Pelosi's Trip to Damascus - Syria Comment

Pelosi’s Trip to Damascus

Pelosi is traveling to Damascus next week. Five other lawmakers, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, a California Democrat. One Republican, Representative David Hobson of Ohio, is also on the trip. Bush Aide Perino Says Speaker Pelosi's Planned Syria Trip Is a `Bad Idea' A White House spokeswoman denounced the visit. A number of congress members traveled to Damascus following the initial publication of the Baker Hamilton report, but the US government cut off the opening with the launching of the troop surge in Baghdad. But few officials believe it can work. Richard Armitage, who was Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell, was quoted recently in the excellent New Yorker article by George Packer: "Betrayed: The Iraqis who trusted America the most:"

“The President believes so firmly that he is President for just this mission—and there’s something religious about it—that it will succeed, and that kind of permeates. I just take him at his word these days. I think it’s very improbable that he’ll be successful.”

With hard-minded realists like Armitage claiming fatalistically that Washington will just wait until the President's plan completely fails, Palosi's trip to Damascus is much welcomed. It is high time that both parties begin figuring out what options are available to them once Bush moves on. Talking to Syria's president is only one step in this process. As Packer makes clear in his moving article about the Iraqi translators, the consequences of America's failure in Iraq have already devastated the lives of so many. The real impact is only in mid-stream. Many more refugees will be spit out of Iraq before it is over. The US has no plans to take in those Iraqis that have helped the US, as they tried to do in Vietnam, when departing US officials cleared the way for over 100,000 Vietnamese to get visas to the US.

Warren Strobel of McClatchy News explains that the Bush administration is religiously persevering in its campaign against the Syrian government. He writes the U.S. will step up it's campaign against the Syrian government.

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration has launched a campaign to isolate and embarrass Syrian President Bashar Assad, using parliamentary elections in late April as a lever, according to State Department officials and Syrian exiles.

The campaign, which some officials fear is aimed at destabilizing Syria, has been in the works for months.

It involves escalating attacks on Syria's human rights record, which is generally regarded as abysmal, as well as White House-approved support for Syrian bloggers and election monitors inside and outside the country to highlight the nation's lack of freedom, the officials and others said.

The State Department in recent weeks has issued a series of rhetorical broadsides against Syria, using language harsher than that usually reserved for U.S. adversaries. On Friday, the administration criticized a planned visit there by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif..

"It's the new Cuba – no language is too tough," said one of the officials, who like others insisted on anonymity to discuss internal government planning.

The campaign appears to fly in the face of the recommendations last December of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which urged President Bush to engage diplomatically with Syria to stabilize Iraq and address the Arab-Israeli conflict. The White House largely ignored that recommendation, agreeing only to talk with Syria about Iraqi refugees and to attend a Baghdad conference where envoys from Iran and Syria were present.

Some officials who are aware of the campaign say they fear its real aim is to weaken or even overthrow Assad and to ensure that he can't thwart the creation of an international tribunal to investigate the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A U.N. report has implicated Syrian and Lebanese officials in the murder.

The officials say the campaign bears the imprint of Elliott Abrams, a conservative White House aide in charge of pushing Bush's global democracy agenda.

The plan's defenders say the effort to support democracy and speak out against repression in Syria is no different from similar U.S. efforts aimed at governments in Cuba, Iran, Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

The parliamentary elections scheduled for April 22 appear certain to be rigged, according to experts on Syria and critics of Assad's authoritarian regime.

Almost three-quarters of the seats in parliament are set aside for members of the Ba'ath Party, which has ruled Syria since a 1963 coup, and its allies. New campaign spending rules appear designed to undercut the few truly independent candidates.

"Our objective is to have real elections in Syria. . . . It's important to get that kind of message across and, number two, to expose what's happening in Syria," said Najib Ghadbian, who's affiliated with the National Salvation Front, a loose coalition of mostly exiled Syrian government opponents. The group gets no U.S. funding, he said.

Joshua Landis, a University of Oklahoma assistant professor who studies Syria, agreed that the election outcome isn't in doubt, but said U.S. pressure will have little impact. "The problem is, America's such a discredited bully pulpit for this kind of thing," he said.

Indeed, U.S. efforts to isolate Syria received a setback at this week's Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi leadership, which has ostracized Assad since the Hariri assassination, appeared to welcome him back into the fold.

Ahmed Salkini, a Syrian embassy spokesman, said, "There is nothing not free" about the upcoming elections, and he called U.S. criticisms hypocritical in light of alleged U.S. rights abuses at the Guantanamo prison.

McClatchy Newspapers is withholding some details about Syrian groups and individuals involved in monitoring the April elections because their followers could face arrest in Syria.

But a classified government document that surfaced in December proposed a covert election-monitoring effort that would be funded by a State Department-run democracy promotion program known as the Middle East Partnership Initiative. MEPI has set aside $5 million for activities aimed at Syria.

U.S. officials confirmed the existence of the document, which was first reported by Time magazine.

The document identified the U.S. government-funded International Republican Institute as a potential partner in the effort. An IRI spokeswoman declined comment this week.

At least some elements of the plan appear to have gone forward.

Several Internet sites have been created to monitor and discuss the April elections, which are to be followed in May by a referendum on Assad's rule. One, largely in Arabic, is www.transparentsyria.com.

As McClatchy Newspapers first reported last year, the Bush administration also has orchestrated meetings of Syrian opposition figures under the auspices of the Aspen Institute's Berlin offices. White House officials have met with representatives of the National Salvation Front, a broad umbrella group that includes Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood and former Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam.

In Washington, meanwhile, the State Department's verbal attacks on Syria have gotten harsher.

On March 8, in what several officials said was an opening volley, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a statement urging Assad to allow full media coverage of the elections and permit independent monitors. "The United States is deeply concerned that the Syrian regime will again fail its people by not holding free and fair elections," he said.

On Thursday, McCormack issued another statement, expressing concern over two imprisoned human rights activists in Syria, Anwar al-Bunni and Kamal al-Labwani. Al-Labwani was arrested in November 2005 after returning from a trip that included a meeting with a top White House adviser.

UN's Ban stresses the need for dialogue among Lebanese

He again called for the establishment of an international court to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. 'We call for Lebanese national consensus about this,' he said.

Fox News reports that "U.N. Chief Warns Arms Smugglers From Syrian Could Threaten Lebanon Cease-Fire."

