Lesch Article on Assad; Syria Worst at Anti-Corruption; Bush Nixxed Israel 2007 Bombing

David Lesch has published a overview article of Syrian politics since Bashar took power. He concentrates on quotes and impressions of the President from his interviews over the years. David returned this week from two weeks in Damascus. His latest impressions are not included in this article. Here are extracts from the article.

The Evolution of Bashar al-Asad
Middle East Policy, Vol. XVII, No. 2, Summer 2010
By David W. Lesch

A U.S. official recently commented to me that in his government office the analysts had determined Syria to be more “diabolical” than Iran because Syrian President Bashar al-Asad “is ten times smarter than [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad.” My, how times have changed. It was not that long ago that iterations emanating from Washington and beyond regularly derided, even mocked, Bashar as incompetent, naïve and weak.

The fact of the matter is that Syria is practically immune to innovation and short-term change. There is an almost institutionalized revulsion to it from the lowest-level bureaucrats to the heads of ministries. Change in Syria just does not happen quickly; it is incremental at best…..

Bashar did not adequately adjust to the crucial underlying changes in American foreign policy after 9/11. This heightened Syria’s exposure to the U.S. regime-change rhetoric that characterized the Bush doctrine……


I have personally seen Bashar al-Asad grow more comfortable as president over the years — perhaps too comfortable. When I first met him in 2004, he was still a bit unsure of the world about him. Particularly befuddling was U.S. policy. In 2005, he was defensive and angry, especially as Syria had been forced out of Lebanon, something for which he felt he should have received at least a little credit. In early 2006, having survived the worst that 2005 had to offer, he began to feel more secure in his position, more sure of his future. In the summer of 2006, during the Hezbollah-Israeli war, Bashar’s confidence grew, perhaps in proportion to the regional perception that Hezbollah, by surviving the Israeli onslaught, had inflicted a defeat upon the IDF. His anger at the United States turned almost into cockiness; the Bush administration had taken its best shot, and he was still standing….

Bashar al-Assad’s Election in 2007 Go to His Head

“This is the first time I felt that Bashar began to believe the sycophants, that to lead the country was his destiny. Maybe it is, but his view of the office had certainly evolved since the early years of his rule. In the 1950s, U.S. authorities frequently referred to friendly dictatorships as transitional authoritarian regimes, a necessary stage in the heat of the Cold War that would “transition” to democracy with U.S. guidance and support. Of course, more often than not, the transitional authoritarian leaders did not want to transition. They liked the level of power they had accumulated, and in many cases had become convinced (or had convinced themselves) that the well-being of the country was synonymous with their tenure in power. Considering that domestic and regional unrest have somewhat abated, I wonder if Bashar has passed the tipping point in this regard.”…

As Bashar gains confidence in his international standing, one hopes he will become more comfortable with public diplomacy. To him it is a matter of trust, and he remains very suspicious, as does Syria as a whole, of the outside world. I have seen his public diplomacy at the domestic level improve immeasurably over the last six years. I was with him (and his wife) after a special concert at the new opera house in Damascus in May 2007, and he did a superb job of working the room at the reception that followed the performance, listening intently to every person with whom he visited. By the end of the evening, he had spoken personally with everyone. I saw him work the balcony, so to speak, while viewing the post-election parade in front of his very modest presidential office in the Rowda area of Damascus. He made eye contact with and pointed toward as many of the people marching in front of him as he could, even inviting whole families from the street to spend some time with him on the balcony…..

Bashar — and Syria — just wants to be taken seriously by the international community.
Damascus wants to be seen as a problem solver, not a problem seeker.

Do not expect Damascus to completely sever its ties with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Quite to the contrary, Bashar sees his country as a conduit for the West to develop a dialogue with these very entities. While Syria continues to maintain friendly relations with them — to the great consternation of the United States — Bashar believes that his country cannot play the role of regional facilitator unless it cultivates its diverse connections. Unfortunately, his timing in doing so, especially in early 2010, when the Obama administration appeared to be reaching out to Damascus, is occasionally less than ideal. This has given the naysayers in Washington more grist for the mill, feeding their opposition to any improvement in U.S.-Syrian relations.

Not all powerful

Bashar is definitely not all-powerful. He struggles against systemic corruption and an institutional, bureaucratic and cultural inertia.

On many issues, he has to negotiate, bargain and manipulate the system to get things done, and I have witnessed this first hand. An array of Faustian bargains was erected under his father, such as unswerving loyalty in return for personal enrichment. This has the regime sincerely saying and wanting to do one thing while important groups connected to or actually in the regime are sometimes doing something quite different. There is really nothing Bashar can do about it without undercutting his support base, especially in a threatening regional environment when he needs all the friends in and outside of the regime that he can muster. He told me something in October 2008 that provided insight into his thinking along these lines. We were discussing the potential of elevating the indirect Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations brokered by Turkey that had begun earlier in the year to direct talks. He said that he really did not want to elevate them without more assurance of success, that he was “new to this game” and, since it was his “first time doing this,” that he “could not afford to fail.” He made his decision regarding pursuing negotiations with Israel, and he has arrayed people around him who agree with it. But there are elements who do not agree, so Bashar believes he has just one shot at this, and he had better get it right.

