US Senators Defy Bush and Head for Damascus: Bush Says Asad Rules by Force

The flood gates are opening and President Bush has lost control of his isolate-Syria policy. Congress is defying the President and heading for Damascus. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida met today with Asad in Damascus. Others are on their way, including John Kerry, D-Mass., Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Arlen Spector, R-Pa.

Bush put out a heated statement about how Syria must become democratic and release prisoners. This is his last stand on holding back the tide waters, to shame them on the human rights front, but the damage is done for Bush. Congress will begin to put its shoulder to foreign policy. Not just democrats are going, republics are headed toward Damascus as well. Arlen Spector wrote an impassioned article in the Washington Quarterly in the December issue, explaining why he would head for Damascus and how he was able to get things accomplished in past visits. Here are some articles.

Florida senator meets with the president of Syria

By Lesley Clark
Dec. 13, 2006
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Defying the Bush administration, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida met Wednesday in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying after the meeting that he believed that there was a "crack in the door" to continue discussions with Syria on curbing the violence in neighboring Iraq.

Midway through the Florida Democrat's conference call with reporters, however, the White House issued a statement denouncing the Syrian government's human rights record and calling on it to "immediately free all political prisoners."

"Syrians deserve a government whose legitimacy is grounded in the consent of the people, not brute force," the statement from President Bush said.

The White House has expressed reluctance about diplomatic outreach to Syria because of the country's role in Lebanon, where it's suspected in several political assassinations, and its support of the militant Islamist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, which the United States has designated as terrorist organizations.

The administration said the statement on Syria's human rights was unrelated to Nelson's visit, but White House spokesman Tony Snow said the administration didn't "think that members of Congress ought to be going there." He said the White House had opposed Syria's involvement in Lebanon and noted that "it's a real stretch to think the Syrians don't know where we stand or what we think."

Nelson, a member of the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees and an incoming member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, acknowledged that the State Department wasn't happy with his decision to meet with the Syrian president to discuss whether the country could help the United States find a way out of Iraq.

Nelson said that in the aftermath of the Iraq Study Group's recommendation for a stepped-up diplomatic effort involving Syria and Iran, "it was obvious that we were going to have contacts."

"Remember what the goal was," Nelson said. "The goal is to stabilize Iraq. I felt like that that was a nonstarter for them to say that I should ignore the (Iraq Study Group) report."

Nelson rejected suggestions that he was rebuffing Bush, saying he had a "constitutional role as a member of Congress. . . . I am on a fact-finding trip throughout the Middle East."

Nelson noted that other senators – John Kerry, D-Mass., Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Arlen Spector, R-Pa. – are expected to follow him and that the State Department eventually supported his visit. Personnel from the U.S. embassies in Jordan and Damascus escorted him.

Nelson said Assad agreed that Syria and the United States had "a common interest to stabilize Iraq" and that Assad "clearly indicated the willingness to cooperate" with the U.S. or the Iraqi army to secure Iraq's border with Syria.

"He has a refugee problem," Nelson said of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who've crossed into Syria, fleeing the violence in their homeland.

The two met for about an hour in the presidential palace in a meeting that Nelson described as "cordial."

Nelson said Assad made no specific request of the United States, but that they had a "sharp disagreement of opinion" over Hezbollah and Hamas. Nelson said he made it clear to Assad that the United States wouldn't ease the pressure on Syria to stop backing the groups.

The senator said he'd urged Assad to support the release of Israeli soldiers whom Hezbollah had kidnapped, but that Assad had responded by noting that Israel is holding 20 Syrians, one of whom recently died of leukemia.

Nelson also said he'd told Assad that he planned to go to Beirut on Thursday to meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, whose government Syria's ally Hezbollah is trying to unseat.

The senator said he was "not interested in going to Iran" but that he did raise with Assad the specter of a "nuclear-ized" Iran.

"He ought to understand that that's not only a threat to him, Syria, but to the entire world," Nelson said.

The senator's trip includes stops in Israel, Palestinian areas, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. He said he planned to report his findings to the State Department and the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

Nelson noted that he spoke earlier with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who's rejected opening peace talks with Syria.

Olmert "said that he preferred that I not go, but knowing that I was going that he knew I had the interests of Israel at heart," Nelson said.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 13, 2006

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

The United States supports the Syrian people's desire for democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression. Syrians deserve a government whose legitimacy is grounded in the consent of the people, not brute force.

The Syrian regime should immediately free all political prisoners, including Aref Dalila, Michel Kilo, Anwar al-Bunni, Mahmoud Issa, and Kamal Labwani. I am deeply troubled by reports that some ailing political prisoners are denied health care while others are held in cells with violent criminals.

Syria should disclose the fate and whereabouts of the many missing Lebanese citizens who "disappeared" following their arrest in Lebanon during the decades of Syrian military occupation. The Syrian regime should also cease its efforts to undermine Lebanese sovereignty by denying the Lebanese people their right to participate in the democratic process free of foreign intimidation and interference.

