Doubts about Israeli Strike Increase - Syria Comment

Doubts about Israeli Strike Increase

Fewer Foreigners Crossing Into Iraq From Syria to Fight
Drop Parallels Dip in Al-Qaeda Attacks

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 16, 2007; A19

The number of foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria has decreased noticeably in recent months, corresponding to a similar decrease in suicide bombings and other attacks by the group al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.

"There is an early indication of a trend," said Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, in an interview. Border crossings from Syria that averaged 80 to 90 a month have fallen to "half or two-thirds of that over the last two or three months," Petraeus said.

An intelligence official said that "the Syrians do appear to be mounting a crackdown on some of the most hardened terrorists transiting through the country, particularly al-Qaeda-affiliated foreign fighters." The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said there is also evidence that the Syrians have been stopping return crossings by foreign fighters leaving Iraq.

Other administration officials, while confirming the decrease in border crossings, said they are not yet prepared to attribute it to Syrian action, instead citing increased U.S. operations against al-Qaeda inside Iraq and stepped-up cooperation by terrorist "source" countries, such as Saudi Arabia, in prohibiting travel to Damascus. U.S. intelligence has said Saudis form the biggest group of foreigners fighting with al-Qaeda in Iraq. Petraeus also said his command is uncertain of the reason for the decrease, adding that "we're watching it on the ground."

A National Intelligence Estimate last month attributed an apparent crackdown in Syria to that government's concern about the threat al-Qaeda posed to its own stability. The NIE also assessed that Syria had stepped up its support to non-al-Qaeda groups to bolster their influence — and that of Damascus — in Iraq. Several Iraqi Sunni extremist groups opposed to the United States and al-Qaeda in Iraq are present in Damascus.

…The al-Qaeda in Iraq organization, which largely consists of Iraqi Sunnis, is said to be led by foreigners whose primary route into Iraq is through Syria. Syria is also believed by U.S. officials to be the primary route for foreign terrorists moving out of Iraq to return to their home countries in Arab countries, Europe and North Africa.

Nascent U.S. diplomatic dialogues with Damascus and Tehran, begun last spring after demands by war critics and the Iraqi government, have been judged unproductive by the White House….

Rice plans to attend a second neighbors conference at the end of October in Istanbul, but U.S. policymakers have made no decision on whether they would seek or agree to another high-level meeting with Syria. "We haven't ruled it out yet," an administration official said. "I could speculate that if the end of October came and the numbers of suicide bombers had really dropped significantly and people . . . came to the conclusion there really had been a change in [Syrian] policy, that would give us every reason to have a meeting."

Just as it does with Iran, which the United States alleges is working toward production of a nuclear weapon, U.S. policy toward Syria is to separate Iraq-related issues from other points of contention.

Israeli Official Muzzled on Syria Attack
By AMY TEIBEL
The Associated Press
Sunday, September 16, 2007; 8:52 PM

JERUSALEM — Israel's chief of military intelligence was ordered Sunday not to discuss an alleged air raid on Syria before a powerful parliamentary panel, tightening the veil of secrecy the government has thrown around the issue….

In a statement some participants saw as an oblique reference to the alleged Syria raid, Yadlin told the meeting, "Israel's deterrence has been rehabilitated since the Lebanon war, and it affects the entire regional system, including Iran and Syria," according to a lawmaker who was present.

Idaf, a Syrian reader of S.C. living in the Gulf, had this to say of the Israeli strike:

It was only about the image and perception of who’s boss. All other things are making less and less sense!

The only thing that is making sense is the following:

For a year, Israeli army was feeling desperately insecure, the perception of its deterrence capabilities reduced to a low level not seen before in the eyes of its public and neighboring Arabs. On the other hand, Syria’s military confidence after the war last summer increased to a level where Israel, the US and its Arab allies were feeling really uncomfortable.

The Israeli army badly needed a PR stunt. My hunch is that there was no strike. Only a brief infiltration of airspace and all parties (Israel, US and Arab allies) are trying to milk this to the absolute last drop. It is a media strike rather than an actual military one. In short this was a publicity stunt that won’t cost Israel much but would have great impact on moral and image.

The 4 Israeli messages here were:

To the Israeli military: We are still superior. Pick your selves up and leave this state of low moral reached since the ware last summer.

To the Israeli public: The Israeli government is not as week as you think. Give us some more popularity points please! Oh and by the way, please return the investments and stop leaving Israel to your original countries of origin in Europe and the US.

To the Syrian people: Time’s up for your overconfidence after the war last summer. Go back to the pre July war moral. Stop feeling capable of regaining the Golan by force. Oh and how about you support Bashar less from now on after this humiliation?

To the Syrian government: OK, now that we humiliated you publicly, it’s time to talk peace. No way we were going to go back to negotiation when you were feeling confident militarily.

Just look at the PR campaign raged by the Israeli military in the last few days:

Mystery airstrike on Syria boosts Israeli military – Scotsman

Yadlin: Israeli deterrence restored – J Post

MI Chief: Israel has restored its deterrence capabilities – Haaretz

“Israeli deterrence impacting region” – J Post

Israeli deterrence reinstated, Military Intelligence chief says – Ynetnews

Now, will Syria return the slap? Many believe that the real question here is the following: How will Syria return the slap?

As Imad Moustapha said: “[not responding] would not serve our national interests. That would be detrimental to our national interests, because it would encourage Israel to repeat the same intrusions and operations. As I have said, every reaction creates a reaction. If Israel calculates that they can do what they want, they’re making a big mistake, just as they made a mistake last summer [in 2006, by waging war against Hizbullah in Lebanon].”

Richard Silverstein on his blog Tikun Olam translates a Hebrew language story which casts doubt on the U.S.-Israeli version of what happened in Syria:

The doubters of the U.S.-Israel story that the IAF attacked a Syrian-North Korean nuclear facility in Syria last weak are few and far between inside Israel. So it is worth noting a story published in Hebrew by Israeli Channel 10 correspondent, Yigal Laviv, which warns us to suspend belief until the facts are more fully known……

Comments (72)


Nur al-Cubicle said:

So much muzzling implies an embarrassment…

September 17th, 2007, 6:12 pm

 
 

norman said:

Speculation flourishes over Israel’s strike on Syria

· PM Ehud Olmert enforces news blackout on air raid
· Target believed to have been nuclear project

Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Monday September 17, 2007
The Guardian

Israel has enforced a news blackout on what may be its air force’s most audacious raid since its jets destroyed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor in 1981. The Israeli government has made no comment about the raid on what is believed to be a nuclear installation in Syria and Israeli newspapers have been forbidden to write anything on the subject.
When asked about the raid, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, refused to provide details. “The security services and Israeli defence forces are demonstrating unusual courage. We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”

Instead the details of the raid have been leaked to a series of foreign newspapers. According to the leaks, eight Israeli F-15 bombers entered Syrian airspace in the early hours of September 6. They successfully evaded Syrian radar and air defences and attacked a research establishment on the Euphrates river in northern Syria, destroying it completely.

Israeli intelligence believes that North Korea, which has provided missile technology to Syria in the past, has started supplying nuclear materials in recent months. On leaving Syria, the Israeli planes jettisoned their extra fuel tanks over Turkey.