This is a very important reason that it is absolutely necessary from his perspective for the entire Golan Heights to the June 4, 1967, line to be returned to Syria. This is vital to his domestic legitimacy, his legacy-in-the-making compared with that of his father (who “lost” the Golan as minister of defense in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war), and to his regional clout, his ability to play the facilitator and create some distance between Damascus and Teheran.

Anti-Syrianism in the Obama Administration

There is still a good bit of leftover anti-Syrian inertia in the Obama administration, in the Pentagon and the intelligence communities, and in Congress, not to even speak of the negative image of Syria among the American people. There are also other obstacles to an improvement in U.S.-Syrian relations: a web of UN resolutions, a UN tribunal on the Hariri assassination and a sanctions regime erected by the Bush administration.

The Syrians will not fully trust anyone but President Obama himself to offer public declarations on improving the U.S.-Syrian relationship. When Obama talks — or acts — the rest of the U.S. government will line up behind him, just as the rest of the U.S. government lined up behind Bush’s confrontational policies. However, Obama’s waffling during the last year in the face of stiff diplomatic resistance from a hawkish Israeli government has not generated confidence in Damascus that it can count on the U.S. president just yet.

The Bush administration wasted six years with Syria when it could have cultivated a productive relationship with an inexperienced and more pliable Syrian president early on. The Bush legacy to Obama is that the American president will now have to deal with a stronger leader, battle-tested by policies that were meant to get rid of him.


There have been positive gestures between Damascus and Washington since Obama came to office. The Obama administration has begun a diplomatic dialogue, has announced the return of the U.S. ambassador to Syria, and has waived some restrictions in the Syrian Accountability Act. On the other side, Syria has played a largely positive role in Lebanon of late, has stepped up security cooperation with the United States along the Iraqi border, and seems to have repaired its fractured relationship with Saudi Arabia while building its friendship with Turkey. These efforts can help offset Iranian influence in the region. The quid pro quos must continue to overcome the
recent legacy of mistrust on both sides.

[end extracts]

Roger Cohen of the Washington Post writes that George Bush had asked Israel not to bomb Syria’s suspected nuclear reactor in 2007.

The Bush administration opposed the 2007 Israeli strike. It was worried the Syrians would respond and ignite a wider Middle East war. It believed tough U.S. diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, would ensure the Syrian reactor never became operational. President Bush’s line was: Let me handle it.

Ehud Olmert, then the Israeli prime minister, was disappointed at American inaction. His line was: It’s now in our hands. No U.S. green light was asked for, and none given, as Israel bombed.

The fallout was contained through sleight of hand. Israel feigned ignorance. A tight collar was placed for several months around U.S. intelligence. President Bashar al-Assad was not made to feel cornered. It was as if the reactor had gone poof in the night.

Could Iran’s Natanz plant go poof in the night? Some people are thinking about it, an attack from “nowhere.” I think those are dangerous thoughts. Iran is not Syria.

The Obama-Netanyahu statement said: “The president told the prime minister he recognizes that Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats, and that only Israel can determine its security needs.”

Is that plain language or a hall of mirrors?

Syria earns the dubious distinction of being the worst performing country vis-à-vis anti-corruption and accountability mechanisms since Global Integrity conducted its first national assessments nearly a decade ago.

Corruption as a Political Strategy
By Haidara Abboud in Global Integrity Report

The 2009 arrest of Brigadier General Hassan Makhlouf, who as head of the Syrian Customs Administration was responsible for fighting corruption, came as a double shock to Syrians. The arrest of a high-ranking official is not an unusual occurrence in Syria, as it happens from time to time. In fact, several ministers and a deputy prime minister have been arrested. Former Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Zoubi committed suicide in 2000 when police came to his house to issue a judicial notice asking him to appear before a judge to respond to allegations of corruption. All those arrested, however, are usually released after a limited time in prison.

What was new and shocking about Makhlouf’s case is the sheer size of the alleged corruption. Media reports estimate that the value of the cash and properties seized in the case at millions of dollars. This includes 137 properties owned by Makhlouf or a member of his family. A single room at his villa is alleged to have been filled with cash. Authorities suspect that he ordered border roads to be left unguarded during certain times to allow smugglers driving trucks full of merchandise to enter the country without paying customs. Despite his February 2009 arrest, he has not been tried in court as of May 2010 and has not made any public statement about the case.

