Why Syria Must Burnish its “Resistance” Credentials in the Face of Obama’s Inaction on Settlement Expansion

Both David Lesch and Ian Black explain that in Washington and European capitals policy makers are wondering where to go next with Syria as President Assad burnishes his “resistance” credentials, despite Obama’s recent conciliatory decision to return an ambassador to Damascus.

It is little wonder, however, that Syria is stressing “resistance” of late. President Obama has shown no ability to discipline Netanyahu. Despite sulking in his tent like Achilles, Obama has done little to counter Netanyahu’s insistence on expanding settlements. Israel’s Prime Minister has also rejected suggestions that he re-start negotiations over the Golan and peace with Syria. Consequently, Syria has little choice but to reaffirm its intention to resist. Assad’s embrace of Ahmadinejad two weeks ago, his interview on Hizbullah’s TV channel, and his insistence at the Arab League summit in Libya this weekend that the PLO reject talks with Israel and that Arab governments rescind their moldering peace offer to Israel cannot come as a surprise to Washington.

Scott McConnell, writing in the American Conservative, compares Obama’s ineffectiveness and lack of action to President George H.W. Bush and James Baker’s “effectiveness” in 1992, when they attempted to hold back loan guarantees as a means to slow settlement activity. The only problem with McConnell’s argument is that George H Bush and James Baker failed miserably. The following graph of Israeli settlement growth indicates that settlement growth in the West Bank continued unabated and rose at a constant rate during the 1990s, despite Bush’s threat to stop loan guarantees and despite the peace process he launched. Neither threats, which were hollow and quickly rescinded, or the peace process and discussions of relinquishing the occupied territories caused Israelis to slow expansion or to believe that they would not retain the territory and its settlements.

The Syrian effort to beef up Hizbullah and to broaden its alliances with Iran makes sense within the context of its pursuit of peace with Israel. Only by counterbalancing Israel can it to hope for peace.

Syria’s main problem vis a vis Israel is that it is too weak. It needs to get stronger to be taken seriously. It can do this in a number of ways, some of which are: building up Hizbullah, acquiring nuclear capability, developing better weapons, using Iran to scare Israel, upgrading its economy and relations with important powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and France. Syria must pursue all of these.

Israel upped the ante with the 2006 Lebanon war and Gaza campaign, signaling that it can raise the level of pain to previously unimagined levels for those who oppose it. Without nukes (presumably Israel destroyed its effort to develop this option) Syria must go for low tech missiles which is the most effective and cost efficient deterrent available to it.

Without these things, Syria would be forgotten. The Golan would fall from the table – it almost has, anyway.

The main proof that Syria’s strategy is smart, if not a success, is Hillary Clinton’s speech at AIPAC. She said:

“Both sides must confront the reality that the status quo of the last decade has not produced long-term security ….

Finally, we must recognize that the ever-evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee Israel’s security. For six decades, Israelis have guarded their borders vigilantly. But advances in rocket technology mean that Israeli families are now at risk far from those borders. Despite efforts at containment, rockets with better guidance systems, longer range, and more destructive power are spreading across the region. Hizbollah has amassed tens of thousands of rockets on Israel’s northern border. Hamas has a substantial number in Gaza. And even if some of these are still crude, they all pose a serious danger, as we saw last week.”

Had Syria not helped to build up Hizbullah or had Hizb been destroyed in 2006 – there would have been no Turkish talks in 2008 and Syria would have lost whatever negotiating power it had. The only reason Israel and the US still talk about flipping Syria is because of its relationship to Iran and Hizbullah. From a purely balance-of-power point of view. Iran’s pursuit of Nukes increases the likelihood of Syrian–Israeli peace. No that Obama has pushed health-care through congress and looks as if he might tangle with Israel and the question of Arab-Israeli peace, Syria must push the question to the forefront. One way to do this is to bear his teeth and raise the flag of resistance, a third intifada, and possible rekindling of war between Hizbullah and Israel.

Syria cannot changes its posture toward Israel until Israel relinquishes the Golan. Assad has said this a number of times. He will only discuss altering his relations with Hizbullah and Hamas once the Golan is returned and not before. To do otherwise makes no sense.

From Assad’s point of view, the 1990s and the Oslo process was a decade in which Syria was played by Israel. By opening up Golan discussions, Israel bought Syrian compliance in Lebanon and Palestine for eight years. Syria helped tamp down resistance to Israel from both Hamas and Hizbullah during the 1990s. Lebanon experienced a renaissance. But Syria received little in return. Syrians believe that the Israeli prime ministers who followed Yitzhak Rabin did not want peace if it meant returning the entire Golan and only wished to continue the process because it was useful for other goals. They were using the Golan as a lure to keep Syria complacent and to put pressure on Palestinians to cede more land.

Supporters of Israel argue that prospects for peace are strongest when the US favors Israel and there is no light visible between their policies. This argument is not born out by the facts or history. By making Israel so much stronger than its opponents, Washington is dooming prospects for peace. It is time for the US to distance itself from Israel and to stop providing it with money, arms, and unlimited diplomatic support.

Line graph of Israeli settlement growth created from the Israeli  Bureau of Statistics.

Both sides of the fence
By David W. Lesch Monday, March 29, 2010
Foreign Policy

Syrian President Bashar al-Asad is not unlike his father. Hafiz al-Asad was a foreign policy pragmatist who went against the grain on occasion based on perceived national interest. He was able to steer a foreign policy course for Syria where it could play on both sides of the regional and international fences. Syria is the only country in the Arab world that can do so in any meaningful way. On the one side of the fence Syria has been a cradle of Arab nationalism, yet it supported non-Arab Iran against Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. It was the leader of the Arab confrontation states traditionally arrayed against Israel, yet it has engaged in direct and indirect negotiations with the Jewish state for almost three decades, coming tantalizingly close to a peace agreement in 2000. It was a client state of the Soviet Union during the superpower Cold War, yet it sent troops to fight alongside American forces in the US-led UN coalition to evict Iraq from Kuwait in 1990-91. This foreign policy hopscotch can be frustrating to those countries that would like to see a more consistent policy path emanating from Damascus, but it is exactly the ability to do this that has allowed Syria to muddle through various crises in the recent past as well as provide what otherwise is a relatively weak state some leverage and utility. …..

…There are those who say that the US may have overplayed its hand with Syria too soon. Syria also has to be careful not to overplay its hand. Maybe Bashar feels the Obama administration is too disorganized and weak right now to worry about making positive impressions, but this might not always be the case, especially if the US president’s perceived standing improves due to the passage of the time-consuming health care legislation. Bashar worked hard to finally be taken seriously in Washington and in the region, but straddling the fence can be dangerous too if you don’t know when to-or can’t-get off of it when the time is right.

Assad keeps Europe waiting
An increasingly confident Syria is playing hard to get in its relations with the EU
By Ian Black in Damascus
guardian, Tuesday 30 March 2010

Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, after the Arabl League summit on 28 March

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, talks to reporters after the closing session of the Arab League summit this week. Photograph: Mohamed Messara/EPA

European Union diplomats in Syria work in a handsome stone house in the leafy Abu Rummaneh quarter of Damascus, guarded by machine gun-toting policemen at the gate. Their well-appointed offices are strewn with glossy brochures about the links between the EU and this Arab republic – testimony to valuable assistance programmes and ambitions for a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

Yet there is unease about the way things are heading. Last October, after a decade of negotiations, the two sides were poised to sign an “association agreement” covering political and economic issues, trade and investment, modelled on those already concluded by the EU and its eight other “Mediterranean partners”.

Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco have all put their relations with Brussels on a formal footing; maverick Libya is conspicuously absent from this “ring of friends”. But Syria balked at the 11th hour, insisting it needed more time. The reasons tell an interesting story about President Bashar al-Assad and the view from Damascus.

The official line is that Syria has undergone significant changes since the text was initialled in 2003. A revised version took some of them into account: British and Dutch demands for special statements on human rights and weapons of mass destruction were defeated and the language used now is standard to all EU-Med association agreements.

Still, economic conditions have fuelled fears that the free trade requirements could endanger Syrian industries, though tariffs on EU goods are to be cut over long periods. Crushing competition from the Turkish textile market has served as a warning.

“We are reviewing the relevance of the text to the Syrian economy today,” explains Abdullah Dardari, the deputy prime minister and architect of recent economic reforms. But there is much more to it than that. “Even a free trade agreement must be built on political understanding and trust,” he says. “An EU foreign policy that respects Syrian and Arab rights creates more confidence – and makes the lives of technocrats and economists easier.”

Beyond the crunchy detail of the agreement’s 144 articles there is a litany of complaints that Syria deserves better. Europe’s passivity in the face of the US-led war in Iraq – with British participation – is a big one. Others include the EU, led by France, blaming Syria for the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, support for Beirut’s “cedar revolution” and Syria’s ejection from Lebanon after nearly 30 years.

Yet another is Europe’s failure to challenge US policies towards Israel and the Palestinians, especially its refusal to talk to the Islamists of Hamas, Syria’s protege – which, like Lebanon’s Hizbullah, is considered a terrorist organisation on both sides of the Atlantic but a “resistance movement” in Damascus.

“Nobody is in a position to lecture us on human rights,” insists another official, echoing Assad at his most combative. “The Europeans should have an independent position vis-a-vis Syria.”

The western media is considered hostile too. Journalists who ask about the prospects for political change in Syria get angry answers about the boycott of Hamas, the invasion of Iraq or Israel’s war on Gaza. More thoughtful responses explain that the president’s priorities are boosting the economy, creating wealth and raising educational standards so his country can take its place in a globalised world.

Syrians have also noticed, like others before them, that the EU is less than the sum of its parts. “We used to have a Europe file but we’ve split it into separate countries – France, Germany and the UK,” said Samir al-Taqi, the influential head of the Orient Centre for International Studies. “Europe no longer behaves as a unit and you get policies of the lowest common denominator.”

And the Qatari and other Gulf Arabs flocking to Syria’s newly liberalised financial and investment sector – the Damascus stock exchange is just a year old – do not share European concerns about Assad’s domestic or foreign policies.

Worse, for Brussels and its representatives in Abu Rummaneh, is the sense that Syria cares more about its slowly improving relations with the US. Not a week goes by without some senior administration official or congressman arriving from Washington, often invited for a flattering one-to-one at the presidential palace. The US ambassador was withdrawn after the Hariri killing, but a newly appointed one is eagerly awaited.

Americans and Europeans are both wooing Syria because of its strategic position in the Middle East – its role in any peace process, its co-operation in fighting jihadi terrorism and stabilising Iraq and its capacity, if excluded, for troublemaking, as Iran’s main Arab ally and supporter of “resistance movements”. “For Syria the carrots are just not tempting enough,” argues Rosa Balfour of the European Policy Centre in Brussels. “It can ignore Europe because its political role is so important.” The gloomy conclusion is that, despite reassuring noises, the agreement with the EU may not be signed any time soon.

The feeling in Damascus is that Syria has come through a tough period and survived to realise that it still holds cards that others badly want it to play. “Five years ago things looked really bad for this regime – with Lebanon, Iraq, Bush and the neocons,” says a Syrian intellectual who is privately critical of Assad. “Now look. Are these guys very smart or is it just that the rest of the world really needs them?”

One buried, more jailed after Kurd celebration in Syria
News of the killing by security forces surfaces, underscoring worsening conditions for the minority.
By Borzou Daragahi
March 30, 2010

Mohammad Haider’s family buried him quietly, without a funeral, as they had been instructed by Syrian authorities.

The Syrian Kurd’s body was returned March 23, two days after security forces opened fire on a Kurdish New Year’s celebration in northern Syria sponsored by a political party, human-rights groups said. The killing, which surfaced Monday, underscored worsening conditions for the minority.

Syrian Kurds, who live in the north near the border with Turkey, have a long and fraught relationship with the state. In recent years, Syria has begun tightening its suppression of Kurdish identity.

Kurdish language, customs and even traditional folk dances have been increasingly discouraged or banned. Among these cultural rites is Nowruz, the ancient New Year’s celebration observed by Iranians, Kurds and other groups in the region.

In recent years, Nowruz has become a trigger for violence between Kurdish activists and Syrian security forces, leading to a number of deaths and increased scrutiny of the Kurdish community.

According to Human Rights Watch, Syrian forces this year demanded that the event’s organizers take down Kurdish flags and pictures of Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish political leader imprisoned in Turkey. The organizers refused, and some began throwing stones at the security forces, who responded by firing into the crowd, killing at least one person and wounding others.

