News Round Up (12 Sept. 2008)

[Landis comment] An article by Khairi Janbek published at the Washington Post Global site (and copied at the bottom of this post) is full of mistakes and old canards. One is that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is the only opposition and it favors the regime in order to preserve stability. It doesn't favor the regime and states that Syria could weather political change just fine. But it is not powerful as Janbek implies and could not destabilize the regime if it decided to.

A standard canard repeated by Janbek is that "the prospect of peace with Israel … will actually call into question the legitimacy and ultimately the longevity of the regime." The legitimacy of the regime is not based on Syria's war with Israel, if it were the regime would have been swept away long ago as it has failed to win a war with Israel. The legitimacy of the regime is based on its ability to bring stability and security to Syria. The devastation of Iraq has only confirmed the importance of stability and danger of civil war for most Syrians. Peace with Israel will only strengthen the legitimacy of the regime because it will be good for the economy and help further stability — economic and political.

INTO THE OPEN by Rhonda Roumani in the National [landis: Anything on Syria by Roumani is excellent, as this article is.]

After three decades of working in secrecy, a controversial group of Syrian female preachers has begun to emerge from the shadows. Rhonda Roumani enters the world of the Qubeisiat.

[photo: The Qubeisiat now run the majority of Syria’s private elementary schools. Adel Samara for The National]

Khurbet East Oil FieldGulfsands Petroleum's new wells in Syria are producing in excess of 11,500 barrels of 25.7 degree API oil per day (bopd), with production from three vertical and two horizontal wells.

Andrew West, Chairman of Gulfsands said: “Khurbet East is the first new oil field to go into commercial production in Syria in some time and we are therefore very pleased with the initial results so far.  It is especially pleasing that the individual producing wells, production facility and trucking operations are producing at even better rates than we expected prior to our commencement of first oil in mid July. With total field production to date now in excess of 260,000 barrels of oil, we have achieved another significant milestone for the Company….

Israel asks U.S. for arms, air corridor to attack Iran
By Amos Harel and Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondents

The security aid package the United States has refused to give Israel for the past few months out of concern that Israel would use it to attack nuclear facilities in Iran included a large number of "bunker-buster" bombs, permission to use an air corridor to Iran, an advanced technological system and refueling planes. ………..

Syrian officials said over the weekend that full Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights is not subject to negotiation. As of now, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains entrenched in his position.

He has conditioned the holding of direct negotiations on having the United States accompany the talks. From his perspective, American support is essential, mainly for economic reasons. In order to end his increasing economic dependence upon Tehran, he needs American financial support.

In the past, Mr. Olmert contacted President George W. Bush, updating him Israel's talks with Syria. However, the chances of an agreement being reached between Israel and Syria before Mr. Olmert ends his term are nil.

Report: US To Take Part In Israel-Syria Talks

The next round of talks between Israel and Syria will be held in Istanbul in about two weeks at the presence of a senior American delegate, according to another London-based Arabic language newspaper, al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Saturday.

According to the report, the American representative will act as an observer in the talks.

State officials denied the report on an American observer being sent to the talks. A source in Jerusalem said, "We are not aware of such a plan."

A senior source in Damascus refused to address the report directly, telling the newspaper that "Syria is not dealing with the arrival of an American observer to the indirect talks."

Pat Lang comments on the Haaretz article:

"Needless to say, this reponse came from the military and Gates. Cheney must be enraged by his lack of control over this.

Until the Russian intervention in Gerogia, the Israelis had been trying to devise an alternative to an Iraq route. The alternative was to use Georgian airfields as staging points. They were undeterred in this scheme by the prospect of overflying SE Turkey to get to Georgia. The Russians have frightened them out of that idea. Even the Likud knows that Russia is more important than Georgia, or Iran…"

US policy post 9/11 has increased terrorism according to Walid Moualim. Reuters –

Lebanese factions to meet over future of Hezbollah military wing
Reuters, September 9, 2008

Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman invited rival leaders on Tuesday for talks next week that were set to focus on the fate of the military wing of Hezbollah.

The talks, set to start at the presidential palace on Sept. 16, were stipulated in a Qatari-brokered deal that ended the country's political crisis in May.

