The Syrian Public Sector, Corruption, Taxation, and Government Services” by Ehsani

The Syrian Public Sector, Corruption, Taxation, and Government Services”
By Ehsani
Syria Comment, August 21, 2009

I have made it a habit to write about my observations following every summer trip to Syria. As usual, I spent most of my time in the city of Aleppo. It is always hard to write something new or informative about a country that most of us seem to love and follow very closely.

I will again spare the readers any mention of geopolitics. I will instead focus on the issue of the size of the public sector, corruption, bribery, taxation and the provision of basic government services. As I will detail below, I think that the above set of issues are highly interrelated.

Bribery is a way of life in Syria.

Though Syria is no exception, one cannot but be struck by how widespread bribery is at every facet of life in the country. Bribery is used to get ahead in securing basic government services. It is used to gain a preferential treatment in the armed services. It is used to get government loans. It is used to lower import duties at customs. It is used to wave traffic violations. It is used at passport issuing offices. Indeed, one is hard pressed to think of a single place where it cannot be used.

That bribery is so widespread should not come as a surprise to anyone. Most visitors to Syria and other developing countries have experienced this phenomena first hand.

But why is bribery so widespread and why does the government seem powerless to stop it?

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, General Motors (GM) and the United Auto Workers (UAW) established a pattern of agreeing to ever-better wages and benefits. The auto company never imagined that these agreements will one day crush the company as the burden of paying for these benefits took an ever increasing share of the company’s revenues and profits. Its retiree health-care burden alone was equivalent to more than double its market capitalization by September 2007. Two years later, the company of course went bankrupt.

The Baath party commitments to its citizens since the mid 1960’s are not too dissimilar to those made by GM to its employees. What seemed like reasonable and honorable commitments some 40 years ago can grow into a monster that few could have predicted when those commitments were initially made.

As the Baath party embarked on supporting a policy of large public enterprises and expansive subsidies, few envisioned that the country’s population will double every 22 years. Few also wanted to admit that governments cannot run businesses profitably and that the public sector will suffer steady losses that will drain the state’s treasury for eternity.

The state is fully aware that it pays its employees inadequately and that even mother Theresa would accept a bribe were she a Syrian government functionary. Based on my own research, most public sector employees and civil servants make between SYP 7,000 and SYP 16,000 a month ($150-$345 range). The majority of these workers also happen to be less well educated and have large families. Having at least four children or more is common. A median salary of $250 per month therefore needs to support a total of six family members on average. Due to religious reasons and lack of both education and skills, most wives cannot support the family income. The majority of these people rent their homes for an average of $130 a month. This leaves $120 for six people to live on for a month. Even with the generous subsidies program in place, this is nearly impossible to do. Even if this family decides to live on falafel sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it will be broke before the month ends. The head of the household must look for other means to augment his miserly income. Most work second jobs. Most also accept bribes from private citizens.

Again based on my own estimate, a more appropriate salary level is close to three times the present levels. However, the government does not have the financial resources to increase salaries by 300%. Upon retirement, state employees earn 75% of their base salaries till they die. Such a proposed salary jump will cause a massive drain on budget for years to come.

While salaries have been increased steadily over the years, they remain far below the required levels given the recent jump in prices. Real purchasing power has fallen despite rising salaries.

The government cannot raise salaries more because the size of the public sector is too big.
There are reportedly close to 2 million people on government payrolls. Tripling the median salary of the average employee means that the state needs to find an extra $ 1 billion a month in revenues.

Instead of doing that, the government has implicitly decided to keep things the way they are and to let citizens pay state employees directly through a widespread bribery system to which it turns a blind eye in most cases.

While the state coffers save $1 billion a month by restricting salaries, they lose many more billions by turning a blind eye to corruption.

Lost revenues from import duties and real estate taxes:

For years, importers have avoided paying duties on their products. Government employees assigned to customs have made huge sums of money turning a blind eye to banned imports or to the true value of the worth or legal imports. Bill of lading documents are often forged. Containers are not inspected by customs officials for a price.

Most of this has taken place because some of the government’s import duties have been outrageously high. This has enticed large importers to agree to pay the severely underpaid custom officials vast sums to turn a blind eye. Most have happily obliged. The state coffers suffered. Government income is being diverted directly into the pockets of badly paid officials.

Another area where the state has suffered from a severe revenue shortage concerns real estate. This is due to the way in which the government values residential and commercial real estate for tax purposes.

A close friend of mine just bought an apartment for his son for SYP 11 million. When it came to paying taxes on it, the government valued the property at SYP 350,000. Given the massive rise in real estate values across the country for the past decade, think of the opportunity cost and the missed tax revenues that the state could have collected following the boom in real estate values. Instead, government employees see no problem assigning real estate values that would have existed in 1960 before they tax most properties.


When it comes to the above issue of real estate taxes, the immediate solution is for the government to outsource the valuation of real estate to a private company that would help it assign real market values to real estate so that they can be taxed appropriately. Information on how much taxes each household pays should be made public. Any citizen should be allowed to find out what his neighbor pays in taxes. This will eliminate any chance that the private assessors are being bribed themselves. This initiative is likely to have two major advantages. It will bring in an enormous amount of much needed revenues. It will also make it less advantageous for the public to park their money in real estate now that it will be taxed more appropriately. The freed up funds will be redirected to investments in more productive sectors that may help employment and so on. This recommended real-estate tax collection must be geared towards the wealthy and less towards the poor. House values below say SYP 2 million will be exempt from the new valuation system.

While on the issue of housing, it is critical that the municipalities accelerate their plans to make more land available for residential use. This is referred locally as land that is included in the “tanzeem”. Currently, large areas of land directly across from city parameters cannot be used by developers to create new housing units and alleviate the pressures on house prices. The government simply does not have the resources to bring the basic services of water and electricity to these new locations. This results in empty “agricultural” lots right outside key city centers. Faster development of such land and their inclusion in the “tanzeem” will likely ease the price pressures inside the city parameters and make housing more affordable to more citizens.

When it comes to import duties, the government must streamline the process and lower those duties to levels that make it less pressing for the importer to cheat. Some items are still taxed at 75% of their value. This is giving a license to the importer to use the power of bribery to avoid the abnormally high duties. Again state coffers end up as the loser.

As to the appropriate level of salaries that can check the widespread use of bribery, the government must start to shed state assets and embark on privatizing the none-essential industries first. Only when the size of the public sector is brought down to a more manageable level can the state afford to pay its employees an appropriate level of compensation. Also, only when state employees are paid close to triple their current salaries can the government credibly prosecute those that accept bribes after the new salary adjustment.


Like most people in developing countries, Syrians seem to smoke a lot. A pack of cigarettes sells for around $1. In contrast, they top $9 in places like New York. Taxing Syrian smokers more seems to make sense till you find out that most tobacco products in the country are smuggled (the duty free is available too). In order to cut down on smoking, a presidential decree was ordered that prohibits smoking in public buildings. Sadly, this law is not being followed. Not so much by the citizens but by the government employees themselves. During numerous visits to government buildings, I was struck by how many state employees were smoking while they had the note describing the Presidential decree right above their heads. For the record, a recent study in Iraq found that smoking kills an average of 55 citizens a day. The Iraqi government banned smoking in public buildings and announced that violators will face stiff fines of as much as $4300. Given that the price of a pack in Iraq is as little as 25 cents, the new fine will be the equivalent of paying for 17,200 packs of cigarettes. It will be interesting to monitor how this law gets implemented.