Seniora told reporters during the joint press conference that Lebanese forces with the help of German and Dutch UN troops were doing their best to stop arms smuggling across Lebanese borders. 'Up till now, not a single case of smuggling through the border has been put forward to us,' he said. He called on Ban to share any information about arms smuggling with the Lebanese government.

According the Levant News, the Syrian government bulldozed a number of houses in a Kurdish section of Raqqa following Nawrous celebrations. The houses it bulldozed were chosen at random because they were near the area in which the celebrations took place.

* نداء عاجل: أكراد الرقة تهدم بيوتهم بعد احتفالات النوروز

موقع أخبار الشرق – الجمعة 30 آذار/ مارس 2007

بافي آراس

بعد مضي خمسة أيام على احتفالات النوروز وتنعّم الأكراد بالهدوء الذي ساد احتفالات العيد، بدأت العاصفة، عندما اقدمت السلطات (البلدية – مجلس المحافظة – الشرطة…) في يوم الاثنين المصادف 26/3/ 2007 الساعة الثانية عشر ظهراً على هدم عشرات المنازل في حي الأندلس الواقع في الجهة الشمالية من مدينة الرقة السورية والتي لا تبعد عن مركز احتفالات النوروز سوى ثلاثمائة متر.

وحسب المعلومات المتوفرة انه في يوم الاثنين ذاته كان هناك اجتماع لمجلس محافظة الرقة، وقد طالب احد الحضور المجتمعين بهدم المنازل في مناطق السكن العشوائي الواقعة فيما بين الجسرين وهذا الحي يسمى (حي الفرات) ويقع جنوب المدينة بمحاذاة نهر الفرات وغالبية قاطنيه من الإخوة العرب، والحي مخصص للجمعيات التعاونية السكنية، وبالفعل تم تنفيذ القرار على الفور، ولكن التنفيذ تم في حي الأندلس الواقع شمال المدينة والذي يسكنه الكرد، وهذا الحي من الأحياء الشعبية الذي يقطنها فقراء الرقة والذي يفتقد لجميع الخدمات.

Tony Karon at the Rootless Cosmopolitan assess US-Saudi relations in his "Birth Pangs of a Post-Bush Middle East."

I've marveled for some time now at the abundance of unmistakable evidence to the contrary, so much of the mainstream media in the U.S. appears to feel dutybound to parrot Condi Rice's giddy fantasies about processes underway in the Middle East, and her Administration's central role in shaping them. For months now we've been fed this pile of manure about the U.S. orchestrating a "realignment" in the region, with moderate Sunni Arab states joining with the U.S. and Israel to isolate and confront Iran, Hamas and others Washington dubs "extremists." Then, last week, as she set out on her umpteenth "Looking Busy" tour of the region, we were served up grand accounts of how Condi was choreographing a complex diplomatic dance aimed at revving the "peace process" (a word that, like "gold standard", has survived in the media's lexicon despite the institutions and practises it describes having long passed from the scene).

I wrote on this at length this week at the excellent web journal TomDispatch measuring the spin transmitted by mainstream news outlets against the real processes occurring in the region. And wondering why Washington-based correspondents seem to take Condi's fantasy narrative a lot more seriously than their counterparts in Israel and the Arab world.

But as the week wore on, it became blatantly obvious that Rice's efforts, and her perspective, are largely irrelevant to events now unfolding, and what much of the media appears reluctant to tell its readers — perhaps for fear of offending Condi and her handlers? — is that even those Arab leaders considered closest to the U.S. have taken to ignoring the advice and injunctions of the Secretary of State and the Administration she represents.

The bubble finally burst in Riyadh this week, when King Abdullah — who has already blatantly ignored failed U.S. policies of trying to isolate both, by engaging extensively with the Iranians on regional tensions in Lebanon and elsewhere, and by brokering a Palestinian unity government that put President Mahmoud Abbas into a power sharing arrangement with Hamas, against the express wishes of the Bush Administration — rhetorically slapped down the U.S. occupation of Iraq, calling it illegal, and also demanding an end to the U.S. led financial siege of the Palestinian Authority.

What's interesting about the sudden public break from Washington and assertion of political independence by the "Arab moderates" that were supposedly the vanguard of Bush Administration Middle East policy Version 7.4, is that it is a profound vote of no-confidence in U.S. policy. The Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians could simply no longer sit back and watch the U.S. wreaking havoc throughout the region, because the resulting catastrophe would sweep away their regimes, too. It was as if Abdullah had given George W. Bush five years to pursue his fantasy of remaking the region through force, and now had to call time on the Bush era before it was too late for his own regime.

The Saudis are distancing themselves from the US out of self-interest. But the gestures towards discussing Israeli-Palestinian peace right now are a symptom of the combined political weakness of all the main participants — the Arab regimes, the Israeli government, President Mahmoud Abbas and the U.S. And the Arabs are making clear that no progress is possible unless the U.S. is prepared to press Israel, which is extremely unlikely both because of Bush's own preferences, but also, frankly, because of the grip of AIPAC on mainstream thinking in both parties in Washington. Etc etc.

Read the whole thing:

The US Institute of Peace recently completed a round of track II diplomacy with representatives from each of Iraq's neighbors. Here is the link to their website with the full-text of the Marmara Declaration on regional cooperation on Iraq — the outcome of a Track II USIP put together this week in Istanbul.
Given all the new momentum on Iraq regional diplomacy, this declaration by leading foreign policy figures from Iraq and all its neighbors is particularly timely. http://www.usip.org/

Comments (54)


Alex said:

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a statement urging Assad to allow full media coverage of the elections and permit independent monitors. “The United States is deeply concerned that the Syrian regime will again fail its people by not holding free and fair elections,”

Nope … this administration can only damage the reputation of any freedom fighter who associates with it publicly.

Too bad. All they have to do to gain some reputation is to display the same passion that they displayed for Syrian political prisoners, for the others in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Jordan .. there is more torture and more political prisoners there. much more, in the case of Egypt.

But it is a good idea to empower local bbloggers who can expose stupidities in the way elections are conducted. Although … who cares anyway, there is not much to be hoped for this time. I just wish Syrian opposition can take a calmer and more realistic approach to reform … hoping to have much more serious elections 7 years form now.

