Best of Comments on US Opening to Syria

MSK said:

Dear Josh,

And this is what I heard from my own sources withing the March 14 coalition:

Deciding to agree on Suleiman was a pre-emptive strike against March 8, and particularly Aoun. Suleiman had been proposed by March 8 in Summer, and rejected by March 14.

After Lahoud left Ba’bda without a new president elected, Aoun went into high gear again. By now accepting a constitutional amendment to allow Suleiman become president, March 14 has kicked the ball again over to March 8.

If Aoun rejects Suleiman, he will confirm what all his detractors have been saying for years – that he is only interested in himself becoming president and nothing else, even if Lebanon goes down.

If Hizbollah rejects Aoun, they will look like in Summer they were insincere (a.k.a. lying) and are now preferring a dangerous vacuum to an agreement with March 14 on Hizbollah’s own terms.

If Syria rejects Aoun = see “If Hizbollah rejects Aoun …” above.

At this point, nobody knows if Suleiman is pro- or anti- anything.

And the opposition DOES seem to have been caught by surprise and needs to now figure out how they will respond – which doesn’t look good for them, as they seem to prevaricating on their own proposal now.

As for the foreign powers having pressured March 14 … maybe yes, maybe no. My sources said that the “we accept Suleiman” move by March 14 was actually done in order to avoid pressure from outside.

That the Lebanese delegation @ Annapolis was surprised is not surprising – the deal was done by the Big 4 while the delegation was in Annapolis & everyone learned about it through the media.


PS: Josh, maybe we can have your source fight my source & then we’ll see who wins. ;)

GG said


Tell your “source” in March 14 to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. The guy is obviously as delusional as you.

His logic: M14 proposed Michel Suleiman to back Aoun into a corner, but Aoun proposed Suleiman in the summer and has accepted his candidature again? Where’s the corner? M14 are the one’s squirming because Houri says “yes”, but Jisr says “no”. And “we’ll never agree to amending the constitution” Geagea says he can now amend it, but Sanioura would rather cut his arm off than amend it. Wasn’t the in-fighting supposed to be by the opposition? Good plan M14! Where did it go wrong! Bunch of fools. If they really new what they were doing they’d be dangerous.

Qifa Nabki said:

I would discount “well-placed Lebanese sources.” I think GG is right about this.

The Lebanese, God bless ‘em, are often guilty of believing that their grandmothers’ kitchens are the center of the universe, and every deal made at their expense or behest must have implications involving very large land masses.

To be honest, I don’t see any clear-cut “winners” or “losers”, on all the various fronts that people have been talking about over the past couple of weeks. The opposition kinda “won” with Suleiman, but now they have to figure out how to deal with Aoun. M14 kinda “lost” with Suleiman, but at least they averted landing Aoun, and anyway Suleiman seems like a good fit for the times. Syria kinda “won” but the tribunal is still on course, and that could be used as a political weapon against it in the future.

I vote for us to stop talking about who “won” and “lost”. If only Middle Eastern politics were so simple.

EHSANI2 said:

Regardless of whether some want to admit it or not, Syria’s leadership has scored a massive win. The invitation to Annapolis and the admission of the world powers that the next President of Lebanon will not be from March 14th is a massive double strike for Damascus. Being invited to Annapolis is a big deal because it marked the official end of Syria’s isolation. France, Turkey, Saudi and, yes even the King of Jordan, all worked the phones and made the personal visits to Damascus before Annapolis saw the day of light. Damascus was courted by all the key players but for the U.S. This is because the White House did not want to admit defeat so publicly. It also did not want to be accused by its March 14th friends that they did the unthinkable and that is to cut a deal with the Syrians. Instead, Steven Hadley and Filtman continued to sing the same song while Feysal Mikdad was shaking hands at the conference on American soil. The U.S. continues its nothing-has-changed-with-Syria tape but even a 5 year old can tell that a lot has changed.

This brings us back to Damascus. Not only did it win but it is back to being the most courted girl in the neighborhood. Iran wants it to stay in its camp. Ditto for Hezbollah that depends on Damascus as the gateway to its main sponsor in Tehran. While Syria will not drop this long alliance just yet if ever, it has done just enough to tease the rest of the world about that possibility. Damascus is now in the brilliant position of asking for a price from both camps. Given the stakes, it is indeed the case that both are willing to meet its demands. Lebanon’s President was the first salvo. It is unlikely to be the last.

