News Round Up (19 October 2009)

The price of occupation
Stephen Walt, FP, 10/14/2009

If you ever questioned whether Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza was bad for the United States and for Israel too, you ought to ponder Turkey’s decision to suspend a multinational air-force exercise last weekend. Why? Because it’s a prime example of how pursuing the goal of “greater Israel” — which means retaining control of the West Bank and Gaza and preventing a true two-state solution — is undermining U.S. and Israeli interests…..

If you are interested in knowing why Muslim countries get fed up, read the following article in the Washington Times about how a group of congressmen are drumming out Muslim interns as “spies.” Read: “House GOP seeks Muslim ‘spy’ probe.” Paul Broun, Representative of Georgia, said of CAIR:

“If an organization that is connected to or supports terrorists is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related congressional offices, I think this needs to be made known,” Mr. Broun said.

If this kind of nonsense were said about Jewish interns placed by AIPAC in congressional offices …..

And, AIPAC representatives sit in on the writing of US foreign aid legislation, something that has been accepted as normal procedure for decades. Not a good time to be a Muslim in America.

Syrianair’s Fleet Reduced to Three Aircrafts (lead story of the Syria Report.)

The fleet of Syrian Arab Airlines has been reduced to three aircrafts after the US Government intervened to ground the engines of two of the planes that were under repair in Germany.

The Sad State of Turkish-Israeli Relations
Der Spiegel: By Daniel Steinvorth in Istanbul, 2009-10-19

Ankara’s New Foreign Policy The Sad State of Turkish-Israeli Relations By Daniel Steinvorth in Istanbul REUTERS New friendships: Ministers from Turkey and Syria lift up a barrier to celebrate the visa exemption …

Legislation: Thanks to POMED‘s The Weekly Wire.

On Wednesday (10/14), the House passed H.R. 1327, authorizing state and local governments to divest from companies who do business with Iran’s energy sector. The bill passed in a 414-6 roll call vote, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Also on Wednesday (10/14), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced resolution H.Res. 833 “honoring the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” and commemorating the 10th anniversary of King Abdullah II’s ascension to the throne.

On Thursday (10/15), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced H.R. 3832, which would place additional sanctions on refined petroleum imports to Iran and would require the Secretary of Defense to develop plans for military action against Iran’s nuclear program.

Also on Thursday (10/15), Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) introduced, with two co-sponsors, a resolution (H.Res. 840) condemning violations of religious freedom in the Middle East. The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Chairman Berman (D-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a mark-up of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, but Rep. Berman calls unilateral sanctions a last resort. In addition, the Senate passed the Department of Energy’s proposed 2010 budget (H.R.3183), which includes a prohibition on government contracts with companies that sell fuel to Iran. The bill will now go to President Obama to be signed.

Despite these moves by Congress, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett argue ”there is not a serious sanctions ‘option’ for resolving the nuclear issue,” especially given that Russia and China are not likely to cooperate. David Kay agrees that sanctions will not work, so he instead prescribes an “overwhelming” military strike. In addition, Greg Bruno provides a general background of Iran’s ballistic missile program.

In support of regime change, Jonah Goldberg argues the “Regime is Iran’s disease; nukes are just a symptom.” Max Boot explains why the opinions of the Iranian diaspora should be included in the analysis, but always with some skepticism of their authoritativeness.

Hizbullah Takes Credit for ‘Thwarting’ Israeli Spy Surveillance as Lebanese Army, UNIFIL Go on Alert (Naharnet)

Israel’s Secret War on Hezbollah, Wall Street Journal, by Ronan Bergman

Iran’s proxy army in Lebanon will think twice before launching another round of missile attacks. ….

senior military officers in Israel’s Northern Command are confident that the embarrassing outcome of the last round will not be repeated.

“By all means, let the Hezbollah try,” one officer told me two weeks ago when I asked if he was concerned about the possibility of warfare. “The welcome party that we are preparing for them is one that they will remember for a very long time.” That sentiment is shared by many of his colleagues.

The recent explosions have highlighted the weakened geopolitical status of Hezbollah, a diminishment which no one could have foreseen at the end of the last war. In 2006, on both sides of the border—and elsewhere in the Middle East—Hezbollah was seen as having triumphed…..


In short, despite the fact that Hezbollah today is substantially stronger in purely military terms than it was three years ago, its political stature and its autonomy have been significantly reduced. It is clear that Nasrallah is cautious and he will weigh his options very carefully before embarking on any course of action that might lead to all-out war with Israel. There are some experts in Israel who believe that even Hezbollah’s retaliatory role in the Iranian game plan is currently in question.

Whether or not this is the case, all of this is being considered in Jerusalem as part of Israel’s calculations about whether to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Mr. Bergman, a correspondent for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, is the author of the “The Secret War With Iran” (Free Press, 2008).

Abbas approval plummets after UN delay
Ma’an News Agency
October 19, 2009

President Mahmoud Abbas lost significant public support over his role in delaying international action on a United Nations report that accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, a new opinion poll shows. The survey released on Sunday by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre (JMCC) indicates that if an election were held today, Abbas would receive just 16.8 percent of the vote, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh 16 percent. A similar percentage said they would vote for Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is currently in prison in Israel.

Abbas is a dead man – Netanyahu and Barak killed him
By Yossi Sarid
Tags: Israel News

Mahmoud Abbas might as well be considered a dead man; Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak have killed him. Following a brief and angry meeting, they left a cyanide pill for him on the table and exited the room. He still managed to make two or three trans-Atlantic telephone calls and in a moment of despair swallowed the Goldstone report, which he is now trying to regurgitate in Geneva.

To force the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, of all people, to withdraw his demand for a discussion of the report – that is an Israeli-American dictate tantamount to pressuring him to commit hara-kiri. Extortion through the use of threats has paid off, and once again there is no party to speak with, nor will there be in the near future. This is what happens when one turns a partner into a collaborator.

Top French officials weigh in on cabinet formation
“I have a special relationship with Syria… But it is mainly in the interest of Lebanon.”
Daily Star staff

“…. The secretary general of France’s Elysee Claude Gueant Palace said, in comments published on Sunday that positive ties between France and Syria were beneficial for Lebanon…..

Asked by the Saudi-owned (Al Hayat) newspaper about beliefs in Lebanon that he was close to Syria, Gueant said: “I visit Syria a lot because I have built up a relationship with the Syrians and we want preserve this important link. It is important for Lebanon and the region too. “I have a special relationship with Syria. But it is mainly in the interest of Lebanon.”

Gueant said Syria did not have “a major influence on Lebanese political life or … political figures as some claim.”

Asked if he thought a new war would erupt between Israel and Hizbullah with Syrian consent Gueant said: “I don’t see any sign that would make me believe that Syria wishes something like that to happen. I believe that peace and stability in Lebanon are in Syria’s interest.”

