Landis Debates Steven Heydemann: “Syria and Islamism.” BloggingheadTV

Just recorded this debate with Steve Heydemann, V.P., US Institute of Peace.

Comments (17)

Norman said:

Ghat , you will like this , It proves that if Syria and the Palestinians want their rights and as i said all along , THEY HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THEM , as the US is impotence , not even Viagra can help,

Obama’s beginning of the end Eric S. Margolis

12 December 2010 In 1956, Britain, France and Israel colluded to invade Egypt to overthrow its hugely popular nationalist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser. US President Dwight Eisenhower deemed the tripartite Suez aggression immoral and damaging to American interests in the Muslim world. “Ike” ordered the British, French and Israelis to get out of Egypt at once – or else. They got out.

Fast forward to 2010. President Barack Obama demands Israel stop building illegal Jewish settlements around Jerusalem and on the West Bank. Obama rightly concludes the ongoing agony of Palestine has turned the Muslim world against the United States. It is also the primary cause of what Washington calls “terrorism.” After the Suez invasion, Israel’s American partisans set about building an influence network that would ensure no American president could ever force Israel to do anything against its will.

Their brilliant success was again confirmed this week as Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Israel’s rightist coalition, literally spit in Obama’s face, sneeringly rejecting the president’s pleas to create a viable Palestinian state. The US Congress and rightwing media actually applauded the public humiliation of their president and vice president. How the mighty have fallen. Obama has shown himself utterly without spine, and terrified of the Israel lobby at a time when his political fortunes are plummeting. The White House understands that America’s vital interests in the Mideast are being increasingly undermined by Israel’s adamant refusal to allow a workable Palestinian state instead of apartheid-style Arab Bantustans.

A triumphant Netanyahu made clear Israel would retain all of Jerusalem, settlement blocks around it, water resources, key roads, the West Bank high ground and the Jordan River valley. In short, “useful Palestine.” The rest, waterless scrub and slums, might be left to the Arabs. Nothing was said about Israel’s illegal occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

Even Obama’s shameful offer of a multi-billion dollar bribe to Israel of 20 F-35 warplanes and unlimited diplomatic support, in exchange for a flimsy 90-day building freeze, was contemptuously rejected by Netanyahu. He knows the US Congress would give Israel the moon if asked. The US has already given Israel at least $114 billion since its creation in 1947.

What does Obama’s humiliation mean? His chances of being defeated in the next presidential election are growing. Obama’s arch-rival, the pro-Israeli Hillary Clinton, is positioning herself to take over the Democratic Party from Obama.

The US diplomatic, intelligence and military establishment has got the message, loud and clear: don’t mess with Israel. The last US president who tried to restrain Israel’s West Bank colonisation, George H.W. Bush, failed to win re-election; his able secretary of state, James Baker, was slandered as an “anti-Semite.” By caving in to Israel’s hard right over the West Bank, Obama sends a message of profound weakness to the rest of the world. He is signaling that Israel, not the White House, really makes America’s Mideast policy. Israel also increasingly influences US policy towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iran and North Korea. The humiliated Palestinian Authority is shown as a helpless puppet of the Americans and Israelis, as rival Hamas has long charged.

Obama’s defeat suggests Israel now has “carte blanche” to move ahead and attack Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, Syria, and eventually Iran. In fact, Israel now seems to have the power to plunge the US into war against Iran whenever it decides the time is right and the risk worthwhile.

Since the US has become a helpless giant, it’s up to the rest of the world to end the suffering in Palestine. Brazil and Argentina have taken an important step forward by recognising a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 borders. The 2002 Saudi peace plan still offers all parties concerned the fairest, most practical 
road to peace.

The UN General Assembly should again endorse this plan and call for more pressure on Israel. But Netanyahu and his fellow rightwing zealots are determined to hold on to every meter of the West Bank and Golan. Some far rightists want to expand Israel into Lebanon and Syria. Israel’s refusal to compromise over Palestine is at the heart of its increasingly dangerous confrontation 
with Iran.

Obama’s shameful failure will haunt the world 
for decades.

Eric Margolis is a veteran 
US journalist
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December 12th, 2010, 11:15 am


Ghat Albird said:

More of the same NORMAN.

Israel PM welcomes US back-down on settlement curb

JERUSALEM – Israel’s leader on Sunday dismissed a call from a key government partner to share the holy city of Jerusalem with the Palestinians, a reminder of the obstacles facing already troubled peacemaking efforts.