March 31st, 2007, 7:49 pm

 

ausamaa said:

For God’s sake, why do we keep kidding ourselves about a serious internal Syrian Opposition? I just do not see it. The Silent Majority? Perhaps! It is there for sure as it is everywhere. But nobody has an exclusive claim to it in Syria. Least of all the MB’s or the Ghaderies.

And is Sean McCormak not sufficiently disillusind yet with the degree of sympathy Arabs have to such calls for Democratization originating from DC? Was it a slow day for him at the State Department, or is it intended to demonstrate to Husni Mubarak that the Bush administration is even in distributing its criticism?

March 31st, 2007, 8:06 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Imad Makhloof does what is most common for Bush, American, and Israel alike:

Complain and Whine!

“Subversive activities in a police state like Syria, a country with a dozen hugely staffed intelligence organizations never is an effective mean to bring freedom or democracy.”

To which I say:

“What are YOU going to do about your beloved Police State?”

March 31st, 2007, 9:33 pm

 

ausamaa said:

And what cash is the Bush Administration dedicating to this “nobel” undertaking anyway? 5 million dollars? WOW !

How much is Coca Cola spending this year on promoting Dite Coke in the MENA alone? More than that for sure!

Such an “Opposition” merits such a “Generous” support!

March 31st, 2007, 9:34 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Pity this administration and its mouthpiece Sean McCormack; wouldn’t be fun to see the looks on their faces if they ever find out that Bashar’s ratings in Syria exceed those of Bush in America?

And pity the Syrian opposition sipping either cappuccino or rose water in London, Paris, and Washington. These opposition groups think they know what is good for Syria via remote sensing. Sure, Khaddam knows exactly what is best for the Syrian people. He even has receipts to that effect.

The only real opposition is what Ausamaa said, the vast silent majority. The threat to the police state is not going to come from Washington, Beirut, or Tel Aviv. It is coming from the real hard workers all over Syria. Those who go to work every day, get their children educated, and manage to make through an otherwise tough life. These are the heroes in the making; slowly but surely learning, progressing, and maturing. A woman can have a baby in 9 months, but she sure cannot have 9 babies in one month.

Give the Syrians inside a little chance. They know what the heck they are doing. I believe in them. The will email us all when they are ready.

March 31st, 2007, 9:43 pm

 

G said:

the consequences of America’s failure in Iraq have already devastated the lives of so many.

Wow, you outdid yourself with this one. You are the one who keeps bragging about and justifying how Assad continues to allow killers across into Iraq because he’s using it for leverage to force the Americans to cede his terms, and to make sure the Americans fail in Iraq. And then you have the audacity to write this, waxing all humanistic?

Can you sink any lower?

March 31st, 2007, 9:53 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Bitching and moaning about George Bush and Israel is (to put it lightly) common place on this forum.

Now, who would like to complain now about how Christians are being treated in Iraq?

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/features_opinion/iraq.html

March 31st, 2007, 10:15 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Akbar Palace,
Regarding Bush, it is not only here on this blog that the “bitching” is high; it is all over America if you have already noticed. And as far as Israel is concerned, it is the Israeli public that is moaning and screaming louder than ever. Have you not checked the latest polls in Israel?

March 31st, 2007, 10:23 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

This is an interesting article by Jacob Weisberg of the Financial Times. Of particular interest is what Bernard Lewis had to say with applause from EAI audience.

I am posting the entire article here in case the content of the links are removed by the publisher.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/dc14fd96-d25c-11db-a7c0-000b5df10621.html

Are neo-cons history?

By Jacob Weisberg

Published: March 14 2007 19:17 | Last updated: March 14 2007 19:17

The term “neo-conservative” has many usages, including “former liberal” and “Jewish conservative”. In recent years, however, it has taken on clearer definition as a philosophy of aggressive unilateralism and the attempt to impose democratic ideas on the Arab world. The neo-conservatives also constitute a distinct group around George W. Bush, the US president. They pushed for the invasion of Iraq and remain identified with hardline positions on Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Outside the administration, the chief fulcrum of neo-conservatism is the American Enterprise Institute. The day after vice-president Dick Cheney’s former aide Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury, AEI held its annual black-tie gala. I did not go expecting contrition, but under the circumstances it seemed possible that self-examination might feature on the menu. Once a lazy pasture for moderate Republicans hurtled into the private sector by Gerald Ford’s 1976 defeat, AEI has turned in recent years into a kind of Cheney family think-tank. It had not been a good week, year, or second term for any of these people and I thought a few cocktails might cause them to consider their predicament.

This was fantasy on my part. From the stage, one took no hint that matters were not working out as anticipated. All rose to salute the arrival of Mr and Mrs Cheney, herself a longtime fellow at the institute. The vice-president looked on from the head table as his friend, Bernard Lewis, perhaps the most significant intellectual influence behind the invasion of Iraq, came up to accept an award.

In his address, the 90-year-old Mr Lewis did not revisit his argument that regime change in Iraq could provide the jolt needed to modernise the Middle East. Instead, he spoke about the millennial struggle between Christianity and Islam. Mr Lewis argues that Muslims have adopted migration, along with terror, as the latest strategy in their “cosmic struggle for world domination”. This is a familiar framework from the original author of the phrase “the clash of civilisations”. What did surprise me was Mr Lewis’s denunciation of Pope John Paul II’s 2000 apology for the crusades as political correctness run amok, which drew clapping. Mr Lewis’s view is that the Muslims started the trouble by invading Europe in the eighth century; the crusades were merely a failed imitation of Muslim jihad in an endless see-saw of conquest and reconquest.

Were one to start counting ironies here, where would one stop? Here was a Jewish scholar criticising the Pope for apologising to Muslims for a holy war against Muslims, which was also a massacre of the Jews. Here were the theorists of the invasion of Iraq, many of them also Jewish, applauding the notion that the crusades were not so terrible and embracing a time horizon that makes it impossible to judge their war an error. And here was the clubhouse of the neo-conservatives, throwing itself a lavish party when the biggest question in American politics is how to escape the hole they have dug.

But whether or not the neo-cons are prepared to face it, there are increasing signs that their moment is finally over. At the Defence department, Donald Rumsfeld has been replaced by Robert Gates, a member of the Iraq Study Group and an affiliate of the realist school associated with the previous President Bush. Paul Wolfowitz, the architect who wanted to build a new Middle East on Saddam’s rubble, has been moved to the World Bank, where he observes a Robert McNamara-like silence on the failure of his war. Another former Pentagon official, Douglas Feith, is under investigation for misrepresenting intelligence data to make the case for the invasion.

