“The Syrian Opposition: Part 2,” by Landis & Pace in Arabic

المعارضة السورية (2)
بصدور 'إعلان دمشق' 2005 أصبح ممكنا الحديث عن 'معارضة سورية'

 بقلم :جوشوا لاندس وجو بايس
(مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والدولية ومعهد ماساشوستس للكتنولوجيا)

في الحلقة الأولى من دراسة 'المعارضة السورية' المنشورة في 'القبس' أمس، تناول المؤلف التشكيلات المكونة لتلك المعارضة، خصوصا جماعات حقوق الإنسان، والإسلاميين، والأحزاب، وهيئات المجتمع الأهلي، والمفكرين والمثقفين، واعتبر ان المعارضة مفككة، ومخترقة من قبل أجهزة الأمن، واعتبر ان تأثيرها في المجتمع السوري ما زال محدودا، رغم ما قامت به من انجازات، خصوصا في 'ربيع دمشق' الذي لم يزدهر ولم يتمكن من توحيد المعارضة.

في ما يلي الحلقة الثانية من الدراسة:

  الحرب العراقية: شحن الطاقة أم إضعافها؟
بالنسبة للمؤيدين الملحين على ما يدعى قلب نظرية الدومينو – بأن انهيار صدام حسين سوف يرسل بموجة مد من التوهج والحمية والديموقراطية في كل المنطقة – فقد تحولت الحرب لتصبح سيفا ذا حدين. فالناشطون بالغوا في دعواتهم للاصلاح باسم حماية سوريا من قدر العراق. لكن الحرب صدمت ايضا الناس كافة وجعلتهم يحتشدون خلف هذا النظام، الذي كان رئيسه الفخور يحافظ على الاستقرار في البلد. وقد اجبرت حمية الديموقراطية الجديدة لادارة بوش دمشق على تبني لغة الاصلاح، لكنها سهلت، ايضا، جهود الدول لتصنيف المنشقين كخدام وتابعين للغرب. فانهيار صدام أثار مسألة تحريك المعارضة الكردية، لكنه بذلك فاقم من التوترات بين المعارضة الكردية والمعارضة العربية.

ورغم ان الاكثرية الساحقة من المنشقين السوريين كانوا قد ادانوا بقسوة حرب العراق، فانهم قرنوا لومهم القاسي جدا بالدعوات للاصلاح. وفي ايار ،2003 وبعد شهر فقط من سقوط بغداد، احال ناشطو المجتمع الاهلي التماسا للرئيس محذرين من الايديولوجيا والسياسات 'العدائية، العنصرية، المغرورة والشريرة' للولايات المتحدة واسرائيل، وناشدوه القيام بالاصلاح لتقوية سوريا ازاء التهديدات الخارجية. وفي 8 ايار 2004 نظم ناشطو المعارضة اعتصاما غير مسبوق امام البرلمان. وفي الوقت نفسه على كل حال، وجدوا انفسهم، وبشكل متزايد، عرضة لاتهامات الخيانة، فعلى سبيل المثال، كان الاستثناء الوحيد للتعتيم الاعلامي بخصوص الاعتصام، مقالة لرئيس تحرير صحيفة البعث، التي اتهمت المتظاهرين بمحاولة 'تعزيز الضغوط الممارسة من الخارج'.

وكان الناشطون العرب متناقضين حول حرب العراق، إلا أن الأكراد رحبوا بها بابتهاج جماعي تقريبا. وأشعل سقوط صدام حسين، رمز القمع الكردي، شرارة انبعاث القومية الكردية داخل سوريا. وبدأت جماعات المعارضة الكردية بإثارة التحريض بشأن الحقوق الكردية، بما في ذلك عودة الاراضي المصادرة في المنطقة الشمالية الشرقية، والحق بتعليم ودراسة اللغة الكردية، وتقويم ومعالجة التمييز المنظم ضد الاكراد في الدوائر البيروقراطية الرسمية وجنسيات الاكراد التي نزعت عنهم المواطنة السورية في عام 1962. وبدأ عدد أصغر من الاحزاب بالمطالبة بحكم ذاتي سياسي وحكومة فدرالية.

وقد قال مشعل تيمو، الناطق باسم 'التوجه المستقبلي الكردي'، في ملاحظة له ان 'حرب العراق حررتنا من ثقافة الخوف.. لقد شاهد الناس كرديا يصبح رئيسا للعراق وبدأوا يطالبون بحقوقهم الثقافية والسياسية في سوريا. وفي مارس ،2004 انفجرت مباراة لكرة القدم بشكل صدامات بين الاكراد والعرب في القامشلي، المدينة الشمالية الشرقية، مما ادى الى تظاهرات كردية في كل مدن سوريا الكبرى. أما النظام السوري فلم يتوان عن سحق ما دعي بالانتفاضة، مطوقا وجامعا آلاف الناشطين ومغرقا المنطقة الشمالية الشرقية، التي يهيمن عليها الاكراد، بالقوى الامنية.

أما تأثير نهوض الاكراد على المعارضة ككل فقد كان مختلطا، مرة أخرى. فبطريقة ما، لعبت مسألة انفجار القومية الكردية، وسط تزايد الضغط الاميركي والاسرائيلي على سوريا، لمصلحة النظام – قامت اسرائيل، قبل اشهر، بشن ضربة جوية على الارض السورية.

وفي حين اتهمت صحافة الدولة عملاء اجانب ببدء اعمال الشغب، اججت المؤسسات الامنية الشكوك في أن الاكراد كانوا طابورا خامسا – انفصاليين ويعملون لمصلحة التدخل العسكري الاميركي – ليحتووا بذلك الاضطراب والهيجان داخل الدوائر الكردية. حتى أن ناشطين عربا متحمسين كانوا ذات مرة متعاطفين مع القسم الكردي، ترددوا بدعم حركة يلجأ عدد من قادتها بمحبة وحنان إلى الرئيس جورج بوش، مثل أبو أسعدي (أبو الحرية).

ومن جهة أخرى، أجبر حجم الثورة الناشطين العرب على الاعتراف بأن الاكراد قوة لا يمكن تجاهلها بعد الآن. فالمعارضة العربية تناضل لانزال 300 متظاهر الى الشارع، في حين ان المعارضة الكردية تستطيع انزال مئات الآلاف. وكانت المعارضة العربية، قبل هذا الحدث، متجاهلة، إلى حد كبير، القضية الكردية بسبب شكوكها في أن النشاط الكردي كان غطاء لمواصلة المطالبة بكردستان مستقلة. أما الاكراد، فاتهموا بالمبالغة بالتعبير عن حرمانهم ومعاناتهم، كما اتهموا بمراجعة التاريخ لترسيخ الادعاء الكردي بالاراضي السورية.

وبعد وقت قصير من الانتفاضة الشعبية، بدأ الزعماء العرب والاكراد بتشكيل اتصالات والاشتراك بعمليات تنسيق على مستوى منخفض. وأمل العرب في العمل على ظهر القوة البشرية للاكراد، في حين امل الاكراد في إدخال الحقوق الكردية الى اجندة المعارضة العربية. فالاهداف كانت التغلب على الشكوك المتبادلة، التي كان النظام يرعاها باهتمام شديد، وانشاء جبهة موحدة للاصلاح. فالبروز المتزايد للقوى الكردية اعترف به حتى تنظيم الاخوان المسلمين، الذين بعد عام واحد تماما من الانتفاضة الشعبية، اصدروا تصريحا يعلنون فيه تكاتفهم مع الاكراد والاعتراف بشرعية مظالمهم، وذلك للمرة الاولى في التاريخ.

موت الحريري، حياة جديدة للمعارضة

في 14 فبراير ،2005 مزق انفجار موكب الحريري ليقتله مع 22 آخرين. ورمت الولايات المتحدة فورا باللوم على سوريا وزادت من الضغط على النظام. وعلى الرغم من التأكيدات المتبجحة المنشورة بداية بأن سوريا لن تخضع للتحقيق الدولي الذي هو ظاهريا بحث وتحقيق في انه في الحقيقة يهدف الى تشويه سمعتها، فقد انحنى الاسد في النهاية أمام الضغوط وانهى 30 عاما من الاحتلال السوري للبنان. وكان لتنامي عزلة سوريا الدولية المتزايدة وخروجها المذل من لبنان تأثير نفسي عميق على المعارضة. وحسب ما قال كمال اللبواني:

'لأول مرة، كان يمكن مشاهدة امكان انهيار النظام، حتى ولو كان ذلك امرا بعيد الاحتمال، وبدأ الناس يفكرون بشكل اكثر جدية حول توفير البديل'.

وشهد ربيع 2005 فورة بالجهود المبذولة لتوحيد صفوف المعارضة. تطورت الاتصالات المنخفضة المستوى بين العرب والاكراد الى صيغة 'لجنة التنسيق الوطنية للدفاع عن الحريات الاساسية وحقوق الانسان'، وهو التحالف المعارض الاكثر شمولا حتى تاريخه. وفي نيسان، اصدرت 'لجنة احياء المجتمع الاهلي'، اكبر تشكيل للمجتمع الاهلي السوري، تصريحا تدعو فيه الى 'فتح قنوات الحوار' مع كل شرائح المجتمع السوري، بمن في ذلك 'الاخوان المسلمين'.

