“UNIFIL and Eido Car Bombs the Same: Murr Blames al-Qaida” by T_desco

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.” …


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.)

Comments (68)

Enlightened said:

T Desco;

Some clarification since I am a resident of Sydney, I will shed some light on these people.

Sheik Feiz; This man is a fundamentalist pure and simple and had been building a following with the muslim youth in South Western Sydney, through his youth center when his activities had attracted the attention of the authorities. This man makes the Taliban look like devout Mormon preachers such is his vile and putrid sermons against westerners and Jews in particular.

He was wanted by the authorities when it was found that in his sermons distributed by DVD contained incitement to violence against the west and non muslims, he chose not to return to australia to face the music and is wanted by the authorities here.

Ibrahim Sabouh if my memory is correct was in the same year attending school as my youngest brother, both him and Elomar were good boys from good families, I am saddened to hear if they have fell under the spell of the mad sheikh.

The real threat posed by likes of Sheik Feiz makes my skin crawl, it never hits home until you know someone that has fallen under their vengeful hate and mad preaching, my jaw dropped to the floor when I read their names, and i will repeat what others always say, “they were both normal boys”.

So sad if it is true…………

June 27th, 2007, 7:43 am


Nur al-Cubicle said:

Tony Blair the Quartet Envoy.

June 27th, 2007, 8:32 am


t_desco said:

Thanks, Enlightened!

Sheik Feiz Mohammed is thought to be in Malaysia:

“The Australian understands that Lebanese security authorities are also interested in questioning former Sydney-based hardline Muslim cleric Feiz Mohamed, who is linked to Elomar and three other men arrested in Tripoli.

It is believed Sheik Feiz – who has praised jihadists and referred to Jews as pigs – left Lebanon to study in Malaysia two months ago.

A fifth Australian, Bassem al-Sayyed, was reported in a Lebanese newspaper to have been killed with his wife during military shelling in Tripoli, north of Beirut.

However, officials now believe Mr al-Sayyed and his wife were not in Lebanon at the time.

The confusion has centred on Australian identity papers found at the scene of the battle in a suburb of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city.”
Herald Sun

Large quantities of aluminum powder were confiscated in Tripoli apartments, now the car has also been traced back to the city:

Car used in UNIFIL attack entered Lebanon thru Tripoli

Investigators of the attack on the Spanish army UNIFIL contingent have disclosed that the Renault Rapide car used in the bomb attack entered Lebanon in 2004 thru the Tripoli port.

Investigators also revealed that there has been some tampering with the engine identification number of the car . Its owner s a Lebanese , but his name was not revealed

Investigators also found out that the bomb used in the attack contained a combustible Aluminum powder. The weight of the bomb is 30 KG ( 66 lbs). …
Ya Libnan

June 27th, 2007, 9:26 am


ausamaa said:

Tony Blair has lost the Confidence and Respect of the British people through acting as the tail of the Bush Serpant during the past long years, how will he be able to sit and promote peace with others who have less respect for him than his own people.

Bush would have done him a better favore if he had reccomended him to the World Bank or to someother pay-off job in recognintion for services rendered. Actually, smart move by Bush and his chief peace promotor (Elliot Abrahms) by getting the next US Administratoin “stuck” for years to come with a Middle East envoy who is a lacky of the departing Bush and the neocon gang.

But he should start his job by taking a short course of how to insure that press Microphones are turned-off before he imparts his private/confidential advice and creative thoughts to others.

Well, he may become a born-again peace lover perhaps in a search to clear his name and concience (and Britain’s as well) of crimes committed in the past and present! But I wont bet on it!!! And London’s weather is mostly upredictable. Isnt it?

June 27th, 2007, 9:38 am


ausamaa said:

Guys, why Australian-bred Islamist are coming into the picture again? Wasnt there a planeload of them who departed Lebanon on the eve folowing Rafiq Al Harriri assasination? What happened t
o that story? AS if “you” or “I” or “we” will ever know. Or Brammertz, for that matter!

June 27th, 2007, 9:43 am


EHSANI2 said:

While everyone argues politics, the money making machine just goes on and on. There seems to be no limit to this wealth accumulation enterprise. While most are concerned about Nahr-al bared, the cash registers continue to ring


June 27th, 2007, 10:17 am


Bakri said:

Turkey’s Christians like AKP despite Islamist past

Gareth Jones
Vakifli – Reuters

Turkish Daily News, Turkey
June 21 2007

Its foes like to accuse Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party
(AKP) of plotting to create an Iranian-style Islamic state, but many
among the country’s Christian minority seem to prefer the alleged
Islamists to more secular parties.

In sleepy Vakýflý, Turkey’s last surviving ethnic Armenian village,
perched high among orange groves overlooking the east Mediterranean,
elderly farmers say they will probably vote for the Islamist-rooted
AKP in July 22 elections.

“This government has done a lot for us. We want them to get back
in. They show us and our religion respect. Every religion is holy,”
said Hanna Bebek, 76, enjoying a game of cards with his neighbors in
the village tea house.

“The AKP has tried to help the minorities, while other parties just
talk,” said village headman Berc Kartun, 45.

Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim but hosts several ancient Christian
communities — dwindling remnants of sizeable populations that
prospered for centuries in the Muslim-led but multi-ethnic, multi-faith
Ottoman Empire.

Modern Turkey was founded on the empire’s ashes in 1923.

Those communities include some 70,000 Armenians and 20,000 Greek
Orthodox — mostly based in Istanbul — and 20,000 Syriac Christians,
who speak a form of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Turkey’s Christians have often voted in the past for secular parties
such as the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), analysts
say. But the CHP has joined a rising tide of Turkish nationalism,
making Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan’s AKP a more attractive

Vakiflý is located in Hatay province, which once belonged to
nearby Syria and boasts a long tradition of religious tolerance. Its
provincial capital Antakya is the ancient Antioch, where Saints Peter
and Paul preached shortly after Jesus’s death.

Vakýflý itself, with a population of 100 mostly elderly people living
off organic farming, is virtually all that remains of eastern Turkey’s
once large, prosperous Armenian community.


Patriarch Mesrob II, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of Turkey’s
Armenians, recently endorsed Erdoðan’s party.