At the State department, Condoleezza Rice is returning to her realist roots and now actually seems to direct policy. She has embraced shuttle diplomacy in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, is considering conversation with Syria and Iran and even made a nuclear deal with North Korea. These steps signify a broader shift away from what the neo-con defector Francis Fukuyama calls “hard Wilsonian” ideas and back towards the less principled, more effective pragmatism of Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser, and James Baker, former secretary of state.

The most important sign of all is the fading influence of Mr Cheney, who for six years dominated foreign policy in a way no previous vice-president ever has. Mr Cheney is discredited, unwell and facing various congressional investigations. He was badly damaged by the Libby trial, which exposed his ruthless mania to justify a war gone wrong.

But the larger factor in Mr Cheney’s demise is that his neo-conservative hypotheses have been falsified by events. Invading Iraq did not catalyse a new Middle East; isolating North Korea advanced its nuclear programme; high-handed unilateralism has reduced American power. At the outset of his presidency, Mr Bush thought himself lucky to have a number two who did not aspire to his job. He may now grasp the hazard of lending so much power to someone with no incentive to test his views in the political marketplace.

As disciples of Bernard Lewis, it is unlikely Mr Cheney and the neo-con crusaders will apologise for what they have wrought. Like Mr Bush, they look to the long span of history for vindication. It will indeed be eons before anyone trusts them again.

March 31st, 2007, 11:15 pm

 

3antar said:

Deleted for insults by administrator

April 1st, 2007, 12:00 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Regarding Bush, it is not only here on this blog that the “bitching” is high; it is all over America if you have already noticed. And as far as Israel is concerned, it is the Israeli public that is moaning and screaming louder than ever. Have you not checked the latest polls in Israel?”

Ford Prefect –

Thank you for pointing out an interesting phenomenon: The American and Israeli Left whine and bitch about the same thing as those here on Syria Comment:

George Bush and Israel

Of course when little things like the World Trade Center towers and Katyushas started falling*, the American and Israeli Leftist suddenly don’t have much to say.

A short time later, they once again find their convenient scape goats.

I’m not on that wavelength. I tend to blame those who are at fault.

Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism may have prevented the Arab world from achieving progress, but don’t expect it to hinder the West.

BTW – Don’t expect Hillary or some other two-faced democrat to become president come 2008.

*9-11 occurred BEFORE the US sent troops to Iraq or Afghanistan; 3000 Katyushas were fired against Israel AFTER Israel withdrew from Lebanon 6 years earlier

April 1st, 2007, 12:27 am

 

youngsyria said:

this transparentsyria.com is really of poor quality. it looks as if they used Google instant translation to arabic… even the comments feels like they have been filled by CIA agents.. 🙂

the quality of comments section in syriacomment has degraded. most of them are personal attacks and counter attacks. out of the 100 average comments, its hard to find more than a very few real contributions. 🙁

April 1st, 2007, 2:35 am

 

norman said:

Alex , do you think this call from the US goverment is a way to compliment Syria for a fair election then taking the cridet for it.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a statement urging Assad to allow full media coverage of the elections and permit independent monitors. “The United States is deeply concerned that the Syrian regime will again fail its people by not holding free and fair elections,”

April 1st, 2007, 2:49 am

 

sam said:

Talk about fair elections, both of Bushs elections are still suspect!

April 1st, 2007, 4:15 am

 

sam said:

Florida “2000” Ohio “2004”

April 1st, 2007, 4:16 am

 

Alex said:

SAM, we Syrians are not allowed to resort to “relativism”.

It does not matter if most politicians are crooks, the truth is that only Syrian politicians are evil.

Don’t argue with anyone about it.

Norman,

I think I will sit and watch the following few months: there are so many theories one can come up with … who knows. Alliances are shifting on a monthly basis …

All I know is that the past few months, secretary of state met with Moderate Arab foreign ministers AND their senior intelligence officers… few times.

And they all came out smiling from those meetings.

Who knows.

I am not yet totally convinced that everyone abandoned this administration.

As for the Syrian opposition, and Egyptian opposition … American support is symbolic. I don’t know what 5 million Dollars can get you these days.

Oh by the way, if you want a laugh … someone last year accused me of taking that money! 🙂

I don’t think Gibran and G would agree with that accusation.

April 1st, 2007, 5:37 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Bitching and moaning about George Bush and Israel is (to put it lightly) common place on this forum.

Who can praise George Bush and Israel for a peaceful and successful policy around the world? You can’t boast Bush’s and Israel’s achievements, because there are no achievements. Simple as that Akbar.

The moral, military and political defeat USA has suffered during GB’s era demands at least two democratic presidents to be corrected. Israel has painted her self in a corner and it will loose the occupied areas – sooner or later.

Now, who would like to complain now about how Christians are being treated in Iraq?

Well, when Christian troops (what USA troops are) are raging around the country and the US Jewish / Christian “advisers” have created a constitution for Iraq which will only increase religious and ethnic tensions, what else do you Akbar could wait? On the other hand the Christians and Muslims in Israel and her occupied territories are constantly claiming that they are not treated well. Why Akbar? Only when you own “nest” is clean you have a moral foundation to criticize.

April 1st, 2007, 5:51 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Sam, Alex, and SimoHurtta,
Let’s also explore how the world has also “bitched and moaned” against Israel and its militaristic and illegal behavior in the area. Between 1955 and 1992, the UN Security Council passed 66 resolutions against Israel with beginning statements like “deplores”, “censures”, and “determines flagrant violations,” for example. The US of course vetoed 34 of these resolutions that were adopted under Chapter VII. (If you are wondering what happened in 1992 and why the UN all of the sudden shifted, then remember these dates: September 11, 2001 and the establishment of the Russian Federation in March of 1992.)

Here is a telling ratio also related to why should anyone “bitch and moan” against the narrow US and Israeli policies: In just four years (2001-2005), the number of Israelis and Palestinians killed was 4 times larger than those killed in the preceding 9 years. Again, in just four years of the belligerent US/Israeli policies in the areas have produced 4 times the number of fatalities (just Israelis and Palestinians) than during the previous 9 years.

Talk about why people all over the world are “bitching and moaning”.

