Has a Lebanon Deal Been Clinched?

Is a Lebanon deal in the works? Did the Saudi-Iran meeting produce results?

There are two versions. The Lebanese are saying it did produce results. The Daily Star and al-Sharq al-Awsat both claim a Lebanon deal has been clinched, but the details remain vague, which is not a good sign of success. The Daily Star writes:

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, a strong critic of the opposition who has been repeatedly accused of hampering efforts to end the deadlock, confirmed on Sunday that there was "indeed an effective solution."

"The solution is based on two things, on forming a joint committee that will oversee the modifications to the international court [to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri] and the formation of a national consensus government of 19 + 10 + 1," Geagea told the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

The unaffiliated Cabinet minister in Geagea's formulation would belong neither to the majority or the opposition but would serve as an independent.

Geagea's version of the agreement was confirmed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who earlier had called for a "joint judicial committee" to work on a final draft of the international tribunal.

The details of the International Tribunal do not seem to have been completely worked out, nevertheless, diplomats have been trying to finesse the issue in order to get a cabinet deal that would bring Hizbullah and the opposition back into government and allow the Lebanese economy to be relieved of the paralyzing demonstrations in the downtown financial district.

Syria has insisted that it would not allow the International Tribunal to go forward for fear that it will be politicized and used to further isolate and harm Syria. Damascus insists that the Brammertz final report, which is due out this summer, first be published. Only then, it claims, should the decision of whether to establish a tribunal or not be taken. Damascus believes that the evidence that the UN team has been able to gather in the last two years is less than compelling and will not justify a trial. Damascus insists that the reason the US and Lebanese government want a tribunal established before the release of the report is precisely because they know the evidence against Syria, or anyone else for that matter, is weak. Washington wants the court established before the release of the Brammertz report in order to be able to tie Syria up in litigation for the next several years and use it's existence as an excuse to isolate Damascus for another several years. Syria is gambling that the report is a bust and that international support for a tribunal will evaporate once the public understands that the US and France are engaged in a fishing expedition.

Hassan Fattah of the NYTimes, in contrast to the Daily Star, writes that the "Saudi-Iran Meeting Yields Little Substance." The Saudi proposed Arab Peace Plan for Palestine was discussed, however, despite Iranian denials. Fattah writes:

The Saudi Press Agency reported that Mr. Ahmadinejad had expressed support for a Saudi-led land-for-peace initiative that would have Arab states recognize Israel in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the lands occupied by Israel in 1967. Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday agreed to revive the plan ahead of the Arab League summit meeting in Riyadh later this month.

An Iranian official, speaking to Iran’s state-run media, reportedly denied that the initiative was discussed during the summit meeting.

The possibility that that Islamic World will get behind a renewed effort to promote an Arab-Israeli peace plan has many in Israel worried and some excited.
Haaretz published an editorial yesterday asking Olmert to respond positively to the Saudi initiative:

Saudi Arabia holds a unique status because of the king’s role as the guardian of Islam’s holiest sites and also because of the country’s oil wealth. It is therefore in a position, more than any other state, to offer religious and economic backing to peace settlements between Israel and the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia and Israel also share concerns about the growing strength of Iran and both wish to prevent another war in the region. They have a shared interest in the renewal of the peace process. Taking advantage of this opportunity requires both sides to show flexibility and openness. The Saudis need to understand, as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has said, that Israel has red lines on the issue of refugees, and it will not be able to accept the right of return as the basis for dialogue. It is therefore important that the Riyadh summit conclude with a more pragmatic formulation of the initiative.

It is the duty of the government of Israel not to reject the hand that is being offered by Saudi Arabia. Olmert must consider the Arab peace initiative to be an appropriate basis for dialogue, one that will lead to a permanent settlement and a settling of the status of Israel in the region, and which will serve as a definitive response to Ahmadinejad and his partners in the extremist camp. A renewed peace process will save Olmert’s government from the impasse in which it is stuck. It is important that the four weeks left before the summit in Riyadh involve intensive diplomatic efforts to formulate an agreed-upon framework for the regional peace initiative.

Haaretz writer Akiva Eldar bemoans what he sees as his government's inability to move toward negotiations and peace. He writes:
The government is fighting the Mecca agreement, which was designed to allow the Palestinian Authority unity government to authorize PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to conduct negotiations on a final-status accord. Instead of talking to Syria and Lebanon on a peace agreement, the government is preparing the public for another war in the North. Essentially, the Olmert-Peretz government isn't offering anything but more blood, sweat and tears. …
It is precisely the dangers lying in wait at Israel's gates, and threatening the pragmatic Sunni regimes, that have provided the Olmert government with a rare opportunity to end the conflict with all Arab states, once and for all. Five years after the missed opportunity of the Arab peace initiative approved in Beirut, the Arab League is offering Israel a second chance. In a Riyadh summit at the end of the month, the Arab League intends to pave the way for accelerated negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and lay the groundwork for an end to the conflict along the northern border as well. Israeli acceptance of the initiative would be rewarded by "normal relations" with all its neighbors. Even the Bush administration has discovered that anger is not a policy and decided to to talk with the Iranians and Syrians on ways to leave Iraq. The United States would no doubt be grateful to Israel for any contribution to the fight against the global jihad that is shedding its soldiers' blood.

Amr Mousa, has come out against any changes in the Saudi peace plan despite FM Livni's insistance that the article demanding the Palestinian right of return be removed from the proposal. Read: Arab League chief: We will not change Saudi peace initiative.

Recent public opinion polls in Arab countries, according to a sweeping overview of recent polling by Peter Kiernan, demonstrate that the single most important issue that Arabs want the US to fix is the Arab-Israeli dispute.

When asked what steps the United States could take to improve its regional standing, 62 percent identified brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal based on 1967 borders. A significant minority of respondents identified withdrawal from Iraq (33 percent), and withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Arabian Peninsula (22 percent) as well. More than half (52 percent) ranked U.S. policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict as "extremely important."

The polls also show that Sunnis throughout the Arab World are in favor of Iran developing nuclear power and even weapons, despite Saudi and US efforts to stimulate Sunni fears of Iran.

Ben-Eliezer, an Israeli minister, is forced to cancel a trip to Egypt because he is accused of executing Egyptian war prisoners. Israel denies it, but the issue brings up an ugly past. Egyptian ministers exploit the flap to call for renewed war with Israel.


A number of pro-government journalists and politicians in Lebanon have spent the last several days trying to insist that the government does not need to cut a deal with Syria or the Lebanese opposition. 

John Aziz of al-Akhbar (March 3) reports that (Junblat ?) has been insisting that the United States will bomb Iran and scare Syria enough that Hizbullah will be forced to come back into the government with its tail between its legs and without a greater share of power. He tells Lebanese not to worry and that the West is with Lebanon; its economy will be fine after the bombing of Iran. 

Raghida Dergham of Al Hayat (March 2) tells us that the Syrian opposition is "well prepared and trained" in Syria and ready to "carry out acts of sabotage" capable of overwhelming the Syrian leadership. Powered by her faith in the Syrian opposition, Dergham is certain that the Siniora government will win the day, not make concessions to Syria, and that Damascus will be forced to accept the international tribunal for fear of being overthrown by the opposition.  She explains: (translation thanks to mideastwire.com)

“The US president still has the upper hand in foreign policy making. He will continue this way for another two years despite the collapse of his popularity because of the war on Iraq. He is not considering a deal with Damascus and Tehran that would sacrifice the international tribunal and Lebanon. He may not be considering plans to topple the regimes in Damascus and Tehran, either. But he will never hesitate to do so if Syria and Lebanon press on with their efforts to destabilize Lebanon. This is the reason why there has been much talk lately about strengthening the capabilities of the Syrian opposition.

