The regime is staying but can’t retake the country. Sunni needs are unmet, leading to the IS problem and a de facto Sunni pseudo-state forming. Will Syria end up partitioned between rebels & regime?
t_desco has gathered the following news reports on the UNIFIL bombing and al-Qaida in Lebanon
EFE reports that the same type of explosives was used in both the UNIFIL car-bombing and the attack on Walid Eido. Both also contained aluminum powder.
As I had pointed out earlier, large quantities of aluminum powder were confiscated in raids on Fatah al-Islam apartments in Tripoli, according to reports by Al-Akhbar and Al-Hayat.
Murr blames Al-Qaeda-inspired groups for attack on peacekeeping forces
Defense Minister Elias Murr characterized the car-bomb attack that killed six UN peacekeepers Sunday as “extremely dangerous” in an interview with Al-Arabiyya television on Tuesday. Murr blamed the attack on Al-Qaeda-inspired groups, citing intelligence reports. …The Daily Star
Lebanon needs help to stop arms from Syria: UN
International security experts should be deployed to help a new Lebanese border force stop arms smuggling from neighboring Syria, according to a UN assessment team’s report released Tuesday.
The team, which was sent by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to assess monitoring of the Syria-Lebanon border, said that “the present state of border security was insufficient to prevent smuggling, in particular of arms, to any significant extent.”
It called for the deployment “of international border security experts” to back up a new Lebanese “multi-agency mobile force” that would be tasked with doing a better job of stemming the arms smuggling.…
“There is still substantial room for improvements on the Lebanese border security management, some of which can only be reached through assistance and support from the international community,” the report said.
It recommended that Lebanon set up “a multi-agency mobile force focusing on arms smuggling with the purpose of creating seizure results within a short timespan through its intelligence and rapid interception capabilities.” …AFP
Ex-Dinnieh detainees deny link to Fatah al-Islam
A group of former detainees captured in the Dinnieh region in 2000 denied in a statement issued Tuesday allegations of their involvement in the Nahr al-Bared conflict, saying that a “flood of false accusations by politicians and media members” had misrepresented the group. …The Daily Star
Update on the Australians:
Aussies knew Lebanese cleric
THE small cell of Australians caught in the violence in northern Lebanon have two things in common.
They all lived in Sydney and were associates or followers of Australian-born Islamic radical cleric Sheik Feiz Mohammed.
At least four Australian passport holders, Ibrahim Sabouh, Ahmad Elomar, Mohammed Basal and Omar Hadba, remain in custody in Lebanon unable to speak with Australian diplomats after their arrest last week.
And officials still can’t confirm another former Sydney man, Bassem al Sayyed, and his Lebanese wife were killed or held when Lebanese troops raided an apartment building on Sunday at Abu Samra, Tripoli.
Sheik Feiz Mohammed is the former head of the Global Islamic Youth Centre at Liverpool in western Sydney and he now lives just a few kilometres from Abu Samra with his wife and six children.
The Sheik, 37, a graduate of Medina University in Saudi Arabia, left Australia after it was revealed he had produced hate videos urging Muslim parents to give up their children as martyrs for jihad. …Herald Sun
“Ahmed Elomar, an undefeated super featherweight who fought on the undercard of the Anthony Mundine-Danny Green bout last year, left Sydney suddenly two months ago without telling anybody, according to friends.
Elomar is the nephew of Mohamed Ali Elomar, one of the nine men charged with plotting a terrorist act in November 2005.
Omar Hadba, a dual Australian-Lebanese citizen, is still being questioned after Lebanese police raided his home last weekend and found what they said was a large quantity of weapons and military equipment.
Lieutenant-Colonel Bassem al Ayoubi, chief of police in Tripoli, said Hadba told them of the cache under interrogation after being arrested last Wednesday, and also informed them of the militant cell involved in a 10-hour siege on Sunday.
Colonel Bassem said that contrary to earlier reports no Australian died in that shoot-out, but that the Australian owner of the flat where it took place, Bassam el Sayed, was arrested later and is being held by Lebanese military intelligence. Police said the five militants who died in the shoot-out were Saudi, Chechen and Lebanese, not Australian.
Another three dual Australian-Lebanese citizens are also still being questioned by police after being arrested in Tripoli last week but no connection has yet been established between them and the weekend violence.
Consular officials have not been able to speak to any of the men. Besides Elomar, they are believed to be former Sydney financial adviser Ibrahim Sabouh and Muhammad Basal.