April 1st, 2007, 10:09 am

 

ausamaa said:

Suspense is killing us! This is what the victorious Ehud Olmert told Time Magazine on April First (can he not surprise Husnie Mubarak or King Abdullah or Mahmoud Abbas instead?):

“I can tell you that if I’d had an opportunity to meet with King Abdullah of the Saudis – which I have not – he would be very surprised to hear what I have to say,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week in an interview with Time magazine. “I look very favorably at the active role Saudis are now playing in the Middle East for many years,” Olmert said, calling the Saudi peace initiative “a very interesting approach.”

When pressed by interviewer Joe Klein to elaborate on what would surprise Abdullah, Olmert responded coyly, “If he reads about it in Time, he wouldn’t be surprised.”

Actually what he would tell King Abdullah is:

” I was joking man. Rice was here last week, if there was something I would have told her.I only said that to distract Israeli public opinion and to fend off the naieve Eropuean and American peace hopefulls”.

April 1st, 2007, 10:38 am

 

ausamaa said:

See, Ehud Olmert have “just heard” about the Arab/Saudi/Fahed peace plane of 2002 !

We are witnessing the rise of a new Shimon Peres. Complete with a disastrous Lebanon campaign and a Qana massacre too! Both can not fight wars, neither can they make peace.

April 1st, 2007, 10:51 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Lol! That was hysterical Ausamaa, thanks! This hapless Olmert, who enjoys an approval rating equals to the margin of error, is surprising only the Israelis with his inexperience, incompetence, and deadly arrogance. Not to mention the series of corruption charges ringing Israelis officials. Olmert and his government are incapable of delivering anything to the Israelis – let alone a bold peace.

By the way, Ausamaa, what’s up with Dr Rice’s shuttle diplomacy in the region? I understand the benefits of accumulating frequent flier miles, useful when she is kicked out of office soon, but what exactly has she accomplished during these trips? What exactly is she doing, saying, or performing?

April 1st, 2007, 10:54 am

 

ausamaa said:

FP,

I still can not make full sense of what is going on! It is a strange circus. Maybe this is the intent of all players.

Create Smookscreens. Keep everyone busy. Divert Everyone’s Attention till the dark clouds over DC, Tel Aviv and the Gulf hopefully blow away.
Then get the hell out of the Office and let the next guys worry about the mess!

April 1st, 2007, 11:03 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Ausamaa,
I still maintain that what we are seeing today is a typical result of an incompetent and reckless administration in DC – who bluffed its way through London, Tel Aviv, and Baghdad – misleading everyone along that path. The Cheney administration is still baffled by the fact that its awesome military power has produced (and still producing) exactly the opposite results. They are bouncing between bad and terrible decisions that are forcing them to manufacture lies, deceit, and get many innocent people killed in the process. Remember the Mitchell Plan, the Road Map, and the Tenet Plan for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict? The US administration is driven by ideologues who are as dangerous as all other ideologues in the world. It will be a tough two years, I am afraid.

April 1st, 2007, 11:20 am

 

ausamaa said:

Exactly! Because they are bouncing between Bad and Worse decisions they may have opted to stay put and do nothing! Especially with the Israelies not providing the badly needed helping hand!

April 1st, 2007, 11:31 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Roger that. The ramifications are going to be dire, unfortunately, and for decades to come.

April 1st, 2007, 11:36 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Ausamaa, here is an example of another “brilliant” decision, if it turns out to be true.

‘US ready to strike Iran on Good Friday’
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF AND AP

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1173879220977&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The United States will be ready to launch a missile attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities as soon as early this month, perhaps “from 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. on April 6,” according to reports in the Russian media on Saturday.

April 1st, 2007, 11:50 am

 

ausamaa said:

Nah…the Jerusalem Post is just trying to liven up the atmosphere a little…

Al Syassah newspaper “informed sorce” is the “real source” of this item perhaps!

April 1st, 2007, 12:17 pm

 

Alex said:

Yup, I don’t think an Israeli paper would spoil the Good Friday Surprise attack on Nuclear-threat Iran.

April 1st, 2007, 4:05 pm

 

Alex said:

MI chief: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah preparing for U.S. offensive

By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent , and Reuters

Israel is closely monitoring preparations by Syria, Iran and Hezbollah for a U.S.-led war this summer, Military Intelligence chief Major-General Amos Yadlin said during a cabinet session on Sunday.

According to Yadlin, Iran and Syria believe that a war this summer will be initiated by the U.S. and that Israel will be involved. He said added that the Muslim forces’ preparations are defensive, and they are not expected to initiate the war.

“What we are seeing is their preparation for the possibility of war in the summer. My assessment is that they are defensive preparations for war,” Yadlin was quoted by a government official as saying, referring to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

“We are closely monitoring these preparations because [Iran, Syria and Hezbollah] could misinterpret various moves in the region,” Yadlin said, according to the official.

Yadlin noted that, as in the case of the 1967 Six-Day War, military conflict could erupt despite that fact that neither side is interested in war, because of “the involvement of many players.”

Regarding Hamas, Yadlin said that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has warned that if the international financial embargo on Gaza is not lifted within three months, a third intifada will break out.

Yadlin added that there senior Hamas members that are displeased with the Saudi Arabian initiative, and that the military branch of Hamas has renewed its activity.

Meanwhile, U.S. House members meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad Sunday said they believed there was an opportunity for dialogue with the Syrian leadership.

The U.S. House members, who included Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, Pennsylvania Republican Joe Pitts and Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, also said they had raised with Syrian officials the issue of stopping the alleged flow of foreign fighters from Syria to Iraq.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, the congressmen said they had talked about ending support for Hezbollah and Hamas, recognizing Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and ceasing interference in Lebanon.

“We came because we believe there is an opportunity for dialogue, the statement said. “We are following in the lead of Ronald Reagan, who reached out to the Soviets during the Cold War, it added.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will convey a message to Syria from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel is interested in peace if Damascus stops supporting terrorism, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s spokeswoman said Sunday

April 1st, 2007, 4:13 pm

 

Bill Baar said:

So, can Pelosi ask on the fate of Michael Kilo amidst this trip?

April 1st, 2007, 7:28 pm

 

ausamaa said:

I am not the only one who is at loss as to what is going on it seems!