“This opposition is not only based in European capitals, but it is also based in many of Syria's neighbors. If well prepared and trained, it is ready to carry out acts of sabotage, outstripping the scale of the Syrian leadership. There is a significant opposition in key positions in Syria seeking to save the country from a fate similar to Iraq's and sees that the only means to do so is to overthrow the government. Clearly, the Syrian regime opposes the setting up of a tribunal of an international character for existential reasons. However, it will have to surrender to an emerging Arab consensus about the tribunal – in addition to the international one.

According to the Oxford Business Group Lebanon's real problem is the economy. The government cannot hold out for a better deal or resist Hizbullah's and Syria's demands forever because the economy will implode. The OBG's article, "Lebanon: Downtown Beirut Going Down" of 5 March 2007 has this to say:

Eighty institutions have closed in downtown Beirut and there are fears of more businesses being shut if the situation continues this way, Salameh said during a press conference called by representatives of various professional groups on March 1.

In order to give the commercial sector some respite there should be an end to the demonstrations and even talks between rival factions and cabinet meetings should be shifted to another location to reduce the tension in the business district, he said.

Another speaker at the press conference was Paul Ariss, the president of the Lebanese syndicate of restaurant owners, who said the country's political leaders had to resolve the stand off before the damage to the economy becomes worse.

Business groups have called on the government to come to their rescue, proposing interest-free medium and long-term loans for companies worst affected, and a holiday for the payment of state levies such as taxes, municipal fees and rents.

However, Salameh said these calls have fallen on deaf ears.

It's been three months since we started visiting politicians, explaining our suffering to them, he said. We received promises but up to now they haven't been implemented.

The option of taking legal action against the state was also raised during the meeting, in an effort to recoup some of the losses sustained over the past three months.

Lawyers representing business groups have drafted up documentation to support civil action against the government and business owners have been collating estimates of losses.

During the March 1 press conference, it was said that, unless concrete measures were taken within the next two weeks to alleviate the pressure on the central business district, the battle front would be moved to the courts.

Another sector to call for an end to the clogging up of downtown Beirut and the subsequent disruption to the economy is Lebanon's beleaguered tourism industry.

However, while the proposals to provide low cost or interest free loans and tax breaks have been canvassed, no formal decisions have been taken. Indeed, without a cease fire in the political conflict engulfing central Beirut, there can be little hope of relief for the businesses holding the trenches in the front line.

Iraqi Refugees in Syria are safe for now. Syria has rescinded the stricter rules it announced in January for Iraqi refuges.

Previously, the authorities had demanded that refugees leave the country for a month once their residency permits expired, and only after that period could they return and reapply.

Now, Iraqis fleeing the violence back home can stay for a month before applying for a three-month permit which can then be renewed by leaving Syria and returning again as early as the same day.

Syrian Bloggers responded in force to the sentencing of Egyptian blogger Kareem Nabeel Sulaiman, with a joint statement, started on Levantine Dreamhouse… The statement was republished on many other Syrian blogs, and will stay on the main page of Syria Planet -Syrian Bloggers Portal- for a week. Read Ihsan Attar from Damascus on the regime and whether Syrian bloggers are any safer than Egyptians. Blogspot has been blocked in Syria for weeks.

How Barack Obama learned to love Israel ( 4 March 2007)

Jean-Pierre de Chadarevian wrote Syria Comment this interesting note about his Aleppine relative who was reportedly dissolved in Sulfuric acid!

By chance, I stumbled on an old discussion on your blog referring to so-called François de Chadarevian, Syrian communist activist killed in the 60ies for his ties to the Syrian Communist Party .  Someone, maybe you, asked who was this man.  I would like to clarify some details and make a slight correction.  The man in question was not called François, but Pierre, and, indeed he was eliminated by the Syrian secret services.  Rumor has it that his body was dissolved in sulfuric acid, the alleged reason why the family was not allowed to open the coffin.  He was the grand-son of Thoross de Chadarevian, who was a prominent Aleppo [Syria] lawyer made Count of the Vatican by Pope Benedict XV for services rendered to the Holy Sea, protecting the rights of the custodians of the Terra Sancta in Jerusalem.  Pierre de Chadarevian was a passionate and also a communist, and belonged to a passionate family who produced several catholic priests! [his uncle who died in Damascus, Syria, and his nephew who's now priest in Vancouver, Canada.] 

Just for the record!  How do I know this?  Pierre's grand-father, the Count, was my great-grand-father!!
Jean-Pierre de Chadarevian, M.D., Philadelphia, PA

Two older articles that I overlooked last month are:

Martin van Creveld, the dean of Israel's military historians, in his "Make a Deal With Syria," tears into the defense argument for not negotiation a deal on the Golan. (See his site for other good articles on the Lebanon War this summer.)

Shlomo Ben-Ami, Test of Syria's intentions, also argues for dialogue. He explains that "the road map" is dead and that a deal with Syria offers "a more functional regional order, stability in Lebanon and a severing of the Damascus-Tehran axis."

Comments (51)

norman said:

Alex , one note about your post, Do you think that the conflict between Saudi king Abdalla and President Asad is build on lack of respect in the Arab world in the young leaders by the old generation of Mubarek and Abdalla who feel that because of their age they are wiser and more capable and that Bashar Asad should listen to them and obay as a kid to his father no matter what one acheives .

March 6th, 2007, 4:04 am


norman said:

A deal seems unlikly according to Prince Sauod Al Faisal,

سعود الفيصل : الوضع اللبناني “يراوح مكانه

March 6th, 2007, 4:39 am


Gibran said:

Al-Hayat March 6:
Bramertz wants the Tribunal formed in order to name and to prosecute those involved in the killings. He will reveal names in court.
UN declares need for tribunal to be established, also mentions “Syrian and Lebanese parties” are behind attempts to kill the tribunal for reasons it describes as “existential” to these parties. UN will eventually force the formation of Tribunal if all else fails.

براميرتز والمحكمة

وفي نيويورك، أكدت مصادر في الأمم المتحدة ان الأمانة العامة ومجلس الأمن الدولي يتوجهان نحو تمديد ولاية «لجنة التحقيق الدولية في اغتيال رئيس الحكومة السابق رفيق الحريري ورفاقه والتي يرأسها سيرج براميرتز. وقالت ان براميرتز يعتقد بان انشاء المحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي لمحاكمة الضالعين في هذه الاغتيال والاغتيالات الأخرى التي يثبت ترابطها مع الجريمة، أمر ضروري للتحقيق لأن براميرتز «لن يقدم الاسماء في تقارير الى مجلس الأمن، وانما يعتزم طرحها في المحكمة لدى الادعاء العام».

واضافت: «هناك حاجة الآن للمحكمة لأن هناك حاجة لوضع اسس الهيكل الآن. اذ ما يحتاجه التحقيق الآن هو مكان تقديم استنتاجاته. وبالتالي ان الذين يريدون قتل المحكمة انما يريدون قتل التحقيق، وهم يفعلون ذلك لأسباب ذات علاقة بخيارات وجودية وهم ليسوا فقط في سورية وانما ايضاً في لبنان».

