News Round Up (28 May 2007)

I am heading for Syria tomorrow, where I will spend June and July. I hope to continue blogging from Damascus and other Syrian cities.

This news roundup covers mostly the accusations that Syria is behind the Fatah al-Islam disturbances and the articles covering Syria's elections. It also covers diverse stories concerning Syria.

One reader wants to know if I think Syria is behind the Fatah al-Islam Group. I don't know. The two most repeated arguments made by the Lebanese that Syria is giving directives to the Sunni extremist group holed up in the norther Palestinian refugee camp are that its leader, Shaker al-Absi, was held in a Syrian prison before being released two and a half years ago and thus may have been recruited to Syria's cause while in Prison. The Lebanese point to the fact that he was not turned over to Jordan, where he was wanted, but allowed to return to his previous home in Lebanon, where he rejoined a pro-Syrian faction of Palestinians, Fatah Intifada, with whom he had trained in his youth.

The plot becomes truly bizarre and difficult to fathom, when Absi broke away from Fatah Intifada to create his own group, Fatah Islam. Lebanese analysts claim this is presumably because he was directed to "pretend" to do this in order to add an extra layer of deniability and distance himself from Syria before entering on his suicide campaign on Syria's behalf.

The second argument is that the fighting comes only days before the UN Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution to establish an international tribunal to try suspects in the murder of Rafiq al-Hariri and has been timed by Syria to frighten Lebanese into calling off the vote.

It is not clear why Abssi would work for Syria, a country that jailed him and which is responsible for killing his son-in-law.

There are a number of reasons why Syria might have neglected to turn Abssi over to Jordan and instead allow him to return to Lebanon.

1. Syria had terrible relations with both the US and Jordan at the time of Abssi's release from prison in Syria, thus Damascus authorities would not have wanted to reward either country. Syria had broken off all cooperation on intelligence sharing with the US on al-Qaida matters by that time.

2. Syria may have been happy to allow al-Qaida elements entrance into Lebanon because of the bad relations existing between the two countries following the Hariri murder and the passage of UN resolution 1559. Neither of these reasons would suggest that Abssi is or was controlled by Syria. It is hard to imagine how Syria could control such a man or such an organization of die hard jihadists. It is also not clear that either Jordan or the US tried to extradite him from Lebanon, despite knowing that he was there and within reach of Lebanese security forces.

The following 3 quotes are from the last comment section 

K said:

Prof Landis,

You do not give justice to the argument that Syria is behind Fatah al-Islam. Please be fair.

How about the fact that the leader of the gang was imprisoned in Syria for terrorism then mysteriously released after a couple of years behind bars. (Nonviolent Islamists, Kurds, and human rights lawyers all receive harsher sentences – but the convicted terrorist walks?) Then he pops up in Lebanon!

The multinational composition of the gang is no argument against Syrian involvement. The al-Qa’ida and Syrian connections are not mutually exclusive. Think of the links between Syria and the Iraqi terror campaign. The individual terrorists themselves are die-hard jihadists, and somewhere up the chain of command, is a Syrian intelligence agent. Syria doesn’t need to give them instructions, all it has to do is control their movement, let them into Lebanon, as it lets them into Iraq. In fact, many of these thugs are veterans of Iraq. They entered Iraq through Syria, and they have now passed from Iraq to Lebanon – through Syria!

Even though they are supposedly anti-Shi’a (”supported by Hariri as a counterweight to Hizballa” goes the lie) they have never attacked a Shi’a target. They attacked March 14 strongholds: Ain Alaq, (Christian), Ashrafieh (Christian), Verdun (Sunni), Aley (Druze).

This is in a larger context. The UNSC is discussing Chapter 7, and Bashar threatened to set the Mideast afire if the resolution passes.

T_desco said: Edit

Sloppy work by Mitchell Prothero:

“After Syria released from prison a former associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, a few weeks later (sic) a group calling itself Fatah al-Islam emerged under his leadership … .”
The Observer

(my emphasis)

Now this is what Shaker al-Absi’s brother Abdelrazzaq, “an orthopedic surgeon who lives in Jordan”, told AFP in a telephone interview:

“”I last saw him two and a half years ago when he was released from prison in Syria. We went there to congratulate him,” he said.”

And we also know that al-Absi arrived in Shatila in June.

idaf said:

Al-Qaida threatens Asad in a new audio tape: “You Nussairi, we will not allow you to complete a second term in office” according to “Abu Jandal Al-Dimashqi”, the leader of Jama’t Al-Tawheed wa el-Jihad fi Bilad el-sham.

T-Desco responded:

A “senior American security source” recently told The Sunday Times that “Al-Qaeda is trying very hard to seize a foothold in Syria”:

Al-Qaeda chief urges Iraqis to export jihad

THE deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has urged supporters in Iraq to extend their “holy war” to other Middle Eastern countries.

In a letter sent to the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq in the past few weeks, Zawahiri claims that it is defeating US forces and urges followers to expand their campaign of terror.

He conjures a vision of an Islamic state comprising Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, where Al-Qaeda has already gained its first footholds.

The goal of an Islamic “greater Syria”, first outlined by Zawahiri two years ago, is detailed in the letter amid growing concern about the activities of new groups under Al-Qaeda’s influence in the countries concerned.

A senior American security source said he was aware of the letter and Al-Qaeda’s growing emphasis on spreading jihad through a volatile region.

The source said Zawahiri, a Sunni, was determined to prevent Lebanon falling into the hands of the Shi’ite Hezbollah movement, which has tried to bring down the government.

“Al-Qaeda is trying very hard to seize a foothold in Syria,” the American source added.
The Sunday Times

Note that the information about “Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Suri” believed to have been arrested “in Syria” is probably wrong. Mustafa Setmariam Nasar was arrested in Pakistan and is now in Guantanamo (but perhaps there are several “Al-Qaeda leader’s” using that name?).

There seems to be a flurry of statements attributed to al-Qa’ida in recent days. This was reported by Ynetnews yesterday:

Al-Qaeda: Help Fatah al-Islam attack Israel

A statement attributed to al-Qaeda’s leadership has been released on the internet calling for “every Muslim” to support Fatah al-Islam, the Palestinian Islamist group engaged in a bloody conflict with Lebanese troops.

According to the statement, Fatah al-Islam is under attack in Lebanon because it is seeking “a confrontation” with Israel, and all Muslims are therefore obliged to support the group.

The message was released by the Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaeda mouthpiece which distributes statements by the international terror organization’s leaders and field commanders.

And today the New York Times published this important article detailing the modus operandi of al-Qa’ida linked networks in the region (including inside Syria):

Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq

The article also shows, in my opinion, how important it would be to return to the kind of close cooperation with Syria in security matters that existed right after 9/11.

The following passage may be of interest for the Hariri case:

“In Somalia and Algeria, for example, recent suicide bombings have been accompanied by the release of taped testimonials by the bombers, a longtime terrorist practice embraced by insurgents in Iraq” (my emphasis).

After the recent suicide bombing in Algiers, the pictures of the three alledged bombers appeared on the Web almost immediately, together with a tape that was played on al-Jazeera.

In light of this, the quick release of the Abu Adass tape doesn’t seem so unusual anymore.

However, a word of caution – at least part of the reason why there are suddenly so many reports about al-Qa’ida in the region could be a deliberate shift in White House rhetorics, as Seymour Hersh noted recently:

“I do know that within the last month, maybe four, four-and-a-half weeks ago, they made a decision that because of the totally dwindling support for the war in Iraq, we go back to the al-Qaeda card, and we start talking about al-Qaeda. And the next thing you know, right after that, Bush went to the Southern Command — this was a month ago — and talked, mentioned al-Qaeda twenty-seven times in his speech. He did so just the other day this week — al-Qaeda this, al-Qaeda that.”
Interview on Democracy Now!, May 24th, 2007

Certainly related to this new PR strategy, yet also interesting:

Bush declassifies intelligence that asserts bin Laden ordered more attacks outside Iraq
AP, May 22, 2007

The New York Times has this: "Shakir al-Abssi, was an associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia who was killed last summer. In an interview with The New York Times earlier this month, Mr. Abssi confirmed reports that Syrian government forces had killed his son-in-law as he tried crossing into Iraq to collaborate with insurgents.

Mark Mackinnon, in this good article, brought to our attention by T-Desco, describes Absi and his cause. He writes that Absi is "a fanatically devout former Libyan air force pilot who is almost certain to choose death over surrender in the standoff at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp.

Even before he founded Fatah al-Islam last year, Shakir al-Abssi was a well-known militant who grew up fighting in the refugee camps of Jordan and Lebanon and dreaming of "liberating" the Palestinian territories. The last place he lived before he established his base at Nahr al-Bared is testament to that: a grungy three-room building furnished only with bunk beds, uncomfortable chairs and a messy desk in Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp near Beirut.

Mr. al-Abssi, who returned to Lebanon last summer after a prolonged absence, lived in these Spartan accommodations for several months after being assigned by Fatah Intifada chiefs in Syria to take over the local leadership of the Syrian-backed group dedicated to violent resistance against Israel.

Shortly afterward, he founded the breakaway Fatah al-Islam, the radical Salafist group now locked in the deadly showdown with government forces at Nahr al-Bared in the north of the country.

The 51-year-old Mr. al-Abssi is remembered on these grimy, narrow streets as a physically fit man with greying hair who wore a mustache and, occasionally, a short beard. He was a popular and respected figure, renowned for his religiosity.

"He is modest and forgiving. You can do anything you want to him and he will forgive you, but if someone insulted God in his presence, he might kill them," said Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, the security chief for Fatah Intifada in Shatila.

He said that when Mr. al-Abssi arrived last June to take over command, he brought with him 200 battle-hardened veterans of the Iraq war hailing from countries around the region. There were some Palestinians and Lebanese among them, but locals – judging primarily by the men's appearance and accents – say others were from Jordan, Syria, North Africa and the Persian Gulf states.

The new men trained separately from the rest of Fatah Intifada, an arrangement that none could question because of Mr. al-Abssi's status as a senior commander. Then late last year, Mr. al-Abssi and his men made their move, heading north to take over Fatah Intifada's headquarters in Nahr al-Bared and seizing the guns and ammunition stored there.

Mr. Abu Mohammed says the arsenal that Fatah al-Islam acquired from Fatah Intifada included a store of 120-millimetre mortars and multibarrelled rocket launchers, as well as an "uncountable" number of Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. The militant group has bragged that it has enough weaponry to hold out for nine months in its standoff with the Lebanese army.

"They will fight to the last drop of blood," Mr. Abu Mohammed said. "They are religious people. They want to meet God, to die as martyrs in Islam."

The seizure of the weapons and infrastructure was a grand, carefully planned heist. "Because he was the leader of Fatah Intifada in Beirut and the north, he was able to move his people from Beirut to [Nahr al-Bared] without people suspecting anything," said Abu Ayed al-Shalan, the Palestinian Liberation Organization co-ordinator in Shatila.

He said he knew Mr. al-Abssi as a "calm, religious man" who had helped prepare the camps defences for a potential assault during Israel's attack on Lebanon last summer.

He shook his head like a man who had been fooled. "We can't believe that all the things that happened this week are linked to him."

With Nahr al-Bared already under its effective control, Fatah al-Islam made its presence known to the rest of the country in February when it allegedly bombed two buses near Beirut, killing three people. The group's spokesman, Abu Salim Taha, says Fatah al-Islam still seeks to eventually liberate the Palestinian territories from Israeli control, but the group's first target is the pro-Western government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The country, he said, should be ruled by Islamic sharia law, not "atheist courts."

Mr. al-Abssi's new group has more in common with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network and its global jihad than with the traditional Palestinian "resistance" movements he previously served. In an interview earlier this year with The New York Times, he said that his dream was to create a global Islamic government. He said that the U.S. invasion of Iraq made American citizens anywhere legitimate targets.

"It is our right to hit them in their homes as they hit us in our homes," he was quoted as saying. "We are not afraid of being named terrorists."

Mr. al-Abssi's journey to Nahr al-Bared was a long and circuitous one. Born in the Palestinian city of Jericho, he fled as a child with his family to Jordan after Israel seized the West Bank in 1967.