There were even more shocking stories. According to reports by the Kuwaiti daily Alrai, Makhlouf permitted the entry of certain foreign vehicles in the belief that they were transporting food, but they were actually transporting equipment to be used in the assassination of a Hezbollah officer in Syria, Imad Mughniyah (who was assassinated in February 2008). The Syrian government allegedly considered the mistake to be a breach of national security, and it was thought by many that had Makhlouf not allowed this breach to occur, he would have probably been able to continue in his job for many more years.

The Makhlouf case contributes to a popular belief in Syria that corruption is only forbidden if it conflicts with national security needs. Aside from that, everything else is permitted as long as it is done in an “orderly” manner. This attitude leads to rampant corruption throughout Syria and its institutions.

Many Syrians believe that corruption is intentionally allowed to spread through all segments of society, in public and private institutions, in civil society organizations and even in religious institutions, as a political strategy to prevent the emergence of a credible and respected opposition to the current regime….

The case of Maen Akel, a journalist for Al-Thawra, is a clear example of what can happen to journalists who try to dig deeper. He was finishing an investigative report about corruption in the pharmaceutical industry in Syria when security forces arrested him at his office in November 2009 and confiscated all his documents. Though he was not working on a political story, he was held for three months by security forces without an arrest warrant. Nor was he brought to court to face specific charges. He was expelled from his job without being given a reason, which is contrary to the rules of the law. It also was suggested that he never work in journalism again.

Many believe that only when all the public figures have been corrupted would political activities be encouraged and a law for political parties would be passed. Then, a “corruption file” for everyone will be available to be used against anyone who is “crossing the line,” with the result that they will be expelled from participation in the political sphere. Besides, special benefits are always a powerful tool to buy the elite’s loyalty to the ruling party.

U.A.E. diplomat mulls hit on Iran’s nukes
By Eli Lake – The Washington Times,  July 6, 2010

The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that the benefits of bombing Iran’s nuclear program outweigh the short-term costs such an attack would impose….. “I think it’s a cost-benefit analysis,” Mr. al-Otaiba said. “I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion … there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what.” “If you are asking me, ‘Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,…

John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the comments reflect the views of many Arab states in the Persian Gulf region that “recognize the threat posed by a nuclear Iran.

U.A.E. denies backing use of force against Iran

Assistant minister says earlier comments by envoy appearing to back a military strike were taken out of context.

UAE ambassador confirms: Palestine is the core issue
by Paul Woodward on July 8, 2010

This is the key section of the interview — the part Goldberg ignored, as did his friend Eli Lake at the Washington Times, when pumping out this week’s rendition of Israel’s Arabs-united-against-Iran narrative. Here the ambassador makes it clear that the only significant leverage Obama has on the issue of Iran is to push hard for the creation of a Palestinian state….

OTAIBA: For him to really make progress on the Iran issue and to deal with extremism and to deal with terrorism in the region, to deal with radicalized home-grown terrorism in the U.S., you need to address the peace process. That is the one core issue everyone tends to blame, and that’s what the people hang all their problems on.

Well, the Palestinians are, you know, they are — they don’t have a country, they are abused, they are oppressed, and the U.S. always sides with Israel. So the sooner U.S. appears to be objective and impartial and create a Palestinian state, we take that argument away from everyone, and that is in everyone’s best interest….

Iran MP Slams U.A.E. Envoy Remarks, Says Tours May Be Suspended 2010-07-07
By Ali Sheikholeslami

July 7 (Bloomberg) — Iran may bar trips to the United Arab Emirates after the U.A.E.’s envoy to the U.S. said his country supports military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “I hope the government of the U.A.E. will correct this viewpoint,” said Kazem Jalali… The U.A.E.’s central bank asked financial institutions in the federation to freeze 41 bank accounts of Iranian individuals and companies in compliance with United Nations Security Council sanctions passed on June 9,

Syria’s attack on gay people must end
Dan Littauer, Guardian

The crackdown on homosexuality in Syria is not about public safety, as claimed. It is a serious breach of human rights.

Since late March, police have conducted a series of raids on private parties and meeting places, and more than 25 men have been arrested. The arrests are shrouded in secrecy but some information has leaked out. Since late March, police have conducted a series of raids on private parties and meeting places, and more than 25 men have been arrested. The arrests are shrouded in secrecy but some information has leaked out.

At the Gay Middle East news website (GME) we have received several testimonies and published two reports from undercover sources in Damascus. In Beirut, Georges Azzi of Helem (the first LGBT advocacy group in an Arab country) confirms that arrests are taking place but says: “Unfortunately none of our contacts can give us more details at this point. It seems that the police are tracking gay people in Syria now.”

Comments (27)

t_desco said:

That Roger Cohen piece sounds like propaganda (telegraphing to Teheran: hey, Israel could strike even without prior US consent…). Such an attack would put US troops in the region in immediate danger. How could that be allowed (without proper preparation, i.e. prior consent)?

