Can the US Convince Hariri to Stand up to Hizbullah with the Lebanese Tribunal?

The US can do very little about the difficulties of the Special Lebanese Tribunal and Saad Hariri’s need to back away from its results. The Lebanese pendulum is returning to its equilibrium. Syria’s and Hizbullah’s authority in Lebanon is being restored after the effort by George Bush, Jacques Chirac, and Ehud Olmert to yank it out of Syria’s orbit in 2004 – 2006. The Special Tribunal was a device conceived of by George Bush to use international law and Western institutional clout to hog tie Syria and Hizbullah. It was of a piece with UN resolution 1559 and the other Security Council resolutions. They were designed to mobilize international law against Syria and Hizbullah and to help bring Lebanon into America’s orbit. The effort failed.

Rafiq Hariri, Lebanon’s strong man, was assassinated because he switched sides. We do not know how Bush and Chirac enticed him to abandon Syria, the country that had helped him to power in Lebanon. Presumably Bush turned to the Saudis and the French to convince him. What assurances of protection were promised Hariri by Ameirca’s president, we do not know. They did not stop Hariri’s murder. We do know that Rafiq Hariri was scared that he would not survive the Bush gambit. Only 22 years earlier Bashir Gemayyel, the Lebanese strongman that the Israeli’s made president in order to sign a peace agreement with Israel, was blown up in similar circumstances. Israel’s effort to wrench Lebanon out of Syria’s orbit collapsed in the same way that America’s effort to do the same thing has failed.

When Hizbullah soldiers marched into West Beirut in May 2008 to surround Saad Hariri’s offices and demonstrate that they were in control and that the Lebanese army would lift not a finger to oppose Hizbullah, no one could question that Syria and Hizbullah were back in control. George Bush and the US military stood by and watched. They were not going to repeat Ronald Reagan’s mistake of sending marines into Beirut. Saad Hariri discovered that he had no power and that Washington would not and could not back him up.

U.S. State Department officials are clamoring for Syria and Hizbullah to recognize the SLT. They insist that Prime Minister Hariri stand firm in supporting the SLT and act on any indictments of HIzbullah members. This places an impossible burden on Hariri. It is unlikely that he will try to use the Lebanese state to move against Hizbullah or give orders for the arrest of Hizbullah members. If he does, his government is likely to fall, and Lebanon will return to the government paralysis that characterized the years between 2005 and 2008, when the Doha Accord provided a compromise between Hizbullah and the March 14 coalition. The US cannot protect Hariri from Hizbullah, who will most likely feel compelled to find a face saving way to finesse the SLT.

If the US is serious about the peace process in Palestine, it will need Syrian help.
Despite US Effort, Syrian Mideast Role On The Rise – CBS News

Syria Rebuilds Mideast Clout, Shrugs Off US Incentives And Pressure To Shun Iran, Hezbollah
Syria has bounced back from years of international isolation and is wielding its influence in crises around the Middle East, shrugging off U.S. attempts to pull it away from its alliances with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Damascus played a role in helping Iraq’s fractious politicians agree this month to form a new government after eight months of deadlock. Now with Lebanon’s factions heading for a possible new violent collision, Arabs have had to turn to Syria in hopes of ensuring peace, even as Damascus backs Lebanon’s heaviest armed player, the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

Washington has increasingly expressed its frustration with Syria, which it says is stirring up tension through its support of Hezbollah. Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Syria’s behavior “has not met our hopes and expectations” over the past 20 months and that it has “not met its international obligations.”

Since 2005, Washington – along with its Arab allies – hoped to squeeze Syrian influence out of its smaller neighbor Lebanon. But Arab powers that once shunned Damascus, particularly Saudi Arabia, have had to acknowledge its regional weight.

This month, Syrian and Saudi officials have been holding talks trying to avert an explosion in Lebanon. It’s a remarkable turnaround from several years ago, when the two countries were locked in a bitter rivalry and an outright personal feud between their leaders, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Saudi King Abdullah.

Fears of violence in Lebanon are high because an international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is expected soon to indict members of Hezbollah.

Many Lebanese fear that could break the country’s fragile unity government grouping Hezbollah and pro-Western parties loyal to Hariri’s son, Saad, who is the current prime minister, and even lead to clashes between the two sides. With Syria’s backing, Hezbollah demands Saad Hariri break off Lebanon’s ties with the tribunal.

Little is known about the Syrian-Saudi talks, but Lebanon’s daily As-Safir reported Monday that the contacts have produced a five-point compromise plan in which Hariri, a close Saudi ally, is likely to declare Hezbollah innocent of the assassination once the tribunal issues indictments.

Such a deal would be a setback for Washington, which has pressed for support of the tribunal, and for pro-U.S. factions in Lebanon who fear the country is coming under Hezbollah’s thumb. But it would mark a new success for Syria and illustrate how it has come to restore its regional clout largely on its own terms.

It has done so while ignoring incentives from Washington. President Barack Obama has made repeated overtures to Damascus this year, nominating the first U.S. ambassador to Syria since 2005 and sending top diplomats to meet with Assad, in hopes of swaying it away from its alliance with Iran and regional militant groups.

Still, “Syria did not abandon Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah or its principles regarding the (Mideast) peace process,” said Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst who is the editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine.

Relations with Washington have now chilled before they even had a chance to fully warm up. Last month, Assad accused the United States of sowing chaos around the world.

“Is Afghanistan stable? Is Somalia stable? Did they bring stability to Lebanon in 1983?” Bashar Assad told Al-Hayat newspaper, referring to U.S. intervention in Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, which ended in 1990.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice in turn accused Syria of displaying “flagrant disregard” for Lebanon’s sovereignty, citing its provision of increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and other militias in violation of a U.N. resolution.

“Hezbollah remains the most significant and most heavily armed Lebanese militia,” Rice said on Oct. 28. “It could not have done so if not for Syria’s aid, and facilitation of Syrian and Iranian arms.” Iran funds the militant group to the tune of millions of dollars a year and is believed to supply much of its arsenal.

As it spurns moves by the U.S., Damascus is making friends elsewhere – and not just with staunch anti-American governments such as Iran and Venezuela, whose President Hugo Chavez swung through Damascus in October.

Iraqi leaders looked to Syria for help in solving the political stalemate stemming from March parliamentary elections, which failed to produce a clear winner. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who along with other prominent Iraqi officials made a trip to Damascus, is expected to form a new government after last week’s deal broke the political impasse.

Syria’s emergence as a regional heavyweight is a reversal from just a few years ago. Rafik Hariri’s assassination prompted a wave of anti-Syrian protests that forced Damascus to withdraw its military from Lebanon and end its long control there. In 2006, relations with some Arab states took a dive when Assad called Saudi King Abdullah and other Arab leaders “half men” over their disapproval of Hezbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, which sparked a 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel.

Syria could benefit from improved ties with Washington, which would boost its economy and end sanctions first imposed by President George W. Bush. Assad also wants U.S. mediation in indirect peace talks with Israel – a recognition that he needs Washington’s help to win the return of the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

But after rebuilding its regional status, it may feel less of a need to pay the price for better ties. Syria has “turned the page on isolation” by building its partnership with Saudi Arabia and asserting a role in Iraq, Peter Harling, a Syria-based Mideast analyst with the International Crisis Group, says.

“Syria has been doing well in a region that has not.”

I am not sure what to make of the Bar’el article. It is smart but I we have no evidence that the Syrian government double crossed Iran as he claims it did. I wouldn’t believe it without proof. Lebanese sources have a long history of misinformation about infighting within the Asad family and between Iran and Syria and between Hizbullah and Syria. Almost all of them have turned out to be false. We were told that Syria killed Mughniya, when it was almost asuredly Israel – perhaps with US assistance. We were told that the Assad family was at daggers drawn, with Assaf Shawkat out of favor and Bushra in exile. Not true. These perennial stories of intrigue and treachery are the products of wishful thinking and mischievous minds seeking to assure opponents of Syria and Hizbullah that if they refuse to cooperated with Damascus and Nasrallah, they will be rewarded by a sudden collapse of the Iran-Syria-Hizb alliance. It is not likely to happen. They make for good copy but Iran and Syria are not double crossing each other in this way. No alliance could withstand it for 30 years as the Syrian-Iranian alliance has.

Are relations between Syria and Iran cooling off?
New article in Asharq Al Awsat reveals Syria apparently was responsible for confiscating a large shipment of explosives that Iran was planning to send to Hezbollah.
By Zvi Bar’el

Tehran and Damascus were able to trust each other so long as it was clear that the other was not planning to encroach on its sphere of influence. Just as Syria does not intervene publicly or ostentatiously in Iraqi affairs – an area considered to be under Iranian influence – so Damascus expects Tehran to refrain from intervening too crudely in Lebanese affairs, at least not in a manner that portrays Lebanon as an Iranian protectorate rather than a Syrian one. But Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon, the presence of Revolutionary Guards there, and the transfer of explosive materials from Iran to Syria in a way that puts Damascus under scrutiny by the committee examining sanctions against Iran, raise questions about the quality of relations between the two countries. ….

Syria would like to leave Hezbollah as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Saudi Arabia over the international committee looking into the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese president assassinated in 2005, or as a reward for Israel in case of a peace agreement. But Iran has other plans. It would like Lebanon to become an Iranian protectorate, through Hezbollah. …. Hezbollah and Syria will not cooperate with the international tribunal hearing the Hariri case, but neither will Assad permit Lebanon to be shattered.