Russia says won’t let Goldstone Report reach Hague
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni    Sofer – October 19, 2009

Russia has made it clear to Israel that it will oppose a Goldstone Report discussion at the United Nations Security Council or at the International Criminal Court in Hague, although its representatives voted in favor of adopting the report accusing the Jewish state of committing war crimes at the UN Human Rights Council, Foreign Ministry officials told Ynet on Sunday night.

Netanyahu: Israel and U.S. have resolved settlements row
Haaretz, by Barak Ravid – October 19, 2009

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero last Thursday that talks between Israel and the United States over construction in the settlements on the West Bank had ended. “We solved the matter of the settlements with the Americans,” Netanyahu told his Spanish counterpart. “I cannot say more than that. If you are interested in hearing more details, ask in Washington,” added Netanyahu.

Obama’s mettle is about to be tested
The Guardian, by Simon Tisdall – (Opinion)  October 19, 2009

It’s getting harder each day for the Obama administration to maintain the illusion of progress in Middle East peacemaking….. After his embarrassingly unproductive summit with Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, in New York last month, Obama instructed his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, right, to personally deliver a progress report by mid-October. They are expected to meet after Mitchell’s latest talks. But what can she honestly tell him? … Egyptian efforts to reconcile the rival Palestinian factions appear, meanwhile, to have stalled, partly due to US meddling….. Mitchell had told Egypt that the proposed deal would harm the peace process. His objection appears rooted in the US and Israel’s ideological refusal to deal, however loosely, with Hamas…… There can be little doubt that Netanyahu’s bullish confidence stems from the perception on the Israeli right that after a tense few months, he has “seen off” Obama and his naive peacemaking notions. US diplomats warn of a serious mistake. Obama is “a man of steel”, a senior official said – he would not give up on Middle East peace….

Conference in Damascus: Syria Trust for Development

The Syria Trust for Development is pleased to announce and invite you to submit papers or case studies on development interventions and related applied / policy-oriented research to

The First International Development Conference of Syria 2010
Emerging Role of Civil Society in Development

to be held in Damascus, Syria from 23-25 January, 2010.

The conference aims to raise awareness of the development challenges facing Syria and the region, discuss policy alternatives, and develop the capacity of the emerging development sector in Syria and the region. Moreover, we hope that the conference will provide an excellent opportunity for the development community to engage, network, and exchange experiences.
Please find attached a detailed call for papers / case studies that includes additional information about the conference and submission procedures. Conference registration information will be posted shortly at:
Please help us circulate this announcement to other individuals / institutions who might be interested. For additional information or questions about the conference or submission procedures, please contact me directly or contact the conference organizing team at

Director of Research, P.O.Box 2783 Damascus, Syria, Tel: +963 11 612 5026

Many thanks, Nader Kabbani, Ph.D.

Israeli drive to prevent Jewish girls dating Arabs
Jonathan Cook,  September 25. 2009 UAE

NAZARETH // A local authority in Israel has announced that it is establishing a special team of youth counsellors and psychologists whose job it will be to identify young Jewish women who are dating Arab men and “rescue” them.

The move by the municipality of Petah Tikva, a city close to Tel Aviv, is the latest in a series of separate – and little discussed – initiatives from official bodies, rabbis, private organisations and groups of Israeli residents to try to prevent interracial dating and marriage.

In a related development, the Israeli media reported this month that residents of Pisgat Zeev, a large Jewish settlement in the midst of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, had formed a vigilante-style patrol to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish girls.

Hostility to intimate relationships developing across Israel’s ethnic divide is shared by many Israeli Jews, who regard such behaviour as a threat to the state’s Jewishness. One of the few polls on the subject, in 2007, found that more than half of Israeli Jews believed intermarriage should be equated with “national treason”.

Since the state’s founding in 1948, analysts have noted, a series of legal and administrative measures have been taken by Israel to limit the possibilities of close links developing between Jewish and Arab citizens, the latter comprising a fifth of the population.

Largely segregated communities and separate education systems mean that there are few opportunities for young Arabs and Jews to become familiarised with each other. Even in the handful of “mixed cities”, Arab residents are usually confined to separate neighbourhoods.

In addition, civil marriage is banned in Israel, meaning that in the small number of cases where Jews and Arabs want to wed, they can do so only by leaving the country for a ceremony abroad. The marriage is recognised on the couple’s return.

Dr Yuval Yonay, a sociologist at Haifa University, said the number of interracial marriages was “too small to be studied”. “Separation between Jews and Arabs is so ingrained in Israeli society, it is surprising that anyone manages to escape these central controls.”

The team in Petah Tikva, a Jewish city of 200,000 residents, was created in direct response to news that two Jewish girls, aged 17 and 19, were accompanying a group of young Arab men when they allegedly beat a Jewish man, Leonard Karp, to death last month on a Tel Aviv beach. The older girl was from Petah Tikva.

The girls’ involvement with the Arab youths has revived general concern that a once-firm taboo against interracial dating is beginning to erode among some young people.

In sentiments widely shared, Mr Hakak, a spokesman for Petah Tikva municipality, said “Russian girls”, young Jewish women whose parents arrived in Israel over the past two decades, since the former Soviet Union collapsed, were particularly vulnerable to the attention of Arab men.

Dr Yonay said Russian women were less closed to the idea of relationships with Arab men because they “did not undergo the religious and Zionist education” to which more established Israeli Jews were subject.

Mr Hakak said the municipality had created a hotline that parents and friends of the Jewish women could use to inform on them.

“We can’t tell the girls what to do but we can send a psychologist to their home to offer them and their parents advice,” he said.

Motti Zaft, the deputy mayor, told the Ynet website that the municipality was also cracking down on city homeowners who illegally subdivide apartments to rent them cheaply to single Arab men looking for work in the Tel Aviv area. He estimated that several hundred Arab men had moved into the city as a result.

Petah Tikva’s hostility to Arab men mixing with local Jewish women is shared by other communities. In Pisgat Zeev, a settlement of 40,000 Jews, some 35 Jewish men are reported to belong to a patrol known as “Fire for Judaism” that tries to stop interracial dating.

Unusually for a settlement, Pisgat Zeev has attracted a tiny but growing population of Arab families, both from East Jerusalem and from inside Israel. Because Pisgat Zeev sits within Jerusalem’s municipal borders, Arabs with Israeli residency rights can live there as long as Jewish settlers are willing to rent to them.

One member, who identified himself as Moshe to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, said: “Our goal is to be in contact with these girls and try to explain to them the dangers of what they’re getting themselves into. In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Zeev have gone into [Palestinian] villages [in the West Bank]. And most of them aren’t heard from after that.”

He denied that violence or threats were used against Arab men.  Last year, the municipality of Kiryat Gat, a town of 50,000 Jews in southern Israel, launched a programme in schools to warn Jewish girls of the dangers of dating local Bedouin men. The girls were shown a video titled Sleeping with the Enemy, which describes mixed couples as an “unnatural phenomenon”.