“The AKP is more moderate and less nationalistic in its dealings with
minorities. The Erdoðan government listens to us — we will vote for
the AKP in the next elections,” Mesrob told the German magazine Der
Spiegel in an interview.

Though a pious Muslim whose wife wears the Islamic headscarf, Erdoðan
strongly rejects the Islamist label.

In power since 2002, his AKP has pursued liberal economic and political
reforms, including more rights for religious minorities, as required
by the European Union which Turkey hopes to join. Ankara began EU
entry talks in 2005.

But Erdoðan’s record is far from perfect, analysts say.

“The AKP is 100 times more liberal than the other parties… They
deserve a bit of credit, but not too much,” said Baskýn Oran, a
political analyst and human rights campaigner.

Oran is the author of a 2004 report on Turkey’s minorities,
commissioned by Erdoðan’s office, which was quietly binned after a
furious nationalist reaction that highlighted the continued sensitivity
of the minorities issue in Turkey.

“The nationalist pressure scared the hell out of the government and
they caved in,” said Oran.

Oran himself could draw religious minority votes away from the AK
Party in Istanbul, where he is standing as an independent candidate
on a liberal platform.

Turkish nationalists, who are expected to perform well in July’s
elections, are especially sensitive to claims — pressed by many in
the EU and beyond — that as many as 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey
suffered genocide at Ottoman hands in 1915.

Ankara’s official line is that large numbers of both Muslim Turks
and Christian Armenians died in ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire
staggered towards collapse during World War One.

Nationalists are also highly suspicious of Turkey’s ethnic Greeks
and their spiritual leader, Patriarch Bartholomew, whom they accuse
of wanting to set up a Vatican-style mini-state in Istanbul.

Bartholomew rejects their accusation as absurd.

As elections loom, the AK Party does not want to be branded by the
nationalists as kow-towing to powerful Armenian or Greek diaspora
lobbies in Europe and America. Many Turks believe these lobbies are
bent on avenging past wrongs suffered by their kin.


Oran said Ankara’s reform zeal had long since cooled. For example,
it shelved a law intended to ease property restrictions on Christian
minorities. It has also failed to re-open an Orthodox seminary near
Istanbul deemed vital for the long-term survival of Greek Orthodoxy
in Turkey.

More tragically, the authorities failed to stem a virulent form of
nationalism that claimed the life in January of Turkish Armenian
journalist Hrant Dink. Dink was shot dead by an ultra-nationalist
outside his office in Istanbul, triggering a huge outpouring of grief
and solidarity from ordinary Turks.

The Dink murder still hangs heavy on Turkey’s Armenians.

“Many Armenians wanted to leave this country (after the murder) …

but it is not easy to leave the place where you and your parents were
born,” said Aris Nalcý, news editor of Agos, Dink’s weekly Armenian

The Vakýflý farmers said many Turks came from towns hundreds of
kilometers away to pay their respects at their newly restored village
church after Dink was murdered. “All forms of extreme nationalism
are bad,” said Kartun. “But here in Hatay province, at least, we
still live together in peace — Turks, Arabs and Armenians, Muslims
and Christians.”

June 27th, 2007, 12:25 pm


Bakri said:

and in contrast ….

An AKP that wants a state ruled by shariah is our red line, says Alevi-Bektaşi Federations’ president
Alevi leader: Alevi’s will not support AKP that seeks shariah
Friday, June 15, 2007

ISTANBUL – TDN with wire dispatches

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) has been a disappointment of late, but this will not result in Alevis starting to support the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said Alevi-Bektaşi Federations President Selahattin Özel late on Wednesday at a conference held in the European Parliament.

Speaking at the conference �What kind of Turkey do Alevis want?� Özel said he had asked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for an appointment after collecting a million signatures, but Erdoğan failed to invite him. �The AKP that has the support of all religious orders has until now met no Alevi organization.� Alevis follow a more moderate version of Islam and are seen mainly as supporters of the CHP.

He said giving support to the AKP that wanted a state ruled by shariah, was a red line that could not be crossed for Alevis.

Speaking at the same conference, European Alevi-Bektaşi Confederations’ President Turgut Öker said they were upset about the fact that the scene of the death of more than 30 Alevi intellectuals and artists in Sivas, the Madımak Hotel still served as a restaurant when they wanted it to be turned into a memorial.

In that infamous incident, some 32 Alevi artists and intellectuals were killed by a fundamentalist mob in the eastern city of Sivas on July 2, 1993. Artists were staying at the Madımak Hotel, which was torched by the mob. The incident, known as Madımak, shocked the nation and some of the culprits received lengthy sentences for inciting crowds and forming an illegal organization. Some suspects remain at large.

Öker also called for an end to compulsory religious education in schools and demanded constitutional protection for Alevis. �There is no need for Alevis to Europeanize, because with its rejection of militarism and gender equality it is already in sync with European values,� he said.

EU Commission Enlargement Bureau Turkey Chief Christian Danielsson told the conference that they assessed Turkey in terms of EU acquis and common values of the union, adding that on the Alevi issue they focused on the recognition of Cemevi as places of worship and the other was compulsory religious education. Alevi houses of worship are not recognized as such by the Sunni dominated Religious Affairs Directorate and as a result don’t receive state support. All secondary school students have to study the compulsory religious education course that is based on the majority Sunni version of Islam. Alevi groups argue that all religions and creeds should be included in the curriculum.

Religious Affairs Directorate should not exist:

The European Union-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission co-chairman

, Joost Lagendijk, mentioned Alevi complaints on the Religious Affairs Directorate, noting that while some argued for the inclusion of Alevis in the directorate, others supported the opposite. �The directorate is a very interesting organization. Turkey is a secular country and the state should be at equal distance to all religions. When seen from the EU perspective, such an organization should not be in a secular country.

June 27th, 2007, 12:29 pm


Alex said:


I have already read the first one at BBC online but I have not read the second one.

I am also a fan of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and would have voted for him if I were a citizen of Turkey.

The day Syria’s most popular Islamic party becomes as genuinely civilized as Turkey’s, Syria’s secular, liberal and minority Syrians will not be as worried as they are now.