Syria and America: The End of the Honeymoon Period
Saturday 06 November 2010
By Tariq Alhomayed

It seems that the American – Syrian honeymoon has come to an end, and to make matters worse, the Republican Party has gained control of the US Congress following this week’s mid-term elections. Damascus wasted two years of Obama’s presidency, failing to achieve anything; during this period the Syrians dealt with Washington in the same manner that they deal with certain Arab countries, and this is something that can be seen in their response to the statement made by US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, in which Damascus called on Feltman to “recognize historical and geographical facts.”
Two years after Washington extended its hand to Damascus, the US is outraged by the Syrian behavior in Lebanon, with the Americans believing that Damascus is contributing to undermining security and stability there. This is something expressed by US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, and Feltman himself reiterated this in his statement that provoked the Syrians. If we add a Republican-controlled Congress to this equation, then we can say that Obama cannot continue opening up to Syrian in this manner, especially as there have long been demands in Washington that the US reassess the manner in which it is dealing with Syria.

Syria has not met US hopes: Clinton (AFP)

WASHINGTON — Syria has failed to meet Washington’s hopes since the Obama administration started to engage with the former US foe, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview published Friday. “Syria’s behavior has not met our hopes and expectations over the past 20 months — and Syria’s actions have not met its international obligations,” the chief US diplomat told the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar.

Syrian bloggers brace for fresh blow to Middle East press freedom
The Christian Science Monitor -By Sarah Birke, November 16, 2010

A Syrian law awaiting parliamentary approval is one of a raft of measures across the region to clamp down on a surge in Internet activity over the past decade.

The Middle East’s modest window for dissent, created by a surge in blogging and online journalism over the past decade, looks poised to narrow with a raft of measures across the region.

A draft Internet law awaiting parliamentary approval in Syria is one such measure. The government says it would give a needed legal framework to online activity by forcing bloggers to register as union members, conferring rights such as a press card to online journalists for the first time, and potentially requiring content be withdrawn from websites.

Online journalists and bloggers in Syria, already subject to harassment and imprisonment, are concerned that the law is designed to crack down on their activities and restrict freedom of expression. Media analysts say parliamentary approval is likely to come soon.

Since Syria’s online sphere began to blossom in 2000, Syrian websites – which face less scrutiny than the country’s print media – have been able to publish stories on sensitive subjects such as the army and corruption. They have recently brought to light a controversial personal status law and the issue of corporal punishment.

“We have democratized information and flagged up sensitive and important topics for debate, both controversial and non-controversial,” says Abdel Ayman Nour, the editor of All4Syria, a news website run from outside the country which as well as writing about politics has actively campaigned about neglected topics such as the environment. “But a law that stipulates that police can enter the office of a website to take journalists for questioning, seize their computers, and impose penalties of jail or a fine of up to 1 million Syrian pounds [$200,000] is clearly designed to end that.”
New media push boundaries

The Middle East has long been known as one of the least liberal regions for media freedoms in the world, though the advent of new media forms has pushed the boundaries of media restrictions and made governments more accountable to their citizens.

“The satellite revolution and the launch of private television in the 1990s made it harder to censor content,” says Naila Hamdy, a former journalist who now teaches at the American University in Cairo. “Now the Internet, which was formerly used only by a handful of people, has exploded, challenging traditional government-controlled media.”

But Middle Eastern countries pushed back as Internet usage surged 13-fold from 2000 to 2008. A 2009 report by the Committee to Protect Journalists detailed the tailoring of press laws and the introduction of new laws across the region, including measures such as the United Arab Emirates’ Cyber Crime Law that stipulates $5,400 fines and prison sentences for vague online acts such as insulting family values.

Egypt, in the run-up to Nov. 28 parliamentary elections and the presidential election next year, has imposed restrictions on the press. Satellite television stations must now request a license before broadcasting a live event, as must companies engaging in mass text messaging.

But Syria is ranked even worse than Egypt on this year’s annual press freedom chart by Reporters without Borders. The international organization based in Paris put Syria at 173 out of 178 countries, just behind Sudan and China, and beating out only Iran and a handful of others.
Defamation is concern, say governments

Syrian websites espousing harsh political criticism, such as All4Syria, are blocked along with some human rights and social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook – although most Syrians use proxy software to access them. Many publications are subject to censorship.

But this is not a complete picture, say analysts. Taleb Kadi Amin, director of the Arab Radio & TV training center in Damascus and former deputy information minister, says the Syrian law is part of a global trend to regulate the Internet and deal with negative effects such as violations of copyright law.

“This law is simply designed to tell online journalists that they are responsible for what they write,” he says. “Many websites copy and paste material and publish defamatory or untrue material, often anonymously, and there is currently no mechanism to deal with it.”

“It is not about limiting freedom of expression but giving support to legitimate online journalists and increasing people’s rights not to be defamed,” he added.

But such laws include a risk of abuse, say analysts. “The challenge is promulgating a law that cannot be used to silence dissent,” says Professor Hamdy.
More anxiety for journalists

Syrian bloggers claim the new regulations will lead them to self-censor, write anonymously, or leave the country, which will lower their credibility, but some say the law will have little consequence.

“The Internet is almost impossible to police and Syria and other countries already mete out penalties without a specific law,” says Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at Oklahoma University. “It will, however, add another layer of anxiety for journalists.”

Professor Landis, operator of the blog Syria Comment, adds that it was in the interest of all countries to have a free press, including Syria.

“It is necessary for the economic liberalization desired by Syria,” he says. “Many officials realize that debating difficult topics such as the removal of subsidies and salary disparities is more likely to get people onside with painful but needed reforms.”

Israel pullback alarms Lebanon border town
By Douglas Hamilton
GHAJAR, Israel | Wed Nov 17, 2010

A woman walks past concrete security blocks in the village of Ghajar on the Israeli-Lebanese border November 7, 2010. Reuters/Nir Elias

GHAJAR, Israel (Reuters) – Israel said on Wednesday it would withdraw troops from a village straddling the Lebanese border, in a gesture to the United Nations that drew residents onto the streets protesting the division of their community.

The people of Ghajar, a prosperous hillside town of 2,300 who are members of Syria’s Alawite sect, say they want no “Berlin Wall” dividing the north from the south of their village and forcing them to chose between Lebanon or Israel.

They say they were not consulted on U.N. plans to resolve a situation that has long inflamed tensions between Israel, the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group and neighboring Syria.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen when the Israelis pull back. We’re afraid the village will be cut in two, and in Ghajar we’re all one big family,” said local council head Ahmed Fatali.

Morocco and Syria have the highest SMS rates in the Arab World

New research from the Arab Advisors Group reveals that 87% of Arab cellular operators provide the MMS service. The SMS service, which is provided by all mobile operators in the region, is priced quite differently across the region. Yemen and Palestine have the lowest average SMS rates, while Morocco and Syria have the highest.

Lebanon PM: Army to get assistance from Russia
The Associated Press

Russia will provide the Lebanese army with free helicopters, tanks and munitions in a deal that will boost the country’s poorly equipped military, officials said Tuesday. The announcement comes at a time when military assistance to Lebanon is under scrutiny after U.S. lawmakers demanded assurances that American aid will not fall into the hands of Hezbollah.

Robert Fisk: How Lebanon can’t escape the shadow of Hariri’s murder

Madame Clinton has been on the phone to Hariri, nagging him to disarm Hezbollah and to stick to the tribunal. In Washington, this makes sense. In Lebanon, she sounds as if she is mad.

Why? Shiites are the largest community in Lebanon, yet their sons and brothers make up a majority of the Lebanese national army.

It’s not that the Hezbollah have infiltrated the ranks. It’s just that since the Christian and Sunni elites have maintained the Shiites in comparative poverty, the youngest sons need a job and are sent off to the army.
… If they were indeed ordered to march south…. are they going to shoot their Hezbollah brothers, fathers and cousins to a chorus of White House cheers?

No, they would refuse and the Christian-Sunni soldiers would be tasked to attack the armed Shiites. The army would split. That’s how the civil war started in 1975.

Does Madame Clinton – and France’s foppish foreign minister, the saintly Bernard Kouchner who has turned up in Beirut to support the tribunal – want another civil war in Lebanon?

There’s another problem. Given their numbers, the Shiites are grossly under-represented in the Lebanese parliament and government. And there’s been an unspoken – certainly unwritten – agreement in Beirut that to compensate for their lack of political power, the Shiites can have a militia.

If God was to tell Nasrallah to disarm the Hezbollah – he would surely obey, for no-one else in the region would dare to make such a request – then Nasrallah would immediately demand an increase in Shiite numbers in government, commensurate with his perhaps 42 per cent of the population. There would, therefore, in effect, be a Shiite government in Lebanon.

Is that what Clinton and poor old Obama want? Another Shiite Arab state to add to the creation of the Shiite Iraqi state which they have bestowed upon the Saudis and the rest of the Arab Sunnis as a neighbour?

Comments (51)

5 dancing shlomos said:

of course what washington, meaning israel, wants for lebanon is in lebanon’s best national interest.

let america and israel disarm.

if and when the US is serious about the peace process in Palestine, hogs will fly.

syria, better yet, dumb writers, put america out of your minds. ignore it. go about your lives. mix with others more relevant to syria’s future and present.

November 18th, 2010, 1:36 pm


Norman said:

Syria: Crackdown on Christians is causing jitters
November 18, 2010 ⋅ 10:56 pm ⋅ Post a comment
Filed Under Christians, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria
SECULAR Syria has long been one of the freest places in the Middle East to practice religion. But a recent crackdown on Christians, about a tenth of Syria’s people, is causing jitters.