Haim Shalom, head of the municipality’s welfare department, is filmed saying: “The girls, in their innocence, go with the exploitative Arab.” …. Safed’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu, told a local newspaper that the “seducing” of Jewish girls was “another form of war” by Arab men.

Both Kiryat Gat and Safed’s campaigns were supported by a religious organisation called Yad L’achim, which runs an anti-assimilation team publicly dedicated to “saving” Jewish women. According to its website, the organisation receives more than 100 calls a month about Jewish women living with Arab men, both in Israel and the West Bank. It launches “military-like rescues [of the women] from hostile Arab villages” in co-ordination with the police and army.

“The Jewish soul is a precious, all-too-rare resource, and we are not prepared to give up on even a single one,” says the website.

Rattling the Cage: Our exclusive right to self-defense

Oct. 7, 2009

Virtually all of Israel is now speaking in one voice against the Goldstone report, against any attempt to blame us over the war in Gaza. We’ve honed our message to a sharp point and, inspired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s performance at the UN, we’re delivering it with just the right tone of outrage:

How dare anyone deny us the right to self-defense! How dare anyone deny us the right to fight back against terrorism!

Very nice. Puts everyone else on the defensive. The right to self-defense is up there with motherhood and apple pie – who’s going to come out against it, especially for us, for Israel, for the Jews, for the people of the Holocaust?

The right to self-defense – perfect.

But I’d like to ask: Do the Palestinians also have the right to self-defense?

Comments (37)

Akbar Palace said:

Greater Anti-Semites

Stephen Walt thinks he’s asking a good question:

If you ever questioned whether Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza was bad for the United States and for Israel too, you ought to ponder Turkey’s decision to suspend a multinational air-force exercise last weekend. Why? Because it’s a prime example of how pursuing the goal of “greater Israel” — which means retaining control of the West Bank and Gaza and preventing a true two-state solution — is undermining U.S. and Israeli interests…..

My response:

Mr. Walt,

“Turkey’s decision to suspend a multinational airforce exercize last weekend” had nothing to do with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

a.) Turkey had excellent relations with Israel for decades while Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

b.) Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza anymore if you bothered to notice.

c.) Turkey has stated that their main disagreement with Israel was the GOI’s “disproportionate” military response to Hamas missile fire.

d.) Lastly, it is clear that occupuation is good for Israel (and the US) because the data shows (Hamas in Gaza), that a withdraw without a peace agreement will increase the violence, not the opposite.

e.) The term “Greater Israel” is just your bad attempt to stigmatize Israel, when we all know, Israel has been getting smaller due to recent withdraws from land in the Arava (to Jordan), the Sinai (to Egypt), and Palestinian cities like Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin (to the PA). Nice try.

October 20th, 2009, 10:53 am


idaf said:

A very simplified primer on the Syrian-Turkish history over the last centurey (part 1 in Arabic):

سورية ـ تركيا: فراق فخصام فغرام
غسان الإمام

أنا الذي أدعي أني أملك ذاكرة سياسية قوية، لم أعد أتذكر اسم أول وزير خارجية تركي زار سورية. ولا بالتحديد سنة الزيارة. كل ما أتذكر أني حرصت على حضور مؤتمره الصحافي. كنت بحكم تنقلي بين دمشق وبيروت، موجودا في العاصمة السورية لتغطية الزيارة، لحساب وكالة الأنباء التي أعمل فيها.

كان ذلك إِبَّانَ حكم حافظ الأسد، في أوائل السبعينات. ربما في عام 1971 أو 1972. بدا لي أن الرئيس السوري الجديد آنذاك راغب في تصفية تعقيدات علاقة ثنائية خطرة. فقد كان انفصال سورية عن تركيا العثمانية أليماً. شارك الضباط السوريون في الثورة العربية الكبرى على العثمانيين (1916). انتهت الثورة المدعومة من الغرب، خلال الحرب العالمية الأولى، بانفصال العرب نهائيا عن تركيا، بعد تاريخ مشترك دام أربعة قرون كاملة، بدأ بالفتح العثماني لسورية (1516).

تراوح الحكم العثماني للعرب بين اللين والشدة. كانت له ميزتان إيجابيتان: إنهاء فوضى حكم المماليك للعرب الذي استغرق نحو ستة قرون. الإبقاء على ولاية الشام (سورية. لبنان. الأردن. فلسطين) موحدة إداريا وسياسيا. غير أن قسوة الحكم تجلَّت، بشكل خاص، في سورية. وبشكل عام، في حرمان «الممالك العربية» من التواصل مع النهضة الأوروبية الحديثة التي قامت على التحرر الاجتماعي. الديمقراطية. التقنية الصناعية.

حمَّل العربُ الأتراكَ العثمانيين مسؤولية تخلفهم الحضاري. في المقابل، وللنكاية بالعرب الذين رفضوا التتريك، فقد ألغى الجنرال مصطفى كمال (أتاتورك) القائد العثماني الذي هزمته الثورة العربية، الإمبراطورية العثمانية (1924)، متجاهلا ذاكرة تركيا التاريخية، بما في ذلك الكتابة بالخط العربي! كانت النكاية الكمالية بالعرب شديدة. فقد تحرروا من استعمار متخلف، ليقعوا في استعمار أوروبي متفوق، مزقهم واستغلهم، وَوَطَّنَ اليهود في صميم وطنهم، فيما حافظ الأتراك، بقيادة أتاتورك، وبنضال رائع، على وحدة وطنهم.

تحملت سورية المعاصرة آلام الفراق العثماني/ العربي، بقدر ما تحملت قسوة حكم العثمانيين الأتراك. نعم، قامت بعد الفراق، علاقة ديبلوماسية طبيعية بين البلدين. لكنها كانت علاقة باردة، غير قادرة على حل تعقيدات الانفصال التاريخي، كمتاعب الأتراك والعرب الذين تخلفوا على طرفي الحدود، من دون اعتراف بحقوقهم في أملاكهم العقارية وأراضيهم الزراعية.

استغلت تركيا الكمالية ضعف سورية، وتمزيق الانتداب الفرنسي لها إلى دويلات كرتونية، للمطالبة هي أيضا «بحصتها»! طالبت تركيا بحلب ثاني أكبر المدن السورية. فرضت حدودها على منحدرات جبال طوروس الفاصلة جغرافيا بين البلدين، علما أن الحدود الطبيعية الدولية ترسم، عادةً، على ذرى الجبال. ثم ما لبثت أن تركزت المطالبة على لواء (محافظة أو إقليم) اسكندرون ذي الغالبية السكانية العربية، في أقصى الزاوية الشمالية الغربية من سورية. وهو بالإضافة إلى كونه امتدادا لساحل سورية الضيق، فقد كانت أهميته الاستراتيجية في اعتباره أقرب ميناء سوري إلى أوروبا. حَلَّت الكارثة بسورية، مع نُذُرِ الحرب العالمية الثانية. منحت حكومة اليهودي ليون بلوم الفرنسية اليسارية، سورية استقلالا ناقصا (1936). لكن عادت فسلخت لواء اسكندرون ووهبته إلى تركيا (1939)، إرضاءً لها كي لا تتحالف مع ألمانيا حليفتها في الحرب العالمية الأولى. كانت المنظمة الدولية (عصبة الأمم) شاهد الزور الأول آنذاك. أجرت استفتاء صُورياً ادعت فيه أن غالبية السكان تركية!