SBS radio said yesterday that Hadba had migrated to Australia a few years ago but returned to Lebanon last year.”Sydney Morning Herald/AAP
Hadba was a neighbour of Omar Bakri Mohammed:
“Sheikh Bakri told The Age he saw the weekend raid on the apartment of his neighbour, former Australian taxi driver Omar Hadba, where police allegedly found a cache of weapons and military equipment.…
Sheikh Bakri said he lived opposite Hadba in the Abu Samra neighbourhood of Tripoli, only 500 metres from the new apartment building where fighting broke out between the Lebanese army and Islamist militants on Saturday night. “I saw them carrying out a lot of stuff but it was only equipment. I didn’t see any weapons,” Sheikh Bakri said.”The Age
Regarding Nabil Rahim:
I just found this earlier (19/04/2007) report by As-Safir which also makes the connection between “Sheikh Nabil R.”, Ahmed Abu Adass and the Mehlis Commission.
Where does this story come from? Does anybody know?
It seems rather unlikely, given that Nabil Rahim was based in Tripoli and Ahmed Abu Adass lived in Beirut (and nothing in the Mehlis report suggests that he traveled to Tripoli before the day of his disappearance).
(As-Safir server seems down at the moment; I hope the link will work later.)
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“we say to those who yearn for freedom from Damascus to Tehran: You are not bound forever by your misery. You plead in silence no longer. The free world hears you. You are not alone. America offers you its hand in friendship. We work for the day when we can welcome you into the family of free nations. We pray that you and your children may one day know freedom in all things, including the freedom to love and to worship the Almighty God.”
June 28th, 2007, 12:20 am
in 1950-1958, we had Adib Shishekly,and Shoukri Quwatly, before Nasser came, we did not have 12,you are talking about different period.
this is the period we had democracy,and sure ended up with union,which we all wanted
June 28th, 2007, 12:24 am
My last comment for the day:
Majhool: Of course I agree with almost all (maybe all) your points. The only two qualifiers are:
1) Nothing is absolute and nothing happens immediately … you have the right to ask the regime for those improvements and they have the right to tell you that they will work on it and it will take time.
2) It will be faster when YOU (everyone) cooperates rather than boycott everything until there is a regime change (current mentality in some groups)
Majed, Our democracy before did not give “the village people” much share of power for decades. in the sixties, they (along with the socialists, the Arab nationalists, the rest of the minorities ..etc) came to power … then The brotherhood killed their civilians, and they killed many more in Hama … and they ruled for decades.
Things need to calm down and relax. That’s all I am hoping for. We need brotherly relations not revolutionary talk.
Then we should definitely talk about gradual implementation of democratic components in addition to many other reforms … and it takes more than the regime to move there … we have to be adults and accept our share of the responsibility!
I know a Businessman in Damascus who always curses government corruption, yet he has three sets of invoices for his imported products .. one for customs, one for dealing with the manufacturers, and one for customers and taxes in Syria .. I asked him if he is willing to start by reforming himself .. he laughed! .. it did not even cross his mind that he is also part of corruption.
June 28th, 2007, 12:32 am
Hashim al-Atassi (Head of State): 15 August 1949 – 2 December 1951
Fawzi Selu (Head of State): 3 December 1951 – 11 July 1953
Adib al-Shishakli: 11 July 1953 – 25 February 1954
Hashim al-Atassi: 28 February 1954 – 6 September 1955
Shukri al-Kuwatli: 6 September 1955 – 22 February 1958
June 28th, 2007, 12:37 am
Few points ‘
Is democracy a goal or a tool to advance the lives of the people ?.
Democracy is a way to improve the lives of the people.
Does Syria needs democracy to improve the lives of it’s people ?.
I think not , Spain had dictatorship for years which ended with death of Franco , The economy was strong and there was a majority of mid class which made democracy possible .Syria can do the same.
It is unfortunate but our custom of revenge and honour killing makes democracy difficult to achieve , A Syrian can kill his daughter for mistakenly thinking that she had a relation with a boy ( Mistakenly)and get only 2 to 5 years in prison , what kind of justice is that .
The problem with changing the regime is that Syria has no Mandela in the opposition or even Ordogan , we have as Alex said revenge seeking people who would rather see Syria destroyed than having Syria succeed with Bashar Assad at the helm .
The opposition has offered no platform for improving Syria , They just want to be in the driver seat .
Syrians needs to move from loyalty to the religion and the family to loyalty to the country and that can be done by paying Taxes and making the government the place where Syrians can go for help not the family or the religious institutions .
