Is Syrian-US Engagement at an End?

Assad in Turkey to Upgrad Ties and Talk to Iraqis

Assad in Turkey to Upgrad Ties and Talk to Iraqis

The Neocon anti-Syrians are coming out in full force in an effort to stop engagement between Syria and the US. The pretext is the Iraqi dust up with Damascus over the car bombings in Baghdad last month. Maliki accused Syria of protecting the perpetrators and has demanded Syria hand over a list of ex-Baathist officials living in Syria. Damascus responded that there is no proof of the Iraqi accusations. Syrian officials claim that far from trying to destabilize Iraq, they have every interest in helping to stabilize it now that American troops are on the way out. Syria’s economic plans depend on a prosperous Iraq. It has signed deals for new pipelines between the two countries. Syria was among the first Arab countries to recognize the Maliki government and send an ambassador, something some Gulf countries have not done. David Ignatius, Oxford Analytica and numerous reporters have argued that Maliki is playing politics in his heated campaign to retain the premiership in Iraq.

There is no denying that relations between the US and Syria are on hold. Certainly, there was never a “honeymoon” to justify notions of a divorce. Right now, Mitchell has his hands full with the Israelis and the settlement issue, which is his main focus. All the same, Syria and the US have taken concrete steps toward rapprochement, which remain on target. There are certain people, even at the Department of State, who are not too pleased with such a rapprochement, but by and large, administration figures are keen to keep the engagement on track and are trying not to let the Iraq kerfuffle be blown out of proportion. The Saudi paper alsharq alawsat has weighed in, suggesting that Malaki is being ungrateful. Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey are trying to smooth over the controversy, in the belief that Syria is not trying to destabilize Iraq,and that moving ahead with engagement in the region is the way to overcome the wounds salted by the Bushites. Talks between Syria and Iraq being held in Turkey today should be telling, although both sides seem prepared to dig in their heals, at least until the Iraqi elections are decided, there is considerable pressure on Maliki by just about everyone to calm down this controversy. Most Iraqi authorities are trying to isolate Maliki on this; the president and vice-president of Iraq have come out solidly against Maliki’s irresponsible accusations. Even Shiite leaders are accusing him of manufacturing this fight in order to play the sectarian and nationalist card for election purposes.

As one friend wrote me yesterday:

I think Marc Lynch is correct – there is a coordinated media push from the neo-con folks – in one week Abrams, Young, Bolton all had nearly the exact same message on Lebanon and Syria – force and pressure is what is really needed… it was truly a Jon Stewart moment!… I mean they literally read like someone’s “war room” circulated a talking points memo – although Michael Young took the cake by accusing Obama of being “artless and arrogant” in his Mideast policy!”

Perhaps David Shenker was trying to outdo them when he wrote: “For the past six years, the Assad regime has provided Al-Qaeda carte blanche to attack neighboring states via its territory.” Such statements are simple propaganda. Of course, Syria encouraged Jihad on Americans in Iraq when the US threatened to attack Syria. As soon as George Bush took broadening his military campaign off the table, reportedly by April 2003, Syria also began to moderate its defensive position and sought a dialog with Washington. Today Syria has that dialog and is trying to work out positive relations with the Iraqi government.

I would also like to add a correction to an earlier post where I wrote:

there aren’t any American officials visiting Beirut this days. They aren’t making grand statements about Lebanon. Anyway, why would the US expend capital to form a Lebanese government that cannot change the status quo in any meaningful way?”

Nicholas Noe, who manages wrote to correct me:

Thats not really accurate – Fred Hof stayed here for several days ….. Mitchell is on his way supposedly…. there has been a rash of high level military figures – Petreus, Congress people … not to mention Feltman….and key figures from the NSC as well! Lets also not forget the recent visits of ex-Bushies – Khalilzad, David Schenker …. Moreover, Amb Feltman, it seems, has in fact been giving a number of anonymous interviews which sound unfortunately very much like the old, momentarily defeated Bush era rhetoric…. with Hisham Melham for example only recently, but especially in the pro-Saudi/March 14 Arab media.

An example of that pro March 14 media is this article copied below from the Kuwaiti paper, al-Rai. The author is a Syria basher earlier mistranslated remarks made by Ambassador Mustapha at the Middle East Institute a few months ago, which caused a bit of a brohaha. The same newspaper, Al-Rai, mentioned that the Ambassador was not invited to the Iftar dinner thrown by Hilary Clinton. He was not there because he was out of town, but he was invited. His Deputy Chief of Mission Zuheir Jabbour attended the Iftar in his place. Here is a taste of the article:

“American-Syrian honeymoon over...” 2009-09-15

On September 15, the independent Al-Rai al-Aam newspaper carried the following report by its correspondent to Washington Hussein Abdul Hussein: “The American anger toward Syria has reached its peak with the announcement made by the team of American peace envoy George Mitchell regarding the fact that his tour in the region will not include Damascus. For its part, Al-Rai al-Aam learned that the American administration has completely excluded the idea of reinstating the American ambassador to Damascus, less than 100 days after the announcement of this step. Sources in the American capital thus stated that the honeymoon between America and Syria which started after the election of Barack Obama as president ended today, and that the coming weeks heralded an escalation especially on Washington’s end.

“The sources believed that the collapse of the project to restore the relations went back to before the assassination of Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in February 2005, saying: “The Syrians do not understand [what] the normalization of relations [means] and Syria’s behavior [is such that it is acting] as though it had defeated America in a world war.” They added with anger: “(President Bashar) Al-Assad has started counting the American eggs in his basket before offering us anything in return”, continuing: “Al-Assad would launch a rocket here or there and expect us to run to him. This is a security blackmail which no longer works in the United States”. However, according to senior American officials, what broke the camel’s back between Washington and Damascus was the Syrian behavior following Mitchell’s last visit and his meeting with Al-Assad in July.

“They said: “During the meeting between Mitchell and Al-Assad in Damascus, the Syrian president asked the American envoy to explain to him the articles of the sanctions on Syria. Mitchell took the draft, read it and explained it to Al-Assad in detail. This lasted over one and a half hours. Mitchell then concluded by explaining the mechanism of the imposition and the lifting of the sanctions and said that these sanctions were reviewed every year and could be lifted in the presence of the required conditions. For its part, the Syrian side which is always in a hurry to say that its relations with Washington are definitely heading toward a breakthrough, intentionally or by mistake, leaked that the United States promised to lift the sanctions imposed on Syria.

“They continued: “Before Mitchell’s plane had landed in the Dallas International Airport in Washington on the way back from the Middle East, an overwhelming wave of anger had come to prevail over the decision-making hallways in Washington,….

More accurate is the analysis by Oxford Analytica. Here are the last paragraphs:

“Feud will hurt Maliki but not Damascus”

International reactions. Maliki’s accusations against Syria were received cautiously by other states, even though many of them had already condemned Damascus for keeping its borders open since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Significantly, Washington remained largely silent about Maliki’s accusations, suggesting a lack of support for the charges or Maliki’s handling of the dispute.

Most Arab states have remained quiet for similar reasons,…… The Saudi media has reminded Maliki of Syria’s willingness to meet the costs of sheltering 1.5 million Iraqi refugees.

CONCLUSION: It is unlikely that Damascus was behind the Bloody Wednesday bombings. The accusation has had little effect on international attitudes towards Syria, and will not have any significant impact on its other foreign policy advances. Maliki is likely to stand firm in demanding Syrian action to curb militant infiltrations across the border, in an attempt to avoid the blame for his poor security record. However, it is Maliki who will most likely pay the political price, as his upcoming campaign for re-election could be further undermined.”

Iraqi Official: Talks With Syria Over Attacks Fail

Baghdad, Iraq (AP) — Talks between Iraq and Syria over Iraqi charges that Damascus is harboring militants involved in deadly bombings in Baghdad have failed and will not be repeated, the Iraqi government spokesman said on Wednesday. The talks in Ankara, Turkey, aimed at easing tensions between the two neighbors collapsed after Syria refused to accept a list of people Iraq wants extradited for their alleged involvement in a recent spate of bombings, including an Aug. 19 blast that killed more that 100 people. Iraq accuses Syria of harboring Saddam Hussein loyalists wanted in those bombings. “We consider this security meeting as the final one. Such a meeting won’t happen in the future unless Syria positively responds to the unchallenged evidence and proof presented by Iraq. This is the final meeting,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press.

The Jerusalem Post is pushing the Shenker spin, as it usually does

Analysis: US believes Syria is overplaying its
2009-09-17, Jerusalem Post:

The scheduled meeting Thursday of the Syrian and Iraqi foreign ministers is unlikely to lead to a swift resolution of the simmering feud between the two countries. A huge crater still remains in front of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, one week after …

The government of Iraq is furious at the mounting evidence of Syrian involvement in the car bombings last month in Baghdad which left 95 dead. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has issued a formal request to the UN Security Council for an inquiry into the bombings….

David Schenker, a former Syrian affairs adviser in the office of the US secretary of defense, noted in a recent analysis that Iraq’s accusation of Syrian involvement in the insurgency did not emerge from nowhere….

The administration had sought to make Iraq a focus for US-Syrian rapprochement. Washington assumed that Syria and the US shared a common interest in a stable, peaceful Iraq. This assumption does not appear to have been borne out. Rather, the Syrian interest is in maintaining instability.

The pattern is, of course, repeated in other countries with which Syria shares a border….

More significant is this news, which will have a very big impact on Syria and the region….

Turkey continued its decade-old quest to expand its influence in the Middle East, announcing the end of visa restrictions for travel to Syria.

Turkey continued its decade-old quest to expand its influence in the Middle East, announcing the end of visa restrictions for travel to Syria.

LA Times [Reg]: TURKEY, SYRIA: Nations sign historic accord, end
2009-09-17 13:56:39.560 GMT

The two nations’ foreign ministers announced that Syrians could travel to Turkey without visas, and … The two countries also signed a cooperation deal similar to one Turkey penned with Iraq. For years Iranians and Turks have been able to cross their border without visas.

Though a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which hosts a major United States military base, Turkey maintains strong diplomatic and economic relations with many of the Middle East’s main players, including U.S. rivals Iran and Syria….

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was candid about Turkey’s new aim to cement economic and political ties to the region.

“When all of these mechanisms are brought together, we are sure that the environment of economic integration, welfare and peace will make great progress,” he said.

“We want this understanding to spread into our region and the region to turn into a very wide zone of welfare and strong stability,” he said. “We may establish similar mechanisms with Iran and other mechanisms. We want our relationship with our neighbors to turn into maximum cooperation via the principle of zero problems.”

The same newspaper, Al-Rai, and others, such as the notorious Tony Badran, have mentioned that the Ambassador was not invited and not present at the Iftar dinner thrown by Clinton. Actually, he was not there, as he was out of town, but he was invited. His deputy, the Deputy Chief of Mission, attended the Iftar in his place and stayed for a while.

Comments (114)

Akbar Palace said:

The Hard Right meets the Hard Left and still no one is satisfied

The Neocon anti-Syrians are coming out in full force in an effort to stop engagement between Syria and the US.

Professor Josh,

When did Barack Obama become a neocon? Could this have occurred while attending church with the honorable Jeremiah Wright?

If your friends in the Syrian government can’t meet Barack Obama halfway, I’m afraid they won’t find anyone (except Ron Paul maybe;).

Ken Hoop,

Sorry, Ron Paul is VERY sympathetic to the 9/11 truthers. It’s a known fact. He clearly doesn’t trust the commission report.,2933,273343,00.html

September 17th, 2009, 2:44 pm


Innocent Criminal said:

I really don’t see any serious mending of relations by the Obama administration in the near to mid-term future. There are enough anti-Syrian forces even in Obama’s own camp and backers that need to be pleased if he wants to be re-elected. So unless strategic factors turn dramatically in the span of the next 3 years in favor of engaging Damascus, a painfully slow rapprochement will continue to be Washington’s strategy

September 17th, 2009, 4:09 pm


Ken Hoop said:


You’re purposely blurring the issue. Why, I’m not sure, because most Americans don’t trust the “official story.” You have no political gain in blurring LIHOP, MIHOP, remonte controlled planes and hidden,unpunished criminal negligence. The government’s failure to protect America and to punish those who failed to do so in fact fuels the flames of even implausible conspiracy theories such as remote-controlled planes, faked cellphone calls, etc. This is exactly why Ron Paul is sympathetic to 9/11 “truthers.” Everyone should be.

September 17th, 2009, 6:36 pm


Ginko said:

Wow Josh, you make it harder and harder for those who defend you against accusations that you’re an apologist for the Syrian regime. Are you flipping out for a particular reason? Did you have some consulting duties about investments in Syria that are now in jeapardy? I keep trying to find excuses for your tone. But I think I am coming around to the idea that something very fishy is going on here.

September 17th, 2009, 7:07 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Ha Ha this is hilarious.. So now the Obama administration is NeoCon.

Any way, I wish you all a Happy New Year of 5770.

September 17th, 2009, 7:20 pm


mick said:

There are some people with some serious reading comprehension problems here. How does this:

There are certain people, even at the Department of State, who are not too pleased with such a rapprochement, but by and large, administration figures are keen to keep the engagement on track and are trying not to let the Iraq kerfuffle be blown out of proportion.

equate to Obama being a neo-con?

