Could the US be Planning Covert Action in Lebanon and beyond?

Could the US be Planning Covert Action in Lebanon and beyond? Some fanciful speculation.

Read the leaked story from Swoop copied below. In effect it suggests that Elliot Abrams and associates at the NSC have been working with Bandar bin Sultan on a covert action operation involving support to paramilitary rivals of Hizballah in Lebanon, with Israeli foreknowledge and approval.  The core of the story is in line with recent speculations I have been engaged in with some Middle East insiders. The speculation goes something like this: The NSC diehards and Bandar (with Israeli coordination) have been working on a covert action program, the purpose of which is to strike back at Iran through surrogates, with the arrangements made in such a way as to obviate the need for a Presidential Covert Action Finding, which in today's Washington could not be kept secret. The Saudis would play the role of paymasters and prospective unindicted co-conspirators in case the operation is exposed (which seems to be the likely outcome). The leaking of the Syria MEPI money story to Time Magazine and this story to Swoop suggest some Washington insiders are worried that Cheney and the NSC are up to a hairball scheme which would only sink the US into further Middle East troubles.

Here is the story leaked to a Swoop reporter.

Iraq and the Wider Middle East: The Administration’s Counter Attack
Published on: December 22nd 2006 13:14:58, in Swoop

During his current consultations on the new strategy for Iraq, President Bush has told those advising him that he is not interested in any proposals that do not involve “success.” “Anyone who does not believe in victory should leave the room right now,” was how he began one consultation session. Top National Security Council officials are describing the Iraq Study Group as “discredited” and “dead and buried.”  Instead a new policy is taking shape. Based on recent discussions between former Saudi Ambassador to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultan and NSC Middle East Director Elliott Abrams, this policy foresees a central role for Saudi Arabia as a supplier of money and weapons to local conflicts involving Iranian surrogates. This is already happening in Lebanon, where anti-Hezbollah groups are receiving substantial Saudi help. Israeli intelligence officials are also encouraging these moves. “What we are seeing here,” a second NSC official commented, “s the Administration’s counter-attack to the ISG. Bush wants to negotiate from strength not weakness. He is trying to create new facts on the ground. This is an ambitious strategy. If it works, it allows us to recover much of the ground that Iraq has cost us. The opposite is also true. This strategy could double our losses. The key point here is that the Administration is still playing for a win in the Middle East. It is not leaving quietly.

It is too early to make predictions, but this could be another Iran Contra — a deliberate attempt to circumvent legal procedures for Covert Action.

There are a number of reasons to believe that President Bush and the Security Council are preparing covert action in Lebanon in order to regain the offensive in the Middle East.

The sudden unannounced departure of Saudi Ambassador Prince Turki suggests that Saudi Arabia will be the financier of this operation. Prince Bandar bin Sultan's return to Washington in the form of his young protégé, Adel al-Jubeir. Polished and American-educated, Mr. Jubeir, 44, once worked for Prince Bandar when he was ambassador to Washington. Over the past few months, we know that Prince Bandar has been visiting Washington frequently, staying at the Hay Adams Hotel and visiting people at the White House.  He was not notifying Prince Turki of these visits, which has been a flagrant and insulting breach of diplomatic protocol, to say nothing of its personal discourtesy to his own brother-in-law. 

Another curiosity has been the repeated rumors of a meeting between Bandar and some unidentified Israelis, time and place unspecified. (The strongest rumor was that one meeting took place in Amman last summer.) The rumors have been persistent, and deserve some credence.

Addendum: Dec. 24, 2006: Some of the post has been taken down for re-editing.

Comments (86)

ivanka said:

Don’t think twice. It is true. Hariri has rearmed several palestinian groups and the same is true for the Lebanese forces. All train in Jordan. Even if not as a general plan, the US and Israel are backing these groups thorugh Jordan and KSA.

December 22nd, 2006, 6:34 pm


MSK said:

Dear Josh,

DUDE … I am rather skeptical.

First – Do you trust your sources? Who is Swoop? And what “European expert”?

Second – All this is a bit too much hearsay & conjuncture. I mean, my buddies & I do this over some argilehs (Bahraini tuffah, if you must know), but putting this on SyriaComment … I don’t know.

Third – Those scenarios have so many holes in them that it’s almost not worth even tackling them.

Just one example: An Israeli airstrike at Iran’s nuclear facilities across KSA territory with tacit KSA approval. — Which facilities? All couple of dozen that there are? Hit with what & how effective, taking into account that they’re gonna be deep underground? Tactical nukes? And KSA’s gov’t letting this happen at the risk of losing the last sliver of legitimacy – at home and abroad?

Josh, “mu’ammarah kabiira” is a fun game when having tea at the “Cafe Havana” in downtown Damascus … but this blog entry will serve no other purpose than to get the “Yes, yes, YES! AND a bag o’chips!” commentators kicking into overdrive, like our dear Ivanka. (On that note, Ivanka, would you please so kind and provide your sources for those allegations of yours? Thanks. Oh, and btw, “I read it in Tishreen newspaper” won’t count.)

Oh well, let the yacking & yapping begin …


December 22nd, 2006, 7:25 pm


Alex said:

First, since this is the more relevant topic, I will post again for my friend Atassi the Christmas Greetings from

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Saudi Arabia, 1948

Season’s Greetings from Saudi Arabia, 1949

Merry Christmas from Saudi Arabia, 1950

Saudi Arabia’s very special relations with the United States goes a long way … in the past it has often contributed to the stability of the region. Today .. God help us!

My summary to the different segments that Joshua collected in this post:

We have two powerful motivators in common between these powerful groups:

1) The Saudis
2) The Neo-cons
3) The Israeli Hawks

They all are feeling:

1) Insecure: Real, or imaginary, threats from “terrorists”, “Islamic fundamentalists”, “shia forces”, Nuclear Iran, “confident Syria”, “powerful Hizballah” …

2) Wounded pride (personal and National) … as I have warned few months ago here and here, Saudi Arabia and the Untied states can not be left defeated or with a minor role in the Middle East.

By taking the Palestinian card (Hamas elections), by moving decisively to regain the Lebanese card, by proving their central role to the developments in Iraq, the Syrians effectively reduced the others to two possibilities:

1) Ask Syria for help and forgiveness.
2) Dramatically increase their ongoing efforts to overthrow the Syrian leaders from power.

Option 1 has a good chance to lead to much more peace and stability.. ask the million Israeli and Western commentators and politicians who have concluded the same (John Kerry being the last one).

Option 2 is easier on the pride of some proud men in Washington, Texas, and Saudi Arabia.

So we will see if they value peace, or their personal pride more.

December 22nd, 2006, 7:43 pm


Alex said:


There is a lot going on lately. Joshua’s sources are not only teshreen and Mu’amara types. Remember Time’s story this week? Time is not Teshreen or Argeeleh gathering type of source.

But I suggested another possibility: Washington is intentionally leaking these stories to make the Syrians feel a bit more vulnerable before they actually talk to them.

I hope that’s what it is.

December 22nd, 2006, 7:55 pm


Joshua said:

MSK, You are not in the holiday spirit. Get some Bahraini tuffah.

December 22nd, 2006, 7:56 pm


G said:

And now for a dose of reality. The only people “armed and funded” in Lebanon are Syria’s agents from Fateh-Intifada days ago to most recently, the SSNP.

Reality is a bitch.

December 22nd, 2006, 8:11 pm


Gibran said:

and here is my repost for your repost:
You see Atassi the ‘genius’ preview of Pre Assad Syrian/Saudi relation.? And he claims he has nothing against Saudi Arabia! What a piece of crap. Mr. Atassi you have to remember the minority complex suffered by most minorities residing in Arab countries. Alex should be quite familiar with it being a resident of Quebec. Every one knows about the Quebecois minority complex in Canada! Right Alex. We can read you man as an open page!!!