June 28th, 2007, 12:42 am
the point is we did have democracy in 1955-1958
June 28th, 2007, 12:47 am
democratically elected governments:(the begining was under the french mandate)
1936 to 1949
1949 to 1951
1954 to 1958
1961 to 1963
June 28th, 2007, 1:05 am
In these years we may have had free elections. To call it democracy is a stretch. Syria, in those years, had neither the institutions nor the culture to protect the outcome of free elections. What do you think all the coups and counter-coups that plagued syria since independence (until 1970) were indicative of. It is a culture that, in mass, accepted survival of the fittest and valued power above law. By the way, can either of you name the person who lost those elections??
June 28th, 2007, 2:07 am
Syrian, be fair,the democratic process was at the begining when it was perturbed by the officers and dont forget that Syria as it’s known today is a young nation created by the french and the british.Syria was amongst the very limited number of parliamentarian regimes after the WW2.
The CIA launched this trend with Husni Zaim in 1949.Then have followed the coups of the pro SSNP officers as Sami Al Hinawi and Shishakli.Then came the arabists of nasser and the baathists in 1963.All that happened in a context of the cold war.(Baghdad pact)
But despite all these coups,it was a struggle which was limited to the military barracks and few civilians casulties or human rights violations were known until the proxy of naser ,abdelhamid al saraj.
As for the dynamism of the syrian civil society in that time ,the better is that you read books or read syria related articles on jstor…(and not in wikipedia or web sites).
June 28th, 2007, 2:54 am
If the regime was only oppressing Syrians, then I would say, toz! If you are happy with your dictatorship, enjoy it, and I’ll mind my own business.
But so long as the regime is causing bloody mischeif in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon, the Syrian people’s support of their regime is nothing short of complicity in Asad’s crimes. And if Syrians truly support their dictator, they deserve to go down, with him, into the proverbial dustbin.
June 28th, 2007, 3:05 am
That’s my problem with the syrian gov. If a majority of syrians support syria’s opposition to the west and willing to pay the price, then be it. however that is coming at the expense of others. hence i agree with K.
Syria is giving other blows under the belt. I think an ethical stance to take is to leave the Palestinans, Lebanese, and Iraqis to themselves. and let us Syrians “nestefil”. Resistence should not come at the expense of others.
Some Lebanese and Palestinians may chose to fight or even surrender and live in peace, that is thier call. Acting like the big brother and forcing our will on them is just not right. this is simply called Hegemony . Maronites DO NOT want to fight for Palestine, sho bel Zour!!!
June 28th, 2007, 3:26 am
you said “Syrians needs to move from loyalty to the religion and the family to loyalty to the country and that can be done by paying Taxes and making the government the place where Syrians can go for help not the family or the religious institutions”
Let me tell you a story, our house in Syria was robbed once and the police (the gov) explained that we needed to pay the police patrol 500 S.P each for them to bring their asses to the scence.
One’s family is the only support system that works in Syria. Offer an accountable gov, and trust me people will look for gov for help/support. Beside Loyalty is great bas I would only be loyal to an accountable gov under normal laws..we have been subjecated to emmergency laws (or as I like to call it “lack of laws”) since..since God knows when and that needs to end befroe Igive my loyalty.
June 28th, 2007, 3:54 am
I am all for encouraging democracy in Syria and improving the well being of the average Syrian. However, when you come loaded with the notion that Syria was a democracy before the Nasserites and the Baath took over then I have to pause and ask you to think about what you are saying. Yes, indeed there was a civil society movement and lots of discussion and liberal ideas floating around in the new nation about what course the nation would follow. But none of these discussions was translated into practical and methodical actions that promoted the rise of democratic institutions. None of the activity in civil society translated into creating a strong military that did not rely on volunteers from poor, suppressed minorities who enlisted for the lack of better alternative. Rather, the centers of power were afraid of the military and did not how to build structures that allowed for different views. You blame our descent into dictatorship on the CIA and the installment of Zaim. Who allowed that to succeed if not the lack of institutional and cultural views of power.
You said “But despite all these coups,it was a struggle which was limited to the military barracks and few civilians casulties or human rights violations”. Allow me to retort. As long as the conflict was limited to military barracks, the civilian population did not feel a need to intervene. To say this is not acceptable, we voted and our choice is the only one we will accept. They did not say that because they could not care less. As long as the conflict did not affect their lives directly they took the attitude of Fikhar Ykasser Ba3do.