Bashar has earned his stripes. He has established his manhood and some. Hafez can be heard from his grave saying…. Bravo son. You are now officially a lion.

Qifa Nabki said


Your post exemplifies what I find so interesting about the comments on this blog, many of them by people who are clearly very intelligent, and knowledgeable about Middle Eastern affairs.

Your analysis is brimming with pathos; you sound like a tear-filled grandmother waving her hankie at the returning war-weary young men of her village, who stand silhouetted against rising sun. Damscus is “the most courted girl in the neighborhood” … “in a brilliant position”… “a massive win”? Bashar “has established his manhood and [become]… a lion”???

This is just silly.

We grumble and moan for months about Syria’s isolation, seeing it as the source of all the problems with its economy, its human rights record, its belligerent dealings with Lebanon, etc. And then, when the isolation seems to be coming to a close, we start crowing about what a stud Bashar is for having withstood it?

I don’t think leaders like Hafez and Bashar deserve adulation. Maybe begrudging respect, the occasional compliment about wisdom or realism, but certainly not the french kiss of an endorsement that you’ve given above.

EHSANI2 said:

Dear Qifa Nabki (love the name),

Your comment was great.

Dear Alex knows very well the many criticisms that I have against the Damascus leadership. You picked on its way of handling the economy, human rights and Lebanon. Those who are readers of SC can testify to how much I agree with you and more. Those who are expecting an improvement in human rights in particular are likely to be severely disappointed. People like me who have long argued that Syria’s economic policies need a total revamp are as likely to be disappointed but not quiet as much as the human rights advocates. Things are “improving” on the economic front. The speed of the changes though is at a snail speed. It is still akin to giving a cancer patient 2 Advils in the hope that he/she will get better soon.

My accolades (if I sounded that way) are directed at Bashar’s survival skills, patience and focus. Hate him or love him, he has established his credentials as a Middle Eastern leader. To succeed as a Middle Eastern leader, having a stellar human rights record is not a prerequisite. Niether is having a brilliant economy or a respect for your weaker neighbors. Scandinavia this isn’t.

Survival, longevity and focus are the name of the game and the metric by which ALL Middle Eastern leaders are judged.

Those of us who live in the west are bewildered as to why our own society cannot make the transition to democracy, accountability and the rule of law. This is not exclusive to our region of course. Russia’s Putin is a perfect example judging by his speech last week.

Let us for a moment put ourselves in Bashar’s shoes. Yielding power is easier said than done. In a tribal and religious societies like ours, losing power is most likely going to be associated with losing your life and that of your tribe. Every step in the direction of democracy is seen as a step towards that slippery slope that will end in your losing the leadership. Bashar is no fool. He is fully aware that behind the clapping and the “Bil-Roh-Bil-Damm Nafdika-Ya-Bashar” a significant percentage of his populace will jump at the first slippage by his security services. Human rights are not a priority in such an atmosphere. Winning the Nobel Prize in this department is not exactly the goal here. Survival is. Based on this metric, my hat is off to Bashar. This is why I think that Hafez is congratulating his son from his grave for proving that he has passed his first (and very tough) test as a lion. I say that he passed his test rather than his final exam because I don’t think that Damascus is totally out of the woods yet. As I said to Majedkhaldoun earlier, the tribunal still looms ahead. “IF” that report fails to offer the killer punch, the lion would have passed his final exam.

Offended said:

Junblat: let’s concede our defeat.

why-discuss said:

I do not agree that US wants to attack Iran. The US wants to weaken it by isolating it so it could be able to deal with it politically in a position of strength.
The wind has changed for Iran. Except for Iraq, its influence seems to have decreased in Arab countries.
Hezbollah is neutralized as they will be no war with Israel for a while. In the Lebanese crisis, Hezbollah had to choose between lebanese nationalism and the role of client to Iran, they choose to be Lebanese before all.
Hamas ( another circumstantial ally of Iran) is been ostracized and sanctioned by Israel without much complaints whether from Arabs or Europeans.
Like Hezbollah, Syria had a choice to appear as a Iran’s client or as Arab nationalist. It preferred to go to Annapolis to join the arab family.
The Lebanese crisis lost its momentum after Annapolis where it became clear that Syria could be tamed and included in a large deal between Arabs and israelis. Syria went to Annapolis despite Hamas and Hezbollah objections (and Iran’s). In Lebanon, the M14’s wishes for an elusive pro-US president became less relevant and a moderately pro-Syrian and popular president less of a threat, in the contrary…
With such developments, Iran apparently is loosing most of its cards in the region, except for Iraq.
The US has now more leverage to pressure Iran politically about Iraq and the nuclear issue, especially after the failure of the European-Iranians negotiations.