وبحسب هذه المصادر «لن يتمكن مجلس الأمن من تجاهل كل قراراته ويمشي تاركاً وراءه تحقيقاً بلا محكمة». ولذلك» «لن تكون هناك تنازلات تضحي بإنشاء المحكمة مهما قيل عن صفقات، وذلك لأن براميرتز في حاجة الى المحكمة كمصب للتحقيق». وقالت المصادر ان «الوقت قد يأتي عندما تضطر الأمم المتحدة الى فرض انشاء المحكمة بعد استنفاد جميع الوسائل المتاحة لانشائها بتوافق لبناني». وأوضحت ان الفرض لا يعني استخدام القوة العسكرية وانما يعني ان يفرض مجلس الأمن انشاء المحكمة الدولية بقرار إلزامي.

Is it possible Saudis wanted to to talk to Bramerz recently to find out some indication of the level of Syrian involvement? Is it possible they are now contemplating arresting Bashar upon arrival to the Kingdom? Legally, they would be entitled to arrest a suspect in murdering a Saudi citizen.

March 6th, 2007, 4:49 am


Alex said:


His young age was mostly their self-justification as to why they need to take over Hafez’s role (Syria’s role) after Hafez died.

The difference between the way Egypt and Saudi Arabia handled it answers your question

Egypt, which did not have much role to play in Syria’s neighborhood (like Lebanon) did not have much to gain by marginalizing Syria, and therefore did not attack Bashar much .. only minor doubts and minor polite criticism sometimes.

The Saudis however, who wanted Lebanon and Iraq and Palestine … they unleashed all their media empire on Bashar … a total character assassination.

That was not out of their concern that his young age does not allow him to be a good leader to Syria… that was because they had so much to gain by getting him and his country out of the way.

March 6th, 2007, 9:07 am


Akbar Palace said:

“How Barack Obama learned to love Israel” [AIPAC]

You mean there’s no “progressive” organization out there with money (George Soros?) and a platform deploring Israel’s “chutzpah” for defending itself against terrorism?

I don’t believe it. Maybe Barack isn’t looking solely at the money. (another anti-Israel cheap shot deflated) Maybe he’s looking for votes:

“Our first and immutable commitment must be to the security of Israel, our only true ally in the Middle East and the only democracy,” said Obama, who has a degree in political science and international relations from Columbia University. “The administration’s failure to be consistently involved in helping Israel achieve peace with the Palestinians has been both wrong for our friendship with Israel, as well as badly damaging to our standing in the Arab world.”

In a release this week, the Republican Jewish Coalition accused Obama of criticizing Israel’s West Bank security barrier, citing a pre-primaries statement to the Chicago Jewish News.

However, Obama’s full quote appears to be direct criticism of the Bush administration, saying its alleged neglect of peace efforts created the circumstances for the building of the fence.

In follow-up comments, the RJC said that view was problematic as well. “The failure of the peace process has zero to do with the Israelis and zero to do with the United States and has everything to do with Yasser Arafat,” said Matt Brooks, the group’s executive director.


March 6th, 2007, 12:04 pm


kingcrane jr said:

My father (who grew up in Aleppo in the thirties and early fourties) maintains that there was a member of the de Chadarevian family that was called Francois, and he is unsure about Pierre de Chadarevian being the victim of the SSS.
My father’s uncle, an Armenian Catholic and a leftist, was killed by the French; he was close to the group that de Chadarevian belonged to.
I was the one who brought this up on this blog a while ago (not “the recent discussion”) and also on Angry Arab, in a discussion with an Armenian Lebano-Canadian leftist.

March 6th, 2007, 5:14 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Damascus (dpa) – Belgian foreign minister Karel de Gucht expressed
his “disappointment” Tuesday at Syria’s refusal to transfer any
Syrian suspect to an international tribunal investigating the
assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
At a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart, de Gucht
said he was told by Syrian officials that even if there was evidence
of involvement of a Syrian national in the Hariri assassination, this
was a matter for a Syrian court, not an international tribunal.
“I was disappointed to learn that even if with the evidence that
your country (Syria) is not ready to transfer an inductee to the
Hariri tribunal and you only will try it in front of your national
criminal court and I think that is contrary to the principles of
international law,” de Gucht said.
Sooner or later, he said, “we will come to point where the people
responsible would have to be judged and punished. We are not looking
for a political tribunal. It should impartial, and should be based on
a very clear-cut understanding of criminal law.”
The Belgian minister also said he appealed for Syrian President
Bashar Assad to accept the involvement of international monitoring on
the border with Lebanon to prevent arms smuggling to Hezbollah – but
received a negative response from Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem denied there was any arms
smuggling to Lebanon, saying: “I stress that all these rumours about
smuggling arms through the borders into Lebanon are untrue.”
He renewed Syria’s threat to close the border with Lebanon if
international monitors were deployed on the borders, which would be an
attempt by the West “to put Syria and Lebanon into a war-like
Disarming groups in Lebanon was a “Lebanese affair”, he added,
and warned “not to pressure Lebanon in this regard, because it may
lead to an explosion of the situation” there

March 6th, 2007, 5:46 pm


Ford Prefect said:

A little off the main topic above, but justice is prevaling in Washington. The wheels are falling off the lying wagon of the White House. “Shooter” Cheney will be sending prison favors to “Scooter” Libby.

Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Case

By Amy Goldstein and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 6, 2007; 12:52 PM

A federal jury today convicted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of lying about his role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer’s identity, finding the vice president’s former chief of staff guilty of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice, while acquitting him of single count of lying to the FBI.

March 6th, 2007, 6:02 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

to police the syrian lebanese border is not accepable, yes syria needs to supply weapons to HA,HA is threatened by Isreal,a terrorist zionist murderous state,the last july war proved that, so HA have full right to arm itself to the maximum possible,whoever does not like this “yenfeleq”he can get as angry as he wants,and turn himself to pieces.
If Syria does not hand over the indicted person, Syria will risk sanction.the truth must be known,and the criminal must be penalized.

March 6th, 2007, 6:34 pm


Gibran said:

UN 1559 and 1701 agreed upon by Lebanese government as well as HA specifically require the disarming of HA. If Syria continues to arm HA, and thus challenge the International community, then may be it should realize that it (Syrian regime) is the one that needs to “tenfeleq” (i.e. tears itself inside out in English) and no one will get angry over that!

March 6th, 2007, 7:01 pm


Ammad said:

American policy in middle east is uniting muslims in middle east, america can play its role indirectly, america problem is that it is pressuring the sunni states, the british are more smarter and intelligent than the americans, the opposition in britian began to love blair in his end days, I hoped that blair would remain in office for two more years, blair said the right thing the moderate states should work to isolate iran but the americans are doing the opposite, american pressure on sunni states is continious for two year, playing the role of tarzan is foolish.

March 6th, 2007, 7:03 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

after 50 years of feeling depressed and angry,because of defeat after defeat, there come HA,to make us proud again,showing the resistance that we yearned to.
1559,and 1701 are american, western europe,and Isreali orders,only weak goverments approved them, ask the people in the arab world,they will refuse them and detest them,as we say in Syria kiss their hands,and pray to God to kill them,what in our hearts is different from what we say or do,because we are weak.