Some notes on the ‘Iran thesis’ (pure speculation!):

– absurd, of course, but oh so convenient…

– stricter SC sanctions against Iran unlikely, according to the Leveretts, because of Chinese (+ Russian) opposition

– however, what if the STL blames Iran(ians) (+ Imad Mughniyah, conveniently dead), summons them to The Hague? Potential outrage a ‘game changer’?

– Follath’s article already mentioned General Qassem Suleimani
– however, Georges Malbrunot the first to report about a ‘new orientation’ of the investigation (in August 2006)
– access to sources close to the plot? (DGSE?)
– Iran already mentioned: “Les Iraniens sont-ils impliqués dans l’assassinat ? Quels sont les liens entre l’individu recherché et les pasdarans, les gardiens de la révolution à Téhéran ? Les enquêteurs cherchent des réponses à ces questions.” (“L’ombre du Hezbollah sur l’assassinat de Hariri”, Le Figaro, 19 août 2006)

– Malbrunot also the first to mention the ‘Iran/Mughniyah, not Nasrallah/Hizbullah’ thesis: “D’autres estiment au contraire que Ghamloush a été membre « à un moment donné d’un service de sécurité du Hezbollah, mais que ce service dépendait directement de l’Iran et non pas de Hassan Nasralleh, le chef du Parti de Dieu ».”(“Assassinat Hariri: revoilà la piste chiite”, 25 mai 2009);
“Nasrallah ne livrera aucun de ses partisans à La Haye, même si ceux-ci obéissaient, à l’époque des faits, à la branche iranienne, dirigée par Imad Mougnieh, (…)” (“Où va le Liban, après cent jours de gouvernement Hariri?”, 9 avril 2010)

– Saad Hariri himself mentioned the thesis to Nasrallah, according to Nicholas Nassif (Al-Akhbar today)?

– as stated before, danger of a two (three?) front war for Hizbullah?

– btw, the frequent mentioning of potential Syrian targets in the press (M-600 missile factory, ‘Iranian’ radar sites, ‘Hizbullah’ compound in Adra), just putting pressure on Syria or laying the ground for later air strikes (acceptance level in the West)?


– how could anybody be that cynical?

– danger of sectarian bloodshed immense, not just in Lebanon (‘killing of a major Sunni leader by Iran’)

– risk of civil war in Lebanon really in Western interest?

July 8th, 2010, 1:30 pm


Averroes said:

First, the article by David Lesch,

I fail to see substance in this article. It reminds me of the Subhiyehs that my mom holds every few months with women friends over coffee and cookies. Lesch trying to read Bashar’s mind, gauging his self confidence, loathing the way he invites families to his balcony, oh and complete with a self promoting whisper in our ears “you know what else he told me? He said so and so and so …”

And we’re supposed to go … “He did not!”

I don’t think so.

At least at my mom’s morning gatherings we used to have fun and enjoy cookies. This article is a total waste of time.

July 8th, 2010, 3:32 pm


Averroes said:

On the Global Integrity Report regarding Syria,

I cannot, and will not, defend corruption in Syria. I trust Dr. Bashar, but I think that this problem is still out there and that it really should be a major priority. I have personally heard first-hand stories of police and judiciary corruption that even if half true, are still pretty dangerous.

In my view, the issue of corruption in Syria is more important strategically than many other concerns. When you have corruption, you lose people’s trust, and when you lose people’s trust, little else matters.

Corruption in Syria has taken a life of its own, and has morphed into a quasi-culture, where many practices are just expected. Punishment is by far not the only way to fight this epidemic. We need to educate against it from kindergarden age, through schools, media, universities, and a number of other avenues. I see very little of what can be done actually taking place. I hope I’m wrong.

July 8th, 2010, 3:44 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Corruption is a function of bureaucracy and low civil servant salaries.

Anyone who walks into a Syrian ministry quickly realizes the number of useless signatures, stamps and approvals that he must secure before his document is complete. Those that have the means simply don’t have the time. They would rather pay the man behind the counter than spend hours running around in an endless and senseless maze. The man behind the counter on the other hand sees this maze as his savior. The longer citizens need to spend in the building the more the opportunity for him to benefit and augment his depressingly insufficient salary. I have made it a habit of mine to ask some of these men what they make at “dairet al-noufous” for example. The average answer is $250 a month. As I have said repeatedly on these pages, even mother Theresa could not resist the temptation of extra income per signature. These are not people that need to be educated about how bad corruption is. Punishing them is not the answer. Paying them a decent wage is. As I have written here before also, unless you treble the average salaries of most civil servants they will still be woefully underpaid and hence still be susceptible to bribery. This goes for judges, police officers and others too. Syria can only reduce the corruption that plagues it when it appoints an anti- bureaucracy czar whose job is to streamline all the mazes hidden in every ministry. As for the salaries part, $250 a month cannot feed a family of 5. My falafel formula should make this clear:

5 falafels three times a day = 15 * $ 0.50 = $7.5 per day *30 = $225 a month

July 8th, 2010, 6:06 pm


Averroes said:


You cannot triple and quadruple the salary allocations of civil institutions that are so excessively overstaffed. Technology offers a lot of answers. Automation offers a lot of answers. People and machines should be pushed to being more productive. Only then can the average civil servant make a decent income.