Conflicting claims to east Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The dispute over the area, home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, has derailed past peace talks and spilled into violence. Palestinians claim the sector as the capital of their future state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaffirmation of his intention to hold on to east Jerusalem drew criticism from the Palestinians and was likely to increase friction with the Americans. The White House Mideast envoy is scheduled to arrive this week in another attempt to push peace efforts forward.

Netanyahu’s defense minister, Ehud Barak of the centrist Labor Party, called for sharing Jerusalem with the Palestinians. But a government official said Barak’s idea does not reflect the government’s view.

The Palestinians want to establish their future state in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel later annexed east Jerusalem in a move that is not recognized by the international community.
Israel’s internal diplomatic flare-up came just days after the U.S. dropped its effort to persuade Israel to reinstate a moratorium on new building states in the West Bank as a way of restarting peace talks.

Instead, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said indirect talks would resume, while insisting that the two sides must now deal with core issues. Those include the status of Jerusalem, as well as borders, settlements and refugees.
Palestinians blasted Israel’s rejection of their claim to east Jerusalem.

“Mr. Netanyahu is distancing himself not from Barak, he is distancing himself from international consensus, he’s distancing himself from international resolutions and distancing himself from international law,” said Palestinian spokesman Husam Zomlot. “And most importantly, he’s distancing himself from any possible negotiated settlement based on the two-state solution.”

Jordanian Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Sunday urged the U.S. to come up with a new formula to push the process forward.
Interviewed on ABC-TV, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the U.S. might have to express its own ideas.

“It may be unavoidable, actually, for the United States acting as a broker at some point to come in with bridging proposals so we make this happen,” he said.
Since Netanyahu came to power nearly two years ago, he has grudgingly accepted the principle of a Palestinian state next to Israel. He has carefully refrained from getting into specifics about the core issues, however, saying these must be negotiated.

Clinton expressed frustration with the Israeli-Palestinian impasse over the weekend, though she did not suggest a new way forward. She spoke at a forum in Washington.

Addressing the same gathering, Barak said the holy city will have to be shared as part of a future peace deal.

An Israeli official told The Associated Press that Barak was expressing a personal opinion, not the government’s position.

“Those remarks were not coordinated with the prime minister,” the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because Netanyahu has not responded publicly to Barak’s remarks or to Clinton’s speech.

Since Netanyahu came to power nearly two years ago, Israelis and Palestinians have not been close to tackling major issues. Netanyahu’s more moderate predecessor offered a Palestinian state with joint control of key Jerusalem holy sites among other features, but the Palestinians did not accept it.

In her speech Friday, Clinton urged both sides to lay out their positions on these core issues “without delay and with real specificity.” She pointedly called for compromise on the contested holy city, observing that “there will surely be no peace without an agreement” on Jerusalem — “the most sensitive of all the issues.”
U.S.-led negotiations broke down after just three weeks and Israel refused to renew a 10-month moratorium on new settlement housing. Palestinians said they would not return to the talks unless there was a total freeze in West Bank and east Jerusalem construction. Israel countered that such a condition had never been made before, and the issue should be part of the negotiations.

Washington’s special envoy to the Mideast, George Mitchell, is expected to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week.

December 12th, 2010, 12:27 pm


Akbar Palace said:

[Edited for name calling]

It proves that if Syria and the Palestinians want their rights and as i said all along , THEY HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THEM , as the US is impotence , not even Viagra can help


If the viagra can’t help the US, what exactly will help the Syrians?

December 12th, 2010, 3:43 pm


Norman said:


Syria is fighting in a way difficult for you to understand , she is fighting intelligently and winning support from the EU and the rest of the world while Israel and the US are losing friends everyday ,

Just remember that Israel can win many battles but can not win a war with Syria , there will be always Syrians who will fight on and sooner or later Israel will lose and will be the end for the Zionist dream because of their greed , [Edited or insult]

December 12th, 2010, 6:31 pm


Norman said:


Thank you , that was a good discussion , I hope he will start reading SC and history so he can have better understanding that you do not disarm yourself before you get your rights , so Syria will help those who helps her , until then Syria will do everything it can and justly so to get the Golan and the rights of the Palestinians , when that happen Syria will not be used to attack Israel and will help Israel getting acceptance in the Mideast ,

MR Heydemann should remember that Israel was forced from south Lebanon and Gaza by force while it is still in the West bank and Golan because that is not costing them any Israeli lives ,

Israel understands only force ,

December 12th, 2010, 6:42 pm


kzndr said:

An interesting discussion, but I was a bit frustrated by Professor Landis’ seeming insistence on making every point contentious even when it was clear Heydemann was trying to agree with him or interpreting everything Heydemann said as being Heydemann’s personal opinion rather than an attempt to lay out others’ opinions. And the main cause of that was that Landis kept interrupting Heydemann.