This is from Debkafile again! From the same guys who did not know (or did not want to believe) that Hizbullah had anti-ship missiles last July (among other things they did not know)!:


Israeli military intelligence chief predicts Iran-Hizballah-Syria attack on Israel in summer

April 1, 2007, 9:50 PM (GMT+02:00)

In his briefing to the Israeli cabinet Sunday, April 1, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, AMAN chief, reported that Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas expect the United States to attack Iran in the summer and they are preparing to retaliate by going to war with Israel. In Yadlin’s view, a proliferation of players and a many imponderables could ignite a conflict, which none of the parties wants – as happened in the Six Day War of 1967.

DEBKAfile analysts note five salient points in Gen. Yadlin’s briefing:

1. His comments came one day after Iran’s chief of staff, Gen. Hassan Fayrouz Abadi, urged the Arabs to hurry up and join Iran in a defense treaty because, he claimed, Israel threatened a war offensive in summer, two months hence. According to the Iranian general, Israel was bent on a “suicide assault” against a number of Arab states to save the Americans from having to pull their troops out of Iraq (sic).

1. Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas may be presumed to be acting on some piece of intelligence that point to a forthcoming US attack some time between April and early September 2007. Therefore, the Middle East faces at least five months of incendiary military instability during with everyone braced for an axe to fall.

2. A coordinated Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah-Hamas attack would lay Israel open to four warfronts and the common weapon to them all: missiles – anti-tank, short-range surface, medium range ballistic and surface-to-air.

3. Hamas threatens to launch the third Palestinian uprising (intifada) against Israel within three months unless the international blockade is lifted and funds are released to the Palestinian Authority.

The cabinet was informed that the IDF would start operating behind Gazan lines against the massive Palestinian military build-up.

For five months, the Olmert government’s policy was one of military restraint at the behest of US and European governments. This week, Israel’s leaders watched British discomfiture as the United States, the UN and the Europeans turned aside when asked for help to free 15 sailors seized by Iran in the Persian Gulf. It is obvious that Israel must be ready to stand alone and defend itself if attacked on four fronts.

4. Neither the chief of AMAN nor the ministers discussed the state of Israel’s armed forces’ preparedness. Asked about this, DEBKAfile’s military sources said their readiness was only partial as yet: The air force, some of the combat divisions are ready; other parts of the military, such as some reservist brigades, the Navy and the home front are not.

April 1st, 2007, 7:55 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ford Prefect said:

“Roger that. The ramifications are going to be dire, unfortunately, and for decades to come.”

I’ve heard the above statement through EVERY recent US administration:

Carter, Reagen, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr.

And what in G-d’s name did the Left-of-Center President Jimmy “Palestine Peace no Apartheid” Carter do to cause Iran to take 66 hostages at the US Embassy there?

And now we’re back with the Iranian govenment taking hostages. Nothing has changed in 28 years, except that the Islamic Fundamentalists have more power and are threatening more countries.

I sure hope our savy Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has some answers. It would be nice to remind Nancy that with terrorists, there is always an excuse, always an enemy, always a disregard for human rights. But my instict tells me she doesn’t get it.

History will repeat as scheduled.

April 1st, 2007, 8:14 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Olmert is interested!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6516573.stm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has proposed holding a regional peace conference following the revival of an Arab peace initiative.

April 1st, 2007, 8:17 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Actually you are correct, AP. Little has changed in the last 30 years. In fact, if anything, things went backward and more people have lost their lives. The sad fact, however, is that this US administration and the Likud/Kadima have yet to learn from the past. If they think they can unilaterally change the status quo via military adventurism, reality has a nice surprise for them. It is not working and will never work.

April 1st, 2007, 8:24 pm

 

ausamaa said:

Who is Ehud Olmert fooling? He wants to meet with the four Arab States? As Rice told him a while ago but in different context: Dont even Dream about it.

If little peace-loving Ehud is so scared and worried about Hizballah, Hamas, Syria and Iran. Why does he not seek to meet with them instead of meeting the “other” four Arab States?

Maybe he thinks he can talk to those Arabs States using the same BS and twisted logic he uses very succefully with Americans and Europeans.

BTW, any word on wether he has convinced Nancy Pelosi that the Iraq War is GOOD for America?

April 1st, 2007, 9:05 pm

 
 

Alex said:

Ehsani,

This is alarming. If half the Christians of Lebanon are seriously considering leaving the country, Lebanon will suffer. Who will pay that almost 50 Billion dollar debt? and What kind of new balance will Lebanon seek? …

I hope Israel and America (and others who care for Lebanon’s stability) can think long term, next time they play Lebanese politics.

April 1st, 2007, 10:58 pm

 

Alex said:

Ausamaa

Mr. Olmert asked Nancy to convey a message of peace to President Assad: “Stop supporting terrorism”

Finally! … a really creative and from-the-heart effort to advance the chances of peace between Syria and Israel.

Thank you prime minister Olmert.

April 1st, 2007, 11:01 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Alex,

Lebanon is not much different than Syria. Were EU and US embassies to offer young Syrians immigration visas, I think many of them will be leaving in droves. This alarming trend has been in place for years and way before this US Administration arrived. In the case of Christians the problem is simply magnified for a host of additional reasons.

April 1st, 2007, 11:45 pm

 

G said:

In fact, the number of youth migration in Syria is 72%.

April 2nd, 2007, 12:22 am

 

ausamaa said:

Alex, Ehsani,and G..,

I am seeing Lebanese and Syrian expats day in and day out. Immigration is there for sure. But I will take the figures above with a pinch of salt. The 72% Syrian youth migration figure (whatever it means), I will take with a “ton” of salt! But again, I do not have the figures.

As for the “urge” to leave if a US or an EU Visa was availlable, this is a trend that is prevelant -and has been since any of us can remember- across the whole MENA if not the whole world, and is not execlusively reserved for Syrians and Lebanese.

We are a well to do family, but still, I have a sister who recently immigrated to Canada, and another who just went to Australia (for ten days!)to get her immigrant visa stamped and then returned to her cushy job in the UAE. With their families.

Not to take away from a bad situation, but not to blow it out of proportion too.

The only fools are the Israelies, they should be the first to seek such visas to the US and the EU. Who in his right mind would like to live next to Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi??!! And as an full fledged enemy to all of them no less ! Not me if was in their shoes. Land of Milk and Honey or not!

April 2nd, 2007, 12:57 am

 

ausamaa said:

Alex,

Once Pelosi starts conveying Olmerts “bright” message, the Syrians will quickely say: “Ok, fine, fine, we know that, but what do you rally care about most with regards to Iraq?”