And it takes constitutional guarantees like the ones Turkey has, and an arrangement of centers of power like the one Turkey has.

We are not there yet, and we don’t seem to be heading there anytime soon.

June 27th, 2007, 12:55 pm


Observer said:

Once again this is a demonstration of failed states that do not offer any way forward for their citizens. Look how different Turkey is from any other arab state and how over time it has created the middle class establishment necessary for long lasting democratic insitutions. There is a short window of opportunity for those regimes but they have been paralyzed so long and have sought the status quo to the point where they have no imagination and no program.

June 27th, 2007, 2:49 pm


Bakri said:

Alex,some years ago Erdogan was in prison and the turkish islamic movements endured many plots persecution and media distortion but at the end the land belong to its people and btw there is very strong ties between erdogan,gul and erbakan and the syrian islamic scholars,some syrian sheikhs have more murids in turkey than in syria.
ya alex so for u ,asad and his mukhabarats are the civilization and aleppians damascenes are the barbarians?

June 27th, 2007, 2:55 pm


K said:

Alex, please check the spam folders for a long piece I just wrote on the subject of Aounists. How do we solve this “spam” problem once and for all?


I was wrong about Syrian propagandists being unimaginative. They are, in fact, brilliant: According to Syrian minister Mohsen Bilal, the culprit behind the attack on UNIFIL is Antoine Lahd’s South Lebanon Army. The attack was carried out to punish Spain (on behalf of the US) for withdrawing its troops from Iraq. It all makes sense now.


June 27th, 2007, 3:06 pm


K said:


From Naharnet

A U.N. report has called for a major upgrading of Lebanon’s lax border security to prevent arms smuggling from Syria, including assigning international experts to a new, multi-agency Lebanese border force.

The report which was released in New York Tuesday was produced by a team of international security experts just back from a three-week assessment mission in Lebanon to probe allegations of widespread weapons smuggling across the border with Syria.

The team led by Lasse Christensen of Denmark concluded that “the present state of border security was insufficient to prevent smuggling, in particular of arms, to any significant extent.”

In a report which U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon forwarded to the Security Council Tuesday, the team 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 to stem 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.

Two weeks ago, the Security Council reiterated “deep concern” at mounting reports of “illegal movements of arms” across the Lebanese-Syrian border.

It did so after hearing from U.N. Middle East envoy Terje Roed Larsen, who drew an “alarming and deeply disturbing picture” of the border situation, citing Lebanese army reports of “a steady flow of weapons and armed elements across the border from Syria.”

The U.N. assessment team recommended that Lebanon set up “a multi-agency mobile force focusing on arms smuggling with the purpose of creating seizure results within a short time span through its intelligence and rapid interception capabilities.”

It also lamented the fact that “there is no (cross border) cooperation” at the operation level between Lebanese and Syrian authorities and urged both sides to remedy the situation.

It expressed concern about the presence of “several heavily armed Palestinian military strongholds covering both sides” of the border, saying they “constitute pockets of territories where the Lebanese security forces are denied the possibility to exercise their mandate.”

The report also criticized the “lack of operational cooperation and coordination” among Lebanon’s four different security agencies: the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Internal Security Forces, the General Security and the General Customs.

It said that during the nearly 30 years of Syrian domination which ended in 2005 “no concept of border security at the border was ever implemented.”

Noting that there “is no real alternative to the existing model of four agencies responsible for border security,” the U.N. team suggested the creation of a “multi-agency mobile task force” that would work in parallel with the existing structure “but with an enhanced focus on arms smuggling.”

“The unit should be highly skilled and suitably equipped for special operations. It should have a high level of mobility, including airlift capacity and 4×4 vehicles,” the report said.

The new unit should have a “high degree of independence and integrity “through appropriate command and control mechanisms” and should include an intelligence and analysis cell to provide timely information to all Lebanese security agencies.(AFP-Naharnet)

June 27th, 2007, 3:10 pm


EHSANI2 said:

If I am not mistaken, this venture has Mr. Firas Tlas as its patron. Mr. Makhlouf is into oil exploration. Mr. Tlas is into cement. While the world spins around, the $$$$ keep coming in nicely, thank you very much.

June 27 (Bloomberg) — Orascom Construction Industries,
the largest cement maker in the Middle East, said it will build
a $359.6 million plant to help meet demand for the building
material in Syria, which imports 30 percent of its cement.
The factory will be constructed by a venture of Denmark’s
FLSmidth A/S, the world’s largest maker of cement plants, and
Cairo-based Orascom’s own building arm, the Egyptian company
said today in an e-mailed statement.
The plant, to be operated by Orascom subsidiary Syrian
Cement Co., will have an annual capacity of 3 million tons and
will be located near the border with Turkey. Orascom has asked
the Syrian authorities to build a white cement plant at the
same site with a capacity of 550,000 tons a year, it said.
Orascom Construction owns 75 percent of Syrian Cement.

June 27th, 2007, 3:13 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

Iran’s Missile Shield

Oh, this is funny! This is from the Telegraph (UK) in full “rogue state danger” propaganda mode (or not?)

Iran is to deploy a missile shied in case of attack.

Iran is about to transfer dozens of medium-range Shahab-3, Russian Scud-C, and Scud-B missiles to Syria. The missiles can be launched from mobile batteries missiles. Iran is also dispatching engineers to provide training to Syrian troops and Hezbollah. Iran has entered into a similar arrangement with the Sudanese government. A high-ranking UN official in Lebanon told the Telegraph that transfer of the missiles is to start next month and be fully operational within a year.

June 27th, 2007, 3:59 pm


Alex said:


I found and released your comment .. it was after about 200 viagra ads… from today!

Imagine if we did not have a spam filter!

June 27th, 2007, 4:32 pm


Alex said:


I was born in Aleppo and lived my first 12 years in Damascus. You are assuming that I am from some village somewhere.

I have had hours of discussions with friends of mine from “Damascus and Aleppo” about your point above (you know what it is) … I understand you.

So “the land belong to its people” .. not to the villagers and minorities who stole it, right?