March 6th, 2007, 7:37 pm


Gibran said:

After 30 years of watching our land being hijacked by criminal despots (Hafez included) in order to satisfy their inflated egos and display their disgusting impotence in front of the whole world, the Lebanese, and particularly after experiencing the last summer fiasco, will make sure there will be no repeat of this insanity which is called hollow ‘Arab’ pride. You have an option: take HA with all its weapons to Syria and continue your struggle in order to save your ‘pride’.

March 6th, 2007, 7:46 pm


Nur al-Cubicle said:

Jumblatt is a lunatic. BTW, reporters for the Beirut newspaper, L’Orient-Le Jour, have been hinting for months that the Brammertz report is a bust.

March 6th, 2007, 8:19 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Syrians will join HA in the western province of Syria(lebanon),and the one who will vanish is Ja’Ja’ and the rest of the unpatriotic traitors.

March 6th, 2007, 8:22 pm


ausamaa said:


Trully, are you serious in all what you say or some of it is just to Draw a reaction?

If you are SERIOUS, you are REALLY over doing it.

And as you are a DEMOCRATIC person, you should realise that your opinion represents that of HALF of the Lebanese people NOT ALL LEBANESE.

In this case, go and CONFRONT and CONVINCE the other HALF of Lebanon who do not see things your way, before you keep targeting SYRIA in the name of ALL of LEBANON.

Now, you will say that that HALF of Lebanon I am refering to does not exist. To this I say, please go and revisit the filmed footage of the Last Demonstration by the LEBANESE OPPOSITION (Good or Bad, it does not matter).

So, are you actually upset with SYRIA, or are you upset with the HALF of the LEBANESE PEOPLE who do not see things the way you do?

March 6th, 2007, 8:24 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

you will never get me to defend the syrian regime, as much as you are trying to put pressure on me to do that, the regime in syria claims that they are defender of the people and supporters of resisitance, the fact that they never wage any battle against the enemy,rather they fought only one battle against the syrian people, causing poverty at the time they are getting wealthy, puting people who are free and honest in jail,and always doing things and saying words to please america, I will stay in the opposaition,and hope that syrians go out to the streets soon,to correct things in syria.
you are always pushing us to defend the syrian regime,forget it,you will never succeed.

March 6th, 2007, 8:31 pm


ausamaa said:


Junblat is not a LUNATIC at all. He is a CORNERED DESPERATE OPPORTUNISTIC WARLORD who placed his bets on the WRONG side falsely thinking that he has made a SMART CHOICE. He just looks like a LUNATIC because he tries to imitate the look of a Budha something fantasy.

March 6th, 2007, 8:33 pm


Gibran said:

If you go back and read carefully beginning with Majed’s post about policing the Syrian/Lebanese border, you will discover that I’m not angry with anyone.
There is no such thing as western Syrian province
(Lebanon) as you childishly claim.
There is an independent and sovereign Lebanon which is an active and founding member of the UN.
And no I’m not trying to push you to defend the regime. I’m trying to make you see things in a realistic way. Perhaps, the first reality you should come to grips with is that Lebanon is not Syria and a Syrian (you with all due respect) will have no say on who is a traitor and who is not in Lebanon. Despite all my attacks on the Syrian regime, I never accused a Syrian of treason – it is not up to me to decide.

March 6th, 2007, 8:44 pm


Atassi said:

المعلم يدعو إلى جعل القانون السوري أساسا للمحكمة الدولية الخاصة بلبنان

دعا وزير الخارجية وليد المعلم إلى أن تتبنى المحكمة الدولية في قضية اغتيال رئيس الوزراء اللبناني الأسبق رفيق الحريري القانون السوري كأساس لها كما تبنت القانون اللبناني.

Now… This should make us Syrians very proud … Yea Salamm.. I thought this Moulem dude stopped smoking..

March 6th, 2007, 8:55 pm


ausamaa said:


So, and based on your logic,it should not be for any Lebanese to worry about Syria, its “regime” or government, its policies and its internal or external affairs.

And believe me when I say that as far as many LEBANESE PERSONALITIES are now concerned, the Syrian Regime will sure have a MORE tolerable attitude than would MOST of the Syrian People. Many Lebanse individuals have overstepped their limit in OUR opinion as a PEOPLE. Regimes will act politically, but People act with their feelings. And we, or MOST of US, will not forget all this easily.

March 6th, 2007, 9:29 pm


Gibran said:

O’, really? You scared US man!

March 6th, 2007, 10:38 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Atassi, using political murders to implement a political agenda is a slippery slope. How do you feel if the Palestinian government brings to justice Israeli warmongers and minsiters for killing their elected officials?

March 6th, 2007, 11:13 pm


Atassi said:

That is a good question. I would ask Moulam that question too Why applying Syrian law? Does he expect an involvement of Syrian nationals? This is another mistake by a Syrian official…

March 7th, 2007, 1:09 am


Gibran said:

While not condoning the killing of Palestinian politicians, please also ask Moulem about all the Qassams that the late Mr. Harriri ordered be fired on Damascus. Thank you.

March 7th, 2007, 1:23 am


norman said:

Alex , You asked if i prefer to be rich more than having better standard of living , having beter standard of living is good for me and my immediet family being rich or wealthy means being able to provide beter standard of living fo me my immediat and extended family and my naibouhood and the charities i like .

March 7th, 2007, 3:06 am


ausamaa said:


Nobody aims to scare anybody else. But I liked the way you did not reply in length to my comment. Which is uncharechtaristic of you and gives me the impression that you see some truth in what I said.

The Syrians and the Lebanese peoples, have been through a lot during the past few years, and I believe it is worth our while to examine HOW the past events have impacted and affected the Collective National Psych of both people. Examining this is an important matter for the future of both.

March 7th, 2007, 3:20 am


norman said:

This is interesting about the Syria,s place , MR landis contributed and quoted

Headline: Syria seeks to gain from regional tumult
Byline: Nicholas Blanford Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Date: 03/07/2007
BEIRUT, LEBANON – Iraq is where the war is. Iran is where the disputed nuclear program
is. And Lebanon is where America’s friends in the Middle East are
going head-to-head with its enemies.

Yet it’s in Syria where the threads of these conflicts come together.

The country that the Bush administration says helps terrorists, and
which has been treated with barely disguised irritation by fellow
Arab states in recent years, is seeking to trade on the impression it
can provide at least partial solutions to some of the region’s most
pressing problems. Though weaker than Iran or Saudi Arabia, the
country represents a crucial element in a triangle of interlocking
regional powers.

“The [Syrian] state always calls Syria the ‘beating heart of
Arabism,’ and it’s true in the sense that Syria, by geography and
sectarian makeup, is key to what’s going on in the region, especially
the concerns over spreading Iranian influence,” says Andrew Tabler, a
Damascus-based fellow with the Institute of Current World Affairs.

Though the US has refused to talk directly to Syria, demanding that
Damascus cease meddling in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian
territories first, the regime’s isolation appears to be crumbling.

Relations with neighboring Iraq have improved with the formal
restoration of diplomatic ties in December and the signing of a joint
security agreement. American senators have recently traveled to
Damascus and a State Department official is planning a visit to
discuss the plight of Iraqi refugees.

Syrian interests also were high on the agenda of a meeting last
weekend between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Saudi King

Syria looking for a Hariri deal

In recent days, there were hopes among Lebanese government officials
and opposition figures that Iran â?” which uses Damascus as its
strategic linchpin to Hizbullah in Lebanon â?” had worked out a deal
with Saudi Arabia â?” a political and financial backer of Lebanon’s
government â?” to end a three-month old political deadlock.