The family later relocated to Lebanon and Mr. al-Abssi grew up in Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, which plucked him from medical school and trained him as a pilot. He joined the Syrian-backed Fatah Intifada when it broke away from the mainstream movement in 1983 and rose to become an officer in a special unit charged with planning attacks on mainland Israel.

In the late 1980s, he travelled to Libya, another backer of Palestinian militant groups, and served in the country's air force during the latter years of its prolonged war with neighbouring Chad. Afterward, he moved to Syria where he lived relatively quietly while making frequent trips to Jordan, where he reportedly met Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born militant who was later to become one of the world's most notorious people as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, where he was killed last year.

Mr. al-Zarqawi and Mr. al-Abssi apparently found common cause. They were jointly charged and sentenced to death in absentia by a Jordanian court for the 2002 killing of American diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman. After the killing, Mr. al-Abssi was arrested by the Syrian authorities, but never handed over to Jordan. Instead, he was jailed for three years for membership in a banned Islamist group, and released last year.

While Lebanon's Western-backed government has alleged that Syria is behind Fatah al-Islam, Mr. Abu Mohammed said that Damascus was furious at the creation of Mr. al-Abssi's group. He said Fatah Intifada had been preparing an attack to retake their headquarters in Nahr al-Bared by force, but was asked by residents not to use force in the densely populated refugee camp.

Some Lebanese analysts, however, poured scorn on the idea that Fatah al-Islam had been able to enter the country from Syria and to secure the weapons and headquarters of a Syrian-backed Palestinian faction without the tacit approval of Damascus.

"I'm not saying this is a group financed and armed by the Syrians, it's more subtle than that, but clearly this was something the Syrians set up and appear to have been preparing for some time," said Michael Young, opinion page editor of The Daily Star an English-language newspaper in Beirut.

Other Palestinian groups say they have no knowledge one way or the other about Syria's alleged involvement with Mr. al-Abssi and Fatah al-Islam, but say the group's battle with the Lebanese army is damaging the reputation of Palestinians and doing little to help their cause of liberating the territories occupied by Israel.

"The members of this group are Islamic terrorists, not Palestinians," Mr. al-Shalan, the PLO man, said in his office in Shatila, a place still scarred by the 1982 massacre of refugees by Christian militiamen allied with Israel. It's a dark episode in the history of both Lebanon and the Palestinians who live here that many are recalling as the standoff in the Nahr al-Bared camp appears headed toward a bloody end.

Faced with a surrender-or-die ultimatum from the Lebanese army, Mr. Taha said yesterday that Fatah al-Islam was planning to go out shooting.

Jonathan Nassim of Bilad ash-Sham blog gives these two perspectives from Lebanon. He begins:

I spoke today with two well informed sources in Beirut, who had different points of view on the situation in Lebanon.

The first source held that though Fatah al-Islam were given the go-ahead by Syria to enter Lebanon, thus serving Syrian strategic interests, they are not Syrian puppets. Syria are no longer in control of the Palestinian camps, and once inside, Fatah al-Islam developed its own strategy, which can broadly be described as Jihadist.

The Lebanese authorities knew of their existence and tolerated them. Furthermore, as Hezbullah's (perceived and actual) strength increased in the south, Sunnis in the north were made to become aware of the threat they posed, and were happy to have well armed Sunnis nearby, and this fact was accepted and exploited by the Hariri’s – whether this meant funding or playing on their presence in election time, as the Hezbullah threat was played up. What we are seeing now is the failure of this accommodation, that has ‘blown up in their face’. Partial evidence for this theory, the source said, is that the Ain Alaq bus bombing suspects were known to the Lebanese authorities, but at no point did they co-ordinate with Fatah (proper) and arrest them….

Robert Fisk in "The Road to Jerusalem (via Lebanon)," sheds a bit more light on the group. Unlike Michael Young, Fisk is not enammored of the March 14 Coalition and is suspicious of claims that the group is controlled by Syria. Fisk writes:

Chaker al-Absi told Lebanese journalists last year that his movement "was founded on the Koran and holy law" and that it was a "reformist movement created to bring an end to corruption and to brandish in the sky over Jerusalem the banner which says 'There is only one God but God'."

And he added that "we are neither allied to a regime or any group existing on this earth."

It is too simple to claim that this is Syria's work. Syria may have an interest is watching this destabilisation, even – through its security networks – assisting these groups with logistics. But other organisations might have found common interest; the Iraqi insurgents, for example, even the Taliban, perhaps equally small groups in the Palestinian occupied territories. That's how these things work in the Middle East, where there is no such thing as responsibility – only a commonality of interests. Perhaps the Americans might have learnt something about this if they had not two years ago insulted the Syrians for allowing fighters into Iraq – at which point, the Syrians halted all military and intelligence co-operation with the US.

Anthony Shadid's article on militants in Tripoli of last year was precient. It is worth rereading it in the light of recent fighting. "Smoke of Iraq War 'Drifting Over Lebanon': In Political and Social Life, Returned Fighters Inspire Climate of Militancy."

Farah Stockman, "US unit created to pressure Iran, Syria disbanded," Boston Globe |  May 26, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has dismantled a special committee that was established last year to coordinate aggressive actions against Iran and Syria, State Department officials said this week.

The interagency group, known as the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group, met weekly throughout much of 2006 to coordinate actions such as curtailing Iran's access to credit and banking institutions, organizing the sale of military equipment to Iran's neighbors, and supporting democratic forces that oppose the two regimes.

State Department and White House officials said the dissolution of the group was simply a bureaucratic reorganization, but many analysts saw it as evidence of a softening in the US strategy toward the two countries. It comes as the Bush administration has embarked on a significant new effort to hold high-level meetings with Iran and Syria.

Khaddam hired the good offices of Sandra Charles (C & O Resources) to lobby for him and obtain access for a high profile visit he'd like to make to Washington. Also see other details at Friday-Lunch-Club.

New French FM says Paris will continue to snub Syria, Ha'aretz – Tel Aviv, Israel
PARIS – France's new foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said Friday that Paris would continue to snub Syria because it did not believe Damascus respected …

Assad re-elected

Nothing much new here. The only suspence is waiting to see what the percentage given will be.

Ammar Abdul Hamid's Tharwa Community writes that

Close to 75 protestors representing various opposition currents held a protest rally in front of the Syria Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 26. Protestors called for a popular boycott of the presidential referendum scheduled to be held on the following day.

Here are photos of the demonstration taken by Seth Wikas of WINEP.

"Syrian President's Fortunes Revive in Time for Election," By HASSAN M. FATTAH in NYTimes
Hugh Naylor contributed reporting.

DAMASCUS, Syria — Inside the tent, the trappings of a modern election campaign were on display: jingles playing, flags waving, confetti coating the floor, and posters of President Bashar al-Assad hanging near the stage.

Outside, however, Syria's realities were evident. Government security officers manhandled anyone trying to come in and blocked reporters from covering the rally, which was financed by one of Syria's most powerful oligarchs. The sparseness of the crowd at the start of the campaign on May 11 hinted at growing fear of the future and apathy about Syrian politics.

Only a year ago, Mr. Assad faced so many troubles that some Syrians began questioning his political survival. His troops had been forced out of Lebanon, his government faced accusations of collusion in the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, and the Bush administration had imposed sanctions that affected everything from the fleet of Boeings in Syria's national airline to medical equipment. Waning oil reserves hinted at economic collapse, and the European Union delayed signing a much-needed trade agreement.

But as he prepares for a so-called national referendum in which he is certain to be overwhelmingly re-elected for a second seven-year term, Mr. Assad seems very much in control, with his rivals isolated, his critics increasingly in prison or fearing retribution, and international pressure eased. He has consolidated power around his immediate family and rewarded loyalists. And he has continued to reap the benefits of Washington's troubles in the region. In Lebanon, the anti-Syrian March 14 movement, which helped force Syria out, has seen its political fortunes plummet, mired in unrest…..

"Assad’s rule has brought small changes to Syria, but critics say shortcomings remain," By ZEINA KARAM (Thanks to

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — On the surface, Syria looks starkly different than it did a few years ago: Cafes and restaurants, private universities and banks have sprung up, with large construction sites signaling even more development to come.

But as the c …

Farid Ghadry will address the Israeli Knesset.

"Iraqi Refugees Turn to the Sex Trade in Syria," by Katherine Zoepf – a sad story that we will hear more of.

A new Guide to Syria on the web in French by Sylvia Chiffoleau: Guide de Syrie-sur-Web: Réalisé par Sylvia Chiffoleau (GREMMO-UMR 5195), ce guide vise à introduire aux ressources d’Internet concernant l’actualité de la Syrie.

Yves Gonzalez Quijano has a wonderful blog, "Culture & Politique arabes." His latest post is on Syrian art and well worth the read. (In French)

Comments (84)

DJ said:

Have a nice trip Josh…

May 29th, 2007, 7:28 am


idaf said:

Syria forecasts seven percent growth for 2007

Syria forecasts economic growth of around seven percent for 2007, up from 5.1 percent in 2006, Economy Minister Amer Lutfi said in state newspapers on Sunday.

“Economic growth exceeded the four percent level in 2005 and 5.1 percent in 2006, and we envisage a seven-percent figure in 2007, in line with the aims of the five-year (2006-2010) plan,” he told Al-Baath daily.

Original figures put out by the government forecast a growth level of 5.6 percent in 2007, with a seven percent target for the end of the plan period in 2010.

Lutfi said these “encouraging” indicators” resulted from economic reforms as part of the “transition from a state-run economy to a market-based economy” with limited intervention by the state, acting as a “market regulatory factor”.

He stressed the importance of the “private sector which represents 68 percent of the Gross National Product”.

Syria’s trade deficit had been slashed from 87 billion pounds ($1.74 billion) in 2005 to 24 billion pounds ($480 million) last year, the minister said.

Figures from the Central Office of Statistics, also published in Al-Baath, showed per capita revenue was now 4,411 pounds ($88) a month, compared with 3,163 pounds ($63) per month in 2000.

Syria’s foreign debt was now estimated at less than $5 billion, drastically down from $24 billion in 2005. Officially, unemployment stood at 8.3 percent, although experts say it is closer to 20 percent.

May 29th, 2007, 9:12 am


Akbar Palace said:

Professor Josh,

I don’t want to get you into any trouble, but perhaps you can relay a message to your Syrian government friends and acquaintances. Please tell them to stop supporting terrorists and the flow of weapons to Hezbollah. No one I know of denies Syria’s right to exist. Peace is good for Arabs as well as Jews.


Here’s some more information about the Syrian economy. I would like to visit one day. Without the fear of being thrown in the slammer.

May 29th, 2007, 10:51 am


K said:


What a wretched state of affairs. I can attest that the situation in Jordan is identical. Many Jordanian men I was acquainted with when I lived there openly boasted of exploiting Iraqi “prostitutes” under 18 years of age.

May 29th, 2007, 2:03 pm


idaf said:

Bashar gets 97,62 percent

19,653 said No to reelecting Bashar (253,059 additional ballot cards were left blank or were invalid).

Moreover, only 195,454 Syrians who posses a voting card chose not to go to the voting stations.

May 29th, 2007, 2:21 pm


Ziad said:

Blair in Libya, Praises Kadhafi
Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Libya Tuesday on the first leg of a three-country African tour before he leaves office next month.

He touched down in Tripoli shortly after Libya announced that British energy giant BP was to sign a 900 million oil exploration deal with the state energy company.

Blair, who is due to meet Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, last visited the north African country in March 2004, three months after Tripoli announced it was abandoning a weapons of mass destruction program.

It was the first time a British prime minister had visited Libya since it became independent in 1951.

Speaking on board his plane before taking off for Tripoli Blair said he was on first name terms with the Libyan leader.

“I find him very easy to deal with,” he told reporters, describing his relationship with Kadhafi as “very good.” Asked about Kadhafi’s reputation for unpredictability, he added: “He’s not been mercurial.”

Blair said that ties between Britain and Libya had been “transformed” and that a visit 10 years ago would have been unthinkable.

Libya, which for years was subject to sanctions, renounced weapons of mass destruction in 2004, and Blair said the two countries were now cooperating well on business, as well as security issues.

On counter-terrorism, Blair said Libya has a vital role to play in combating the spread of extremism, including that of Al-Qaeda, adding that Kadhafi had made good his pledges since coming back into the international fold.