As a Christian, I know that MY minority is not taking anything from anyone. We do not even have the presence we used to have in the government at the time of Hafez Assad. But I don’t care. Unlike you, I am not into optimizing the gains for MY people. I am for what is good and safe for Syria.

What you want is dangerous.

June 27th, 2007, 4:42 pm


norman said:

well said , I hope others are like you and me ,Syria would have been much better .

June 27th, 2007, 5:45 pm


Bakri said:

Alex,any wrong policy must be called as it is and this abnormal minority and now familly monopoly of power must end and it will sooner or later and it can only be peacefully.Alex,this is your duty as syrian to criticize this sectarian selection and as you know it’s not only in the army or security apparatuses…
I’m a muslim from syria but your dignity is mine.Believe it or not ,I love all syrians from all sects and ethnic groups and i’m preoccupied by the christian exodus as if i was a christian and because middle eastern christianity is genuine part of our identity,and i suffer with dalila and kilo as they were my close relatives and i’m against any generalization which target a specific syrian sect and when the regime change will happen the protection of alawites from weak people is our duty,our culture is not a culture of hatred and revenge,we must forgive for the sake of Syria.This is my true felling and away from the usual middle eastern” mujamalat”.But also ya Alex, you must agree with me that the tyrannic rule of a sectarian minority that is paranoiac of its minority status and which think as minority and not integral part of this nation is not healthy and it weakens syrian unity.

June 27th, 2007, 5:52 pm


Alex said:

I agree that it is not healthy and I agree that we need to have a dialog about your (majority) and their (minority) concerns. But I am convinced that there are two preconditions to reconciliation:

1) Things take time. Peaceful change will not happen quickly. This sense of urgency that one gets when one talks to opposition activists is quite disappointing. A huge ship does not have the agility of a bicycle.

I always expect and hope that good things will take their time before they materialize. I believe that Syria and Lebanon could be ready for a healthy unity in about 10 years, I believe that Saudi Arabia needs to be reformed … over the next 25 years, and I believe that Syrian politics should and can be reformed over the next 7 to 14 years… if things start moving in the right direction, because …

2) Time can not change everything for us … we need time to change ourselves. YOU need to get rid of the anger no matter how right you believe you are. As long as “the majority” has your attitude towards those in power now, they will never be motivated to risk changing anything.

I checked earlier today the new site of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. It looks like it is improved … the graphic design is now cleaner than before. But anyone who is sensitive enough to reading between the lines can tell that we have a problem … the brotherhood is still stuck in the revenge mentality. The site is full of reminders and stories about those killed by the regime in Hama and after Hama.

You can not motivate people to change if you are clearly waiting to punish them as a result of that change. Here is a simple background on reinforcing desired behavior. You are doing everything to break the simplest rules of motivation techniques.

So we are really only stuck with two choices .. no change, or non-peaceful change… since the regime will not volunteer to invite the revengeful ones to power.

Bakri, I spoke to many “opposition” figures from “the majority” … they all mention Kilo and Dalila as proof of their neutrality. But when I dig deeper, seeking revenge is always there. Only last week I spoke to a very secular and westernized young Syrian blogger from one of the classy Families (He is probably reading these words now) and I was surprised he wants revenge for what happened in Hama in 1982. He told me that he and others like him (Majority) are reminded by their parents to not forget what they did “to you” in Hama and to make them pay one day.

We need to be honest about it … “Syria” is not going to change peacefully unless they and YOU both change … and when you both start to change, it will still take years.

Otherwise just forget the peaceful change thing and go for an armed conflict just like Iraq or Lebanon and Palestine… you kill them or they kill you.

June 27th, 2007, 6:57 pm


Observer said:

For things to change the regime need to be uprooted in its entirety. if there is going to be change it will happen and will not be peaceful, there is no time for the reforms to arrive slowly with an exploding population and declining revenues. The change will not happen with the hapeless expatriate community or the outside opposition. At present the fear of the chaos that is next door in Iraq and Lebanon is what is giving pause to people. The change will not happen from either the US or the EU pressure either as they have no leverage against Syria short of invading it. If this attempt at moderinizing the state do not give tangible results violence will increase and radicalism will be on the rise. No one will be spared neither the minorities nor the majorities.

June 27th, 2007, 7:37 pm


Alex said:


So you are suggesting that we have three possibilities:

1) Regime uprooted by force.
2) Economic reforms translate into genuine improvements to the standards of living for a majority of Syrians.

Option 1 would be disastrous, and quite unlikely for the foreseeable future.

Option 2 is possible, but it implies that we are going to be satisfied with an improvement in standard of living, but we won’t try to get closer to “democracy”.

I like my option …. where through education, both sides would be ready for reconciliation at some point in the future, within years. The rich minority in South Africa did agree to share power with the majority in that country and the majority did forget about taking revenge for anything.

June 27th, 2007, 7:50 pm


Bakri said:

If after 40 years they still fear the syrian people reaction so why waiting 7 or 14 more years ?
Alex ,and about the massacres and hama….this is normal ,we are humans ,what they did to Syria can not be forgotten so easily,but we are sons of important civilizations and the culture of revenge was never ours,remember how acted Salahadin with the crusaders…
And a war between who and who ???Hama against Aleppo or Tartous against Homs or Deir against Abu Kamal?????

June 27th, 2007, 7:53 pm


Bakri said:

The question is Alex ,are they ready to accept(reforms) which probably will mean the end of their monopoly(regime) ?

June 27th, 2007, 8:00 pm


Alex said:


If Saladin’s mentality is what we have out there things would have been smoother I am sure. But we don’t. Need for revenge is there.

What happened in Hama was terrible. But do we apply the same logic to punish the United states for all the bad things they have done? the nuclear bomb, all the way to the totally unnecessary Iraq war? … do we punish Israel as well after we make peace with that country? do we punish Mubarak? What about Turkish army for their punishment of Kurdish civilians … do we punish the Druze and the Damascene sunnis who killed tens of thousands of Christians in Lebanon and in Damascus in 1860?

How far do we go back to seek revenge?

Should Armenians ask for revenge from Turkey who killed over a million?