April 2nd, 2007, 1:07 am

 

Alex said:

Itzik: Pelosi’s trip to Syria could sway it to abandon ‘axis of evil’
By News Agencies

Acting President Dalia Itzik on Sunday defended U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned visit to Syria, a trip the White House had attempted to dissuade her from taking.

Pelosi, speaking at a dinner hosted by Itzik at the Knesset building, said she would raise with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the issue of captive Israel Defense Forces soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit.

“Your expected visit to Damascus has naturally touched off a political debate in your country, and of course, here,” Itzik said in televised remarks.

“I believe in your worthy intentions. Perhaps a step, seen as unpopular at this stage … will clarify to the Syrian people and leadership they must abandon the axis of evil [and] stop supporting terrorism and giving shelter to [terrorist] headquarters,” said Itzik, a member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party.

Pelosi will convey a message to Syria from Olmert that Israel is interested in peace if Damascus stops supporting terrorism, an Israeli official said Sunday.

Pelosi met Sunday with Olmert and the families of the abducted IDF soldiers, as part of a Middle East tour that has drawn criticism from the White House because of a planned stop in Syria.

“Pelosi is conveying that Israel is willing to talk if they [Syria] would openly take steps to stop supporting terrorism,” Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin said. “But at this point the Syrian government, by openly backing terror all around the Middle East, is not a partner for negotiations.”

Pelosi held talks on Sunday with Olmert in a closed meeting.

On Sunday night, Pelosi spoke at a dinner for in the Knesset building, and told lawmakers that America remains strongly behind their country.

“Americans have many political differences, but we stand united with Israel now and always,” she said.

Her speech was uniformly supportive of Israel, and she received a standing ovation at the end.

She said that Iran must not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon and called for the disarming of Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel last summer. She also expressed fears that instability in Iraq will encourage Israel and America’s enemies.

Pelosi was not expected to make any statements that would go against U.S. President George W. Bush’s staunch support for Israel.

“She will talk about Congress’ commitment to Israel’s security,” said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for the delegation said before the speech. The group was also discussing in meetings with Israelis the continued cooperation between the two countries, he said.

Pelosi has irked Bush over her decision to include Syria in the tour. The White House had last week called Pelosi’s stop in Syria a bad decision since the administration considers the Arab country a supporter of terrorism.

U.S. Presidential counselor Dan Bartlett said Sunday that the White House had asked Pelosi not to go to Syria.

“We did not believe it would advance the diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. I think most Americans would not think that the leader of the Democratic Party in the Congress should be meeting with the heads of a state sponsor of terror,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Pelosi’s trip with six other lawmakers also includes stops in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

The California Democrat is traveling with a delegation that includes Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress.

The Minnesota Democrat is scheduled Monday to meet with the mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammed Hussein, at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. Ellison said Saturday that his presence – as a Muslim – on the trip sent a message to Israelis and Palestinians that people can come together. “Reconciliation is possible,” he said.

Also on Sunday, Pelosi’s delegation met with the families of three abducted Israel Defense Forces soldiers captured this summer, one along the Gaza Strip and two on the border with Lebanon.

The group Saturday toured Jerusalem holy sites on Saturday and met with Vice Premier Shimon Peres.

Pelosi’s visit to Israel is her second trip to the Middle East since she took over leadership of the House in January and is an indication she plans to play a role in foreign policy.

Other representatives traveling with Pelosi and Ellison included Henry Waxman and Tom Lantos of California, Louise Slaughter of New York, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and Ohio Republican David Hobson.

The group will also visit Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

April 2nd, 2007, 1:22 am

 

ausamaa said:

Alex,

She is a Democrate in an election season after all. She is after Bush’s behind but not an Arab lover. So, give her a break.

It is good that she will end the tour by visiting Saudi Arabia. And what has happened to visiting Egypt? Hotels fully booked there or what?

April 2nd, 2007, 1:28 am

 

Alex said:

lol .. yes, I heard hotels in Cairo were fully booked.

Here is the THIRD Syria.Israel summer war article in Haaretz today .. I give up, is it Syria or Israel who is supposed to strike first?

IDF, gov’t preparing for possible Syrian strike on Golan
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel’s political and military leadership has been preparing in recent weeks for the possibility of a Syrian attack on the Golan Heights that will start as a result of a “miscalculation” on the part of the Syrians, who may assume that Israel intends to attack them.

Israel, however, has delivered a calming message, and has no plans to attack its northern neighbor.

According to information Israel received, the Syrians are concerned that the United States will carry out an attack against Iran’s nuclear installations in the summer, and in parallel Israel would strike Syria and Lebanon.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who visited IDF forces in the North last week, heard an intelligence assessment and was informed of the dangers of a Syrian “miscalculation.”

Following his visit to the forces in the field, a decision was made to publicly address the concerns of a possible deterioration with the Syrians, and to send a message that Israel has no intention of attacking Syria, nor is there any coordinated plan with the U.S. for a joint attack against Iran.

The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is scheduled to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Monday, and will deliver a message of calm from Israel.

“We hope the message will be understood,” political sources in Israel said Sunday. “The question is whether Assad is looking for an excuse … so that he can carry out an attack against Israel in the summer, or whether this is a mistaken assessment.”

Pelosi visited Israel on Sunday and told her Israeli interlocutors that the country must speak with Assad and that the door should not be closed to Syria, even though she is aware that Syria supports terrorism and continued cooperation with Iran.

The Democratic congresswoman was critical of the Republican administration’s policy of boycotting Damascus.

Her statements hinted that if the Democrats regained control of the White House in 2008, they will work toward renewing dialogue with Syria.

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tom Lantos, who accompanied Pelosi, said Assad should be given a final opportunity to disengage from the “axis of evil.”

According to Lantos, in a few years, Sunni Muslims and not Iran under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in control in the region, and it is to the advantage of Damascus to know which side to be on.

In a holiday interview with Haaretz, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also commented on the assessments of a possible “war in the summer.”

“The Syrians, according to their statements and those of others recently,” Olmert said, “appear to be saying that there is an American plan to attack Iran in the summer, and at the same time, and in coordination with Israel, to also attack Syria and Lebanon.”

