Centre for Syrian Studies Call for Papers on Reform

Prof. Raymond Hinnebusch, the directory of the new Center for Syrian Studies at the University of St. Andrews, UK.

THE CENTRE FOR SYRIAN STUDIES, University of St. Andrews, invites submission of papers on reform and security issues in contemporary Syria. We are especially keen on submissions by young scholars nearing or having recently completed a Ph.D on Syria. The papers are meant to be given at a series of on-going conferences or workshops held over the next few years in St. Andrews, London or Damascus and for publication, either in a projected book length series on Syria in Transition, or in other formats, such as working papers. Those whose papers are selected will be invited to present them, with travel expenses paid; additionally a $250 (£125) honorarium will be paid when papers are delivered and another $250 (£125) if they are accepted for publication. For information on the website and how to apply click here, or e-mail Adham Saouli, at as575@st-andrews.ac.uk

All the best,
Raymond Hinnebusch

Comments (215)

majedkhaldoun said:

we see conflict is brewing between AlMaliki,and bush,he wants more weapons, less advise,I doubt Maliki will split from Muqtada Al Sadr, Bush will have to abandon Maliki.

January 18th, 2007, 4:49 pm


Ehsani2 said:

(AP)–Syria is serious about resuming peace talks with
Israel, and during the summer’s Lebanon war even proposed holding a secret
emergency meeting with Israeli officials in Europe, a retired Israeli diplomat
said Thursday.
Israel’s leaders quickly distanced themselves from unofficial talks the
Israeli, former Foreign Ministry director general Alon Liel, held with a
Syrian. Liel, going public for the first time Thursday, said he briefed
government officials every step of the way.
He said he believed his counterpart, Syrian-American businessman Ibrahim
Suleiman, also had channels to the Syrian government.
“Our testimony is that it is very clear to us that Assad wants to talk,” said
Liel, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
On Tuesday, when the talks were leaked in a newspaper report, Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed the talks. “I knew of nothing. No one in the
government was involved in this matter. It was a private initiative on the part
of an individual who spoke with himself,” Olmert told reporters. “From what I
read, his interlocutor was an eccentric from the United States, someone not
serious or dignified.”
Syrian officials said Tuesday that reports of an agreement were “baseless.”
On Thursday a Syrian official again denied the reports.
In June, the participants wrote a two-page “non-paper” to sum up their talks,
Liel said. The centerpiece was a proposal to turn part of the Golan Heights,
captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War and annexed in 1981, into a “peace
park.” Syria would be the sovereign in all of the Golan, but Israelis could
visit the park freely, without visas.
The Israeli side proposed a Golan pullout over 15 years, the Syrians over
Previous peace talks collapsed in 2000 because of a dispute over where the
Israeli-Syrian border should run. Syria said any peace deal would have to
restore Syrian sovereignty over all the territory captured in 1967, while
Israel feared a complete withdrawal could endanger its security and access to
water sources, noting that the international border does not reach the shore of
the Sea of Galilee.
Liel and Suleiman were brought together by Geoffrey Aronson, head of the
Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington. Eight meetings were held, Liel
said, including several reportedly under the auspices of the Swiss.
Liel would not say who his hosts were, but said he believed they used their
own diplomatic contacts to check whether the messages coming out of the talks
were reaching the Syrian government.
The last meeting took place in late July, during the Israel-Lebanon war, Liel
said. On that day, several Israelis were killed by rockets fired by the
Lebanese Hezbollah militia, which Israel says is backed and funded by Syria and
“It was a very difficult day, and the Syrian party suggested that since it’s
a war and an emergency situation, let’s have a very quick track one meeting,
high-level meeting, on the level of deputy ministers … with an American in
the room,” Liel told a conference at the Netanya Academic College.
Liel said he told Israeli government officials of the offer, and pleaded with
them to accept. “And the answer was `no, no we don’t want to meet them’,” he
He said he believes the Israeli government is reluctant to resume peace talks
with Syria because the idea of giving up the Golan is unpopular in Israel and
because it would counter Washington’s policy of trying to isolate Syria.
Liel said he made it very clear at the beginning of each meeting that he did
not represent the Israeli government, but that he routinely updated Israeli
officials, as well as the Turkish government, after each round. The Turkish
government had initially been approached by the participants as a possible
sponsor, but turned them down.
Aronson said the time is ripe for a resumption of peace talks, though he
acknowledged that Syria could just be feigning interest in resuming talks to
get into Washington’s good graces. “There is a reasonable basis to assume that
well-intentioned official representatives have something to talk about when
they sit down,” he said.

January 18th, 2007, 7:00 pm


Atassi said:

Spurning an olive branch – Israel and America

20 January 2007
The Economist

America should not tell Israel to reject an overture from Syria

YOU are 6m Jews living in a sea of hostile Muslims. Fortunately you happen to be a good friend of the world’s only superpower. Israel’s interest is accordingly to stick closely to the policies of the United States. It stands to reason, doesn’t it?

Perhaps not. America is constantly accused, and often with justice, of being uncritically supportive of Israel. What is less often noticed is that Israel is too often uncritically supportive of America. And although this may at first look as if it makes strategic sense for the Jewish state, it doesn’t always.

Here is a case in point. Bashar Assad, Syria’s dictator, appears to have been signalling lately that he is willing to hold peace talks with Israel. It seems that he is not even insisting, as his father Hafez used to, on Israel promising before any talks to give back the whole of the Golan Heights. Furthermore, according to revelations this week in Haaretz, Israel’s liberal daily, some people from each side have already engaged in several years of secret, unofficial “track-two” diplomacy, going so far as to have produced a draft peace treaty (see page 63).

Sorry, but Uncle Sam says no

Plainly, Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, should grab any opportunity to talk. For many decades most of Israel’s enemies denied its right to exist, let alone to enjoy normal neighbourly relations. The Palestinians’ Hamas movement and Iran still take that line. So even if talks with Syria did not lead immediately to peace—and they probably wouldn’t unless Israel gave up the Golan—they would at least knock a mighty hole in the idea, once again spreading in the wider Muslim world, that the very existence of Israel is illegitimate and not to be accepted in any circumstances. And yet Mr Olmert has so far said no to talks. In saying no, moreover, he gave Israelis a singular reason. He said that by talking to the president of Syria Israel would upset the president of the United States.

Right now George Bush has reasons to be unfriendly to Mr Assad. Syria helps the insurgents in Iraq, is trying to topple the government of Lebanon and is desperate to evade whatever responsibility it may have had for killing Lebanon’s former prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, in 2005. To the degree that peace talks with Israel would ease Mr Assad’s isolation—and ingratiating himself with the West may well be the cynical extent of Mr Assad’s intentions—they might indeed complicate America’s present strategic calculations in the Middle East.

If you are a superpower, however, your strategy has a habit of changing, along with conditions, regimes and fashion. America has the luxury of being able to reassess its interests, drop old friends and find new ones, promote autocracy one day and emphasise democracy the next. Sometimes its attention swivels right away from the Middle East. Israel, on the other hand, has a permanent and perhaps existential interest in finding a way to get along with its neighbours. It really cannot afford to pass up any opportunity, however cynically motivated, to break the encircling wall of enmity.

If Mr Bush continues to instruct Israel to rebuff Mr Assad’s overtures, Mr Olmert will no doubt obey orders. Strong Israeli prime ministers have in the past occasionally refused to take American instruction, but Mr Olmert was never strong and has been further weakened by his inept handling of last summer’s war in Lebanon. He may, moreover, have his own cynical reasons for refusing a Syrian olive branch—such as an unwillingness to pay for peace by giving up the Golan, or to make his domestic problems worse by broaching the possibility.

If that is his reasoning, it is short-sighted. A land-for-peace deal in the West Bank and Golan remains Israel’s best hope of security. It should be tireless in its quest for peace, even when its great ally is preoccupied elsewhere. In the long run, after all, resolving this conflict is in America’s interest, too.

January 18th, 2007, 9:33 pm


Ehsani2 said:

Atassi’s article above is excellent.
Here is another one by the same publication

The Economist

Those seemingly minor inconveniences that make life hellish
DURING 2006, according to B’tselem, an Israeli human-rights group,
Israeli forces killed 660 Palestinians, almost half of them innocent
bystanders, among them 141 children. In the same period, Palestinians killed
17 Israeli civilians and six soldiers. It is such figures, as well as events
like shellings, house demolitions, arrest raids and land expropriations, that
make the headlines in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What rarely get into
the media but make up the staple of Palestinian daily conversation are the
countless little restrictions that slow down most people’s lives, strangle the
economy and provide constant fuel for extremists.
Arbitrariness is one of the most crippling features of these rules. No
one can predict how a trip will go. Many of the main West Bank roads, for the
sake of the security of Israeli settlers in the West Bank, are off-limits to
Palestinian vehicles-only one road connecting the north and south West Bank,
for instance, is open to them-and these restrictions change frequently. So do
the rules on who can pass the checkpoints that in effect divide the West Bank
into a number of semi-connected regions (see map).
A new order due to come into force this week would have banned most West
Bankers from riding in cars with Israeli licence plates, and thus from getting
lifts from friends and relatives among the 1.6m Palestinians who live as
citizens in Israel, as well as from aid workers, journalists and other
foreigners. The army decided to suspend the order after protests from
human-rights groups that it would give soldiers enormous arbitrary powers-but
it has not revoked it.
Large parts of the population of the northern West Bank, and of
individual cities like Nablus and Jericho, simply cannot leave their home
areas without special permits, which are not always forthcoming. If they can
travel, how long they spend waiting at checkpoints, from minutes to hours,
depends on the time of day and the humour of the soldiers. Several checkpoints
may punctuate a journey between cities that would otherwise be less than an
hour’s drive apart. These checkpoints move and shift every day, and army jeeps
add to the unpredictability and annoyance by stopping and creating ad hoc
mobile checkpoints at various spots.
According to the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), the number of such obstacles had increased to 534 by
mid-December from 376 in August 2005, when OCHA and the Israeli army completed
a joint count. When Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, agreed last month
to ease restrictions at a few of these checkpoints as a concession to Mahmoud
Abbas, the Palestinian president, human-rights people reported that not only
did many of the checkpoints go on working as before; near the ones that had
eased up, mobile ones were now operating instead, causing worse disruption and
It is sometimes hard to fathom the logic of the checkpoint regime. One
route from Ramallah, the Palestinian administrative capital, to Jerusalem,
involves a careful inspection of documents, while on another the soldiers-if
they are at their posts-just glance at cars’ occupants to see if they look
Arab. Israeli law strictly forbids Israeli citizens from visiting the main
Palestinian cities, but they can drive straight into Ramallah and Hebron
without being challenged, while other cities, such as Jericho and Nablus,
remain impermeable. In many places the barrier that Israel is building through
the West Bank for security purposes (though in Palestinian eyes to grab more
land) is monitored with all the care of an international border, while around
Jerusalem the army turns a blind eye to hundreds of people who slip through
cracks in the wall as part of their daily commute.
Because of the internal travel restrictions, people who want to move from
one Palestinian city to another for work or study must register a change of
address to make sure they can stay there. But they cannot. Israel’s population
registry, which issues Palestinian identity cards as well as Israeli ones, has
issued almost no new Palestinian cards since the start of the second INTIFADA
in 2000. And that means no address changes either. This also makes it
virtually impossible for Palestinians from abroad to get residency in the
occupied territories, which are supposed to be their future state, never mind
in Israel.

No-through-roads galore

On top of that, in the past year several thousand Palestinians who had
applied for residency in the West Bank and were living there on renewable
six-month visitor permits have become illegal residents too, liable to be
stopped and deported at any checkpoint, not because of anything they have done
but because Israel has stopped renewing permits since Hamas, the Islamist
movement, took control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) a year ago. (Israel
says it is because the PA isn’t handing over the requests.)
Like Israelis, Palestinians who commit a traffic offence on the West
Bank’s highways have to pay the fine at an Israeli post office or a police
station. But in the West Bank the only post offices and police stations are on
Israeli settlements that most West Bank Palestinians cannot visit without a
rare permit. If they do not pay, however, they lose their driving licences the
next time the police stop them. They also get a criminal record-which then
makes an Israeli entry permit quite impossible.
Some of the regulations stray into the realm of the absurd. A year ago a
military order, for no obvious reason, expanded the list of protected wild
plants in the West Bank to include za’atar (hyssop), an abundant herb and
Palestinian staple. For a while, soldiers at checkpoints confiscated bunches
of it from bewildered Palestinians who had merely wanted something to liven up
their salads. Lately there have been no reports of za’atar confiscation, but,
says Michael Sfard, the legal adviser for Yesh Din, another Israeli
human-rights body, the order is still in force. As he tells the story, he
cannot help laughing. There is not much else to do.

January 18th, 2007, 10:41 pm


Alex said:

Here is an interesting one!

Saddam’s #2, Mr. Al-Duri, who was supposedly in Syria (according to US administration’s always useless “information”) is probably, according to President Talabani, in Yemen.

Syria was supposedly coordinating with him the terrorist attacks in Iraq.

Today Al-Duri issued a press release accusing Syria of trying to establish new leadership for Iraq’s Baath party through its invitations to Iraq’s top Baathists to a conference in Damascus.

So lets see now. Who has more useful friends and allies in Iraq? Syria? Iran? the United States?

Yet Condoleezza Rice wants to visit Bahrain instead of Damascus.

عزة الدوري يتهم سوريا بالتآمر على حزب البعث العراقي

جلال الطالباني رجح وجود عزة الدوري في اليمن وليس في سوريا كما كان يعتقد (رويترز-أرشيف)

ندد الرجل الثاني في النظام العراقي السابق عزة إبراهيم الدوري بما اعتبره مؤامرة على حزب البعث العراقي المنحل، متهما سوريا باحتضان مؤتمر يهدف إلى اختيار قيادة جديدة للحزب.

وقال الدوري في بيان ذيل بتوقيع القيادة القومية لحزب البعث العربي الاشتراكي “إن معلومات وردت عن دعوة بعض المفصولين من الحزب إلى عقد مؤتمر قطري غير شرعي في دمشق”، مضيفا أن مجرد احتضان سوريا لهذه الدعوة يؤكد أنها جزء مما سماه مؤامرة الاحتلال الأميركي لتصفية رمز نضال العراق ضد الاحتلال وهو الحزب، ودمجه في الحكومة السورية الحليفة الطبيعية للحكومة الإيرانية.

وهاجم الدوري، وهو أكبر مسؤول في النظام العراقي السابق مازال فارا، “المفصول محمد يونس الأحمد” أحد الأعضاء السابقين في البعث العراقي، داعيا “جميع مناضلي الحزب خارج العراق إلى التصدي لهؤلاء المتآمرين مع الاحتلال والمخابرات السورية وعزلهم”.

الطالباني يرجح
وفي السياق ذاته رجح الرئيس العراقي جلال الطالباني أن يكون الدوري موجودا في اليمن وليس في سوريا كما كان يعتقد، مشيرا إلى أن السلطات العراقية تتعقب تحركات الدوري ولم تبحث بعد المطالبة بتسليمه.

January 19th, 2007, 12:00 am


G said:

[……..] edited by blog administrator. 

>>In an interview with a Chronicle correspondent in Iraq, a former division general of the Republican Guard, Saddam Hussein’s most elite military corps, dismissed the widespread assumption that Syria’s tribal links to the Sunni-led insurgents would give it leverage.

“We still remember how Syria sided with Iran during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, when they closed the Iraqi oil pipeline passing through its territory and provided Iran with ground-to-ground missiles to attack Baghdad,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.<< [........] edited by blog administrator. 

January 19th, 2007, 12:19 am


Alex said:

Thank you G

I’m happy my brain waves and yours have a perfect 180 degree phase shift

January 19th, 2007, 12:29 am


Gibran said:

Ban’s UN concerned about the International Tribunal:

Asked by reporters whether he would convey the UN’s commitment to establish an international tribunal when he meets Siniora in Paris, Ban said, “It is important that the Security Council has decided to establish a special tribunal.”
“It is a source of concern for me as secretary general that we are not being able to conclude this and establish a special tribunal, as was mandated by the Security Council,” he said.
“At the same time, I was encouraged by the willingness of the Lebanese government to work together for the establishment of a special tribunal, including President Lahoud and Parliament Speaker Berri.” – The Daily Star, with agencies

Looks like a prelude to forming the tribunal under Chapter 7 of the UN. Hezbollah and Berri may have done some good to the tribunal after all (of course by following Syrian dictates) despite their ‘best intentions’.

January 19th, 2007, 1:27 am


norman said:

Alex, Joshua, you both seem ready to represent us , Syria comment and Syria think tank in this excercise.

January 19th, 2007, 3:52 am


youngSyria said:

regardless of source phase shift and time delay would give same result (using appropriate values)?

sorry SyriaComment … 🙂

January 19th, 2007, 6:16 am


youngSyria said:

“180 degree phase shift”…nice link.. thanks

January 19th, 2007, 6:27 am


Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

Would first like to comment, not having been on this site for a few weeks, that the latest postings, again shows the excellence of Professor Landis’s choice of topics and articles for elucidation and discussion. So hats off!

Now as per specifics: I am afraid that I share the
overall pessimistic outlook of Professor Lesch. The year 2007 is not likely to see much in the way of positive news in the entire Near East, much less on the Israeli-Syrian front. The Bush regime, as I predicted both here, as well as my
own site on several occasions, has decided to in essence, go ‘va banque’. Instead of following up the diplomatic line of the James Baker (engage Syria, engage or try to, Persia, begin to dis-engage or redeploy forces from Iraq, at least away from the urban areas, push hard on Tel Aviv
to negotiate with the Palestinians, `a la the Madrid Conference of 1991), Bush and Cheney, et. al., have instead taken a script from the neo-conservative, pro-Israeli ideologues and instead, we see a mini-offensive of sorts in various parts of the region. The ‘surge’ (the most prominent but in actual fact, perhaps the weakest element
of this offensive) of additional troops into Iraq; the hardline (including perhaps covert operations?) diplomatic stance towards the
political conflict in the Lebanon; the continuing
cold war (non-recognition, no assistance of any sort, etc.) towards the Hamas government, with
the now revealed sub rosa arming of Fatah elements; the increased belligerency towards Persia, with the arrests of the Persian agents in
Kurdistan, the beefing up of American ships in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, and, the
attempts to get EU countries to impose more de facto financial sanctions on Teheran; the diplomatic pas de deux, with all the important Sunni Arab countries recently: Saudi Arabia and Egypt in particular, as all talk of ‘democratization’ is dumped overboard almost entirely.

In the above context, it is completely illusory to either expect or anticipate, that this government, the Bush regime, will ever endorse or
encourage Tel Aviv to reach some type of peace
agreement with Assad Fils. And, while I myself seriously doubt that there are any concrete plans
afoot, in Washington to try an “Operation Straggle” # 2, I am sure that if the means were available, that Elliott Abrams and friends would
love to try it. However in the absence of even any ‘assets’ in Syria proper (remember that when
MI-6 and the CIA, thought up, Straggle in 1955-1956, they at least possessed some, elements in the Syrian military who could be used and or co-opted), it is highly doubtful that anything will
come of such thinkings but day dreams. Particularly since, it is widely apparent, that
Tel Aviv, has absolutely no wish to overthrow the
Assad regime.

In fact I think that the latter aspect is perhaps the light at the end of this particular tunnel. If, as the Bush regime goes off in the sunset, those elements in the Israeli establishment (admittedly more of the Labour Alignment types), who favor a renewal of negotiations with Syria, may, be able to reverse Sharon-Olmert, non-negotiations policy. Admittedly this in turn will depend upon the ouster of the current (very weak) government in Tel Aviv, and, that there not be another Lebanon War `a la that of 2006. Still it does appear to be the case, that unlike many in official Washington, much of the ‘official mind’
in Israel regards the Assad regime in Damascus as the best thing going for Syria. And, it could very
well be the case, that with a change of regimes in both Washington and Tel Aviv, that this particular point of view, will regard a peace
deal with Assad as the best means of ensuring that
Syria remains politically stable, and, does not
undergo a process of ‘Iraqization’, id est, political instability leading to civil war.

Admittedly, this does not sound like a very optimistic scenario, but, I do think that it is
probably the one most likely to succeed. One needs to remember here that, it was not Washington which prevented a peace agreement coming off in 1999-2000, it was the two parties themselves (with probably Tel Aviv more sinning than sinned against). All Washington did, was to allow the negotiations to proceed, and, to assist in the mechanics of the negotiations. But, it was the decisions taken by the two parties themselves, which sabotaged a possible agreement. Similarly, it will be, in the final analysis, decisions made in Tel Aviv, and, I should add (following up on the erste-klasse commentary of Professor Leenders) in Damascus which will ensure that a peace agreement is eventually arrived at between these two countries.

January 19th, 2007, 7:37 am


Alex said:

Thanks Norman, we can do that, but only after G and Gibran approve. Although they both went out of their way to tell me how much they admire me, yet for some reason … I have a feeling they don’t.

YoungSyria, I’m glad you enjoyed the link … everything, including a signal phase shift tutorial, is nicer than Mideast politics.

January 19th, 2007, 7:41 am


Alex said:

Here is a story (Arabic again) from Annahar about a possible Syria-Saudi Arabia “deal”

المملكة اتفقت مع فرنسا على مخارج للبنان
ملامح تقارب سعودي – سوري

ونبّه السفير الى عامل جديد ايجابي يمكن ان يساعد بقوة في الوصول الى حل للازمة السياسية، وقد يطرأ خلال الاسابيع المقبلة، ويكمن في زيارة يقوم بها الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد للرياض قبل انعقاد القمة العربية العادية في 28 آذار المقبل او ارجاء هذه الزيارة الى موعد انعقادها، فيلبي بذلك الرئيس السوري دعوة العاهل السعودي الى حضور القمة، علماً ان المعلومات الديبلوماسية المتوافرة تشجع على توقع انهاء الفتور في العلاقات السعودية – السورية، وتفيد بأن ايران ادت دوراً لا يمكن الاستهانة به في هذا المجال.

January 19th, 2007, 8:05 am


Innocent_Criminal said:


I fail to see these political balloons as anything positive when you have something much more important to the Saudis and that much more contradictory. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/93585/Saudi_Arabia_Openly_Supports_U_S_New_Strategy_in_Iraq

watch your choice of words please.

January 19th, 2007, 9:11 am


3antar said:

Sarcasm is surely the best outlet.

كم نحن السوريون أنانيون ومتكبرون…! … بقلم : م.هادي النحلاوي

مساهمات القراء

يقولون سوريا هي قلب لجميع العرب ومن يريد ان يزور سوريا فليأتي اهلا وسهلا لست بحاجة الي فيزا لانك ستأتي الى سوريا ، اما نحن اذا اردنا الذهاب حتى الى جهنم الحمراء ستحتاج الى مئة توقيع من مئة سفارة وسنسأل مئة سؤال عن سبب الزيارة والمدة الزمنية ،

فاذا كتبت لنا زيارة احد البلدان الشقيقة ، سنكون كالمنبوذين والمكروهين كاننا نحن السوريون المسؤولون عن قنبلة هيروشيما في الحرب العالمية الثانية أم لأن مجاعات افريقيا سببها استغلال السوريين لموارد افريقيا ام لان مرض الايدز انطلق من سوريا ام لان السوريون يودعون اموالهم في البنوك السويسرية ويستثمرون اموالهم في بلاد العم سام وغير السام ويحرمون اشقائهم العرب المحرومين ام لان السوريون هم اول من باع القضية الفلسطينية ولم يربى اولاده واحفاده وحتى احفاد احفاده ان فلسطين هي ارض لجميع العرب ولن نكون بخير حتى تعود فلسطين الى اهلها مطلقين شعارات انا ومن ورائي الطوفان ام لان السوريون ينعمون برخاء اقتصادي وزهد في الاسعار فقط بسبب ان الحاجات الاساسية لنا السوريون ممنوع تصديرها الى بلدان مجاورة كالعراق بسبب ان الاخوة العراقيين بحاجة الى نقف بجانبهم ونحن لسنا بحاجة الى ان يقف معنا احد ام لان الكهرباء في سوريا لا تنقطع ابدا عن المواطن البسيط بحجة ان الشبكة الكهربائية السورية مسؤولة عن امداد لبنان الشقيق ضاربين بعرض الحائط ومتناسين مقولة فيروز (سوا ربينا) ام لان الهواية المفضلة والمحببة لدى السوريون هي التظاهر امام الساحات العامة وامام عدسات الكاميرا منشدين الشتائم ومترنمين بالاهانات للشعب اللبناني شيبة وشبابا نساء ورجالا تحت شعارات (حرية ، سيادة ، استقلال) ام لان السوريين شعب نقاق فأي مصيبة تحدث في سوريا حتى اذا المواطن العادي تشاجر مع زوجته يكون لبنان وشعب لبنان هو المسؤول الاول والاخير عن تلك المشاجرة وبطالب فورا بتدخل دولي حتى يخرجه من بين انياب ذلك اللبناني المتوحش ام لان اسعار العقارات في سوريا زهيدة جدا ومناسبة لجميع الشباب السوري حتى يدخل الى ما يسمى القفص الذهبي حتى اصبح اسمه في سوريا القفص التنكي بسبب سهولة ويسر ان يحصل السوري المغرور المتكبر على نصفه الحلو ام لأن لاموال المسروقة والمنهوبة من العراق لم تدخل ولم تهرب ابدا الى سوريا بسب ان الحدود تغلق في وجه اي عربي يريد ان يزور سوريا ولم تبيض أبدا بشراء العقارات والاراضي حتى اصبح المواطن السوري لم تراوده ولو بأي شكل من الاشكال اي نوع من الاحاسيس انه غريب في ما كان يعتقد انه وطنه فأصبح وطن لغيره، ام لأن الشباب السوري لا يحلم ابدا بالهجرة وترك وطنه واهله لمن هو غير سوري بحثا عن راتب ولو كان يكفي فقط ثمن اربع عجلات ولو حتى سوزوكي يحلم باقتنائه ام لان الاخوة الفلسطينين في سوريا محرومين من ابسط حقوق الحياة ولا يجدون فرصة عمل ولا يستطيعون التملك او حتى السفر اما في بلاد العرب اوطاني فيعاملون باحترام شديد ولا يعاملون كلاجئين منبوذين بل على العكس يمنحون بطاقات شخصية لا تميزه عن اهل البلد الاصلي حتى انهم يوظفون في الدوائر الحكومية ويدرسون في الجامعات أم الشباب في تلك البلاد لا يحلم بنصف تلك الميزات …. والكثير الكثير الكثير

(فهل رأيتم كم نحن السوريون جبارون ومتكبرون


January 19th, 2007, 10:34 am


Akbar Palace said:

Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said

“Tel Aviv, has absolutely no wish to overthrow the
Assad regime.”

Wouldn’t be the first time Israel made an error in judgement.

“One needs to remember here that, it was not Washington which prevented a peace agreement coming off in 1999-2000, it was the two parties themselves (with probably Tel Aviv more sinning than sinned against).”

“Tel-Aviv more sinning than sinned against”? Of course! What else is new in the strange world of anti-Israel “Wacademia”? Arafat never provided a counter proposal, and instead reinstituted “armed struggle”. The lastest Israeli offer of sharing Jerusalem, leaving Gaza, and over 95% of the WB and promises of over $90 Billion dollars is “more sinning”? I suppose on this website it is.

And when did Arafat ever stop violence? Or incitement in his media?

An acquaintance of mine writes about a recent trip to Syria:

“I think I told you back then, that I found Syria to be the only place around where upon arriving one feels like back in Soviet times entering the countries of Eastern Europe, an obvious, unpleasant, threatening and corrupt police state.”

Perhaps, one day, the news media will take a closer look at this story instead of the usual anti-Israeli crap.

January 19th, 2007, 12:04 pm


3antar said:

but thats it AP , people are only willing to criticize Israel , unjustifiably, on this blog. As its clearly obvious. And most if not all of the media is Anti-Israeli and perhaps even anti-semitic. whats your point? the world condones it. and once again, you and your ilk are victimized, as its Israel versus the rest of the world. Israel practically bent backwards for Arafat, but that son of a b*** pissed on the deal.
whats new?
you want sympathy? … perhaps a cookie would suffice.
$90 billion????? if i was offered that much, i would buy a beautiful tropical island, call it Palestine and end this nightmare.

January 19th, 2007, 12:21 pm


3antar said:

but thinkin about this… would i have to pay any royalty fees for using the “Palestine” name?
I suppose Israel might own the copy right for “Palestine”.
perhaps i would need to share control the capital city. Dedicate the southern portion as a park so that Israelis could spend their holidays, without requiring a VISA…. for a period of 15 years. making sure of course unlimited access to water wells or rivers for the welcomed tourists.
its only fair. after all, if it wasnt for those tourists, where would i cuff up $90 billion from?

January 19th, 2007, 12:40 pm


ugarit said:

3antar said: “Israel practically bent backwards for Arafat, but that son of a b*** pissed on the deal.”

Practically but not really. This is simply inaccurate.

I recommend that everyone read

The Myth of the Generous Offer

January 19th, 2007, 2:41 pm


Atassi said:

Syrian opposition figure cautions against “sudden” internal change
19 January 2007

(c) 2007 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved. No material may be reproduced except with the express permission of The British Broadcasting Corporation.

Text of report by Bahiyah Mardini in Damascus entitled: “Syrian oppositionist Usamah al-Munjid: sudden change is not suitable for Damascus”; carried by Elaph website on 15 January

In exclusive statements to Elaph, Usamah al-Munjid, head of the Media Bureau of the opposition Justice and Construction Movement, has said that “a sudden and violent change in Syria is not suitable and it does not serve the interests of the Syrian people”.

He added: “Any country whose people have lived for many decades under tyranny, suppression and corruption, cannot comprehend a sudden, violent and quick change.” He pointed out that sociology indicates that communities which lived under such totalitarian regimes need a quiet, scientific and studied change in order to benefit from all available margins [of freedom]. It also indicates the need to make maximum utilization of these margins in order to expand these margins and win further public support gradually.

Al-Munjid, who has been living in Britain since 2004, said: “The Justice and Construction Movement was established on 10 May 2006. It is part of the Damascus Declaration for national democratic change in Syria.” He expressed the belief that what he mentioned above is the policy of the Damascus Declaration and its strategy for national democratic change.

Al-Munjid, whom Elaph met with in Brussels, said: “During university days, a group of youth had the idea of establishing a movement with a political trend. The idea began to take shape gradually until the movement found that this trend exists among Syrians outside and inside Syria who have qualifications and experience. This encouraged all of us to agree on the need to work for the sake of the country and its interest because, regrettably, we find that the more the Syrians are preoccupied with their jobs, future and careers, the less interested they become in public affairs.”

Al-Munjid noted that “Syria needs all its sons”. He said: We have thought about economic reform, but the intellectual structures have always been, and are still, a barrier. He asserted the need for reform in the political, judicial and human rights fields in Syria.

Asked about what the Syrian opposition abroad can do, in the light of some views that it cannot offer much to the Syrians, Al-Munjid said: This is a part of the Syrian regime’s strategy for cancelling and excluding others [who hold opposing views] and giving public opinion in Syria and abroad the impression that there is no effective, large or organized Syrian opposition. He added: However, I say that this impression is wrong. This method of misleading public opinion will not be useful from now on. The opposition, praise be to God, has changed its method and developed itself. It has conducted self-criticism and a real review of its methods and strategy. The best evidence of this is the Damascus Declaration and the committees stemming from it outside Syria, especially in Europe. This provides most of the opposition forces with a real umbrella for joint cooperation and action to show the real picture of the suffering of people in Syria and to convey this suffering to international public opinion. In our age, the Syrian regime’s practices, including repression, tyranny, suppression of public freedoms, denial of civil rights and gagging people, are unacceptable in any circumstances. Regrettably, we do not see any glimmer of hope or positive steps by the regime to provide the Syrian people with the hope of a change or real reform.

Al-Munjid said: “We bade farewell to 2006, which was the worst year for Syria since 2000, according to many statistics.” He added: “In 2000, we were hopeful that there would be a real way out of the crisis experienced by Syria economically or socially, but we found that the problem is political par excellence. However, we hope that this new, young generation, which masters the language of its age, scientifically and technologically, will change the elements of the equation. This generation is not governed by the complexes of the past or by the failure of the attempts [to bring about a change] in the past. It is not governed by that suppressive, bloody history, and it has a lot of faith in freedom. It will defend this and will work hard to achieve it [freedom] in Syria, because this generation has realized that freedom is acquired and wrested, and is not given or granted.”

January 19th, 2007, 9:22 pm


Atassi said:

The speaker outcast – or just disarmed?
Michael Young
1108 words
18 January 2007
Daily Star

Beirut — Spare a sardonic thought for Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Only last summer he was being feted by March 14 for having helped the Cabinet majority railroad Hizbullah into approving a Lebanese Army deployment to South Lebanon and endorsing Security Council Resolution 1701; now they’re depicting him as the scoundrel of the moment, increasingly marginalized for failing to hold a parliamentary session to approve the mixed tribunal in the Hariri assassination. Oh when that trapdoor opens.

Berri has done himself few favors in recent months. He alienated Hizbullah and its secretary general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, during the summer war, but also when he seemed to be trying to open an independent line to Iran last November. As you might recall, he had just wrapped up a series of national dialogue sessions and flew to Tehran for a conference. While he was there the Shiite ministers resigned. Berri initially declared that the government remained constitutional, but then abruptly backtracked – under Iranian pressure, some speculated. This angered the majority, and in a matter of days the speaker was sitting atop the detritus of a failed dialogue that he had sponsored, with Hizbullah and March 14 united on a single thing: that it did no good to trust Nabih Berri.

For a time, after the opposition descended on Downtown Beirut in protest, it looked like Berri might devise a new role for himself. Who else could play middleman to help break the deadlock? That was too optimistic a reading of the speaker’s capacities. By then, Hizbullah was unwilling to grant him any of the leeway it had during the July-August conflict. The majority, meanwhile, was still only interested in seeing whether Berri would summon Parliament to vote in favor of the Hariri tribunal. Caught in a vise, the speaker discerned a faint ray of hope in the Arab League proposal peddled by Secretary General Amr Moussa. And what did the normally cunning Berri do? He tied a rope around his neck and leapt.

Moussa sought to promote a package deal that, among other things, would have formed a new government with 19 ministers from the majority, 10 from the opposition, and one independent. The idea was to prevent the majority from imposing its writ by a two-thirds vote, while denying the opposition veto power. The majority also agreed to the creation of a committee of judges to discuss amendments to the draft tribunal proposal. Berri, not wanting to oversee a vote in Parliament on the tribunal, set a condition for his acceptance: that the amended draft be returned to the new government for approval. This effectively denied the majority a means to pass a proposal with which the opposition disagreed. Suddenly, Berri became enemy number-one for March 14, but also angered Moussa and his patrons in Cairo and Riyadh.

