"Markers on the route to Damascus," by Itamar Rabiniovich - Syria Comment

“Markers on the route to Damascus,” by Itamar Rabiniovich

Itamar Rabinovich has always been excellent on Syria. His hard nosed analysis does not prevent him from assessing the advantages of a possible peace. He believes Asad may be serious about peace because of domestic pressure. Rabinovich's ultimate goal is to distance Syria from Iran. It is interesting to note that Syria's alliance with Iran has given Damascus new leverage with Israel, a leverage that Syria has not had for many years. President Bush continues to insist that the US can bring Iran (and Syria) down a few notches by tightening relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Rabinovich is skeptical of this strategy. Just as he knows there is considerable public pressure in Syria for a closer relationship with the West and for a settlement with Israel, there is considerable public pressure in Saudi, Egypt and Jordan against closer relations with Israel and the US in order to fight what many Arabs still see as an American-Israeli agenda. Although Sunni fears of Iran and Shiites more generally have been fanned in the last few years, the rift between the sects is still not so strong as to "flip" these states. Public opinion will keep their governments from getting in bed with Israel in order to defeat Iran. It only goes to prove how central the Arab-Israeli conflict remains to getting the other problems of the region sorted out. There will be "linkage," whether Israel and the US like it or not. Getting the border issues between Israel and Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine sorted out cannot be avoided if Washington hopes to gain support for its other undertakings in the region.

Here is the Rabinovich article:

Markers on the route to Damascus
By Itamar Rabinovich
Haaretz, Dec. 29, 2006

In 1974, the Agranat Commission published its report, which examined the principal failure and the secondary failures that led to the Yom Kippur War. Inter alia, the commission recommended that, in order to prevent future mistaken "conceptions," the pluralism of intelligence assessments in Israel should be strengthened by reinforcing the research divisions of the Mossad and the Foreign Ministry. This recommendation was implemented only partially; Military Intelligence maintained its dominance for many years. The authors of the Agranat Report are currently enjoying a late blooming of sorts, as decision makers, Knesset members and the general public are being exposed to public disputes between the heads of the Mossad and of MI's research division.

While the former dismisses "peace offensive" of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime, his uniformed colleague regards it in a positive light. Appearing last week before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mossad director Meir Dagan stated that he could not see Syria proposing the renewal of talks with Israel. In contrast, the head of MI's research division, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, this week told the very same committee that Syria's peace signals are genuine.

This disagreement has added to the confusion that has existed regarding a peace agreement with Syria since last summer's second Lebanon War. During the six years preceding that war and after both the collapse of Israeli-American-Syrian talks and Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Israel focused on the Palestinian issue – first on the fighting of the second intifada and then on disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The Lebanon War and the exposure of the threat posed by the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis generated a fundamental debate over the Syrian question. While the war was still in progress, Defense Minister Amir Peretz spoke of the need to renew negotiations with Syria. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appointed a small team to study this issue, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert totally rejects the idea of talks with the Syrians. He has declared that Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights and has explained both directly and indirectly that the Bush administration opposes Israeli-Syrian negotiations. In recent days, Olmert has softened his public proclamations on this matter. The two opposing schools in the internal cabinet debate and in the public debate in Israel can be characterized thus:

– Opposition to any peace settlement or talks with Syria. As in every debate on these topics, the disagreement revolves around intentions and capabilities. The opponents of an agreement claim that Syria under Bashar Assad will continue to demand a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in return for a cold peace and partial security arrangements. While some people reject a withdrawal from the Golan in principle, others believe that Assad's intentions are not serious and that his capabilities are limited. In other words, Assad is interested only in talks, not a settlement, because he wants to stop being an isolated pariah. In any event, he is incapable of actually effecting a settlement with Israel. Thus, if Israel agreed to talks with Syria this would create tension with the U.S., alienate the conservative Arab states and heighten domestic tensions, producing no tangible results for Israel and political dividends for Syria.

– Support for Israeli-Syrian talks. This school argues that Assad is interested in serious negotiations with Israel and an agreement and has the will and the ability to effect a settlement. Furthermore, this school argues, it is in Israel's interests to attain a settlement with Syria, even at the cost of withdrawing from the Golan, because it would regularize relations with an important Arab state and potential military enemy; help solve "the Lebanese problem,"; would weaken the Palestinian rejectionist front and may even help Syria to disengage from the Iranian sphere of influence. The U.S. and the conservative Arab states would presumably change their position once they see Iran lose one of its chief levers of influence in the region.

To understand the significance of the debate between the two schools, the respective positions of the three chief players in the Israeli-American-Syrian triangle should be analyzed:

– The Olmert government. Olmert is Ariel Sharon's successor on the Syrian issue as well. Four Israeli prime ministers in the 1990s (Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak) were prepared to withdraw from the Golan in order to reach an agreement with Syria and to base the peace process on the Syrian, rather than the Palestinian, track. Sharon, however, chose to focus on the Palestinian issue and adamantly opposed a Golan withdrawal.

Olmert was elected prime minister on a platform calling for continued disengagement from the Palestinians. Although the Lebanon War temporarily diverted him from this course, he wants to breathe new life into the Palestinian channel. Olmert believes that progress with the Palestinians is vital to building a de facto coalition with the conservative Arab states against the principal threat to both them and Israel – Iran.

However, after trying to free himself from Assad's "peace offensive" for several months, Olmert has modified his thinking and no longer totally rejects the idea; instead, he is stipulating certain preconditions for the initiation of talks. Nonetheless, he clearly still prefers the Palestinian channel. He apparently believes his government lacks the political capacity to achieve a final settlement with Syria, whereas progress can still be made with the Palestinians in the form of interim settlements.

– The Bush administration. President George Bush and the hard core of his administration have opposed in the past, and continue to oppose, the renewal of Israeli-Syrian talks. The Baker-Hamilton report, which calls for talks with Iran and Syria, has in effect been rejected by the administration and has encountered opposition and criticism from other circles as well. President Bush is personally angry with Assad. He holds Assad and his regime responsible for the shedding of American blood in Iraq and considers them the chief threat to the "democratic revolution" in Lebanon, which he regards as one of the major achievements of his ideological foreign policy. In his eyes, the initiation of Israeli-Syrian talks would award a terrorist regime and be a slap in the face to the conservative Arab states that have friendly relations with America. This approach is reinforced by a personal negative attitude toward Assad and a low estimate of his capabilities.

– Assad and his regime. Even without access to intelligence material, one can conclude that Assad personally wants to initiate talks with Israel, and not just because of his desire to end his isolation and to free himself from American and French pressure. Like any other country, Syria has a public opinion, and that public wants to know what the regime is doing to win back the Golan. Egypt has retrieved the Sinai Peninsula, Jordan has ended its conflict with Israel, the Palestinians have attained some partial achievements, and Israel has withdrawn from South Lebanon; however, regarding the Golan, Israel is talking about expanding its construction activities there. The critics of Assad's regime are demanding that it either go to war or initiate negotiations. Assad's capabilities are not all that clear. Some people in the Baath regime oppose the idea of a peace settlement with Israel, arguing that peace and openness will destroy the foundations of both the Baath regime and Alawi rule. This opposition existed even during Hafez Assad's regime; but he was able to exercise power and authority that allowed him to overcome it. (During the last months of his life, the opposition strengthened and came to the surface). Will Bashar be able to neutralize the opponents of a peace settlement if negotiations are launched and if progress is made in those talks? This remains an open question. In light of the above, Israel's policies should rest on three fundamental principles:

– A conditional "yes," not an outright rejection. No Israeli government should ever issue a categorical "no" to an Arab rival that has declared a desire for peace. Nor should preconditions be presented that amount to a de facto rejection. If talks are initiated between Israel and Syria and if progress is made in those talks, Israel could justifiably demand the termination of Syrian aid to Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. If such demands were presented as a precondition for the initiation of talks, the response would be a total Syrian refusal.

– Coordination with the U.S. The Bush administration's opposition to negotiations with Syria should not be taken lightly. However, if Israel concludes that such talks make sense and could be beneficial, it can initiate a serious discussion with the Americans on the advantages and drawbacks of such a move. For its part, Washington would not take lightly the serious prospect (if such a prospect emerges) of distancing Damascus from Tehran.

– A discreet inquiry. The three agreements Israel signed with Arab partners (Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians) were attained following clandestine negotiations in which the principles of the arrangement were defined. It would be pointless to embark on full, open negotiations with Syria before a discreet inquiry has been made. It would have to address such key issues as Syria's readiness to make good on its declarations and to end its partnership with Iran as part of a settlement with Israel and a process of reconciliation with the U.S. Two obstacles stand in the way: Syria's desire for public negotiations and the difficulty involved in maintaining secrecy on the Israeli side. The Israeli government has two main options: It can progress along the Palestinian channel, which would make it easier to build a de facto partnership with the conservative Arab states against Iran, or it can initiate talks with Syria, if it emerges that these talks have the potential for distancing Syria from Iran and for distancing Iran from Lebanon. A discreet inquiry with Syria would enable the prime minister to choose between the two options and to broadcast to the Israeli public a clear message that would perhaps put an end to the confusion and havoc that currently prevail.

Prof. Rabinovich is the president of Tel Aviv University, and in the past served as the Israeli ambassador in Washington and the head of the negotiating team with Syria.

Comments (94)


G said:

Public pressure in Syria to be close to the West and settle with Israel?! Who do you think you’re kidding?! Do you take your readers for idiots!?

You made the opposite argument during the summer war!

December 29th, 2006, 5:33 pm

 

John Kilian said:

The matter of Assad’s capacity to reign in Hezbollah and Hamas is central to negotiations on the Golan. If Syria is merely fronting the money from Iran then removing Syria as a conduit between Iran and H&H is a minor improvement. What can Syria do to halt the support of Iran for these groups without Iran’s consent?

December 29th, 2006, 6:08 pm

 

Gibran said:

G,
You’re absolutely right. Mr. Landis has the extraordinary ability to speak from different sides of his mouth. He adjusts his argument according to his perception of what he calls Real Politiks. He obviously caused the dismal degeneration of the art.
Josh, you need some aditional tutoring in this area. I’d suggest Mr. Kissinger would be of great help.

December 29th, 2006, 6:16 pm

 

MSK said:

Dear all,

quite frankly, I don’t see how in the current constellation (Olmert as PM and the Bushites in power in DC) peace negotiations, let alone a deal, between Israel & Syria (to which the U.S. has to be a guranteeing power) could start.

Olmert & his boys are of the same disposition as the Bushites: FIRST the “other side” (be it Syria or the Palestinians or Iran or whoever) has to end their support of whatever it is that they are charged to support (although it is by no means clear just how “ending of support for XYZ” would actually be measured) and THEN Israel/US are ready for any talks.

That’s not the way to conduct negotiations.

Of course, Israel and the US can afford this strategy of avoiding any negotiations with Syria for quite a while, but as nobody can predict the future it might just not be prudent to have this current window of opportunity close again.

Everyone involved (well, except maybe the Bushites, but they are notoriously daft) knows what the outcome of an Israeli-Syrian peace deal will be:

– return of the Golan in it’s pre-67 borders (i.e. incl. the NE shore) to Syria
– like the Sinai, the returned territory remains demilitarized, i.e. Syria is only allowed police-like forces (no heavy arms, no tanks, no big guns, no rockets, etc.)
– compliance with the deal is supervised by an int’l force comprised to a significant degree of U.S. troops
– there will be a number (at least 2) of Israeli-manned observation posts, probably one on Mt. Hermon
– the water rights will have to be clarified in such a way that Syria will not cut off the waterflow off the Golan into Lake Tiberias and Jordan River, this also supervised by int’l monitors
– Syria will close the offices of the “Rejection Front” in Damascus

All that had pretty much already been agreed with by Rabin & Assad Sr. But Barak got cold feet and the U.S. chose to abandon its position as independent arbiter and tried to screw over Assad Sr. (Y’all can read the deatils in the book excerpts posted by Josh a few weeks ago.)

Syria is no military threat to Israel and hasn’t been for decades. However, Syria has been using secondary fronts (Lebanon & Palestine) to … errr … make life hard for Israel & can continue to do so pretty much indefinitely.

On a military level, all parties involved know this and act accordingly. It’s politics (& ideologically motivated people, mainly in D.C.) that screws it up.

There are some things that aren’t covered in the usual analyses and on which Rabinovich picks up. The interesting questions these days are:

— Against the background of (at least in the perception of the average Syrian/Arab) Hamas having forced Israel out of Gaza and Hizballah having successfully thwarted an Israeli aggression, how long can Bashar postpone doing something about getting the Golan back until he gets problems with his own people? His current push for talks might be grounded in a fear that if he doesn’t do something tangible – either negotiations or violent action – then he is losing legitimacy.

— Are there groups within the Syrian regime that think that a guerilla war of attrition a la Gaza/South Lebanon could be a viable option for the Golan? If so, how strong are they?

— Is there any chance that secret talks are already happening? Seeing how SyriaComment has enthusiastically embraced “speculation based on unsubstantiated rumors” as a viable form of serious discussion, I would like to suggest that the strong stance by Olmert against any talks may be a smokescreen behind which there are already negotiations underway. Assad Jr.’s ongoing statements of “I’m ready, I’m ready, We’re willing to talk” might actually be a way to prepare the Syrian public for an upcoming revelation – after all, the Syrian regime will have to ‘sell’ a peace with the worst regime on the planet (i.e. “the Zionist enemy”) to its people.