The people of Syria hope for a prosperous future with greater opportunities for their children, and for a government that fights corruption, respects the rule of law, guarantees the rights of all Syrians, and works toward achieving peace in the region.

Diplomatic missions to Syria and for Asad elsewhere are becoming fast and furious. Here is a preliminary schedule.

German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier visited Damascus on Monday, where he met wtih with H.E. Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallim, H.E. Vice-President Farouk Al-Sharaa, H.E. President Bashar Al-Assad and H.E. Vice-Prime Minister Abdallah Al-Dardari. German foreign minister to urge Syria to recognize Lebanon's …

Dutch FM says Syria can play key role in Mideast region after visit to Damascus on Tuesday

Palestinian Prime Minister is already in Damascus for a few days: Palestinian Premier Visits Syria

Assad is going to Russia Dec 19th: Syria leader to visit Moscow December 19 over ties, Middle East. ITAR-TASS

Turkish Prime Minister is coming to Damascus this month 

Iranian President visiting Damascus

And Iraqi Prime Minister Malki might be visiting Damascus this month too.

Comments (46)


1. Zenobia said:

holy shit. This is amazing…and excellent, in my opinion…

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 3:59 am

 

2. norman said:

The US tried to stabelize Iraq by itself without resulte ,now it is time for the sake of the American army reputation and the lives of it’s members it is time for the US to swallow it’s pride and seek help from Syria and Iran but that will not be free ,Syria wants the Golan hights and a peace treaty between Israel on one side and Syria Palestine and Lebanon on the other side in return Syria will do everything posible encluding force to help the US stabelize Iraq ,Iran should be able to continue it’s nuclear research under UN suppervision ,the US has to in consesions if Iraq to succeed.and in return for their help in Iraq.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 4:06 am

 

3. Dubai Jazz said:

This is a normal outcome; if you deny Syria its natural role in the region, you won’t get anything done.
Olmert doesn’t want to talk peace?! Who gives a damn?!! Israelis will never have the guts neither the historical responsibility to strike a peace deal. See what Shlomo Ben-Ami (the then foreign minister and allegedly the most lenient Israelis peace negotiator) has to say about the failure to clinch a deal with Palestinians on 1999:

“Our legitimacy as a government to negotiate such central issues as Jerusalem, as Temple Mount, the temple, etc., was being questioned, not only by the right that was making political capital out of it, but by the left, people from our own government. “Shlomo Ben-Ami is ready to sell out the country for the sake of a Nobel Prize.”

….self explanatory

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 5:07 am

 

4. Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

I feel the need to throw some needed cold water here on the last couple of postings:

One, General Odom’s article is nice as far as it goes, however it is nothing extraordinary, either. Which is par for the course, since the good General’s area of specialization (what he got his Ph. D. in at Columbia) was Soviet Politics, not Near Eastern Politics. Actually, I took an M.A. Seminar course with the Professor who was his dissertation advisor….

Two, as per the various trips to Damascus, by some U.S. Senator’s and whatnot, well, that again is all well and good. But, in the absence of an overwhelming majority in Congress in favor or restoring ties with Syria, nothing of substance will occur during this Presidency. And, I myself do not see, a 60+ Senate majority in favor of ending the economic sanctions in place against Syria. Similarly, there does not appear to have been any change in EU policy towards Damascus, in the just ended meeting of the EU Foreign Minister’s in Helsinkii. In fact Syria did not even rate a mention (see: http://www.europa.eu).

In absence of either occurring, and, again I simply do not see any sign of either happening anytime soon, there is nothing, I repeat nothing to prevent Bush, et. al., from continuing with his
current policy. In fact it would appear that his
postponement of any speech until 2007, is an indication that he feels no need to change course on his current policy. Both in Iraq, and towards Persia and Syria. In fact the speech today attacking Damascus, is part and parcel of just that: a refusal to change course.

In short, notwithstanding the fine hopes of Professor Landis, I think that the visit of Senator Nelson to Damascus has about as much importance to the future of the Levant, as the current visit by a delegation of the Socialist
International to Tovarish Jumblatt as per today’s Beirut Daily Star (see: http://www.dailystar.com.lb).
The ‘Socialist’ delegation by the bye, agreed entirely with Jumblatt views on the current crisis in the Lebanon…

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 8:21 am

 

5. Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

A further reason for American policy to remain ‘in
place’, vis-`a-vis both Iraq and Syria/Persia was
provided in today’s New York Times, where it quotes “American and Arab Diplomats”, as saying that Riyadh told Cheney on trip to ther region two weeks ago, that Saudi Arabia was:

one, opposed to any American pull-out from Iraq;
two, would back financially Sunni insurgents if the US did withdraw; three, signaled disencouragement of any talks between Washington and Teheran.