That wasn’t all. In the period between Christmas and New Year, Berri came up with a plan of his own to resolve the crisis, one that proved to be dead on arrival. Walid Jumblatt dismissed it as “the latest merchandise,” and Moussa saw the scheme as an underhanded effort to supplant his own ideas. The Arab League secretary general reacted by indefinitely delaying his return to Beirut. It was no coincidence that last Monday the Kuwaiti newspaper As-Siyassa, citing an adviser to Siniora, spoke of the possibility of Saudi Arabia’s hosting a reconciliation conference on Lebanon, at which Berri would not be invited. The likelihood of that happening is negligible; after all, Berri represents Parliament. Still, the leak was designed to warn that the speaker may become irrelevant.

Berri is a target because the majority views him as the weakest link in Syria’s effort to derail parliamentary approval of the Hariri tribunal. March 14 politicians will admit he has been threatened – but everyone has, they promptly add. That Berri remains Syria’s man is hardly

surprising for anyone who has followed his decades-long political gymnastics. But more disturbing for the speaker, Saudi Arabia and Egypt apparently regard this as a problem when dealing with him. The Saudis are said to oppose bringing Syria into any discussion of Lebanon. If that’s true, then Berri did himself few favors by telling As-Safir on Saturday, after meeting with Saudi Ambassador Abdel-Aziz Khoja, that “any efforts exerted to bring about a breakthrough in Saudi-Syrian relations will speed up the opportunities for a resolution in Lebanon, before it is too late.”

This kind of talk, particularly Berri’s recent statement that Lebanon is “a time-bomb preparing to explode,” is open to various interpretations. Some see the comments as a threat; others, more benignly, assume the speaker is playing up a sense of impending doom to pave the way for his return as mediator. The visit by Amal representatives to the Phalange headquarters on Tuesday lends credence to the latter view. But Berri, like Nasrallah, is paying a heavy price for his alliance with Syria, and more specifically for Syria’s refusal to grant its Lebanese comrades any latitude to negotiate what, for the Assad regime, could be a less dangerous tribunal framework.

Difficult times lie ahead for Berri. The parliamentary majority has already signed a petition asking President Emile Lahoud to open an extraordinary session of Parliament. The decision is binding on Lahoud, but Berri has yet to transmit the request to Baabda. If the speaker gets over this hurdle, in late March he must convene the first regular session of Parliament for 2007. If a parliamentarian formally asks that the tribunal law be dealt with as “fast-track” legislation, Berri, at least according to a member of the Hariri bloc, must put it to a vote. In addition, Article 44 of the Constitution allows the majority to hold a vote of confidence in the speaker two years after legislative elections, in the first regular annual session. If he loses by a two-thirds margin, Berri can be replaced.

These maneuvers are unlikely to change Berri’s behavior, get the tribunal approved, or bounce the speaker. However, they are politically embarrassing. One thing must be dawning on Berri: It was the March 14 leadership that was instrumental in returning him to power last year. Having lost the majority’s backing and little trusted by Hizbullah, the speaker must be wondering if he’s gone beyond his expiry date. More pertinently, Berri must sense that he may be the latest target in a broader effort to dismantle what remains of the Syrian order in Lebanon.

Michael Young is opinion editor of THE DAILY STAR.

January 19th, 2007, 9:29 pm


Alex said:

Nasrallah spoke today to NBN for almost 3 hours.

He says he is confident the new escalated moves that will be announced the next few days by the opposition will be enough for them to reach their goals, or “get very close to them”.

They now want a temp coalition unity government that will

1) discuss and approve the terms of the Hariri case’s international court.

2) call for early elections (Parliament)

3) conduct new presidential elections.

So … where does this announcement leave the Saudi and Arab League plans?

بيروت: قال الامين العام لحزب الله حسن نصرالله الجمعة ان اولوية المعارضة اللبنانية اصبحت المطالبة باجراء انتخابات نيابية مبكرة، مشيرا الى انها ستعلن قريبا عن “تحرك مهم وكبير” لتحقيق هدفها. وتحدث نصرالله في مقابلة طويلة استغرقت حوالى ثلاث ساعات مع تلفزيون “المنار” التابع لحزب الله عن مضي المعارضة في تحركها في مواجهة الحكومة برئاسة فؤاد السنيورة، متهما فريق الاكثرية بانه “لا يصغي الى صوت الشعب”. كما تناول مطولا حرب تموز/يوليو بين اسرائيل وحزب الله والوضع في العراق.

وقال نصرالله “الليلة تنتهي المشاورات بين كل قوى المعارضة” التي يشكل حزب الله الشيعي ابرز اركانها وتضم ايضا التيار الوطني الحر برئاسة النائب المسيحي الجنرال ميشال عون واحزابا موالية لسوريا. واضاف “من المفترض ان يصدر بيان السبت او الاحد” للاعلان عن التحرك الجديد. وتابع نصرالله “اعتقد ان التحرك سيكون فعالا ومهما جدا وكبيرا جدا وادعو كل اللبنانيين الى المشاركة في فعالياته”، متابعا “اعتقد انه سيكون مهما جدا ومؤثرا جدا وان لم يوصلنا الى الهدف سيقربنا بقوة من هذا الهدف”.

ورفض الرد على سؤال يتعلق بتفاصيل التحرك وما اذا كان سيشمل قطع طرق واقفال مرافىء كما تتناقل وسائل الاعلام. الا انه قال “انا واثق بان المعارضة ستتمكن من تحقيق هدفها”. واوضح نصرالله ان المعارضة “لم تعد تكتفي بمطلب حكومة وحدة وطنية ومطلبها الان انتخابات نيابية مبكرة وهذه اولوية”. واضاف “نقبل بحكومة انتقالية تجري انتخابات مبكرة، ونقبل بحكومة وحدة وطنية” تعمل على تنفيذ الآتي: “اولا اقرار المحكمة الدولية (في قضية اغتيال رئيس الحكومة اللبناني الاسبق رفيق الحريري)، ثانيا وضع قانون انتخابي جديد، ثالثا اجراء انتخابات نيابية مبكرة، رابعا اجراء انتخابات رئاسية”.

January 19th, 2007, 11:04 pm


Gibran said:

This is Nasrallah’s last bullet. He will fire it and then he will be powerless to even fend for himself. Rest assured that his gamble will fail and his failure will make Syrian and Iranian dreams vanish. I expect that he will evetually get deported to Iran where the Wilayat he is seeking already exist to the detriment of the majority of Iranians. His mask has fallen and the vast majority of the Lebanese have lost all faith in him. His so-called allies are losing constituency at such a rate that one can safely say they hardly represent themselves.

January 20th, 2007, 1:10 am


Alex said:

After the Iraqi and Palestinian presidents this week … now the Pakistani president is coming to Damascus

ضمن جولة في المنطقة : الرئيس الباكستاني برويز مشرف يزور دمشق الاسبوع المقبل

يزور الرئيس الباكستاني برويز مشرف سورية الاسبوع المقبل ضمن جولة له على عدد من دول الشرق الاوسط لاجراء محادثات مع القادة العرب تتعلق بالعلاقات الثنائية والاقليمية ذات الاهتمام المشترك. الاعلان عن زيارة مشرف جاء من خلال تصريحات لمسؤول بارز في الخارجية الباكستانية ومن غير ان يؤكد او ينفي الاعلام السوري خبرالزيارة ، مسؤول في الخارجية الباكستانية اشار الى “ان جولة مشرف في الشرق الاوسط تشمل المملكة العربية السعودية ومصر والاردن وسورية” ، واضاف ان مشرف” سيعقد مباحثات تتناول العلاقات الثنائية بين باكستان وتلك الدول اضافة الى القضايا الاقليمية والدولية مثل الصراع الفلسطيني الاسرائيلي ، والقضية الافغانية ، و الوضع في كشمير ، وعملية السلام بين الهند وباكستان” .

January 20th, 2007, 2:35 am


Alex said:


الرياح ترسل أسرارا عسكرية من إسرائيل إلى سورية

غزة: صالح النعامي تل أبيب: نظير مجلي
كشفت مصادر اسرائيلية امس ان أوراق سرية عن تكنولوجيا حربية أميركية متطورة طارت من هضبة الجولان السورية التي تحتلها اسرائيل، باتجاه سورية. ونقلت صحيفة معاريف الاسرائيلية عن جنرال في الجيش قوله انه عقب حرب لبنان تقرر اعادة تفعيل وحدات قتالية سرية للجيش الاسرائيلي في الجولان، وتجديد أسلحتها بتزويدها بصواريخ أميركية حديثة وسرية. وعندما تسلمت الوحدة هذه الصواريخ بالصناديق قررت فتحها في الهواء الطلق، ما أدى الى تطاير الاوراق التي تفسر تركيبة الصواريخ وكيفية عملها وتوجيهها ومراقبتها. وقال ان الجنود تراكضوا وراءها وهم يضحكون. لكن الضحك توقف عندما دخل قسم منها عمق الأراضي السورية شرقي الحدود.

January 20th, 2007, 5:13 am


Akbar Palace said:

“$90 billion????? if i was offered that much, i would buy a beautiful tropical island, call it Palestine and end this nightmare.”


I guess you’re not Yassir Arafat or Hamas. The tropical island could have been Palestine.

January 20th, 2007, 2:20 pm


Akbar Palace said:

$90 Billion dollars or an NRA paradise?

Not a difficult decision…


January 20th, 2007, 3:04 pm


Gibran said:

So Alex what do you make out of this wind revealed Isreali military secrets in the Golan? Do you mind commenting on what you posted. It looks like it has some significance!

January 20th, 2007, 4:54 pm


Ford Prefect said:

“An acquaintance of mine writes about a recent trip to Syria:
“I think I told you back then, that I found Syria to be the only place around where upon arriving one feels like back in Soviet times entering the countries of Eastern Europe, an obvious, unpleasant, threatening and corrupt police state.””

If the “acquaintance” would like to experience real freedom, see real progress, welcoming girls with flowers, no intimidating looks from police, and no search and seizure of anything printed maybe it is better for the “acquaintance” to visit one of the “moderate” and “US-friendly” states’ airports. Heck, a visit to Tel Aviv airport might be even a better example. Sorry, “acquaitance,” your buddy should have pointed you to the right place!

January 20th, 2007, 6:28 pm


Gibran said:

I’m a frequent flyer. I’ve been to almost every major city (and very many minor ones) in the US, East Asia and Europe. I also happened to visit Damascus last October. I understand exactly what your “acquaintance” is talking about. The Damascus visit was indeed as your “acquaintance” described. I advise you to travel to the US and other world cities without having any fears whatsoever of getting intimidated because there is none! It could be hectic though and time consuming at times. But that is part of traveling these days.

January 20th, 2007, 8:08 pm


Alex said:

Gibran, it was an extremely important piece of news .. I am shocked you did not realize its value.

Ford PREfect,

No need to explain .. everything in Syria is uniquely Black, the rest of the universe is white.

January 20th, 2007, 10:18 pm


simohurtta said:

I advise you to travel to the US and other world cities without having any fears whatsoever of getting intimidated because there is none!

Hmmm … Swedish prince “held for questioning” in USA

January 20th, 2007, 10:30 pm


Gibran said:

Alex, I did realize its value and that’s why I asked for your comments. So, how do you understand this incident? Could you provide some insight?

January 20th, 2007, 11:05 pm


Gibran said:

Iran will implode socially, economically etc… due to sanctions, Iranian analysts contend.

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0, 1-0@2-3218,36-857591,0.html

January 20th, 2007, 11:42 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Gibran, In the Middle East, you have the hapless, backward, authoritarian, secret police-driven, women-can’t-do-anything, stinking airport, corruption, low GDP, bigoted religious extremist, and father-appoints-son style of leadership in Syria and you have all others. Hamdella, all others have glittering solid democracies, civil liberties, and liberal economies. A little and quick rip-and-replace here and there in Syria, we will have ourselves another outstanding example. Got Milk?

January 20th, 2007, 11:46 pm


Gibran said:

Go for it FP. Rip and replace is the answer. You’ll get all the milk you need.

January 20th, 2007, 11:49 pm


Alex said:

Its ok Gibran, I was joking.

Here is the message President Talabani sent to his Syrian counterpart at the end of his one week visit to Syria

Nice words, plus some hints to what they discussed and hope to achieve

دمشق/سانا تلقى السيد الرئيس بشار الاسد برقية من الرئيس جلال طالبانى رئيس جمهورية العراق بعد مغادرته دمشق اليوم جاء فيها… الاخ العزيز الدكتور بشار الأسد رئيس الجمهورية العربية السورية.. ان شعورا بالامتنان والعرفان بالجميل يغمرنا.. ونحن نغادر سورية الحبيبة.. التى لطالما تغنيت بها باعتبارها وطنى الاول المكرر. وليس هذا الشعور مجرد تعبير عابر يخالجنا ونحن تحت تأثير كرم الضيافة والاهتمام الاخوى الذى أحطتمونا به منذ لحظة وصولنا ارضكم المعطاءة..وبين اشقائنا ابناء الشعب السورى الكريم..بل هو تجسيد لعاطفة لم تفارقنا وانعكاس لوفائنا وتقديرنا لاحتضانكم كل مكونات شعبنا ايام مقارعتنا للديكتاتورية والاستبداد وهو تأكيد لعدم نسياننا لوقفة الراحل الكبير حافظ الاسد الى جانبنا يوم كنا نبحث عن ملاذ امن ونتطلع الى تفهم الاخرين لمعاناتنا وعذابات شعبنا وتدمير وطننا بيد الطغيان المنفلت. ايها الاخ الكريم.. نحن فى العراق اوفياء لاصدقائنا وهكذا ستجدوننا كما عبرنا لكم فى لقاءاتنا المثمرة جادون فى بناء علاقات تعاون فى سائر الميادين السياسية والاقتصادية والثقافية والامنية مستعدون للتفاعل معكم فى كل خطوة ايجابية تجسد مصالح بلدينا وشعبينا وتطلعاتنا المشتركة فى تحرير اراداتنا من كل ما يحدها عن ارساء الامن والسلم الاهلى والتصدى للارهاب والعنف والقتل على الهوية واى ظاهرة مرضية تنخر فى مجتمعاتنا وتحول دون تحقيق امانينا فى الحرية والديمقراطية ودولة القانون والسيادة والاستقلال الوطنى الناجز. وفى طريق نضالنا المشترك سنضع نصب اعيننا العمل معا لمعافاة الحياة السياسية فى البلدان العربية وفى الجوار الاقليمى من كل ما يعكر امنها ومصالح شعوبها والتصدى لاى محاولة للتدخل فى شؤوننا والاخلال بامننا وسيادتنا وسنقف الى جانبكم لتحرير الجولان والدفع باتجاه اعادة المفاوضات لتحقيق السلم العادل الوطيد بما يحقق لكم وللشعب الفلسطينى الحقوق الوطنية المشروعة. اننا نتطلع الى تحويل مواقفنا المشتركة التى عبرنا عنها فى لقاءاتنا الى حيز التطبيق بما يساعدنا مثلما نتطلع الى اشقائنا الاخرين على نجاح مبادرة حكومتنا لتحقيق المصالحة الوطنية وجذب كل المكونات الوطنية المخلصة الى العملية السياسية التى تتخلى عن العنف والارهاب وتنطلق من المصالح الوطنية العليا بدلا من استخدام السلاح وتتخلى عن اساليب الهيمنة باعتماد العمل السياسى الديمقراطى والانخراط فى العملية السياسية الديمقراطية. ان تعميق مسيرتنا الديمقراطية باستكمال بناء دولتنا ومؤسساتها واجهزتها الامنية والعسكرية وتجهيزها بكل مصادر القوة الايجابية التى تؤمن لها القدرة على اجتثاث مصادر الارهاب وتخفيف مصادرها وتصفية الميليشيات ووضع حد لاعمال الشقاوة والتعدى على المواطنين وممتلكاتهم وثروات البلاد..ان ذلك كله هو الكفيل بأخذ زمام الامور من كل الجوانب فى بلادنا وتمكيننا فى المحصلة النهائية من انهاء اى تواجد عسكرى على اراضينا. اشكركم ايها الاخ العزيز و اسمح لى ان اوجه التحية من خلالكم الى الشعب السورى الباسل الكريم والى اخوتكم فى القيادة السياسية الذين غمرونا بمودتهم.

January 21st, 2007, 12:01 am


Alex said:

So, does this mean Turki al-faisal is back as the Saudi Ambassador to Washington?

Did prince Bandar promise to not interfere in his job?

تركي الفيصل: السعودية تتطلع إلى عراق حر ومستقر
واشنطن الحياة – 20/01/07//

جدّد سفير خادم الحرمين الشريفين في واشنطن الأمير تركي الفيصل، تأكيده على عمق العلاقات بين الرياض وواشنطن، مشيراً إلى أهمية تواصل الحوار والتفاهم بين الجانبين، الأمر الذي يُعد مهماً لعلاقات الصداقة والتعاون.

وأكد الفيصل، في كلمة ألقاها أول من أمس، خلال حفلة الاستقبال التي أقامها الكونغرس الأميركي على شرفه، في حضور عدد من كبار الاعضاء ورؤساء اللجان في مجلسي الشيوخ والنواب، استمرار التزام بلاده بمساعدة الشعب العراقي بجميع فئاته، والوقوف مع حكومة عراقية ذات سيادة، موضحاً ان «ما تريده المملكة هو وجود عراق حر مستقل ومستقر، تتمثل فيه جميع الطوائف العراقية».

وقال ان تحقيق ذلك يقع في المقام الأول على عاتق العراقيين أنفسهم.

وتطرّق الفيصل إلى عملية السلام في الشرق الأوسط، وقال ان «المملكة العربية السعودية لا تزال تؤكد ان حل النزاع العربي – الإسرائيلي هو الأساس لحل جميع القضايا العالقة في المنطقة، التي ترتبط بعضها ببعض» معرباً عن دعم السعودية الجهود الأميركية المؤدية إلى ذلك الهدف.

وأعرب عن شكره وتقديره لجهود أعضاء الكونغرس لحفز وزيادة علاقات التعاون والتفاهم بين المملكة العربية السعودية والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، واصفاً تلك الجهود بأنها «كانت ايجابية ومشجّعة».

ونوّه عدد من أعضاء الكونغرس ممن حضروا الحفلة بجهود الأمير تركي الفيصل في دفع مسيرة علاقات الصداقة السعودية – الأميركية، التي أثمرت المزيد من التعاون والتفاهم بين البلدين وشعبيهما الصديقين.

January 21st, 2007, 12:10 am


Alex said:

Hamas: Abbas, Meshal meeting postponed over unity gov’t rift

By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies

A meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal was postponed on Saturday after aides failed to solve a rift over a unity government that could help stop communal violence.

The meeting scheduled in the Syrian capital late on Saturday was postponed after officials failed to reconcile differences over the proposed government and how it would deal with Western demands, a senior Hamas official said.

“Efforts are under way to convene the meeting tomorrow (Sunday). Disagreements persist on the manifesto and the proposed letter to form the government,” Hamas politburo member Izzat al-Rishq said.

Asked if Abbas could leave Damascus as scheduled on Sunday without meeting the Hamas leader, Rishq said: “Everything is possible.”

Ramadan Shallah, head of Islamic Jihad, met Abbas late into the night to try to mediate a deal.

“There are vital issues that remain unresolved. Neither Hamas nor Fatah have a timetable to reach a deal,” Shallah said after the meeting.

Abbas arrived in Damascus on Saturday where he met Syrian President Bashar Assad, and was set to meet Meshal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, late on Saturday.

The two politicians were expected to discuss the names of ministers for interior, finance and foreign affairs in a proposed unity government, al-Rishq said.

Following Abbas’ meeting with Assad, Palestinian Parliament member Nabil Amar, who participated in the meeting, said that Assad expressed his willingness to support “efforts to achieve Palestinian unity.”

Upon his arrival at the Damascus airport, Abbas was greeted by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem and then went to the presidential palace for talks with Assad.

He said there were many common issues to be discussed with the Syrians “and it’s high time to discuss these issues.”

January 21st, 2007, 12:15 am


Alex said:

Lebanon opposition to call general strike
Fri 19 Jan 2007 10:57 AM ET

BEIRUT, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Hezbollah-led opposition will call for a general strike next week, stepping up a campaign to topple the government, a senior opposition political source said on Friday.

“After the failure of political initiatives, the opposition has decided to escalate its campaign,” the source said. “It will call a comprehensive general strike for Tuesday.”

The strike would come two days before an international donor conference in Paris which Prime Minister Fouad Siniora hopes will bring billions of dollars of aid to an economy reeling from Hezbollah’s war with Israel in July-August.

Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, and its allies have been carrying out a seven-week-old anti-government campaign.

Protesters have camped outside Siniora’s offices in central Beirut since Dec. 1 to try to force him to cede veto power to the opposition in a unity government or call early elections.

Siniora, who has Western and Saudi backing, has resisted those demands, instead announcing an economic reform package to be presented at the Paris conference.

عون..المعارضة الوطنية ستنزل بقوة الى الشارع يوم الثلاثاء القادم
السبت, 20 كانون الثاني , 2007 – 09:40

أكد رئيس تكتل التغيير والاصلاح النائب اللبنانى ميشال عون ان المعارضة الوطنية اللبنانية ستنزل بقوة الى الشارع يوم
الثلاثاء القادم موكدا ان الاضراب سيكون شاملا فى كل المناطق اللبنانية.
وقال عون بعد انتهاء الاجتماع التنسيقى الذى عقد فى منزله اليوم وحضره رئيس تيار المردة الوزير السابقسليمان فرنجيةورئيس الكتلة الشعبية فى زحلة النائب ايلى سكاف والنائب ميشال المر والنائب اغوب بقرادونيان اضافة الى الامين العام لحزب الطاشناق ان الاضراب سيكون سلميا وشاملا ناصحا بعدم نزول البعض الى دوائرهم لان الشوارع ستكون مزدحمة بالمعتصمين
والمتظاهرين والمضربين فى هذا اليوم.
يشار الى ان المجتمعين سيعقدون غدا اجتماعات تنسيقية لكوادرهم تحضيرا لاضراب الثلاثاء وتنسيق تحرك الكوادر فى هذا اليوم.

January 21st, 2007, 12:20 am


Ford Prefect said:

Alex, the clip about Turki in al Hayat is peculiar. It seems like it is an old story with current date. The same event happened, I remember, when Turki was oppointed to Washington. Your clip, however, has not been reported anywhere else that I can find today. Maybe someone will shed more light into this important event. Thanks for posting. FP

January 21st, 2007, 12:47 am


Akbar Palace said:

Ahed Azzouz said:

“Just couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine, was reviewing his latest anti-anti-missile defense system that he developed, the one that will take out the stolen technology built into Israeli Arrow system…”


What, pray tell, has your friend called “his latest anti-anti-missile defense system”?

Let me guess, “The Zionist Entity Neutralizer”?

January 21st, 2007, 12:57 am


Alex said:

Don’t know … I can’t find it anywhere either. Remember the whole affair is somewhat embarrassing to the Saudis and it is possible that they asked the Americans not to publicize it too much.

January 21st, 2007, 1:05 am


Alex said:

This is more interesting. Ibrahim interviewed President Talabani for Alhayat again just before he left Damascus. Talabani told him that he believes the general atmosphere in Damascus makes it possible to start American Syrian dialog and that is what he will tell president Bush.

He also said that when he met the American ambassador just before going to Damascus, the ambassador wished him good luck! .. no opposition to working with Syria.

نقاش حول فقرتي الإرهاب وانسحاب القوات الأجنبية في البيان السوري – العراقي … طالباني لـ«الحياة»: سأطلب من بوش فتح حوار مباشر مع دمشق حول العراق وغيره
دمشق – ابراهيم حميدي الحياة – 21/01/07//

قال الرئيس العراقي جلال طالباني لـ «الحياة»، انه سيطلب من الرئيس جورج بوش «المبادرة الى فتح حوار مباشر مع سورية حول العراق وباقي القضايا»، وذلك بعدما وجد «الجو في دمشق مناسبا لاجراء حوار كهذا». ومع تأكيده ان وزيري الداخلية السوري اللواء بسام عبد المجيد والعراقي جواد البولاني وقعا اتفاقاً امنياً نص على «تبادل تسليم المطلوبين قضائيا»، قال انه يتوقع تنفيذ جميع الاتفاقات الموقعة وان «يساعدنا الجانب السوري في تسهيل مهمتنا في مكافحة الارهاب».

وتحدث طالباني الى «الحياة» في ختام الزيارة الاولى لرئيس عراقي الى دمشق منذ تأسيس الدولتين. وصدر بيان ثنائي، تضمن الدعوة الى «جدولة انسحاب القوات متعددة الجنسية من العراق، وفقاً لقرار مجلس الامن 1546 وانهاء الوجود العسكري الاجنبي فيه» مع التأكيد على ان «امن اي من البلدين الشقيقين يؤثر في امن البلد الآخر».

وقالت مصادر عراقية لـ «الحياة» امس ان نقاشاً جرى بين الطرفين في شأن صياغة الفقرات المتعلقة بانسحاب القوات الدولية والموقف من الارهاب.

وتضمن البيان الختامي «ادانة الجانبين لكل اشكال الارهاب التي تطول العراقيين ومؤسساتهم وبنيتهم التحتية ودور العبادة» من دون ذكر للمؤسسات العسكرية والامنية، كما اقترح الجانب العراقي. لكن الجانب السوري وافق على اقتراح عراقي لذكر القرار 1546 واضافة كلمة «العسكري» الى المطالبة بانهاء «الوجود الاجنبي» في العراق.

وقال طالباني لـ «الحياة»، في منزله في حي المزرعة، ان زيارته مع وفدين، وزاري ونيابي، «ارست اسساً راسخة للعلاقات الاقتصادية والامنية والسياسية. وللمرة الأولى يتكاشف المسؤولون الامنيون مع بعضهم بعضا لوضع الاسس اللازمة والضرورية لتطوير العلاقات في مختلف المجالات وعلى مختلف المستويات».

وزاد ان اتفاقاً امنياً وقع بين وزيري الداخلية «اذ ان الهدف الاساسي للزيارة، مع الاهداف الاخرى، تحقيق الامن وكسب مساعدة سورية للعراق لتحقيق الامن والاستقرار فيه»، مشيرا الى ان الاتفاق تضمن «بنداً لتبادل (تسليم) المحكومين قضائيا».

واوضح، رداً على سؤال، ان الطرفين السوري والعراقي «يؤكدان ضرورة التعاون الامني والاقتصادي والسياسي بينهما. لكن ايهما اولاً وايهما ثانياً؟ الموضوع مختلف بالنسبة الى البلدين. بالنسبة الى العراق، الموضوع الامني هو الاهم. الامن هو مفتاح العلاقات على كل المستويات. والاخوة في سورية، يشيرون الى مساعدة سورية في تحقيق الامن والاستقرار. لكن القضيتين السياسية والاقتصادية، هما الاهم. في النتيجة. الامران وجهان لعملة واحدة».

وسئل عن مضمون لقائه مع السفير الاميركي زلماي خليل زاد، في شمال العراق قبل ثلاثة ايام من حضوره الى دمشق، فاجاب: «نعم كان هناك لقاء بيني وبين الصديق والاستاذ زلماي الذي جاء للسلام علي بعد عودته. اللقاء كان ودياً وصريحاً وهو لم يطلب ابداً منا عدم زيارة دمشق ولم يعترض على الزيارة، بل تمنى لنا النجاح فيها». واضاف رداً على سؤال آخر: «لم يحملنا اي رسالة… لكننا سنبذل من جانبنا كل ما استطعنا وكلما وجدنا فرصة لتحسين العلاقات السورية – الاميركية، ان اميركا حليفتنا وهي التي تساعدنا في النضال ضد الارهاب وضد المخاطر التي يتعرض لها العراق. وسورية ايضا حليفتنا واصبحنا على علاقة جيدة معها. ومن مصلحتنا ان تكون العلاقات بين حليفتينا، جيدة. بالتالي لا تكون منازعات ومشاكل بين هذين الصديقين السوري والاميركي».

وعما سيقوله للرئيس بوش بعد عودته من دمشق، اجاب طالباني: «ساخبره ان هناك جواً مناسباً في سورية لاجراء الحوار والنقاش معها، وساشرح له ان الجو مناسب لاجراء حوار بين دمشق وواشنطن، وساشجعه على اخذ المبادرة لفتح الحوار مع دمشق» حول عدد من القضايا بينها العراق.

وزاد: «عندما اتكلم مع الاخوة الاميركيين، اقول لهم ان من مصلحتهم ومصلحتنا اجراء حوار مع ايران وسورية وساواصل هذه السياسة».

وعن الخطوات المقبلة في البرنامج السوري – العراقي، قال طالباني انه سيوجه دعوة رسمية الى الرئيس بشار الاسد لزيارة بغداد. وزاد ان اللجان الثنائية «ستستمر في محاولتها لتفعيل وتنفيذ الاتفاقات الموقعة. نتوقع ان يساعدنا الجانب السوري في تسهيل مهمتنا في مكافحة الارهاب. ونتوقع ان يكون الموقف السوري لاشراك المزيد من القوى في المصالحة الوطنية في العراق. اعتقد ان مؤتمر المصالحة سيعقد في بغداد، والمساعدة السورية واردة».

January 21st, 2007, 1:19 am


Ford Prefect said:

Alex, the irony is that he officially resigned. Unless he is still covered under the 30-day Return Policy, a restocking fee might be charged by the US.

January 21st, 2007, 1:26 am


Alex said:

G, I’m delighted to see you this happy.

FP … that was funny 🙂

January 21st, 2007, 1:30 am


Ford Prefect said:

G, don’t forget me. I am as dumb as Alex. All the smart people are unfortunately hard at work instilling democracy in Iraq and then Syria.

January 21st, 2007, 1:30 am


Gibran said:

مواجهة عسكرية

جاء ذلك في وقت لم يستبعد سكرتير مجمع تشخيص مصلحة النظام الايراني القائد السابق لحرس الثورة الاسلامية محسن رضائي ان يؤدي التوتر بين ايران والولايات المتحدة الى مواجهات عسكرية، مشيراً الى ان «بوادر هذا الامر ستبدأ بالظهور في الشهرين المقبلين».

رضائي اعتبر ان مظاهر التصادم الايراني – الاميركي «ستظهر في شكل اقتصادي وسياسي وأمني»، ولم يستبعد ان تلجأ اميركا الى استغلال المعارضة الداخلية ومجاهدين خلق (المنافقين) لتحقيق هذا الهدف، وأن تقوم بهجوم صاروخي على المنشآت النووية.

في غضون ذلك (رويترز)، قال محلل اميركي سابق لمعلومات الاستخبارات ان الخطط الاميركية الطارئة لشن عمل عسكري ضد البرنامج النووي الايراني تتجاوز توجيه ضربات محدودة وقد تؤدي في شكل فعلي الى حرب ضد البلاد.

وقال واين وايت الذي كان احد كبار محللي الشرق الاوسط في مكتب معلومات الاستخبارات والبحوث في زارة الخارجية حتى آذار (مارس) 2005: «رأيت بعضاً من هذا التخطيط… انك لا تتحدث عن ضربة دقيقة، بل عن حرب ضد ايران، من المرجح ان تؤدي الى زعزعة استقرار الشرق الاوسط لسنوات».

وأضاف متحدثاً أمام مجلس سياسة الشرق الاوسط وهو معهد بحوث في واشنطن: «نتحدث عن تمهيد ممر الى الأهداف» بتدمير كثير من القوة الجوية الايرانية وغواصات كيلو والصواريخ المضادة للسفن والتي يمكن ان تستهدف التجارة او السفن الاميركية في الخليج وربما حتى قدرات ايران في مجال الصواريخ الذاتية الدفع».

وقال خبير الشرق الاوسط كينيث كاتزمان ان «الهيمنة الايرانية لا يمكن السيطرة عليها فحسب بل وقفها ايضاً» اذا فهم المرء نقاط ضعف ايران الكثيرة، مشيراً إلى أن «الاقتصاد يدار في شكل سيئ وبدائي تماماً ولا يصدّر شيئاً تقريباً سوى النفط».

وكان البيت الأبيض أعلن مجدداً رفضه الدخول في اي حوار مع ايران قبل ان تعلق نشاطاتها النووية الحساسة، مؤكداً ايضاً انه لا يمكن ان يتساهل مع التصرفات الايرانية التي تهدد الجنود الاميركيين في العراق.

وقالت مساعدة الناطق باسم البيت الابيض دانا بيرينو ان الرئيس جورج بوش والمسؤولين المدنيين والعسكريين الاميركيين قالوا جميعاً انه اذا تبين ان «النفوذ الايراني في العراق يؤذي جنودنا او المدنيين العراقيين او الجنود العراقيين فسنعالج هذا الامر».

January 21st, 2007, 1:56 am


Gibran said:

المعارضة ارتبكت بحسابات خاطئة وما أنجزته الحكومة
بيروت – وليد شقير الحياة – 20/01/07//

قالت مصادر وزارية لبنانية لـ «الحياة» ان أحد أسباب تحرك المعارضة المرتقب يوم الثلثاء المقبل والمتمثل بالإضراب العام هو شعور قيادتها بأن الاعتصام الذي بدأته في الأول من كانون الأول (ديسمبر) الماضي لم يحقق النتائج المرجوة منه لأن حسابات القوى الرئيسة فيها كانت أن الحكومة ستسقط بعد أيام على بدء الاعتصام وأن الحسم حتمي في هذا المجال. وهو ما أعلنه الأمين العام لـ «حزب الله» السيد حسن نصرالله في مقابلته التلفزيونية عندما ربط عدم سقوطها «بحجم الدعم الخارجي والخطاب المذهبي».

وأضافت المصادر: «الأزمة السياسية التي يعيشها لبنان وضعت جميع الفرقاء في الأكثرية والمعارضة في مأزق لأنها أدت الى شلل في البلاد، لكن مأزق المعارضة أخذ يزداد بفعل خطأ حساباتها حول قدرتها على إسقاط الحكومة ولأنها لم تأخذ في الحسبان أن وراء الأكثرية جمهوراً واسعاً في المناطق اللبنانية كافة أدى تحركه منذ الأسبوع الأول لاعتصام المعارضة وحشدها الشعبي حول السراي الحكومية، الى حماية الحكومة أيضاً، وليس صحيحاً أن الدعم الخارجي وحده، على أهميته، هو الذي حال دون تحقيق هدف اسقاطها».