While the word has a dirty connotation in a socialist driven ideology, its economic merits are indisputable. The Syrian state has no business running a tire, beer or glass manufacturing business. Contrary to what most officials promise, most state industries will continue to lose money for ever. This red ink is putting a massive strain on the budget. Such monies could have gone to improving education, healthcare and infrastructure. Putting our heads in the sand and sticking to a losing economic order is no solution. The monster of corruption and failing state services was created by party officials who espoused socialism. They originally believed socialism would serve the poor. Instead, the exact opposite has happened. The wealthy and well connected got richer at the expense of the poor. Indeed, Syria’s so-called socialist system has benefited the wealthy and powerful far more than capitalism did.

Most that resist privatization do so because they worry about the millions of state workers who will suddenly become unemployed if the public sector is dismantled. But the price of maintaining the million or so superfluous government employees is the impoverishment of many more Syrians who receive inadequate government services, such as electricity, education, and healthcare. Defenders of socialism also seem to think that the economy is static, and those that may get laid off will not be hired by a private sector that is likely to fill the void once the state privatizes.

The only real solution for Syria’s failing state services is that the country’s leadership supports a deliberate, thoughtful and transparent approach to privatization. One industry must be chosen to serve as a pilot project. The state may even decide to ask the new buyers to keep the current employees on its books for say 10 years (the state will receive less price of course).

Why not start with beer? While the state makes both Al-shareq and Barada brands, I don’t recall anyone buying these products. Instead, imported Lebanese, Turkish and European brands seem to be the preferred choice. Why shouldn’t the state put up the beer making business for sale to the private sector after it creates a privatization commission that will be tasked with this pilot project? If successful, the initiative can spread to more industries. Perhaps biscuits and tires can be next.

A Final Word on Education:

During a private meeting with the head of one of the country’s new private banks, I asked if he was finding it difficult to recruit qualified employees. The bank manager replied with a sigh that it was indeed difficult. He explained what a struggle it was to find university economics graduates who know what a balance sheet or an income statement is. As a result, most banks have lowered their requirements, employing new people simply because they speak English proficiently. As it turns out, finding good English speakers is no small challenge. Syrian students in elementary school spend one hour a day learning a foreign language. This is in direct contrast to their Lebanese counterparts who end up speaking two foreign languages fluently by high school. Syrian students are at a major disadvantage when it comes to competing in today’s market place.

Reforming the Syrian education system must become a priority for the country’s leadership. Instilling strong Arab nationalistic sentiment and having an education system that teaches a number of subjects in English or French must not be seen as mutually exclusive. A sixth grader needs to spend more time learning English and French than memorizing the key figures who fought the battle of Qadisiya in 637. Syria must grasp the bull by the horns. The Syrian economy and government services have real ailments that will get worse as the country liberalizes. Big medicine is needed.

Comments (245)

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201. jad said:

مدير بورصة دمشق ينهي إضراب موظفيها بتهديدهم بالامن السياسي

موقع نداء سوريا
28/ 08/ 2009
نقل شهود عيان أنّ إضراباً عن العمل نفّذه موظفو بورصة دمشق الأسبوع الماضي انتهى بأساليب التهديد والوعيد.

وذكرت المصادر ذاتها أنّ جذور المشكلة تعود إلى قرار أصدره المدير التنفيذي للسوق د.محمد جليلاتي يمنع فيه موظفي السوق من قبول عروض المؤسسات المالية كالمصارف وشركات التأمين للعمل لديها.

ويأتي هذا القرار بعد تلقي أحد موظفي السوق عرضاً مغرياً من أحد المصارف الخاصة للعمل لديه، مما دفع الموظف إلى تقديم طلب استقالة إلى المدير التنفيذي للسوق، إلا أن الأخير رفض الاستقالة لدى سماعه معلومات عن العرض المقدم للموظف المذكور، وأتبع ذلك بإصدار القرار السابق.

وتقول المصادر أنّ موظفي السوق اجتمعوا بعد إصدار القرار لدراسة أضراره عليهم، وقرروا تنفيذ إضراب مفتوح عن العمل إلى حين إلغاء القرار.

وبالفعل نفذ الموظفون الإضراب فوراً وتجمعوا خارج المبنى، وهو ما سبب إرباكاً كبيراً لإدارة السوق، فما كان من المدير التنفيذي إلا التوجه إلى جموع المضربين طالباً منهم متابعة العمل مع وعد بدراسة مطلبهم. بيد أنّ الموظفين رفضوا العودة عن قرارهم، الأمر الذي استدعى تصرفاً خارجاً عن المألوف من جليلاتي، حيث تغيرت معالم وجهه فجأة وبادرهم بتهديد يتلخص في منحهم مدة 10 دقائق للعودة إلى مكاتبهم وإلا سيتم إبلاغ الأمن السياسي لاستجوابهم بتهمة الإضرار بأمن الدولة من خلال المساس بجهاز حساس مثل البورصة.

وبحسب الشهود امتثل موظفو السوق بمرارة لتهديد مديرهم، ولعل الأسوأ أنهم باتوا يخشون من مناقشة أي أمر يخص شؤونهم الوظيفية مع المدير خشية تلويحه بهراوة الأمن السياسي.

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August 28th, 2009, 4:55 pm


202. Alex said:


As usual you make good points, but your tendency to blame it ALL on “the dictator” is not healthy.

The system is not all dependent on corruption as you claim. A large percentage of Syrians never get bribed and never accept to be part of any corruption related decision. I know of so many cases.

Most employees still live without the “opportunity” to be bribed by anyone. Think of employees in foreign ministry, factory workers, truck drivers …

Same applies to many business leaders, activists, military commanders, and scientists and educators … they are motivated enough to work without being corrupted by “the dictator”.

I wish we realize that just as it is wrong for the state media to tell us that everything is white, it is wrong for critics to tell us everything is black.

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August 28th, 2009, 5:22 pm


203. Ford Prefect said:

What you stated above has some relevance to Syria, but I am afraid it misses the point of the root causes of corruption.

Your hypothesis insinuates that there exists some grand master plan to carry out such a sinister plot of power and corruption. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If any regime is smart enough to carry out such a plot for 40 years, they would have known that there are many easier ways to hang on to power.

Corruption exists in all of sorts of societies and governments – even Italy is plagued with corruption that is atypical for that part of the world. The discussion of root causes of corruption is very complicated and empirical evidence shows that corruption is not meticulously designed and carried out by some evil doers. It is a manifestation of severe failures, inept policies, and reactive responses to rapid growth.

Then you mention that such a system of corruption creates “outlaws of all Syrians” thereby allowing for “swift legal actions.” But legal actions are characteristics of a liberal society functioning under the rule of the law. This is in direct conflict of your argument of a “family-run dictatorship.” Dictatorships rarely follow “swift legal actions” to remain in control.