Dear Josh,

I’m still waiting for your proof for your claim that the March 14 bloc in Lebanon has consipired together with Israel/USA/KSA/etc. against Hizballah and Syria. Did you post it somewhere else?

–MSK

December 29th, 2006, 6:31 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Responding to MSK and the usual diet of Arab denial:

“quite frankly, I don’t see how in the current constellation (Olmert as PM and the Bushites in power in DC) peace negotiations…”

That’s what they said about Menachem Begin.

“FIRST the “other side” (be it Syria or the Palestinians or Iran or whoever) has to end their support of whatever it is…”

“Whatever it is” is called terrorism. No government is stupid enough to enter negotiations with a country still supporting terrorism or “armed struggle” except the Israeli Leftists.

And if they do (as they did during the Oslo farce), terrorism increases and war becomes more likely.

“Of course, Israel and the US can afford this strategy of avoiding any negotiations with Syria for quite a while…”

What a pity! Actually, because freedom exists in Israel and not in Baathist Syria, there is more internal pressure in Israel to make peace then there is in Syria.

“… how long can Bashar postpone doing something about getting the Golan back until he gets problems with his own people?”

As long as terror supporters like MSK and Professor Josh are around. Baathist governments can do whatever they please to their own people; we already know that. Another Hama? Why not? Baathists survive well under the umbrella of violence. And as long as Bush is around, ME violence will be confronted.

Anybody here have a few remaining comments for Saddam Hussein before he hangs?

December 29th, 2006, 8:34 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Will Israel commit another Oslo?

“While Assad denies that he supports Hezbollah and Hamas, Specter said, when he asked the Syrian whether a peace agreement with Israel would affect his efforts to influence Hamas and Hezbollah, Assad’s response was positive.

Asked if he believed Assad’s statements on peace talks with Israel, the senator replied: “I don’t know. I cannot judge.” Israelis, he said, will have to decide that.”

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/807068.html

December 29th, 2006, 9:03 pm

 

Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

I especially enjoyed the Rabinovich article: informed, insightful and interesting all at the same time. However (as usual some will say…), I do have a few caveats, which does not however take away from the overall quality of the piece.
First, history tends of show, that notwithstanding Olmerts current comments to one and all, the USA, whether with Bush in the White House or not, is as a practical matter, unable to
‘veto’ talks between Tel Aviv and Damascus, if Tel Aviv, wishes to go ahead with the same. Does
anyone, who is the least familiar with the current
American political set-up (and by ‘current’ I refer to prior to November’s elections), imagine that if Olmert announces that he is meeting with Assad in Geneva, Cairo or Amman, that Bush will attempt to stop it from happening? How concretely? What would be the levers for doing so? Is Bush (or any other American President for that matter) going to cut off assistance to Tel Aviv, in order to prevent the same from talking peace with Syria? Aside from some neo-conservative voices, who do not means much in purely electoral terms, there would be no, I repeat no, constituency for such a move.
It would be, in practical terms impossible: neither Congress nor public opinion at large would tolerate such an attempted diktat.

It is all well and good, for Olmerts, et. al., to
claim that it is Washington that is stopping them
from talking to Syria, but, that is merely an excuse, pur et simple. If nothing else, the
Israeli State, has more often than not, never been
stopped from taking a step, diplomatically, militarily, et cetera, which it really thought
important for its own survival, or important period. If Tel Aviv, really believed that a deal with Syria over Damascus was doable, they would initiate talks first and tell Washington afterwards `a la Oslo, Ben Gurion’s talks with King Abdullah in 47/48, and Hussein later on. The same is true today.

Second, there are many very very good reasons for the Israelis to return Golan to Syria, in toto. Among which regional stability in the entire Levant being one of them. However, it would be
less than fruitful exercise, if one were to make the assumption that by returning Golan to Syria,
Israel will be able to (to use Professor Landis’
phrase) ‘flip’ Damascus. Id est, turn Syria away from its current alliance with Teheran. For reasons which I have already stated both here and, on my own site, it is very unlikely that Assad fils, will give up entirely his close ties with Persia. It is quite likely that he would, in the context of a general agreement with Israel, the USA, the Sunni Arab states in the region, France, re-balance his alliance with Teheran, to something less exclusive. I am sure that in a lot of ways he, and his circle would want to be much less dependent upon his Persian partners. However it is a complete non possumus to imagine, that he would ‘drop’, his alliance with Teheran completely. By doing so, it would mean that he would be completely at the mercy of his new-found ‘friends’. Most of whom, were a short while earlier, baying for his blood. Under the circumstances, only a complete idiot (which Assad fils, is not) would make such a complete turnabout. Nota Bene: there are also internal reasons why Assad would not want to be completely dependent upon the Sunni Arab States in the region. Id est, it would raise questions among both his integral supporters (Alawites, and to a lesser degree Shiites) and the Sunni majority.
The legitimacy of the regime, even with Golan in its pocket might very well be questioned and undermined as a result.

December 29th, 2006, 9:11 pm

 

Sami D said:

Akbar Palace said: “Whatever it is” is called terrorism. No government is stupid enough to enter negotiations with a country still supporting terrorism or “armed struggle” except the Israeli Leftists.

The assumed definition of “terrorism” here is the one set by Israel and the US: If others do it, it is “terrorism”, if we (US/Israel) do it, it is “counter” terrorism. Never mind the official definition of terrorism (violence/threat of, against civilians aimed at achieving a political goal), or that US/Israeli terror is manifold more deadly. For example Israel killed 29 times Palestinians as vice versa in 2006. Of course, the first is “counter terror” or “defensive”. The ratio of home demolition, road blocks, suffocating the other’s economy is infinite in favor of Israel .. I forgot: those are all counter terror too, like the saturation of Lebanese land with millions of anti-civilian cluster bomblets, or bombing Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in the latest Israeli campaign, just for the hell of it. Nor should we remember Israel’s support for South African Apartheid terror, or assistance to Mobutu’s terror, or central American death squads’ terror. These must all be counter terror…

December 29th, 2006, 9:20 pm

 

MSK said:

Dear site administrators,

what are the rules on calling someone “terror supporter” here?

Seeing how this is a moderated forum, I am wondering just what kind of moderation is happening.

AkbarPalace,

how could you possibly derive any idea of me supporting any kind of terror from what I’ve written? You have no idea who I am, or who anyone else here is – with the exception of Josh.

It seems like you don’t actually read what people write here, or if you do then you’ve already decided that anyone who isn’t going the Bush/Likud road is a “terror supporter”.

That’s very simplistic, and very stupid.

I do start to wonder – what exactly do you actually WANT here? You are not interested in any kind of actual conversation, you don’t seem to believe that you could convince people like Josh of your own points of view … so why bother? Are you full of yourself that you need to proclaim your views everywhere? What’s your agenda?

–MSK

December 29th, 2006, 10:02 pm

 

John Kilian said:

I concur with C.G.,PhD re: the US has no veto over Israel. The U.S. has always afforded Israel carte blanche, and the Isaraeli lobby in the US has a long track record of determining US policy with regard to Israel. Of course, the Israeli lobby in the US is very conservative, reflecting opinions of Benjamin Netanyahu, for instance.

The fact that Assad is helping to kill American GI’s should not be an impassible barrier to negotiation. Soldiers in a warzone are prone to take hostile fire. If Israel can put up with Assad giving aid to the killers of innocent civilians then I think the US can look past any assistance provided to the Iraqi insurgency.

At least they should. If diplomacy is not pursued then that leaves a military option, which has proven to be a highly risky move is recent times.

December 29th, 2006, 10:38 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

the rumor is that US is encouraging some group to assasinate Nouri Al Maliki

December 29th, 2006, 11:26 pm

 

ivanka said:

It is rumored that when Powell visited Assad before the Iraq war he asked him to send troops to Iraq, help disarm Hezballa and get rid of the Palestinian groups. Assad said this is against the will of the Syrian people and Powell told him “You are a dictator, you can do whatever you want”.

Itmar Rabinovich is infinitely more intelligent, he knows there is a public opinion in Arabic countries and that it changes over time and that it does put pressure on Arab dictators. Actually he has no racist prejudice about Arabs being submissive to their regimes.

December 30th, 2006, 12:08 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Dear MSK,

You stated:

“Olmert & his boys are of the same disposition as the Bushites: FIRST the “other side” (be it Syria or the Palestinians or Iran or whoever) has to end their support of whatever it is that they are charged to support (although it is by no means clear just how “ending of support for XYZ” would actually be measured) and THEN Israel/US are ready for any talks.”

As I stated before, the term you employed, “…support of whatever it is…” is disingenuous at best or just a complete denial of reality on your part. Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organizations, and by aiding and abetting these two organizations (and many more), Iran and SYRIA are supporters of terrorism.

So whether you like it or not, “whatever it is” is terrorism.

For your sake and that of Professor Josh, I hope the Baathist Boy Wonder won’t make the same mistake as Saddam.

December 30th, 2006, 1:11 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Just as he knows there is considerable public pressure in Syria for a closer relationship with the West and for a settlement with Israel, there is considerable public pressure in Saudi, Egypt and Jordan against closer relations with Israel and the US in order to fight what many Arabs still see as an American-Israeli agenda.”

G –

I see you take issue with Professor Josh’s comment. I do too. I wish their was some way to prove this, like a poll. But I wouldn’t believe any Syrian poll anyway. Maybe President-for-Life Bashar will initiate a vote, like they do in Palestine.

December 30th, 2006, 1:25 am

 
 

Gibran said:

Akbar,

Please see excellent article and comments at:

Waste Not Your Time

You may find answers to your questions.

December 30th, 2006, 2:07 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

t is not a coincidence,that Saddam was hanged on Saturday,a jewish holiday.

December 30th, 2006, 2:32 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Gibran –

Is that your blog? What a difference between this blog and the one which you linked to!

“…is not a coincidence,that Saddam was hanged on Saturday,a jewish holiday.”

majedkhaldoun,

A broken clock is right two times per day.

However, all the news networks here in the Zionist Controlled USA stated that the execution needed to be completed before “Eid” holiday.

Conspiracies abound!

December 30th, 2006, 4:25 am

 

Gibran said:

Akbar,

That is not my blog. It is a blog of one of the Syrian secular activists opposed to the regime.

December 30th, 2006, 4:45 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Akbar,
Wouldn’t be wiser for you to spend more time on “moderate” Arab regimes like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Egypt to enhance their already shining democracies so they can become leading neocon examples for us not-so-smart “terrorist” Syrians? Isn’t democracy and freedom after all contagious? Start with your friends first, dude.

December 30th, 2006, 5:05 am

 

Ehsani2 said:

Atassi,

Thank you for the link. The article pretty much confirms the anecdotal reports that I was already hearing and which I posted on the last thread.

I also see that some wise commentators on that same thread ridiculed my constant negative attitudes towards the economy.

Once one reads such childish commentary, it becomes abundantly clear that they are mentally incapable of grasping the issues at hand. Explaining to such individuals exclusive versus competitive bidding seems an utter waste of time.

Every time I talk about corruption at the highest level, all I hear is “everyone else does it”, so what is the problem?

Come to think of it, Mr. Makhlouf and company would be idiots if they slow down their wealth creation machine. Why would they do that if their own citizens see nothing wrong with it? To the contrary, they hail his genius and criticize us for pointing out the indefensible.

Set below is what our wise friend wrote about me:

“Hell, are they going to make money out of it? Yes. So?
To be frank with you, and while this may be below the belt, did any Syrian critic invest in any Syrian stock or buy shares in the public companies which have been operating and distributing dividends in Syria for years and years, and hence lend support to those enterprises? No. I do not think so. We rather invest in blue chips outside Syria, marvel at how smart our investment decisions are, but we are always ready to hand out advice to the government at every turn. Well, not to say that the miracles are being achieved, but they are not just sitting there skimming profits and pocketing it. That is how we are.”

Regrettably, this is the level of intelligence that we have to sink down to when it comes to a discussion on economic matters.

I have better things to do with my time

December 30th, 2006, 5:53 am

 

MSK said:

AkbarPalace,

I didn’t say that the Syrian regime doesn’t support terrorist groups. Of course they do. I also never said that I support the Syrian regime. FYI, I don’t.

I asked you to show how you can derive from what I wrote your claim that I am a “terror supporter”? Would you, then, also call Itamar Rabinovich a “terror supporter”? Or former heads of Mossad?

Your commentary on regional issues betrays your incomprehension of anything that goes beyond a simplistic Likudnik point of view. You and Gibran (interesting name, the original one is probably spinning in his grave) and G can applaud each other as much as you want here – unless you actually start to engage this blog’s writers and commenters in a conversation – you know, where you actually read what they write with an open mind – you might as well just leave. On that note – you haven’t answered my questions.

Ya MajedKhaldoun & Ivanka,

why don’t you two start your own “Latest rumors from the Middle East” blog? You’re wasting precious comment section space here.

–MSK

http://www.aqoul.com

December 30th, 2006, 10:57 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

this blog belong to Mr.Joshua Landis, not to MSK.

December 30th, 2006, 11:19 am

 

MSK said:

Ya Majed,

what except rumors are you contributing to this comment section?

Of course SyriaComment isn’t mine but Josh Landis’ blog. That doesn’t take anything away from the fact that your posting of rumors is a waste of space.

