Syria & Lebanon Should Hold Simultaneous Talks With Israel

by Qifa Nabki

Syria's peace talks with Israel have reached a breakthrough or a dead end, depending on whom one chooses to believe. 

Whatever the reality is, it looks likely that the talks have entered a temporary holding pattern to be sustained over the next several months while various regional and international uncertainties are resolved: the identities of the incoming American president and Israeli Prime Minister, the status of Iranian relations with the West, the security situations in Iraq and Palestine, etc.

I have argued over the past few months that Syria would do well to include Lebanon in its current talks with Israel. The presence of Lebanese negotiators alongside Syrian ones in Turkey would send several positive signals to various parties, which might compel positive responses in return.

1. It would demonstrate to the Americans that these talks are not merely a publicity stunt designed to hoist Syria out of its isolation, but rather that they would have an important bearing upon an American ally (Lebanon's Saniora government). 

2. It would further emphasize the idea that Syria recognizes Lebanon's sovereignty and is not negotiating on its behalf or behind its back.

3. It would send the signal to the Israelis that Syria has decisive clout with its allies in Lebanon, and can make them come to the table and negotiate with Israel when the conditions are right.

These positive signals might produce some fruitful results, namely:

a) Curbing criticism of and resistance to Syria/Hizbullah in Lebanon's political arena, if it is felt that the status quo will dramatically shift within the next few years following a peace deal. In other words, all of the fanfare about Hizbullah's weapons might be swept under the table again if the party's opponents can envision a stage at which Syria would pressure Hizbullah to conform to new political realities.

b) The Americans might seize this development as a face-saving way to sponsor the talks, given that one of their foremost regional allies is committed to it.

c) Reinvigorating the talks and putting them on the front page again, where they have the best chance of succeeding.

There is no reason for President Bashar al-Assad to introduce this tactic at the current moment, when it will likely be ignored by the Bush administration. However, it is conceivable that either Obama or McCain would be more open to exploring the potential of these talks than George W. Bush, and a Syrian gesture of this nature would make it far easier for the Americans to switch tack.

Both the French and Israelis have called for Lebanon to engage in direct talks, with the usual brush off by Lebanon's leaders, who know better than to pursue such a track without a Syrian green light. Since the road to peace leads through Lebanon, however, Syria would do well to begin paving the way for an eventual settlement by bringing its neighbor on board, even if only in a limited capacity.  

Comments (86)


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51. Averroes said:

QN,

Although I second my own liking of the flag, I have to say that I think you’re off mark in your article.

The question is, which Lebanese? Unfortunately, Lebanon today is deeply divided, and the Saudi-sponsored pact has climbed too high in their demonizing of Syria that they cannot climb back down without risking a severe fall. Also, you have the Saudis there ever ready to poke them back up as we saw last week, when a group of Salafis moved to sign an agreement of honor with HA. Although all the agreement called for was the stopping of sectarian tagging and exclusive language, the Saudis quickly shot it down in less than 24 hours.

Farouque Al-Shara was right when he stated that there is too much personalization on the Saudi side. The Saudi do not seem capable of conceding to someone they consider “a kid” and they’re dragging their Lebanese allies with them.

Who should Syria take with her to the talks? HA and Amal? Oh, you will immediately see vicious attacks (aimed at nothing but sabotage) on the “state within a state.” Who then? Future pact? with Jeajea and Jumblat? Do you think that Syria should approach them to attend meetings, while their positions still stand where they do?

The non-stop onslaught of the Saudi and Hariri media has made a new reality in the minds of many Lebanese that will take a long time to be undone, unfortunately.

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September 1st, 2008, 1:32 am

 

52. Qifa Nabki said:

Averroes

You raise the point that I’ve been waiting for someone to raise, namely “which Lebanese”. It’s a good one, and I admit that I don’t have an answer for it, yet.

I don’t totally agree with your characterization of Saudi policy in Lebanon these days. It’s very difficult to know who is poking whom and how much influence they have.

I think that you’re right about the polarization. However, in my opinion most people on the March 14 side would like to see a deal with Israel as this will bring prosperity and stability to Lebanon. So they are not really the obstacle. What this means is that they would be happy to let Pres. Suleiman appoint emissaries to Turkey, even if these emissaries are vetted by Syria and Hizbullah. March 14 will not have to reinvent itself after a peace deal, while Hizbullah will.

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September 1st, 2008, 2:00 am

 

53. Enlightened said:

QN:

Nice article, well written as usual.

A couple of points.

* I dislike the flag and will not pledge allegiance to it, unless you replace those two stars, with another two cedars, or “might accept” if its marketed as a “rose” between two thorns (ie Israel, Syria) if there is a peace.

* I concur about the M14 constituents desire for peace and stability, and Averroes raises a very very important point about “which Lebanese”. We couldn’t even elect a president with out resorting to the precipice. I think the issues regarding the current talks are best left as they are, to see whether the Syrians and Israelis can hammer out the basic issues of The Golan, water rights, security , normalization etc.