Several buildings that hold Christian services have been closed for not being officially sanctioned as churches. Foreigners serving Protestant churches have been told their visas will not be renewed because of a decree banning them from working for injeeli, as Protestant churches are known. In the summer several church camps were canceled. The measures have been taken solely against the Protestant churches, which cater for refugees from Sudan and Iraq and expatriate workers, as well as for Syrians. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled to Syria since attacks on them following the American invasion of Iraq in 2003; recent massacres have sent others packing.

Syrian officials say the measures have been taken because the offending churches have been proselytizing, often with the help of foreigners. The World Council of Churches acknowledges that since the invasion of Iraq an influx of refugees into Syria has encouraged foreign evangelists, mainly Americans and South Koreans, to spread the gospel. American outfits such Reach Global, the missionary arm of the Evangelical Free Church of America, admit to giving cash and theological support to Christians in Syria, to the extent that they are officially allowed to.

But independent local churches, all of them licensed by the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, have been hit, too. Father Nadim Nassar, a priest, says that tension in the region has made life harder for all Protestant groups. “Protestantism has long been viewed as an extension of the West and all Protestant groups have been affected by a backlash against them.”

But the main reason for the clampdown is that Orthodox and Catholic leaders, disgruntled by the success of these new churches, have complained to the government. Converting Muslims to Christianity is illegal, but the churches have also had an understanding that they should not woo each others’ members. Enthusiastic Protestants seem to have flouted that unwritten rule. “We have enough churches—but the Protestants are stealing our sheep,” says an Orthodox pastor, who asked not to be named.

The government does not discriminate against Christianity in particular. It wants to keep Syria secular and religiously harmonious. Moreover, it is conscious that the regime is headed by members of the minority Alawite Muslim sect, and is wary of challenges to its rule by any religious group, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. It is therefore quick to clamp down on zealous behavior. In the past two years Islamic schools have been more tightly regulated. Female university students have been forbidden to wear the niqab, covering the entire body.

Freedom of religion in Syria has its limits, sighs an Orthodox leader. “There is freedom to practice your religion but not yet to choose it. You are what you are born into.” Economist

View Comments for “Syria: Crackdown on Christians is causing jitters”

November 18th, 2010, 10:36 pm


Elie Elhadj said:

For the Economist Magazine to start the article with the words “Secular Syria” is extraordinary.

To describe Syria as a secular country is an exaggeration. With Islam being the religion of the president, with Islamic jurisprudence being a main source of legislation, with Shari’a being the basis for Syria’s personal status law and courts, and with a compulsory religious educational curriculum throughout all school grades Syria is far from secularism.


November 19th, 2010, 5:11 am


why-discuss said:


The title should have been:

“Crackdown on protestant churches in Syria is causing jitters..”

As usual, when it comes to reporting on the M.E, western journalists prefer to use ‘generalized’ terms in order to catch attention with sensationalism and to create a negative first impression for people who only read headlines!

For more information about the protestant proselytism ( imported from the UK and USA) since the 19th century, you can read that and conclude that maybe Syria is justified to crackdown on these organizations

“Consequently, in a pattern that most missionary societies were to follow, the ABCFM turned its attention to indigenous Christian communities: Nestorian, Armenian, Coptic, Greek, and Syriac. Considered by the ABCFM to be “nominal Christians,” unschooled in the Bible and bankrupt of Christian virtues, these Christians were to be reformed from within so as to serve as models of emulation to their Muslim neighbors, and ultimately become the instrument of their evangelization. The method of attracting potential proselytes to the Gospel message was benevolent service, such as establishing schools for children and clinics to offer medical care. Often such evangelizing aroused the resentment and noncooperation of indigenous church leaders whose parishioners began to gravitate to the missions, and with good reason: Protestant missionaries were perceived to be well-connected politically and able to offer protection to minorities; they offered schools and medical care available nowhere else; and, after the creation of a Protestant Millet, becoming Protestant entitled converts to commercial privileges originally afforded only to Europeans.”

“By contrast, U.S. conservative evangelical missionary organizations targeting the Middle East are concerned primarily with evangelizing Muslims through forthright teaching that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone. For these groups, extending humanitarian aid is a worthy task in its own right, but it is to be given in tandem with a Christian message. The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, in anticipation of Iraqi refugees crossing into Jordan in 2003, sent food boxes carrying a quote from John 1:17 translated into Arabic: “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” Similarly, the evangelical mission Samaritan’s Purse (SP) supports a health clinic in Afghanistan and a hospital, schools, and agricultural and food aid in war-torn Sudan, where mission staff are bound to fulfill SP’s statement of faith, which includes the belief that evangelism is a responsibility of the church and of every individual Christian. There are also evangelicals in the Middle East who encourage activities that have the effect of overt evangelism. For example, in 1995, religious associations in Lebanon and in Egypt joined a consortium of European and U.S. evangelical groups to establish a Christian satellite television station, SAT-7.

One outcome of proselytizing among Muslims has been a spate of assaults on evangelical missionaries, including the 2002 killing in southern Lebanon of a U.S. nurse working at a missionary clinic and the shooting death in Yemen two months later of three missionary medical staff and the wounding of a fourth. These assaults, in the viewpoint of mainstream clergy in the Middle East, both Catholic and Protestant, are evidence that direct evangelizing of Muslims is not only counterproductive but puts all missionaries as well as local Christians in jeopardy. Evangelicals counter that their objective is merely to expose people to the truth that Jesus is their savior, and let them decide for themselves. Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan’s Purse and politically the most influential evangelical leader in the United States, equates their deaths with martyrdom, and sees them as an inspiration to others who would follow in their footsteps.

November 19th, 2010, 12:29 pm


Averroes said:

The first article on Hariri implies that Syria was behind his assassination. I don’t agree to this and it is an accusation that has totally lost steam and is out of the picture.

The comparison between Bashir Jemayel and Hariri is far fetched and misleading. Jemayel was confrontational and moved recklessly and crossed all the red lines. Hariri was a business man, driven by financial motives more than enything else, and he did not oppose the renewal of president Lahoud. There is no motive for Syria to target him, even if he had been swayed away by Bush and his puppets. There were still many many other avenues for Syria to influence his actions short of such an assassination, especially with the US at the peak of its power in next door Iraq.

November 19th, 2010, 4:02 pm


Zubaida said:


Much about the Hariri assassination remains conjecture, but some things are facts: one of these facts is that Rafiq Hariri was viscerally opposed to the extension of Lahoud’s term. I had the opportunity to interview him some time before the expiry of Lahoud’s original six-year term, and he made no bones about the fact that he was counting down the days.

November 20th, 2010, 6:53 am


Norman said:

This might explain Syria’s crack down , which i agree with , Syria does not need evangelical Christians , We have christian churches and they are the originals , It is a way to interfere in Syria and as long as Syria is being attacked , there should not be any Protestant churches,

Are Syria’s Protestants Being Persecuted because of C Street?
ShareNew 0by Deena Stryker
Sat Nov 20, 2010 at 10:02:27 AM PST
I know my readers are not foreign policy wonks but here’s something they might want to ponder:
This week’s Economist reports that although Syria is a secular country where all religions are welcome, the government has been telling foreigners serving Protestant churches it will not renew their visas. The reason? The churches have been proselytizing.

Deena Stryker’s diary :: ::
Having read Jeff Sharlet’s book C Street I would bet anything this isn’t so much about religion as it is about politics: Members of (sic) The Family as the politicians who frequent the Washington house on C Street call themselves, travel a great deal at government expense to foreign countries for the purpose of influencing leaders to ‘accept Jesus without denying Mohamed’.

This is a really kooky idea, but it’s for real. The Ugandan government recently passed a draconian law against homosexuals, who now risk prison and even death as repeat ‘offenders’. If you wonder why American legislators should be fingered, and don’t have time to read the book, read Sharlet’s article Junkets for Jesus in the November/December issue of Mother Jones.

Then if you hear about Syria’s ‘crackdown’, you’ll know that it’s because some governments are less willing than others to have their policies come under the influence of Protestant fundamentalists.

Tags: Syria, C Street, Jeff Sharlet, Mother Jones, Junkets for Jesus (all tags) :: Previous Tag Versions

November 20th, 2010, 3:58 pm


why-discuss said:

Israel withdrawal from Ghajar.. This village has an identity crisis: Syrian, Lebanese, Israelis? Another imbroglio.
Is the Syrian government going to claim it?

November 20th, 2010, 8:51 pm


Shami said:

Norman ,Fares al Khoury ,the christian former prime minister of Syria was a protestant and the american university in beirut was formerly known as the syrian protestant college in which al Khoury studied and taught as many others arab and middle eastern personalities.
The problem is not protestantism in itself.
A number of christian families have reverted to protestantism since the 19 th century.And It’s an older phenomenon in the levantine christianity , in 17th and 18th century most of aleppine christians have moved from orthodox christianity(syriacs ,armenians,greeks) to catholicism.
I think that the target here is not protestantism in itself which in my opinion has many things in common with mainstream islam but the modern missionary and messianic american churches that are very pro Israel.

November 21st, 2010, 2:27 am


Shami said:

Other thing the exodus of christians doesnt only concern Iraq ,which is a martyrised country ,those who are crying the iraqi christianity fate should not forget that in a city like Aleppo which had the largest ,most dynamic and influent christian community in the middle east some decades ago has seen the percentage of its christians to tumble from arround 20 % in 1975 till 1980 to less than 5 % in 2006.The trend is the same in the syrian Jazeera ,Wadi al Nassara and other big syrian cities.And it didnt need wars,i believe that the catastrophic and very corrupt ,mediocre ,mini sectarian regime is accountable for this.