And you should know the answer to your question you posted on previous article. Otherwise ask your Quebecois neighbours.

December 22nd, 2006, 8:31 pm


Alex said:

G, “reality”, and Akbar “blurry”

Again, and again … we all suffer, to various degrees, from personal limitations that prevent us from seeing, listening, remembering and understanding … “reality” will be less “blurry” if you detach your self from your own interests or insecurities.

Gibran: Have a nice day.

December 22nd, 2006, 8:32 pm


MSK said:

Dear Josh,

I must’ve missed some holiday spirit traditions. This post looks more April 1st than December 24th.

And a Merry Chrismukkah al-Adha to you!

Dear Alex,

just look at Josh’s sources:

– “Swoop reporter”
– “A European expert”
– “An EU Ambassador, who was present at both briefings, confided to a friend”
– “speculation of one Middle East hand”
– “One correspondent”
– “one Turkey hand”
– “one Middle East hand”

Btw, did I ever tell you about last this insider I know who told me that he had it on good authority from a person (who was present at the very meeting itself!) that “The U.S. is poisoning the wells in Al-Anbar province — 9/11 was done by the CIAMossad — Bashar al-Asad personally pushed the button on the Hariri murder — Jews kill Goyim children to bake matzo with their blood — [fill in the blank with your favorite conspiracy theory]”

Yeah … that’s the holiday spirit.


PS: Here’s my personal contribution to this rather particular holiday spirit (My response to the question “How many Alawis are in Lebanon?” cut/pasted from Aqoul

How many Alawis are there in Lebanon? Why, that’s simple to calculate.

Just take the number of Alawi deputies (2) and divide it by the total number of deputies in the Lebanese parliament (128) and … you get .015625, i.e. 1.5625% of Lebanon’s population. Wiki says that Lebanon has 3,874,050 inhabitants …. so that’ll make 60,532 Alawis.

Man, that was easy.

Their relationship to Syrian Alawis is one of blood – they’re all related, just like all Maronites are related to each other.

The 2 Lebanese Alawi deputies are part of the Future Movement, so I will just assume that all Lebanese Alawis support the Future Movement as well, and hence hate Syria. All 60,532 of them. As a matter of fact, since Lebanon has only since Ta’if (1989) 2 parliamentary seats set aside for Alawis, I would even go as far as to say that this pretty much proves that before that year there were no Alawis in Lebanon and they are probably migrants from Syria, forced upon the (as everyone knows) hardcore Islamist Sunnis in northern Lebanon to function as spies for the Assad Regime. Of course, upon settling in Lebanon they immediately (again, all 60,532 of them) realized just how much better Lebanon was than Syria, yet were caught in that gotta-work-for-the-Man situation – which resulted in a deep-but-suppressed (remember – Alawis are almost Shi’a & thus masters at taqiyah) hatred towards Syria and its political rulers.

Finally (!) they could release all that pent-up energy after the Syrian Army withdrew in Spring 2005 et voila – 2 Alawi deputies in the Future Movement!

December 22nd, 2006, 8:50 pm


Alex said:


PLease excuse Joshua and I since we both just finished reading Thomas Friendman’s opinion piece this week, in which he advised:

rule #3

If you can not explain something to Middle Easterners through conspiracy theory, then don’t bother .. they won’t believe you.


That’s it for me today. Time to go back to work.

Happy Holidays to all.

December 22nd, 2006, 9:14 pm


Frank al Irlandi said:


This is the kind of chatter that actually does tend to indicate “something horrible comes this way”

it feels a bit Guns of August. There are so many contingency plans in existence that an accident might trigger any of them. A second Carrier Task Force on its way to the indian Ocean, Iranians compromising GOC Afghanistan, Mr Blair bleating about how awful the Iranians are and ten days to do something before the democrats take the toys away.

Deputy Defense Minister: Time to decide on Iran is nearing

By Haaretz Service and Reuters 22/12/2006

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh (Labor) said Friday, as the United Nations prepared to discuss a resolution on sanctions against Iran, that the time for Israel and the rest of the world to decide what to do about Tehran’s pursuit of nuclear power is fast approaching.

“The time for the international, and also the Israeli, decision-making point is coming closer,” he told Israel Radio.

Sneh implied that effective sanctions would preclude the necessity for a military assault, saying: “Right now I think that we are truly approaching what is really the last time, that if the international community does what it needs to do – and not in a weak or pathetic way, but in a determined way… in ways that cause suffering to this regime, which is sworn to wipe us out – then there will be no need to weigh other options.”

Sneh maintains that an attack is not the preferable option, but the delayed response of the international community makes alternative options seem less successful.

He said he hopes Israel would not get to the point where it would have to evaluate the militaty option.

The deputy defense minister spoke as Europeans and the United States were hoping for an early vote over a UN resolution imposing sanctions on Iran’s nuclear work. However, Russia’s UN ambassador said further negotiations would prevent adoption for at least a day.

December 22nd, 2006, 9:15 pm


Atassi said:

Alex is fundamentally and morally Pro Assad’s and the statuesque regime in Syria.
We all know the trend now is to bash the Saudi’s and expose them by employing the kind of disinformation’s, and old fashioned baath propaganda. We are seeing this tendency now in Syria and some part of Lebanon.
You all have a safe and happy holiday 

December 22nd, 2006, 9:58 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

merry christmass,and adhaa to all too

December 22nd, 2006, 10:06 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“just look at Josh’s sources:

– “Swoop reporter”
– “A European expert”
– “An EU Ambassador, who was present at both briefings, confided to a friend”
– “speculation of one Middle East hand”
– “One correspondent”
– “one Turkey hand”
– “one Middle East hand””


What else would you expect from a pro-Syrian, co-director of “peace studies”?

The Saudis and the US are concerned about the rise of Iranian backed terrorists? I wonder why:

“Judge: Iran owes $254M in terror attack”

(And this was way before the war in Iraq and GWB)

December 22nd, 2006, 10:07 pm


Joshua said:

Here are two comments by good Middle East experts
Oy gevult!

Maybe. But maybe the Saudis and Israelis and Cheney are just looking to support Siniora against Hizballah, which is a pretty big task right now. Overthrow Syria? I do not think that the Israelis would be on for this. They know better than we that the likelihood of a compliant, secular Sunni government in Damascus is nil. It would be an Islamist government, and it would not cooperate with Israel, to be sure.

Maybe the neo-cons think they can pull off something in Syria, but even they have to wonder. It is clear that the Saudis want to do something. The Turki resignation, which you highlight, points to this. But overthrow Bashar? I do not see them there, at least yet. Bombing Iran? This would be an American job, not an Israeli job. The logistics for Israel are really difficult. The price for the US would be the same, as Iran would consider an Israeli attack the same as an American attack. I think that there is a good probability Bush will bomb Iran before he leaves office. I don’t think he needs the Israelis to do it.

Things are fluid. But I don’t think that they are this fluid.

It’s plausible that the USG is working with Saudis in Lebanon. I would be disappointed as a tax payer if they weren’t trying to, despite our limited assets and leverage. (Of course, a billion in mil aid is not exactly nothing.)

Having said this, the notion that Washington will have a meaningful effect on events there, with or without Saudi maneuvering is highly implausible. If your view differs, I’d be greatly interested in your reasoning (let alone evidence).