While news of the raid spread rapidly through the Israeli defence, media and political circles, the government insisted on complete silence. According to Syria the Israeli planes flew into its airspace at supersonic speed from the Mediterranean. They were attacked by Syrian air defences and dropped their munitions which caused no damage and then left, Syria said.

Miri Eisin, the spokeswoman for Mr Olmert, reiterated the government line. “We do not respond to media speculation.” If the leaks are true, the raid would have been Israel’s most dramatic attack since its jets destroyed the Osirak reactor just outside Baghdad. Without an official confirmation of what happened from either Syria or Israel, speculation has flourished. Possible targets have included Iranian arms supplies for Syria, Hizbullah or Palestinian militant training bases. However, the flow of information from the US seems to confirm that the target was a North Korean-Syrian project which Israel believed would have led to Syria gaining nuclear capability.

Robert Gates, the US secretary for defence, would not comment on the Israeli air raid, in Washington yesterday. “We are watching the North Koreans very carefully. We watch the Syrians very carefully,” he said. “If such an activity were taking place, it would be a matter of great concern.”

Special report
Israel and the Middle East

World news guide
Israel and the Palestinian territories
Middle East

September 17th, 2007, 6:38 pm

 

Homo Sapiens said:

My two cents:

1. The US was involved in the raid, at least as a silent observer. Incirlik AFB is only 100Km from the route taken by the Israely planes.

2. According the the Sunday Times, Israel neutralized the Syrian ground AA forces. For Israel to expose this capacity, the target must have been preceived as ultra dangerous for Israel’s security, thus backing the Nuclear facility theory.

3. There was no mention of an attempt to engage the Israely planes in air battle. Odd.

September 17th, 2007, 7:05 pm

 

Murphy said:

Sad – though not altogether surprising – to see the once respectable Guardian become another vehicle for pro-Israel propaganda, just as they have become yet another drum-beater for America’s wars. The excuse for an article above only quotes US and Israeli sources, and contains none of the widespread skepticism about the ridiculous “North Korean nukes” story. And you gotta love the use of that ol’ favourite line, the “audacious raid”!

“However, the flow of information from the US seems to confirm that the target was a North Korean-Syrian project which Israel believed would have led to Syria gaining nuclear capability”.

Umm…. yeah, Mr. Urquhart. And I’ve got some Iraqi WMD I’d like to sell you.

September 17th, 2007, 7:37 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

The Israeli media and local analysts report that the Israeli silence as a lesson from the attack on the Iraqi reactor in 1981.

Back then, Israel took responsibility for the attack and was heavily condemned by the international community.

The general tone in the media is that this policy is far more effective and the Syrian silence on the matter benefits Israel even further, since there are no serious condemnations.

September 18th, 2007, 12:29 am

 

norman said:

Olmert discusses peace talks with Syria
September 17, 2007

JERUSALEM –Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel was prepared for peace negotiations with Syria under the right conditions but refused to answer questions Monday about a widely reported Israeli air attack in northern Syria.

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Boston.com
Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts Olmert made his comments to a group of Russian-language reporters, Israeli media reported.

One of the reporters told Army Radio that Olmert was trying to send a calming message to Syria. However, she said, he refused to answer questions about the reported Israeli air attack.

Israel has not commented on the incident since Syria cryptically announced it earlier this month, saying its air space had been entered and that Israel had “dropped munitions.” Syria has offered no evidence of any Israeli attack.

“I have a lot of respect for the Syrian leader and for Syrian policy. They have internal problems, but we have no reason to rule out dialogue with Syria,” Olmert was quoted as saying by the Haaretz daily.

Olmert has made the same offer of peace talks many times in the past, but this was the first time he has mentioned Syria since the reported airstrike. In 2000, Israel-Syria talks neared agreement but broke down over final border and peace arrangements.

“As I’ve said in the past, we want to make peace with everyone,” Olmert said in the Monday meeting, according to the paper. “If the conditions ripen, we are ready to make peace with Syria, with no preconditions and no ultimatums.”

© Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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September 18th, 2007, 1:12 am

 

ugarit said:

The incursion into Syria is a message to Syria by Israel that it can reach the farthest corner of Syria with impunity and hence now Israel is saying that it will have no preconditions to negotiations and hence not negotiate from a position of weakness.

September 18th, 2007, 4:12 am

 

Riemer Brouwer said:

There’s one thing that doesn’t make sense: if the attack was a PR stunt, then why keep silent? Wouldn’t you expect press conferences by the IDF, showing cool footage about this plant being blown to pieces, preferably mixed with some “Top Gun”-alike sceneries?

Perhaps the IDF thinks that being mysterious adds to their deterrent power. Then again, would they think the Israeli population is willing to accept a secretive, uncontrolled army after the July 06 disaster?

September 18th, 2007, 5:57 am

 

Murphy said:

“Back then, Israel took responsibility for the attack and was heavily condemned by the international community.”

Oh, please!!! Since when has Israel given a toss about condemnation from the ‘international community’! Besides, the two cases are different: Israel’s bank roller is publicly admitting that Israel bombed something in Syria, so it would be in the Israelis’ interests to bring forward evidence that what they hit was indeed an evil WMD site, if indeed that were true. As I’ve said, modesty is not generally a characteristic of the I”D”F.

If you are gullible enough to believe what Israeli media wants you to believe, fine. Just remember that this is the same media that enthusiastically backed Israel’s disastrous summer war on Lebanon only one short year ago.

September 18th, 2007, 6:31 am

 

Jamal said:

Arab Reform Bulletin September 2007

Journalist and political activist Habib Saleh was released September 12 after 27 months in prison. Saleh was arrested in May 2005 and sentenced to three years in prison by a military court for “spreading mendacious information” in open letters to the Baath Party criticizing the regime, which he posted on various websites.

How is he? Any news of any others?

September 18th, 2007, 9:02 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

10:12 Poll: Olmert`s popularity up 10 percent since alleged IAF strike on Syria (AP)

September 18th, 2007, 9:15 am

 

idaf said:

This is only confirming that this all was a politically motivated publicity stunt by the Israeli government: Olmert’s ratings rise after Syrian raid: poll .

Moreover, in an astonishing peace offensive..Olmert: “We respect Assad and Syria’s policies”!!!!

This is also confirming the 4 messages I listed above about the Israel’s messages to Syria regarding peace talks after the PR strike.

The other interpretation for this sudden change of heart is that Israel is really starting to worry about Syria actually responding and wants to preempt that with a peace venture!

Anyhow, Syria does not seem interested yet in “not responding”. Al-Jaafary just announced that this Israeli attempt will today be raised in the Security Council today

September 18th, 2007, 10:22 am

 

t_desco said:

ISF nabs seven members of Sunni ‘terror cell’ in South

By Hani M. Bathish and Maher Zeineddine
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Internal Security Forces (ISF) announced Monday that they had confiscated weapons and explosives in raids on a house, a shop and a warehouse in the village of Anout, in the predominantly Sunni district of Iqlim al-Kharroub, and arrested the owner – Mohammad Rashid Ammar, a alleged to have Salafist leanings. The ISF said it had arrested seven members of a terrorist cell since Saturday.

The ISF also arrested a Libyan in the town of Jadra in Iqlim al-Kharroub who was in possession of a fake Lebanese ID in the name of Saeed Eid, according to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation. A security source told The Daily Star that four of the suspects arrested were from the Southern town of Yarin, while one, Bilal Akum, was from the village of Bsaiba.