But as bad as it is, the type you describe is the least harmful of corruption. The one I was talking about is where businesses and industries are bullied and pushed aside. Where ‘corruption mafia” lord gobble up all government tenders at higher costs, where businessmen are scared away unless they agree to paying thugs that are capable of sabotaging their operations. The corruption I’m referring to has much more to do with greed and recklessness than finding the means to buy falafel for your kids.

July 8th, 2010, 6:53 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Reducing bureaucracy and more automation promotion go hand in hand. Of course the entire government sector is overstaffed and because it is overstaffed, it is underpaid as government coffers cannot afford my suggestion of tripling the salaries of the existing work force.

As for your point on greed and the “corruption mafia”, I think that greed is everywhere and not just in Syria. I am of the view that the recent trend is better and not worse than before. Promoting large oligopolistic structures like Cham holdings for example was a mistake. This helps concentrate wealth further into the 100 or so hands. In addition, Lax Tax collection procedures do not help.

July 8th, 2010, 7:06 pm


Husam said:

I don’t think you can say that one or several solutions will do the trick. The system has to be rebuilt from the ground up. It has rotted out. A family flat in Abu Remaneh has a $30 tax bill on it, go figure.

Averroes, Hassan Makhlouf, if you click the link of the whole article by Haidara Abboud, you will read that he had over 130 properties and one room (note, rooms in Sryia is big Width/Length/Height) full of cash bundles stacked up. Can you imagine? How much is enough? So, you are absolutely correct, the bigger boys are the ones that are hurting the country the most.

July 8th, 2010, 8:02 pm


Akbar Palace said:

And now a Differing Viewpoint

According to The Sunday Times, members of Israel’s Sayeret Matkal covertly raided the suspected Syrian nuclear facility before the airstrike and brought nuclear material back to Israel. Anonymous sources report that once the material was tested and confirmed to have come from North Korea, the United States gave Israel approval for an attack.[12]



Professors who aren’t Soothsayers NewZ

And now a “Blast from the Past”. Professor Josh on May 14th of tis year:

“US-Syrian relations have been deteriorating for some months now, and Syria is losing hope in any peace deal, and that means that there’s gong to be conflict between Syria and Israel,” says Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. “Syria’s strategy is going to be to try to isolate the US in the Middle East, and to hang Israel around America’s neck.”

Syria’s “strategy” isn’t working very well…

July 8th, 2010, 10:05 pm


Norman said:

Ehsani ,
I thought about your Flafel example when i read about the corruption ,

Do you all think that punishing the briber and the bribed can help if we have an anonymous reporting phone number ,so have people afraid of offering or receiving bribes after a couple of undercover cases ,

July 8th, 2010, 10:08 pm


almasri said:

Obama sees very slim chances for peace and he presents his case directly to Israeli public talking to Istaeli TV 2. That happened of course after meeting with Netenyahu

أشار الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما إلى أن فرص السلام في الشرق الأوسط ضئيلة. واعتبر في مقابلة مع القناة التلفزيونية الإسرائيلية الثانية أن رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو قد فهم هذا الأمر بعد اللقاء الذي جمع الطرفين.

Obama said Netenyahu understood peace chances are slim.

July 9th, 2010, 2:06 am


Shami said:

Did anyone heard this before ?:The president is good but his circle(eli hawaleh) are corrupts.

how is that possible ?

July 9th, 2010, 5:57 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Netaniyahu on Larry King Live. Part I, the rest 4 parts on YouTube


President Obama first interview with Israeli TV


July 9th, 2010, 7:51 am


Ghat Al Bird said:

Levels of Corruption are part and parcel of any and ALL governments as well as all types of organization in the world

Irrational and self centered individuals/groups never cease their claims/accusatons that they are the only principled ones while its the “other[s]” that are corrupt.

Which brings one to question who is the more corrupt the one that does it within his/her own community, society, state or the one that bribes, threatens and or controls not only their community, state but also others scattered around the globe?

Any listing would have to include the UN as number 1.

July 9th, 2010, 10:09 am


Husam said:

Amir in Tel Aviv:

Thank you for posting the interview with N’othin Yahoo :). Obama’s owners made him backtrack and bow. America will bleed for Israel in the new decade so long as it has been hijacked. Nothing will change in the M.E. unless a solid-as-rock unity comes from within to confront the Zionist entity.

What a bunch of loosers, liars… I mean these guys are trained actors. They say one thing and do another. Same for corrupt Abbas. The minute there is peace, the minute they will be obliged to cut their theft. Won’t happen.