And how do we deal with the chicken and egg dilemma over Hamma? I know you prefer to think it is all one way, but THEY were under attack for three years before Hama happened and that same week hundreds of them were killed in Hama.

I am not defending the terrible events of Hama. But I am trying to explain that as long as you do want revenge (and you do) there will be no other solution.

The regime does not “fear the Syrian people’s reaction” for nothing. They have good moukhabarat, no? .. they know everything.

By the way, they know they are very popular today. That’s why they are genuinely confident (in case you did not notice). Those who want revenge are a minority, but there are enough of them that they can really influence others through passionate speeches…. the picture today will not look like the picture at that point in the future … the dynamics for negative change are known, and there are enough negative people out there to influence things in the wrong way… it is much easier than peace making… awakening the savage animal in humans is easier than enlightening them… look how this Bush administration succeeded in scaring most Americans into supporting its war on “terrorism” … it took few years before we now have a majority of Americans who are not supporting that war anymore… but after hundreds of thousands of Iraqis paid with their lives for the foolishness.

June 27th, 2007, 8:22 pm


Majhool said:


Syria’s (Syrian Regime) long standing policy was to undermine independent leaderships in the eastern Meditation. Jordan consolidated & PLO semi-independent leaderships were never welcomed by the Syrians.

Syria wanted to be the sole significant player in any future talks with Israel and the Americans. This is the core of the matter I think.

The leadership in Damascus, is as interested in a peace deal as those in Palestine (Fatah) and current Lebanese government. However the Syrian Position is that if they were to make a deal, then the Syrian deal will become less attractive.

Israel and Syria are playing the same game but for different goals. Israel wants to weaken Palestinian unity and leadership to advance its demographic and territorial goals. Syria on the other hand wants to become the sole negotiators in the region and enhance their future deal. This game is very dangerous.

Some would argue, that the Arabs will gain more by blindly following Syria’s master plan (regardless of how this plan will delay normalcy of life as it has been the case for decades) and that once we achieve our goals we can recover from our self imposed dictatorships coprruption, and radicalism. .Others simply don’t see it that way!! Many in the regions (Lebanese right for example) want to go on with their lives, admit defeat and settle for a mediocre deal and work on building their societies from the grounds up.. for them they want to “live” somewhat a normal life. Germany and Japan accepted defeat they say, why don’t we? “Besides Syria could even lose all together!!” says a friend of mine. It’s indeed a very dangerous gamble.

I have no illusions; Israel and the US are not interested in giving the Arabs a fare and a just deal. We just have to decide what we really want.

I have to say “living” is very attractive for those who want to enjoy life have a job, go to school, travel. Etc..(during their lifetime ofcourse) . And to those who like to follow Syria’s master plan I say, stop nagging, accept chaos, and don’t even utter the word democracy as we are at “WAR”!!!

Personally, I am indifferent, I packed and left the country 20 years ago and decided to “live” elsewhere. I refuse to become like the corrupt elite in Syria as they drive expensive German cars , make millions in shady deals. and party (just few examples of “living”) at Z-Bar at night and give orders during the day for the masses to persevere under dictatorships and mafia style corruption gangs and yelling at the masses “why not? We are at War aren’t we!!!”

Either ways, we need to bring the syrian goverment to become accountable. Honsetly I am yet to see signs of improvment. They just created a new business elite to ensure mutual survival.

June 27th, 2007, 8:22 pm


Bakri said:

Alex this kind of relativism is not acceptable this is very easy to quote some historical accidents which happened in a special context and make parallelism here and here and btw those who participated in the massacre in damascus in 1860 were severely punished and there were muslims who protected them amongst them emir abdulkader but what will be your reaction if the thugs(most of them not damascenes) who killed christians are praised as you are doing for asad ? …and here you are obviously laughing at the soul of the hamwis.Yes Alex,2 years before the big massacre,Dr. Omar Shishakli the head of the Ophthalmologist in Syria and his 85 years old uncle were kidnapped tortured and killed in the most asadian way and guess where they found his body?On the road of Mhardah!!!
After 25 years ,They repeated the same scenario with Sheikh Al Khaznawi .
If you want to enter with me in a historical debate about the events of Mount Lebanon and then Damascus ,i’m ready.
But things must be known here,
Maronites and Druzes used to live peacefully in Mount Lebanon for centuries why these events had begun in 1840,what was the context ?
This is in no way comparable with Hama massacre which was the result of translation of a deep hidden hatred of hafez asad towards this city.

June 27th, 2007, 9:09 pm


Alex said:


among my many disappointments in regime critics are the following:

1) When I try to communicate to them what I learned about the other side’s concerns I get your “No, we refuse to listen to relativism”

Just like the Israelis reply when you explain to them that what the Palestinians do to them is sometimes related to what they did to the Palestinians before.

Just like the neocons reply when you remind them that the Iraqis who are resisting occupation are sometimes not all terrorists.

Just like Geagea supporters reply to me when I explain to them about those they don’t like.

I can’t go much further with any of you because you think that the “relativism” word is big enough to hide behind it in any argument by default.

2) Then comes the obligatory character assassination ending… like your “here you are obviously laughing at the soul of the hamwis”.


Bakri, just like Geagea supporters, Supporters of the hard line Zionism, Neocons, and many in “Syrian opposition” … none of you is ready for democracy … because you can’t listen to those you disagree with.

When you allow relativism and when you stop character assassination then we’ll talk.

Until then, I don’t see the improvement in taking big risks in order to switch from the existing dictatorship to your preferred future “majority” dictatorship.

June 27th, 2007, 9:27 pm


Majhool said:

People of Hama owe no one an apology. If some of them had “sinned” (which I think they did) then they had paid the price. There city was destroyed, many were killed in the streets. Those captured were killed, tortured, disappeared, etc. .

Those who did not engage in acts of violence yet suffered still and sunni community in general owes the regime an apology otherwise agitators in Muslim Brotherhood, will use the incident to recruit more haters. Let me remind you that all over the world people are reminded with massacres and Tragedies. Armenians, Jews, even Palestinians all of them do. But you seem to deny it to Syrians.

I doubt that your friend wanted revenge, rather reconciliation, an apology and a way out. That –Alex- has not been done yet.