ولأول مرة منذ مجزرة حماه 1982 الشائنة، دعت مجموعة معارضة داخل سوريا للحوار مع الاخوان المسلمين. وبعد شهر من ذلك، قرأ الناشط والكاتب علي عبدالله رسالة من امين عام الاخوان المسلمين، علي صدر الدين البيانوني، يشجع فيها على اكتشاف كل الحركات السياسية السورية، حتى ان حزب البعث الحاكم كان حاضرا وممثلا. وكانت المرة الاولى التي يكون فيها 'الاخوان المسلمين' ممثلين علنا داخل سوريا منذ عام 1982. وبعد ذلك بوقت قصير، جلس الترك الى جانب البيانوني واعلن نيته القيام بتشكيل تحالف مع الاخوان المسلمين. وتم وضع اسس العمل لائتلاف معارض اوسع حتى.
إعلان دمشق

وفي 18 تشرين الاول، قبل 5 ايام فقط من الصدور المحدد لتقرير الامم المتحدة الاول حول اغتيال الحريري، كشف الائتلاف الاكثر تنوعا وتعددا للمعارضة حتى تاريخه، عن 'اعلان دمشق'، وهي وثيقة تؤسس لمنصة موحدة لأجل تغيير ديموقراطي. فالاعلان نشأ من رحلة سرية الى المغرب قبل بضعة اشهر فقط للمفكر ميشال كيلو للاجتماع مع البيانوني ومناقشة مبادرة جديدة لتوحيد القوى.
وقد اتفق الاثنان على اربعة مبادئ توجيهية رئيسية – الديموقراطية، اللاعنف، وحدة المعارضة، والتغيير الديموقراطي – وقد فوض البيانوني ميشال كيلو التفاوض حول تخالف مبني على اساس واسع لمصلحة الاخوان المسلمين. وسمح النشر الدولي للاعلان الاخير للمعارضة، قبل ايام فقط من صدور النتائج الاولى حول اغتيال الحريري، بالاستفادة من التغطية الصحفية المبالغ بها لسوريا وجعلت مسألة العثور على بدائل لنظام الاسد تكبر.
صدر الاعلان مع خمسة تواقيع لتحالفات حزبية، منظمات المجتمع الاهلي، وتسعة مفكرين. وبغضون 24 ساعة، بدأت عشرات الرابطات والاحزاب داخل وخارج سوريا بالاعلان عن دعمها. ولأول مرة في التاريخ السوري، توحد تجمع مؤلف من الاحزاب المتنازعة بعضها مع بعض والمفكرين المنتشرين الذين يمثلون القوميين الاكراد، القوميين العرب الاشتراكيين، الشيوعيين، الليبراليين والاسلاميين بظل قاعدة واحدة للتغيير الديموقراطي. اما ناشطو المجتمع المدني، الذين تكبروا سابقا على الاحزاب السياسية، فقد ضموا قواهم اليهم، وتم تشكيل مجهود مدروس لضمان ان يكون الموقعون على الاعلان مرحبا بهم من اكثرية المحافظات السورية. وبحسب ما قال احد الناشطين: 'مع اعلان دمشق، فقط، بإمكاننا التحدث عن المعارضة السورية'.

تجنبت الوثيقة عددا من القضايا التافهة التي لاحقت مجموعات المعارضة، وتراجعت عن اعلان دولة دينية، آخذة موقفا بشأن اي نموذج اقتصادي او تحديد لطبيعة الحل للمشكلة الكردية، بدلا من القول بالانكباب عليها مستقبلا في اطار عمل ديموقراطي شامل. اما السمة البارزة الاخرى ل'اعلان دمشق'، وعلى خلاف الاعلانات السابقة، فهي انه اعقبتها لجنة مؤقتة للاشراف على التنسيق المستمر بين الموقعين على الاعلان.

وكانت الانتقادات لإعلان دمشق، وبطرق شتى، دليلا على تفاهة الانقسامات التي سادت المعارضة. فالعبارة التي تشدد على انتماء سوريا الى 'النظام العربي' هي التي حفزت على اشعال النار من قبل القوميين العرب وكذلك الاكراد. وقد ادان بعض القوميين العرب هذا الأمر بصفته تسوية دنيئة وحقيرة على حساب التراث العربي لسوريا، كما ادان بعض الاكراد المتطرفين، بشكل مساو، مسألة الرجوع للهوية العربية فقط كدليل على الشوفينية العربية التي لا تنتهي، ومع انكشاف هذه الانتقادات، فإن جهود عدد من المنشقين تفشل باكتساب دعم واسع بسبب الاسلوب وليس المحتوى.

اما الانتقادات الحقيقية للاعلان، فقد دارت حول مسألة العودة الخاصة للإسلام كمرجعية، والذي رجع اليه بصفته 'دين وايديولوجية الاكثرية'، والمكون الثقافي الاكثر بروزا في حياة الامة والشعب، كما دارت حول معالجة الحقوق الكردية. كما حذر بعض المعقلين من ان الجهود المبذولة لمحاكمة الاخوان المسلمين قد تفاقم التوترات الطائفية. واحتج احدهم قائلا ان واضعي المسودة قد 'سلموا، ومن دون ان يرف لهم جفن، تاريخ سوريا الطويل من العلمانية والفصل بين الدين والدولة'، فبالنسبة للقضية الكردية، اثنت ثلاث مجموعات كردية على مطالب 'الاعلان' بخصوص التغيير الديموقراطي، لكنها رفضت في النهاية، الاعلان وذلك على خلفية انه كان غير كاف بشأن قضية الحقوق الكردية، لأنه لم يعترف بوضوح وصراحة بالأكراد كقومية مستقلة ذات روابط تاريخية بالأرض.

فالميثاق بين المجموعات العلمانية والاخوان المسلمين كان نعمة هائلة بالنسبة للجانبين، اذ كان بإمكان الاخوان المسلمين ابراز صوتهم من خلال وسائل المجتمع المدني السوري، في حين تحصل العناصر العلمانية على تأييد حركة اسلامية بارزة، فبعد مؤتمر حزب البعث المخيب للآمال، امل الناشطون العلمانيون في أن تخفف هذه الرابطة من الشكوك الشعبية من ان المعارضة العلمانية معادية للإسلام، نخبوية، وموالية للغرب.

وقد تسبب الائتلاف في قرع جراس الانذار للنظام الذي كافح على مدى 20 عاما لحرمان الاخوان المسلمين من الحصول على موطئ قدم لهم في المجتمع السوري، وشن النظام هجوما مضادا من خلال بدائله داخل الدوائر المنشقة والفكرية. اذ طغت رحاب البيطار، من التجمع الديموقراطي الحزب شبه المعارض، في صحة دوافع الموقعين على الاعلان، مرددة اقوال ومنطق النظام كالببغاء، وسط تدفق الضغوط الدولية بأن اي تحد للدولة يعرض امن الشعب السوري للخطر، وقدم النظام نفسه كضامن للاستقرار واتهم المعارضة بتجاهل الغدر الاميركي والاسرائيلي هو الاسوأ، تسهيله عن طريق السعي لتقويض الدولة. ولسوء الحظ، لا تزال الاتهامات حول ولاء المعارضة تتردد بين افراد الشعب الذي يسيطر عليه القلق.

المعارضة والعالمية

لطالما كان هناك جدل قوي وعنيف داخل المعارضة السورية حول دور القوة الخارجية، فبالنسية لأحد طرفي النقاش، المعارضة مجموعة مهمة من الوطنيين الرافضين لأي شكل من اشكال المساعدة الخارجية، خاصة الولايات المتحدة، والتي تعتبر ايديولوجيتها ملخصة في شعار 'نحن لن نذهب الى الجنة على ظهر الشيطان'. اما على الطرف الآخر، فإن المعارضة عبارة عن عدد قليل من الليبراليين المتناثرين المهمشين الذين يرحبون بأي وبكل ضغط ممكن يؤدي الى اضعاف النظام، فالمنطق المعتدل يدرك الحاجة للمساعدة الخارجية، انما يرفض اي شيء يؤثر على اجندة المعارضة، او يسحب القوة والسلطة من يديها.

وقد أدى تطوران الى تفويض مؤيدي حركة الاصلاح، الاول بدء مجموعات المعارضة في المنفى في الانتشار في عام ،2004 ليبدأوا بذلك بذل الجهود لصياغة علاقات بين القوى الخارجية والمحلية. اما التطور الثاني والاهم، فهو بدء النظام في التضييق على الناشطين داخل سوريا آذار ،2005 وتصاعد هذا التضييق منذ ذلك الحين، مما حث الناشطين على السفر الى الخارج وتشجيع نظرائهم في المنفى على تشكيل لوبي للضغط على حكوماتهم نفسها 'حكومات الدول الخارجية'.

وكثف النظام من قمعه للناشطين خلال انسحاب عام 2005 من لبنان الى مستويات غير مشهودة منذ 'شتاء دمشق' ،2001 فقد بدأ النظام في اعتقال ومضايقة ناشطي المجتمع المدني، وقام بالتحريف والتشويه لحرمانهم من التعبير في الاعلام، وفي منتصف آذار 2005 سحب وزير الإعلام التراخيص من قناة 'الحرة' وراديو 'سوا' اللتين ترعاهما الولايات المتحدة، لانهما غطتا تظاهرة 10 مارس أمام قصر العدل. كما تم اغلاق موع الكتروني يقدم مقالات متكررة حول المعارضة يدعى 'موقع إيلاف الالكتروني'، الى جانب الرسالة الاخبارية 'كلنا لسوريا' الشديدة الأهمية. وقد بعث هذا برسالة واضحة الى الصحافيين الباقين بعدم الدخول مع المعارضة أو تغطيتها.

وفي ايار ،2005 اعتقلت القوى الأمنية كامل أعضاء اللجنة الإدارية لمنتدى جمال الأتاسي لقراءتهم بصوت عال رسالة من الإخوان المسلمين.ومن هنا، تم اطلاق سراحهم جميعا لاحقا ما عدا شخص واحد، وتم اغلاق المنتدى نهائيا ـ وهي الرابطة الأخيرة التي نجت من اجراءات 'شتاء دمشق' الصارمة. وارتفع عدد الاعتقالات العشوائية والاستدعاءات ومذكرات الجلب الأمنية بشدة وبسرعة. ومع حلول منتصف الصيف، كانت كل تجمعات المعارضة محظورة، اما اولئك الذين حاولوا الالتفاف على الحظر، فقد وجدوا منازلهم ومكاتبهم محاصرة بالقوى الأمنية، وشرح احد الناشطين وقع ذلك على المعارضة: 'لقد أصبح من المستحيل علينا، تقريبا، القيام بأي شيء داخل سوريا. لذا، كان امام الناس خياران: اما ان يتراجعوا ويعودوا لسابق عهدهم بالعمل السري، كالذي كانوا يقومون به في الثمانينات، واما ان يسافروا وينظموا أنفسهم في الخارج.