Amir, I perfer Hollywood clips, at least there is some action.

July 9th, 2010, 10:16 am


Husam said:


You are absolutely correct: New World Order = Pan World Corruption

Not only are we corrupted, but we corrupt others. The UN is a circus run by jokers.

I still think everyone is accountable for his/her own actions.

July 9th, 2010, 10:46 am


almasri said:

Actually you can see from the interview that Obama didn’t fully backtrack yet. He indicated an attack on Iran should not only come as a surprise to the US, but also in coordination. So that thing is still a sort a quid pro quo which was the same position he started with when he took office. But the two years period is almost coming to an end.

The most arrogant and funniest part is the anchorwoman grilling him on his loyalty to Israel – typical preemption.

The next phase will be the de-legitimization of Israel and Zionism in the world. It already started in Europe. But they know they have the American fortress.

July 9th, 2010, 10:46 am


Akbar Palace said:


Thanks for the links. BB came off totally reasonable. I good advertisement for Israel.

I don’t get the impression Americans believe Israel is “hanging around America’s neck”, as some anti-Israel, pro-Baathist professors claim.

July 9th, 2010, 11:05 am


majedkhaldoun said:

speaking of corruption;
There is one major corruption and that the american media that is controled by evil zionists,who will push for firing any journalist who express their honest opinion.they are fired immidietly if the zionists do not approve of it or think it is not pro zionist,their dictatorship in this USA is obvious,it is a war here in USA,good journalist like Helen Thomas,and Octavia Nassr has to pay the price for expressing their opinion,which is contrary to the wishes of zionists,there is no freedom of speech,zionists are against freedom of speech.
we need to fight back against zionist controlled media,it is a war WE must win.

July 9th, 2010, 11:49 am


almasri said:

Well, there is at least one other American who seems to agree with the ”Baathist” Professor. That other American too has been ‘demonized’ by the same clowns.

” ….Since then Israel’s actions, tactical bluster devoid of strategic sense, have left it far more isolated than before. I hear more hostility to Israel around the world than at any time I can recall.
The United States, traumatized, made mistakes after 9/11. Too often, it shunned prudence and rode roughshod. Israel is in some ways an extension of the United States. The line between what’s domestic and what’s international in the relationship is flimsy. It’s therefore not surprising that Israel, too, has erred on the side of warmongering this past decade….. “

The rest is here,


July 9th, 2010, 11:51 am


Husam said:


I wouldn’t take interviews with clowns as facts. These are pure entertainment for us goats. Their true intention, strategies, challenges, and action plans will not be put on air. You can call me a conspiracy theorist all you want, but to me recent history shows that we are the audience of theatrics.

Have you s seen the The Obama Deception (6,404,464 Views) on youtube? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw or Invisible Empire? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO24XmP1c5E all factual, undisputable history.

Almasri, please don’t take these interviews for real. Your time is more valuable.

July 9th, 2010, 12:20 pm


Alex said:

A society falling apart

From the Second Lebanon War to the Gaza flotilla – and this period includes Operation Cast Lead – Israel’s failures have been much greater than its successes. Against this backdrop, Israel’s moral crisis is getting deeper all the time.

By Zeev Sternhell

Among the regimes in the Western world, Israel stands out with certain characteristics that generally do not indicate a strong democratic system. Its parliament is paralyzed, the opposition is nonexistent, and contempt for the law is becoming more pronounced. This not only refers to the unrest caused by the ultra-Orthodox, but also to something much more dangerous, the unrest caused by the settlers. The “respectable” right has chosen leaders of the most dangerous kind, like Moshe Ya’alon, who erases the line between Likud’s level-headed elements and the extremist “Feiglins” and far-right National Union party. In the not-too-distant future, they will replace Likud’s current leadership, which itself is much less restrained than the veteran Revisionists.

Moreover, the political leadership and the ruling elites, including the military elite, evince a worrisome lack of talent. From the Second Lebanon War to the Gaza flotilla – and this period includes Operation Cast Lead – Israel’s failures have been much greater than its successes. Against this backdrop, Israel’s moral crisis is getting deeper all the time. Israeli society is disintegrating into layers and blocs that have totally different worldviews and historical visions. More and more, these hostile blocs lack a mutual national objective.

The moral and intellectual disintegration also contributes to the gradual loss of social solidarity and mutual responsibility. Notwithstanding the vital struggle TheMarker is conducting against the tycoons and the enslavement to big business, this is not a comprehensive economic alternative for reducing inequality. The alienation between the sections of society that differ over the country’s political future is increasing, no less than the alienation between social strata and population sectors whose ways of life are as different as east from west.

All these phenomena must be dealt with, first on the political level. Therefore, for change to be possible, a political engine is necessary. Regrettably, this type of machine no longer exists here. Led by Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, the Labor Party betrayed its role; it is heading toward liquidating itself. Peres’ desertion in the 2006 elections to Kadima was merely a symptom of the illness, but on that occasion, the depth of the degeneration was revealed.