It’s the similar to what we are asking from Israelis, some effort towards reconciliation.

June 27th, 2007, 9:48 pm


ausamaa said:

Some rough thoughts:

OK guys, you want to change Syria. Change its politics, change its Leadership, push it towards Democracy, towards more Civil Liberties, Open Press, in other words, the Works! I do, and I believe Bashar al Assad does, and I believe that all Syrian would welcome the idea. Change for the better is good.


But is the socio-poitical-economic make of the Country ready and conducive to such a change? I doubt it.

Why? Because we, the Syrian People, who are part of the Arab People are not ready, nor capable, nor practically willing to WORK for this change. Some of us love talking about it, all Syrians would welcome it, but apparently, very few see that the effort to “struggle” for it is worth their while. One reason could be is they see “protecting” Syria from external dangers is the priority, another reason is that as a “people” we have not yet graduated up the collective awakening curve in a quantetive manner that make this change badly needed, a third reason is that all those wanted changes are taking place a slow but steady pace which may be sufficient to convince the masses that we are getting there, although very slowly.

Let us leave Syria and Syrians alone for a few minutes and look at our nieghberhood? Where the hell is such a change “Really” taking place? Eygypt? B.S., Saudi?, hell no, Jordan? forget it. Morrocco, Tunis, Yemen, Algeria, Sudan? No where. No fucking where at all. And all of those are countries who are facing much much much LESS external pressures than Syria is facing and having to coupe with, AND are having a worse Hman Rights situation, AND, most of these countries are rich, not because of smart and wise economic policies, but because, God Almighty bestowed upon them such vast natural resources that made them what they are now. And if God did not give any of them such resources, then thier policy of selling their soul to the West had compensated in aid dollars for God’s oversight in that respect. So, thier economic situation is better than Syria, while thier Democratic, Civil and internal Politcal situation is worse if not on par with Syria.

So, if social, political, and civil changes is not taking place and realised in those “comfortable” countries, by what right do we expect, demand, and blame the government that such a changes which “must” happen in Syria is not happening? If such a change is NOT taking place at the less pressured points, why MUST it happen, and IMMEDIATELY, in SYRIA?

Why do we not admit that change is a function of the degree od advancement of the Nation’s collective social and economic componots? Why do we not accept that we as a People and part of that bigger NATION are not ready yet for the changes which we keep “talking” about and keep blaming our governments of not “enforcing”it ???

How can you turn an undvancved pepole into an advanced on? A Decree issued by the Presdential Palace?

Those interested in pursuing such a change should PUT FORWARD such an agenda and work slow and hard to gather enough popular support around it to legitimise it justify it, and then push forward with it through the people, before blaming the “Regimes” for all their misfortunes.

How true is the saying “kama antum, youwalla allikum”. But we all also know, that it is always easier to blame someone else for our shortcomings.

June 27th, 2007, 10:00 pm


Syrian said:


you say “any wrong policy must be called as it is and this abnormal minority and now familly monopoly of power must end and it will sooner or later and it can only be peacefully” Can you explain how this can be accomplished? How can you peacefully remove from power someone who is not willing to goo peacefully and has all the necessary tools to defend that power? If all you want is an end to the family/government monopoly then you may want to stop hiding behind the peacefully disclaimer and simply call for the overthrow of the government even if it means employing force. On the other hand, if you honestly believe in a “peaceful change” then maybe you can describe a strategy that will induce the government to surrender some of its power, consider the amount of time it would take for that to work and then go about actually doing the things it would take. Repeated expressions of hate for the regime do not solve any problems and do not advance any solutions.

Suppose the hypothetical happens and the government peacefully changes tomorrow; Are you willing to let the current ruling “family ” live in peace in Syria??? What policy changes would you want to see implemented to correct the “mistakes”??

June 27th, 2007, 10:02 pm


Alex said:


First, I did not propose that the people of Hama should apologize!

We are talking about continuously variable opinions … variable over time and variable from one Syrian to another. So It is not about a simple “apology” .. it is about recognizing what led to the bloodshed (from both sides) and how we can ensure it never happens again, no matter who is in power.

It is a complex and sensitive process that can be planned and continuously monitored by professionals, nothing less.

It takes a lot of listening and understanding from both sides before such a process can lead to progress.

It takes Bakri and the Syrian opposition to understand the minority that they don’t really like (despite all the politically correct answers from their side) as in any conflict, it gets to arguments of “what came first the chicken or the egg?” … but at some point both sides will recognize all the steps that escalated things towards the bloody ending.

No Bakri, it is not as simple as your analysis of “thieves and thugs” … sorry to tell you that you are ready for nothing but more confrontations, boycott, anger, and frustrations.

June 27th, 2007, 10:02 pm


Bakri said:

Alex,when i say ‘minority’ i’m speaking about the things as they are on the ground and what had been imposed on us ….in a normal situation no need to speak about majority and minority,we are all syrians and we are able to live together as our ancestors did …generally this complex of numbers and percentages dont pollute the minds of the majority.
When syrians had the opportunity to choose their rulers they always did well….so if after 40 years of asad regime their choice is no more so intelligent ,this is for sure not my fault.And more asad years in power will only worsen the situation.
And plz Alex,stop replaying same CD….now the minority moukhabarati maklhoufian asadian state with an oppressed people constitute a problem to the zionists or more legitimacy in Syria?
The zionists have no better weapon against syria than the asads…

June 27th, 2007, 10:12 pm


Alex said:

Bakri, the Israelis example I used refered to the Palestinians .. the ones they call “terrorists” even if they referred to a 10 year old throwing stones at Israeli army tanks in Palestinian occupied cities.

What exactly is the same CD you heard from me too many times? and please entertain me one more time with a convincing answer to that CD.

If you love “democracy” … accept the regime today! .. because it is genuinely popular .. not 97% of course, but maybe 60% or 70%… that’s much more popular than Olmert, Bush, Chirac, and Blair few months ago!

Zenobia and Joshua are only two people from this blog who are in Damascus and who are convinced that most Syrians like Bashar… despite the regime’s ugly side (which is mainly corruption these days).

