and parts of the Arab world view these groups as insincere opportunists and deceitful tricksters who will speak the language of democracy and peace while actually planning to grab power and turn the region into one large Islamic theocracy or Iranian puppet theater.

[read the rest]

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April 27th, 2008, 9:50 pm

 

69. norman said:

Can you all stop fighting , for stupid things , I might say.

you do not have to agree with each other.

can you please stop insulting each other and discuss the issues.

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April 27th, 2008, 9:52 pm

 

70. T said:

Zenobia and QN,

I’ll skip your unsubstantive ramblings and you can skip my offensive, obnoxious rants. That should make us all happy.

Norman,

Since you are on the blog now- have you heard anything about the latest bombing in south Lebanon by IDF? I have brought this up several times here but no one seems to know.
I read one account, but cant find anything else. Shouldnt UNIFIL be investigating this? It seems another case of Iraeli unprovoked first strike. And again that weird media silence.

Maybe like Syria, Lebanon should justify to the world why they should NOT have been attacked (the underlying PR motif of the Deir Ez Zor hit)? Here we go again.

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April 27th, 2008, 10:18 pm

 

71. norman said:

T,

I heard something like that but was never confirmed by the Lebanese or Hezbollah,

I do not think that anybody wants to fight , an announcement of an attack by Israel if true will increase the pressure for retaliation , I think Syria , Hezbollah , and Iran are waiting the present US administration out and do not want an escalation , that also explain the denial of Iran of an American attack on their boats. and Syria’s position on the attack last September .

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April 27th, 2008, 11:23 pm

 

72. Akbar Palace said:

Zenobia,

Thanks, your opinion on Iran and Hezbollah seem to make sense to me. However, a lot happens in the ME that doesn’t make sense at all.

But in this article i am talking about, they weren’t referring to this scenario of Jordan taking over the West Bank. I understood the dialogue or comments to be about moving Palestinians out of the West Bank into Jordan proper, getting rid of the people problem basically.

You may have tuned into a group of very right-wing Israelis with a wild imagination. Forget about it. No one is getting rid of any Palestinians. Sorry you had to read such crap.

This is of course preposterous not to mention immoral.

It IS preposterous and immoral. (Except when it comes to throwing Jews out of Arab controlled territories;)

Just pragmatically speaking, Jordan would not allow this. Why should they. They barely can sustain economically the people they have already.

We can dream, can’t we? Jews and Israelis tend to trust the Jordanian monarchy more than another Arab leadership. But maybe I should just speak for myself. I was very touched when the late King went to Israel to visit the wounded Israelis who were shot by a Jordanian soldier.

Regards,

AP

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April 28th, 2008, 3:01 am

 

73. norman said:

AP,

You should be touched more that Syria’s Assad did not have to go and visit the wounded Israelis because no Israelis were wounded by a Syrian soldier.

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April 28th, 2008, 3:18 am

 

74. Shai said:

T,

Either I’m not explaining myself correctly, or you’re refusing to understand me. You said: “The subtext here is that Syria was the initial aggressor…” I never claimed or insinuated this. The opposite!!! I know Israel was the (initial and only) aggressor here. You think that responding ambiguously, Syria “… still leaves the tacit ‘agreement’ of Syria having been the initial law-breaker here, intact…” I think you’re wrong. If Syria saw itself as a player amongst law-breakers, it too could legitimize (to itself first and foremost, then to others) much if not all of its activities. My point is that Syria owes NOTHING to anyone! It doesn’t owe a denial to the international court of public opinion, it certainly owes even less to Israel, the U.S., or The Hague.

By going on the defensive, Syria loses all those battles. Look at Imad Moustapha’s brilliant statement in some of his lectures (can be seen on YouTube), where he says “I’m the only ambassador in the U.S. from the Axis of Evil). He’s not implying a “tacit agreement”, he’s not suggesting Syria is a “law-breaker”, or a terrorist state. He’s ridiculing an entire policy trying to isolate Syria and claim it is a criminal. You think I’m shifting the focus from Israel to Syria. The opposite! I’m suggesting Syria point its finger back at Israel and others, and say “… that it is not seeking any capability not already sought or acquired by others in the region” (my words in an earlier comment to you).