وتعتبر المصادر نفسها أن على رغم ان المعارضة نجحت في تأجيل اقرار المحكمـــة ذات الطابـــع الدولي لمحاكمة المتهمين فـــي جريمة اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري ورفاقه وسائر الجرائم المرتبطة بها، وهو كان الهدف الأساس لتحرك القوى الرئيسة فيها، إضافة الى شل الوسط التجاري والحؤول دون عقد المجلس النيابي، فإن صمود الحكومة واتخاذها المبادرات أديا الى حشر المعارضة لأنها لم تستطع ترجمة أهدافها السياسية في شكل عملي وواضح.

ورأت المصادر أن الأكثرية والحكومة أفشلتا سعي المعارضة الى تجريد الحكومة من الشرعية، فاتخذت قرارات بات من الصعب الرجوع عنها أو تغييرها وأصبح مفروغاً منها. وتعدد المصادر هذه القرارات على سبيل المثال لا الحصر كالآتي: اقرار مشروع المحكمة في مجلس الوزراء مرتين ونشره في الجريدة الرسمية. وحتى لو أعيد النظر ببعض المواد فيه فإنه أمر سبق لرئيس الحكومة فؤاد السنيورة أن سلّم به كمبدأ شرط عدم إفراغ المحكمة من جوهرها، في مناسبات عدة، حين طلب ملاحظات المعارضة حول المشروع واقترح تأجيل جلسة مجلس الوزراء مرتين لبضعة أيام، ثم في مشاريع المخارج للأزمة وفي الاتصالات التي يجريها جميع الوسطاء سواء مع المعارضة أم مع القيادة السورية – صرف المساعدات والأموال لإعادة الإعمار للمتضررين في الجنوب، التي يوقع عليها رئيس الحكومة في الحسابات المفتوحة لهذا الغرض في مصرف لبنان المركزي، إضافة الى دور وزارة المال في ذلك – مرسوم بصرف منحة شهر للعسكريين نظراً الى الاستنفار الأمني الذي يخضعون له منذ بدء تحرك المعارضة على الأراضي اللبنانية كافة وهو مرسوم رفض رئيس الجمهورية اميل لحود التوقيع عليه بحجة عدم شرعية الحكومة، لكن المهلة (15 يوماً) التي تنص عليها المادة 56 من الدستور كي يصبح القرار نافذاً انتهت أول من أمس الجمعة ويبقى أن يجتمع مجلس الوزراء ليؤكد قراره، وفق هذه المادة لتكريس نفاذه – التعيينات الإدارية في الكثير من المؤسسات في قرارات مجلس الوزراء والتي هدفها تسيير شؤون الإدارات بما فيها تلك التي في المناطق التي يعود النفوذ فيها لـ «حزب الله» و «حركة أمل» (مستشفيات – مصالح مياه إضافة الى الهيئة الناظمة للاتصالات والتي تضم موظفين شيعة كباراً). وهي تعيينات اعتمدت في بعض منها أسماء كان طرحها وزراء التحالف الشيعي قبل استقالتهم من الحكومة. والتزم هؤلاء الموظفون قرارات تعيينهم، خصوصاً أن تسيير المؤسسات التي هم فيها هي جزء من الخدمات للمواطنين – إقرار البرنامج الاقتصادي الى مؤتمر «باريس – 3» الذي اعتمد في ما يخص قطاعات الصحة والكهرباء والضمان الاجتماعي الخطط المقدمة من وزراء «أمل» و «حزب الله» قبل استقالتهم، مع تأجيل زيادة بعض الضرائب ورسوم القيمة المضافة الى العام 2008 وتصاعدها حتى العام 2010.

وتضيف المصادر نفسها أن ما زاد في إرباك المعارضة وانزعاجها من مواصلة الحكومة نشاطها أنها لم تتمكن من تحقيق أهدافها قبل عقد مؤتمر «باريس –3»، خصوصاً أن زعيم «التيار الوطني الحر» ميشال عون كان وعد جمهوره بحسم الأمر قبل رأس السنة إضافة الى توقع «حزب الله» الحسم في 10 أيام، فيما جعل الزخم الدولي والعربي عقده مسألة محتومة، في وقت لا تستطيع القوى الرئيسة فيها معارضة عقده كونه سيتقدم بمساعدات مالية للبنان، فاضطرت لمواقف متناقضة الى: تأييد المؤتمر ورفض البرنامج الإصلاحي، في وقت هو يُعقد على أساس هذا البرنامج.

وذكرت المصادر الوزارية أن هذه الأسباب وغيرها، وحاجة المجتمع الدولي والدول العربية الى دعم استقرار لبنان وسط الوضع المتفجر في المنطقة، هي التي دفعت المعارضة الى تصعيد خطواتها، بالتزامن مع «باريس – 3» كرسالة الى المجتمع الدولي والدول العربية بأن هذا الدعم لا يعني أن الساحة خالية للحكومة.

January 21st, 2007, 2:00 am


norman said:

They want the US to fight their war against Iran as it did against Iraq and what is sad is that the American people do not seem to see that .

January 21st, 2007, 2:41 am


Alex said:

Gibran you will be happy to know that the talks with Abbas are not going too smoothly.

They said they had “frank discussions” plus the meeting with Mashaal is not sure.

January 21st, 2007, 4:34 am


Gibran said:

Alex, thanks for the information. I was not aware. But come to think about it, now that you brought it up, don’t you think that Syria should back off and allow the Palestinians to run their own affairs? Don’t you think that by meddling in the Palestinian tragedy, the Syrians are becoming even more guilty than the Israelis in prolonging the suffering of this unforunate people? Another reason perhaps to get rid of the rulers of Damascus, don’t you think? I mean, rephrasing the question, how long can the Syrian regime survive as a parasite feeding on others’ problems?

January 21st, 2007, 4:56 am


Alex said:


If there is a way all of them (Americans, Israelis, Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians) would also leave the Palestinians alone, then you have a valid point. But the Syrians alone, no.

January 21st, 2007, 8:20 am


Alex said:

Dubai’s Emaar construction company started building their $500 million Yaafour project (15 minutes from damascus).

بقيمة 500 مليون دولار «إعمار» الإماراتية تتابع تشييد «البوابة الثامنة» في دمشق

تواصل شركة العقارات العملاقة «إعمار العقارية» عمليات تشييد مشروعها المتميز «البوابة الثامنة» في العاصمة دمشق، حيث تجري حالياً الأعمال الإنشائية في مركز المبيعات إلى جانب وضع التصاميم الهندسية الخاصة بستة أبنية تابعـة للمشـروع (2 منها مخصصة للمكاتب و4 سياحية تجارية).
وكانت إعمار قد احتفلت في شهر حزيران يونيو الماضي بوضع حجر الأساس لهذا المشروع المتكامل الذي تصل قيمته إلى 26 مليار ليرة سورية (500 مليون دولار) والذي يأتي بالشراكة مع مجموعة الاستثمار لما وراء البحار (أي.جي.أو).
ويمثل مشروع «البوابة الثامنة» باكورة المجمعات الفاخرة في مدينة دمشق وأول خطوات إعمار العقارية الاستثمارية في سورية، حيث ستعمل الشركة على تطبيق تجربتها الرائدة في بناء المجمعات السكنية المتكاملة التي أثبتت نجاحاً منقطع النظير في إمارة دبي.
ويرتكز المشروع على إنشاء مجمع سياحي وتجاري في منطقة يعفور، التي تبعد حوالي 15 دقيقة عن مركز مدينة دمشق. ومن المتوقع أن يضفي المشروع بتصاميمه المعمارية المستقاة من فن العمارة السورية ومن أبواب دمشق السبعة بعداً عصرياً على الوجه الحضاري لمدينة دمشق التاريخية.
وقال إبراهيم الهاشمي، العضو المنتدب والمدير التنفيذي لإعمار العقارية في سورية: “من المقرر أن يتم إنجاز مركز المبيعات خلال الربع الأول من العام 2007، ولقد استطعنا خلال مدة زمنية قصيرة نسبياً إنجاز أكثر من 60% من الأعمال الإنشائية. ويعد مركز المبيعات الواقع في قلب المشروع فريداً من نوعه، إذ أنه يتيح الإطلاع على باقة مشاريع إعمار إلى جانب نماذج مطابقة عن الأجزاء المكونة لمشروع البوابة الثامنة”.
وأضاف الهاشمي: “يمثل مركز المبيعات نقطة الالتقاء الأولى مع طاقم المبيعات ومحوراً لكافة الاستفسارات المتعلقة بالمشروع. وسوف يضم مركز المبيعات طاقماً متميزاً من موظفي خدمة العملاء الذين سيقومون بالرد على كافة الاستفسارات المتعلقة بعملية شراء الشقق السياحية والمكاتب التي سنقوم بطرحها في المرحلة الأولى. ويعد المركز أحد المفاهيم المبتكرة في مبيعات العقارات في سورية كونه يتيح التعرف منذ البداية على جميع التفاصيل المتعلقة بالعقار”.
وسوف يوفر مركز المبيعات نماذج عن الشقق السياحية المطلة على الواجهات المائية والتي تتميز بأرقى وأفخم التجهيزات والتشطيبات. كما سيضم نموذجاً لمخطط المشروع الرئيسي، بما في ذلك الأقسام السياحية والتجارية ومتاجر التجزئة وغيرها من المرافق التي تضفي بعداً آخر على حياة قاطني المشروع. ويجمع الطراز المعماري للمركز بين الأسلوب المعاصر وفن العمارة الدمشقية، كما يتميز بوجود حدائق خضراء بديعة ومواقف سيارات حديثة.

January 21st, 2007, 8:30 am


Alex said:

Iran’s total investments in Syria top $1 billion

مليار دولار قيمة الاستثمارات الإيرانية في سورية

أكد غضنفر عبادي القائم بأعمال السفارة الإيرانية بدمشق حرص حكومته علي توسيع علاقاتها الاقتصادية والتجارية مع سورية وزيادة عدد المشاريع المشتركة بين الجانبين مشيراً إلي أن الشهر المقبل سيشهد طرح أول سيارة مشتركة سورية إيرانية والبدء بتنفيذ معمل اسمنت حماة. وقال عبادي في تصريح صحفي إن حجم المشاريع الاقتصادية المشتركة التي نفذت من قبل الجانب الإيراني في سورية أو التي هي قيد التنفيذ تجاوز المليار دولار أما عدد المشاريع فوصل إلي 100 مشروع 60 منها أنجز ومن أهمها إنشاء معمل اسمنت حماة وبناء 10 صوامع لمشروع إنتاج وتجميع مشترك للسيارات.
وتشير أرقام التبادل التجاري بين سورية وإيران إلي وجود عجز في الميزان التجاري السوري مع إيران وبلغت قيمة الصادرات السورية إلي إيران عام 2005 نحو 7ر158مليون ليرة سورية أما قيمة المستوردات السورية من إيران فبلغت 3.216 مليار ليرة ووصل حجم التبادل التجاري بين البلدين إلي 3.375 مليار ليرة. يذكر أن الميزان التجاري السوري لعام 2005 كان رابحا حيث تجاوز 36 مليار ليرة سورية وبلغ الإجمالي العام للاستيراد 302.11 مليار ليرة سورية بينما كان إجمالي الصادرات 338.889 مليار ل.س. ومن المتوقع أن تصدر الأرقام الرسمية عن الميزان التجاري السوري لعام 2006 في غضون الأشهر المقبلة.

الراية القطرية

January 21st, 2007, 8:32 am


Ford Prefect said:

Here is another reason why some in Israel do not see peace to be in Israel’s national interests. Daniel Pipes was in London spewing his racist remarks again. Too bad that some of his ideas made it to be official US policy.


January 21st, 2007, 5:37 pm


Friend in America said:

Very interesting comments here, but the quick shifts in Lebanon, can teach us there are other shifts in the making as we write. The framework I have been using in the past is quickly changing. What the new framework will be is unknown because it is only in the making today.

Atassi:30 days ago I would have agreed with your observation about Mailiki and Bush, but I sense now growing gap between comments for public consumption and action. Watch the security efforts in Bagdad and lets discuss this again in maybe 2 or 3 weeks.

Majedkroldoun: Similarly, 12 or 18 months ago i would agree with your remarks about peace efforts, Israel and U.S (except Israel was more resistant to talks than the U.S.), but not now. Those in the President’s office (the White House) who prevented talking to Syria and Iran have lost their sway; that policy has been abandoned. Give the Iraq Report and Condellesa Rice credit for the change. And, give credit to the several middle east governments who have urged this change. She is listening and taking comments of others seriously. Although she is not always adroit in her conversations, she is encouraging others to talk. The budding peace initiative does have U.S. support. It is Condellesa who has said repeatedly the countries involved must be the ones to carve out a plan for peace. The peace talks are presently behind closed doors in a traditional middle east diplomatic style and I think it is better for the U.S. to be publically silent while quietly supporting that effort. These are very significant times.

January 21st, 2007, 7:10 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ahed Azzouz replied:

“No, he called it: you are eternally stuck in the sand and you will never smell premium Iranian Black lable crude ever.”

I see your friend’s anti-anti-missile defense system is quite a sophisticated weapon.

“The Zionist Neutralizer you are talking about that is another weapon, 10 millions Black cladded armed Egyptians shouting through Rafah crossing point to Demona at lightning speed.”

And this system also includes 10 million armed Eygptians “shouting through Rafah”!

This is cause for alarm! You can rest assured the evil Mossad will be busy investigating how to stop 10 million shouting Eygptians.

“Give it time, just a little more.”

The “plague bugs” have been around pretty long. They’ve seen the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Perians, Assyrians, Canaanites, Phonecians, and Babylonians come and go, and we’re still there!

But if you’re on a time schedule, I can understand that;)

January 21st, 2007, 7:17 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ahed Azzouz said:

“When the last 144,000 of these plague bugs will be transported out of this nice planet earth (like the book of Revelation said) so man can finally live in peace and harmony!!!”

I see this wonderful forum is beset by the lowest form of vile anti-semitism.

Yet, someone (Ford Prefect) was bothered by perceived “racist remarks” from Daniel Pipes.

What a joke!

Dr. Josh, Dr. Charles, MSK etc should be proud to exchange on such an enlightened forum such as this one!

Norman replied to Ahed Azzouz:

“They want the US to fight their war against Iran as it did against Iraq and what is sad is that the American people do not seem to see that.”

Norman, what Americans saw (“up close”) is what Islamic Fundamentalism and terrorism is capable of.

January 21st, 2007, 7:27 pm


Alex said:

Ok, I will post something from champress although it is really silly sounding, but it sounds like an early indication of a solution to the recent difficulties in Syrian Saudi relations … basically it says that Syria is an equal to Saudi Arabia, not “a little sister” as many Saudi journalists like to see Syria.

Since Bashar publicly called the Saudis “half men” (although he did not name them), it was clear he was ready to either confront them everywhere in the Middle East or at least to distance Syria from any constrains the Saudis wanted to set for Syria. Challenging Lebanon’s government was the first practical example.

I am assuming that there is good potential for a renewed agreement between Syria and Saudi Arabia, but the Syrians seem to be still in the “let us show you how significant we are in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq” phase… the Lebanon part was not very clear, so this coming week would make it clearer.

Anyway .. here is the extra-proud champress editorial
…. وفي سوريا والمملكة العربية السعودية يقف ماردان استثنائيان يحاولون أن يلونوا تراب الأرض الطيبة ويسقوها بنهر الحب ، نهر الحياة ، برغم أن هناك من يحاول أن يقطع هذا النهر ،و قد يقول احد الخبثاء لماذا كل هذه المراودة وماهي المعطيات التي تجعلكم واثقين بان المياه ستعود إلى مجاريها الطبيعية ، ألا تدرون بان البلدين يمران بأزمة ثقة كبيرة جراء التداعيات التي تعصف بالمنطقة إضافة إلى الملفاة الشائكة ، وان هناك حرب إعلامية وسياسية معلنة تساهم إلى حد ما في صب الزيت على النار ، فكيف تقولون أن العلاقات ستتحسن لما فيه خير الأمتين العربية والإسلامية ، ونحن نجيب هذا الخبيث بان البلدين يرتبطان بعلاقات تاريخية متينة ويشكلان ” بيضة القبان ” في الشرق الأوسط ، ولا يمكن بأي حال من الأحوال ومهما عصفت الرياح بينهما فان خط المطر سيقطعها ليتساقط الغيث ،ونؤكد لك بان المرحلة التي تمر بها المنطقة يتأثر فيها الجميع ولكن الحكمة المعروفة في سياسة البلدين الشقيقين ستتغلب على كل المؤثرات العائمة ، وان سوريا والمملكة العربية السعودية وعلى مدار عقود طويلة تدعم الأمن والاستقرار في العالمين العربي والإسلامي والعالم ، وأذكرك بأنه وبعد وفاة الرئيس حافظ الأسد وتسلم الرئيس بشار واستمرار آليات اللقاء وعلى كافة المستويات والتبادل لجميع المعلومات وان ماجرى بعد اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري من اتهامات متبادلة ، ما هو إلا سحابة صيف ستزول وكما تعلم أيها الخبيث بان كشف الحقيقة في اغتيال الحريري هي مصلحة سورية أولاً وسعودية أولاً وعربية أولاً ، إلا أن هناك من يقف في الضفة الأخرى لايريد كشف هذه الحقيقة وسيظل يدق أسافين الكراهية والحقد ويبث الأوهام إلى ما لانهاية كي لايخسر مسرحا كبيرا يعزف عليه سيمفونيته ، وأقول لك بان سوريا والمملكة يعرفون عظمة الحب وسيواجهون عظماء الكراهية ببحر من الحب وسيبثون الفرح في عيون الأمة قريبا ، عفوا أيها الخبيث أنصحك بشراء علمين سعودي وسوري لترفعهما أثناء قمة الزعيمين المقبلة .. وفي اتجاه أخر قد يتساءل سائل كيف العبور إلى الرياض دون المرور عبر دمشق، وربما يتساءل آخر كيف العبور إلى دمشق دون المرور عبر الرياض؟هذان التساؤلان يشكلان حقاً مشروعاً لكل راغب بدراسة فحوى علاقة الدولتين القويتين المؤثرتين في المنطقة العربية، طبعاً إذا أخذنا بعين الاعتبار الدور المحوري الذي تلعبه مصر، مشكلة الضلع الثالث في مثلث الثقل العربي، وإن تكن مصر غابت لسنوات لأسباب ليس الآن أوان استعراضها، إلا أن دمشق والرياض ظلتا وبشكل دائم حلقة الاتصال الأهم عربياً، بل وشكلتا لدى القادمين من خارج المنطقة العربية النقطتين الأهم . …وإن تكن العلاقة السعودية السورية مرت ببعض الفتور والقلق نتيجة اختلاف وجهتي نظر العاصمتين في قراءة الأحداث، فإن نظرة سريعة إلى ما مرت به المنطقة نتيجة ذلك الفتور، يجعل حتمياً عودة التنسيق والتقارب، لأنه، وكما أسلفنا، لا يمكن التفكير بعيداً عن عاصمتي القرار العربي …والآن والقمة العربية مقبلة إن شاء الله في الرياض، فإن عودة المياه إلى مجاريها بين دمشق والرياض تبدو في أولى أولويات اللقاء العربي ، لأن الوضع العربي لا يحتمل مزيداً من الابتعاد وغياب التنسيق بين قادة الدولتين القويتين .ولعل من أكثر الملفات سخونة، والتي تستوجب لقاءات مكثفة سعودية – سورية هو الملف اللبناني الطارئ، إذ إن الدولتين كانتا راعيتي الحل اللبناني في ثمانينيات القرن الماضي وتسعينياته عبر رعايتهما المباشرة لمؤتمر الطائف الذي كان بمثابة مؤتمر وحدة وطنية تم التأسيس عليه لمرحلة ساد فيها نوع من التآلف بين مختلف القوى اللبنانية، والآن… وقد بلغت الحالة اللبنانية ما بلغته يبدو من الملح أن يعاد إحياء المشاورات بين عاصمتي الحل العربي، على أمل الوصول إلى حل عاجل ينجي البلد الجريح بعد حرب ثقيلة من مغبة الانجراف نحو حرب أهلية تبدو بوادرها في الأفق .الملف العالق الآخر هو الملف العراقي بكل ما يحمله من احتمالات على وقائع متفجرة، قد تودي بما بقي من رمق البلد المحتل، وتنجرف به هو الآخر إلى غمار حرب أهلية جارفة، والحقيقة أن جميع ملامح تلك الحرب، التي لطالما حذرت منها دمشق والرياض، اكتملت، والجميع بانتظار من يطلق الطلقة الأولى، أو يشعل الشرارة القاتلة والتي تسعى دمشق ليس فقط لإبعادها بل لإفنائها كما تريد دمشق أن تفعل كل الدول العربية الشقيقة وتريد أيضاً ذلك من الدول الإسلامية والصديقة والدولية المراقبة والتي تحتاج الحقيقة .

الملف الثالث هو الملف الفلسطيني بكل ما يحمله من تغيرات دراماتيكية جعلت فصائل المقاومة، يعدون العدة ليتخلوا عن أدوارهم التي لطالما لعبوها خلف متاريسهم في مواجهة محتل مستبد لا يرحم، ليتحول صراعهم إلى صراع داخلي، على السلطة، وهو ما يفقد العمل الوطني الفلسطيني كل غطاء يمكن أن يوفره له العمل العربي من خلال القمم والمشاورات، ويتحول البحث عربياً على الأقل إلى تقريب لوجهات النظر بين الأخوة، قبل أن يستفحل أمرهم ويتحولوا إلى أعداء …إذن، وبناء على ما تقدم فإن دمشق و الرياض تبدوان بنظرة سريعة مظلة العمل العربي، وقد أسفرت تلك العلاقة المتميزة عن حلول للكثير من القضايا العالقة سالفاً كما قلنا وفي القضايا ذات الشأن العربي والوحدة العربية وهذا يدعونا لتمسك بثقافة الحقيقة وإظهارها والتي منها تنبثق ثقافة الحب وفي مجموعها تشكل ضربة قاصمة لصناع الكراهية والتجزئة والتقسيم وإلى الساعين إلى عزل سوريا والذي بدوره يعزل السعودية أيضاً عن سورية .لذلك وفي أدبيات السياسة يعرف البعض أن السياسة هي فن الممكن ونحن نقول أن السياسة هي فن اختصار المسافات واللقاء بين الأخوة لتبادل الحقيقة بكثير من الحب

January 21st, 2007, 9:39 pm


Alex said:

Ahed, how can you generalize to include for example the wonderful journalists of Haaretz who are better defenders of Palestian rights than our Arab journalists? the world’s best scientists and doctors and artists who happen to be Jews?

Akbar … believe me, I don’t mind, I got numb to it, but the way some of you from the extreme right call anyone who does not worship Israel “a terrorist” is making many people hate jews … if you think that making use of Israel’s near total control of the media is good for Israel I hope one day you will realize that the opposite is true.

But you will not agree with me … because as soon as you read something you don’t like, instead of examining your beliefs and habits, you immediately try to defend “your side” by trying to link some counter example of something disgusting from Arab’s side.

If you believe that either Israel is perfect and does not need to learn anything, or that there is nothing to learn from a Syrian or Arab, then …

January 21st, 2007, 10:01 pm


Alex said:

wow, (G forgive me if I sound a bit excited) this was surely a busy week in Damascus

Lerijani: Discussions in Damascus dealt with mutual and regional issues
Sunday, January 21, 2007 – 10:15 PM

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani said on Sunday that his discussion with President Bashar al-Assad and Vice President Farouk al-Shara concentrated on the current situations in the region which require continuous consultations between friends.

“Discussions in Damascus paved the way for dealing with issues of mutual and regional concern,” Larijani said in a press conference after his meeting with al-Shara.

The Iranian official said that both sides stressed the necessity of working hard to create the appropriate circumstances for realizing peace and stability in the region.

“Viewpoints were identical regarding several topics,” Larijani said, adding that discussion between the two sides will go on.

January 21st, 2007, 10:11 pm


Alex said:

And …

President Al-Assad Receives a Message from Libyan Leader

Sunday, January 21, 2007 – 05:25 PM

DAMASCUS, (SANA) _ President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday received a message from Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qathafi on the situation in the region and North Africa in addition to the bilateral ties between the two brotherly countries.

The letter was handed to President al-Assad by al-Qathafi Special Envoy Ahmed Qathaf al-Dam.

January 21st, 2007, 10:12 pm


Alex said:

the visuals:

With the Palestinians president

With the Iraqi president

With the Iranian envoy

With the Libyan envoy who always wears the same thing when he meets Bashar (same cowboy boots and same messed up hair)

And the Pakistani president is arriving in a coupe of days.

January 21st, 2007, 10:25 pm


simohurtta said:

Norman, what Americans saw (”up close”) is what Islamic Fundamentalism and terrorism is capable of.

“For heavens sake” Akbar stop your meaningless propaganda. Certainly your propaganda has (a fast shrinking) audience in USA, but hardly nowhere else. Keep on scaring old ladies with your Islamic Fundamentalism stories. If Bush and his henchmen would have been serious about Al Qaida, they would have got better results, instead of attacking everybody else who had nothing to do with 911.

Akbar what are the attacks Iranian fundamentalists have performed against USA, besides that ancient embassy invasion? The only stories about it are the frequent USA’s and Britain’s complains however made with out any evidence. Who believes a loosing army, which is desperately seeking scapegoats to hide own mistakes? Who believes a president who in front of the world speaks about a holy mission given beyond the stars? That President was George Bush not Ahmadinejad. Is USA lead from Alfa Centauri by fundamentalist aliens of how should that Bush’s strange comment to be interpreted?

January 21st, 2007, 10:25 pm


Gibran said:

Alex, do not be fooled by Champress. You should know better. Bashar knows very well what he has to do before even considering a thaw in his dealings with KSA. That means only a thaw with no rewards expected in return. He has to severe all his so-called dealings with Tehran, to stop supporting Hamas and Hezbollah and to fully cooperate in the Hariri investigation. Saudis are not so naive to be swayed by emotional nonsense talk of half-men or half-women. You will be very surprised to learn how cunning they are and in particular the Najdis where the Sauds originate. I would advise you to review the history of Nasser’s confrontation with them and how they eventually rubbed his nose in the dirt despite his standing at the time in so-called Arab public opinion (the Yemen affair). So I would use the popular expression which, I’m sure, you understand very well: Bashar needs a different needle to do his tailoring.

January 21st, 2007, 11:15 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Akbar Palace(daniel Pipes) call anyone who criticise Isreal as anti semitic,did he forget that the arab are semitic and they can not be against themself, what he meant by anti semitic, is anti zionist, but he is ashamed to say that for people will love to be anti zionist, rather than telling the truth, he say anti semitic, he is deceiving, full of lies,disgusting,abnoxious,why does he not tell the truth and be frank,and say anti zionist,does he not know that the arab are semitic people too?

January 21st, 2007, 11:34 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Alex replies:

“Akbar … believe me, I don’t mind, I got numb to it, but the way some of you from the extreme right call anyone who does not worship Israel “a terrorist” is making many people hate jews … if you think that making use of Israel’s near total control of the media is good for Israel I hope one day you will realize that the opposite is true.”

Alex –

I don’t expect 1 Billion Arabs to “worship Israel”. However, I do expect Arabs to just recognize Israel and refrain from the use of vile anti-semtism. Obviously, we are not there yet.

In any case, I would like to extend a hearty “shukran” to you for your tone, demeanor and tolerance in light of the sensitive nature of the discussion.

“But you will not agree with me … because as soon as you read something you don’t like, instead of examining your beliefs and habits, you immediately try to defend “your side” by trying to link some counter example of something disgusting from Arab’s side.”

I’m not sure what “beliefs and habits” you are referring to. Please feel free to expand on this.

“If you believe that either Israel is perfect and does not need to learn anything, or that there is nothing to learn from a Syrian or Arab, then …”

Alex –

No, I do not believe Israel is perfect. Although I really can’t say what Israel could have done to prevent most of the wars she has faced, certainly there have been actions Israel has taken that were wrong. When Israel’s enemies discovered that hiding among the civilian population was a valuable military and political tool, Israel has had difficulty determining a politically correct response. The debate continues…

As far as what Israelis can learn from Arabs, I think there are a number of things: hospitality and generousity come to mind. I suppose if there were 1 Billion Jews, we’d be a little “easier going”;)

Norman replies:

““For heavens sake” Akbar stop your meaningless propaganda. Certainly your propaganda has (a fast shrinking) audience in USA, but hardly nowhere else. Keep on scaring old ladies with your Islamic Fundamentalism stories.”

9-11 was not propaganda or a “story”. It was a day most Americans will not forget. On December 7, every year, we have “Pearl Harbor Day” to commemorate the “day of infamy” that propelled the US to go to war against Japan. More people died on 9-11.

“If Bush and his henchmen would have been serious about Al Qaida, they would have got better results, instead of attacking everybody else who had nothing to do with 911.”

Al-Queda is in practically every country in the world including the US. They were training in Afghanistan. Not any more.

“Akbar what are the attacks Iranian fundamentalists have performed against USA, besides that ancient embassy invasion?”

According to the American legal system, Iran is also responsible for the attack against the Marine Barracks in Beirut where 241 servicemen were killed.

BTW if the embassy invasion is “ancient”, is Deir Yassin ancient also?


If I were you, I’d focus on tolerance. I’d focus on ideas of how to live with Israel instead of how to destroy her. I would focus on peace, trade, and mutual respect.

Then the Middle East can heal and people can live without fear. Tell your Hamas friends and tell me what they tell you.

January 22nd, 2007, 12:07 am


Gibran said:

Despots advise each other of their failed gambit on Hezbollah. Assad told by Iran to back off. Saudis deliver clear and unambiguous message to despots:

لاريجاني في دمشق … بعد الرياض: ضـرورة تهـدئـة الأزمـة فـي لبـنان

الأسد ولاريجاني خلال لقائهما في دمشق أمس (أ ب)

أكد الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد والأمين العام للمجلس الأعلى للأمن القومي الإيراني علي لاريجاني، الذي قام بزيارة مفاجئة الى دمشق أمس، على ضرورة تهدئة الأزمة السياسية في لبنان «حفاظاً على استقراره وأمنه»، وحذرا من الفتنة بين الشيعة والسنة التي تسعى «قوى خارجية» الى خلقها في المنطقة.
وتسلم الأسد رسالة من الرئيس الإيراني محمود احمدي نجاد تتعلق بـ«الأوضاع في المنطقة وبالأمور ذات الاهتمام المشترك». وبحث مع لاريجاني آخر تطورات الأوضاع الإقليمية وخاصة في العراق ولبنان وفلسطين، إضافة الى العلاقات الثنائية بين البلدين. وكان لاريجاني قد قام الأسبوع الماضي بزيارة الى السعودية، حيث ناقش الوضع في العراق وتداعياته المذهبية في المنطقة كلها، وتطرق الى الخلاف بين الرياض ودمشق.
وشدد الأسد ولاريجاني خلال اللقاء على ضرورة قيام الدول المجاورة للعراق بالمساعدة في استتباب الأمن والاستقرار ونجاح مشروع المصالحة الوطنية فيه.

وأكد الجانبان على أن «الخلاف بين الشيعة والسنة هو خلاف مفتعل من قوى خارجية لإثارة الفتنة الطائفية والمذهبية».
ونقلت مصادر إيرانية عن لاريجاني «دعم بلاده المستمر لحزب الله في لبنان مع السعي للحد من تصاعد الأمور في هذا البلد باتجاه تحقيق توافق بين الفرقاء كافة». وقد شدد على «أهمية الاستقرار في لبنان وعلى ألا تتدهور الأمور هناك لتؤدي إلى فلتان أمني». وذكرت مصادر أخرى أن الأسد ولاريجاني أكدا ضرورة «تهدئة الأزمة السياسية في لبنان حفاظاً على استقراره وأمنه».
إلى ذلك، استعرض لاريجاني مع نائب الرئيس السوري فاروق الشرع الأوضاع في المنطقة. وقال لاريجاني عقب اللقاء إن «الظروف الحساسة في المنطقة تستدعي التشاور المستمر بين الأصدقاء والأعزاء»، مشيراً إلى أنه بحث «ما يهم شؤون المنطقة وبخاصة العراق ولبنان وبالأخص بالنسبة لما يهم القضية الفلسطينية».
وأضاف لاريجاني إن الزيارة تأتي في إطار العمل «من أجل ظروف مواتية من أجل التعايش السلمي في منطقتنا، ويجب أن تكون هذه الظروف قد أعدت لوجهات نظر عادلة وشاملة». وتابع إن «نقاطاً مشتركة كثيرة» جمعت بين الجانبين.
وقال المسؤول الإيراني «انطباعي هو أن الأميركيين يواجهون مشاكل في المنطقة وهناك بعض البلدان في المنطقة تعمل على خداعهم أيضاً، وتعطي عناوين خاطئة للأميركيين وتجعل ظروفهم أكثر تعقيداً وصعوبة في المنطقة، لو كانوا أذكياء لكانوا سلكوا طريقاً أفضل».
الى ذلك، التقى لاريجاني رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس خالد مشعل. وقال نائب رئيس المكتب السياسي للحركة موسى أبو مرزوق إن اللقاء استهدف مناقشة «آخر التطورات» حول المسألة الفلسطينية.
(«السفير»، «مهر»، «سانا»، يو بي آي)

January 22nd, 2007, 2:18 am


norman said:

G , What comes from you indicate what kind of person you are .

Akbar ,please dp not forget the ship Liberty that Israel destroyed in 1967.

January 22nd, 2007, 3:15 am


Akbar Palace said:

Norman said:

“Akbar ,please dp not forget the ship Liberty that Israel destroyed in 1967.”

As I said to Alex, Israel is not perfect. Israel has killed hundreds of her own soldiers in war time.

There’s a long list of Israeli mistakes, and there is a long list of Israeli successes.

Are we here to compile a list? Are we here to war with Israel and wait for another mistake in which to hit them over the head with?

This strategy is not only silly, it’s a dangerous waste of humanity.

January 22nd, 2007, 3:41 am


Alex said:

So the meeting between Mashaal and Abbas in Damascus was “fruitful” and they both smiled and looked comfortable. But they did not exactly agree on the remaining obstacles in regard to finalizing the setup of the national unity government.

They agreed to continue their negotiations in Gaza.

انتهت محادثات حاسمة عقدت في سوريا مساء الأحد بين حركتي حماس وفتح دون التوصل الى اتفاق نهائي حول حل الخلافات التي تعيق تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية فلسطينية.

واكتفى رئيس السلطة الوطنية محمود عباس ورئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس خالد مشعل بتلاوة بيان مشترك اكدا فيه على تحريم الاقتتال الداخلي الفلسطيني واستكمال الحوار الوطني في غزة.

وقال الزعيمان بعد الاجتماع ان المحادثات حول تأليف حكومة وحدة وطنية ستستأنف في غضون اسبوعين.