LBC reported that ISF raids have targeted terrorist cells in Iqlim al-Kharroub and the South since Saturday. Information gathered through interrogation of Fatah al-Islam suspects will lead to more arrests in the “coming hours or days,” uncovering the full extent of the terrorist networks operating in the country as well as planned terrorist attacks, LBC reported.

Naharnet reported that the terrorist cell had been active in carrying out attacks and planning for attacks in parts of South Lebanon patrolled by UNIFIL. Among the suspects arrested are individuals involved in the firing of Katyusha rockets into northern Israel.

Two pick-up trucks filled with weapons – including nine assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and canisters of liquid hydrogen used in manufacturing explosives – were recovered in the raid on Ammar’s home, security sources said.

The sources told The Daily Star that Ammar owns a household-products store which he uses as a cover for his secret activities, preparing explosive devices and supplying members of extremist groups with weapons. Sources added that raids continued for the third day running on Monday after security forces received information of more weapons caches in other parts of the country.

Salim al-Sayyed, a local Progressive Socialist Party official in Iqlim al-Kharroub, told The Daily Star security forces are continuing to conduct raids in the village of Anout. He said security forces are aware of the activities of Salafist groups in the area, calling on them and the judiciary to control these groups and prevent them carrying out destructive activities. Sayyed mentioned the arrest of two other suspects by security forces in the town of Jadra two days ago.

As-Safir newspaper reported Monday that the ISF was continuing to carry out raids in the region, searching for wanted individuals suspected of having links to Salafist and other militant groups.

The paper said security sources released the names of two suspects, Saeed M., from Mina in Tripoli, and Mohammad H. H., from the village of Katr Maya in Iqlim al-Kharroub.The Libyan’s name was not made public. The arrests could be connected with operations carried out in the South and with the launching of rockets at northern Israel.

Naharnet, quoting anonymous sources, said police arrested four suspected terrorists, a Libyan and three Lebanese, and confiscated explosives and Katyusha rockets. Naharnet said two of the suspects were rounded up in the Southern village of Zawtar in a separate raid.
The Daily Star

(my emphasis)

September 18th, 2007, 11:44 am

 

Georges said:

I think the reports about Syrian nuclear cooperation with North Korea is a bunch of bull. No expert of any weight has corroborated this. Even US ally South Korea has refuted this. It’s clear that these allegations are just to provide a cover for the Israeli violation of Syrian territory. I don’t buy it one bit. I don’t even buy that they hit ANYTHING. If they did, black-and-white, grainy footage of this amazing strike would be plastered on every screen. This was a dry-run to test new Syrian air defenses. Even the theory about charting a path to attack Iran doesn’t make sense. Why would the Israelis fly over hostile Syrian territory on their way to bomb Iran (and risk being shot down) when they can go through friendly skies of Jordan and Saudi Arabia/Iraq?

This was a MEDIA strike not a MILITARY strike; intended to: 1. restore Israel’s military confidence after last year’s summer debacle in Lebanon; and 2. to test Syria’s defenses. Are you really worried about Syria going nuclear? http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=532

September 18th, 2007, 11:58 am

 

idaf said:

An interesting Op-Ed by a Lebanese Presidential candidate: What Lebanon’s president should do about Syria?

September 18th, 2007, 1:28 pm

 

idaf said:

Syria reopens 2 border crossings with northern Lebanon closed in May after a Lebanese Delegation meets with Farouk al-Sharaa

The Syrio-Lebanese socio-economic issues are very much entangled. The effects of any internal Syrian policy on Lebanon is grave, more so than Lebanese M14 politicians want to admit.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Beirut for a conference. When the taxi driver from the airport knew I’m Syrian, he expressed his anxiety about the Syrian government decision to remove subsidies on oil and its plan on introducing VAT. I was astonished. Here was a Sunni Beiruti Lebanese telling me how my government’s internal economic decision is going to affect him negatively. He went on and on on how his family and extended family buy their yearly “mooneh” from Syria and how the economies of Lebanese villages on the Syrian border will be devastated with the decision of introducing VAT in Syria or removal of government subsidies on oil, diesel or gas.

The decision to reopen the border crossing with Lebanon will not affect many Syrians (maybe only those who are used to clubbing in Beirut), but people on the Lebanese side of the border will definitely be jubilant.

Policy makers asking for curbing on Lebanese-Syrian border will definitely face much resistance from hundreds of thousands of Lebanese citizens who strongly depend on the subsidized neighboring Syrian market for their day to day livelihood.

The taxi driver asked if there is anyway that pressure can be made on the Syrian government to reverse its decision and keep the subsidies.. I smiled!

September 18th, 2007, 1:47 pm

 

Alex said:

George to answer your question: Why would the Israelis fly over hostile Syrian territory on their way to bomb Iran (and risk being shot down) when they can go through friendly skies of Jordan and Saudi Arabia/Iraq?

Israel feels it can pass through Syrian skies with ease. Israelis are very confident that their airforce rules the skies of the middle east.

Also, it is possible that Saudi Arabia and Jordan would tell the Israelis that they do not want a retaliation from Iran when the Iranians find out that Israeli planes went through Saudi or Jordanian skies … the Iranians will assume that those governments knew about it an approved it. But in the case of Syria, there will be no doubt that the stike was approved by the Syrians.

But I am not saying that this is necessarily why this violation of Syrian territory took place. I actually beat my friend IDAF a day earlier to the similar conclusions : )

Actually I see it a bit differently. Here is what I wrote:

I can imagine how it might have started. Mr. Bolton and friends sent an envoy to Jerusalem to explore the possibiity that those Koreans who are allegedly (according the Israeli intelligence reports) in Syria might be nuclear weapons scientists. The Israelis are advised that it is in their best interest to deal with it promptly. The Israelis understand that the Americans need this favor, plus some in Israel do not mind hitting Syria for more than one reason … This idea was sold to the Israeli cabinet with its diverse members through more thatn one type of argument:

1) To Barak it is an easy “success” to his credit as new defense minister, compared to his weak predecessor.

2) To other politicians, it is an insurance against any possibility, even if it is slim, that in the future someone will find out that Syria actually has an advanced nuclear weapons program and there will be an Israeli inquiry that finds out that Bolton urged them to strike Syria at the time, but they (the cabinet ministers) voted against it. No one wants to take such chance even if they are almost convinced the nuclear risk from Syria is almost non exsistent.

3) For those who have advocated peace talks with Syria in the past (like Avi Dichter) the calculated escalation wth Syria along with information that Syria might be developing nuclear weapons (which will most probably not lead to war) can potentially achieve another objective … to make half the Israeli public who are not interesrted in giving back the Golan Heights to Syria more worried about the seriousness of the Syrian threat. They would take the possibility of war with Syria more seriously and that could potentially tip the scale for some of them in favor of giving back the Golan to avoid war with Syria.

Also, it is a safe way of re-estabishing some confidence in the IDF without another invasion of ebanon or a full war with Syria … and the Syrians can understand it … messages could be sent to them throught he Turkish government to let them know that the strike was mostly to satisfy the haws in Israel and in Washington without having to do anything more damaging (launch war).