MNA said:

Michelle Suleiman was brought to the Chief of Army position by Syria and was also maintained in this position for 9 years. After Naher al-bared fighting, he acknowledged Syria’s support to the Lebanese army knowing that, after all, it was only Syria and not the Lebanese government or the west that supported it with fuel, spare parts, equipments, and maintenance. Let’s face it; he is pro-Syria, which does not necessarily make him a Syrian puppet. His election is definitely a win for Syria; I would even venture to say that had Syria still been in Lebanon, he would have been the next President after Lahood.

As for Hezbollah, those who say that it is the rebellious child of Syria could not be more wrong, Nasrallah is a very smart and pragmatic individual, he is perfectly aware of the importance of Syria’s support to his group. Iran’s support is extremely important, but without Syria, this support, financial or military, would not find its way to him. Nasrallah needs the strategic depth that Syria provides to his group. Syria was the only Arab state that backed it and still backing it, without this support, Hezbollah would not have any Arab umbrella, and Let’s not forget that during and after the summer war of 2006, both Israel and the US were stating that most of Hezbollah’s missiles were Syrian made, and the very effective Russian anti-tanks came from the Syrian army depot and not from Iran. Few months back, Hezbollah announced that during the war, Syria gave him the decision and timing of it entering the war. It also played a host country to more than 300,000 of al-dha7ye residents who fled the war. Since the war of 2006, Israeli, American, western, and Arab intelligences have been talking about Hezbollah intensified rearmament, where do you think this is coming from or thru? It certainly did not come from Israel or the sea or fell off the sky. Certainly Hezbollah can not do without this support; Syria’s support is a life line to Hezbollah.

Hamas and other Palestinian factions are in the same ship as Hezbollah. Iran’s support is very important, but they can’t fight Israel from Tehran. Syria has been a strong supporter, an ally and a base for the longest time. Just recently, Hamas and other Palestinian factions had to choose between upsetting Syria by attending the Anti-Annapolis conference that Iran was calling for or upsetting Iran by refusing to participate; they chose the later.

As for its participation at the Annapolis meeting, Syria is sending messages to all concerned, and to its allies before its enemies. The message to Hezbollah and Palestinian factions is this; Syria still independent in its decisions and policies and a key player and don’t forget that your big brother and true ally is Syria and not Iran. The message to Iran is: don’t act as if Syria is a satellite state of yours and talk over Syria’s head to Saudi Arabia, EU etc… about Lebanon and other regional concerns and give concessions so to gain leverage in your nuclear standoff; Syria can at any time greatly diminish any influence that you have in Palestine and Lebanon or greatly intensify it. Syria wants Iran to compromise on Iraq and stop its exclusive support to the Shiites on the account of Sunnis and baathists and stop encouraging the idea of federalization. Syria believes in the Arab entity of Iraq as well as its sovereignty and unity. The message to its rivals and enemies, including Arab states is: although Syria is in alliance with Iran, It is definitely not a satellite state of Iran. Syria is only interested in Iran’s support to the Palestinian cause (Lebanon and Golan Heights) and not in its influence over the entire area or in its nuclear ambitions; Syria is the only regional power that is capable of limiting Iranians influence in the region thru limiting its influence in Lebanon and Palestine and if you don’t address Syria’s regional interests and concerns in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel, Syria will have no choice but to work even closer with Iran. By participating, Syria appeared flexible and a party with whom you can do business with. It definitely distanced itself from the Iranian nuclear issue and showed the Americans, Israelis and the so called “moderate Arabs” on one hand and Iran on the other hand, the importance of Syria to both.