To be honest with you, T, I think you’re too high up the “Shai’s manipulations are not going to work” tree, and you won’t let yourself get down. You’ll take every word I say, and try to make it fit your preconception. Fair enough, but that’s not trying to understand what I’m saying, that’s trying to “prove” to me that I mean what YOU think I mean. By the way, many of my comments are indeed very pro-Syria, even often in defense of Syria. While that may seem strange to you (and manipulative), I’ve tried on numerous occasions to explain it. By making Syria stronger, I’m enabling my own nation to face a stronger adversary in the much anticipated peace talks. When Syria shows up with its chin way up high, not its tail between its legs (so-to-speak), we’ll have a better chance to reach peace. If the first thing our “negotiator” says to yours is “But look, you have a well-developed nuclear program, and you’re building reactors… in blatant violation of International rules… so how can we trust you?”, the Syria response should NOT be what it is today “Oh no, that’s not a reactor, that’s a deserted military base…”, but instead “You, Israel, should be talking…?” That’s my point, T, stop being on the defensive. Yes, we’re the aggressor, but you can still choose your words, can’t you? Or did we take that ability from you as well?

As for advocating bringing Israel (the aggressor) to the International Court of Justice. T, I know you’re a well-educated person, and a wise one too. But I have a feeling sometimes that I’m talking to one of my daughters, who still believes in “justice for all” (and good for her, as long as she can). Wake up already, and realize that justice CANNOT be had in our region right now. Our region is far worse than Chicago with mafia gangsters (Al Capone being Shai, as I’ve been labeled here before). If Israel had to appear at the ICJ for all its crimes, every single one of the 7 million citizens in Israel would have to put aside a year of their life to represent us in court. We’ve committed endless crimes (and are still committing), and so have some others in this region. Yes, we’re the “biggest” criminal, and No, there’s no justification for it. So what? You want justice for the raid on that facility? What about the 1 million cluster bombs in Lebanon? What about Gaza? What about the occupation? What about crimes committed by Syria against its own people in the past? What about Lebanon’s, or Iraq’s?

So you can choose to remain naive, and still believe that the only way to battle Israel is in court. That’s fine. But my own belief is that making peace with Israel will end our crimes far faster than the ICJ. I’m not suggesting that YOU have to pay the price for peace, the opposite, it’s us that have to withdraw to the 1967 lines and help solve the refugee problem. But I am suggesting that you have to put aside your dream of justice. That’ll come, hopefully, in 10-20 years from now, when people will live long enough in peace, and be able to face themselves in the mirror each and every morning. I know YOU can, but many here can’t yet…

About the raid in S. Lebanon, I haven’t heard much, but here’s a comment made by Israel recently: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/978382.html My guess is that both sides are acting in violation of 1701. Which side more, I have no idea. If I had to guess, I’d say Hezbollah, and for obvious reasons. In Gaza, Israel is clearly committing endless crimes against the Palestinians, far more than Hamas is against us (see, I can actually point at the true aggressor on occasion…)

Yalla, if you don’t get me by now, I guess you never will… Have a nice day nonetheless. ;-)

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April 28th, 2008, 5:00 am

 

75. annie said:

A little late in the game, but this link found at Rime Allaf’s refuting the reality of the phictures is worth a visit

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/04/the-syrian-reac.html

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April 28th, 2008, 6:02 am

 

76. wizart said:

Hi Annie,

Just curious about how you spent most of your time in Damascus last year and why you were told never to return? Did you attend political or religious discussions with students or do you suspect other reasons for your being banned from a country you seem to really care about?

Could it have anything to do with any diplomatic, media or official work you might have done there or in your native country in the past?

Thanks for sharing interesting links like the one to Rime’s blog and others.