Yes, lots of spinners quoted are trying to imply that, but they never use any sources that actually represent the administration. Which is the point of the article.

September 17th, 2009, 8:32 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Remote-Controlled Conspiracy Theorists

You’re purposely blurring the issue. Why, I’m not sure, because most Americans don’t trust the “official story.”

I don’t blur.

You have no political gain in blurring LIHOP, MIHOP, remonte controlled planes and hidden,unpunished criminal negligence.

Ken Hoop,

I don’t know what LIHOP and MIHOP are and what remote controlled planes you are talking about.

The government’s failure to protect America and to punish those who failed to do so in fact fuels the flames of even implausible conspiracy theories such as remote-controlled planes, faked cellphone calls, etc.

FYI, after 9-11, the Bush Administration found hundreds of terrorists roaming our country and had them thrown in jail. No terrorist attack occurred on our soil since then.

However, IMHO, the US government’s “failure to protect America” (with respect to 9-11) had a lot to do with our failure to understand the threat. If we STILL can’t believe Islamic terrorists hijacked 4 aircraft under our noses and flew them into skyscrapers, then it seems to me we’re doomed to face similar circumstances. Fortunately, MANY Americans understand what happened and what we need to do.

Even our current “neocon” president extended the Patriot Act.

This is exactly why Ron Paul is sympathetic to 9/11 “truthers.” Everyone should be.

Ron Paul is only sympathetic to 9/11 “truthers” because he would prefer to make a deal with the devil and sell out our allies rather than confronting our enemies.

Thank God for real men like GWB and Dick Cheney.

Any way, I wish you all a Happy New Year of 5770.

Amir in Occupied Tel Aviv:

Shana Tova v’metuka;)

September 17th, 2009, 9:55 pm


norman said:

Racism, Israeli Style
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Read More: Ethiopia, Ethiopian Jews, Galilee, Israel, Israeli Racism, Petah Tikva, Racism, World News

The school year got off to a rocky start in the Israeli town of Petah Tikva, just east of Tel Aviv. Petah Tikva is Hebrew for “opening of hope,” but for more than 100 black-skinned children, Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia, it was hardly a hopeful beginning to their lives in the Holy Land when several local schools refused to accept them.

Reporters and editors were quick to spot the tear-jerking potential of cute first graders, little skullcaps on their head and shiny backpacks on their backs, waiting forlornly in school and city halls while their parents pleaded for them to be allowed into classrooms. Headlines and government officials were quick to denounce the schools for racism.

Incidents of racism in Israel, a nation of Holocaust survivors and immigrants whose self-image is molded by the racism Jews suffered abroad, are always intriguing. They shed light on what constitutes racism in the eyes of the country’s Jewish majority, and the case of the kids in Petah Tikva is particularly telling.

Racism toward Ethiopian immigrants, who have been coming to Israel for the past 30 years, has less to do with their skin color and more with continuous doubts on the part of the country’s religious establishment about their Jewishness and their claims to be descendants of the 12 tribes. As a condition of their acceptance they are forced to undergo conversion and to enroll their kids in religious schools, meaning their choice of schools is somewhat limited.

Thus the education department in Petah Tikva found itself short of slots for its new Ethiopian students and demanded they be accepted into three schools that are considered private but get a substantial amount of funding from the government.

These, however, claimed that the immigrant children were not suited to their high academic standards. The public religious schools, too, refused to take the kids, arguing that they had accepted many immigrant children and it was now time for the private establishments to share the load.

Just a case of private school elitism? A mundane manifestation of NIMBY?

Hardly. In recent years several incidents have come to light of public religious schools instituting separate classes, separate busing, even separate recess times for Ethiopian kids. One mayor refused to accept them altogether citing an overburdened public school system unsuited to the needs of the African kids who hail from a very different culture and society.

But the Ethiopians are not the only children targeted by bigoted religious school officials. Some ultra-Orthodox girls schools, run by sects of Jews of European origin (Ashkenazi Jews) have for years refused to enroll girls whose parents or grandparents were born in Arab countries (Sephardi Jews).

Perhaps as a result of summer doldrums and a dirth of news, the Petah Tikva affair prompted an impressive public uproar — from calls to cut off government funding to schools that refuse to accept Ethiopian children, all the way to demands that police be mobilized to escort the kids into class. Shades of Little Rock.

The Petah Tikva schools, private and public, were forced to back down and accept the children. The media and government congratulated themselves for combating an ugly manifestation of prejudice.

Admirable? Hardly. Just ask any Arab student from the Galilee who has tried to rent an apartment in Jerusalem, any Arab engineering graduate who has tried to get a high-tech job, any Arab shop assistant in suburban Tel Aviv who is forbidden to speak Arabic to her colleagues lest she alienate Jewish customers.

It’s not simply a case of double standards. Israel, a complex mosaic of ethnic groups, is oblivious and indifferent to its deeply rooted racism against Arab citizens, who constitute 20% of the population.

The biblical injunction of not doing unto others what you would not have done to you is buried under Israel’s complex struggle for existence in a hostile environment and an innate need to perpetuate its status as the victim it once was, a need that blinds it to the suffering of others.

September 17th, 2009, 11:14 pm


why-discuss said:

Assassinat Hariri : la Syrie demande à l’ONU d’ouvrir une enquête


La Syrie a accusé la première équipe d’enquêteurs internationaux sur l’assassinat de l’ex-Premier ministre libanais Rafic Hariri d’avoir monté un coup contre elle pour l’incriminer délibérément et a demandé à l’ONU d’ouvrir une enquête.
Dans une lettre au Conseil de sécurité rendue publique jeudi, le ministre syrien des Affaires étrangères, Walid Moallem, affirme que le général Jamil Sayyed, ex-directeur général de la Sûreté générale, a fait des déclarations à la presse après sa libération, qui incriminent l’ancien chef de la commission d’enquête et son adjoint, les Allemands Detlev Mehlis et Gerhard Lehmann

La lettre affirme que les deux magistrats ont tenté de forcer le général Sayyed « à persuader la Syrie d’identifier une victime officielle qui avouerait le crime puis serait découverte morte des suites d’un suicide ou d’un accident de voiture, après quoi un arrangement serait conclu avec la Syrie ».
« Quand Sayyed a refusé, il a été emprisonné pour quatre ans », ajoute le texte.
« La Syrie regrette cet abus de pouvoir par le président de la commission » et « estime que le secrétaire général de l’ONU devrait ouvrir une enquête sur ces faits », dit encore la lettre.
Interrogé à ce sujet par notre correspondante à New York, Sylviane Zehil, le secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon a affirmé hier que la question « n’est pas de (son) ressort ».

September 18th, 2009, 12:14 am


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

@ Akbar Palace
Hope you and all the Jewish Nation will enjoy Rosh Hashanah Holiday. You are working too hard on this blog, go celebrate EREV will you. Mankind is for sure indebted to the Jewish rabbis for faithfully maintaining the Hebrew text, uncorrupted, so today it is used to audit many doubtful ancient stories and myths from many nations that many presumed it to be factual.

On your comment, we appreciate your diligent effort in this disinformation campaign. You mean that 19 undergrad school kids from the desert of Arabia and nomadic Afghanistan, managed to fool and outsmart all the Western intelligence agencies, including CIA, DIA, NSA., Mossad, MI6, and a dozen more. Managed to plan, orchestrates and carry out the attack on September 11 so successfully as to bring down a bunch of towers with hijacked planes. Attacked the most fortified city and building in the world, the Pentagon. So basically, what one can understand is that, these school kids deployed on U.S. soil better aviation and evasive technologies than what NORAD and the Pentagon deployed at the time. They even knew the exact hour Pentagon given orders to stand-down huuuh. Okay, we are D.U.M.B.S. We think this is for sure plausible.

But please explain to Conspiracy Freaks and real D.U.M.B.S. like us, how on earth more than 200 vehicles parked over 7 blocks away from the world trade center MELTED LIKE CHOCOLATE, as you can see in this link. How did these 19 Moslem terrorists managed to use such high tech weapon of direct energy beams or molecular supper thermate, who knows what. Hopefully the Pentagon and Norad have now figured out how they did all that, and have secured the Taliban supper high tech weapon labs before dashing to the Opium refining labs. Here are the pictures, your opinion and explanation is highly appreciated Akbar:

Also, why this poor Jewish man, the Official Government (FEMA) Photographer, who was dispatched by the Federal Agency and is assigned to documents the WTC collapse, fled the U.S. and was granted asylum by the Argentine Government. Since you know so much, could you please let Conspiracy fools like us be better informed.

September 18th, 2009, 12:50 am


offended said:

The abolishing of visa requirement for Syrians entering Turkey and vice versa is a very significant development.

September 18th, 2009, 4:36 am


Akbar Palace said:

The Mother of all Myths

Mankind is for sure indebted to the Jewish rabbis for faithfully maintaining the Hebrew text, uncorrupted, so today it is used to audit many doubtful ancient stories and myths from many nations that many presumed it to be factual.

Dear SNP,

Are your myths and “ancient stories” any more factual than ours? I am indebted only to God for giving us the opportunity to reestablish our homeland despite the odds and the misfortunes and all, interestingly, predicted in our mythological Torah.

On your comment, we appreciate your diligent effort in this disinformation campaign.

My “disinformation campaign” is only a set of links to exhaustive studies and reports or to factual evidence like the live cell phone conversations the passengers of United FLT 93 made to their loved ones during their hijacking ordeal and eventual murder.

You mean that 19 undergrad school kids from the desert of Arabia and nomadic Afghanistan, managed to fool and outsmart all the Western intelligence agencies, including CIA, DIA, NSA., Mossad, MI6, and a dozen more.

Before 9-11, American security systems were a fraction of what they are today. Still, I am sure al-Queda have cells in the US. Israel is still uncovering cells in there. Don’t be surprised.

Attacked the most fortified city and building in the world…

What are you talking about?

Also, why this poor Jewish man…Since you know so much, could you please let Conspiracy fools like us be better informed.

From your link, it seems this “poor Jewish man” killed his wife and was having marriage difficulties. According to your link, he has yet to provide any proof of US government complicity in the 9-11 attack. It easy to ask questions. It’s even easier to discount the obvious.

September 18th, 2009, 7:50 am


Akbar Palace said:


Here’s some more information for your book report. There are other references than the Huffington Post

September 18th, 2009, 8:02 am


norman said:


That article in the Huffington post was written by an Israeli reporter ,

September 18th, 2009, 8:39 am


norman said:


That is she ,

Ruth SinaiIsraeli journalist and commentator on social affairs
Posted: September 16, 2009 04:29 PM BIO Become a Fan Get Email Alerts Bloggers’ Index
Racism, Israeli Style
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Read more at:

September 18th, 2009, 8:49 am


Akbar Palace said:


I understand that being anti-Israel is a “national and religious duty” for some, and certainly the liberal Ha’aretz and their reporter Ruth Sinai feel equally inclined.

Actually, I’m glad they report on Israeli social ills, because otherwise, they may not improve.

However, one should be objective and cover both sides of the issue. For example, my link above shows extraordinary efforts by the GOI to facilitate Ethiopian jewish IMMIGRATION and absorption into Israel. It isn’t easy to meld so many cultures into Israeli society, but for the most part, the “project” has been rather successful.

September 18th, 2009, 9:15 am


norman said:


I agree

September 18th, 2009, 9:49 am


SimoHurtta said:

Still, I am sure al-Queda have cells in the US. Israel is still uncovering cells in there. Don’t be surprised.

Of course Akbar the are al-Qaeda cells in Israel and USA, where al-Qaeda was created, trained, armed and financed. Who else do you think is making those bin Laden videos which surface always when Israeli and US politics need a little “push”.

No Akbar we are not surprised.

By the way Akbar what is the sense in turning a discussion of Israeli very open and widely reported racism to the demonstrations in Iran. Do demonstrations in Iran make Israel’s bad racist situation better? Did the black Jews get back in school because of a) demonstrations in Iran or b)the public attention Israel got abroad?

September 18th, 2009, 10:10 am


why-discuss said:

After failure of US-Israel talks, BBC commentator: Israelis are more worried of internal civil war than of external threat.
Is the social unrest in Israel a time bomb? Anyone to comments

September 18th, 2009, 10:11 am


Akbar Palace said:

Israelis are more worried of internal civil war than of external threat.


War between which two sides? Please forward more information.


In the spirit of Zionist conspiracy, it is a well known fact that PM Netanyahu is an al-Queda operative and the Ethiopian Jews are planning to destroy the al-Aksa mosque on orders from Dick Cheney.

September 18th, 2009, 11:49 am


why-discuss said:


Israelis are more worried of internal civil war than of external threat.

He was talking about the inevitable rifts in the Israeli society if the settlers are forced out of the occupied land by the army.

September 18th, 2009, 11:54 am


Akbar Palace said:

BBC BS con’t


I didn’t see the article, but I’m not surprised. It’s from the BBC.

While the author of the article somehow knows that “Israelis are more worried of internal civil war than of external threat”, he should look in the Palestinian terrortories to find the actual blood.

Apparently he doesn’t have a clue:

September 18th, 2009, 12:31 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Baathism or Bust


Yes, I read the bible/torah/Old Testament often.

I’m not sure what you’re reading, but Jerusalem, Solomon, and temple are mentioned hundreds of times.