* Lebanon should not participate until after next years elections, whether the Hezb and its allies win or M14. (Given Jumblatts rhetoric lately re Israel, resistance might be a new M14 fad)

* After Israel returns the Golan we can let them know that the Sheba issues was really a hoax and it was a family inheritance dispute.

* I along with some others think that Lebanese participation is wish full thinking.

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September 1st, 2008, 2:56 am

 

54. norman said:

QN,

When a patient has Breast cancer and that breast cancer spreads to the lung , bone and liver , it is not called lung cancer, bone cancer or liver cancer , it is still breast cancer with spread to lung , bone and liver and to treat it you have to treat the breast cancer and support the patient with oxygen for the shortness of breath from the breast cancer in the lung and the pain medicine for the breast cancer in the bone , the most important thing is treating the breast cancer ,

Now is the Mideast ,

The problem and the cancer is the Palestinian / Israeli conflict and until the Palestinians get their human rights and there is a solution to the refugees , all other problems between Israel Syria and Lebanon are side shows and non significant and can not be solved in a way that can produce a real peace for Israel.

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September 1st, 2008, 3:01 am

 

55. Qifa Nabki said:

Enlightened,

Thanks for your enlightened comment. You are probably right about the elections. We’ll see what happens.

Ammo Norman,

Thank you for depressing me even further.

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September 1st, 2008, 3:12 am

 

56. norman said:

QN,

It is simple,

One for all and all for one ,

The sooner Israel understand that the better for all the people concerned.

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September 1st, 2008, 3:20 am

 

57. Shai said:

Enlightened,

“* After Israel returns the Golan we can let them know that the Sheba issues was really a hoax and it was a family inheritance dispute.”

That’s for the books. I laughed so hard…

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September 1st, 2008, 3:45 am

 

58. Nur al-Cubicle said:

Hope Israel does not intend to propose a deal like this one:

“Olmert offers Abbas a deal excluding Jerusalem”. Abbas, of course, refused.

The headline should have read, Olmert offers sandwich with no bread, no ham, no cheese.

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September 1st, 2008, 3:58 am

 

59. Shai said:

Nur,

It was ludicrous the whole thing. As good a guy as Abu Mazen might be, he is by now Israel’s puppet (our fault, and his), and you cannot make peace with your puppet. Marouan Barghouti, or even Hanniyeh, would be far better for Israel.

At the moment you’ve got a situation where two leaders can neither agree, nor deliver anything they would agree on. Abu Mazen barely represents the Fatah, and has no control over half the Palestinian people. And he gets money and arms from Israel. How can he act “our enemy” at the negotiation table?

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September 1st, 2008, 4:12 am

 

60. Enlightened said:

Shai:

I have got a few others, but will wait for the appropriate time,timing etc.

A far while ago we were arguing in a post about “Arab views” intransigence, hype about “victories” conspiracy theories etc etc, when I told some one:

“There is a very old Arab Bedouin Nomad saying “You cant see the tree from the forest in the Dessert”

OFW had a very hard chuckle at that one if I remember correctly.

Norman:

Il second QN’s depression on that front all, that Cancer talk,

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September 1st, 2008, 4:27 am

 

61. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Norman,
Why the usual Arab denial? The Palestinian issue is important, but how is it connected to the life of the average Syrian? Why can’t the average Syrian be better educated and richer because of the Palestinian issue? And why if the Palesinian issue is solved, how will this make the Syrians richer and better educated?

This is just an excuse the dictators have for their failures. I am surprised you buy it. In any case there is no solution to the Palestinian problem because there is no solution to the right of return problem.

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September 1st, 2008, 4:41 am

 

62. Majhool said:

Syria arrests two Kurdish leaders
Sep 1, 2008 11:34 AM

Syrian authorities have arrested two Kurdish leaders and charged one with a capital offence, as part of a campaign to crush political dissidents that has triggered international protests.

The two men were arrested ahead of a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the Syrian capital on Wednesday.

Sarkozy has been trying to convince President Bashar al-Assad to release leading political prisoners who have been campaigning for minority rights and a democratic constitution as an alternative to four decades of Baath Party rule.

Talal Mohammad of the banned Wifaq party, an offshoot of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which is also active in Turkey and Iraq, was arrested without warrant in northeastern Syria last week and not heard from since, according to the National Organisation of Human Rights in Syria.

Authorities earlier arrested Mashaal Tammo, an official in Future Movement, which like all opposition parties in Syria is banned.

Future Movement advocates democracy and equal rights for Syria’s one million Kurdish minority.

The Kurdish language is not allowed to be taught in schools and tens of thousands of Kurds were denied citizenship after a 1960s census.

Tammo had said before his arrest that Syrian policy toward the Kurds risked a repeat of riots that killed 30 people in Syria in 2004. The riots started in a Kurdish region.