“Some of the information they have provided has been extremely valuable in combating terrorism,” he said.

During his trip to Libya Blair was expected to meet with the families of Libyan children suffering from AIDS, after a court ruled they were deliberately injected with HIV-tainted blood by foreign medics.

The medics — five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor — are on death row in Libya after being convicted of infecting 438 children at a hospital in Benghazi, 56 of whom have since died.

The West has appealed for clemency from Libya. “Our position is well known. But what we have to do is work with the Libyan authorities on this,” said Blair’s official spokesman.

After Libya, Blair was due to travel on to Sierra Leone and South Africa.(AFP-Naharnet)

May 29th, 2007, 3:07 pm


trustquest said:

It is a fact that women do not vote in general in most of Middle Eastern societies. Any observer of the polling centers can realize that women presence is minimal not to say any. Outside the cities, voting is kind of unpleasant thing to go to the polls. Ignoring these facts and saying that 95.86 of the people voted is just outrageous lie from the authoritarian regime.
Why they keep doing so?.

May 29th, 2007, 4:00 pm


idaf said:


You are mostly right. However, in the figures provided by the Syrian government, this 95 percent is the percentage of people who posses a voting card and who chose to go to the voting stations and cast their vote (not 95 percent Syrians eligible to vote).

According to Syrian election law, you have to have a voting card to cast a vote in local, parliamentary or presidential elections (other national ID documents cannot be used as means of identification when voting). All Syrians were actually encouraged to issue their cards in the last few months (endless awareness campaigns were conducted by the authorities on TV, radio and press). Many chose not to do so out of carelessness, protest or ignorance.

This said however, this does not mean that the government figures are accurate for sure. Lying in election results is always highly probable in developing countries (and of course in Syria).

May 29th, 2007, 5:09 pm


t_desco said:

Terrorist Mastermind Arrested at Beirut Hotel

Lebanese security agents arrested a terrorist mastermind at a Beirut hotel Tuesday and confiscated a list of targets for possible terrorist attacks, a reliable source told Naharnet.

The source said the suspect was carrying a forged Lebanese identity card that identified his first name as Agop, which is a common Armenian name.

However, the suspect is a national of a gulf country and has been living in a hotel in Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh district for 10 days, according to the source.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said police anti-terrorism officers busted the suspect’s suite, arrested him and confiscated at least 10 forged passports for Arab and western countries.

The bust also resulted in confiscating “maps, pictures and lists of names for targets of terror attacks in Lebanon, the Arab world and Europe,” the source added.

He said the bust was a “major catch. We have foiled a series of terrorist attacks that would have claimed thousands of lives if carried out,” the source told Naharnet.

The suspect’s “hotel suite” had been under surveillance for a while, the source said.

He said Fatah al-Islam terrorists arrested by police in the northern town of Tripoli “told investigators about the suspect.”

Police have arrested at least 90 people suspected of affiliation with the Fatah al-Islam terror network that is based in north Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared.

(my emphasis)

May 29th, 2007, 5:20 pm


norman said:

May God be with you and your family.

May 29th, 2007, 6:05 pm


Ziad said:

This regime is realistic and in fact they have no other choice ,it’s:99 % or the grave.In an anoter word ,The end of the 99 % culture will mean their end.
This is not the case of the other dictatorships in the arab world ,in which the opposition has extensive social activities and own medias,they control hospitals and schools that’s what the sectarian minority regime in syria will not be able to bear.
So be sure as long as bashar and his familly are in power ,the 99 % rule will remain in force.

May 29th, 2007, 6:11 pm


AL-SYASY said:

Qatar will use its position on the U.N. Security Council to oppose the resolution creating an international tribunal to try suspects involved in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri > look at the great influence that Mr. Assad has in the region :):):)

May 29th, 2007, 8:17 pm


AL-SYASY said:

I repeat that the conflict in Lebanon is between the United States and Europe and all other parties are just tools in their hands.

March 14 is supported by France and march 8 is supported by America.

America wont allow the tribunal to take place because it will weaken the position of its allies and France is eager to do that.

May 29th, 2007, 8:21 pm


ugarit said:

Lying in election results is always highly probable in developing countries (and of course in Syria).

and in the US.

May 29th, 2007, 9:33 pm


bilal said:

I find it strange that 195,454 Syrians did not show up. It is considered a NO vote if you do not show up and that mean you are subject to questioning. I voted each time and hated Alassad but voted YES as otherwise I will be desrtoyed. This is the ONLY reason for Syrians to vote inside and abroad.

May 29th, 2007, 10:55 pm


EHSANI2 said:


UNITED NATIONS (AP)–The U.S. called for a U.N. vote Wednesday to
unilaterally establish an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in the
assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, despite
opposition from Russia, China and other Security Council members.
The draft resolution would create a tribunal outside Lebanon with a majority
of international judges and an international prosecutor under Chapter 7 of the
U.N. Charter, which deals with threats to international peace and can be
militarily enforced.
The Russians, Chinese and South Africans have publicly called for the Chapter
7 reference to be dropped, saying it is unnecessary.
But the three main sponsors – the U.S., France and the U.K. – have refused,
and France’s U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere said Tuesday “I’m very
hopeful that this resolution could pass now in the council” despite the
In order to be adopted, the resolution needs at least nine “yes” votes in the
15-member council and no veto by a permanent member – the U.S., Russia, China,
the U.K. and France. Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity
because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said they do not expect a
veto, but they do expect at least five abstentions – Russia, China, Qatar,
Indonesia and South Africa.
The suicide truck bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut in
February 2005 sparked huge protests against Syria, which was widely seen as
culpable. Syria denied involvement but was forced to withdraw its troops from
Lebanon, ending a 29-year presence.
The issue of an international tribunal has since fueled a deep political
conflict between Prime Minister Fuad Saniora’s Western-backed government and
the Syrian-backed, Hezbollah-led opposition. The conflict has taken on an
increasingly sectarian tone and erupted into street battles, killing 11 people
in recent months.
Saniora asked the council earlier this month to take binding action to
establish the tribunal. He cited the refusal of opposition-aligned Parliament
Speaker Nabih Berri to convene a session to ratify the statutes to create the
tribunal that have already been approved by his government and the United
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the current Security Council president,
told reporters Tuesday after a closed council discussion of a revised text of
the resolution that “our decision of the sponsors … is to go for a vote
“There are still some differences of view but I believe there are now
sufficient votes in the council to move forward,” he said.
The revised text would give the Lebanese parties a June 10 deadline to ratify
the statutes. Otherwise, the resolution’s provisions would take immediate
“What has been agreed to by the sponsors is to give the Lebanese a final
chance to come together because the Lebanese prime minister has taken
substantial risks to ask for this to happen,” Khalilzad said. “If you give a
lot of time to it, there is all kinds of opportunities for mischief making and
for negative effect on the situation in Lebanon.”
The sponsors would like all 15 council members to support the resolution but
are willing to accept “a clear majority” because “we think the risks of not
moving forward are greater.”
France’s de La Sabliere said the sponsors believe the resolution will help
the Lebanese overcome “the crisis they have now.”
“With this resolution adopted, the deadlock the Lebanese are in will be
overcome on the tribunal, so this tribunal will be legally established and this
is a huge step,” he said.
De La Sabliere said the U.N. commission investigating the assassination needs
to have the tribunal legally established, and the resolution will start the
process of finding the financing and a location, which could take a year.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said “we have no problem with the
idea that things must move ahead with the tribunal … and we accept that it
should not simply be in a dead end … and the course of justice must be
But Russia believes “there are better legal ways to do it which would avoid a
number of very serious legal and possible political repercussions and
consequences,” he said.
Moscow wants Chapter 7 totally eliminated because it believes all Security
Council resolutions are legally binding, and instead of putting the documents
“in force” – as the draft resolution now does – it wants the documents to be
“implemented,” he said.
“In force is something that parliaments do, and never before has the Security
Council ratified agreements on behalf of a parliament of a foreign country,”
Churkin said.
South Africa’s U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo also called overriding a
parliament “a problem.”

May 29th, 2007, 11:52 pm


zenobia said:

i have only been here a few weeks, but i talked to many people who didn’t bother to vote and a couple who told me they went but put a blank page.
but i dont think anyone seemed to fearful that this would make them in trouble….and it was easy to see why…..

the throngs of people voting and celebrating was unbelievable..and a very convincing spectacle. so if spectacle is the most important thing…as well as the confidence that the referendum of the president appears to contain legitimacy… then the authorities overseeing this production…were very very successful…i would say.

May 30th, 2007, 12:08 am


trustquest said:


I have a lot of relatives and friends there in Syria; I can not imagine there is one guy I know would vote Yes. I think these spectacles are deceiving; and one needs to know people better to understand their real feeling and their actual acts. Government can play largely good with the outside shell by bringing balloons, tents, chocolates and music and can make people look like collaborating, but in reality the people are in another world and they have no real connection, however and no alternatives.

May 30th, 2007, 12:49 am


norman said:

I do not think that the Syrians have any alternative to president Asad , look at the oppositions , they are not reliable or deppendable , Asad kept the Syrians safe and with improving buing power , after all most people would rather have a father that takes care of them than one who lets them do what they want on their own if there is a choice.

May 30th, 2007, 1:29 am


EHSANI2 said:

Bashar, a FATHER to take care of “them”?

Oh man, just when one would have thought it cannot get any worse.


If you like a “FATHER to take care of you rather than lets you do what you want”, why aren’t you back home to be taken care of?

May 30th, 2007, 1:35 am


bilal said:

To Zenobia,
Are you kidding?
Make sure not to talk to these people who put a blank paper as you could be implicated. I can tell you that they are using ballots with serial number so they would know who voted what? I have met people living in the States who voted Yes only because they are afraid as they visit Syria often. They hate Bashar and know he is the worst president but they are afraid. I heard a guy who told me that he feared Bashar more than God because God does not have Mukhabarat “Istekheferallah”. Please do not tell me that any Syrian has the freedom to vote.

To Norman,

The only reason there is no alternative to Bashar as they are all either in prison or forbidden from Syria. If Bashar expect that you have a chance of 1 per thousand that you could be a potential alternative you would follow.

May 30th, 2007, 1:46 am


norman said:

I like uncle Sam,So i am staying here , on the other you are the one with brilient even though wrong ideas , thank god you are not going back.

May 30th, 2007, 2:47 am


norman said:

Bilal , Ehsani.

I would rather Syria improves no matter who is in charge , and diffinetly i am not in the running for anything in Syria , power is only important if it can improve the lives of the people ,that could be done without being in politecal power .

May 30th, 2007, 2:54 am


ausamaa said:


Come on lady, how dare you put forward such an “opposing” observation. Being there a short while ago does not mean that you may “know” how Syrians feel. For I am often given to understand that Syrians, except for some Syrian expats who post here, are very good at hiding their true feelings!! Maybe you just did not see many of the “right” people there! Ask some of the guys posting above, they know exactly how the majority of Syrians feel. Or so they say..


May 30th, 2007, 9:58 am


Akbar Palace said:

Ugarit responded to IDAF’s statement:

Lying in election results is always highly probable in developing countries (and of course in Syria).

“and in the US.”


Which “election results” in the US were lies?

May 30th, 2007, 10:52 am


ugarit said:

An unusual article:

US + Sadr + Assad = Victory

May 30th, 2007, 11:21 am


Ziad said:

bashar the beast doesnt have the level to rule syria ,he is a corrupt and criminal dictator who try to play the civilized.Syria is not only constituted of bastards ,this kind of people are known,who marry their mother they call him father ,they are not representative of the syrian population which is conservative society ,which hate lies, hypocrisy and obscenity.
Give to the syrian people the right to choose what they want and u will see what will happen to bashar and his dirty familly.
Despite decades of oppression Syria still have one of the most wonderful civil society.

May 30th, 2007, 11:30 am


EHSANI2 said:

BERLIN, May 30 (UPI) — Israeli-Palestinian peace “unlocks the key” to “further
engagement between the Arabs and the Israelis,” U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice said in Berlin.
Rice cautioned Israel against engaging in peace talks with Syria, instead of
pursuing a peace plan with Palestinian factions, The Washington Post reported.
“My understanding is that it is the view of Israelis, and certainly our view,
that the Syrians are engaged in behavior right now that is destabilizing to the
region,” Rice told reporters.
She said there is “no substitute” for creating a Palestinian state.
Rice’s efforts to lay the groundwork for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks
stalled when Palestinian factions renewed fighting among themselves and members
of Hamas began firing rockets at Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
under fire for his handling of the war with Lebanon last year, was also seen as
hesitant to make concessions in the talks, the Post reported.
Rice was to visit Austria and Spain on her current European diplomatic tour.