4) and for the hawks … it is the classic joy of using their air force which is superior to anything on the enemy side… Imediate gratification … any excuse to go for it will be good enough for them … they’ll approve it anytime.

So, even tough most of the Israeli cabinet members probably did not think there is a real new danger from Syria, they had a good enough reason to approve it

September 18th, 2007, 2:25 pm

 

Alex said:

Of course later we heard a report that only a few in the Israeli cabinet knew in advance of the operation… but that report could be false, like the rest of whar we read the past few days.

September 18th, 2007, 2:30 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

*****************
“If you are gullible enough to believe what Israeli media wants you to believe, fine….”
*****************

Yeah, you’re probably right, Murphy.
Whenever I want to know the real facts and get unbiased news and some in depth analysis – I turn to Tishreen.

It’s the only news source I could really trust.

September 18th, 2007, 3:04 pm

 

Murphy said:

“Whenever I want to know the real facts and get unbiased news and some in depth analysis – I turn to Tishreen.”

Not at all sure what point you think you have made by this combination of weak sarcasm and straw-manning.

September 18th, 2007, 3:10 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

Syrians know that Teshreen is biased. They don’t automatically believe everything in Teshreen. But the problem is that Israeli, American, saudi owned, Lebanese newspapers and media are all biased as well (to various degrees)… yet most people automatically accept what they read in their favorite newspapers. And they pick the newspapers that are biased the way they like them to be biased … to re-enforce their initial personal biases.

That’s why we Syrians have a better understanding of politics : ) .. we are the only ones who do not automatically trust our own, or other biased newspapers… we read them all before we conclude anything.

September 18th, 2007, 3:28 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Ok, Alex, fair enough.
Could you share with me examples of news sources that you consider as fair, unbiased & accurate ?

I want to see the light too… 🙂

September 18th, 2007, 3:41 pm

 

Alex said:

Israelguy,

There is no shortcut : )

You need to read all sides of any story and remove the predictable biases from each. After a while you can tell who is biased and in which way. Syrian newspapers will always portray the Syrian leadership as wise and heroic. Israeli papers … it depends which one. The Saudis and M14 Lbanese papers are always looking for any event to prove Syrians are: weak, stupid, foolish, or backward. You can trust them on Israel related topics, but don’t get Syria news from them!

The Americans? … it depends. Washington Post went Neocon for a while. Liz Cheney and others were published. David Ignatius is the best writer there.

Wall street journal is also far right and consistently promotes the same policies.

I think LA Times and CSM are more balanced.

Arab press? .. Jihad Khazen (alhayat) is usually the best informed and the most balanced. Ghassan Toueini is very decent (Annahar) critic of Syria.

From Syria’s side? Syria comment will give you the best look at all points of view. Also, Sami Moubayed, Rime Allaf, Murhaf Jouejati, Ibrahim Hamidi (Alhayat), Patrick Seale …

In general, when a nation is either under threat or at war, its journalists generally play along with the nationalistic theme … except if their government looks like it is messing up everything. Everyone (even free press) loves a winner. You can get reporters to ignore your lies if you are winning a war, if you lose, they start to turn against you.

September 18th, 2007, 4:15 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Israeliguy,

cc: Alex

Put it this way, Alex links to Ha’aretz more than any other new source. Also, Professor Josh links mostly to Ha’aretz or the most liberal Israeli or Jewish “Yafeh Nefesh” he can find. In the above case, some “Tikkun Olam” person named Richard Silverstein (as if his opinion carries any weight).

Personally, I love to link to Arab news sources. That’s where MEMRI comes in: http://www.memri.org/

IMO, Israel hit a suspected military base. I doubt there was nuclear material there; I think they just wanted to send a message.

September 18th, 2007, 4:17 pm

 

Murphy said:

“a suspected military base.”

“suspected…”?????? Whatever happened to that much vaunted Israeli intelligence? They fly long distances over enemy territory to hit a ‘suspected’ military base?!?

“Personally, I love to link to Arab news sources. That’s where MEMRI comes in: http://www.memri.org/

Ah yes, Memri. All the Arab news Mossad wants you to know. And none of the news they don’t want you to know.

September 18th, 2007, 4:22 pm

 

Offended said:

And how do you define a ‘suspected military base’ Mr. Akbar brilliant?

September 18th, 2007, 4:26 pm

 

Offended said:

There is no denying the fact that the Israeli media outlets are more resourceful and empowered than the Syrian ones (after all, it is a business sector in a ‘capitalist’ country)… , however, the recent blackout has shown clearly that they are (the Israeli) controlled by a snap of finger from the military bigwigs…

But let’s forget about that now, Mr. Perez and Mr. Olmert are reassuring us that the tension has eased and the vision ahead is rosy with peace pigeons flying around instead of the Phantoms…

What a bunch of hypocrites!

September 18th, 2007, 4:38 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

Syria is full of “suspected military bases” … so why now? if they took out a couple of missile bases, there are thousands in Syria. What message do you thin Syria got? .. that Israeli airforce is superior? … we all know that. What’s next, Israel dropping a nuclear bomb on damascus to send a message that it has 199 other bombs?

The message I got :

If there will be peace talks, Olmert needs to boost his popularity in Israel and negotiate from a perceived position of strength. Also, Israel needs to boost the morale of its army. A war on Lebanon is too risky, a war on Syria will be savage (on both sides)… this strike was brilliant in that case. If the Syrians accepted it as a prelude to starting peace talks then good for them.

But of course it can also be a less positive message … a favor to US neocons and their friends the Israeli hawks who wanted to punish Syria or teach Syria a lesson… in that case, this was useless.

Or it ight be pressue on Syria before the Lebanese elections … also useless. Nothing will change there.

September 18th, 2007, 4:39 pm

 

Murphy said:

“If the Syrians accepted it as a prelude to starting peace talks then good for them.”

I dunno.

What kind of ‘peace talks’ – in the normal sense of the phrase – can be triggered by an unprovoked bombing raid?

September 18th, 2007, 4:44 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

A good way to get a many-sided picture of the events reporting is to use an news finder, for example NewsNow and read how the story develops in different countries. Also Chinese, Russian, German and Turkish sources (in English) are often worth reading. Sometimes they give a different angle.

From the Israeli newspapers I must say that they give an astonishing many-sided picture what is happening in Israel and some times also around Israel. Though with Syria attack news making also Haaretz made less analytical articles not to mention other English language Israeli sources. Maybe some men with black helmets and Uzis took over the editor jobs for a while. 🙂

September 18th, 2007, 5:01 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, I can’t comment of the actual sources that you brought (thanks for bringing them), because I’m not familiar with their reporting enough – but I can say this: every media outlet has an agenda.
The only question is how blunt it is in pursuing this agenda.

In Israel, media organizations like Arutz 7 (right wing) or Ha’aertz (left wing) are among the best examples for this issue.

Akbar Palace, there’s no doubt that the Arab media fell in love with Ha’aertz.
After all, it’s one case when an Arab source tells you that “Israel is (whatever)” and another when an Israeli news source tells you the same.

I mean, if the Israelis are reporting and saying something bad about Israel, it must be true and agenda free – right? Yeah, sure…

I know that Ha’aertz has many fans in the Arab world, but it’s important to note that not many read it inside Israel – because of this blunt agenda.
Israelis take it as a reversed version of Fox News.