What did Syria benefit from attending the Annapolis meeting? We still don’t have the full picture, but based on what we know so far, It seems that it has managed to break the isolation with some Arab and European governments, It lowered tension with the US and gave the state dept in the US more fuel to combat the neocons concerning policy toward Syria, and finally the nomination and possible election of Michelle Suleiman in Lebanon. What did Syria loose? Not clear…

Will Syria ever get back the Golan Heights from Israel?? It all depends on the following:
1- How serious Iran is regarding its nuclear, regional and Iraqi ambitions
2- How serious the US and allies are about stopping these ambitions
3- How Iran on one hand and the US and its allies on the other hand view the importance of Syria being neutral or in either camp.

Whatever scenario turns out to be, I believe Syria will not abandon its allies, but will work to include them in any peace arrangement

GG said ;


….All you have to do is listen to Geagea on LBC and Hariri’s jokers on Mustaqbal. It beggars belief! Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that M14 are in disarray. This is not directed at MSK, but I would be insulted if a friend / source fed me nonsense thinking I was stupid enough to believe it.

Finally! Thank you for re-iterating my point. All it does is screw over March 14, nothing else; so Syria has achieved nothing. What was Josh trying to demonstrate by the paragraphs of claims that Syria was sitting pretty? By the way, Butros Harb and Nassib Lahoud are also on good terms with Syria, as is Michael “Syria leaves Lebanon over my dead body” Daher. Now if he was elected I would become a fully paid-up, card carrying member of the conspiracy cult.

Qifa Nabki,

Thank you too. Finally, someone else sharing reality with me; however, I do think your point that “The opposition kinda “won” with Suleiman, but now they have to figure out how to deal with Aoun. M14 kinda “lost” with Suleiman, but at least they averted landing Aoun,…” is a little too simplistic.

True Hizbullah’s ideal candidate is not Aoun, but … if you take a trip to Dahiya and other Hizballah strongholds you’ll notice a large and growing support for Aoun. Moreover, at Mousa Sadr’s remembrance day celebrations a couple of months ago, organised by AMAL, there were almost as many FPM flags as there were AMAL flags. How easily can Hizbullah drop him, especially when Hassan Nassrallah has actively nurtured a “my word is my bond” reputation? BTW these are my observations, not informed sources.

Second, an article in As Safir newspaper today claimed that Hariri has two options. First, accept Suleiman as president and a non-M14 PM, or accept Aoun as president and Hariri becomes PM. A recent piece by Sami Moubayed (“Bringing down the Republic” would indicate that Hariri’s dilemma is not as easily resolved as you claim.

Bashmann said:


I find myself agreeing with you, the US will not hit Iran, but Israel will.


You are right on. The regime in Damascus is up to their neck with Iranian investments and regional relevance and Hizbullah has become the rebelious child of Damascus. Many think the leverage by Damascus on Hizbullah is still significant, however I doubt this is the case at all.


As GG mentioned, they went to Annapolis for the “free meal and board”. But in reality, Bashar is so far off the mark when it comes to returning the Golan Heights; he makes his father looks like a hero. At least in the final days of the late Asad, we almost made a deal with Israel. Today, I find your views to be more realistic than most esteemed analysts on this blog, Israel has no incentive whatever to giving the Golan back to Syria. And for those who think the US can influence Israel in this regard, I only say; keep dreaming.


GG said:


… Michel Suleiman will NOT be the next president! … I may be wrong, but I’m quite convinced of it (and not because Carlos Edde threatened to resign from M14). So I’ll be back later this month to either congratulate you on your analysis, or to hear what you told your source after he fed you false information.

BTW I wouldn’t pay any attention to Michael Young. Every article he’s written in the run up to the election point to a man obsessed with Michel Aoun – in an unhealthy way.

Nur al-Cubicle said: 

I just wanted to mention the press photo of Sarkozy greeting Olmert during his visit to Israel. Sarkozy fell into Olmert’s arms like a prodigal son and almost in tears. It was disturbing. He fell into his right arms…didn’t shake hands, no manly embrace, completely without the dignity of head of state.
As to Kouchner, the fellow is a loose cannon.

When a pair like this is calling the shots and imposing their pick on Lebanon it does not bode well. In fact, the quartet of Olmert, Bush, Sarkozy and Kouchner calling the shots is very unsettling. Wither Lebanon?