Modern Syria, as we know it, is not much older than I am. The “democratic” period that Syria experienced in its incipience is an illusion that was brought home by the social elite who were educated in the west and affected by ideals of the French revolution. These ideals did not fit with the average Syrian who knew, up to that point, nothing more than the Ottoman empire and French colonialism. You put those ideals against the brutality of an underclass that dominated the military and the forgone conclusion is that power will go to those who had the weapons. Syria may have had a democracy, but it was not a working democracy as evidenced by the fact that it did not last.
June 28th, 2007, 4:12 am
Ashraf Marwan died, he was 62, he is a buisnessman,very wealthy, he worked assisting Jamal Abd Alnasser,married his daughter Muna,he was a spy for Isreal,he later worked as security and political consultant to Sadat,he was also double agent,in 1973 he went to the Isreali embassy,in London, telling them that egypt and Syria will attack at 6 pm, Isreal got ready and foiled the syrian brigade from accomplishing their goal,it would have been a disaster to Isreal,he was like Cohen in Syria in 1965.
they said he fell from his window in london and died,I found this story ,about his death is far fetched.
June 28th, 2007, 5:33 am
Brammertz to leave in December:
U.N. Official Is Expected to Become Chief Prosecutor for War Crimes Tribunal
The chief prosecutor at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, is expected to be succeeded by the United Nations official leading the inquiry into the killing in 2005 of Rafik Hariri, former prime minister of Lebanon, United Nations officials in The Hague and in New York said Wednesday.
The United Nations official, Serge Brammertz, a well-known Belgian criminologist who has led the Hariri inquiry, has been invited to take up the prosecutor’s post at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague in December when his mandate in Lebanon expires, the officials said. Mr. Brammertz, seen as the strongest candidate for the job, has accepted, the officials said. He could not be reached immediately for comment. …
New York Times
Two Danes Released from Lebanon, One Still Held
Two Danish nationals detained in Lebanon since last weekend were freed Wednesday, the foreign ministry in Copenhagen said.
The two men were arrested over suspected involvement in unrest in northern Lebanon, ministry official Lars Tuesen told Agence France Presse, “but it was established that they had nothing to do with this violence.”
A third Danish citizen and a Palestinian with Danish residency have been detained in Lebanon for the last month, he added.
They are also suspected of being involved in the fighting between Fatah al-Islam and the Lebanese army at the northern Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli, Tuesen said. …
The Jyllands Posten reported yesterday that the Danish convert to Islam who was released had spent two months in a Yemeni jail last year (together with an Australian convert) because of suspected ties to al-Qa’ida, but he was never charged with anything. The Australian has reportedly also been arrested in Lebanon.
Lebanese troops, gunmen clash in north Lebanon
Lebanese troops clashed with gunmen in the northern city of Qalamoun early on Thursday, witnesses and security sources said.
They said the army launched a raid at about 1 a.m. (2200 GMT) in Qalamoun, which is on the Mediterranean coast south of Tripoli, and a firefight ensued.
The identity of the gunmen was not immediately clear. …
Haaretz: “08:46 Three Islamic militants killed in clash with Lebanese troops in northern Lebanon (AP)”
Six militants killed in north Lebanon clash-sources
Lebanese troops killed six militants in a clash on Thursday in the north Lebanon town of Qalamoun, security sources said.
They said at least two of the militants were Lebanese and three were foreigners. It was not clear what the nationality of the sixth militant was.
A firefight erupted between the army and gunmen early morning in Qalamoun after Lebanese troops launched a raid in the area.
June 28th, 2007, 6:15 am
66. Akbar Palace
This is the first time Siniora openly accused Syria of passing weapons to the Fath Al Islam but his last remark also shows his alienation from the arab countries.
It’s about time. Everyone was screaming about Israel’s occupation of Lebanon, and Israel left. The Syrians left as well after the Hariri murder. Political pressures came to bear for both Israel and Syria. But the reality is, Syria didn’t really leave. They’re still obstructing Lebanon’s sovereignty byt arming rogue para-military terrorist organizations inside Lebanon and murdering political leaders.
Hopefully, the UN, the US and Europe will do something to prevent this. I guess we’ll wait and see.
“This is something I will talk to the Arab League about,” Siniora said.
Obviously, if Siniora has favorable ears in the West, the Arab countries, including the Shia-allergic countries such as Jordan and Egypt seem deaf to his repeated request for actions against Syria. Why is that? Maybe they don’t trust him and his governement.