راحت الغالبية العربية تهاجر إلى سورية، منذ الأربعينات بأعداد كبيرة، في مقدمتها العرب العلويون والمسيحيون. أود أن أشير هنا إلى أن الكنائس العربية والشرقية أكدت، مع ضياع اسكندرون، نقل مقارِّ بطركياتها التاريخية من أنطاكية (عاصمة سورية الرومانية) إلى قلب العروبة، دمشق، وليس إلى لبنان المسيحي. في الداخل، ثار السوريون. أسقطوا الحكومة الصامتة على سلخ اسكندرون. واضطروا هاشم الأتاسي رئيس الجمهورية إلى الاستقالة (1940). مضت العلاقة الثنائية صعبة. ثم تفجرت في الخمسينات. انضمت تركيا الكمالية إلى حلف بغداد (تركيا. العراق. إيران) ضد الاتحاد السوفييتي في الحرب الباردة. ضغطت تركيا والعراق على سورية لضمها إلى الحلف. حشدت تركيا قوات ضخمة على الحدود. فرض رئيس وزرائها عدنان مندريس (لاحظ اسمه العربي) نفسه ضيفا ثقيلا على دمشق في منتصف الخمسينات. لكن سورية تحصنت بالوحدة العربية مع عبد الناصر الرافض للأحلاف.

كان حلف بغداد شؤما على أصحابه. مزق الانقلاب العسكري عراق نوري السعيد (1958). شنقت العسكرية الكمالية مندريس (1960) بتهمة الفساد. لكن العلاقة مع سورية ظلت متوترة، حتى بعد انفصالها عن مصر. لولا الضغط السوفييتي، لما استطاع السوريون الحصول من تركيا، على مياه كافيه لإقامة سدهم الضخم على الفرات (1966)، لسقاية حلب العطشى، ولري أراضيهم الشرقية الخصبة.

وهكذا، أدهشني المسؤولون الإعلاميون السوريون، وهم يحذرونني من أن أسال ضيفهم وزير الخارجية التركي، عما إذا كانت محادثاته مع دمشق الأسد تناولت قضية لواء اسكندرون. تجاهلت التحذير. سألت الوزير. امْتَقَعَ وجهه الأحمر بالغضب. رفض الإجابة. أنهى المؤتمر بسرعة وانصرف. لم يحدث لي مكروه. كنت أراهن على سماحة صدر نظام الأسد مع الصحافة، في مرحلته الليبرالية القصيرة، قبل صدامه مع عنف الإخوان المسلمين. ثم علمت أن المسؤولين أبلغوا الوزير التركي أن الصحافي السائل يمثل وكالة أنباء أجنبية.

على الرغم من حنكته وتعقله وحذره، لم يستطع الأسد إنهاء الجفاء المزمن مع تركيا الكمالية. إلى أن فوجئ (1996) بعقدها حلفا استراتيجيا خطيرا مع إسرائيل، بترتيب أميركي أوروبي. وضع الحلف سورية في كماشة عسكرية. فقد سمحت تركيا للطيران الإسرائيلي بإجراء تدريباته الجوية في سماء الأناضول، بمحاذاة المجال الجوي السوري.

رد الأسد على الاستفزازات التركية باكتشافه الورقة الكردية. منذ الستينات، كان عشرات ألوف الأكراد الأتراك قد تدفقوا على سورية. قوبلوا بغض نظر رسمي. وجدوا الأمان في حضن القرى الكردية المرشوشة على طول الحدود مع تركيا (810 كيلومترات). ثم أضيف لون «طائفي. نضالي» على ورقة اللعب. فقد آوت سورية أيضا متمردي حزب العمال الكردي، وزعيمه الماركسي العلوي عبد الله أوغالان.

في اللعبة الإقليمية بالقنبلة الكردية، سمح صدام لتركيا بانتهاك السيادة الترابية، بالتوغل أربعين كيلومترا داخل العراق، كلما أرادات ملاحقة متمردي أوغالان الذين وجدوا الملاذ لدى أشقائهم في جبال كردستان العراق. كان أوغالان قد تسبب في مقتل نحو 45 ألف كردي وتركي منذ منتصف الثمانينات. وهكذا أيضا، استغلت تركيا عداء صدام للأسد، لتوجيه تحذير إنذاري لسورية: الحرب أو طرد أوغالان وتحييد المتمردين (1998).

لم يعش الأسد الأب ليرى ابنه ووريثه يسحب الورقة التركية من الجيب الإسرائيلي. كان المرض قد أنهكه. لكن مَهَّدَ للابن الفرصة المناسبة: حَيَّدَ نشاط المتمردين الأكراد، طرد أوغالان الذي نجحت المخابرات التركية في اعتقاله، في بلد أفريقي، بالتعاون مع المخابرات الإسرائيلية والأميركية. توفى حافظ الأسد في عام 2000. ما زال لواء اسكندرون مرسوما بعناية على الخرائط السورية. لكن كيف تحول الفراق المؤلم والخصومة المتبادلة، إلى كلام. فعناق. فغرام؟! كيف سمحت تركيا أتاتورك لتركيا إردوغان (المتزوج من فتاة تركية سورية الأصل) بالاستدارة من أوروبا المسيحية، إلى البيئة الإقليمية العربية والإسلامية؟ كيف سحبت سورية الابن الورقة التركية من الجيب الإسرائيلي؟ كيف اختفى اللواء السليب، بمهارة ديبلوماسية سورية، من ملف العلاقة الثنائية؟ ذلك هو موضوع الحديث عن الغرام اللاهب في الثلاثاء المقبل.

للحديث بقية

October 20th, 2009, 2:35 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Did we forget Haytham Maleh?
he is in jail,without committing crime.

October 20th, 2009, 3:15 pm


Joshua said:

Dear Majedkhaldoun,

We did not forget the kidnapping and disappearance of the much respected and gentlemanly Haytham Maleh. In the last post I published:

“Haytham al-Maleh, 78, prominent lawyer and rights activist, disappeared on October 14, 2009. Three Syrian human rights activists told Human Rights Watch that they believe that Political Security is detaining him. Two said they believe that the reason for his arrest is a phone interview that aired on October 12 on an opposition television station, Barada TV, in which he criticized the Syrian authorities for their ongoing repression of freedom of expression.”