Observer said:

I agree with Nur as to the French. Sarko le premier as the French now call him has set himself the task of changing the culture of France. Well DeGaule once said about trying that: “le peuple vomira sa vache avant de changer”, He also has the illusion that the WASP culture in the US which holds everthing French with disdain will be easily overcome. He is in for a big set of surprises: a small country like Syria can put him in his place, the US will completely ignore him, Israel will use him and spit him out, and most importantly the French will clip his wings soon enough.

Now, I read today in the Daily Star that the Lebanese banks have been downgraded to B credit worthiness by the S&P and that the Lebanese bankers are furious about it. This means that the monies will start flowing out of the country and I expect that Lebanon will default on its debt and would make Argentina look like a picnic; unless of course the KSA is willing to bail it out. …

The Shia in Iraq have won this round in the civil war in the sense that they used the US to battle the Sunnis and marginalize them even further. The attempt by the Sunnis to turn the tables by cooperating with the US for now will turn out to be a mistake for the troops will come down and the Shia then will marginalize them even further if not outright massacre them. Then the nightmare of the KSA will start anew as they will have no other recourse to counter the Shia except through their Wahhabi jihadists and you know they just arrested 208 of them.

Iran keeps acquiring more cards in its hands for it knows full well that Syria will never trust the Israeli US French initiative. As we say in Damascus ” even the donkey learns from repetition”.

why-discuss said:


I agree with you in most of your points, except the one about Iran acquiring more cards. I think Iran is loosing many cards: Hezbollah is neutralized and is now getting into politics, there will be no war with Israel soon. Hamas is squeezed in total indifference of the arabs and the western world. The nuclear issue is starting to harm Iran economically, and is creating more tensions internally. Lebanon seems settled with a pro-syrian president that will tame Hezbollah quietly and let Syria have some influences in the geopolitical game. Iraq is gradually getting closer to US by signing a long term accord, despite the internal rifts. Syria is flirting with Condie. I think Iran is loosing its cards.

Observer said:

I agree with Ehsani’s analysis and estimation of the situation now.
Why-discuss: although Syria may have shown significant independence from Teheran in going to Annapolis I can assure you that the projects being built in Syria and the very close cooperation they are having in the military sphere is substantial. It would make the old soviet union look like a pygmy when it was selling Syria weapons and sending technicians. I would not be surprised that the real faction in power in Iran (khamenei and not ahmedinejad) has helped the Syrian strategy. Family members that visited Iran on both official and non official visits told me that this is the most solid country in this entire part of the world and that they are nearly self sufficient in most everything. Trains run on time there: can you imagine that in the ME.

why-discuss said:


Iran is heavily involved economically with Syria, because Syria is been snubbed by KSA, the US and Europe and that it represent a good entry to the arab world market, with cars etc..In foreign policy and investements, Iran is much strong. Technologically they are much more developped that any arab country. They have solid institutions and a compelx political system of check and balance. It appears that Iran is self sufficient and fairly solid politically, but the internal economical situation despite the oil revenue is very bad, inflation is very high and unemployement too. The country is ravaged by the very wide spread of drugs (Opium and worse) that you find more easily than wine around the corner, the social situation is getting worse every day. Prostitution is on the rise. I got that from a friend on mine who was there several times. I tell you this from personal contacts not with oficials, but with common people, middle class, taxi drivers, students that the iranians are very unhappy with the way they country is going. Would this affect the schedule of the train?, i don’t think so, because Iranians are hard working people with a sense of ethic of work, but the traffic jams in all large cities, the petrol restrictions, are not making the country pleasant to live. The only countries where an iranian can go easily is Turkey, Iraq and Syria. All other countries present heavy restrictions in issuing visas. Most young people want to leave to Europe and the US. That is not what I call a healthy country.

IsraeliGuy said:

Dear Alex,

I think that our differences stem from one critical issue.

You feel that the issues of Syrian alliances with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are just minor ‘technical details’, that can be sorted out or brushed away relatively easily in negotiations – while leaving these alliances mostly intact.

On the other hand, Israelis see them as real core issues.
Without addressing them in a genuine and satisfactory way, which will convince not only the Israeli leadership, but also the Israeli public opinion – a deal can’t be struck.

As I said before, we’re living in a different reality than the one we had in the 90’s.
Back then, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas were relatively marginal issues in the context of a Syrian-Israeli peace.

This is no longer the case.
Today, these issues will be the ‘make or break’ foundations for any peace deal.