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April 28th, 2008, 7:24 am

 
 

78. Rowan Berkeley said:

I sometimes feel almost completely incapable of maintaining a civilised, non-foul-mouthed style of dealing with all this. If I may address a word to our host : do you think that the personal experience of being a university teacher, and having to cope with the enormous range of students, many of whom will be argumentative, gradually teaches you self-discipline in this respect? If so, I must say, that is one more reason I wish I had finished my undergraduate degree, back in the early 1970s, instead of dropping out like some sort of enragé! If only I had known, or rather, had had a father who would have hammered it home to me, that our opponents spend half their time deliberately trying to provoke us into outbursts they can then use to smear us with!

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April 28th, 2008, 9:27 am

 

79. Akbar Palace said:

norman said:

You should be touched more that Syria’s Assad did not have to go and visit the wounded Israelis because no Israelis were wounded by a Syrian soldier.

Norman,

I don’t see it that way. The way I see it, Jordan hasn’t funded and armed Lebanese terrorist organizations to do their bidding. Moreover, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel and they keep their border quiet (except for that rare tragedy).

Proof that Israel can live in peace with their neighbors.

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April 28th, 2008, 11:21 am

 

80. Akbar Palace said:

i should have added above that the hotel/wedding slaughter in amman couple years back was a collaboration between usreal and jordan.

Bondo,

Why should be believe you and not the world news sources like “The Independent”, the BBC, and the New Yorl Times?

[deleted by admin ... AP: please stop branding people conspiracy theorists].

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/alqaida-claim-responsibility-for-jordan-hotel-bombings-514654.html

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD190508

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April 28th, 2008, 7:08 pm

 

81. Akbar Palace said:

…their track record of lying is so immense, so long, so well documented…(blah, blah, blah)…

Bondo -

Great, so according to you these respected news sources lied.

So once again, I ask you (or anyone else here including the administrators;) to show some proof they are wrong and you are right (Zzzzzzz).

Who really bombed the Jordanian wedding in Amman?

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April 28th, 2008, 10:39 pm

 

82. why-discuss said:

When Lebanese 14 march group realized that Bashar could make a separate peace with Israel, they panicked. If this happens Lebanon will have to negotiate independently ( with the useless help of the UN and US and the arab League) with Israel on the fate on the Palestinians refugees in Lebanon, Shebaa farms etc..
Suddenly Joumblat talks about compromises, Hariri accepts the dialog with Berri before the election of a president. They probably realized that they need Syria and they can’t dissociate themselves from it. They are secretly expressing hope that Bashar will not dump Lebanon… We may see a 360 degree shift in Lebanon-Syria relationship from the present lebanese governement. Hezbollah may become valuable now to link the two country for a possible peace of Syria with Israel.
See worried orient article on 29 april
“Interrogations inquiètes sur un éventuel accord séparé syro-israélien”
…Notre pays, poursuivent ces sources, a un problème particulier très lourd, les réfugiés palestiniens. Il ne peut amorcer un processus de paix, commun ou singulier, excluant ce dossier et permettant l’implantation, ouvertement ou indirectement, par omission. Il attend donc de la Syrie comme de ses autres partenaires arabes qu’ils exigent la concrétisation de la résolution onusienne numéro 194 ordonnant le retour des réfugiés palestiniens dans leur patrie.”

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April 29th, 2008, 1:35 am

 

83. Qifa Nabki said:

Why-Discuss

Your logic doesn’t make sense. Israel has absolutely no reason to make peace with Syria if Syria itself cannot deliver a more or less simultaneous deal with Lebanon.

What does Israel stand to gain from returning the Golan? Ending the threat posed by Syria’s tanks? No, they’re ancient. Its nuclear arsenal? No, it doesn’t exist. The only reason to make peace with Syria is to gain leverage over Hizbullah (and maybe Hamas). In such a scenario, how does March 14 lose out? I would argue that, to the contrary, everybody wins.

What do you think?

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April 29th, 2008, 1:48 am

 

84. Akbar Palace said:

ap, go enjoy some arabic coffee and some arabic food and some arabic music. then take a look at the miserable zionist world. makes you sick doesnt it. makes me sick.