Hezbollah's weapons emerged as a main divisive issue after the group used some of its military muscle to defeat its foes in street fighting in Beirut and other areas in early May.

The Western-backed majority coalition says Hezbollah should be disarmed after Israel pulled out of Lebanon while the group and its allies, backed by Syria and Iran, say the weapons were needed to defend Lebanon against "Israeli threats". ….

Hezbollah has thousands of highly trained guerrillas, equipped by tens of thousands of rockets capable of hitting Israel, as well as anti-tank and anti-ship missiles. It is widely believed that the group had rearmed and even strengthened its military might since the 2006 Second Lebanon War despite a UN ban……

North Lebanon reconciliation struck through joint efforts
By Suzan Haidamous, September 9, 2008

BEIRUT, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Efforts carried out by Lebanese leaders have ended a long time tension and fighting which have haunted the Lebanese northern city of Tripoli and the surrounding region between Sunni and Alawite sects since 1979, Khodor Talib, apolitical analyst said in As-Safir daily on Tuesday.

"In one hour, a new page was turned, ending 80 days of bloody clashes in Tripoli," Talib was quoted as saying. 

Leaders of Sunni and Alawite sects signed a reconciliation agreement Monday night in Tripoli, following recent sectarian fighting in which at least 23 people died.

Clashes between the two sects have been reported since 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon. …. Saad Hariri, himself a Sunni, has been in Tripoli since Saturday, trying to reconcile the city's feuding two sects.  

North Lebanon reconciliation struck through joint efforts
By Suzan Haidamous, September 9, 2008

BEIRUT, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Efforts carried out by Lebanese leaders have ended a long time tension and fighting which have haunted the Lebanese northern city of Tripoli and the surrounding region between Sunni and Alawite sects since 1979, Khodor Talib, apolitical analyst said in As-Safir daily on Tuesday.

"In one hour, a new page was turned, ending 80 days of bloody clashes in Tripoli," Talib was quoted as saying. 

Leaders of Sunni and Alawite sects signed a reconciliation agreement Monday night in Tripoli, following recent sectarian fighting in which at least 23 people died.

Clashes between the two sects have been reported since 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon. …. Saad Hariri, himself a Sunni, has been in Tripoli since Saturday, trying to reconcile the city's feuding two sects.  

North Lebanon reconciliation struck through joint efforts
By Suzan Haidamous, September 9, 2008

BEIRUT, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Efforts carried out by Lebanese leaders have ended a long time tension and fighting which have haunted the Lebanese northern city of Tripoli and the surrounding region between Sunni and Alawite sects since 1979, Khodor Talib, apolitical analyst said in As-Safir daily on Tuesday.

"In one hour, a new page was turned, ending 80 days of bloody clashes in Tripoli," Talib was quoted as saying. Leaders of Sunni and Alawite sects signed a reconciliation agreement Monday night in Tripoli, following recent sectarian fighting in which at least 23 people died.

Clashes between the two sects have been reported since 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon. …. Saad Hariri, himself a Sunni, has been in Tripoli since Saturday, trying to reconcile the city's feuding two sects.  

The Sizzling Art Scene in Syria: [Landis writes: I received this email from a friend about the high prices of art in the Ayyam gallery. See original Timeblog post by Butters]

I went to this Ayyam gallery several times to see why this art is so expensive compared to the rest of the Syrian market especially that these artists are usually young unknowns and some of them were still in art school.

First, they do a great job at marketing to the Syrian upper class (the owners are old socialites) and they somehow planted in every well-to-do Syrian that they need to have in their house at least one painting of their promoted artists (dahoul, fayoumi, ….).  And you know how the "me too" works in Damascus.  It became a show-off game.

Second, the filled a niche of big size art for the newly built mansions. Most paintings are huge 1.5m x 1.8m and they won't fit in most Damascus apts.

Third, they monopolised the artists and controlled the supply.  The paid each of their artist a yearly salary + commission and all their output is owned by the gallery (I do not know how they enforce this).

Fourth, they tapped into the nostalgia of the Syrian expats especially in Europe and the gulf who for them paying $10k or $20k is just a rounding exercise.