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August 28th, 2009, 5:42 pm


204. Alex said:

196. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

And Shai, when you say “we”, whom exactly do you mean?

Unlike our neighbors, we tell our leaders what to do, and not vice versa.
During the nineties, Israelis gave peace a chance and rose the left
to do peace. After the disillusionment of 2000, Israelis don’t want
this kind of peace any more, and they vote accordingly.


I will accept that what you suggested is true for some Israelis.

I also do believe that 9/11 and the reliance on violence in the second intifada (compared to the rock throwing protests of the first) also contributed to fears of Arabs and Muslims in general that moved Israeli voters to the right.

But many others moved to the right after being influenced by 8 years of Bush administration and Neocon think tank brainwashing.

Dealing with enemies by force became acceptable … using your power in the media to justify and cover your wars became a standard operating procedure… killing thousands of civilians became acceptable if the are part of “the enemy”.

And … if Saddam fell and Baghdad fell in weeks .. then why can’t Israel settle its conflicts with the Arabs the same way .. the same easy way.

You said it yourself … “So, don’t threaten Israel with wars. After each war, we are much better (in all aspects), while you’re much worse.”

Since you are not a charity … and since war is so good for you .. and since you feel that the outcome of wars is guaranteed to be utterly in your favor … why would you bother compromise?

And the fact is … 94% of Israelis supported the savage attack on Gaza, 20% support the return of the Golan Heights to Syria no matter what Syria does in return.

The major change in Israeli society Amir is arrogance … Most Israelis think the same way imperial powers thought in the beginning of the twentieth century … that their massive power can allow them to keep the lands they took by force.

You still need to learn the lesson that they all learned … France gave back Algeria, GB gave back India … and Israel will give back the occupied territories when you in Israel mature enough like the French and British matured few decades ago.

we’ll have to wait for you to be there.

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August 28th, 2009, 6:00 pm


205. Shai said:

Ford Prefect,

You don’t have to go so far as Italy. Syria’s neighbor to the Southwest, Israel, currently has 2 ex-ministers (including Finance Minister) on their way to jail, one ex-Prime Minister, and one current Foreign Minister, about to be indicted, all over super-serious charges of corruption.

And as far as I know, we Israelis do not consider our system to be dictatorial in nature…

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August 28th, 2009, 6:00 pm


206. Shai said:


“… we’ll have to wait for you to be there.”

No, you won’t have to wait. For a nation that registers the 2nd most patents in the U.S each and every year, I think Israel will find the wisdom to also realize what you said. We just need a smart and courageous leader to remove the emotional filters that have clouded our vision for so long.

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August 28th, 2009, 6:36 pm


207. Alex said:

I hope so Shai.

And us Syrians will have to be more creative in communicating with the Israeli people and trying to influence them positively.

We can, if the United States is on our side, not working against us like the case between 2000 and 2008

Going back to the other discussion (even though I was happy it is over), I will still link to this relevant story about how religious parties in Morocco are an obstacle that is slowing down democratic reforms:

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August 28th, 2009, 7:27 pm


208. Shami said:

Al Hamraa (alhambra palace)in Al Andalus ,Granada 14th century.

Jad what do you think of this architecture for a more than 6 hundred years old medieval building

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August 28th, 2009, 8:08 pm


209. Majhool said:

I believe the points that Nafdik made are excellent, and feel that the responses to his post missed the point he was trying to make (Nafdik, please correct me if I am wrong)

I don’t think that he was arguing that the “family-run-Dictatorship” is solely the root cause of corruption, instead he meant that the regime, structured the way it is, benefits from and supports corruption. Fighting, reducing, etc corruption requires checks and balances and a great degree of accountability and decentralizing of power that goes against the needs for family-run-dictatorship monopoly on power.

So, I agree with Nafdik, that the most solution presented are technical and their adoption requires good well and selfless professionalism that is largely non-existent. Instead the cry for change should target the structure of the system.

I challenge regime supporters here to provide me with evidence/signs that Syria is heading towards the goal of a powerful Government in the next 5-7 years. I don’t believe it’s even on their agenda.

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August 28th, 2009, 10:51 pm


210. SimoHurtta said:

… For a nation that registers the 2nd most patents in the U.S each and every year,…

Is it really true Shai or do you speak about some other country? Like about Japan or Germany.

Israel is not the nation that registers the 2nd most patents

not in USA

Number of Patents Granted as Distributed by Year of Patent Grant

not in Europe

European patent applications 1998 – 2007 per country of residence

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August 28th, 2009, 11:49 pm


211. netsp said:

Of all those proposals, privatisation seems the most promising.

Improving intentions, pay conditions, etc. is great but extremely difficult. The beauty of privatising is that they need not have good intentions. Desire to succeed is enough. Government control over something is generally an outlet for corruption.

In fact, I am leaning towards thinking that places with corruption over a certain level should adopt extreme small government policies in order to minimise the potential for corruption. Crudely put: fewer officials, less corruption. While it’s hard to remove customs from government hands, it is easy to remove beer production. I am not sure applicable this is to Syria where ideology is a meaningful term. In some African countries though, I think it could work.

*You seem to draw a direct correlation between underpaid officials & corruption. While a connection certainly exists, I don’t think it is not a simple one. Once corruption forms as an institutional habit, it is hard to break.

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August 29th, 2009, 12:32 am


212. jad said:

Another episode of Outri’s government endless soapopera of showing how failure his government is:
After They quietly managed to get rid of the best 5 consultants any government can get because they dare to openly opposed the government proposed law, now they want to destroy Mr. Alquadi of Nesa Syria reputation by morally attacking his motives and work of the women observation that he successfully build from scratch by his hard work and without any support.
Isn’t there any ONE professional man/woman with the least level of conscious work with the government any more? Is it possible that all of them are nothing but ghosts with no brains or conscious even the religiously radical ones of them? What they are doing is the opposite of building a workable and advance society.

Just read both the attack and the reply:

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August 29th, 2009, 12:41 am


213. Michael Gazelle said:

Thanks for the lesson. Keep us informed.

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August 29th, 2009, 1:46 am


214. norman said:

Hi Shai,

Contrary to others , i believe that Israel has democracy to it’s people and it’s leaders take into account the opinion of their voters ,

So Israel is more like south Africa than it is like Iran or North Korea , Iran and north Korea are dictatorships and accountability to the voters are not that important ,

If we look at the recent disagreement between the Us and Israel about the settlements , we can see that political pressure gave cover for Netanyahu to freeze settlement construction , at least some of them , his supporters seems to understand that fighting the US is not in Israel’s best interest ,

Martin Luther king went to president Johnson and asked for a voting act just after they got the civil right act , Johnson answered, you have to make me , so i can do that soon after the civil right act , MR King got his people in the streets and that was what President Johnson needed to convince his people to move of the voting act to save the country ,

So are the Israeli leaders need an excuse to move on giving back the land that is not theirs , Barack responded to the voters and got out of Lebanon , even Sharon listened to the voters and got out of Gaza ,

We can see that Israel is resistant to the return of the Golan in spite of all the peaceful moves that Syria did , only to have Israel attacking Syria on many occasions ,

The Israeli leaders have to be forced into giving the occupied back to justify their moves to their voters or their voters have to suffer as they did in Lebanon and Gaza to force their leaders to move on the peace process .