You are free to study the Talmud, The Protocols, Mein Kampf, the Koran and/or whatever educational text you want. Don’t let me stop you.

Do a search. Have fun:

Jerusalem is a Jewish City and the eternal Capital of Israel, all needs to come to term on this issue and live with it.

Jews and non-Jews are permitted to live in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not Mecca and therefore, not off limits to “the unclean”. It just happens to be claimed as Israel’s capital. The Palestinians were offered half the Old City at one time but the PA rejected the offer.

We pray that Israel shall eternally be strong and viable, so we together can confront this diabolic Christian menses, lets no more horrors be committed on earth by them devils, like that done to the Incas, Aztecs and Iraqis. We can not rely on weak Moslems, especially the Shia for that defense, they failed us again. Jews, their bravery and strength are our only salvation and hope one day we can rule together from the Philippines to Granada.

Good use of sarcasm. I’d be happy if Israel could rule from her current borders along with a peaceful Palestinian state. But, already, that seems to be asking for too much these days.

September 18th, 2009, 1:34 pm


Innocent Criminal said:

WOW, it never ceases to amaze me how you guys can steer away from the topic at hand so quickly. Can we please stop regurgitating the same stuff over and over? i mean seriously, dont you guys get bored?

90% of the previous comments had nothing to do with the post, so pretty please, with sugar on top, can we get back to it?

September 18th, 2009, 8:02 pm


Shami said:

We found a part of ourselves in Damascus
I must confess that our interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday in Damascus had a very special meaning for me. Thanks to this interview, I made my first visit to Damascus, which gave me the enthusiastic sensation I would feel if I were paying a visit to relatives that I lost years ago.
I felt the same sensation, which sent chills down my spine when I went to Athens for the first time several years ago. At that time, the following words had come out of my mouth involuntarily: “So close, yet so far away.”

Actually, these words do not hold true for the current state of bilateral relations between the two countries. During the 1990s, which corresponds to my career as a foreign news editor at the Zaman newspaper, when I had a closer interest in foreign policy and diplomacy, the main items on the agenda included the support Syria gave to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization and claims about land and conflict over Turkey’s water policies toward Syria. Likewise, the never-ending disputes between Turkey and Greece over the territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, the flight information region (FIR) demarcation, small islands, the mutual armament race, Cyprus, military excises and dogfights were our main areas of occupation. Bilateral relations were so complicated that a friend of mine who is an academician and an expert on Turkish-Greek relations had once joked, “As long as there are hostile relations between the two countries, I will never lose my job until my retirement,” and we had burst into laughter at this tragicomic revelation. Today, those unlucky years when Turkish-Greek and Turkish-Syrian relations were defined as hostile are long past. The concrete results of the “policy of zero problems with neighbors,” the theoretical framework of which was drawn up in the post-2002 era by Ahmet Davutoğlu, acting first as a chief foreign policy adviser to the prime minister and then as a foreign minister, are now visible everywhere.

Seeing that we were engulfed by a friendly atmosphere during our visit to Damascus struck not only me but also the editors-in-chief of leading Turkish newspapers with whom I was touring around the streets of Damascus, which felt so familiar to us. We were extremely happy to observe that despite the false stories about hostility that we have been hearing since the 1970s, we are so close to the beautiful people of this beautiful country, and we are like each other.

The fact that when the last of the Ottoman sultans, Vahdettin, who is depicted by our distorted official education system as a traitor, died in Italy in exile with many debts, our Syrian sisters and brothers brought his corpse to Syria and laid him to rest in a tranquil place that they carefully selected shows me a gleaming sign of the loyalty our Syrian sisters and brothers feel toward us Turks and to their past. While we failed to ask the simple question, “How can a sultan betray the country that is accepted as his own property?” and we labeled Sultan Vahdettin a traitor with blind fanaticism. The Syrian subjects of Sultan Vahdettin did not regard him a traitor but brought his corpse from Italy in order to bury him in the cool courtyard of Suleymaniye Complex, built by Mimar Sinan, in Damascus.

If we recall the sad story of Sultan Vahdettin, the following can be said: On Oct. 17, 1922, 16 days after the bill abolishing the sultanate was passed on Oct. 1, 1922, he left İstanbul and spent his last years in San Remo, Italy, where he died on May 15, 1926. When he died, he was so poor that even his coffin was confiscated, and his corpse was transported first to Beirut and then to Damascus in the company of his son-in-law Ömer Faruk Efendi. The Syrian government had held an official funeral ceremony which then-Syrian President Ahmed Nami Bey, who was the first husband of Ayşe Sultan, the daughter of Sultan Abdülhamid II, attended, too. Later, some other members of the Ottoman dynasty who were living in several European cities were also laid to rest next to him. His burial place, which is held in high esteem by Syrians, and Suleymaniye Mosque are now being renovated with sponsorship from the Ministry of Culture and the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA). Learning that Turkey has done something, though a bit late, to place importance to its past, which was never betrayed by Syrians, was like receiving a nice present in Damascus.

Actually, the warm welcome offered by Syria, which very much resembles Turkey, and by Syrians, who embrace Turks with strong feelings of love and fraternity was the real present we got in Damascus. When we walked in the majestic Hamidiye Bazaar, which was crowded until very late at night, and when we visited the grand 1,300-year-old Umayyad Mosque, which was converted from a church, Damascus always gave us that striking sensation of happiness one can get when he meets relatives whom he hasn’t seen for years.

Compared to the atmosphere of hatred and hostility and the likelihood of an imminent war just 10 years ago, there is a completely different climate between Turkey and Syria. No doubt that not only the existing Turkish government’s foreign policy, which radically changed the way Turkish people view their neighbors, and also Syria’s young, moderate and far-sighted leader, al-Assad, have played a big role in this meeting between two countries who have long established friendly ties. At this point, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to all the leaders who contributed to the creation of this friendly atmosphere that brought these two sister nations together once again.


September 18th, 2009, 8:15 pm


Shami said:

Deal with Syria brings European Union spirit to Middle East

[News Analysis]Deal with Syria brings European Union spirit to Middle East
Turkey and Syria’s decision to remove visa requirements for the nationals of the two countries and establish a high-level strategic council is bringing the spirit of the European Union, based on integrated economic relations and political cooperation, to the Middle East, pundits say.

Experts add that cooperation between Ankara and Damascus will gradually spread throughout the Middle East and that extra-regional powers that really want peace and stability in the region should support this process.

Turkey and Syria announced on Wednesday evening that they would create a high-level strategic council, modeled on a similar mechanism launched earlier by Turkey and Iraq, and would remove visa requirements between the two countries, during a one-day visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to İstanbul.

“You will travel to Syria as you have been traveling from İstanbul to Ankara. Likewise, travel to Turkey for Syrian citizens will be like traveling between Aleppo and Damascus,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said after signing an agreement with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who spoke with Assad at a meeting and a fast-breaking dinner on Wednesday, said during the dinner that the Middle East should no longer be a region whose name is associated with problems. Assad added that with these agreements, it has been proven that the people of the Middle East have the ability to determine their own future.

Sedat Laçiner from the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK) told Today’s Zaman that these decisions are the core of a future integration, if not a union.

“Freedom of movement, very high economic relations and trade volume, joint cabinet meetings, integrated energy corridors, close cooperation on water issues — all these are functional principles of the EU,” he said.

According to Laçiner, when the other countries in the Middle East realize that the cooperation between Ankara and Damascus is working, they will joint it.

“Turkish-Syrian cooperation will be an enlargement corridor toward Egypt, Jordan and also toward North Africa and Gulf countries,” Laçiner said.

He noted that the personal efforts of Foreign Minister Davutoğlu were an important element for the development of the Turkish approach. Another analyst, Bülent Uras from the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), said that after Davutoğlu became the foreign minister, Turkey stepped up its foreign policy. “Until recently the aim of Turkish foreign policy was zero problems with neighbors. Now it is maximum cooperation,” he said.

According to Uras, Turkey is trying to change the status quo in the Middle East, which is currently based on freezing problems. “Turkey’s message is: ‘We don’t have any chance to put our problems on a shelf any longer. We have to solve them.’ The Middle East is being reshaped. Turkey is participating in this reshaping process through democratization, mediation and pushing away the possibility of a conflict. The problems of the Middle East cannot be solved by one country; there is a need for coordination, and Turkey is trying to do this,” Uras said.

He also underlined that such cooperation would bring Syria closer to the West via Turkey, while its other option is to become closer to conflict via Iran. “Under these circumstances, powers such as Israel and US should be happy about this development,” he said.

Hüsnü Mahalli, a journalist and an expert on the Middle East, also believes that the future Middle East will be very different from today’s in a positive way. He added that whatever its name will be — integration, union or something similar — through the agreements between Turkey and Syria, a common platform has been established and the destiny of the Middle East is now in the hands of its people. Other Arab countries will join in, and even Iran in the near future, he said, noting that he believes that despite the traditional policies of Iran, Syria will be able to draw Tehran into this process.

But another expert, Soli Özel from Bilge University, has a cautious approach. According to Özel, Middle Eastern countries should cooperate more and the status quo cannot continue and must be changed, but that does not mean that this will happen easily.

“For Turkey to even realize the realities of life and enter into a process of change took a very long time. I think for Syria, starting the process of change will take time, too. Sure, there is an intention for it, but the abilities are limited,” he said.

Özel recalled that in the past, there was criticism of Davutoğlu’s efforts for regional cooperation, but everyone now understands that his efforts are paying off. “My impression is that Turkey’s efforts are highly coordinated with the US administration,” he said.


September 18th, 2009, 8:16 pm


Shami said:

Syria-Turkey strategic cooperation
Syria and Turkey have signed an agreement on high-level strategic cooperation, which means that these two neighbors will pursue, from now on, a very close relationship, maybe the closest ever in the history of their bilateral relations.
Although its content hasn’t been completely released, it seems that the agreement aims to create something like a Schengen zone in our region. The abolishment of visas and the development of bilateral free trade will be accompanied by the joint fight against terrorism and against other transborder threats. Naturally, the general thought of good neighborly relations constitutes the basis of this agreement. The peaceful core in the region established by Turkey and Syria can be expanded to a wider area in the future, including Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, even Israel and Palestine, or even the Caucasus, including Armenia.

It’s not possible to predict to which point this initiative will be developed. Yet it is possible to predict how the world will perceive this close relationship between Ankara and Damascus. Some will think that this is a natural outcome of Turkey’s process of transformation. They will admit that it is wise to chose Syria as a key player in Turkey’s foreign relations, while Ankara’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy necessitates the simultaneous resolution of Turkey’s problems with Iran, Iraq, Israel and EU countries. Those who will defend that this agreement brings Turkey closer to the EU will say Turkey is succeeding in what the EU failed in its common foreign and security policy and neighborhood policy.

Nevertheless, others will believe that this is one of the signs that Turkey intends to abandon the EU path. For them, Turkey is trying to become a pivotal country in its region using its geographical advantage, at the crossroads of the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans instead of joining the EU. Some people will even see it as the resuscitation of Ottomanist policies, thinking that this may help Europe get rid of Turkey more easily. But it would be a mistake if they think that is worth celebrating. I don’t believe that Turkey will adopt such a plan, but if it does, the EU will not be the one that will benefit from it.

In today’s world, where policies of exclusion are no longer favored, Turkey is trying to apply a strategy aiming at winning over its neighbors. It appears that the US and Russia support the rapprochement between Turkey and Syria but also the one between Turkey and Armenia. After all, one shouldn’t think that the initiatives on Syria and Armenia were implemented without consulting Washington or Moscow first.

These initiatives can please countries that want Turkey to become the leader in a newly shaped region. But there is another initiative, which is of key importance for determining whether Turkey will stay on the EU track or not: the Kurdish opening. If the newly designed “region” will include only countries with doubtful democracies and countries with no democracy at all, then a democratic leap like the Kurdish opening will be irrelevant. But it appears that Turkey wants to pursue the development of good relations with neighbors and Turkey’s process of democratization simultaneously. This is compatible with the philosophy of the Copenhagen criteria, or it can even be seen as the first demonstration of the “Ankara criteria.” The appellation will not really matter as long as the content of these two criteria remains. Hence, these initiatives may help both to accelerate Turkey’s accession process and to help build a new and stable region. And perhaps this is the beginning of a period during which Europe will think how to win Turkey back.

September 18th, 2009, 8:17 pm


Shami said:

Strengthening Turkey-Syria ties put Israel on backburner
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Friday, September 18, 2009
With its policy of developing a regional vision and maintaining ’zero problems with neighbors,’ Turkey is turning to Syria to transform its relationship from cooperation to integration. Turkey’s move raises questions about whether the strengthening ties with Syria signal a shift in regional balances and its strategic alliance with Israel

With Turkey’s foreign policy appearing to shift toward the Middle East, the government’s rapprochement with Syria and Iraq is raising questions about the country’s future political relations with Israel, its close ally since the early 1990s.

Turkey and Syria announced plans to establish a high-level strategic cooperation mechanism to deepen ties in every sphere, similar to Turkey’s agreement with Iraq.