November 21st, 2010, 3:56 am


why-discuss said:

CBC Investigation: Who killed Lebanon’s Rafik Hariri?

Lots of new stuff..

November 21st, 2010, 11:00 pm


WHY said:

Norman, you do not surprise me again with your tyrannical and dictatorial claims that “This might explain Syria’s crack down , which i agree with , Syria does not need evangelical Christians , We have christian churches and they are the originals , It is a way to interfere in Syria and as long as Syria is being attacked , there should not be any Protestant churches”

Who are you to interfere with people’s faiths and say that this faith shall be accepted and another shall not? Just because you are not a protestant doesn’t give you the right to restrict others from practicing their faith. Saying we have other churches which are original is simply absurd and shows your shallow thinking on how you view individual freedoms and especially freedom of religion. It’s sad that your stay in the US hasn’t had the influence needed to get you out of this totalitarian thinking

November 21st, 2010, 11:03 pm


Badr said:

The CBC investigation corroborates Der Spiegel story published last year, which contended that a breakthrough came about as a result of a Hizbullah member committing the unbelievable indiscretion of calling his girlfriend from one of the “hot” phones.

November 22nd, 2010, 3:50 am


Souri said:

Syria is not secular. Syria is a primitive Islamist country ruled by secular people. There is a big difference. If the country itself were secular then the current rulers would not have any advantage.

The Syrian regime is complicated. It is a power deal in which people from Alawi rural background have the main share; corrupt business people from Damascus have the second largest share, and a group of ignorant, backwarded and corrupt Islamist clerics have the third share.

The regime cannot upset any of these three main parties. It cannot do anything that harms the privileges of the economic elite in Damascus; it also cannot do anything that harms the privileges of the corrupt religious clerics. It is a typical feudal regime caliming to be a socialist revolutionist?!

What happened in Syria was not a true socialist revolution but was just a swap of classes. The once-lower class became the new nobility, and the once nobility became the new lower class. The bourgeoisie and religious clerics still hold their traditional privileges intact.

November 22nd, 2010, 5:07 am


SimoHurtta said:

To describe Syria as a secular country is an exaggeration. With Shari’a based personal status law and courts along with religious curriculum throughout all school grades, Syria is not secular.


Elie name some in reality secular countries. Can you, I seriously doubt that. Well North Korea is near it if their obligatory political ideology is not counted as a religion.

My country Finland is so secular in practice (not in theory) as possible in the modern world regarding many topics. Still the Christian religion and its protestant variation is present in countless ways in our laws, courts, ethics, teaching systems etc. Erasing hundreds of years in political, sociological, cultural and custom layers is a impossible task. Syria like USA and Finland are bound to their past and present. A complete political/cultural u-turn is very rarely possible in human history. In Soviet Union they tried a completely secular society with not very good results.

When laws and equal rules are made for the society they are founded on some moral basis and structure. Normally that underlying moral comes from the country’s religions and traditions, and naturally in modern times increasingly from other countries’ international examples. The problems with the links of religion and laws are often rather “practical”.

Could there be the laws about the possibility of selling and using pig meat completely freely in “secular” Syria or Israel? I suppose there would be few secular reasons to deny such “freedom” laws and regulations, but plenty existing resistance would be raised among the country’s people because of their pure religious reasons. On the other hand to what extent should the 5.1 million Finns change their pork eating possibilities in order to respect the religious needs of a couple of thousand Muslims and Jews living here.

Doctors in Finland demand circumcisions for boys to be denied for religious reasons. That denial would be a really secular law. Now it is possible to perform circumcision to boys for medical or religious reasons, but only when it is done by a legally approved doctor and under local anaesthesia in appropriate surrounding. A Finnish Muslim woman (immigrant) had her son circumcised (which led to infection and a longer visit to hospital), but could not prove that the operation was done by a real doctor (she could not name the man at all) faces one year in probation (which in Finnish scale is quite much).

Halal slaughter style is basically forbidden in Finland. The (influential) Jewish community (those 1200 persons among us 5.1 million) has managed to lob the religious butchering as a possibility in the laws. Normally our laws demands the animal to be stunned before actual slaughtering. The religious slaughter allows beginning to take out the blood “on the same time” as stunning is done.

In schools when Finland has become more multicultural the traditions of Christmas and the celebrating of the end of school year are in difficulties, when traditions with religious signs are banned. It is not any more possible to sing those songs which past generations had been singing for over hundred of years. That makes even us secular Finns a bit irritated.

Even the examples above are rather minor they show the difficulty. The problem is that to what extend the system should / could take notice of all possible minorities (ethnic and religious) and should the traditions of the clear (religious) majority be erased in order to get a secular country. A really secular system means that many religious traditions of the majority and minorities will be banned.

It would be interesting to read what those demanding a secular Syria / Arab or Muslim nations see as their secular goal. A country with laws equal to the European / American systems? If it is that then the goal is far from secular.

November 22nd, 2010, 6:12 am


Souri said:

I think Elie was mainly concerned with such major issues as equality and national unity. Neither Elie nor I have any interest in what people eat or sing. We just don’t believe it is in the interest of our country to have people discriminated against because of their sex or religion I also abhor the idea of censoring science and banning certain scientific theories because they are “against religion.”

We are just concerned about EQUALITY and FREEDOM OF SPEECH. We also hate people who blow themselves up near you when they don’t like you.

November 22nd, 2010, 7:49 am


why-discuss said:


The difference between Western countries and the Middle eastern and that Western countries have laws for everything: From collecting garbage to taking care of the poops of the pets. This clears the individual from having to make responsable choices and opening up to the others: he just has to respect the law and hell with the others. The law take care of everything, including human relationships. Not respecting the law would trigger an army of well paid lawyers to come out with ‘justice’.
Curiously the level of violence, crimes and mugging etc.. in the western world is much higher than the middle east. Westerners complains of loneliness with very limited, sometimes inexistant network of ‘real’ friends. No wonder Facebook that creates the illusion of having many friends is so successful in western countries: Alone in front of a screen full of virtual friends.
Elders are taken care by the state and often they never see their children.
In the Middle east, there are less laws governing social behavior, in this area, the state is almost absent. People are left to do things according to their traditions and their religion and they develop strong bonds among themselves. People are not indifferent to each other, they learn tolerance and their cultivate friendship. The state would not help elder, they will be helped by the family. Street violence is mininal or unexistant.

Of course this is not always rosy. I am not saying that there should be no laws but laws should not be the easy solution to regulate social behaviour and relations. Education on the value of friendship, tolerance, pardon, respect for the family and the other individual is of much more importance than creating an infinite number of laws.

November 22nd, 2010, 8:42 am


Elie Elhadj said:



I listed four issues that render Syria far from being secular.

– Islam being the religion of the president,
– Islamic jurisprudence being a main source of legislation,
– Shari’a being the basis for Syria’s personal status law and courts, and
– a compulsory religious educational curriculum throughout all school grades.

These are serious issues. They go well beyond pork eating, circumcisions for boys, Halal slaughter, and singing songs of past generations. The issues for a secular Syria are very serious. They include equal human rights for women with men, punishing honor killers as common premeditated murderers, protecting women from the vagaries of a Shari’a divorce system that leaves them practically destitute, banning polygamy, etc. etc.

Please read the catalogue of suffering women in Syria endure:

As Souri said, we are concerned with major issues.

Further, Finland’s Parliament is the lawmaker in Finland. Laws in Finland evolve over time with the changing values and way of life in Finnish society. Finland does not implement seventh century laws of the desert and adhere to them stubbornly because Finnish clerics shout that one law has come down from the almighty and the other law has come from the Sunna. Finnish clerics do not insist that God’s law is unchangeable, good for all time and place.

November 22nd, 2010, 10:23 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

can the hizbullah convince hariri to stand up to usreal with the usreal tribunal?

November 22nd, 2010, 11:30 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

arabs can be arab orthodox, catholic, uncountable sorts of protestants. but arabs should do this on their own from their own inspirations. western style religions and institutions should be rejected, thrown out. they are forms of imperialism. aub an example.

via counterpunch, November 19 – 21, 2010

Attacking Nasrallah
How the US and Israel Hope to Destroy Hezbollah


“I’ve got these [expletive deleted] just where we want them Maura! Watch the 1000 slow cuts as we shred Hezbollah–who do they think they are? And we’ll do it by using 1757 and this time we’re going all the way. I told Israel to stay out of Lebanon because the IDF can’t defeat Hezbollah plus the whole region would burn. I will handle this and it will be my Christmas present to Lebanon.”

So, reportedly, said Jeffrey Feltman in conversation with his former office staffer, now US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly during October 17, 2010 visit with MP Walid Jumblatt at his Clemenceau residence. On December 12, 2008, reported that “Former US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman presented Prime Minister Fuad Siniora with what the American diplomat described as his personal Christmas present to Lebanon. Mr. Feltman assured PM Siniora that he will force Israel out of Ghajar village before the end of 2008.”

As it turned out, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Lebanon never did receive Feltman’s promised 2008 Christmas present and Israel has its tanks and troops in Lebanon’s Ghajar village even as pressure mounts for ending its four-year illegal occupation of North Ghajar which, in violation of UNSCR 1701, Israel invaded in July 2006 and from which it has refused to withdraw. Feltman is now again assuring his Lebanese allies that he’s Santa Claus and Hezbollah’s head will adorn his sleigh during his Christmas eve rounds. The reason for his optimism is that US and Israel are quietly confident that they can achieve with UNSCR 1757 what was intended but fell short with UNSCR 1559, stripping Lebanon’s Resistance of its defensive weapons. On November 11th, Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom predicted that “a Special Tribunal for Leban (STL) indictment against Hezbollah will lead to the implementation of Resolution 1559 and the forced disarming of the Party as well as the collapse of the effort at a Syrian-Lebanese-Iranian-Turkish alliance.”