Normalizing Relations
President Obama’s speeches signal a desire to treat Israel like any other country. Now events have converged to test his resolve.
By Scott McConnell
May 01, 2010 Issue
The American Conservative

President Obama has probably studied the first President Bush’s standoff with Israel. Then as now, the issue of contention was Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank and Jerusalem. George H.W. Bush was hopeful about moving toward a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In the last days of the Reagan presidency, the Palestine Liberation Organization had finally laid down the only significant diplomatic card in its possession, accepting UN Resolutions 242 and 338, recognizing Israel’s right to exist within its 1967 borders and limiting its aspirations to a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. In May 1989, Secretary of State James Baker addressed AIPAC’s annual Washington conference. After praising Israel’s commitment to democracy and role as a strategic partner, Baker went on to say, “Now is the time to lay aside, once and for all, the unrealistic vision of a greater Israel. … Forswear annexation. Stop settlement activity. Allow schools to reopen. Reach out to the Palestinians as neighbors who deserve political rights.” AIPAC’s delegates gave Baker a chilly reception. Relations between Israel’s Likud Party Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and President Bush were frosty as well. Bush believed Shamir had lied to him about settlements in East Jerusalem, which the United States (and every other country) considered occupied territory. The embryonic peace process stalled.

But after driving Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, Bush and Baker returned to the Palestine issue. In May 1991, Israel asked the administration for a $10 billion loan guarantee. The funds were to be used to settle immigrants from the former Soviet Union. At the time, Israel was building settlements at breakneck pace, and Baker and Bush both labeled them an obstacle to peace. Shamir was confident Israel’s clout in Congress would force the president to relent and turn over the money. Bush worked to ensure no funds could be used for construction beyond Israel’s 1967 borders. When AIPAC held an “education day” in Congress to press for the loans with no strings attached, Bush went public with a denunciation, depicting himself as “one lonely little guy” battling thousands of lobbyists. Some American Jews were bothered by the language, but the country was supportive, backing the president by two- and three-to-one margins. Bush stuck to his guns through the following summer, when Israeli voters tossed out Likud and elected Yitzhak Rabin’s Labor Party by a decisive margin. He then released the loan guarantees. The peace process, which came tantalizingly close to producing a two-states-for-two-peoples agreement by the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, would begin.

A principal lesson is that an American president can prevail in a showdown with Israel over settlements. But the Bush-Shamir dispute also highlights the centrality of the settlement issue……

Comments (100)


Ghat Albird said:

John W. Walsh had a pointed commentary in AntiWar of 3/30/2010, titled “Petraus’ Cry” which Mr. Walsh interpreted to say, “Jewish Settlers Live High while GI’s Die”.

He ends his commentary with, “Will it be long before Petraeus’ cry rings across the majority of the citizenry fed up with America’s wars in the Middle East? And will this not put a sharper edge on the limp calls for Israel to think twice about continuing its apartheid policy, its relentless ethnic cleansing of Palestine? Does this not begin to pose the question of “Us or Them” for the American populace?

Could it be that US policy is beginning to parallels Mr. Assad’s?

March 30th, 2010, 10:42 pm

 

Hassan said:

Beirut Spring: The Hariri Tribunal Goes Hunting
for Hizballah
David Schenker
March 30, 2010
Last week in Beirut, the United Nations Special Tribunal charged with investigating and prosecuting the killers of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri brought six members of Hizballah in for questioning. The tribunal’s decision to interview Hizballah in connection with the 2005 murder appears to confirm a 2009 report in Der Speigel — corroborated more recently by Le Monde — implicating the Shiite militia in the conspiracy. A shift in the short-term focus of the investigation from Syria to Hizballah will have a profound impact on domestic politics in Lebanon, and potentially on U.S.-Lebanese relations.

Background
Since the February 2005 assassination of Hariri and the establishment of the UN-mandated inquiry into the killing, the primary public focus of the investigation has been on Damascus. Indeed, the first report of the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) in October 2005 “conclud[ed] that … many leads point directly towards the involvement of Syrian security officials with the assassination.” Although no mention was made of Hizballah in the commission’s quarterly reports through 2009, the organization — allied historically with Damascus — expressed strong opposition to the formation of the IIIC and bolted from the cabinet in protest of the government’s decision to support its establishment.

Then, in May 2009 Der Spiegel published an article that reported in great detail on how Hizballah operatives participated in the murder, and how the IIIC had discovered the connection. Apparently, one of the militia’s operatives “committed the unbelievable indiscretion” of calling his girlfriend from a mobile phone used in the operation, enabling the investigators to identify the man. The revelations contained in the Der Spiegel article sent shock waves through Beirut.

Questioning Hizballah
Because Lebanon was embroiled in a civil war from 1975 to 1990, the prospect that Shiites might have killed the leader of the state’s Sunni Muslim community has prompted grave concern. Given the sensitivities, since last May Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly denied the story. Most recently, in February 2010 he characterized the Der Spiegel and Le Monde pieces as an Israeli “accusation.”

Notwithstanding Nasrallah’s protests, Hizballah is struggling increasingly to dissociate itself from the Hariri plot. Last week’s well-publicized questioning of members of the organization’s security apparatus by the UN tribunal has once again refocused attention on an alleged Shiite role in the murder. According to the Lebanese satellite television station al-Jadid, among others, last week’s tribunal interviewees included senior Hizballah officials al-Hajj Salim and Mustafa Badreddine. Salim reportedly heads one of the organization’s special operations units, which was run by military commander Imad Mugniyah until his assassination in February 2008; Badreddine, Mugniyah’s brother-in-law, heads the militia’s counterintelligence unit.

The IIIC interviews generated some interesting responses from supporters of Hizballah (and Syria), most notably former Lebanese cabinet minister Wiam Wahab, who predicted that fitna or civil conflict would ensue if the tribunal proceeded on course. During a meeting with the Spanish ambassador to Lebanon, Wahab also suggested that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) might be targeted if the tribunal was “politicized” — in other words, if it continued to pursue Hizballah suspects. Wahab’s mention of UNIFIL, which operates in Hizballah-controlled southern Lebanon, amounted to an unmistakable threat to the envoy: Spain’s UNIFIL contingent has been attacked twice in recent years.

Unfortunate Timing
For the pro-West March 14 coalition in Lebanon, the allegations of Hizballah involvement in the murder should come as little surprise. Not only would the militia have had the capacity to carry out the operation, its close allies in Damascus had the motive. Members of the coalition had also been at odds with Hizballah for years, and particularly so since the Hariri assassination and the subsequent Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. At the same time, a Hizballah connection to the crime would not in any sense absolve Syria — which then occupied and controlled Lebanon — of culpability.

Yet the IIIC’s targeting of Hizballah comes at an awkward time for the March 14 leadership. Although the coalition won national elections this past summer — and with this victory, the opportunity to form a government — the opposition compelled the majority, led by Rafiq Hariri’s son Saad, to establish a national unity government to include members of the Shiite militia and provide the organization with preponderant influence. Strange bedfellows indeed.

Worse, in the months following the election, the March 14 coalition, which had remained fairly stable since its establishment in 2005, started to fray as its leading international backers in Washington and Riyadh sought rapprochement with Damascus. Consequently, in recent months both Saad Hariri and the March 14 coalition’s influential Druze leader Walid Jumblat have looked to mend fences with Hizballah and Syria. In the case of Jumblat, the price for this accommodation has been to apologize publicly for his anti-Syrian disposition of recent years, request forgiveness from Syria’s Bashar al-Asad regime, and embrace — at least rhetorically — Hizballah’s “resistance” agenda.

Pursue or Jettison the Tribunal?
For Jumblat, who cut his teeth as a warlord during the Lebanese civil war, rapprochement with Syria was a simple choice between justice and chaos. Given the IIIC’s change of focus to Hizballah, Jumblat sensed that implicating the militia in the crime could present a threat to the fragile state’s stability. While the Druze leader has not repudiated the tribunal publicly, he appears to be hoping that indictments will not be forthcoming.

For Rafiq’s son Saad, the calculations are different. As the current leader of Lebanon’s Sunni community, Saad cannot afford politically to forgive and forget the reported transgressions of Hizballah. Indeed, Saad Hariri’s motto since 2005 has been al-haqq — “the truth” — an allusion to the necessity above all else to find out who killed his father. While Saad demonstrated a sense of pragmatism by visiting Syria this past December, the prospect of forgiving his father’s killers would be less palatable.

In addition to domestic considerations, Hariri and his government’s support (or lack thereof) for the tribunal could have an impact on Lebanon’s foreign relations. Because the tribunal was established by the UN, if the government fails to meet its obligations, then Beirut could encounter bilateral difficulties with Washington and Europe. Clearly, the government of Lebanon is not in a position — and likely would not be expected — to render subpoenaed Hizballah suspects to the IIIC. But how would the UN respond if Hizballah were able to engineer the defunding of Lebanon’s $23 million annual financial obligation to the tribunal from the state’s Ministry of Justice?

Conclusion
With two years remaining in its current mandate, the IIIC will probably issue indictments by the end of this year. The threshold for charges in the international criminal court is so high that convictions almost always result. Given the attendant risks, should the tribunal indict even low-level operatives, it is doubtful that Hizballah will allow the accused to live, much less stand trial.

At the end of the day, if hearings do occur, they will likely be held in absentia. Given the severity of the charges and the credibility of the technical evidence the IIIC is slated to present for the indictment and leading up to the trial, for most observers, whether a judgment is ever rendered will matter little. In any event, even without a trial — and regardless of the predictable claims of “politicization” — indictments alone would cause further damage to Hizballah’s carefully cultivated image in the region and stress the already tenuous sectarian modus vivendi in Lebanon.

It will be more difficult — both from an evidentiary and a political standpoint — for the IIIC to establish connections between the Hariri murder, Damascus, and Tehran that would sustain further indictments. For Washington and the credibility of the tribunal institution, however, it is important that the investigation be given time to unfold. In this context, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is instructive: even with an abundance of eyewitnesses, the ICTY took nearly a decade to complete.

No doubt, the regional consequences of indictments could be severe and wide-reaching. In a prediction that suggests either prescience or insider information, in April 2007 — just two years into the investigation — Syrian president Bashar al-Asad warned UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon that the tribunal “could unleash a conflict which would degenerate into civil war and provoke divisions between Sunnis and Shiites from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea.” Contrary to Asad’s recommendation, the answer is not to bury the investigation in the name of “stability” but rather to pursue the killers doggedly and punish them, thereby attaching a price to the routine practice of political assassination in Lebanon.

David Schenker is the Aufzien fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.

March 31st, 2010, 3:03 am

 

jad said:

(Seriously, this Obama is useless, hopeless and coward)

Obama wants U.N. sanctions on Iran in weeks
http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE62T5FE20100331

WASHINGTON/GATINEAU, Quebec (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he wanted tougher U.N. sanctions in weeks against Iran over its nuclear program, and the world’s leading industrial nations expressed optimism that China will agree on possible next steps.
Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented a united front on Iran at a joint White House news conference, saying they felt it was time to move ahead with tougher sanctions that their governments have been negotiating with China, Russia, Germany and Britain.
“My hope is that we are going to get this done this spring,” Obama said. “I’m interested in seeing that regime in place in weeks.”

March 31st, 2010, 5:28 am

 

Menafeeds | Ibn Taymiyya, Egypt, Syria « Melone said:

[…] Joshua Landis (Syria Comment) | Why Syria Must Burnish its “Resistance” Credentials in the Face of Obama’s Inaction on Settlem… | Both David Lesch and Ian Black explain that in Washington and European capitals policy makers are […]

March 31st, 2010, 9:52 am

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Influence of Islam grows in Syria

Syrian Government is worried about ‘fanaticism’, but analysts blame officials for emboldening clerics.

“…In January, Buthaina Shaaban, an adviser on media and political affairs to President Bashar al-Assad, warned at a Baath party meeting against “the growth of religious fanaticism”.

“We are facing a big challenge,” she reportedly said, adding that fundamentalism resulted from the fact that government policies had failed in filling the political void.”

http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/culture/?id=38172

I agree with Dr. Sha’aban. The question is, what is she going to do about it.
.

March 31st, 2010, 1:54 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Dear Joshua,

You write:

“Now that Obama has pushed health-care through congress and looks as if he might tangle with Israel and the question of Arab-Israeli peace, Syria must push the question to the forefront. One way to do this is to bear his teeth and raise the flag of resistance, a third intifada, and possible rekindling of war between Hizbullah and Israel.”

This seems counterintuitive to me. You are saying that because there currently exists a rare opening for the U.S. to act as a more even-handed broker between Israel and the Arabs, Syria should seize this opportunity by promoting a third intifada or a war between Israel and Lebanon.

How would such a move serve Syria’s interests? It seems to me that nothing would really close this window of opportunity faster than a repeat of the Gaza or Lebanon wars. How will such a strategy convince the Obama administration (and more importantly, provide them with political cover) to become even MORE critical of Israel, rather than less critical?

I would argue that this is the time for Bashar to engage in precisely the opposite strategy. He should be using this opportunity to improve his standing in Washington and to make a case for the strong role that Syria can play in helping to broker a comprehensive deal, now that many in the U.S. political establishment are finally realizing that such a deal is in their country’s interests.