Under the above circumstances, and, in light of the mysterious resignation of Prince Turki-al Faisal, the Saudi Ambassador to Washington, it is
not surprising that Bush and company are more in a
‘stay the course’ mode at the moment. For the Turki-al Faisal resignation which as per Agence
France Presse, all of official Washington is ‘buzzing over’, see: http://www.afp.com. Where there is also a story that five ‘Senate heavyweights’ lead by John McCain called for between 15,000-30,000 more American troops to be sent to Iraq. Again, just another reason not to expect much of a change in current American policy just yet.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 8:43 am

 

6. ivanka said:

I found Bush’s remarks laughable. I mean this is a guy who sends people to be tortured in secret prisons all around the world (including Syria in the past), who has opened Guantanamo, who has killed 700 000 people in Iraq. Yet, he is worried “they are being held in cells with violent criminals”. Why don’t you put the people you are torturing in cells with violent criminals, that would be better for them. He also mentioned Michel Kilo (whome I really admire). Correct me if I am wrong, he has been freed allready.

What Bush doesn’t realize is that by verbally backing our, unfortunately allready week, opposition, he makes them even weeker, because he makes them unpopular. This is a bad thing for us, since we need the opposition to become stronger if we are to have any decent political process.

Whatever Bush touches, he turns into shit.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 9:47 am

 

7. ivanka said:

“The people of Syria hope for a prosperous future with greater opportunities for their children”

Yes we really do, so please no invasions and no civil wars and also shut up.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 9:49 am

 

8. Ehsani2 said:

Ivanka,

First, Mr. Kilo, whom you “really admire”, has not been freed as you seem to think.

Second, to compare Mr. Kilo and the other brave Syrians in prison to those held in Guantanamo is preposterous.

Third, You claim that you want the opposition to become stronger. Please tell us which opposition members do you support?

Fourth, you seem interested in a “decent political process”. Please enlighten us with an example/s of the type of decent political processes that you have in mind.

Fifth, You are right on one thing though. Bush’s remarks yesterday have now ensured that these brave men will not see the day of light for years to come now. Even if Bashar had the intention of releasing them (highly unlikely), such plans are now shelved as he couldn’t possibly be seen to be listening to Bush and complying with his demands.

Lastly, whether Bush is sincere about his concerns about these people or not (99% of the people here think not of course), at least someone is mentioning these people’s names. Were it not for these brief remarks last night, this group could rot in jail for the next 50 years without a single person able to do anything about them.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 12:33 pm

 

9. norman said:

The problem with the opposition in Syria that they have no platform or plans on specific areas of interest, when they have that we can say whome we like .

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 1:31 pm

 

10. Ehsani2 said:

Norman,

Let us assume that I have a plan to liberalize the Syrian economy and reverse all the policies that have been adopted by the Baath party. Let us also assume that my platform includes a strong commitment to internal security and law and order .

Now, please tell me how to proceed.

Shall I buy some airtime on Syrian TV?
May be start and fund my own political opposition party?
How about campaigning door to door to sell my ideas?

Your comment implies that all 20 million Syrians are idiots who have no ideas or a platform? The only one who does is the Baath and the current leadership?

Has it occurred to you that the reason that the Syrian people cannot feel, touch and listen to a credible opposition is because draconian emergency laws do not even allow a political gathering in a living room to take place?

Has it occurred to you that these laws exist not to fight the enemies outside but to prevent the populace inside from ever attempting to mount an opposition that you seem to look and search for?

Cut it out please.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 2:14 pm

 

11. Ehsani2 said:

I think that Syrians should be happy to know that their country signed an agreement to strengthen mutual security cooperation with the DEMOCRATIC people’s Republic of Korea.

Following the visit by the Syrian delegation to Pyongyang, “the two sides exchanged views on the issue of boosting the exchange and cooperation between the security organs of the two countries and a series of matters of mutual concens,” the Korean news agency reported.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 2:38 pm

 

12. norman said:

Ehsani2 , Let me make somthing clear to you ,please do not speak for me about my opinion of the Syrian peaple,I actualy want and like your economic reform ,( took a course from the teaching company about economic and contempery economic)but do not think your pace of changing the Syrian economy is good fo Syria Syria needs evolution in economic ,politecal and legal reform not your search and destroy way ,yes it will take time but beter than destruction and death,which is not good for any economy , the only thing the opposition has to offer is that they are not the people in power ,it does not matter to me who is in power what matter to me that things change and that seems to happen economicly but apparently you seem to ignore the tax reform that Syria implemeted because it looked very good to stimulate the economy by decreasing taxes which i would have expected you to chear ,but apparently nothing Syria does seeem to satisfy you.remember ,the goal is to make Syria beter not just to have different people in power.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 2:44 pm

 

13. Ghassan said:

The visitors who visit the head of the gang, Bashar are telling him to stop his mischief not to solicit input! Read what Senator Nelson said after meeting with him!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 4:05 pm

 

14. Atassi said:

As most Syrian witnessing the current Syrian economic stagnation, regional and international isolations, institutional and personal level corruptions, accelerated spreading of ignorance in the mass population, the spreading of personal selfishness at the expense of the society.
We have to admit that Baath party and the current leadership policies has failed, and failed us all…. We need change, nothing will prevent us Syrians form demanding the changes needed to put back the country into the right track. NOTHING..
Ehsani,
I am with you..
Alex,
Do you agree? 🙂

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 4:07 pm

 

15. Ehsani2 said:

I am not talking about myself. I was giving an example. I have a great job and have zero interest in politics. I am not in the opposition and never will be. I am merely dissapointed in the performance of my country on many different fronts. If that gives the appearance that “nothing seems to satisfy me”, then please count me in the hard-to-satisfy group.