May 30th, 2007, 12:57 pm


t_desco said:

It seems that the first version of the story was too embarrassing for some, so they are desperately trying to give it a different spin:

Al-Qaida Ranking Terrorist Doubling for Syrian Intelligence Arrested in Lebanon

The problem is, it doesn’t add up:

A: “The suspect, according to the source, had “sold out al-Qaida in favor of cooperation with Syrian intelligence after he was offered safe haven in Syria.””

B: “Last week, according to the source, the suspect “turned in to the Syrian intelligence a ranking Saudi member of al-Qaida known as Abu Talha. He did the Syrians a major favor that could help them boost their tense relations with the Americans.””

C: “After turning in Abu Talha, the Syrian intelligence command “sent the suspect to Lebanon to re-organize Fatah al-Islam and other Syrian-sponsored terrorists and sponsor a spate of attacks on a variety of targets in Lebanon aimed at destabilizing the situation,” the source added.”

So he is offered a “safe haven”, but just one week after betraying and turning in a fellow terrorist he is sent to Lebanon where he is supposed to get in touch with the very persons he betrayed (in addition to being a target for Lebanese and other intelligence agencies).

Gee… I have learned to expect little from “reliable sources” speaking on condition of anonymity, but this is just breathtakingly stupid…

May 30th, 2007, 1:12 pm


idaf said:


This reminds me of the endless pre-Mehlis “informed sources” that were stated as facts in Lebanese media.. Come to think of it, these media outlets (including Annahar and more recently the Daily Star) cling to this kind of suspense to increase the sales of their papers (similar to the way tabloids work). Objectivity, balance, accuracy and even journalism have all became secondary in Lebanese media in the last 2 years. Suspense is king nowadays. The Lebanese audience is thirsty for such anonymous informed sources.

May 30th, 2007, 2:38 pm


idaf said:

Bilal, Ziad and Trustquest,

According to official figures, 468,166 Syrians (who hold voting cards) either voted NO, protested by dropping an empty ballot card in the box or refused to go to the voting station (not to mention the thousands of Syrians who did not bother to issue a voting card all altogether, many as a form of protest). That’s more than half a million Syrians who voted NO, one way or another. Are you telling me that all these people will be harassed by the mukhabarat or thrown in jail?! Your hyperboles are pathetic. Cut it out.

I have no doubt that the 97 percent result was exaggerated, but on the other hand, I think you guys should wake up to realities in Syria and get out of your state of denial. REPEAT AFTER ME: Bashar has the support of a majority of people in Syria (as well as a large percentage of Syrians abroad). Admitting this reality will make your anti-Bashar arguments sound better. You have all the right in the world to oppose him and question his legitimacy or performance. You can work to change the reality of the vast support he enjoys as hard as you can, but repeating your endless insults to Syrians’ intelligence and accusing them of being cowards will not change the fact that the guy has the genuine support of a comfortable majority in the country. Youth in Syria (who are the overwhelming majority of people in the country) do not care at all about the Communist (extreme left) or fundamentalist (extreme right) opposition figures. Currently there is no other real opposition to Bashar. You can rest assured that their supporters (including sympathizers) are counted in very few thousands, not more. The Hariri issue is actually becoming less relevant to the Syrians day after day. It is seen by most Syrians I met recently as just “another WMD false accusation to get their country to its knees a la Iraq”, regardless of the real culprit.

Any objective observer would clearly see that the majority of Syrian youth care more about their education, economy, security and “the national pride” of not being lead by “another Arab dictator that takes orders from the American embassy”. Bashar is performing relatively well on these fronts against all odds. I argue that a majority of Syrians today see Bashar as a leader that’s thriving to make things better, and succeeding relatively given all the troubles in the region. Some are genuine supporters of Bashar and some support him only because he’s the best option available at this time. Most have their concerns and reservations on the regime (freedoms, corruption.. etc.) but opted to work with the system and try to reform it, rather than spend their energy on opposing it negatively with little hope of creating impact by following the latter method. The success of the former way has a higher probability than the option of working with external powers that have agendas against the Syrian national interests (Khaddam, Ghadry, MB.. etc). The majority of Syrians want the ‘enab not killing the natoor.

NOW, to the more important matter.. there is an enormous rumor in the country that one of the first decisions that Bashar will take in his new term in office is the release of the opposition figures jailed recently. This is a Syrian tradition that Bashar followed in his first term (he closed down the Mazze prison and released tens of political prisoners). Many Syrians believe that Kilo will be released in the coming few weeks. I have a feeling they are right.

May 30th, 2007, 2:55 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Even though you did not address me in your comment, I could not help but make a brief remark:

You said:

“The Hariri issue is actually becoming less relevant to the Syrians day after day. It is seen by most Syrians I met recently as just “another WMD false accusation to get their country to its knees a la Iraq”, regardless of the real culprit.”

What is the relevance of the way the Syrian people feel when it comes to the Hariri investigation? Do you think that the investigation and the possible vote at the UN in the next few hours has anything to do with the Syrian people and the way they feel about it?

May 30th, 2007, 3:12 pm


idaf said:


Of course not. It does not have anything to do with the Syrian people. Their perception of the investigation, the tribunal and the UN vote will not affect their results. The only thing that matter is that Syrians believe that their national interests are on stake here (not the head of their regime). Hence, the effect of the investigation or the tribunal process (which will definitely last for years.. more years than Bush, Saniora or little Hariri will be in office) will be minimal on Syria and on Bashar himself. In other words, no regime change on the cheap will take place in Syria. Even the effects on the economic growth will be minimal.

If the Syrian people’s perception of the tribunal or the accusations towards Bashar were different than what they are today, then Syria can kiss the economic growth, FDI, relative stability, security and even the Golan goodbye. Luckily, this is not the case.

May 30th, 2007, 3:36 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Your last paragraph again states that the Syrian people’s perception of the tribunal is key. I fail to see the logic. Economic growth, FDI, relative stability, security and even the Golan is a function of the Syrian people’s perception of the tribunal?

May 30th, 2007, 3:49 pm


idaf said:


In the short run, yes. In my opinion, economic growth, FDI, stability, security and even the Golan will be related to Syrian people’s perception of Syria’s guilt or innocence.

What I’m saying is that the process of the tribunal (even if it is under chapter 7) which will take many many years, would not affect Bashar or Syria (growth, stability, etc.), because the Syrian people (and even foreign investors) do not buy it. However, this Syrian public perception will not affect the results of the investigation or the tribunal.

This said, the impact of the final result of the tribunal (whatever that might be) on Syria is anyone’s guess.

I hope it’s clear now.

May 30th, 2007, 4:05 pm


idaf said:

EIU Global Peace Index: Syria ranks 77, US 96, while Israel, Sudan and Iraq are the least peaceful countries in the world
WASHINGTON, May 30 /PRNewswire/

The first study to rank countries around the world according to their peacefulness and the drivers that create and sustain their peace was launched today. The Global Peace Index studied 121 countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe and its publication comes one week before the leaders of the world’s richest countries gather for the G8 summit in Germany to discuss issues of global concern.

The rankings show that even among the G8 countries there are significant differences in peacefulness: While Japan was the most peaceful of the G8 countries, at a rank of five in the Index, Russia neared the bottom at number 118. The Global Peace Index also reveals that countries which had a turbulent time for parts of the twentieth century, such as Ireland and Germany, have emerged as peace leaders in the 21st century.

The Economist Intelligence Unit measured countries’ peacefulness based on wide range of indicators – 24 in all – including ease of access to “weapons of minor destruction” (guns, small explosives), military expenditure, local corruption, and the level of respect for human rights.

After compiling the Index, the researchers examined it for patterns in order to identify the “drivers” that make for peaceful societies. They found that peaceful countries often shared high levels of democracy and transparency of government, education and material well-being. While the U.S. possesses many of these characteristics, its ranking was brought down by its engagement in warfare and external conflict, as well as high levels of incarceration and homicide. The U.S.’s rank also suffered due to the large share of military expenditure from its GDP, attributed to its status as one of the world’s military-diplomatic powers.

The main findings of the Global Peace Index are:
– Peace is correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration
– Peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of government and low corruption
– Small, stable countries which are part of regional blocs are most likely to get a higher ranking

The Index is the brainchild of Australian IT entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea. “The objective of the Global Peace Index was to go beyond a crude measure of wars by systematically exploring the texture of peace,” explained Global Peace Index President, Mr. Clyde McConaghy, speaking in Washington. “The Index provides a quantitative measure of peacefulness that is comparable over time, and we hope it will inspire and influence world leaders and governments to further action.” The Index has already won the support of an influential and distinguished group of supporters, many of whom are dedicated to promoting global peace, including former U.S. President James Carter, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and Harriet Fulbright of the Fulbright Centre. “This Index stands to broaden our very definition of what peace is, as well as how to achieve it,” said Fulbright. “Peace isn’t just the absence of war; it’s the absence of violence.” “Countries need to become more peaceful to solve the major challenges that the world faces – from climate change to overpopulation and sustainability,” said Mr. McConaghy. “We hope that the findings of the Global Peace Index will act as a catalyst for increased funding to study peace and for governments and industry to take policy action,” he added.

Some selected rankings:
1 Norway
2 New Zealand
3 Denmark
22 Oman
30 Qatar
38 United Arab Emirates
39 Tunisia
46 Kuwait
48 Morocco
49 United Kingdom
58 Libya
59 Cuba
60 China
62 Bahrain
63 Jordan
73 Egypt
77 Syria
90 Saudi Arabia
95 Yemen
96 USA
97 Iran
92 Turkey
107 Algeria
109 India
114 Lebanon
115 Pakistan
119 Israel
120 Sudan
121 Iraq

May 30th, 2007, 4:12 pm


Akbar Palace said:


This “conservative”, Scott Sullivan, is obviously is a little “wet behind the ears” and needs to do a bit more research.

He states:

Syria is the ally. Bush is meeting with the wrong crowd, the Nazis.

Maybe he should learn where the Nazis are in the Middle East. They’re not just leading the theocrats in Iran.


Thank you for the “EIU Global Peace Index”. Any idea what ranking the PA got? Let me guess, #4?

BTW – It seems the Intenational Committee of the Red Cross provided Adolf Eichmann his “travel documents”. Are you surprised? So much for “Global Peace” and the wonderful organizations that pretend to stand for such an ideal.

May 30th, 2007, 4:36 pm


ugarit said:

May 30, 2007
Sharon’s Bastille Day Dream Materializes
Lebanon and the Planned US Airbase at Kleiaat


Bibnin Akkar, Lebanon, site of proposed US Airbase
Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee Camp

On July 14, 1982, (Bastille Day) the late Bashir Gemayel sat with Ariel Sharon, Raphael Eytan, and Danny Yalon at the French flag draped Le Chef Restaurant in Ashifeyih, east Beirut for one of their working lunches.

As was by now their habit, the Israelis were inclined to pressure their recently anointed selection for Lebanon’s next president. They were there to present a request for one more favor from the handsome ‘golden boy’ of the Phalange movement, as their army tightened its noose around west Beirut.

May 30th, 2007, 5:44 pm


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace:

You had forgotten to mention that Eichmann was invited to Palestine by the World Zionist Organization to see how the European Jewish colonies (kibbutz) were doing.