وتقول مراسلة بي بي سي في دمشق ريتشيل هارفي إن الطرفين – أي فتح وحماس – سيعاودان الاجتماع في غزة.

غير أن الرئيس الفلسطيني اشار بعد الاجتماع ان اللقاء كان “مثمرا”.

من جهته، قال مشعل انه “لا تزال هناك عقبات بين الفريقين الا ان الاتفاق بحلها عن طريق الحوار”.

واضاف مشعل ان “الحوار هو اللغة الوحيدة المسموح بها لحل الخلافات”، مشيرا الى ان “الاقتتال غير مسموح به”.

January 22nd, 2007, 5:47 am


Alex said:

Akbar, I also thank you for your kind words, and encourage you to continue with a more freidnly tone with everyone else here … the same approach Israel should try with the neighbors 🙂

You don’t have to change drastically to live in peace with the Arabs, just adopt the positions of your most intelligent leaders … like the late prime minister Rabin and Abba Eban.

As for Israel’s “mistakes” … I am not concerned with tactical or technical mistakes, the one I want to suggest to you is the following: everything in life is cyclical … nothing remains down or up forever … Israel reached its maximum and is starting to slowly decline (in many, not all, areas). When was the last time Israel voted 55% to one party? … why can’t Israel find a good leader worthy of a majority government?

It is not a healthy sign that most recent prime minister are investigated… it is not a healthy sign that the last war when Israel clearly won was the 1967 war … 1973 was more or less a tie (at least with Syria), The two Lebanon wars were failures for Israel despite the obvious military advantages…

Time for Israel to find another favorite sports team besides the very impressive IDF .. you can find other successful Israelis to maintain your current level of national pride … all the brilliant scientists, the research centers in Tel Aviv … If I was an Israeli citizen I would find much more joy from those that from watching an Israeli pilot fly his F16 unchallenged over Beirut or over the Syrian presidential palace.

I know some of the Arabs hate Jews, I agree with you, but some Israelis also hate Arabs … the same way you can’t forget the racist statements from some Arabs, Arabs can not forget these descriptions of Palestinians:

“grasshoppers” (Shamir), “cockroachs” (Eitan), “beasts walking on two legs” (Begin), and “lice” (Ben-Eliezer)

You can not allow the extremists or the insecure from both sides to prevent the more reasonable ones from reaching a logical settlement.

January 22nd, 2007, 6:34 am


Alex said:

Dardari says Syria will be a producer of Oil for the next 20-30 years …

سورية ستبقى منتجة للنفط خلال الثلاثين سنة المقبلة..الحكومة تنفي وجود أي قرار لرفع أسعار المحروقات

نفى عبد الله الدردري نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء للشؤون الاقتصادية وجود أي قرار لرفع أسعار المحروقات خلال هذه الفترة مؤكدا في الوقت نفسه أهمية قطاعي النفط والكهرباء في تطور الاقتصاد الوطني باعتبارهما المحرك الرئيسي للتنمية والاستثمار في سورية.
ودعا الدردري إلى العمل على تأمين الأمن الطاقي وترشيد استهلاك الطاقة بكافة الوسائل والسبل باعتبار ان قطاعي النفط والكهرباء من القطاعات التى تدعمها الدولة.
وأشار نائب رئيس الوزراء للشؤون الاقتصادية خلال مناقشة تتبع تنفيذ السياسات المقررة بالخطة الخمسية العاشرة لعام 2006 لوزارتي النفط والكهرباء أمس إلى أن قطاع الكهرباء كان وما يزال وسيظل قطاعا استراتيجيا بغض النظر عن حجم الإنتاج وستظل سورية دولة منتجة للنفط خلال العشرين أو الثلاثين سنة القادمة

Ehsani, I know you don’t agree.

January 22nd, 2007, 7:04 am


simohurtta said:

Akbar your writings do not make any sense. The Marine barracks bombing happened in, what, 1983. Since then you can’t dig up any other attacks by Iranian fundamentalists or what? Strange isn’t it when the war machine is ready to attack.

The Embassy siege was “understandable” during a popular uprising. Especially remembering what the Shah’s (who made Saddam look an enlightened leader) US trained secret police and insane spending of Iran’s wealth to unnecessary US weapons had done to Iranians. Irgun’s and Lehi’s actions in Deir Yassin is a historical fact and murdering civilians is not “understandable”.

The findings of Judge Lambert of Iran’s role in the barracks bombing are extremely suspicious and “politically made”. Why did it take 20 years (and Bush to be the president) to find out that Iran was “guilty”. Hmmmm.

Then the Middle East can heal and people can live without fear. Tell your Hamas friends and tell me what they tell you.

I do not have any bindings to Hamas. I am a western Christian who watches with great disgust what is done in Middle East in the name democracy, western values and Christianity. I like millions of others can understand a retaliation against those who performed 911 (who ever they were in the end), but not starting wars in countries which had nothing to do with 911.

Solana shocked at growth of Israeli settlements in West Bank. Is this settlement enlarging strategy really the best strategy for the “peaceful democratic” Jewish state to build peace? Only a total idiot can consider it as an step towards peace, especially remembering the new Israeli proposal to offer cash to Palestinians to move away from their home region. Is this land robbing and pay Palestinians to leave really the US/Israeli way of healing Middle East? A realist would say that it is a fast way towards a disaster.

January 22nd, 2007, 7:41 am


Alex said:

Prominent lobbyist Perle: U.S. will attack Iran if it obtains nukes

By Yossi Melman and Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondents

President George Bush will order an attack on Iran if it becomes clear to him that Iran is set to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities while he is still in office, Richard Perle told the Herzliya Conference on Sunday. Perle is close to the Bush administration, particularly to Vice President Richard Cheney.

The leading neoconservative and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute addressed the session on Iran’s nuclear program. He said that the present policy of attempting to impose sanctions on Iran will not cause it to abandon its nuclear aspirations, and unless stopped the country will become a nuclear power.

January 22nd, 2007, 8:55 am


Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

As an American Jew, my point-of-view is definately NOT Israeli, and you’ve made a number of excellent points.

Because of Israel’s political system (the Knesset), there seems to be political instability built into their system of make coalitions and so forth.

Israeli corruption is a big problem too.

“When was the last time Israel voted 55% to one party? … why can’t Israel find a good leader worthy of a majority government?”

Sharon was quite popular before his health deteriorated. Although NO party will get 55% of the vote, the election of PM did get Sharon %60 in the 2001 election:

“Exit polls say Likud leader Ariel Sharon received 59.5 percent of the vote, while Prime Minister Ehud Barak received 40.5 percent”

“Time for Israel to find another favorite sports team besides the very impressive IDF .. you can find other successful Israelis to maintain your current level of national pride … all the brilliant scientists, the research centers in Tel Aviv … If I was an Israeli citizen I would find much more joy from those that from watching an Israeli pilot fly his F16 unchallenged over Beirut or over the Syrian presidential palace.”

You are right, however, the “Time for Israel” to look away from the IDF is not over. With Iran threatening Israel and re-arming Hezbollah, I’m afraid the IDF is still vital for Israel’s survival.

January 22nd, 2007, 1:03 pm


norman said:

How Israel Passed Up a Chance for Peace with Syria
By Christoph Schult

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week denied a newspaper report that Israel and Syria had reached an understanding for a possible peace deal in secret talks over the last two years. But the talks did take place, and the Israeli government was informed, a senior Israeli diplomat has told DER SPIEGEL.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied secret talks took place.
It all began with a coincidence. When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Turkey in January 2004, he happened to be staying in the same Istanbul hotel as the Israeli diplomat Alon Liel. As former director general in Israel’s foreign ministry, Liel had close ties with the Turkish foreign ministry. A few days later Turkish diplomats passed on an important message to Liel from the Syrian leader: Assad wanted to resume his dead father’s attempts to broker a peace deal with Israel. But the Israeli government rejected the idea of official talks — supposedly in deference to the United States.

Liel then decided to pursue talks in secret, hoping a negotiated document would convince his government. Ibrahim Suleiman, a Syrian businessman in Washington who came from the same village as Assad, represented Damascus in the talks.

To ensure mutual trust during the talks, the Israelis and Syrians needed a neutral observer from a European country that was preferably removed from the stage of global politics. They picked Nicolas Lang, an adviser on Middle East affairs in the Swiss foreign ministry. He had already presided over the Geneva Initiative — a peace plan hammered out by pragmatic Israelis and Palestinians in the summer of 2005 that failed to bear fruit.

For two years, the negotiators met regularly at secret locations usually in Switzerland. By the summer of 2005 they had agreed to a six-paragraph document that contains surprisingly broad concessions from the Syrians. Although the Israelis would have to return the Golan Heights to Syria, most of the region would become a demilitarized national park that Israelis could still visit. Water supplies from the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee would remain under Israeli control. And Damascus would agree to cease supporting the Palestinian and Lebanese Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah respectively. These were major concessions.

Israeli government kept informed

Liel told DER SPIEGEL that the Israeli foreign ministry was informed of every single meeting he had with his Syrian counterpart. At least five top Israeli diplomats were constantly kept abreast of the talks, as was the foreign policy adviser of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

“For two years, we’ve tried to convince the Israeli government that Assad wants to negotiate,” says Liel.

The Swiss mediator Lang confirmed during a visit to Jerusalem that Damascus was serious about a deal. He had spoken with Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa and Foreign Minister Walid Muallim.

Just how serious Syria was became apparent during Israel’s military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon last summer. Damascus suggested an official meeting between a Syrian deputy minister and the director general of the Israeli foreign ministry. But when Liel made enquiries in Jerusalem the idea was rejected and the Syrians broke off contact.

When Israeli daily Ha’aretz began reporting about the secret meetings last week, Prime Minister Olmert denied any knowledge of them. He said ex-diplomat Liel must have “talked with himself” and that Damascus would first have to stop supporting Hezbollah and Hamas before any talks could take place.

The Israeli negotiators, however, have internally heard other reasons for Olmert’s opposition: the majority of Israelis are against returning the Golan Heights and the prime minister apparently doesn’t feel strong enough politically to enter peace talks at the moment. There is also pressure from the US government, which still sees Syria as a rogue state.

“I don’t belong to those who see the world as divided into good and evil,” says Major General Uri Sagie, the former head of Israel’s military intelligence and a participant in the secret talks. It isn’t the first time Sagie has seen an Israeli PM lose his nerve at a decisive moment in negotiations.

In 2000, he traveled with Ehud Barak to Washington to meet with President Hafez al-Assad, the father of Syria’s current leader. Back then the Syrians also appeared surprisingly willing to compromise, but Barak was fearful of the possible reaction by the Israeli public. Former US president Bill Clinton has since lamented that missed opportunity in his memoirs.

January 22nd, 2007, 5:01 pm


Alex said:

Syrian FM is in Tehran (delivering a meassage from president Assad)

بهية مارديني من دمشق: في زيارة مفاجئة لم ُيعلن عنها مسبقًا، وصل وزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم الى طهران اليوم. واعلن المعلم ان “زيارته تهدف الى التنسيق والتشاور المستمر بين الجانبين السوري والايراني حول التطورات السياسية في المنطقة من اجل تحقيق الامن والاستقرار “. واضاف المعلم في تصريحات للصحافيين عقب وصوله الى ايران “انه يحمل رسالة شفوية من الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد الى الرئيس احمدى نجاد حول آخر التطورات التى تشهدها المنطقة” .

من جانبه اشار وزير الخارجية الايرانى منوشهر متقي الى “أهمية زيارة الوزير المعلم لطهران فى ظل الظروف الراهنة” ، مضيفا ان “للتشاور المستمر بين البلدين اهميته الخاصة نظرا للظروف التي تمر بها المنطقة”.

President of Switzerland says her country’s mediator of “secret peace talks” between Syria and Israel is currently in the Syrian capital.

رئيسة سويسرا تؤكد توسط بلادها بين سوريا واسرائيل

GMT 17:30:00 2007 الإثنين 22 يناير

وكالة الأنباء الكويتية – كونا

جنيف: اكدت الرئيسة السويسرية ميشلين كالمي راي اليوم توسط بلادها بين اسرائيل وسوريا مشيرة الى ان الوسيط موجود حاليا في سوريا.ورفضت كالمي راي في المؤتمر الصحافي الاول الذي تعقده بعد توليها منصب الرئاسة اعطاء اي تفاصيل اضافية حول هذه الوساطة كما لم ترغب بتوقع اي نتائج.

And Junblat still very negative, but I detect a bit of change of tone towards Nasrallah, away form accusing him of taking part in Hariri’s killing, and towards offering him to leave the opposition and join the more constructive “majority” … I would say there is a possibility they will all be asked to compromise… and I don’t see how the Saudi, Iranian Syrian agreement (if it materializes) could ever include Junblat … but in Lebanon everything is possible

وخاطب نصرالله قائلا: “تريد أن تزيل اسرائيل من الوجود هذا شأنك، أما نحن فليس ذلك في أدبياتنا . نحن مع إقامة دولة فلسطينية قابلة للعيش عاصمتها القدس ومع حق العودة . واذا كنت تريد ازالة الصيغة اللبنانية كما أرادها اتفاق الطائف والإمام الراحل محمد مهدي شمس الدين فنحن لسنا مع ازالة الكيان اللبناني، نحن مع لبنان أولا. وأنصحك أن تستعجل في الموافقة على المحكمة الدولية لأن بعد ثلاثة أسابيع تحل ذكرى اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري وسننزل إلى الساحات التي يقيمون فيها الكرنفالات اليوم . ونحن نريد ذكرى 14 شباط /فبراير ذكرى جامعة وليس للخلاف “.

ووصف جنبلاط النائب العماد ميشال عون والنائبين السابقين سليمان فرنجية وطلال أرسلان وغيرهم من حلفاء دمشق في لبنان بأنهم “شتامون وصبية النظام السوري” رافضاً الرد عليهم وداعيا نصرالله إلى “الخروج منهم “.

January 22nd, 2007, 7:04 pm


Gibran said:

Time is ticking. Bashar will soon regret the moment he put his fingers in Lebanon. In short, his fingers will be literally clipped and so will Nasrallah’s – clearly showing signs of worries about impending failure. As for Aoun, he is finished. Read latest statements. Seniora is the most popular political figure at the moment in Lebanon as well as in the Arab world.

January 22nd, 2007, 8:20 pm


Atassi said:

recently, My family in Syria received a call form the son’s of one of the family previous framers, They wanted to give us back our land that have been in their possession for over 40 years and being farmed and harvested by their late father without paying us “ we the legal owner of the land” any monetary compensation all this time.
The father died two months ago, his sons seeking our forgiveness for not paying my family anything for all this years. In return for our forgiveness, the land will be returned to us 100%…..

January 22nd, 2007, 9:27 pm


ugarit said:

Gibran said: “Seniora is the most popular political figure at the moment in Lebanon as well as in the Arab world.”

Where is the evidence of this?

January 23rd, 2007, 12:02 am


Ford Prefect said:

Gibran, which Lebanon are you referring to where Siniora is the most popular figure? Does that Lebanon include the South, more than half of the Maronite, the Sunnis of the North, and many others, or are they excluded again?

January 23rd, 2007, 12:09 am


Ford Prefect said:

For a change, I appreciate your latest posting. Your candor contributed to enriching the different opinions on this blog and it add to the overall value of SC. Many of us know that repeating empty words to inflame emotions will do just that – without adding any real value to the important dialogues on this forum. Up till now, I took it upon myself to never answer or address you by name – based on the obvious tone in your earlier postings. If we all use balanced and rational thoughts (emotions are OK, but they must be used right after a nice meal), away from the hatred spewed by extremists (for a sample of the hate towards Arabs one only needs to tune in to Faux News. For a sample of the hate towards Jews, one only needs to tune in to Al Manar or the Saudi religious broadcasts.)
The Israeli government is also to be blamed to subjecting the Jews in Israel to 60 years of suffering as much as Arab governments subjected the Palestinians and their own citizens for 60 years of humiliation and repeated defeat. One conclusion is clear, however. This conflict cannot and will not be resolved by military means. I am hoping that you will agree with many of us here that ideas presented by the hawks (on both sides) are leading both, Arabs and Jews, towards the path of self-destruction. Take for example the thoughts advocated by Daniel Pipes. He insists that only complete capitulation and surrender of every thing Arab and everything Palestinian will produce peace in the region. That capitulation can only be accomplished by supreme military power. All negotiations, peace initiatives, diplomacy, roadmaps, and concessions for peace are signs of weakness that are to be avoided at all costs.

If you are in agreement with the dogma of Daniel Pipes and his elk, then that is your opinion, and I respect it. I will just read your postings and shake my head (sometimes severely!) If you are in the opinion of “let’s talk and let’s go to Plan B”, whereas war’s Plan A has not produced any positive results, then we have plenty to discuss on this forum and many others.

I am on the side of “let’s talk, war and military force is not the answer.” Which side are you on?

January 23rd, 2007, 12:40 am


Gibran said:

Recent ELAF poll (couple weeks ago), Siniora got over 65% support in Lebanon and over 35% in various Arab countries. I’m sure you can find the site and the poll results if you really care about the issue.
99% of Lebanese Sunnis as well as 99% of Druze plus over 80% of Christians are March 14 and supporters of Siniora. Do not be surprised by the figures. They are still far less than the 99.99% results that people like Bashar get in their ‘vote showings’ in your beloved Syria. Recent showing of March 8 in central Beirut did not exceed 600000 by most optimistic estimates. That’s the combined constituency of HA and Aoun. That figures represents much less than 20% of Lebanon’s resident population. Several major Shia religious figures are speaking now openly against Nasrallah (al Amin, Haj Hassan, Tfaily and others. These figures represent major clans within the Shia community.)
How different is your case than the majority of Syrians in the last 40 years? Did the Syrians receive any dividends from the Syrian economy? Is 40 years a mere coincidence?
Iran does not have the support you claim, at least not in Lebanon. They may however have had it with Bashar as you said and that’s precisely because they failed in their gambit to gain the support you’re talking about. If Nasrallah moves to the center, that will be because he may have realized the folly of his summer adventure. In this case he will have to settle for far less than what he is aiming for. I doubt it though and I still maintain he will be deported to Iran. Did you listen to his latest speech (today)? It doesn’t look like he will move anywhere. March 14 did not lose hope. They have solid majority constituency in Lebanon and tremendous international support. Latest joke from Lebanon: If you lost your home in the summer war, Nasrallah will give you a deluxe tent. If you lost a business, you can have a stand and sell narjila, falafel etc…. in central Beirut – an ingenious solution to Nasrallah’s self created class of dispossessed!

January 23rd, 2007, 12:57 am


ugarit said:

Gibran said:”Recent ELAF poll (couple weeks ago), Siniora got over 65% support in Lebanon and over 35% in various Arab countries. I’m sure you can find the site and the poll results if you really care about the issue”

nope. I can’t find it. You must have the link. Can you send it to us?

January 23rd, 2007, 1:17 am


Gibran said:

Why should I? Do you think I should keep every link of every site I visit? Too bad if you can’t find it. May be you should look harder just to prove to yourself that you care about the issue!

January 23rd, 2007, 1:23 am


Akbar Palace said:

The AP article by Christoph Schult was posted by Norman:

“How Israel Passed Up a Chance for Peace with Syria
By Christoph Schult

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied secret talks took place.”

A question for anyone interested:

Why do you suppose the article didn’t mention that the Syrian government also denied secret talks took place?

Is there bias in the media?

Ford Prefect said:

“For a change, I appreciate your latest posting. Your candor contributed to enriching the different opinions on this blog and it add to the overall value of SC.”

Actually, I thought it was “large” of Alex to come to my defense in light of the anti-semitic slurs I was being subjected to. It is human nature to respond to kindness with kindness.

But we are not out of the woods yet. I fear the ME is headed for war.

January 23rd, 2007, 1:39 am


Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

I have been mostly away from this site, for awhile now, and, I am impressed with how much
personal invective and animosity seems to be running amok here. Sad actually, since by definition anyone who cares enough to participate
on this site to offer comments (most quite intelligent by the bye) and post additional articles and or information, should also be emotionally intelligent enough to abstract themselves out of any quarrels dealing with such
abstract matters as Syria versus Israel, Hezbollah versus the 14th March coalition, et cetera. Rather reminds me a bit of the undergraduates I used to teach, x number of years ago….

Well hoping that we can get ‘over’ this particular state of affairs, I offer for the Syriacomment.com readership, the following article on Israeli perceptions of the prospects of a peace deal with Damascus. So read and enjoy!

“Israelis Divided Over Prospects of Peace With Syria” By Frida Ghitis | 22 Jan 2007
World Politics Watch Exclusive

“Take a seat at one of the many waterfront restaurants bordering the Sea of Galilee in the Israeli city of Tiberias and nature immediately gives you a lesson in history, geography and military strategy. The lapping waters of Lake Kinneret, as it is known in Hebrew, shimmer placidly at your side, evoking images of biblical history. But what really grabs your eye is the soaring terrain rising ominously on the other side of the water, the Golan Heights. The land rises sharply from the eastern side of the lake. Sitting in the Golan’s shadow, there remains little doubt that control of the Heights means control of security for much of Northern Israel.

For now, Israel has possession of the Golan Heights. But the matter is far from settled. Israel captured that territory from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. The shooting is over, but the two countries remain technically at war, and the status of the Golan remains in limbo, with Syria demanding its return. Israel has not annexed the territory, but Israeli hawks maintain the land is crucial for the country’s defense against a dangerous and determined enemy in Damascus. Doves, meanwhile, argue that no defense is better than real peace.

The diverging opinions came into even sharper focus after Jan. 16, when the Israeli daily Ha’aretz revealed a leaked account of secret peace talks conducted between the two countries. Both governments emphatically denied the report. As details emerged, however, it seemed clear back channel dealings did occur. What was less clear is how much official weight the discussions — and the draft agreement — carried in the eyes of the countries’ leaders.

For some months now, Damascus has been sending Israel a threatening message of peace, if such a thing is possible. The message from Syria has said the country is ready to talk peace, but is just as ready to go to war. With Syria’s Foreign Minister Wallid Muallem boasting last summer that a regional war would be, “Most welcome.”

Israelis are divided over how to respond to peace overtures from the government of Bashar al-Assad. After all, Syria — along with Iran — remains the most enthusiastic supporter of militias and terrorists sworn to the destruction of Israel. Both Hamas and Hezbollah keep intimate ties with the government in Damascus. Hezbollah is financed and armed by Tehran and Damascus. Hamas’ Khaled Meshal, arguably the most influential leader of the organization, lives and conducts all his business in Damascus, with full support of Syrian authorities.

Some Israelis argue that the country simply cannot afford to pass up an opportunity to make peace with one of its neighbors. Others urge caution. This talk of peace, they say, is all a ruse, designed to ease international pressures on the besieged and isolated Assad government, particularly in light of an international investigation into the killing the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in which the Syrian government has been implicated. Even if Assad were sincere, some add, he simply does not have enough power to make any concessions on behalf of his country.
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Another camp says Israeli leaders, who have so far refused to openly engage in talks with Assad, are simply responding to pressures from Washington. The Israeli government, they say, cannot defy the wishes of its strongest supporter, the United States. Washington accuses Damascus of supporting the insurgency in Iraq, and its policy has been to isolate Damascus. Peace talks would immediately put a more acceptable glow on the regime in international circles, easing the pressure to continue pursuing the Hariri murder investigation, even if leads all the way to the top of the Syrian government.

When the two neighbors finally do settle their differences, and that day will eventually come, the agreement will look much like the one revealed last week, the result of two years of talks on the issues of support for terrorism, strategic risks, and water resources. The creative solution envisages the creation of a demilitarized strip of land along the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Syria would hold sovereignty, but Israel would control the water’s edge. Assad, then, would have to relinquish some sovereignty, something his generals may not be willing to concede. Syria would also cease all support for groups that engage in terrorism. Syrian security would not willingly let go of Hezbollah, its foothold in Lebanon, and Iran would not be happy either. Assad would find it difficult to survive without their support. And a Syrian commitment to normalize relations between the two countries, Israel’s ultimate objective, might turn much of the country against Assad.

Internal political considerations also make peace with Damascus tricky for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Many Israelis would be supportive. But returning the Golan Heights is an enormously risky and emotionally fraught undertaking. Olmert, whose political survival is already in question, would find it even more difficult to stay in power if he came under sharp assault from the right for engaging Damascus. The settler movement would ferociously resist a withdrawal, and many who have little sympathy for the settlers would support them on this issue, simply on security grounds.

It seems highly unlikely, but if Olmert decided to move forward and take the huge gamble of talking peace with Damascus, he could ultimately enlist the overwhelming majority of Israelis who yearn for peace with the country’s neighbors. Success, if Assad managed to hang on, could break Damascus away from the Iranian embrace, weakening Iran and making life more difficult for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The odds, however, remain stacked against the peace scenario. For now, the heights visible from the waterside restaurants in Tiberias continue to be controlled by Israel. And the threat of war from Damascus, just a few dozen miles away, remains.” http://www.worldpoliticswatch.com

Frida Ghitis writes about world affairs.

January 23rd, 2007, 2:16 am


Gibran said:

Iran’s quest to export its radicalism is polarizing its political establishment and impoverishing its population. Iran’s implosion may take place sooner than many expect:

خلية أزمة إيرانية لـ «تصويب» اندفاعة نجاد وأوروبا تلتزم العقوبات لاستعجال المفاوضات
طهران، لندن، بروكسيل الحياة – 23/01/07//

دخل المرجع الديني البارز في ايران حسين علي منتظري على خط الانتقادات الداخلية الموجهة الى الرئيس محمود أحمدي نجاد وسياساته، في حين تحدثت مصادر إيرانية عن تشكيل «خلية أزمة» بعضوية الرئيسين السابقين هاشمي رفسنجاني ومحمد خاتمي لـ «تصويب» اندفاعة الرئيس الحالي محمود احمدي نجاد وحماسته المفرطة في الملف النووي، اضافة إلى محاولة تخفيف الأزمة الاقتصادية.

تزامن ذلك مع إعلان دول الاتحاد الأوروبي بعد اجتماعها في بروكسيل أمس على مستوى وزراء الخارجية، عزمها على تطبيق العقوبات التي اقرها مجلس الأمن ضد برنامجي ايران النووي والبالستي «كاملة وبلا إبطاء». واعتبر الاتحاد ان تحركه ضروري للضغط من اجل تحريك المفاوضات المجمدة بين طهران والمجتمع الدولي.

في غضون ذلك، قررت إيران منع 38 من مفتشي الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية من دخول أراضيها لتفقد منشآتها النووية، في خطوة أولى نحو تنفيذ توصية البرلمان الحد من التعاون مع الوكالة.

وبدأ «الحرس الثوري» الإيراني، مناورات تستمر أربعة أيام في منطقة جرمسار (وسط)، لاختبار طرازين من الصواريخ المحلية الصنع، «زلزال- 1» و «فجر – 5»، في وقت أكدت مصادر إيرانية ان قيادات النظام عقدت اجتماعات متلاحقة لدرس سبل مواجهة هجوم أميركي يحتمل أن يبدأ مطلع شباط (فبراير) المقبل، ويستهدف المنشآت النووية والعسكرية والنفطية.

في المقابل، وجهت صحيفة «كيهان» المقربة من القيادة الإيرانية رسائل واضحة إلى الولايات المتحدة ودول المنطقة، محذرة من «أي عمل أحمق» تكون عواقبه «وخيمة». وتوعدت بتحويل إسرائيل الى «جهنم» و»إمطارها» بالصواريخ، كما هددت بمنع عبور نحو 24 مليون برميل من النفط يومياً عبر مضيق هرمز، معتبرة ان من شأن ذلك إحداث أزمات اقتصادية واجتماعية في المنطقة.

في الوقت ذاته، أعلنت واشنطن نصب محطات رادار أميركية في تشيخيا وبولندا، لـ «دعم القدرات الدفاعية الأوروبية في مواجهة أي هجوم نووي إيراني»، الأمر الذي رفضته روسيا معتبرة انه يستهدفها.

ضربة أميركية

الى ذلك، أفادت مصادر مطلعة أن وزارة الأمن الإيرانية قدمت تقريراً الى المرشد الأعلى للجمهورية الإسلامية علي خامنئي، يؤكد «حتمية الهجوم العسكري الأميركي». وأضافت المصادر أن خامنئي أمر بتسريب اهم ما ورد في التقرير الى بعض المسؤولين في النظام، كما أمر كبير المفاوضين في الملف النووي علي لاريجاني بالتواصل مع المراجع الدينية في قم، للخروج بموقف موحد من الملف والتقليل من معارضتهم للنظام.

وكان لافتاً تعرض سياسات نجاد لانتقادات شديدة من رجل الدين المعارض حسين علي منتظري، أحد المراجع الدينية في مدينة قم مركز الحوزة العلمية الإيرانية. ونسبت وكالة «اسوشيتدبرس» الى منتظري قوله: «علينا درس القدرة الاميركية في شكل يتجاوز الشعارات اليومية»، داعياً المسؤولين الإيرانيين إلى «عدم إطلاق كلام يحرّك شعوب المنطقة ضد بلادنا».

جاء ذلك بعدما ظهرت الى العلن الخلافات بين أقطاب المحافظين في مجلس النواب الإيراني، وأدت الى إعلان حوالى 40 نائباً الانفصال عن التيار الأم الداعم للرئيس، وتشكيل تيار محافظ جديد يدافع عن المصالح العليا للنظام. وكان 150 نائباً، غالبيتهم من التيار المحافظ، وقعوا عريضة تطلب استدعاء أحمدي نجاد أمام البرلمان للرد على أسئلة تتعلق بالسياسات الخارجية والاقتصادية لحكومته.

January 23rd, 2007, 2:43 am


majedkhaldoun said:

take the farm back first,remember ,if the son till the farm, you will not be able to take the farm,I have similar situation, my farm in Sasa,south of Damascus,but we did not get the farm back yet

January 23rd, 2007, 5:30 am


simohurtta said:

Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. aren’t there some mistakes in Frida Ghitis’ article. Israel has not annexed the territory, but Israeli hawks maintain the land is crucial for the country’s defense against a dangerous and determined enemy in Damascus. That is not exactly true. The Golan Heights Law ratified in Knesset December 14, 1981 applies Israel’s laws to the Golan Heights. That is an direct annexation. Especially remembering that in Gaza and West Bank Israel uses military laws not Israeli laws. These old Palestinian Mandate laws etc give Israel the option to “bypass” the human / democratic rights of Palestinians. The international communities opinion of the disputed areas is clear.

And the threat of war from Damascus, just a few dozen miles away, remains.

When we look back in history the amount of wars started by Tel Aviv, just a few dozen miles away, is much greater than wars started from Damascus. The main conflict between Syria and Israel is the occupied land and so long that it occupied / disputed the possibility of war exists. There will be no Syrian government which could “donate” the area and its water to Israel. So the possibility of peace is certainly not linked to the present Syrian government and President. The present situation where Israel controls Golan and its water resources suits Israel but not Syria and the international community. The big question is can Israel continue the next decades with its present policy with Syria, Lebanon and Palestinians. Especially if Israel could join NATO.

January 23rd, 2007, 6:06 am


Alex said:

It started in Lebanon … two shot (Aoun Christian supporters) as they were trying to block some road early Tuesday morning.

قطع أنصار المعارضة اللبنانية طرقا رئيسة في بيروت ومناطق أخرى، في إطار الإضراب العام الذي بدأ اليوم وسط توتر نجم عن سقوط جريحين شمال العاصمة أثناء إقفال إحدى الطرق.

وأحرق المتظاهرون إطارات وألقوا ترابا وحجارة وسط الطرق في مناطق بيروت والأشرفية والحمراء وطريق المطار والمتن وحالات وجبيل ومناطق أخرى.

ونفذ الجيش اللبناني انتشارا كثيفا لعناصره وآلياته، فيما عززت قوى الأمن الداخلي وجودها في مختلف المناطق.

وأصيب شخصان فجرا عندما أطلق مسلحون النار على مناصرين للمعارضة يحاولون إقفال طريق في شمال بيروت.

وجرح مارك حويك برصاصة في ظهره، فيما أصيب جورج فرح برصاصة في بطنه، حسب ما أفادت مصادر بمستشفى لامارتين بمدينة جبيل شمال بيروت حيث نقل الجريحان.

وقال الجريحان إنهما ينتميان إلى التيار الوطني الحر الذي يتزعمه النائب المسيحي ميشال عون.

January 23rd, 2007, 6:09 am


Akbar Palace said:

Dr. Charles:

“I have been mostly away from this site, for awhile now, and, I am impressed with how much
personal invective and animosity seems to be running amok here….Rather reminds me a bit of the undergraduates I used to teach, x number of years ago….”

Thank you for informing us about your whereabouts, we were getting worried. Yes, it seems the website has been infected by a bad case of anti-semitism. A perfect nesting place for those committed to “academia” …

January 23rd, 2007, 12:00 pm


ugarit said:

Gibran said: “Why should I? Do you think I should keep every link of every site I visit? Too bad if you can’t find it. May be you should look harder just to prove to yourself that you care about the issue!”

Very interesting. So you make a claim that can’t be independently verified and then you lash out when someone asks for the references.

January 23rd, 2007, 12:12 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Gibran, the point that Ugarit is making is a valid one. While the 14 March coalition does represent a good cross section of the Lebanese society, one cannot say that Siniora is the charismatic leader of Lebanon as Hariri was to deserve the “most popular” title for Lebanon. For the Lebanese Forces, for example, I don’t see Siniora ranking higher than Ga3ga3 does, do you? To say that Siniora enjoys “… the most popular political figure at the moment in Lebanon as well as in the Arab world,” is a stretch to what is being observed and reported today. Maybe you can share with us where that statistical fact is documented as it may very well be true. Otherwise, your statement is nothing more than “wishful thinking.”

January 23rd, 2007, 1:51 pm


Atassi said:

We can may have to admit that Siniora is one of the MOST internationally supported Lebanese leader after Hariri, \
Yes indeed It started in Lebanon, But it’s too early for the party to start in the ” peoples palace ” …

January 23rd, 2007, 2:41 pm


Gibran said:

O’ yeah?
There’ll be no party. You can be sure of that. It is no more than a tempest in a tea cup paid for by Iranian money to create villas (as Nasrallah promised in the summer) for his self created dispossessed mob.

January 23rd, 2007, 3:09 pm


Atassi said:

Old Christian rivalry moves into Lebanon streets
By Tom Perry
23 January 2007

BEIRUT, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Lebanon’s power struggle has resurrected an old rivalry between Christian leaders whose followers clashed on Tuesday during some of the worst unrest since a 1975-1990 civil war.

Supporters of Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, who backs the government, scuffled in several Christian areas, recalling their leaders’ bitter rivalry in the late 1980s.

“Aoun went to war and destroyed the Christian community. Now he is doing the same,” Christian Tony Gemayel said.