The US-Israel plan includes the expectation that members of Hezbollah, possibly even Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, will be indicted, tried and convicted, in absentia of course, of involvement in the February 14, 2005 murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The US State Department Office of the Legal Adviser has proudly assured the White House that because its office insisted back in 2005 that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon be established under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, anyone who the STL convicts will face sure UN sanctions. Chapter Seven allows for the use of unlimited international armed force to implement any verdict that the STL hands down. Washington and Tel Aviv intend that those convicted will not escape the full power of the United Nations system anymore than others earlier, including former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

Israel, serial violator of international law including more than 60 UN Resolutions is also busy boastlng that international law supports the Tribunal and that high priced law firms around the world can be hired if necessary to back up the legal work of the STL office of the Prosecution, led by Daniel Bellemare of Canada. Within hours of Israel instructing Secretary of State Clinton, not to worry, that there is no way for the STL to be stopped or its final judgment sidetracked and all the US has to do is fund it, the White House announced an additional $ 10 million for the Tribunal and got the UK to pony up another $ 1.8 million. More cash is expected from France. Today the STL is flush with cash and it will likely remain so.

Based on interviews with two former staff members of the Office of the STL prosecution, as well as numerous public statements by US officials, there are reasons to take seriously the “all the way” intensions of Jeffrey Feltman and Silvan Shalom. Their governments assert the that STL is legitimate under both international law, given that it was established in accordance with a U.N. Security Council resolution issued under Chapter 7, and also under Lebanon’s legal and constitutional principles contrary to what is being claimed by Hezbollah and STL’s adversaries in Lebanon.

In addition, the US State Department points out that the preamble to the Lebanese constitution provides that “Lebanon is a founding and active member of the United Nations Organization and abides by its covenants and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Government shall embody these principles in all fields and areas without exception.” Moreover, the Charter of the United Nations obliges U.N. member states to “accept and carry out the decisions of the (U.N.) Security Council.” According to one State Department lawyer, “If the STL indicts and convicts one member of Hezbollah we win. A driver, a boy scout, we don’t care. The Security Council can do a dozen things to topple Hezbollah. For example, can you imagine the effect of Iranian style sanctions if applied against Lebanon until the killers are handed over? The Lebanese only care about money and with all those sects hating each other anyhow, the country will quickly implode in recriminations and civil war if they’re forced to diet a bit…And very tough sanctions against Syria? The US and Israel will only have to collect the pieces and do what should have been done half a century ago and that was to install governments that understand regional and international realities.”

Efforts by Hezbollah and Syria to derail the STL are viewed in Tel Aviv and Washington as futile, because Lebanon is thought to have nothing to say about the STL. It is created by the UNSC and nothing the Lebanese Parliament, Cabinet or people do will affect it. The only reason Lebanon is in the picture at all is that it is the crime scene. And it happens to harbor some suspects. Apart from that Lebanon is essentially irrelevant to the STL work.

Following the STL indictments, assuming they include Hezbollah, Washington sources expect that the Israel lobby will launch an international media campaign of defamation against Hezbollah, Syria and Iran and they will be joined by the US government and some of its European allies. The objective will be to essentially unite the world against the presumed Shia killers of the Sunni Prime Minister. More than a dozen US-Israel projects that failed in Lebanon over the past decade, from an airbase in Kleiat to street battles to cutting optic telecommunication lines may come back into play when stamped with the imprimatur of international law and full UN Security Council legitimacy.

The coming media campaign will employ especially sharp personal attacks on Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah’s assessment

On November 11, 2010 Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah discussed the Special Tribunal at a neighborhood Martyr’s day gathering in South Beirut. He told his audience that Hezbollah knows the US-Israel strategy, which he explained is:

“Let’s accuse Shiite men of assassinating the most important Sunnite leader and consequently issue an indictment in this regard. We will call on the Lebanese government which had signed an agreement with us to arrest these men. The latter would set to arrest them and dispatch army troops and security forces which would be engaged in a clash with the Resistance.”

Nasrallah continued,

“Primarily this is the plot. It is not important for the Americans, the Israelis and the sponsors of the STL what would happen or what might happen in Lebanon. Lebanon in itself is not important, neither is martyr PM Rafiq Hariri, the Sunnites, the Shiites, the Muslims, the Christians, the Future Movement, March 14 Bloc nor March 8 Bloc. What is important is Israel, and Israel’s interest is that the Resistance be hit, eliminated, isolated, besieged, weakened, snatched away from its popular environment and its image be distorted. Its morals, belief and will must be harmed and consequently, it would be ready to be hit or to surrender to this plot.”

Hezbollah MP Nawaf Mousawi, one of the most sought after Hezbollah officials for discussions by visiting American and foreign delegations, advised the media a short time later that: “The Resistance party is prepared for all scenarios”, adding that “nothing would surprise Hezbollah…. Hezbollah has prepared a series of responses. Every option corresponds to a specific scenario. Thus if things are positive, we’re ready. But if things are negative and the efforts failed in reaching a solution to the crisis, we’re also ready. In brief, we’re ready to face all options.”

November 22nd, 2010, 11:45 am


5 dancing shlomos said:

3 short posts by angry arab re #11 cbc report:

Potato Hariri court: “extensive circumstantial evidence”–classic term really

“A Lebanese police officer and U.N. investigators unearthed extensive circumstantial evidence implicating the Syrian-backed Hezbollah movement in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri

This CBC report rendered a great service to Hizbullah’s campaign against the Hariri court. Public opinion surveys in Lebanon already point to a clear and systematic decline in public support for the court, even among Sunnis and Druzes (the Christians are split). I mean, to accuse the key intelligence guy in the Hariri camp, Al-Hasan, of complicity is to turn the investigation into a farce. This Wisam Hasan was so key to UN investigation that he was even used (at least in the case of “false witness”, Muhammad Zuhayr As-Siddiq) as the official interpretor of the UN team. And for the report to rely on the account of Mehlis discredited the court and report further. The Hariri camp is now clearly at war, and Wisam Hasan (who is named in the report) has so much dirt on his Hariri enemies and will fight back. The movie will now get more interesting and suspenseful. As for the Hariri investigation itself, you may relegate it to late night TV, on “Nick at Night”.

It is a long report: nothing new. Has been circulating for months. Most important revelation? That it casts doubts on Hariri’s chief of intelligence, Wisam Al-Hasan (the head of the Intelligence Apparatus at the Internal Security Forces). What is explosive about this article that it points to in-fighting in the Hariri camp. Remember that Nazi night? The night of the Long Knives? This is it. The CBC reporter does not know much about Lebanon and was fed most of this, it is clear (he thinks that Lebanon has one intelligence service). Also, the guy had previously talked (only) to mini-Hariri and Jumblat.

November 22nd, 2010, 12:23 pm


norman said:

20. 5 dancing shlomos said:

arabs can be arab orthodox, catholic, uncountable sorts of protestants. but arabs should do this on their own from their own inspirations. western style religions and institutions should be rejected, thrown out. they are forms of imperialism. aub an example.

I agree with you ,

November 22nd, 2010, 12:50 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

Before expressing your severe islamophobia, I recommend you read carefully CAIRO DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM
You will find that Islam is great religion.
Islamophobia is zionist agenda

November 22nd, 2010, 1:20 pm


norman said:

Majid ,
I think you misunderstand Elie, He always maintained his admiration of Islam but blamed the present status to Aulama that interpret Islam the wrong way and force the people to follow their interpretations .

November 22nd, 2010, 1:27 pm


5 dancing shlomos said:

possibly a clue to the cbc(zionist) report:

Harper: ‘I’ve got bruises’ for pro-Israel stance
Monday, November 8, 2010
CBC News
Stephen Harper says Canada will stand against “anti-Israel rhetoric” at international organizations like the United Nations as long as he is prime minister — “whatever the cost.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a speech on Monday at the annual conference of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press) The prime minister, speaking Monday at the start of an annual conference on combating anti-Semitism in Ottawa, said he’s “got bruises to show” for speaking out in the international community against enemies of Israel.
Although he did not give specifics, Harper was likely referring to Canada’s failed bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council last month. He also insisted there are “a lot more votes” in being anti-Israel than in “taking a stand.”
Critics of the Conservative government have cited Harper’s unwavering support of Israel during its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians as a possible reason for Canada’s failure to gain a Security Council seat for the first time since the international body’s creation.
But Harper said the “evolving phenomenon” of anti-Semitism targets the Jewish people by portraying Israel as “the source of injustice and conflict in the world, and uses perversely the language of human rights to do so.”
“We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is,” Harper said.
Israel, like any country, may be subjected to fair criticism, he said. But Harper told the audience that Canada must oppose what he called the “three Ds” — demonization, double standards and delegitimization.
“And like any free country Israel subjects itself to such criticism, healthy, necessary, democratic debate,” he said. “But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.”


all are familiar with the axis of antisemitism: hizbullah-syria-iran.