Tammo was charged on August 27 with committing aggression and arming Syrians to start civil war, an accusation that carries the death penalty and is rarely directed against well-known political activists.

Other charges regularly used against dissidents were also levelled at Tammo, including belonging to an organisation that aims to change the basis of society and causing racial and sectarian tension.

Denies charges

Tammo has denied the charges and human rights lawyer Mohannad al-Hassani said it would require a great deal of evidence to prove that Tammo, who renounces violence, had wanted to start civil war.

“The authorities cannot resort to such fearsome charges just because they disagree with someone’s opinions,” he said.

The U.S. State Department denounced Tammo’s arrest, saying he was held incommunicado for 15 days before he was charged.

“We condemn the detention of Tammo and other Syrian prisoners of conscience and call for their immediate release,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement.

“We encourage the international community to join us in calling on the Syrian government to stop its policy of arresting critics of the regime and to comply with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Syria, which has been controlled by the Baath Party since it took power in a 1963 coup and imposed emergency law, has thousands of political prisoners, human rights lawyers say.

Assad said during a visit to Paris last month authorities only arrest those suspected of violating the constitution and that criticism of his rule was permitted.

Under Turkish pressure, Syria has cracked down on the PKK, which it once backed.

A security court handed several PKK members long sentences in 2006 in trials branded illegitimate by international human rights groups.

“What is this? You armed us and now you imprison us,” one defendant shouted at the judges before he was sentenced to seven years in jail.

Source: Reuters

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September 1st, 2008, 5:13 am

 

63. Alex said:

AIG … why do you care about Democracy in Syria? … How is it connected to your life as an average Israeli? .. why are you here the whole day with ten comments a day?!!

Really? . why?

Why do expect us to believe you and read your broken record as you play the role of a passionate fighter for democracy in Syria but when Norman states that Palestine to him is as important to Syria, then you have to protest on the grounds that Norman’s statement is not very logical? … suggesting that Education should logically be on the top of Norman’s priorities not Palestine.

If you are willing to fight and die for “the Jewish Nation” … “the Arab Nation” has similar meaning to Norman … Palestine is the core of the problem to Norman and to many many Syrians whether you approve or not.

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September 1st, 2008, 5:15 am

 

64. Majhool said:

Growing Salafist movement in North poses challenge to the project of state building
By Inter Press Service

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mona Alami

Inter Press Service

TRIPOLI: In the center of one of Tripoli’s squares in north Lebanon, a large statue has been erected inscribed with the word “Allah” in Arabesque calligraphy. The statue reflects the city’s reality, especially in light of the recent rise in Salafism, a radical form of Islam. In Abi Samra on one of Tripoli’s hills, long-bearded men, dressed in white dishdashas – a style unusual for Lebanon – walk along whitewashed buildings, attesting to the growing grip Islamists have on the city.

“Salafism was founded in the 1960s in Lebanon by Sheikh Salem al-Chahal,” says Sheikh Bilal Chaaban, head of the Tawhid movement (another radical Islamist faction, separate from Salafism). After the death of its founder, Salafism branched into various factions, one of which is headed by the founder’s son, Dai Islam al-Chahal.

“During his lifetime, Sheikh Said Chaaban, founder of Tawhid, was supported by other Salafists. After his death, however, both movements drifted apart, with the Tawhid still clinging to the dream of establishing a Muslim state in Northern Lebanon,” says Future Movement MP Mustafa Allouch.

Other small Salafist schools also emerged in Tripoli, such as the Siraj Mounir Boukhari and Safwan Zoabi movements.

“Salafists believe in a strict interpretation of the Koran and in practicing Islam as it was at the time of the Prophet Mohammad and his disciples,” says Sheikh Omar Bakri, a radical cleric who was expelled from Britain in 2005 for his alleged links with Al-Qaeda. According to the cleric, Salafism is essentially built on three pillars: belief in one god, the “daawa” or the missionary task, and jihad.

“Most Salafists, however, only apply the first two principles of true Islam without fulfilling the third, the jihad. True Salafism thus does not exist in Lebanon,” he says.

Lebanese Salafism is of a doctrinal and missionary nature that has been allowed to grow because of the country’s complex and diverse religious undercurrent (Lebanon, a country of 4 million, officially recognizes 18 religious communities). In Tripoli, Salafist factions rely on a network of mosques, NGOs and schools, and receive financing from various Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

The armed bodyguards surrounding the headquarters of some Islamic and Salafist organizations, and the relative opulence of the homes of the clerics reflect the growing affluence and number of such extremists flowing into the city. “The allegiance of Salafist factions to the foreign powers that fund them has promoted divisions among their ranks, as they reflect the alliances or dissensions of their foreign allies,” says Bakri.