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August 29th, 2009, 3:23 am


215. Majhool said:


What do you think of this article by Andrew Tabler?,1&%24Version=0&%24Path=/&,%20%24Version%3D0


you may want to read it. It touches on the sectarian issue you always touch on.

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August 29th, 2009, 4:37 am


216. Shai said:


You’re right. Maybe the figure was per-capita (though that doesn’t seem true either). I believe that Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation does, has more startups p.c., more biotech startups p.c., etc.

But my point wasn’t really to place Israel 2nd or 5th, but rather to suggest that in a nation with so-called “achievements”, I would expect wisdom to be applied not only in Science and Technology, but also in Politics. Unfortunately, most scientists don’t go into this field, and the few that do… usually end up leaving (like Prof./Gen. Isaac Ben-Israel).


I think you’re overestimating the abilities of Israeli politicians, and giving them far too much credit. Sharon did not “listen to the voters” before withdrawing from Gaza. He listened to one persistent friend Sociologist from Haifa University, who brought over a demographic map of Israel+Occupied Territories, and showed to Sharon how right around 2008/9, there will be a majority non-Jewish population under Israeli control. This is what caused Sharon to publicly announce that “Israel cannot rule over another people forever…” He convinced the people, not the other way around. And in the elections, he won by a wide margin, and could go about withdrawing. He wasn’t elected to withdraw from Gaza, he was elected to withdraw from ALL the territories, including the WB. If he had been PM a full term, we may have already had a State of Palestine…

The people closest to Netanyahu certainly do not agree with any settlement freeze whatsoever. The opposite – they’re trying to receive public support to convince the PM to reject America’s demands. Other ministers in the government are threatening to break up the coalition, should Netanyahu really support the creation of a Palestinian state. As long as the PM takes his orders from those closest to him, or fears public opinion precisely as he did in 1998, and as Barak did in 2000, no positive breakthroughs are to be expected.

Today, Barak’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 seems to most a huge mistake. So does Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. But the public learned the wrong “lesson”. Rather than understanding that withdrawals should have been agreed upon / negotiated by both sides, most simply deduce that the Arabs can’t be trusted…

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August 29th, 2009, 10:54 am


217. Shami said:

Majhool ,it’s the main problem ,the mini minority sectarianism and the last thing they find is to play the export of crazy people to iraq and lebanon.

Rafic Jad ,as you are very concerned by women issues in Syria.
What do you think about the general cultural level of the Syrian girls and women ?and i especially mean here the middle and rich class ,forget the poor or rural people.

In my case i have chosen and got engaged to a non syrian arab girl after my disapoitment of the low culture that prevail among the syrian people and especialy the feminine part of the syrian society,what i hate the most is the high number of argileh addicts among them.

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August 29th, 2009, 12:57 pm


219. jad said:

Haj Kareem,
Syrian women are struggling between three vicious powers:
1- Religion
2- Political System
3- Customs/Cultures
so every achievement done by any Syrian women is a national gain, the Syrian woman is well educated, polite, shy, supportive, energetic and her feminine side is undeniable comparing to any woman in the world.
In the ‘cast’ you are asking about you have a majority of excellent example of the thinker, the writer, the artist, the politician, the business woman and they didn’t get there sitting on the couch but because they worked three folds or maybe five folds more than you and I to get where they are yet they only represent a very very small number of the Syrian women, therefore empowering syrian women in any field and anywhere is not a choice is a necessity and a struggle that we all have to engaged in, can you imagine how the Syrian society would be if we could share the Syrian women power and work instead of crushing them between the three walls I outlined.
50% of the society (women) still not supported enough and not encouraged enough by law/religion/customs to engage in building the country the way it should be and more than 45% of the rest (men) either has no brain or no balls to support their woman in the public life and in the building process for many selfish reasons.

For you to tackle this extremely important subject by judging the woman who smoke arghile or cigarette as something taboo to do is too shallow yet dangerous because you are not using logic to your judgment but using your instinct and your own life style as a parameter without looking at the brain of the woman sitting in front of you.
For the rest Syrian women from less fortune background and financially challenged ‘cast’ as you portray it, the challenge is multiplied by 10 maybe 20 times harder and if we the so called educated Syrian men don’t do the least possible thing which is open our mouth and ask for their rights and point out the obstacle they face or support them in the justice system by changing any unfair law toward women or stand in the face of our clergy of any religion when they use the horrible language we hear and making them think of the mistake they are doing or force our political system to advance we are ‘MUTE DEVIL’ and we are a full participant in the crime taken place against our Syrian women.

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August 29th, 2009, 3:49 pm


220. Shami said:

Dear Bro Jad,

I’m not yet Haji ,but the first recommendation of my future wife to me is to go to Umra and Haj with her after our marriage,this year before the next.

I agree that ill treatments and marginalization of the women in the Islamic societies is one of the most important causes of our backwardness and this issue is central but the problem here I’m not speaking about the poor class in which the women are less favoured ,like the conservative Muslims, I’m speaking about these free girls and free women who drive their last model European or Japanese cars , wear nice clothes and appear as grotesque copy of Hollywood actresses ,you understand me now.

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August 29th, 2009, 5:28 pm


221. Shami said:

As for this mass ignorance in the syrian society also concerns the people who went to university during the last 2 decades.It was not the case before when the Syrian universities produced highly cultured people.(as the Lebanese,Egyptian and Iraqi ones)

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August 29th, 2009, 5:38 pm


222. Alex said:

Dear Shami,

I took care of the changes you asked for. I also did spell checking, added a second “r” to marriage, made Hollywood, Muslims, European and Japanese start with Capital letters, changed Hollywoodian to Hollywood … etc.

It’s Saturday morning and I don’t have anything else to do basically. : )

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August 29th, 2009, 6:21 pm


223. Shami said:

many thanks habibi Alex ,and i give you a free hand to correct my mistakes in english in my future comments ,of course ,in the case you are free.

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August 29th, 2009, 6:49 pm


224. Shami said:

in case you are free

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August 29th, 2009, 7:10 pm


225. norman said:

Hi shami,

on top of Google in their tool bar , there is a spell Check , DR Landis told me about it , and my spelling got better , now i have just to wait for Grammar button ,

question for you ,

do you think that women should be allowed to go to the Arms forces if they want .

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August 29th, 2009, 7:14 pm


226. Shami said:

do you think that women should be allowed to go to the Arms forces if they want .

Yes of course ,the mother of believers Aisha did lead an army.

The muslims are ignorant of Islam.
That’s why i always say ,that the advanced western world is more close to the islamic ideal than we are.

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August 29th, 2009, 7:18 pm


227. norman said:


Don’t you think that they could be corrupted there by empowering them and working with mostly men army , and can you tell why in KSA women are not allowed too drive even though they rode horses at the early time of Islam ,

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August 29th, 2009, 7:24 pm


228. Shami said:

Norman,weak and badly educated people are corruptible.