November 22nd, 2010, 1:39 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

thank you, I agree that there are many mistakes in interpreting Islam by Sheiks and What is called Ulamaa,and I always call for new interpretation of Quraan.
I do not agree that Elie admires Islam at all, Islam and christianity are good religions and I hate to see someone attack Islam to create rift between the followers of the two religions ,we both should stand united against the prozionist agenda

November 22nd, 2010, 2:16 pm



I have been following Elie’s writing for a while now and I am yet to find a point in which his critiques (most are very valid) were aimed at creating any rift between religions.

Elie is critiquing a system of governance, a way making laws, and mechanisms of enforcing them. It is not him who made Islam a political issue, it is those who want to impose it on all others arguing for a universality that that is blindly accepted without even knowing what it really means.

I went and read the Cairo Declaration, and from the preamble it is a declaration of limitation to human rights not of human rights. TO begin with, declaring the Universality of Islamic Civilization is the first instance, which occurs in the first paragraph. It is this Universalistic (temporal and spatial) attitude that is plaguing Muslim countries. The document by representatives of authoritarian regimes (mostly in Arab and Muslim Countries) to whitewash the oppression of human rights under Sharia laws. Tell me how consistent is this article with freedom of religion


Islam is the religion of true unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of pressure on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to force him to change his religion to another religion or to atheism.

The article does not mention anything about he who without pressure decides to leave Islam. In fact, it is rather declarative that people can only be forced to leave the religions of true unspoiled nature. It is antithetical to religious freedom since of those born, quite arbitrarily, to muslim families have none.

How about ARTICLE 22:

(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.

1.. Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.

(c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.

(d) It is not permitted to excite nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form or racial discrimination.

The authors basically copy from other declarations, and then rather outlandishly exempt themselves from some of the most critical points in these declarations creating a highly contradictory document not only between articles, but occasionally between sub-articles within the article itself . And yes I am selective in choosing articles, because the most of the rest are mere recitation of other declarations as long as they do not challenge the authority of the Ulama (oops, sharia). Face it, creativity and boldness in Islamic thoughts died in the 14th century. Its revival requires more of us to think like Elie, not to have a knee-jerk reaction to his valid critique. And please do not use this document to argue for the greatness of Islam, it does us no good.

Count me in with you an Elie.

November 22nd, 2010, 3:43 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

La Ikraha fi aldean,this is a sacred principal in Islam, the hadith that Leoleoni brought it is allowed to kill muslem who left his religion ,as I said to Leo before and I will repeat, it has to be understood in the context it came, I will give an example, american soldiers are fighting Taliban, if one soldier defected and join Taliban, to fight americans then the rest of american soldiers has the right to kill him,in other word this is state of war, in peace no one should be punished if he changes his religion, there is no dictatorship according to Quraan
those who do not understand Quraan, are those who do not admit its greatness.

November 22nd, 2010, 4:23 pm


SimoHurtta said:

This clears the individual from having to make responsable choices and opening up to the others: he just has to respect the law and hell with the others. The law take care of everything, including human relationships. Not respecting the law would trigger an army of well paid lawyers to come out with ‘justice’.

Well Why-Discuss you either have the earthly authority giving the rules or you have an army of eager heavenly “layers” (priests and other religious people) and local clan lords giving the rules. One can fight against dog poop problem either by having a city level order that the waste must be collected or through a divine order “no dogs”. The third possibility is not to do anything.

In the Middle east, there are less laws governing social behavior, in this area, the state is almost absent. People are left to do things according to their traditions and their religion and they develop strong bonds among themselves. People are not indifferent to each other, they learn tolerance and their cultivate friendship. The state would not help elder, they will be helped by the family. Street violence is mininal or unexistant.

Well the interesting question to be asked is why do the people from Middle East come to live to Nordic countries and not vice versa, even the climate is much better there in the south. Why-Discuss you compare two totally different society levels. Before in Finland, less than 100 years ago, the family and “the clan” very everything. The generations lived together. That was in the agricultural Finland. After WW2 Finland industrialized rapidly. The countryside with farms became empty. The industrialization had its costs. How do “you” take care of your elders if their children live in towns hundreds of kilometres apart, both parents of the family are working 8 hours daily and the apartments in cities are to small to make that old many generation living style possible. When (if) Middle East develops it will have pay the same cost the western countries have paid. You need the women as part of the active work force, which makes taking care of elders in the old style a dream.

It is impossible to run a modern country without a massive amount of rules which laws, regulation and other governmental commands are. If there are no laws with sanctions to regulate the pollution there are in Nordic countries and Middle East plenty of greedy people who would love to live in a society with few rules and make money.


I listed four issues that render Syria far from being secular.

– Islam being the religion of the president,
– Islamic jurisprudence being a main source of legislation,
– Shari’a being the basis for Syria’s personal status law and courts, and
– a compulsory religious educational curriculum throughout all school grades.

Well I can answer to your list Elie
1. the Finnish president is the formal leader of the Finnish Churches (Evangelic Lutheran and Greek Orthodox). The president nominates the archbishops and bishops. Can she/he be an atheist or non-Christian.
2.,3. as said Christianity is very deeply inbuilt in our family, crime etc laws.
4. we had (still have) compulsory religious educational curriculum throughout all school grades. Only during the last two decades the role of religion has diminished in schools. When I went in 60’s and 70’s in the school we had every morning a religious service with a song and verbal sermon.

Further, Finland’s Parliament is the lawmaker in Finland. Laws in Finland evolve over time with the changing values and way of life in Finnish society. Finland does not implement seventh century laws of the desert and adhere to them stubbornly because Finnish clerics shout that one law has come down from the almighty and the other law has come from the Sunna. Finnish clerics do not insist that God’s law is unchangeable, good for all time and place.

Among our priest and religious people are plenty of such conservatives who want to implement the moral standards of the first century. We have here a rather big conservative Christian sect which did not until some years ago even television watching.

November 22nd, 2010, 4:51 pm


Elie Elhadj said:



To constrain human development and force upon human ingenuity concrete boundaries made in the seventh century will keep Syria mired in seventh century primitiveness. Just like maltreating women in the name of Shari’a laws, maintaining the religious divide will never encourage Syria’s various religious and sectarian communities to pull in the same direction.

I just finished watching this 30-minute BBC “Panorama” program titled “British Schools, Islamic Rules”

The program showed pages from Saudi textbooks that are being taught in London’s Saudi sponsored schools today. One page teaches that Christians and Jews are monkeys and pigs. Another, that Christians and Jews should yield to Muslims on a road. A third displays two pictures; the first shows the line where the hand of a thief should be cut off. The second shows where the foot should be severed for the second offense.

This is not only Wahhabism. Wahhabism did not invent these extraordinary things. Yielding on the road to Muslims is a Sunna tradition reported in Sahih Muslim (The Six Books, tradition 5661, p. 1064) and also in Sunan Abi Dawood (Ibid., tradition 5205, p. 1603). Depicting Christians and Jews as monkeys and pigs is in the Quran’s 5:60 and the cutting of a hand for theft is in 5:38.

Syria will never reach its potential with this kind mentality and laws. Calling for the separation of Islam from the state is the ultimate in patriotism. Resisting secularism is the way to remain poor, ignorant, weak, and divided, the laughter of the world. Calling for secularism is not a devious Zionist plan. Zionism should celebrate as long as its enemies maintain Shari’a laws and remain obsessed with the nonsense of predestination, angels and djinn, poor, ignorant, weak, and divided.


November 22nd, 2010, 5:46 pm


Alex said:

Dear Shai,

I hope what happened today will finally convince you that Netanyahu will be leading the Middle East to another war… an ugly one this time.

JERUSALEM, Nov 22, 2010 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — The Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed the National Referendum Law on Monday late night by a vote of 65-33, local news service Ynet reported.

The new law applies to territories annexed by Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 war, namely East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, requiring any Israeli government engaged in peace negotiations necessitating a withdrawal from East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights (seized from Syria) to attain the consent of the Israeli public.

Israeli Knesset began debating the referendum bill on Monday afternoon. The bill has been approved in second and third readings after many hours of debates. Kadima, the leading opposition party, voted against the bill.

Meanwhile, the amazing Obama administration achieved the unthinkable … we should all celebrate!:

November 22nd, 2010, 5:52 pm



Dear Majed
Your example is wrong. A soldier in war is not the same as a person born to a muslim family. Or, are you saying that being a muslim means being in a perpetual state of war. I refuse that in form and substance.

The moment you argue for context on one issue, is the moment you reject the universal nature of laws, islamic or otherwise. I am all for context. So then what was applicable in the 7th century, and more so, in the attempts to enlist, and retain the loyalty of many tribes to a single tribe (Quraish), is not applicable nowadays. So if it goes in context for killing murtaddeen, then why not for Hijab, or for any other form of tribal social constructs passed on to us as Islamic laws.

It is this universality mindset what bind us to a progressively regressive religious attractor. The Finnish got rid of it, it seems, and they are the better for that. I would even venture to say, even spiritually.

Fine, I want syria to be even better than Finland, why not. Can’t a man dream….

November 22nd, 2010, 6:32 pm


t_desco said:

I just read the CBC article. Absolutely weird. For example:

Macdonald: “But Brammertz could not be persuaded to authorize the one technique that those investigators wanted above all to deploy: telecommunications analysis (…).”



“Communications traffic
51. Communications analysis is a major task, with the collection of up to 5 billion records by the Commission currently under way. All must be sifted, sorted, collated and analysed. This work is painstaking in its depth, with any linkage established almost exponentially generating further linkages. The Commission has devoted a project team of analysts and investigators to this task and is acquiring specialized software and hardware to accommodate the project requirements. (…)
52. The traffic and intercept analysis has expanded beyond the immediate utilization of the six subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, referred to in the Commission’s previous reports, on the day of the attack. Complex linkages, associated calls and geographic locations of a broader time period are being scrutinized and added to the overall investigation findings.”