The other stuff about the WHS believing in victory and not wanting to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs is in the newspapers every day (including Bush’s WP interview of a couple of days ago.) Ditto for the bits about the US discouraging the EU from breaking Syria’s “isolation.”

Suffice it to say that your own stuff is a lot more thoughtful and interesting than Mr Swoop’s, at least in this instance.

December 22nd, 2006, 10:09 pm


MSK said:

Dear Alex,

just read the piece. Well … what can I say? I don’t have THE MOUSTACHE OF UNDERSTANDING, so I don’t “get” how the world REALLY works.

Btw, here’s the English version of Friedman’s latest: Mideast Rules to Live by

Relaxing holidays and a more peaceful 2007 to all!


December 22nd, 2006, 10:11 pm


t_desco said:

You know, when somebody like General Clark thinks that “we are moving in this direction” (i.e., of war with Iran), you can’t dismiss it that easily. Four-star generals tend to know a thing or two about military strategy and the technical aspects of the build-up to war. They also tend to know and talk to a lot of people in the field.

BTW, if a second carrier strike group, e.g. the Stennis, is sent to the Gulf, this means that in March/April a third carrier strike group, e.g. the Nimitz, will move to the region in order to “relieve” the Eisenhower.

Oh, and the shortest way from Israel to the airfields in Iraqi Kurdistan is through Syrian airspace.

December 22nd, 2006, 11:10 pm


simohurtta said:

Akbar hmmmm
The U.S. indictment placed heavy blame on Iran for nurturing the attack but stopped short of mentioning any Iranians by name or linking them directly to Khobar.

What is the evidence if nobody is named or not showing direct links. I remember a study which was widely referred that all people of the world can be linked to each other through 10 – 15 links. The link between G Bush and Osama is short. GB knows Osama’s brother who knows Osama. The link between Akbar and lets say Koffi Annan is propably longer. Akbar knows personally person X, who knows person Y, who knows personally Koffi Annan. Equally it could be proven that there is a link between Akbar and Ahmadinejad (especially if we forget to “show” how the “link” is created).

Strange timing for this decision of the US federal judge. 10 years after the terrorist act the decision is made just when the tension is at its culmination point. The “wheels” of US juridical system seem to have links to the “operation centre” in Washington/Texas(and Tel Aviv).

Again a “boy” from Texas … Judge Lamberth graduated from the University of Texas and from the University of Texas School of Law.

December 22nd, 2006, 11:46 pm


Ahmad said:

No need to usa, Asad is finish. No more As’ad ila Alabad

December 22nd, 2006, 11:47 pm


MSK said:

Dear Simohurtta & others,

“Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.” (Sigmund Freud)

Your assertion about the “strange timing” of the judge’s decision rests on the same “logic” that, just one paragraph earlier, you were criticizing and showing to be highly questionable.

Does that mean that only YOUR mu’amara kabiira is the “real” one?


December 22nd, 2006, 11:54 pm


MSK said:

Dear Josh, dear all,

anybody got an idea what the seemingly secret reason for this is?

(I’m posting the whole article since Ha’aretz is not accessible in “some” countries. ;))

UN: Palestinians trying to flee Iraq for Syria stuck at border

By The Associated Press

A group of Palestinians fleeing violence in Iraq for neighboring Syria are stuck near a checkpoint, unable to cross the border, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the 41 Palestinians, some of whom lack travel documents, have been stranded in Iraq since December 16 after border authorities refused to let them cross.

The agency said the Palestinians have been told by Iraqi authorities that Syria will have to approve their entry before they can cross into the no-man’s territory between Iraq and Syria, where 350 other Palestinians escaping violence have been since May.

The 350 Palestinians came to the Tanaf checkpoint, about 190 miles (306 kilometers) northeast of Damascus after Syrian authorities allowed more than 280 Palestinians stranded for two months on the Iraq-Jordan border to enter its territory in what Syria said was a “humanitarian” gesture.

But the Syrian Foreign Ministry announced later it would not allow more Palestinians coming from Iraq to enter its territory, where more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees already live.

Astrid van Genderen Stort, a spokeswoman with the UNHCR, said the 350 Palestinians are living in tents and have had to endure flooding over recent months.

But Syria and Jordan, two of Iraq’s neighbors with large numbers of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, feel that other countries should share the burden, she said.

A local tribal leader has helped the stranded 41 Palestinians with accommodation, food and water, and the International Committee of the Red Cross has given them tents, blankets and stoves, UNHCR said.

There was no immediate comment from Syrian and Iraqi authorities.

The UN refugee agency urged Syria and other countries to assist the Palestinians.

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, about 34,000 Palestinians lived there. More than three years later, about 15,000 remain, UNHCR said.

Related articles:

More Palestinians arrive at Iraq-Syria border to escape violence in Baghdad (Original UNHCR report)

Iraq violence sparks exodus to Syria (BBC)

UNHCR asks world to help Palestinians flee Iraq (Reuters)

Now, I am actually puzzled by the Syrian gov’t’s decision to close its borders to Palestinian refugees from Iraq. In all its dictatorship-ness, Syria tends to have a fairly liberal policy towards other Arabs entering in times of crisis in their countries – as evidenced by the vast numbers of Iraqi refugees since 2003 and the housing of Lebanese during the 2006 Summer War.

What’s the special issue with Palestinians?


December 23rd, 2006, 12:15 am


t_desco said:

Lebanese security officials display weapons confiscated from pro-Syrian party

An expert showing the display of munitions said that the explosives “were not meant to explode rocks but rather for terrorist activities.”

Also displayed at police headquarters was a Jeep Cherokee “that had been repainted navy blue, but which had originally been red as determined by its registration number,” said the statement.

When contacted by The Daily Star, the head of the ISF, Ashraf Rifi, confirmed that most of the weapons were indeed from the 1980s, like SSNP leader Ali Qanso told a news conference following the arrests.

“But some of the explosive materials were modern, not from the 1980s,” said Rifi, declining to provide any further details on the matter.

Security sources told The Daily Star that two stolen cars were also confiscated by the ISF at the time of the arrests.

Investigations headed by Prosecutor General Said Mirza are focusing on “the reasons behind the SSNP storing explosives and where they were obtained from and why they repainted the Cherokee.”
The Daily Star

Note the differences to the earlier report by Naharnet according to which the car “was repainted in black and the serial numbers of its body and engine were changed“. The suggestion that they wanted to use their own, “stolen” vehicle in a car bomb attack didn’t sound too convincing anyway.

For the sake of balance, here the report on the same topic by Al-Manar. The description of the confiscated weapons is quite funny.

Happy Holidays!

December 23rd, 2006, 12:35 am


Pacta said:

What strikes me about the supposed “rearming” of Geagea’s Lebanese Forces ia why would young Christians act as mercenaries for the Sunni Gulf financial oligarchies who promise nothing in exchange?

December 23rd, 2006, 1:10 am


Najib Omari said:

I do not agree with you that the National Salvation Front (NSF) is weak and fragmented. NSF has well established itself and has started being strong on the ground as we speak. they have installed several loyal backers within Syria. You have to bear in mind the Khaddam has served in the Baath party much longer than anyone else and has more loyal followers and at the same time the MB are widely organized despite law 49. Today it is widely heard that the only group that is not letting the rulers of the present regime sleep at night is the NSF.
If the NSF with the wide experience and connections they have in Syria cannot overthrow the present regime then no one else can and we are going to live to see Hafez Alaassad the third to become our next president in 125 years from now. NO but no. As a Syrian I am 100% behind the NSF to liberate my country from a long overdue corupt regime. Today this is what most of the followers of the NSF, who are growing in numbers every day, are waiting from the NSF. This is one of the main reason people are following the NSF. Frankly WE ARE FED UP.