The leading Israeli paper is Yedioth Ahronoth with about 40% exposure rate.
After that is Maariv, with about 20% and only then comes Ha’aertz with about 6.5%.

So most of Ha’aertz readers (in Israel) are passionate left wing news consumers, while most of Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv’s readers are just news consumers (generally speaking).

So Alex, yes, I support your approach of reading as many news sources as possible and your observations about wartime media coverage were true as well.

Although I’m not a fan of political motivated press, it’s still good that we have it.
We should have a wide market of news, “news”, analysis and “analysis”.

Nobody found a better system.

September 18th, 2007, 5:09 pm

 

Murphy said:

“most of Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv’s readers are just news consumers (generally speaking).”

I find that hard to believe. “News” is never “just news”. There is ALWAYS some kind of spin and/or bias, even if the readers or even the writers themselves may not be conscious of it.

“So most of Ha’aertz readers (in Israel) are passionate left wing news consumers, ”

Interesting that Ha-aretz is considered far-left in Israel. I would say that in most countries other than the US, it would be considered fairly centrist. Also, the low readership does not surprise me – so-called quality newspapers, while being influential, are not widely read by the general population. For every “Independent” reader, there are ten “Sun”, ummm…. “readers”. At the very least.

September 18th, 2007, 5:23 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

It is also a mistake to generalize, even within the same newspaper. For example Zvi Barel is not a fan of Syrian leaders, Akiva Eldar is more freindly.

Akbar, I do not link Haaretz becasue it criticizes Israel, you are wrong. I Usually link Haaretz when I want to give readers on my side a positive image of those in Israel who are friendly and peaceful, because they exist and because they are not as loud as the hawks who are doing a disservice to your nation with their hostile talk and actions.

Israel is 20% far left (they stil vote Labor!) … 50% center, and 30% extreme right. As long as the center is flexible enough to move a bit to the left (one day) we still have hope.

September 18th, 2007, 5:26 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Israel’s channel 10 came out with an astonishing story.

The reporter, Alon Ben David (basing his story on a Jane’s report), says that a deadly explosion happened in a joint Iranian-Syrian chemical weaponry production plant (in Syria).

According to his report, dozens of Iranian & Syrian engineers died, after deadly chemicals were spread in the air.

If I understand right, the scientists tried to install a chemical warhead on a Scud missile and that’s when the accident happened.

Ben David says that it happened a few weeks ago.

?

September 18th, 2007, 6:50 pm

 

offended said:

Israeliguy, according to this astonishing story indeed, were you able to make out whether the explosion was a result of the Israeli air raid, or was it probably a mysterious waves sent by the means of telepathy?

September 18th, 2007, 7:19 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Nope, no telepathy waves were used here and it’s not a result of an Israeli air raid.
It was an internal accident, according to the report.

If you understand Hebrew, here’s the report:
http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=513553&sid=126

September 18th, 2007, 7:23 pm

 

Murphy said:

“According to his report, dozens of Iranian & Syrian engineers died, after deadly chemicals were spread in the air.”

He forgot to add that untold numbers of North Korean nuclear engineers died of radiation sickness in the immediate aftermath. It is also believed that some Cuban and Venezuelan biological weapons experts died as a result of this mysterious incident.

“Israel is 20% far left (they stil vote Labor!)”

Again, though, this proves my point. Labour is about as left as the US Democrats are, which is to say that in most countries they would be considered centrist, if not centre-right.

September 18th, 2007, 7:48 pm

 

haz said:

i whould like to correct a mistake. ygal raviv is not a chanel 10 correspondent actualy he dosnt work in the electronic or writen media. in israel he isnt consider to be very credibel or well known jurnalist/bloger. i pesonaly am a news freak and i never heard of him antil today. after today post i read his bloge and find some of his claming to be eccentric(including the one right after the air strike claiming it was derected at the Russian facility in latakia)

September 18th, 2007, 8:09 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

A new JP story, now “they” link Russia more or less directly to the missile puzzle

The secretive Syrian-N. Korean alliance

September 18th, 2007, 8:18 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

*********
“He forgot to add that untold numbers of North Korean nuclear engineers died of radiation sickness in the immediate aftermath. It is also believed that some Cuban and Venezuelan biological weapons experts died as a result of this mysterious incident.”
*********

Murphy, I just brought the report, so please don’t shoot the messenger.
Naturally, you have your right to belive it or throw it away as baseless junk.

Since channel 10 is basing its report an a Jane’s story, I wouldn’t rule it out that quickly, however, I too look forward to read some follow up reports.

We’ll wait and see, I guess.

*********
“Again, though, this proves my point. Labour is about as left as the US Democrats are, which is to say that in most countries they would be considered centrist, if not centre-right.”
*********

I wouldn’t define the labor party as left.
Indeed, they’re more like centrists with a leftish orientation – very similar to the US Democrats.

September 18th, 2007, 8:36 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

I’m not familiar with the following site, but here’s a good summary of what the report said – in English:

http://www.infolive.tv/en/infolive.tv-12475-israelnews-iranians-and-syrians-killed-chemical-warhead-experiment-syria

September 18th, 2007, 8:53 pm

 

idaf said:

“I actually beat my friend IDAF a day earlier to the similar conclusions”

Alex,
With a site like Creative Syria and the amazing energy you have in the blogosphere, you have always beaten all of us here.
🙂

September 18th, 2007, 9:05 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

The London-based Almashad Alsiasi publication to which JP in the latest article refers produces with Google two hits (and a link to one) which both have a story written by Aaron Lerner. A strange publication if it has only so little “attention” in internet. Link to how Aaron Lerner sees the present situation: Handling of Syria incident illustrates potential of leadership Ditto for the military, as he says.

The other source the AXIS Global Research and Analysis Web site belongs obviously to the same category as DEBKA, but is more concentrated in denigrating Russia.

Jerusalem Post uses really astonishing sources. Is that really seriously taken journalism?

September 18th, 2007, 9:16 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Akbar, I do not link Haaretz becasue it criticizes Israel, you are wrong. I Usually link Haaretz when I want to give readers on my side a positive image of those in Israel who are friendly and peaceful, because they exist and because they are not as loud as the hawks who are doing a disservice to your nation with their hostile talk and actions.

Alex,

Why should Israel be “friendly and peaceful” to Arabs when they’ve only tried to push them to the sea for the past 100 years?

Yet, despite the Hamas, the Tanzim, the Nasrallahs, the Hezbollah, the Sheikh Yassins, the Arafats, the Meshaals, the Assads, the Nassers, the Saddams, the Sauds, the Bin-Ladens, al-Queda, and the Ahmadinejads, Israelis can still live in peace with Arabs.

I call it a miracle. Glad you like Ha’aretz.

Israeliguy,

Send me an email when you get a chance. palace.akbar@gmail.com

September 19th, 2007, 1:20 am

 

Alex said:

Thanks Idaf : ) … that was useful following the wonderfu evening I just had.

I went into an underground parking and it seems that going out was not like going in … I hit the ceiling and damaged my 4X4’s roof and broke water pipes and made a big mess in the building and got stuck for two hours …

Akbar,

Do you want Simohurtta to remind you of who started and escalated the hostilities and who wiped out more of the other side’s civilians?