وبعد مؤتمرات عديدة عقيمة وفاشلة، ارتبطت المعارضة الداخلية والخارجية مع بعضها، وبنجاح، في كانون الثاني 2006 في واشنطن، فالمؤتمر لم يخلق ائتلافا جديدا، لكن الأمور التي لازمته نتيجة له من داخل سوريا شهدت كلها على انجازه الوحيد. لقد كانت خطوة أولى مهمة لكسر جدران عدم الثقة بين الناشطين داخل سوريا والمنفيين المقيمين في الولايات المتحدة.

(الحلقة الثالثة غدا)

الحلقة الأولى
المصدر:القبس الكويتية

Comments (98)


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. Leb Christian said:

The National Geographic study showed that there were more similarities between lebanese and Tunisian (Carthage) then Lebanese and Syrians. There is intermixing but the predominant gene remains Phoenician. So you don’t have to worry about having Phoenician blood, you can be just Syrian (for your sake and ours).

Concerning your pathetic claim that if we speak Arabic, then we must be Arabs. I speak English does that mean I am English? And does that mean that Australians, Canadians, Americans, Irish Scottich and a shitload of other nations are English? Please check yourself before ridiculing yourself.

Last but not least, due to the topography of Lebanon, I can be as pretentious as to say, that thanks to the natural barriers, we are less likely to have succumbed to the attempted colonisation by invading Arabs. So instead of shoving any findings up anybody’s ass, i suggest you shove your pathetic Pan Arabic theory up yours first.

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August 16th, 2007, 9:07 am

 

52. offended said:

Well it seems that the snidest of the Phoenician genes percolated throughout the centuries and subsided in you!

Congrats anyway, and I won’t respond to the filthy personal attack (expected form an alienated Lebanese living in an identity crisis such as yours), but let’s stick to the facts.

As a start, please provide a link to the study, and let’s go from there…

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August 16th, 2007, 9:42 am

 

53. Leb Christian said:

May I remind you that you started with the personal attacks instead of sticking to facts. So don’t start crying when I respond in the same tone as your filthy posts. Choose in which court you want to play and stick to it, instead of acting like a child.

Now, it seems that you’ve grown up between your last post and this one, so I’ll tone it down a little.

Here is the link to the National Geographic study. Read it and let me know what you think.

http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature2/online_extra.html

Here are some extracts : “”We’re not seeing a significant genetic influence from elsewhere on the coastal population in what was the Levant region,” says Wells. “The people are very similar to the groups we see inland in Syria and Jordan, for example, suggesting that there wasn’t a huge influx of Sea Peoples or others from outside the area. A cultural shift occurred but not a genetic one. Today’s Lebanese, the Phoenicians, and the Canaanites before them are all the same people.”

Wells and Zalloua are finding similar results among samples taken in Tunisia, site of ancient Carthage and the largest of the Phoenician colonies. “Less than 20 percent of the genetic lineages found could have come out of the Middle East,” Wells continues. “They’re showing the markers of aboriginal North Africans. That means the Phoenicians moved into this area and, like the Sea Peoples, had more of a cultural impact than a genetic one.””

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August 16th, 2007, 10:00 am

 

54. Akbar Palace said:

Why-Discuss said:

I heard that Israelis believe more what Nasrallah says than what their leaders say.. is that true?

I’ve also heard that Nasrallah will never accept living in peace with Israel. BTW – Which Arab “leader” do you believe?;o)

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August 16th, 2007, 10:54 am

 

55. SimoHurtta said:

Maybe you Phoenician Leb Christian should use Wikipedia to find out what Arabs in reality are. Wikipedia describes Arabs in a narrow context as a coalition of Semitic ethnic nations and in larger context as the people who speak/use Arabic. Seems that also the Phoenicians in Lebanon fit in that category of “Arabs”, but not the Phoenicians in Malta.

Lets not forget that the Conservapedia (creationists) tells us that all the people (including Arabs and Phoenicians) origin from the same genes. Adam and Eve if you do not remember Leb Christian. 🙂

I admit that it is some times offending when others use my “group” in their “games”. As a western Christian I am not very happy when some “revisionists” like G. Bush and Olmert speak about western values, Judeo-Christian values and how the West supports them in their actions in Middle East. Despite that the most influential Christian Church leaders (Pope etc) and the wast majority of us westerns (in polls and demonstration) have made their opinion clear.

—–

Akbar have noticed that the bearded men in Israelistan have begun to expel also western Christian priests. Hmmmm the public in the only nation which has claimed to has defined it self as Judeo-Christian will not like that. If they are told about that, which the Fox Media probably will not do. 🙂

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August 16th, 2007, 2:54 pm

 

56. Offended said:

Leb Christian,
I read the article about the research, the subject of the research is Phoenicians not Lebanese people. and I wonder, for the sake of arguement, why the conductor of this research wouldn’t mention anything about taking sample from the Syrian coast? was Syrian coast less Phoenician than the Lebanese one?
Maybe the 14th March ilk now wants to change (reads manipulate) history?

So I could as a Syrian have a Phoenician roots after all and I still don’t care the dam. And I must say that I feel pity for anyone who thinks that having Phoenician ancestry may give him/her a unique identity in our present life…

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August 16th, 2007, 3:04 pm

 

57. Leb Christian said:

The research points to the fact that Lebanese and Phoenicians are for the most the same people. This is what you tried to deny, but failed miserably.

You can be whatever you believe you are. It is the last of my worries, as long as you don’t come and impose your view of the world and your Pan Arabic bullshit on me.

You’re an Arab, and you feel the culture of the Arabs represent you. Fine. I don’t. Period. I am not even claiming to be of Phoenician roots, I am simply saying leave us the f* alone. I feel pity for those who are still running after this Pan Arabism defunct myth, and to cover their insecurity try to impose this myth on others. I basically feel pity for you. But the good news is, we’re not the same, and Thank God for that.

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August 16th, 2007, 3:55 pm

 

58. SimoHurtta said:

“”I am simply saying leave us the f* alone””

That is easily achieved with your own efforts. Stop commenting so you do not need to “hyperventilate” of your “Aryan” origin.

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August 16th, 2007, 4:36 pm

 

59. Leb Christian said:

SIMOHURTA, begging for attention are we? “Aryan” origins? I sense you have some serious issues deep down?

Are you sure you want to play with the big boys? How about you just stand on the sideline and watch until you actually make a valid point?

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August 16th, 2007, 4:58 pm

 

60. ausamaa said:

Phoenicians…. Right!! And they built the Pyramids, the China Wall, Gardens of Babylon, and the rest of all civilization’s other great monoments icluding Junblat, Jaja, Jemayel, mini Hariri and the Seniora of course..

If all like-minded Lebanese have nothing to fall back on except the Phoenician claim and the Cedar Revolution, envy such a people.

Ya kayeie, ma halkun tishooo wi tfia’oo ba’aa???

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August 16th, 2007, 5:50 pm

 

61. Leb Christian said:

Ben Laden celebrating dude, I’m sorry I don’t understand that last phrase. Could you please repeat that? Funny, according to you I’m an Arab yet I don’t understand what the heck you’re saying…

I understand you have little to be proud of, and the only way for you to raise your head just a little is to try to belittle others. But hating others is no way to live Oussama. Try to get over that jealousy and build upon your neighbours.

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August 16th, 2007, 6:00 pm

 

62. Kamal said:

Guys, it’s not necessary to get into a discussion of genes. There’s no question that Lebanon has a distinct culture relative to the Arab World, which can be simplified, in a word, as ‘liberal’. Those who hate Lebanon hate it for the same reason others love it – its distinct culture! Every time they attack Lebanon and Lebanese-ness, they admit Lebanon’s uniqueness.

And how do they express their hate? By attacking Lebanon’s “whorishness” and “moral depravity” (while hypocritcally partaking, of course), i.e., its liberalism, as seen through their perverse lenses. Leb Christian, you’ve missed many of Ausamaa’s foul-mouthed rants where he likens Lebanon to a prostitute offering herself up to be raped, etc. Yes, he’s even sicker than you think. He’s referring to politics of course, but the metaphor is telling, and is frequently used by Lebanon-haters (see for example the Arabist knuckleheads who populate the comments’ section of the blog of that rumor-monger, the Angry Arab).

There are also, of course, distinct cultures within Lebanon, and distinct cultures within Syria, etc.

Me, I think Lebanon’s ‘depravity’ is valuable to Lebanon and to the Mideast as a whole. I think this unique cultural space is worth protecting – from external imperialists who want to “unify with” (i.e. swallow) Lebanon, and internal fanatics who “love death as much as you love life”, who seek martyrdom for themselves AND the country, whose model of a nation-state is the Islamic Republic of Iran…

Back to the question of nationalism/identity:

We all have multilayered identities. “Arab” is one of several associations I identify with. “Lebanese” is another. And “Canadian”. I even identify with “Christian” (purely within the Lebanese context)as a community I belong to – NOT as a religion. Belonging to these various groups does not prevent me from holding strong critiques of each and every one of them…

The problem is with ominous, simple-minded statements made by the likes of Norman, such as “Christians are the most nationalistic of all the Arabs” and “there is only one Arab nation from the Iran to the Atlantic ocean and from Turkey and the Mediterranean to the Arabic sea and the Sahara desert”. That’s just sheer stupidity. Poorly written, too, like Ausamaa’s drunken outbursts.