December 12th, 2010, 6:54 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Norman’s Brave Syrian Battle Cry (con’t)

Syria is fighting in a way difficult for you to understand , she is fighting intelligently…


The great Syrian fighters are doing splendid job of fighting so intelligently. The North Korean nuclear reactor was a brillant idea and I think Bashar Assad deserves another term without question.

…and winning support from the EU and the rest of the world while Israel and the US are losing friends everyday…

Yes, putting your efforts to make friends with the EU, Iran, and Turkey seems to be another indication of the great intelligence display by President Assad.

Just let us know when this strategy will give back Syria’s “rights” (Syrians actually have no “rights”, since the government can place anyone in jail or 6 feet under with zero due process).

Just remember that Israel can win many battles but can not win a war with Syria , there will be always Syrians who will fight on and sooner or later Israel will lose and will be the end for the Zionist dream…


I only hope your words are matched with real action, just like the brave Syrian soldiers who are working so “intelligently”. I propose Professor Josh award you the “Syrian Comment Fighter of the Month Award” for your forceful language and your commitment to regaining “Syria’s Rights”.

… because of their greed…

Yes, we’re very familiar with Israel’s “greed”. Returning the Sinai for peace, giving up land for peace with Jordan, returning Palestinian population centers to the PA, and returning Gaza and Lebanon for more missile attacks. How greedy can one get?

Of course, Israel will always be “greedy” until an Israeli state is no more. The true speech of a brave Syrian fighter. Shai would be proud.

It is like the stock market , Bulls and bears make money [edited for insults]


As a Syrian, I wouldn’t worry about any stock market or getting the Golan back. I’d worry about more pressing issues like freedom, rule of law, government corruption, poverty, and getting US-led sanctions off your back.

The rest is hot air and bravado.

December 12th, 2010, 9:49 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

A.P. you are back to your deceiving habit,Israel grabed arabic land in 1967,and Israel does not want to withdraw from these arabic land,this is greed.

December 13th, 2010, 12:29 am



The jihadi Norman (who is a Christian from Hamah and an American MD practicing in the US of A)is getting under your skin. You and Heydemann are so behind the times, it is not even funny.
Dr. Landis thank you for a very enlightening debate/discourse. It is rare that someone can have an American perspective and yet be able to look through a Syrian prism, in an objective way, to provide an objective (fair and balanced analysis.

December 13th, 2010, 1:58 am


Akbar Palace said:

Deceivers in our Midst

Dr. Landis thank you for a very enlightening debate/discourse. It is rare that someone can have an American perspective and yet be able to look through a Syrian prism, in an objective way, to provide an objective (fair and balanced analysis.

[Edited comment for ad hominem attack]


Everyone and his mother knows that since 1967, Israel has stated she would agree to leave territories for peace and an end to the conflict as stipulated by UNSC resolutions.

However, the Arabs want land without peace. For example, just look at Syria’s “intelligent” position with Iran. Relations and collusion with countries that support terror are more important to Syria than getting the Golan back. Obama, and any other reasonable observer can see what the real deal is.

December 13th, 2010, 8:48 am



The fact that Dr. Landis lived, taught and studied in Syria and in Lebanon, and married a Syrian lady, gives him a wider perspective to look at, when assessing US-Syrian dynamics. Your disagreement with his analysis was never academic or built on historic facts, but a mere contempt that he thinks for himself, and does not tow the AIPAC line. You would probably attack him personally in the same way if he were married to a Jewish princess.

December 13th, 2010, 9:15 am


Ghat Albird said:

NORMAN I too agree with your comments under #5.

I also sense that AP is reflecting an apprehension that things are not going Israel’s way. His almost villification of Dr. Landis and his family verges on more than bad manners. In short its despicable.

[Edited for insult]

December 13th, 2010, 9:23 am


Akbar Palace said:

You would probably attack him personally in the same way if he were married to a Jewish princess.