October 20th, 2009, 3:23 pm


norman said:

I wonder when the opposition will move from talking about the freedom to talk to telling us what they want to do and how they can make things better.

Dear Joshua ,

Do you really think that anybody would have arrested him if he just stated the fact and his take on the Economy or health care or the Education System , I doubt that ,For the opposition to be taken seriously , they need to address issues ,

October 20th, 2009, 3:43 pm


why-discuss said:

US scientist charged with attempting to sell military secrets to Israel

Maybe the Congress should worry more about that than about moslem interns..’spying’. This news was reported in the press using titles discreetly blurring the fact this guy was spying for Israel.
Imagine if he was spying for Iran, the name Iran would be all over the titles.

“US scientist arrested for contact with FBI man posing as Israeli agent” in Jerusalem Post

“US scientist accused of trying to sell secrets” Washinton Examiner ( does not say to who!)

“Scientist who worked for gov’t accused of spying” AP ( does not spell out Israel)

October 20th, 2009, 3:57 pm


Syrian Nationalist Party said:

If you to read the –Focus Area- section of Mr. Kabbani Syria Development Org. you will notice how he maneuvered away from projects that can be better developed by the Government and the Private Sector. This is the problem of Syria Baathist monopoly policy; no one can start an initiative that can directly affect the real market or local economy of Syria. It is the typical Socialist/Communist setup, whereby, only theoretical concepts can be talked about thru multitude of Social Organizations, Policy Study Institutes, and the most popular platforms is the infamous “International Conferences”. It is always International in nature, just count how many meetings, Arab conferences and International Symposiums held in Syria since Bashar became President.

This is also how, in the end, communism met its demise. They kept educating the Proletariat class but provided no jobs and way of life that can meet the life style aspired by the newly educated masses. With Iron Curtains in place, no escape and the pressure cooker effect worked, but in Syria, half the population (over 20 millions moneyed or skilled and educated Syrians-Lebanese) managed to escape in search of better life, or to a country that can guarantee the investment with something more serious than a Baathist official promise, and the country is the looser in the end.

If President Assad is serious about getting Syria off the ground floor, or is it now underground, then must start setup a Country with a business code such as those you find in the Caribbean, give license and cash capital to few venture capital firms, and set up organization that will help new venture deals with all the myriad Baathist Socialist business rules and antiquated codes. Big Communist countries like Russia and small island country the size of Homs, Mauritius, did it in less than a decade (just for few examples), both now have solid economies. Let’s stop running Syria as a Mazzraa Ishtirakieh.

October 20th, 2009, 4:09 pm


Shai said:


“Iran”, “Israel”, they all sound the same… 🙂

October 20th, 2009, 7:26 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Today’s Question: What is rarer than an anti-Israel, leftist Israeli Jew?

Answer: A pro-Israel Brit?

October 20th, 2009, 7:31 pm


trustquest said:

Norman, your biased standing to the side of the authoritarian regime in Syria is unbelievable; it seems that you stand alone now on this issue. Did you hear what Mr. Elmaleh said on the
He did criticize the history of the government and continues practices towards human rights and towards the permitting process which created the slums of uncontrolled housing around the city. He is calling for acting the LAW, which seems you don’t LIKE. He mentioned in the name the name of the government official who was cashing 1000 SP for each unpermitted building. Mr. Elhamleh and other ares struggling not to have their voice heard they are struggling for opening the window to TALK. To reclaim the human right to VOICE YOUR OPINIO, to feel you are exist, to TALK in a country which have shut people mouth for 40 years.

October 20th, 2009, 7:41 pm


trustquest said:

Syria mulls the EU agreement provision for its suspension in the event of the violation of human rights by Syria:
This letter sent from Ben William, council member of the Democrat Liberal in Essex, England, to EU Association Agreement with Syria, in defining of his friend Kamal Labwani, one of the opinion prisoners in Syria, sentenced 12 years for his opinion and 3 years more for choosing to represents himself. In reminder of the recent arrest of Haitham Elmaleh, only because he is a lawyer defending those people who spoke their opinion he has to go to prison. What a wonderful country Syria is? Anyone still think their is a bright future for this country after putting led on mouths and brains of its people?

From: Ben Williams
Subject: URGENT: EU Association Agreement with Syria, the release of political prisoners and the unlawful detention of Dr Kamal Labwani
Date: Friday, October 16, 2009, 9:37 PM
Dear Sir/Madam,

EU Association Agreement with Syria

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen of the United Kingdom and as someone whose friend is currently serving time in Adra Prison as a political prisoner – in fundamental violation of his human rights.

As you will be aware, Syria is shortly to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. The expected date for signing is 26th October 2009:

This agreement contains a very important section:

“CONSIDERING the importance which the Parties attach to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the observance of human rights, democratic principles and political and economic freedoms, which form the very basis of the Association”

The full text can be found here:

I am writing to request assistance in drawing attention to the fact that Syria continues to systematically violate human rights, in direct contravention of the paragraph above. Syria denies it has political prisoners. However, it has routinely locked up proponents of peaceful democratic reform. It has detained them as criminals, but subjected them to a very different prison regime, segregated in the manner of political prisoners.

The latest high profile arrest, of elderly human rights lawyer Haytham al-Maleh, occurred just two days ago (14th October).

Details can be found here:

I have been moved to write by the plight of one particular individual who I am proud to call my friend: Dr Kamal al-Labwani, who spent time in the UK, US and Europe, attempting to draw attention to Syria’s abysmal record on human rights, prior to his most recent arrest and detention.

Kamal is a doctor, an artist and also an advocate of peaceful democratic reform in Syria.

In September 2005, Kamal came to England to exhibit his paintings and to draw attention to the human rights situation in Syria. His intelligence, creativity, wit and wisdom inspired me, as did his love of Syria, and I was privileged to share many hours with him, including introducing him to the practise of democratic politics in the United Kingdom.

On returning to Syria, Kamal was arrested. He was charged with “communicating with a foreign country and inciting it to initiate aggression against Syria”. Anyone who spent any time at all with Kamal will know that he was one of the staunchest opponents of military intervention. He believed that change has to come from within a country, from its people. His mission was to draw the world’s attention to Syria so that its government would be forced to take decisions in the full glare of international scrutiny..

Kamal was sentenced to 12 years hard labour. A further three years were added because he chose to represent himself. Kamal suffers from inflammation of the prostate for which he is receiving inadequate treatment. He remains in Adra prison, with the signing of the Syria/EU Association Agreement only days away.