An art collector who has been buying Syrian art for a long time echoed the same comment in the article which is that most of it was a "lesser version", although bigger, "of something you've seen before".  Also, most of it (except for Ourabi) has no local context which begs the question why buy a borrowed art at these expensive prices unless you are trying to fill a big empty wall with something modern and nice.

Austrian Arrested In Syria Over Dissident Claims – Rts Grp
2008-09-09 12:48:08.170 GMT

DAMASCUS (AFP)–Syrian authorities arrested an Austrian of Syrian origin as he attempted to fly out of Damascus airport over claims he has contacted a Syrian dissident, a human rights group said Tuesday.  "Mithal Muhanna was arrested on Aug. 18 at Damascus airport, in line with a decision by the general intelligence service… as he prepared to return to Austria after spending his holidays in Syria," the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said.   Muhanna, who is originally from the central district of Hama, was granted Austrian citizenship 30 years ago.

"He has made several trips to Syria in the past without being worried and takes no part in political activity," the statement said. "The Syrian security services accuse Muhanna of being in contact with a dissident Syrian diplomat, Mohammed Luai al-Hamwi, who works at the Syrian embassy in Austria and who, in July, joined a Syrian opposition party based in Germany, the Party of Modernity and Democracy in Syria," the statement said.

The NOHRS president, Ammar Qorabi, called for his immediate release, saying his arrest was illegal because it was made without a judicial warrant and under emergency powers which have been in place for 45 years.

Syria blocks 160 websites: rights group
AFP, September 9, 2008

DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian authorities have blocked access to 160 dissident websites since 2000 as part of a drive to censure the press and control Internet use, a free speech organisation said on Tuesday.

Security services have stopped access to "160 sites run by Kurdish political parties, opposition groups, newspapers — particularly from Lebanon — human rights, Islamic and civil society organisations," said the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

"The campaign … is on the increase," SCMFE president Mazen Darwish said.

"It is the start of a policy of censuring the press and aims to control Internet users," who are increasingly using this forum to comment on Syrian politics."

Several sites have recently been blocked, said the group, mentioning Akhbar Suria, which published photos showing where Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughnieh was assassinated by a car bomb in Damascus in February.

Iran demands U.N. response to Israeli "threats"
Reuters, September 9, 2008

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Iran demanded on Tuesday a "resolute and clear response" from the United Nations to what it called dangerous threats against it by Israel, and said Tehran would not hesitate to respond to any attack.

A letter from Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described comments by two Israeli ministers as "vicious threats … in blatant violation of the most fundamental principles of international law."….

Khazaee said remarks attributed to Pensioners Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan by German magazine Der Spiegel this week "yet again put on display the aggressive and terrorist nature of the Israeli regime."

Der Spiegel quoted Eitan as saying in an interview that while the era of Israel hunting down former Nazi officials abroad was over, "that's not to say that such operations are a thing of the past." Asked to explain, he was quoted as saying, "It could very well be that a leader such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suddenly finds himself before the International Criminal Court in The Hague."

Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with Al Jazeera television that Israel was serious about using "any option" if diplomacy did not curb Iran's nuclear program. "These dangerous threats of resorting to criminal acts … require a resolute and clear response on the part of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council," Khazaee said….

Italy and Syria strengthen political and economic ties, 2008-09-11 

Rome – Syria Thursday marked another step in its improving relations with the West by signing an agreement with Italy aimed at boosting political, economic and cultural ties.

'Co-operation between Italy and Syria has resumed through intense dialogue,' Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, said at a joint news conference in Rome with Syrian counterpart, Wallid Moallem.

Frattini stressed how a memorandum of understanding he signed with Moallem, seeks to establish 'permanent bilateral relations' between the Rome and Damascus foreign ministries.

Thursday's agreement, including a two year-long commitment to work together in the technical and financial fields, was part of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's intention to establish a 'strategic partnership with Italy,' Moallem said. …

EU may resume Syria partnership talks, Ynetnews

Cheney: Russia Arming Hezbollah Via Syria

Pressures and contradictions…the unpredictable nature of Syria's foreign policy; An Observation
by Khairi Janbek; Friday, September 5, 2008
Post Global – Washignton Post Blog

The spinning compass of Syria's foreign policy…what direction next?…. – the problem is that these policies appear contradictory:

Arab Champion but Pro-Iranian: Syria is maintaining a strong alliance with Persian, Shi'a Iran. Some analysts go so far as to suggest that Damascus is becoming merely an appendage to the Iranian foreign policy in the region. At the same time Syria as a whole is an Arab, majority Sunni state run by a secular Ba'ath regime in Damascus, ….