December 23rd, 2006, 2:02 am


Gibran said:

The problem of Alex is much deeper than being fundamentally and morally Pro Assad. His problem is a typical manifestation of a very well known minority complex which is not particular to minorities in the Arab countries. Wherever a minority exists it tries to project its shortcomings and weaknesses on the majority. This same problem exist here in Canada among the minority French Quebecois. It is a very complex problem. The best solution in dealing such individuals is to ignore them completely. You will never benefit intellectually from them by engaging in a debate. They have their views fixed and they seek to impose them on you even at the expense of hypocrisy or farcical degeneracy of the ‘debate’. This is their way of compensating for their perceived alienation within the main community. It is a reaction to their feelings of being ‘oppressed’. I’ve seen this among various immigrants who come from such minority groups particularly the Copts of Egypt. They only exhibit such behavior when they leave their countries and immigrate to the west.

Happy holidays to all non opressed.

December 23rd, 2006, 2:12 am


Akbar Palace said:

Professor asks:

“Could the US be Planning Covert Action in Lebanon and beyond? Some fanciful speculation.”

Could Syria be planning covert action as well?

How about terrorism?

I guess only what the US does matters.

December 23rd, 2006, 3:24 am


Ahmad said:

Akbar Palace said: (December 22nd, 2006, 10:07 pm / #)

“just look at Josh’s sources:

– “Swoop reporter”
– “A European expert”
– “An EU Ambassador, who was present at both briefings, confided to a friend”
– “speculation of one Middle East hand”
– “One correspondent”
– “one Turkey hand”
– “one Middle East hand

December 23rd, 2006, 4:10 am


Anonymous said:

الرسالة قطعة من قصيدة كتبها شاعرنا العظيم المرحوم نزار قباني وعنوانها السيرة الذاتية لسياف عربي وكان قد وجهها لحافظ الأسد وهي نراها أنها تنطبق على وريثه بشار

أيُّها الناس لقد أصبحتُ سلطاناً عليكم فاكسِـروا أصنامكم بعدَ ضلالٍ واعبدوني
إنني لا أتجلّى دائماً فإجلسوا فوق رصيف الصبر حتى تُبصروني
أتركوا أطفالكم من غَيرِ خُبزٍ وأتركوا نسوانكم من غير بعلٍ وإتبعوني
إحمدوا الله على نعمته فلقد أرسلني كي أكتب التاريخ والتاريخ لايُكتب دوني

أيها الناس أنا الأول والأجمل والأعدل من بين جميع الحاكمين
وأنا بدرُ الدُّجى وبياض الياسَمين
وأنا مخترع المشنقة الأولى وخيرُ المُرسَـلين
كُلَّما فكَّرْتُ أن أترُك السُّـلطة ينهاني ضميري… مَن تُرى يَحْكُمُ بَعدي هؤلاء الطيبين؟
مَن سيشفي مِنْ بَعْدِيَ الأبرصَ والأعرجَ والأعمى ومَن سيُحيي عظام المَيِِّـتِـيـن؟
مَن تُرى يُخرج مِن مِعطفه ضوءَ القمر مَن تُرى يُرسل للناس المطر؟
مَن تُرى يجلدهم تسعين جَلدةً…. مَن تُرى يصلبهم فوق الشجر؟
مَن تُرى يرغمهم أن يعيشوا كالبقر… ويموتوا كالبقر؟
كُلَّما فكََّرْتُ أنْ أترُكَكُم فاضت دموعي كغمامة
وتَوَكَّلْتُ على اللهِ وقرّرْت بأنْ أركَبَ الشعبَ مِنَ الآن إلى يوم القيامة

أيها الناس أنا أملككم مثلما أملك خيلي وعبيدي
وأنا أمشي عليكم مثلما أمشي على سُجّاد قصري
فإسجدولي في قيامي وإسجدولي في قعودي
اَوَلَمْ أعْـثرْ عليكم ذات يومٍ بين أوراق جدودي؟
حاذروا أن تقرؤوا أيّ كتابٍ فأنا أقرأ عنكم
حاذروا أن تكتبوا أيّ خطابٍ فأنا أكتب عنكم
حاذروا أن تـنشدوا الشِّعر أمامي فهو شيطانٌ رجيم
حاذروا أن تدخلوا القبر بلا إذني فهذا عندنا إثمٌ عظيم
وإلزموا الصمت إذا كلَّمتُكُم فكلامي قرآنٌ كريم

أيُّها الناس أنا مَهْدِيُّكُم فإنتظروني
ودَمِي يَنْبُتُ في قلب الدَّوالي فإشربوني
أوقفوا كلّ الأناشيد التي ينشدها الأطفال في حُبّ الوطن فأنا صرت الوطن
إنني الواحدُ والخالدُ ما بَيْنَ جميع الكائناتِ
إرفعـوا فوق الميادين تصاويري وغـطّوني بِغَيمِ الكلمات
وإخطبولي أصغـرَ الزوجاتِ سِنَّاً فأنا لستُ أشيخ
جسدي ليس يشيخ وسجوني لا تشيخ
أيُّها الناس أنا الحجاج إن أنزع قناعي تعرفوني
وأنا جنكيز خان جئتكم بحِرابي وكلابي وسجوني
لا تضيقوا ببطشي فأنا أقتل كيلا تقتلوني
وأنا أشنق كيلا تشنقوني
وأنا أدفنكم في ذلك القبر الجَماعيّ لكيلا تدفنوني

أيُّها الناس إشترولي صُحُفاً تكتب عنّي
أنا أُمِّيٌّ وعندي عقدةٌ مما يقول الشعراء
فإشترولي شعراءً يتغـنُّونَ بِحُسْني وإجعلوني نجم كُلِّ الأغـلِفة
إشترولي كل ما لا يُشترى في أرضنا أو في السماء
إشترولي غابةً من النحل ورطلاً من نساء
فأنا بالعُمْلةِ الصَّعْبَةِ أشتري ما أريد
أشتري ديوان بشارَ بنَ بُردٍ وشفاه المتـنبِّي وأناشيد لبيد
فالملا يـين التي في بيت مال المسلمين… هي ميراثٌ لأبي
فخذوا من ذهبي… وأكتبوا في أمّهات الكتبِ
أنّ عصري عصر هارون الرشيد

يا جماهير بلادي يا جماهير الشعوب العربية
إنّني رُوْحٌ نَقِيٌّ جاءَ كي يَغْـسِلَكُم مِنْ غُبَار الجاهليّة
صوِّروني وأنا أقطعُ كالتفاح أعناقََ الرَّعِـيَّة
صوِّروني بِوَقاري وجَلالي وعَصَاتي العسكريَّة
صَوِّروني وأنا أحْمِلُكُم فوقَ أكتافي لِدارِ الأبَدِيَّـة

أيُّها الناس أنا المسؤولُ عن أحلامكم إذ تحلمون
وأنا المسؤول عن كلِّ رغيفٍ تأكلون
وعن الشعر الذي من خلف ظهري تقرؤون
فجهاز الأمن في قصري يوافيني بأخبار العصافير وأخبار السنابل
ويوافيني بما يحدث في بطن الحوامل
أيها الناس أنا سجّانكم وأنا مسجونكم فلتعذروني
إنني المنفيّ في داخل قصري لا أرى شمساً ولانجماً ولا زهرةَ دُفلى
منذ أن جئتُ إلى السُّلطةِ طِفلا ورجال السيرك يلتفّون حولي
واحدٌ ينفخُ ناياً واحدٌ يضربُ طبلا
واحدٌ يمسحُ جوخاً واحدٌ يمسحُ نعلا
منذ أن جئتُ إلى السُّلطة طِفلا لم يَقُل لي مستشارُ القصر كلاّ
لم يقل لي وزرائي أبداً لفظةَ كلاّ لم يقل لي سفرائي أبداً في الوجه كلاّ
إنَّهُم قد علَّموني أن أرى نفسي إلاها وأرى الشعب من الشُّرفةِ رملا
فإعذروني إن تحوّلت لهولاكو جديد فأنا لم أقتل لِوَجْهِ القتلِ يوماً
إنَّما أقتلكم كي أتسلّى
نزار قباني

December 23rd, 2006, 4:40 am


Atassi said:

Thank you for your reply,
and please keep in mind that Alex is an excellent and impressive realist personality. I do have a great respect for him, his work and idea’s. I am sure one day most Syrians will meet at the same junction and start a new path upon realizing the facts that all Syrian minorities’ rights “ARE NOT” tide to the current statuesque. I do understand his true feeling, insecurity and fears from the unknown….