I am sure, however, that there are a lot of Syrians who are interested in politics and who have a platform for the country.

To dismiss all opposition as useless and planless is naive at best. Were their plans to reach you, the internal security services would not be doing their job.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 4:15 pm

 

16. Atassi said:

And by the way, What happened in Iraq is not the SYRIAN people problem, this mess should be fixed by the American, and Iraqis themselves.. We Should NOT be discouraged ” Syrian” from seeking to live in dignity and have a hope for better futures for the all Syrian. I am not disputing that the current regime is NOT a nationalist one. But, I am stressing the fact that It’s blinded by it’s own agendas of historical ideological believes..

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 5:02 pm

 

17. Ahmad said:

I have been following what Joshua Landis has been saying for the last several months.  I have also been following other political leaders who have interest in the Middle East.  To my surprise, Landis is the only one who has been defending the Assad regime. 
Nobody should defend the Assad regime because:
1- Bashar Al-Assad doesn’t have the credentials of a political figure, he cannot defend Syria or the other Arab nations,
2- His government is very corrupt, the only people winning from this corruption are the Assad family as they benefit directly from stealing Syria’s wealth.
3-  Because of inexperience and corruption Syria is in a major economic crisis.
4- Nobody can forget Assad’s obsession with Lebanon and the chaos that has broughten.  5- Bashar is not releasing any of the intellectual prisoners ( the intellectuals get arrested while the corrupt stay in power)
6-  His lack of power and intelligence will allow the Persians to run all over Syria AND himself.
7-  While isolating Syria, and he’s way of being President of Syria he gave Syria and himself the worst reputation imaginable. 
8- Bashar hasn’t even discussed the issue of the Golan Heights and has not offered help for the July War.
9- Under the table, he is begging the States’ to speak with him.

Under this regime, there is no hope for improvement, especially for the younger generation. For example, it is said that currently there are over 800 small towns in Syria without any sewege, piping, water cleansing, etc…There are even parts of Damascus, the capital, with similar problems.www.syria-news.com

Regardless of what the US, decide, …nobody should be defending the Assad regime.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 5:33 pm

 

18. ivanka said:

EHSANI, thank you for reading my comment :

Ivanka,

First, Mr. Kilo, whom you “really admire”, has not been freed as you seem to think.

>Well, I hope he will be freed really soon. I admire him for his courage and his opinions. It takes a lot of courage to speak out like he did. I did not think he was freed. I was not sure. As Bush makes a lot of mistakes, I thought maybe he had made another msitake.

Second, to compare Mr. Kilo and the other brave Syrians in prison to those held in Guantanamo is preposterous.

>I agree. I was not comparing the people but the methods applied to them. Bush does not have the moral authority to speak about holding political prisoners while he also holds political prisoners.

Some of the people held at Guantanamo are completely innocent by the way. Many of them do not know why they are there. They are not all bad people or terrorists.

Third, You claim that you want the opposition to become stronger. Please tell us which opposition members do you support?

>I don’t support opposition members. You don’t upport people you support political parties or programs. I think it is very important for a strong opposition to emerge. No country can continue to do good without an opposition. Too much time in power for someone is bad for the country.

Fourth, you seem interested in a “decent political process”. Please enlighten us with an example/s of the type of decent political processes that you have in mind.

>A democratic and stable country. Let’s say Spain. Spain had a dictatorship until relatively recently and they snapped out of it very nicely.

Fifth, You are right on one thing though. Bush’s remarks yesterday have now ensured that these brave men will not see the day of light for years to come now. Even if Bashar had the intention of releasing them (highly unlikely), such plans are now shelved as he couldn’t possibly be seen to be listening to Bush and complying with his demands.

>A big problem facing the opposition in Syria is they are not popular. They are the victims of negative propaganda and of their own opinions which are too different from what most people think. Now, they are also the victims of Bush’s clumsyness.

Lastly, whether Bush is sincere about his concerns about these people or not (99% of the people here think not of course), at least someone is mentioning these people’s names. Were it not for these brief remarks last night, this group could rot in jail for the next 50 years without a single person able to do anything about them.

>Which would be a very shameful thing to us as a country. But that doesn’t make Bush a good guy. He is not. And that does not mean the US wants democracy in the Arab world. Any arab democracy will have to be anti-American and they know this.