The intricate political and social fabric within the various Salafist movements is deeply divided, as with the rest of Lebanon. Not only are Islamic factions in Tripoli manipulated by foreign powers, but they are also pawns in the hands of local politicians, who use them in their political games.

“By radicalizing people, political factions can guarantee a larger base of supporters in the upcoming 2009 parliamentary elections. Salafists, like many others, are lured by false Messiahs,” says Sheikh Chaaban, referring to the role of politicians in the ongoing violent conflict in Tripoli between Sunnis (including radical Islamists) and a pro-Syrian minority.

Different sources interviewed by IPS report that most Salafists seem to follow the pro-government bloc, while other radical Sunni factions, such as Tawhid, are sponsored by either Syria or Iran, and hence, support the opposition.

“Most Salafists are allied to the Saudis and, thus, aligned with American Middle East policy. They maintain excellent relations with the government and the Hariri family,” says Bakri. The Hariris are a powerful Lebanese political clan with strong ties to Saudi Arabia. Saad Hariri, son of slain Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, heads the majority parliamentary coalition in Lebanon.

According to a source, who chose to remain anonymous due to the topic’s sensitivity, many Salafist preachers are on the payroll of Arab embassies located in Lebanon. Bakri says this support can be partly explained by Sunnis’ growing fear of Lebanese Shiites, represented by Hizbullah.

Bakri believes that although Fatah al-Islam, a terrorist group that battled the Lebanese Army at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli for over three months in 2007, might have been spawned by Syrian intelligence. It was then probably hijacked by local political factions from both sides of the divide, he adds. “This can be clearly observed in the series of bombings orchestrated by Fatah al-Islam, as some were condemned by their leader Shaker al-Abssi while others were condoned, indicating conflict within the organization.”

As for Al-Qaeda’s possible hand in Lebanon’s growing Salafist movement, the country’s diverse sectarian landscape and traditional allegiance of Sunnis to the government has in fact hindered its influence. Although the organization might have many staunch supporters who believe in the ideology it advocates, it has not necessarily been able to achieve an infrastructure.

According to IPS sources, most Salafist movements in Tripoli are being supplied with weapons. Allouch believes most Islamist factions are now armed.

To curb the risk of a violent outbreak, the MP said Saad Hariri worked on convincing Salafists to contribute to the project of state building, but this work was hindered by the May 7 events when opposition forces took over parts of Beirut, an event that further exacerbated divisions between Sunnis and Shiites. “Many Sunnis, who are aware that Al-Qaeda will only bring a spiraling wave of violence, feel they need an army to defend themselves against Hizbullah,” says Allouch.

Hizbullah is currently the only Lebanese faction officially permitted to retain heavy weaponry, which could constitute the need for self-defence in the minds of some Salafists.

Sheikh Abou Bakr Chahal, son of Sheikh Salem Chahal, believes the third aspect of Salafism, jihad, can be practiced in certain threatening circumstances and under the banner of legitimate defense. “A re-enactment of the May 7 events could certainly prompt a new jihad,” he warns.

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September 1st, 2008, 5:39 am

 

65. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
Let’s get this point clear. The quality of the education of my children is much much more important to me than whether there is democracy in Syria.

Are you saying that for Norman and many other Syrians, the quality of their children’s education is less important than the Palestinian issue? Is that really true? It is hard for me to believe, and I would like to see Norman say this himself.

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September 1st, 2008, 5:55 am

 

66. offended said:

AIG,
I am inclined to believe that the quality of your childrens’ education is deteriorating while you’re busy here fighting the windmills instead of attending to their shortcomings.

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September 1st, 2008, 9:18 am

 

67. antika said:

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
Let’s get this point clear. The quality of the education of my children is much much more important to me than whether there is democracy in Syria.

this is really funny. they have been using israel to make people poorer. for centuries now and Alex, who i doubt had been to syria or lived there for more than a month, is talking about that. this is really disgusting and insulting when people talk about things they never lived or experienced.

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September 1st, 2008, 9:26 am

 

68. why-discuss said:

QN
“It is not in Syria’s interest for there to be an open front on its borders with Israel, once a Golan deal has been signed. Plus, Israel’s price for the Golan will be a quiet and stable Lebanon that does not pose a threat to its own security.”

Wishful thinking…Assume Hezbollah is neutralized/weakened because of Syria’s peace with Israel, what card Lebanon holds to get a solution to the Shebaa Farms and the 500,000 palestians refugees? NOTHING. The front with Israel with remain quiet and the refugees camps inside Lebanon would explode as it will become clear for the palestinians that they lost forever any chance of return or compensation. This without counting the violence between the lebanese who reject/want palestinian implantation.
A separate peace with Syria will be a curse for Lebanon.
If Lebanon does not find a way to sneak in the Syria-Israel negotiations by making lots of concessions to Syria, be sure that the Syrians won’t invite them: Syria has trouble with Israel on its negotiations but it is united and have only one voice. I doubt Syria would gladly welcome a Lebanon that has such contradictory voices, openly antagonistic atitude to Syria and opposed views on the palestinian issue.
Sarkozy visit to Syria is one more proof that the lebanese are getting worried that they will be left in the cold. Sleiman and Sarkozy are bringing the same message to
Bashar: “we love you, please include Lebanon in the peace negotiations and you will be rewarded by the international community”
What would Syria want in exchange?