And do you want me to remind you that the best way to avoid Hizbollah is to not create it … Hizbollah came after you invaded lebanon and killed 17800 of its civilians and occupied its southern third for years and years.

Hamas was also created then susained by YOU and your excessive use of force.

“The Assads” were always ready and eager to reach a peaceful settlement with israel based on UN resolutions. You prefer to violate their country’s airspace instead.

September 19th, 2007, 2:10 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

If Hezbollah was created because Israel killed 17800 civilians, why
doesn’t Hezbollah attack the other groups responsible for the other 82,200 deaths (using your numbers)?

Your logic is illogical.

Could it be it doesn’t matter how many civilians Israel kills?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Civil_War

September 19th, 2007, 2:34 am

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

The different parties of Lebanon’s civil war decided to forgive each other … Jumblatt and Geagea, who killed thousands of each other’s people are now political allies.

Similary, HA will not fight other Lebanese … Jumblatt was excessively rude in his public statements on Nasrallah .. HA coud easily take him out if they wanted to, but they won’t risk getting the country back into sectarian fighting.

Israel is an outside enemy that continues to kill large numbers of Lebanese from time to time … 1400 last year alone.

HA were there before the invasion, but their mission, size, relevance and motivation were all affected greatly by Israel’s invasion and long stay in Lebanon.

If and when Israel withdraws from the last occupied part of south Lebanon plus the Golan heights, I am sure HA will turn into a Lebanese political party.

As Israel returns the golan heights in stages, over a three year period for example, HA will quietly and gradually dismantle its military operations and restructure into political party.

As president Clinton said this summer, it takes 30 minutes to finalize the agreement between Syria and Israel … But I wil add: Only after the Americans and Saudis finally get convinced that they can not run Lebanon to their liking and against Syrian interests.

September 19th, 2007, 2:58 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

*********

“As president Clinton said this summer, it takes 30 minutes to finalize the agreement between Syria and Israel … But I wil add: Only after the Americans and Saudis finally get convinced that they can not run Lebanon to their liking and against Syrian interests.”

*********

Alex, what are the Syrian interests in Lebanon?
I would really appreciate it if you could provide the Syrian perspective on this.

Plus, aren’t you for a 2 state solution?
Meaning: Syria and Lebanon, living side by side in peace and harmony as 2 sovereign countries?

The Syrians will run Syria’s affairs and the Lebanese will run Lebanon’s affairs – isn’t it the best solution?

September 19th, 2007, 6:46 am

 

offended said:

Israeli Guy,
You sound like a nice person, don’t let Akbar poison your mind.. 😉

September 19th, 2007, 6:48 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Thanks, Offended.

I’m sure Akbar and me have a lot of things in common and perhaps some differences and I’m also sure that I have a lot of differences with many of the readers here, but perhaps some things in common.

We’ll have to find out… 😉

September 19th, 2007, 8:09 am

 

Alex said:

By the way, Israeliguy aren’t you “Israeli” who debated us at Creative Forum’s Golan topic?

To answer your question about Lebanon: I am for a two state solution. I wish the Syrians would send an ambassador to Beirut as soon as things are back to normal between the two countries. I was very happy seeing Syrian forces out of Lebanon. It was a mistake to stay that long. They should have left in 2001 or 2002 max.

But that does not mean that relations between the two countries can be totally random. Anyone who tries to force a situation in which Syria is not Lebanon’s closest ally and friend will be messing with many natural processes in that area.

To be honest with you, I am for unifying the two countries, but only when it makes sense … if Syria reforms its economy and its political system sufficiently then I expect a majority of Lebanese people to want to unite with Syria to some degree (economically at least). I am talking five to ten years from now… if the middle east is not destroyed by then.

September 19th, 2007, 8:18 am

 

offended said:

On a side note Alex, what kind of building is that where water pipes are kept at a 4×4 height? ; )
Anyway, alhamdillah 3l salameh..

September 19th, 2007, 8:29 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

************
“By the way, Israeliguy aren’t you “Israeli” who debated us at Creative Forum’s Golan topic?”
************

No Alex, I’m not.
Probably another Israeli.

************
“But that does not mean that relations between the two countries can be totally random. Anyone who tries to force a situation in which Syria is not Lebanon’s closest ally and friend will be messing with many natural processes in that area.”
************

Ok, let me share my opinion with you.

Syria and Iran are both allies and friends.
Although as an Israeli this partnership deeply worries me, I can understand the mutual interests and the sincere friendship between both countries and peoples.

However, what happens when one party is not interested in being the other’s friend or ally?
Isn’t it something that should be mutual and based on free will?

In your opinion, shouldn’t Lebanon be sovereign to decide on its partners and allies (assuming it has no desire to attack Syria militarily or pose a severe security risk to it)?

************
“To be honest with you, I am for unifying the two countries, but only when it makes sense … ”
************

Ok, and what if Lebanon wants to remain… Lebanon?
Is it their right to be totally independent?

September 19th, 2007, 8:45 am

 

Alex said:

Thanks offended,

It’s an older building, I guess 4X4’s were not popular at the time. Plus, my 4X4 is a quite high, not to mention that I added a roof rack

September 19th, 2007, 8:46 am

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

Of course Lebanon should be allowed to chose, i thought I was clear when I said “but only when it makes sense” … that meant: only when a majority of Lebanese will want to be, at least economically, united with Syria to some degree.

I meant to say: Syria today is not attractive enough a partner … that’s where the 5 to 10 years can help. I am expecting Syria to continue its economic reforms and growth, and to match it with sufficient improvement in political freedoms… etc.

At that time, if a majority of Lebanese are still not interested, then of course they should not unite!

One last point: it is a mistake to generalize the opinions of the 30 percent of Lebanese who hate Syria today to make conclusions about the preferences of ALL the Lebanese people. Lebanon is just like Israel (and Palestine, and Iraq) … heavily divided.

Those who do not hate Syria are a majority .. those who consider Syria their most special friend are a large part of the Lebanese people .. take the Shiites, some of the Christians, the Armenians, some Sunnis and some Druze even.

My father’s first cousin has been a Lebanese MP since 1992 … most families in Lebanon have Syrian relatives.

Why do you think the M14 government is very much opposed to early elections? … because they know that they are not a majority anymore. We recently had a key election where Michel Aoun (who is willing to work more closely with Syria) put a no-name candidate against the M14’s star candidate: former president Amin Gemayel …and Gemayel lost the election… in Christian areas (not Shiite Hizbollah areas)

Lebanon, was never fully independent .. you always had Syria, France, Egypt, The United States, Iran, and Saudi Arabia alternating in managing it.

So, the silly voices who repeat today “we want a Lebanon that is free from Syrian influence” are replacing it with their own influence …working against Syria.

Imagine if Syria wanted to be the leader in the Gulf region .. Bahrian, Kuwait … I don’ think Syria will succeed and I don;t think the Saudis will allow it to interfere in their backyard.

Similarly, until Lebanon can one day survive on its own, if anyone is supposed to manage it (with no occupying army!) … Syria knows Lebanon better than the rest of the others combined.

September 19th, 2007, 9:01 am

 

IsraeliGuy said:

***********
“Lebanon, was never fully independent .. you always had Syria, France, Egypt, The United States, Iran, and Saudi Arabia alternating in managing it.”
***********

Hey Alex, that’s not fair – you forgot to mention Israel in this fine list.