In October it was the Zionists’ turn to court the Nazis. On 2 October 1937, the liner Romania arrived in Haifa with two German journalists, aboard. Herbert Hagen and his junior colleague, Eichmann, disembarked. They met their agent, Reichert, and later that day Feivel Polkes, who showed them Haifa from Mount Carmel and took them to visit a kibbutz. Years later, when he was in hiding in Argentina, Eichmann taped the story of his experiences and looked back at his brief stay in Palestine with fond nostalgia:

I did see enough to be very impressed by the way the Jewish colonists were building up their land. I admired their desperate will to live, the more so since I was myself an idealist. In the years that followed I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that, had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist. I could not imagine being anything else. In fact, I would have been the most ardent Zionist imaginable. [12]

May 30th, 2007, 5:53 pm


bilal said:

I am sorry for my late reply.
I do not agree with you that the 97% is exaggerated. I see the 3% is. They do not want to make it more than 97 because they think Bashar will last for several referendums to come and they have to keep increasing this number each time as he is supposed to be gaining support. If you have any doubt that almost no Syrian dare to express his true feelings about Bashar and Company then you are living on the moon. I said almost no Syrians as there is very very few who ended up either in prisons or exiled. The regime is using ballots with serial numbers so they would know who said what. Someone who is supported by his people will never do this.
If Bashar has a majority as you claimed, why he does not organize true democratic elections? His continued oppression and imprisonment of freedom seekers prove that he lack the support you are claiming. I would like you to read the following article from a former member of the Baath ruling committee which is supposed to be the most powerful committees in Syria.

عضو قيادة قطرية سابق
أثار مقالي السابق تحت عنوان (كيف يخطط النظام لقانون الأحزاب ) ردود فعل كبيرة ونشرته الكثير جداً من المواقع الإلكترونية وتم التعليق عليه بكثرة ورغم أن بعض التعليقات حملت تواقيع شخصيات مهمة من رفاقنا في الحزب ولكنني أعتقد أنهم أضعف من أن يجرؤوا على كتابة تعليق في موقع معارض باسمهم الصريح فهم مثل جميع المسؤولين في هذا البلد عبارة عن واجهات ,وكما كان يقول اللواء محمد ناصيف أننا عبارة عن لمبات متى أراد حافظ الاسد أن يضيئنا أضأنا ومتى أراد أن يطفئنا فقد انتهى دورنا, بمعنى أنه ليس لأي مسؤول سوري طاقة أو حجم أو احترام ينبع من ذاته بل هي عبارة عن كمية تزيد وتنقص تفوض له من قبل رأس النظام .
أهم ما نتج عن المقال هو تداوله بين الرفاق في القواعد حيث أثار جدلاً حول من أشار إلى دقة التحليلات التي تبين الأيام صحتها وبين المنافقين والانتهازيين ممن تسللوا لحزبنا لتخريبه من الداخل مما أدى لإصدار توجيهات شفهية من بعض أعضاء القيادة القطرية ( محمد سعيد بخيتان – هيثم سطايحي – هشام اختيار ) للكثير من القيادات الوسطى في الحزب برصد من يناقش هذا المقال وردود الفعل عليه والرد بشكل قاسي على المتضامنين مع بعض أفكاره .
ويكفي أن أقدم بعض البراهين لإثبات دقة ما ذكرت بخصوص التخطيط المنهجي للنظام لتدمير العمال والفلاحين ورجال الأعمال التقليديين , ففي مؤتمر اتحاد نقابات عمال دمشق المنعقد بتاريخ 17 آذار الماضي رفض جميع الوزراء الذين تم توجيه الدعوة لهم من حضور المؤتمر رغم أن جميع العمال أصحاب المؤتمر هم يتبعون لتلك الوزارات ويفترض أن يكون لهم الكلمة الأولى في دولة العمال والفلاحين ؟, وأسأل هنا هل كان الوزراء يجرؤون على ذلك أيام كنا في القيادة وهل يجرؤون على فعل ذلك بدون موافقة رئيس الجمهورية ؟ , وأذكر تماماً أن نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء للشؤون الاقتصادية كان دائماً أول الحاضرين في جميع مؤتمرات العمال أو ورشات العمل أو الندوات مهما كانت كبيرة أو صغيرة ,وكان لرفيقنا عز الدين الناصر ( أبو أديب) الكلمة الفصل في ما يخص حقوق العمال بينما اليوم لا يستطيع رئيس الاتحاد العام حتى توجيه تساءل عن كيف يتم إجبار الراغبين في العمل في المصارف الخاصة بالتوقيع على تصريح يؤكد أنهم لا يرغبون أن يكون هناك لجنة نقابية في المصرف ولا يرغبون المشاركة في أي نقابة ؟ , أو عن إجبار العاملين في الأسواق الحرة الخاصة بالدوام لفترات طويلة تصل ل 12 ساعة ويتم فصل العامل إذا ما اشتكى لمؤسسة التأمينات .
وأحب أن أبدأ مقالي الجديد هذا بالترحم على أيام الدكتور سليمان القداح ( الأمين القطري المساعد للحزب بين عامي 1985- 2005 ) وهي تقريباً نصف فترة حكم حزب البعث , فرغم جديته الزائدة ونشافته معنا كأعضاء قيادة حيث لم يكن يسمح لنا بالدخول لمكتبه أو زيارته بدون إعلام مسبق لمدير مكتبه, ولم يكن يسمح لنا بإدخال أوراق لتوقيعها منه بشكل مستعجل بل يجب وضعها بالبريد لتمر على د.هيام الضويحي ود.عبد الرحمن عبد الرحيم سواء للاطلاع أو لكتابة الحواشي ,أقول ورغم ذلك ولكن الوضع كان أفضل بالف مرة مما يعانيه رفاقنا اليوم في القيادة القطرية فالوضع مأساوي إذا اختزلت اجتماع القيادة القطرية – متفرغون بالثنائي بخيتان وسطايحي واجتماع القيادة القطرية –مجتمعون يضاف للثنائي اللواء هشام اختيار ورغم قساوة الدكتور القداح ولكن لم يكن يرد على الأجهزة الأمنية فقد كانت علاقته محصورة بالسيد محمد دعبول ( مدير مكتب الرئيس ) وباللواء محمد ناصيف ( رئيس الفرع الداخلي في امن الدولة ) وبالتالي لم يكن يتجرأ كثيراً الضباط الصغار أو رؤساء الفروع في الأجهزة الأمنية بالاتصال بنا وطلب طلبات شخصية أما الآن فالقيادة مستباحة فالأمين القطري المساعد هو من يتعامل مع الأجهزة الأمنية ويأخذ رأيها بكل شيء وبالتالي تطاول حتى الضباط الصغار وأصبحوا يتصلون ويعطون أوامر لأعضاء القيادة .
الوضع في جهازنا الحزبي هذه الايام مأساوي للغاية ,فالرئيس لا يعرف ما يريد وليس لديه تصور حول المستقبل ولا يملك الخبرة وهو عصبي المزاج متمسك بأنه الشخص الوحيد الذي يفهم وهو الوحيد المطلع على الأمور ؟.
أذكر تماماً يوم السبت 10 حزيران 2000 عندما تم إعلامنا ظهراً بوفاة الرئيس حافظ الاسد , حيث اجتمعنا في المساء بعد أن أعلن مجلس الشعب تعديل الدستور ورشحنا في النهاية الدكتور بشار الاسد بالاجماع لرئاسة الجمهورية , كان بعضنا متفائلاً بهذا الشاب وبالتطوير الذي يمكن أن يدخله في ممارسة الحياة السياسية داخل الحزب وداخل الجبهة الوطنية التقدمية وبعضنا الآخر كان شديد الخوف من أنه سيبعد الجميع عن مراكزهم ليستبدلهم بآخرين أصغر سناً وبعقليات مختلفة , وقد أثبتت الأيام أن هذا الشاب يقودنا لكوارث على الجبهات جميعها :
فعلى صعيد الحزب تهلهل بالكامل ولم يعد هناك حضور له بل تراجع دوره بعد أن تم عمداً اختيار قيادات ضعيفة الشخصية لا تستطيع أن تقود اجتماع ولا أن تقدم أي جواب وليس لديها أي علاقات مما أدى لانهيار نسب الالتزام وحضور الاجتماعات الحزبية إلى حوالي الصفر مما أدعى لاتخاذ قرار بجعل الاجتماع الاسبوعي يصبح شهري .
وعلى الصعيد الوطني وهنت عزيمة المواطنين بسبب الغلاء وانتشار الفساد والرشاوى أكثر من ذي قبل بكثير وعلى مستويات غير مسبوقة وأصبحت الهمسات تتناول اسم الرئيس شخصياً في قضايا فساد من خلال عائلته .
وعلى الصعيد الإقليمي كان التنسيق الثلاثي المصري –السوري- السعودي مرتكزاً أساسياً في سياسة حافظ الاسد الخارجية وهو الامر الذي اطاح به هذا الرئيس بسبب تعنته وعصبيته وانفعالاته التي لا يستطيع أن يضبطها وأذكر تماماً كيف كان يتحرك على الكرسي اثناء جلساته معنا بطريقة عصبية لا إرادية تثير الكثير من التساؤلات وحتى عندما كان يجري مقابلات تلفزيونية فإن القلق والعصبية تجعل حركاته سواء في جلسته أو فكه مضحكة ولكنني مؤخراً سمعت أن والد زوجته بدأ يعطيه حبوب مهدئة لضبط وإلغاء حركاته اللاإرادية وهو بهذا يشبه صديقه خالد محجوب الذي يسلطه على رؤساء الوزراء وحكا لنا رفيقنا مصطفى ميرو (عضو القيادة – رئيس الوزراء السابق ) كيف أن الرئيس طلب منه متابعة الكثير من القضايا وتنسيقها مع خالد محجوب وهو صناعي ذي جنسية أمريكية لديه حركات عصبية في يديه ووجهه مضحكة وموترة .
وقد دمر الرئيس هذا التنسيق وقد حاول إصلاح ذات البين في مؤتمر القمة الاخير بالرياض ولكن الأمور ليس من السهل ان تعود لمجاريها وكذلك دمر علاقتنا بفرنسا وأوروبا واميركا ورغم الزيارات وما يقال عن انكسار الجليد ولكن العلاقات ما زالت سيئة ولم تصل ايام حافظ الاسد إلى هذه المرتبة من التدني .
سأتابع في المرة القادمة الحديث عن الأخطاء السياسية التي ارتكبها الرئيس أمامنا واثارت ضحكنا على يناعته .

May 30th, 2007, 6:11 pm


Atassi said:

This rubber stamp referendum winning will be recorded in our history as a shameful crime against the Syrians people. It has been written in a dark chapter accompanied with the cracked down on dissent.
The fact that “HE” ‘gained’ an even higher percentage of the vote than in 2000 was designed by the regime to project an image of strength and unity at a time when it faces multiple challenges, most likely today an imminent UN Security Council vote to establish a tribunal to try suspects in the Hariri assassination, in which it is implicated.

May 30th, 2007, 7:59 pm


K said:


I haven’t seen the original ad-Diyar article, but it seems to be Lamb’s main source for his article, (along with supposed unnamed sources). If so, his piece is about as credible as a crumpled bit of toilet paper.

May 30th, 2007, 8:04 pm


EHSANI2 said:

By Bill Varner
May 30 (Bloomberg) — A divided United Nations Security
Council voted to set up a tribunal for political killings in
Lebanon after the nation’s squabbling government couldn’t ratify
an agreement to create the court.
A third of the 15-nation panel abstained in the 10-0 vote,
reflecting a reluctance to get involved in Lebanese politics.
China and Russia, two of the five permanent council members,
declined to vote, along with Qatar, the sole Arab member,
Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population, and
South Africa, a leader among developing nations.
“It would have been preferable for the Lebanese to
implement the agreement they made internally to form the court,
for a minority not to block the parliament from convening and
coming to a decision,” U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said
before the council’s action. “But I believe this is the right
thing to do. People who have committed political assassinations
must be brought to justice.”
France and Britain, which have past colonial ties to the
Middle East and hold permanent council seats, supported the U.S.
in the vote.
The court, including international and Lebanese judges to
be appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will handle
cases of persons accused of politically motivated
assassinations, including the February 2005 truck bombing that
killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others.
The U.S.-backed resolution says the court will be formed
beginning on June 10 unless Lebanon’s government acts before
that date. It will take several months to set up. There is no
clear timeline for the end of Belgian prosecutor Serge
Brammertz’s UN investigation of Hariri’s murder and 16 other
terrorist bombings and assassinations in Lebanon since 2004.