When Norman and other brainwashed folks refer to Arabism, they are not speaking merely of identity issues. They are referring to specific policies they want you to adhere to. One aspect of their Arabism is the primacy to the Palestinian cause over all others (not within their own country of course – god forbid! – but in yours). In practise, that means supporting the right of Palestinians to form armed gangs on Lebanese soil, for example. Objecting to this makes you an automatic traitor to Arabism.

I fully support the Palestinian cause (I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, but I dedicated 4 years of university activism in the US to the Palestinian cause), but not to the exclusion others. For instance, I also fully support the Kurdish cause – in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. One’s perspective on the Kurdish question is another litmus test of Arabism because Arabism, being a fascist totalitarian ideology, detests minority rights and multiple identifications. So a true Arabist, in their eyes, supports the Palestinians and opposes the Kurds…

Of course, a true Arabist has nothing but sheer hate for Lebanese Christians who insist on their distinctiveness, who dare to identify with Western culture, and who, relative to other minorities living under Arab hegemony, have managed to maintain some (dwindling) political power within their own country. The Arabist fanatics will never forgive us for this insubordination.

Arabism also promotes the nationalist cause above non-nationalist causes – such as liberalism, democracy, and women’s rights. This is a typical feature of ultra-nationalism, which is itself a glorified tribalism. It’s the notion that we must band together against the foreigner, and should keep hush hush about our domestic problems rather than “airing our dirty laundry” before foreign eyes.

So advocates of non-nationalist causes are accused, at the very least, of detracting attention from the main issue – for example, the Ba’thist regime’s confrontation with the Bush administration is more important than its domestic repression and regional terrorism. At worst, advocates of non-nationalist causes are accused of outright treachery and serving as tools of foreign forces.

Take a look at the totalitarian language of the charges against Syria’s very best citizens, its dissident intellectuals. It’s all about “weakening national sentiment” (criticizing your own country, as any good citizen should), “tarnishing Syria’s reputation” (airing dirty laundry), and “sowing division and strife” (promoting minority rights). This is the evil language of an evil ideology.

I happen to think that women’s rights, free speech, and cultural liberalism are more important than supporting the Ba’thist confrontation with the neocons or using Lebanon as a battlefield in defense of Iran’s right to develop nuclear weapons. If that makes me a traitor to Arabism, then I must wear that badge – with pride!

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August 16th, 2007, 6:02 pm

 

63. ausamaa said:

LEB CHRISTIAN,

The name Ausamaa, which you do not seem to like, was given to me by my Parents years ago before your idol bin laden was created and then abandoned by your current “liberators”.
The name Leb Christian is CHOSEN by you presumably to reflect the rotten state of your Political and Social beliefs and orientation.

I happen to have a Christian Lebanese wife, and we never care or cared about such stuff.And a Christian mother of Palestinian origin. Maybe that will answer some of your questions. I drink scotch on the rocks when I do, and I feel at ease talking to Sunni or Shieat or Christians or Jews, poor or rich alike, and I respect the stuff they believe in, and I do not hold them accountable for the continuous change of mind which God seems to undergo every few hundered years or so..

But when I come across sick minds who nothing but revenge and hate in their Speach, things get different… and your ideas and the ideas of your likes -while being unworthy of responding to- seem to spark some response from me while fully knowing that it is a useless excercise. Maybe it is just easier fun getting on your nerves as I do not have the personal email of your hero’s of the Cedar Rev….ulsion.

And Kamal,

To your question, no, I am not happy about the Birth Rate. But “ignoring” the implications of the same, or “reducing” that birth rate by killing the Live and Born ones does not seem as a attractive and feasible proposition (or solution)!

caio…

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August 16th, 2007, 6:31 pm

 

64. Peter H said:

Very interesting comment, Kamal. Wadood Hamad, a left-wing Iraqi, has discussed the destructive impact of pan-Arabism on Iraq. He writes that the “the rhetoric of Pan-Arab unity has been employed ad infinitum over any serious attention to social, economic, cultural, and political issues.”. He also writes:
“Pan-Arab nationalism, not unlike other nationalisms, e.g. Zionism, is an ethnocentered political ideology having its roots in German romanticism. Inasmuch as one should objectively criticize the role Zionism played in retarding peace and progress for all inhabitants of the Middle East, one must, too, be questioning what Pan-Arabist rhetoric and “theory” have presented to the cause of peace and progress.”

http://www.wpunj.edu/newpol/issue38/hamad38.htm

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August 16th, 2007, 6:36 pm

 

65. Leb Christian said:

Kamal – a refreshing post. Thank you for this.

Ben Laden celebrating dude – I chose my nickname indeed. I chose Lebanese first, then I identified with my community in Lebanon. For the record, even the staunchest laic citizen of Lebanon must and will identify to his community. As Kamal pointed out, it has nothing to do with religion, but simply of belonging to a community. But I suspect that won’t register in that little head of yours.

Your problem is that you can’t seem to be able to have a good night’s sleep knowing that there are Christian Lebanese who dare not be dhimmis in the Middle East.

You still fall for the pathetic Pan Arabist rhetoric fed to you by your leaders, then fine by me, but one suggestion, avoid vomiting that crap on public forums, spare yourself the public humiliation.

Oh and you seem to be obsessed with the Lebanese’s struggle for freedom. I understand it, you’ve been living as a slave to your dictators for so long, that you’re bitter in seeing us succeed. You really need to see a doctor about that inferiority complex of yours Oussama.

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August 16th, 2007, 7:10 pm

 

66. ausamaa said:

well said, Leb Christian, may God bless you,,and your likes!!! If HE can.

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August 16th, 2007, 7:53 pm

 

67. Leb Christian said:

Oussama, I’m glad you agree 🙂

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August 16th, 2007, 7:58 pm

 

68. ausamaa said:

مفاجأة نصر الله.. والخيار السوري
GMT 3:45:00 2007 الخميس 16 أغسطس
القدس العربي اللندنية