A strategy of resistance and stoking the flames of conflict at this juncture would be, it seems to me, a serious miscalculation on Bashar’s part. It will give Netanyahu more support at home, more support in Washington, and will pull the rug out from under Obama’s “tough love” policy.

My two cents…

March 31st, 2010, 2:34 pm

 

Shai said:

Joshua,

I fully agree with QN. I have no doubt whatsoever that Israel would be “thrilled” to have another Lebanon or Gaza “forced-upon-us”, during Obama’s current administration. Nothing could prove our case in DC better than this.

However, if I understand you correctly, there is another theoretical scenario that might achieve what you’re insinuating. That scenario entails not continued “resistance” by third parties, but rather head-on collision between Syria and Israel. Is Syria ready for this?

You could argue, that if HA and Hamas start something, Israel’s response could open the way for Syria to “defend its allies”. But even in such a scenario, I would still agree with QN. Israel’s response to any action taken against it, initiated by the Arab side, will be viewed in Washington as legitimate and out of self-defense. It would not place pressure upon Israel to negotiate the return of Arab territory, because the Arab side would be deemed unreliable.

Just as the Fedayyin or the PLO could not help Egypt retrieve the Sinai, likewise Hezbollah or Hamas cannot help Syria retrieve the Golan. Only peaceful diplomacy via DC can.

March 31st, 2010, 2:53 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Co-Directors of Peace NewZ

QN,

Why do you insist on asking questions you already know the answer to?

Professor Josh is the “Co-director, Center of Peace Studies, University of Oklahoma”.

In other words, academics who promote “resistance” (aka “jihad”) are “peaceniks”, and Israeli prime ministers who want to negotiate without preconditions are “hardline”.

Get with the program sir;)

March 31st, 2010, 2:53 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

According to a respected French analyst the parallels between Judaism and hysterical pathology are quite natural.

Jews, he contends are well-known for such syndromes: as hysteria, depression, introspection, amnesia, manipulation, pathological lying, ambivalent identity, prophetic deception, sexual ambiguity, and so on.

To this writer Joshua’s take and in all probability reflecting some aspects of Syria’s thinking too which so far has stood the test of time in not only frustrateing but as the saying goes “sticking it to the man” and continues to do it to the Avigdor/Nethanyahu duo is spot on.

Moshe Dayan is quoted as saying that Israel must maintain a “mad dog” posture as a threat to its neighbors in order to control their reactions. He neglected to delve into the potential normal reactions of dealing once and for all with a “mad dog”.

March 31st, 2010, 3:58 pm

 

why-discuss said:

“The Grand Bargain”: Iran’s emasculation is the price for a Palestinian state ?

Will Syria and the Golan’s issue be left in the cold ?

Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, Inter Press Service Jerrold Kessel And Pierre Klochendler, inter Press Service – Tue Mar 30, 8:01 pm ET

JERUSALEM, Mar 30 (IPS) – Against all expectations, it’s becoming the forerunner of a peace plan. Indeed, it might in the end even surprise the world as Israelis and Palestinians are forced into a peace. Even if, for now, it’s shaping up as anything but peaceful.

It’s a battle royal.

“It” is the ongoing and unprecedented crisis in relations between the United States and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to insist that the divide between his government and the administration of President Barack Obama is still bridgeable.

But nearly a week since his humiliation at the White House, beneath the Israeli leader’s bluster, the message is beginning to sink in for Israelis: the United States means business.

Writes Ari Shavit, in Monday’s lead story of the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz: “The demands that Obama made at the White House are the tip of the iceberg between which lies a dramatic change in U.S. policy towards Israel.”

Shavit says that the Netanyahu government believes that the demands made of Israel by the president “point to an intention to impose a permanent settlement on Israel and the Palestinians within two years at the utmost.”

In what, according to Israeli political sources, amounts to a “White House dictum”, Obama made ten demands of Netanyahu.

Four relate specifically to Israeli actions and policy in occupied East Jerusalem; the rest relate to the negotiating process and the other core issues of the conflict which the U.S. intends to have on the table when both sides are pressed into the planned “proximity” talks that are to be run by Obama’s special envoy, Senator George Mitchell.

As the U.S. awaits Israel’s answer to the president’s demands within ten days (following the Jewish Passover holiday week), four possible scenarios are evolving:

* Netanyahu sticks to his guns, draws into his laager. His besieged battleground is Jerusalem. So, the Israeli leader continues to declare the popular Israeli credo — as he did repeatedly last week in the U.S. — that “Jerusalem is not a settlement, it is our capital”; Israel, he insists, will continue building unhampered throughout all parts of the city.

With the backing of the bulk of his steady coalition, his rightwing flank, Netanyahu might well choose this tough stance, however risky.

* Netanyahu caves in: Because, as his defence minister and currently closest political ally, Ehud Barak, noted in a special security briefing on Sunday, for Israel, solid relations with the U.S. is the “pillar and cornerstone of our security….we must never lose sight of how important these relations are, or of our capability to act in harmony and unity with the U.S.”

To follow such advice, albeit sound, would be uncharacteristic of Netanyahu, however.

The third scenario is probably the most likely, at least for the time being.

* It would involve Netanyahu continuing to prevaricate or manoeuvre by tip-toeing his way between the U.S. demands while seeking to rally the Israeli public behind him for the fight. He would also solicit the backing of the president’s domestic pro-Israeli opponents, however slim that hope, given Obama’s recent triumphs both in domestic policy with his healthcare reform, and internationally with the new nuclear agreement with Russia.

Last month in an IPS interview, top Israeli political pundit David Landau argued that Obama should strive to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace through what he defined as “the Grand Bargain: full-fledged support for Israel in the neutralising of any Iranian nuclear threat in exchange for Israel accepting to give up its occupation of Palestinian lands.”

The Israeli Prime Minister has suddenly been awoken to realise that he needs face a new choice — not simply linkage between neutralising the threat of war with Iran and working for peace with the Palestinians, but between neutralising the threat of war with Iran and an imposed peace.

That would seem to leave Netanyahu with only one way of pre-empting the U.S. plan that is now taking shape — the imposition of a settlement with the Palestinians, on U.S. terms. He takes the initiative.

* The fourth scenario therefore involves Netanyahu turning “the Grand Bargain” on its head: he formally pledges Israel’s readiness for a fair peace with the Palestinians but only provided he gets, upfront, iron-clad guarantees, not only from the U.S., but from Europe and from the Arab world, that Israel need have no fear — present or future — from any Iranian nuclear weapon.

It is almost 43 years since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war is said to have changed “forever” the face of the Middle East.

It is a moment when “forever” post-1967 is coming to an end; the Middle East is fast approaching its most important crossroads since June 1967.

March 31st, 2010, 4:05 pm

 

almasri said:

I really do not understand how some people see a window of opportunity in a little spat between US and Israel which can be interpreted no more than a theatrical manoeuvre in order to help US puppet regimes in the ME. That’s all it is. Biden went to Israel and apparently got insulted but it was all planned. Then Neten went to Washington and conspired with Obama behind closed doors on how best they both can support puppet regimes while planning strikes on Iran. The proof is in what is actually going on right now. Why would anyone listen to empty rhetoric? Obama is worse than Bush and any other US President when it comes to the Arabs and bias towards Israel. Did Obama threaten Israel with sanctions? No. In fact he is sending military equipment to help it stage a strike on Iran and ignite the whole region. Sanctions on Iran are getting priority, and Obama is even willing to trade Taiwan for China’s support. Go and check what Obama said to the Chinese ambassador just couple days ago.
So of course, the main post is perfectly logical. Syria and the Arabs as a whole have only one and only one option. They should follow Resistance. If Israel attacks Iran, Hezbollah has the full right and obligation to respond and rain its missiles on settlers’ heads. The Palestinians should also resume their resistance operations all over Palestine. That’s the only route available to them. Why shouldn’t the Arabs be allowed to use whatever means available to them in order tom liberate their land when both the US and Israel are only interested in a stagnant process with the only objective to put the Arabs to sleep while Zionist continue their land theft. Resistance gives the Arab people the only available means to achieve their goals.

March 31st, 2010, 4:06 pm

 

norman said:

Ghat ,
the first part was uncalled for

March 31st, 2010, 4:12 pm

 

norman said:

US Senator John Kerry visiting Syria
Updated: Wednesday, 31 Mar 2010, 10:59 AM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 31 Mar 2010, 10:59 AM CDT

BEIRUT (AP) – U.S. Senator John Kerry will visit Syria this week, the latest in a series of American officials to make the trip, as Washington pushes for the country’s cooperation in Middle East peace efforts and the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

The Democratic senator is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Kerry began his trip to the region in Lebanon Wednesday.

In Syria, he is expected to meet with President Bashar Assad.

Washington has reached out to Syria in recent months by nominating the first U.S. ambassador to Damascus since 2005 and sending top diplomats to meet with Assad. Washington is hoping to draw Syria away from Iran and the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

Copyright Associated Press, Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

March 31st, 2010, 4:38 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

NORMAN

ANY THOUGHTS ON THE BELOW ? LIKE IS IT CALLED FOR OR UNCALLED FOR?

AKBAR PALACE said:

Co-Directors of Peace NewZ

QN,

Why do you insist on asking questions you already know the answer to?

Professor Josh is the “Co-director, Center of Peace Studies, University of Oklahoma”.

In other words, academics who promote “resistance” (aka “jihad”) are “peaceniks”, and Israeli prime ministers who want to negotiate without preconditions are “hardline”.

March 31st, 2010, 4:39 pm

 

norman said:

Ghat ,
You are better than AP , don’t compare yourself to him ,

March 31st, 2010, 4:59 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

QN
while I agree with you ,I differ in two points
1) Intifada has different effect,and completely opposite from.war between HA and Israel,Intifada will increase sympathy to palastinians and increase the criticism of Israel.
2) timing.everything will have success if it is done in the proper time.

March 31st, 2010, 5:04 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Akbar’s “Pathetic Claims” (con’t)

(CAUTION: FALL ASLEEP ZONE)

The topic we have been discussing has been whether Israel is comparable to Western democracies or not.

Correct.

Jonathan Cook and CAMERA have nothing to do with our topic, enough with the diversions.

Yossi,

Sure they do. You posted a link from Jonathan Cook. You called him “brave”. I noted that Jonathan Cook was a notorious anti-Israel “reporter” who hasn’t written a positive article about Israel in his life. And he ignores Israeli security concerns, as in this example:

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=6&x_article=751

You presented 5 “challenges” to show how Israel is not like or isn’t “comparable” to any Western country:

Challenge #1: name another county in the West which is building new settlements specifically for one ethnic group (e.g., the Jews) and consistently prevents members of the minority from joining such new settlements.

I mentioned the examples of Northern Island and the American internment of Japanese-Americans during WW2.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster

Challenge #2: name another Western country in which immigration laws discriminate between potential immigrants’ members of the majority’s religious affiliation and that of the minority’s.

I mentioned the case of Austrailia adn Europe:

http://www.angelfire.com/in/roachworld/Aus3.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1017/p06s02-woeu.html

Challenge #3: name another country in which citizens who are born in the country may not bring their foreign spouses into their country based on the country of origin of the spouse.

I admited that I didn’t know of a Western country that practiced that, but I responded that in most Arab countries, an Israeli cannot enter.

Challenge #4: name another Western country, in which the Education Ministry, among other ministries, does not offer a Web site in the native language of a 20% minority.

I posted an Arabic website from the Israeli Education Ministry. You chose to ignore it.

Challenge #5: name another Western country whose national anthem requires the person singing it to identify as a member of the majority affiliated religion.

I posted a website showing scores of religiously-oriented flang and ANTHEMS from western countries. You chose to ignore this as well.

I then told you that you 5 CHALLENGE QUESTIONS still do not tell the whole story. Your 5 CHALLENGE QUESTIONS do not determine which country is more Western or more Middle Eastern.

I asked you why you didn’t consider asking about BASIC FREEDOMS, like freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom of the press, and freedom to vote. I believe these are better examples of what makes a country “WESTERN”.

I’m spending my time refuting your pathetic claims because it is a crime to let a shameless person like yourself, a person whose whole ideology is an insult to the principles of the American constitution, the Israeli declaration of independence and basic Jewish values, have the last word. I don’t care if we agree or not, you will not have the last word on this one, and you will not be able to mask your miserable arguments by changing the topic.

Yossi,

I appreciate you spending the time to respond. I think the argument is a good one and a positive factor for the Syria Comment forum, where Syrians have yet to experience the kind of freedoms we have here in the US and Israel. I aslo do not discount that fact that these two democracies have come a long way and STILL have a way to go, especially Israel. I have said that considering the REAL security concerns Israel is faced with, I think she has done a GOOD job.