Syria, Denial

Senior Lebanese and Syrian intelligence officials,
including the brother and brother-in-law of Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad, have been implicated in Hariri’s murder. Syria
has denied any involvement in the attack.
Lebanese factions have been in a standoff since Nov. 11,
when Iranian-backed Hezbollah and some allies walked out of
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s Cabinet, declared the government
illegal and called for new elections. Siniora is a Sunni Muslim,
and Hezbollah, which operates as a Shiite Muslim political party
in Lebanon, is classified by the U.S. as a terrorist group.
The Security Council vote followed 10 days of violence at a
Palestinian refugee camp in the northern city of Tripoli, where
the Lebanese army has battled militants from Fatah al-Islam, a
group suspected of having links to al-Qaeda. The crisis
threatened to degenerate into sectarian conflict of the kind not
seen since the 1975-1990 civil war.
“Lebanon will be very volatile throughout the summer,
especially after passage of the tribunal,” said Firas Maksad,
Middle East analyst for the Eurasia Group, a New York-based
organization that analyzes political risk for businesses.
“There is a feeling there that the events in the north, along
with recent bombings near Beirut, were timed to go along with
the Security Council’s stepped-up consideration of the
Khalilzad said the “risk of not moving forward was
greater” than of not adopting the resolution.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that while his
government supported the court, it abstained in part because
“never before has the Security Council ratified an agreement on
behalf of a parliament” of a UN member nation.
“In the future countries may have second thoughts about
entering into agreements with the UN,” he said.

May 30th, 2007, 8:11 pm


R said:

With the hariri tribunal now govin the go-ahead, let us see wether Bashar can last another full Seven years

May 30th, 2007, 8:37 pm


Leila Ahmad said:

“With the hariri tribunal now govin the go-ahead, let us see wether Bashar can last another full Seven years”

ha ha, I say with the quack professor Landis (a cheap Patrick Seale knock off) staking his career and pseudo-scholarship on the survival of Assad and his mafia, I’d be surprised if he’d be able to last in Dimashq until July.
goinna be a hot summah for ya, Landis bubbah.
Maybe you and your family can follow the Assads to Qatar; you can then become a specialist in Qatari history; i’m sure they’ll give you tenure in a heartbeat there! They seem to have much need for bozos like you.

May 30th, 2007, 8:52 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Idaf; the future will decide if what you say is correct or wrong.
Even that the establishment of Tribunal is necessary,since we need to know the facts,who and how the crime was committed,it is a sad day in the arabic life,it is a begining of louder fight,the one to blame is the one who committed the crime.
this is a major thing in the syrian life,contrary to what you think, I do not think that a president who is accused of international crime can give concessions to Isreal,he will not tolerate opposition either,he will punish his opponent more harshly, that will cause more dissent,he will be more isolated,and under more pressure, that his decisions will be irrational,there may be more trouble to Lebanon, but it will only expedite the tribunal,and he will be on the defence ,always, the cost of defence will be staggering,who will pay for it? it will be in billions.
btw.all foreign investors do believe the accusations, the syrian ecomomy ,I think will suffer because of decreasing oil revenue, and increase in population,and huge problem with corruption, all unrelated to the tribunal.
I think time is running out, Bashar should be happy with the last plebiscite,but from now on, it is a decline.

May 30th, 2007, 9:03 pm


Ford Prefect said:

With the incompetence of the this US administration along with scores of dillusioned Lebanese politicians, rest assured, unfortunately, that a new lease on life has just been given to the Ba’athists. Tough times are ahead until a new and rational vice president is elected in the US.

May 30th, 2007, 9:05 pm


t_desco said:

UN commission taking fingerprints of isotopes in Saudi Arabia (no reports of arrests so far…; just kidding) :

“An item in the Saudi newspaper, Al-Watan, reports that the UN committee investigating the Hariri assassination has been examining soil samples in Saudi Arabia.”
As’ad AbuKhalil


Brammertz V: “f) Geographic origin of the alleged bomber

24. The second method focuses on the study of isotope data.

25. In order to advance this line of inquiry, the Commission has collected a total of 112 samples from 28 locations in Syria and Lebanon. Over the coming weeks, it will collect samples in three other countries in the region, and further countries are identified for another series of sampling missions.”

May 30th, 2007, 9:14 pm


zenobia said:

ok so some people addressed me about what i said about the convincing spectacle that the regime has pulled off…and also about my perception of people’s feelings.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT PEOPLE …REALLY REALLY REALLY FEEL. but this is significant in itself i think…. precisely that i can’t tell….

yes… certain people who are explicit about their negativity for the government or the president… are definitely afraid. i would agree with that.
i have now seen a kind of afraid i have never seen before… the afraid of making sure the windows or the doors to the porch are closed when you talk…even though there isn’t anyone around or you are on the seventh floor. People are fearful in an automatic kind of way to voice any dissention. no question about that.

And of course i didn’t manage to find the only dissentors or persons with negative all of syria in only a couple of weeks…
so, of course there are many many of these people.

but what i really don’t comprehend…unless one admits that a huge percentage of the youth of syria have bought into a myth..or genuinely believe in the goodness of their president… is HOW TO ACCOUNT for that amazing spectacle i saw!
no, i am not kidding. i really don’t know how to interpret it.
i asked many people to explain it to me, as they understand it.

yes, i understand that there are very elaborate complex networks of associations and entities…pressured and paid and persuaded to organize, and produce the celebration. the tents, the banners the huge ads, the lights, the balloons, the ‘chocolates’ and even …. even…. even, George Wassuf..singing in the middle of Omayad circle… to throngs of young men and women..and really they are kids…everywhere… (i age myself by clarifying that i mean…20-28 year olds… but that is ‘kids’ to me)

and all of that…is certainly a big SEDUCTION… of course.

Still…still i want to say…it didn’t seem enough to explain… what appeared for the life of me…as spontaneous…participation..

the part i mean.. was the zillion kids… parading in their groups and hanging out of their cars…waving flags.. flooding the streets… singing, chanting, dancing, and generally causing a ruckus for several days… in a fashion that seems – way beyond what would be required if it was all on instruction from on high….

are they brainwashed completely???? i have no idea.
are they stupid…and don’t know what they supporting? maybe.
are they just interested in an excuse for a party?… seems a bit extreme lengths to go… and this doesnt’ really require chanting the ridiculous bashar song does it?…

dear commentors, no i am not kidding…maybe- these activities all seem trite, meaningless, and unimportant. after all , who cares what the 21 year old ignoramous thinks….

but let us not forget… that something like 70 percent of the country is under the age of 25. !!!!!
it is not a hard statistic to believe…babies and little kids everywhere…teens, college students… you feel old…just walking in the street! 30 is over the…

and these kids, dear friends…are everything coming…they are the dealbreakers, the ones who will decide…the future…

and that big show that went on..was definitely for was a big pseudo rock concert, light show, production, delivered especially for them…
it is very carefully crafted with full understanding of who is important in the long run.

and who is REALLY in the hearts of these young people??????
dear commentors, i cannot accurately say.., but the fact that they were no serious ruptures in the visual fabric… (albeit, my foreign and untrained eyes might have missed it) says something…it must in itself reveal something about what is happening…

these children want desperately to believe in this myth..and to grab onto it. if nothing more than the naive, fickle, adoration of youth… still…it has that passionate essense…and force..the force of pride and stubborness, and need to make the image be can’t easily be dismissed or ignored or rationalized.

i think.

May 30th, 2007, 9:46 pm


bilal said:

An article worth reading. They estimate the worth of Bashar & company to be 40 Billions Dollars. That is $ 2,000 for each Syrian (40 Billions devided by 20 Million Syrians). I do not know about you but I want my $ 2,000 now.

دمشق- آفاق


قال التيار السوري الديمقراطي إن مجهولين أقدموا على تدمير موقعه على شبكة الانترنيت وتخريبه وسرقة كامل ملفاته بعد نشره تقريرا أعده الأمين العام للتيار عن ثروات العائلتين الحاكمتين في سوريا (الأسد ومخلوف) وكشف التيار عن تلقي بعض أعضائه تهديدات شفهية.

وأكد التيار في بيان حصل موقع “آفاق” على نسخة منه بأنه سيواصل المسير في نفس الطريق وأن التهديدات لن تخيفه أو تثنيه عن كشف الفساد والفاسدين كما أعلن التيار عن إصلاحه الأضرار التي لحقت بالموقع وعمله على تطويره ليواصل رسالته في ترسيخ حريات التعبير التي تسبب غيابها في التستر على جرائم وسرقات ورشى “خربت الأقتصاد السوري وأعاقت الحراك السياسي لكافة القوى الحية والفاعلة في المجتمع”.

وقال البيان الذي حمل عنوان “ألم يحن الوقت لوقف سياسات (البلطجة الرسمية) في سوريا “لقد حان الوقت لوقف سياسات البلطجة الرسمية فما من قوة في الأرض تستطيع الآن أن تقف في وجه التبادل الحر للمعلومات في هذا العصر وبدلا من هذه السياسة العقيمة فإن الأجدى والأجدر بالسلطات السورية أن تحقق – ان استطاعت – مع كبار المسؤلين الذي تدور حولهم الشبهات في سرقة المال العام وتبديد ثروات الشعب السوري لصالح حفنة صغيرة من المنتفعين”.

وإلى نص البيان:

ألم يحن الوقت لوقف سياسات (البلطجة الرسمية) في سورية

أقدم مجهولون أمس الأول على تدمير موقع التيار السوري الديمقراطي الاليكتروني وتخريبه بالكامل وسرقة ملفاته ونظرا لتوقيت هذه الغزوة التي جاءت في أعقاب نشر ملخص صغير فقط من دراسة الأمين العام للتيار عن ثروات العائلتين الحاكمتين في سورية – الاسد ومخلوف – فاننا نستطيع التكهن بطبيعة هؤلاء المجهولين – المعروفين.

أنهم من ذات الفصيلة التي تطبق سياسة البلطجة الرسمية في الداخل وتريد نقلها الى الخارج وهؤلاء يريدون اسكات جميع الأصوات المطالبة بالشفافية والمحاسبة حتى يخلو الجو لابواقهم التي لا تقدم غير وجبات المديح ولا تجرؤ على انتقاد سرقات تجاوزت الملايين الى المليارات.

لقد سبقت عملية تدمير الموقع تهديدات شفاهية من قبل بعض الذين تضرروا من الاهتمام الهائل الذي اولته وسائل الاعلام العربية والأجنبية للتقرير الخاص بالثروات الأسدية ويهمنا أن نؤكد هنا أن النشر لم يكن مقصودا به التشهير بأحد بقدر ما جاء من موقع الاحساس بالمسؤلية وتشجيعا للجرأة على الكشف ومطالبة صريحة بالشفافية فحين يكون ثلث الشعب السوري تحت خط الفقر لا بد أن يساهم الجميع في وقف هذا التدهور المريع في مستوى معيشة المواطن السوري نتيجة للسرقات والتبديد واستغلال السلطة والنفوذ.

وفي الوقت الذي نصر فيه على المضي في الطريق ذاته نود التأكيد لممارسي سياسة البلطجة أن هذه التهديات والممارسات لا تخيفنا ولن تثنينا عن سياستنا في كشف الفساد والفاسدين لذا يسرنا أن نعلن أننا قمنا جزئيا باصلاح الأضرار التي لحقت بالموقع وسوف نعمل على تطويره ليصبح أفضل مما كان ليواصل رسالته في ترسيخ حريات التعبير التي تسبب غيابها في التستر على جرائم وسرقات ورشى خربت الأقتصاد السوري وأعاقت الحراك السياسي لكافة القوى الحية والفاعلة في المجتمع.

لقد حان الوقت لوقف سياسات البلطجة الرسمية فما من قوة في الأرض تستطيع الآن أن تقف في وجه التبادل الحر للمعلومات في هذا العصر وبدلا من هذه السياسة العقيمة فأن الأجدى والأجدر بالسلطات السورية أن تحقق – ان استطاعت – مع كبار المسؤلين الذي تدور حولهم الشبهات في سرقة المال العام وتبديد ثروات الشعب السوري لصالح حفنة صغيرة من المنتفعين.

May 30th, 2007, 10:13 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Those who think that Bashar is unpopular are wrong. I think that it is incorrect to assume that fear of the leadership drives so many people into such a showing of support.