By the way, if you want a useful comment on Saddam’s execution, you might want to read Juan Cole’s article in salon.com – http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/12/30/saddam/

–MSK

http://www.aqoul.com

December 30th, 2006, 12:25 pm

 

youngSyria said:

Ehsani2,
everybody is aware of the economic situation of syria (most of the people commenting here are out of syria because of either economic or political reasons),but they say what they say because they cant do anything.

Syrian people morals are so down, we are just hoping for the best.so dont blame some one who sees nothing but a dark future of his country.he wont mind maklouf buying all the country , he just hopes that they will take care of their business which would offer job opportunities ets.

take for example Malaysia .. mahateer mohammed built this country. there GDP per capita is higher and all the other stuff you know much more about. In short there citizens live much better life than Syrian. that doesn’t mean the there is no corruption. In fact ,there are many companies owned by mahateer ,his sons and relatives.

my point is: its ok (in our hopeless case)if the regime is steeling the country > we hope while they are steeling they can do something with the money INSIDE THE COUNTRY.

from my limited knowledge and experience this is what I think .

December 30th, 2006, 1:18 pm

 

ausamaa said:

Ok, I am wrong and you are right.

But I loved that small one by YS:”(most of the people commenting here are out of syria because of either economic or political reasons)”. That is a revelation! As there are no Jordanians or Egyptians, or Lebanese or Turkish, Malaysian, Morrocan, Tunisian, or European soles living/working outside their own contries..!!!!? Right! That is your proof right there: The situation is very bad, actually horrible, in SYRIA.

And as I predicted a couple of days erlier; GIBRAN and AKBARPALCE have found each other. I can see them itching to get together at new year’s eve.

Let us just hope for the best..

December 30th, 2006, 3:18 pm

 

ivanka said:

Saddam’s execution has destroyed the chances of reconciliation in Iraq. It has also made the sectarian hatred so strong that it can now spread outside Iraq. I hope I am wrong but I think this execution can be the start of a regional war.

December 30th, 2006, 4:01 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

But, nevertheless, Ivanka, good riddance of such an rodent from the region. The problem is that there are plenty of them around – including Israel. May they all go down with the same humiliation and indignity.

December 30th, 2006, 4:48 pm

 
 

Alex said:

Ivanka I hope you are wrong!

But I will take the Vatican’s position on Saddam’s execution … it is also a crime. Maybe he deserved to die … but God decides on the timing, not humans.

If you are really going to punish those who took decisions that, directly or indirectly, caused the death of thousands, then let’s be honest: today there are many others to hang … Jeajea, Junblat, Aoun, Ariel Sharon …Syrian officers from the time of Hama, Muslim Brotherhood leaders who led the terrorism campaign in 1979-1981 … Americans and Israelis who started the unnecessary Lebanon and Iraq wars… Darfur …

There is a lot of evil in the world, and everyone justifies it. Saddam justified it to himself too I am sure … he probably said “this is the only way to rule Iraq and keep it from going into civil war and chaos .. Iraq was often ruled by brutal rulers”

Here is what I see in this execution

1) Another example of how the new and improved democratic Middle East (through Iraq’ example) is not something to be proud of. The trial was a joke… It reminds me of the other Legal process .. the Mehlis investigation. Both designed to reach a predetermined outcome. Thanks to this American administration, “democracy” became a scary concept in the Middle East, and now “trial” and “court” are also becoming suspicious words.

2) Killing Saddam will lead to hundreds, and more likely, thousands of additional killings that will be the result of the anger and insecurity that this execution of Saddam will generate for those Iraqis who felt that Saddam represented them.

So Saddam’s crimes were treated with a new small crime (hanging Saddam) that will lead to bigger crimes … the revenge and anger deaths that will follow the execution.

Unnecessary … just like the Iraq war.

December 30th, 2006, 5:39 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect said:

“But, nevertheless, Ivanka, good riddance of such an rodent from the region. The problem is that there are plenty of them around – including Israel. May they all go down with the same humiliation and indignity.”

Yes, Israel is a “rodent” just like Saddam, although I still can’t find the 300,000 dead Israelis (or Palestinians) in mass graves.

(and interestingly, no mention of Hama)

“Wouldn’t be wiser for you to spend more time on “moderate” Arab regimes like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Egypt to enhance their already shining democracies so they can become leading neocon examples for us not-so-smart “terrorist” Syrians? Isn’t democracy and freedom after all contagious? Start with your friends first, dude.”

Ford Prefect,

As I’ve said before, I’d rather first focus on the countries that export terrorism.

Then we can reflect on regimes who need an influx of democracy. The US is going to prioritize security matters first. Which makes sense to me. Maybe not to you.

December 30th, 2006, 5:41 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

MSK replies:

“I didn’t say that the Syrian regime doesn’t support terrorist groups. Of course they do. I also never said that I support the Syrian regime. FYI, I don’t.

I asked you to show how you can derive from what I wrote your claim that I am a “terror supporter”?”

I responded to you about your wording of what the Syrian and Palestinians need to do: “…end their support of whatever it is that they are charged to support…”

I reminded you that “whatever it is” is terrorism.

I guess you couldn’t bring yourself to use that “loaded” (and correct) term.

Responding to “Everything is the US and Israel fault” Alex:

“Americans and Israelis who started the unnecessary Lebanon and Iraq wars…”

The US didn’t start any war with Iraq. Saddam started it with his invasion of Kuwait and his disregard for UNSC 1441. Israel didn’t start the Lebanese Civil War.

Here is what I see in this execution

“Thanks to this American administration, “democracy” became a scary concept in the Middle East, and now “trial” and “court” are also becoming suspicious words.”

The ME only became scary when Bush conducted regime change. All the wars Hussein started and all the mass graves he created were not scary.

“Killing Saddam will lead to hundreds, and more likely, thousands of additional killings that will be the result of the anger and insecurity that this execution of Saddam will generate for those Iraqis who felt that Saddam represented them.”

Any killings conducted by Arabs and Muslims are the result of “anger” and “insecurity”. Subsequently, I suppose these will be some sort of “justifiable murders”?

“So Saddam’s crimes were treated with a new small crime (hanging Saddam) that will lead to bigger crimes … the revenge and anger deaths that will follow the execution.”

A “new small crime”? If Saddam wasn’t such a heinous murderer, your description almost reminds me of the death of Jesus.

“Unnecessary … just like the Iraq war.”

Never necessary except in the case of Zionist Crimes.

The poor Palestinians are mourning the death of their Savior, Saddam:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6219765.stm

December 30th, 2006, 6:03 pm

 

Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

Dear MSK,

As a Christian Minister, living in Canada [formerly for 7 years in the US], originally from Brazil, of Syrian descent (just for total disclosure, which seems to be an issue for you, despite your own annonimity) I agree completely with Akbar Palace.
Syria is indeed supporting terrorism, and the USA?Israeli position is also, CLEARLY, a terrorist one. Why would Syria enter in conversations with the US (which by the way, it is way less trustworthy than Israel itself) without getting first, or at least simultaneously what she wants?

Let’s take Saddam’s example: He was armed by the US, supported and financed by the US too. Now the US is hanging him. Why would you trust such a crying baby as Mr. Bush Jr.? He was all for the commission’s report until he saw what they were writing.

The American people re-elected him, for “security reasons” even knowing that under HIS watch the towers were attacked, the US soldier were being killed, both wars werent going well, Colin Power was lying at the UN, and so on. How stupider (if there is such a word in English) can it be?

Thanks to a pseudo-Christian group of wannabe theologians, 50 mil of “evangelicals” support unconditionally Israel, because they are told what to do, (and for their “salvation” sakes) not to try to use their brains, ever!

Why would Israel and the US would bother respecting any international agreed upon laws anyway?

What is left for an empoverished and weakened state as Syria to do? Do you expected Syrians, or the Hizbollah for that matter, to fight according to US?Israel’s terms? Hundreds of years before Israel existed, and Thousands before the US came to be Syria and Syrians were already doing politics and wars. They might be poor now, but they won’t ever reach the level of stupidity of most of the American people. They have seemingly franchised their right to think!!

As a person w/o a dog in this fight, I am willingly to be politically incorrect enough to let you know how the rest of the world thinks.

Just to finish, a quote from the movie Syriana:

“A country whose expanditure in defense is 50% of the world’s total expenditures in defense, has lost ALL of its credibility and persuasion power on other levels!”

Peace AND JUSTICE for all in this new year,

the Rev. Michel Nahas Filho

December 30th, 2006, 6:53 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar Palace,

Your problem here is that you are trying to find a suitable label for every commentator. No one here is a “terrorist sympathizer”, no one hates Jews, I am not “everything is the fault of the US and Israel”

Without turning this into an argument, please ask yourself this question: Why are you here?

I usually have a rule … if after three to five rounds of an argument, it does not look like anything constructive is coming out of it, then I drop it.

So what have you learned through the considerable time you invested in this blog? if you did not learn anything, how many friends did you make here? Did you make us, Syrian commentators here, like Israel and Israelis more by interacting with us?

December 30th, 2006, 6:56 pm

 

MSK said:

AkbarPalace,

I was too lazy to list all the claims of the Israeli and U.S. admins against the Syrian and Palestinian regimes & thus subsumed it under “to end their support of whatever it is that they are charged to support”. Also, the list keeps changing. So the Syrian gov’t and the PA is asked to “end their support for terrorism”. That’s too vague of a phrasing …

Is Hizballah still a “terrorist organization”? Which of its actions have been & continue to be “terrorism”? I can think of quite a lot in the past (but wouldn’t, for example, count the attacks on the U.S. & French compounds in ’83 among them) but am not so sure whether there were any in recent time. And no, shooting Katyushot at Galilee isn’t terrorism – that’s war. On that note, please note that Israel & Lebanon are at war & have been since 1948.

Clearly the general policy is that past (mis)deeds can be forgiven and forgotten – so that then would have to be applied equally to all. Personally, I’d prefer to have HA be forced to own up to its terrorist past, but then so would all other Lebanese factions have to do, as well as a whole number of Israeli politicians. For some reason I think that few of those in positions of power in the region would want to down THAT road …

I’m more than happy to talk about how to best go about the Syrian-Israeli peace process. We can talk about such issues as:

– If Syria has to end support for militant groups (terrorist or not) in Lebanon & Palestine (which for me is “Gaza+WestBank+EastJ’lem”) BEFORE the beginning of the talks, what does Israel have to do BEFORE the beginning of the talks, you know, as a goodwill gesture to show that it is serious about peace?

I am not being facetious here – this is how negotiations are done.

Syria (at the very minimum tacitly) supports terrorist groups. So does Israel. So do the U.S. So does everyone else.

It’s called Realpolitik. I’m very much for changing it. But I doubt that it can do selectively – with unqual yardsticks.

Btw, I’m still waiting for you apology for calling me a “terror supporter”.

And from the site administrators I am still expecting an explanation of what exactly the rules here are. If “anything goes”, then a number of us will have to reconsider if we want to keep participating.

–MSK

http://www.aqoul.com

December 30th, 2006, 7:21 pm

 

MSK said:

Dear Michel Filho,

I am not quite sure what exactly you’re trying to say or why you are adressing me. Most of your post is nonsensical or attacking a position that I never held. Maybe you mistook me for someone else.

I have no problem with anonymity. But that also implies that one cannot simply infer from a person’s comments here where that person is from, what s/he does, or – as in the case of AkbarPalace – who a “terror supporter” is.

I also have to say that I am a bit astounded by your a-historical and culturalist stance. For a Christian priest you’re quite low on the compassion level … And that just a few days after X-mas! 😉

–MSK

http://www.aqoul.com

December 30th, 2006, 7:29 pm

 

louai said:

هذا الكتاب كلف صاحبه فقدان حريته عشرات السنين داخل زنزانات نظام حافظ وبشار الأسد..

لم يكن أحد يعلم عنه أمراً ان كان ما زال حياً أو مات كحال عشرات آلاف سجناء الرأي أو اختلاف الرأي من أبناء سوريا ولبنان وفلسطين والأردن والعراق وكل من دخل سجون عائلة الأسد الأب والابن والشقيق والصهر.. تحت التعذيب.. أو القهر أو المرض أو الكبر..

ضابط استخبارات الجولان السوري المحتل منذ عام 1967 خليل مصطفى، وضع كتاب ((سقوط الجولان)) كاشفاً عبر يوميات موثقة أضاف إليها الكثير من آرائه بحرقة وطنية عالية الصوت والأنين والحسرة.. كيف سلم نظام البعث هذه البقعة الغالية من أرض الوطن للعدو الصهيوني خلال عدوان 1967، من أجل حماية النظام.. وهو المفرد السياسي الذي ما زال طاغياً في سلوك هذا النظام منذ ان كان وزير دفاعه الآمر الناهي فيه حافظ الأسد إلى ان أورثه لابنه بشار عام 2000.. النظام أهم من الوطن.. ومن أجل بقاء النظام فليذهب الوطن وأي بقعة فيه إلى الجحيم، وهل هناك جحيم أفظع من الاحتلال، خاصة إذا كان صهيونياً؟

كشف خليل مصطفى حقيقة تسليم حافظ الأسد الجولان لإسرائيل ساحباً كوزير للدفاع قطعاته العسكرية من أرض المعركة، معلناً سقوط القنيطرة قبل سقوطها فعلاً لإبعاد الجيش من أرض المعركة خوفاً من سقوط النظام، فيسقط الجولان بأكمله.. وما همّ.. المهم أن يبقى النظام.