I would have loved the current confrontation in the middle east to be between democracy and dictatorship and I would have loved democracy to be winning. However this is not the case. It is a confrontation between American occupation and even worse, American creative chaos, and the Dictators of the Arab world and also movements like Hezbolla and Hamas which are democratic (they participate in a democratic political process.) but anti-American.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 5:41 pm

 

19. t_desco said:

I am still trying to make sense of the new Brammertz report. There are many disparate elements (particularly if you include the previous report) and it is difficult to find a “unified theory” to accommodate all of them.

For example, what to make of this:

Ahmad Abu Adass and associated individuals

50. (In this regard, the Commission has) collected substantial quantities of computer and electronic information and documentation … .

51. In support of this work, the Commission has researched over 200 gigabytes of electronic data, … .

53. … To add to the complexity of this painstaking analytical work, some of the electronic data received by the Commission is written in code, some is encrypted and some had already been deleted.” (Brammertz IV)

It seems unlikely that the Syrians would have handed over their security files in encrypted (or deleted…) form, so this looks like the communications of an extremist group.

What do you think?

The previous report spoke of an “international dimension of the communications analysis”, involving 17 States (§42). Ahmed Abu Adas was also mentioned in this context:

“44. The Commission also continues to examine local, regional and international linkages between numbers associated with Ahmed Abu Adass and other individuals, … .” (Brammertz III)

The alleged suicide bomber also adds an international element to the case:

“31. The results of the expert report in this first phase of analysis show that the individual did not spend his youth in Lebanon, but was situated there in the last two to three months before his death.” (Brammertz IV)

Now, remember what Ghassan Ben Jeddou said about the first caller to Al-Jazeera:

“78. … In the first telephone call, a man whom Mr. Ben Jeddou described as speaking poor Arabic in an African, Afghan or Pakistani accent, claimed that Al-Nasra wal Jihad was responsible for Mr. Hariri’s execution by a suicide bomb.” (Mehlis I)

And what about this peculiar feature:

“34. The upper right central incisor found at the crime scene in February 2005 and belonging to the unidentified male shows a distinguishing mark related to the lingual surface shape of the crown, which has the form of a spade. This feature is rarely seen among people from Lebanon.” (Brammertz IV)

Is this feature perhaps typical of Afghanistan, Pakistan or certain regions in Africa?

This may also have been one reason why the perpetrators needed Ahmed Abu Adas: perhaps the suicide bomber himself did not speak Arabic?

Having said that, there are other elements in the reports that are difficult to combine with the theory of an extremist group acting on its own, for example §50 and 51 of the previous report.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 5:56 pm

 

20. Anonymous said:

Why people always compare…..
We the Syrian we don’t care what Bush is doing, we
care what Bashar is doing….and what he is going to do…for the (SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC)

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 6:03 pm

 

21. Anonymous said:

It’s no invasions and no civil wars going to happen in Syria, because The regime sooner or later is going ….
No more (alasad lilabad)

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 6:36 pm

 

22. t_desco said:

Is Detlev Mehlis planning to continue his media campaign against Serge Brammertz? “He also is eager to play a role in the trial phase.” Ugh!

“The Commission believes its role is to investigate all possible hypotheses that arise from the investigation and analysis of the Hariri assassination.” (Brammertz IV, §55)

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 6:57 pm

 

23. qunfuz said:

film recommendation for Ehsani2: The Road to Guantanamo, directed by Michael Winterbottom. His ‘In this World’ is also excellent.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 14th, 2006, 8:25 pm

 

24. Akbar Palace said:

Responding to the anti-American, anti-Israel cry-babies:

“…is time for the US to swallow it’s pride and seek help from Syria and Iran but that will not be free…”

It won’t be free, it won’t be adhered to, and it won’t be final. Thugs ALWAYS ask for more.

“Israelis will never have the guts neither the historical responsibility to strike a peace deal.”*

*Except for the peace treaty they signed with Eygpt, the peace treaty they signed with Jordan, and the peace treaty they signed with the PA.

“In short, notwithstanding the fine hopes of Professor Landis, I think that the visit of Senator Nelson to Damascus has about as much importance to the future of the Levant, as…”

…as the visit of anti-semite David Duke to Iran.

“I mean this is a guy who sends people to be tortured in secret prisons all around the world…”

And the US military people responsible were tried and convicted. Meanwhile you’re upset for because a some suspects had to stand on boxes and wear women’s underwear?

But no, fundamentalist insurgents blowing up Iraqs everyday doesn’t quite meet your standard of disgust.

“… (including Syria in the past), who has opened Guantanamo, who has killed 700 000 people in Iraq.”

First of all Bush and the US military hasn’t killed 700,000 innocent Iraqis. Secondly, Saddam is responsible for killing more Iraqis. Thirdly, insurgents have killed more than Bush could ever hope for.

“Whatever Bush touches, he turns into shit.”

Like the US economy? Like the Iraqi elections?

Bush has 2 more years. So much to do; so little time…

“The President needs to understand that we live nearly in 2007 and not in 1916 Laurence of Arabia time as his VP and the Jews around him have convinced him.

America spent 400 Billion on killing 300,000 Iraqis and destroying an entire country beyond repair, a country and people that caused no
harm or threat to Americans.”