It is not THAT bad! … corruption is bad, I agree, but otherwise Syrians are more or less relatively satisfied with their president for now.

Bakri, we have to start from zero … really. we can’t start from the end point. As Syrian explained, the regime will not pack and go, and the vast majority of Syrians do not want any messing up with our peace in Syria.

If you want to help yourself, accept the slow positive approach. It works.

June 27th, 2007, 10:18 pm


Majhool said:


“It is a complex and sensitive process that can be planned and continuously monitored by professionals, nothing less”
Who should start it? Ex MB prisoners? They are mostly on antidepressants and incapable of basic functions. The only entity that can start such process is the Syrian Government. Yet the Syrian position is let all that generation die and we all can forget about it. Is that what you want?

“It takes a lot of listening and understanding from both sides before such a process can lead to progress.”
So when do we start? 25 years of preparation? Last time I checked life expectancy in Syria is around 69 years.
“It takes Bakri and the Syrian opposition to understand the minority that they don’t really like”
Whose fault is that? You cannot utter the word Alawi in Syria without spending few days in underground prison!! Be real. This effort need to be led by the government.

June 27th, 2007, 10:23 pm


ausamaa said:


Why really waste your time? For many Arabs here, it is:

3anze wallaw taret

Much better to focus on the real Target of this blog being westerners wanting to understand mor about Syria. With endless, useless attempts to convince this or that Syrian -or anti-Syrian Lebanese commentator- with a point, you run the risk of running off the true audience, boring them to hell, and forcing them to have a more distorted perception of Syrian affairs. It becoming like the CNN starting its clips from Arab capitals with a snap shot of donkey-pulled cart… Maybe it is better to limit the space availlable for our comments to three lines. Whoever have something more to say, they can send it to Josh who may post it if it seems interesting. Pro “regime” and anti “regime” commentators can surely convey thier sentiment in two or three lines.

June 27th, 2007, 10:30 pm


Bakri said:

If you love “democracy” … accept the regime today .. because it is genuinely popular .. not 97% of course, but maybe 60% or 70%.

are u serious Alex?????

How long do u think it will take for asad’s statues to be toppled in all Syria if the people now is surprised by the end of the regime ?
As u said the mukharabarat are fully aware of this reality in the syrian personality.
And do u think that the syrian officials in the government love bashar ?Alex ,more you are near the circle more you are in a world of lies ,fear and hypocrisy…This is true in all dictatorial regimes and what if this regime is amongst the most totalitarian of its kind

June 27th, 2007, 10:31 pm


Alex said:


The government listens very well .. they have their intelligence agencies listening more than you would like them to I’m sure.

They are convinced that he other side is not ready .. the other side is maybe about 15% to 25% of Syrians who reaaaaaally dislike the regime and sometimes “the village people” and “the minorities”.

It is simple .. the regime can listen when the opposition understand that the regime is not ready to leave tomorrow or next year. Talk to them about everything else … and when they don’t feel you want to take their seat they might one day relax and talk about that last point.

When both sides cooperate for years .. things change… you start trusting each other … Then you can talk about Hama and democracy and …

Alright I have to go for now. I wanted to have this discussion and Bakri probably realized that I was pushing him to start it.

Joshua, please give us your estimate of Bashar’s honest popularity, not the one out of fear that Bahsar will kill you if you don’t love him that Bakri sees.

Bakri … I could have linked again what the BBC, Repubblica, and ABC correspondents said about Bashar’s genuine popularity, but you don’t want to hear that CD again. You just want to deny it.

June 27th, 2007, 10:34 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Lebanese PM says Syria sending arms across border Wed Jun 27, 10:03 AM ET

PARIS (Reuters) – Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused Syria on Wednesday of sending arms to Palestinian camps in his country and said he would raise the issue with the Arab League.

Siniora was speaking the day after independent experts handed the U.N. Security Council a damning report which said Lebanese forces were largely incapable of preventing arms smuggling from Syria.

The Lebanese prime minister told reporters during a trip to France he had not had time to read the report, but said it was clear Syria was sending weapons to two camps.

“In recent weeks these camps have been reinforced with munitions, arms and fighters,” he said, adding that one of the outposts was controlled by the Fateh al-Intifada group and another by the “Popular Front, General Command.”

“Everyone knows that these groups are supported and armed by Syria,” he said, making similar allegations to those leveled earlier this month by the U.N. Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen.

“This is something I will talk to the Arab League about,” Siniora said.

Standing up to Syria and the terror enablers is not going to be easy. Unless the world can unite…


June 27th, 2007, 10:37 pm


t_desco said:

More on Nabil Rahim:

Ad-Diyar (18/04/07) says (quoting a friend) that he was arrested after the Hariri assassination and that he is mentioned in the first Mehlis report (however, the only Nabil I can find there is one “Nabil Ghsoub (unclear)” interrogated together with two others by Army Intelligence “regarding there (sic) relations with suspect Ahmad Abu Adass (Note: they were not arrested)” (Mehlis I, §47)). The article does not make a connection between Rahim and Adass.

This recent article by Al-Hayat (25/06/07) does not mention any arrest or link to the Hariri case, but (like the Al-Watan article quoted earlier) it confirms other parts of the story (Rahim’s links to Abu Talha and Bassam Hammoud/Abu Bakr; Abu Bakr’s journey to Saudi Arabia (without mentioning its purpose) and his subsequent arrest in Jeddah).

June 27th, 2007, 10:38 pm


Alex said:


Here is Akbar Palace confirming my point earlier. Enjoy your Asad-opposing pal.

June 27th, 2007, 10:38 pm


Bakri said:

Syrian,you are right,it’s unlikely for this regime to accept peaceful and democratic change.But in history the events are unpredictable,for example a coup from within or more likely a massive and spontaneous uprising after the killing of an important personality,in the internet and sat tv era it will be more difficult for the regime to repeat Hama.

June 27th, 2007, 10:51 pm


Enlightened said:

ausamaa said:

Guys, why Australian-bred Islamist are coming into the picture again? Wasnt there a planeload of them who departed Lebanon on the eve folowing Rafiq Al Harriri assasination? What happened t
o that story? AS if “you” or “I” or “we” will ever know. Or Brammertz, for that matter!