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September 1st, 2008, 10:54 am

 

69. trustquest said:

Syrians writers and intellectuals are asking and pleading to the Syrian authority to arrest them but not to kidnap them.
By: Ibrahim Yousef, 8/25/08

The effect of the arresting the engineer Moshaal Eltammo on August 15, 2008, while he was driving his personal car on the Cupani road Ain Arab-Aleppo, by kidnapping him, has created a lot of questions about what such act leaves in the his friends, family, relatives and the whole society at large.

I do not think that anyone does not accept the application of the law and submitting all those who break the law to justice, provided the justice system is honest, transparent, fair, non-political, gives one his rights, etc., without arbitrary, or coercion!

However, the abduction of citizens for security, whatever it is, and not to grant him an opportunity to inform his family what have been subjected to especially at the moment of kidnapping or the moment they jumped on him, is one of the most basic human rights. Additionally to continue the secrecy and obfuscation on the attack, as in the cases described, it is not further harm the psychological, spiritual, physical being of the person, but that goes beyond the circle of person so as to punish innocent relatives of the husband, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, relatives, lovers, and even society ….. !

This idea specifically run into my mind while I visited the family of writer and a prominent Kurdish political Meshaal Tammo, and here I am not in the course of defending his political views, it is his personal, but I’m in the course of defending the freedom of opinion for him and others, whoever they are, defending the freedom of opinion as it given to us by Syrian law. As long as expression of ideas are peaceful not violent and revolves within a concern for our homeland and the citizens, according to viewpoint that we all care about our nation not only the governing body!.

There are very deep sorrow, in the hearts of all who I met at his home, from parents and, lovers, while I was in the alleviation process to them regarding their pain and sorrow. It makes it looks that who works in public affairs, within our reality – where the equation is not balance- looks in front others as crazy gay or a gambler, and even in his own life, which make them take into account any fate he might face as something predictable!

Personally, I hate denying my freedom even for just one second and I am not of those who are obsessed with the dark prison songs”dark prison come close we love darkness, there is only glory dawn after long night!”. With all my respect for the heroics of those who shouted long these verses – and considering especially that we are in our homeland, and our truly beautiful country, which I did not and will not think of replacing her with all countries in the world, a country with which we are keen to be a strong and united in barrier against enemies and we all want her the best, this is what motivate me to correct this injustice in this relation between State and people. Such a defect referred to – kidnapping – that condition placed onto the subject and his family is absolute hell. I’m expressing these views without hesitation is in defending of the my country, the national human conscience and in conformity with my conscious as I’m suppose to respond to my countries ills, this world which I do not wish it to any of my country people and I am sure that no one in the world is “fan prison” if he mentally healthy, and there are methods of peaceful civilized dialogue can be resorted to under the mutual love and concern, and I think every honest citizen in this country is keen on that.

Yes, despite the hatred of legal arrest once or repeatedly, but the circumstances created by the kidnapping without feeling for others by dealing with his family in this case with cold blood is not only a disregard to the rights of the detainee, leaving his family who suffer greatly in the conditions it imposed, but makes his family welcome, even bitter, the legal channels of arrest of Mr. Meshaal.

As a Syrian citizen, jealous for every single grain on the soil of our nation and every tree branch, and every citizen, every bird, every butterfly, every star hanging in the sky, I appeal to all those who care about the honorable state of my country, I say: I’m demanding in my country ….. , to cancel this individual term ( kidnapping) which tarnish the reputation of our country which we want to be a model in the real safety, and to abolish the methods of collective punishment, a primitive manner to punish a prisoner’s family and society who never committed a guilt or crime

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September 1st, 2008, 11:10 am

 

70. Joshua said:

The Road to Damascus runs in several directions evidently. Eyal Zisser, the head of the Dayan Center in Israel, has written that the road to Damascus runs through Jerusalem. He can point to the Turkish sponsored peace talks and recent Syrian efforts to recruit pro-Israeli lobbyists in Washington to convince the White House to drop its isolation policy as proof that Damascus takes this notion seriously. All the same, Damascus has failed to interest Washington in direct US-Syrian talks despite marching down the road to Jerusalem.

Some have concluded that the Jerusalem road has been blocked by Lebanese who have tacked up a detour sign rerouting Syrians through Beirut. The Lebanese can argue that the Sarkozi gambit proves that Lebanon is the key to Syria breaking out of its isolation.

I have argued that the road does not go through Baghdad. Syria has offered to cooperate with Petraeus, set up joint patrols, and restart intelligence sharing in order to reduce the number of jihadists and suicide bombers in Iraq. Syria’s offers have not impressed Washington.