But local media report that Saudi officials have since played down
hopes of a quick resolution. Both sides recognize that any deal would
have to ease pressure on Syria over its suspected involvement in the
murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri two years ago.
That could mean Lebanese approval for a watered-down international
tribunal on Hariri’s murder, sparing top Syrian officials from
indictment. In exchange, Syria would lean on Hizbullah and other
Lebanese opposition members to call off their bid to topple the
governing coalition.

Syria’s ability to potentially scuttle unfavorable deals brokered by
the regional powerhouses of Saudi Arabia and Iran underlines Riyadh’s
irritation with Damascus â?” as well as the risks of ignoring the

“The Saudis continue to be annoyed with Damascus…. All the same,
the Saudis understand that for Middle Eastern tensions to be reduced,
Syria must be brought into negotiations,” says Joshua Landis, a
codirector of the University of Oklahoma’s Center of Peace Studies
and a specialist on Syria.

Last month, Saudi Arabia hosted a meeting between Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who lives in
Damascus. The meeting produced an agreement on a Palestinian national
unity government, and served as a calculated swipe at Damascus by
undercutting Syria’s influence on Palestinian affairs. It was a
reminder, analysts say, that Syria’s neighbors expect much in return
for any concessions, and that if they don’t get it, they’ll turn on
Syria again. Saudi Arabia is hoping Syria will return to the Arab
fold â?” or at least move away from the orbit of Persian Iran â?” at the
annual meeting of the 22-member Arab League later this month.

Iran and Syria’s surprising relationship

“If Syria does not take steps to fix the causes of its problems with
Saudi Arabia, then the Arab summit will not save Syria from a dark
future…. Syria is responsible for its own encirclement,” wrote
Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, in the Saudi Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The 27-year relationship between secular Syria and Islamic Iran is
one of the most enduring â?” and surprising â?” in the Middle East. The
bilateral bond is the core of an anti-Western alliance which includes
Hizbullah, Hamas and a collection of smaller Palestinian groups.

“The relationship between Iran and Syria has evolved from a pragmatic
one into a … strategic and ideological one,” says Amal
Saad-Ghorayeb of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. It’s
“ideological because they resist politically or militarily US
hegemony in the region and the threat from Israel.”

Iran, aware that a rapprochement between Syria and the West would
isolate it from Hizbullah and undermine Tehran’s ability to influence
the Arab-Israeli conflict, is working hard to prevent that from
happening. Iran has recently proposed $1-3 billion in Syria

“If those investments are implemented over the next two to three
years, it will allow Iran to replace or offset a lot of the influence
Saudi Arabia traditionally has had in Syria,” says Mr. Tabler of the
Institute of Current World Affairs.

The relationship with Iran has divided expert opinion in the US and
Israel. Some advocate a full reengagement with Syria and peace talks
which could see the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights returned to Syria.
“Peace with Israel and the return of the Golan are the only prizes
which might make Damascus reconsider the advantages of its close
relationship with Iran,” says Mr. Landis.

Others insist such efforts won’t succeed in prying Syria away from
Iran. “It makes no sense for Syria to split from Iran,” says Ms.
Saad- Ghorayeb. “It appears much more in Syria’s strategic interests
to remain allied with an ascendant power in the region rather than an
alliance with a waning power [in the region] like the US.”

(c) Copyright 2007 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.

March 7th, 2007, 3:35 am


Gibran said:

Actually you’re wrong. I made my answer to your previous comment so short because I didn’t think it is worth replying to. The same applies to your most recent.

March 7th, 2007, 3:59 am


ausamaa said:


Fine, but think about this issue when you have time.

March 7th, 2007, 4:25 am


ausamaa said:


Did Saudi Arabia shoot itself in the foot by practically ACCEPTING Iran a major player in the area’s politics?

Is bieng upset with Syria a good cause for Saudi to officially welcome an Iranian role in Lebanon and even Palestine? Or was this namely done in the false hope, or under the pretext, of decoupling Iran and Syria?

Was it not a better choice for Saudi to go directly through Damascuse and then let Damascuse have the burden of soliciting Iran’s acceptance?

What are the consequences of this Saudi step on the future of Lebanon? Wouldn’t such a formal acknowledgment of Iran’s role in Lebanon give Iran the implicit or explicit right to formally enlist Lebanon as an Iranian “asset” in a future events?

Doesn’t Saudi Arabia realizes that such actions will double-benifit Syria, as it now allows Syria to say that it can not “alone” be expected to deliver in Lebanon and Palestine. Wouldn’t this allow Syria in the furure to say to Saudi -and its friends- “Have you cleared this with Tehran yet?”

Only to BYPASS Syria, a new power has been officially introduced into the game. In other words, Saudi accuse Iran of meddling into the area’s affairs, only to find itself ASSIGNING it a PRIMARY role in those affairs.

Or was this an ultra smart Saudi move of buying its safety at the expense of others?????


March 7th, 2007, 4:45 am


Gibran said:

Actually, there is something positive in your comment about Syrian and Lebanese people with regards to events of the past. Thanks for the reminder to look at it again. I hope that a process of self criticism begins on both sides with the aim of not falling into the same trap in the future. Mind you, at the present there is a major ‘earthquake’ caused by the Syrian regime which needs to be corrected before this process can begin. It can then be followed by some trust building steps that may give both countries the ability to create a relationship that will not require major powers to be involved in mutual affairs. I personally think it is a shame that neighbors need to get the help of every power on earth in order to solve their problems. I mentioned in a previous comments that such steps would include among other things: establishment of and answering to the International Tribunal for the purpose of prosecuting criminals in the crimes of political assassination, policies of mutual clear disengagement from internal/external politics i.e. clear non-interference which will also mean respect for mutual security concerns, establishment of embassies in Beirut and Damascus that will function in a manner that will satisfy mutual interests etc…

I disagree with your assessment of Saudi/Iranian issue. First, Saudis have other concerns besides Syria. And also you cannot say Saudis are bypassing Syria. I think AlRashed’s analysis about Syria being the cause of its own encirclement, due to its huge blunders which it continues to make, is very accurate.

March 7th, 2007, 5:13 am


Alex said:


Alrashed’s list of Syrian blunders states that the most serious one is: bringing Iran into Arab affairs

If you read Alrashed’s earlier articles you will see that he also ridiculed Syria for continuing to stick with a useless organization like Hamas and for refusing to kick Mashaal out.

Now .. what did Saudi Arabia do lately? host the same Mashaal in Mecca like the VIP he is, and host the Iranians and talk to them, and not the Syrians, aboutsolving Lebanese and Palestinian problems.

While I am happy that the Saudis are not ashamed to learn from and copy Syria’s policies two years later, I wonder how this childish behavior (boycotting Bashar, and talking to Iran) from a regional player like Saudi Arabia will impact the various conflicts in the Middle East.

I’m sure Gibran you agree by now that the younger Syrian president proved that he is, after all, much more mature than the 80 year old Arab leaders.

: )

March 7th, 2007, 6:03 am


Alex said:

The latest creative story from the wonderful Assyasa!