Have there been many instances in the democratic world over the past 50 years where a party leader deserted his party for a rival merely because he was defeated in the primaries on the eve of an election? Peres the deserter, who became president, and Dalia Itzik the deserter, who was Knesset speaker until the last elections, taught the average Israeli not only that politics is a realm to avoid if you want to save your soul, but that political life is nothing but a web of fraud – without ideology, principles and truth.

Peres’ heir, Barak, is contributing to this feeling; he is relinquishing what remains of his party’s right to exist. We can thank Barak for the huge disgrace of Operation Cast Lead, which scraped off another layer of the old Israeli identity. And we are indebted to him for the humiliation we suffered in the Gaza flotilla incident. In addition, Barak is a supporter of neoliberalism and privatization, is opposed to raising the minimum wage and, by his very membership in the government, supports religious instruction in secular schools. If that is so, who needs him or his party?

It is worth mentioning that Barak, by virtue of his position as defense minister, is also the West Bank’s military governor. Viewers of the Channel 10 news last Friday were amazed to see a scene that seemed to belong to the world of sick imagination: To shorten the route to the Cave of the Patriarchs for the Jews of Hebron, the windows of Arabs’ homes that the worshipers pass were sealed off. You had to rub your eyes to believe how the colonial power allows itself to make life so unbearable for the natives. Not only were their windows sealed, but access to their homes was made especially difficult – just for the convenience of the occupiers.

It was not the worshipers who sealed the houses but the army that stands at attention to serve them, and the army’s chief commander is the leader of the Labor Party. Many people will refrain from supporting the Labor Party in the next elections, but it is doubtful whether this will scare Barak. Like Peres in his day, he too will not retire. Rather, it is reasonable to expect that he will continue in the same profession – only from the opposite side of the street.

July 9th, 2010, 1:00 pm


almasri said:

Thanks Husam,

I may not have seen the same videos you linked, but I may have seen or read something(s) pointing out the same themes.

I am aware Obama is just the front stage actor of a much wider establishment. In this sense he is no different than Bush except in terms of who is more mentally competent. On his own, he of course cannot achieve much. You have to also take into consideration what Petraeous and others in the congress have voiced in the past few months questioning Israel’s importance to the US – Is it an asset or a liability? Eventually, these members of the establishment will weigh in. We’ve never seen this before.

The significance of realizing he (Obama) did not back track FULLY YET (emphasis on fully and yet) shows how the duel in this relationship is progressing between the long time allies, buddies, and the ‘historically inseparables’. I have always repeated: All American Presidents since John Quincy Adams (1820s), and without exception, made a point in proving in words and in deeds allegiance to Zionism beating Balfour by at least a century!

The quid pro quo I referred to is Rahm’s plan of Peace and Palestinian State within two years of Obama taking office in exchange for Iran’s ‘nukes’. You have to see Obama’s statement in light of this quid pro quo. After that, when and if a strike takes place you can judge him based on what he said. But being skeptical seems to be the most prudent thing from the way things look. The clowns have a lot of tricks up their sleeves.

July 9th, 2010, 1:48 pm


jad said:

Hi Alex,
🙂 وين هالغيبه إشتأنالك
I don’t see OTW, Offended, Ford Perfect, Observer, Enlightened, Shai, Yossi and the usual smart guys anymore, where are they?

July 9th, 2010, 1:51 pm


t_desco said:

It’s a small world: Osama al-Shahabi is, of course, also at least indirectly linked to Khaled Taha via Khalil al-Boubou who, in turn, is also linked to Badih Hamadeh (details here) whose execution may have been the (never investigated?) motive behind the Hariri assassination.

The link between al-Shahabi and Hamadeh is confirmed here.

Of course, it is a mere coincidence that al-Shahabi tried to kill “Hariri investigator” Lieutenant-Colonel Samir Shehade…

July 9th, 2010, 2:18 pm


Husam said:

Ron Paul has been saying the same thing for 3 years, this is at best: collateral damage. What about Dennis Kucinich? He got nowhere! Sooner or later if Petraeous, or any of the ‘others’ keep going at it, they too will be assassinating their career.

So long as Syria is weak, so long as the Arabs remain disunited, American politics will always be in favor of Israel. Different movie, different actors, but always the same ending.

July 9th, 2010, 6:29 pm


almasri said:

You got the last one right on, Husam.
And the movie part of it is meant to distract the Arab from all what he/she has to do by entertaining him/her. Hollywood is ‘wonderful’, isn’t it?

But seriously, America risks turning into the ‘real embodiment of evil (Khomeini would love that. To him it already is) on this earth’. But we are still talking collateral damage here. The Arabs have to change before America.