The United Nations has stated that his detention is unlawful. Below is a link to the opinion adopted by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:

It cannot be right that the EU signs an Association Agreement with Syria – which includes provision for its suspension in the event of the violation of human rights by Syria – when Syria is already violating human rights. The European Parliament has already expressed its concern, calling for Kamal’s release (alongside other political prisoners) in its resolution of 17th September 2009 [P7_TA-PROV(2009)0024]:

Article 7 of that resolution “calls on the Swedish Presidency, the Council and the Commission to adopt a roadmap, prior to the signing of the Association Agreement, which clearly articulates the specific human rights improvements it expects from the Syrian authorities”.

That roadmap has not been forthcoming.

Below are some links which hopefully will provide some better context for the human context of this email.

This is a link to a collection of photographs of Kamal in the UK and in prison in Syria, together with reproductions of his paintings:

This is a link to the local Amnesty Group’s page for Kamal on Facebook:

If you feel moved to raise questions by any of this, I would ask you to query whether this agreement can be signed in good faith before those detained as political prisoners are released.

Should you feel so inclined, I would be grateful if you could forward this email to others who may be able to assist.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Ben Williams
Liberal Democrat, Basildon, Essex, UK

October 20th, 2009, 7:49 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

another jew spying on USA,and sending sensitive secret information to Israel.

October 20th, 2009, 11:20 pm


Akbar Palace said:

another jew spying on USA,and sending sensitive secret information to Israel


As far as I know, there has only been 1 jew who has provided “sensitive secret information to Israel”. That was Jonathan Pollard.

As I understand, the GOI was not involved with Stewart Nozette’s alleged crimes.

October 21st, 2009, 12:33 am


norman said:


you should move from blaming everything happen in Syria on the Government , if there is a thief , that does not mean the whole Government is corrupt , when Abramove in the US was found to give bribes to members of congress , nobody claimed that the American government is corrupt , and when Maddoff cheated people and charities out of millions nobody said that all Jews are thieves or that the political party that he belongs to is corrupt ,

So move away from the mentality of the tribe , people are responsible for what they do and if a corrupt official is a thief he and only he gets the blame and the persecution not his tribe , religion or the city he comes from and until you are able to see that the Government and the president of Syria are not responsible for every bad deed that happen there , what you are doing is just pure hateful

October 21st, 2009, 1:52 am


majedkhaldoun said:

he must be your friend.
can you explain why they arrested him, and what was in his computor that he took with him ,when he went to Israel, and came back without his computor, if you know something about your friend you need to tell the FBI about it, we are only loyal to USA, why are you different?

October 21st, 2009, 2:55 am


jad said:

Dear Norman
You know very well that I respect and like you very much but I think you are not correct on this to blame Mr. Al Maleh.
Mr. Al Maleh is a very well respected Syrian lawyer, a human right activist, an honest man, he can’t be corrupted nor a thief because he own his business, he is a professional, he lives inside Syria yet he had the courage to speak out his mind, and that is his right, and any respected government in the world could’ve used words to reject his accusations not to bent the rules just to put him in jail as they did for many before him, that is pure evil.
What country in the world put all its intellectuals and human right activists in jail in 2009 other than North Korea and Syria???????
I’m not sure when was your last visit to Syria but let me tell you something, this government is a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE and CORRUPTED government with the least conscious or professionalism to it, I can’t find ONE minister that I can respect, NONE.
They are not taking any decision with the average Syrian best interest in mind, almost all the decisions this government taking are BS, they have no solution for any of the major problem we have in our society neither the small teeny tiny ones, they can’t force a taxi driver to use a meter, they can’t stop AIDS from spreading and they don’t even educate people about that, they can’t stop the illegal housing nor the corruption, they don’t have the will nor the tools to do that, they can’t force some f***** p*** of S*** connected man to stop using sewerage water for food irrigation and poisoning millions, they couldn’t force another (same as above) garbage contractor to do what the contract he signed on tell him to do instead of the environmental disaster he is committing in the landfill, they didn’t put in jail hundreds of doctors who cost many precious human lives out of greed and neglect, so how come a respected man like Al Maleh be in jail and all those f***rs are out? How can we justify that and not blame the government for its evil doing of putting all those intellectual men and women in jail for nothing and be neutral about the issue, I personally can’t and you shouldn’t to.
I always try to be fair and you know that and I don’t have any personal issue with any of the government personnel but they went too far and they need to know that we are not letting them do all their dirty works in our names without saying NO.
They keep taking decisions without consulting the communities of what works best for them, the police is corrupted the legal system is corrupted and to be honest (Shami will be happy now) I support imposing the Sharia law in Syria today, with a Mtawe3 system for what I’m seeing in the street and in any public office I go to, I never seen the Syrians hitting this moral lows before, there is no ‘Value’ anymore, from what I saw at least 6 out of 10 Syrians are corrupted at the moment, what society are we building when we leave all this to go without any solution and concentrate our hatred toward couple intellectual speaking out their minds?
Trustquest is an honest Syrian man he is not a hateful as your wrote, he still have his value and he as many of us you included can’t see the wrong doing and keep quite and he shouldn’t we must always say what we think is just and fair and above all what we see as in the best of our country. It’s all for Syria and nothing personal.
As you always write (And that is my take!) 🙂

October 21st, 2009, 6:02 am


jad said:

Check this myth:

سورية تستورد أول دفعة من المازوت الأخضر صديق البيئة وتخصصه للنقل الداخلي

There is no fossil fuel that we can call ‘environment friendly’ because fossil fuels contribute to global warming and supplies are dwindling, beside all the refinery needed to get this fuel actually use more energy and pollute more so I can’t really see the ‘green’ on this silly myth and they think people will buy this?
If they are that ‘concerned’ about the environment why don’t they use (Electric bus) or better use (solar energy bus) if they are really seriouse about being ‘green’ there are other more efficient way they can do, but i doubt they are.

October 21st, 2009, 6:28 am


Nour said:

Dear Jad:

I completely understand your frustration with the current state of affairs in Syria, as we all wish to see Syria advance, develop, and improve, so that it may take its rightful position among the nations. However, I believe your response to Norman, while it makes certain valid points, was a bit overly emotional.

First, to say that only North Korea and Syria imprison their intellectuals is neither a fair, nor an accurate statement. To begin with, not everyone who speaks out against the regime automatically becomes an intellectual, although granted many who do criticize the Syrian government are indeed intellectuals, nor does the government imprison people merely because they are intellectuals. All authoritarian systems around the world do not have very much tolerance for criticism, and Syria is by no means the only, or even the worst, offender. This of course is not to defend the behavior of the Syrian regime in this regard, as we should always insist on the promotion of complete freedom of thought and opinion in order to create a better society. However, we do have many intellectuals heavily contributing to the improvement of Syrian society who continue to function freely, and to deny their existence I believe does them a disservice.