It’s all based on education.
Such highly preventive societies would never evolve.

As for Saudi Arabia,it has nothing to do with Islam ,they have their own beduin traditions and it’s the problem with our muslim world ,customs and traditions prevailed on Islam.
But what is Sad is that relatively advanced countries in the 1900’s ,are now more backward than these countries that just had electricity in the 60’s.

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August 29th, 2009, 7:32 pm


229. norman said:


what do you think we should do to educate the population to the real Islam with all of it’s advantages .?

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August 29th, 2009, 7:34 pm


230. trustquest said:

Shami, I stand by Jad on the subject of women civil liberty and the duties of educated elites to push for equality and to gain more natural rights for them. I hate the argileh like you but I don’t attach it only to the upper or middle class women who are showing courage in making their own decisions. The argileh problem is a national one and the lack of responsible and intelligent administration to evaluate, educate, regulate and ban harmful substance is completely another issue. Let’s wish for a day, the Syrian public TV and the coming private TVs stations will be used to educate public and to organize campaigns for civil quality life instead of keep it a vehicle to show the dictator latest pose and his wife latest dresses.

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August 29th, 2009, 7:39 pm


231. Shami said:

Norman,i’m for a dialectical approach ,let us open ourselves to democracy and liberalism ,then we will have a true debate around these crucial questions.I’m for giving freedom for criticism even against religion on an academic level of course and without badness(on the contrary of the rafida or zakaria butros),as conservative but modernist muslims we are ready to answer our critics,it’s such conflicts between civil societies of different trends that will improve the quality of Islam.(as culture and society)

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August 29th, 2009, 7:45 pm


232. Shami said:

Dear trustquest ,i too ,do not disagree with our rafic jad on this matter.

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August 29th, 2009, 7:52 pm


233. LeoLeoni said:

Ehasani, thanks for your article, it has stirred lots of interesting comments and an insightful discussion.

212. jad said:
“Another episode of Outri’s government endless soapopera of showing how failure his government is:
After They quietly managed to get rid of the best 5 consultants any government can get because they dare to openly opposed the government proposed law, now they want to destroy Mr. Alquadi of Nesa Syria reputation by morally attacking his motives and work of the women observation that he successfully build from scratch by his hard work and without any support.”

I totally agree with the above. I can not comprehend what Outri and his government are trying to do. It seems like they are trying to get back at the government consultants and the civil society organizations that stood against the backward sectarian marriage and personal status proposed law. As for Alex’s prediction that the powers of prime minister will increase in 5 or so years, I really hope that no extra powers are given to any particular office without the proper checks and balances put in place. Why hasn’t the president been involved in such a controversial and fatalistic case? All that is needed is a presidential statement or a small speech declaring that the only way to move forward while preserving the unity of the Syrians is to have a civil non-sectarian personal status law.
As for Bassam Al Qadi, I think he is doing a great job at Nisaa` Souriya fighting for Women and Children’s rights. These kinds of individuals should be given more freedom to work for the benefit of the country. Here is a link of a debate he had on Aljazeera with a Syrian conservative regarding the portray of women in the media and their roles in society.

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August 29th, 2009, 8:56 pm


234. Alex said:


It is sad reading what Andrew wrote. By now his energy is dedicated to the same causes that interest the neocon Think tank that hired him.

My response to him is in the comments section on this page (comment number 2):

Here is what he wrote, and my response:


Andrew J. Tabler said…

Dear Jeb:

This article originated out of my disillusionment with Syria on this issue. These fighters have been crossing from Syria to Iraq for six years – that’s a fact. I used to believe what the Syrians say on this – that Al Qaeda and Jihadis are not based out of Syria and that Damascus can’t control the border. But then the Awakening and surge helped the US Army (specifically the CTC at West Point) uncover the scale of this activity. I hate to break it to you: this problem is no neocon plot. And saying Syria isn’t responsible in some way and laying the blame solely at Iran’s doorstep doesn’t square with recent history or reality. Cui bono arguments don’t really work here, because we know a lot more facts about this issue than the dark days of 2005-2006.

My point is this: We are seven months into the Obama administration: why hasn’t Syria cut these fighters off? They have been preparing for Obama’s engagement from last year – its not like they haven’t seen this coming. (That’s why so many people were so eager to get Track II discussions going, remember?) The USG and Odierno says the flow has gone down but still continues. If Syria can cut them off and they do, great. If they will not, or can’t, or whatever, fine. Either way the blasts are still happening, which is a problem for us and the Iraqis.

To restore integrity between the US and Syria, we need straight open talk on the issues. But we also need to be able to benchmark those issues so we know where we are and don’t get led down the garden path with Damascus – something that has happened for decades and is one of the main reasons the admin is taking such a cautious approach with Syria.

So I say lets move on to another issue to test if it is possible to restore integrity between Damascus and Washington. With peace negotiations unfolding slowly, and Palestinian reconciliation a work in progress, lets deal with an urgent issue: Lebanon.

My advice to you is be VERY wary of getting sucked into Syrian propaganda on this issue. You can end up with egg on your face, even years later. I got tired of wiping it off mine.

Oh – and this argument didn’t come from bias, but rather from being mugged by reality – to steal a phrase from the neocons.

11:14 AM

Alex said…


You said “Now we know more”?

No. Now we are brainwashed and brainwashers like the rest of them among the WINEP types.

Your analysis adds nothing … Before you, a thousand other Likud friends and Neocon analysts made the same two points:

1) Syria is weak (no need to waste time since they can’t really deliver)

2) Syria is not trustworthy .. for some reason Syria is only interested in cheating the United States and in backstabbing the leaders of any civilized country who are foolish enough to travel to Damascus.

In your last analysis you went out of your way to show that Syria is weak … You highlighted the fact that Syria’s allies were defeated in the latest Lebanese elections (even though you know that Syria’s allies in the opposition got a huge lead in popular vote over Syria’s critics in the March14 movement)… and you failed to mention that the winning coalition (M14) now lost one of its main leaders and his supporters … Druze leader Walid Jumblatt is now convinced that Lebanon’s best friend (and protector) is Syria.

Then you insinuated that Syria can not even influence Hamas (Hamas did not even allow Fatah members to travel to attend the meeting) …

And apparently Bashar Assad loves to kill Iraqi civilians… he would risk alienating all those in the Obama administration who are calling for close cooperation with Syria, in order to kill more Iraqi civilians.

And you are outraged that Syria seems to be conducting research at two nuclear facilities, that might or might not be true … and if true that research might or might not be for military purposes and if for military purposes it might or might not lead anywhere .. and if it one day led anywhere it might or might not be in our life time …

Which reminds me of your total silence about Israel’s existing 200-300 nuclear weapons.

Basically, you (like all the other tiring neocon voices before you) are energetically trying to tell everyone that Syria is not worth working with.

Tell me about Israel Andrew … can you tell me your opinion of the 1500 Israel killed in Lebanon in 2006? … since you love Lebanon so much and you have so many Lebanese friends, did you write any “analysis” about how Israel’s new right wing government is again threatening to invade and punish Lebanon? … does that bother you at all? … Does denis Ross allow you to write an analysis attacking Israel?