Come on, don’t steal our credit after we invested 18 of our better years in occupying a pretty significant part of this beautiful country.

Plus we had our summer vacation there a year ago…

Ok, I’m a sarcastic person – I admit it.
Sorry if it’s a bad joke.

Anyway, although I can certainly appreciate your passion, your intelligence and your coherent writing, I’m afraid I can’t agree with you on this matter.

Please read the following text and tell me what you think:

** ** ** ** ** **

It is a mistake to generalize the Palestinian public.
Many of them are crazy about Israel and it’s their favorite country in the entire world.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, receives almost 10,000 fan letters, from average Palestinians everyday.

Most of them beg him to annex the West Bank & Gaza to Israel, since they understand that it’s in their best interest.

In fact, during the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, lots of Palestinians tried to prevent Israel from pulling out.

The idea of not having Israeli soldiers in their streets was too much to bare.

And what about the Jewish settlers?
After 30 years of building intimate friendship between the Palestinians and the settlers, the notion of not having them around any more looked like a bad dream (or a nightmare, to be more accurate).

Now don’t forget that Israel knows the West Bank and Gaza better than any other country.
I mean, we know every city, every neighbourhood, every street and every alley (feel free to quiz me).

In the last 40 years, we proved to be the ultimate managers for these areas and we never had A SINGLE complaint from any Palestinian. None.

In fact, they’re always threatening us that if we’ll ever leave, they’ll cut their wrists – collectively.

** ** ** ** ** **

Ok, now I’ll quit the parody and return to the serious tone.
Alex, the above text didn’t have an intention to ridicule you in any way.

However, when I read your reply, that’s the first association that I had 😉

September 19th, 2007, 10:11 am

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

I swear I thought of both points you made : )

1) I was going to add Israel to the list of “managers”. But my definition of that list includes only the countries which overtly managed the politicians in Beirut to some extent.

Israel indeed had some major Lebanese politicians who secretly coordinated on one issue or another. But it was not like Ghazi Kanaan (Syria’s manager of Lebanon for over a decade) receiving all the Lebanese politicians as friends at his home, or today’s American and Saudi and French ambassadors receiving and visiting Lebanese M14 politicians everyday and telling them sometimes what they should not do or what they should do … publicly!

So I’m afraid, you interfered in Lebanon, but never managed it. THe closest you got to managing it was when Ariel Sharon lef the Israeli army into Beirut and when Bashir Gemayel was picked as Lebanese president. He was Israel’s choice, but he did not last long in the job. Lebanon, and the region are far from being able to function with an Israeli picked president.

2) Now for the second point : )

To make it more realistic I want to remind you that there are indeed some Arabs who prefer to stay under Israeli rule… many of the Druze chose Israel and enrolled in its army and I heard from Palestinians that they are among the harshest soldiers in the Israeli army.

The difference in what I stated is that there are many more Lebanese (half to 70%) who “Do not hate Syria” .. that is all I said. I did not say they want Syria to manage them … they do not hate Syria. And for a Lebanese to like Syria and Syrians, he will surely realize that geography, history, economics, politics, and security of the two countries are very often overlapping or very close… do you disagree?

Do you have cousins who are Palestinian MP’s like I do in Lebanon? 😉

Does every Israeli family have a Palestinian relative like Lebanese families all have Syrian relatives?

So I was simply saying that in the future, at some point, I expect (I did not say I call for) a majority of Lebanese to be over the negative feelings of these days and to start thinking about everything logically. Then I do not see why they will not go for it.

We’ll see .. as I said earlier …assuming the region is not destroyed by then.

And finally, after peace settlement … of course the west bank will have special economic relations with Israel. Your sarcastic story is not far from reality. I have Palestinian friends (Fatah moderates) who told me the same.

September 19th, 2007, 4:53 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Alex, trust me on this: no people likes to be occupied by others: not the Palestinians, not the Iraqis and not even the Lebanese.

You may think you’re doing Lebanon a real favor, but for them, you’re just another occupier.
I’m telling you this as a professional occupier – and in fact, we’re both in a similar boat here.

I just like to be truthful on things, even if they don’t portray me at the best light.
I hope you prefer that approach too.

I have 2 questions, if you don’t mind of course.

If you’ll have a totally free and democratic referendum in Lebanon (supervised by the UN) and you’ll ask the Lebanese people to choose one of the following two – what percentage will pick option A and what percentage will prefer option B?

A. I want a 100% independent Lebanon
B. I want Syria to manage Lebanon

If you can give me your best estimate, it would be great.

The 2nd question is this: Syria and Lebanon ‘had some issues’ for decades now.
Israel and the Palestinians are in a bloody conflict for 40 years (actually, even more).

I know why I don’t want to leave the West Bank, with or without an agreement – there’s one reason only: security.

Whether you agree with me or not, forget that for a second, but honestly, that’s my only motive.
I know that when I’ll get out of the West Bank, the terror and rockets will chase me to Tel Aviv, so I’m going to avoid it at all cost.

Now here’s my question: why is Syria so obsessed with managing Lebanon?

I mean, if they posed a security risk to Syria, I could genuinely understand the need to manage them.
If they had huge oil reserves – although I couldn’t agree with the policy, I could understand the Syrian motive.

But really, why is there such a huge obsession?
I mean, why not say ‘screw them’, leave them alone and concetrate on developing Syria proper?

I never could understand that and I admit that I may lack some information here.

September 19th, 2007, 8:15 pm

 

idaf said:

Israeliguy..

Allow me to interfere and answer your last question..

Syria is not “obsessed with managing Lebanon”, its just a natural reaction based on the trial and error experiences since Lebanon existed:

Whenever Syria is not “managing” Lebanon (or at least have a really friendly relationship with it), some other regional or international country will immediately fill the void and exploit the Lebanese sectarian system to harm Syria through Lebanon. Those parties as Alex said included in the past Egypt, France, US, Iraq, the Palestinians and Israel to a lesser extent. Today, since Syria stopped its “management” of Lebanon, immediately Saudi, France, the US jumped in and exploited the void to harm Syria. It’s that simple.

PS. I apologize for any Lebanese offended by my choice of words. I have my reservations on the wording of my comments but used them without being “politically correct” to be inline with the discussion above.

September 19th, 2007, 8:31 pm

 

Alex said:

Israeliguy,

Did I say anything about occupation? … I was always saying we should withdraw from Lebanon starting in 2001. It was a mistake to stay longer. And in the future, “managing Lebanon” should not include Syrian soldiers on Lebanese soil… and nothing heavy handed. No Syrian interference in their press. You know that when Syria had its troops in Lebanon, Annahar was very much anti Syria for years and years. No one closed it.

Israel should withdraw from the west bank too 🙂

Not unilaterally, but after a “new Middle East” is agreed upon by everyone. It is diffiult by doable. Otherwise I agree that you might have more chaos. Israel’s mistake was to withdraw from Lebanon and Gaza unilaterally, not in a carefully planned and negotiated peace agreement with the neighbors (Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians). THe agreement in 1974 on the Golan was very successful … because Kissinger shuttled for over 20 times between Damascus and Jerusalem to reach that agreement … without trying to fore it on the Syrians … don’t think you can use force to force Arabs to agree or accept anything. Only when they are convinced.