Maybe Lebanon is the key? Or, maybe Washington is not really impressed by Syria’s change in policies toward its neighbors.

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September 1st, 2008, 12:56 pm

 

71. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Offended,
You are inclined to believe many things, but what matters are the facts.

And the facts are that the Asads have used the Palestinian issue as an excuse for why they have failed in their internal policies. I am not saying the Palestinian issue is not important to Arabs. All I am saying is that it has been cynically been used by failed Arab governments to justify their incapabilities. And what is strange is that some Syrians buy this excuse.

So I ask you and Norman again (and any other Syrian that may want to chime in), is the Palestinian issue more important to you than the quality of your children’s education? And, why do you think these issues are related at all?

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September 1st, 2008, 1:10 pm

 

72. ghat Albird said:

Am late to this give and take but since today is 9/1 and I along with millions of others are awed by what took place on 9/11 but on 08/08/08 when the world literally turned 180 derees.

While jaw-jaw is more rational than kill, kill. Its more important what comprises the essence of jaw, jaw.

What prohibits the socalled Arab states surrounding Israel to unequivocally deamdn that the UN Security Council forces the impelemntation of the original resolution 242, etc,. PERIOD?

When Syria and Lebanon hold simultanneous talks with Israel they “are” the ones that will be “pleading” with an entity that aside from being on the receiving end of $12/13 million dollars a day every day of the year from Uncle Sam in addition to state of the art military assistance.

In such instances of talking who who is the dealer and who are the ones at the trough? But then it seems that the “haggling” with Israel is more in line with whatever the puppeteers demand than say what the original UN Resolution states as a legally binding obligation on all the participants.

By the bye that $12/13 million dollars a day flowing from Wash. DC to Tel Aviv every day of the year sure helps in the education of the children of the chosen.

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September 1st, 2008, 2:42 pm

 

73. SimoHurtta said:

So I ask you and Norman again (and any other Syrian that may want to chime in), is the Palestinian issue more important to you than the quality of your children’s education? And, why do you think these issues are related at all?

So I ask you AIG again is stealing Arab land and waging wars and destruction for you more important than the safety and education of your children? As said AIG many times before among democracies Israel has no reason to brag with the quality of education. Look finally at the results of OECD’s PISA study. Israel’s is below average (actually near the bottom) in the study. Israel’s education results are little better as Turkey’s, but much below of those countries with you claim to “belong”.

AIG Israeli “Taleban” (religious) schools, which represent a significant part of Israeli schools, do not obviously produce a very clever new generation. Well in building and guarding illegal settlements on stolen land good education is certainly a handicap. A good trained young person might begin to think about moral and call into question the “history” taught in the “Haredi” schools.

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September 1st, 2008, 3:15 pm

 

74. ghat Albird said:

extract from an editorial on an Asia website.

Israel as seen from Asia in the talks.

The irony of the situation in which the Jews-only state wants to become so powerful that even the U.S. will fear to challenge it, is that the Jews-only state in Palestine seems to be able to obtain almost any military technology it wants from successive American governments without America being in the slightest bit worried about the military implications for its own national security.

With each transfer of military technology and military hardware, the Jews-only state becomes militarily stronger and thus more capable of striking a terrible blow to America. And yet since 1967, all American administrations have seemed perfectly willing to provide most types of military hardware and technology to the Jews-only state.

The dominance of Jewish interests over American interests could also be seen in 2003 when the ziocons pushed the Bush regime into a proxy zionist war against Iraq.

The ziocons hoped this would be the first of many zionist proxy wars against anti-zionist Arab/Moslem countries – devastating each country in virtually the same way as the Jews-only state has devastated Palestinian society.

For the ziocons, America’s proxy zionist war against Iraq was intended to defeat a country which posed a minimal challenge to the regional dominance of the Jews-only state.

They were not in the slightest bit concerned that America might struggle militarily against an Iraqi insurgency which was predicted not only by many civilian commentators but by many in the American military itself. The proxy zionist war against Iraq has ended up with America losing thousands of troops and suffering a huge financial strain on its economy. The zionists could not lose.

The zionists would benefit if America was able to easily defeat Iraq, and the Moslem countries that aren’t subservient to the Jews only state, conversely, they would also benefit if America struggled to defeat such countries and ended up weaker, militarily and economically, than before. If the zionists manage to extract more military hardware and advanced military technology from the Americans during the occupation of Iraq this will continue the process of reducing the huge disparity in military power between themselves and America.

By far and away the biggest reduction in the military disparity between the Jews-only state and America will occur if the zionists manage to develop, with or without America assistance, intercontinental nuclear missiles that could reach America. This will enable them to pose a considerable military threat to their main benefactor and protector.