Bondo,

Thanks. I’ve had plenty of Arabic kawa and food and music. And it’s all good (the music after a while starts to get on my nerves). Yet, I find the “miserable zionist world” to be one of the most free, opportunistic, and vibrant economies in the world. Israelis know how to enjoy themselves and they’re full of life. It doesn’t make me sick at all, it actually makes me very happy and very proud.

Perhaps if you thought about other things instead of Israel you would be less sick. Just a suggestion.

BTW – You didn’t show us any proof about the Amman wedding bombing. Did you try al-Jazeera?

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April 29th, 2008, 10:50 am

 

85. why-discuss said:

QIFA BABKI
“Your logic doesn’t make sense. Israel has absolutely no reason to make peace with Syria if Syria itself cannot deliver a more or less simultaneous deal with Lebanon.”

It is so obvious..
Israel will get in exchange for peace a lower support of Syria to Hezbollah and Hamas. Read what Shai writes and all new articles about that subject, Israel NEEDS to make peace with Syria to restart a dynamic of peace with other neighbours.
The trouble starts for Lebanon as the present lebanese governmemt policy is to deal with Syria as any other arab country and in the last years with resentment, insults and claims that Lebanon does not need Syria and that it can manage with the help of western countries and pro western arab countries. For the Lebanese “majority” Syria is just a nuisance.

Now if Syria makes a separate deal with Israel, it WILL includes ome sort of reining of Hezbollah and Hamas but WILL NOT include a solution to the palestinians refugees in Lebanon. It is now up to the 14 mars governemnt now to lure back Syria into helping secure the fate of the palestinian refugees and Shebaa Farm. These are much tougher problems to solve and I would expect Syria to just go ahead with a separate peace arrangement, leaving Lebaon in the cold.

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April 29th, 2008, 1:25 pm

 

86. Qifa Nabki said:

Why-Discuss

Thanks for your response. I still see things a little differently.

Take the Palestinian refugees issue. How would Syria help solve that issue, even if it wanted to? It’s a Lebanese problem, and the question of nationalization is absolutely off limits to the Christians and the Shi`a (unfortunately, in my opinion). I don’t see how Syria would have been able to solve this issue anyway, short of negotating a right of return agreement, which will never happen anyway.

As for Shebaa… this is hardly a problem. It’s a pretext. And I would guess that Israel would withdraw from Shebaa when/if it withdraws from the Golan.

In general, I guess I believe that Israel will only withdraw from the Golan if it has iron-clad guarantees. And that will inaugurate a completely new political order in Lebanon anyway, one in which Hizbullah is integrated into the army, transitions to full political party, and in which relations with Syria are normalized to some extent, over time.

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April 29th, 2008, 2:10 pm

 

87. Qifa Nabki said:

Bondo,

Why do you bother reading anything if you are so convinced of your own opinions? Why not just stick to the following mantra, and save yourself the trouble of buying a newspaper, reading a blog, talking to another person?

greed is greed
usrael is usrael
jews are jews
bondo is bondo
arabs are arabs

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April 29th, 2008, 3:09 pm

 

88. Qifa Nabki said:

I don’t skip your posts. I find them entertaining.

I’m just curious because you are maybe the most self-confident person I’ve ever met.

Sicilians make the Lebanese look positively insecure.

;)

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April 29th, 2008, 3:38 pm

 

89. wizart said:

QN,

I suppose we can all ask ourselves the same long question you just asked Bondo starting with yourself since you can understand your own question. Seriously, you can accept that others might have a different attitude that doesn’t fit with your own view can’t you?

It’s also ok to allow them to express their views without having to deal with your objections or ridicules isn’t? It seems to me you’re becoming a self-appointed thought police where everyone here has to adjust his argument to your liking. I think that was the main point of your disagreement with T who you finally managed to drive off.

Congratulations!

Kifa Nabki is Kifa Nabki
(we’ll accept that too)

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April 29th, 2008, 3:40 pm

 

90. Alex said:

Bondo,

I love to see “Greater Syria” … but we can’t force it on anyone.