Using words and phrases like “pathetic claims”, “shameless person”, that my “ideology is an insult to the principles of the American constitution, the Israeli declaration of independence and basic Jewish values” [how so I wonder?], and “miserable arguments” doesn’t make YOUR argument any better. I suggest YOU respond to my points instead of relying on personal attacks.

It is no wonder PBS calls Turkey and Israel, “Western-Style Democracies”…

Both Israel and Turkey are Western-style democracies with regularly scheduled elections. But Israeli Arabs and Turkish Kurds experience political restrictions, as these groups are seen as threatening to both the security and the identity of the state.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/mideast/themes/politics/index.html

March 31st, 2010, 5:04 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Syria Comment’s Well-Known Anti-semitism

Jews, he contends are well-known for such syndromes: as hysteria, depression, introspection, amnesia, manipulation, pathological lying, ambivalent identity, prophetic deception, sexual ambiguity, and so on.

Ghat,

Since we’re now on the subject of Jews, can you provide a link showing who “he” is and why you would believe such an anti-semite?

March 31st, 2010, 5:41 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

NORMAN said:

Ghat ,
You are better than AP , don’t compare yourself to him ,

I know that I am better. My citing AP was to question your ” its uncalled for”.

March 31st, 2010, 5:52 pm

 

jad said:

“Syria Comment’s Well-Known Anti-semitism”

AP the creepy guy:
Keep your dirty word game to the person you are talking to, do not play this game on everybody on Syria Comments.
Read Norman’s comment #12 and shut it.

Dear Joshua, Alex
this is getting too annoying on SC, it’s been the same crap by the same people and I had enough reading all these stupid stuff from judging people by the religion as Almasri and Ghat do and by the same BS that AP is using over and over and over on everybody even Yossi and Shai when he is stuck in the corner and he (AP) is taking his dirt bag allover the place distracting the whole subject and the sad part is that we have to read it every day, It’s seriously sickening and defiantly disgusting.
You need to come up with a strict solution otherwise you are loosing lots of productive and interesting comments you might get when the arena is not all about the robot AP and the Anti Jews messages flying allover none of are from any SYRIAN.
Please do something.
Thank you

March 31st, 2010, 6:02 pm

 

norman said:

Ghat ,
What is uncalled for is to generalize and consider all Jews with these descriptions and that is unfair , i wonder what this French person says about the Arabs if he says these things about the Jews , must be much worse , calling a race or a religion with descriptions that could apply to some is just racism as i see it ,

March 31st, 2010, 6:07 pm

 

jad said:

QN, Shai,
I think you are missing an important point from Dr. Landis analyses, he pointed out that during the 90s the Syrians did exactly what the US asked them to do by keeping everything quite on all fronts, as a result, they didn’t get anything back in return for their good behaving but disappointment and time wasting from both the states and Israel, so Dr. Landis point is that in Damascus’s best interest to keep the pressure on until it gets what it wants, which is the occupied Jolan back, otherwise there is no point of using the same method they used before knowing the results.

And that is my take. Norman 😉

March 31st, 2010, 6:18 pm

 

norman said:

Jad ,
That is my take too , I agree ,work for peace and prepare for a war that will be imposed on Syria,

March 31st, 2010, 6:32 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

Interesting that an israeli can propound on “how to solve the Palestenian problem”, is by “collective deportation” an activity that the USA by commission or ommission supported by its political bias and no one says a word.

And any comment made that is not 100% pro-jews or israeli is blasphemed.

Speaking during an interview which was published in Jerusalem Post, Professor Martin Van Crevel said Israel had the capability of hitting most European capitals with nuclear weapons.

“We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force.”

Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that “collective deportation” was Israel’s only meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people.

Dr. Creveld is well covered by Google so have at it.

You all might also keep in mind the walls and roads that encouage collective deportations as well as the harrassment of Christian worshippers during Easter.

Holy Land Christians protest Israeli police restrictions during Easter celebrations

Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum Action Alert

Holy Land Christians are protesting the denial of the freedom of worship by the Israeli occupation police during Easter celebrations. In a press release, they have complained that Israeli Police will impose restrictions and limit the movement of all Christian worshipers during the celebrations. These restrictions will particularly affect the Holy Fire Saturday in Jerusalem, which has been celebrated from as far back as 1106 AD. The celebrations have been governed for the past decades by the status quo of 1852 covering the processions within the boundaries of the Holy Sepulcher Church in addition to traditions by the local community and pilgrims in its vicinity.
Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Fire Saturday, and Easter Sunday are the Holiest days celebrated in Jerusalem for Christians. Christians are denied their fundamental right of freely exercise their religion because of road blocks in the old city, police presence with machine guns, as well as rude and hostile attitudes from police and Army officers. The curfews and forced closures make these movements almost impossible. In sharp contrast, Israel allows Jews to freely access their temples.

Today when a debate has been initiated regarding the freedom of worship in Jerusalem due to the constant settler aggressions against Al Aqsa Mosque (Al Haram Al Sharif) and despite the fact that Israeli officials have made public assurances that “only Israel” can keep freedom of religion in Jerusalem, the Holy Land Christians denounce Israel’s discriminatory and restrictive policies. Palestinian Christian organizations in occupied East Jerusalem have initiated a legal process “to preserve the right to freely access our churches and shrines”.

Palestinian Christians now “call upon the international community, and particularly to the Christian World, including its churches and civil society to put pressure on Israel to end the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem as well as in this particular case to stop limiting Holy Land Christians from exercising their basic religious rights.”

Thats another Jewish trait, they are forever for PEACE its the others whomever they happen to be at the time that are the ones who are for war.

March 31st, 2010, 6:47 pm

 

norman said:

(( Thats another Jewish trait))
I think you mean Israeli

March 31st, 2010, 7:18 pm

 

almasri said:

I agree with #25. But it would more convincing if Jews themselves came out in condemnation of Israel and Zionism.

March 31st, 2010, 7:39 pm

 

Joshua said:

Qifa Nabki writes:

“This seems counter-intuitive to me. You are saying that because there currently exists a rare opening for the U.S. to act as a more even-handed broker between Israel and the Arabs, Syria should seize this opportunity by promoting a third intifada or a war between Israel and Lebanon…

A strategy of resistance and stoking the flames of conflict at this juncture would be, it seems to me, a serious miscalculation on Bashar’s part. It will give Netanyahu more support at home, more support in Washington, and will pull the rug out from under Obama’s “tough love” policy.”
….

Dear QN,

I am not proposing war or recommending it.

I am merely trying to imagine what Syrian thinking is. I do not think that Syria wants or can afford a war.

I do think that Syria calculates that there will be no real move to peace without US pressure.

The only thing that may get Washington off its duff is the notion that war will break out if peace efforts don’t advance.

This is hard to do because Syria is so weak, but Syria is trying.

Why else is Syria doing what it is doing?

If Syria didn’t complain and there was no resistance front…

There would be no reason for Obama to break any eggs and get into a tangle with Israel. You heard what Clinton said… The world is a dangerous place. Not making peace is too risky.

The only reason she says things like that is because of Hizbullah, Syria and Iran. If they didn’t speak up, Clinton would be talking about… China.

March 31st, 2010, 7:40 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

AP,
What Ghat quoted above is as repulsive and sick (the quote and not Ghat) as the hatred spewed by Daniel Pipes, Glen Beck, Avigdor Lieberman and the likes of evil. You should be shocked like the rest of us upon reading or seeing hatred everywhere it happens – not just when it’s inconvenient for your gun and barrel.

But, for the record, Ghat referred to the following book from a French author whose intellectual capability is equal to that of Daniel Pipes:
http://www.toqonline.com/2010/03/the-psychopathology-of-judaism-2/

As Norman said above, what this author has said is collectively abhorred by us (you know who we are) and we never condone such hatered and generalization.

By the way, you seem to be sharing the same plague that has inflected the hapless souls roaming the halls of the American Enterprise Institute wishing for a bloody war to start somewhere.

That plague is called hypocrisy: you order people to refrain from “personal attacks” while exempting yourself on the ground of eh, higher moral ground, may I guess?

In #17 above, you ordered Yossi by telling him “YOU respond to my points instead of relying on personal attacks.”

But wait a minute, you constantly help yourself to a healthy dose of personal attacks lobbed at Dr. Landis and many of us here ranging from hurtful insults to false and irresponsible accusations.

Allow me to remind you that he, whose house is built from glass, should think twice about throwing stones at others.

March 31st, 2010, 7:42 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

Easter greetings.

This is not a phony crisis.

by JEFFREY BLANKFORT on MARCH 31, 2010

This is not a phony crisis, as a number of critics have been saying. I think the Obama administration has gotten the word from Petraeus and Mullen that Israel has become a liability and it is not about to let Israel’s government of right wing crazies continue to harm US interests in the Middle East. Even former Israeli consul in NY, Alon Pinkas told Ynets News yesterday that to sum up the criticism coming from the US, “Israel is turning from an asset to a burden.”

Obama was not even supposed to be in the country when Bibi came and I suspect one of the reasons he stayed was that he did not want to give the impression that he was running away from someone that few in the Democratic ranks, going back to Clinton, really like. Had Obama not been there he would have been seen in some quarters as surrendering Washington to Netanyahu and having the latter’s triumphant appearance at AIPAC be the story instead of the snub.

The press has been treating Netanyahu’s visit to the White House as if it had been a planned visit and it wasn’t and Obama, wisely, made sure that everyone, including Netanyahu, knew who was in charge, at least for that moment. What no one has yet mentioned because the “Israeli exception” has become so routine and internalized is that other than attending sessions at the UN, almost no other country’s head of state comes to the US, as Netanyahu did for AIPAC, unless it is an official visit at the invitation of the POTUS which Netanyahu’s most definitely wasn’t.

The only other head of state to make such a visit that I can remember was the president of Mexico but he was the guest last year of the “lobby’s” state department– the American Jewish Committee.

The only other figure who has traveled here who might be considered a “head of state” is the Dalai Lama, but since he is, in fact, not one, he doesn’t count. Bringing a head of state to Washington requires considerable security planning and is usually formally announced by the White House.

Now,there are reportedly over 327 signatures on a House letter that Hoyer mentioned at the AIPAC dinner but which was actually dated on March 19, and a letter from the Senate, dated the 29th, just yesterday, that was co-signed by Barbara Boxer for the Dems and John Issakson for the Repubs calling on Clinton to keep our disputes with Israel under wraps.

The decision to address the letters to Clinton rather than Obama I find interesting and a sign that the members of Congress who initiated it, with AIPAC’s help (LOL), of course, think she’s an easier and safer target at this moment than Obama, going into the election season.

March 31st, 2010, 7:42 pm

 

Alex said:

QN, Shai,

I agree with Joshua. Netanyahu will not give Obama anything that Shamir did not give George Bush Sr. who pressured him and Israel in 1991 to compromise with Syria and the Palestinians in a meaningful way.

Netanyahu will waste time until Obama is out of office in 2 years… Israel by now mastered the art of waiting those rare 4 years of realists in the white house.

A third intifada must be non-violent though … rocks by Palestinian boys thrown at Israeli tanks is fine, but no suicide bombs or any violence towards Israeli civilians.

As for a Hezbollah war with Israel … how will that damage Syria’s standing in Washington? … Hezbollah will not start that war .. it will not attack Israel.

ISRAEL will start that war because Israel as no other tool to show its influence beyond its IDF … Israel can not rely on its diplomacy like Syria can in the Middle East … not until Israel decides to be a friendly country that cares about its neighbors, and not only about its own interests.

March 31st, 2010, 7:42 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Joshua

That is what I told commentators on my blog: that you were trying to portray the Syrian position.

The problem is, how do you make the threat of war palpable without crossing the line and finding yourself in a war that you can’t afford?

Alex,

A Hezbollah war with Israel will damage Syria’s standing in Washington because it will be perceived as a Syrian provocation. Just as Joshua is saying: “One way to do this is to bear his teeth and raise the flag of resistance, a third intifada, and possible rekindling of war between Hizbullah and Israel.”

March 31st, 2010, 7:59 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

I agree with you and with Joshua that Syria needs to get Washington to pressure Israel. I agree that the threat of war in the region will make Obama move faster than anything perpetuating the status-quo.

But I disagree that by having HA or Hamas go to battle with Israel, Syria stands to gain much. If Israel and HA go at it again (which I doubt, given that Likud is in power), Israel will simply point to the missiles that land here, and ask Washington if they have any doubt about their origin, or transshipment destination. Even if Obama won’t buy it, Congress will. Syria does NOT look good in Washington, when her allies go to fight Israel. For the U.S. to finally change its policy in the ME (and vis-a-vis Syria), Syria cannot be deemed a “supporter of terrorism”.

I disagree with you about who might start the next round. Hezbollah started in 2006 with a miscalculation, and it may well repeat the same next time around. After all, it is far stronger today, has the expressed support of Iran, Syria, and Hamas, and the record shows that whenever the region kind-of forgets about Hezbollah for too long, HA finds a way to “remind” us. If it’s just a rocket or two, Israel won’t react. If it’s kidnapping a soldier, or heavy shelling, Israel will respond, Washington will “understand”, and Syria will look bad.