A few metres away, Aoun loyalists had set ablaze tyres in the middle of a main road. They were manning one of hundreds of barricades set up across the country to press the opposition’s demand for veto power in government and early elections.

Aoun’s allies in the opposition include Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran.

“Is this civilisation?,” Gemayel asked disapprovingly, covering his mouth to avoid inhaling black smoke from the burning tyres. “I swear they’re Syrians,” said one his friends.

“Today, Christians must make their choice. They are either with Samir Geagea or they are with Michel Aflaq and Khamenei,” Gemayel said, in reference to the founder of Syria’s ruling Baath Party and Iran’s supreme leader.


Manning the barricade on the outskirts of a Beirut Christian district, Alex Abed al-Masih, said the opposition was exercising a democratic right.

Aoun — the biggest Christian force in parliament — represented the majority, he said, wearing an orange scarf to show his allegiance to the former general. Geagea supporters were “making turbulence to prove they exist”, he said.

“We lived through fighting. There’s nothing to be scared of. There will be no more war in Lebanon, just protests. It’s political — who can have more people on their side.”

Lebanese refer to the Aoun-Geagea struggle as “the war of elimination”.

Aoun’s Lebanese army loyalists and Geagea’s militiamen fought fierce battles in the Christian enclave in early 1990, months before Syrian-led forces drove Aoun into exile, ending the country’ civil war.

“It looks like a Samir Geagea-Aoun showdown again — each trying to assert their authority. This is another cold war between Aoun and Geagea to assert leadership of the Christian street,” political analyst Oussama Safa said.

The rival factions joined forces briefly to take part in anti-Syrian protests in the aftermath of the assassination of former Prime Minster Rafik al-Hariri in February 2005.

They fell out again after Aoun broke with his anti-Syrian allies when he was excluded from government and joined forces with Shi’ite Hezbollah in early 2006.

Tensions between Aoun loyalists and Christians who back the government, including Geagea, were exacerbated by the killing of Pierre Gemayel in November. Some Lebanese blamed the slaying of Gemayel, a Christian cabinet minister, on Syria.

Gemayel’s father, former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, urged an immediate end to what he described as “strife”.

“Events, especially in Christian areas, look like internal fighting. This is very painful,” he told Christian channel LBC.

“We paid a heavy price in the past because of internal fighting and the war of elimination”, said Gemayel, a government ally. “The struggle must stop immediately and be moved from the street to the table of dialogue.”

January 23rd, 2007, 3:12 pm


ugarit said:

Lebanon Diary
On the Edge of Civil War: the Cedar Revolution Goes South


January 16 — Beirut

Two years after the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, America’s Cedar Revolution in Lebanon has gone “Citrus”. The chic Lebanese divas with maids in tow wagging protest signs on their employer’s behalf are absent. Riad El Sohl Square in downtown Beirut is now occupied by a working class tent city with “Citrus” supporters from the Opposition: Religious Shias-Hezbollah (yellow), secular Shias- Amal (green), and Christians of the Free Patriotic Movement (orange). But all are united under one banner “Clean Up the Government!”

more here

January 23rd, 2007, 6:12 pm


John Kilian said:

Gibran said: (January 23rd, 2007, 2:43 am / #)

Iran’s quest to export its radicalism is polarizing its political establishment and impoverishing its population. Iran’s implosion may take place sooner than many expect:…

Excuse my ignorance, but are all these squigly lines some sort of foreign language? Habla usted ingles?

I am interested in what this article says and what it’s source is. If Iran has elections and there is public opposition to the government, is it possible that the Iranians could elect a new regime into power that might change away from the course towards nuclear weapons? I have heard disparaging comments about the nature of Iran’s “democracy”. Is it possible for the Mullahs to lose power through an electoral process? When are the next elections scheduled?

January 23rd, 2007, 6:15 pm


Alex said:

Atassi, I was referring to the casualties and to the Aoun Jeajea confrontation when I said “It started”

But if you want my personal opinion: when a million Lebanese demonstrated against the Syrian army, the Syrian moukhabarat did not arrest any of hem and the army did not shoot anyone, and Syria understood the popular Lebanese message (get the hell out of here) and withdrew.

This Lebanese governmenrt is actinglike typical Arab dictators … over a million anti-government demonstrators (one third of the country was on the street) and the government reaction was to ridicule them and absolutely refuse early elections. And now Jeajea’s supporters are shooting and killing those from the other side… I’ll put it in terms you can understand: This government can not live up to the high moral standards set by the Syrians when they dealt with a similar situation in Lebanon?

Bashar is much more civilized 🙂

And Aoun, Nasralah, Salim Hoss sound like a good replacement for the current set of the corrupt and warlonrds that populates much of the Lebanese government (especially its leaders)… And the opposition are not asking to take over automatically, but they are asking for early elections .. I fully support early elections so that the people of Lebanon tell us what they think, instead of every politician telling us what he wants.

But on the other hand, if Aoun and Nasrallah and Hoss were to form the next government, then Saudi Arabia will cut most funding, the Untied states will make their life hell (financially at least), and chirac will hate them (because there is no Hariri among them, the same way he boycotted the 2001 Hoss governemnt until Hariri was asked to return by the Syrians) .. so we will have another case of Hamas government in Lebanon.

As Syria says, all issues are related .. nothing good can have in Lebanon unless there is international agreement.

But the Americnas do not want to speake to Syria …

We’ll see… one day we’ll know if these things turn out to be good or bad for Lebanon.

For now, reuters is reporting that the opposition has decided to suspend its protests.

January 23rd, 2007, 7:40 pm


Alex said:


Not that I have any hope of communicating with you in a useful way, but I will at least apologize if my assumption that those shot were from the opposition side, turned out to be wrng as you stated here. I did make an assumption that those killed are similar to the first two shot by Jeajea forces .. which was the last thing I heard before I went to sleep.

By the way … assuming I was intentionally spreading a lie here .. your reaction was very intense. You know, Syrians were listening to “filth” fromt Almustaqbal, Annahar, and Asharq alawsat … for two years .. like when everyone accused Syria of the those found in the mass graves that turned out to be there from Ottoman times … If Syrians reacted the way you just did after hearing one inacurate piece of information (if indeed it is inacurate) the they would have invaded Lebanon again long time ago.

We are much more civilized 🙂

January 23rd, 2007, 8:25 pm


Gibran said:

The source of the article is one of the most respected Arab dailies, Al-Hayat. And the squigly lines as you may guess, if you don’t know already is Arabic script. In brief, the article is refering to shaping power struggle between Iranian hardliner politicians (headed by Ahmedinejad) and so-called Iranian moderates (headed by Montazeri, Rafsanjani and Khatemi). The so-called moderates are afraid Ahmedinejad may be cornering Iran into a confrontation with the West. They are also deeply concerned about Iran’s Economic troubles. The daily (Al-Hayat) is also available in an English edition. But the English edition may report on different issues. You may however, find the same article in the English version. By the way the same analysis appeared in Le-Figaro and it is linked in the some of the posts in this thread.

January 23rd, 2007, 8:27 pm


Gibran said:

don’t glee too much because your comrades will never achieve anything. Besides you have no right to demand early elections in Lebanon. remember that you are a foreigner as far as Lebanon is concerned. So buzz off and don’t step your bounds. Neither do these mobsters have the right to over rule a democratically elected parliament. You must be halucianting when you talk about Syrian ‘high moral standards’. Are you out of your mind or what? We understand you are a baathist but please don’t force your nonsense on others. We will bring Bashar into the court from his nose. Just wait and see.
And by the way the strike has been suspended and nothing will come out of street protests. The Parliament will convene and the true representatives of Lebanon will now speak.

January 23rd, 2007, 8:37 pm


Atassi said:

I would love to agree with your assessments but, we should voice concern about the incompetence of Karami, hidden spiritual alliances and agenda’s of Nasralah and the personals fantasy of the dreamy broken Aoun. Salim Hoss I can trust for sure, But we can’t depends on him as a strong person to fix this incredible mess

January 23rd, 2007, 8:49 pm


MSK said:


the gloating doesn’t suit you.

And calling Bashar “more civilized” … is a slap in the face of the relatives of those thousands of Syrian & Lebanese political prisoners in Syrian jails.

Does Al-Sijn al-‘Askari Tadmur mean anything to you?

We all know that the March 14 demonstration took place in a very specific situation – a year earlier the reaction of the quwaat al-ihtilaal (i.e. Syria this time, not Israel) would’ve been very different. In Spring 2005 the Syrian regime in Lebanon was in the same position as the Soviet troops & their local allies in Eastern Europe 1989.

The Syrian occupation was detested by the majority of Lebanese since the 1980s.

If you want to get a feeling of what the situation in Lebanon is like these days, I suggest you talk to Lebanese or travel there.

The ACTIONS of the HA/Aoun/SSNP/etc. coalition do not look like they have mass popular support. For a comparison I suggest you check out some books on the ’79 revolution in Iran.

If HA&friends had massive popular support, their call for a general strike would’ve been heeded, they could field periodic mass demonstrations, etc.

Violence would not be necessary.

Oh, and their tent-city wouldn’t be empty.

Your comment reminds me of Sami Moubayed’s latest piece, which Tony Badran (whose ideology & politics I do not share) took apart quite expertly.

This comment section could use a little less posturing, ethnocentrism, and racism. Talking about Lebanese as if they are 2nd-class humans is as bad as is talking about Syrians as if they’re 2nd-class humans. Ditto re: Jews, Americans, Arabs, Saudis, French, Iranians, etc.pp.

But then … that might be too much to ask of an academic blog that has only five administrators.

Funny, other blogs manage to provide open discussion space AND also take a stand against the above-mentioned attitudes.

Aggregating news & articles is child’s play. Any college student can do that. Actual engagement is more work, but also much more necessary.

And now a question for the “Syria Comment” community: Do public intellectuals have a responsibility to engage their audience?

Cheers & all that,


January 23rd, 2007, 8:53 pm


Alex said:


As I said, I agree that the other option is not guaranteed to be much better for Lebanon. But I like Nasrallah’s national coalition idea where both of them are influential in the government… he can not pass any resolution that the “majority” do not approve of, and the majority can not continue governing in a polarized manner like they have been so far.


I am trying to get on the nerves of my friend G … this Syrian Baathist is much more civilized that that “democracy lover” who can barely control his language when he hears any opinion he does not agree with. Mentioning that Bashar is civilized (which he is, if you know him) is a good way to get on his nerves, and it worked.

But I have good arguments I think for the points you raised above. I have enjoyed a two day exchange with the very capable Tony Badran on Ammar’s blog, and Tony eventually lost it and started to use the same language that G used above.

I’ll answer your points more properly after work.


I am very impressed with the way you refuse to allow a Syrian like me to express any opinion about Lebanon, whereas Jumblat is allowed to call for an American invasion of Syria and to call for the assassination the Syrian president.

We are much more civilized than you 🙂

January 23rd, 2007, 8:59 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

if people in Damascus demonstrate against the goverment,like the lebanese are doing, I do not think they will be treated as the opposition is treated in Lebanon,I would not call the goverment in Lebanon a dictator type,I see reconcilliation type goverment, half of lebanese are against what the demonstrators are demanding,so actions like what happen will not lead to anything,in favor of the opposition, dialogue is the master of the day.
however demanding new election is not wrong and it is very reasonable,Seniora and HA should agree to it, the formation of a tribunal can wait,the investigations have not finished yet,dividing Lebanon is certainly not acceptable,either.

January 23rd, 2007, 9:04 pm


Ford Prefect said:

There is no “us” Syrians and “them” Lebanese – a prelude to the emergence of destructive racism. We are two Anglo French-engineered countries of the same people sharing the same gene pool, bloodlines, looks, and our equal share of stupid behavior on both sides. If Lebanon is bleeding, Syria is bleeding too. But if Syria bleeds, Lebanon risks loosing its blood supply much faster. The fate of Syria and Lebanon had always been the same and events on either side usually spill over. Some are fanticizing that Syrians and Lebanese can survive while running in opposite directions. How many times does history have to prove them wrong?

January 23rd, 2007, 9:19 pm


Ford Prefect said:

MSK, you mentioned “The Syrian occupation was detested by the majority of Lebanese since the 1980s.” Can you please elaborate on that statement so we can have an intelligent argument?

Here are some facts that I’d like to see your comments on:

1. Were the Druze under Walid Jumblatt against the Syrian occupation prior to Assad’s death in 2000?
2. Was Lebanon’s largest minority, the Shia (Amal and Hizbollah) against the Syrian occupation?
3. Was the late Hariri or his supporters against this occupation since he took office in 1992?
4. Did the Christian Maronites object when 13 thousand troops complete with T-55 and T-62 tanks, rolled into Lebanon in October 1976?
5. Were Lebanon’s Sunnis against this occupation before the doors to Damascus, through Khaddam and Kanaan, were shut beginning in 2000?

My thoughts: The Syrian involvement in Lebanon passed through the phases of rescue, deterrence, policing, election engineering, and, of course, painful occupation. However, analysts agree that each and every phase was promoted and supported by one group in Lebanon or another since 1976. While Syria is guilty of many atrocities in Lebanon, one would find many instances where the Lebanese themselves served as a willing accomplice in these atrocities. While Syria has not yet evolved to the level of free expression and self-criticism, one would expect that our Lebanese brothers and sisters to show some leadership in that regard.

January 23rd, 2007, 9:56 pm


Innocent_Criminal said:


I dont think you got the messege the first few times i deleted your insults so in case you’re a little slow i’ll make it clear. do it again and you will be banned.

Ahed Azzouz,
The same goes for you cause i am sick of deleting your racist remarks about the Jews.

January 23rd, 2007, 10:11 pm


Atassi said:

You are absolutely correct “us” Syrians and “those” Lebanese is not a natural state of existence between the two brotherly states. We have to keep in mind, in troubled family affairs, when a big brother abuses a smaller brother, divides and abnormity will be built between both brothers, usually only time can patch up and heal the relations back to a normal state. The issue in place, Syrian regime isn’t allowing this to happen, the regime don’t realize that it must stop meddling in the Lebanese internal affairs, otherwise, the fears of losing Lebanon to Israel may take place as a reaction, then the situation will worsen

January 23rd, 2007, 10:18 pm


MSK said:

Dear FP,

one can collaborate with a more powerful force whom one detests.

Case in point: the Syrian population & the Syrian regime.

Just as the Israelis were welcomed by some people in southern Lebanon (of all groups), so were did the Syrian occupation forces have true sympathizers.

But its behavior in the areas controlled by it (kidnappings, looting, extortion, brutal quelling of any dissent, etc.) resulted in the population in the areas it controlled (which, as you know, varied from 1976 to 2005) to detest it.

So, to answer your question:

1 – Yes, they were in principle, but sometimes the Syrians seemed (a) the lesser evil & (b) the price of resistance too high

2 – Yes, they were in principle (even HA & Nasrallah), but … “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” … and the Syrian occupation was very useful for HA/Amal (the latter’s leadership having actually developed into a sort of “best buddies” with the Syrian regime based on shared politico-economic activity)

3 – Of course they were against the occupation, but again, the Syrian occupation seemed like the lesser evil & also too powerful to resist. And certainly they were useful.

4 – No, not in 1976. But certainly after 1980/81 (Battle of Zahle).

5 – Politically, some were & some weren’t. Sunni Lebanese are the ones with the closest ideational ties to Syria. But the Syrian presence in Tripoli was at times quite brutal & nothern Lebanon was the longest under Syrian occupation.

In the end, I would like to re-emphasize that I distinguish between “detesting an occupying force” and “collaborating with an occupying force”.

The first is what people feel, the second can be Realpolitik.

Just look at the alliance between the Ba’th regime in Damascus & the Shi’ite Islamist HA & Iran.



January 23rd, 2007, 10:20 pm


Gibran said:

Here are the answers to your questions from Lebanese perspective:
1. Yes, since his father was assassinated by the Syrians.
2. Yes, they the group most opposed to Syrians and they are not Lebanon’s largest minority (22% and there are very few immigrants among them).
3. Yes, he was against the Syrians.
4. Yes the Christians objected and that’s why the Syrians assassinated Bashir Gemayel.
5. Yes, the Sunnis were always against Syrian occupation.
If you are looking for leaders in free expression begin by removing your despotic minority rulers. Adopt democracy and get rid of soviet style Baath ideology.

There is ‘Us’ and there is ‘You’ and we are not the same people and we will always be different. It is better that you begin getting used to it instead of the outdated Baath propaganda you have been feeding on for ages. It is a fake ideology suitable for garbage bins. We are not Anglo/French engineered countries. We are two sovereign neighbors with different ways of life and different people. Same answer applies to Atassi. It is time to grow up and build your own country and economy instead of living as ‘parasites’ feeding on others’ problems.

January 23rd, 2007, 10:49 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Atassi and MSK, thank you both for your responses. First, I agree with Atassi, and as many Syrians feel, we all detested the horrific events in Lebanon to include the occupation. I am also in agreement with Atassi that the Syrians did use their “big brother” status to abuse and loot. I have not conducted any scientific sampling, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I learn that many patriotic Syrians (and many of them went to jail) for opposing Syrian reckless involvement in Lebanon.

MSK is also correct in underscoring Realpolitik – the US used it effectively when it formed an alliance with Stalin against Nazi Germany. Which brings me to the point that I am trying to make.

In analyzing the Syrian Lebanese relations since the eruption of the Lebanese Civil War, many are lured into the easy trap of blaming one party over the other – mostly victimizing the Lebanese and making the Syrians as the ultimate villain.

Yes, the Syrians should carry the majority of the blame for mishandling Lebanon, but is the problem that trivial after all? Are we done if we keep blaming the Syrians while the same old politics are still raging in Lebanon?

If the Lebanese are justly calling for a progressive Syria, with accountable leadership, shouldn’t they do the same with their own leadership who must share some of the blame? Why are the same people, who were there 20 years ago, still around? Which one of them has been held accountable for “Realpolitiking” with the Syrian mafia? Why is one of the pillars of Lebanese occupation, Khaddam, being treated to a nice palace in Paris? And why is other pillar of the Lebanese occupation, Shihabi, is running free in the Western world? Why aren’t the Lebanese calling for the heads of the old guards in Syria who were the real culprit of the occupation? By the time the year 2000 rolled around, the Syrian occupation in Lebanon was celebrating its 22nd year. Have the Lebanese forgotten that the real pillage happened in those past years too?

Being one Syrian who was repeatedly humiliated by my own Syrians in Lebanon, you will never catch me justifying the Syrian behavior in Lebanon nor will you find me condoning the repressiveness of the Ba’ath. However, let’s all dare to challenge the status quo, in Lebanon and in Syria, synchronously, shamelessly, but also rationally. As an Arab American, I was elated when I witnessed all the beautiful colors of Lebanon coming together, hand in hand, in 2005. Lebanon at that time offered the whole area a fresh breeze of peaceful change. But in the years following, all hopes dissipated when sons of politicians were propped up into leadership to continue the legacy of their late fathers. As Einstein once said, the minds that created the problem are incapable of solving it.

January 23rd, 2007, 11:52 pm


Gibran said:

I would still thank you even though you may not have liked my response. It is your turn to dare the status quo. Free people of Lebanon made their move and you can be sure the train has taken off. It is up to you and your Syrian comrades to miss it. Your Syrian despots may plot and cause some delays but there is no going back for the Lebanese.

January 24th, 2007, 1:08 am


habib said:


I think you’re an idealogue. Can you comment on something other than Syria/Syrians.

Take reponsibility for something. Economically you are a segregated people. Politically you are split. Militarily you are split. The Syrians aren’t there anymore, but the situation is still devolving. Get a grip and focus on the domestic situation.

The same lebanese families will not yield a seperate result. The same two parties will not think differently either. Think like a person Gibran and you’ll break the mold that we’ve all cast you in.

January 24th, 2007, 3:56 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Jamil Al Assad left inheritance of 5 billion of dollars and 900 properties,Rifaat Al Assad has similar amount,Rami Makhloof worth 8 billion dollar,Bashar and his family worth over 35 billion dollar,they all got this money from Syria.
are the syrian ever going to recover this money?are we ever going to forgive these people?my uncle, once the police found $50 in his drawer,the police put him in jail for a month,how did they got it out of syria,such a huge amount?,the interest alone from this money , if it is given to goverment employees,would increase their salaries over 10,000 lira a month

January 24th, 2007, 4:54 am


Gibran said:

Thanks for the advise, but I do not need it.
I do not speak about Syria and Syrians. That’s the last thing on my mind.
It is better for the Lebanese to be split than being ruled by a despot.
Syrians have left and they better stay out for good and keep their hands off as well.
There is blood(s) to be paid back and we will get the head. That’s a promise.

January 24th, 2007, 4:58 am


Alex said:

January 24, 2007
New York Times Op-Ed Contributor

What if Israel and Syria Find Common Ground?

ISRAEL’S newspapers are rife with reports of a peace agreement secretly forged between Israeli and Syrian negotiators. Though both the Syrian and Israeli governments have denied any involvement in the talks, past experience shows that such disavowals are often the first indication of truth behind the rumors.

Certainly, there is nothing new about the details of the purported plan, which involves a staged Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, occupied since 1967, and the full normalization of relations between Damascus and Jerusalem. Nor is there a precedent in the willingness of Israeli and Arab leaders to enter into direct discussions without the participation or knowledge of the United States.

What is new is the Bush administration’s apparent opposition to a Syrian-Israeli accord and the possibility that Israel, by seeking peace with one of its Arab neighbors, risks precipitating a crisis with the United States.

On more than one occasion, Israeli and Arab leaders have engaged in clandestine talks without informing the White House. In 1977, the envoys of Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt quietly met and laid the groundwork for Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem and for the advent of the Egyptian-Israeli peace process. Only later, when negotiations snagged, did the parties turn to the United States and request presidential mediation.

In 1993, Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors, convening in Oslo, worked out the details of a peace arrangement and requested President Bill Clinton’s imprimatur on the accord only days before its signing. Jordan and Israel also asked Mr. Clinton to sponsor their peace treaty, initialed the following year, after they had independently agreed on its terms.

And in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel unilaterally ordered the evacuation of the Gaza Strip, a move widely welcomed as a stepping stone toward peace but from which the Bush administration, committed to the multilateral process stipulated by the “road map,” kept its distance. Syria and Israel have also exchanged peace proposals in the past, sometimes under American auspices, as in the 1991 conference in Madrid.

Yet even when the two sides negotiated bilaterally, as during the secret exchanges between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hafez al-Assad of Syria in the late 1990s, Washington approved of the contacts. American leaders agreed that the Syrian-Israeli track offered a promising alternative to the perennially stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, and that achieving peace between the Syrian and Israeli enemies would open the door to regional reconciliation.

All that was before Sept. 11, however, and Syria’s inclusion, alongside Iran and North Korea, in President Bush’s “axis of evil.” Once regarded as a possible partner in a Middle East peace process, the Baathist regime of Bashar al-Assad was suddenly viewed as a source of Middle East instability, a state sponsor of terrorist groups and an implacable foe of the United States.

Hostility toward Damascus intensified after the incursion into Iraq, during which administration officials accused the Syrians of abetting the insurgency and concealing unconventional weapons in Iraq. More recently, the United States has accused Mr. Assad of plotting to undermine Lebanon’s efforts to achieve independence from Syria, of assassinating anti-Syrian Lebanese and of acting as an Iranian agent in the Western Arab world.

The last thing Washington wants is a Syrian-Israeli treaty that would transform Mr. Assad from pariah to peacemaker and lend him greater latitude in promoting terrorism and quashing Lebanon’s freedom. Some Israeli officials, by contrast, see substantive benefits in ending their nation’s 60-year conflict with Syria. An accord would invariably provide for the cessation of Syrian aid to Hamas and Hezbollah, which endanger Israel’s northern and southern sectors.

More crucial still, by detaching Syria from Iran’s orbit, Israel will be able to address the Iranian nuclear threat — perhaps by military means — without fear of retribution from Syrian ground forces and missiles. Forfeiting the Golan Heights, for these Israelis, seems to be a sufferable price to pay to avoid conventional and ballistic attacks across most of Israel’s borders.

The potentially disparate positions of Israel and the United States on the question of peace with Syria could trigger a significant crisis between the two countries — the first of Mr. Bush’s expressly pro-Israel presidency. And yet, facing opposition from a peace-minded Democratic Congress and from members of his own party who have advocated a more robust American role in Middle East mediation, Mr. Bush would have difficulty in withholding approval from a comprehensive Syrian-Israeli agreement.

Mr. Bush may not have to make that decision for some time, if ever. For all his talk of good will, Mr. Assad has made no Sadat-like gestures to Israel, and many Israelis agree with Mr. Bush that Syria should not be rewarded for its assistance to terrorism and its denial of Lebanese liberty.

But if trust is established on both sides and the conditions are conducive to peace, a settlement between Syria and Israel may yet be attained — and a clash between Israel and Washington ignited.

Michael B. Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, is the author of “Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present.”

January 24th, 2007, 5:16 am


Habib said:

oh you want revenge from the syrians. i see, very cunning. what a forward and progressive position you wield. i have a feeling you’d beat up a syrian day laborer, with like 20 like-minded friends. i hope you get it, and its real bloody. i hope you have the chance to really give those syrians a piece of lebanese justice. and i hope they come back at you harder than you expect, and so it continues until you get sick of each other. slightly reminiscent of the lebanese vision du grace during the civil war anyone, anyone. oh no ones responding because they’ve all left the country or are dead. reasonable, isn’t it amo gibran.

January 24th, 2007, 5:59 am


youngSyria said:


“Thanks for the advise, but I do not need it.
I do not speak about Syria and Syrians. That’s the last thing on my mind.”

and that explain why you are commenting on “SYRIA”comment…..take it easy man and take off your mask…. 😉

January 24th, 2007, 7:06 am


Alex said:


Again, you will not agree with me, but I’ll say it anyway:

When everything is resolved, there will be no zero Syrian involvement in Lebanon. You will not see the Syrian army in Lebanon again, but you will probably see some moukhabarat. And you will have a Syria friendly government in Beirut.

Why? because Syria is much more concerned with what happens in Lebanon than India, China, Russia, the United States, France and all the other countries who have a serous intelligence presence in Lebanon today.

If it makes things easier to digest, Lebanon should aslo have its own intelligence officers working in Syria and writing reports back to Beirut.

And unless the Lebanese find a way to fix their election laws, there will be conflict. Many will blame it on Syria, on Israel, on the US, on Iran, on France .. but it is also an unavoidable by product of the Lebanese system which does not fit today’s Lebanon anymore.

I know you are very proud of “Lebanon” .. but which Lebanon? 40-60% of Lebanon strongly disagree with your choices and definition of “Lebanon”. If you believe the border line between Lebanon and Syria is real and highly significant, then you need to be honest with yourself and look at the equally significant other borders inside “Lebanon” the borders between those who see “Lebanon” very differently from other “Lebanese”. “Lebanon” is a work in progress … it is not finalized yet.

And finally, as long as the United States is on the move in the Middle East, Lebanon is needed as a place to fight proxy wars (real wars, and political wars)… two years ago, the Americans and some of their Arab allies pushed Syria too much out of everything … there will be no rest until they either destroy Syria completely, or until things get more balanced in a natural way.


The stories of the Syrian army’s mistakes in Lebanon are endless, many of them true, and many are manufactured … typical middle East.

But again, when it comes to Syria, somehow that country is asked to always act like the Sweden of the Middle East … why? … They all have political prisoners but only the Syrian political prisoners count and deserve a mention from President Bush and from you. They all are not democratic, but it is Syria that gets 90% of the punishment for not being a “democracy” … I understand why president Bush needs to put it that way, but I do not have to abide by those skewed views here on Syria comment. Either the Lebanese governmetn which has Junblat and Jeajea the killers as members is also not civilized, or I feel very comfortable calling the Syrian president who did not kill anyone yet, a civilized man. (unless you have proof that the UN does not have, 2 years later)

And to put things in perspective again, the Syrian army in 2004 was out of most Lebanese cities. Bashar was on a 5 year plan to be out of Lebanon by 2010 … he already withdrew more than half the Syrian forces before Hariri’s assassination

And Ghazi Kanaan was a very smooth and polite manager in his last few years in Lebanon .. Hariri, Jumblat, and most other Lebanese politicians loved him. Syria’s role as peace keepers in Lebanon was much more successful than America’s bloody failure … If Syrian presence cost Lebanon a few billions ($500 trillions per year according to G, I’m sure) it also saved Lebanon the need to spend 2 billions per year for 20 years for a serious Lebanese army … that’s 40 Billions right there… and it saved Lebanon from destruction as there was no fighting at all since 1988.

Again, I am surely not for the return of Syrian soldiers to Lebanon, but it was (in its final years) far from the ugly occupying foreign army that the Palestinians are experiencing every day and the Iraqis are experiencing everyday … just to keep things in perspective.

For your information, those who are not hot on punishing Syria are studying the possibility of sending the very capable Syrian “peace keepers” to Iraq … if few other issues are settled first!

(low possibility for now, before G starts laughing uncontrollably again at my Baathist dreams)

January 24th, 2007, 7:51 am


Alex said:

While we are busy with Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine …

في خطوة حكومية بحرينية نحو الترشيد في الميزانية ، فارق الوزراء اليوم سيارات المرسيدس التي يحصلون عليها ضمن الإمتيازات الوزارية عند التعيين وتم استبدالها بسيارات بي أم دبليو

January 24th, 2007, 8:16 am


Dubai Jazz said:

Gibran yelps:
“I do not speak about Syria and Syrians. That’s the last thing on my mind.”
well then get the hell out of here, this site is called ‘syriacomment’ you blind moron…

January 24th, 2007, 8:42 am


Ford Prefect said:

It is a darn plague we have. Dare to speak rationally, without emotions engulfed in rage that is tied to clannish experience, and rest assured you will get labeled as a sympathizer of this regime or that government. Dare to mention that the Lebanese must also be held accountable through their feuding warlords, and get painted as a Ba’athist. Dare to mention that Syria did make mistakes (some were colossal) specifically in Lebanon and more generally in its foreign policy, and get a nice Uncle Sam T-shirt. Dare to challenge conventional wisdom that says these Lebanese zou3mas are incapable of resolving anything in Lebanon, and get response like “the train has taken off.” No Gibran, the Lebanese train has not taken off yet. In fact, if you look objectively and closely, you will see the station, the tracks, the carriage, the people, but the engine is sadly missing.

January 24th, 2007, 10:28 am


aussamaa said:

This is somewhat old (written in Nov 2005) by TRISH SCUTH but it may help shed light on what was really happening, and how things are developing today. Just thought it may be of use to some.

November 18, 2005

Mehlis’s Murky Past; US and Isreali Proxies Pushing the Next Neo-Con War
Faking the Case Against Syria

Another slam dunk forgery is being used to convict Syria. The United Nations’ Detlev Mehlis inquiry into the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafiq Hairri depends on a central witness, Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik, who has faced accusations of being a swindler and embezzler. Der Spiegel exposed Saddik’s brags of “becoming a millionaire” from his testimony to the Mehlis Commission. Saddik was referred to the Mehlis Commission by Syrian regime critic Rifaat Assad, the uncle of current Syrian President Bashar Assad. Rifaat has been lobbying the Bush administration to become the president of Syria in the event his nephew Bashar is ousted.

The record of the UN’s investigator Mehlis does not inspire faith in his credibility. As Senior Public Prosecutor in the German Attorney General’s office, Mehlis investigated the 1986 LaBelle Discotheque bombing in Berlin. Relying on alleged National Security Agency intercepts of coded messages between Tripoli and Libyan suspects in Germany (later revealed by former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky as false telex signals generated by Mossad itself), Mehlis provided the ‘irrefutable proof’ of Libya’s guilt that then justified Ronald Reagan’s bombing of Libya.

In the case of the accusations against Syria, Mehlis’s case revolves around a series of questionable phone conversations and intersecting calling card numbers allegedly dialled by the perpetrators. It contains no definitive forensics on the car bomb explosives used. Outside investigators have said it could have been RDX plastique, not TNT as Mehlis suggested in his report. The German Mercedes manufacturers were also perplexed at how Hariri’s vehicle, reinforced by the heaviest steel-titanium alloy, was “melted by the force of the explosion,” after-effects usually associated with high density DU munitions. The car bomb vehicle (stolen in Japan and never fully traced) was possibly driven by a suicide bomber, whose identity is still unknown. Mehlis’s report then states: “Another only slightly less likely possibility is that of a remotely controlled device.”

Mehlis conclusions on the case , due on December 15 could justify an attack on Syria, using the Hariri assassination as justification. But from Beirut to Damascus, the “Arab Spring” was a neocon forgery designed to destabilize the Levant and redraw the map of the middle east.

Near the Mohammad Al Amin Mosque of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in Beirut, I interviewed a founder of the Martyrs’ Square tent city and asked about US-Israeli sponsorship of the ‘Independence Intifadah’. Surrounded by red and white Lebanese flags, soldier Michael Sweiden of the Lebanese Forces emphasized he was Christian Lebanese.

“We love Israel”, he told me. “Israel helps us. Israel is like our mother.”
Years before its role in the so-called “Cedar Revolution” (a moniker coined by US Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, a signatory to the Project for a New American Century), Israel awarded citizenship and grants of up to $10,000 to South Lebanon Army soldiers who collaborated with the Israeli Defense Forces during Lebanon’s civil war. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed, “Senior officials at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office were in touch with Lebanese leaders even before the current crisis.” Backed by American and Israeli neocons, a Christian Lebanese Likud is proxying Israel’s second invasion.

One example is the Lebanese Foundation for Peace, a self-styled “Government of Lebanon in Exile in Jerusalem” founded by former Lebanese Forces’ military intelligence officer Nagi Najjar. Najjar, a CIA consultant, testified not so long ago in support of Ariel Sharon’s “complete innocence” in the Sabra and Shatila affair against charges by Human Rights Watch and regional governments. Najjar has also paired with Mossad agent Yossef Bodansky while lobbying the U.S. congress to intervene in Hezbollah-dominated south Lebanon. His NGO, The Lebanese Foundation for Peace, endorsed the AIPAC-sponsored sanctions against Syria, known as the Syria Accountability / Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. On his LFP website featuring an Israeli flag, Najjar’s “government in exile” issued an official declaration; “We, the people of Free Lebanon, thank Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom for the campaign launched by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Afffairs aimed at ousting Syria from occupying Lebanon.”

Another NGO of the Lebanese Likud is the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon. Its President, Ziad Abdel Nour is the son of wealthy Lebanese Minister of Parliament Khalil Abdel Nour. USCFL partners with designated “democratizers” such as the American Enterprise Institute (created by Lebanese-American William Baroody, Sr.), Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Republican Jewish Coalition, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Middle East Forum, the Hudson Institute and kindred pro-Israel lobbies.