The idea of the Jews-only state possessing nuclear missiles which could threaten America is not an issue which is discussed in America. It is politically impossible for Americans to discuss the nuclear threat from the Jews-only state because American politicians do not recognize the existence of the Jews-only state’s nuclear weapons.

“The U.S. government has never acknowledged that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, even though the world knows otherwise, thanks to the whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu. (London Sunday Times, Oct. 5, 1986).

This is quite remarkable. Perhaps Americans are not concerned that yet another government is capable of launching nuclear missiles against their country. This seems to run counter to America’s national security and its national interests.

Perhaps the reason why it has never become a political issue is because the American media and American politics is dominated by “Israel first” Jews who are not worried about America being threatened by the Jews-only state in Palestine. Even more amazing is that American politicians do not seem in the least bit bothered about the Jews-only state stealing American secrets or American military technology to help it develop nuclear missiles which could threaten America.

But then again, America’s Christian evangelists spend more of their time supporting the Jews-only state in Palestine than they do defending their own country from the “Israel first” traitors stealing American technologies and threatening America’s security.

The critical question Americans need to reflect upon, while they are boosting Jewish supremacy in the Middle East, donating vast subsidies to the Jews-only state, and providing it with the world’s most sophisticated military technology, is whether it is in their interests to allow the Jews-only state to develop nuclear weapons that could reach America.

Given Jewish dominance of the media it is highly likely the zionists will continue to keep the topic a part of the wide range of taboos. If America continues to help the Jews-only state acquire inter-continental wmds without discussing the political and military implications for American security this is a clear indication of zionist control over American politics.

This leads to the conclusion that the Jews-only state in Palestine has colonized America and is currently treating it as a resource for its own benefit. There could be no clearer example of Jewish domination of the West than America’s willingness to implement the foreign policies of another country, the Jews-only state in Palestine, and its failure to defend itself against its Jewish colonisers.

Dhruv Gadhvi/

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September 1st, 2008, 5:33 pm

 

75. Qifa Nabki said:

Why-Discuss

We’ve had this conversation before, but here goes.

Wishful thinking…Assume Hezbollah is neutralized/weakened because of Syria’s peace with Israel, what card Lebanon holds to get a solution to the Shebaa Farms and the 500,000 palestians refugees? NOTHING

Shebaa does not require a “solution”. Shebaa is a pretext for continued resistance. If Syria disarms Hizbullah so easily (as you seem to think it can, which is surprising to me), then Shebaa ceases to be an issue. Most Lebanese could care less about Shebaa and will never visit it in their life.

As for the Palestinian refugees, what kind of solution do you think Syria could possibly demand, even if they were feeling charitable towards Lebanon? You make it sound as if Syria is actually going to get Israel to take back 500,000 refugees or pay them all fat compensation checks so that they can all emigrate to Switzerland. To me, THIS is wishful thinking.

The most logical and likely solution, in my opinion, is that the vast majority of Palestinians in Lebanon will be integrated, seeing as how they have now spent decades living in the country. Some will go to other Arab countries, some will go back to Palestine. But most will stay, probably with all rights of citizenship except voting, until the Lebanese system finds a way to get rid of the sectarian quotas.

Syria is not going to magically deliver some incredible deal to the Palestinians in Lebanon, even if Saad al-Hariri personally delivered his testicles on a silver platter to Bashar.

Furthermore, I find it hilarious that you are saying that Lebanon needs to find a way to “sneak in the Syria-Israel negotiations by making lots of concessions to Syria.” What concessions has Lebanon NOT made to Syria, ya habibi? What else would you like to see it give to Syria? A flaming pyre of blushing virgins, once a year for the next 100 years? It takes a heavy dose of naivety or complete cynicism to pretend like Lebanon somehow “owes” Syria and should beg for its deliverance. After all, Syria is using Lebanon to get the Golan back. If anything, Syria owes Lebanon.

But you may be right: the Syrians may decide otherwise, and try to extort some more concessions out of the Lebanese. I just don’t see what they could possibly offer in return.

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September 1st, 2008, 5:53 pm

 

76. Shai said:

Ghat Albird,

“By far and away the biggest reduction in the military disparity between the Jews-only state and America will occur if the zionists manage to develop, with or without America assistance, intercontinental nuclear missiles that could reach America. This will enable them to pose a considerable military threat to their main benefactor and protector.”

Wow. That stuff sounds like it’s taken straight out of the most recent updated copy of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” (the one with the image of a long-nosed Jew holding the world with his claws). And I find it a bit funny that contrary to the title of the article, there is almost no mention of the word “Israel” anywhere else. I guess he means that the “Jews-only state” = Israel.

Well, so much for contributing to a more peaceful attitude, eh? Personally, I find such garbage equivalent (if not surpassing) the content produced by the neocon propaganda machine of the current administration. Despite the undisputed Jewish influence on some of the neocon circles, I actually give a little more credit to the rest of Washington, and refuse to accept a Jewish-only responsibility for the War in Iraq, or anywhere else America is fighting, for that matter. And you know that I’m the last person to shy (shai) away from criticizing Israel, or even the Jewish people.