The reason I still agree with QN, is because I believe Assad’s win-win card in Washington is through a peaceful-but-stern approach. Obama’s heart needs to be won over, not his Secretary of State’s. He needs to know that Assad is serious, and that it’s Bibi’s turn to prove himself. Not to fear Syria isn’t serious, and have Congress breathing down his neck, demanding a renewal of sanctions, based on Syria-supported (direct or indirect) renewal of violence in the region.

Syria MUST make Washington believe that the only one still sounding the drums of war in this region is… Israel. That’s the only way to go.

March 31st, 2010, 8:05 pm

 

Alex said:

Dear Jad
Dear Almasri
Dear AP
Dear Ghat

Joshua will add a new poll today in which he will ask all readers to vote if they want SC to be more strict in enforcing its rules and regulations.

Please try to not vote more than once. I will ask my programmer to filter out votes which seem to be from the same location.

Jad … I understand your frustration but since this is not a scientific process, we have no precise way of deciding what comment can stay and what other comment must be removed.

For example you are not supposed to tell AP to “shut it” and your comment above could have been a candidate for removal.

Almasri and Ghat are sometimes stating opinions that are too general in condemning all Jews for the sins of Israel or other Israeli power groups in the west.

Amir and AP made some statements which hide a general lack of respect or lack of sensitivity for Arabs in general, and they have defended some of the worst Israeli crimes.

Anyway .. we will see the results of the poll, and if they support firm implementation of SC’s rules then we will try harder to do so, and everyone should expect his comments to be edited or removed in that case.

March 31st, 2010, 8:06 pm

 

Alex said:

Dear QN and Shai

I am quite confident that Hizbollah will not repeat what happened in 2006

Israel will have to start that next war.

If the US administration decided to blame Syria for an unprovoked Israeli attack on Lebanon (using Netanyahu’s famous preemption and prevention justifications) then the United States and its Arab “moderate” allies will pay the price like they did for GWB’s fanatic pro Israel policies 2002 to 2008

Shai, I see your point, that Likud rarely needs to prove its macho traits by launching wars like labor and Kadima leaders do, … but when there are no other options to remind everyone how strong Israel is, I will not be too surprised this time if the current coalition will do it.

March 31st, 2010, 8:19 pm

 

Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Dear Alex,

You’re right. “…we have no precise way of deciding what comment can stay and what other comment must be removed”.

There is no “precise” way; there’s no way at all. So better not start with it (moderating) in the first place.

I, for example, have a problem with Ghat’s comments, as you could notice, but I’m absolutely against blocking / removing / deleting / moderating him. He has the right to speak his BS, and if I don’t like it, I skip. The same applies to Masri AP and all.

I’m not here to hear just what I like and what I agree with. But to hear things to learn from, things that I have no other way of knowing, and things that can maybe change the way I look at things. And so the only way is to allow ALL opinions to be heard.

And this was my half cent.
.

March 31st, 2010, 8:31 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

If we’re only talking about a scenario whereby Israel initiates, then the question still remains, what does Syria do? Based on its recent declarations, it will support its allies. But how will it support them? If Israel does attack Hezbollah, will Syria launch missiles against Israel? If Israel goes into Gaza, will Syria respond?

It seems to me, that the problem isn’t proving to Washington that Israel has a tendency to initiate, to preempt, to overreact disproportionately, etc. The problem is that few in America see Hezbollah or Hamas resistance as something legitimate, defined as anything other than terrorism. And if that’s true, then any association to or by Syria will be viewed negatively by the Obama Administration, and will only contribute to perpetuating Israel’s delay-tactics.

Unless Syria is ready to confront Israel head-on, to bring about the next 1973 (with far more painful consequences), I believe Syria’s best shot at turning Obama into Bush Sr., or far worse, is by calling Israel’s bluff.

March 31st, 2010, 8:32 pm

 

jad said:

Alex,
Are you comparing my ‘Shut it’ comment to the condemnation of all Jews comments?
In that case and if deleting my ‘Shut it’ comment will solve the problem you have my permission to delete any and every comments by me and I’ll be a very happy man.
It’s terrible to read that someone thinks that all Jews are bad because they are Jews and leave the Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Shintos…and atheists out as if those are angles.
Christians killed many people through out history and they are still doing that in the name of God, Muslims did and are still doing the same in the name of Allah, am I allow to write comment condemning Christians and Muslims because of their religion?
From now on I’m a Jew and every comment about my religion will have a reply and I’ll use any word I see it fits since things are ‘relative’ and there is no scientific way to measure my aggression against other religions.
I’m very sorry Alex to make your work harder on SC but I had enough reading the same message for the last month.

March 31st, 2010, 8:36 pm

 

Alex said:

Jad

The only comparison between your and Almasri’s comments is that they both violate Syria Comment’s rules and regulations :

# Personal attacks against other contributors;
# Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;
# Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;

As you see from Amir’s opinion above, there is no general agreement regarding the way we should interpret the above rules. Amir is Jewish as you know and he prefers to read Almasri’s comments.

I do not agree with Amir, by the way … there is a limit to freedom … when you offend too many readers then you are not free to go on.

On the other hand, we will not act like Saudi Arabia’s religious police. We need to find a balanced compromise in between the two extreme options.

Let’s see what the poll tells us.

March 31st, 2010, 8:58 pm

 

jad said:

# Personal attacks against other contributors; (shut it ) Check

# Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language; (where is that in my (shut it) comment)?

# Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments; (where is that in my (Shut it) comment)?

March 31st, 2010, 9:07 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai

I do not know exactly what Syria will decide to do in case Israel launched a new attack on Lebanon. But I have a number of related observations:

1) Syria will not take part unless the Lebanese government asks for help officially. Don’t forget that this time the Lebanese government, and not Hezbollah will be on the other side if Israel attacks without a Hezbollah provocation of Israel.

It will be really difficult for the American administration, and for America’s Arab allies (like Saudi Arabia) to refrain from supporting their friends leading the Lebanese government if they demanded Syrian help.

2) Syria did not say it will defend Gaza militarily … that is obviously not doable without attacking Israel itself.

How well will Syria perform?… much better than expected. Both Syria and Israel can seriously punish the other side. Israel is stronger of course, but that won’t be relevant, just like it was not in 2006 against Hezbollah.

Israel will attack Lebanon, not Hezbollah … things will be very different this time.

March 31st, 2010, 9:09 pm

 

almasri said:

Don’t worry Alex. I, for one, wouldn’t even vote once if that makes you happy.
But despite my dislike to the fellow, I would second #34. It is easy to skip what you don’t like, so why shut everybody or some? For example AP is non-existent as far as I’m concerned. In this case SC needs only to post a disclaimer that it does not endorse any opinion posted by the commentators.
Some people seem to want only certain topics to be discussed (as by dictation) and only certain people to be involved as in 20 and 36. That in my, opinion is the most destructive attitude, even more so than criticising a whole group of people in general. I believe, we all should be grateful to the host, and we should realize that we, commentators, are guests and cannot set the agenda.
I suggest, Alex, that if rules are to be declared and posted, then make them as general as they can be made. In addition I would say emphasize that everyone should observe the ethics of hospitality, and that they would be judged on that basis. If I come to your house, I am expected to behave in a certain manner and at least I shouldn’t try to take over and demand exactly what I want you to offer me for dinner.
I for one thank you and the host for your efforts and the space you provide for me and everyone else.

March 31st, 2010, 9:12 pm

 

Alex said:

39. jad said:

# Personal attacks against other contributors; (shut it ) Check

# Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language; (where is that in my (shut it) comment)?

# Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments; (where is that in my (Shut it) comment)?

Dear Jad

Your “shut it” violated the first rule above, and others violated the second and third rules … my point was that if I am to delete their comments because they violated SOME of SC’s rules, then I would have to remove your comment because it also violated SOME of SC’s rules

March 31st, 2010, 9:14 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

TO ALEX.

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

William Orville Douglas.

Thats my vote. And I do heartelly and unequivocally applaud FORD PREFECT’S Commentary above under # 28.

March 31st, 2010, 9:16 pm

 

Alex said:

Thanks Almasri.

By the way,I did not mean to accuse you personally of voting repeatedly. In fact others have the habit of multiple-voting and I discussed it with them in the past. One was banned after he insisted to continue voting (from other computers at his university I guess) after I warned him to stop .. he voted 9 or ten times to accuse Syria of killing Hariri.

We are all thankful to Joshua for creating an environment where all are welcome. Very few Mideast blogs are that neutral.

But please think of the comments section not as Joshua’s home, but as a some general meeting hall where all of you can set the rules.

March 31st, 2010, 9:22 pm

 

Alex said:

Ghat

Just like democracy is not perfect, “freedom of speech” is not perfect either… too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

We tried in the past to allow everyone to freely express what is really on his mind and we got into childish name calling by the end of the day. Many excellent commentators stopped writing as they got tired of the name calling.

Thank you Ford Prefect for reminding Akbar that when he insists on linking to Daniel Pipes and presenting his work to us with so much admiration, he should be equally enthusiastic to Ghat’s link to The Psychopathology of Judaism by Hervé Ryssen

March 31st, 2010, 9:40 pm

 

Hassan said:

This is the only blog on the net whose moderators would choose to keep post #9 and its racist filth on their blog. I can’t imagine someone who is not an antisemite making the decision to keep that post in public view for the world to see. Something tells me that if such comments were made about Arabs, Muslims, Allawis, Sunnis or Shia that we would have seen a different response from the moderator or even Landis. Given that the author of blog is pushing “resistance” I am not surprised.

March 31st, 2010, 9:42 pm

 

jad said:

Dear Alex,
I didn’t ask you to delete any of those guys comments, I didn’t ask you to be a Saudi religious police and I didn’t ask you to ban those commentators.
My one and only point is:
For some commentators to keep pointing out that Jews are BAD because of Judaism is wrong and destructive and that something needed to be said about that, end of story.
Thank you.

March 31st, 2010, 9:43 pm

 

Joshua said:

Dear Shai,
I don’t think Hizb will go to war. I think it will growl, as Syria and Iran are doing. They will all try to prepare as best they can, but, as we know, they are no match for Israel, which is the problem.

If they were a match, Israel would be making deals. It is really about the balance of power and not as much about the psychology, as many insist.

March 31st, 2010, 9:43 pm

 

Alex said:

46. Hassan said:

This is the only blog on the net whose moderators would choose to keep post #9 and its racist filth on their blog. I can’t imagine someone who is not an antisemite making the decision to keep that post in public view for the world to see.

I guess your imagination is not too good “Hassan”. If you open your eyes and mind a bit better you might imagine better.

Above I suggested that we will run a poll to ask the readers to decide how strict we should be, and I argued with Ghat and Almasri that freedom of speech has limitations.

Before you teach us lessons on what is allowed or not, go read what Israeli papers allow on a daily basis:

Here is a random one of thousands:

“the Dogs” … the Arabs

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/ResponseDetails.jhtml?resNo=5867339&itemno=1158857&cont=2

March 31st, 2010, 10:03 pm

 

Hassan said:

Oh so it appears that the Baathis at Syria Comment are now using Israeli media as their model of how media outlets should operate. I never would have imagined that Baathis would spurn their totalitarian preferences for the open media that exists in Israel. Perhaps that is not what has happened. Perhaps this is a more simple case of “oh, well if Israel does it then we can do it.” Well, I would love it if that were the case because then perhaps we would see on Syria Comment other elements of Israeli media. Like say, for example, self-criticism.

Ultimately though, it is very disappointing that Landis, a normal American professor, has allowed his blog to be used as a vehicle for such disgusting anti-semitic language. Simply having different politics is no excuse.

March 31st, 2010, 10:13 pm

 

Alex said:

Hassan,

Instead of your productivity in name calling, I suggest you try some memory exercises. You need to work on it my friend.

minutes ago you wrote:

“This is THE ONLY blog on the net whose moderators would choose to keep post #9 and its racist filth on their blog.”

So to prove you wrong, I linked to Haaretz, which is a fine newspaper that I read every day, despite the fact its comments section is useless as it is full of Israelis calling for bombing Damascus or calling the Arabs dogs …

If you prefer to stick to “Blogs” I can gladly give you URLs of tens of right wing hate-filled blogs in the US (since you don’t want Israeli ones)

Sorry if you felt you need to call me a Baathist after you called me an antisemite.

If you really want to know, I do not like the Baath party … did considerably more damage than good to Syria.

Because I need to go to dinner, I suggest you stop your name calling for today. Come back tomorrow if you want with more accusations.

Small advice: what you are trying to do is useless… others before you tried to tarnish the reputation of Syria Comment, Joshua, or “Alex” … Syria Comment is still the most popular and respected Syria blog.

Save time, find another tactic.