December 23rd, 2006, 6:26 am


Dubai Jazz said:

Gibran blabbers:

“The problem of Alex is much deeper than being fundamentally and morally Pro Assad. His problem is a typical manifestation of a very well known minority complex which is not particular to minorities in the Arab countries.”


Man you’re funny! sofar in this forum, you were unable to come up with one single coherent comment, and now you volunteer to psychoanalyze one of the intelligent, knowledgeable and significant contributor of this blog?
Why don’t you go crack some water melon seeds or chew a big gum? that shall keep your mouth gagged for a while….

December 23rd, 2006, 7:06 am


Gibran said:

I think realism dictates recognizing the miserable state the Syrian regime is in. It defies all norms of realism to claim the regime is feeling the strength and power flowing through its blood. Just look at the comments posted only on this thread. The regime change seekers, who are most likely Syrians, outnumber the supporters by at least 2 to 1. Where is realism in all his talk? Besides, he preaches about pride and forgiveness. Yet as soon as he loses ground he produces crap pictures to expose his true face. I’d still go by the minority complex theory. His ‘realism’ is nothing but opportunism that serves his shortcomings. Your sentiments, however, regarding making minorities feel integrated are noble and hopefully will materialize. May be then people like Alex will begin to contribute in a positive manner to the country and feel rewarded by their contributions. But at the moment they are only participating in a negative manner – more like swimming against the tide to their own detriment.

December 23rd, 2006, 7:14 am


Anonymous said:

Najib Omari said: (December 23rd, 2006, 2:02 am / #)
I agree 100%

December 23rd, 2006, 7:21 am


Gibran said:

Did I make you angry by any chance?

December 23rd, 2006, 7:30 am


Dubai Jazz said:

You are least bothered about the interests of Syrian people, your grudge for us drips from your mouth as you pontificate about your biased self-proclaimed statistics.
For all of you who want to know more about the background of this menial (Gibran):

December 23rd, 2006, 7:32 am


simohurtta said:

MSK said: (December 22nd, 2006, 11:54 pm / #)

Dear Simohurtta & others,

“Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.” (Sigmund Freud)

Your assertion about the “strange timing” of the judge’s decision rests on the same “logic” that, just one paragraph earlier, you were criticizing and showing to be highly questionable.

Does that mean that only YOUR mu’amara kabiira is the “real” one?

MSK maybe you could start explaining why this decision and the ABC embassy video analysis (which is quite laughable) happened just now when the USA needs ammunition against Iran. Why not before or later?

Remembering Bush’s and Blair’s past discussions about painting a spy plane with UN colours in hope that Saddam’s troops shoot it down, I would not be so certain that a cigar is just a cigar. This “UN” plane incident and other direct lies behind the attack decision showed that Bush’s regime is willing and ready to use “controversial” methods to create a suitable “opinion climate”.

It is naive to think that only Syrian and Iranian secret services can perform “actions”. The history knowns numerous questionable “actions” performed by CIA and Mossad.

December 23rd, 2006, 7:37 am


Gibran said:

So you think feeling cocky about ‘Syrian Military Might’ will automatically certify me as someone concerned about Syrian interests? I could easily ‘blab’ on such thread and get certified! Wasn’t realism the name of the game?

December 23rd, 2006, 7:42 am


Dubai Jazz said:

“Gibran said: (December 23rd, 2006, 7:42 am / #)
So you think feeling cocky about ‘Syrian Military Might’ will automatically certify me as someone concerned about Syrian interests?”

A statement like yours “”Remember the people of Syria can only be ruled by a thick stick!”” will not go down well with any genuine Syrian.
Enough said…

December 23rd, 2006, 7:54 am


Gibran said:

Of course. Can’t you just read Nizar’s poem, conveniently posted on this thread? Didn’t Hafez rule Syrians like you with the thick stick after obliterating a whole SYRIAN city? Isn’t that realism? Where was your Syrian bravado at that time? ENOUGH of your hypocrisy…. You go and find some melon seeds and gum to keep your mouth busy. Or do you need the thick stick to do that?

December 23rd, 2006, 8:07 am


Dubai Jazz said:

Look ya Gir-Ban, whether the Syrians are satisfied with their leadership or not, that’s none of your own business.
But since you’re in it, let’s remember how your own masters/war lords like, Ga’ga’ and the Phalanges were perpetrating the most colorful array of heinous acts in the history of the Levant: ethnic cleansing, identity killing and slaughtering of the poor Palestinians in Sabra & Shatila. They were even ready to rupture Lebanon into cantons. And if it wasn’t for the Syrian army, your unified “Lebnan” would have long been gone.
Even the boots of Israeli commanders were shining during that time due to the continuous licking and kissing of your masters.
And it looks like you are following the path of your forefathers, by licking/kissing the boots of the American commanders, and by begging them to “beef up the army in Iraq” so that they can march to Damascus any time they like.
You are the menial intruder in this forum, you better roll your tongue inside your mouth and SHUT UP.

December 23rd, 2006, 8:28 am


Alex said:


Thanks Atassi, Dubai and Ameen.

Gibran, thank you for tolerating us minorities for all those long years.

Today, you also succeeded in painting a very precise, yet simple, picture of minorities, for those who did not understand the complex nature of this type of people.

Incidentally, here is something from Aljazeera today… Some stats about minorities in the Middle East.

December 23rd, 2006, 8:49 am


Gibran said:

Ya Kaz Ya Hmar
Why don’t you shut your mouth instead? Haven’t you found the seeds and the gum? I will bring you the thick stick ya mouse. Since you mentioned Shatila and Sabra, it was your ‘brave’ Syrian army which handed Tal el-Zaatar to the phalange after two months of bombardment – Poor Palestinians indeed having someone like your regime of thugs hijacking their misery. It was the same ‘brave’ Syrian soldiers that destroyed Hama. Ya stupid, Lebanon is safe and united as long as the thugs of this regime are out of it. Your conquered leadership will soon run out and get thrown to the dustbin of history.

December 23rd, 2006, 9:10 am


Dubai Jazz said:

ha ha ha…
I am glad that you knew you were the one I was addressing by the title Gir-ban!!!
Before I start bashing you again (something which I am really enjoying by the way), we shall set the record straight: it was the phalanges supported by the sick-to-death Israeli Sharon who have committed this massacre. The Syrian Army has nothing to do with it ya a7mak.
Sure they should have named you Girban instead, given the dermatology disease you are suffering from, which is making you a rotten creature, disseminating polluted air all over the realm of Port Moody, British Columbia.
Should you be anything else rather than a coward, you wouldn’t have left nasty comments again and again on my own Blog…..