The “Joos” voted for Kerry in the last presidential election. Specifically, 76% of Joos voted for Kerry. Condi Rice, Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Bolton, and thousands of other American politicians are not Jewish.

The non-Jews who voted for Bush and helped formulate his policies are convinced that making peace with nations who support terrorism is a bad idea. I agree.

BTW – I see Ivanka’s 700,000 is now 300,000. Who’s right?

“Bush need to leave the Syrians people alone.”

Bush hasn’t done anything to the Syrian people. It’s all in your head. Meanwhile, it’s the Syrians who continue to support terrorist organizations.

“We have to admit that Baath party and the current leadership policies has failed, and failed us all…. We need change, nothing will prevent us Syrians form demanding the changes needed to put back the country into the right track. NOTHING..”

No expect change. If there’s change, the Joos will attack and take over Syria.

“Regardless of what the US, decide, …nobody should be defending the Assad regime.”

You have a bad attitude…it’s Bush’s fault!

“And that does not mean the US wants democracy in the Arab world. Any arab democracy will have to be anti-American and they know this.”

If the US didn’t want democracy in the Middle East, they wouldn’t have spent so much time and money to get the purple fingers in Afghanistan and Iraq. And Jimmy Carter would not have spent so much time in the Palestinian terrortories.

Put it this way, Americans and “neo-cons” want democracy in the Middle East a “little bit more” than your beloved Arab “leaders”.

See you all later;)

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 1:08 am

 

25. simohurtta said:

Akbar Palace have you lately heard Bush and “neo-cons” complaining of Libya’s “democracy” level. After Gadaffi decided to play ball with USA and US oil companies, the US democracy speeches ended almoust completely.

Only an total idiot believes that US regime is interested how democratic Middle East is. If there would be free elections people would in most ME countries vote to power a regime, which would be much more anti-American as the present and US regime knows it. USA likes very much its kings and other dictators who allow US companies to drill oil with a relative low compensation.

Bush’s success in foreign policy can be easily seen in his record low popularity index and how the world now looks at USA. The hundreds of billions spend to wars have gone in smoke to air. Well the owners, including Bush family, of weapon industry have became richer.

By the way Akbar Palace can you explain why Barker’s committee among others sees so important to privatize Iraqi oil industry? Shouldn’t democratic countries make such decisions themselves? There is a clear difference if the oil company pays 5 USD per barrel or 50 USD to the country from where the oil comes.

Akbar Palace you Americans should take care of your own “purple finger” voting machines and end your extraordinary voter registration system, so that there are no problems with voting results.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 5:44 am

 

26. Alex said:

Atassi,

I like the calmer new tone 🙂

Although at the end of your post it seems you accidentally pressed the Caps Lock key.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 5:52 am

 

27. Akbar Palace said:

simohurtta said,

“Akbar Palace have you lately heard Bush and “neo-cons” complaining of Libya’s “democracy” level. After Gadaffi decided to play ball with USA and US oil companies, the US democracy speeches ended almoust completely.”

Thank you for reminding me (and the readers here) of another Bush success (someone here claimed everything that Bush touches turns to chara).

Primarily due to the War in Iraq, the Libyan dictator and rock-star Muammar Gadaffi made some important decisions regarding his past pursuit of terrorism:

“The Libyan government announced its decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs and pay almost 3 billion US dollars in compensation to the families of Pan Am flight 103 as well as UTA Flight 772.[22] The decision was welcomed by many western nations and was seen as an important step for Libya toward rejoining the international community.[23] Since 2003 the country has normalised its ties with the European Union and the United States and has even coined the catchphrase, ‘The Libya Model’, an example intended to show the world what can be achieved through negotiation rather than force when there is goodwill on both sides.[24]” [wikipedia, “Libya”]

It would be good if Syria and Iran would take the same lesson, but I guess they think the US “ran out of gas” so to speak.

“Only an total idiot believes that US regime is interested how democratic Middle East is.”

That’s right. It seems to me countries that support and export terrorism have 2 choices to make (under a republican US administration):

1.) continue to support and export terrorism and risk your life.

2.) desist, and you can stay in power

I think this was and will be the “Bush Doctrine” until he leaves office. The only thing that can save the ME terror-supprting nations is a democrat administration. We can only pray;)

“By the way Akbar Palace can you explain why Barker’s committee among others sees so important to privatize Iraqi oil industry?”

I didn’t see anything regarding the “Iraqi Oil Industry”. Provide the recommendation number and I’ll be happy to review it.

BTW – I have already provided my opinion of the ISG report, and I think it’s a waste of paper and cyber-space.

The US needs to stop importing foreign oil and make that a top priority. FYI, the top 2 countries we import oil from are Canada and Mexico:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html

“Akbar Palace you Americans should take care of your own “purple finger” voting machines and end your extraordinary voter registration system, so that there are no problems with voting results.”