Indeed, compared to the Syria of 1980-2000, it is easy to see why. Those of us who lived/visited the country during the above period can vividly recall how hard it was to find even bananas and toilet paper then. Hafez Assad was feared and respected but not liked. The same cannot be said of Bashar. His youth, looks, wife and kids, education and general demeanor are surely a big hit. Moreover, Bashar’s opening of the economy has allowed more people to drive and own cars and cell phones. Fear of the security services may still exist but nowhere near the levels under Assad senior. During Hafez’s days, once you were picked up, it was highly probable that you would not be heard from again. Now, you may get interrogated for a few days or months but you will be back. The cumulative impact of all this is what you see in the streets. Anyone who denies the level of the man’s support within the people of the country is being disingenuous.

May 30th, 2007, 10:18 pm


K said:

The tribunal has passed the UNSC.

Now brace yourselves for Bashar’s revenge – on his old hostage, Lebanon.

May 30th, 2007, 10:58 pm


SimoHurtta said:

An article worth reading. They estimate the worth of Bashar & company to be 40 Billions Dollars. That is $ 2,000 for each Syrian (40 Billions devided by 20 Million Syrians). I do not know about you but I want my $ 2,000 now.

Sadly I can’t read Arabic, so I do not know what Bilal’s “article” tells. But most probably it is complete fictive propaganda. Forbes “estimated” in 2003 the Saudi Kings wealth to 20 billion USD, Saddam’s to 2 billion USD and Arafat’s to 300 million USD.

Forbes managed to get Castro and Saddam on the list of the worlds richest. How, Forbes did put state property to their private property. The funny part is that Forbes did not use the same criteria with other world’s dictator leaders. If Chinese (for example) would make an equal list with Forbes “standards of estimation” how rich would be Emperor Bush II?

Only 40 billion, why not 100 billion USD? 40 billion is about 55 percent of Syria’s GDP. If the number is true “Bashar & company” are the world 4th richest. Hmmmmmm…

On the other hand Harir’s wealth was estimated in 2005 to be $4.3 billion (by Forbes naturally). After his assassination, his family inherited a total of $16.7 billion in 2006, which drew some questions which haven’t been explained by the Hariri family on how $4.3 billion became $16.7 billion in the course of the year after the assassination.

Seems to be that being a “politician” in Middle East (including Israel and US Iraq) is a rather lucrative carrier choice.

May 30th, 2007, 11:17 pm


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace asked: “Which “election results” in the US were lies?”

When the highest judicial body in the land declares a recount of votes in Florida as being unfair to the candidate who doesn’t want a recount, then it’s one of the highest forms of lying. A lie can be preventing the truth from coming to the surface.

May 30th, 2007, 11:53 pm


trustquest said:

I was really impressed with your narrative above and please do no be surprise if I said I almost agree with big part of it. From your post which advocates working with the regime not against it, can you tell me if you have done that what you have achieved and contributed so far. And please can you provide us of your estimate of the real voting results.
The one point which I strongly differ with you is the task for knowledgeable people like you who can intellectually discover the rigging and the shameful sitting of what called referendum. I still would like to stand on the side where you can speak you mind and voice your free opinion and not with the clapping, brain dying side and the parrot repeating side. I hope you will appreciate my stand not as a tool for changing regime but a tool for enlightenment to a nation left behind other nations, lost its personality and ruled by Mafia.

May 30th, 2007, 11:59 pm


bilal said:

To Ehsani2 & Zenobia,
Beleive it that every Syrian has every right to fear this brutal regime. Aren’t you reading what is going on? No government employee can dare not to vote and so on. If you do not vote then you are subject to…Have you lived in Syria?
Despite how brutal Hafez was but we were in a much better position than what we have now. Yes the economy is better now but a lot of events have improved the economy that Bashar does not have to do with most of it. Look at Syria’s position now in the Arab World and where it was 10 years ago. The repeated stupid mistakes by this inexperienced corrupt regime have diminished Syria’s position to an all time low. Now we just wait our fate to be decided by Iran and KSA. When Hafez was around we decided their fates.
I cannot believe that within the 20 Millions Syrians we do not have a better Syrian than Bashar. Now we feel the loss of Bassel.

May 31st, 2007, 12:25 am


Ford Prefect said:

Bilal, in Syria, if you don’t vote for Bashar, you face undesirable consequences or maybe even time a dark jail cell. In Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, if you don’t disappear during prayer time or if your covered female companion is not walking a step behind, you face the ultimate humiliation and maybe even jail if you raise your voice. Also, in Saudi Arabia, in the name of Islam, a woman is not even allowed to drive and cannot leave the country without a permission from her male “master”.

Quiz1: Which one earns the US coveted label of “moderate Arab regime”?

Quiz2: Which regime bothers the US and Israel so much that they call for an immediate installation of human rights and democracy?

May 31st, 2007, 1:19 am


norman said:

Ehsani, You are making more sence now in your last comment.
Keep it up.

May 31st, 2007, 1:20 am


trustquest said:


“But most probably it is complete fictive propaganda. Forbes “estimated” in 2003 the Saudi Kings wealth to 20 billion USD, Saddam’s to 2 billion USD and Arafat’s to 300 million USD.”
For your information, I read the Forbs in 1999 issue and it mentioned Hafez Assad on the list with 2 billions.
If you follow the government outlet such Syrian News, mentioned Jamil Assad by his lawyer in the law suit between inheritors, as a fortune of $5 billions, 90 houses and 250 kg of gold. This is one brother and one uncle from tens of uncles. So, do not get surprised the money factor is the main one and will stay this way for long time to come. It is not theft on any possible level it is beyond the IMF indexes of what they called corruption. Take the money factor off, and the terror of regime security out you will have a very good people but people with Down syndrome who can not bring civility or consensus from all.

May 31st, 2007, 1:29 am


bilal said:

To Ford Perfect,

Two wrond does not make one right. KSA I think is wrong on imposing closure during daily prayer times anyway maybe the US is not just in supporting the regime in KSA but it is not for me to care as I am Syrian and I care about how to make Syria democtaric and better. Definately the first step should be get ride of Bashar.

May 31st, 2007, 1:37 am


bilal said:

To all,
Another intersting article to follow:

Behind the Curtain on the 2007 Syrian Referendum
New Report Offers Eyewitness Accounts
of Regime Fraud and Intimidation

A new report issued today by the website Syrian Elector offers eyewitness reporting of Sunday’s presidential referendum in Syria. A Syrian Elector exclusive, available nowhere else, the report describes an extensive effort on the part of Syrian President Bashar al’Assad’s regime to intimidate voters and manipulate the referendum results in Bashar’s favor, despite having already run a costly and extravagant advertising campaign on behalf of the unopposed incumbent president.

Drawn from eyewitness accounts from activists throughout Syria, the report details intense regime pressure on state employees, taxi drivers, university students, military conscripts, and others to turn out to vote ‘yes’ on the referendum. Also detailed are accounts of ballot box stuffing, family voting, open (or non-secret) voting, multiple voting, voting by minors, and other irregularities. The report also contests official turnout figures and vote results, pointing out that the math simply does not add up.

Observers reported:

Balloting was open – no private booths were provided, and as such secret balloting was not practiced. All voting took place in the open under the watchful eyes of the security agents, which were omnipresent.

Many reported that ballots have already been filled on their behalf, that is, the ”yes” circle had already been marked for them, and all that they had to do was to fold it and insert it in the box.

Public sector workers reported that they often no choice but to take part in voting ”yes,” since the entire establishment in which they worked was obliged to vote en masse, and of course, in the open. Refusal to participate would have had severe repercussions for the people involved.

The licenses of taxi and microbus drivers, street vendors, and kiosk-owners were reportedly confiscated in the days preceding the elections to convince them to take part in the official celebrations, and to actually show up at the polling stations.
For the full report, visit

May 31st, 2007, 1:46 am


Ford Prefect said:

Bilal, I agree with you that two wrongs do not make anything right. I also appreciate your thought about the balance between religious observance and tolerance. However, the point I am trying to make is one of social maturity so that democracy can grow and be able to defend itself.

You say the first step is to get rid of Bashar. Fine. I would be more convinced if you tell me how you’d get rid of him, the Ba’ath party, the MB’s, the Republican Guards, the Communists, the Jihadists, the Islamists, the Cedar Revolutionists (who hate us passionately), and Haifa Wahbe (sorry for the pun, but someone, somewhere has a bone to pick with the above list and will not rest until they see their adversary eliminated). Also, I am keen in knowing upon whose assistance should we Syrians rely on as it is empirically proven that it cannot be done from the inside alone.

May 31st, 2007, 2:01 am


Akbar Palace said:

Ugarit enlightens the forum:

You had forgotten to mention that Eichmann was invited to Palestine by the World Zionist Organization to see how the European Jewish colonies (kibbutz) were doing.


I’m puzzled. With Germany allowing so many Jews to emigrate to Palestine (about 275,000*), why was Haj Amin al-Husseini so enthralled with Adolf Hitler:

…on the occasion of the great political and military triumphs which the Fuhrer has just achieved through his foresight and great genius…The Arab nation everywhere feels the greatest joy and deepest gratification on the occasion of these great successes…The Arab people…confidently expect the result of your final victory will be their independence and complete liberation…They will then be linked to your country by a treaty of friendship and collaboration.*

*H. Sachar, “A History of Israel”, 2nd Ed., pp. 197, 228

Maybe you can make sense of that for me.

In 1937 Eichmann was sent to the British Mandate of Palestine with his superior Herbert Hagen to assess the possibilities of massive Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine. They landed in Haifa but could only obtain a transit visa so they went on to Cairo. In Cairo they met Feival Polkes, an agent of the Haganah, who discussed with them the plans of the Zionists and tried to enlist their assistance in facilitating Jewish emigration from Europe.[citation needed] According to an answer Eichmann gave at his trial, he had also planned to meet Arab leaders in Palestine; this never happened because entry to Palestine was refused by the British authorities. Afterwards Eichmann and Hagen wrote a report recommending against large-scale emigration to Palestine for economic reasons and because it contradicted the German policy of preventing the establishment of a Jewish state there. This episode is sometimes seen as an important step towards the Nazi abandonment of emigration as the preferred solution to the “Jewish Question” (Judenfrage).[citation needed]

In 1938, Eichmann was assigned to Austria to help organize SS Security Forces in Vienna after the Anschluss of Austria into Germany. Through this effort, Eichmann was promoted to SS-Obersturmführer (1st lieutenant), and, by the end of 1938, Adolf Eichmann had been selected by the SS leadership to form the Central Office for Jewish Emigration, charged with forcibly deporting and expelling Jews from Austria. Through this work, Eichmann became a student of Judaism, even studying Hebrew.

And yes, in the end, dear Mr. Eichmann, without the protection of German and Arab anti-semites and thugs, was “sprited away”.

Mr. Eichmann had his day in court. “The World Zionist Organization” and the “European Jewish Colonies” were not there to speak up for him for some strange reason.

Ugarit now immerses us into a subject most Arabs are “very” familiar with: “Democracy”

When the highest judicial body in the land declares a recount of votes in Florida as being unfair to the candidate who doesn’t want a recount, then it’s one of the highest forms of lying. A lie can be preventing the truth from coming to the surface.


Despite your words of hostility (or more likely: “jealousy” {Hamas)),
the truth is, the George W. Bush officially received 537 more votes than Al Gore in the State of Florida. It was the THIRD time in US history that a predisent was elected by the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote. It was NOT the first time.

The fact that several courts including the US Supreme Court got involved is only a testament to the stregnth of our laws and our democracy.

What’s your excuse;)?,_2000

May 31st, 2007, 2:20 am


bilal said:

To Ford Perfect,

Personally I would rather Haifa who will do a better job for all but unfortunately it is not going to happen. Democracy can handle it. What the NSF has proposed is to have a transitional government for 6 months. During these 6 months the country will immediately move to 1952 constitutions and conduct free legislative elections. Out of this election a new government will be formed. This new legislation will write a new constitution that will be proposed into referendum. This will be done in 2 years and upon accepting this new constitution the country can freely elect a new parliament which will form the government.

May 31st, 2007, 3:38 am


Enlightened said:

I dont know why we are discussing Eichmann ( a convicted war criminal)
who also shot a Jewish child picking a orange from a orchard.

Akbar : Whats your view on this article? Is this a one off comment or is this the prevalent right wing view?

Shocking isnt it, with both sides now advocating extreme radicalism, I wonder what hope is left?