يعتقل حافظ الأسد الضابط الوطني خليل مصطفى ويختفي هذا الضابط في غياهب سجونه لا يعلم أحد مصيره حتى عام 2005.

في هذا العام خرج مواطن لبناني من سجون سوريا حيث اعتقله نظام الأسد ضمن آلاف اللبنانيين والعرب الآخرين ظلماً وعدواناً.. استضافته قناة ((الجديد)) (N.T.V) اللبنانية شارحاً لها معاناته في سجون الأسد الأب والابن.. وتحدث عن رفاقه في أحد السجون فيكشف اسم الضابط خليل مصطفى.. صاحب كتاب ((سقوط الجولان)) الذي كان مضى على اعتقاله أكثر من 30 سنة اعتقد أهله وأصحابه وزملاؤه في الجيش انه قتل بسبب معلوماته الموثقة في هذا الكتاب.

خليل مصطفى ما زال حياً في سجون بشار الأسد فهو لم يخضع لأية محاكمة.. مثله مثل آلاف السوريين والعرب الآخرين.. وبعضهم يصادفه الحظ السعيد إذا عرف أهله انه معتقل بعد عشر أو عشرين سنة، وبعضهم من أصحاب الحظوظ السوداء يتسلم أهله جثته بعد سنين من البُعد والاختفاء، فيموت مريضاً أو تحت التعذيب أو الخرف المبكر..

خليل مصطفى ما زال حياً. كانت هذه بشرى سعيدة لأهله وزملائه.. أما الأهم فإن كتاب ((سقوط الجولان)).. ما زال شاهداً على سلوك نظام استبقاه العدو حياً ليمارس مهمته التي أوجد من أجلها وهي حماية إسرائيل من جبهة الجولان.. سلمها إياها عام 1967، وعقد صفقة معها عام 1974 يتم بموجبها إبقاء الجولان تحت امرة إسرائيل مقابل السماح له بالانقضاض على لبنان وفلسطين.

December 30th, 2006, 9:09 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex asks:

“Without turning this into an argument, please ask yourself this question: Why are you here?”

No argument Alex. I’m just here to provide you and this forum a different point of view. I like to pop in on different anti-Israel and anti-American forums to provide some balance and accuracy. Despite all the Professors and PHDs;)

I don’t expect anyone on this forum to change their point-of-view; however, perhaps a brainwashed Arab or Muslim here who was weaned on their own government-controlled media will, for the first time, experience a pro-Zionist opinion.

Variety is the spice of life.

“So what have you learned through the considerable time you invested in this blog?”

That Arab and Muslim hatred of Israel is hollow.

The minute a peace treaty is signed (Eygpt, Jordan), there’s nothing to complain about.

“Did you make us, Syrian commentators here, like Israel and Israelis more by interacting with us?”

I can’t undo what the Arab media has created. They are more rich and powerful than me. Although I do have one Syrian acquaintance, he tries very hard not to discuss politics even though he’s very pro-American. I suppose he never got over his father’s downfall from his Baathist overlords.

MSK clarifies:

“I was too lazy to list all the claims of the Israeli and U.S. admins against the Syrian and Palestinian regimes & thus subsumed it under “to end their support of whatever it is that they are charged to support”. Also, the list keeps changing. So the Syrian gov’t and the PA is asked to “end their support for terrorism”. That’s too vague of a phrasing …”

I understand. Sometimes I don’t have the time to get into details. And I don’t get paid writing words and opinions on this interesting forum.

So yes, requesting Syria and the Palestinians to end their support of terrorism is so utterly “vague”. Terrorism is soooo difficult to define.

I suppose we’ll need Madeline Albright and Yossi Beilin to hash out another “Oslo type” agreement to make sure everyone is on the same page.

“And no, shooting Katyushot at Galilee isn’t terrorism – that’s war”

Sorry to burst your bubble, but directing Katyushot at civilian population centers IS terrorism and a war crime. So is firing weaponry from among the civilian population.

December 30th, 2006, 9:15 pm

 

Charles G. Coutinho, Ph. D. said:

Dear Reverend Son [Filho=son in Portuguese],

As someone else has pointed out here, your remarks are quite interesting in their lack of compassion, not only at Christmas but at any time of year in fact…Same with his comments about his
fellow Protestants in the USA. I having as much
agreement with them, by the bye, as the good Reverend does. I do not feel the need to call them
names however.

I would only like to point out, putting on my historian’s cap on, that:

a) Contrary to infantile conspiracy theories, the
USA was not, repeat not, the late Mr. Hussein’s greatest or biggest backer. That role was reserved for both France and the USSR. In fact until Donald Rumsfeld famous trip to Baghdad in
1983, the USA did not even have an embassy in
Iraq, which broke off, relations with the USA in the aftermath of the Six Day war. Iraq being a leading member of what was then termed ‘the rejectionist front’. While the USA was definitely
allied with Hussein thereafter, it was hardly its
closest ally, Kuwait, France, USSR, Jordan all filled that role remarkably well.

b) Contrary to the good Reverend’s thinking there were no ‘Syrian’ people, circa ‘hundreds’ much less his ‘thousands’ of year ago (when nota bene:
any people living in the Levant would be speaking
Koene [demotic Greek], Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic [still spoken in some rural villages in Syria today] almost anything in fact, but Arabic, prior that is to 638 Anno Domini, and the conquest of the area. Of course until 1917 all of the Levant was under the thumb of the Ottoman Empire, and, it would appear that for most people living in Syria (if not however urban elites in Damascus,
Aleppo, et cetera) were quite fine with that state of affairs. As long that is, that the Empire remained remote and did not interfer with their everyday lives.

As per the execution of Hussein, as a Roman Catholic believer, I agree with the Holy Father, that the death penalty in such cases is not in the
least necessary or needed. A sin in fact. Which on
theological grounds (‘Just War’ theory) the whole
Iraq adventure is pretty much characterizable as the same: a sinful and immoral war.

December 30th, 2006, 9:46 pm

 

simohurtta said:

I don’t expect anyone on this forum to change their point-of-view; however, perhaps a brainwashed Arab or Muslim here who was weaned on their own government-controlled media will, for the first time, experience a pro-Zionist opinion.

Most Europeans and many Americans do not like what they see Israel doing in Middle East. It is not only the Arabs. The old Israeli Holocaust and anti-Semitism defence strategy is getting weaker day by day. Very few still believe in that weak Israel story.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but directing Katyushot at civilian population centers IS terrorism and a war crime. So is firing weaponry from among the civilian population.

Hmmm then Israel has made numerously more war crimes than Hamas and Hizbollah. Strangely Israel always calls those incidents when they kill civilians and UN soldiers as “mistakes”. How do you know Akbar if Hezbollah intended to target those Israeli military installations that locate in middle of civil settlements but they made an “Israeli” mistake in aiming.

If spreading millions of cluster bombs in the last hours of the war in settlements and agricultural areas is not a war crime, what is?

An occupier has to be prepared to face resistance, even some Israelis understand it. “I would have joined a terrorist organization.”
— Ehud Barak’s response to Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Ha’aretz newspaper, when Barak was asked what he would have done if he had been born a Palestinian.

Seems that Akbar and Israeli übermenschen have different “rules and moral” as we normal mortals.
“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”
— Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online

Let’s hope that in the year 2007 Israel makes it possible for Palestinians to end their long resistance. Going back to 1967 border would be best for Israel, Middle East and the world.

December 30th, 2006, 10:11 pm

 

Ehsani2 said:

“What is left for an empoverished and weakened state as Syria to do? Do you expected Syrians, or the Hizbollah for that matter, to fight according to US?Israel’s terms? Hundreds of years before Israel existed, and Thousands before the US came to be Syria and Syrians were already doing politics and wars. They might be poor now, but they won’t ever reach the level of stupidity of most of the American people. They have seemingly franchised their right to think!!”

This is what the Priest mentioned earlier.

Using this logic, so-called poor and impoverished nations have a carte-blanch and a license to use any means at their disposal in order to stand up and match their more powerful adversaries.
Our priest conveniently fails to explain why we are poor and impoverished. Instead, he effectively gives poor countries a free pass. If you need to stand up to stronger nations, you don’t have to play by their rules. After all, you are too poor to do so. You can resort to your own rules. Nothing is off limits to you given your poverty and your poor economic status. Using this logic, sub-Saharan African leaders ought to abide by no rules of international conduct. As for the stupidity of the American people, how do you explain the recent “thumping” that the Republican Party received at the mid-term elections? How do you also explain their dynamic economy and their leadership roles in science, education and the arts? Surely, for a priest that spent 7 years in the U.S., one would have expected more from you than a mere “Americans are stupid” comment. For the sake of your congregation, one wishes that your regular sermons were a little more intellectual than what you have portrayed here.

December 30th, 2006, 10:13 pm

 

DUBAI JAZZ said:

Just imagine if Iraq was in an entirely different situation after the fall of Saddam regime. Had the democratization plans of the US worked well and Iraq was indeed living in prosperity freedom and security, Saddam’s execution would have been an occasion for a real celebration.
But now that there is nothing in the streets of Baghdad except ethnic cleansing, mass kidnapping, mortar shooting and petulant American and Iraqi patrols, one cannot but mourn the death of Saddam.

December 30th, 2006, 10:51 pm

 

MSK said:

Dear all,

I keep forgetting to mention it but now I will:

Isn’t it kinda cool that the President of Tel Aviv University fused the name of Sayyid Qutb’s most famous book with THE classic Christian conversion tale to make up the title of an article about peace with Syria?

I had to smile when I first read the title and thought, “Itamar, you old fox!”

For the uninitiated, the book is “Ma’aalim fi l-Tariiq“. And the Christian story is that of Saulus becoming Paulus.

And for AkbarPalace & friends: I have absolutely no sympathy for any kind of culturalist political group, be they Islamist, Hinduist, Christianist, Zionist, Aryanist, Arabist, Syrianist, Phoenicianist, Mesopotamianist, etc. As a matter of fact, I spent the better part of my (as of yet rather short) life fighting those characters.

I still think that Itamar Rabinovich knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he came up with that title.

–MSK

http://www.aqoul.com

December 30th, 2006, 11:04 pm

 

Ahmad said:

All comment here (some way some how) admit that Bashar is a loser.

December 31st, 2006, 3:39 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

“…one cannot but mourn the death of Saddam…”

Mourn the death of Saddam?? Go right ahead.

I mourn the death of innocent Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Israelis, Jordanians, Spainish, British, Americans, etc. who are the cannon fodder of Islamic extremists and those that support them.

December 31st, 2006, 5:29 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Let’s hope that in the year 2007 Israel makes it possible for Palestinians to end their long resistance. Going back to 1967 border would be best for Israel, Middle East and the world.”

Israel already offered the Palestinians peace (with Arafat) and got war in return.

But the times have changed. Instead of a political party (Fatah) which claims to recognize Israel (while allowing attacks against her), the current poltical party (Hamas) does not recognize Israel at all (while continuing to attack her, of course).

It has been some time now that Israel removed herself from Lebanon and Gaza (except when the residents there decide to go Joo hunting).

So I’m afraid 2007 will be a year to look at the Lebanese, the Syrians, the Iranian and the Palestinians.

And depending on what they do, depends on whether or not the Islamist death wish will continue.

Anyway, Israelis could learn a thing or two from Lebanese-American, Joe Farah…

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53560

December 31st, 2006, 5:49 am

 

youngSyria said:

all i have to say is WOW… that was so fast….
Saddam’s execution vedio leaked

December 31st, 2006, 5:56 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Lebanese-American Joe Farah is offering something worth reading, with a link, on this blog? A guy who has words like “so-called Palastinians”? Give us a break, Akbar, please. Provide something worth reading, at least.

December 31st, 2006, 3:40 pm

 

Habib said:

Hello all,

Here’s to some stereotyping.
Iraqi’s are really bloody. Someone always has to die.

Syrians are a bit more pragmatic, I can’t believe they would be as ruthless.

Akbar Palace is a paid blogger. Notice how he recounts others’ quotes, as though he was documenting views for some paylord. By countering only views and not providing your own, you offer only pathological and idealogical assertions. Your comments are so damn dry in the mouth.

It seems Israeli’s are losing influence in the state of regional affairs, relegated to the blogosphere. Bark Bark.

Peace on this new year

December 31st, 2006, 4:05 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect,

So sorry you don’t like phrases like “so called Palestinians”.

Big deal. I’ve read vile anti-semitism on this website. I’m not crying.

In any case, the PA and the Palestinians still do not not have full membership to the UN you know. And the way things are going, they may never attain it.

I suggest the Palestinians get off the rejectionist path and start building what is left of their country.

Habib said:

“Akbar Palace is a paid blogger.”

I don’t get paid. I wish I did. Anyway, glad to meet you.

December 31st, 2006, 5:00 pm

 

simohurtta said:

Considering the skills Pentagon has shown in ruling Iraq and the news of counter attacks in internet there is a slight “possibility” that Akbar Palace is a paid “commentator”. Akbar’s complete lack of knowledge of the world outside Disneyland and level of argumentation which is limited in repeating a couple of slogans however contradicts that theory. Not even Pentagon can be so desperate to hire such idiots. Or are they?

Happy new year however Akbar. Maybe you should send your CV to Pentagon. By adding you to their Middle East strategy planing group only lifts the average IQ of that group.