“Communications analysis and investigation
39. The Commission has devoted considerable resources to the analysis and investigation of the communications traffic aspects of the case. This topic has yielded important results, and enables the Commission to establish links that otherwise would not be evident. Much of the work is reactive in nature. However, some of the analytical work is also proactive and speculative, and builds upon known facts and develops investigation themes. It has elicited a number of leads and continues to provide the Commission with better understanding of the communications linkages relevant to the crimes.
40. The links that are being established through the communications work demonstrate a complex network of telecommunications traffic between a large number of relevant individuals, sometimes through intermediary telephone numbers or locations and sometimes directly. A series of investigation leads has been developed as a result of these analyses, which the Commission regards as a priority.”

No, it does not surprise me in the slightest that the journalist has obviously not read any of the UN reports, but I don’t understand the motive of his sources. What is their aim?

November 22nd, 2010, 6:34 pm


Elie Elhadj said:


The Finnish constitution does not specify that the President has to belong to any particular religion:

Section 54 Election of the President of the Republic
(1) The President of the Republic is elected by a direct vote for a term of six years. The President shall be a native-born Finnish citizen…
(2) The candidate who receives more than half of the votes cast in the election shall be elected President….
(3) The right to nominate a candidate in the election for President is held by any registered political party…

The Finnish parliament enacts the laws in Finland, not the Bible.

That some parliamentarians in Finland might be extremely religious, even priest, poses no objection. When Syria’s parliament becomes the supreme law makers, then the most extreme among the ulama should be allowed to run for office. If elected, then ahlan wasahlan. They must be free to enact any laws they wish if they have the majority vote.

Re. education of religion, Since Syria is a tapestry of religious and sectarian colors, and if religion must be taught at school, then it must cover ethics and comparative religious thought in general and not a specific strand.

The Finnish way of life today is accommodated by the existing set of Finnish laws and law making processes. Syria’s way of life, its history, its climate, its terrain, its wealth, its current realities; economic, political, cultural are all starkly different from Finland. I really don’t see where we are going in this discussion!


November 22nd, 2010, 6:43 pm


why-discuss said:


“Well the interesting question to be asked is why do the people from Middle East come to live to Nordic countries and not vice versa, even the climate is much better there in the south.”

You know very well why. They are ‘forced’ to come. Where palestinians kicked out of Palestine would go?? Where Iraqis fleeing a war conducted under UN sponsorship would go? where Lebanese, fleeing civil wars, result of the geographical aberrations dictated by western countries after the world wars would go?
Why Jews went to the USA during and after the wars?
Be sure that if these countries become free of wars, many people would go back to their roots, if they kept their traditions.
People move to find security and often better job opportunities.
They don’t move because they love the culture or the weather.

“Well Why-Discuss you either have the earthly authority giving the rules or you have an army of eager heavenly “layers” (priests and other religious people) and local clan lords giving the rules.”

Why are there only these two choices? There is the choice of educating people to respect, love the other without having to be under a specific religion. Are they teaching that in schools in Finland? Love your neighbor, encourage people to develop solid friendships, love and respect your parents, love the elder, learn tolerance. I doubt that, I have not seen that taught in any western country, the excuse is that is ‘religion’ and we are “secular”! Instead we have laws and anonymous organizations that deal with lonely elders dumped by their family and Facebook and ‘social network’ to develop “friendship”
It is good to get rid of religion that has harmed people, but you are replacing its good aspects by nothing but new laws. It is time countries learn to extract from religion and tradition all the good parts and integrate it in the children education, and we may see less street violence in western countries, less drugs, and less alcoholism.
Maybe I am idealistic…

November 22nd, 2010, 7:00 pm



Dear Elie,
In your response to Simo, you wrote
That some parliamentarians in Finland might be extremely religious, even priest, poses no objection. When Syria’s parliament becomes the supreme law makers, then the most extreme among the ulama should be allowed to run for office. If elected, then ahlan wasahlan. They must be free to enact any laws they wish if they have the majority vote.

I disagree on the ability to make any laws. They can not make laws that are inconsistent with the constitution that brought them to power. Democracy is not the rule of the majority, its true calling is the protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority..

Dear WD
You are not being idealistic, you are being “PROPHETIC”. Once societies start extracting the good values from religions, some one is bound to package these extractions in a new religion, and the circle goes around…. 🙂

November 22nd, 2010, 7:01 pm


why-discuss said:


This journalist is very experienced, these errors and omissions seem to be put there on purpose.
I believe this is an amazingly savvy report that says much more than it looks it is saying:

MacDonald is known to be pro-palestinian, and is hated by Israel and the diaspora jews: CBC has been asked several times to kick him out..

I wonder if he wrote this report with a very specific intent:

– He is leaking super secret Tribunal information, that would discredit the tribunal further and the supposed confidentiality. Bellemare will be hurt and weakened by this report, so he is giving him a little flower to have broken the telecommunication riddle. Hezbollah can claim that the tribunal is unreliable

– The scoop is that he is subtly making Al Hassan, a very close person to the Hariris and 14 mars anti-syrian, a serious suspect and possibly the mastermind of the whole murder. Next if we found that Al Hassan is an Israeli agent, than the accusation on a few Hezbollahi operatives that may have been enrolled by the Mossad too will not be very spectacular, we know that for a few years ( spiegel etc.)
The whole blame will fall on Al Hassan and on Hariri’s allies.
Next the “false witness’ investigation may point also to Al Hassan and other Hariri allies, who played the Israeli card to weaken and isolate Syria.

Hariri and Nasrallah will be on equal stand, each having close allies betraying. One for one. No civil war in Lebanon and possibly a spectacular reconciliation

If Al Hassan is indicted, there will be no problem in Lebanon.

November 22nd, 2010, 7:32 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

I think Wisam AlHassan knew about the plot to kill Hariri,and may be he is involved in murdering Wisam Eid,he should be a prime suspect,and he could be working for foreign state

November 22nd, 2010, 8:11 pm


Norman said:


Before the 1973 war Moshe Dian was going around telling everybody that he would rather have Sh-arm AL Shake than having peace with Egypt , after the war that he almost had a nervous breakdown and was ready to launch nuclear weapons that he was ready for peace as he felt that Israel is not unbeatable , these days are similar to those and Israel will not seek peace until it is defeated and why should they , they have no foresight to avert a war , they have to face it to believe it ,and be peace seekers ,

November 22nd, 2010, 10:07 pm


Shai said:


Even if Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, could plan such a war against Israel, opting as you suggest to cause enough damage for Israel to once again “wake up” (1973 scenario), how do they ensure this confrontation won’t get out of hand?

The last war that had an inkling of “proportionality” to it was almost 3 decades ago, when Israeli and Syrian tanks fought it out on the plains and hills of Lebanon. But since then, Israel has proven time and again that even far less threatening confrontations (than conventional war) will entail the use of massively disproportionate power.

How do any of these nations guarantee themselves that the way this next war will develop, will not be PERCEIVED, in the eyes of most Israelis, as THE existential battle of their short history? Because if it is perceived as such, an Israeli leader may find himself backed against a corner with the kind of political pressure never experienced before, to hit back with all of Israel’s might.

If thousands of missiles hit every corner of Israel, every major town and city, and 7 million Israelis will be forced into their underground shelters, who’ll guarantee that an Israeli PM won’t give the order to use nuclear weapons against Syria, Lebanon, and Iran? I don’t even want to imagine what kind of a world we’ll live in, after such an horrific confrontation.

November 23rd, 2010, 12:57 am


Syria Comment » Archives » Disapearing Golan; Hariri Murder; Iran said:

[…] out the evidence amassed by the STL against Hizbullah. Qifa Nabki has an excellent write up on it. T_Desco is skeptical that Macdonald gets the story right. He points out a number of inconsistencies with actual […]

November 23rd, 2010, 1:06 am


Elie Elhadj said:


Dear Friend,

Thanks for pointing out that “Democracy is not the rule of the majority, its true calling is the protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority”.

I agree fully. I would like to make two points, however, to amplify what I said in 34.

The first point is that, should parliament enact laws against provisions of the constitution, the highest court in the land can declare such laws null and void.

The second point is that free elections where polarization of positions exists by the majority against the minorities should wait until such a time as the divergences narrow. Said differently, allow free elections in Syria today and MB forces and their orthodox sympathizers would take over city hall, declare divine rule, throw the keys of new elections away, and plunge the country in lower depths of poverty, ignorance, and backwardness than exist today. Under such conditions, free elections would be disastrous.

In the interim, possibly for as long as a decade or two, what might be called “benevolent dictatorship” should be hard at work instituting a genuine reform program to separate religion from the state, starting with a new modern secular family laws to replace Shari’a laws and courts. The program should include reforming the education of religion in schools as well in order to make it an education of ethics and comparative religious thought instead of current text books. As a part of the reforms process, the national discourse in the media, mosques, churches, cultural events, political speeches, etc… should explain the reform agenda.

That the security men would object to genuine reform is expected. Taking the easy way out is more comfortable. They exaggerate the risk involved. Except for an orthodox activist minority, who would resist progress? But, then, security men are not the president. They have no responsibility for true reform.

Upon the president’s shoulders falls an awesome burden; namely, true reform. History judges presidents and kings by the kind and amount of positive difference they succeeded in making in the life of their subjects.