——————————————————————————–

عبد الباري عطوان

السيد حسن نصر الله زعيم حزب الله اللبناني، رجل لا يكذب، يقول ويفعل، وعندما يتوعد اسرائيل بمفاجأة، قد تغير وجه المنطقة، اذا ما اعتدت علي لبنان، فان عليها ومن خلفها، أخذ هذا الكلام علي محمل الجد، خاصة وهي تجري مناورات عسكرية مكثفة في الوقت الراهن، بالقرب من الحدود اللبنانية والسورية، استعدادا لحرب جديدة، تعتقد انها ستنقذ ماء وجه مؤسستها العسكرية بعد هزيمتها المهينة في لبنان قبل عام.
من المرجح ان السيد نصر الله لا يتحدث هنا، عن صواريخ جديدة، تصل الي نقاط ابعد في العمق الاسرائيلي، فقد كشف في حديثه لقناة الجزيرة قبل بضعة اسابيع عن ازدحام ترسانته بمثل هذه الصواريخ التي تصل حسبما قال الي كل نقطة في الدولة العبرية، مثلما كشف ايضا في احاديث ســابقة، عن امتلاك الحزب عشرين الفا منها علي الاقل.
مفاجأة السيد نصر الله ستظل موضع تكهنات من قبل الخبراء العسكريين، الامريكيين والاسرائيليين منهم خاصة، ولكن ما يمكن استخلاصه للوهلة الاولي، هو امكانية تزويد هذه الصواريخ او بعضها، برؤوس كيماوية او بيولوجية. لان الحرب المقبلة اذا ما اشتعل فتيلها ربما تكون الاخيرة في المنطقة فعلا، ولن تتردد اطرافها في استخدام كل ما في جعبتها من اسلحة، لان الدرس الذي تعلمه العرب من العراق، وغزوه واحتلاله، هو ان بقاء الانظمة المستهدفة مستحيل مهما قدمت من تنازلات، ولهذا ليس امامها غير خيار شمشون . ومثلما لم يتردد حزب الله في تسجيل ضرب العمق الاسرائيلي بالصواريخ، فانه لن يكون مفاجئا، او مستغربا، اذا ما لجأ الي استخدام اسلحة الدمار الشامل في اي مواجهة جديدة.
من الواضح ان الحلف السوري ـ الايراني المستهدف امريكيا واسرائيليا، ومن بعض حلفائهم العرب المعتدلين ، بات يميل الي التخلي عن استراتيجيته السابقة في التقوقع في خندق الدفاع، والتزام الصمت تجاه الطرف الآخر، وينتقل بشكل تدريجي متسارع الي استراتيجية الهجوم الاعلامي، في تزامن محسوب مع الاستعدادات العسكرية التقليدية وغير التقليدية. ولعل الانتقاد الساحق وغير المسبوق الذي شنه السيد فاروق الشرع نائب الرئيس السوري علي كل من السعودية ومصر، قائدتي ما يسمي بـ محور الاعتدال هو اول مؤشرات التوجه الجديد.
سورية التزمت الصمت لاكثر من ربع قرن تجاه حليفيها السابقين، مصر والسعودية، ولم توجه كلمة انتقاد واحدة لنظاميهما حتي بعد ان تفرقت السبل، وانهار مثلث التحالف الذي جمعها بهما وتوثق منذ غزو القوات العراقية للكويت عام 1990، وتجسد عمليا فيما سمي في ذلك الوقت بمنظومة دول اعلان دمشق ، ولهذا فان السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه بقوة هو عما دفع السيد الشرع الي شن هذا الهجوم علي النظامين المصري والسعودي، بهذا الوضوح، وتسمية الاشياء باسمائها وبالصوت والصورة، مثل قوله ان الملك السعودي عبد الله بن عبد العزيز، والرئيس المصري حسني مبارك لم يجرآ علي عقد قمة ثلاثية مع الرئيس بشار الاسد في الرياض خوفا من امريكا. او قوله ان السعودية عجزت عن اقناع الادارة الامريكية برفع الحصار المالي عن الفلسطينيين بعد توقيع اتفاق مكة الفلسطيني، وهي اقوي حلفاء واشنطن في المنطقة.
الاجابة علي هذه الاسئلة، وغيرها، يمكن استخلاصها من تعمق حال القطيعة، وحدوث الطلاق البائن الذي لا رجعة فيه بين النظام السوري وحلفائه السابقين في الاشهر الاخيرة، لان الاخيرين ذهبا بعيدا في التماهي مع الاستراتيجية الامريكية في المنطقة، وشاركا بحماس في ابرز اهدافها اي عزل سورية وحلفائها مثل حزب الله في لبنان، وحركة حماس في قطاع غزة، والتمهيد للدخول في حلف عسكري جديد مع اسرائيل والولايات المتحدة لضرب ايران، في حال فشل الجهود الدبلوماسية لإيجاد حل سلمي لأزمــــة المــفاعل النووي الايراني.
السيد وليد المعلم وزير الخارجية السوري اشتكي اكثر من مرة في جلسات خاصة، من رفض نظيره السعودي الامير سعود الفيصل زيارة دمشق تلبية للدعوات المتكررة من قبله، والسيد الشرع تحدث في خطابه في عيد الصحافيين عن رفض السعوديين المشاركة في اجتماع استضافته دمشق علي مستوي الخبراء لبحث الوضع في العراق، كما قال انها لم تلتزم باتفاق اقامة منطقة حرة بين البلدين، اي ان القطيعة امتدت حتي للجوانب الاقتصادية ايضا.
من الواضح ان المسؤولين السوريين توصلوا الي قناعة راسخة بان الشريك السعودي السابق اختار منحي مختلفا، وادار الظهر كليا لسورية، وانتقل الي مرحلة الايذاء، وبدأ بالحرب الاعلامية، وتحدث السيد الشرع صراحة عــن هذه المسألة عنـــدما قال ان وســائل الاعلام الســعــودية تتــحــدث مــرارا وتكــرارا، وبـ سلبية مؤســفة عن ســـورية خــلافا لوسائل الاعلام السورية آملا ان لا يتكرر ذلك في تهديد مبطن.
في الاسبوع الماضي، ويوم الاثنين السادس من آب (اغسطس) قطع الامير سعود الفيصل الشعرة الاخيرة في العلاقات مع سورية، عندما جدد في لقائه مع الصحافيين ما سماه بالمضامين التي وردت في الموقف الصادر عن مجلس الوزراء السعودي، وقال ان المملكة تحرص في كل مواقفها علي المحافظة علي مصالحها الوطنية، وأمنها، واستقرار شعبها، ووحدة العمل العربي، وتضامن العالم الاسلامي، و الفهم الواقعي للعالم والقوي المؤثرة فيه، وتري ان الطريق الي ذلك هو استقلالية القرار الوطني، والتعامل بندية وانفتاح مع دول العالم اجمع ووصل الي القول ان ما يحول دون ذلك هو القوي التي تتحدث باكثر من صوت، وتبحث عن مكامن الفرقة، وتبني مواقفها بعيدا عن الحقائق، وتعمل من اجل منفعتها الضيقة المباشرة، وان طريق التعامل مع ازمات المنطقة وتحقيق تقدم شعوبها ينبني علي تجاوز هذه القوي وشعاراتها وايديولوجياتها .
الامير سعود الفيصل لم يسم هذه القوي التي تريد بلاده تجاوزها، وايديولوجياتها، ولكن امبراطورية الاعلام السعودي الضخمة، قالت في اكثر من مقال لكتاب معروفين بعكسهم للسياسة الرسمية السعودية، بان الدولة المقصودة هنا هي سورية.
العارفون ببواطن الامور، في سورية يقولون ان هناك مدرستين داخل النظام السوري، واحدة تتسم بالمرونة والاعتدال، والتحلي باكبر قدر ممكن من ضبط النفس، والابقاء علي قنوات الاتصال مع واشنطن والغرب الاوروبي وحلفائهم من العرب، يمثلها جناح يتزعمه السيد وليد المعلم وزير الخارجية، ومدرسة اخري لا تري اي فائدة في مجاراة الغرب وحلفائه، وتؤكد علي ضرورة العودة الي ينابيع النهج السوري الاصلية، في التمسك بالثوابت القومية السورية في مواجهة السياسة الامريكية والاسرائيلية، واتباع نهج التصدي، وتثوير المنطقة مرة اخري. ويمثل هذه المدرسة السيد الشرع.
جناح الشرع عارض اعادة العلاقات الدبلوماسية مع النظام العراقي المنبثق من رحم الاحتلال، وطالب دائما بدعم المقاومة مثلما عارض اي تقارب مع محور الاعتدال العربي الذي يتبني حروب امريكا الحالية في العراق وافغانستان، والقادمة ضد ايران، مثلما عارض ايضا، وبقوة مسايرة لجنة التحقيق الدولية في مقتل الحريري رئيس وزراء لبنان الاسبق وشروطها المهينة، ولكن كفة الجناح الواقعي الذي يمثله السيد المعلم طوال العامين الماضيين كانت هي الأرجح.
الصورة تغيرت فيما يبدو، وباتت الاستراتيجية السورية الجديدة تنحاز الي جناح الصقور، في تبادل مدروس للأدوار، بسبب ادراك القيادة بان الوقت يمضي بسرعة، واحتمالات المواجهة مع اسرائيل وامريكا باتت اكبر وربما اسرع مما يتوقعه الكثيرون، ولم تعد هناك فائدة من الصمت والمسايرة والتخندق في خندق الدفاع والتغاضي عن حروب الطرف الآخر الاعلامية، والتحالفات السياسية والعسكرية المتسارعة التي ينسجها اقليميا ودوليا، وهذا ما يفسر مقاطعة سورية الكاملة لاجتماع وزراء خارجية الدول العربية الاخير الذي بحث مسألة تفعيل مبادرة السلام العربية، واستبعادها كليا من مؤتمر السلام الامريكي الذي دعا اليه الرئيس بوش في الخريف المقبل، وتقلص زيارات المسؤولين العرب الي عاصمتها، وخاصة السعوديين والمصريين.
السؤال هو: هل تبدأ سورية بترجمة استراتيجيتها الجديدة في خطوات عملية علي الارض، وكيف؟
من الصعب اعطاء اجابة حاسمة في هذا الخصوص، ولكن ما يمكن قوله هو ان تهديدات السيد حسن نصر الله وخطابه الجماهيري القوي والمعد جيدا وتزامنها في الوقت نفسه مع خطاب السيد الشرع وغير المسبوق في انتقاده للسعودية ومصر وامريكا ومؤتمر السلام المقبل والهرولة العربية اليه دون تبصر، وحدوث تحول في لهجة الاعلام السوري، كلها تؤشر الي بداية حرب اعلامية شرسة.
مشاكل سورية كثيرة ولكن الاساسية فيها هو ان محورها الذي تقف في خندقه يملك الارضية الوطنية القوية، ويرتكز علي منظمات وقوي شعبية تقاوم الاحتلال الاسرائيلي (حماس وحزب الله) ويمتلك الصواريخ وطابور الاستشهاديين، ولكنه لا يملك الأدوات الاعلامية الفاعلة والمؤثرة في اي حرب اعلامية مقبلة.
فقد كان لافتا ان محطة الجزيرة المدفعية الثقيلة التي عولت عليها الحكومة السورية طويلا وكثيرا لم تبث تهجمات السيد الشرع علي السعودية مثلما كان متوقعا منها، وفضلت اتخاذ موقف اقرب الي الحياد في هذا الصدد. وفي الوقت نفسه لا تتمتع الفضائية السورية بمصداقية كبيرة في اوساط الشارع العربي لانها ما زالت تتبع اساليب الحرب الباردة الاعلامية، او بالأحري الشق السوفييتي منها. بينما تملك الجبهة الاخري امبراطورية اعلامية ضخمة متعددة الاذرع، ومهيمنة بالكامل علي الساحة العربية.
التطور الاخطر الذي يمكن ان يكون بالغ التأثير، اذا ما لجأت اليه القيادة السورية، هو النزول الي ميدان العنف، او الارهاب ، لزعزعة استقرار خصومها. فليس هناك ابرع من المخابرات السورية في هذا الميدان، اذا ما قرروا اللجوء الي خيار شمشون اي علي وعلي اعدائي . ويكفي التذكير بان فتح الاسلام ورغم كونها ليست صنيعة المخابرات السورية، باعتراف العماد ميشال سليمان قائد الجيش اللبناني، وهو محق في ذلك لان الاصوليين الاسلاميين، والسعوديين منهم خاصة، يعتبرون النظام السوري نظاما علمانيا ملحدا، فان التسهيلات السورية هي التي ابقت هذه الجماعة علي صغرها، تصمد لمدة ثلاثة اشهر في مواجهة جيش رسمي جرار وتلحق به خسائر كبري في الارواح والمعنويات.
سورية حكمت المنطقة العربية بأسرها بـ العنف الفلسطيني طوال فترتي السبعينات والثمانينات وتستطيع اعادة الكرّة مرة اخري، فهناك الملايين من المحبطين من عمليات الإذلال والمهانة التي يتعرض لها العرب علي ايدي الامريكان وحلفائهم العرب، لكن السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه هو عما اذا كانت سورية تملك الوقت للسير في هذا النهج مرة اخري؟
الايام المقبلة حافلة بالمفاجآت، وهي قطعا ليست سارة لامريكا واسرائيل، ومحور الاعتدال العربي، فنحن امام صراع فيلة مقبل، ومرحلة اللاسلم واللاحرب، او بالاحري اللاحسم الحالية لن تطول في جميع الاحوال، ومفاجأة السيد نصر الله قد تكون واحدة منها فقط.

