Washington Hearings on Syria, etc.

Project for Middle East Democracy has a very interesting website with some wonderful content. Their weekly roundup of news is very helpful and can be subscribed to here. Here are some bits from it.  

 

See the bottom lines for Junblatt in Washington: (Always entertaining.)

 

Committee Hearings

The Committee on Foreign Affairs (House 10/23): Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held a hearing entitled "Iran Sanctions and Regional Security."  Philip H. Gordon, Ph.D., Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, and Ilan Berman, Vice President for Policy, American Foreign Policy Council, testified.  Chairman Gary L. Ackerman (D-NY) made opening remarks.  For POMED's notes, click here.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs (House 10/23): held a markup for several bills, including H.R.2332, the Syria Accountability & Liberation Act, and H.Res.435, expressing concern for Iran's threatening behavior in Latin America.  For POMED's notes, click here.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs (House 10/24): held a hearing entitled "U.S. Policy in the Middle East."  The Honorable Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State testified.  Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA) made opening remarks.  For POMED's notes, click here.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (House 10/25): held a hearing entitled "The State Department and the Iraq War."  Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified.  Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) made opening remarks.  For POMED's notes, click here.

In Washington

New Sanctions on Iran: Last week, the US announced new sanctions against Iran that designate the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guard and four state-owned Iranian banks as supporters of terrorism. Pundits are discussing the meaning of the new sanctions. Some argue that the sanctions will only be effective  "as part of a comprehensive strategy to create diplomatic leverage," and that "The United States should be ratcheting up the pressure on Iran, but at the same time it should be maximizing the opportunities for agreement."  Others warn that "If this diplomatic offensive fails, President Bush or his successor is likely to face a choice between accepting Iran's acquisition of the means to build nuclear weapons and ordering military strikes to destroy its facilities." The Iranian foreign ministry has condemned the sanctions as "doomed to failure."  Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech that Iran would face "serious consequences" if the regime continued on its present course. Meanwhile, the $75 million in U.S. government aid for civil society in Iran continued to gain the support of some and the opposition of others.

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Discussing the Difficulties in Lebanon: The Washington Institute on Near East Policy discussed remarks by Walid Jumblatt, the outgoing Lebanese leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, in which (in the context of discussing Syrian interference with Lebanese politics) he said "I don't want to be a diplomat today – if you could send car bombs to Damascus, then why not?"  Jumblatt also warned that "coup attempts could be carried out by Syria's allies in Lebanon and of Hizbullah's aspiration to change the infrastructure of the country using its weapons."

 

Also see Rosner's Blog: Jumblatt to Bush: Send car bombs to Damascus

Comments (4)


1. why-discuss said:

I still wonder how can anyone take seriously this guy?

I also wonder why no media reminds the readers that Jumblatt is one of the leaders of a small lebanese minority: the druze.
Wikipedia: The situation of the Druze community in Lebanon has been complicated, since they have no natural allies, and though originally a powerful sect, their numbers have today declined to just over 5% of the population.

The druze have no official positions on the sectarian lebanese constitution. This is why Jumblatt needs to find allies wherever he can (he was an ally to syria, to the shias then to the maronites then…. to the US). He needs to shout loud and make provocative statements to be noticed and not be left in the cold in case of an ‘entente’ between moslems and christians. A counter-productive and dangerous game.

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October 29th, 2007, 11:37 pm

 

2. Solomon2 said:

“I don’t want to be a diplomat today – if you could send car bombs to Damascus, then why not?”

Perhaps such a fate can be avoided if people start to openly make plans and preparations for the peaceful and orderly evacuation of the Asad regime to Switzerland as part of a peaceful transition of power from dictatorship to democracy.

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October 31st, 2007, 7:31 pm

 

3. sam said:

Your dilusional Sol. If Saddam didn’t give up, neither will Assad. The only difference is the Syrian people love Bashar. He’ll be in charge well after you and I are gone, and I’m only 36.

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November 1st, 2007, 4:05 pm

 

4. Solomon2 said:

If Syrians didn’t display love for Bashar, what would happen to them? So how does anyone know if such feelings run any more than skin deep?

If anything happens to another M14 member in Lebanon, the sh-t may well hit the fan, IMO. The U.S. raided Libya in 1986 and killed Qaddafi’s daughter after Libya bombed some U.S. soldiers in Berlin. We may see how adept Asad & Co. can be to avoid a similar fate.

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November 1st, 2007, 5:16 pm

 

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