Ausamma, They were interrogated for three days here in Sydney, and they were all victims of circumstance, their only crime was they all wore beards, they were let go by interpol and the Federal Police when it was discovered they had nothing to do with the murder, they were subjected to chemical testing and grilled for three days.

One of them a carpenter by trade is married to my cousins daughter and he filled me in as to what happened, he is very devout and wears a abaya everywhere and a skullcap. You didnt hear anything about them because it was all hushed up here in Australia.

June 27th, 2007, 11:27 pm


Majhool said:


It’s impossible to ask any segment of society not to look for power at least peacefully. It’s realistic however to come to a “at-this-moment” agreement.

Given the above, how will you convince me and others not to ask the Syrian Government to fulfill the following:

a. Improve the legitimacy of the Syrian Government
i. Create a new more representative parliamentary law
ii. Come up with a more legitimate platform to replace the “national progressive front”
b. Improve the accountability of the Syrian Government
i. Eliminate emergency laws
ii. Enforce the rule of law and curb corruption
iii. Improve freedom of press.
c. Reconcile with segments of the society associated with the Muslim Brotherhood especially those who did no participate in acts of violence. Ease travel restrictions and put an end to acts of retribution towards their families.
d. Curb extremism by allowing civil community-run and driven secular institutions to operate freely. ( Tala2e3 and Shabibeh are not working)

As you can tell, no one is asking for a regime change just basic demands to bring accountability to the gov so we can work together. I will tell you this. If these were to be fulfilled, I will make a statue of Syria’s leader in my living room. In fact I would not even seek change of any sort. But at this moment it seems that it’s somewhat a national duty to raise these issues.

I have a feeling, and correct me if I am wrong, that you want us to follow the leadership like sheep, no questions asked, and with no accountability. I refuse to do that.

June 27th, 2007, 11:34 pm


Zenobia said:

I don’t know if i want to be cited as claiming that i am sure ‘most syrian like bashar’…
i am not convinced of anything yet….
All i know for sure is that nothing is simple, and nothing is ONLY what it appears.
For example, I spoke in a long long conversation with one person who had deep feelings of fury and resentment at the government, as well as, palpable resentment at the ‘Alawi’ group in general…and was so totally not in the camp of Bashar fans.
HOWEVER -what amazed me – utterly, was that he proceeded to say how much he had no feeling whatsoever about any ‘opposition’ group or individual. He despises Khaddam or any other big mouth on the outside of the country. And went so far as to say… that given the choice he would vote for Bashar before someone like Khaddam or the other challengers.
this example….of the nuanced and multilayered set of feelings that people have – was very impressive to me…
and i believe that many Syrians feel this way. they can’t stand anything related to Western intervention. And they trust no one at this point. And they see no alternatives…in front of them that are preferable to the discontent and ‘bad’ leadership that they know.
it is a confused logic but one we can’t fail to grasp.

June 27th, 2007, 11:41 pm


why-discuss said:

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.
“This is something I will talk to the Arab League about,” Siniora said.
At the time of the murder of Walid Eido he already declared that the Arab League must take its responsibilities (alluding to a hoped for reprimand from the Arabs to Syria) and nothing happenned at the summit in Egypt, not a single word against Syria. 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.
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. 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?

June 27th, 2007, 11:44 pm


Syrian said:


There is no such thing as unpredictable events (unpredictable is a term an outsider uses to descrive events he knew nothing about. Insiders usually know pretty well what can and would happen as a result of different actions; hence an coup in Syria is a predictable event which is why there are layers of intellegence services with divided loyalties), people from within will only carry out a coup attempt if their interests are better served through a coup and the odds of success are in their favor. A mass uprising of the type you describe requires the existance of an important personality and we both know that no personality in Syria is that important, and then it would not be all that peaceful. The existance of the internet and sat tv might make it more difficult to keep events on the outside from coming in but not the other way around (have you seen any images from Nahr el barid yet).

I don’t know how popular the regime is and I will not even attempt a guess at how popular it is. What is evident, though, is that it is popular enough for people not to contemplate a massive uprising. Yes, the people are poor, the economy sucks and the regime is repressive but the combination of bad things leaves everyone figuring that it is better to stay alive than to risk dying in the hope of changing the government.

P.S. I never said the unqualified “regime is unlikely to accept peacefull change”

June 27th, 2007, 11:45 pm


Zenobia said:

What is evident, though, is that it is popular enough for people not to contemplate a massive uprising. Yes, the people are poor, the economy sucks and the regime is repressive but the combination of bad things leaves everyone figuring that it is better to stay alive than to risk dying in the hope of changing the government.

yes, exactly.

June 27th, 2007, 11:48 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

we keep reading comments that the syrian people are not advanced,and they are not ready for democracy.
in 1955 we had democracy,and worked well, how come we were ready then and not ready now?,and if ypu keep saying like this, we will never get democracy,you will repeat this statement now,a year from now,or ten year from now,this argument is wrong and very wrong, were the french ready before their french revolution?,the only people who say this(we are not ready) are people who will never ready to share power,and they are against democracy, this argument is not acceptable,and wrong.
it has an insult to the syrian people who are the same as other people all over the world.
one thing I agree on ,those who refuse to protect fellow human with freedom ,they do not deserve it themself.

June 27th, 2007, 11:55 pm


Syrian said:


When democracy works well it tends to stay a democracy. 12 Presidents in 17 years (46-63) does not make a working democracy unless by elections you mean military coups and countercoups.

June 28th, 2007, 12:20 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Bush said;
“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


majedkhaldoun said:

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


Alex said:

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


Syrian said:


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


norman said:

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


majedkhaldoun said:

to syrian;
the point is we did have democracy in 1955-1958

June 28th, 2007, 12:47 am


Bakri said:

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


Syrian said:

MK, Bakri

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


Bakri said:

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


K said:

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


Majhool said:


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


Majhool said:


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


Syrian said:


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


majedkhaldoun said:

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


t_desco said:

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


Akbar Palace said:

Why-Discuss said:

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


t_desco said:

“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 ».
L’Orient-Le Jour

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


Bakri said:

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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