Analysts have confirmed a considerable change in Turkish-Syrian relations compared to the 1990s, when strained ties were evident due to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, problem. Relations with Israel, however, received a boost in the 1990s when the two countries struck military deals, sowing the seeds of a strategic alliance. The Turkish-Israeli relationship has since moved in the opposite direction in the wake of the Gaza war. This is the current reality, although, both sides downplay the diplomatic chill, saying that it is only temporary.

“It is too early to say that what was often described as Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel is being replaced by Syria,” Bülent Alirıza, director of the Turkey Project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

“However, the increasingly close relationship with Damascus, combined with the recent strains in the relationship with Tel Aviv, seems certain to raise additional questions about a possible change of direction in Turkish foreign policy in the Middle East,” he said.

The government’s sharp criticism of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza opened a rift with Israel. Ankara’s frustration was also revealed in the suspension of Turkish-mediated indirect talks between Israel and Syria, which were on the edge of being raised to the direct level. However, the Gaza war and the recent election of a right-wing government in Israel have since frozen talks.

Now, with its policy of developing a regional vision and maintaining “zero problems with neighbors,” Turkey is turning to Syria to transform its relationship from cooperation to integration. Both sides have already announced a decision to lift mutual visa requirements.

“For Syria, it is important that Turkey distance itself from Israel but it probably does not realistically expect that the Turkey-Israel relation will be ended and replaced by relations with Syria,” according to Raymond Hinnebusch, professor of international relations and Middle East studies at the University of St. Andrews, who has written a series of books on Syria and the Middle East.

“Rather, the heart of the alignment with the two countries is political: to manage the shared water, to avoid problems of irredentism from escalating, to avoid destabilizing interventions or civil wars in the region. The relation also has an economic dimension with cross-border business increasing,” said Hinnebusch.

“And in identity terms the perceptions of Turks and Syrians/Arabs as rivals or even enemies has been replaced by a feeling of amity, even some overlap in identity,” he added.

Political relations vs military enthusiasm

Despite strengthening relations with Damascus, some observers say that the Turkish military’s enthusiasm is not the same as that of the government. In the case of Israel, improved relations began with a military partnership and developed on the civilian level. This prevents a complete breakdown in relations with Israel, as military exercises and deals are ongoing despite occasional problems on the political level.

However, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on the eve of a visit to Turkey that his country would welcome PKK members if they decided to lay down arms, which was interpreted as clear support of the Turkish government’s Kurdish initiative. Thus, security concerns over a PKK-originated threat could bring the military into the picture, alongside the fostering of political ties with Damascus.

“I would not expect the Syria-Turkey relationship to be military-centered; the two sides do not really share the same threats, except for a shared perception of the dangers created by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, particularly in empowering the Kurds,” said Hinnebusch.

“Syrian and Turkish weapons systems are different so I’m doubtful there is much scope for cooperation along these lines. Perhaps intelligence sharing, confidence-building measures etc. can develop at a fairly low level of salience,” he said.

© 2009 Hurriyet Daily News

September 18th, 2009, 8:24 pm


norman said:


You must be happy with Syria and Assad now , I hope so , I am ,the relation with Turkey should teach Syria how Secularism and Islam can go hand in hand, Don’t you think so?.

September 18th, 2009, 9:54 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

Is that entry Visa waver for Syrian Passport holders coming only through Syria-Turkey official land boarder crossing, or arriving though Damascus Intl Airport. Or is it valid to arrival though any other, or all, Turkey land boarder crossings, including the European and Eurasian ones, and arrival from any other international airport to Turkey. Why Syria could not manage the same Visa arrangement with Venezuela, Russia and Iran, like that it managed to do with Sudan?

September 18th, 2009, 11:01 pm


Shami said:

Habibi Norman , like Saint Thomas d’Aquinas i believe in what i see ,of course this event is happy and important and i salute it but i would like to see the crucial changes that Syria needs on its internal scene this is what matter the most to me.What Bashar is waiting for ?Such needed improvment would not happen until that Bashar accept the possibility that he will not die as president of Syria,he and his familly are not more important than 22 millions Syrians and 260 millions-300 millions Arabs.BEcause What is valid for him is also valid for the other Arab dictators.

September 19th, 2009, 12:55 am


majedkhaldoun said:

The improved relations between Syria and Turkey, is just great news, we need to balance it, Iraq must join, this will not be easy, iran is not part of it.

September 19th, 2009, 11:29 am


why-discuss said:


Iran and Turkey have always has visa waivers dating from Ataturk and the Shah. There has never been any issues on terrorism inflitration because of that.
I guess this visa waiver will expand to the region as it provides excellent economical potential both in tourism and business.
We must thank Bashar and Erdogan for this excellent initiative.

September 19th, 2009, 11:59 am


Ken Hoop said:

Akbar Palace

“FYI, after 9-11, the Bush Administration found hundreds of terrorists roaming our country and had them thrown in jail. No terrorist attack occurred on our soil since then.”

So they claim, so Cheney makes fantastic claims about how torture worked, without proof.

What we know is, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s cheif aide attests that Cheney sanctioned torture to gain false confession about Saddam still possessing WMDs which helped cost many tens of thousands of American lives and limbs in an Iraq War fought,however unsucessfully, in large part for Israeli interests.

As for Israel being a “friend,” which Ron Paul wants to abandon,
I would retort he wants to remove an albatross from the back of the United States which costs trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives and limbs.

September 19th, 2009, 12:55 pm


norman said:

Shami,look at this and tell me what you think It was written By Qunfuz,

With your permission i put your comment again as i think it is important ,

QunfuzRobin Yassin-Kassab
The Crisis of Islamic Civilisation
with 4 comments

The contemporary religious revival is a complex business. In the same period that Muslim societies, in their weakness, seem to have re-embraced Islam, America, in its strength, has re-embraced Christianity. Western Europe remains avowedly secular. Despite the contradictions within the West, mainstream Orientalism holds that all cultures are developing towards the universal (or, more specifically, globalised) model of secular modernity and the market. The Muslim world experiences backwardness to the extent that it resists secularisation.

“The Crisis of Islamic Civilisation”, a subtle and erudite book by former Iraqi minister Ali A Allawi, challenges this thesis. Surveying the Muslims’ social, economic and moral failures, and the terror espoused by certain Islamist groups, Allawi suggests the problem might not be too much Islam, but too little.

He argues that privatised religion cannot work in Islam, a civilisational framework which rests on the tripod of private ritual, public ethics and individual spiritual striving. The three must feed into and balance each other, but the current ‘revival’ operates only in the field of religiosity, focusing on naked symbols and rules, proclaiming the superiority of Islam while adopting wholesale, and indiscriminately, the technology, economics and cultural products of the West. It emphasises the Sharia as a set of fixed punishments rather than as a framework of legislative principles. (Allawi perhaps doesn’t explain the distinction thoroughly enough). For the revivalists, the public sphere is too often reduced to the state, and their political project is simply to seize control of repressive state apparatuses.

The rest of the article can be read (free of charge) at Prospect Magazine.

Paragraph six was cut in such a way that it lost force and meaning. The original version is:

“After military defeat the Sufi orders degenerated (Allawi concedes they were in many cases already mired in superstition), were co-opted by imperial powers and encouraged to ignore the problematic public realm. As a result, the tariqat became irrelevant, and the Muslims lost the heart of their tradition. Sadly, the process continues today, as illustrated by New Labour’s romance with the tame and supposedly Sufi-oriented Quilliam Foundation, whose spokesmen opine on “the racist Arab psyche” and teach, for instance, that rejecting Zionism on principle is a sign of Islamic extremism – news to the anti-Zionist Christians and Marxists of the Arab world.”

September 19th, 2009, 3:49 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Albatross Alert

Ken Hoop states:

As for Israel being a “friend,” which Ron Paul wants to abandon,
I would retort he wants to remove an albatross from the back of the United States which costs trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives and limbs.

Ken Hoop,

There are those like you and your political hero Ron Paul who find Israel a liability, and are quick to drop Israel as an ally. This would include the likes of the anti-semite Pat Buchanan, and other “Paleocons” like James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, etc.

I say go for it. Get in bed with the Islamists and Saudia Arabia and see how much better your life will be. See if the Middle East will turn peaceful. See if we can send American troops back from the Gulf, the Emirates, Iraq, Afghanistan and little Sheikdoms and to a world of peace and tranquility.

If you manage to convince the majority of Americans that Israel is
merely an “albatross” (which will be difficult since the majority of Americans are quite pro-Israel), you will see that the US will still be heavily involved in protecting other Arab states from the terrorists they’ve created and nutured. You will quickly find that Israel wasn’t the albatross you thought it was.

Good luck.

September 19th, 2009, 4:35 pm


Ken Hoop said:

The U.S. isn’t going to be “heavily involved” in meddling for your people on the other side of the globe much longer. Enjoy the parasitism while you can.

“He has also argued, consistently since 1980, that the United States is a ‘hegemon in decline’. He was often mocked for making this claim during the nineties, but since the debacle of the Iraq war, this argument has become more widespread. He has also consistently argued that the modern world system has reached its endpoint. He believes that the next fifty years will be a period of chaotic instability which will result in a new system, one which may be more or less egalitarian than the present one.”

September 19th, 2009, 4:46 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ken Hoop states:

The U.S. isn’t going to be “heavily involved” in meddling for your people on the other side of the globe much longer. Enjoy the parasitism while you can.

Ken Hoop,

Thank you for showing your true colors. That makes my job easier;)

Your definition of “parasite” is, um, revealing;)

Frankly, the US isn’t “heavily involved” in Israel and never has been. Not one US soldier has EVER fought or died to protect Israel. Further, the amount of jobs, military intelligence, scientific and technical know-how we get from Israel is worth every penny of the $3 billion we spend on the Jewish State.

What do we get from our annual $2 billion from Egypt? What do we get for protecting Saudi Arabia and the Sheikdoms? Lastly, what do we get for trying to rid the Middle East of al-Queda training camps?

Ken Hoop, this is why you and your-anti-Israel political friends are constantly polled at the bottom of the list. Americans aren’t dumb enough to believe the Middle East will be peaceful if Israel is no longer an ally.

September 19th, 2009, 5:56 pm


Shami said:

Norman i agree with the conclusion of Ali al Alawi that Sufism had midiged impact on the islamic civilization but i disagree with the common idea (and i dont know if Al Alawi took it)that the main responsible of this decline is imam al Ghazali al Tusi who wrote a book tahafut al falasifa in which he harshly criticized greek philosophy and the followers of the schools of alexandria and athena,in particular Ibn Sinna and Al Farabi but counter attacked by the Andalusian Aristotelian Philosopher al Qadi Ibn Rushd al Qurtubi (of Cordoba)(known in Europe under the latinized name of Averroes) .We are often told that the adoption of Ghazali thesis by most of powerful muslim rulers from Al Muwahidin (almohads )of Morroco and also rulers of Al Andalus after the Almoravids and Umayyads ,to the Ayyubids , Mameluks and Ottomans had negatively affected the developpment of science in the Islamic world,in which we neglected human reason .I would not accept this,because many of the greatest muslim scientists were born centuries later after the death of Al Ghazali .Until the 16th century the muslim world produced high quality scientists and thinkers and we know that the Ottoman Sultan Mohamad 2 ,(mehmet II)who conquered Constantinople was highly cultivated person a patron of arts,the decline of the islamic civilization must be located in the end of the 16th century with the decline of the Ottoman empire.
Eid Mubarak to the Muslim Umma.

September 20th, 2009, 2:17 am


Shami said:

sorry midiged=mitigated of course.

September 20th, 2009, 5:37 am


Shami said:

Jad,listen to this smart and moderate sheikh( Allah Yerhamo) and tell me your opinion.

You too Norman ,i would like to know your opinion too.

September 20th, 2009, 11:25 am


Ken Hoop said:


Oh, I wouldn’t be so quick to call “parasite” revealing. In fact the world has been quite familiar with the arguments of Mearsheimer and Walt–and Michael Scheuer—and Jim Moran of Virginia for example, long before these particular arguments were publically stated. Perhaps the general world awareness of Israel’s fifth column control here doesn’t extend back so far as ,say, the
frustration uttered about it by J. William Fulbright, but since
Feith and company overstepped with their WMD lies in 2002, awareness has been acute.

Two last corrections: Ron Paul would cut off aid to Egypt too, but as dishonest poseurs like you are aware, the aid to Egypt is only “necessitated” because of the aid to Israel.

Finally, of course the US isn’t “heavily involved” within Israel’s (undeclared)borders-excdept for financing the dispossession & oppression of Palestinians.

And I would be too much of an optimist in saying that situation
could be redressed by US troops pausing to vacate Zionist imperialists from the West Bank and Samaria on their way out of Iraq, (ideally,as they vacated the entire Mideast) in the manner they pushed Saddam’s troops out of Kuwait.

When the Empire dismantles, I suspect the Palestine solution will unfold without US participation, however.

September 20th, 2009, 1:02 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Is Vacating Israel from “the Entire Mideast” Ron Paul Isolationism?;)

Two last corrections: Ron Paul would cut off aid to Egypt too, but as dishonest poseurs like you are aware, the aid to Egypt is only “necessitated” because of the aid to Israel.

Ken Hoop,

US aid to Egypt was NOT “necessitated because of aid to Israel”, it was AGREED to between the Governments of Egypt, Israel and the US due to Israel-Egypt peace treaty and the DESIRE of the US government to back two strong allies in this fragile region of the world.