الأسد هاتف نجاد وانفجر … غاضباً

GMT 3:00:00 2007 الأربعاء 7 مارس
السياسة الكويتية

السياسة – خاص

كشف مصدر مقرب من القصر الرئاسي السوري ان الرئيس بشار الاسد بادر بالاتصال بنظيره الايراني محمود احمدي نجاد فور عودة الاخير من الرياض فجر الاحد الماضي للاطلاع على نتائج القمة السعودية- الايرانية , مؤكدا ان الاسد كان في حالة مزاجية سيئة للغاية بعد المحادثة الهاتفية دفعت بعض مساعديه المقربين الى العمل على تهدئة روعه واقناعه بعدم قطع شعرة معاوية مع الايرانيين .

وقال المصدر ل¯ ” السياسة ” ان سورة الغضب التي تملكت الرئيس الاسد الى درجة كيل السباب والشتائم للايرانيين اشارت بوضوح الى انه سمع من احمدي نجاد كلاما لم يكن ينتظره خصوصا في ما يتعلق بالملف اللبناني وتحديدا حول المحكمة الدولية في قضية اغتيال رئيس وزراء لبنان الاسبق رفيق الحريري.

واشار المصدر ذاته الى ان مساعدي الاسد تمكنوا من اقناعه بعدم التصعيد مع طهران في الوقت الراهن والتفكير بدلا من ذلك في الخيارات المتاحة لعرقلة أي تفاهم سعودي- ايراني لتسوية الازمة اللبنانية وتمرير مشروع المحكمة الدولية خصوصا وان وزير الخارجية الايراني منوشهر متكي او سكرتير مجلس الامن القومي علي لاريجاني سيزور احدهما دمشق خلال الايام القليلة المقبلة لوضع الاسد في اجواء القرار النهائي الذي اتخذته طهران للتعامل مع الملفات الاقليمية.

March 7th, 2007, 6:21 am


Alex said:


I like your answer and I hope it is true.

March 7th, 2007, 6:22 am


ausamaa said:


I do not know why we keep qouting Al Siyassah.

…and it so happens that Syria can keep such a close lid on its alleged involvement in Al Harriri assasination, but at the same time, it permits, even inadvertantly, a source so close to Bashar Al Assad to “report” to Al Siyassah on the mood of Bashar Al Assad while talking to Ahmad Najad on the telephone. Al Siyassah is even privey to what Ahmad Najad, at the other end of the phone in Tehran, said to Bashar Al Assad who seemed to be repeating outloud before his aids each and every word Ahmad Najad was saying.

That is what you call solid “HUMINT”.

Or……. Creative Reporting. He does have a focoused and healthy imagination, Al Jarralah, that is.

March 7th, 2007, 10:52 am


Ford Prefect said:

Beirut’s Daily Star said it best today:

Self-help needed for Lebanon

BEIRUT: The discussions between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia have unleashed a wave of optimism in Lebanon, prompting several politicians to indicate that the country’s political stalemate could soon be resolved. It is to be welcomed that external parties appear to have made headway toward defusing a Lebanese crisis, but this does not absolve Lebanese leaders of their responsibilities. It is crucial for the country’s leaders to begin to restore confidence in Lebanon’s economy and stability. Only when the current period of uncertainty has been contained will it be possible to start luring back the tourists who are so important to Lebanon’s economic revival. The attention spans of regional powers are not infinite: They will not concentrate on helping Lebanon indefinitely, especially if the Lebanese do not help themselves.

March 7th, 2007, 11:07 am


Ford Prefect said:

Atassi, there are two distinctly different items to be considered regarding the Tribunal case. The first relates to the crimes of political assassinations in Lebanon. The other is the use of these assassinations as a means to advance a political agenda of regime change.

The crimes of political assassinations – especially when committed by one country against another (which Israeli Mossad agents have championed around the world) – are rampant, horrendous, and must be stopped. It is painful and tragic to see the loss of the lives of political and non-political figures assassinated by cold-blooded murderers. If Syrian agents were found to be involved, through a fair and unbiased process of forensic and irrefutable evidence, then by all means, bring those perpetrators to justice. One would hope, however, that moving forward the UN and the international community applies the same vigor and zeal to find and bring to justice all perpetrators of political assassinations – especially those in Israel that usually top the list of state-sponsors of murders.

The question that follows, however, is related to the process used to bring indictments against the perpetrators. This is what I referred to as the “slippery slope”. It is clear that the international community (Syria included) wants to find the guilty party and put this subject to close (let’s save the question of why the sudden interest in this case from the US and the UN to another time). However, this case is unprecedented for the UN and the international community. Further, it is also clear that this case does not fall under the “Rome Statute” or the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction since it cannot be classified as crimes against humanity or an act of genocide. Unlike the famous cases of the Milosevic, Saddam, Rowanda, and many others, the question to ask here is: once the international tribunal convicts someone, whose law is applicable and which body implements the sentencing? At best, this is still an unanswered question. Does the Lebanese law apply? Does the Syrian law apply if Syrians were convicted? Does the Lebanese law apply against Syrians? Where does state sovereignty begin and where does it end in such cases? Again, these are all unanswered questions, and certainly without any clear previous precedents.

The second item is regarding implementing a political agenda of regime change through the use of the Tribunal process. This will also be a subject, I would imagine, that the Tribunal will hear time and again from defense lawyers regarding how the evidence was obtained. It is clear that the original sloppy and embarrassing work of Mehlis will be the illustrative case.

How this case is going to manifest itself is anyone’s guess at this point – and there are many good guesses. However, it is clear from events since March 2003 that certain calculations of rearranging the Middle East in favor of Israel did not occur as planned – as this case is one of the processes to get there. Iraq is a failure; Syria still has its original government (stronger by now), political assassinations in Lebanon increased drastically with tragic loss of lives, HA is still armed, Hamas is in power (or powerful), and Iran is actually stronger and more defiant (and has Afghanistan and Iraq!). How Bush and his administration are going to untangle the mess they have created in the next two years remains a mystery. As you know, Bush has to do the Lord’s work before a coward imbecile Democrat moves into the White House in 2008.

March 7th, 2007, 12:23 pm


ausamaa said:


Are we not taking the Cause and the Intentions of the so called International Tribunal a bit too seriously?

Why don’t France and the Ten Countries who failed to Cooperate with Brammertz take it as seriously? Perhaps because, unlike other naieve soles, they know that the whole thing is a Political Theater stuff.

What International Tribunal????

March 7th, 2007, 12:34 pm


ausamaa said:

And the funny thing is that while all who are desperately promoting the International Tribunal racket as a tool to Corner and Threaten Syria innocently claim that they want to know the TRUTH so that they can PUNISH the responsible parties, and -most important- DETER them from Similar Acts in the future so that some Lebanese can sleep in peace ever after.

As if Punishment and Exposore have really Deterred anyone from doing any more such things in the future. Ask Israel who have been exposed and “punished” by the international community for the last forty years IF such an approach constitutes REAL Deterrence!

March 7th, 2007, 12:51 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Ausamaa, good point. Israel conducts these murders routinely but with a big difference: impunity. That is not to say that everyone else should have same impunity. The same standards of justice and punishment should be invoked every time there is a heinous murder or political assassination.

March 7th, 2007, 1:04 pm


Gibran said:

I think your infatuation with Bashar is ridiculous. No, I do not agree that he has proven anything and Syria is better off being ruled by someone else.
The Saudis have accomplished a lot, the least of which was stopping a bloody civil war among the Palestinians, which would have been the result of the actions your so-called ‘experienced’ arsonist. They have also stopped another potential civil conflict (remember black Thursday last month) in Lebanon, which would have also been the result of the actions of the same ‘experienced’ arsonist.
Yes I always read Al-Rashed and I think he is quite accurate, intelligent and realistic in his analyses.