December 23rd, 2006, 9:31 am


annie said:

MSK : The Haaretz web site is accessible in Syria.
Only those sites ending in il are banned and so are all the blogspot ones (although there is a way around this) and I suppose a few more, but not Haaretz.

December 23rd, 2006, 9:34 am


Gibran said:

Lok tidrab ya hmar. Tal el-Zaatar was in the hand of the phalange before Sabra and Shatila and Sharon. Syrian thugs bombarded it for two months day and night, then the phalange took it over. chou ma btifham? akid inak hayawan.

December 23rd, 2006, 9:39 am


Innocent_Criminal said:


There will be NO curses hurled at one another from now on. I am drawing the line right here, literarly 😉


I think the condescending comments from both sides of the spectrum are eclipsing the commonalty between the two views and polarizing it even further. But hey what do you expect from Middle Easterners 😉

Gibran and co – I actually agree with your “military analysis” if one would call it that about the IDF superiority, I think that’s pretty much a given. And I don’t think anyone from the other camp is claiming that Syrian government is a beacon for democracy and freedom. But that doesn’t mean everything they do is “evil” or a strategic mistake. They have to deal with what they have in political assets, which is not much. And like Dubai Jazz said the other camp in Lebanon, or any other leadership in the region for that matter, is not better.

So I am sure you can agree to disagree but continue to respect Alex’s opinion. Take Atassi’s example, he has been criticizing the Syrian regime multiple times more than you have but still appreciates and values Alex’s views.

December 23rd, 2006, 9:41 am


Gibran said:

Thanks Innocent_Criminal for your remarks. I did not begin hurling curses and didn’t start using condescending attitude. I tried to maintain a semblance of civility even after he started his attacks. But he went way over board by his remarks

December 23rd, 2006, 9:45 am


Innocent_Criminal said:

again, lets not play the “he started it game” it doesnt matter who started it. its over now.

December 23rd, 2006, 9:49 am


Dubai Jazz said:

Be it Tel el-Zaattar or Tel el-Labnah, your masters are drowned to their necks in the ignominy of this massacre. Don’t try to vindicate them.
No curses dude, just letting off some steam!.
If you are allowing such comments as Gibran’s in this forum, then don’t call it Syria-comment, call it anything else instead…..
I urged Dr. Landis once to outline a “code of ethics” for posting in this forum, I understand he doesn’t want to put constraints on the commentaries….alright….this is where we are getting at…

December 23rd, 2006, 10:17 am


MSK said:

Dear Simohurtta,

You were the one making assertions about “strange timings” so it is you who has to prove them, not I who has to disprove them.

As it happens, I am familiar with various conspiracy schemes. Everybody does it. I also did not (& would not) say that there’s no way the timing of this judgement IS tied to current White House machinations against Iran, but you gave no information to substantiate your claim. And please … do you even know how many people live in Texas?

Dear all,

I think it shouldn’t be too hard to first think and then write. Comment sections (and with them the respective blogs) have been destroyed through such behavior, as it turns off those who want to actually have a meaningful, informative discussion.

On that note, if y’all have a moment to spare for a substantial question: What’s the Syrian government’s problem with Palestinians from Iraq? (


December 23rd, 2006, 11:00 am


t_desco said:

“In his secret visits, Bandar increasingly pressed the Bush administration not to deal with Iran — and, instead, to organize joint efforts to counter Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, such as in Lebanon, said sources close to the royal family. The new model would be based roughly on the kind of joint U.S.-Saudi cooperation that assisted anti-Soviet forces during Moscow’s 1979-1989 occupation of Afghanistan, the sources said.

Washington and Riyadh are already planning a major aid and military training package for the beleaguered Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, whose government is besieged by thousands of supporters of Iranian-backed Hezbollah.”

December 23rd, 2006, 11:06 am


Dubai Jazz said:

Sabra and Shatila massacre:
“Ariel Sharon and Rafael Eitan then invited Lebanese Phalangist militia units to enter the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps to clean out the PLO fighters. Under the Israeli plan, Israeli soldiers would control the perimeters of the refugee camps and provide logistical support while the Phalangists would enter the camps, find the PLO fighters and hand them over to Israeli forces.”
“For the next 36 to 48 hours, the Phalangists massacred the inhabitants of the refugee camps, while the Israeli military guarded the exits and allegedly continued to provide flares by night.”

December 23rd, 2006, 11:50 am


ghassan said:

It looks like some prefer to talk about old history rather than talking about the current situation!

History: Assad gangs killed more than 20,000 SYRIANS in Hamaa!

Current: Assad is conducting a cultural terrorism when he jails anyone who disagree with him. How many political prisoners (Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian) are in Syrian jails?

December 23rd, 2006, 1:21 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Alex, Dubai, and Innocent_Criminal, well said. You keep this blog alive and worth reading. Thanks!

December 23rd, 2006, 2:51 pm


Ford Prefect said:

I am sorry,but can you please enlighten us when was the last time a true census was taken in Lebanon, so that the Alawite received two seats?

December 23rd, 2006, 3:11 pm


simohurtta said:


It hardly need proving of “timing” if in a terrorist act which happened ten year ago, the judge decides wast compensations just when the final episode of UN sanctions is happening. Certainly US court system has had time to make this decision long time ago. Google shows that this “Iran behind” claim has been mentioned long time in US media and 911 commission also mentioned it (by linking Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida to this incident).

If you claim that there is no “timing” behind the judges decision I would be grateful of a link which would explain that the decision could not have been made lets say one year ago.

My opinion is that the timing is suspicious. You obviously think that it is normal that US court system makes these kind of quarter billion “Christmas present” decisions just now. We have some difference in our opinions.

You question of Palestinians is “easy”.
1) the occupation force / Iraqi government are responsible of the people on their area. Let USA and Iraq pay for the up keeping of Palestinians. Why should Syria pay? She already has enough Palestinian refugees.
2) The home country of Palestinians is Palestine, which makes it an Israeli “problem” to take them.
3) Israel and USA accuse constantly Syria for harbouring Palestinian terrorists. Now Syria shows that she doesn’t want to harbour more potential “terrorists”.
Seriously speaking naturally the poor Palestinian refugees are in middle of a political battle. Foremost they are a US/Iraqi and Israeli problem. Israel could show it humanity and inform Syria that the Iraqi Palestinians can come to their home country (which is not Syria) and pay of for the transport. The problem would be solved in a day.

Interesting news:

December 23rd, 2006, 3:16 pm


MSK said:

Dear fellow hitchhiker,

If you’d followed the link to Aqoul, you’d’ve realized that my answer was pure & utter sarcasm.

Dear Simohurtta,

I didn’t say that there is no link. I said that if you make an allegation, you better show proof. All you have is circumstance.

As for the Palestinians – why does Syria make a distinction between Palestinians coming from Iraq and Iraqis coming from Iraq?

And could you please adress the actual issue and not divert everything down to the “Yes, Arab country X is bad, but Israel/USA/West are even worse”?

Thank you.


December 23rd, 2006, 4:17 pm


ghassan said:

There was no census but the Syrian regime forced the Lebanese to have one Alawite as a member of the Parliamant and one member for a “minority”. Sure the minority selected was Alawite!

December 23rd, 2006, 4:20 pm


simohurtta said:

As for the Palestinians – why does Syria make a distinction between Palestinians coming from Iraq and Iraqis coming from Iraq?

As said Syria has no responsibility of these Palestinians. By not allowing the Palestinians to enter Syria sends a clear message to USA / Israel that they are your problem. It is clear rational political decision. Israel can solve the problem in one “hour” and let the Palestinians come to their home “country”.