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August 16th, 2007, 8:22 pm

 

69. Kamal said:

Thank you Peter, and thanks for bringing that article to my attention. I’ll be reading…

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August 16th, 2007, 9:18 pm

 

70. SimoHurtta said:

“”SIMOHURTA, begging for attention are we? “Aryan” origins? I sense you have some serious issues deep down?
Are you sure you want to play with the big boys? How about you just stand on the sideline and watch until you actually make a valid point? “”

Begging of attention? No I am rather “astonished” with your Phoenician style of discussion and your racial theories. You say “it has nothing to do with religion, but simply of belonging to a community”. A logic person would say that is stupidly said. What makes Lebanese Christians a community? The religion and the culture based on it naturally is the basic glue. I suppose that the genetic differences between the Lebanese different Muslim and Christian communities are not so different. The last elections in Lebanon showed also that the opinions of Lebanese Christians (or Phoenicians prefer it more) are not so united as you would want.

As an outsider living in a democratic country I can’t understand the reluctance in Lebanon to solve the political problems in a democratic way. Through new elections as they did just in Turkey, when they encountered a political deadlock. Now two equal strong sides claim being the majority. Naturally making a new census would help in dividing the political power in Lebanon in a fair and balanced way.

As we can presently see in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia building a society where the political power is divided on tribal and religious basis is not “functioning” very well. A good recipe for generations long civil wars indeed. Maybe all groups there should consider other means to build a national identity and a better society. Otherwise you have a vast amount of Lilliputian states with the democracy and human rights level of Israel (= the dominant tribe/religion rules and the others left alive obey with the power of rifles).

Could you LebC imagine how functioning the US political system would be if it would be based on the present Iraqi and Lebanese example. The President would have to be White Catholic, Vice President a Afro-American Lutheran, the Speaker of the House a Jew etc. Certainly such a system in any country would force the communities to organize themselves behind the their “community” leaders and parties, enlarge the differences and create tensions. Naturally holding a census every lets say 150 years would build steam in the system, when the different groups amounts change.

Do you really Leb C consider your self as as a big boy. A big mouth doesn’t make a boy big. Maybe boys (small and big) should leave the scene and let adults discuss in a civil way.

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August 16th, 2007, 10:03 pm

 

71. Kamal said:

Simohurtta

The Lebanese system of confessional democracy is seriously flawed and needs urgent reform. This is a complex issue that deserves its own discussion. But I wonder why you bring it up, since it is irrelevant to the discussion here, which is about Arab nationalism. A few words on this before we return to the topic at hand: I posit that your indignation about Lebanon’s democratic shortcomings is severely misguided given the hellish tyrannical dictatorships that surround (imperfectly) democratic Lebanon. For laughs, try applying the Syrian model to your American analogy. Nuff said.

Back to topic:

Leb C only brought up the genetic study to defend against Norman’s attempt to impose Arabness on us against our will! Leb C’s point is that we are ethnically distinct. The additional point I made above is that we are culturally distinct. Since we are ethnically and culturally distinct, and furthermore, have no wish or desire to be coerced into some pan-Arab totalitarian state – by what definition of the “nation” are we part of “the Arab Nation”? On what basis do these fanatics insist we must toe the Arabist line, and furthermore, that it is incumbent upon Christians, above all others, to display their Arab credentials (I shake my head at the inferiority complex inherent in such a sad statement)? And when o when will they drop their dream to swallow us up?

Surely as a citizen of a Western democracy, you have at least some sympathy for our desire to remain free, our insistence on our distinct identiy, and our fear of a giant neighbor who threatens us constantly, boasting of its superior size and military might and willingness to inflict harm and high birth rate? A neighbor that has never recognized our existence and continues to express its ultimate goal to “unify” with our little country – against our will?!

No sympathy at all, my Scandinavian friend?

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August 16th, 2007, 11:37 pm

 

72. Enlightened said:

Wow ;

Logged on this morning and you gents have been busy!

Let me get this straight! After reading all your discussions about culturally distinct people, ethnically distinct people, morally defunct people, Liberal people , Pan Arab ideology etc………

I have come to the conclusion that I am one F up individual without a identity, and hence forth going to start a new project to colonise Mars where I can start a new race! Ethnically and culturally distinct of course, with out being labelled or having a label. Anyone interested?

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August 17th, 2007, 12:38 am

 

73. norman said:

Failed people look for communities to belong to while successful ones make their own .
In the us you can be Mexican American , Italian American , Irish American , Jewish American , Arab American , Black American , Cuban American , Muslim American Or WASP , they are all Americans and whoever thinks otherwise can leave , so is the case in the Arab world there are Lebanese Arabs , Syrian Arabs , Muslim Arabs , Christian Arabs , They are all Arabs because they all came from Arabia when the semitic people migrated .
Any way , The majority of the Lebanese consider themselves Arabs and for that we should be grateful and the likes of The Leb Called Christian and Kamal are the minority.

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August 17th, 2007, 1:33 am

 

74. Jamal said:

Warning, not for the squeamish. Article on the Imad Moustapha ‘Syrian Diplomat in US Writes Blogs’ Washington Post August 16, 2007 – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/16/AR2007081600918.html

I’m always stunned when people on Syriacomment refer to this guy with approval.

When I first read his blog a couple of years ago I laughed assuming it was a brilliant and hilarious satire set up by someone making fun of the Syrian regime. When I discovered it was for real I wanted to shed tears that Syrians are represented by such an offensive clown.

This guy is an outrageously smug, shallow, pseudo-intellectual, an over-the-top boaster about his privileged lifestyle, his material possessions, his jetset leisure interests and vacations, his much younger trophy wife, the brand of socks he wears – you name it.

Some PR agency must be getting a lot of belly laughs writing this and getting paid by someone who doesn’t see how ridiculous they make him and his fantasy country look.

His public association with Syria makes me very, very angry. He is a low-grade regime prostitute strutting in the spotlight and betraying Syrian people with the unreality and deception he unloads.

And a liar. Get this from the Washington Post article: “Moustapha said he does not think Syrian President Bashar Assad is aware of his blog. “I never told the president about it,” he said.

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August 17th, 2007, 5:01 am

 

75. Enlightened said:

I made some unsavoury remarks about Syria’s ambassador to Washington once , and got bagged by some commentators here;

but this comment takes the prize:

“His public association with Syria makes me very, very angry. He is a low-grade regime prostitute strutting in the spotlight and betraying Syrian people with the unreality and deception he unloads.”

I always thought that the ambassador was more clown than ambassador , perhaps some others are coming out with a similar view.

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August 17th, 2007, 7:15 am

 

76. Alex said:

Enlightened!… go back to work.

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August 17th, 2007, 7:26 am

 

77. norman said:

Saudi hits back at Syria in growing diplomatic spat
17 Aug 2007 11:54:07 GMT
Source: Reuters
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Background
Iraq in turmoil
More RIYADH, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has rejected as “lies and fallacies” high-level Syrian accusations that its role in the Middle East was waning, signalling a new low in diplomatic ties already strained over Lebanon and Iraq.

In an unusually scathing statement, the conservative Muslim kingdom, which has been trying to bolster its regional role, lashed out against criticism made by Syrian Vice President Farouq al-Shara earlier this week.

“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has followed with great surprise the distasteful statements recently made by … Shara, which included numerous lies and fallacies aimed at harming us,” said the statement, quoting an unnamed official sourced and carried by the official Saudi Press Agency SPA late on Thursday.

“Talk about the paralysis of the kingdom’s Arab and Islamic role does not come from a rational and prudent person, as this role is well known to everyone … Perhaps Mr Shara had a slip of the tongue and meant by paralysis the policy he speaks for.”

In a sharp speech at Damascus University, Shara had said Saudi’s regional role was “virtually paralysed”, pointing to the failure of a Palestinian unity deal forged in the Saudi holy city of Mecca in February.

Shara said the outline of the Mecca deal had already been hammered out in Damascus anyway, and hinted that its collapse showed either that Saudi Arabia was hamstrung or that the kingdom had lost the ear of its old ally the United States.

Shara also criticised a Saudi decision not to attend a meeting on Iraqi security hosted by Syria earlier this month.

Ties between Syria and Saudi Arabia have been strained since the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, a close Saudi ally.

Saudi King Abdullah, once close to Syria’s Baathist leaders, was outraged by the murder in Lebanon, which was under Syrian military and intelligence dominance.

A U.N. investigation has implicated Syrian and Lebanese security officials in the killing, a charge Damascus denies.

A political standoff between Lebanon’s pro-Syrian Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, which is backed by the West and Saudi Arabia, has further soured relations since last year’s war between Israel and the Shi’ite Muslim guerrilla group.

Riyadh is also concerned about the growing influence of Syria’s Shi’ite Muslim ally, Iran, particularly in Iraq and Lebanon, where Shi’ite groups are strong.

Tensions appeared to ease with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attendance of the last Arab summit held in Riyadh in March, but the latest exchange appeared to mark a downturn in relations. The next Arab summit is due to take place in Syria.

“Shara’s claim that the Mecca agreement … had been agreed in Damascus is an unforgivable insult to the Palestinian leaderships,” the Saudi statement said.

“God willing, every Syrian and Saudi is keen on maintaining and strengthening this (Arab) brotherhood, despite the abominable voices and their owners who will vanish in the wind.”

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August 17th, 2007, 12:24 pm

 
 

79. Joshua said:

Dear Leb. Christian,

You cite the National Geographic article, “In the Wake of the Phoenicians: DNA study reveals a Phoenician-Maltese link,” to argue that Lebanese are descended from the Phoenicians. Here is the pertinent paragraph you cite:

”We’re not seeing a significant genetic influence from elsewhere on the coastal population in what was the Levant region,” says Wells. “The people are very similar to the groups we see inland in Syria and Jordan, for example, suggesting that there wasn’t a huge influx of Sea Peoples or others from outside the area. A cultural shift occurred but not a genetic one. Today’s Lebanese, the Phoenicians, and the Canaanites before them are all the same people.”