I can tell you that many of your Syrian friends do not want to hear anything from you again. Especially after your calling for “smart sanctions” against Syria.


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August 29th, 2009, 9:57 pm


235. Majhool said:


This is really interesting, especially how fond you and Josh were with Andrew and his work .

As you probably know, I am less interested in regional power game, except for issues that impact the internal dynamic in Syria.

All said, I wish you did not use the morality paradigm to refute his argument. Also, I wish you did not use the “popular vote” argument, we both know that this is no more than a propagandistic tool that is flawed statistically and serve only to breach the Christian/Muslim partnership in power in Lebanon. Recent speech by Hasan Fadlallah attacking the head of the Christian Maronite church is proof to what I am saying.

In absolute terms, from a view point stripped from the calculations of power, I would prefer that Syria’s role in the region stems from its location, culture, army, and economy. a role that is based on Syria’s leverage over guerilla groups operating in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine is fundamentally flawed in my view.

This is not to say, that I would be pleased to see Syria weakened. It’s quite the opposite.


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August 29th, 2009, 10:43 pm


236. Shami said:

I did not like basam qadi ,he remind me nizar nayyouf and has a limited culture,it was so big,when he repeated this false damascene popular story on sheikh al akbar Ibn Arabi ‘s death ,the other opposite to him ,as much ignorant than him, did not correct him.
I would like to see a woman activist instead of his face,like the egyptian Nawal al Saadawi or the Morrocan Fatima Mernissi.

Where are the Syrian women ?Even Sudan or Mauretania ,have Women Activists.

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August 29th, 2009, 11:46 pm


237. jad said:

هل الإعتراف بالفشل يا استاذ عطري ، يُلغي الفشل؟

المهندس سعد الله جبري – كلنا شركاء
29/ 08/ 2009
ترددتُ كثيرا في الكتابة عن التصريحات الأخيرة للسيد العطري رئيس الحكومة، ولكن لما أطلعت على بعض التعليقات في هذا الموقع وغيره ( وجميعها ساخرة فحسب). حسمت أمري وقررت أن أتناول الموضوع بوضوح أكثر.

تُشكّل تصريحات العطري في إجمالها، نوع من الإعتراف الضمني بالفشل العام لحكومته في إدارة البلاد طيلة سني خدمتها “الرائعة” التي لم يذكر من فشلها إلا مواضيع قليلة جدا ومنها “مشكلة” الكهرباء ( وهذه ليست أزمة، وسبحان الله مشكلة تستمر عشر سنوات بدون علاج ولا يتبين في حلها الخيط الأبيض من الخيط الأسود، فهي ليست أزمة وإنما مجرد مشكلة!!!!)، كما لم يُبين الأسباب الحقيقية للتراجع الإقتصادي وإنخفاض قدرة الدولة وميزانتها عن رفع الأجور تعويضا عن التخفيض الفعلي الذي تسببت به الحكومة

سأتطوع أنا، وأذكر نتفاً من أفشال الحكومة وأسبابها المفتعلة من الفريق الإقتصادي خاصة، وسأتساءل مع المواطنين هل نسمّي كلٍّ منها مشكلة أو أزمة أو مصيبة؟

أولا: الأفشال الحكومية وأسبابها:

1. انتهاك الدستور في العديد من مواده، ومنها تغيير االنظام الإقتصادي للبلاد بشكل إرتجالي غير مدروس، وغير صادر بقانون أصولي وإنما بواسطة قرارات إرتجالية من شخص واحد هو الدردري! مما تسبب في تخريب إقتصادي ومالي ومعاشي للشعب، تعاني منه البلاد والأغلبية الساحقة من الشعب حالياً. ومنها أيضا ممارسة الإرهاب الأمني ضد الحريات الدستورية للفكر وتبادل الرأي للمواطنين!
2. أنتهاك الكثير من القوانين ، ومنها توقيع عقود بالتراضي خلافا للقانون من جهة، وغير داخلة في موازنة الدولة السنوية من جهة أخرى، وهذا ما أستنزف معظم الموازنات السنوية – ولا زالت – بديلا عن تنفيذ الأغراض الأساسية والتنموية المقررة في قانون الموازنة السنوية، وتسبب فعلا في العجز عن رفع الرواتب آليا مع إرتفاعات تكاليف المعيشة والأسعار التي تسببت بها الحكومة ذاتها. وهذا إمتد من عام 2004 وحتى تاريخه!
3. تبدبد مُعظم خزينة الدولة لثماني سنين متتالية من خلال مشاريع فساد شبه وهمية، بديلا عن بناء مشاريع التنمية والبنية التحتية، شاملة تجميد تطوير ودعم مشاريع السدود وشبكات نقل المياه والري والسقاية لزيادة المساحات المزروعة بالسقاية، مما أخر تطور البلاد سبع سنوات إلى الوراء!
4. تسليم رسم السياسة الإقتصادية لسورية للبنك الدولي الصهيوني، وهذا منتهى التنازل عن السيادة الوطنية، وإعطاء عدو مكشوف سلطة التخطيط الإقتصادي للدولة!
5. سرقة نصف مالية كل مواطن بوسيلة تخفيض سعر العملة السورية بدون مبرر علمي أو إضطراري!
6. سرقة نصف راتب كلّ موظف وعامل ومتقاعد بوسيلة تخفيض سعر العملة السورية بدون مبرر علمي أو إضطراري!
7. إلغاء الدعم الحكومي الذي ضاعف الغلاء، وتسبب بتدمير مواسم الزراعة القمحية برفع أسعار الوقود، كما تسبب بإغلاق وإفلاس أكثر من ألف مصنع سوري خلال السنة الأخيرة. وبالجملة فقد تسبب بإضعاف الزراعة والصناعة والتصدير جميعا بشكل شامل. وخلق الغلاء الفاحش وتخفيض معيشة أكثرية الشعب السوري الساحقة!
8. العمل على إنهاك القطاع العام وتحويله من رابح يُؤمن ثلث موازنة الدولة طيلة عقود ثلاثة سابقة، إلى خاسر يحتاج لمساعدة خزينة الدولة لدفع رواتب عُمّاله!
9. الإمتناع عن بناء أية مشاريع صناعية وتنموية للقطاع العام مما ساهم في تزايد البطالة!
10. الإمتناع عن دعم القطاع الخاص الوطني، وعدم إصدار تشريعات مشجعة لعودة الرساميل السورية للمساهمة في مشاريع البناء والتنمية وامتصاص بطالة اليد العاملة!
11. خلق نظام الإستثمار الأجنبي المُخرب للإقتصاد السوري ومعيشة الشعب، من خلال سلبيتين خطيرتين جدا، أولهما هي أستنزاف سنوي متزايد للثروة المالية السورية، بالسماح بإخراج جميع الأرباح والموارد والرساميل إلى الخارج دون قيد أو شرط وبالعملة الصعبة، مما سيوصل الدولة السورية قريبا إلى إفلاس شامل– بدأت الدولة وخزينتها بمعاناة تباشيره – وثانيهما عدم امتصاصه إلا نسب تافهة من العمالة السورية المتعطلة عن العمل، بسبب سماحه للمستثمر باستيراد اليد العاملة الرخيصة من أي مصدر دون قيد أو شرط.!
12. تحرير التجارة الخارجية دون قيد او شرط ، مما عكس الميزان التجاري السوري من رابح قبل عام 2008، إلى خاسر بنسبة 900% بدءا من عام 2008، ومما أنتج تضخمات مالية ومن ثم إضعاف متزايد لليرة السورية، وبالتالي سلسلة من الغلاءات المُنهكة التي لن تتوقف إلى الأبد طالما قرار تحرير التجارة الخارجية المخرّب بقي سارياً!
13. تصدير المخزون الإستراتيجي من القمح السوري الجيد بأرخص الأسعار (80 دولار للطن أقل من الأسعار العالمية للقمح)، والقيام باستيراد بدلا منه قمحا روسياً مخصصا للحيوانات، وذلك من شركة فساد مصرية وبأسعار أغلى من الأسعار الدولية للقمح الجيد.