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September 1st, 2008, 6:05 pm

 

77. Qifa Nabki said:

PS: Why-Discuss, I would also add that Bashar has to sleep in the bed that he (and his father before him) has made for himself. Can you imagine how lovely he would look in the eyes of proud Arab nationalists across the region if he embarked upon the following “selfish” strategy:

a) Make peace with Israel for the Golan

b) Humiliate Hizbullah by stripping it of its weapons and denying it political coverage in Lebanon

c) Leave the Palestinians to rot in their Lebanese camps, festering in their bitterness towards Syria (as if they weren’t bitter enough already for having their camps run by the Syrian mukhabarat for decades).

I think that this is not the result that Bashar is going for.

I think he is trying for something different.

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September 1st, 2008, 6:11 pm

 

78. norman said:

AIG,

I do not know about you ,but I can eat and breath at the same time and pushing for the Palestinian rights does not make it more difficult to improve education , the economy and the politecal system , actually it would be easier as Syria will not have to spend to stop the Israeli aggression, i want to add that Israel will be better off and it’s cold peace with Egypt and Jordon will improve and the Egyptian market with 70 mill will open to it’s products , I still do not know how you do not see that ,

By the way , we talked about that before but I am a product of the Syrian education system and I am doing very well, so do not believe what others tell you.

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September 1st, 2008, 7:30 pm

 

79. ghat Albird said:

SHAI.

Your comments about the so-called Protocols of Elders of Zion as well as the tone of your comments suggest what I have read somewhere and according to several socio-experts almost meets THE TYPICAL criteria attributed to Jews and states that.[jews] have unnatural reactions and become especially enraged when exposed to actual facts such as specific names, documents, locations, instances. and quotations, that challenges their fanaticism.

Wonder if your reactions to the likes of Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes and the prayers of Podhoretz in the Wall Stret Journal would parallel your comments made above.

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September 1st, 2008, 8:51 pm

 

80. Akbar Palace said:

Personally, I find such garbage equivalent (if not surpassing) the content produced by the neocon propaganda machine of the current administration.

Shai -

I hope so. To my knowledge, neocons have never referred to Palestine as a “muslims-only-state” (even though that is exactly what the PA wants and has been negotiating for).

BTW – Please give the forum a list of “neocon propaganda” just so we’re all on the same page.

Thanks,

AP

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September 2nd, 2008, 12:03 am

 

81. Shai said:

AP,

The PA wants a Muslim-only state? What are you talking about? You do know that there are Christian Palestinians, right?

I’ll let Alex give you the updated list of neocon propaganda…

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September 2nd, 2008, 3:50 am

 
 

83. why-discuss said:

QN

Contrary to your previous posts, you seem to have a very high opinion on Bashar as according to you, he expected to please the arab nationalists, the Syrians who wants the Golan, the lebanese goverment in its deals with the palestinians, the isrealis, Hezbollah and you!
Obviously you are not happy with your previous infuriated post where you were trying to prove that Syria needs Lebanon more than the other way around. I am glad you thought it over again refusing also Hariri’s emasculation :)
Do you seriously think the palestinians will be spontaneously compensated and integrated in other countries if Lebanon negotiates this alone?? Come on.. another wishful thinking.

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September 2nd, 2008, 9:36 am

 

84. Akbar Palace said:

The PA wants a Muslim-only state?

Shai,

I thought you were aware that the racist PA requires all Jews to leave Plaestinian lands and will not afford them any protection.

You do know that there are Christian Palestinians, right?

Palestinians Christians are fleeing Palestine in large numbers. Sort of the same way Jews left Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt. It seems your Palestinian friends aren’t quite as tolerant as your Israeli government.

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September 2nd, 2008, 11:22 am

 

85. Qifa Nabki said:

Why-Discuss

I don’t understand your comment, and I can’t see where you replied to any of my responses to your argument, so maybe you didn’t think it through? Baseeta.

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September 2nd, 2008, 11:52 am

 

86. Shai said:

AP,

Eh, remind me where you get your information… “… the racist PA requires all Jews to leave Palestinian lands…”??? What? Since when has the PA even as much as whispered something to any Jewish settler, let alone “require”? There are no Jews under PA control, in case you didn’t know. And I imagine that when there finally is a two-state solution, indeed no Jews will live in Palestine, but not because some PA will require them to, but because it would be idiotic of them to do so (seeing as they were viewed for the past 40 years as pretty much the “bad guy”… you know?)

But there are plenty of Christian Palestinians (incase you didn’t know, most are actually not running away), and no PA is trying to make Palestine a Muslim-only state. That’s ludicrous of you to say so. Show us your source of knowledge…. I’m more than curious.

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September 2nd, 2008, 12:53 pm

 

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