Look, I can see I’m not going to change your mind. Stay focused and comfortable within on your anti-Israel cocoon, and, hopefully, you’ll continue to be outside the mainstream of American politics.

September 20th, 2009, 8:24 pm


Shami said:

I guess why jad you avoided to answer on sheikh Al Khaznawi link.

Here is the same Sheikh in a church in Sweden.

Few days after this picture was taken, bashar’s mini sectarian mukhabarat killed him in their usual coward way after they tortured him for days.

Dr Landis ,Al Khaznawi was a sufi reformer who was loved and respected by the syrian people and had great influence even behond the borders of Syria ,in Turkey and Iraq among the Turks and Arabs before the Kurds.

September 21st, 2009, 2:04 am


Shami said:

sorry ,behond=beyond.

September 21st, 2009, 2:10 am


Off the WAll said:

Dear Shami and Dear Jad
Thank you both for the kind wishes happy 3eed to all.
Is everyone following Bab al7ara and the other 20 or so worthy series 🙂 posts have been a little dry lately ?!

September 22nd, 2009, 1:07 am


jad said:

It seems that we all got busy at the same time, usually we take turns.
I wrote something about the new ‘Property law’ and its important in Syria development but apparently this issue went so silent in our society that nobody notice it or even felt its important for the future.
I’m worried that such important issue wont be taken seriously which means poor people who are going to be ‘positively’ affected with if they play it right wont understand it and they wont be able to get involved in the process as it suppose to be.
I wonder what is Ehsani take on it since it goes under his economical reform ideas.

September 22nd, 2009, 2:41 am


norman said:

Wrte it again , Please

September 22nd, 2009, 10:21 am


jad said:

3ala rasi Dr. Norman,
I will write a short explanation of the property importance in our system and how I see it as one of the major pillars for development and progress for any nation, but for now here what I wrote earlier:

“First of all illegal housing neighbourhoods/Slums are not only the Syrian regime, Baath or Assad personal responsibility as they ridiculously portray it, it is one of the major planning problems of every developing country in the world face even the developed world went through this in its planning progress history until they come up with the property act Syria trying to implement in the last month
I’m not taking out the legal responsibility from the government/regime/system because they are to blamed for not implementing the right legalization of property they just get into 40 years later and the great news about it is that the whole process is led by one of the greatest economic brain in planning of our times, Hernandez De Soto through his ILD organization (I assume Ehsani know this organization), which in fact if put to work properly will change the face of Syria for generations to come and it will be the answer for radicalism, in short this act will give the poor and most vulnerable Syrians legal status and credits and an access to the legal market, they can defend and build their future without the fear of anybody.
In my humble opinion this is the most important piece of legislation happened in Syria since the independence, I’m talking about the ‘property act’ that just get legalized and waiting to be implemented and that poor people ‘Tharwa’ report unprofessionally exposed should be encouraged to go through this process. If Tharwa truly want to do the right thing they must jump into the process and have some kind of programmes to help the same people they use and exposed to get the credits and get legalized for a better future of Syria.”

September 22nd, 2009, 10:44 am


jad said:

I noticed that some explanations are necessary for some of us who are not familiar with the importance of Property rights and the importance of it, it’s similar to the French cadastral plan of Damascus and how revolutionary was that for Damascus:

In Syria they call a property without an owner (SHIYOU3) which means unregistered under any person’s name which means there is no proper ‘value’ for it, so for someone to take that land, build on it and use it his property doesn’t have any value and when he want to sell it to somebody else there is no property documentation that connect that person to this property to the value so it is in the shade market and doesn’t get into the account of proper market, now take this one property and multiply it but 100.000 times and you will understand that a whole community with its residential/commercial/industrial/agricultural value are in the shade and on paper they don’t exist and again there are without any value to support their owners in the real market.

So the first step we need to do to get this ‘shade’ properties into the market is to connect each one of them to its owner and make them get into the real world where they actually get the value of what they own and they can get loans, credits and any business they want without the fear from anybody or any law used to intimidate them while they were in the shade.

This is the importance of such law that needs to be supportive by many other steps to make it perfect:
Fixing political problems
Fighting corruption
Environmental improvement and consideration while doing this process, (you get better credits if you use solar energy or become water efficient in short go GREEN using your property and enjoy a better revenue) and keep the sustainability in mind going through this process
Include the cultural/ traditional and custom layers into the property rights since you don’t want poor people to become greedy and you want to know who owns what and you also don’t want to let anybody poor out of this process and make the business more easy to do in those community instead of killing it.
Create research centres that monitor and help the process to get its max benefits.
Spread a national education program to educate people about this issue instead of keeping it in the municipality circles, share the people in the process.

September 22nd, 2009, 3:03 pm


jad said:

Hi Alex,
This is a very nice article about the real Damascus in the thirties I think you will appreciate it with its pictures.

باب أي حارة يقصدون…؟!؟

نهاد سمعان – موقع الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي
23/ 09/ 2009
نجاح منقطع النظير … ترقب ومتابعة وتسجيل حلقات … مواقع على الانترنت ونقاشات … مهرجانات وحفلات تكريم للممثلين والمخرج بسام الملا والكاتب مروان قاووق .. جزء أول ثم جزء ثان … ثم الجزء الثالث الذي اشترته مسبقاً قناة mbc لتبثه حصرياً في رمضان القادم … معلقين وتعليقات … ومحللون يدرسون أسباب نجاح هذا المسلسل ..إنه باب الحارة
لنجاح هذا المسلسل أسباب كثيرة لست هنا في صدد سردها وتحليلها .. فأنا أيضاً كنت من متابعيه وأعرف تماماً لماذا كنت أتابعه …. لكني كنت دوماً أصحح الأخطاء التاريخية مباشرة في ذهني وأتغاضى عنها بسبب ظرافة وطرافة الممثلين وحسن أدائهم …. كنت أبعد عن ذهني باستمرار أن هذه الحارة هي إحدى حارات دمشق .. فتستقيم الأمور معي وأستمر في المتعة .. وفي بعض الحالات كنت أتخيل أن العسكر أتراكٌ يلبسون القلابك وليسو فرنسيين وأن أحداث المسلسل تدور في منتصف القرن التاسع عشر فتستقيم أيضاً الأمور وتصح الرواية ..

في العدد الماضي أبدت السيدة سهى سلوم وجهة نظرها ..وفي الماضي القريب صرحت السيدة كوليت خوري أطال الله بعمرها إنها عاشت في حارة من حارات دمشق القديمة ولم تر مثل هذه المشاهد ولم تحي مثل هذه الحياة ولم تلاحظ وجود مثل هؤلاء النساء في الحارة …. .فرأيت أنه أصبح من المفيد بل ومن واجبي أن أدعم وجهة نظرهما وأؤيدهما ببعض ما وصلت إليه من أدلة توضح طبيعة الحياة في الثلاثينات في دمشق عاصمة بلاد الشام ودرتها .أنظروا معي هذه الوثيقة المرفقة وهي منشور وزِّع في دمشق قبل ست عشرة سنة من زمن باب الحارة أي عند دخول الفرنسيين منشور وزعته سيدات من ( حواير دمشق )

Check out this to they start calling Ammar Abd Alhameed (3alem) I wounder in what? LOL

وبالنسبة للعالم السوري عمار عبد الحميد، فإنه قال لـCNN بأنه

September 23rd, 2009, 9:55 pm


Alex said:

Thanks Jad, nice article.

As for the CNN one .. Ammar as usual did not care to say something about the Golan being Syrian, all he cares about in interviews is to score against “the syrian regime” no matter what is the topic of the interview.

Many of his facebook friends are inside Syria … Syrians are active on Facebook despite the official ban.I do not know why do they keep that useless ban.

September 24th, 2009, 5:51 pm


jad said:

I agree, it is terrible not to be able to get over your narrow political views when you have the chance to talk about your country stolen land when it is most needed.
Shame on him.

September 24th, 2009, 7:35 pm


Shami said:

Jad,very sad indeed,after some years of asad regime ,even the ssnpers came to speak with nostalgia of pre baath Syria.And the building we see here in all for syria’s article ,i think the faculty of law is an ottoman heritage.(end of the 19th century ,begining of the 20th ).
Ammar Abdulhamid is for sure more honest patriot than these hypocrits like the clown tlass,rambo syria and the paranoid alawite asad father awarded for Golan transfer to Israel in 1967.

September 24th, 2009, 9:00 pm


jad said:

1- I have no clue how did you translate the article written by an ‘atheist’ “SSNPers” into a nostalgia to pre ‘Alawite Assad’ ‘era’?
The whole article was about how the writer and the director of a soapopera, willingly or not, translate the vibrant life style of Damascus with its women and men of the 1936 to a peasant pre ‘Taelban’ era and the article document by picture that period to show the unforgivable mistake.

2- “i think the faculty of law is an ottoman heritage” right!!!! your Ottoman fathers opened Damascus university to spread education and progress in Syria, not Syrians! (just read the Syrian University history before you brag about the Ottomans)

3- Ammar Abdulhamid is an ‘athiest’ ‘ex-Sunni’ and he despise all religions including Islam, shouldn’t you Kareem as a Sunni sue him instead of ‘blindly’ praising his ‘patriotism’ which I see non of it nor I see his honesty.

P.S. I intentionally wrote the people’s religions just to show you how backward, wrong and actually stupid to refer to someone or something by its ‘GOD’ relations to it…its very wrong yet you keep doing it.

September 25th, 2009, 1:47 am


Shami said:

Jad,believe me that i dont care about the religious identity of the people, for Ammar ,i would not say that Ammar is atheist ,but let us say that hypothetically he is,he remains more respectable than the hypocrit men of religion in Syria ,it changes nothing to my esteem for him ,he has the right to be atheist and former muslim and i would protect this right .

September 25th, 2009, 4:59 am


Shami said:

Jad ,about Cairo University 1908 ,Damascus university 1903,the Syrian protestant university or AUB 1866 and the jesuit university Saint Joseph in Lebanon 1875 they were established during this era in which the Ottoman empire was agonizing.
As an urban designer ,you should have some knowledge of the important urban dynamism during this late Ottoman era especially in the arab part of the empire.Almost all of our great modern buildings in Syria are from this era …if you remove them only remains the ugly and the cheap.
Also dont forget the infrastructure,the water company,electricity ,cinema,shoppings,schools,the tramways,and railways….all built in some decades between 1870 and 1919.

September 25th, 2009, 8:01 am


Shami said:

and indeed Jad ,an Ottoman is not synonym of turk ,the most influent and closest people to the last powerful sultans in Istanbul were syrians(sheikh Abulhudda al Sayyadi from khan sheikhun),albanians,greeks,and yes armenians…and those who established these universities in the arab part of the empire were almost all arab ottomans Rida Said ,Faris bey Al Khoury (muslim and christians).where is the problem?

September 25th, 2009, 8:22 am


jad said:

Thank you for the lecture in urban planning, you are truly the knowledge star of SC, I don’t know how are we going to live without you around.
just couple notes out the outstanding 3 lectures of yours;
Yes, you do care about the religion and sects of everybody around you, it’s you so don’t denied that, we all know, even with your 1st lecture you defend Ammar of being atheist just out of denials nothing more.

All those buildings that you are talking about except cinemas were built in the last 30 years of the 400 years of the ottoman occupation and it was designed and built by SYRIANS’ money and hands and NOT by Ottomans money nor they good will as you portray it, it was built just to extend the life of the occupation by showing Syrians that the Ottoman turks do care at the point when Syrians were fed up with them.
It was purely a political game that has nothing to do with urban planning, culture and development.

‘…..were almost all arab ottomans’
There is NOTHING called Arab Ottomans, it’s your own hallucinations and it is as silly as saying African American in the mid of slavery times of America.
Does 6 May 1916 rings any bells for you? I guess not since you already told me that you don’t consider the men hanged then as heroes they were tricked, right?
What do you consider yourself a Syrian, Turk, Ottoman, or Ottoman Arab?

One last note and since you believe that everything good you see in Syria was build/established/start/exist only during the Ottoman era then all your attack on “Alawite Assad” era is false and fake since there was other ‘Sunni’ periods of Syria from 1918 until 1970 and all what they did according to YOU doesnt count and they don’t deserve any creidt for anything they did as Syrians being Sunni or not.

Looking forward for the next lecture of religious tolerance, urban planning and Ottoman history that will defiantly build me a better future.

September 25th, 2009, 11:00 am


Shami said:

Jad,calling the Ottoman rule as an occupation is not fair at all,since the 11th century Syria and Most of the Islamic world were ruled by Turks and sometimes by Kurds,Berberians,Albanians and Circassians.And nobody among these people had a problem to be ruled by other than a Syrian or an Arab.And in fact they are proud of these great muslim rulers because they were among the best Nural din Zanki(who ordered the bimarestan al nuri wakf),Salahadin Qutuz,Baybars,Qaytbay,Suleyman…Hanano and Yousif al Azmeh (kurds and turks)

You have to take into account this past which is stranger to the SSNP ideal.
Anyway you are free to believe whatever you want to believe and this right should be preserved.