The article does not argue that the Lebanese show a major DNA link to the phoenicians. On the contrary, the scientists argue the opposite, that Lebanese DNA has much more in common with that of Syrians and Jordanians than with any external “Sea People’s” or “Phoenicians.” This is the same result they found in Tunisia, where Carthage was North Africa’s large Phoenician capital. Over 80% of the DNA from Tunis is related to the indigenous people of North Africa. As the scientists conclude: “A cultural shift occurred but not a genetic one.” They don’t say how much of the DNA could be linked to Phoenicians.

The results of this DNA study do not disprove your basic argument, which is political: the Lebanese are their own nation and want their own political destiny, separate from that of Syria. Syrians could not fail to observe that even Hizbullah wanted Syrian troops to leave Lebanon in 2005, although Nasrallah thanked Syria for its role in stopping the civil war and its help. DNA does not have to be a predictor of political identity.

I recently ran a DNA story on Syria Comment about Turkey. The results of a fairly careful DNA study of Anatolia suggested that less than 10% of the DNA of today’s “Turks” can be traced back to Central Asian types. Most is from the Middle East, the Balkans and peoples surrounding the Black Sea. No surprise there, except to the Turkish nationalists who would like to believe that the Turkish race displaced others following the conquest.

No good DNA studies have been done on Syria, as far as I know. But when they are done, I imagine they will show a similarly tangled web of DNA influences.

Arab nationalism, like German nationalism, Italian nationalism or other volkish nationalisms that suggest a racial, or DNA integrity of their people are more political than scientific.

As a result, definitions of what makes one an Arab have been changing over the decades to accommodate this scientific knowledge. Increasingly, those who define themselves as Arabs are insisting on a cultural and linguistic affinity, rather than a racial one.

In the same vein, Lebanese have increasingly sought to define their separate identity in political and cultural terms, rather than than to base them on race, such as the Phoenician argument.

Kamal does this nicely in his comment above. He points to the liberal traditions of the Lebanese, their open culture, their distinct political past, and most importantly their adherence to Lebanon’s constitution and distinct political traditions to argue that Lebanese enjoy their differences and do not want to be part of Syria, an Arab nation, or other national concoctions of the region.

The problem, of course, is that while almost all Lebanese may agree that they are not Syrians, important differences in identity still bedevil the positive formation of a distinct Lebanese identity. While the Maronites traditionally argued for the Phoenicianness of Lebanon, the Sunnis championed its Arabness. Today, the Sunnis are abandoning their old arguments of Arouba and the Shiites have taken them up instead. Lebanon’s proper relationship with Syria and Arabism remains in dispute, as does the manner in which Lebanon’s various communities should share power. All of these disputes are solvable, but will perhaps require more compromise than any side wants at the moment.

Syria is going through its own identity transformations. Pan-Arabism is contested in important ways in Syria today. Many claim the Baath Party’s Arabism is outdated because no other country wants to unify with it or sports a Baath Party of any import. Syria’s many ethnic minorities insist that the government abandon Arabism as its official ideology for a more neutral Syrianism based on the country’s actual borders.

Bashar al-Assad has been boosting various aspects of Syrianness, not only in state propaganda, but in cultural forums.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this was his election parade. As I observed at the time, the first float in the parade was of a ship commemorating the Sea Peoples of the early Syrian civilizations based around Ras al-Shamra on the coast.

One Syrian politician, having read the post, recounted an amusing and pertinent story about the Gemayels and Hafiz al-Assad. After successive meetings with various Gemayels, who all lectured Assad on their Phoenician roots and the distinct identity of Lebanon as a way of insisting that Assad not demand too much of them, Assad responded with a story of his own. He said, “I also come from the coast and my village of Qurdaha is closer to the water than yours. Perhaps I am more Phonecian than you?”

I am not sure what we are to get out of this anecdote other than a bit of amusement, but I would suggest that perhaps it indicates that Hafiz understood that identity is politically defined and plastic. He chose to support Baathism and pan-Arabism rather than pan-Syrianism, as many of his generation did. No doubt, he found it useful in uniting Syrians and supporting the foreign policy of Syria, as his son does as well. All the same, he seemed to have a sense of humor about its scientific underpinnings and understood that people make their own determinations about their political identity.

Identity is plastic and largely determined by political choices.

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August 17th, 2007, 4:58 pm

 

80. Innocent_Criminal said:

Kamal,

You and are clubing anti-Lebanese remarks with anti-lebanese-christian remarks, its stereotypical and a mistake.

I fully support the Lebanese western-like & so called open minded culture, this distinctiveness is what makes Lebanon great. Hell, I wish more “arab” countries knew how to party like the Lebanese, they sure know how to have fun. But my main criticism is that MOST Lebanese have fallen into the trap of distinguishing themselves purely on a religious basis. This has been a retarded and fatal mistake (i.e. civil war). The sad thing is we see the same thing happening to Iraq right now. And who ever calls this phenomenon a cultural or religious divide is either lying or a complete moron. It’s purely political in which tribal-like power-hungry leaders have manipulated to herd their own supporters.

I also agree with you that pan-Arabism has been oppressive towards other identities. But that does not mean that everything about Arabism is evil. I fail to see how an economic and political unity similar to the EU’s cannot be accomplished between “Arab” countries. I mean if the Europeans who speak different languages can do it why can’t the members of the Arab League? Sounds better to me than dividing countries into mini-states led by warlords. That said whatever form of unity these countries can accomplish (I know it won’t happen anytime soon) should not mean the annihilation of other distinctly non-Arab groups such as the Berbers, Kurds, etc. On the contrary i believe these minorties should enjoy more rights than the majority (which ever that might be). But just like Europeans who are against the EU have been living in it, so can other mid-eastern minorities, if their rights are respected and protected of course.

Leb-Christian,

Basically, you’re just mirroring Normans own shortcomings with your retarded comments. Congratulations on proving that both sides of the spectrum have closed minded bigots.

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August 17th, 2007, 5:44 pm

 

81. G said:

G,

You just called Dr. Landis “Bashar’s towel carrier” and you called me “the buttboy of the ambassador.”

wow!

I asked you a million times to stop your filthy comments. But it is obvious you are a hopeless case.

You are banned for a month. Please do not post anything as I will next make your comments go automatically to the spam filter.

Come back in Mid September if you are still interested.

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August 17th, 2007, 6:21 pm

 

82. G said:

Bashar al-Assad has been boosting various aspects of Syrianness, not only in state propaganda, but in cultural forums.

Are you joking?! Look, we all know you are Bashar’s towel carrier, but readers do read, you know. Besides, you yourself was talking about the persistence of Arab nationalism in Bashar’s policy in Syria. So please, stop lying to your readers.

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August 17th, 2007, 6:31 pm

 

83. norman said:

Criminal,
You owe me an apology as i am not a bigot or a racist , What you said about the EU i will say about the US and i can see Arab ism as a united factor , So i agree with your writing , I may have not made that clear .

(I also agree with you that pan-Arab ism has been oppressive towards other identities. But that does not mean that everything about Arab ism is evil. I fail to see how an economic and political unity similar to the EU cannot be accomplished between “Arab” countries. I mean if the Europeans who speak different languages can do it why can’t the members of the Arab League? Sounds better to me than dividing countries into mini-states led by warlords. That said whatever form of unity these countries can accomplish (I know it won’t happen anytime soon) should not mean the annihilation of other distinctly non-Arab groups such as the Berbers, Kurds, etc. On the contrary i believe these minorities should enjoy more rights than the majority (which ever that might be). But just like Europeans who are against the EU have been living in it, so can other mid-eastern minorities, if their rights are respected and protected of course.)

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August 17th, 2007, 6:33 pm

 

84. Jamal said:

Alex, it loooks like you are cutting off further criticism of the “Ambassador” (response to Enlightened above).

If you are a friend and admirer of the guy let’s hear you in his defense.

If not, let’s hear that too.

Don’t be shy about telling us what you really think.

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August 17th, 2007, 6:34 pm

 

85. Offended said:

I.C.;
Not that I want to defend Norman, but all he did is that he notified Lebanese Christian not to encompass all Christian of the Levant in his theories about identity (i.e. so many Levantine Christians identify as Arabs)… how could that be bigotry?

Josh, that was an impressive analysis of the relationship between identity and politics in the Arab world, but I would just like to stress that my belief in Arabic identity is genuine and not plastic!

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August 17th, 2007, 6:39 pm

 

86. Offended said:

G,
Khras…

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August 17th, 2007, 6:55 pm

 

87. Alex said:

Jamal,

Enlightened is a friend. He knows I was joking. I never stop anyone from expressing their opinion, except …

G,

You just called Dr. Landis “Bashar’s towel carrier” and you called me “the buttboy of the ambassador.”

I asked you a million times to stop your filthy comments. But it is obvious you are a hopeless case.

As I warned you last time, you are now banned for a month. Please do not post anything as I will next make your comments go automatically to the spam filter and then it will be difficult to convince the software that you are not a spammer. It is better if you do not try.

Come back in Mid September if you are still interested.