Second, I believe you are expecting too much out of this government if you think that they should, or even have the ability to, solve all of Syria’s problems overnight. Our society suffers from a multitude of ailments that require generations to cure if we are to start today. To think that you make corruption, poverty, pollution, political repression, lack of transparency, etc. all disappear with a magic wand is pure delusion. Fixing Syria’s problems requires the hard work and contribution of all of us over many years. As a character from a recent Syrian television series said, we need thoughts that will change our society over several generations, and not romantic ideas that aim to change the whole world in one day.

Third, there indeed is something called Green Diesel, which is made from vegetable oils and waste, and which is much friendlier to the environment than regular diesel made from fossil fuels, so I believe you were a bit too quick to pull the trigger there ;-). And this matter is something that involves the entire world, and has all governments working to find a solution for it, so the Syrian government should not be made solely responsible for pollution on this planet.

Finally, I know you too well to believe that you would actually support the imposing of Sharia law, or that you even buy the notion that this would solve the very problems of which you are complaining. I think current examples of Sharia states make it quite clear that such systems do more to corrupt societies and distort their values than anything else. I therefore urge you to be more rational when discussing our social ailments, as I know you’ve been before.

October 21st, 2009, 7:24 am


Nour said:

Here is a video promoting tourism in Syria produced by the Ministry of Tourism. Although not bad, I do think it could have been better.

October 21st, 2009, 7:30 am


Shai said:

Dan Meridor (Likud), one of my all-time favorite politicians. It is a shame he doesn’t have leadership capabilities to be Israel’s PM. If he did, we’d have Peace in the region already for 20 years…

October 21st, 2009, 9:43 am


Akbar Palace said:

can you explain why they arrested him


A good summary of how he was arrested is all public knowledge now (see link below). Near as I can tell, the GOI has not been implicated or charged in this matter.

Sorry, but I don’t think this matter will harm the US-Israel relationship:

Just FYI, I’ve never heard of this a-hole Mr. Nozette, and although he may believe he is helping a beleaguered ally causing no harm to US security, he is dead wrong. Not only will he be facing the rest of his life in jail, he has helped the American Jewish community, Israel, and the relationship our two countries share. He deserves the maximum penalty.

October 21st, 2009, 11:16 am


Akbar Palace said:

Dan Meridor (Likud), one of my all-time favorite politicians.


Good choice! Considering Meridor’s positions as well as his demeanor, let me just say that I think he is one of Israel’s better politicians as well. Apparently, he’s not anywhere near the apologist/critic you are. Isn’t that refreshing?,1518,644649,00.html

Oops: typo in post #20 above. He has NOT helped…

October 21st, 2009, 11:36 am


norman said:

I was not attacking anybody , i just want people to blame the thief , not the Government or the system , i did not read all your note , the problem is not that there is no corruption in Syria , the problem is that we blame everything in Syria on the government or the president and that should not be the case ,

I have been out of Syria for 29 years , so i do not know Al Maleh and that is not the issue as i see it , later tonight , i will read your note , then get depressed , i do not have time now .

October 21st, 2009, 12:24 pm


SimoHurtta said:

Shai do you really believe that Israel can probe the Gaza war. Today’s Haaretz has an “interesting” story + video: State won’t prosecute officers filmed beating Palestinians Hmmmm mild beating. I can imagine the Israeli Jewish side’s reaction if PA soldiers would perform such “mild” slapping and humiliation to Jews on Palestinian areas. The anti-Semitist and Holocaust shouting would make the rest of world deaf.

Do “you” there in Israel have enough judges and researches who are willing to encounter the response Goldstein did get? I doubt that. So that probe performed by Israel would most certainly produce something nobody believes.

When Israel bombed that clinic run by the Finnish church in Gaza Finland made an official diplomatic question of that incident to Israel. After about halve year Finland got the answer:
A) there was a Hamas weapon cache in the building
B) if Israel would have known there was clinic in the building it would not have bombed it
There was a big painted white cross on the roof of the building and the manager of clinic said that there was no Hamas activity in the building. So Israel knows where Hamas has it hidden weapon caches, but fails to recognize the big mark on the roof. Come-on nobody here believes such explanations resulting from long “investigations” after reading constantly news how good intelligence Israel has.

Surely Dan Meridor like all Israeli politicians knows perfectly well that for Palestinians the 67 borders are the minimum. So he can speak in his “blurry” way of peace. Of what should Palestinians negotiate if the East Jerusalem, settlements and Jordan valley are not on “table” and real sovereignty of future Palestine is about zero. Meridor is only playing the necessary Israeli government’s good cop role for the international “public”.

Israel needs “desperately” for its fast worsening public image to start negotiations with Palestinians. This Israeli present government’s style first publicly declaring with many “mouths” for months that we do not promise you anything and then desperately whining the opposite party to come to negotiate is simply hilarious and silly. The bad thing is that after this present government there will be no “elements” left to make the two state solution possible without a Jewish civil war.

October 21st, 2009, 12:46 pm


jad said:

Dear Nour,
Where have you been? I didn’t read your comments for a while, I hope everything is good.
Thank you for correcting my points, I really appreciate that and I do agree on many issues you raised, I just want to explain my position more about the point you raised:

1- I didn’t write ‘ALL’ intellectual, and I know very well that we have lots of Syrian intellectuals in all fields not only in politics who are doing all they could to improve our condition and work hard in silent and I do apologize for all of them for not being more clear in that.
I do agree that not all oppositions are intellectuals, there are few stupid between them, but when you look at the range of the opposition men and women locked in jail in the last couple years you will notice that they are from those few Syrians who didn’t leave Syria and decided to stay, write and argue about their ideas, for me those are the intellectuals, they are more courageous than many of us who writes from a democratic country and give lecture about freedom without facing the same threat those Syrians are under.

2- I know very well that none of our problem would be solved overnight and I know that I can’t expect the government to do miracles but when they are doing nothing serious to improve and deal with the problem they have, you doubt that we will advance or solve any of those problems and you will agree with me that this government is useless.

3-You are right about the green diesel existence, I didn’t deny that, it is a low-sulphur fuel around 20% better than the fossil fuel and has been used in Europe for a while, but is still not the perfect choice when you really want to be green that was my point. To be frank I was mocking the idea that Syria will be green just because they are going to use a slightly better fuel than the usual, beside they don`t really need to import it they can manufacture it themselves if they want and save lots of money.

I didn’t hint in any way that Syria is solely responsible for the pollution on this planet, I`m not sure where did you read that in any of my comments, I want Syria to promote its own environmental plans and I want Syrians to live in a pollution free country which is a government responsibility to enforce and implement nobody else.

4- You know me too well Nour, the Shariaa law remark was a sign of how frustrated I become with all the terrible low moral level I`m seeing around me at the moment in Syria and you are right, I wasn’t serious.