December 31st, 2006, 8:32 pm

 

Ahmad said:

To Habib

Who is going to pay me or pay anyone if we are against Bashar?

Do you know that I am 52 years old and this is my first year that I can express my feeling about the Asad regime without any fears from my Government.
And I can only write a few blogs over the internet…..
so before you accuse people just think…
Think, that I have the right to feel shame that Bashar is the one that is making all the trouble around the Middle-east, and the only thing he cares about is to survive at any price.

So don’t accuse people that they are getting paid to add some comments on a blog.
because that will not change or play with people mind.

What is make difference is people like Joshua Landis who did blogs just to support Bashar.
And I think that people who are improtant and can make dicision they read what Joshua saying, and they don’t read some onone people comment.
So you could accuse Joshua that he is the one that got paid but not us.

Finally, I wish one day we can express our feelings without any fear from the Asad regime.

December 31st, 2006, 8:32 pm

 
 

norman said:

Israel should rush to have peace with Syria ,time is running out,

Syria poised to assert itself
By Seth Wikas
Originally published December 28, 2006
Hafez el Assad, the father of Syrian President Bashar Assad, established Syria’s primacy in the Levant and transformed a country ravaged by nearly 30 coups in 24 years into a country led by one leader for nearly 30.

The elder Assad made sure that Syria manipulated events in the Middle East, and not the other way around. Seeking greater influence outside his borders, he succeeded in bringing Lebanon under his heel and made Syria a main patron of the Palestinian cause. Intervention in the latter became so pronounced that Patrick Seale, Hafez el Assad’s biographer, remarked that Mr. Assad believed “the Palestinian problem was too important to be left to the Palestinians.”

Although Bashar Assad does not possess the same state-building skills as his father, the American quagmire in Iraq, Syria’s strong ties to rising power Iran and Damascus’ support of Palestinian terrorist groups have all recently converged to offer Mr. Assad his first real opportunity to manipulate Middle Eastern affairs on a grand scale.

With Washington and Jerusalem shutting their doors to dialogue, Mr. Assad is forging his own way ahead in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The United States and Israel think Syria will be a regional “spoiler,” but neither country is offering enough or threatening enough to make Syria a “helper.” Instead, they continue to offer little more than tough talk.

Over the past few weeks, Syria has woken up to its two most pressing problems: the continuing deluge of Iraqi refugees and a dire economic crisis. While President Bush has refused to answer any telephone calls from the Presidential Palace in Damascus, Syria has gone ahead and reopened its embassy in Baghdad and begun a series of bilateral agreements with Iraq on migration and border control. Syria’s resources to deal with its 800,000 (and growing) Iraqi refugees are stretched to the breaking point, and this problem is more important for it to address than the international community’s wish that Syria stop the 150 foreign fighters who cross each month into Iraq from Syria’s eastern border.

Syria is also keen on stabilizing this border in order to restart the Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline. In the 1990s, oil discoveries in eastern Syria fueled Syria’s economy, accounting for more than 50 percent of exports. No new major oil discoveries have been made in the past 10 years, but Syria has continued its dependence on oil income. From 2000 until the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Syria illegally imported discounted crude from Iraq for its domestic needs, while exporting its own oil on the international market. By 2009, Syria could become a net importer of oil. With oil production decreasing and an economy slow to reform, the country is headed for an economic crisis.

Saving Syria, of course, is Iran, which has invested many millions of dollars in the country. This financial assistance and Iran’s growing influence in the Gulf have changed a previously balanced relationship to more of a patron-client arrangement.

Syrian-Iranian ties have also changed Syria’s sphere of influence in Lebanon. While Hezbollah vies for greater influence in government, and the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri drags on, it is unclear whether Syria will regain the supreme hegemony it once had in Lebanon unless the Lebanese government buckles under the pressure of Hezbollah, which is unlikely.

What is clear is that Syria still plays a dominant role in Palestinian politics. With Hamas leader Khaled Meshal ensconced in Damascus, Mr. Assad is a welcoming host, allowing his guest to be the main arbiter in the formation of any viable Palestinian government. This is most crucial for the future role Syria can play on the Israeli-Palestinian front. Although Syrian influence in Lebanon may never be what it once was, Damascus – with its influence over Hamas and Hezbollah – continues to be the key to the settlement of a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors and the formation of a Palestinian state. Mr. Assad has indicated a willingness to conduct peace negotiations with Israel without preconditions, but the full return of the Golan Heights has been and always will be the price of Israeli-Syrian peace. At this point, such a return seems unlikely as Syria talks about both peace and war while Israel issues more construction permits in the Golan.

Like any other country, Syria does what is in its best interests. The crisis in Iraq affords Syria the opportunity to lurch forward in dealing with its economic and refugee problems, and it will use this progress as leverage against other states. While it vigorously protects key Palestinian leaders, Damascus’ strong ties with Iran insulate Syria from Israeli military action. Without official Israeli or American interest in engagement, Syria continues to solidify an axis that grows increasingly impenetrable.

Mr. Assad’s father would be proud.

Seth Wikas is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His e-mail is swikas@washingtoninstitute.org.

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January 1st, 2007, 2:54 am

 

LOUAI said:

Most Arab countries are now aware that Israel’s policy in the Arab region is no longer a threat to the Arab national security. In fact, Iran’s policies and its regional plans represent the real danger even though the Arab people, the fundamentalist parties, the nationalists and the Syrian regime define danger in another traditional way; Israel is the only danger for the Arab security and stability. The Syrian regime has profited from this definition since it is using it as a pretext to cover-up the major role that Damascus plays, despite the Syrian’s will, to ease the Iranian spread in many countries like Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.

First of all, enemies’ qualities always change with time as friends’ ones do. While studying the criteria of the real danger threatening the stability and security of the Arab region, we have found out that Israel does not benefit from financial and human capacities to spread its hegemony, for a long term period, on some regions of an Arab country. As a result, Israel has retreated its troops from the occupied territories after a short period; a measure embodied in the high strategies of countries aiming at expansion as Israel did in the West Bank, South of Lebanon and Sina’. However, Iran has acquired human and financial resources as well as an ideology that allows it to extend its hegemony on the Middle East for long periods, through using all local Arab puppets.

Since the fifties, Israel has adopted the policy of occupying Arab territories to use them in negotiating the peace process. As for Iran, it has never been in a war-peace rapport with Arab countries. Therefore, Iran has refused to negotiate with the Arab Emirates on the three islands that it occupied in 1971 or to submit the case to the International Court of Justice since Iran has occupied these islands in order to keep them. The same goes to its military base established by the Hezbollah in South Lebanon while Iran refused any discussions for this base was said to be created to protect the Shiite’s rights.

In order to point out the regression of the Israeli danger facing the Iranian one, this is a list of the divergences between the two plans:
1- The Israeli danger was and still is preventive even though this reality annoys the Arabs whereas the Iranian danger is regional; it uses the so-called Arab puppets and is likely to become military and offensive later on.
2- If we consider the nature of both the Iranian and Israeli regimes, Israel has been handling carefully the International pressure and the public opinion since its reputation is built on democracy and its will to live in peace with its neighbours. Moreover, Israel usually undertakes a preventive operation, from time to time, to occupy Arab territories in a region where Medias always report that the Arabs will is to destroy Israel.
However, the Iranian religious regime has a “narrative” nature that allows it to ignore the international public opinion and stances as well as to be indifferent towards the external pressure, whether these were diplomatic or commercial. We have witnessed how the Iranian regime has transformed its conflicts with the International community into a tool of popular escalation inside Iran and the Islamic nations to serve its regional plans and its rebellious stands towards the UN principles and laws regarding the Human rights and those related to the nuclear weapons.

The course of the conflict that has shaken the region in 2007 will become clearer in the wake of the emergence of the Iranian danger in the Middle East. The European Union will be given a bigger role to play whereas the US role will be limited since the United States have failed to protect the Iraqis from the bloody Iranian- Syrian interference. As for Moscow and Beijing, their role will be set by the Arab diplomacy, while they are still resorting to the old Cold War methods in approaching or avoiding the coming conflict. As for the Russians, many analysts, and they are right, consider that Moscow is happy that Iran is preoccupied by the Middle East region instead of turning its attention towards the Asian Islamic countries of the ex-Soviet Union. The neutral stances of Moscow and Beijing are due to the Iranian behaviour. Iran has substituted the classical military colonisation by a new one based on the political influence through loyalists brandishing Iranian arms and raising Iranian clerics photos alongside with their country’s flags.

Despite the dimensions of the Middle East conflict in the next stage, we shall not expect the coming out of a coalition or a secret understanding between the moderated Arab countries and Israel to encounter the Iranian expansion supported by many Arab puppets. Such coalition requires good intentions from both sides as well as common standards to define the danger, strong institutions and a culture change done by the two old enemies (Arabs and Israel). Despite all these factors, moderated Arab countries know perfectly well that Israel has the ability to destroy Iran and to prevent its leaders from pursuing their plans in order to expand the Iranian influence to all Israel’s neighbours (Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and the calm Syrian borders). As for the big Arab countries, they can stop the Iranian puppets within the Arab environment by cutting the head of the Iranian lance represented by well-known Arab parties. Any delay in achieving such a target will have negative repercussions on these countries since the Iranian interference is spreading really quickly within the Arab region. Any delay will make the prevention more difficult.

Another factor makes any Arab-Israeli agreement almost impossible since the Israeli Cabinet is adopting an opportunist stance towards the aftermath of the Iranian expansion in the Arab region. This stance was revealed in the statements of close sources to the Secretary of State Tsiby Levny who considered that the coming back of the Syrian hegemony over Lebanon will calm down the situation in the north Israeli border.

Israeli officials do not give any future strategic view to the Iranian influence for it won’t be political and military but will be religious fighting the singular modernity aspects in the Arab societies. For that reason, the Islamic Sunnite movements have joined their forces to Tehran and have volunteered to become its puppets against Arabs who are scared of the expansion of the Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Therefore, Arabs should rely on themselves to fight the Iranian strategy related to the Middle East. The Arab political parties must understand that the Iranian danger has become closer to the Middle East and is conservative and venomous. Israel won’t inevitably be one of Iran’s victims, unless for the unaware Arabs since the Iranian citizen consider his country as the centre of the universe as a CNN reporter perfectly described it. This belief makes millions of Iranian at the service of their inflexible leader’s policies. The latter openly talked about the right of Iran to have an influence that is adequate to its financial and human capacities over the widest geographic area. If Israel possesses the suitable prevention army to protect itself, Tehran won’t sacrifice its expending national dreams by threatening Israel security, at least for the time being.

The reader might object by saying: the Iranian missiles have hit Israel last July!

This is a reality with three faces: first, the Israeli bombing didn’t reach any civilians in Tehran. Second, the Israeli army wanted to reinforce the UNIFIL forces in the regions from which they have withdrew and therefore were exempted from high expenses in case they have stayed longer in the south. Third, the Iranian katyoucha were headed against Lebanon after the cease-fire helping the Hezbollah, in the name of its destructive power, to overcome the Lebanese majority that expelled the Syrians during the 2005 revolution.
Finally, as for the Arab countries’ sovereignty and internal security, the successful leader is the one who enjoys all officers’ qualities, the one who determine the danger sources then destroy those which are the nearest to his defensive lines.

January 1st, 2007, 9:08 am

 

LOUAI said:

على الرغم من أن عودة الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية عمرو موسى إلى بيروت مرجحة بعد نحو عشرة ايام، إلا أن الوقائع اللبنانية لا تسمح باستشراف وصول الأزمة الراهنة إلى حل في المدى الزمني المنظور، لا بل ثمة قيادات تجيد قراءة المستقبل على غرار رئيس “اللقاء الديموقراطي” النائب وليد جنبلاط، تعتقد انه لا بد من الصمود حتى آخر حزيران المقبل، على الاقل.
وتؤسس هذه القراءة لانتظارات العام 2007 نفسها على معطيات يبدو أنها ترسخت في الأذهان، متجاوزة كل المعطيات المحلية التي تؤكد أن المنتشرين على الأرض يكادون يصبحون على الأرض.
نصر الله وبري وعون
وفي ذهن هؤلاء أن تحطيم الامين العام لـ”حزب الله” السيد حسن نصر الله لهالته العربية بيديه، وفقدان رئيس “حزب التيار الوطني الحر” مكانته المتقدمة في الوجدان المسيحي بأفعاله، وخسارة رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري لموقع المرجعية الوطنية بتحزبه، يستحيل أن يعدّل في مسار الأزمة، لأن سبب ما يحصل في لبنان حاليا لا صلة له على الاطلاق بتطلعات هؤلاء، بل هو محصور بإرادة المحور الايراني ـ السوري.
وهم يؤكدون أنهم بعد استطلاع الحقائق من أكثر من مرجع عليم بالخفايا، تيقّنوا من الآتي:
أولاً، أن السيد حسن نصر الله، في حقيقة الأمر، لا يملك قراره بل إنه، بتكليف مباشر من مرشد الثورة الاسلامية في إيران السيد علي خامنئي، مرتبط ارتباطا تبعيا بإرادة القيادة السورية، وهذا ما سبق وألمح اليه جنبلاط، مرارا وتكرارا، عندما أجرى الفوارق بين السيد نصرالله من جهة وبين الزعيم العربي جمال عبد الناصر من جهة أخرى، بحيث أكد ان نصر الله هو بمثابة ضابط رفيع في “حرس الثورة” وتاليا فهو مجرد تابع ينفذ الأوامر العليا ولا يتكفّل بصناعتها، في حين ان عبد الناصر كان “يعمل عند نفسه”.
ثانياً، أن الرئيس نبيه بري حاول ان يستفيد من هامش الاستقلالية المتوافر له، بفعل موقعه الدستوري، ليحل الأزمة التي كان يترقبها بالتي هي أحسن، ولكنه سرعان ما اضطر الى “الاستقالة” والانضواء كليا في إطار التحالف السياسي الذي ينتمي إليه، محلياً وإقليمياً.
ثالثاً، أن العماد ميشال عون الذي هدّم الجسور الضعيفة التي كانت تربطه بقوى الرابع عشر من آذار، ارتمى كليا في حضن “حزب الله”، علّ ذلك يسمح بوصوله الى رئاسة الجمهورية، الأمر الذي حوّله إلى تابع حقيقي.
الأسد وحائط موسى
وتأسيساً على هذه القراءة للشخصيات الرئيسة في “معركة الأزمة”، يتوقف قارئو انتظارات العام 2007 عند إرادة الآمر بالنزول إلى زواريب بيروت، فيؤكدون أن الرئيس السوري بشّار الأسد أبلغ تابعيه اللبنانيين موقفه النهائي: “إسمعوني جيّداً، أنا لا أريد أن أسمع بالمحكمة الدولية بعد اليوم”.
ولأن موقف الأسد هو كذلك، فإن تحرك عمرو موسى السابق اصطدم بالحائط المسدود، وتحركه المقبل سوف يصطدم بالحائط المسدود أيضاً.
وفي هذا السياق، يروي رئيس مجلس الوزراء فؤاد السنيورة أنه أبلغ موسى، عند الاتفاق على سلّة الحلول، أنه سوف يوقع على مرسوم توسيع الحكومة الحالية فور سماعه مطرقة الرئيس بري تعلن افتتاح الجلسة النيابية الرامية الى التصديق على اتفاقية تشكيل المحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي، ولكنه فوجئ بأن المطلوب توسيع الحكومة وفقدان الأكثرية للثلثين في مجلس الوزراء، قبل اتخاذ القرار، ليس بإحالة ملف المحكمة على المجلس النيابي، بل قبل إعادة هذا الملف مجددا إلى رئيس الجمهورية ليقرر هو إن كان سيحيله على مجلس الوزراء.
رهانات دمشقية وانتظارات “الشارع”
إذا لا حل في الافق، بل مثابرة في وضعية الأزمة.
ولكن ماذا تحقق “حركة الاول من كانون الاول” من ذلك؟
في ذهن هذه الحركة خمسة أمور وهي:
1 ـ أسر وضع اللبنانيين الاقتصادي والمعيشي، مما يضطر الأكثرية إلى الدخول في عملية مقايضة، بحيث تتم التضحية بالمحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي لمصلحة إنعاش الواقع اللبناني، على اعتبار ان ارتباط الأكثرية بمصالح الناس هو ارتباط وجودي.
2 ـ ستبقى الأكثرية حتى إجراء الانتخابات النيابية الجديدة، مسؤولة بشكل كامل عن الملف الاقتصادي، وسوف تجد نفسها في وضعية معقدة للغاية إن لم تتمكن من توفير الظروف لعقد مؤتمر باريس ـ 3 وإنجاحه، ولذلك فإن مناعتها بالصمود سوف تتدنى وتسلّم بوجوب “نسيان المحكمة الدولية”.
3 ـ إن الدول العربية، ولا سيما المملكة العربية السعودية، سوف تطبع علاقتها بسوريا في المدى القريب، على اعتبار ان سوريا في آذار المقبل سوف تتسلم رئاسة الجامعة العربية بعد استضافتها، وفق التسلسل الأبجدي المعمول به، للقمة العربية وهذا يعني تاليا أنه يستحيل دعم الحكومة اللبنانية في مسعاها لتشكيل محكمة دولية هدفها محاكمة جهاز الامن التابع للدولة المسترئسة، مما سوف يحدث انقلابات في الموقف العربي لمصلحة النظام السوري!
4 ـ إن الادارة الاميركية مضطرة الى الانفتاح على سوريا لتنقذ نفسها من الورطة العراقية، وفق توصيات لجنة بيكر ـ هاميلتون، ولكنها بحاجة إلى تمهيد داخلي ودولي لذلك، مما سوف يعين دمشق على تجاوز قطوع المحكمة الدولية إذا تمكنت من كسب الوقت، من خلال تعطيل الآلية الدستورية في لبنان.
5 ـ إن التخاطب العلني بين القيادة السورية من جهة وبين القيادة الاسرائيلية من جهة اخرى، سوف يقوّي الطرف الاسرائيلي الذي لا يزال يحمي النظام السوري، الأمر الذي من شأنه التمهيد لدخول اسرائيلي حاسم على الخط الاميركي من أجل تقديم المصالح السورية على المصالح اللبنانية، بالتراجع عن الدفع في اتجاه تشكيل المحكمة.
العلاج الجنبلاطي ووصفة الأكثرية
ولأن “حركة الاول من كانون الاول” تستند الى هذه المعطيات في نظرتها الى المستقبل، فإن خروجها من الشارع في المدى المنظور مستحيل كما قبولها بسلة التنازلات “المضبوطة جداً” للأكثرية.
ولكن ماذا في حَعْبة الأكثرية؟
حتى الساعة، وصفة واحدة تتردد على كل الألسنة: استراتيجية الصمود.
ثمة وصفة جديدة تتحضر في الكواليس: خليط من استراتيجية الصمود ومن استراتيجية القضم.
والوصفة الأخيرة، بدأ وليد جنبلاط باتباعها. كانت انطلاقتها بإفهام الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد أن القيادات اللبنانية لا تخشى من استراتيجة القتل التي يمعن في اعتمادها في لبنان، على اعتبار ان البديل الطبيعي للاحتكام الى العدالة هو الاحتكام الى الاندفاعات الشخصية التي من شأنها ان تخلق “نوّافاً” ما ينتقم من الاسد كما انتقم نواف الغزالي في البرازيل من الرئيس السوري أديب الشيشكلي. يخطئ من يعتقد ان جنبلاط، وبفعل الحملة التي ينظمها عليه أتباع النظام السوري سوف يتراجع عن موقفه، بل هو سوف يطوّره في اتجاه المناداة بحق اللبنانيين في إقامة نوع من أنواع توازن الرعب مع قاتلهم (لننتظر ما سوف يقوله الليلة على “قناة العربية” مع الزميلة جيزيل خوري) .
طبعا المسألة لن تقتصر عند هذا الحد في المواجهة اللبنانية، بل سوف تتخطاها الى مسائل عملية ومن أبرز ملامحها:
أوّلاً، الاصرار على عقد مؤتمر باريس ـ3 أياً كانت الظروف السياسية الداخلية، وسط استعدادات غير مسبوقة لتدعيم الاقتصاد اللبناني، للصمود في فترة الأزمة ومن ثم للانقاذ في فترة انتهاء الأزمة، مما يعني ان باريس ـ 3 الذي أنتجه باريس ـ 2 الذي اغتالته الأطراف السياسية نفسها، سوف يولد باريس ـ4.
ثانياً، الإصرار على محاكمة إميل لحود بجرم خرق الدستور، وفق أحكام قانون محاكمة الرؤساء والوزراء الصادر في تشرين أول 1990. العريضة جرى تقديمها، أمس، مستوفية الشروط الشكلية. مجلس النواب لا بد من أن ينعقد للتدقيق في هذه العريضة. لجنة التحقيق سوف تتشكل لان الغالبية المطلوبة لذلك متوافرة وهي الأغلبية المطلقة من عدد النواب. بعد توثيق في الوقائع والقانون للخرق الدستوري واستجواب لحود، فليواجه نواب “حركة الاول من كانون الاول” الرأي العام ويقدمون الحماية للحود من المحاكمة التي تحتاج للانطلاق الى غالبية الثلثين.
ثالثاً، إرسال العريضة النيابية التي وقعها سبعون نائبا لاقرار المحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي الى مجلس الأمن، مرفقة بدراسة قانونية ودستورية تبيّن كيف أقدمت الاقلية النيابية في وطن ديموقراطي بانقلاب غير ديموقراطي على إسقاط السيادة عن أعمال مجلس النواب، وحينها سوف يندم بشار الأسد على تلك الساعة التي رفض فيها محكمة مختلطة ليواجه محكمة تحت الفصل السابع. لن تكون موسكو في معونته، فهي نصحته بالسير في المحكمة بعدما شذبتها من “إمكانية الوصول الى رأسه”، كما لن يجد حليفا عربيا، لأن الجميع دعاه إلى ألا يحمي بعض ضباطه بتكسير لبنان، ولكنه لم يرتدع. و”ثوار لبنان” لن يستطيعوا إقناع أحد أنهم فعلوا ما فعلوه من تلقاء أنفسهم، لأن الحقيقة الكاملة أصبحت بعهدة عمرو موسى. ولا مخاوف لدى أي كان من إمكان الاحتكام إلى الفصل السابع، لأن الحكومة الحالية تكاد تبح صوتها ناصحة بالسير في المحكمة بطبيعتها الحالية، ووزير العدل شارل رزق لا يكل عن التحذير والتنبيه والشرح. وليس بين قوى الأكثرية من يتوهم ان الاغتيال سوف تزداد وتيرته مع التصديق على المحكمة الدولية بهذه الطريقة، لأن الجميع مؤمن ان سوريا قررت الانتصار على السياديين اللبنانيين بتصفيتهم، وهي على هذه الدرب تسير بمحكمة او من دون محكمة.
ومع ذلك، ثمة نقطة ضعف واحدة في استراتيجية الأكثرية تتمثل في اسرائيل التي تقدم، يوما بعد يوم، ما يكفي من أدلة على انها لن تتخلى عن بشار الأسد الذي لا يخجل من شتم القادة العرب والتمرغ على أبوابها.

January 1st, 2007, 9:29 am

 

Ehsani2 said:

They telephoned officials of the marjaiya, the supreme religious body in Iraqi Shiism, composed of ayatollahs in the holy city of Najaf. The ayatollahs approved.

When A Prime Minister has to call the ayatollahs
before making a final decision, You know that this country is finished!

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/world/middleeast/01iraq.html?hp&ex=1167714000&en=85dae91ed8178e3a&ei=5094&partner=homepage

“Governing a country should not be done by reflexes,” Mr. Makki said. “It should be wisdom first. A panoramic view.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/world/middleeast/01sunnis.html?pagewanted=1

January 1st, 2007, 11:51 am

 

Alex said:

“Either it’s terrible incompetence or it’s an act of revenge — a vendetta,” said Adnan Pachachi, a respected Sunni whose political career began long before Mr. Hussein took power. “That was the impression people had.”

And that impression of “terrible incompetence” is what I still have since the first day Baghdad fell to the American Army and the unguarded Baghdad museum was emptied of its priceless contents….

They did not care to think about protecting the Baghdad museum, since then I knew what to expect.

January 1st, 2007, 4:36 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ahmad –

Thank you for your kind words. I agree with you 100%. My hope is for peace everywhere in the Middle East. And there is NO REASON why this can not happen with a Jewish State.

It’s that simple.

I would one day like to visit a number of Arab countries and learn about their culture and see their magnificient cultural sites. I would hope Arabs could one day feel the same way about Israel.

LOUAI –

Your analysis above was excellent!

January 1st, 2007, 5:13 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar Palace

That’s a great start for 2007!

I hope you maintain this politically correct and freindly tone as you continue to challenge your Syrian friends here with views from Israel’s side… without the confrontational tone.

January 1st, 2007, 5:22 pm

 

Habib said:

I would say Akbar’s place is disrupting conversation, not contributing.

Its hard to speak with someone yelling in your ear.

Check out standwithus.com and view the mass disinformation for yourselves.

They are an army and we are few, yet brave of heart.

January 1st, 2007, 5:41 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

I’ll try. It’s an emotional issue;)

BTW – I invite all here to observe and even participate on the following website:

http://www.salam-shalom.net/salam-shalom/salamforum1.html

(a website sponsored by a European NGO for promoting peace between Israel and her neighbors.