That’s right. I don’t discriminate.

I take-to-task Professors who are apologists for the police-state of Syria. And I take-to-task anti-semitic posters on his very same website.

So sorry.

From AP’s scant “historical file”:

Dear QN, You write: “These issues, however, are small potatoes compared to the damage that the relationship will sustain if Syria uses Hizbullah to turn up the heat on Israel again, with all of Lebanon paying the price.”

Syria will undoubted encourage Hizbullah to turn up the heat on Israel if peace talks go no where. What else can it do? The only reason Israel is talking to Syria today is because Olmert couldn’t destroy Hizbullah by force of arms. Without Hizbullah, there would be no talks or hope of Syria getting back the Golan, I fear.

This all means that Syria will try to keep that card an ace.

That, you will say, suggests that Syria really has no regard for Lebanese sovereignty. I would argue that what it really means is that Syria places its own national interests above those of Lebanon and that Lebanon is too weak to deny Syria Hizbullah.

We get back to the old question of how Lebanese should try to deal with it annoying Syria problem.

Lebanese should support Syria’s cause of getting back the Golan as best they can, rather than trying to thwart it, as Geagea et al do.

They, of course, believe Syria wants to own Lebanon and unify, which helps explain why they would prefer to side with Israel to defeat Syria. I think we have proven that this is a losing strategy for Lebanon.

Supporting Syria’s claim to the Golan may also be a losing strategy, but, at least, many Israelis still say that they will return it under the right circumstances.

best, Joshua

August 25th, 2008, 10:31 pm

Syria’s American Professor gets it wrong again…

December 13th, 2010, 1:08 pm


Atassi said:

I don’t think or see the Obama administration giving up to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s, I can see it as a better plan and more use of us resources in the continuation efforts for a realistic peace process and a final resolution under the poor and current circumstances facing the Arab world… is it possible that Obama is Empowering Netanyahu in the face his weak collation and moving him to the next BIG step of the peace process?by not forcing him to accept the none sense of 90 days stop\and go of the settlements business!! and go for the main issues…I maybe worng too..

December 13th, 2010, 2:53 pm


majedkhaldoon said:

I think the palastineans should talk about the border,defining the borders of palastine,no dialogue means no progress,the settlers then will decide if they want to live in Palastine ,with no special status,or go somewhere else,,once the borders of palastine is accepted then USA will have to recognize the new palastine as the whole world would.
Israel is worried about the world recognise new palastine

December 13th, 2010, 5:20 pm


Wiki Warts said:

A partial snippet on that rebel CIA/Mossad psy-ops called Wiki leakage…

Julian Assange wined and dined at US Embassy
Julian Assange was a guest at a US Embassy cocktail party less than a year ago
13 Dec 2010 telegraph

To the United States, Julian Assange may now be Public Enemy Number One. Some American politicians have even called for his execution.

But less than a year ago, the founder of WikiLeaks was officially entertained at a US Embassy cocktail party by one of the very diplomats whose secrets he would soon spill to the world.

At the reception, held at the US ambassador’s residence in Reykjavik, Iceland, Mr Assange chatted with Sam Watson, the embassy’s deputy chief of mission.

He was already sitting on dozens of Mr Watson’s classified cables at the time of the December party, including embarrassing details about America’s and Britain’s role following the collapse of Iceland’s banks which were later published to widespread outrage in the local media.

“He certainly had fun at the party,” said Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP and former activist in WikiLeaks. “He went as my guest. I said it would be a bit of a prank to take him and see if they knew who he was. I don’t think they had any idea.”

Mr Assange’s site had already published dozens of leaks embarrassing to the US, including secret Guantanamo Bay detainee handling manuals and the full emails of Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate. The US State Department condemned the manuals’ publication as “a criminal act.”

Mr Assange went straight to the party from WikiLeaks’ Icelandic base, known as “the bunker,” where he was working on the release of a top-secret US Army video showing an attack on civilians in Iraq.

By the time of the party WikiLeaks had also already taken delivery of around 600,000 classified US Army logs from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, released earlier this year, plus the 250,000 secret US embassy cables which it is releasing now.

December 14th, 2010, 8:23 am


Majhool said:

great debate. both acknowledged the facts, but each with a different spin. Joshua’s spin was better.

Thanks for posting it.

December 15th, 2010, 3:01 am


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