March 31st, 2010, 10:40 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Hassan,
Again, for the record, the disgusting language (and it sure is disgusting) that you are referring to in #9 above is a direct quotation from a French author, whose book I linked in my comment #28. It is not what Ghat was personally saying.

But you seem to be falling in the same trap that AP has laid for most of us – he conveniently uses the label “terror” every time he wants to attack us – so that we come back to defend ourselves and the “terror” to get even. This is a very well known tactic that the armchair ideologues at AIPAC teach their disciples while Daniel “Sewage” Pipes institutionalize it through his oh-so-innocent hate speeches to minds that are color-coded by the terror alerts.

So, for example, if you are for peace and justice, you are, by default, either a self-hating Jews, a terror-sponsoring person, or a Ba’athist. Really?

But luckily, few are paying attention to them anymore. So now they are flocking to the empty-headed, but sexy, Sarah Palin to arouse Joe the Plumber so he can get even with the terrorists. Good luck!

If you are trying to categorize those of us who support Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Israeli rights as Ba’athists, then you are wrong. The Ba’athist label is fashionable only where is a famine of intellectual thoughts.

Our comments should stand on their own merits – we don’t need the Ba’ath sponsorship.

March 31st, 2010, 11:43 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

is this worse than disgusting or just plain disgusting?.

Came across two items this afternoon and had to share them with SC.

First item has to do with suggestions for effetive Communication for individuals dedicated to supporting Israeli actions etc,.

First and foremost always state that Israel is for PEACE….. and a … and that israel is for ending the pain and suffering of both people.better life for all Israelis and Palestenians. Further suggestions follwo the same format ad infinitum.

The second item is a link detailing the importation of shoes into Gaza for the first time in 3 years.

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/03/29/israel-to-allow-shoes-into-gaza-strip-after-three-year-ban/

April 1st, 2010, 12:26 am

 

almasri said:

“Officials say that the move is a concession by the Israeli government after pressure from the Obama Administration.”

This is a quote from your linked article Ghat. That should tell you how much these guys are going to abide by Obama’s demands.

Worse than that, it seems now that when Mitchell goes back next week after Easter ends (The holiday which is over a week for Israelis seems to have been a good execuse to ignore Obama for a while, it came in very handy), the settlement freeze period would now be shortened to 4 months instead of the original beyond-September demand by Obama. That would be an indirect way for the Zionists to gain US approval for the future i.e. beyond the 4 months there is an implication that the US approves such settlements tacitly.

Can any Arab with common sense believe Obama?

The Arabs would soon compete with neocons praising and describing Bush as an angel.

April 1st, 2010, 12:48 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Planes, Trains, anti-semites, France, and my “pathetic claims”

Ford Prefect responded to Hassan:

…that you are referring to in #9 above is a direct quotation from a French author, whose book I linked in my comment #28. It is not what Ghat was personally saying.

Ford Prefect,

Thanks for the link. No surprise to find a anti-semitic website. However, you needn’t speak for Ghat. We already know what “Ghai was personally saying” when he wrote:

According to a RESPECTED French analyst the parallels between Judaism and hysterical pathology are quite natural.

Alex,

Like Amir, I wouldn’t make any drastic changes.

As far as equating an anti-semite to Daniel Pipes, I challenge you to find an article by Dr. Pipes that discusses the parallels between Islam and “hysterical pathology” or anything comparable.

Dr. Pipes is against “radical Mulsims” not Islam. Here is an article that summerizes his views and his desire to see more “moderate muslims” who don’t excuse away terrorism and holds those that employ terrorism accountable.

http://www.danielpipes.org/4426/bolstering-moderate-muslims

Yossi,

Another example came to mind. The French war with Algeria. It seems to me you are trying to change the parameters of the debate. When we compare two things, we say they are similar when we are in a similar situation and we would do the same thing. You agree with me that Israel is acting no different than any Western country in its situation, so how is Israel not similar to Western countries?

If Israel would be in France’s situation it would act like France. If France would be in Israel’s situation it would act like Israel. In fact, given the fact that France killed nearly 1 million people in Algeria, I put it to you that Israel is acting much better than France in the same situation. The difference is that the French could go home. Israelis have nowhere to go. What I am presenting to you are facts that clearly prove that Israel is better than France because in similar situations Israel acted much more humanely.

QED

Frankly, I think it is you who is the propagandist. You are not comparing apples to apples, and I reallly think you know it. You are trying to judge Israel as if it is in France’s situation NOW in 2010, while the situation is TOTALLY different. That is a double standard. You want to be fair, compare Israel NOW to France during the Algerian war. Otherwise, admit you lost the argument.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War

Peace Professor Josh said:

I am not proposing war or recommending it.

I am merely trying to imagine what Syrian thinking is.

Professor Josh,

When you wrote the title of you article, “Why Syria Must Burnish its “Resistance” Credentials …”, we errroneously thought you were speaking. How were we to know you were speaking for an “imaginary” Syria? You’re tricky!

April 1st, 2010, 12:57 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

AP,
Please don’t defend the hate-filled Daniel “Sewage” Pipes. It is a slippery slope – and made more so by his own filth! May I remind our readers here with just one of his many racist quotes: Here it is:

“The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

And funny enough, he brags about the above stupid statement on HIS OWN BLOG, for crying out loud:

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2009/08/moshe-yaalon-harsh-heartless-comment-palestinians

“Must be made to understand” my you know what, Danny boy!

AP, if I were you, I’d stay clear from his name and similar filth-filled names, just so you don’t further undermine your own statements.

April 1st, 2010, 1:10 am

 

Husam said:

Oh my…

This is an absolute disgrace, such waste of energy. Racism is a disease. A little story for you guys:

I, a Muslim, a successfull business partner with a Jew for 11 years. We are equal 50-50 partners. I give him full control of the books and his one signature (or mine) suffice for all checks. We are talking multi-million dollar company here. Yes, I did a few spot investigations in the beginning and found no foul play (trust me, I checked things top to bottom). He knows my life story, and I know his. Is he Jewish?, yes in many ways. I, an Arab Muslim, yes in my ways. We accepted each other and truly care for one another. The moral of the story: we are all human beings that need to understand that not all Jews are alike and not all Muslims or Arabs are the same; and my partnership with him is proof of that.

Having said that, I believe this ensuing debate about censorship here is the following: “anyone” who repeats the same message over and over again is either a nut case or a professional blogger paid to discredit and disenfranchise respected commentators ultimately ruining the debate. This also plays negatively on highly scholarical views. I am not talking about those who make an error in judgment and then apologize, I am talking about what someone said earlier “robotics.”

The BEST and only thing you can do is COMPLETELY ignore these type commentators. The minute you respond, you ligitimize their post and it becomes sensational to any new visitor here.

About AP (and the like): Banning him/her, will probably just result in him/her getting another name. Actually, I would not be surprised if s/he actually goes by two or even three names here (Perhaps, Hassan rings a bell).

Alex: Do your poll, but be prepared to be the moral police. Perhaps it will rid of the roach infestation you got going here.

April 1st, 2010, 1:26 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

AP, if I were you, I’d stay clear from his name and similar filth-filled names, just so you don’t further undermine your own statements.

Ford Prefect,

There was nothing anti-muslim in that statement.

So you take issue with his statement about defeating Palestinians?

Gee, no one here has any problem defending Hamas and Hezbollah under the exact same situation. Must be that double-standard we’ve all come to know and love…

April 1st, 2010, 1:45 am

 

Husam said:

Shai:

Please see comment #48, Joshua, regarding balance of power. This is what I have been trying to bring across to you. A “precieved” balance of power is not enough. It is has to be “real”.

This may be possible within 3-5 years with the Turkish-Iranian-Syrian hegemony. Others may come on board. This is to me is a clear reason why the U.S. is drumming up sanctions on Iran so loudly. The west has never allowed the M.E. to florish without exerting ultimate control one way or another. This time it is no different.

The possibility of regional war may be played out only to keep the fire burning in the M.E. in order to render the region divided, insecure, and weak.

April 1st, 2010, 1:54 am

 

jad said:

“There was nothing anti-muslim in that statement”
It was anti-human statement, but I guess you don’t know what Human means, why don’t you sit on your a** and give your brain some rest robot AP.

April 1st, 2010, 2:03 am

 

Husam said:

Alex:

About city of blogger origin, etc…you can crawl the web privately nowadays with special add ons. Also, you can set your router to a different country, and I would imagine a whole bunch of other tactics to disguise your origin. So AP may be in Tel-Aviv and also in NYC under a different user ID. This is what professional bloggers do, they have hundreds of aliases all over the net.

I am no computer whiz, but you may want to check this out with your programmer.

April 1st, 2010, 2:35 am

 

almasri said:

Husam,
Y’3ani with all due respect we all have money and in multimillion dollar size as well. We do not go around on blogosphere trying to inflate our ego displaying our checkbooks in our comments. It is not an SC rule yet but perhaps it should become a recommended wise discretionary practice.

We also know many Muslims and Jews do business together. So what is new in your last comment?

Did you check if your partner supports Zionism? Does he support Zionist expansionist projects in Palestine depriving our brothers of their land?

I will be very disappointed if you failed to do so. I would also be very disappointed if he turned out to be so and you remain partners, and I wouldn’t care much in this case how many millions you may have in the bank.

April 1st, 2010, 2:36 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

The Evil Daniel Pipes

It was anti-human statement, but I guess you don’t know what Human means…

JAD,

Is it “anti-human” when Hamas states:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. ”

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

“After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1609.htm

April 1st, 2010, 2:46 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Attention AIPAC bloggers everywhere:

When someone exposes the racism of Daniel Rusty Pipes or similar geniuses of the same DNA misaligned sequence, throw a Hamas said this, Hizbollah done that, an Iran, a 911, or any anything to that nature as part of the subject. Go to Faux News, MEMRI, and other friendly misfits to find some examples. Make sure the subject remains diverted and keep focusing on Hamas or similar fun topics.

Woohoo!! Problem solved and Israel remains safe.

April 1st, 2010, 3:29 am

 

Husam said:

Almasri:

You are one lousy person, who is a Jew-hater! I thought I got you to calm down and be civilized after a few exchanges. You just switched on me because you found out that I worked with a Jew. So, you think that I am here to inflate my ego. Please Mr. Almasri, explain to me how does one inflate an ego on a blog? We are not hanging out in a Cairo Cafe or Nadi here. Gentlemen, this is the type of idiocity we have on this board.

You, as usual, are a hot potato, jumping like a kid, and missing the point. I was saying “million” to put emphasis on how much I trust a Jew. Ok, Go Cry.

Anyone reading my comment, other than you, would have understood my intention in discribing details about how mutual trust can grow. Money is a sensitive issue to people and I put it in his hands. Why are you offended on the subject of money? Of all people, Almasri, this should have rang a bell in your little head. Yes, many people worked with Jews before me going back to Mohammed(PBUH), but nowadays those who do, suspect every Jew to be a theif exactly like you said “did you check if he is zionist, I bet he is, I would be disappointed if you did not, etc…”

Almasri, here is some lecturing for you (since often times you love to lecture others): if you are a Muslim this relentless unfounded suspicion on a specific individual is Haram. I believe you are a Muslim because you refer to Palestinians as brothers.

You are suggesting that I don’t know a Zionist from an average Jew after having described various Zionist personalities in detail and provided you with various links and exchanges about Zionism. So, I live 9 hours with this guy every day, 365/year, for 11 years and don’t know where his money goes! Really? Are you from Shubra wela aye?

This is the EXACT reason why the M.E. bleeds because some Arabs it seems are so arrogant, dictative, overconfident, know-it-all, and jealous of their own.

One last thing: you state “we all have money” really? How so? Who has what? Perhaps Shai is poor and has no money. Perhaps his filthy rich. You see the world only from your perspective. You type faster than than you think. And frankly, judging from the way you wrote your last comment and demeanour, I don’t think you have a pot to p*ss in.

Mr. Almasri this is my last post directed to you. So go ahead bash me, my partner, bash jews, say whatever you want. You are in the Racist Trash Bin next to AP.

April 1st, 2010, 3:34 am

 

jad said:

Back to reality:

Obama is officially the new Bush!

New Iran Sanctions Get Boost: China Agrees To Pursue Sanctions

“China has agreed to sit down and begin serious negotiations here in New York … as a first step toward getting the entire U.N. Security Council on board with a tough sanctions regime against Iran,” Susan Rice, the American ambassador to the U.N., told CNN.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/31/new-iran-sanctions-get-bo_n_521041.html

April 1st, 2010, 3:56 am

 

almasri said:

You should take it easy Mr. Husam. You realize that you’re beginning a shouting match for nothing and for no justified provocation.

Nonone goes around blog spots and dispalys his millions except perhaps a nouveau riche.

The only reason I mentioned that you should check if he was a Zionist is because you did display a lack of knowledge in this area in your previous comments. If you’re sure he is not, then that’s good for you and I’ll be glad to know that.