The USCFL hails former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel for signing a peace deal with Israel in 1983. (According to the UAE’s late president Sheik Zayed bin sultan Al Nahyan, Saddam Hussein agreed to leave Iraq before the war in 2003 to halt the invasion. But Amin Gemayel, the mediator between Saddam and the US administration, wrongly informed the US that Hussein had rejected all offers of exile). Abdel Nour’s other links include the World Lebanese Organization, which advocates Israel’s re-occupation of south Lebanon. In 2000, he and neocon Daniel Pipes composed the policy paper “Ending Syria’s Occupation of Lebanon: the US Role” and together co-author the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. The bulletin is a project of the neocon Middle East Forum and is a frequent resource for American intelligence agencies. On November 2, 2005 Abdel Nour updated me on the Syrian crisis by phone.

Schuh: What is the future of Syria, of President Bashar Al Assad’s situation?

Nour: Both the Syrian and Lebanese regimes will be changed- whether they like it or not- whether it’s going to be a military coup or something else… and we are working on it. We know already exactly who’s going to be the replacements. We’re working on it with the Bush administration. This is a Nazi regime of 30 years, killing ministers, presidents and stuff like that. They must be removed. These guys who came to power, who rule by power, can only be removed by power. This is Machiavelli’s power game. That’s how it is. This is how geopolitics — the war games, power games — work. I know inside out how it works, because I come from a family of politicians for the last 60 years. Look, I have access to the top classified information from the CIA from all over the world. They call me, I advise them. I know exactly what’s going on. And this will happen.

Q: So would they remove the entire Assad family?

A: Why not? Who is Bashar Al Assad?

Q: I didn’t see forensic proof in the Mehlis report that would legally convict Assad of Hariri’s death in a court of law.

A: I don’t give a damn. I don’t give a damn, frankly. This Bashar Al Assad-Emil Lahoud regime is going to go whether it’s true or not. When we went to Iraq whether there were weapons of mass destruction or not, the key is — we won. And Saddam is out! Whatever we want, will happen. Iran? We will not let Iran become a nuclear power. We’ll find a way, we’ll find an excuse- to get rid of Iran. And I don’t care what the excuse is. There is no room for rogue states in the world. Whether we lie about it, or invent something, or we don’t… I don’t care. The end justifies the means. What’s right? Might is right, might is right. That’s it. Might is right.

Q: You sound just like Saddam. Those were his rules too.

A: So Saddam wanted to prove to the whole world he was strong? Well, we’re stronger- he’s out! He’s finished. And Iran’s going to be finished and every single Arab regime that’s like this will be finished. Because there is no room for us capitalists and multinationalists in the world to operate with regimes like this. Its all about money. And power. And wealth… and democracy has to be spread around the world. Those who want to espouse globalization are going to make a lot of money, be happy, their families will be happy. And those who aren’t going to play this game are going to be crushed, whether they like it or not! This is how we rule. And this is how it’s going to be as long as you have people who think like me.

Q: When will this regime change take place?

A: Within 6 months, in both Lebanon and Syria.

Q: Some names of replacements?

A: It is classified. There are going to be replacements and we know who they are, but I cannot mention the names.

Q: Will this be done peacefully?

A: It doesn’t matter. The end justifies the means. I don’t care about how it’s done. The important thing is that it is done. I don’t rule out force. I’m not against force. If it’s an option, it will be an option.

Q: But if it’s just trading Syrian control for American or Israeli control?

A: I have — we have — absolutely no problem with heavy US involvement in Lebanon. On an economic level, military level, political level, security level… whatever it is. Israel is the 51st state of the United States. Let Lebanon be the 52nd state. And if the Arabs don’t like it, tough luck.

US-Israeli intervention in Lebanon has a long history. In 1950’s Beirut, The U.S. oil companies and the CIA paid bribes to Maronite Catholic President Camille Chamoun to buy allegiance against Lebanese Muslims, and the pan-Arab threat of Nasser. In his book Ropes of Sand, CIA case officer William Crane Eveland revealed, “Throughout the elections, I traveled regularly to the presidential palace with a briefcase full of Lebanese pounds, then returned late at night to the embassy with an empty twin case” to be refilled again with more CIA funds. Journalist Said Aburish recalled, “The convergence of interest between the Camille Chamoun government and CIA agents produced a bizarre atmosphere which altered Beirut’s character. It became a CIA city…” frequented by such covert operatives as Kermit Roosevelt (who organized the Iranian coup against Mohammed Mossadeq). Soon the Israelis joined in, supplying weapons to Chamoun’s son Dany, an arms trader. Dany’s weapons sales to Maronite gangs created a precedent for the country’s civil war militias. ( See Aburish’s A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite, 1997)

A more recent US-Israeli role commenced in mid-November, 2004. A demonstration was called by former Christian General Michel Aoun. (Aoun testified to the US Congress in 2003, and Congress favors him as a post-Assad Lebanese president). US diplomats coached a vanguard of unwitting Lebanese youth in CIA “Triple U” techniques (uncontrollable urban unrest). Opposition sources revealed that a downtown rally of 3000 mostly Christian student activists protesting “Syrians Out!” had been organized by the US Embassy in Beirut. The Associated Press reported on November 19, 2004, “One demonstrator appealed to the US president, holding a placard that read: ‘Bush help us save Lebanon.’ Another dressed up as Osama bin Laden but with the words “Syrian Terror” on his chest. He held a toy gun to the head of a protester who was wrapped in the Lebanese flag…”

Lebanese riot police allowed this unprecedented pre-Cedar rehearsal without arrests because of a deal worked out beforehand with US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman. Feltman, closely linked to Ariel Sharon and Karl Rove, is an associate of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans that created the false evidence and “mushroom cloud” intelligence used to justify attacks on Iraq. This 2004 rehearsal demonstration was answered by a counter protest of 300,000 on November 30 against UN Resolution 1559.

When the stage show opened for real after Rafiq Hariri’s death, America’s Wag the Flag performance was camera-ready. Janes.com exposed that the flashy demonstrations and rallies were being engineered by one of Lebanon’s top advertising agencies and the London-based Saatchi & Saatchi. Michael Nakfour of the corporate events management company, Independence 05 – Civil Society, helped manage the Freedom Square tent city by distributing food, flags, supplies and theatrical effects, prompting American Enterprise Institute scholar Hedieh Mirahmadi to marvel; “Who would imagine one could find posters, in downtown Beirut, with the picture of President Bush in between American and Lebanese flags?” (NY Sun, 3/18/05)

Reporter Mary Wakefield, of The Spectator was also surprised. “Only 1,000 or so people? ..it felt less like a national protest than a pop concert. Bouncers in black bomber jackets wore laminated Independence ’05 cards round their necks, screens to the left and right of the platform reflected the crowd… To the left of the main speaker, a man in a black flying suit with blonde highlights, mirrored Oakley sunglasses and an earpiece seemed to be conducting the crowd. Sometimes he’d wave his arms to increase the shouting, sometimes, with a gesture he’d silence them… ‘Out Syria! Out Syria! Out Syria!’ Production assistants with clipboards busied themselves around trucks full of monitors and amplifiers…. The truth is that the Cedar Revolution has been presented and planned in just the same way as Ukraine’s Orange revolution and, before it, the Rose revolution in Georgia. But just because it is in American interests doesn’t mean it’s an American production.” (“A Revolution Made for TV” 3/12/05)

Why not? The New York Post: “US intelligence sources told The Post that the CIA and European intelligence services are quietly giving money and logistical support to organizers of the anti-Syrian protests to ramp up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to completely quit Lebanon. Sources said the secret program is similar to previous support of pro-democracy movements in Georgia and Ukraine, which also led to peaceful demonstrations.” (3/8/05).

On the streets of Beirut, one ‘grassroots’ project, “Pulse of Freedom,” inadvertently exposed its U.S. origins by utilizing uniquely American street theater tactics. Then in a slip, reminiscent of Baghdad’s Firdos Square when US troops covered Saddam’s statue with the Stars and Stripes, or when the Republic of Georgia’s military band played the US national anthem instead of its own during the Rose Revolution, “Pulse of Freedom” portrayed Lebanon’s national Monument of Sovereignty as the Statue of Liberty.

Spirit of America, the NGO that created “Pulse of Freedom” provided protesters with a billboard-sized electronic ‘Freedom Clock’ for ‘Freedom Square’ to “countdown to freedom.” Spirit of America’s tax deductible donations helped maintain the tent city’s food, shelter and other basic necessities “so that the demonstrators can keep pressure on for political change and world attention on the struggle for Lebanese independence”. Spirit of America also spawned a plethora of revolution bloggers, foremost among them Tech Central Station columnist Michael Totten whose boss was Spirit of America’s founder Jim Hake.

A registered charity, Spirit of America exemplifies the regime change industry. Advised by US Ambassador Mark Palmer, Vice Chairman of the Board of Freedom House, and co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, Palmer served as speech-writer to three US Presidents and six Secretaries of State. He also helped the US government destabilize Slobodan Milosevic and Muammar Qaddafi. Capitalizing on his color revolution skills, Palmer wrote “Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators Without Firing a Shot.”

Another Spirit of America governor is Lt General Mike DeLong, Deputy Commander, US Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. DeLong manages a budget of $8.2 billion and “conceived and implemented the Global War on Terrorism, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.” As top Deputy to former General Tommy Franks, DeLong’s listed expertise at places such as the Army War College, the Department of Defense and the Amphibious Warfare School included Artillery, military intelligence, coup détats, supporting democracy. DeLong in his autobiography Inside Centcom alleged “Syria had been shipping military supplies, including night vision goggles to Iraq.” The New York Times and Washington Post later revealed that these data had been fabricated “smoking gun” evidence. Charles Duelfer of the UN Iraq Survey Group also confirmed that WMD charges had been “exaggerated” by now-US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, when he was Under-Secretary for Arms Control in 2002.

Lebanese history professor Habib Malik, affiliated with the Middle East Forum, defended the anti-Syria protesters to journalist-in-residence Claudia Rosett of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies as being “utterly spontaneous and coercion-free.” (NY Sun, 3/11/05)

But an American Hezbollah expert in Beirut, Dr. Judith Harik, informed this writer that the pro-Syria crowds were misrepresented in the media. “As you are hearing, the Bush administration is labeling the opposition “the people” and everyone else as Hezbollah terrorists. Tomorrow’s [March 8, 2005] demonstration will include Sunnis, Druze of the Arslan faction, Christians of all the leftist nationalist parties and the entire south and Bekaa, along with Orthodox Christian areas of Mt. Lebanon. Again the Bush administration is misleading the public by ‘mistakenly’ lauding a loud minority that supports its middle east policy.”

Each side eventually held a mass demonstration numbered in the hundreds of thousands, prompting a truce. But the US-Israeli machine declared war. Using language formerly reserved for Yasser Arafat, Bush parroted Ariel Sharon. “Syria is an obstacle to peace” and an “obstacle to change”. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) advised, “Syria — put two nukes on ’em”; Jerusalem Post: “Israel hails Bush’s Islamist attacks”; Jewish Forward; “US promises Israel to tackle Hezbollah.”

A deck of ‘Most Wanted’ playing cards appeared, a technique used by the Israeli newspaper Maariv to target Palestinians, and later used against the Iraqi Baath Party. Likud MK Yuval Steinetz, head of the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee crystallized the priorities: “It’s a clear Israeli interest to end the Assad dynasty and replace Bashar Assad.” Evoking the “absurd Arabs with their Arab conspiracy theories” slur, Geostrategy-Direct headlined: “Is Bashar Assad paranoid or is the US really plotting to undermine him?”

When Israel’s commandeering of US middle east policy became too overt, defter tongues moved to quell the uproar. “Bush Administration Advises Israel to be Quiet on Lebanese Politics,” said the New York Times. It wasn’t the first reprimand to Israel by some of its own. In November, 2003 Israel’s former head of military intelligence, Major-General Shlomo Gazit publicly warned Sharon against threatening Syria and the Israeli “jab, jab policy orchestrated to incite and humiliate Damascus. It is only going to be a matter of time until the Syrians are unable to hold back and then the big blaze will begin.” But that was Sharon’s intent and he spoke of Iraq as a justification to attack Hezbollah; “it will give us a great pretext. But we’ll hit them in any case.” (Daily Times, 3/4/03)

The Jerusalem Post wrote; “Rumsfeld considers striking Hizbullah to provoke Syria,” and the Pentagon assessed that “the time is coming to oust Assad and the ruling generals by targeting Syria via Lebanon…” Former National Security Council/CIA analyst Flynt Leverett confirmed Rumsfeld’s belief that by instigating the right crisis in Lebanon, regime change could be executed in Syria. One Rumsfeld project, P20G, or the Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group, existed specifically to provoke terrorist attacks that would then justify “counter-attacks”. Neocons such as Douglas Feith and David Wurmser envisioned this graduated destablization as the “constructive instability” of “total war”.

Rumsfeld’s team had already begun discussions with Israeli intelligence about assassinating Lebanese officials — particularly “Hezbollah and their supporters” in 2002, and intelligence operatives were dispatched to Lebanon. (This writer was introduced to at least one Israeli ‘student’ studying Arabic at AUB in Beirut. He travelled with an American passport, coming to Lebanon “to study ‘the enemy’ to find out how they think.”) The Sunday Times (6/5/05) revealed that Mossad had been using Trojan Horse email surveillance on President Assad’s wife Asma, labelling her family correspondence a “legitimate soft target”.

By January 2005, the Pentagon were preparing for military operations in Lebanon to destroy “insurgency strongholds along the Lebanese-Syrian border”. Simultaneously, Israeli approval for a military operation in Lebanon was given after Hezbollah killed an IDF officer. Political-security cabinet members comprised of PM Sharon, Deputy PM Ehud Olmert, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, and FM Silvan Shalom had authorized the action. (Haaretz, 5/3/05). But then Rafiq Hariri was killed, and the door to Syria swung open.

Syria may become America’s 53rd state, if Farid Ghadry’s NGO, the Reform Party of Syria rushes through that opened door. Ghadry is a Syrian Christian who worked for EG & G, a Department of Defense contractor. EG & G assisted in the development and testing of nuclear weapons and in many of the US military’s top secret atomic projects. Ghadry’s Reform Party coordinates with the Syrian National Council, and transmits Radio Free Syria from Cyprus and Germany to destabilize Syria. The CIA and Mossad have long used Kurds to target nations in the region. Journalist Jack Anderson wrote in 1972 about Israeli envoys delivering $50,000 a month to Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani to destabilize Iraq.

In March 2004, this writer was approached in Damascus by Kurds from Qamishli and Hasaka (one whose brother was arrested in the riots) wanting to “thank Bush for helping us get rid of Assad”. News accounts later verified that the chaos up north had been orchestrated by the US and Israel, using Turkish and Iraqi Kurds. ‘Protesters’ at the height of the melee even waved posters of President Bush and American flags. The ringleaders were sponsored by the Department of Defense and the US State Department. “Let the Damascus spring flower, and let its flowers bloom,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. So sprouted another color catastrophe — Syria’s “Jasmine Revolution”.

Reform Party of Syria’s Farid Ghadry has been a featured speaker at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and is himself a member of AIPAC. When repeated calls to his organization went unanswered, I visited the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the RFP. Reform Party of Syria is the office of “super-Zionist” lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Middle Gate Ventures, Abramoff’s ‘political advisory company’ partners with RFP. Abramoff is a top Beltway lobbyist now under intensive FBI investigation concerning, among other things, his proposed $9 million fee to get Gabon’s president an Oval Office session with Bush.

As a College Republican in the 1980s, Abramoff founded the International Freedom Foundation, a project linked to the South African Defence Forces. The International Freedom Foundation was the PR branch of sister NGO Strategic Communications, a covert organization charged by former spy Craig Williamson in the Weekly Mail and Guardian for 2/24/95 with being involved with frame-ups, extreme violence and dirty tricks campaigns.

According to the Weekly Standard (12/20/04), one Abramoff venture was his organization of a 1985 global “summit” of underworld thugs. With Citizens for America sponsorship, Contra leaders, guerilla rebels and right wing ‘freedom fighters’ from around the world convened in the African hinterlands to strategize. During this period, Abramoff’s membership/financial transactions with the secretive Council for National Policy, which included Oliver North and Richard Secord, became a template for how to mask money that still remains partially hidden. (Nizkor Project)

Recently Abramoff’s interventionism has focused on the Middle East. Tomflocco.com reveals that Abramoff’s long-time employer, Greenberg Traurig, partially financed a Homeland Security Government Contract Team trip to Israel for the US House/Senate Armed Services Committee and defense contractor CACI (accused of Abu Ghraib torture). The delegation reviewed IDF “resistance to interrogation techniques” used in Palestine, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. The Lebanon Daily Star reported that the group visited Beit Horon “the central training camp for the anti-terrorist forces of the Israeli police and border police” and were able to “witness exercises related to anti-terror warfare.” Legislators’ names were not disclosed.

Abramoff also works with the World Zionist Organization and the Christian Coalition to bankroll illegal Israeli settlement activities. According to Israeli prosecutor Talia Sasson they are part of a larger international problem. Some $60 billion worldwide has been illicitly funnelled to Israeli settlements via different foreign donors, quasi-NGOs and secret military accounts.

In one such case, according to Senate testimony and news reports in Newsweek and The New Republic, an Abramoff charity, Capital Athletic Fund, underwrote sniper scopes, camouflage suits, thermal imagers, night vision goggles, hydration tactical tubes, shooting mats and other paramilitary equipment through Greenberg Traurig to right wing settler Shmuel Ben-Zvi. Abramoff wanted to help ultraorthodox settlement Beitar Illit “neutralize terrorists” and wrote to Ben-Zvi; “Thanks brother. If only there were another dozen of you the dirty rats would be finished.” Apparently angling for cover and a tax deduction, Beitar Illit seminar director Ben-Zvi suggested invoicing the weaponry to the Israeli Defence Forces on ‘Sniper Workshop’ stationery with a sniper logo and letterhead to qualify it as an educational entity. Payments were partially run through “Kollel Ohel Tiferet,” an entity not publicly listed or traceable. Beitar Illit Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus claims never to have heard of it. (Newsweek, 5/2/05)

Abramoff dollars may also have found their way to the Israeli Defense Forces’ Lebanon Border Unit, the civilian SF troops that patrol the Israel-Lebanon border. Yaagal, supposedly disbanded after Israel’s 2000 pullout from south Lebanon, still conducts clandestine reconnaissance, plans ambushes and carries out cross-border incursions into Hezbollah-held areas of south Lebanon. As so often with lobbyist Abramoff’s entities, the tools and trails remain murky.

Indicted AIPAC lobbyist Steven Rosen told the New Yorker; “A lobby is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.” But Abramoff’s own words to Ralph Reed in 1983 are even more apropos; “It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistance” with opponents. “Our job is to remove them permanently.” Flowery language for forged freedoms, an “Arab Spring” Machiavelli-style.

Trish Schuh writes about Middle East politics. She can be reached at: hsvariety@yahoo.com

January 24th, 2007, 11:11 am


Akbar Palace said:

Ahed Azzouz said:

“I am sick of reading Akbar calling Arabs and Moslems Terrorists.”

Dear Ahed,

The only Arabs and Moslems who are terrorists are those Arabs and Moslems who have committed these acts of violence and those that support them.

Now, in light of your dream for 10 million shouting Eygptians to cross into Israel from Rafah, and your friend’s latest “anti-anti-missile defense system that he developed”, and your references to Jews as “plague bugs”, I’m getting the impression you don’t believe any Arabs or Moslems are terrorists – only Zionists and Americans are.

Is my impression correct?

Alex asks:

“But again, when it comes to Syria, somehow that country is asked to always act like the Sweden of the Middle East … why? …”

Probably because Syria and Iran are the last two terror supporting contries in the ME, and Syria is the “weak link”.

Acting like Sweden would be great, but I would be satisfied with another Eygpt or Jordan.

January 24th, 2007, 12:06 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Israel, US will soon die:


After 9-11, the US is not going to sit on its hands. Democrat, Republican, or Independent.

January 24th, 2007, 12:10 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Akbar Palace,
Even in Iran, Ahmadinejad is irrelevant. Why are you giving him so much prominence? Are you not yet convinced that racists do not usually declare their racism in public? Are you not aware that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the US and in Europe and being practiced everyday, but rarely reported. Strange if you are not feeling it – incident per incident, there is more anti-Semitism in the Western World than Ahmadinejad ever dreamed of spewing in public. Are you not aware that many Jews in the US today are still excluded from joining certain country clubs, getting business franchises, and invited over to Thanksgiving dinners?
Please enlighten us by focusing more on issues at hand and how the reckless and hugely incompetent, neocon-inspired US policies are dragging Arabs and Israelis alike into unsafe territories. Please do not undermine your otherwise valid arguments with Fox news sensationalisms. What next are you going to tell us about, a new Terror Alert color? Racism exists. Bigotry happens. Let’s not practice it here.

January 24th, 2007, 12:57 pm


aussamaa said:


You can find similar but more intersting articles at this site: http://www.thegoldenreport.com

January 24th, 2007, 12:59 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Thanks for posting Schuh’s article. Indeed, it is as relevant today as it is revealing. I also love this Abdel Nour hapless guy; so intelligent, so informed, and so convincing! He certainly drank a healthy dose of the neocon’s Cool-Aid. He just needs now a band-aid now over his bruised intellects. Since his prediction did not materialize, someone should tell him about Faux News. They are always hiring.

January 24th, 2007, 1:19 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

some one here (AP)calls resisting occupation,he called it terrorism,he is deceiving.
he calls people who he does not like anti semitic,(again,the arab are semitic, they are not against themself),but he is deceiving, he meant anti zionism,but he does not dare call it that,he is deceiving.
accusing is evil,and the people who accuse,are evil .

January 24th, 2007, 1:29 pm


Gibran said:

Habib, Alex,
No guaranties Syrian laborers will not get beaten in Lebanon, especially if they turn out to be Mukhabarat. The Lebanese, however, are exercising justice in this regard. They are replacing the Syrian laborers with Sri Lankans and filipinos. They have proven to be more dependable than their Syrian counterparts and more in line with Lebanese national interests. Alex, friendly relations with Syria cannot bypass resolving Hariri assassination and other political assassinations. In other words criminals all the way to the top of the chain have to be brought to justice. I doubt there will be friendly relations as long as Bashar regime is in place. Do not inflate figures of so-called opposition (40 to 60% come on man we’ve seen their size in plain daylight). It is more like 20% minus and soon you may count Aoun out.

Dubai_Jazz F..K Off.

I’m sorry if I implied that you are a baathist. I didn’t say you are one though. I only said stop feeding on baathist propaganda. I think that is normal in Syria, isn’t it? Syrians do get a steady diet of baathist propaganda? Isn’t it manadatory? So you can be non baathist and still get your steady dose of propaganda. Look at Alex. That’s exactly what he is doing on this blog. That’s his job: propagating baathist nonsense.

January 24th, 2007, 3:05 pm


norman said:

Bush declared war on Syria and Iran and from what we hear about the US blocking peace between Syria and Israel i do not see any improvment in the midleast untill 2008 at the earliest.

January 24th, 2007, 3:11 pm


Alex said:


The only time I read a Syrian Baathist newspaper (Teshreen) was when I was 14, on a train from Aleppo to Latakia, facing me there was a couple kissing so passionately that i had to find something to do… a Teshreen newspaper was on the empty seat next tome, so I read it for the two hours the trip lasted and the couple were still kissing … I read the whole thing including the sports page where I still remember that the Homs volleyball women’s team beat the Deir ezoore team. Lots of interesting news in Teshreen.

As for the size of the Lebanese opposition, just support early elections if you are that confident of your 20% estimate. What is wrong with early elections?

Your estimate reminded me of an interview a journalist friend of mine interviewed the leader of the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood (el-murshid el-aam). She asked him if he has a problem with Shia governing in Iraq. He said he has nothing against the Shia but he can not support the Iraqi shia who are estimated at 20% of the Iraqi population to govern.


I was referring to the Americans expecting Syria to be the only democracy in the Arab world, the only Arab country with no political prisoners …etc. If you read the Saudi press, they actually criticize Syria for not being democratic.

As for Syria’s support to “terror” … ok, considering that Hamas gets all its weapons smuggled through the tiny Egypt/Gaza border, I wonder why Egypt is not a supporter of terror! … trust me, the Egyptians know about the smuggling operations and do not stop it. Syria supports Hamas politically .. Hamas’s money comes from donations from rich Saudis and other Rich Arab Gulf states (plus Iran lately).

So again, either they are all supporters of terror, or Syria is not a supporter of terror.

And finally, Syria will never be a Jordan … not because of its regime but because of its people. We have a bit more pride than to accept our country to become a Jordan. Israel will need to accept that Syria is much more than “the weak link”… strength is not all about how many F16’s you have in your army.

January 24th, 2007, 4:36 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect said:

“Even in Iran, Ahmadinejad is irrelevant. Why are you giving him so much prominence?”

Because he may have or soon may have nuclear weapons and he’s threatening the destruction of a handful of countries including the US.

The US ignored the rantings of Osama bin Laden, and you saw what a mistake that was…

Alex said:

“As for Syria’s support to “terror” … ok, considering that Hamas gets all its weapons smuggled through the tiny Egypt/Gaza border, I wonder why Egypt is not a supporter of terror! … trust me, the Egyptians know about the smuggling operations and do not stop it. Syria supports Hamas politically .. Hamas’s money comes from donations from rich Saudis and other Rich Arab Gulf states (plus Iran lately).”

The Eygptians (as with the rest of the Middle East) are clearly half-hearted in their desire to stop terrorism. From my years as a ME observer I’ve come to the following conclusion:

1.) Terrorism is used by some ME countries as a weapon against other neighboring countries.

2.) Terrorism is a tool of foreign policy by these same countries.

3.) Most ME countries are equally afraid of the terrorists they support for fear of them bringing down their own governments.

4.) This tug-of-war between support and keeping the jihadists at arms length translates into a half-hearted attempt to punish any terrorist element within said country’s borders. They’re usually left alone until “push comes to shove”.

Eygpt has stopped some smuggling of arms into Gaza, and they certainly have NOT CONFRONTED the Zionists (aka Israelis) when they had to clean up.

Jordan has historically been pretty good about keeping terrorists out of their country. Past experience I guess.

“So again, either they are all supporters of terror, or Syria is not a supporter of terror.”

The difference between Syria and Eygpt is quite simple:

1.) Syria is home to a number of terrorist organizations.

2.) Syria allows Katyushas to cross her border (which are far more dangerous that RPGs and the like).

3.) Syria allows jihadists to cross into Iraq to help with the insurgency.

4.) Syria has cordial relations with the top terror kingpin, Iran.

5.) Syria has cordial relations with the Hezbos that we’ve all come to know and love.

“And finally, Syria will never be a Jordan … not because of its regime but because of its people. We have a bit more pride than to accept our country to become a Jordan.”

Britain is a monarchy. So what? Pride? What’s there to be proud of? The economy? The government? The freedoms? OK, the “resistance” to Zionist hegemony. You got me on that one;)

“Israel will need to accept that Syria is much more than “the weak link”… strength is not all about how many F16’s you have in your army.”

I think the “weak link” thing is a US interpretation of the situation, not so much an Israeli interpretation. Certainly the Israelis have come to the conclusion that every Arab country should have a thug leading it and a thug to deal with (like Arafat, Saddam, and Assad). They’re not as idealistic;)

January 24th, 2007, 5:18 pm


Gibran said:

I did mention to you that you are a foreigner as far as Lebanon is concerned and, therefore you have no right to propose solutions to Lebanese problems. Now, when Lebanese talk about Syrian affairs, if you think that may give you the right to do so in return, it is because the Lebanese have to settle the cases relating to crimes of political assassinations of which the Syrian regime is the prime suspect. We do not intend nor plan to teach Syrians how to run their government nor do we have problems with ordinary Syrians. So take it once and for all, Syrians will have to run their affairs and we will run ours in an atmosphere of mutual exclusion. Now, you may not have grown up and may still hang on to your outdated Soviet style type of politics. But there is no fruit in that and time goes forward only – You must be familiar with entropy theories knowing that you have some scientific background.

Now, to answer your concerns about elections – keeping in mind that I’m not obliged to do so in light of your foreignness to Lebanon, I will say: Democratic governments do not hold elections every time someone calls for such elections. We have a constitution which clearly stipulates a parliamentary term of 6 years. Any meddling in the constitution as you may well know may lead to civil war. You sure don’t want that to happen, do you? The current parliament was democratically elected. Independent observers certified the transparency of the election. Therefore the next parliamentary elections in Lebanon will take place in 2011.

Now even arguing on the basis of your false assumption that demographic sentiments may not reflect the current composition of the parliament, you still have to abide by the constitution. It is the only guaranty that ensures social peace. For example, Mr. Blair, Mr. Bush and even Mr. Chiraque are very unpopular in their countries. Yet, no one is asking for early elections to replace them. Worse, it has become very clear to every Lebanese that this demand of early elections is tied to a foreign agenda which is in contradiction to the national interests of Lebanon. So, if you want neighborly relations, you must refrain from such calls that neither serve social peace in Lebanon nor conduce a decent neighborly atmosphere.

I’m happy that you do not read Tichreen and I wish to believe you are not Baathist. I have no problem with you being a proud Syrian. I do not need to comment on demographic statistics as this will certainly be proven when time for elections arrive. Neither do I read MB statements or know any of their supposed leaders. We’re happy they hardly exist in Lebanon.

January 24th, 2007, 5:25 pm


Alex said:

ok Gibran, that sounds much more reasonable.

Since my father’s cousin is member of Lebanese parliament from Zahleh (for 25 years I think), I will try to use that to give myself some an extension on the permission to temporarily discuss Lebanon if you don’t mind.

1) Seniora does not have to accept early elections, you are right. but Check Israel, Canada, Italy, England, and I believe even France … they all had many times decided to call for early elections when they did not feel they have the necessary popular support. In Lebanon, it is much more of a crisis than all of those cases where governments called for early elections. Again, they jsut don’t have anything to lose if they believe the opposition’s support to be at 20%.

2) Your need to know who killed your former prime minister is very justified. What is not justified, is to assume Syria is guilty … since we are all civilized people, we need to abide by the “innocent until proven guilty”. If and when there is evidence linking Syria to the killing, then you have every right to expect justice. But I wish you can hold judgment until you see evidence … you know that Mr. Bramertz still has no evidence two years after the investigation started.

I have mentioned it a thousand times already .. assuming just because you are sure Syria did t is not enough. The same way everyone assumed the mass graves in Anjar were filled by the Syrian moukhabarat until they found out those were remains of people dead from Ottoman times.

Akbar … I wish from your analysis you can realize that everyone is playing with fire in the Middle East … and they will continue to do so because they will all still be there, the US will not succeed in removing or destroying anyone militarily.

The only way out for Israel to help itself and the whole middle East by accepting the Arab (Saudi) peace plan and abide by UN resolutions … the latest secret negotiations with Syria in addition to Clinton’s book and many other accounts all show that Syria had no problem satisfying the majority of Israel’s legitimate security concerns IF ISRAEL RETURNS THE GOLAN HEIGHTS IN FULL.

The bottom line is: Would you return the occupied Arab territories if there is a way to guarantee Israel’s security and general well being will be dramatically enhanced as a result of the agreement with all the Arabs?

January 24th, 2007, 6:36 pm


simohurtta said:

Israel, US will soon die:
After 9-11, the US is not going to sit on its hands. Democrat, Republican, or Independent.

Akbar why can’t I find many other news sources which have this “Israel, US will soon die” idea. Google news gives only a few sources.

The original IRNA news, which I suppose is also the context of IRIB’s news which is referred in the YNET’s article.

UP reports from the same meeting and it doesn’t have this “USA and Israel die soon” claim.

Fars news agency says “the demise of the US and Zionist regime is imminent.”.

America’s Public Intelligence Agency and NewsMax.com use the YNET’s news.

“The demise of the US and Zionist regime is imminent.” most certainly means that the end of the US and Israel regimes is near. That is a fact what we all know. Bush has less than two years in power and is seriously weakened after the defeat in elections. The time left for Israel’s present government can be calculated in weeks or months. Both “demise” processes of these extremely unpopular regimes are “internal”.

This Israeli propaganda where the “ending” of the present Israeli regime is always unblushingly turned to “whipping out” whole nations is extremely naïve *). Tens of Israeli and US politicians, military men, think-tank guys are daily speaking about “the demise” of regimes in Muslim countries. Nobody is turning those speeches to invented headers like USA and Israel are planning holocaust for Iran, Syria, Libya etc.

*) As we could see in this “Israel, US will soon die” news the world is not so naïve than Israelis believe. This new Holocaust news manufactured in Israel did not catch wind. Like not so many others “news”.before this Add Akbar this to the same category as the Memri’s clothing tag for Jews in Iran story. Stupid clumsy propaganda.

It is insane to claim that Iran or any other Muslim country could wipe out USA and Israel which together use the majority of THE WHOLE WORLDS military spending. Even Ahmadinejad is not so stupid to believe and claim that.

January 24th, 2007, 7:14 pm


Alex said:


Your favorite Lebanese leader has just tried to answer your point above:

وصف نصرالله الرئيس الفرنسي جاك شيراك بانه “المرشد الروحي” للحكومة التي يتراسها فؤاد السنيورة. وقال نصرالله في خطابه “عندما يصل البلد الى مازق سياسي حاد يتم الدعوة الى انتخابات مبكرة”. واضاف “حتى شيراك المرشد الروحي للفريق الحاكم دعا الى انتخابات مبكرة قبل بضعة اعوام”.]

January 24th, 2007, 7:36 pm


Gibran said:

If I want to rely on my own Syrian relatives, I would give myself much greater claim than your Lebanese connection in Zahle! But I still refrained from that and made it clear that we do not intend or plan to teach the Syrians how to run their affairs. I have relatives that belong to major clan which has major branches in Aleppo, Salamiyya, Tartous and perhaps other cities. So the bottom line is you do not have such right and neither do I due to our mutual foreignness in the respective countries – you are Syrian and I am Lebanese!

Regarding the political crimes, you did not say anything different than what I said. I maintained that the Syrian regime is a prime suspect in these crimes. A suspect is not necessarily accused as you may well know. In the case of the Syrian regime, there is strong circumstantial evidence that we know of which implicates it. Agree we should wait for the final report and so should the Syrians if they care about inducing a neighborly atmosphere in the meantime. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the Syrian regime refrains totally from engaging in any activity aimed at undermining the current Lebanese government as well as the formation of the tribunal. Any such activity will only be interpreted by the Lebanese as a reinforcement of the already very bad intentions that exist between Syria and Lebanon, will further sour sentiments and will not help in producing a decent neighborly state. (Please see Amr Moussa and what he has to say on this). The tribunal is coming sooner or later. The later it will be the less favorable the conditions will be to the regime itself.