As for Asad regime ,it’s only a sectarian minority regime that is in a state of fear to face the syrian people without his 100% alawite mukhabrat and militias ,armed by fear of the natural change that must happen ,this is a fact that no one can deny why we should hide it ?They will be cursed in history this is for sure.Bro Jad,what they did was very silly and it’s their fault.

September 25th, 2009, 12:43 pm


Shami said:

And Jad ,go ask the sons of these people from whom you deny their Ottoman heritage,you will see they will give you the same answer.
Of course if you go to Qirdaha you will get only bad words and insults against Islam that would make you happy.
Jad,you knew that that Michel Kilo was right and believe me that he is among the less sectarian people in Syria.The most sectarians are the alawites of the regime and some stupid islamophobic christians from the perverted generation with them ,the same kind of christians who came to the west and ask to be political refugies because they suffer of islamic persecution in Syria.This is also silly move.

September 25th, 2009, 12:53 pm


Shami said:

lol of course they were built during the last years of the empire ,electricity ,tramways,trains were fresh discoveries from the 19th century industrial revolution and Syria gets all of those quickly even before some european countries.
But dont forget that Aleppo had the largest covered market in the world(12 KM)mostly build during the first years of the Ottoman era.And very rich and dynamic christian quarters ,the wonderful houses,schools and churches that we can still see are a proof of the wealth of the christian ottoman community.

As i said ,the Ottoman empire’s history must be summarized by long agony and decline ,but despite that ,we inherited from them the most beautiful cities,markets,khans,….and in the most difficult years when they were besieged from all parts they were still able to make these great buildings and solid infrastructure an absolute necessity for any human developpment.
Jad ,the last public hospital in Aleppo(a city of 5 millions)had been built in 1961 .It gives you an idea of the disaster.
And Jad ,you are not obliged to remain prisoner of the history version of Baath schools.

September 25th, 2009, 1:13 pm


Shami said:

Sorry ,Syria got

Jad,you knew that that Michel Kilo was right and believe me that he is among the less sectarian people in Syria

SORRY ,he is among the NON sectarian people of Syria,who are the big majority.
A proud Lattakian .

September 25th, 2009, 1:21 pm


Shami said:

What do you consider yourself a Syrian, Turk, Ottoman, or Ottoman Arab?

A Muslim Arab from Syria.

And a democrat rationalist in politic.

September 25th, 2009, 1:25 pm


Shami said:

Jad ,other thing ,Sultan Abdulhamid had been criticized by turkish nationalists for his love for the Arabs and the fact that he ordered that the Arab lands get the biggest amount of the Ottoman expenditure.For sure during his rule the arab cities were more lucky than the turkish cities .

September 25th, 2009, 1:42 pm


jad said:

What do you call the 11th century of our region? isn’t it 3sour al in76a6? (the dark ages).
All those names you mentioned are few men in a period of 800 years, how more bad and backward you want us to go?
The Ottomans then are an occupation as the American are today, regardless in what view you are looking at, different ethnic group comes in with a military and stay in a region full of people that doesn’t belong to them, it is an OCCUPATION otherwise the Israelis are the Ottomans of Palestine, they introduce different language, knowledge, technologies, nice urban planning as well as beautiful architecture, legal system.. etc. the only one differences between the two is that Israelis are Jews while Turks were Muslims. GOT IT!

Yousef Alazme and Ibraheem Hanano are SYRIANS before being (Kurds or Turks), have you heard any of them calling himself other than SYRIAN? apparently you have a primitive understanding of the meaning of ‘State’, you are thinking in the pre-enlightenment era ‘BRO’ and you need to get out of the cave you are living in, you are the one that still living in the 9th century as someone super racist announce today.

“Of course if you go to Qirdaha you will get only bad words and insults against Islam that would make you happy”
Indeed, it makes my day when someone insults other people faith, that is the purpose of my life and I think the most you insults other religion the more smart and trustworthy you become for me.

To be honest, the most sectarian person I ever meet so far is YOU. You always give me the chill knowing that you represent some Syrian youths who grow up in on being fed hatred and sectarian ideas that they are full of it right now and they are actually believe all the crap they write about.
I’m sorry to inform you that there are an Islamic prosecution in the Islamic and Arabic world against anything not Sunni Muslim, you have prosecution against Shia, Christians, Jews, Alawites (you as an example) Atheist, Buddhist, you name it and you have an Islamic prosecution against, not out of the Islamic faith but out of the IGNORANCE of people running those country, so when you call someone an Alwite as an insult that is a prosecution, when you call a Shia Rafidi that is a prosecution, when you call a Christian Zimmi, that is a prosecution, when you call a Jew a Zionist regardless of who he is that is a prosecution, when you call a Buddhist a stone worshiper that is a prosecution and when you call an Athiset as Kafer and Mourtad that is also a prosecution, I didn’t even mention the killing nor the massacre and the discrimination our Arab and Islamic world full with.
So when you call those people who are not SUNNI MUSLIMS ‘STUPID’ because they ask for equality you are actually prosecute them. My advise, watch out what you write and think before writing it.

As a finial task of my lengthy lecture for you today I dare you to go out of the usual ‘political/Sectarian’ talk you always throw on here knowing that you have no knowledge of real politics in any form out of the chitchat sphere we all live in on SC and find one subject that matters in our Syrian life, discuss it, analyze it, find the problem in it, give your judgment, and come up with an idea of a solution for that ‘one’ specific subject you want to choose.
I can tell from what you write that it will be a challenge for you not out of inability to do the work because we all are able as human to do the research but you have lots of glitches that will lock your brain from working properly to come up with the solution needed to help others.
Let me know how this homework will go, I can’t wait to read the result.

September 25th, 2009, 2:03 pm


Shami said:

Bro Jad ,i will answer you later because i have a lot to say ,for now my dear fiancée is waiting me.


September 25th, 2009, 2:10 pm


jad said:

Stop using ‘BRO’ you sound silly…
OH MY GOD, she will spend the evening with you and listen to your old sultans’ stories…..for that alone you should marry her tonight…How could she stands you? 🙂

September 25th, 2009, 2:17 pm


Shami said:

Jad ,she is salafi and very pious girl ,i’m more liberal than her,rationalist but open to sufism for my spiritual exercises.No need to tell her about that,she has good knowledge of history and everything important .I did chose her for her great culture and good education.

September 25th, 2009, 3:48 pm


Shami said:

and we will get married soon inshallah.

September 25th, 2009, 3:58 pm


Off the Wall said:

sheikh Abulhudda al Sayyadi from khan sheikhun

Isn’t he the one who collaborated with the Ottoman Sultan and 3aref Basha (the vali of 7alab) first to close Al-Kawakibi’s newspapers, then to arrest him and try him and hand him a death sentence. Subsequently as some say, Assyadi is one of the key suspects in the assassination of Al-Kawakibi in Egypt at the young age of 48. This is so that this “influential” Arab, gets to become “naqeeb ashraf 7alab”? at the expense of the life and freedom of one of the best Arab minds, to date. Your Alssyadi was a true Ottoman Patriot, where does that leave the revered Al-Kawakibi?

September 25th, 2009, 5:08 pm


Shami said:

Yes OTW ,it’s him .
I dont like to idealize people like you are doing for sheikh Abderahman ,AbderAhman Kawakibi and Sayyadi both did mistakes but it was the right to Kawakibi to oppose the Sultan and he did it in Aleppo when his furat newspaper was closed he opened others.

Al Sayyadi was not liked by the Aleppine shouyoukh ,he was considered as a deviant sheikh in Aleppo ,but AbderAhman al Kawakibi was more respected because descendant of a prestigious ottoman familly .OTW ,do you think that he had ties with the british government in Cairo ?And if that happened what was the aim of such meetings ?Unfortunatgely many arab intellectuals felt in the british trap .
BTW,for those who want to know more accurate things on him ,al Kawakibi familly is one of the oldest established families in Aleppo(leaders of Jallum district with Taha Zada Jalabi familly) with Al Gorani ,Al Kawakibi moved to Aleppo from the Kurdish city in today Iran ,Ardabil in the 15th century.As for Al Gorani ,they are the oldest familly in Aleppo ,and their presence in Aleppo goes back to the Ayyubid or Mameluk era (The cnn journalist Hala is a member of this familly),the other well known old Aleppine familly is al Ghouri ,the descendants of the last Mameluk Sultan.
Ha yes ,lol ,and also the Jumblatt familly who were governors of Aleppo in the 16th century.(they are of kurdish origin from Kiliss)

September 25th, 2009, 6:02 pm


Shami said:

Other thing,the granndgrandson of Sheikh AbderAhmand,Salam Kawakibi is now Persona non grata in Syria.

September 25th, 2009, 6:13 pm


Shami said:

OTW ,i found this ,as an academic you should have acces to jstor and gets the complete article.

September 25th, 2009, 6:19 pm


Shami said:

OTW,now long after these events ,there is a concensus among the arab and islamic intelligensia that Sultan Abdulhamid was right and the Arab nationalist movement was directly or indirectly instrumentalized by the British intelligence.(as all the other nationalisms inside the Ottoman empire).
I’m against Takhwin ,but as i said ,many smart Arabs felt in the British trap and they bear responsability in our today disaster.Sheikh Rashid Rida one of the closest man to Kawakibi,changed his stance later and regreted the Ottoman Era.

September 25th, 2009, 6:40 pm


Shami said:

jad:What do you call the 11th century of our region? isn’t it 3sour al in76a6? (the dark ages).
Yes and no ,it’s sure that the Abassids did destroy the prestigious Omayyad Empire and that Syria became a battle ground between the abassids and the fatmids and also between small emirats and kingdoms that facilated the crusader invasion but that doesnt mean that the darkness concerns culture and science,for example Abu Alaa Al Maari lived during this period and Imam al Ghazali went to Damascus for his spiritual retreat ,add to them Al Farabi ,Al Mutanabbi,Abu Faraj Al Isfahani,Ibn Nabata,Abi Firas Al Hamadany all of those lived in post Ummayad Syria.
jad;The Ottomans then are an occupation as the American are today,
The ottomans did never colonize Syria or imposed Turkish language on the arabs ,on the contrary the Ottoman language was a mixture of arabic ,persian and turkish.If you meant the policy of tatrik ,it was exageratted and it happened when the sultans became powerless and the power in the hand of the young turks nationalist movement.
jad:Alazme and Ibraheem Hanano are SYRIANS before being (Kurds or Turks), have you heard any of them calling himself other than SYRIAN?
no they were also proud of their origins ,hanano was also close to turkey and wanted an union with it.

jad:, when you call a Shia Rafidi that is a prosecution, when you call a Christian Zimmi,

i never called all the shias rafidis ,the rafidis are proud of their rafidism and they insult the wife of the prophet and caliphs day and night,i call a spade a spade….we have iraqi shia relatives btw…so how could i hate my own people?
where did i call christians zimmi ? and btw dhimmi status has no more reason to exist nowadays what was understandable 1000 years ago is no more acceptable today.And im against murtadin execution or atheists persecution.
voila was it clear?

September 25th, 2009, 7:37 pm


Off the Wall said:

I do not think that Al-Kawakibi had ties with the britts in Cairo. In fact, he was convicted and sentenced to death by 3aref pasha for the crime of having a small paper which was presented as a communication with the British government, he appealed based on the animosity between him and Assyadi and 3aref Pasha and he won a re-trial (change of venue) to Beirut (speaks well of a well established judicial system), where he defended himself and was exonerated.

Nore do I idolize anyone. For all I know, Rashid Ridha, Al-Kawakibi’s best friend and confidant, and co-nationalist thinker, later became an admirer of wahabism, and was amongst Hasan Albanna’s spiritual advisers. But at deeper level, the difference between K and S is not merely in the struggle for the leadership of the league of Ashraf in Aleppo, but it goes beyond that. Al-Kawakibi advocated: (1) return of khilafa to the Arabs, and (2) the restriction of the role of Khilafa to religious affairs and a rationalist approach to religion and to science, and (3) an accountable government. Sayyadi, on the other hand, was a strong proponent of the Ottoman empire, and more particularly, of Sultan Abel-hamid, and of the Universal Khilafa concept, strongly held by the Sultan himself. In addition to his venturing into Astrology, (a son qua non) for being such an influential person in Abdel-Hamid court, Astrology is a concept al-Kawakibi himself, despite of the family name, has Shunned very early in his life. What made Aleppines despise Sayyadi was also his abuse of his powers. Needless to say, he was not simply very influential, among western diplomats in the Bab-al-3ali, he was called, the Abdel-hamid’s Rasputin.

Being a commoner, my own family relies more on a meritocratic tradition than on an aristocratic one, and as such, and as a proud commoner, the fights between, and the geneology of the Ashraf in Aleppo or in other Syrian city is none of my business. It is only a matter of curiocity and historical significance becasue some of these poeple were the leaders of their society.

Al-Furat newspaper was the official government paper. Al-Kawakibi worked in this publication, which was bi-lingual, only for short time before he left or was kicked out. He established two other “Arabic only” papers, both of which were closed.

Al-Kawakibi remains a srange issue. Every Arab government claims to Idolize him, but no one would sponsor, or let alone, tolerate a serious, contemporary assessment, or critique of his thoughts, their evolution after his untimely death, and their influence on the various currents of Islamic thoughts.