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April 29th, 2008, 5:29 pm

 

91. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Bondo,
The Arabs are great. They are the best. The US is the worst. So why are you living in the US instead of some Arab country? All the complainers never give me a good answer to this question which makes their arguments amusing.

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April 29th, 2008, 5:44 pm

 

92. Qifa Nabki said:

Wizart,

I disagree with plenty of people here, including Joshua, Alex, AIG, Nour, Idaf, Ausamaa, and others. I have no illusions about trying to make people’s opinions conform to my own. When I challenge people, it’s simply to get them to explain their argumentation.

My opinions have been changed by many on this blog, by the way. That’s why I stick around. I like being proven wrong.

(By the way, I tried responding to your comment to me about the Palestinians, but I think it was eaten by the spam filter. In short, I asked you to explain yourself and assured you that I wasn’t trying to be clever. What did I say that made you think I was disrespecting Palestinian rights?)

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April 29th, 2008, 6:24 pm

 

93. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Bondo,
Only irrational people stay in places that they think are very bad. Of course you are good. But why do you stay in such a bad place as the US instead of moving to the Arab countries that as you attest are great? You don’t like western garbage yet you live in the country that exmplifies western garbage, the US. You don’t like Zionists yet you insist in living in a community in which the majority are Zionist Jews. You are just not making any sense. Are you perhaps a masochist? Or do you actually admire Jews and Zionists and hate yourself for it and therefore punish yourself by living among them (which in the end is not punishment but what you really want)?

By the way, pick a point you want me to answer you on, I would be happy to do it.

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April 30th, 2008, 2:24 am

 

94. Rowan Berkeley said:

USA – Love it or leave it – eh? Redneck goading.

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April 30th, 2008, 3:49 am

 

95. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Rowan,
You really need to read more slowly because it may help you not to miss the point entirely.

Bondo hates the US and western values as he clearly states. He believes the Arab states are much better. The US exemplifies western values and fixing the US for most Americans means adhering MORE to western values, not less as Bondo wants. Yet he stays in the US. Is this rational? Of course not.

Why is it that given an option most Arabs would immigrate to the US but very few Americans would immigrate to Arab countries? Are Americans and Arabs stupid and do not see how great the Arab countries are and how bad the US is or perhaps Bondo and you are just plain wrong?

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April 30th, 2008, 4:04 am

 

96. Rowan Berkeley said:

western values? do tell.

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April 30th, 2008, 5:01 am

 

97. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Bondo,
What do you think, is lying a Jewish value? What is your opinon?
If you think I lied, just quote the passage where you think I am lying and let’s discuss it. This is called debate based on facts, something you don’t seem to like.

Evading the issues are you? Having been shown to be irrational and that your statements are contradictory you seem to have a problem to rebound. Take your time and try a little harder. Try to explain why even though Jews and Zionists are evil and the US is the worst you insist on living in a community that is mostly Jews and Zionists in the US. Now, is that the action of a rational person? I think not unless you are either a masochist or a secret Jews-Zionists admirer. I think the latter.

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April 30th, 2008, 2:13 pm

 

98. Rowan Berkeley said:

that’s the “USA! USA! love it or leave it!” line again.

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April 30th, 2008, 2:19 pm

 

99. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Rowan,
Not at all, you again completely miss the point. Many people want to change the US for the better. Obama for example. BUT, he wants to do it in the framework of Western thought and values: a Judeo-Christian value system living in harmony with but fully separated from a Jeffersonian democracy. Bondo rejects this framework. He rejects western influence and thought. The US exemplifies western values. Bondo rejects these. He has nothing to build on or improve on. He is completely incompatible with the US and therefore it is a mystery why he lives there.

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April 30th, 2008, 2:35 pm

 

100. Rowan Berkeley said:

obama is a write-off – check the news.

hey – make that a WRIGHT-off… hahaha

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May 1st, 2008, 7:19 am

 

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