I will reply to your latest about Nasrallah later.

January 24th, 2007, 7:52 pm


Alex said:

ONE LAST SHOT by Alone Ben Meir

Additionally, the administration’s efforts to marginalize Syria have only aggravated regional problems. This is why it must rethink its position toward Syria. Damascus remains the key player in any comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace talks and can exert tremendous pressure on Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups.

January 24th, 2007, 8:09 pm


Atassi said:

Rights Group Protests As Syria Postpones Writer’s Trial
503 words
24 January 2007
Dow Jones International News
(c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

CAIRO, Egypt (AP)–Syria has again postponed the trial of a prominent dissident writer detained eight months ago, provoking an international rights group to protest that his prosecution is “a sham.”

Michel Kilo, 67, was arrested last May after signing a petition that called on Syria to improve relations with Lebanon, which had deteriorated sharply since the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. The U.S. State Department condemned his detention as a case of “Syria’s blatant abuse of the rights of those who would peacefully seek to express their views.”

A court ordered his release on bail in October. His family paid the bail, but prosecutors brought new charges against him and he remained in prison. His trial began on Oct. 31, but was promptly postponed, the Paris-based rights group Reporters Without Borders said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The trial was supposed to resume this week, but was postponed to Feb. 19, Reporters Without Borders said. There was no word from the Syrian authorities, who rarely comment on political trials or detentions as they regard them as security matters, but the postponement was confirmed by the local National Organization for Human Rights in a statement issued in Damascus.

“There is no justification for his detention, which seems to be the prelude to a sham trial,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This journalist is facing the possibility of spending the rest of his days in prison just for expressing his views.”

The National Organization for Human Rights reported the authorities as saying that they were postponing the trial of Kilo and co-defendant Mahmoud Issa because they needed to publish the charges against another two defendants who are at large and will be tried in absentia if they do not surrender to the police.

The head of the NOHR, Ammar Qurabi, has said Kilo is charged with inciting civil strife, harming Syria’s dignity and making it vulnerable to hostile action.

Kilo advocates liberal reform in Syria, a country where politics is tightly controlled and no significant opposition is tolerated. He is well known for his political analyses which frequently appeared in newspapers in neighboring Lebanon, including in the leading daily paper An-Nahar.

In May he and other Syrian activists signed “The Beirut-Damascus Declaration,” which urged Syria to forge diplomatic relations with Lebanon. The government has long resisted such ties with Lebanon, claiming the two neighbors are too close for that. But many Lebanese want formal ties and accuse Syria of trying to dominate their country.

Kilo’s arrest was part of a crackdown in which the Syrian government appeared to be trying to reassert its authority after a turbulent year in which it was forced to pull its troops out of Lebanon following Hariri’s assassination. Syria was widely blamed for the February 2005 bombing that killed Hariri, but the government has denied any involvement. [ 24-01-07 1846GMT ]

January 24th, 2007, 9:19 pm


Alex said:

hmmm …

LONDON (AFP) – British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has accused Iran and Syria of spitting in the eye of the West, but vowed to continue trying to engage with them due to their regional importance.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on Iraq Wednesday, she said both countries could be crucial in resolving the situations in Iraq, Lebanon and between Israelis and Palestinians.

“These are countries of great significance in the region, that is why we have maintained contacts with them and why we continue to aspire to those contacts being able to be made on a much more friendly and open basis.

“But… it is not always easy to make a friend with someone who keeps trying to spit in your eye,” she added.

January 24th, 2007, 10:44 pm


Gibran said:

Once again you insist on proposing solutions to Lebanon’s political problems and once again I advise that you have no right whatsoever to do so. You neither have the right to express support to one political group against another group. But just to satisfy your curiosity, the problem starts with Lahoud. He is the most unpopular figure in Lebanon, he was forced on Lebanon as a president through occupation and yet he insists on completing his term based on constitutional grounds. The Lebanese even though don’t respect him yet are showing respect to the constitution as such. And as you know the reason is to maintain social peace because of the intricate balance of power existing in Lebanon. Whereas, such solutions of early elections may be suitable for some countries they are not suitable for Lebanon and were never tried. So the next parliamentary elections will be in 2011 period.

January 24th, 2007, 10:55 pm


Alex said:

OK Gibran.


I do not agree with your position, but it is understandable.

I just hope you remember also that there is something called “free speech” … That’s why my friend AP never told me “you have no right to discuss Israeli politics and instead he volunteered answers to any question I asked.

That’s why the Americans on this blog never told all of us who expressed hope for a democratic candidate to win the next US elections, to stop discussing American politics.

January 24th, 2007, 11:40 pm


Fares said:

Check out my latest on the Lebanese unrest
on freesyria.wordpress.com

January 24th, 2007, 11:42 pm


Alex said:

I just got this Poll from an Israeli friend.

They also need early elections .. Hamas clearly lost half its popular support. So did the president.

Date: January. 22, 2007

The most recent poll prepared by. Dr. Nabil Kukali on the

present general conditions prevailing in the Palestinian territories has revealed that:

(59.4 %) of the Palestinians are at various degrees in favor of holding presidential elections.

(60.7%) are in favor of holding new PLC elections.

(35.0%) are in favor of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas for the PA presidency,

(26 %) would vote for Mr. Ismael Haniyye, and (21.8%) are in favor of Marwan Barghouthi .

(80.4%) are worried about their personal security.

(77.2%) believe that the halt of the financial assistance accelerates the severity of violence in the region.

Beit Sahour – Information Section:

In the most recent poll prepared by Dr. Nabil Kukali, Director of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO) and conducted during the period from January 2 – 9, 2007, a random sample of (1015) respondents representing the various demographic specimens of the population in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip over (18) years has been interviewed. The outcome revealed that (80.4 %) are worried about their personal security.

A high rate of the respondents reaching (77.2 %), Dr. Kukali said, believe that the halt of the financial assistance accelerates the rate of violence in the region. The said rate is allocated as follows: (44.9%) in the West Bank and (32.3 %) in Gaza Strip. (76 %) of the Palestinian public, Dr. Kukali added, believe that the security condition at present is worse than it was a year before.

Dr. Kukali pointed furthermore out that (59.4 %) of the Palestinians are, at various degrees, in favor of holding presidential elections at present. (35 %) see Mr. Mahmoud Abbas as their favorite candidate for the PA-president office, followed by Mr. Ismael Haniyyeh with (26.1 %) in the second position and Mr. Marwan Bargouthi with (21.8 %) in the third position.

January 24th, 2007, 11:43 pm


Gibran said:

Where did I say you have no right to discuss Lebanese politics, Alex? Either, I have a problem expressing myself (and believe me I never had such a problem and I deal with English speaking persons that are considered way above average) or you have a problem comprehending. I just said you have no right to propose solutions to Lebanese problems and no right to express support to one Lebanese political group against another. I don’t think anybody would have a problem with that. If you can discuss Lebanese political problems with a completely neutral attitude keeping in mind all the time the peculiar aspects of your foreignness to Lebanon, then you’re quite welcome.

January 25th, 2007, 12:44 am


majedkhaldoun said:

the border between Lebanon and Syria are artificial, made in France , not by mutual agreement,many of my family are lebanese, ,I have properties in Beirut,may I remind you Gibran that president Lahoud grand father was syrian,or Shehabi family are from Houran area,and the maronite in lebanon trace their origin to Aleppo, Al Khalil family, and Al Atrash are closely related,Fakhr eddin AlMaani,had a castle in Palmyra,we have full right to talk about Lebanon,we are one country,infact I strongly believe that the president of Lebanon,should be vice president of syria,and we should share some ministers,it was not long ago that the lira was issued in a bank called syria and lebanon bank,Lebanon can not survive without Syria.
by the way if you are from Salamieh, then that tells me what type of person you are, that is all what you need to say.

January 25th, 2007, 2:07 am


norman said:

Hafez Asad once said ,Syria and Lebanon are two states but one people, You all confirm what he said.

January 25th, 2007, 2:33 am


Gibran said:

Your logic is incomprehensible and you are too presumptuous and very nervous. No body said you cannot talk about Lebanon but you will not be allowed to meddle in its affairs, you can be sure of it. Lebanon and Syria are two separate countries whether you agree to it or not. I never said I’m from Salamieh, I have never been to it and unlike you I do not have any prejudice against its Syrian inhabitants. In fact, I’m Lebanese all the way back to the eighth grand parent. The Syrian relatives I mentioned are very distant and I will never allow any of them to meddle in Lebanese affairs. Neither will the Lebanese Maronites and other Lebanese with such roots as you mentioned allow their distant relatives such meddling. So be content with your Syrian domain and get off our backs.

Norman, we do not agree with what Hafez said and Bashar proved his father’s wrong presumptions. In fact, Hafez never conducted a referendum on this issue in Lebanbon to determine the opinion of the people of Lebanon. So one persons assertion does not prove the point. History however is marching forward with Lebanon and Syria as two independently sovereign nations with totally different ways of life. Let’s hope we can learn to coexist as such otherwise the ensuing strife will destroy both countries.

January 25th, 2007, 2:34 am


norman said:

Gibran, I do not know of any Syrian who wants to take over Lebanon , Lebanon is in fourty bilion dollar debt ,Lebanon can not live if Syria closes it’s border using Syrian national security as a reason , What Syria wants of Lebanon is to be indipendat of forign interference western and eastern ,wants Lebanon not to be a staging pad for activities against Syria and it’s people ,and wants the Lebanese to have a true democracy they claim they have with one man one vote and let us see who wins ,whoever wins will form the new goverment , Gibran ,by the they are two states not nations ,they are like Pensevania and New jersy ,two state one contry and nation The USA.

January 25th, 2007, 3:15 am


Alex said:


Again, I know you disagree, but I wish any part of the middle East is moving forwad decisively the way you hope Lebanon is going … everything is moving in circles… Lebanon, Syria, Palestimne, Iraq, Iran … sadly, nothing is moving decisibvely in one direction.


Gibran is right, I believe a clear majority of Lebanese do not wish to be considered one nation with Syria TODAY.

But 5-10 years from now, if Syria can do the right things.. if it can move forward on political and economic reforms, then a majority of Lebanese will seek much closer ties with Syria.. only natural, since most countries are joining in econmic or political groups.

And by then hopefully enough Lebanese would have finally relaxed about making Syria pay the price for x,y,z …

January 25th, 2007, 3:41 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Gibran you are behaving defensive, also I am not prejudice as you you accuse me, if you consider yourself lebanese,this is your right ,but you are one person, the province of lebanon has over 4 million person,you can not speak for all of them, to me Lebanon is just like jordan,or just like the province of allepo,we must never have embassy,we must never accept France made border,we must leave it to the people to decide not one person,but the majority,and family must never be divided,we will be back in lebanon,in a frienly way,not with force,we will drive through without checkpoints at the artificial border,if you are lebanese you are syrian, and vise versa,we will get back to have one currency

January 25th, 2007, 3:49 am


Gibran said:

Syria need not want anything from Lebanon because it will not be allowed to have what it wants. Go ahead and close the borders anytime you want. It is Lebanon’s free choice as a free independent nation to conduct its affairs with any Eastern or Western country the way it sees fit and it is none of Syria’s business. We will not ask any Syrian to pay any part of the debt that we are under. So get off our backs.

Lebanon is an independent sovereign state, with clearly defined international borders. It is a founding active member of the UN. It is definitely not a province. So get off our backs and be content with your domain before you lose it all.

Thanks, 10-15 years from today after you go ahead with your reforms and become accustomed to ‘free expression’ and ‘free speech’ within the current borders of Syria we would have Lebanese embassy in Damascus and you will have a Syrian embassy in Beirut. You will no longer need Mukhabarat in Lebanon and will be able to better track Syrian laborers through proper channels.

January 25th, 2007, 4:07 am


Alex said:

ok this has been so much fun … but I’ll go back now to my usual Baathist propaganda:

I would say teh Saudi Syrian rapproachment is not happening .. not yet.

1) Bashar back to Qatar … sounds like he is asking the Qataris what they can do to partially offset Saudi, American, and French money in the proces of being promised to Mr. Seniora this week.

الرئيس السوري وأمير قطر يبحثان التطورات في المنطقة
الدوحة – محمد المكي أحمد الحياة – 25/01/07//

في خطوة لم يعلن عنها من قبل قام الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد أمس بزيارة خاطفة الى الدوحة أمس استمرت بضع ساعات أجرى خلالها محادثات مع أمير قطر الشيخ حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني. واكتفت وكالة الأنباء القطرية بالاشارة الى ان المحادثات تناولت «علاقات التعاون بين البلدين والسبل الكفيلة بدعمها وتنميتها»، اضافة الى «بحث تطورات الأوضاع على الساحتين العربية والدولية».

ويعتقد أن المحادثات التي حضرها النائب الاول لرئيس الوزراء وزير الخارجية الشيخ حمد بن جاسم بن جبر آل ثاني ورئيس الديوان الأميري الشيخ عبدالرحمن بن سعود آل ثاني ووزير الخارجية السوري وليد المعلم تطرقت الى قضايا الساعة في لبنان والعراق وفلسطين.

ولا يستبعد أيضا أن تكون المحادثات شملت العلاقات السورية – الأميركية، علماً أن علاقات الدوحة ودمشق تشهد في هذه الفترة تطورات ايجابية متسارعة وتشهد زيارات متبادلة مستمرة بين قيادتي البلدين.

2) Asharq alawsat (Saudi paper) Oped heavily criticizing Palestinian President Abbas for visiting Damascus and helping Syria in the process to score points

زيارة عباس لدمشق: حركة بلا بركة.. والرابح الحلف الإيراني!

أهم نتيجة لزيارة الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس (أبو مازن) الأخيرة الى دمشق، أنها أعادت لسوريا، وإن مؤقتاً، دوراً كانت فقدته، أو هو تراجع على الأقل وأنها أظهرتها، ولو من قبيل الوهم، وكأنها تمسك بأوراق المنطقة الأساسية كلها، أي الورقة العراقية التي أصبحت أوراقاً ممزقة ومُنتَّفةً، والورقة اللبنانية والورقة الفلسطينية التي غدت أضعف الأوراق وللأسف.

كانت سوريا بحاجة وبأمس الحاجة الى هذه الزيارة فالمفاوضات التي تجري بينها وبين إسرائيل، من تحت الطاولة منذ سنتين، غدت بحاجة الى دفعة جديدة وبعض الدعوات الأميركية من خلال ورقة بيكر ـ هاملتون، ومن خارجها والمستمرة بالمناداة بضرورة الانفتاح على دمشق، باتت بحاجة إلى استعراض سياسي يعطيها المصداقية ويوفر لها دفعة دعم معنوي ليصبح بالإمكان تمريرها على المترددين الأميركيين.

ويعرف محمود عباس (أبو مازن) هذا ويعرف أيضاً أن العلاقات بين سوريا وإيران تشبه الزواج الكاثوليكي المحصن ضد الطلاق، كما أنه كان يعرف أن ذهابه الى دمشق في هذا الوقت بالذات سيضعف أوراقه تجاه داعميه العرب والأميركيين.. فلماذا إذاً ذهب الى العاصمة السورية يا ترى..؟!

لقد أصبح واضحاً ومعروفاً وثابتاً أن (أبو مازن) بات يشعر أنه أغرق نفسه في ورطة لا يعرف كيف بإمكانه الخروج منها، فهو حاور «حماس»، على مدى نحو عام، حتى أعياه الحوار لكنه لم يخرج بأي شيء ولم يزحزحها عن مواقفها الثابتة ولو بمقدار قيد أنملة وهو بعد أن عجم عيدانه أشهر سيف الاستفتاء العام والانتخابات المبكرة لكنه أحس بخطورة هذه الخطوة التي قد يؤدي الإقدام عليها الى الحرب الأهلية المرعبة ولهذا فقد نظر الى زيارة دمشق كنظرة الغريق الذي باتت تبتلعه الأمواج وبات هو يبحث ولو عن قشة صغيرة يتعلق بها.

قبل أن يذهب الرئيس الفلسطيني الى دمشق نصحه كثيرون ألاَّ يذهب، ومن بين هؤلاء وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية كونداليزا رايس خلال رحلتها الأخيرة الى رام الله، ومن بين هؤلاء أيضاً بعض كبار مستشاريه المقربين، ثم وفوق هذا وذاك فإن «أبو مازن» كان يعرف أن القاهرة غير مرتاحة لما قرر الإقدام عليه، وأن عرباً آخرين لا يريدونه لكنه مع ذلك أصر على هذه الزيارة التي كان من الممكن ان تأخذه الى لبنان المنقسم على نفسه والذي ليس في مصلحة الفلسطينيين إقحام أنفسهم في أزمته لولا أنه تراجع في اللحظة الأخيرة.

إن المعروف عن (أبو مازن) أنه يعرف دهاليز السياسة السورية أكثر من كل القادة الفلسطينيين الآخرين، وأنه كان أول من استجاب لدعوة ياسر عرفات (أبو عمار) الذي دعا بعد إخراج قوات ومراكز منظمة التحرير من بيروت بعد الاجتياح العسكري الإسرائيلي للبنان في يونيو (حزيران) عام 1982، إلى ضرورة الفرار من دمشق والهروب بالقرار الوطني الفلسطيني الى تونس إستعداداً لمفاوضات السلام القادمة التي أنتجت لاحقاً اتفاقيات أوسلو وما ترتب على هذه الاتفاقيات.

لكن ومع ذلك فإن الرئيس الفلسطيني وقع في مصيدة سماسرة المواقف السياسية الذين سبقوه الى العاصمة السورية والذين صوروا له الأوضاع على غير حقيقتها وأقنعوه بأن كل شيء أصبح جاهزاً وأن خالد مشعل تحت الضغط السوري سيعطيه ما لم يعطه إياه إسماعيل هنية وأن كل الطرق غدت سالكة وآمنة، إن لجهة حكومة الوحدة الوطنية المنشودة أو لجهة المواقف السياسية التي من المفترض أن تتقدم بها هذه الحكومة للجنة الرباعية وللمجتمع الدولي، الذي غدا جاداً في مسألة ضرورة إقامة دولة فلسطينية مستقلة الى جانب الدولة الإسرائيلية.

January 25th, 2007, 4:24 am


ausamaa said:

Since Lebanon is a hot topic of discussion as appears above, does any one have a breakdown of Lebanon’s $40,000,000,000+ debt? Who are the major DEBTORS? What was the original amount, what was the principal, the accumulated interst,..etc..? How much of this debt is held by Lebanese Banks (or Lebanese based banks)?. What profits those National Lebanese made from the compounded interest on those loans? Who pocketed the profits? What is the share of the Traditional Lebanese business community? What is the relationship between those banks and between the Al Harriri/Siniora camp.

In other words; HOW TRUE are the claims that the current Barons of Lebanon are the ones who have CREATED this huge debt, and who immensely BENIFITTED from the growth of this debt (had a few people actually shafted the Lebanese people while they borrowing and while they are repaying)? Why do we not hear talks of Debt Rescheduling and only we hear calls for aid to meet the debt? Brazil, Argenina, Egypt, Turkey, just about every one around resorted to rescheduling, WHY not Lebanon? WHO stands to lose from such rescheduling or even a default? Anyone we know?

It is a wonderfull Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves story by the look of things. And some have the nerve to blame it on others.

Sure, Lebanon was rulled by the trio Khaddam, Shihabi and Ghazzaleh (icons of the neo-emancipated Lebanese right), if they were instrumental in the above, then who were their
partners. Next, why are the Sinora/Ja’ja/Jumblat/others “sleeping” with those “culprits” who have with their “local lartners” burdened Lebanon with such debt?.Who are those Goddamned “Local Partners” for God’s sake?

But seriously, does anyone have the answer to the above questions? I tried to find the Breakdown of the Hariri/Siniora debt but could not find it anywhere.

January 25th, 2007, 8:24 am


Akbar Palace said:

Gibran said:

“Lebanon is an independent sovereign state, with clearly defined international borders. It is a founding active member of the UN. It is definitely not a province. So get off our backs and be content with your domain before you lose it all.”

Which I certainly can’t disagree with.

What a sad mess, the Iranians and Syrians just can’t seem to leave this poor country alone. Either they have to use Lebanon to attack the Zionists or they have to bring down its elected government and resort to violence.

When will the world stand up to these two bullies?

January 25th, 2007, 12:03 pm


Ford Prefect said:

I have few thoughts to share with you regarding Lebanon’s debt. But before I proceed, I would like to ask for permission to speak from Gibran, since he is the Lebanese “different” nation custodian here and the topic is related Lebanon’s debt and not Syria’s.

Gibran, I am neither Lebanese nor Syrian. I am an active Arab American with one nationality: proud, ACLU and DNC card-carrying American. Nevertheless, my mother is Lebanese and my late father was Syrian. Therefore, my national origin composition should allow me to speak on behalf of my Lebanese half – so I will keep it at 50%. Further, I know that your tolerance to free speech is restricted only to 50% of the Lebanese (the other 50% being Iranin-Syrian cronies), so I will try to keep my contribution to 50%.

Many excellent sources of analysis regarding the Lebanese debt problem and its future sustainability can be found in the litrature and on the Internet (here is an example: http://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwppe/0505006.html, one mistake notwithstanding). In a nutshell, Lebanon has one of the highest public debt ratios (relative to GDP) in the world; currently at over 185 percent of GDP (Chirac mentioned 180% during his latest interview on LBC on Tuesday night). Lebanon’s debt problem has two components: an original trade imbalance that is continuing to run today (Lebanese always like to spend more than what they earn – my mother and I being a prime example), and the massive loans acquired for the post war reconstruction projects. Relevant data exists detailing the composition of the Lebanese debt with largest component (about 47%) of it being owed to commercial bank.

Recall that in the 90s, the Lebanese government issued short term Lebanese liras bonds with very attractive yields (20-25%) to finance the massive rebuilding projects (that were later awarded to, well, nevermind!) The smart ones (no names here, please), especially on the inside the of the government, obtained money from foreign sources (because they have international clout and access) at 10% -12%, converted to Lebanese liras, and bought the bonds for a healthy margin of least 10%. The treasury high yield bonds are not unusual for governments under unusual crises, but what was unusual is high-level of public officials who got even wealthier under that scheme. In Lebanon, we have a saying “halal 3leih,” to justify robbing Peter and Paul at the same time.

I have a lot more to say, but I do not want to exceed by 50% quota. So, I will save it for later time.

January 25th, 2007, 1:09 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Akbar Palace, there are two groups that you are addressing here. The first group is 100% in agreement with your thrilling writings. The other group is a hopeless, 100%-against your not-so-brilliant writings. You are just needlessly repeating yourself with diminishing results. Evidently, your contributions here are a terrible waste of your precious time. Call in to Rush Limbaugh.

January 25th, 2007, 1:42 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Gibran and Akpar palace,wafaqa shannon tabaqa

January 25th, 2007, 1:49 pm


Dubai Jazz said:

This is your average civilized Lebanon.

مقتل عامل سوري في لبنان والقتلة حطموا جمجمته بمطرقة حديد
لقي العامل السوري محمد مصطفى خولي 41 سنة من سكان سكان قرية قصريا التابعة لمحافظة حماة حتفه بطريقة وحشية ليل السبت الماضي في بلدة عمشيت اللبنانية التابعة لمدينة جبيل في منطقة تسيطر عليها جماعات موالية لحزب القوات اللبنانية .


January 25th, 2007, 2:16 pm


norman said:

The US would send the six fleet if an American is killed , Is Syria going to protect it’s people in Lebanon.

January 25th, 2007, 2:51 pm


Ehsani2 said:


The comments at the end are even more interesting than the main story

January 25th, 2007, 4:55 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Dear Professor Josh,

I think it’s time to start a new thread (185 postings on this already).

Isn’t there any interesting news in Syria?

Here are some ideas:

1.) Bashar Assad once again calls for peace with Israel.

2.) Bashar Assad calls for more economic and social reforms.

3.) Bashar Assad meets with Nasrallah to discuss mutual concerns.

4.) Bashar Assad meets with Iranian leader to discuss mutual concerns.

5.) Syrian academics and professors unite in support of Bashar Assad.

6.) Bashar calls on all Syrians to participate in a “town meeting” to air out all concerns for the country. Recommends all Syrians to “get on-line”.

Let me know if this helps!


Akbar Palace

January 25th, 2007, 5:14 pm


norman said:

Ehsani, I thought that they kill in Syria if a woman sleeps with a man without being married ,how can that news bw true without blood in the street.

January 25th, 2007, 5:30 pm



So, now we are supposed to believe that there are no syrians and palestinians in Beirut generating violence. No syrians and no syrian with lebanese passport too. All the troubles and violence is created by people from lebanese origin with high principles and ideologies, they may even have a career and belong to a political party (not for any material beneffit but just for ideals). Puffff !!!!! What a deficient political understanding in the Middle East. Miserable and ignorant people serving hidden mafias in the name of God, The Tribe and Mother Land. And getting some 10 to 20 $ a day for it, for this rate some will lose their lives too… It is not enough to destroy the economics of 2006 while destroying the touristic season at the beginning of it. Now on the same day of Paris III we see the mafia conducting the masses to chaos. Would really one well born lebanese accept this ? Or are not lebanese those who declare themselves Muslims above nationals ? Maybe this is the solution.

January 25th, 2007, 6:36 pm


Alex said:


Paris 3 managed to go up to 7.6 Billions for Lebanon … I bet you this number would have been 3 billions at best if there was no real threat for the Seniora government. So thank the brilliant Aoun and HA leadership for their one day that got Lebanon a few extra billions.

January 25th, 2007, 6:51 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Akbar Palace,
Does your boss, Daniel Pipes, know you have converted into a comedian yet?

January 25th, 2007, 7:03 pm




It is not easy to bet if we cannot check hipothesis and results. So, I hope you are right and those extra billions are the result of the action of la creme de la creme of the lebanese entrepreneurs “HA martyrs without a paradise and CO” and “Aoun’s borderlines & Bros”.

January 25th, 2007, 7:07 pm


norman said:

Alex, These are pledges, i beleive that nomber when the money starts coming in ,I doubt that Lebanon will have less debt by the end of the year.

January 25th, 2007, 7:11 pm


Alex said:

Today’s news, for AP

4 people dead and 30 injured in Beirut today. The Syrian National Party HQ was destroyed, Nasrallah issued a fatwa to his followers to get off the streets and to not engage in any fights.

Gibran might not approve, but Prince Bandar is in Iran negotiating with Iran, and indirectly with Syria, about Lebanon solution(s).

January 25th, 2007, 7:12 pm


norman said:

Ahed, can you explain the diffrence in few words.

January 25th, 2007, 7:24 pm


Atassi said:

Ahed Azzouz,
Let me ask you the same question please ..Do you think all the millions an millions of dollars coming form IRAN to HA directly, because Iran loves Lebanon so much !!!.

January 25th, 2007, 7:33 pm


G said:

and indirectly with Syria


January 25th, 2007, 7:50 pm


Atassi said:

Alex said “I bet you this number would have been 3 billions at best if there was no real threat for the Seniora government. So thank the brilliant Aoun and HA leadership for their one day that got Lebanon a few extra billions.”

O.K. Alex, I am starting to believe you are a Baath’ member:-( ” the Baath SUPER ability to claims or give a credited for other’s hard works” ..
HA and Seniora “the Syrian regime before done it before” scored an in-goal, Again…bad policies and short sighted strategy
HA and Aoun worked very hard to fail seniora Paris-3 conference, but the support Seniora govern
received today, my prove lethal to HA and others in his camp…

January 25th, 2007, 7:56 pm


Alex said:

Atassi, If I understood correctly, … the answer is: I am mostly joking about the credit part .. but if you want to tell me that there is no correlation between the challenge to Seniora’s government and Paris3 and its new double offers … you are free to have that opinion.


Can you read Elaph? (usually hostile to the Syrian regime)

مشاورات ايرانية سعودية سورية

من جهة ثانية اعلن السفير الايراني في لبنان محمد شيباني اليوم الخميس ان بلاده تتشاور مع المملكة السعودية وسوريا حول الوضع في لبنان. وقال شيباني اثر لقائه الامين العام لوزارة الخارجية اللبنانية هشام دمشقية ان “الجمهورية الاسلامية الايرانية تقوم بتبادل وجهات النظر مع المسؤولين السوريين والمسؤولين في المملكة العربية السعودية من خلال الجولات المكوكية التي قام بها الدكتور علي لاريجاني (الامين العام لمجلس الامن القومي الايراني) انطلاقا من حرصها على حفظ الاستقرار على صعيد المنطقة

And while we’re here .. the person that the Iranian met in Lebanon is the secretary general of the Lebanese Foreign ministry … Hisham Damascene.


January 25th, 2007, 8:11 pm


Alex said:


I heard through a freind that the gentlemen at the Egyptian foreign ministry were very much charmed by Livni last year when they met her.

Do you think she has a chance to be your next priome minister? She is very presentable, but would Israelis elect her? .. I think they are in the mood to elect a known name .. Netanyahu, Barak …

btw .. this two state solution is not going anywhere … the definition of the Palestinian state is not not to the liking of most Arabs and Palestinians … the solution on the Israeli/Palestinian tracl is not easy. I know President Bush thinks this is his way of complying with the recommendations of Mr. Baker, but … it won’t go anywhere without a comprehensive solution with all parties involved, and … more “painful concessions” from Israel on teh Palestinian front.

January 25th, 2007, 8:33 pm


Akbar Palace said:

simohurtta said: (January 24th, 2007, 7:14 pm / #):

“The demise of the US and Zionist regime is imminent.” most certainly means that the end of the US and Israel regimes is near. That is a fact what we all know.


An exchange between “Jan” and Reuters editor:

Iran president says Israel’s days are numbered

“Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out,” he added.

You continue to report that “Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”” even though many Mideast experts have stated that the interpretation of what Ahmadinejad actually said was that the “Zionist regime will not last.”

In other words, rather than calling for ethnic cleansing, as your news stories imply, Iranian officials are calling for regime change–a common enough phrase these days. Are your reporters and editors deliberately misinforming the public?


We actually had access to this speech, and heard the president’s words verbatim from our own TV footage. We stand behind our translation. In this case, he used the word “mahv,” which in Farsi means “wiped off”: Editor


January 25th, 2007, 8:38 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Alex said:

“… more “painful concessions” from Israel on teh Palestinian front.”

And more painful concession from Palestine on the Israeli front Habibi.

The above news is encouraging, n’est pas?

January 25th, 2007, 8:41 pm


simohurtta said:

Akbar you simply lack the talent of concentrating on the topic. What I pointed out was that fabricated header in the YNET news you brought to readers and how the same story was reported in those few sources which Google News could find.

“Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out,” he added.

Soviet Union wiped itself away. The system was impossible to last for a long time. Ahmadinejad did not say in your “quote” (without link naturally 🙂 )that Iran will wipe out Israel. He is hinting that Israel will have the same fate as Soviet Union. An internal collapse. Many people including Middle East analysts, philosophers and other scientist, of whom many are Jews, have the opinion that the Zionist Israel as it is now can’t last long and a better option would be a multicultural / religious Israel.

There is a clear difference in demanding a regime change, USA and Israel do it all the time, and a ethnic cleansing of a nation. I certainly have not read Ahmadinejad demanding the killing of all Jews in Israel. I have read many stories where Israeli politicians claim he had said that.

I am no fan of Ahmadinejad but Israelis and American Jewish extremists should have some limits in their propaganda. If I compare the “announcements” Ahmadinejad makes with what Lieberman and his buddies say in Israel it is difficult to who makes more stupid comments.

In other words, rather than calling for ethnic cleansing, as your news stories imply, Iranian officials are calling for regime change–a common enough phrase these days. Are your reporters and editors deliberately misinforming the public?

Millions in Israel demand a regime change and a new president. If USA and Israel daily can demand a regime change why not other countries? Why can’t reporters report of it?

I have got the impression that your YNET and Memri “reporters” mislead the public more than the others combined. Certainly those clumsy propagandists are not even near the professional level of Haaretz reporters, who have the talent to report matters as they are even they very often are not very favourable for the Jewish Nation.

January 25th, 2007, 9:53 pm


Ehsani2 said:


It is shocking to know that you have actually found 287 airheads to join you. Of your entire writeup, I found this statistic to be the most outstanding.

January 25th, 2007, 10:00 pm


Ford Prefect said:

I am impressed. SSPRS is definitely a magnet for the best high-tech specialists, GPS professionals, and hairdressers. Now, how about getting a spellchecker?

January 25th, 2007, 10:39 pm


ugarit said:

Also South African apartheid “wiped” itself out without destroying itself.

Israel needs to come the realization that Zionism is not viable with liberal democracy and that Israeli apartheid needs to end.

January 25th, 2007, 10:56 pm


Ford Prefect said:

What if Israel and Syria find common ground?
Michael B. Oren
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Internationa Herald Tribune

(I am inserting the text below because links to newspapers have a short lifespan.)

Israel’s newspapers are rife with reports of a peace agreement secretly forged between Israeli and Syrian negotiators. Though both the Syrian and Israeli governments have denied any involvement in the talks, past experience shows that such disavowals are often the first indication of truth behind the rumors.

Certainly, there is nothing new about the details of the purported plan, which involves a staged Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights and the full normalization of relations between Damascus and Jerusalem. Nor is there a precedent in the willingness of Israeli and Arab leaders to enter into direct discussions without the participation or knowledge of the United States.

What is new is Washington’s apparent opposition to a Syrian-Israeli accord and the possibility that Israel, by seeking peace with one of its Arab neighbors, risks precipitating a crisis with the United States.

On more than one occasion, Israeli and Arab leaders have engaged in clandestine talks without informing the White House. In 1977, the envoys of Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt quietly met and laid the groundwork for Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem and for the advent of the Egyptian-Israeli peace process. Only later, when negotiations snagged, did the parties turn to the United States and request presidential mediation.

In 1993, Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors, convening in Oslo, worked out the details of a peace arrangement and requested President Bill Clinton’s imprimatur on the accord only days before its signing.

Syria and Israel have also exchanged peace proposals in the past, sometimes under American auspices, as in the 1991 conference in Madrid.

Yet even when the two sides negotiated bilaterally, as during the secret exchanges between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hafez al-Assad of Syria in the late 1990s, Washington approved of the contacts. American leaders agreed that the Syrian-Israeli track offered a promising alternative to the perennially stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, and that achieving peace between Syria and Israel would open the door to regional reconciliation.

All that was before Sept. 11, however, and Syria’s inclusion, alongside Iran and North Korea, in President George W. Bush’s “axis of evil.” Once regarded as a possible partner in a Middle East peace process, the regime of Bashar al-Assad was suddenly viewed as a source of Middle East instability, a sponsor of terrorist groups and an implacable foe of the United States.