Finally, the Ottoman empire is part of Syria’s history, much as the Roman empire, the Umayyad, or the Abaside empire. All empires are transitional, and none of them deserves to be resurected, for their demise was not only foreseeable, but necessary for humanity to move on. I will not say whether we moved to better things or to worst, but I would say that we can not but move. It is like the force of gravity.

Thank you very much for the Jstor link. I will read the article. I feel very privelaged to have access to all of these wonderful sources, and I should make better use of sources in Humanities.

September 25th, 2009, 7:55 pm


Shami said:

OTW ,great contribution ,bravo ,i agree with what you said above and btw are the Kawakabi(as the others)really ashraf?it’s what Abderahman claimed to be and his ancestors ,but we read that he is of kurdish origin.Anyway one of the worst things from this era is the perpetual battle between the ashraf(from the intra muros city) and the janissary militias who lived in the poor neighborhoods (for example for aleppo ,banqusa and bab neyrab).
I would like to add ,that we should salute a great Arab thinker who did not fall in the trap ,it’s the Prince Shakib Arslan(grandfather of walid jumblatt) who remained loyal to the Ottomans until the last day of the khilafat.And it’s very powerfull stance because the druzes have been instrulmentalized by the british as proxies against the french who used the maronites ,you know the outcome ,the bloody civil war in mount Lebanon and Syria between 1840 and 1860.

September 25th, 2009, 8:22 pm


jad said:

All what you wrote today is BS, you bore me to death with the 100 repeated comments.
I won’t even try to discuss what you wrote in your last comment out of respect of my own intelegency, you failed miserably in every case you raised.
Work on the homework I gave you instead of the useless message you keep coming up with and prove me wrong, I DARE YOU!

September 25th, 2009, 9:09 pm


why-discuss said:

A question to SC Israelis:
Do you still trust your politicians when your elected prime minister may end up in jail for a cheap story of money? Don’t you worry that any of your politicians can be bought with dollars?

September 25th, 2009, 9:56 pm


Shami said:

of course jad what i wrote it’s not what you used to read in shabibet athawra and syrian nationalist literature,i invite you to read some serious works and you will understand the world otherwise.It’s never late Jad.

September 26th, 2009, 7:22 am


Shami said:

And if you can show me the BS in “my repeated comments” !.

September 26th, 2009, 7:38 am


jad said:

You have a real problem knowing who you are, you also need to know that your audiences on SC are not religiously interested nor bone head to keep repeating the same message over and over; it doesn’t work this way and we are not in Kuttab (religious elementary school), just think before you write.
Here are few examples of the BS you wrote in your last comment (FYI, BS=3lak, nothing more than that):
The dark ages, ‘Yes and no’ BS
‘culture and science’ BS,
what science are you talking about from the 12-20th century of our region? Treating women bad, ignorance, no education, poverty? Which one does apply to the ‘culture & Science’ you are talking about? it’s like saying in Afghanistan there is science! don’t you call that BS?
‘The ottomans did never colonize Syria’ BS, the first thing they did was taking out all the Educated, Artisans and Cultured men and women of Syria to Istanbul.
‘on the contrary the Ottoman language was a mixture of arabic ,persian and turkish’ Does that change the fact that they were occupation if there language is a mix?
The Hebrew is an origin language of our region, even older than Arabic, does that make the occupation less evil? BS
‘ tatrik ,it was exageratted’ BS
‘i never called all the shias rafidis……’(You excluded Alawites, Jews and Buddhist from your prejudice defence)
Who is talking about you? Unless you are Amir Almoumenin! I was talking about the whole Islamic and Arabic world; we both know it’s full of prosecution so stop the BS. ‘we have iraqi shia relatives btw’ Does that make you less prejudice? NO, therefore the BS rules apply.
Voila, je vous explique les BS dans votre commentaires.

September 26th, 2009, 9:14 am


Shami said:

most of the scientific,philosophical,social science discoveries(the great Ibn Khaldun 14-15th century) from the islamic civilization happened after the 11th century ,you suffer a deep lack of knowledge in this field Jad.
Dear Jad ,the Syrian muslims will remain conservative muslims and you must adapt yourself ,if not you would suffer from this hatred of anythging related to Islam.We are the center of the Islamic world Jad and we want the revival of this great Islamic Umma,other would say hilal al hasib umma ,this is their right too.Let us compete with each other democratically and alf mabrouk to the winner.

September 26th, 2009, 9:37 am


Shami said:

Jad,it’s good that you understand french i will show you how even the best middle eastern intellectuals share my views.Those who teach in the best universities in Europe and the USA i mean (Georges Makdissi,A Hourani,Edward Said ,Georges Corm,Georges Saliba,A Abdelnour,Anne Marie Eddé,Bshara Kader, and many others Norman and Alex…. ) ,not the one who write his articles drinking arak with some mukhabarati officers and overbid in their hate to Islam and surrounding environment in a batini or indirect way.
Those are two ideal types ,the first group are part of us and our best representative in the west the others are like a cancer in the arab islamic body or fifth column and marginals,they are absolute sectarians .Dont be of that kind of people Jad.

September 26th, 2009, 10:06 am


Shami said:

Of course i meant the middle eastern christian intellectuals.For your al shabibeh culture Jad those are propagators of BS in Harvard,Oxford,Stanford,Berkeley…. Sorbonne …..Choose the ideal type that you recognize in the most.From your reaction i fear that you belong to the second group.

September 26th, 2009, 10:48 am


jad said:

Who is talking about Al Andalus? We were talking about the Ottomans in our region not the Arabs in Spain.
The dark ages are not your responsibility to make it nice or defend every bad aspect of it, it happened and we have to learn from it nothing more, there is no pure Black or pure White in this life but you keep seeing our history monochrome (pinkish)
I promise you I wont be a fifth column but you need to open your mind and understand that rationally criticizing and questioning anything is not out of hate it’s out of care and always for the best, I’m still waiting to read your homework, you better start on it instaed of wasting your time on women and internet

P.S. I’m glad to see Norman and Alex next to Edward Said..LOL (sorry Norman and Alex, I couldn’t resist laughing on that)

I see that you already put me in the fifth column gangs…Thank you 😉

September 26th, 2009, 10:51 am


Shami said:

LOL Jad Bad Luck !, ….perfect go read the opinion of Georges Corm and A Abdenour and even Antoine Sfeir on Ottoman Syria.
And the greatest muslim physician(a syrian) was not an Andalusian and was born in the 13th century ?BTW ,he was also a great scholar of Hadith.And studied in Bimaristan al Nuri in Damascus built by the Turkish Sultan ,the most respected ruler after the first caliphs ,Nur al Din Zanki(The lebanese Anne Marie Eddé is one of the best historian for the Zankid and Ayyubid Era).I’m really proud of her and i learnt a lot from her excellent books.
One of my favorite books :

September 26th, 2009, 11:45 am


Shami said:

The probably greatest ruler of Syria was not an ARAB nor SYRIAN.The man who defeated the crusaders and prepared the ground for Salahadin Ibn Ayyub.Not only was he succesful in his Jihad against the Crusaders but also for his internal policy ,he built many wonderful schools and hospitals and we can see some of them today and launched agrarian,(engineering) and economic reforms bringing prosperity and wealth to Syria.These achievements are enumerated in the wonderful study of Nikkita Elissef
in, Nur ad-Din: Un grand prince musulman de Syrie au temps des Croisades.

September 26th, 2009, 12:25 pm


LeoLeoni said:


You stated to Jad that Syrian Muslims will remain conservative Muslims and that he should adapt to that. I don’t know from which part of Syria you are, but from what I know, the majority of Syrian Muslims, throughout much of history, were very liberal relative to other regions. Religious tolerance and the acceptance of others were a characteristic of the Levant, apart from few times and exceptions in the past, like Ibn Taymiya, in the late 13th and early 14th century, and also the Muslim brotherhood and the influence of Salafi-Jihadi thoughts on some Syrians in recent times.

You claim to be a “liberal and rational”, yet I have seen 1 post from you promoting secularism or criticism of fanatical thoughts within the current political and social Islamic movements in the region. What kind of liberalism is that when all you talk about is Islamic nostalgia of the past and how great Ottomans were? How is that any relevant to today? What difference is your tone from the tone of those Pan-Islamic movements (Hizb Al tahrir) and the Muslims brotherhood’s when they talk about Syria’s past.
It is your right to criticize the current administration and regime, but doing it from a religious position is as disastrous as the regime’s policies that you are trying to criticize.

Since you stated before that you oppose many articles in the constitution, as a liberal and rational as you claim, may I know what your opinion on the Islamic Sharia is? What about Article 3 of the constitution?

September 26th, 2009, 4:57 pm


Shami said:

LEOLONI ,i’m against theocratic regime ,or religious regime.I’m against that turbaned shouyoukh enter the arena of politic.
My ideal state is liberal and moderately secular.(like the german ,swedish or belgian models)

September 26th, 2009, 7:32 pm


Off the Wall said:

Dear Shami
Thank you. But although I value your praise, I do not deserve all of it. Please do not understand my comment as an agreement regarding your characterization of the struggle at that time (although i like the point about the Janisari and Ashraf). Nationalism was the point of departure from stagnation. It was the rout taken by the xenophobic Young Turks and Ittihad and Taraqqi. With the inevitable internal collapse of the empire, the Arabs had better develop their own nationalist based movement with hopes of enlightenment, hence the great thinker Al-Kawakibi. While the Young Turks were already building their forces, Abdel-hamid, along with his Rasputin, were busy trying to outsmart the British and the French and to go into endless maneuvers using any animosity between the two sides. This was a time when the sick old empire deserved no loyalty for it had shown no responsibility to its citizen. It made even the simple Tanzeem reforms, advocated at the highest levels in Istanbul, nearly impossible in the Levant. The empire was dying, it has for long been doing so due to many factors including the close mindedness towards any possible political reforms or any semblance of representative governance. While the Ottomans deserve the credit for having established the first ever standing army in the 1300s, the evolution of their methods of staffing and arming their standing army were a major cause not only for their own decline but for much of the economical and cultural decline of the empire. Their kidnapping of young Christian boys in order to place them in the army has been a major source of tension between the Islamic east and the Christian west. Granted some of these boys made it high in the ranks, but they were kidnapped, nonetheless. This practice was unknown to the Arabs before Turkish tribes became such an influential part of the various Islamic states just prior to the Ottomans and continued with the Ottomans. Granted again, the Mamluks played a pivotal role in liberating the region from the crusaders, with some of them undertaking major civil construction projects on unprecedented scales (Qalauoon, Baibers, and others), but that does not make the practice right.

Another methods the Ottomans used to arm and staff their standing army was linking the size of the land allotted to military officers with the number of conscripts these officers (later to become pashas and aghast), conscript into service and arm. In the early days, each Turkish land owner in the wilayat was supposed to provide and lead in battle a number of conscripts proportional to the size of his (never her) land. Within less than a century, leading the troops in battle was dropped as a condition, and only providing these troops, along with their weapons, and salaries remained a part of the system. The land owners became obsessed with collecting as much money as they can in as short period as possible. Same as the governors, who purchased each wilaya for a given amount of gold they were supposed to collect.

These practices were some of the causes of the stagnation of economic and above all industrial evolution of the cities. Much of the fertile lands of Syrian remained fallow as young males were conscripted into service. In the cities, much of the stores and artisan workshops remained at the technological levels they were at towards the end of the Mamaleek era despite of the fact that the Mamluks deserved more credits for attempting to ameliorate the impacts of the destruction wrought by the Mongols and crusaders not to mention the in-fighting between various fiefdoms of the dying days of the Abaseed and the Fatmite reigns. As for the schools and bazaars that were constructed, most were constructed with local monies and with pressure from some influential local families, and later with pressure from western diplomats, missionaries, and traders who started showing up by the mid 17’th century with each state claiming one minority under their wing and using them to gain entrance into internal affairs of the region. There was never in the history of the Ottoman empire a massive scale project, with the exception of building the palaces and mosques in the Capitol and few mosques built by somehow some pious wali. The Ottoman never aimed to improve and build the local infrastructure in the manners the Mamluks did before them. From day one, the empire looked at the welayat as nothing more than a source of income and of cannon fodder. The renaissances came, swept Europe, and went by, the industrial age followed, and it passed the region, while the head of the empire was busy squabbling, its periphery went ever deeper into atrophy and stagnation. To that I say good riddance and never again, and I do not care if they Sultan ate, drank, and breathed Islam and culture, for none of that was translated into action of modernity and service.

True, there were occasion when a judicial system and laws were written including the milla law, but that was not a progressive thing compared to the ages that proceeded the empire. It was the way things ran long before the Ottomans. Some of the administrative genius of the Ottomans is primarily an adaptation of Byzantine style management they inherited during a 200 years campaign from the Steppes of Anatolia to the gates of Constantinople. But even that, without true modernization, ended up becoming yet another cause of the downfall of the empire.

Turkey progressed after shedding the Ottoman empire. It took a while, and it is sad that Arabs did not follow suit. I firmly believe that much of Turkey’s foundation for progress would have never happen without the exaggerated secular movement. There was a need to shed the dead skin of deformed Islam. The country is now ready to adopt back its main religion in a more enlightened, contemporary form. Perhaps the Arab world failed because it never understood the need for true secular movement. But that said, I long for the day where we, Syrians and Iraqis (the two Arab countries most impacted by the empire) can have a extra-ordinary relationship with our fellow citizens of long-gone empire. Not to resurrect it in any manner or shape, but to build on our history of joint suffering and to learn how did our Turkish neighbors and brothers managed to get out of the rut we continue to dig ourselves into.