January 1st, 2007, 5:55 pm

 

LOUAI said:

علم المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان من مصادر موثوقة في لجنة اللاجئين السياسيين السوريين في العراق ان مسلحين من فرق الموت اختطفوا في 21/12/2006 ثمانية مواطنيين سوريين من شارع حيفا في بغداد ثم اغتالوهم وقد وصلت جثامينهم الى مركز الطب الشرعي في بغداد الذي رفض تسليمها الى ذويهم رغم وجودها هناك منذ عدة ايام

والمواطنين هم – اللواء أحمد عبد القادر ترمانيني-خضر حسن الجبوري – عبدالله كركب المرسومي-كركب المرسومي- ابراهيم جدوع المرسومي- خلف عليوي-خضر حمد الحسن-علي ناصر

والجدير بالذكر انه تم تهجير 50 عائلة سورية من اللاجئين السياسيين من شارع حيفا في بغداد الى كردستان العراق ومنهم من دخل الاراضي التركية

ان المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان يحمل النظام السوري مسؤولية ما حصل لمواطنيه في العراق فقد رفض الاستجابة لكافة المناشدات التي طالبته بإصدار عفو عن السوريين اللاجئين في العراق الأمر الذي تسبب في مقتل العشرات منهم وسجن ما يزيد عن سبعين تعرضوا للتعذيب في مراكز احتجاز مختلفة

وبعد ان بلغت حالة السوريين في العراق مرحلة حرجة وخطرة تهدد بفنائهم جميعا وبعد رفض جهات في السلطة السورية الوفاء بوعودها اتجاههم والسماح لهم بالعودة دون قيد او شرط يطالب المرصد الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد سرعة المبادرة بالسماح بعودتهم إلى أرض الوطن دون قيد او شرط كما نطالب بالوقت ذاته المفوضية السامية لشؤون اللاجئين أن تقوم بواجباتها الأخلاقية والقانونية اتجاه هؤلاء وغيرهم من المتواجدين في مناطق الخطر في العراق

أن حالة السوريين في العراق لا تحتمل التسويف والتأجيل ومن هنا نهيب بمنظمة العفو الدولية وغيرها من هيئات حقوق الإنسان أن تبادر إلى الضغط على الاطراف المعنية في سبيل إيجاد حلول سريعة قبل أن يسقط المزيد من الأبرياء

January 1st, 2007, 6:28 pm

 

John Kilian said:

My family and I had the good fortune to be hosted on New Year’s Eve by a party of Sudanese, both muslim and christian. It was surprising to see them feasting together despite the intense history of conflict in their homeland between these people of different faiths. They were celebrating the sparing of Abraham’s son, and it occurred to me that that was about the last time the blood of Abraham wasn’t being spilled in the Holy Land.

We still live in a world where leaders often prefer to send troops into battle rather than come to terms peacably. Seeing people whose families have been slaughtered like common pests sitting down with the kin of the killers convinced me that there is in the common folk a great reservoir of good faith between all people, no matter how much savagery they have endured.

The U.S. has been pursuing a policy of turning people away from Islamic Fundamentalism through a strategy of regime change and nation building. What might make even more sense is to try to turn leaders away from violent acts to peaceful courses of action. Naive, it may be to say this, but I hope the new year will allow us to heal some of our old wounds and move pass the pain to better serve the need of our children to live without the threat of violence.

January 1st, 2007, 6:48 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

“What might make even more sense is to try to turn leaders away from violent acts to peaceful courses of action.”

John Kilian –

Which leaders did you have in mind and why?

January 1st, 2007, 10:02 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Akbar,
America’s friends in the Middle East and elsewhere are the biggest performer and exporters of state-sponsored terrorism. The Wahabbi Sunni support in Iraq is just one more example.
“The US is going to prioritize security matters first.” I am sure you meant to say “Israel security matters first.” I got you, sure, that makes perfect sense. And by the way, all political prisoners in Syria are enemy combatants, and Syria’s support of Hamas and Hizbollah are are considered pre-emptive strikes in support of Syrian national security interests. Are we even now?

January 1st, 2007, 11:42 pm

 

LOUAI said:

Israel is not in good terms with us in order to put us before a fake option like this. Moreover, the historical course of our conflict with Israel has seen very rare dramatic changes: Israel knows well that the Arabs will not like or consider it a pioneer, so it reduces its ambition to a peace it defines in a different way than the Arabs.

The new thing about balances in the region is the Iranian attempt to snatch regional leadership. Like anything new, this shakes existing alliances and puts up some questions in front of the existing players.

January 1st, 2007, 11:52 pm

 

3antar said:

I think mr Akbar is over-joyed with the amount of attention he’s getting rather than any form of constructive (or otherwise) information to the discussion. So here is abit more attention, enjoy it while it lasts.

Trying to give different view from a neo-con or ziolist perspective? please… you fancy yourself as an intellect or someone who’s sussed it all. your views have been heard before. Bottom line is, no one will experience peace or prosperity as long as there is injustice and/or illegal occupation. Peace treaties aren’t worth the paper they are written on pal. People have to be convinced too. The injustice that was born 1948 at the expense of innocent lives will not be forgotten. Sure there are injustices being perpetrated all over the region. But you have to admit, if the state of Israel had just been created in Poland instead and the Europeans had kept their problems rather than export them, our history and our present would be so different. The reality of the matter, as much as some like to repeat that Israel isnt going anywhere, well, nor is everyone else. Time is not on Israel’s side as its backers are loosing their influence or grip faster than they can say ‘Election time’.
I rest my case…. 😉

January 2nd, 2007, 12:40 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect said:

“The US is going to prioritize security matters first.” I am sure you meant to say “Israel security matters first.” I got you, sure, that makes perfect sense.

No, that doesn’t make perfect sense. More Americans have died since the Oslo facade. About 3 times more.

So after 9-11, when the US decided to conduct regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US government didn’t ask the Israelis which country to attack; the US government knew.

“…and Syria’s support of Hamas and Hizbollah are are considered pre-emptive strikes in support of Syrian national security interests. Are we even now?”

Which is why Syria will continue to be in isolation from the rest of the world, and under the microscope of the IDF and the Pentagon.

LOUAI said:

“Israel is not in good terms with us in order to put us before a fake option like this. Moreover, the historical course of our conflict with Israel has seen very rare dramatic changes: Israel knows well that the Arabs will not like or consider it a pioneer, so it reduces its ambition to a peace it defines in a different way than the Arabs.”

I’m just a layman, so perhaps you can translate what you said above into “provincial”, American english.

3Antar said:

“But you have to admit, if the state of Israel had just been created in Poland instead and the Europeans had kept their problems rather than export them, our history and our present would be so different.”

No Jew wants a homeland in Poland. And no “Jewish Arab” (which constitutes 60% of Israel’s population) is ready to learn Yiddish.

Jews immigrated to Palestine for a reason. They didn’t immigrate to Kenya for a reason. The Europeans didn’t export their “problem” anymore than the Iraqis or Eygptians exported their “problem”. For whatever reason, Jews left more countries than Poland and Germany to come to Israel.

And if that bothers you, too bad.

January 2nd, 2007, 2:08 am

 

Atassi said:

Ford Prefect,
In more general term, ALL Syrian citizens are being held as enemy combatants of the long standing military republic regime, not just the political prisoners
My New banner to you ALL:
*We Syrians citizens have the Right to Vote, without the right to change our governments* make a change “Vote for your beloved SOURIA in 2007”

January 2nd, 2007, 2:19 am

 

Gibran said:

Atassi,
I hope I understood correct. You’re saying the upcoming ‘vote’ is a sham? I hope that’s what you’re saying.

January 2nd, 2007, 2:30 am

 

norman said:

Akbar ,I hope that this will change your mind about Syria and it’s goals in peace with Israel,

Help, he wants peace!

By Zvi Bar’el

In one of the news broadcasts that he presented last week on Channel 1 television, Haim Yavin defined the Syrian feelers as an “escalation in the peace attack,” no less. No one could better describe the panic that Syrian President Bashar Assad is arousing in Israel. Attacks are something we understand, and escalation is also a user-friendly concept for Israelis. Therefore, it appears that peace has no meaning unless it comes in the form of an attack.

The alarmed and the perplexed are split into two groups. The first consists of those who are convinced that everything Assad does is aimed at advancing his own narrow interests: ridding Syria of the stigma of being a country that supports terror, luring investors to the country and freeing himself from pressure over the Lebanese issue. In other words, becoming a country like any other country. This group of believers forgets that these are precisely Israel’s demands of Assad. But it wants eternal guarantees that after the Syrian president gets the Golan Heights back and no longer heads a country that supports terror, he will not turn on his heels and laugh out loud at the stupid Israelis. This is a reasonable demand, but it cannot be fulfilled before negotiations are actually held. Certainly such a demand cannot be a precondition.

The demand that Syria sever relations with Iran is also a deal-breaker. Israel did not demand this of Turkey, or of the leaders of the Islamic republics that broke away from the Soviet Union, when it signed peace treaties with them. It will also not demand this of Saudi Arabia, if and when a peace agreement is signed with that country. And how is it possible to explain Syria’s willingness to sign a peace agreement with Israel when its relations with Iran are so close? According to the alarmists, this is of course another lie, or at least part of a nefarious plot. Therefore, it is not superfluous to ask why Iran has not reacted to Syria’s feelers toward Israel, just as it is possible to wonder why Iran is not demanding that Turkey cease doing business with Israel. The answer lies in a mosaic of interests that goes far beyond the simplistic definition of the “axis of evil” or the division of the world into Shi’ites and Sunnis.

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The precondition that Syria close the bases of Palestinian organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad is especially interesting. If the headquarters of these organizations are fated to live outside the territories, would it not be better for them to operate from a country that has a peace agreement with Israel, instead of being expelled to a hostile country from which they can operate as they please?

The second group of alarmists offers the learned argument that Assad cannot mean real peace, because such a peace would topple him, his regime and his minority sect, which controls the country. Alternatively, spokesmen for this group take refuge in the assessment that even if there is peace with Syria, it will undoubtedly be a very cold peace. They are forgetting that the younger Assad has already proposed peace, while the elder Assad already held discussions with Israel and obtained concessions and even talked about normalization. Is Bashar Assad risking more now than ever before? One can confidently assume that an improvement in Syria’s economic situation in the wake of an agreement with Israel, as well as the return of the Golan Heights, would do wonders for Assad’s standing.

There is nothing wrong with Assad currently wanting to advance “only” Syrian interests. This is precisely the motivation for which Israel should be looking. If peace with Israel serves his interests, it would be wise to set up a table somewhere and sit negotiators around it – people who would pull out what was concluded with Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak and tell Assad: This is where we are continuing from, and here is our list of new demands.

Assad’s intentions are not a matter for trust or faith, nor for prior examination. Rather, they are a matter for negotiations whose sole aim is to reach peace with Syria. Only in this way will it also be possible to shake off the profound self-righteousness that holds that “we” owe it to our fighters and our homeland at least to try. It is not trying that is needed here, but rather action and achievement. Similarly, the main consideration cannot be how we will look to the world if we refuse to negotiate with Assad, but rather how life in Israel will look if we respond in the affirmative.

Bookmark to del.icio.us

Digg It! new

State of the art
Amitai Mendelson, the man in charge of local art at the Israel Museum, has a vision.

Real estate bubble?
Prices in the center of the country rose steadily in 2006

January 2nd, 2007, 2:35 am

 

Atassi said:

*We Syrians citizens have the Right to Vote, without the right to change our governments* make a change
”””””“Vote NO in 2007″”””””””
”””’For our beloved SOURIA”””””””’

January 2nd, 2007, 2:45 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

last time I voted was in 2000,Hafez was dead, and we have to say yes or no, I went to the embassy in Washington DC, me and my family, eight people sitting behind a long table, they opened the book, they told me to write my name ,address,,phone number,I live in USA, then I have to write yes or no for Bashar Assad, that was way in front of them, there is no secret voting,do not dare to say know,they know about me and how I voted,I was scared to say no, I had no choice but to say yes, since I go to Syria every year, those who do not vote they are not counted,that is why it was 100% approval.

January 2nd, 2007, 6:00 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

I forgot to say, that now we know why President Bush went to Baghdad last time,it was to order Maliki to kill Saddam the first day of Mosslim holiday.that visit that nothing else came from it.

January 2nd, 2007, 6:29 am

 

Innocent_Criminal said:

Majed Khaldoun,

I can beat your story. When I was living in Beirut the voting booths there were not only empty, but you didn’t even have to be forced to write yes. Because it was ALREADY WRITTEN FOR YOU. Not just written but TYPED. The word Na3am was typed into the green circle. It seems that polling stations had a competition going on who will have the highest yes vote and got a little overzealous.

January 2nd, 2007, 8:43 am

 

Habib said:

Akbar relates without forethought, “[m]ore Americans have died since the Oslo facade.” The Oslo Accords in no way sanctified the US role. Nor has any, I repeat any American died in any capacity because of Palestinian national interests.

I can however name any number of American peace activists who have been run over/shot/or otherwise helped along to heaven by the Israeli security apparatus.

Akbar then ties in a bit of revisionism by stating, “Jews immigrated to Palestine for a reason. They didn’t immigrate to Kenya for a reason. The Europeans didn’t export their “problem” anymore than the Iraqis or Eygptians exported their “problem”. This is laughable, as the Europeans expressly exported their Jewish population with the connivance of Jewish authorities. Please refer to Jewish Philosopher Hannah Arendts Banality of Evil. It tells the truth of how Jews themselves came up with an idea of a homeland…first self-proposed in Madagascar.

Yes, Madagascar. If you want the truth about emigration, refer to Jewish sources in Europe who lead it…not an uninformed Israeli stooge.

January 2nd, 2007, 10:57 am

 

t_desco said:

US unit works quietly to counter Iran’s sway

WASHINGTON — For nearly a year, a select group of US officials has been quietly coordinating actions to counter the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, including increasing the military capabilities of Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

The group, known as the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group, or ISOG, is also coordinating a host of other actions, which include covert assistance to Iranian dissidents and building international outrage toward Iran by publicizing its alleged role in a 1994 terrorist attack in Argentina, according to interviews with half a dozen White House, Pentagon, and State Department officials who are involved in the group’s work.

Pentagon officials involved with the group intend to ask Congress as early as February to increase funding for transfers of military hardware to allies in the Persian Gulf and to accelerate plans for joint military activities. The request, which is still being formulated, is expected to include but not be limited to more advanced-missile defense systems and early-warning radar to detect and prevent Iranian missile strikes.