November 23rd, 2010, 5:00 am


SimoHurtta said:


The Finnish constitution does not specify that the President has to belong to any particular religion:

Of course it doesn’t, I never claimed it does. They would not have dared to write in the constitution such a demand, but the demand is more or less inbuilt. I wrote before “The president nominates the archbishops and bishops. Can she/he be an atheist or non-Christian.” Sadly I forgot the question mark from the last sentence, but the structure of the sentence shows that it was my intention. As said the president is also the leading figure of state church, so it would be a very interesting political situation if the new elected president would be for example a Muslim or Jew and she/he had to nominate the first bishop. Who would be in panic the Church or the earthly system?

Though this “problem” is slowly vanishing when the real separation of the church and state is getting momentum.

The Finnish way of life today is accommodated by the existing set of Finnish laws and law making processes. Syria’s way of life, its history, its climate, its terrain, its wealth, its current realities; economic, political, cultural are all starkly different from Finland. I really don’t see where we are going in this discussion!


Well 150 years ago Finland was the poorest region in Western Europe. In 1866-1868 Finland lost 8 percent of its population – because of famine (the last big famine in Western Europe). 90 years ago we had one of bloodiest civil wars in Europe, in 5 months 30.000 killed. In WW2 Soviet Union and Finland had battles (measured in casualties) which make the Syria Israeli battles and even Omaha Beach in Normandy look like Sunday picnics. We lost 10 percent of our country, in land area about 30 Golans. In 1948 the difference between Syria and Finland economically was relative small. In the 60’s hundreds of thousands Finns emigrated to Sweden.

If you Elie think that we have achieved what Finland is now by living in a “safe” neighbourhood without troubles (local Israel’s, without religion etc), you are seriously misinformed. During the cold war this region was as “competed” as the Middle East was. On our borders were (are) the biggest military concentration of Soviet Union, Murmansk region and the biggest industrial area Leningrad Oblast.

It is you Elie who is constantly demanding a secular Syria. I only wanted that you clarify what you mean by that secular and tried to explain why European or American “examples” can’t be considered as really secular. By the way Elie you have not listed those in reality secular countries. If you mean by secular democratic and equal use those terms because secular isn’t a synonym for democratic and equal. There are plenty of democratic countries which still have a considerable religious “dimensions”.

I am not a religious person. I do not defend the role of religion in Finland or in Syria, but I can’t “pretend” that Finland is secular and Syria is not. Surely I understand that a narrow-minded, extreme usage of religions in politics leads to serious troubles. That it does in every country. Not only in Muslim countries.

November 23rd, 2010, 5:42 am


Norman said:

As Alex said , It is going to be ugly and as long as Israel can not occupy Syria , Lebanon and Iran , they just have to take the beating and inflict it on Israel until Israel runs out of money and of resolve all with the clear announcement that the goal is to liberate our land safeguard Israel future as a safe secure state with known boundaries , I do not think Israel will dare to use nuclear weapons as that will declare to the world that they are the threat to peace in the world ,

November 23rd, 2010, 7:40 am


why-discuss said:


Another clue: If Wissam Al Hassan is an accomplice to Nasrallah, why would Syria emit a arrest warrant on him for the false witness case? Wissam Al Hassan has always been considered a bitter enneny to Nasrallah.

By publicizing it, I think McDonald ‘s aim is to remove Wissam Al Hassan’s high level protections and oblige the hesitant TSL to prosecute him. He may well turn out to be an Israeli agent and the Hezbollah members rogue operatives, either manipulated or Israeli spies.

If this is true, I just worry that Wissam Al Hassan may be eliminated before he confesses his affiliation to Israel. Hezbollah would not eliminate him, in the contrary , his arrest will expose many of Hariri’s allies. Israel has interest in not letting him talk.

Another clue: McDonald ironically brushes out Israel as being behind the case. It is obvious for all informed people that the network of Israeli spies recently discovered in Lebanon and Israel’s implication recognized internationally of its penetration of Lebanon’s wireless network are important facts that cannot be just brushed out. Maybe it’s because McDonald is known to be anti-Israel that he tries to show that he is not biased against Israel.

Let’s see how the pro Israel’s media will deal with this report. Until the Wissam Al Hassan issue, they were accusing Hezbollah without mentioning the Hariri’s trail that may welll lead to the Israel’s Mossad. Thanks to MacDonald that trail will have to be pursued.

November 23rd, 2010, 8:11 am



In response to your questions in #40 above.
If an Israeli PM is foolish enough to launch a nuclear attack on any target in the Middle East, because he feels that he was backed into a corner, he would be doing the Palestinian and Arab cause the biggest favor. It will be an earth chattering event that will rally all Arabs, including “moderates”, to join in the battle, and not only with an oil embargo like in 1973.
Do you think that the Egyptian and the Jordanian armies could keep on watching a nuclear Holocaust taking place and stay neutral?
Do you think that the rest of the Arab armies or for that matter the muslim armies will not be pushed by their populations to get involved?
You have not seen the end of the repercussions of the killing of nine civilians on board of the Avi Marmara yet.
I would say that the actions of your PM and your navy in storming the Avi Marmara prove that they can be foolish and miscalculate the results of their actions.
So if your PM can not stay sober and refrain from escalating the military conflict to a nuclear level, I am sure that the world which you can not contemplate, will most probably be, a world without Israel as we know it.

November 23rd, 2010, 11:46 am


FDIC said:

45. why-discuss said:

“If this is true, I just worry that Wissam Al Hassan may be eliminated before he confesses his affiliation to Israel. Hezbollah would not eliminate him, in the contrary , his arrest will expose many of Hariri’s allies. Israel has interest in not letting him talk.”

By this logic, couldnt Israel then be implicated in the killing of Wissam Eid? Was this why Eid was killed? If the red network was Iz spies or Israel’s arab agents posing as Al Qaeda or Hezbollah and was revealed wouldnt mossad have to liquidate Eid? And what a great way to further frame Hezbollah/Syria as having killed him too?

November 25th, 2010, 1:55 am


why-discuss said:


It is also possible that Wissam Eid found out about Wissam Al Hassan’s connection to Israel or that Wissam Eid was getting too close to start to find out that the so-called Hezbollah squad was not under Hezbollah commandment.

The strange part is that the report of Wissam Eid was ‘lost’ and that the boss of Wissam Eid, Lt Col. Shehadeh is in Quebec Canada and no one seems to have got his deposition about who provoked that ‘loss’ and the sequence of events surrounding that report. Was it Wissan Al Hassan using his influence on the course of the investigation? No one seems to care about that, strange no?
If Shehadeh or Wissam Eid’s family know something about his death they are keeping quiet out of fear. How long can they keep quiet, once the tribunal starts the trials??

November 25th, 2010, 9:35 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

Turkey sends message about Lebanon.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara is prepared to react to any potential Israeli offensive against Lebanon.

Erdogan described Israel as full of “uncertainties” and said, “It is not definite what it will do.” He further warned of the prospects of such hostilities, Turkey’s state Anatolia news agency (AA) reported on Thursday.

“Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?” AFP quoted him as saying in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

The Turkish leader is currently on a two-day visit to the country aimed at strengthening the bilateral ties and voicing support for Beirut in the face of a volatile international situation.

“We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us.”

November 25th, 2010, 11:48 am


FDIC said:


Is Eid’s family, being Sunni, anti-Hezbollah or motivated to espouse pro-Hariri views? Perhaps Eid’s findings implicated Israel, so it was never lost but covered up. With Eid dead and a disappeared Shehadah, how hard is it to reconfigure Eid’s evidence to incriminate HA? Thus, what was lost is now ‘found’.
LIE DETECTOR TESTS are a rudiment of any half-way respectable investigation. That they were never considered for STL, itself speaks volumes.
An Nahar Nov 26, 2010:
Israel Penetrated Hizbullah Phones, Using Austrian Numbers, Report
Israel has reportedly penetrated Hizbullah cell phones, using Austrian numbers.

“As-Safir newspaper on Friday uncovered what it dubbed “serious chapters” on Israel’s ability to control Lebanon’s telecoms sector by creating phone numbers that coincide with each other on a single phone line without the knowledge of its owner, “thus fabricating fake calls at different locations at different times.”

November 27th, 2010, 12:51 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

A Lebanese PM in Tehran or the dawn of a new era?

Lebanese PM’s visit aims at expanding relations with Iran

TEHRAN, Nov. 27, 2010 — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, heading a high ranking delegation, arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a two-day visit aimed at expanding relations with Iran. Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki welcomed Hariri in a ceremony at Sa’ dabad Complex in northern Tehran, Iranian official IRNA news agency reported.

In his first visit to Tehran as the Lebanese Prime Minister, following formation of the new Lebanese government last year, Hariri is scheduled to hold talks with senior Iranian officials, including First Vice President Rahimi and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to local satellite channel Press TV.

He will confer with senior Iranian officials and exchange views on regional developments and implementation of the agreements signed between the two countries during President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s trip to Lebanon in October, Iranian official media IRIB reported.

“The cooperation of Arab governments with Iran is necessary to counter existing dangers,” Hariri said in a statement issued before his departure for Tehran in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Saturday, adding that “Iran is concerned by all efforts to provide elements of stability in all countries of the region, including Lebanon,” Press TV reported.

Hariri’s visit comes one month after Ahmadinejad’s trip to Lebanon, during which some 17 deals were inked by the two countries.

Local political observers believe that Hariri’s trip to Tehran can be considered as another turning point in Tehran-Beirut relations, and will lead to further strengthening of relations between the two nations in all fields.

November 27th, 2010, 1:12 pm


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