Why do you MSK demand humanism from Syria but not from Israel? Syria has already given a temporary home for hundreds of thousands Palestinians (before) and Iraqis (before and now). Funny but true USA and Israel have blamed Syria for that.

And could you please adress the actual issue and not divert everything down to the “Yes, Arab country X is bad, but Israel/USA/West are even worse”?

The actual issue which is what? USA and Israel are behind much of the chaos and misery what happens in Middle East. Not even MSK’s can’t deny it. The Arab countries X did not create the Palestine problem nor create the situation in Iraq which reflects to all Middle East.

As an European Christian I see it that the problems in Middle East would be much smaller if Israel in reality would solve the Palestinian problem by going back to 1967 borders and USA would admit that it has not the needed skills to operate as the “world police”. Then the “bad Arab countries” could more easier to develop in a more democratic direction. And that development should be decided by the local people and not by some few Quislings living in the West.

December 24th, 2006, 4:36 am


Dubai Jazz said:

“And that development should be decided by the local people and not by some few Quislings living in the West.”
I reckon, neither democracy nor development can be an imported merchandise.
Well said mate…

December 24th, 2006, 4:50 am


Akbar Palace said:

simohurtta said: (December 24th, 2006, 4:36 am / #)

“Israel can solve the problem in one “hour” and let the Palestinians come to their home “country””

Can you prove it? maybe we should ask Syria to allow the Kurds to go back to their “home country” as well, in Qamishli. And The Armenians too, to “Aleppo”. Why is Syria denying those who owned properties in Aleppo and Qamishli the right to their homes?. And I realize this is not sounding too convincing. I’m actualy Alex, attempting a bad imitation of Akbar Palace.

December 24th, 2006, 5:29 am


Akbar Palace said:

simohurtta said:

“The actual issue which is what? USA and Israel are behind much of the chaos and misery what happens in Middle East. Not even MSK’s can’t deny it. The Arab countries X did not create the Palestine problem nor create the situation in Iraq which reflects to all Middle East.”

The USA and Israel did not create the Iran-Iraq War, did not destroy Hama, did not take over Kuwait, did not start the Lebenese Civil war, did not reject the ’47 partition plan, did not invade palestine in ’48, did not throw out UN peacekeepers from the Sinai in ’67, and did not start the Yom Kippur War.

I guess what I’m saying is the Arabs are behind much of the chaos and misery what happens in Middle East, including their support of terrorism.

“As an European Christian I see it that the problems in Middle East would be much smaller if Israel in reality would solve the Palestinian problem by going back to 1967 borders and USA would admit that it has not the needed skills to operate as the “world police”. Then the “bad Arab countries” could more easier to develop in a more democratic direction. And that development should be decided by the local people and not by some few Quislings living in the West.”

If the “Palestinian problem” is solved, there will still be plenty of violence in the Middle East, and there will still be a huge lack of democracy there as well.

Time to seek new excuses.

December 24th, 2006, 7:42 am


annie said:

Ghassan aka Moshe asks:”How many political prisoners (Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian) are in Syrian jails?”

Even if one is one too many : fewer than the number of Palestinians in Israeli jails . Why don’t you clean your own back yard ?

December 24th, 2006, 7:47 am


Dubai Jazz said:

Annie, what you said is absolutely true.
Further more, I am sure that if P.M. Al Maliki of the ‘democratic’ Iraq was in a position to throw 10,000 Iraqis in jail, in return for guaranteed stability, he would have done it without hesitation.

December 24th, 2006, 8:21 am


Antoun said:


What makes you think a NSF-Muslim Brotherhood Syria would be any less corrupt, or less brutal?

Syria needs PROGRESSIVE change, not regressive change.

Khaddam has an incredibly brutal past, and I don’t need to highlight the behaviour of Sunni Islamists.

NSF is just the US/Israel/Saudi/Egypt’s attempt to replace an anti-Israeli dictatorship with another puppet dictatorship.

As for popular opinion, whoever said Syria’s Sunnis would turn into Israeli agents like the Sunnis of Lebanon have?

As far as I’m aware, the majority of the Sunni street in the Arab world are more supportive of the “Shia” bravery of Hizballah than their own corrupt leaders who are trying to forment Sunni-Shiite strife throughout the region.

I would seldom claim that the Arabs support Sunni-Shiite strife, but no doubt such divisions are being forced upon by the West, Israel and the “traditional” Sunni rulers such as the Saudis.

There’s no doubt also that Iran seeks to revive the Shiites in the Arab world, but how the Sunnis respond will determine which way the Arab Shiites will sway.

Instead of moving to alienate and combat Arab Shiites, the Sunni leadership should be doing more to include Shiites in the “Arab” society by providing them with more rights and putting an end to centuries-long persecution.

I fear many Westerners have this failed perception that all Arab Muslims, Shiite and Sunni, are just a bunch of fanatics who toe the line of fundamentalist sectarianism. It’s important to acknowledge that the prevailing ideology before Islamism was nationalism. While today Islamist groups have grown in support, that is not to discard the vast majority of Arabs who still maintain “nationalist” and “Arab brotherhood” sentiments, which was just so recently expressed throughout the Lebanon War.

The regimes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan do not represent the opinions of their people, nor the opinions of the Sunni street.

I would recommend all not to foolishly believe Saudi money will turn the Sunnis of Syria into stooges of the US.

As for reform in Syria, no doubt this is desperately needed.

Iraq was a complete failure and a great example of an attempt to bring about “reform and change” to an Arab state. Without solid institutions, or solid public support in place to prevent the state from falling apart, there is no chance of reform.

Progressive reform is an absolute necessity for Syria. It is true Syria wields a lot of “natural” influences to its neighbours, primarily Lebanon. Therefore, any positive change in Syria can only bring about a positive domino effect throughout the region.

This is also to say that any move to the contrary would have as much a negative impact on the region. The Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi/US-backed Khaddam are a step backward.

For those of us from the Middle East, we have to realise and understand that the Western powers do not and will never allow the Arabs to prosper. Maintaining regressive, tribal societies serve the West’s purposes. The more divided and “backward” we are, the easy it is for them to manipulate and control our region.

A prosperous Arab world able to call its own shots poses a direct threat to the West. Since Islam’s inception, there has been an empire present in the Middle East that has constantly haunted the West. After the defeat of the Ottomans, the West took the opportunity to weaken the Arab and Islamic world, and they intend to maintain this state today.

The West may represent democratic and progressive societies, but that is not to say this is their wish for the rest of the world.

Therefore, endorsing Western-backed opposition groups may not bring about the results one would expect.

Change needs to come from within. Progressive values and reforms need to be taught from within. Sure it’s difficult to do such things when every Arab regime throws you in prison for expressing your thought, but that’s to say there is no way out.

France has a bloody history, but if there were no revolts against its leadership, would France be the nation it is today?

The Arab people need to take such risks, depose of their leadership, and bring about a revolution that will change the face of the Arabs from within.

The Americans tried to impose “their” revolution, it didn’t work. Revolutions cannot be imposed, they can only be taught.

There is a silent Arab majority that has yet to have its voice heard.

December 24th, 2006, 10:53 am


youngSyria said:

well said.
NSF is indeed a step backward, and i cant imagine any syrian supporting it. the mentality of ” this SH** smells much better than the other one ” is wrong because it’s all sh** .. away from reality ,I cant imagine how could NSF be the best “thing” that Syrian people come up with…!I thought that I belong to a nation full of intellectuals and civilized people 🙁 .

guys.. there are lots of smart people over here ..can anyone start fantasizing about the scenario that can bring positive change to Syria (since this blog entry is about such things)

December 24th, 2006, 12:05 pm


t_desco said:

For the record:

“The DGSE report also mentions an al-Qaeda project for a ‘wave of attacks in an unidentified European country planned and run from Syria and Iraq‘. The period of highest risk is said to be from September 2006 to April 2007.”
The Observer

“Second projet évoqué : « une vague d’attentats suicides dans un pays européen non identifié dont les planificateurs sont principalement installés en Syrie et en Irak ».