Hostility toward Damascus intensified after the incursion into Iraq, during which administration officials accused the Syrians of abetting the insurgency and concealing unconventional weapons in Iraq.

More recently, the United States has accused Assad of plotting to undermine Lebanon’s efforts to achieve independence from Syria, of assassinating anti-Syrian Lebanese and of acting as an Iranian agent in the Western Arab world.

The last thing Washington wants is a Syrian-Israeli treaty that would transform Assad from pariah to peacemaker and lend him greater latitude in promoting terrorism and quashing Lebanon’s freedom. Some Israeli officials, by contrast, see substantive benefits in ending their nation’s 60-year conflict with Syria. An accord would invariably provide for the cessation of Syrian aid to Hamas and Hezbollah.

More crucial still, by detaching Syria from Iran’s orbit, Israel will be able to address the Iranian nuclear threat — perhaps by military means — without fear of retribution from Syrian ground forces and missiles. Forfeiting the Golan Heights, for these Israelis, seems to be a sufferable price to pay to avoid conventional and ballistic attacks across most of Israel’s borders.

The potentially disparate positions of Israel and the United States on the question of peace with Syria could trigger a significant crisis between the two countries — the first of Bush’s expressly pro-Israel presidency. And yet, facing opposition from a peace- minded Democratic Congress and from members of his own party who have advocated a more robust U.S. role in Middle East mediation, Bush would have difficulty in withholding approval from a comprehensive Syrian-Israeli agreement.

Bush may not have to make that decision for some time, if ever. Assad has made no Sadat-like gestures to Israel, and many Israelis agree with Bush that Syria should not be rewarded for its assistance to terrorism and its denial of Lebanese liberty.

But if trust is established on both sides and the conditions are conducive to peace, a settlement between Syria and Israel may yet be attained — and a clash between Israel and Washington ignited.

(The author, Michael B. Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.)

January 25th, 2007, 11:15 pm


t_desco said:

A political minefield

The west should tread carefully. There is a real risk that it will become entangled as a partisan actor in Lebanese domestic politics. Nor should it seek to play into the regional agendas of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan – hardly paragons of democracy – which are anxious to confront what they portray as a menacing “arc” of Shia Muslim power extending from Iran to Lebanon via Syria, and in Iraq.

Consider this. The United States and France, which have taken the west’s lead on Lebanon, have both confirmed the “democratic and constitutional nature” of the Siniora government. This is true, but only up to a point, for Lebanon’s confessional-based political system assigns Shia Muslims, who make up close to 40% of the population, only 21% of parliamentary seats. Sunni Muslims, who comprise at most 20% of the population, are given the state office with the greatest executive power, that of prime minister.

Furthermore, the Sunni-based, anti-Syrian Future Movement to which Siniora belongs effectively extended this inequity into the present parliament when it overrode the opposition and insisted on conducting the 2005 general elections on the basis of the electoral law gerrymandered by Syria in 2000. …
Yezid Sayigh/The Guardian

(my emphasis)

Unfortunately, many journalists reporting on Lebanon seem to ignore these facts.

January 26th, 2007, 12:39 am


Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

Mr. T_Desco’s intelligent comments are deserving of a worthwhile reply, which I will attempt to supply herein: one, I am not sure which ‘Western’ journalists, that he is referring to, but any journalist and newspaper worth its salt, reports on the fact that the Lebanon has a confessionally based system, in which power is shared out based
substantially upon the alleged population ratios of the various sects, as found in 1943, and, then
renegotiated again in 1990; two, per se, the current contretemps in the Lebanon, are not directly related to the fact that the Shiites are under-represented in the current political system. That is ‘a’ part of the problem, but it is not ‘the’ problem. If it were, than Hezbollah would be without any allies, outside of their own demographic grouping, and Aoun, and his cohorts
would not be demonstrating besides them, correct? third, in any such confrontation: Shiites versus
all the other demographic groupings, id est, about
sixty percent (60%) of the population, the former would come out the loser. The other groupings have wealthier, more powerful allies, and the
other groupings are in turn also wealthier, more
urbanized, literate, and more politicized. The latter variables are also, reasons why the Lebanon, any more than anywhere else in the world, will never see a Parliament (or Congress) in which each group has the same political representation, as its population count. In the USA, for example, its is quite noticeable that some demographic groups have more representation than what their numbers should entitle them to (Jews in particular, but, other groups as well), and, other groups have less (Hispanics, White Evangelicals, to a lesser extent Blacks). Nothing horrendous in this, per se, it is all par for the course. Obviously, in the case of the Lebanon, it could be objected that the demographics of representation are ‘locked-in’ and, it is that which makes it undemocratic.

Well, to some degree that is true of course. On the other hand, it is difficult to envisage a situation (and the fires and street fighting that has gone on this week illustrates this as well as anything else by the bye), that this structure will be changed, in other than an organic fashion.
Which means over time, with consent of all the parties and groupings in the country. Right now, no such consensus exists for such a change. None, nada, nilho. Particularly since, it is an article of belief, again rightly or wrongly (but I would surmise with some truth actually) that Hezbollah is seen as a cats paw of ‘outside’, non-Lebanese forces and consequently, ‘non-legitimate’, and, thus outside the national consensus, et cetera.
Only time, and a protracted spell of ‘normalcy’ will allow Hezbollah to regain the aura of legitimacy which it has squandered by appearing to play Persia and Syria’s game. Sad but essentially true.

For an example from a purely Lebanese source of the self-same point of view, I present herein,
Mr. Charles Malik’s entry from his Lebanese Journal online site, on the latest goings on. It provides this readership with a full vantage point of the tendencies on the ground in the Lebanon, that I have referred to above. So by all means, read and enjoy:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It’s Nasrallah’s Fault

“The situation is out of control. According to other bloggers, Hassan Nasrallah does not have control over his own followers.

Even worse, Syria is most likely unleashing its worst guard dogs from the Palestinian camps and SSNP training grounds.

The only way this situation will be resolved is if Hezbollah chooses to do the right thing. For the sake of the country, Nasrallah has to turn on those he has been protecting: Jund al-Sham, PFLP, Islamic Jihad, SSNP, and the Syrian regime.

Nasrallah constantly claims to be Lebanese. If he really is, then he won’t let his country burn, even though he started the fire.

In typical Lebanese fashion, though, he probably won’t rise to the occassion.

Maybe it’s because I’m not in Lebanon right now and viewing everything through biased media, but the images sure look like war. The Army aided the opposition’s insurgency, and things are now escalating into sectarian conflict.

I wonder if my airline ticket back to Beirut will be valid next week.” http://www.lebop.blogspot.com.

January 26th, 2007, 1:26 am


Alex said:

Charles, I tend to agree with T_DESCO … I have been observing the way western news reporters and opinion writers cover Lebanon and although I did not try to quatify opinions in a way that allows for a proper statistical analysis (for the gentleman who asked me to try to go through proper hypothesis testing before I come upp with an opinion), but I still can comfortably claim that the coverage is heavily biased towards the Majority and against the Shia. Why? mostly because the Shia happen to be Syria’s political allies in this battle and especially after Hariri’s murder and the initial certainty that the barbaric Syrians did it, Syria’s allies became the bad guys… just like Syria which the American administration plus Mr. Chirac plus the Saudi owned press (Saudi, Lebanese, and London based) managed to describe as the evil enemy of democracy, human rights, humanity … you name it.

So with all due respect, most western journalists who cover Lebanon tend to stand with the perceived underdog …the poor young democratically elected givernment. Nevermind that the prime minister is appointed by the Saudi young man who knew nothing about Lebanon before he inherited the job from his late father. Nevermind that the government includes the biggest war lords in Lebanon’s history (alive).

Another shallow reason: I mentioned it before actually … reporters are also impressed after they have a dinner with the sophisticated Walid Junblat who is a very intelligent and entertaining host. comapre that to the Iranian looking Nasrallah.

Despite the above opinion, today, two years after Hariri’s murder was not successfully tied to the syrian president or his brother, and after Junblat satrted to issue promises to assasinate the Syrian president, I can see a considerable movement towards the center in covering Lebanon. It is more reasonable now.

January 26th, 2007, 2:46 am


Akbar Palace said:

simohurtta said: (January 25th, 2007, 9:53 pm / #):

“Akbar you simply lack the talent of concentrating on the topic. What I pointed out was that fabricated header in the YNET news you brought to readers and how the same story was reported in those few sources which Google News could find.”

Simohurtta –

Forget about Ynet’s “fabricatd header”, the same article was posted widely by Reuters. So you’ll have to take it up with them.

The editor already fielded the same question about Iran’s threats and he stands behind the translations. They do not translate into “regime change”.

“We actually had access to this speech, and heard the president’s words verbatim from our own TV footage. We stand behind our translation. In this case, he used the word “mahv,” which in Farsi means “wiped off”: Editor”


January 26th, 2007, 3:13 am


Alex said:

Should Israel be in Bush’s back seat?

By Tony Karon (senior Editor/TIME)

When Ehud Olmert tells the world that President Bush’s invasion of Iraq has made the Middle East safer, at least he can fall back on the excuse that sarcasm is a mainstay of Israeli discourse. But when Olmert says Israel won’t talk to Syria as long as President Bush won’t, Israelis ought to be worried. More worried, still, when Condi Rice comes hawking fantasies about Israel concluding peace with the Palestinians while Hamas is swept away by Mahmoud Abbas (or is it Mohammed Dahlan?) playing a Palestinian Pinochet, while the likes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt somehow contrive to reverse the train wreck of Iraq and scare Iran back into its shell.

Olmert appears to be outsourcing Israel’s strategic decision-making to a White House that has repeatedly demonstrated a catastrophic failure to grasp the realities of the region. Betting Israel’s security on the ability of the Bush crowd to transform the strategic landscape in the Middle East is rather like leaving a party in the backseat of an SUV whose driver is cradling a bottle of tequila and slurring his words as he rebuffs offers by more sober friends to take the wheel.

Warning signs have been there for months: When Olmert stumbled into Lebanon last summer, he may have been expecting Washington to play the role of the big brother who would drag him, still swinging, off Hassan Nasrallah, having demonstrated his “deterrent” power without getting himself into too much trouble. Instead, he found Washington impatiently egging him on, demanding that he destroy Nasrallah to prove a point to the Shiite leader’s own big brother, and holding back anyone else who tried to break up the fight. As neocon cheerleaders like Charles Krauthammer made plain, the administration was disappointed at Olmert’s wimpish performance.

Clearly, the game changed when the United States blundered into Iraq, believing it could transform the region through the application of its overwhelming military force. Sober minds in Washington have concluded that Iraq is lost, but Bush is having none of it – as he made clear last week, he intends not only to up the level of force, but also to begin directing it at Syria and Iran. Those in Israel tempted to welcome this development may be suffering from the same geopolitical psychosis as President Bush: the belief that military force translates automatically into power. If anything, 2006 highlighted the fact that America’s overwhelming military advantages have failed to tip the region’s political balance in its favor; on the contrary, resorting to military force over the past four years has actually been accompanied by a precipitous decline in America’s ability to influence events in the region and beyond, much less impose its will.

As as a character in the great gangster movie Miller’s Crossing put it, “You run this town because people think you run it.” Ergo, when people realize that you don’t, then you no longer do.

The failure to impose Pax Americana on Iraq or even Afghanistan has therefore had profound consequences throughout the region. The Iraq Study Group recognized that the United States is simply in no position to dictate terms to its rivals and enemies in the region, and instead advocated pursuing a new stability based on recognition of the real balance of power, rather than the fantasy one concocted by the White House. But Bush remains in denial, pressing ahead with short-sighted, aggressive strategies that will only compound and accelerate the demise of U.S. influence in the region.

Washington’s rejection of any talks between Israel and Syria has nothing to do with Israel’s security; it is based on U.S. power plays in relation to Iraq and Lebanon, games the United States looks unlikely to win.

And Israelis know that the result of toppling Bashar Assad would be to extend Iraq’s “Jihadistan” province of Anbar all the way to Israel’s northern border. On the Palestinian front, Israel’s security establishment knows that the fundamental flaw in the U.S. effort to topple the Hamas government is that such efforts will actually strengthen Hamas politically and further weaken an already decrepit Fatah. Washington has looked on skeptically at Abbas’ efforts to form a government of national unity, and it has prepared for what it appears to assume is the eventuality that these will fail and he’ll get on with the business of destroying the Islamists – which is what the Bush administration prefers.

Rice’s attempts at social engineering in the Palestinian Authority are giddily detached from reality, and when they fail – as the United States has failed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon – it is Palestinians and Israelis who will pay the price. Moreover, throughout the region it has become clear that even U.S. clients such as Saudi Arabia simply ignore the American line when it doesn’t make sense – for example, in engaging with Hamas. Even the Iraqi government has made clear that it has no interest in backing U.S. efforts to confront what Washington calls Iranian “meddling” in Iraq.

So, the idea that the Bush administration is implementing a policy capable of turning the regional dynamic against Iran is equally deluded: No matter how much tacit support they garner from Cairo, Amman and Riyadh for an air strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, where would the success of such a strike get Israel or the United States? The lesson of Iraq is that wars of choice based on the suspicion of an opponent’s motives and capabilities can produce catastrophic unintended consequences – consequences that will likely be felt more painfully in Israel than in the United States. Military solutions to the region’s problems have, quite simply, exhausted themselves. Yet, the Bush administration has resisted recognizing that reality, preferring strategies whose implementation only serves to accelerate the demise of Washington’s influence in the region. The irony is that Israel’s security establishment is well aware of the folly of many of these U.S. policies. But still, they stay in the back seat.

Even if Washington is unwilling to engage with the realities of the region, Israel has plenty of incentive to independently and directly engage the powers that be in Damascus, Beirut, Tehran, Gaza and Ramallah, along the lines revealed by Haaretz last week in relation to Syria. The reason is simple: It’s a safe bet that Assad, Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei and Hamas will be there long after Bush, Rice and their fantasy are wheeled off the stage.

Tony Karon is a senior editor at TIME. His personal views can be found on his web site Rootless Cosmopolitan at http://www.tonykaron.com.

January 26th, 2007, 7:33 am


simohurtta said:

Forget about Ynet’s “fabricatd header”, the same article was posted widely by Reuters. So you’ll have to take it up with them.

The editor already fielded the same question about Iran’s threats and he stands behind the translations. They do not translate into “regime change”.

Are we speaking about this meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister and the article about it in YNET or about the translation argumentation which happened long before that?

Akbar write in Google News Ahmadinejad source:reuters and show me a link to those Reuters news of that meeting which have the “Iran: Israel, US will soon die” “idea”. I at least cant find any.

The link you gave to Reuters’s page about the editors comment is dated on 15.1.2007. The meeting of what YNET reports with its propagandist header happened on 23.1.2007. Do you Akbar understand the time gap. 🙂

What comes to the translation of the word “mahv” that discussion happened long time ago. Very few share the view of “Israeli translation”. Even MEMRI and Juan Cole agree with the translation which doesn’t mean “holocaust”.

For example

Again Akbar I ask you to show some reliable sources (= non Israeli) which show Ahmadinejad demanding killing all Jews in Israel. Interestingly Bush has just authorized killing of Iranians in Iraq. Can Bush do these kind of decisions to be done in a foreign sovereign country, which Iraq is? Shouldn’t that decision be only possible to be done by Iraq’s government? Hmmm American President deciding of killing foreign citizens in foreign countries. A real example “democracy” with “Western Judeo-Christian values”.

January 26th, 2007, 8:28 am


Ford Prefect said:

Dear Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D.,
Actually, your posting raises more questions than answers:

1 “…the Lebanon has a confessionally [sic] based system, in which power is shared out based substantially upon the alleged population ratios of the various sects, as found in 1943,..” The last official census was in 1932 and not 1943.

2 You mentioned that “ the current contretemps in the Lebanon, are not directly related to the fact that the Shiites are under-represented in the current political system.” Interestingly enough, that is exactly where the conflict is. Having allies with them who are representing the aspirations of many secular Christian Maronites does not undermine their struggle.

3 “Aoun cohorts?” Are you insinuating that these “cohorts” are less Lebanese than the rest?

4 ..” The other groupings have wealthier, more powerful allies, and the
other groupings are in turn also wealthier, more urbanized, literate, and more politicized.” Hmm, maybe I am misunderstanding your tone here, but it sure comes across as a racist remark.

5 “In the USA, for example, its is quite noticeable that some demographic groups have more representation than what their numbers should entitle them to..” The premise of your statement regarding the US is, regrettably, flawed. The US does not have representation based or race, color, sex, or national origin. My senator or congressman represents ALL the people in my state or district, not just what the majority’s color is. There is no comparison between Lebanon and the US.

6 “Obviously, in the case of the Lebanon, it could be objected that the demographics of representation are ‘locked-in’ and, it is that which makes it undemocratic.” Indeed.

7 “Right now, no such consensus exists for such a change. None, nada, nilho.” Says who? Your statement is strongly assertive, indicating that it is based on some official polling results. Please share with us that poll.

8 “..that Hezbollah is seen as a cats paw of ‘outside’, non-Lebanese forces and consequently, ‘non-legitimate’, and, thus outside the national consensus, et cetera.” Again, says who? Some Lebanese do see that the current government as a cats paw of “outside”, non-Lebanese forces such as Saudi, Israeli, and American. Who is right?

Finally, what’s up with “the Lebanon” that you keep referring to, Doc? Lebanon exists as a unique entity and it has its own proper noun called “Lebanon”. No need for the “the” article unless you think that there is more than one country called Lebanon and you are trying not to get us confused.


January 26th, 2007, 10:59 am


t_desco said:

Seu Charles,

you seem to have overlooked (like many journalists, I may add…) the gerrymandering mentioned by Yezid Sayigh which explains, at least in part, the participation of Gen. Aoun’s followers in the demonstrations.

The claim (made without offering any evidence) that Hizbullah is “protecting” Jund al-Sham is extremely counterintuitive:

– Jund al-Sham is suspected of killing Ghaleb Awali
– the group has repeatedly issued threats against other Hizbullah officials
– they appreciate Shiites about as much as the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did
– they frequently clash with the Nasserite Popular Organization which does participate in the opposition protests alongside Hizbullah
– Jund al-Sham doesn’t need protection; to the contrary, others need to be protected from it

January 26th, 2007, 11:44 am


Akbar Palace said:

Alex posts an article by Tony Karon (senior Editor/TIME)

“Should Israel be in Bush’s back seat?”

After investigating Tony Karon (thank you Alex for the link), I see poor Tony is inflicted with that rampant main-stream media affliction called anti-Zionism.

OK Tony, let’s try to answer your question:

Pros (Yes):

1.) The US helps Israel immensely politcally, and financially, and militarily

2.) The US is on Israel’s side with respect to combating and confronting terrorism

3.) Israel’s experience with peace processes with supporters of terror is that terrorism increases during negotiations.

Cons (No):

1.) Israel may be able to make peace with Syria and secure her Northern border while Assad stays in power.

2.) Peace with Syria could mean a better chance of peace with the Hamas-led PA.

Alex –

Do you really think I need to take Tony Karon’s article seriously? Please!

January 26th, 2007, 3:41 pm


Ford Prefect said:

A guy by the name of Tony Karon, who is a pure-bred American, is anti-Semite? Are you sure? Is it even possible for an American, who is not an Arab and not even a Muslim, to be an anti-Semite? I thought you reserved that club exclusively for all the Arabs, what is happening here? Maybe you’d like to consider recalling your last posting? Or are you so conveniently careless about telling us Syrians that anti-Semitism is a Western invention, practiced and preached in the West at several order of magnitudes more than the Arab World? Have you been lately in Switzerland? To Poland? To Germany? To France? To Holland? To your moderate Saudi Arabia? Why not enlighten us by highlighting how come more Jews have been subjected to crimes against humanity at the hand of Western Europeans more than any other “civilization” in the world? How about comparing these crimes, (subjectively now, no cheating, I am watching you), to the crimes of Arabs or Muslims committed against the Jews? We are really desperate here to hear it from a real Zionist about anti-Semitism in the Western world as practiced in the 20th century. We happen to know all about the Arabs, so don’t even bother.

January 26th, 2007, 4:43 pm


Atassi said:

I Think you are the one of the MOST anti-Semite personality I have seen for harming Judaism for the benefits of extreme Zionism.”But you have an extreme case Pro- Zionism for sure”. You may need to take some times off and rethink your views and ideological ways you use to attack other for not agreeing with you…

January 26th, 2007, 5:05 pm


Alex said:

Akbar my friend,

I don’t understand, and I do not care to understand most of those popular one words used to classify nations, people with specific opinions … I don’t care for “Zionist”, “terrorist” “evil” “moderates”…

The question is simple habibi: If Israel gets all the reasonable security guarantees it asks for, would it be prepared to give the Arabas back the 1967 occupied territories?

January 26th, 2007, 6:14 pm


Atassi said:

AP must be in the “land for nothing grapping business”, He can comprehend the idea ” THIS IS NOT YOUR PROPERTY, KEEP OUT”
It’s also know as the Zionism greed syndrome
Researchers still working on a remedy for it..:-)

January 26th, 2007, 7:48 pm


norman said:

This might explain who is resposible for the bad relation and hotility between Syria and Israel and the lack of a peace prosses.


وثائق اسرائيلية: رابين تعهد الانسحاب من الجولان

رام الله ــ الزمان
تتكشف مع مرور الأيام، حيثيات المفاوضات الإسرائيلية ــ السورية بشأن هضبة الجولان المحتلة، كما أشارت وثائق سرية نشرت قسماً منها صحيفة (يديعوت احرونوت) الإسرائيلية امس الجمعة وقالت: ان رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي الأسبق اسحاق رابين تعهد في أواسط العام 5991 بانسحاب إسرائيل من هضبة الجولان كلها’. واشارت الصحيفة الي ان جميع الوثائق المتعلقة بالمفاوضات مع سوريا موجود في ملف واحد معروف باسم (الملف الرمادي) ويشمل التفاهمات التي توصل اليها الجانبان وتقييمات حول هذه الوثائق. وقالت ان رابين اودع بأيدي وزير الخارجية الامريكي في حينه وارن كريستوفر تعهدا بالانسحاب من كل هضبة الجولان (اذا تم تلبية كل احتياجات اسرائيل). كذلك افادت الصحيفة الإسرائيلية انه بعد تعثر المفاوضات الإسرائيلية السورية التي جرت في الولايات المتحدة بأن الدبلوماسيين الأمريكيين رفيعي المستوي مارتن إنديك ودنيس روس وصلا الي إسرائيل بعد زيارة الي دمشق في تشرين الاول (اكتوبر) 5991وطالبا الاجتماع الي رابين علي انفراد لكن رابين اصر علي حضور مستشاره الأمني داني ياتوم في اللقاء. وقال ياتوم ان هذا الاجتماع عقد قبل اسبوعين من اغتيال رابين في 4 تشرين الثاني (نوفمبر) بينما أشار إنديك وروس الي ان الرئيس السوري الراحل حافظ الأسد يريد تجديد المحادثات والتوصل الي صفقة .
واضاف ياتوم (لقد فوجئنا لأنه لم تكن لدي المخابرات الإسرائيلية تقييمات حول حدوث تغيير في الموقف السوري، غير ان الشكل الذي تحدث فيه الأمريكيان انطوي علي جدية بالغة). وتابع ياتوم ان رابين رد علي المبعوثين الامريكيين إنديك وروس عودا الي الاسد وأبلغاه باسمي اننا سنجدد المفاوضات في كانون الثاني (يناير) 6991.
وسننهيها باتفاق سلام كامل وابلغاه بأنني مستعد للتنازل وتعالوا ننهي الصفقة).
واكد السفير الاسرائيلي في واشنطن في حينه ايتمار رابينوفيتش الذي بدأ المفاوضات مع سوريا انه هاتف رابين صباح يوم 4 تشرين الثاني (نوفمبر) (ونسقنا لقاءه القريب مع طاقم المفاوضات الأمريكي الذي كان يفترض عقده بعد ستة ايام، وقال رابين لي انه يعتقد بانه سيكون بالامكان التوصل الي سلام كامل مع سوريا في فترة ولايته الثانية في رئاسة الوزراء، وفي المساء قتل).
وكانت المفاوضات الإسرائيلية السورية بدأت في 92 تموز (يوليو) 4991 في واشنطن من خلال (قناة السفراء) شارك فيها رابينوفيتش عن الجانب الاسرائيلي ووزير الخارجية السوري الحالي وليد المعلم الذي كان سفيرا لبلاده في واشنطن حينها.
وقادت هذه المباحثات الي لقاءات بين عسكريين من الجانبين كان اهمها اللقاء السري في 21 كانون الاول (ديسمبر) 4991 بمشاركة رئيس الاركان ايهود بارك وقائد الجيش السوري اللواء حكمت الشهابي في مكتب الرئيس الامريكي بيل كلينتون في البيت الابيض.
وقال بارك خلال هذا اللقاء ان إسرائيل ستنسحب من الجولان مقابل انشاء منطقة سورية (عميقة) تكون منزوعة السلاح.
ورأي الاسد ان إسرائيل وحدها حصدت ثمار هذه المحادثات لانها حصلت علي الشرعية لدي الدول العربية واستغلتها للتغلغل الاقتصادي فيما لم تحصل سوريا علي شيء في المقابل.
وفي الوقت ذاته لم يشأ الاسد (كسر القوالب) وسمح باستمرار (قناة السفراء) واتصالات اخري اجراها روس وانديك من خلال جولات مكوكية بين إسرائيل وسوريا اسفرت في نهايتها عن صياغة رابينوفيتش والمعلم (وثيقة تفاهمات) وقعا عليها بعد مصادقة رابين والأسد. (لا تزال سوريا تري فيها حتي اليوم اساسا لمحادثات سلام).
ويتحدث تقرير (يديعوت احرونوت) ايضا عن (أسوار عكا) وهو الاسم الكودي لأهم جاسوس اسرائيلي في دمشق والذي أرسل تلميحات لإسرائيل في النصف الثاني من العام 6991 عن وجود استعدادات عسكرية في سوريا وان سوريا سحبت الفرقة الــ 41 من لبنان واعادتها الي أراضيها.
وتم تفسير هذه المعلومات في إسرائيل التي اصبح نتنياهو رئيس وزرائها ان السوريين ينوون تنفيذ هجوم عسكري، لكن تبين لاحقا ان كل هذه المعلومات اختلقها المسؤول في المسواد الاسرائيلي يهودا غيل.
بعد مقتل رابين لم تتقدم المفاوضات في فترة حكومتي بيرس ونتنياهو فيما حاول باراك عندما تولي رئاسة الوزراء دفع هذه المفاوضات والتقي في تموز (يوليو) 9991 مع وزير الخارجية السوري فاروق الشرع الذي خرج متفائلاً من اللقاء واقنع الأسد باجراء مفاوضات مكثفة بدأت في واشنطن.
لكن شاحاك قال لــ (يديعوت احرونوت) انه بعد ذلك بفترة قصيرة (قال الشرع لي ان تفاءله من اللقاء مع باراك كان كاذباً وان عميلاً ضلل رئيسه).
وقال ياتوم (لقد أخذنا صوراً لهضبة الجولان التقطت من الجو في 4 حزيران (يونيو) 7691 وصورا التقطت حديثا واتضح ان مياه (بحيرة طبرية تراجعت 002 متر الي الوراء ورسمنا خط الحدود الجديد ليشمل قري الصيادين السوريين الخمس التي كانت موجودة في شمال شرق البحيرة ليتسني للأسد بهذا الشكل القوي ان بإمكان كل سوري العودة الي بيته الذي كان قبل الحرب في 7691 .
وعندما التقي كلينتون مع الأسد في 62 آذار (مارس) 0002 في جنيف عرض عليه الخريطة الجديدة التي اظهرت خط الانسحاب الاسرائيلي وقال كلينتون ان هذا عرض امريكي وان امريكا ستفرضه علي اسرائيل، لكن الأسد رفض.
ونقلت (يديعوت احرونوت) عن رئيس قسم الدراسات في شعبة الاستخبارات العسكرية الإسرائيلية يعقوب عميدرور قوله ان (مسؤولاً امريكياً رفيعاً جداً حضر اللقاء (بين كلينتون والاسد) قال لي إن إسرائيل امام الأمريكيين صورة مفتائلة فيما يتعلق بما سيوافق السوريون علي قبوله والتنازل عنه).
وتوقفت المحادثات الإسرائيلية ــ السورية بعد ذلك مع صعود أرييل شارون الي الحكم وتصاعد الانتفاضة الفلسطينية.
لكن في العام 4002 اجري شارون بواسطة (مسؤول في مخابرات دولة عربية) اتصالات مع مندوبين سوريين بمستوي متوسط في جنيف الذين نقلوا مطلب الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد بتجديد المفاوضات من النقطة التي توقفت فيها في فترة رابين، أي تنفيذ وعد رابين لكريستوفر بالانسحاب من كل هضبة الجولان لكن شارون رفض ذلك.

zzaman International Newspaper – Issue 2603 – Date 27/1/2007

جريدة (الزمان) الدولية – العدد 2603 – التاريخ 72/1/2007

ارسل هذا الخبر الى صديق بالبريد الالكتروني
نسخة للطباعة
الف ياء
اغلبية صامتة
مقالات و كتب
قبل الاخيرة
الاخيرة 2PDF PAGES
ارشيفالزمان كاملةمدخل الاولي اخبار مقالات الف ياء اغلبية صامتة رياضة الاخيرة
COM Editor in Chief Saad Albazzaz عربية يومية دولية مستقلةطبعة العراقIraqi Edition الطبعة الدوليةInternational Edition AZZAMAN تصويت
ما الذي سيحصل في العراق اذا طبق قانون الاقاليم؟
استقرار العراق
انتهاء العنف
تفتت العراق
انهيار الامن

مقال فاتح عبد السلام

ارشيف مجلد الزمان الجديد ارشيف مجلد الف ياء أحوال جويةجميع الحقوق محفوظة© 2006 All rights reserved.هيئة التحرير شروط استخدام الموقع Sharqiya TV خبر عاجل 3456789
141517 Trade fair of Iraqi products

Militiamen kidnap and kill 10 former army officers

Police seize archaeological finds

January 27th, 2007, 2:45 am


Alex said:

Iran calls for summit with Iraq, Syria

By STEVEN R. HURST and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers Thu Jan 25, 6:35 PM ET

Iran has invited the Iraqi and Syrian presidents to Tehran for a weekend summit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hash out ways to cooperate in curbing the runaway violence that has taken
Iraq to the verge of civil war and threatens to spread through the region, four key lawmakers told The Associated Press on Monday.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has accepted the invitation and will fly to the Iranian capital Saturday, a close parliamentary associate said.

The Iranian diplomatic gambit appeared designed to upstage expected moves from Washington to include
Syria and Iran in a wider regional effort to clamp off violence in Iraq, where more civilians have been killed in the first 20 days of November than in any other month since the AP began tallying the figures in April 2005.

The Iranian move was also a display of its increasingly muscular role in the Middle East, where it already has established deep influence over Syria and Lebanon.

“All three countries intend to hold a three-way summit among Iraq, Iran and Syria to discuss the security situation and the repercussions for stability of the region,” said Ali al-Adeeb, a lawmaker of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party and a close aide to the prime minister.

Both Iran and Syria are seen as key players in Iraq. Syria is widely believed to have done little to stop foreign fighters and al-Qaida in Iraq recruits from crossing its border to join Sunni insurgents in Iraq. It also has provided refuge for many top members of
Saddam Hussein’s former leadership and political corps, which is thought to have organized arms and funding for the insurgents. The Sunni insurgency, since it sprang to life in late summer 2003, has been responsible for most of the U.S. deaths in Iraq.

Iran is deeply involved in training, funding and arming the two major Shiite militias in Iraq, where Tehran has deep historic ties to the current Shiite political leadership. Many Iraqi Shiites spent years in Iranian exile during Saddam’s decades in power in Baghdad. One militia, the Badr Brigade, was trained in Iran by the Revolutionary Guard.

An Ahmadinejad spokesman said that Talibani’s visit was scheduled several weeks ago for late November to work on improving bilateral relations. But Majid Yazdi told the AP that he had no information on a coming visit by the Syrian leader.

But Talabani confidants said the invitation was issued on Thursday by Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazimi Qumi, who said Syrian President Bashar Assad also would be in Tehran for the talks with Ahmadinejad.
AP correspondents Bassem Mroue in Baghdad and Nasser Karimi in Tehran contributed to this report.

January 27th, 2007, 6:59 am


Mo said:

Where’s Joshua???

January 27th, 2007, 10:50 am


majedkhaldoun said:

Maher Arrar story is very disturbing,it is proof that syria and USA are working togather,Syria said he was given usual treatment,he said he was tortured severely,and was forced to say things under torture,I think investigations should be done

January 27th, 2007, 5:34 pm


Alex said:

New forum to call for Syria talks
By Akiva Eldar

A new forum calling for peace talks with Syria will meet this evening in Tel Aviv. Forum participants will include former chief of staff Amnon Lipkin Shahak, former Shin Bet chief, Ya’akov Perry, former directors at the Foreign Ministry, David Kimche and Alon Liel, as well as authors, academics and intellectuals.

The group, The National Movement for Peace with Syria, will be registered as a non-profit organization in the coming days.

The group was established following recent reports of informal talks between Liel and a Syrian-American, Ibrahim Suleiman, in Switzerland, and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s repeated calls for a resumption of peace talks.

The gathering will take place at the Arab-Hebrew Theater in Jaffa and the director of the British peace organization, The Next Century Foundation, William Morris, will report on meetings he recently held with the Syrian political leadership in Damascus and the messages he delivered, on their behalf, to Jerusalem.

A petition that will be published today on behalf of the forum will state that intentional avoidance of reconciliation with Syria will be “an irresponsible gamble with the fate of the State of Israel.”

The forum calls on the government to “heed the voices from Damascus,” because “the price of peace is a lot smaller than the bitter and destructive cost of wars.”

Following a request by MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz), the head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tzachi Hanegbi, agreed to invite Liel for a special meeting on the contacts he had with Syrian representatives in early 2004.

January 28th, 2007, 10:08 am


aussamaa said:

“it is proof that syria and USA are working togather”.

And some still beleive the earth is flat!

January 28th, 2007, 11:15 am


majedkhaldoun said:

250 iraqee died yesterday, this is annihilation

January 28th, 2007, 8:35 pm


ugarit said:

The more I read about the so called secret negotiations between Syria and Israel the more suspicious I get about the whole thing.

I’m getting the feeling that this is only a smoke screen for attacking Syria. Remember when the US agreed to sit down with Saddam and negotiate Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwait? The Iraqis said that they knew at that point that the US was very serious about attacking Iraq.

Where’s Dr. Landis? Assisting with the negotiations? Just kidding.

January 29th, 2007, 12:37 am


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