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August 17th, 2007, 8:28 pm

 

88. Leb Christian said:

Joshua – Thank you for your detailed response, although I think you’re mistaken on the conclusion of the study. I invite you to read it in its full length to catch the jist of it. The extract I pasted on here is very clear : “Today’s Lebanese, the Phoenicians, and the Canaanites before them are all the same people.” That does not mean that their DNA is any different from Syria (as he mentions), but it is limited to coastal Syria (mountain chain being the natural barrier). Conclusion, we are overwhelmingly descendents of the Phoenicians… and so are most Syrian in the coastal region. So that basically argues for Lebanon to annnex coastal Syria 😉

Innocent Criminal – you’re the only retarded commentator on here. So retarded that you’re not even capable of countering my arguments. Shall I expect the usual “I didn’t address your arguments because they are worthless / retarded”? Pathetic

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August 17th, 2007, 9:18 pm

 

89. why-discuss said:

I think Farouk Shara spoke the truth when he said Saudi Arabia is paralyzed and the reaction of KSA show that he has touched a nerve there.
KSA is very worried that Iran is gradually taking away from them the leadership of the Palestinian issue and through it an increased power in the arab world. The arab street seems to admire much more Nasrallah and Hanyeh ( accused of being sponsored by Iran) than the King of S.A or Jordan ( accused of being sponsored by the U.S).
The Saudis has been very weakened by their endless supplies of young saudi terrorists in Iraq and in 9/11. They have huge internal problem reining the same wahhaby extremism they have encouraged and financed at home and in neighbouring countries, Pakistan being a good example.
Their credibility in the world is on the decline and therefore the emergence of the Iran power and their Syrian ally can only irritate them, as their only alternative is to throw themselves even more into the arms of the US.
Iraq is the ultimate fight for the Saudi to give back to Sunnis their leading roles in the area, but that fight seems now to favor more Iran and this is why KSA is redoubling their financial support to sunni insurgents. The fall of Iraq in the hands of the Shias will be a terrible blow to the KSA monarchy… No wonder they are becoming hysterical on Syria..

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August 17th, 2007, 9:35 pm

 

90. Joshua said:

Jamal has told us he does not like Syria’s Ambassador to the US, Imad Moustapha, because, Jamal writes: “he is shallow, pseudo-intellectual, an over-the-top boaster about his privileged lifestyle,…”

This is just silly. Imad Moustapha is without doubt one of the best Ambassadors Syria has produced. I don’t believe many Syrian-Americans would contest that. Most have regaled me with stories of how his door is always open, how he invites them to dinners when they are in town, and helps resolve their problems. He does not stand on ceremony, but insists that acquaintances call him by his first name.

He is the consummate public diplomat. He has traveled the length of the US many times to give lectures at universities and to public organizations. He never says no. His openness and willingness to respond to even the most silly or hostile questions is astounding – not only for a Syrian diplomat, but for any diplomat.

He has championed Syrian artists on his blog and by organizing a major Syrian art exhibit in Washington. The official catalogue for the show is beautiful and demonstrates the rich and varied artistic accomplishments of Syrians.

His blog is a refreshing testament to his many interests and enjoyment of life. Far from being embarrassed by the privilege that being a diplomat has allowed him, he talks about his adventures and often makes fun of the pretensions expected of him. What is more, his blog got him a profile in the Washington Post, which is more than most diplomats from more important countries to the US manage to get. Bravo to him.

As for the suggestion that he might be a “pseudo-intellectual,” this is a sophomoric jibe. Mustahpa has read widely in the literature written by Americans about Syria and the Middle East more generally. He always,

No one would suggest that Ambassador Mustapha has had an easy time in Washington over the last several years. Nevertheless, he has made the most of it and countered the needless demonization of his country and people with aplomb.

I wish Syria had many more like him.

Here is a fine Interview with Ambassador Imad Moustapha published a few days ago by Sami Moubayed.

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August 17th, 2007, 10:41 pm

 

91. Habib said:

Media Image is not kind.

Imad Moustapha is a mousey figure who doesn’t look or sound good on television or radio.

Please rid Syrian-Americans of this figurehead.

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August 17th, 2007, 11:35 pm

 

92. Enlightened said:

Jamal:

Alex and I differ on the ambassador he doesnt stifle opinion I can and will express opinions different to Alex, Alex was referring to a wise crack that I pulled on him by telling me to go back to work.

Josh’s summary of the Ambassador is personal, my opinion of the Ambassador is not as rosy, I think he needs to polish his image, but that is just my opinion. I have never met the man, and he might be as nice as apple pie, I said on an earlier post that he would have the hardest job in the world at the moment, I wouldnt fancy being in his shoes, I would have to agree on one thing with Josh however, the man does not appear boring or stuffy however.

Alex take up Jamals challenge and let us know, we now know Joshs opinion on the matter.

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August 17th, 2007, 11:46 pm

 

93. Jamal said:

Joshua, Joshua, Joshua,

Dr Moustapha is not a private self-funded, free spirit personality playboy – which is the persona he projects on that blog. He is theoretically a servant and serious representative of the Syrian people.

But then again, there is nothing serious or representative about the violent criminal regime he is part of. Think about it.

Sure, he plays his role as charmer and disarmer, never saying no, always responding “frankly”, staging distractions and befriending whoever might help him sustain the act – which is aimed at getting others to leave his bosses alone. And leave his bosses alone to do what? Think about it.

I say he is a pseudo-intellectual because if he had a mind capable of depth and integrity he would be ashamed to be linked to that regime and feel guilt and embarrassment in the presence of other Syrian intellectuals. Or any intellectuals anywhere.

But that’s going too deep. No matter how much he reads, he is apparently not processing it or gaining any sophisticated understanding of how the world works. Otherwise he would know to tone down the vanity, outrageous ego and nonstop silly boasting about his wife and his life.

And how intellectual is it to go to Damascus and smugly report those new designer stores as if they were the best thing that has happened to Syria? I guess the 1 million Iraqi refugees don’t get onto his radar screen (though he grumbles about the heavier traffic) from where he sits in all those fabulous restaurants.

I agree with you about how nice it is to have Syrian art by his artist friends on display. But again, it distracts from the reality of how little mileage serious creative people are allowed in Syria.

If you personally like the guy and feel him to be intelligent then maybe you or others should coach and counsel him.

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August 18th, 2007, 12:02 am

 

94. Jamal said:

Okay, I’m a spoilsport. The guy is a paid pantomine performer and I am angry that he’s getting some scattered applause. But not from where it matters, if you read that interview,

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August 18th, 2007, 12:31 am

 

95. Innocent_Criminal said:

While i’m sure Mr. Moustapha is a delightful intellectual who has a humble characted and strives to do the best at his job. (I’m taking Josh’s word here since i don’t know the man personally). I still think that he is part of a major problem Syria’s government has, which is the lack of a single decent english speaking PR person.

And the fact that he is the best syria has to offer highlights the deep void the government has in this department. I mean consider who you have to compare him to, 1) Walid Al Moualim and 2) Bouthaina Sha3ban. The first you barely hear speaking english for prolonged periods of time and when that occurs its far from exciting. While Mrs. Shaaban loves to scream and regurgitate the same pre-planned comments over and over and over and over again. IMHO Al Sharaa used to have that charisma and both he and Mustapha can actually think and reply to questions off their feet (a huge feat in itself by Syrian politicians) but Al Shara’a star has faded years ago. And the Syrian government still does not have a single spokesman that is “media friendly”.

Norman,
You are right, i am sorry. i mixed you up with majedkhaldoun who had made several ani-shia’a and jewish comments. I apologize.

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August 18th, 2007, 1:23 am

 

96. Alex said:

Enlightened,

I remember in one of my Management books a cartoon where the board of directors were announcing their choice for a new director. They announced “after carefully studying the qualification of all the candidates, and after comparing their pros and cons … we selected the tallest candidate”

Imad is not the tallest candidate.

And while we are here, Bashar is too tall.

I agree with Joshua. Imad is Intelligent, humble, and interesting. His performance is also quite impressive.

But there is no need to analyze Imad … those who do not like Bashar you will not like Imad … if you don’t like the regime then you won’t like both of them no matter what they say or do.

In addition, there is this impression that if Imad has an accent (and he does) and if he does not look like Hollywood’s impression of a British diplomat character, then he will not be an effective communicator.

Americans are not as impressed with looks as some of us in the Middle East.

Watch him at The world Affairs Center for example.

As for Jamal’s preference for refusing to play any role as long as Syria in not democratic … I think we can’t wait that long : )

Imad is doing the right thing. He has the courage and energy to risk operating in an environment that consists of the current American administration on the one hand, and the hardliners and “old guard” in Syria, on the other.

Now I will find something negative to say, since Jamal managed to find somethig positive to say : )

We need non-officials to speak for and defend Syria … Imad and Buthaina are accused of not saying the truth … but this is not surprising … officials ALWAYS filter their public statements … or they don’t tell the truth.

President Bush’s spokesman does it all the time. This is not unique to the Syrians.

Take the example that outraged one of the commentators on SC: Imad mentioned that Bashar does not know Imad’s blog.

Assuming that this is not true .. Why do you think Imad chose to give that answer? … if he is the show-off character that you accused him of being then we would have expected him to be proud tha tthe president reads his blog, no?

If he denied it then I imagine he is protecting the president of Syria from agreeing with his ambassador’s choice of topics … maybe Bahsar does not want Islamists in Syria to be disappointed in him agreeing to the nudity in some of the pieces of art on Imad’s blog?

Mwybe at some point in the future Imad might make an offer to Israel (a PR type offer) … Bashar might need to be able to deny he knows about it.

But again, we need more Sami Moubayed, Murhaf Jouejati, Rime Allaf types to communicate on behalf of Syria.

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August 18th, 2007, 3:26 am

 

97. Kamal said:

So long as Imad Moustapha is a PR agent for the Ba’thist regime, he has no credibility. All the good qualities listed by Prof Landis and others will and should be dismissed as propaganda when one is in the pay and service of a murderous tyranny. If Moustapha would defect and become an advocate for democracy and human rights then his blogging and defense of the arts might take on some meaning and validity.

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August 18th, 2007, 5:01 am

 

98. Leila Ahmad said:

Dr. Landis, you’re a phony, and a pathetic one at that! I do not envy those who have to sit through your classes and endure your stunted tendentious “scholarship”. But I guess only in America can a phony such as yourself get an academic job–albeit at a third-rate university.

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August 19th, 2007, 2:11 am

 

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