Again, I`m thankful for what you wrote 🙂

October 21st, 2009, 2:02 pm


jad said:

Dear Norman
I know that you werent attacking anybody, my comment wasn’t in anyway criticizing your stand at all, and I`m sorry if I wasn’t clear about this point toward you personally.
I totally agree with you that we can`t blam the government on everything, I`m blaming the government for not doing the job for what is under its responsibility, regarding health, security, justice system and education, those are the government responsibilities in any country of the world and when they don`t do their job we have to tell them, we have to have a higher standards otherwise we will stay where we are and never get better.

October 21st, 2009, 2:11 pm


trustquest said:

Norman, don’t you realize that your logic is like catch 22. You are saying that people opposing the government practices should not blame and government or the regime and they should bring solutions but on one condition not open their mouth. Mr. Elmaleh just opened his mouth and spoke his conscious. And, FYI, it is not one thief in the government it is system built on theft and the stars are the big echelons representing the regime and their theft is not to satisfy their needs it is to control the economy and keep the country under their mercy. And BTW, this wealth accumulation did not happen in capitalist society it happened in a socialist society where capitalism is not allowed to function. Another BTW, this wealth accumulation is not invested in their countries it has been kept in save place with the enemy. What I’m saying is not hateful, what I’m saying is like a bomb inside most Syrians who see things wrong and cannot say a word. If the president can not reach to civil society in his country and reflect on the silence of the majority, I don’t know till when he can play the foreign card game.

Let me make a correction the guy I talked about was charging 1000 Sp for each 1 square meter, (I said wrongly for the building) for each non permitted building, now you do the math and tell me how much he has accumulate while the strong regime is watching. If Mr. Elmaleh is lying and accusing this guy, or the government, why they don’t file a lawsuit against him, why they took him to Mokhabarat for questioning?
For God sake, for how long the Mokhabarat will keep functioning instead for the court, do you realize that your are killing your country future.

I wonder when you think should people open their mouth and talk about their future and about the ones who are looting the people future. The competition in Syria between the thieves still on, the second generation trying to prove that he can whip more money than the first ones, and it is all in one sect so far, is this healthy for future of the people.

October 21st, 2009, 2:16 pm


jad said:

Dear Trustquest
`and it is all in one sect so far`
I`m sorry to say that you KILLED your argument with this last note.
We all know what sect is responsible for trading, what sect is making 75% of the Syrian population so to blame all that on one sect and show that your sect is an angle and clean is incorrect and wrong.
Almost all the corrupted people I meet in the government office were from all sects and not only the one you are blaming.
Please Please Please, keep your God, Allah, Religions and Sects out of the discussion it doesn’t help at all.

October 21st, 2009, 2:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

For Majedkhaldoun:

Another non-jew charged in plot to attack U.S.

October 21st, 2009, 2:48 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I still do not understand your position on Al Maleh arrest.
I met Al Maleh, and found him very gentle,couragous, reasonable and forgiving,spend his life defending Human rights,and for no crime he did, he was placed in jail.

Norman; 29 year and you have not been to syria!Why?

October 21st, 2009, 3:02 pm


norman said:

Jad ,

I am glad that you can see where Trusquest is coming from ‘

you are an Urban planner , can you take a city in Syria and see how you can plan it better and make it more beautiful .

Majed ,

i practice alone and rarely take vacations , I was in Syria in 1985 when my Dad passed away and in 1987 when i took my wife to visit and in 2003 when i visited my Aunt ,my mother and brother are in the US ,

when i get an associate i will go more .

October 21st, 2009, 4:16 pm


Nour said:


I didn’t mention al-Maleh in my post, as it wasn’t directed at his case in particular. I don’t know Al-Maleh very well, but I agree that he should be released immediately and that there is no justification for his arrest. My post was more of a general analysis of how I believe things in Syria should be looked at.

October 21st, 2009, 4:35 pm


Nour said:


I have been a bit busy recently moving and changing jobs, but I always come back to see what’s going on on SC :-).

I did understand where you were coming from in your post, and as I said, we all get frustrated with the current state of affairs in Syria. However, I really don’t believe it’s a doom and gloom scenario, as I always see many positives coming out of the country in many areas. And I do believe that society tends to move toward what is better and I believe Syrian society is no different. Things are improving slowly and will improve over the long run. We just have to maintain our faith in our people despite all the frustrating, depressing realities we see on the ground.

October 21st, 2009, 4:41 pm


norman said:

Nour ,

I like your optimism and i share it .

October 21st, 2009, 5:10 pm


why-discuss said:


i agree with you. Look at the ex-Soviet-union countries in what mess they are (and they are not in war with a powerful US ally). Many ukrainians I know regret the soviet union period where there was no freedom of expression, corruption was spread but there was jobs for everybody and a sense of security for the common citizen. The switch from socialism to capitalism is bound to be painful and full of dangers but i have trust in the good nature of the syrians, I believe the new generation is benefiting from the new medias to get informed and are good assets for the future of this country.
Considering other arab countries that are not rich, like Egypt, I think Syria is less corrupted and less poor, despite the fact that Egypt is not in war and is collecting billions from the US.

October 21st, 2009, 9:19 pm


trustquest said:

Jad, I care about the future of the country and Mr. Elmaleh said very nice catchphrase known to anyone who know how to clean his building. If you want to clean your stairs you start from the top of the stairs not from the bottom. In Syria the institutional theft of the country’s wealth is concentrated in the top. Government employees and even ministers all do not make a dent in the main theft. There is no one minister who has billions of dollars in the foreign banks. The concentration in one sect is not an indictment or an indication that theft is limited to that sect it is in my view an indication that certain figures are staining the whole sect with their un imaginary theft. There is no way in history that one sect can do such act it will condemn the group for ever and usually public from any sect is smarter than doom themselves. The act of staining whole sect is a crime against that sect. I never meant to incriminate the whole sect I meant to point to the crime against that sect. I’m contrary to what you think of me, religion is the last thing on my mind. I hate when someone think of me the way you accusing me of and I’m not coming from where Norman is coming from.

October 21st, 2009, 10:17 pm


jad said:

Dear Trustquest,
Do you seriously think that I have any doubt about your noble cause and your honesty?
I’m sure that you are a great Syrian man who only cares about his country even more than lots of us on SC.
My comment were just to point out how easy our debate can go in the wrong direction and we eventually forget the main subject and goal when we get close to generalize or incriminate a whole sect just because of few members of that sect are bad.
This is why I wrote that you actually ‘killed’ the debate when you went there without explaining and I wasn’t meaning in anyway to say that you prefer one sect over others, it wasn’t my intend and I know that you didn’t mean it in that way.

Sometimes I think we know each other very well that we can write whatever we want on here and understand each other without the need to explain, but then I remember that lots of people read our debates and they might be here for the first time, I believe they will get the wrong ideas and judge us differently than what we truly are.

Please be sure that I highly respect you, we might disagree on some issues but at the end we all here have one thing in common the well being of Syria and Syrians.

October 21st, 2009, 11:42 pm


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