You may claim that there’s no inherent value for Israel in “flipping Syria” and I may claim that Syria doesn’t need the Golan, because it has enough land – but it doesn’t matter.

If Israel will not address the issues which are important to Syria in a satisfactory way and if Syria will not address the issues which are important to Israel in a satisfactory way – there won’t be a deal.

By the way… you’re right about one issue.
Flipping Syria is indeed a catalyst for desired change to Israel’s advantage.

In practice, we already have peace with Syria.
The border is quiet and there’s no fighting between the sides for a long time.

So if a peace agreement is signed tomorrow, the most significant changes we’ll see (compared to the current situation) will be:

* A formal paper
* 2 embassies: one in Israel, one in Syria

Therefor, the only real benefit that Israel can get from such a deal is if it draws a new Middle Eastern reality.

All the Israeli figures that you quote, present the same logic: “we’ll give the Golan and in return we’ll get a new geopolitical Middle East reality”.

None of these figures is willing to sign a deal with Syria, unless its alliances with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are part of the goods that Syria will deliver.

If you’re asking me, I don’t think that Syria will do so and therefor, the chances for such a deal are less than minimal.

Bashmann said:


Hold your horses my friend, its not over ’till the fat lady sings.

In politics things change fast and today we are witnessing Syria being put up for sale to the highest bidder by the cub of the late lion you mentioned. The “the most courted girl in the neighborhood” you speak of is committing adultery and soon will be trialed for its sins. What you see as a success might be the doom of this regime. Bashar simply opened all his cards on this poker table and now is more vulnerable than ever before.

Don’t throw that winning party yet, more to come and soon.


Qifa Nabki said:

One more thing on Suleiman… The terms ‘consensus’ and ‘compromise’ candidate have been bandied around so much over the past few months that people have become extremely cynical about them, to the point that we are predisposed to analyzing the outcome of the standoff as a clear-cut win/lose situation. God forbid that Suleiman actually represent a compromise, much less a consensus.

However, based on my own discussions with family and friends in Beirut, I would tentatively suggest that there is a palpable sense of relief by people on both sides of the political divide. The Lebanese are cautious optimistic, for the first time in a year. Suleiman is an ambiguous character… ambiguous in a good way. He hasn’t slung any mud at anyone, he hasn’t called for the end of foreign interference on his way to a meeting with an ambassador, he has the respect of a very large segement of the population… In other words, he looks (and more importantly, smells) pretty clean. In short, he may well be a pretty decent compromise.

When Aoun finally gets around to accepting this, then Suleiman may even aspire to be a consensus candidate.

Alex said:


Of course there is no final victory … and many things can go wrong … but the one you portray as an idiot (Bashar) won a big battle my friend. Lebanon is one of three battles he wanted to win … it was the first one. He won his first battle… and he is doing well on the other fronts.

The regime’s situation is much more promising than the way you want to see things.

You know why he won it? … because he was on the side of good … Syria’s candidate, Michel Sleiman, is the best thing that can happen to Lebanon under the current circumstances … exactly as Qif Nabki explained. While President Bush was issuing useless directives designed to scare any one from supporting Aoun and to instead accept his M14 candidates for president … while his ambassador in Beirut was meeting everyday with every Lebanese MP or religious or business leader and having the audacity to warn Syria against interfering in Lebanon … Bashar stopped mentioning Lebanon in public … his allies were right this time … they did not need his heavy involvement … Aoun and Nasrallah and Salim Hoss knew what to do.

You want to compare Bashar’s public positions on Lebanon lately to that of his strongest critics? … listen to this speech by Mr. Jumblatt (last part of the video clip) … and tell me if Bashar won or not.

ausamaa said:


The Old Lady is singing here, somewhat shyly, but loud and clear. But please do let us know when her voice reaches you in the far away galaxy you seem to be living in. Actually, the song was “performed” by the Feb 14 corner-stone Amin Al Gemayyel announcing their acceptance to “ammend the constitution” in order to elect General Michle Sulaiman to become Lebanon’s next President. Mabrouk to Lebanon.

As to: “don’t throw that winning party yet, more to come and soon”, I can only say at the risk of repeating myself for the hundrerdth time: Hope Springs Eternal! Keep looking out for those Israeli or US fighters heading to bomb Damascus International Airport to topple the “regime” or to “de-couple” it from its allies. Look hard and long enough, throw in some well-intentioned prayers for good measure, and those long-awaited fighters may appeare on the horizon somehow. If they don’t, keep looking anyway!