Just before editing time was over, I found this movie that you may enjoy. Throw a bone to both Syria and Turkey for the time being with the promise of some sort of regionla grandeur as a price to get away with ‘murder’. But some may like it.

هآرتس تبدد سرية هجوم دير الزور

قالت صحيفة هآرتس الإسرائيلية الجمعة -نقلا عن المدير السابق لوكالة المخابرات الأميركية (سي آي أي) الجنرال مايكل هايدن- إنه لم تعد هناك حاجة للتكتم على تفاصيل استهداف “المنشأة النووية” في دير الزور بسوريا خلال سبتمبر/أيلول 2007، “لتبدد أسباب التكتم”.

يشار إلى أن الصحافة الإسرائيلية أوقفت اعتمادها على مصادر أجنبية وبدأت تتحدث منذ مطلع العام بشكل مباشر وصريح عن الهجوم الإسرائيلي على دير الزور، فيما تواصل إسرائيل الرسمية سياسة عدم التعقيب.

ونقلت الصحيفة عن المجلة الدورية الخاصة بدراسات شؤون الاستخبارات والتابعة لسي آي أي التي أجرت لقاء تلخيصيا مع هايدين، أن التكتم على العملية جاء لتحاشي إحراج الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وتفادي اضطراره للرد بعملية ثأرية.

سر كبير
وأوضح هايدن أنه حتى موعد الكشف الأول (عام 2008) عن بعض تفاصيل الهجوم على دير الزور، ظل الموضوع سرا كبيرا حتى لا تتضرر مداولات واشنطن مع كوريا الشمالية حول نزع سلاحها النووي، علاوة على الرغبة المذكورة بعدم إحراج النظام السوري علانية.

وفي إشارة واضحة لمشاركة الولايات المتحدة في العملية، نقلت هآرتس عن هايدن قوله “وقتها أطلعنا فقط عددا قليلا من أعضاء الكونغرس”.

وأشار هايدن -الذي كان رئيس سي آي أي وقتها- إلى أن دواعي التكتم على العملية الجوية تبددت، وبالتالي كان بالإمكان نزع السرية عن التحضيرات التي سبقت الهجوم.

وأوضحت هآرتس أن مراقبين إسرائيليين يرون أن سي آي أي بالغت في الكشف عن تفاصيل الهجوم على المنشأة السورية، وذلك بهدف التظاهر بإنجازات استخباراتية، بعد فشلها في إحباط هجمات سبتمبر/أيلول 2001، وبعد بطلان اتهاماتها للعراق بحيازة سلاح دمار شامل خلال حكم صدام حسين قبيل الغزو.

ويقول هايدن إن الاستخبارات الأميركية اكتشفت أمر “المنشأة النووية” في سوريا في أبريل/نيسان 2007، واتفق على ضربها بعد خمسة أشهر.

وضمن التلميحات الواردة على لسانه بأن الولايات المتحدة كانت شريكة في التخطيط والاستهداف، يتابع هايدن “لكونها مشكلة سياسية مركبة اتفقنا على أن تبقى طي الكتمان الشديد منعا لنشوب حرب جديدة في الشرق الأوسط وتحاشيا لارتكاب السوريين حماقة خطيرة”.

لم يخرج للثأر
وتدعم هآرتس -على لسان أمير أورن معلقها للشؤون الاستخباراتية- موقف هايدن المؤيد للكشف عن السر عام 2008. وتستدل على ذلك بالقول إنه “حتى الآن وبعد مرور ثلاث سنوات لم ترتكب سوريا أي حماقة ولم يخرج الأسد للثأر من الذين أربكوه”.

وتلفت الصحيفة أن بعض القادة العسكريين ممن شاركوا في العملية وما زالت هوياتهم محجوبة قد حازوا ترقيات في قيادة الجيش.

يشار إلى أن صحيفة يديعوت أحرونوت نشرت تقريرا موسعا في ملحقها في فبراير/شباط الماضي عن الهجوم الإسرائيلي الأميركي المشترك على الأراضي السورية في 2007.

وقال المعلق السياسي للصحيفة ألوف بن إن إسرائيل انتهكت السيادة التركية خلال استهدافها المنشأة السورية، لكن رئيس حكومتها السابق إيهود أولمرت سارع لاستئناف المفاوضات مع دمشق بوساطة أنقرة، مما أدى لصمتها على الانتهاك لأجوائها.

ويرى بن في مقاله الذي نشر الخميس أن الرئيس بشار الأسد أصاب بالتزامه الهدوء. وتابع “إسرائيل هدمت المنشأة لكن مكانة سوريا الإستراتيجية تعززت جدا على المستوى الإقليمي”.

ودعا ألوف بن إسرائيل وتركيا إلى الإصغاء لتحذير الأسد هذا الأسبوع من استمرار التوتر بينهما، وقال إنه يقترح فعليا استئناف المفاوضات مجددا بوساطة تركية.

July 9th, 2010, 7:16 pm


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