ثانيا: نتائج الأفشال على الشعب والدولة

1. أزمة إنخفاض معيشة الشعب بشكل حاد تجاوز نسبة 50% وذلك نتيجة إنخفاض دخل جميع المواطنين نتيجة الإجراءات السلبية الخطيرة المذكورة في أولا، ونتيجة الغلاء الذي رافق الإجراءات المذكورة.
2. عجز الموازنة عن القيام بمشاريع التنمية والبنية التحتية، وتطوير الرواتب بما يتناسب مع انخفاض مستوى الدخل بشكل شامل.
إن هذا يعني أن الدولة قد دخلت في مرحلة شلل حقيقي على المستويين الحكومي والشعبي. ولن يُمكن معالجة هذه الوضع الخطير جدا، إلا بتغيير الحكومة ووزرائها وفريقها الإقتصادي، بمن يعتقدون بعقم السياسات ىالإقتصادية التي ارتكبتها الحكومة وأوصلت البلاد والشعب والموازنة إلى مآزق وأزمات حقيقية خطيرة جدّاً

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August 30th, 2009, 2:35 am


238. Shai said:


What still surprises me is how tempting it is to conclude that people are almost taking things personally in their interpretation of reality. Why is it that certain people are intent on isolating regimes, in order to punish them (and the citizens of their nation), in order to force them to comply with whatever agendas they have in mind for the region. Has anyone a successful record of isolation? Has the world succeeded with Iran? With North Korea?

Entire nations, and even regimes, cannot be treated as little children. Even if their leaders do carry out sinister plans. Even if their leaders do think of themselves more than of their people. Because collective punishment is always counterproductive, and is always wrong. There is no alternative, but engagement, engagement, and further engagement. There’s no doubt whatsoever, that trust cannot be established overnight, and cannot be dictated from above. It is a process that takes place only through dialogue, through engagement, through mutual confidence building steps. Through lifting of sanctions, not through practicing them.

To be perfectly honest, when I consider Syria’s motivations in supporting certain bodies in our region, I try not to travel down the “personal” (or emotional) realms that are so tempting. I try to look beyond them, and to see if I find any rational reason for Syria to change its strategic outlook if and when it is no longer threatened, if and when it is no longer isolated, if and and when it receives back its land. And what I see, is a very clear interest in changing certain things. Some would argue that’s wishful-thinking on my part. That it originates from my more “liberal” outlook on life. My Make Love Not War daisies-in-our-hair dreamy attitude. I’m sure that’s what Akbar and a few others see, when they consider us “Leftists”.

But I actually try not to trust-blindly or distrust-blindly anything here. Instead, to look at other examples from History. What better way to estimate the result of something, than to look at previous examples, if we have any to consider. And in the case of Peace in our region, we do. From Israel’s point of view, we have already “been there” before. Egypt was Israel’s worst enemy by far, ever! There has never before or since been an enemy that has caused Israel as many losses and as much pain as has Egypt. No existing or non-existing terrorist, terrorist-group, terrorist-state, terrorist-space-ship, has killed as many Israelis, has fought as many wars, as has Egypt. Anwar Sadat was personally responsible for more dead Israelis than all other Arab leaders combined. And yet, we made peace and we gave back land that was not ours. And amazingly enough, Egypt did not continue fighting Israel. Not directly, and not indirectly. Egypt did not support anti-Israel organizations. It did not allow arms through its territory to Israel’s enemies. It abided by all the agreements and everything included in the Israel-Egypt Peace Accords.

It did so, not because someone forced it, not because someone isolated it, not because someone punished it, but because for the first time it had a real interest to do so. What it gained (Sinai back, American support, etc.) is did not wish to lose. And Israel too did not attack Egypt since. We too now had something to lose. And it will be exactly the same with Syria, and with Lebanon, and with the Palestinians (when they have a State, not a open-air prison), and with Kuwait, and Yemen, and Iran one day.

I had a commander in the army, a Lt. Colonel, who once told us “Become experts at how TO DO, not at how NOT TO DO!” And his words echo in my mind ever since. There are too many “experts” out there, pessimists and ya’ani “pragmatics”, who will give you every reason in the book why we SHOULDN’T trust Syria, and Lebanon, and this Palestinian leader, and that one. Why would SHOULDN’T give back land, why we must wait, why we’re really strong and not weak, why time is on our side, why we should NOT take the risks of Peace. In essence, why we should DO NOTHING!

To suggest that from the safe shores of New Jersey is one thing. The price for the mistake would be, at worst, slight moral inconvenience. The kind of thing you don’t boast about in your local cafe (“I was always AGAINST dialogue with Syria, until it succumbed…”) But to advise the same from within our region, is the greatest form of irresponsibility towards not only ourselves and our present, but indeed our children and their future. If isolating Iran causes her to harden, to develop nuclear weapons, and to God-forbid ever use them against Israel, I want to see the “experts” that had always encouraged the West to punish Iran look at their children in the eye, and say “It was the right thing to do…”

One mustn’t be an “Appeaser” to engage the enemy, to build trust and confidence that will lead to Peace. Those elements are necessary, if we truly do believe in a world full of nations and people that are equal, not in one where we force our will upon others.

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August 30th, 2009, 7:37 am


239. jad said:

“Haj to be” Kareem:

عتب على مشايخ آل كابوني …. مشايخ الفضائيات

محمد الوشيحي : الجريدة
31/ 08/ 2009
أولاً مبارك عليكم الشهر….

ثانياً، يرحم الله والديكم يا ‘شيخ’ نبيل العوضي ويا دكتور طارق سويدان ويا بقية رجال الدين، أو رجال الأعمال، الذين تتزاحمون كتفاً بكتف على أبواب الفضائيات في الشهر الفضيل هذا، أرجوكم وأتوسل إليكم ألّا تدعوا هذا العام على النصارى بأن يبيدهم الله. معلش، سامحوهم هالمرة، على الأقل إلى أن يكملوا اكتشاف الخريطة الجينية التي ستساهم في علاج الأمراض بشتى أنواعها. فهم لايزالون في منتصف الطريق، وقد توصلوا إلى علاج أمراض كثيرة، منها السمنة.