The existence of ISOG reflects an intensification of the Bush administration’s planning on Iran. Syria, which has linked itself to Iran through military pacts, is a lesser focus for the group. Its workings have been so secretive that several officials in the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau said they were unaware it existed.

The United States has repeatedly said its policy is not to overthrow the Iranian regime, but one former US official who attended a meeting during ISOG’s initial phase eight months ago said in an interview that he got the impression that regime change was a key goal of many of the meetings’ participants.

ISOG is led by a steering committee with two leading hawks on Middle East policy as chairmen: James F. Jeffrey, prinicipal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, who once headed Iraq policy, and Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser for “Global Democracy Strategy.” Michael Doran, a Middle East specialist at the White House, steps in when Abrams is away. Elizabeth Cheney, the vice president’s daughter, who was the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, served as cochairwoman before she took a maternity leave earlier this year.

ISOG is made of five main “pillars,” or working groups. The military group explores ways to bolster Arab defenses and create more military cooperation between the Persian Gulf states. …

A second working group deals with “democracy outreach,” focusing on the State Department’s effort to provide secret financial assistance to dissidents and reformist organizations inside Iran and Syria. It also seeks ways to use scientific exchanges and human rights conferences to learn more about what is happening inside Iran, officials said.

A third working group focuses on finances and the Treasury Department’s efforts to beef up bilateral restrictions on money transfers to and from Iranian banks. A fourth group focuses on Iran’s “special relationships” with Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and terrorist organizations. That group has closely followed Iran’s alleged role in a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina.

A fifth working group coordinates media outreach to the people of Iran, Syria, and the region.
Boston Globe

Related news:

– Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group soon to deploy to the Gulf

– new Expeditionary Strike Group 2 command to move from Little Creek to Bahrain in February

Routine deployment or part of the “naval build-up” in the Gulf?

January 2nd, 2007, 12:17 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Habibi clarifies:

“It tells the truth of how Jews themselves came up with an idea of a homeland…first self-proposed in Madagascar.”

The “idea” was probably the 5 books of Moses….the Torah. No one forced the Jews to come to Israel, they came on their own, after centuries of discrimination and hardship. There were a number of “proposals”, and none of them amounted to anything.

Again, Jews don’t need you to tell them what their homeland is, and I’m sure Palestinians don’t need me to tell them where their homeland is.

January 2nd, 2007, 12:25 pm

 

3antar said:

Akbar Place said:
“No Jew wants a homeland in Poland. And no “Jewish Arab” (which constitutes 60% of Israel’s population) is ready to learn Yiddish.”

one of many misconceptions you have stated in your numerous posted comments…
Jews constituted 60%? stop right there…. where did you get that number from? Jews in Palestine pre 1948 were a minority and continues to be a minority even while the subtle emigration of European Jews. They only became a majority after the continued terrorism of armed zionist gangs to locals, and later the expulsion of large number of Palestinians to neighbouring states. which explains the ridiculously hug number of Palestinians in modern state Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria who are not allowed the right to return in order to keep the demographic proportions. I am not surprised you come into your conclusions when you base your argument on so much falsifications.

January 2nd, 2007, 12:42 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

3ANTAR,

I’m talking about today, 2007. The present.

You can not falsify what is factual. I suggest discontinue taking lessons from Ahmadinejad.

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

January 2nd, 2007, 2:45 pm

 

John Kilian said:

Akbar Palace said: (January 1st, 2007, 10:02 pm / #)

“What might make even more sense is to try to turn leaders away from violent acts to peaceful courses of action.”

John Kilian –

Which leaders did you have in mind and why?


Akbar,

I would say that the leaders in Damascus, Tel Aviv, Tehran, and Washington could all stand to alter their foreign policies to diminish the cycle of violence in the region. I would like to see negotiations to create a roadmap away from nuclear weapons, military incursions, surrogate terrorism and occupations of foreign lands.

January 2nd, 2007, 3:12 pm

 

Habib said:

Akbar intimidates gentiles by stating;

“The ‘idea’ was probably the 5 books of Moses….the Torah. No one forced the Jews to come to Israel, they came on their own, after centuries of discrimination and hardship.” I don’t remember there being a map in the Old Testament. And do you think it includes the Golan? I’m not sure, well if Akbar thinks Moses said so…then I’m not one to deny it.

Also as I recall, didn’t Noah in the Torah speak of slavery of the Africans by Israelites as kosher? Well, why don’t you move onto Africa too, as it was written.

Akbar then asks the readers to;

“discontinue taking lessons from Ahmadinejad.” Instead he suggests a wikipedia lesson on world Jewry. I won’t even comment on the reliability of this information. However, under “Distunguished Mizrahi figures,” the link shows Moshe Katsav as second most distinguished. Haha, Haha. That old hound dog.

January 2nd, 2007, 3:21 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

John Kilian states:

“I would say that the leaders in Damascus, Tel Aviv, Tehran, and Washington could all stand to alter their foreign policies to diminish the cycle of violence in the region. I would like to see negotiations to create a roadmap away from nuclear weapons, military incursions, surrogate terrorism and occupations of foreign lands.”

Sounds good to me. I leave you in charge…

Habib replies:

“Akbar intimidates gentiles by stating… the ‘idea’ was probably the 5 books of Moses….the Torah.”

How does explaining why Jews immigrated to Palestine (and not to Poland or Kenya) intimidate gentiles?

January 2nd, 2007, 5:08 pm

 

MSK said:

To AkbarPalace & friends,

I just came across an article by Uri Avnery on (ex-)General Giora Eiland’s “plan” to solve the Middle East conflict and wanted to share this quote:

Years ago Boutrus Boutrus-Ghali, then the acting foreign minister of Egypt, told me with a thin ironic smile: “You Israelis have the best experts on Arab affairs in the world. They have read all the books, all the articles. They know everything -and understand nothing, because they have never lived one single day in an Arab country.”

–MSK

http://www.aqoul.com

January 2nd, 2007, 8:15 pm

 

3antar said:

Akbar Palace said:
“I’m talking about today, 2007. The present.

you can not falsify what is factual. I suggest discontinue taking lessons from Ahmadinejad.

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

first of all, we taking wikipedia as a reliable source of information now? surely this is joke.
perhaps you should practice less wiki and more reading, here
http://198.62.75.1/www2/koestler/

and to humour you, here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic_people
I suppose you’re being anti-Semitic and you dont know it. you better be careful!

secondly, does critiquing a pro-zionist view mean that im taking lessons from Ahmadinejad by defautl? I suppose im anti-semitic as well. please dont say it. so what room is there left for dialogue? what kinda logic is this? in that case, how about you to stop taking lessons from South African Apartheid policies or perhaps even Hitler as a matter of fact.

thirdly, you cannot isolate history from the present. We need history in order to understand and deal with the present. you address issues on face value and dont bother going back to your sources that hold most of your answers.

and finally, one can falsify what one might presume is factual WITHOUT supporting it with evidence in order serve one’s motive. The fact you refuse to deal with a very relevant historical fact going back a mere 60 years, says it all. Its just a pity.

January 2nd, 2007, 8:17 pm

 
 

Ahamd said:

Fares
We miss you……

مستقبلنا في سورية ليس مكاناً نذهب إليه بل هو شيء نصنعه بأنفسنا وبأيدينا وعقولنا، والطريق إلى هذا المستقبل لا يكون إلا بالتوكل على الله أولاً وبالتخطيط العلمي والمنهجي الصحيح ثانياً، وأن نعمل ليل نهار على تعريف أبناء هذا الوطن بأن التغيير سنة كونية من سنن الله عز وجل، وأنه لا بد وأن يبدأ بالحرية أولاً وبالعدالة ثانياً وبالتنمية ثالثاً.

January 2nd, 2007, 10:20 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Years ago Boutrus Boutrus-Ghali, then the acting foreign minister of Egypt, told me with a thin ironic smile: “You Israelis have the best experts on Arab affairs in the world. They have read all the books, all the articles. They know everything -and understand nothing, because they have never lived one single day in an Arab country.”

MSK –

There is something to be said about your quote above, so I guess I’ll take a stab at it.

There is a huge distrust of Israel by the Arabs and a huge distrust of Arabs by the Israelis. That said, I would agree with Mr. Boutrus-Ghali’s comment….to a point.

However, if Mr. Boutrus-Ghali believes Israel “understands nothing” about the Arabs, I wonder how much he thinks the Arabs understand Israel?

After all, quite a few Israelis have immigrated from Arab and Muslim countries and have high positions in acedemia and government.

So I have to diagree with him that Jews have “never lived one single day in an Arab country”. And BTW, how many Arabs have lived in a Jewish State?

I take his comment with a slight grain of salt, and, of course, Uri Avnery is no bright light-bulb either.

January 3rd, 2007, 12:27 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

3ANTAR –

So you’re now you’re stooping to Khazar mythology. Which has been disproven.

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

“secondly, does critiquing a pro-zionist view mean that im taking lessons from Ahmadinejad by defautl? I suppose im anti-semitic as well.”

Not at all. But if your arguments are based on anti-Jewish mythology, Arab media screeds and blood libels, you won’t earn the respect of Professor Josh.

January 3rd, 2007, 1:06 am

 

Atassi said:

Akbar Palace,
Are you aware that almost everyone is getting sick of your Jewish arguments and history lessons? I am not sure what your mission is, but please keep the noise down; you are getting on everyone nerves.

January 3rd, 2007, 2:14 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Are you aware that almost everyone is getting sick of your Jewish arguments and history lessons?”

Atassi,

Oh, does that mean you believe the Khazar stuff too? If not, which Jewish history lesson are you referring to?

January 3rd, 2007, 5:21 am

 

3antar said:

Atassi,
to call Akbar’s babbling history lessons is giving him way too much credit.
he’s going around in circles avoiding key issues, as he likes to refer to the ‘present’ only.
any other argument is ‘mythology’.
while everyone arguing his views is blood thirsty.
they have to be. how else can he end an argument. 🙂
your very quick labeling people arent you Akbar? you must get a kick out of it. its like watching CNN or Republican Speaker.

Fact 1, (as much as it might hurt) Israel practices state terrorism. people have the right for resistance! But Akbar would probably call resistance terrorism. shocker!

Fact 2, Israel was build on terrorism. Inflicted on local Palastenians population and even British mandate occupying forces of pre ’48. Showing the indiscriminate violent nature of zionists. Kinda reminds me of the way crusaders behaved few hundred years previous.

then again, i dont expect Akbar to respond to historical clues or evidence as his memory span goes back to yesterdays date that falls in “2007”.
so to credit his rambling as history lessons, is an insult to history itself.

January 3rd, 2007, 1:16 pm

 

Rev. Michel Nahas Filho said:

To Dr. Coutinho and few others,

First of all thank you for your clarification (to the non-Portuguese speaking forum participants), that filho means son. Absolutely unnecessary since I disclosed my family name, Nahas, and my Syrian ascendence.

When I mentioned that Syrians were there some thousand years ago, I was based on Biblical histories. Do not forget that when God promised Abram the land, he promised to Ismael and Isaac. Also when Josha conquered it, who did he conquered from? Who were worshipping Baal? Do you have any clue about Syrian ancient history, Baals Asherot, and so on? That Koine was spoken at that time, actually it only began about 50BC and ended about 200AD, so a very short period, when it was replaced by the “liturgical” Bizantine greek. BTW, I am fluent in Koine (and Biblical Hebrew, for that matter).
To the general public, i am not a priest, but an ordained Protestant minister. My criticism of the “Evangelicals” that because of this, support Israel unconditionally, I am only criticizing them because there is no scriptural basis whatsoever(at least on the NT)for this position, unless you are a Premilenist that adopts Dispensacionalism (that’s prety off topic here, so I’ll save others of this boring explanation).

I reiterate, Sr. Coutinho, I am a Protestant, I couldn’t care less what the Pope thinks or says, although this new one seems to be a VERY GOOD theologian.

I also repeat, I wanted to give to our Muslim brothers (and sisters?) a portrait of how the rest of the Christian world thinks about the Israeli/American problem. It is clear for us, non-American Christians that the US represents indeed much more a problem than a solution.
Personally, I think i as a Christian have WAY MORE theological similarities with Muslims than Jews, notwithstanding I have no problems whatsoever with the latter. Concerning Israel it’s a different ball game: Israel is today the most racist, aprtheid-er regime in the world, with the blessings and support ofthe US (you certainly knows the Portuguese/Brazilian proverb: Diga-me com quem andas e dir-te-ei quem es= tell me who you hang up with, and I’ll tell you who really you are).

The bottom line here is this: Israel provoked a war with Syria (see Dayan’s declarations); It took what it wanted; It is easy to give back desert, but arable land with water … that’s a different story. Israel feels it is above (international) law. It makes me think if the Sages were not indeed speaking from the heart (the killing rate 1 israeli for each 10 goim [or Arabs] in this case certainly applies).

Being a Christian means giving voice for the voiceless, empowering the poor ans oppressed, so don’t think that because I am a Christian (minister) I have the duty to be abused and like it, on the top of it. Some theology of liberation readings (LAtin American Christian Theology) would do good for those who think this way!

Christ told us to love your enemies… we don’t have to like them!!!!

I just wanted to respond and clarify my position.

Blessings to all in this new year,

Rev. Michel Nahas, filho

January 4th, 2007, 12:54 am

 

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