Lysander said:

Looks like while you all were talking about “flipping” Syria, Iran seems to be making a move on the cute Saudi girl across the bay…

(thanx to Arnold Evans at

GCC chief confirms Ahmadinejad to attend Gulf summit

11 hours ago

DOHA (AFP) — The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) confirmed on Sunday that it had invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend its summit this week, the first such invitation to the Islamic Republic.

Seems the Americans’ brilliant plan to isolate Iran from its Arab neighbors has taken a bit of a setback.

EHSANI2 said: 

When it rains it pours:

Syria and Iraq reopened a major border crossing today. This is what the U.S. second in command in Iraq said :

“We have seen a reduction in the amount of foreign fighters entering Iraq. it is probably been a 25% to 30% reduction that we have seen”.

He gave Syria credit for taking steps to limit the flow.

“We think Syria can do a bit more but we are pleased with the fact that they are taking some additional responsibility with their own internal security measures”.

majedkhaldoun said:


someone asked what was the price that Syria got in order to go to Annapolis? here comes the answer, King Abdullah of Jordan said today that he is arranging a meeting of five, Syria,jordan,KSA Egypt and Abbas,in other word rapprochement with KSA Abdullah,and Husni Mubarak,and Assad, practically in the last six monthes, there has been zero relations with Mubarak and KSA and Syria.
the fact that Syria sent Makdad to Tehran,and this quickly, indicate that Iran was very upset with Syria,in my humble opinion, I do not think that Syria can continue good relations with Iran and continue to depend on HA and Hamas, at the same time has close relations with Egypt and KSA, at the same time Syria can not abandone the arab line altogather.remember that when you prevaricate, you loose some power.

Comments (5)

EHSANI2 said:

Dr. Landis,

The latest NIE report on Iran is another significant event in the region. Some analysts described the report as “sensational”, and I agree. To underscore the importance of this development, President Bush decided to hold a press conference this morning to discuss the implications of its findings.

While the President tried to project the image that nothing has changed in his Administration’s policy towards Iran, the truth is that this report has dealt the existing policy a severe blow.

During the press conference, Bush admitted that he learnt about the NIE report a week before it became public yesterday.

The dumping of March 14th, the invitation of Syria to Annapolis and that of Iran to the G.C.C conference is a startling dynamic that is sweeping the region. If that was not enough, now this NIE report.

Syria stands to reap the benefits of all of this in a most spectacular fashion.

December 4th, 2007, 5:07 pm


Observer said:

Agree with Ehsani and one can re read my post yesterday about this as well. I would say if you want to know where the wind is blowing listen to Jumblat. His hair do is the best weather catcher in the region.

December 4th, 2007, 5:57 pm


Lara said:

>>> If Aoun rejects Suleiman, he will confirm what all his detractors have been saying for years

Hmmmm! lets see, a Lebanese government that, according to polls, does not represent the majority of Lebanese, considers it a a success to defeat a Christian candidate who, according to polls, speaks on behalf of the majority of Christians in Lebanon.

cab things get any worse.

December 5th, 2007, 12:16 pm


Kareem Wehbe said:

Your link to newspaper for an interview with Taymur Jumblatt has attracted my serious attention. As a professor I assume that you inquire into the legitimacy of the news you provide. The Taymur Jumblatt interview is a total sham. This interview is fabricated by pro-Syrian groups (most likely with Buthaina Shabaan an d the Syrian intelligence services). Suffice it to say that if this interview was legitimate it would have been aired in the Arab world especially in the anti March 14 media. As long as this does not happen this interview is a sham.

It is a shame that a professor in a US university will stoop as low as to push misinformation. As a minimum you should take out this link from your website. Should this not happen I will be forced to report it to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the appropriate authorities in the US.

December 7th, 2007, 5:36 pm


Alex said:


I agree that the interview does not seem to be coming from a reliable source. But Bouthainam, who has a Ph.D. from a British University, is not into making up interviews that Taymour can easily deny. If this is not reliable (and it might be) it is the work of some independent person.

B the way, it was picked by many sites. One of them is a very respectable site:

Middle East Online

December 7th, 2007, 7:55 pm


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