ثم لو فرضنا جدلاً أن الله استجاب لدعائكم وأبادهم وفرقهم بدداً، عليّ النعمة حينئذ لن تستفيدوا من نفطكم مثقال ذرة، إلا في الحنّاء أو في علاج جرب الإبل. وطبعا أنتم منذ أن احتلت فلسطين عام 1948 تدعون على اليهود ونحن نؤمّن خلفكم كل يوم، واليهود يرزعوننا على قفانا كل يوم، حتى أصبح قفا الواحد منا كما إطار بريجستون مقاوماً للحرارة.

وبعدين يا شباب، لماذا الدعاء عليهم بالفناء؟ لماذا لا ندعو الله أن يصلح علاقاتنا معهم، وأن يساعدهم على اكتشاف علاج مرض السكري الذي أبادنا، ولاسيما أنهم قد شارفوا على الانتهاء من ذلك؟، ما هذه الغريزة الشريرة التي تتلبسكم ولا غريزة الرئيس الإفريقي عيدي أمين، آكل لحوم البشر؟… يقول: اللهم فرّق شملهم؟! طيب ليش وهُم الذين اخترعوا لنا الأدوية وآلات الزراعة وتنقية مياه البحر وكل ما يخطر على الذهن؟ أهذا رد الجميل أم هي النذالة؟ يعني تستيقظون من نومكم في أنصاص الليالي لتدعوا عليهم، ‘وين إذنك يا جحا’؟ لماذا لا تستيقظون من نومكم وتتجهون إلى المختبرات والمصانع؟ أم أن السالفة هي البحث عن الأسهل، ارفع يديك وبس.

لكن، لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله، إذا كنتم متعطشين للدماء والمقابر الجماعية، وإذا كان لابد من الدعاء على أحد بالإبادة فأرجو أن تحددوا الدولة المنكوبة. دونكم أميركا الوسطى وأميركا اللاتينية، السلفادور والهندوراس وكوستاريكا، الله الله فيهم، فهم مثلنا ‘بَجَم’ وعالة على الأرض، فاحرقوهم بالدعاء الله يلعنهم ويلعن ساعتهم، كي يتفرقوا بددا ويصيبهم ‘الرمدا’ و’الكمدا’ (المد بالألف لدواعي السجع)، عليكم بهم فاحشروهم بالدعاء سدد الله رميكم.

أنا لا أعترض على الدعاء، ولا على جدواه، اعتراضي فقط على طريقة استخدامنا له، إذ لم أسمع مرة إماماً يقول: ‘اللهم حبّبنا في المختبرات، اللهم واجعلنا نملأ الأرض بهجة وعمراناً، اللهم إنا أمضينا السنين في بحث حثيث عن علاج العقم فيسّر لنا اكتشاف الدواء بسرعة كي تنتفع البشرية…’. أدعيتهم في أغلبها أسلحة دمار شامل، الخالق الناطق، محرمة شرعاً ومجرّمة قانوناً. فأقل ما يدعون به على النصارى هو الشلل، هذا إذا كان لدى الإمام قليل من الذوق، بينما يؤكد النصارى والبوذيون أنهم سيقضون على الشلل قريباً، ليفرح المشلولون، من المسلمين والنصارى واليهود والهندوس والبوذيين وعبّاد النمل الأصفر.

لا أدري كيف حوّل بعض مشايخنا دين الاسلام المبني على التسامح إلى دين قصف عشوائي وحرب مدن، وكأنهم على خط النار لا على منابر المساجد، أو كأنهم ينتمون إلى مافيا آل كابوني أيام عزه في شيكاغو.

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August 31st, 2009, 4:39 pm


240. Alex said:


I think that isolating those who criticize them is one way to reassure themselves that they are somehow the guardians of morality on this planet … that they are still on the side of goodness despite all the pain they continue to inflict on others.

It is also a punishment for any other countries that might entertain the thought of not complying in the future … you want to be independent like Cuba? you suffer like Cuba suffers from our never ending isolation… Want to champion Arab rights? … you remain on the list of “states supporting terrorism” like Syria has been for decades …

Syria and Cuba are used as examples to other countries.

And Iraq … what an example that was.

So I don’t think it is about using isolation as a tool for achieving anything good .. it is a punishment tool and it is a “we are better than those we punish” tool.

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August 31st, 2009, 8:33 pm


241. سامية بارودي said:

بالنسبة لبسام القاضي من مرصد نساء سوريا فالكثير من التقولات تطرح في الآونة الاخيرة حول تجاوزاته الاخلاقية واستغلاله لموقعه لدوافع شخصية وشهوانية. هذه التقولات طرحت من قبل العديد من اللواتي عملن معه في الاطر النسائية والمهنية المختلفة. ويذكرن أن اسلوبه في استدراجهن لم يكن بالفظ او التقليدي إنما من خلال تسويق دعمه للنساء وإصغائه لمشاعرهن ومن ثم اصطيادهن لتحقيق شهوات ونزوات متعددة.

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April 12th, 2010, 7:19 pm


242. FREEDOM said:


This is no place for personal slander. Either back up your claims with evidence or do not trash talk. What you are saying is typical slander from the religious fanatics and conservatives who want to seek vengeance on Mr. Bassam Al Qadi because of his honorable efforts in fighting for equality between man and women and for his profound fight on ignorance!

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April 12th, 2010, 11:15 pm


243. سامية said:

للمعلق freedon
يحق لك التشكيك في ” روايتي” لان أعداء كثيرون يتربصون للسيد القاضي كرجل معارضة وصاحب مواقف ثورية وتحررية “معلنة”. اتفق معك فيذلك. لكن عندما اطرح تجربتي وتجربة أخريات فإنني حتما اخلط العام والخاص، وحتما اسّلم الرجعيين والانتهازيين سلاحا يستخدمونه بمنهج الحق الذي يراد به باطل. لكن يا سيدي المحترم فالقاضي ليس فوق الانتقاد وهو إذ استخدم خطابه النسوي لمآرب شهوانيه ورديلة فعليه أن يحاسب ويفضح ، فكثيرات من المتزوجات والعزباوات قد تعلقن بحبال الهواء وأسيئ التلاعب في مشاعرهن واجسادهن من قبل ابسام القاضي الذي وضع نفسه في مكان الوصي على قضايا النساء.

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April 13th, 2010, 5:26 pm


244. How it started « حيطان Walls said:

[…] on that day, Syria Comment most respected writer Ehsani wrote a  main post titled The Syrian Public Sector, Corruption, Taxation, and Government Services” by Ehsani Somehow, a little crack appeared in the wall, and all before that moment is now […]

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August 31st, 2011, 6:36 pm


245. Syria Comment » Archives » Ehsani on Syria Comment over the Years said:

[…] An article on the public sector that inspired OFF THE WALL to start his blog was written in August 2009. “The Syrian economy and government services have real ailments that will get worse as the country liberalizes. Big medicine is needed.” […]

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September 4th, 2011, 4:05 pm


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