There is no other route to normalizing Lebanon/Syria relations but the International Tribunal. It is the key to resolving all other issues. The Tribunal will be operating under a mixture of International and Lebanese Laws and perhaps with mixed judges, if it ends up approved by the Lebanese Parliament, for very obvious reasons. Otherwise, it will be exclusively under Interanational Law if forced by the UN. The claim about politicizing the court is ridiculous. There is no doubt that Mr. Bramertz has done an outstanding professional and nonpolitical job in conducting the investigation. You can also argue that the perpetrators of the crime aimed to achieve political gains by removing Mr. Hariri from the political scene in Lebanon. Should a criminal(s) be allowed to commit a crime for the purpose of achieving a political end? And should he/they be allowed to do so with impunity? This whole argument about non-politicizing the Tribunal is absurd.

March 7th, 2007, 1:41 pm


norman said:

Alex, it is true ,it is more rewarding than helping one’s self and it helps that it is tax deductable.

March 7th, 2007, 2:03 pm


Atassi said:

I agree, The UN Tribunal court must bring the perpetrator to justice, and I TOTALLY agree with you that the UN should do the same for other political assassination. But please keep in mind this case came under a binding security console resolution, it does not need to be under any the “Rome Statute” or the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the International Criminal Court. It’s a resolution by itself. I am not an expert in the international law so I can’t go farther with this argument. But I am sure this case is used and it will be used as political agenda against the regime in the future. One thing I don’t agree with is Syria original government is stronger by now. It’s not; it’s weak, isolated and labeled as a pariah state, an overhaul of the Syrian regional policies and strategies a MUST for Syria in the foresee future, otherwise, its fortune may run out.

March 7th, 2007, 3:35 pm


Alex said:


I do not agree that he has proven anything and Syria is better off being ruled by someone else

Again?? … how many times did I explain with links and with examples that Syria is NOT ruled by Iran?

If Syria is ruled bu Iran how come it is annoying the Shia government in Iraq by supporting Iraqi Sunnis?

If Syria is ruled by Iran then how come the combined Saudi/Iranian solution for Lebanon went nowhere according to more than one article you posted here .. because Syria did not like the proposals.

How come you mentioned in the past your fears that Iran and HA want, when they can in the future, to make Lebanon a Shia Islamic fundamentalist backward country .. so if Iran already rules Syria how come it did not do the same to Syria yet .. you know, we are very secular in Syria.

SO … I know it is difficult for you to live with it but … Bashar was right most of the time, and the Saudis are trying to copy him.

Oh .. and remember that the Mecca deal was mostly a gift from Bashar to the Saudis … it was mostly concluded in Damascus as we all know .. except you.

I won’t be here for the rest of the day to answer you back, by the way.


I only read or copy Assyassa content for fun … don’t worry no one, I think even not Gibran, takes anything seriously.

March 7th, 2007, 3:47 pm


kingcrane jr said:

Why do you waste your time with a neo-con apologist like Gibran? He is not an expert on Syria. As to who should be ruling Syria, I would propose… Well, I cannot think of anybody but Bashshar, and I am not infatuated with him.

March 7th, 2007, 4:39 pm


Atassi said:

kingcrane jr
and Bashshar “it’s Bashar” is what you will get!!
Syria sets parliamentary election for April
7 March 2007
Agence France Presse
DAMASCUS, March 7, 2007 (AFP) –

Syria will hold a parliamentary election on April 22, according to a decree issued on Wednesday by President Bashar al-Assad and reported by the state news agency SANA.

The announcement came on the eve of the 44th anniversary of Assad’s Baath party taking power in Syria and expectations that the president will deliver a speech to mark the occasion.

The 250-member parliament, the second to be chosen since Assad succeeded his late father Hafez in July 2000, will serve for four years. The current house wraps up its term on Thursday.

Of the total, 127 seats will be open for what are known as “workers and peasants,” with the balance set aside for “other categories of the people.”

In the last poll in March 2003, 167 deputies were elected from the National Progressive Front, the governing coalition of parties led by Baath. The remaining seats went to those described as independents.

The Baath party has been in power since 1963, when a military junta seized power. The NPF has won every election since it was formed 10 years later.

Syria plans a series of elections this year, including a referendum for a new mandate for Assad, as the regime hardens its stand against opposition figures seeking to ease political restrictions.

The likelihood is that all the opposition parties — some tolerated, one proscribed for a quarter-century on pain of death — will call on their supporters to stay at home.

Only the Baath party and its allies are recognised by Syrian law, despite opposition calls for legal status.

Arrests of human rights militants, summonses by security services, bans on meetings, travel and the blocking of internet sites have all increased in recent months.

March 7th, 2007, 4:43 pm


Akbar Palace said:

majedkhaldoun said:

“HA is threatened by Isreal,a terrorist zionist murderous state,the last july war proved that, so HA have full right to arm itself to the maximum possible,whoever does not like this “yenfeleq”he can get as angry as he wants,and turn himself to pieces.”

Yes, HA is threatened by a “Zionist murderous state”. I realize Israel is supposed to let an Islamic fundamentalitst military arm itself to the teeth with thousands of missiles it lobs into population centers. And yes, Israel is also supposed to who let this rejectionist organization (that doesn’t recognize Israel right to exist) kidnap Israeli soldiers from across the border.

I get it now!

Ammad said:

“American policy in middle east is uniting muslims in middle east, america can play its role indirectly, america problem is that it is pressuring the sunni states, the british are more smarter and intelligent than the americans, the opposition in britian began to love blair”

Yes, the ME is very united. Uh huh! And the British are so very smart. They’re so smart that they’re chasing hundreds of jihadis across Great Britain and just waiting for the next terror attack (another suicide bomb or the like). Or is it really a “terror attack” at all? No, it’s freedom fighting. The British jihadis are angry and humilitated. I get it now…

Gibran –

Keep up the good work. I see that because you are fed up with Islamic fundamentalism and the despots who use them, your new nickname “Neocon” has been imposed on you by those from the “freedom fighting” chorus.

Enjoy your new label. I’ll send you a copy of the “Protocols” once if figure out this new receipe for Purim cookies (please keep your infants inside the house during this difficult time).

Meanwhile, here’s the “unity” we’ve all come to expect (don’t tell Ammad):

“Syrian President Bashar Assad exchanged harsh words with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a phone conversation, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyassah reported on Wednesday.

The report said that Assad became enraged and launched into an angry tirade, cursing the Iranians at the end of the conversation.”

March 7th, 2007, 5:18 pm


Gibran said:

O’ There is an addition to the Landis chorus on this blog. Kingcrane Jr., please enlighten us, ‘neo-cons’, with your insightful experise on Syria and the ‘great accomplishments’ of Bashar. Your insights will be greatly appreciated due to your lack of infatuation with the ‘man’. We are all ears.

March 7th, 2007, 5:34 pm


Karim Halab said:

Syria arrests more Ahwazi refugees, defies UNHCR

The Syrian Baathist regime has once again defied international law and arrested six young Ahwazi Arab UNHCR-registered refugees and a seventh Ahwazi who had fled Iran after he was sentenced to death.