Every democratically-elected official in the world, no matter which country, can find an error in the election process:

– a vote from a dead person

– a corrupted or missing ballot

– someone who voted twice

– a mistake in counting

– a computer or voting machine malfunction

That is why when a vote is close enough, a recount is usually conducted

If every country in the world could emulate our system of voting, the world would be a lot more at peace. You need to understand that.

Here’s a quick example:

http://www.votetrustusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2045&Itemid=113

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 12:08 pm

 

28. t_desco said:

Everybody agrees with my interpretation of the Brammertz report…? 😉

Parla Assad: “Israele tratti con noi”
E su Bush: “In Iraq non ha un progetto”

La Repubblica

Interview With Syrian Foreign Minister
David Ignatius

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 12:14 pm

 

29. Innocent_Criminal said:

here is a different spin to the Nelson visit http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/0/24147FB00DE6B39DC225724400528050?OpenDocument

and this is an overview of the Syrian President’s latest interview http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E1F0AA37-3AA7-4BF5-BEF6-30C5657D42BA.htm

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 1:29 pm

 

30. t_desco said:

Rice Rejects Overture To Iran And Syria

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected a bipartisan panel’s recommendation that the United States seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the “compensation” required by any deal might be too high. She argued that neither country should need incentives to foster stability in Iraq.

“If they have an interest in a stable Iraq, they will do it anyway,” Rice said in a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post reporters and editors. She said she did not want to trade away Lebanese sovereignty to Syria or allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon as a price for peace in Iraq.
WP

Assad calls for dialogue with Israel, ready to cooperate with US

Rome (dpa) – Syria wants dialogue with Israel and is ready to cooperate with the United States on Iraq, President Bashar Assad said in an interview published on Friday by Italian daily La Repubblica. “Syria and Israel can live side-by-side in peace and harmony. (Israeli Premier Ehud) Olmert should talk to Syria and, as some Israelis say, find out if we are bluffing or not,” Assad was quoted as saying.
DPA

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 1:29 pm

 

31. norman said:

The US ,again wants somthing from Syria for nothing ,Syria should not be so naieve.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 3:32 pm

 

32. majedkhaldoun said:

we know things,but we do not talk about it, we say things to satisfy our ego,avoiding what we know,then we believe what we say, and that is what get us in trouble.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 4:32 pm

 

33. Akbar Palace said:

“Assad calls for dialogue with Israel, ready to cooperate with US”

Gee, Assad has been calling for “dialogue with Israel” a lot these days. I wonder why the sudden change?

“norman said: (December 15th, 2006, 3:32 pm / #)

The US ,again wants somthing from Syria for nothing ,Syria should not be so naieve.”

Well, IMHO, the Syrians want their cake and eat it. Talk with the Joos, and continue to arm, fund, and support terror organizations.

The lesson of Oslo is that sincerity is the name of the peace game.

And just like Arafat couldn’t be trusted, neither can the Baathist Boy Wonder.

Lebanese-American, Joe Farah, agrees:

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53372

Condi Rice: Talk is cheap…

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/12/15/iraq.rice.reut/index.html

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 5:14 pm

 

34. MSK said:

Dear all,

I think t_desco (is s/he a German living in Italy?) should open his/her own blog. Too many good articles are getting lost in the comment sections here.

And his/her thorough following and analysis of the Hariri investigation merits a space of its own.

Just an idea.

To Akbar Palace,

I think that being an Israeli & talking about “Arab leaders can’t be trusted” to a group of Arabs … well, I think that should get a medal of “Chutzpah of the Year”.

Both sides don’t trust each other. And both do it out of experience … with each other.

The whole point of international mediation & int’l guarantees (in case you’ve forgotten the notion of int’l [in this case = U.S.] troops stationed on the otherwise de-militarized Golan after the Israel-Syria Peace Treaty) is to get around that deep mistrust.

You come across as a neo-manichean “Bush does it all A-OK” person. If that is indeed the case, then I’m afraid you’re in the wrong universe.

–MSK

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 5:26 pm

 

35. Alex said:

t-desco, I agree with MSK … you are probably the most useful contributor to the comments section here. You are the first to get us the news and you summarize the useful highlights and filter the redundant garbage. It is great to have an efficiant German among us Syrian “analysts” who spend more time arguing who is wrong and who is right.

But I hope you do not start your own blog, if each one of us starts his own blog, it will be not too practical for readers to check 20 different Syria blogs.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 6:15 pm

 

36. Joshua said:

I have asked T_desco a number of times to bring together his summaries and publish them on the front page. I have logged him in with full rights to publish when he wants. He needs readers’ encouragement. His reports are excellent and useful as everyone says. They do get lost in the comment section. It would be great if he would weave together his analysis of the Brammertz report, which is much better than anything I have seen in the news. Analysts in capitals around the world would find it very useful.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 6:28 pm

 

37. simohurtta said:

Akbar how did Libya’s decision make it more democratic? Democracy means something else than have oil contracts with USA.