Peace with Israel and Partnership with Hizbullah and Hamas: ….

US, Russia or Both: Syria insists that the US should extend its patronage to the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations; in fact, some analysts argue that peace with Israel is Syria's only means of improving relations with the US. Meanwhile, knowing only too well the increased tension between the US and Russia over Georgia, President Bashar al-Assad while in Moscow offered to host Russian missiles on Syrian territory, …..

There is one constant however to new Syrian policy. While the security of the country is firmly held in the grasp of the President's brother Mr. Maher al-Assad and his brother-in-law Mr. Asef Shawkat, the maternal side of the President's family, the Makhloufs, are primarily pressing for the liberalization of the Syrian economy…..

… However, Syria is not China and its brittle economy is starving for foreign investment. That investment most likely will come by way of Washington but could also come by way of both Beijing and Moscow. How much Syria is willing to trade its political structure for more economic success is still an unknown quantity.

To forecast the future direction of Syrian international policy, two issues need to be taken into account: Iran's regional influence and Syrian domestic politics.

So far, Iran has ignored the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations, due to its firm belief that Syria will never get what it wants from Israel, namely the whole of the Golan Heights ….

Secondly one must ask: Is peace with Israel a favorable option to the regime in Syria? The legitimacy of the Ba'ath regime is based upon its opposition to Zionism and the US as well as its socialist economic structure. This latter positioning is already greatly challenged by the endogenous pressure to liberalize the Syrian economy. Thus peace with Israel and closer ties with the US could call into question the raison d'etre of the Ba'ath regime's existence. Moreover, the contemporary phenomenon of a Syrian Arab renaissance, with the final dropping of the Arab unity fig leaf, could be definitively disenfranchised.

Presently, the al-Assad regime may consider itself lucky that the only organized and effective opposition comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, which one could argue accepts Mr. Assad as the lesser evil to greater chaos; but the Brotherhood could change its position and challenge the regime's monopoly on power if al-Assad were to reach peace with Israel. Losing the unifying force found in Israel as a common enemy coupled with rising economic openness could reveal latent rifts in Syrian society. A probable end to this crisis would see al-Assad's empire divided and his power usurped by the division of the country into a loose federal structure: an entity in the north centered around Aleppo for the various ethnic and religious communities; an entity from Homs towards the south; a Sunni entity centered around Damascus; an entity on the Mediterranean and the Alawite mountains, for the Christians and the Alawites; as well as an entity in the south of the country, centered around Horan, for the Druze and other minorities. So President Bashar al-Assad's willingness to truly make peace with Israel must be assessed in light of these risks. It is, therefore, difficult to believe that he will authentically pursue peace under such prospects.

Given these issues, the components of Syria's contradictory foreign policies are almost mutually exclusive. For al-Assad, the prospect of peace with Israel rather than being a plus for a newly emboldened and strong Ba'ath party, will actually call into question the legitimacy and ultimately the longevity of the regime. In light of recent events in Georgia, Syria may be even more compelled to disengage from peace negotiations with Israel and its policies of westward engagement.

Khairi Janbek, 49, worked as Deputy Director at the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies in Amman, Jordan. He was Special Advisor at the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy, Press Secretary to the Former Crown Prince of Jordan, and private advisor to Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan. He has been a columnist at Jordan's political, economic and cultural weekly, The Star. 

Also from Post Global


If Americans only new: West Bank Water Usage:

 Of the water available from West Bank aquifers, Israel uses 73%, West Bank Palestinians use 17%, and illegal Jewish settlers use 10%.

While 10-14% of Palestine’s GDP is agricultural, 90% of them must rely on rain-fed farming methods. Israel’s agriculture is only 3% of their GDP, but Israel irrigates more than 50% of its land.

Three million West Bank Palestinians use only 250 million cubic meters per year (83 cubic meters per Palestinian per year) while six million Israelis enjoy the use of 1,954 million cubic meters (333 cubic meters per Israeli per year), which means that each Israeli consumes as much water as four Palestinians. Israeli settlers are allocated 1,450 cubic meters of water per person per year.