I would go on and call your last comment id**tic, but I’d rather not go down to such level and have you think that you got the best of my nerves.

And yes, there is nothing new in mentioning a Jew and a Muslim can trust each other in business. A 10 year old kid in Egypt knows that. You should know more than any anyone else that Muhammad (PBUH) trusted Jews most with his possessions.

And I’m sure you know SC is not a stock exchange or a chamber of commerce.

April 1st, 2010, 3:59 am

 

jad said:

I’m amazed how smart the Syrians are when it comes to international matters, they know the game very well and they knew what is coming. No wonder that President Assad insists on resistance in his last statement…I just wish that they were as smart on domestic matters.

April 1st, 2010, 4:04 am

 

almasri said:

JAD @66,
Now we seem to have something in common for a change. But I beat you to that in 11 and in 54.
Regards

April 1st, 2010, 4:08 am

 

jad said:

tsk tsk tsk…You can’t beat me buddy, check #3.
I guess you’ve been busy attacking people and not reading the comment.
Your coming apology will be accepted 🙂

April 1st, 2010, 4:30 am

 

almasri said:

JAD @70
I see that. You do not really want an apology. You want me to thank you for pointing that out. Ok, thank you.

Nevertheless, the source of my comment in 11 precedes your source chronologically. That is, I reached my conclusion based on an earlier event than yours. Abu Shama met the Chinese ambassador and promised him Taiwan before he met Sarkozy after which Abu Shama made the pronouncement you mentioned in 3.

You only beat me in posting the conclusion on SC. But, still you win in this case.

April 1st, 2010, 4:45 am

 

jad said:

“You do not really want an apology” excellent point, no I don’t.
“Thank you” is always nice to read. You are welcome!

“Abu Shama met the Chinese ambassador and promised him Taiwan”
I didn’t read that yet, but rationally speaking it might be the price the US is paying for Iran’s Head.

“Abu Shama” LOLOL that is so funny!

April 1st, 2010, 4:53 am

 

almasri said:

Now you got it all figured out. This is how I figured it out two days ago. And the Iranians are already in Beijing.

April 1st, 2010, 5:01 am

 

jad said:

What are the Iranians doing in Beijing and what is the card they hold higher than Taiwan? From my understanding of the far east, Taiwan to china, is the jackpot, the Iranians have nothing more precious for China to offer, Do they?
what do you think will happen?

April 1st, 2010, 5:07 am

 

Yossi said:

Akbar @17 and @55,

I will respond to your latest batch of shallow argumentation later. Sit tight. My answers will appear in the thread where we’re been having the rest of the discussion. Here:

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=5835

The discussion on the topic will happen there, and I’d like to explain why and also comment on your performance and my attitude towards you.

The reason we will have the continuation of our discussion back in the original thread is three-fold

First, as much as I’d like to drag your bottom and put you to shame through the comment section of each thread, some sanitation is in place. Taking the garbage out is healthy, but the trip from the kitchen to the dumpster doesn’t have to include every room in the house. So I will do my bit for hygiene by containing our discussion, and especially your ridiculous half of it, in one place.

Second, it would help me immensely to have a single point of reference when it will come to summarize my triumph over your excuses of arguments.

Third, it will provide me with an accurate metric of the tenacity with which you’re willing to peddle your propaganda. I will be able to easily count how many times you have failed to respond to the same argument and repeated your “arguments” after they have been thoroughly refuted.

As to the form of my discourse in our debate:

I do not wish to attack you personally, but I can’t believe that you believe your arguments of the form 2+2=5. Especially after having been demonstrated where your mistakes are. Because you are making the same arguments repeatedly, completely ignoring my refutations, if I were pressed to make a judgment call about why that happens, I would have to assume that you, as a person, are either a propagandist or very stupid. There is no other choice, and I know you are not stupid. I could have stuck to characterizing your arguments, instead of you, and I’d actually much prefer that, but here’s the problem with that: when you ignore MY arguments and repeat yours as if I never refuted them, you’re giving me very little respect, and really wasting my time. Because you are hurting my personal interests, by forcing me to repeat the same things over and over without any hope of making forward progress, I have no choice but to expose your motives for doing so. You can always take the higher path and start replying to the point, conceding a point when you have to and not repeating the same argument while ignoring a refutation of the same argument, which I have taken time to write FOR YOU to read, understand and internalize or at least take into account. When you will provide me with the courtesy of an intelligent debate, it will be reciprocated. It’s that simple.

April 1st, 2010, 5:15 am

 

jad said:

Yossi,
First of all, Happy belated Passover to you and your family and also to Shai and his family.
Second, your comment is hilarious especially ‘taking the garbage’ scene and the ‘propagandist vs very stupid’ argument…you sound that you are in a good mood which make me happy for you 🙂

April 1st, 2010, 5:30 am

 

almasri said:

JAD @74,
You are correct. Taiwan is the jackpot for China. But it is also the jackpot for the US. The Chinese are good business people and China is very very hungry for energy. Iran’s card is nothing but the oil supplies. US sent Gates about a month ago to the Gulf seeking support from SA, UAE and others to compensate China’s oil needs in exchange for China coming on board. He came out from a meeting with the Saudis and made a statement in which he implied that he felt the Saudis are willing to go along. The Saudis later on denied making any promises.

China holds over trillion dollars in US treasury bonds and sits on trillions in cash while everybody else is going further and further in the red. The Chinese are thinking of dumping their US dollar investments gradually and replace it with gold and other securities as India did recently. The US will not simply relinquish Taiwan overnight. If they do so, they basically surrender the whole east to China and they would have no sway over the rising giant any more. The game will go on back and forth as the Chinese would never make false steps. They move like a dragon. If Taiwan will ever be given to China, the handover will take place as it did with Hong Kong gradually.

Abu Shama did indicate to the ambassador that he would like to see China unified. How, when and what will the new China look like are still open questions.

April 1st, 2010, 5:31 am

 

Shai said:

Dear Joshua, Husam,

You may well be right. But please realize that when I speak of the “psychology”, namely the perceived threat, I am not looking at it separately. That is, I am attributing great value to it, only when in parallel Syria launches a head-on “peaceful attack”. I still think Washington is different today than it was the previous 8 years, and if Obama won’t come to Syria, Syria should come to Obama. But not as a “sponsor of terrorism” (as most of America sees her). And if Bibi won’t come to Obama, with a plan to withdraw to the 1967 borders, Obama should come to Bibi, with an order.

If you believe Syria cannot do more, I would argue with that. The gamble of waiting for a real balance-of-power is that, like always, the smaller players can call the shots, whenever they want and often based on their own best interests. And then you get long delays again. Look at what happened after summer 2006. Or especially with Turkey after winter 2008. I am not blaming everything on HA or Hamas, but take away Israel’s excuses for delaying the process, and you make it much tougher for us to do so.

The recent crisis with Washington is really the best example. It was all-quiet-on-the-West-Bank-front, no Intifadas, no terrorism, nothing. Israel went ahead and approved 1,600 new units, and Washington wouldn’t have it. But imagine there was something going on – it’d be the perfect excuse to tell Obama (quietly): “Look, this is the only way for the Palestinians to realize time is not on their side. We will continue our natural growth, until they are ready to do business…” And what will Obama say?

The situation in our region is like a barrel of TNT that is growing fatter and fatter by the day, and any tiny match can light it. We can’t afford to wait for true balance. It wouldn’t mean the barrel won’t explode. The last place I would use the logic that barely held together during the Cold War, is the Middle East. Between 1961-1967, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. came three times within a hair’s-length away from Nuclear War. Do you think Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey, and the Palestinians, can exercise “wisdom” like the two superpowers did? I doubt it.

We’re left, I think, either with my thesis (all-out Peace Attack), or with Norman’s.

April 1st, 2010, 5:37 am

 

jad said:

Almasri,
I’m impressed with your analytical approach.
Accepting that the US asked the Saudis and the Gulf States to pay for its next war, is the Saudi that stupid to oblige for the third time seeing the amount of destruction the last two wars brought to the region??
For Abu Shama to take his country into a third war with the financial problems they have doesn’t make any sense though, it won’t be as easy as the Iraqi war and it will defiantly be a major one, is the States really willing to take this risk?? For what??

April 1st, 2010, 5:49 am

 

almasri said:

JAD @79,

I do not have a link for the Saudi denial of Gates statement. But I recall clearly that the Saudis were very upset and did indicate exactly what you pointed out, i.e. their interests are above all, and that they would like to see a diplomatic solution.

Remember we are not talking war yet. This is only sanctions at this point. And the sanctions may even get way watered down by Chinese maneuvers in order to safeguard their oil supplies. With oil prices on the rise, the Iranians will have no problem marketing their oil and finding new customers, thereby depriving China of a steady supply for its rising needs in the future. The Chinese are not stupid, and even if the Saudi plan was as Gates mentioned, the Chinese know it is only temporary and they still have to take into account future considerations.

The more sinister scenario is the Neten scenario of Israel. There were leaked reports about plans for Israeli strikes of Iranian facilities and making refueling stops in Saudi somewhere without Saudi or US knowledge (bull**t, like the 2003 over flights that no one knew about). Then the Israelis will sit still while the Iranians counterattack and hit Israel and Saudi as well, because the Saudis would be perceived by the Iranians as accomplices in the strikes. The US in this case will have no choice but to intervene and do something. In this case AIPAC would have accomplished what they wanted despite all the good plans and intentions of Abu Shama and team, and Neten would be smiling in Abu Shama’s face: So, who is the real boss, here?

Do you think AIPAC and the neocons would care less if the US goes broke?

By the way if you visit China, which I did, you will find all the big corporations with same names as in the US. You name it: HP, Dell, IBM, Siemens, Wall mart … If ever the US goes broke they just move headquarters to Shanghai, Hong Kong or Shenzhen and it is business as usual.

April 1st, 2010, 6:32 am

 

Yossi said:

Jad,

Thanks 🙂 I hope you’re good too and I wish you all the best today, and every day of every year 🙂

Akbar,

Get to it, time to recycle electrons, I know you can’t help it: http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=5835&cp=4#comment-235347

April 1st, 2010, 8:09 am

 

Mr.President said:

So far no real solution to Iran. China will not sell Iran for a promise to get more oil from the Saudi family. Saudi family ties to US and Israel are very strong. I am sure a promise to supply China with oil was made by the Saudi long time ago. China knows that Saudi’s promise could become a Trojan horse by the West. the West can easily command the Saudi family to negate/(play games) on its promise once the full sanctions are in place. at that time China and its economy will be nothing but a low hanging fruit.
The fight in the ME is not between Iran, Israel,… it is a fight between the super powers as usual. China and Russia are trying to establish a presence on the shores of the big oil lake (by helping Iran). the West got two third of the lake. The West, by invading and occupying Iraq, had a plan to protect the lake fully. The backup plan is to use this Iran Nuclear issue for phase II of the US attack. no clear winner or looser so far. the battle goes on.

April 1st, 2010, 8:25 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

You are in the Racist Trash Bin next to AP.

Husam,

Even thoough you consider me a racist, I just wanted to let you know that I read your Post 65 and I wanted to thank you for putting AlMasri in his place.

As I’ve stated before, I believe the Palestinians are a people and they should have a state. The borders should be negotiated, land for peace.

JAD said,

Obama is officially the new Bush!

It’s funny how they both look alike, especially if you only look at them based on one criteria: stability in the ME. All those who have jumped on the “Iran bandwagon” may find themselves still holding the stick.

Yossi stated:

First, as much as I’d like to drag your bottom and put you to shame … some sanitation is in place. Taking the garbage out is healthy, but the trip from the kitchen to the dumpster … So I will do my bit for hygiene by containing our discussion …

… to summarize my triumph over your excuses of arguments.

Third, it will provide me with an accurate metric of the tenacity with which you’re willing to peddle your propaganda. I will be able to easily count how many times you have failed to respond to the same argument and repeated your “arguments” after they have been thoroughly refuted.

Yossi,

Because it is not my intention to get personal, I hereby declare you victorious. You win the argument. Israel is not like any Western country. Israel is much worse. In fact, your country is a terrorist state.

Now that we have that taken care of, I will continue posting here, asking questions, pointing out factual errors, anti-semitism, and providing my opinion all at the discretion of Alex and Professor Josh. IMHO, they allow me to post here because I’m not as articulate as other past posters. Anyway, just make sure you’re wearing a mask and rubber gloves so you don’t get infected.;)

Sincerely,

AP

Do you think AIPAC and the neocons would care less if the US goes broke?

Al Masri,

Considering that the US is Israel’s main ally and home to about half the world’s Jewish population, I would say, “yes”. BTW, the US is already “broke”, and the 78% of Jews who voted for the current president are partly responsible.