I hold no hate for the Ottomans. I have learned to read history with detached humanistic sense of time. The older I grow the more Zen like my sense of history become. May be you should try to meet me and Jad in the middle as I am trying.

September 26th, 2009, 7:49 pm


Shami said:

And also against the sharia in our time.

September 26th, 2009, 7:50 pm


Shami said:

Your comment is long and deserve long answer ,i will write it tommorow ,it’s late where i’m now,i just finished my discussion with my fiancée.See you Dear OTW.

September 26th, 2009, 8:23 pm


jad said:

“i just finished my discussion with my fiancée” What was the discussion about? what sex (Gender is more appropriate these days) the salafi angels are?

I don’t think I can meet Kareem in the middle, I’m already committed to my Fifth Column Chapter 🙂 and I can’t go back, beside, I’m a minorities in my own country and that doesn’t fit in the future conservative society his party is building, I also have to learn to adapt to that and teach my children to do the same, I start asking them not to walk on the pedestrian pavement along our masters or look them in the eyes, to wear different cloth and never ever ride a horse, hopefully they will learn faster than me.

September 26th, 2009, 8:40 pm


Off the Wall said:

Dearest Jad
You know where I stand on secularism and on women rights. In my Syria, there will be no minorities or majorities, there will be only Syrians.

Yet meeting Shami (or as you say Karim) in the middle does not mean compromising my deep held and rather stubborn belief and commitment to secularism. I means that I am willing to look at what he portrays as a bright spot of our history (500 years of occupation and rule is by all means part of our history), without much pre-conceived notion. I am willing to look at the evidence he proposes as a proof of the validity of his point, but mainly from an historical POV.

As I wait for his reply tomorrow, I am trying to understand where does he come from. It is undeniable that all of us have the same set of historical events to build our conclusion upon, but its is also undeniable that we reach such divergent conclusions. All what diverge us is the set of core values ( I hope to post more about that when I have more time). It is undeniable that Syria has been witnessing what some like to call religious revival, and some call backward motion to the 11’th century. Independent of what each decides to call the movement, it is a movement that one must reckon with its ramification on the political and social fabric of the country. I am not at all happy about it, and I consider much of what i see (forget about head scarves), as a backward movement especially as it has resulted in empowering a significant level of appeasement to the cultural hegemony of the so called conservative majority as we have seen in the shameful status law project. I am against hegemony in all shape and forms, but rest assured, I will wear whatever color you are asked to wear, but under the garment, I will be carrying my dangerous fifth column saboteur pen.

That said, Shami is Syrian, and I owe him engagement (no pun intended), you do the same, for otherwise, you would have not answered his posts 🙂

September 26th, 2009, 9:23 pm


norman said:


how do you know that Shami is Syrian ,

Shami , no matter how much you like the Ottoman , they used Islam to occupy Syria and the Arab lands for 8 hundred years ,
Most our backward habits are taken from the Ottoman , not from Islam .

Shami , The bottom line is , look for the future not the past , only people who do not have future or do not believe that they can dwell on the past , Syria has a great future , and the Syrians only need to be left to their ingenuity to have a bright future for themselves and for Syria.

And that is my take.

September 26th, 2009, 10:14 pm


Off the Wall said:

Dear Norman
I do not, I am assuming. He talks about things that he either has to be Syrian, resided in Syria for a long time, or has an incredible insatiable appetite for reading old texts about Syria. As usual, I can be 200% wrong (it does happen). Also, the name Shami, he is either Syrian or an ardent SNPer, the latter can easily be excluded.

September 26th, 2009, 10:19 pm


norman said:


He might be very well be Turkish , trying to bring back the glories of the Ottomans.

September 26th, 2009, 10:31 pm


jad said:

Dear OTW,
Thank you very much for adding the mature aspect into this endless debate, I don’t want to be misunderstood (I’m sure I’m not to those who know me) as Kareem keep portray me as an ‘Islam hater’ or as if I only see the bad things in our history denying the bright part of it, that is not the case and never been otherwise I wont be a proud Syrian as I am today.
Being Syrian to me means this mix of all and every civilization came to our country and left us something that we still have in our DNA until today.
We are very old souls that nobody nowadays realize that in us, there is a hidden Muslim, Jew and atheist in every Syrian Christian as there is a hidden Jew, Christian and atheist in every Syrian Muslims.
In our way of thinking and our lifestyle we managed to mix lots of contradictions and harmonize them without noticing our achievement.

I totally agree with you that our history may not be as we study it or read about it in books, lots of aspects were missing or even hidden to complete either the bad or the good image printed in our brains and became an ultimate fact that we are unable to change it even with all kinds of evidence telling us otherwise.

Regarding Syria changing into a conservative society that is a little bit incorrect and more exaggerated than it is, I agree that we see that a lot in the urban areas but if you go 30min out the scene is not as dramatic, it also has political reasons and therefore it’s still in the trend phase more than the future orientation, and I believe that it will affect no more than 50% (excluding Kurds) of the whole society with the fact that Syria being more culturally and religiously mixed and liberal than what Kareem and his friends try to show.
I’m not sure if you read couple old articles about this issue: what if we have a democratic election today, how is Syria going to look like?
بالارقام : هل يفوز الأصوليون إذا ما جرت انتخابات ديمقراطية في سورية؟

ردود على فوز الأصوليين بالانتخابات السورية

and this is another interesting article of Mr Alhaj Saleh about the same issue.
من خرافة سياسية إلى أخرى…

Poor Kareem he has two homeworks to do for tomorrow and I’m not sure if he can submit them on time!

September 26th, 2009, 10:38 pm


jad said:

Dear Norman:
Where did you get the idea of Shami being Turkish or Ottoman? That is so funny and what is hilarious is OTW reply about his name being Shami (he might be a SNPers) LOL
From my side, being a fifth column member, I still believe in honesty and for that I take Shami’s words of being Syrian and I do very much believe him.

BTW, is this the way you pay him back his kindness? The man just put you side by side with Edward Said the least you can do is to thank him not to question his authenticity…bad Norman! 😉

September 26th, 2009, 10:48 pm


norman said:

Jad ,

Oh GOD forgive me for i have sinned !,LOL

That is something i can live with , i guess i am a doubtful TOME,

September 26th, 2009, 10:59 pm


jad said:

Norman (AKA Touma) LOL
I’m not sure if God will forgive you for such sin, that was EDWARD SAID and other 5 great thinkers & ALEX along his side, you are defiantly going to pay for that tomorrow, all flashy titles and gold stars you used to get from the SULTAN will stop, I have no idea how are you going to live without them, I guess Alex will be getting double the usual….LOL

September 26th, 2009, 11:09 pm


norman said:

Jad ,

If you keep writing you can bury my notes and i will get away with what i said , so help me out (( Comrade )).

September 26th, 2009, 11:18 pm


jad said:

I’ll try, do you want a good news or bad one to circle?

September 26th, 2009, 11:24 pm


norman said:


good news , that will bring in attacks .

Good night ,

September 26th, 2009, 11:27 pm


Shami said:

OTW ,here is my response ,i dont think it’s intentional from you ,but you did mention Sultan Abdul Hamid and the Young Turks as they were friends and acted in concert ,in fact OTW ,and i’m sure you knew it ,that this great Sultan fought all nationalisms ,and above all the turkish nationalism ,and as incredible it’s but the Young Turks and the Armenian nationalists of Tashnak backed by several powers ended the rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid in a coup and did send him to Thessaloniki in Greece(the city of Ataturk) under house arrest.
Yes i repeat it,the 2 nationalisms ,the armenian and turkish nationalisms that will slaughter each others in the next years were at once united against the Sultanat.In that time most of the Arabs and Kurds remained loyal to the Ottoman Khilafah(it explains why the death bodies of the members of the Ottoman familly are buried in Damascus).Many Syrian Arabs who fought for the Ottomans only changed after the end of the ww1 war,they are in fact our first national rulers and heroes among them Yousef Azmeh ,Hashem Atassi,Hanano,Jabri.More than a Half of the Ottoman soldiers who fought in the battle of Galipoli were Arabs (Syrians,Iraqis,from the Arabian Pensinsula ,Palestinians)in which for the first time a modern army was defeated by Muslims.
Today ,we discovered that the Turkish Nationalists (Young Turks) after the end of the WW1 regretted their past mistakes and wanted to win the sympathy of the Arabs again.
In 1919 ,the forces led by Jamal Pasha(known by the nickname Al Safah) nearly defeated the British Army in Gaza if not the betrayal of some Arabs( and not the majority),Palestine would have been remained under Islamic control.Tanzimat reforms concerning the social ,educational,infrastructural,army,bureaucracy and managment chapters have been applied by Sultan Abdul Hamid ,as proof the incredible developpment in a record of time of schools ,universities,train stations,public clocks in the Empire and especially in the Arab part of the Empire.Yes the Sultan ,did dissolute the Ottoman parliement and ruled ,he was not in reallity against the idea of the parliementarian regime but he believed that ignorant massed were not ready for it and he ruled as an enlightened despot following the Prussian model of bureaucracy which was the most effective in that time as told us Max Weber.
OTW ,i’m not a blind nostalgic or backward looking,when i cite these great rulers ,like Omar Ben Khattab ,Muawiya,Harun Al Rashid ,al Maamun,the Umayyad of al Andalus,Ibn Tumert and Ibn Tafshin,Nur Al Din and Salahadin ,Baybars and Qayt Bey,Mehmet II it’s because they were in advance in their time and nobody and were the best rulers in the world in their time ,they built great civilizations ,had great achievements in all fields,as for the late years of the ottoman empire ,i have myself spoke about this agony several times and i can tell you a lot about it but it was also not as dark as we can read in arab nationalist propaganda books ,i invite all to read books written by western scholars from the west,this is advice to you Jad in particular what you was told is not the truth…for this reason my Islamic Ideal in our time ,is the best regime according today standards ,that’s why i refuse to be an extremist secular nor extremist theocratic ,we already have the Arab League and the Islamic Organization ;once our countries became democracies and advanced state(moderatly secular and civilian), we will be for sure the most powerful group in the world ,we have the potential in all fields no one can deny this fact.

September 28th, 2009, 8:27 am


Shami said:

sorry and nobody in the west can stand comparison with them.(in the middle ages).nowadays it’s the opposite of course.

September 28th, 2009, 9:19 am


Shami said:

During the First World War, Arab troops fought on every front –in what are now Egypt, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, as well as in eastern Turkey and Galatia. In Ottoman times, the government in Istanbul had a concerted policy of transferring Arab troops away from their native land, deploying them in Anatolia …
… With an estimated 300,000 Arabs in the Ottoman forces in 1914, a third of the total men under arms, there were far more Arabs serving in the ranks of the Ottoman army than those who followed the banners of the Arab Revolt …
… Two thirds of the troops who made up his (*) 19th Division that faced the first wave of the Allied invasion were Syrian Arabs, comprising the 72nd and 77th regiments of the Ottoman army …
… the remembrance of both the vanquished and the victors will not extend to the Arab soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, lost in the rewriting of history. Nowadays, walking among the few cemeteries established by the Turkish government on the battlefield, one comes across graves of men from Baghdad, Aleppo, Damascus and Makka. They lie in a foreign country, each headstone marked by a flag that is not their own.

Aljazeera, “The forgotten Arabs of Gallipoli”, 14th January 2004, Jonathan Gorvett.

September 28th, 2009, 9:40 am


Shami said:

Norman ,i’m a Syrian Arab from Aleppo son of Arabs.(not even son of arabized Turkmen or Kurds as many many Syrian arabs )but i dont care about ethnic origins,i love all good people whatever they are atheists,jews,christians,muslims,buddhists….from any part of the world.

September 28th, 2009, 9:44 am


Shami said:

Dear Leoni ,

When i said that the Syrian muslims are conservative that doesnt mean that politically they would vote for a religious party,it’s about morality.
I believe that the religious parties in Syria would not get more than 20-35% inspite of the visible signs of radicalization ,the trend of the majority of the Syrian muslims is liberal and pro Business.(like the Calvinist ideal)
During the democratic era ,i think that the brotherhood came after the 2 great Liberal blocs ,i would like to know how much was the electoral score of the brotherhood ,10-16 % ??? in the 50’s and 60’s ?
There is also an intellectual and liberal trend inside the brotherhood.

September 28th, 2009, 10:04 am


Shami said:

I said above that the Battles of Gaza happened in 1919 ,it was in fact in 1917.
and for the third battle in which the british eventually defeated the Ottomans.(here the Ottoman martyrs were mostly Turks ,they fought bravely till the end )It was during this battle that the British used tanks for the first time in history in order to break the brave and incredible resistance from the turkish soldiers.

we read:
In the fighting along the Gaza-Beersheba line, the British lost a total of 18,000 killed, wounded, and missing. Turkish casualties numbered around 25,000 killed, wounded, and captured. Allenby’s successful breaking of the Gaza-Beersheba defenses opened the road to Jerusalem which he occupied on December 9, 1917.

September 28th, 2009, 11:04 am


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