Israel consumes the vast majority of the water from the Jordan River despite only 3% of the river falling within its pre-1967 borders. Israel now diverts one quarter of its total water consumption through its National Water Carrier from the Jordan River, whereas Palestinians have no access to it whatsoever due to Israeli closures.

“There is no reason for Palestinians to claim that just because they sit on lands, they have the rights to that water.” – Mr. Katz-Oz, Israel’s negotiator on water issues.

Comments (4)

Majhool said:

‘Damascus spring’ fades from memory
By Andrew England in Damascus

Published: September 13 2008 03:00 | Last updated: September 13 2008 03:00

Aref Dalila was not alone in believing that change may have been on the horizon in Syria, a nation where political freedoms are virtually nonexistent and its human rights record notorious.

At least the economics professor and other intellectuals and activists hoped it would as they gathered for lively debates and lectures and, daring to discuss the need for political and social reforms.

But that was seven years ago and today, Mr Dalila, 65, sits in his simple flat contemplating his first month of freedom. He was released on August 7 after spending six of his seven years of detention in solitary confinement and suffering from poor health.

In 2001 he was among activists buoyed by a sense of optimism as Bashar al-Assad, the young, new president was feeling his way into office. Such was the mood that the period was dubbed the Damascus spring.

But a bleak reality check hit that autumn as Mr Dalila and nine others were rounded up in a government crackdown.

“It’s difficult to stay seven years without any reason, only because you do your duty, nothing more,” he says. “Where is the law, where is the constitution?”

His crime was to argue for reforms and speak out against corruption from the top down – an issue he could claim to be an authority on as one of the country’s leading economists who had served as a professor at universities in Aleppo and Damascus. Others note that he stood out as as a rare critical voice from the Alawite sect, the minority to which the president belongs and which has dominated power since the late Hafiz al-Assad took power in 1970.

And while the Syrian government has enjoyed a remarkable recent turnround on the diplomatic front, human rights activists claim little has changed in their arena since Mr Dalila was picked up by security agents. A number of prominent activists arrested with Mr Dalila and released before him find themselves back behind bars, along with dozens of others detained for political reasons.

Few activists expect that situation to improve in spite of thawing international relations.

In July, Mr Assad was feted in Paris by Nicolas Sarkozy, his French counterpart, and last week he enjoyed a public relations coup as Damascus hosted a summit that included Mr Sarkozy and the leaders of Turkey and Qatar. The improved relations are the result of Syria’s support for an agreement between rival Lebanese factions that has for now ended the crisis in Lebanon, and the revelation that Damascus was holding indirect talks with Israel.

Yet activists point to other Middle East states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have poor human rights records but enjoy strong ties with the west – even adding Libya to the list after Condoleezza Rice’s visit to the north African state last week – to argue that international relations are one thing, internal reform another.

The best they hope for is some easing of the internal pressure as the regime feels less threatened externally, says an activist who – like hundreds of others – is banned from travelling outside the country.

“In 2006 it became clear to Bashar Assad that human rights was not important to these [western] countries, he has more important points [for the west] . . . the situation in Lebanon, the situation in Iraq,” says Ammar Qurabi, president of the National Organisation for Human Rights in Syria. “I’m not optimistic because up till now it’s been very good for the regime without any price.”

Like other civil society groups, his organisation is banned, and in spite of government discussions about a new law allowing political parties, they remain illegal.

When Mr Sarkozy was asked about human rights during his Damascus visit, he said two Syrians had been released from detention. But activists smile wryly – they can cite Mr Dalila’s release, but none others. In fact, they say, two leaders of the Kurdish minority were arrested days before the French leader’s visit. “It was just stupid,” says an activist. “If you do not know how many prisoners are released, how can you help?”