April 1st, 2010, 11:16 am

 

Shai said:

Shai:

The atmosphere is certainly not one of peace right now. There are power plays on both sides, and this is a first in a lifetime that the region is shifting. I did not advocate waiting forever, but there are strategist working around the clock almost like a game of chess. The key difference this time around is Turkey and the regional social and ecomonic thrust is evident.

Give it a few more years, let it brew, and hopefully there will be a golden opportunity building up (unless the TNT barrel blows up, as you mentioned). I think the opportunity is worth the risk of waiting.

April 1st, 2010, 1:08 pm

 

Husam said:

Shai:

The atmosphere is certainly not one of peace right now. There are power plays on both sides, and the region is shifting. I did not advocate waiting forever, but there are strategist working around the clock almost like a game of chess. The key difference this time around is Turkey and the regional social and ecomonic thrust is evident. As for small players going after their own interest, that is true and the problem. But perhaps they will play along in a collective bargain.

Give it a few more years, let it brew, and hopefully there will be a golden opportunity building up (unless the TNT barrel blows up, as you mentioned). I think the opportunity is worth the risk of waiting.

April 1st, 2010, 1:15 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

Some observations about the “exclusive” visit of Senator Kerry.

The fact that Senator Kerry is on an exclusive visit to only Lebanon and Syria is an evident manifestation that US policy makers have decided on an almost 180 degre change in US-Israeli dealings.

It needs to be considered as a watershed and basic change in US policy and will entail some time to establish formally. As MLK put it, “free at last, free at last” from the zionist noose”.

Its up now to the non-zionists and principally the Syrians to undertake a primary role in establishing markers for the future.

The DC/Tel Aviv axis is not anymore what it used to be.

April 1st, 2010, 1:15 pm

 

Husam said:

Ghat:

I wish you were right, but please don’t get too excited too fast. There is a change, very true I agree. But it only seems so good because of how bad things were.

Zionist are still the powerfull plotters. They are only offering cookies to make belief that things are changing. The meat will always be kept for themselves and their evil masters (not kosher meat by the way).

Kerry is part of the skull and bones fraternity married to the Heinz (food) family. Other than his calm nature and political position, he offers nothing tangible to Syria.

April 1st, 2010, 1:24 pm

 

Badr said:

I am not proposing war or recommending it.

I am merely trying to imagine what Syrian thinking is.

Dr. Landis,

In that case, may I suggest that you change the wording of your post?

April 1st, 2010, 6:00 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

HUSAM said:

Ghat:

I wish you were right, but please don’t get too excited too fast.

HUSAM

Its not a question of excited too fast. Ita certain sense of satisfaction that the prevailing Zionist control of US policies in the ME has hit a brick wall.

Initially Israel was sold as a control center over much of the region. Over time it began to dawn on most everyone that things were not working out the way the US neocon/Likudnids had planned due to a variety of reasons; bad decisions, global power imbalances etc,.

What broke the “camel’s back” is that the israelis have come out into the open and told the US “f#ck off” (naturally in more diplomatic language). thus the visit of Kerry to just Lebanon and Syria.

Now that the whole world has come to know that the US was told to “f…ck off” by a tiny state like Israel and has done nothing well leave to one’s imagination.

Reminiscent somewhat of what Sadddam Hussein told the US and what the US subsequently did to him and Iraq.

Time will only tell.

April 1st, 2010, 6:47 pm

 

Husam said:

Ghat:

While I agree with most of what you stated, there is no way that Israel would suffer anything remotely close to Iraq.

Neten is an idiot, twice. But he is a pawn, just like Obama. Never underestimate what the really strategy may be. Have you ever heard of a false flag operation? If so, this recent Israel-US row, although maybe have occured naturally, both sides may play it out to their advantage leading the Arabs to think “Ahaaaaaaa at last.” In reality they are planning the next 2 decades while we are throwing a one month celebration.

April 2nd, 2010, 12:54 am

 

jad said:

Almasri,
Abu Shama begging continue:

Obama Talks With Hu Jintao, President Of China, While Plane Idles
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/02/obama-talks-with-hu-jinta_n_522764.html

Obama urges China’s Hu to get behind Iran push
http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE6300HV20100402

April 2nd, 2010, 12:55 pm

 

almasri said:

JAD @91
Thanks for those links Jad. I was following similar news and I read the Reuters story. Notice in the Huffingtonpost story the reference to arms sales to Taiwan. This was announced couple months ago – 6 billion dollar worth which infuriated Beijing.

Similar tactic was used with Russia some 8 months ago with so-called missile defense systems to be deployed in Poland. That too infuriated Moscow and looks like a deal was reached and now Russia is on board for sanctions. So for now Taiwan is only a promise, i.e. a distant future carrot. It is used now as a stick.

Most likely sanctions, if they pass UN, will be toothless, like financial restrictions on certain Iranian personalities and institutions and some sensitive products – all can be easily circumvented by the Iranians. I doubt China will go along with sanctions restricting Iranian ships or other countries commercial ships which would cause some pain for the Iranians with the oil exports. In this case China will be shooting itself in the foot- see Mr. President @82.

Turkey is against any sanctions citing other countries in the region with nuclear weapons with no sanctions discussed as well as its 380 km border with Iran. Brazil is most likely against. Our great friend (i.e. Arab friend) President of Brazil recently trashed his protocol visit to so-called Herzel mausoleum, a protocol more or less imposed on every foreign head of state when s/he sets foot in the Zionist colony since colonization began. Lebanon is excused for voting against because of the sensitivity of the issue to its internal politics. All three countries are non-permanent members in UNSC currently.

The deal may go as I described above with China on board. The Europeans and the US will then declare their own so-called ‘tougher’ sanctions. The pool of oil will essentially be divided as a result as Mr. President mentioned in his comment. However, I would say Iraq is still a disputed territory.
Regards

April 2nd, 2010, 5:02 pm

 

Ghat Albird said:

Chuck Krauthammer of Washington Post fame, a pathetically hysterical zionist writes that he has finally figured out the ways Obama treats his “foreign allies”.

To wit: …. given how the (Obama) administration has treated other allies, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised.

[that]Obama visits China and soon Indonesia, skipping INDIA OUR NATURAL AND RISING ALLY IN THE REGION. [WE] HAVE A COMMON LANGUAGE, COMMON HERITAGE, COMMON DEMOCRAY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY COMMON JIHADIST ENEMY. Indeed, in his enthusiasm for China, Obama suggests a Chinese interest in peace and stability in South Asia, a gratuitous denigration of Indian power and legitimacy in favor of a regional rival with hegemonic ambitions.

Mr. Krauthammer’s pseudo peripatetic commentary examplifies his deep affection for a nation that encompasses many languages/dialects as well as a common European heritage like the USA.

April 2nd, 2010, 5:28 pm

 

jad said:

Almasri,
The real problem is not with the Chinese, the Russians, the Brazilians or the Turks, not even with the Americans or the Europeans every one of these powers is looking for what works best for their own people and their own nations, our biggest problem is ourselves, US THE ARABS, we are nothing but a mule to every power throughout our history since the end of the Arab empire so no wonder that we are still backward in every aspect of our lives, and what makes it worse is that we want to pull back Iran to our backwardness farm so we will all be ‘equal’ in the ditch of shame and all this nuclear charade is BS.

April 2nd, 2010, 6:05 pm

 

almasri said:

JAD @94

True…

The Arabs have gone backwards and everyone else in the neighbourhood moved forward. We’re even competing with each other on how to behave more shamefully than each other. I’d say the Arabs have never been at a lower ebb in their history since the word Arab became known in this world.

The Turks (or Ottomans) who many Arabs were taught from childhood to vilify had more honour and understanding of history than most Arab leaders who inherited (or actually who were appointed by the west over) the Ottoman legacy. Case in point is the last Sultan Abdulhamid’s position on Palestine when he was approached by the Zionists in an effort to buy a ‘State’ on that land. Does it make you wonder why Erdogan is the most popular non-Arab leader in the Arab world? If he were allowed to run for Presidency of the Arabs – all 300 million – what percentage of votes do you think he would get? The same may also apply to the Iranians.

Cheers

April 2nd, 2010, 9:15 pm

 

norman said:

almasri,

You don’t have to look outside the Arab world , we have a leader who has more popularity than Erdogan and Ahmadinejad and that is the President of Syria , Bashar Assad ,who navigated Syria through hot waters and stood beside the Palestinians , the Lebanese , and the Iraqis,

April 2nd, 2010, 10:11 pm

 

almasri said:

Norman,

Bashar is doing very well compared to others. Hopefully, he’ll continue to do so. He may be a contender for Erdogan but, I believe Erdogan (and team) succeeded in winning many more hearts.

Happy Easter…

April 2nd, 2010, 10:58 pm

 

Mr. President said:

Shai said:

“”The atmosphere is certainly not one of peace right now. There are power plays on both sides, and this is a first in a lifetime that the region is shifting.””

I always believed that western powers are ready to let go of Israel at the moment when it is no longer useful to them. The next few years will tell us unless Israel is able to redefine itself in relation to new power plays. I believe that the West that created, funded, and protected Israel starting 60 years ago did not do so for the love of Jews. Hitler had almost complete support of the average European on the street (including the Catholic Church and most of the neutral? Swiss bankers). The Holocaust was more of a marketing tool to win the hearts and minds of the average European. Just as Western politicians of today are using Islam phobia, anti-Islamic-veil to win the hearts and minds of Europeans and Americans (to them Middle-Easter-originated Christian veils of Catholic and orthodox nuns are not offensive and fully acceptable). The point is that the West had benefited much more from Israel than one can imagine. Israel was a fantastic tool to stop the Soviet Union from taking over the Middle East and its oil/water canals. It kept local population wasting its money and resources for the purpose of protecting its land, homes, brothers and sisters from this ever expanding new neighbor called Israel.
Western Powers created Israel to prevent any sort of political, cultural, economic unification or even open border Middle East. The goal was exactly not to allow any economically based alliance between Persians, Turks, Arabs… However, that seems no longer true. The goal was exactly against what we are witnessing today. Hilary Clinton indicated lately that Israel has not lived up to western expectations. It failed to destroy Hezbollah in 2006, as commanded by Bush Jr,. It partially lost its military deterrence. It lost the demographic war against the original Palestinian population. It created more enemies in the far Middle East (Turkey and Iran). I am amazed as to the strategic thinking of Israeli politicians. They are still stuck to the old model. One can only imagine how strong Israel would be playing the role of Germany financially, technologically, politically,… in a United-Open Borders-All Winners-All Equal-Constitution Protected Minorities Middle East.
Happy Holiday.

April 3rd, 2010, 11:42 am

 

Shai said:

Mr. President,

The quote you attributed to me is not mine… It is Husam’s, from Comment 85. For some reason it appeared first as my comment, in 84.

April 3rd, 2010, 1:08 pm

 

Husam said:

Shai, Mr. President:

Sorry, for the typo.

Contrary to Mr. President’s remark “I always believed that western powers are ready to let go of Israel at the moment when it is no longer useful to them.” I believe the opposite is true for the following reasons:

1. While the current drama we are witnessing between US and Israel is unfolding, the consensus over settlement building between Israel and U.S in reality is, as it always has been, a blind eye through the back door. The Obamaniacs are tactically trying to make it look like they are engaging in a U-TURN towards the Arabs, especially Syria, in order to yank it out of Iranian influence, but in reality, it is just grand political theatrics.

2. American Evangelical, Christians United for Israel, Christian Zionist etc… are extremely powerful and have a very fundamentalistic views of supporting Israel (religious doctrine).

3. Jewish reach into the heart and soul of American politics, for the past 100 years or so, is extremely profound and will likely remain unchanged for the forseeable future. I wrote several weeks ago listing the names of powerful Pro-Zionist Jews in the Obama adminstration. This is widely known public information. Further, the whole political arena in the US is bank rolled by the heavy weights (Goldman Sachs, Rockerfellers, Rothschilds, Big Pharma, Military Industrial Complex, etc…) which strive on Israel’s presence in the M.E.

4. According to FEC, Obama received twice the funding of Jewish-dominated international finance than did his opponent John McCain. It will be pay back time for 4 years, we know how politics work, don’t we?

5. Israel has historically on many occassions, commited aggression and killed direclty (and indirectly) hundreds, if not thousands of Americans without any reprimand whatsoever. Take the well document evidence of Israel’s attack on U.S.S. Liberty in 1967. http://www.uss-liberty.com It is a known fact that the Mossad is actively spying on the U.S. more than any country in the world. How can this be possibly be going on? Why has nothing been done about this?

I can’t believe the amount comments on SC claiming victory regarding the Obama-Neten row. Mr. President, it is only a political shift for us “the audience.’ The reality is a different matter altogether. Last and most importantly, the Amercian society is not in control of its destiny. The ultimate power is in the hands of powerful – Zionist friends of Israel and no tangilble change will come overnight.

April 4th, 2010, 3:06 am

 

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