Selon « certains renseignements », précise la note sans développer, naturellement, sur leur origine, « il pourrait s’agir de la France ». Les kamikazes seraient recrutés au « Proche et Moyen-Orient ». Le projet est qualifié de « menace dite d’automne », en référence probable aux précédents projets réalisés ou avortés des terroristes islamistes. La note précise que la période dangereuse, au cours de laquelle ces projets pourraient être mis à exécution, s’est ouverte en septembre 2006 et qu’elle s’achèvera en avril 2007.”
Le Figaro

December 24th, 2006, 12:23 pm


Dubai Jazz said:

“DGSE”? is that the foreign intelligence agency of France?

December 24th, 2006, 12:30 pm


Dubai Jazz said:

Young Syria, I agree with you and with Antoun; the Khaddam clique are bankrubt in terms of popularity and morals. (Kart Ma7rook)

December 24th, 2006, 12:34 pm


t_desco said:

Yes, Dubai Jazz.

December 24th, 2006, 12:40 pm


youngSyria said:

Dubai Jazz ,
as much as I don’t trust Khaddam , I’m worried about MB much more..Khaddam would die ,MB wont. and their massage is attractive much more than before. Islamists are the real threat and one of the main obstacles in the way of ME development.

December 24th, 2006, 1:21 pm


Ghassan said:

Any regime is better than the gang of Asad! We Syrians should about our country and the future of our children! If a new government is corrupt, then we change it again! Hoping that we will have a democratic country with an election every 3-5 years!

December 24th, 2006, 1:45 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Ghassan, I fully agree with your notion about the Asad gang being corrupt to the lowest levels – including many more gangs representing a corss-section of the Syrian fabbric. I also agree with looking out for alternatives to ensure a secure future for our children. But let’s be careful – the Syrian people do not yet have a good record of managing change as an independent nation. Change introduces elements of unpredicable results no matter how planned the change is – especially if it was formulated at the American Enterprise Institute. That is why Syrians, thorughout their history, have resisted change until it was organically aged and matured. All we need is time and not Khaddam and Ghadry.

December 24th, 2006, 3:34 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Anton, excellent posting. Thanks and fully agree!

MSK, Thanks for being a fellow hitchhicker and a good sport! I enjoy your postings and fully appreciate your intellects.

Everyone else, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Eid (in chronological order!) Syria loves you all.

December 24th, 2006, 3:46 pm


Ahamad said:

I support the NSF
Asad, put him self down very down. The international community is after him.

I dont want a President like him for MY SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC.

December 24th, 2006, 4:15 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

We ended the year with major crisis in Lebanon,war between Ethiopia and Somalia,Iraq deteriorated,and in civil war,Hamas and fatah fighting and Isreal laying siege on the palastinian,Syria is isolated and the relations between KSA and Syria is close to undeclared war,Egypt gave up on improving the conditions of Arab world, UN has sanctions on Iran, who is enriching Uranuim.
could it go worse ? the answer is yes
could things get better in 2007? the answer is probably not.
what is the more likely things to happen in 2007?
everyone has different expectations,I suspect that brammertz report is going to accuse Syria of Killing Harriri,Brammertz gained the respect of even his enemies,being meticulous,and analizing every point,Syria is going to be wild,but after anger,more likely some military officers will revolt against Asad,and change in regime is likely,this may solve the problems in lebanon,the arab summet,scheduled for march will be postponed,US and Isreal will attack Iran,price of OIL will reach $100.
In USA , more attack on Musslems,the neo-cons are boiling.
I am interested in knowing others expectation.

December 24th, 2006, 4:18 pm


Alex said:

Majed, there is too much chaos for any of us to have realistic expectations.

But if you want some exciting expectations: Terje Roed Larsen told one of his friends over dinner (in private) that he expects world war III this year.

Happy 2007

December 24th, 2006, 5:37 pm


youngSyria said:

Happy New Year ,Merry Christmas and Happy Eid..
and “kel world war wo ento salmeen”… 😉

December 24th, 2006, 7:22 pm


Najib Omari said:


With all due respect but I totally disagree with both of you. Whether NSF or their founders are the best to lead or not is not the issue. The People of Syria will decide this freely. Is Mr. Prody or Mr. Bush are the best leaders for their countries. Their people democratically elected them and they have to serve them. NSF will facilitate bringing democracy back to Syria and then the Syrian people will freely elect whomever they want to lead them. Is the NSF the best people to bring democracy back to Syria? Maybe yes or maybe not but they are the best we have so far. This should not limit other groups to fight for the same cause that we ALL Syrian looks for very desperately. NSF did not in any way try to exclude other groups from that goal. Lets whomever capable of help to so PLEASE. NSF leaders have the experience, connections, & exposure to do a great job. God be with them for what they are doing for Syria.
As for Antoun, I definitely do not agree with you that Mr. Khaddam has an incredibly brutal past. When, where and how? He has never assumed a military or a security post. How can he do such a thing? Trust me that whatever you hear rumors about with Mr. Khaddam are lies that the corrupt regime is spreading to protect himself from the NSF

December 24th, 2006, 7:44 pm


norman said:

Israel will only give back the Golan Hights if it costs them to keep it so as long as Syria is not trying to get it back they will be staying and enjoying the wine .

December 26th, 2006, 3:58 am


MSK said:

Dear Simohurtta,

yet again, you seem to not get my question. I was asking what makes those Palestinians coming from Iraq any different from the Iraqis coming from Iraq or the Lebanese (this summer) coming from Lebanon.

Your argument – that Syria isn’t responsible for the Palestinians – is as true for those latter 2 groups. I was wondering why Syria DOES take in over one million Iraqis from a conflict for which it (according to its own statements) isn’t reponsible and took in tens of thousands of Lebanese during a conflict for which again (according to its own statements) it isn’t responsible, but won’t let a few hundred Palestinians in.

THAT was (& remains to be) my question. It was not about responsibility but about the reasoning for the different treatment of Palestinians vs. Iraqis/Lebanese.

It’s a technical question on a detail of Syrian government policy. Maybe the Syrian gov’t gave out a statement where it outlined the reasons – and I’d be very appreciative if someone on this list would be so kind and post it or link to it.

That’s it.

Of course, you can go back to the mudsling fest … but quite frankly, it does get boring after a while.


December 26th, 2006, 12:10 pm



Hi Josh, there is something wrong with the commentary tool box of the newest post.
Season Greetings!

December 26th, 2006, 4:30 pm


Miss. T. said:


The Swoop piece refers to Suadi Arabia arming “groups” to fight Iran surrogates. That is indeed already happening and it is not a paramilitary group. Money is pouring through UAE to Lebanon’s rehashed Interntal Security Forces.

See here.

Apologies from an irregular visitor if this has already been a topic of discussion somewhere else.

December 29th, 2006, 7:44 pm


SyriaComment » Archives » US Arms Surrogates said:

[…] More disturbing signs that Eliot Abrams and company at the NSA are pushing ahead with a new policy to build up surrogate allies to combat the surrogates of Iran and Syria, such as Hizballah and Hamas. Perhaps 2007 will bring us little proxy wars across the region? Here are two articles explaining how may work. For more on this see previous posts, here and here. […]

January 3rd, 2007, 4:20 am


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