The Arab League, as we all know, is a mini-UN: ineffectual and toothless. Also, the moderate Arab states have their own jihadist worries back home along with their problems regarding democracy, freedom, and their economies. They are caught between a “rock and a hard place”: the jihadists and the countries that support them.
To deal with these terrorist forces in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East, it will take a world effort.
Anyway he better ask the UN again to provide troops to protect the northern border, as I doubt the Arab league will do much about it.
Supposedly they are (shrug).
By supporting and praising the illegitimate governement of Siniora, the UN is finding itself drawn into protecting all 3000 kms of borders of the country and into the internal politics of a very complex country. How long can the UN do that?
The government of Lebanon was voted in and is no way “illegitimate”.
Of course the government is “illegitimate” if you’re a jihadist who wants Lebanon to be another theocracy like Gaza and Iran.
June 28th, 2007, 11:10 am
“Lebanese soldiers killed six Islamist militants, most of them foreigners, during a clash on the outskirts of the northern town of Qalamoun early on Thursday, security sources said.
A military source said the gunmen appeared to be linked to al Qaeda-inspired militants of Fatah al-Islam which the army has been battling at a nearby Palestinian refugee camp since May 20.
The army later blocked off the area near Qalamoun, which is on the Mediterranean coast about 5 km (3 miles) south of the city of Tripoli, and the fighting ended a few hours later.
The military source said the dead militants were thought to be behind an attack on an army patrol on May 20 in northern Lebanon, one of the initial flare-ups of the fighting that ensued, mainly at the Nahr al-Bared camp.
“The group was hiding in a cave in Qalamoun. The army then clashed with it and killed the six terrorists. This cave is booby-trapped and the army is now working on either defusing the explosives or detonating them,” he told Reuters.
Security sources said at least two of the militants were Lebanese and three were believed to be Saudi. Two Lebanese soldiers were slightly wounded, they added. The military source said the militants’ nationalities were Syrian, Iraqi or Saudi.”
More details from the Murr Al-Arabiya interview: militants were also planning attacks on the Interior and the Defense Ministry.
Élias Murr évoque la piste d’el-Qaëda
Le ministre de la Défense, Élias Murr, a évoqué la piste d’el-Qaëda dans l’attentat qui a tué dimanche six militaires du contingent espagnol de la Finul près de Khiam, dans un entretien diffusé hier par la télévision satellitaire al-Arabiya.
« Avant l’attentat de dimanche, des informations du renseignement militaire indiquaient qu’un groupe d’el-Qaëda prendrait pour cible la Finul », a-t-il ainsi déclaré, ajoutant que les Nations unies avaient été prévenues. Outre la Finul, « les informations faisaient état également d’autres cibles : le ministère de l’Intérieur, le ministère de la Défense, un hôtel à Beyrouth ainsi que le bureau de l’ONU à Beyrouth », a ajouté le ministre Murr.
« Des cellules dormantes hors du camp, qui seraient liées à Fateh el-Islam, auraient perpétré cet acte terroriste », a ajouté Élias Murr, répétant que « les renseignements de l’armée libanaise convergeaient vers la piste el-Qaëda ». Cependant, a-t-il poursuivi, une enquête en cours auprès de « plus de 40 personnes arrêtées » à Nahr el-Bared, à Tripoli et dans d’autres régions du Liban « va montrer s’il y a un lien entre Fateh el-Islam et ces cellules ».
Al-Hayat reports that the Bar Elias cell had planned to shell Christian villages from Shiite villages in the South in order to create sectarian strife.
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reports an alleged link of the Bar Elias cell to the Majdal Anjar cell headed by Ismail al-Khatib.
June 28th, 2007, 11:31 am
Syrian,the situation of the syrian democracy had a lot of similiraties with the aristocratic parliementarian liberal regimes of the 19 century Europe,this process resulted in the evolved democracies that we know today in western and north europe,in that time,they faced the same kind of criticism and threatened by the revolutionary ,militaristic and conservative forces.As you are older than me,you certainly have more accurate knowledge about this era that i didnt know but from what i have read the civil society was strong enough to bring back the democratic process after the coups until the dictature of the baath.
Now,there is also other factors which favoured these extremist regimes and disadvantaged democracy in Syria;the most important is the situation which followed the creation of the state of Israel, and also,it’s very difficult if not impossible ,for a democracy to coexist with dictatorial neighbors ,even the democratically elected Shukri Bey al Kuwatli was forced willy-nilly to give in,unlike Camille Chamoun who had the support of more than 50 % of the lebanese people.
June 28th, 2007, 1:32 pm
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