September 13th, 2008, 3:20 am


Alex said:

ميدفيديف يعلن معارضته التحرك العسكري ضد إيران أو فرض مزيد من العقوبات عليها … موسكو ودمشق تدرسان تعزيز تعاونهما العسكري وسفينة روسية تبدأ تأهيل قاعدة طرطوس
موسكو – رائد جبر الحياة – 13/09/08//

تجاهلت موسكو الانتقادات الغربية وخصوصاً من واشنطن، وخطت خطوة اضافية باتجاه تعزيز تعاونها مع حلفائها في الشرق الاوسط من خلال اتفاق على تحديث ميناء طرطوس السوري للاستخدام العسكري الروسي، في حين اعتمد الرئيس ديمتري ميدفيديف لهجة أكثر حسماً في معارضته أي هجوم عسكري على إيران بسبب طموحاتها النووية، مؤكداً أن لا حاجة الآن لتشديد العقوبات على طهران. وتزامن كلام ميدفيديف مع زيارة وزير الخارجية الإيراني منوشهر متقي لموسكو حيث أجرى محادثات مع نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف.
وعلى خلفية الأزمة المشتعلة في القوقاز والمواجهة المتصاعدة بين روسيا والغرب، خصوصاً مع الولايات المتحدة، أجرى قائد القوات البحرية السورية اللواء طالب الباري في موسكو امس محادثات وصفت بأنها «مثمرة ومفيدة» مع القائد العام للأسطول البحري الحربي الروسي الأميرال فلاديمير فيسوتسكي قال مسؤولون روس إنها تناولت قضايا التعاون في الميدان العسكري.
وقالت مصادر مطلعة لـ «الحياة» إن البحث تركز على مسألة الوجود العسكري الروسي في طرطوس، وإن المحادثات شكلت «استمراراً للمناقشات التي جرت خلال زيارة الرئيس بشار الأسد الأخيرة لروسيا». وكان مسؤولون عسكريون روس ركزوا على مسألة «تطوير التعاون والوجود الروسي في قاعدة طرطوس السورية».
يذكر أن البلدين تحدثا عن نيتهما إعادة تأهيل القاعدة التي كانت في العهد السوفياتي مركز صيانة وتموين للسفن الحربية السوفياتية. وبحسب المعطيات المتوافرة، فإن 50 روسيا يعملون حالياً في المركز، لكن دمشق وموسكو تنويان إجراء أعمال صيانة وتوسيع وإعادة بناء رصيف الموقع ليتمكن من استقبال السفن الروسية الكبيرة. وكانت قيادة الأسطول الروسي دعت أكثر من مرة الى توسيع المركز وتحويله إلى «قاعدة عسكرية أساسية للأسطول الروسي في البحر المتوسط».
وفي هذا السياق، افادت وكالة «ايتار تاس» امس ان سفينة من الاسطول الروسي في البحر الأسود بدأت عملية اعادة تأهيل قاعدة طرطوس للاستخدام العسكري الروسي. من جانبه، قال مساعد القائد العام للاسطول الحربي الروسي العقيد البحري إيغور ديغالو امس إن «التعاون يرمي إلى مواصلة تعزيز الثقة والتفاهم بين أسطولي الدولتين».

September 13th, 2008, 4:14 am


Alex said:

Sarkozy spoke today, after he met the Pope, about the way Christians suffer in many Muslim countries, “especially in Saudi Arabia”

وقال الرئيس الفرنسي »إن الحديث عن جذور مسيحية لأوروبا لا يمنع مواطنيها المسلمين من إحياء شعائر دينهم، أسوة بالآخرين، ونعتبر ذلك ثراء، ونتمنى أن تحترم ذلك مثلنا، بلدان أخرى، إن ذلك يسمى المعاملة بالمثل«، مقارنا الحريات والحقوق التي يتمتع بها مسلمو فرنسا، بما يلقاه المسيحيون في المشرق، وما تعانيه الجاليات المسيحية، في بعض بلدان الخليج من تمييز، خصوصاً في السعودية التي زارها مطلع العام الماضي، دون أن يأتي في خطابه، في الرياض، على أي من انتقاداته اليوم.

September 13th, 2008, 4:21 am


wizart said:

Finland’s ex-president Martti Ahtisaari received the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to build a lasting peace in places as diverse as East Timor and the Balkans in Europe.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it honored Mr. Ahtisaari for important efforts over more than three decades to resolve international conflicts. “These efforts have contributed to a more peaceful world and to ‘fraternity between nations’ in Alfred Nobel’s spirit,” the committee said in announcing the prize.

October 10th, 2008, 3:05 pm


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