And that applies back to Syria and Lebanon … if in the future the Lebanese are not convinced, Syria should leave them alone, absolutely.

AS for your other point … of course Lebanon is a huge security threat to Syria. YOU have tons of intelligence activity in Lebanon, the Americans, French, Iranians, Saudis, Egyptians .. all have their best intelligence officers stationed in Beirut. Then you have Lebanese milita leaders who would do favors for outsiders for the right price … you have a potential civil war waiting to happen because they can not agree on what to do with the fact that the new majority in Lebanon is Shiite .. because they are split along conservative and secular lines …

Lebanon’s border with Syria leaks both ways … there is no way to seal it. Lebanon is inside Syria (see the map) .. money, weapons, consumer goods adn people can flow with ease both ways.

It is not being paranoid at all.

More importantly, I have other ideas … when Lebanon and Syria become one country it would be .. good for democracy!

The Syrian regime would feel more secure with more minorities (from Lebanon) ensuring the Muslim brotherhood will not win Parliamentary elections in Syria, and the secular Lebanese would feel better about one-man-one-vote not bringing the very religious Hizbollah and its supporters to power in Lebanon …

What do you think? : )

September 19th, 2007, 8:41 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Ok, fair answer, Offended.
Thanks.

By the way, what will be your estimate on my 1st question to Alex?

And another one: if you were among the Lebanese who wished for a 100% independent Lebanon – what would you do?

September 19th, 2007, 8:44 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

*************
“What do you think? : ) ”
*************

Well, let me tell you what I think.
I disagree with many of your points, however, I have a lot of respect both to you and to your arguments.

You present them nicely, you have self confidence, you’re not afraid of confronting hard questions from opponents, sarcasm doesn’t intimidate you nor offend you, you’re not afraid of washing some dirty laundry in public, you have some self humor and you do your best not to insult your partner’s intelligence.

Bravo.

September 19th, 2007, 8:57 pm

 

Alex said:

wow! .. thank you. Very kind of you.

If you noticed, it is because you try to do the same when you communicate with those you disagree with here.

You are a very welcome addition to Syria comment to give us an ISraeli perspective.

Our friend Akbar is great too, but he is a republican, and most of us here are democrats I think… that’s why we don’t get along too well sometimes : )

September 19th, 2007, 9:08 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Oh, I thought you’re all Republicans here – aren’t you? 😉

Anyway, since I’m new here, would you mind giving me some crash background on the blog commentators here?

I see that the vast majority are Assad supporters.
Am I wrong?
Plus, how would you characterize the readers here?
Syrians from Syria? People of Syrian decent that live abroad ? Arabs in general from the entire Middle East?

It would be interesting to get some background.

Thanks!

September 19th, 2007, 9:22 pm

 

Alex said:

The vast majority were not Assad supporters up to last year … but since we, Assad supporters, are louder and have more free time, we outlasted the others who have proper jobs.

Today, Bashar supporters are (in my, and other estimates) about 60 to 65% … or 97% if you prefer the official version.

Some here disagree with me .. Bakri for example, he thinks I a imagining things.

Anyway, these are generic titles … no one is 100% pro or against Assad… some who oday sounded like they are supporters are harsh critics in other areas. stick around and you will hear them ask for Assad to go.

Most of the people here are outside Syria … this is an English Blog. There are thousands who read it daily, but most do not feel comfortable enough to write in English.

We also have many Lebanese who “love” Assad : ) … I don’t know where they are today.

September 19th, 2007, 9:45 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Wow, interesting – so how come Assad supporters have more free time and the ones who don’t have proper jobs?

September 19th, 2007, 9:53 pm

 

Alex said:

I’m joking, I’m joking.

There are many others here who are opposed to Assad. That is why this is Syria’s top blog. Everyone is here, Lebanese, Israelis, Americans, and … Syrians.

But I think after the Nuclear weapons story all syrians had enough with the whole thing … even anti-Assad Syrians can not accept the silly new stories.

And Lebanon too … Syrias had enough with the dirty politics.

OK, dinner time for me.

By the way, many here are business owners, consultants, professors … that’s how we all can decide to take the occasional half day off to spend it here on Syria comment. Others chek at night only.

Cheers.

September 19th, 2007, 10:10 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

Really appreciate your crash course.
Bonne appetite.

September 19th, 2007, 10:34 pm

 

blowback said:

Israeliguy – “I know why I don’t want to leave the West Bank, with or without an agreement – there’s one reason only: security. Whether you agree with me or not, forget that for a second, but honestly, that’s my only motive. I know that when I’ll get out of the West Bank, the terror and rockets will chase me to Tel Aviv, so I’m going to avoid it at all cost.”

I’m sorry but that claim about rockets following you to Tel Aviv is wearing a bit thin.

Simultaneously with its total takeover of the Gaza Strip, the Hamas leadership implemented a unilateral ceasefire with Israel . For a whole week, not a single Qassam was fired at Sderot and the surrounding district. But then, after only one day as Defence Minister, the new Minister [Ehud Barak] authorised a new operation to seek out people on the wanted list in the Khan Younis region. Five Palestinians were killed while others were injured. As if by magic, the firing of Qassams towards Sderot resumed the very next day.

Forget about Fatah, do a deal with Hamas!

September 19th, 2007, 10:52 pm

 

IsraeliGuy said:

**********
“I’m sorry but that claim about rockets following you to Tel Aviv is wearing a bit thin.”
**********

Don’t dismiss it that fast, Blowback.
The current Palestinian rockets has a range of up to 9 KM if I’m not wrong.
Some made it all the way to Ashkelon and they’re improving – so it’s just a matter of time until the range grows.

Besides, to me it doesn’t really matter if a rocket falls in Tel Aviv or Kfar Saba (a couple of KM from the West Bank).

An Israeli citizen is an Israeli citizen.
The distance between the Mediterranean sea and the West Bank is not that long.

We’re not Syria 🙂

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“Simultaneously with its total takeover of the Gaza Strip, the Hamas leadership implemented a unilateral ceasefire with Israel . For a whole week, not a single Qassam was fired at Sderot and the surrounding district. But then, after only one day as Defence Minister, the new Minister [Ehud Barak] authorised a new operation to seek out people on the wanted list in the Khan Younis region. Five Palestinians were killed while others were injured. As if by magic, the firing of Qassams towards Sderot resumed the very next day.”
**********

According to my logic, the second after the pull back from Gaza not a single Qassam should have been fired.
Obviously, my reason is not the Palestinian reason.

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“Forget about Fatah, do a deal with Hamas!”
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Well, nice idea, but the problem is they don’t want to recognize Israel nor negotiate a permanent status solution with it.

Anyway, Olmert is negotiating Abu Mazen at the moment and there supposed to be a big middle eastern peace convention in a few months.

I’m pretty sure that nothing will come out of it and personally, the way things look, I don’t believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is solvable.

September 19th, 2007, 11:50 pm

 

JOHN said:

Do you really think the Israelis didn’t videotape this entire thing?? The U S does on every raid on their F15 I’s. They all use these videos to learn from any mistakes they made or simply to have proof of something. Not that we’ll ever see it, but come on …what a great YOU TUBE favorite. Just kidding of course.

JOHN

September 20th, 2007, 10:16 pm

 

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