May 31st, 2007, 3:57 am


bilal said:

To Zenobia,
When a dictatorial regime is ideologically bankrupt,economically corrupt and politically unpopular as is the Assad regime it is only a question of times before it collapses

May 31st, 2007, 5:18 am


ausamaa said:


From the pictures of Syrians carried on TV alone, it seems that your “waiting” for the collapse of the Regime may be little longer than you expect. But I know; you do not mind and meanwhile, you will do whatever you can. Bilal the First was also very patient we are told.

May 31st, 2007, 10:18 am


Akbar Palace said:

Enlightened asks:

I dont know why we are discussing Eichmann ( a convicted war criminal) who also shot a Jewish child picking a orange from a orchard.

You’ll have to ask Ugarit. If shooting a child picking an orange
were the extent of his crimes, that would be one thing. However, Adolf Eichmann was responsible for the mass murder of millions of people. That Ugarit would somehow accuse the Zionists of “collaborating” with such a monster as Jews were fleeing for their lives is, I guess, is no surprise here on this forum.

Akbar : Whats your view on this article? Is this a one off comment or is this the prevalent right wing view?


Thanks for asking. I would say the Israelis should conduct operations against the Palestinians in approximately the same manner as the Lebanese are fighting the Palestinian jihadists in Lebanon.

Are you more concerned about Israeli reaction to Palestinian terrorism than Lebanese reaction to Palestinian terrorism? If so, you (and others on this forum) need to put Israelis in the same light as your own semitic brethren, because it is not just Jews who are fighting terrorism. It also includes Saudis, Lebanese, Turks, Iraqis, Jordanians, Egyptians and Algerians.

In short, I disagree with the statements by the Former Sephardi chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. However, Israel is at war with the Palestinian government and needs to something more decisive.

Shocking isnt it, with both sides now advocating extreme radicalism, I wonder what hope is left?

The only hope left is that jihadism is defeated. If the culture of suicide, martyrdom and Islamic intolerance wins, you and I are in big trouble.

May 31st, 2007, 11:04 am


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace:

That Ugarit would somehow accuse the Zionists of “collaborating” with such a monster as Jews were fleeing for their lives is, I guess, is no surprise here on this forum.

This is not my accusation. This is a fact. The Zionists collaborated with the Nazis until they realized the real intentions of the Nazis. (

You should read

51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis

May 31st, 2007, 11:19 am


bilal said:

To Ausamas,

Trust me the pictures of Syrians carried on TV can be deceiving & misleading the same way it was for Saddam & Ceausescu of Romania. The crowd that was supporting them turned against them. This is what you get as I said in such dictatorial regime that is ideologically bankrupt, economically corrupt and politically unpopular. Don’t be surprised of how soon it is going to happen.
For me I will be patient as I have always been but with recent events I do not have to wait much longer. Things are moving faster around & inside Syria now.

May 31st, 2007, 6:01 pm


Akbar Palace said:

This is not my accusation. This is a fact. The Zionists collaborated with the Nazis until they realized the real intentions of the Nazis.


What are Iran’s “real intentions”? I bet you have no clue.;)

And what troubles you about a couple of German Jews trying (in vain) to save thousands of their brethren? Do you think anyone in Halabja or in Kurdistan “collaborated” with Saddam Hussein before he started gassing them? Do you think anyone in Hama “collaborated” with Assad before the town was destroyed?

I think the question isn’t why the Jews “collaborated” with evil people in order to save thousands of their own, I think it is why the world did nothing and why the Palestinian leadership sided with the Nazis, especially when they allowed 275,000 Jews to enter Palestine.

Sorry, I don’t read books critical of Zionism. I’m one of the few Jews who has no time for “guilt-trips”.

May 31st, 2007, 9:24 pm


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace:

You must have read some manual on how to change topics and avoid troubling truths. But again that’s a typical Zionist tactic.

June 1st, 2007, 1:24 am


Akbar Palace said:

You must have read some manual on how to change topics and avoid troubling truths.

Ugarit –

I have answered all your questions with complete candor and honesty.

Again, what’s your excuse?

June 1st, 2007, 3:23 am


SimoHurtta said:

Sorry, I don’t read books critical of Zionism. I’m one of the few Jews who has no time for “guilt-trips”.

Well you should have time to read those books, which by the way are mostly written by other Jews. Zionism is supported by a tiny minority of Jews as Nazism was supported by a minority of Germans and Austrians. Present days Israel has many similarities with Germany in the end 30’s. A “Herrenvolk” (= master race) ideology has had in history normally a sad ending (for the Herrenvolk).

Nur für Deutsche = Zionist state / Jewish State
Lebensraum = Greater Israel

June 1st, 2007, 5:06 am


Enlightened said:


Eichmann; i remember reading about his trial where his defence was obeying orders and discussing it with my father at the time ; he relayed to me the story about shooting the child picking a orange in the orchard, I am well aware he comiited far more atrocious atrocities, there is no need to remind me. He got his justice end of story.

Are you more concerned about Israeli reaction to Palestinian terrorism than Lebanese reaction to Palestinian terrorism?

The act of terror is abominable no matter what it is! you have asked me this question four times, my answer is still consistent, innocent blood is not cheap no matter what its religion is.

“In short, I disagree with the statements by the Former Sephardi chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu”

Thanks for your honesty.

Ps My 4 week old son was born at Masada hospital in Melbourne on 30th April, The Jewish Doctors were great, no anti semitisim from me

June 1st, 2007, 5:42 am


Akbar Palace said:

SimoHurtta adds his opinion/fact (I don’t know which):

Zionism is supported by a tiny minority of Jews as Nazism was supported by a minority of Germans and Austrians. Present days Israel has many similarities with Germany in the end 30’s.


I don’t know how much Zionism was supported 75 years ago. Leaving one’s country of origin to another is not an easy task. 75 years ago, most Jews probably didn’t believe world Jewry would be able to create their own state. If it wasn’t for European and Arab racism, perhaps Israel would never have been created. Interestingly, we can thank the anti-semites for our beautiful state (now isn’t that poetic justice?).

What I CAN tell you is that about 5 million Jews live there now and that Israel is sovereign, independent nation and a member of the UN. Israel gets worldwide support from a majority of Jews today as well as non-Jews.


You are TRULY, “Enlightened. Salaam to you and greetings from the Evil Bush Empire!

BTW – It is my intention to learn about inter-Arab issues, Syria and the Arab world from this website. I also feel the need to counter many myths and misunderstandings concerning Israel and Jews (since I seem to be the only “Yahud” here). I hope one day for peace, freedom and democracy for the whole Middle East, not just for a few “privledged Jews”;)

I would like to thank “Dr. Josh” for allowing me to speak my mind.

June 1st, 2007, 11:26 am


Ford Prefect said:

I must say that I (and I am sure others too) do learn from you and highly value your contributions as well. Many times, some of us spiral into heated and passionate discussions – mainly self-centered and based on personal experiences and biases. But, if you look at the overall picture, each one of us here is gaining from this group’s diversity and thoughtfulness.

As always, I appreciate your contributions and candor. This is more important than our deep ideological differences. And that is why peace is possible and achievable.

June 1st, 2007, 3:01 pm


SimoHurtta said:

Israel gets worldwide support from a majority of Jews today as well as non-Jews.

Hmmm Zionism and Israel are a little different things. Germans all around the world support Germany but only a few support Nazis and those who dream about the next Reich. Equally Jews support Israel as a country (naturally) but do not approve Zionism and to what the present days Israel has developed. That is why Israel looses a growing stream of Jewish citizens because they are tired of living in a violent Apartheid Reich. Even you Akbar are not fighting in Israel for lebensraum in a Greater Israel.

Certainly Akbar you know perfectly well that a considerable portion of Jews (living in Israel and especially outside Israel) do not like what Israel now is and Zionism. The limited outside support of Israel is on the edge of total collapse. Only the extreme Christians support Israel in its present form. Most of us Christians watch with growing disgust what Israel is doing. The numerous UN votings show the real support. Besides USA and some paid Oceanic Lilliputians there is no support.

The boycotts in Great Britain and South Africa are signs of the changing tide.

If it wasn’t for European and Arab racism, perhaps Israel would never have been created. Interestingly, we can thank the anti-semites for our beautiful state (now isn’t that poetic justice?).

Most probably there would not be Israel without Hitler. But why do you blame Arabs? They (also Semites) begun to be “anti-Semitic” only when Jews begun to steal their land in Palestine (not all land was bought). If Jews do not now want to voluntarily give up from their land (now when they have it), why do you think that Palestinians and Arabs are any different?

June 1st, 2007, 9:06 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect,

You’ve pissed me off before, but your last post was very nice. Thanks. Yes, peace is possible. It’s time to notice that acceptance is better than intolerance, incitement and hatred.

SimoHurtta said:

Hmmm Zionism and Israel are a little different things. Germans all around the world support Germany but only a few support Nazis and those who dream about the next Reich. Equally Jews support Israel as a country (naturally) but do not approve Zionism and to what the present days Israel has developed. That is why Israel looses a growing stream of Jewish citizens because they are tired of living in a violent Apartheid Reich. Even you Akbar are not fighting in Israel for lebensraum in a Greater Israel.


Thank you for the 1970 Pan-Arab propaganda, but its 2007 now. How long will you be repeating the same silly mythology? Really!

Jews support Israel and Zionism. I suppose just as much as Arabs support Palestine. Actually, Jews probably support Israel more. The strength of Israel with the US Congress is pretty good proof of the continued American support Israel gets. Israelis are tired of wars. But they’re fighting a LOT less than they used to. The’ve also become more spoiled. Israel’s economy is pretty good and besides, where else are these 5 million Jews going to go?

They’re there to stay. Believe me, Israel is a lot more comfortable and peaceful than, say, Palestine. Why aren’t you crying about the violence in Palestine??

Double-standards abound!

Certainly Akbar you know perfectly well that a considerable portion of Jews (living in Israel and especially outside Israel) do not like what Israel now is and Zionism.

Sure there are Jews that don’t like Israel. I’ve just never met any. I’ve read about these people and they’re still a small minority.

The limited outside support of Israel is on the edge of total collapse.

Where do you get this information??? And please, no anti-semitic websites. That’s the rule!

Only the extreme Christians support Israel in its present form.

Than how do you explain the huge support of Israel in the House and Senate? You’re either joking or watching an editorial from al-Jazeera.

Most of us Christians watch with growing disgust what Israel is doing.

OK. So call your congressman. Vote for Pat Buchanan.

The numerous UN votings show the real support. Besides USA and some paid Oceanic Lilliputians there is no support.

You forgot France;)

The boycotts in Great Britain and South Africa are signs of the changing tide.

Until the next 7-7.

Most probably there would not be Israel without Hitler. But why do you blame Arabs?

Because Israel is made up, at least half, by “Arab” or Sephardi Jews. A large number of them came due to intolerable conditions in their native countries. Very few Jews remain in ME countries other than Israel.

They (also Semites) begun to be “anti-Semitic” only when Jews begun to steal their land in Palestine (not all land was bought).

Whether they “began to be anti-semitic” before, during or after the creation of Israel, it is still no excuse.

I don’t, and I don’t expect them to.

June 1st, 2007, 11:25 pm


Enlightened said:

Akbar Said:

“You are TRULY, “Enlightened. Salaam to you and greetings from the Evil Bush Empire!”

LOLLOL Akbar you always have a back handed comment, I think its part of your character. Are you saying that Bush is evil? I dont think he is evil, but I dont think he is a good a politician as his father, certainly not evil but a big buffoon for sure!

June 1st, 2007, 11:49 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Actually, I like GWB better than his father. I’m in the minority, I know. GWB, interestingly, got 2 terms; Bush Senior: only 1.

Although GWB is not so smart (he actually had better grades in college than “supersmart” John Kerry), I think he has excellent common sense (which is what most politicians lack). Unfortunately, he’s starting to lose his conservative base with his capitulation on the “immigration” issue.

The lineup of republicans running in ’08 looks pretty good, however, the media is fiercely pro-Hilary Clinton. Beating the Clintons is easy; but as we’ve seen, beating the media is not. That is, unless they get caught reporting phoney information again like Dan Rather did. Assume the next election will be close again.

Be well,


June 2nd, 2007, 5:14 pm


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