British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) activists learned last week that Iranian security forces have been deployed in Damascus and have maintained a presence outside the UNHCR office in the city. The Iranian regime has reportedly complained that the UNHCR is showing a bias in favour of Ahwazi asylum seekers. BAFS was informed about the arrests on Tuesday but waited until the men’s lawyers publicly confirmed their names.

The seven who have been arrested by the Syrians in recent days are: Ali Bouzar, Kamal Nawaseri, Afnan bin Yousef Azizi bani Torouf, Salahuddin Sawari, Ahmed Asadi, Sadoun Sa’adi and Jaber Obayat. Ali Bouzar, who had not received UNHCR refugee status but had fled Iran on a forged Iraqi passport after being sentenced to death, was deported to Iran just 12 hours after his arrest. The rest are registered as refugees with the UNHCR and some were waiting for transfer to other countries, including Australia and the US.

The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria has issued a statement demanding that “the Syrian authorities respect the legal status of those students residing in Syria and stresses its fears and concern that the men will be transferred to Iran, especially as most of the men have the protection of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. It calls on the UNHCR to expedite the processing of the Ahwazis’ refugee files.”

BAFS is calling for the UNHCR to evacuate all Ahwazi Arab refugees and asylum seekers from Syria to safe countries in the region, even as a temporary measure while their claims are processed. BAFS has been contacted by a number of Ahwazis living in Syria who are deeply concerned that they will be next on the Syrian hit list.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has complied with orders from its chief ally, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to detain Ahwazis resident in Damascus despite heightened concerns about the treatment of Ahwazi refugees deported to Iran last May. Last week, Abdul Rasoul Mazrae, one of the Ahwazi refugees currently being tortured in an Iranian prison, will soon face trial, his son has told BAFS. Mazrae has spent the past 10 months in solitary confinement in a prison in Ahwaz. He has also undergone physical and psychological torture. As a result of his torture, he is urinating blood and has lost all his teeth. His kidneys and liver are also damaged and injuries to his spine have left him unable to walk. His torturers have ordered him to give a televised confession for crimes he did not commit (click here for more information). If the five young men arrested this week are forcibly returned to Iran, they are likely to meet the same fate.

The UNHCR has repeatedly condemned the treatment of the refugees arrested last May and the violation of international law by the Syrian and Iranian refugees. The latest arrests confirm that both governments are prepared to ignore the Geneva Conventions and UN convenants and conventions they are obliged to obey.

BAFS activist Yasser Assadi, writing on the BAFS website’s Arabic language section, said: “The Syrian regime … is serving the Iranian regime by deporting Ahwazi refugees in return for access to barrels of oil stolen from the land of the Ahwazi Arabs by the Iranian regime. The Syrian regime is responsible for everything that happens to Ahwazi Arabs handed over to Iran and held in detention camps.”

BAFS Chairman Daniel Brett said: “The Syrian government is always concerned that it is in a position of economic and political weakness, both internally and externally. Consequently, it survives on alliances with larger and more powerful governments and does their bidding. Syria’s Baathist government has never been interested in Arab solidarity. The regime’s sole purpose is the preservation of a corrupt and nepotic Alawite elite under the guise of secular nationalism, and it is willing to forge deals with anyone that can maintain that supremacy.

“The Ahwazi Arabs are among those who are paying a heavy price for this alliance to prop up a discredited and unpopular regime. But Syria’s alliances do not last too long as the Syrian regime has so little to offer its allies in return and it can be prompted to change its policies by other powers when it is politically expedient to do so.

“The best thing the international community can do is to punish Syria severely for its treatment of Ahwazi Arab refugees to the point where it is no longer pragmatic for Bashar al-Assad to carry out Tehran’s bidding. We believe a full range of diplomatic and financial sanctions on the ruling elite will force the Syrian regime to stop these illegal arrests and deportations of Ahwazi Arab refugees.

March 9th, 2007, 1:11 pm


ausamaa said:

“What Has Tehran to Gain from Hizballah’s New Face?”

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

March 13, 2007, 6:48 PM (GMT+02:00)

For the first time in its 20-year history as a reviled international kidnapper, Hizballah is demanding that its representatives be allowed to hold direct talks with Israel.

The demand interrupted the efforts by a German BND intelligence go-between to negotiate the release of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the Israeli soldiers whose abduction on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border touched of a 33-day war.

If the Olmert government responds positively, it will also be the first time that Israeli military intelligence officers have ever come face to face with Hizballah’s military officials.

The Hizballah demand was specific. They asked to meet with “Ofer Dekel and his people,” thereby identifying the former Shin Bet deputy chief who is in charge of the effort to obtain the release of the two soldiers snatched by Hizballah and Gilead Shalit, who was kidnapped in a Hamas-led incursion from the Gaza Strip a month earlier.

In addition to the German middleman, the Lebanese Shiite terror group has also asked Qatar to open up a direct link with Israel for talks on the two hostages.

One conjecture by Israeli intelligence officials is that Hizballah has been told to offer to trade information about Goldwasser and Regev for word about Iranian ex-general Ali Reza Asgari, said to have disappeared in Istanbul on Feb. 7.

Before deciding on a response to Hizballah’s surprise approach, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has asked for intelligence evaluations on what is behind it.

One theory speaks of a fresh Hizballah trap.

But, more seriously, the case of the missing Asgari, who according to some reports is in the process of debriefing by Western intelligence somewhere in Europe, has completely stumped Tehran. The Iranian government is at sea over how, when and why the former deputy defense minister disappeared, and who is holding him now. They refuse to believe that he spied for the West for many years or that he defected voluntarily.

To support this conviction, Tehran put Ziba Ahmadi, Asgari’s wife, their three children and his brother, on television to deny his defection. Their appearance was meant to belie the reports that he had asked for asylum in the West for himself and family.

But there were two slips in the TV interview.

Mrs. Asgari said he had been missing since Dec. 9, 2006, whereas he was generally reported to have disappeared in Istanbul on Feb. 7.

His brother Davoud admitted that Asgari had two wives.

This hypothesis postulates that, after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appealed to the Saudis for help in tracing the missing general and was turned down, Tehran sent Hizballah to dig information from Israel. It was understood that the Olmert government would not to agree to sensitive negotiations of this kind going forward through a third party. The German middleman was therefore dispensed with and a direct encounter demanded.

A third hypothesis current in Israeli intelligence is that Hizballah’s initiative is part and parcel of the newly-launched US-Iran diplomatic track on Tehran’s nuclear misdoings and its disruptive role in Iraq. The first steps went forward discreetly through Saudi Arabia. Since the Baghdad neighbors’ meeting for stabilizing Iraq Saturday, March 10, the exchanges are out in the open. A follow-up between foreign ministers is expected to take place in Istanbul in April.

The first positive action by Tehran has been to call its proxies off from hounding the pro-Western Fouad Siniora government of Lebanon; Hizballah has been told to end its boycott of the government in return for additional cabinet seats. Therefore, Iran emerges with its Lebanese cat’s paw’s position in Beirut enhanced, well before diplomacy for an accommodation on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and the stabilization of Iraq has gone anywhere.

To solidify its position, Hizballah must behave like a respectable political party rather than terrorists who conduct terrorist and kidnapping raids against the neighbors. The comprehensive face-lift Hizballah is aiming for, according to this third theory, is to be accomplished through a new mode of behavior, which would relegate the Goldwasser and Regev abduction affair as far as possible to its murky past.

March 13th, 2007, 5:49 pm


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