On page one, chapter one, the ISG report points out that Iraq “has the second largest known oil reserves” and recommendation 63 outlines a process that sounds remarkably like privatization: “to assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise — to encourage investment in Iraq’s oil resources by the international community — and to provide technical assistance to prepare a draft oil law.”

Why has USA to “advice” a democratic country? Certainly an ancient trade civilization like in Iraq can easily handle the oil trade. Iraqis made international trade already when Americans (= their European ancestors lived in caves).

Certainly Bush seems not to be running out of steam (the tv pictures show that there is much indissoluble steam inside him, the hair is getting gayer every day and the eyes are …), but he seems to be running out of money and support.

Akbar your naive recommendations of the superiority of US voting seem rather odd, when we remember all we read about the US elections in the 2000’s. Have you read equal stories about the voting in West European countries? Finnish security expert Harri Hursti showed how vulnerable the US voting machines are.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 6:50 pm

 

38. MSK said:

Dear all,

Simohurtta‘s comments point again to the conversation we had a few posts ago:

The whole a-historical “Certainly an ancient trade civilization like in Iraq can easily handle the oil trade. Iraqis made international trade already when Americans (= their European ancestors lived in caves).” is yet another example for this silly treatment of people living in an area as if there has been a non-interrupted settlement.

Here’s a news-flash for you: the corrent inhabitants of Iraq are only to a very, very minor degree direct descendants of the people who lived in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago.

If you go down that path (we have the older civilization), then you’ll have to face the counter”argument” of “well, you were great & then you f***ed up and declined.”

BOTH are wrong.

As for the oil issue – having a national oil company that works as a commercial enterprise isn’t a contradiction in terms — as all Gulf oil companies (ARAMCO et.al.) show.

I suggest you read the actual draft laws and articles on the issue by people who know what they’re talking about. Simplistic assertions from either side aren’t particularly useful here.

Dear Alex,

I have no idea if t_desco is German or not – I just keep reading “tedesco”, which means “German” in Italian.

–MSK

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 7:17 pm

 

39. frank al irlandi said:

Chaps

Tony Blair is going to the Middle East to bring peace before he resigns in a month or two.

It seems he is not going to Syria.

However Brian Hanrahan who is a very experienced and authoritative BBC reporter is in Damascus preparing the “World this Weekend” program to be broadcast at 1pm UK time Sunday on radio 4.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/

If you miss it you can listen to the archive on listen again. From the build up it should be a good indepth analysis of why we should talking to Damascus and will carry a lot of weight in UK.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 7:49 pm

 

40. Akbar Palace said:

“Arab leaders can’t be trusted”

MSK –

I never said that. And if I did, you can delete it.

I trust the Egyptian and Jordanian peace agreements completely and both nations have abided by them quite well.

I remember quite well the late King Hussein when he visited Israelis in a hospital due to a terror attack by one of his subjects along the border.

Now there’s a “mench”.

Yes, a jew participating on this forum IS “chutzpah”.

But apologizing for nations that support terror, well that’s “double chutzpah”!

I guess you don’t see that.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 7:52 pm

 

41. Akbar Palace said:

simohurtta,

“Akbar how did Libya’s decision make it more democratic?”

It didn’t. Bush’s goal isn’t to make the world more democratic, it is to make it safer.

Libya isn’t more democratic, they simply aren’t the threat they used to be like when they used to place bombs on 747’s?

Aren’t you glad?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 15th, 2006, 7:55 pm

 

42. simohurtta said:

It didn’t. Bush’s goal isn’t to make the world more democratic, it is to make it safer.

Well, well tell that to Bush. If Bush’s goal has been making the world much safer he has succeeded in that even more miserable than in making the world more “democratic”. If Bush really wants to create a nuclear free Middle East (which would make the world safer) he could start from the Israeli nukes, instead of supporting the state terrorism conducted by Israel.

If Bush’s goal is not make Middle East more democratic why is he still frequently speaking about it? Don’t you wonder?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 16th, 2006, 7:49 am

 

43. annie said:

If Akbar and Ghassan were honnest they would take Hebrew names rather than taking an arab disguise.

Bush has no lessons to give to Bashar, he who stole the election and who holds innocent prisonners in Guantanamo and elsewhere, he who organised elections under occupation in Iraq.

This being said I am of course all for the liberation of Michel Kilo et al. As for the regime, it is nobody’s business but the Syrians.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 16th, 2006, 7:52 am

 

44. lirun said:

this is so frustrating.. you are my neighbours in the north.. when i worked overseas one of my best friends was a muslim syrian and yet i know so little about you..

wishing us all peace..

lirun
telaviv

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 16th, 2006, 8:49 am

 

45. Dubai Jazz said:

I agree with Qunfuz list (recommended movies for Ehsani 2), I would add to it:
“Valley of Wolves”
http://www.valleyofthewolvesiraq.com/high/main.html
“Kabul Express”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabul_Express

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 16th, 2006, 9:11 am

 

46. annie said:

Lirun : you sound like a good person.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 16th, 2006, 5:16 pm

 

Post a comment