“I can tell you that there is no such plan that we know about, and in any case, there is no reason for the Syrians to prepare for such an eventuality. There is always concern that when one side prepares for war, and the other side is preparing to counter the other side’s preparations, then the first side interprets the preparations of the other side as if it is the manifestation of its fears, and the situation goes into a spin, and control is lost.

“We have no intention to attack the Syrians,” Olmert said, “we prefer to make peace with the Syrians, but it is a fact that the army is carrying out very intensive training in all systems, all branches, all units, in all areas, and it will continue doing so as part of its annual plans, and it will be ready for any eventuality – including the possibility of what is called miscalculation … But we take into account everything, and hope that the things that should not happen, do not happen.”

On Sunday, Olmert denied reports of a planned coordinated offensive in which the U.S. would attack Iran and Israel would hit Syria and Lebanon at the same time.

During a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Olmert dismissed the idea of a summer offensive, calling it “a plan we don’t know of. It is baseless, and an unfounded rumor with no foundation. I hope no one will operate on the basis of unfounded rumor to create a move that would have no reason to drag us into a conflict.”

The prime minister’s denial came hours after Yadlin told a cabinet session on Sunday that Israel is closely monitoring preparations by Syria, Iran and Hezbollah for a U.S.-led war this summer.

According to Yadlin, Iran and Syria believe that a war this summer will be initiated by the U.S. and that Israel will be involved. He said that the preparations were defensive, adding that Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were not expected to initiate the war.

“What we are seeing is their preparation for the possibility of war in the summer. My assessment is that they are defensive preparations for war,” Yadlin was quoted by a government official as saying, referring to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

“We are closely monitoring these preparations because [Iran, Syria and Hezbollah] could misinterpret various moves in the region,” Yadlin said, according to the official.

Yadlin noted that, as in the case of the 1967 Six-Day War, military conflict could erupt despite that fact that neither side is interested in war, because of “the involvement of many players.”

Regarding Hamas, Yadlin said that Haniyeh has warned that if the international financial embargo on Gaza is not lifted within three months, a third intifada will break out.

Yadlin added that there senior Hamas members that are displeased with the Saudi Arabian initiative, and that the military branch of Hamas has renewed its activity.

Meanwhile, U.S. House members meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad Sunday said they believed there was an opportunity for dialogue with the Syrian leadership.

The U.S. House members, who included Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, Pennsylvania Republican Joe Pitts and Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, also said they had raised with Syrian officials the issue of stopping the alleged flow of foreign fighters from Syria to Iraq.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, the congressmen said they had talked about ending support for Hezbollah and Hamas, recognizing Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and ceasing interference in Lebanon.

“We came because we believe there is an opportunity for dialogue, the statement said. “We are following in the lead of Ronald Reagan, who reached out to the Soviets during the Cold War,” it added.

April 2nd, 2007, 1:54 am

 

norman said:

Alex , about the debt of Lebanon and who will pay back , how about the people who stole that money (the Harreri clan)

sometime i wonder about the intelegence of our American reresenatives like Pelosi (why couldn’t she ask Olmert about leaving the Golan and other Arab lands as per international law that we love in return for no resitence or death to anybody.apparently they continue to want to disarm Syria and it’s freinds so Israel can impose the solution that it likes.I do not think that Syria in a mode of giving anything without clear intention to leave the Golan , they tried that in 1990.not with this Asad.

April 2nd, 2007, 3:10 am

 

Alex said:

Norman, I wonder why do they visit Damascus .. most of them leave disappointed then some conclude that it is useless to talk to Syria.

Don’t hey know by now that Syria will not accept this formula of: quit first, then we will talk to you.

Wait for Lantos tomorrow .. I am sure he will come up with some obnoxious statement.

April 2nd, 2007, 3:30 am

 

Alex said:

Annahar’s Ghassan Toueini shows signs of moderation: … The next president of Lebanon (and whoever governs Lebanon) can not be anti Syrian.

ماذا من ذلك كله يجب الاتعاظ به الآن، أو تكريسه؟
اولاً ان الرئيس العتيد يجب ان يكون كالرئيس سركيس وليد توافق يتحلى بالزهد والرؤيوية وبصفات التوافقية، وأخلاقها.
ثانياً ان المطلوب ليس رئيساً يحمل أوزار الحرب، وأوزار اخراج سوريا من لبنان والتحرر من سطوتها، بل على العكس يساعد سوريا على الخروج من عزلتها الدولية من دون بازار على حساب لبنان، ويقدر على مخاطبتها بلغة كانت سرّ الرئيس سركيس، ولو لم تنجح الا بعد حين، اي بعد أكثر من قمة عربية ثم دولية دعا هو اليها، ولم يدخلها من الباب الخلفي، أو باب المطبخ.
واللغة هذه يمكن اختصارها بعبارة واحدة تصلح خاتمة لهذا المقال ولو ترددت كثيراً، ويجب تكرارها بلهجة تفرض فهمها:
ان لبنان لا يمكن ان يُحكم من سوريا، ولكنه الى ذلك لا يمكن ان يُحكم ضدها.
واذا كان لا بد من ايجاز هذه العبارة بالأبلغ منها، وبكل مترتباتها، لقلنا ان الرئيس اللبناني المثالي هو الذي يقدر على ان يبلور “الرسالة اللبنانية” على نحو يحمي لبنان ويفعّل قدراته الاقليمية ورصيده الدولي فلا يظل رهينة الازمات الاقليمية، بل الدولية، وعالة على هذه أو تلك من قواها. مفهوم؟! والسلام.

غسان تويني

April 2nd, 2007, 3:32 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

And now we’re back with the Iranian govenment taking hostages. Nothing has changed in 28 years, except that the Islamic Fundamentalists have more power and are threatening more countries.

Actually USA has now started again this hostage taking, by detaining Iranian diplomats in Iraq and holding them for months (naturally without trial as usual). Both Iraq and Iran have demanded these “hostages” to be freed. Naturally it is most certain that some Iranian diplomats in Iraq have military / intelligence service background, but so have many US diplomats around the world. US embassy for example in Helsinki is full of CIA operatives and during the Cold War they financed, equipped and armed Finnish extremists groups. That is is a historical fact, not anti Americanism.

When USA has thrown the rulebooks during Bush’s regime in the garbage can, how on earth can it demand others to follow the rules?

In the last 28 years things have gone “forward”. USA has armed and trained Muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan and Bosnia. Only when they turned against USA, they became a problem. 🙂

I sure hope our savy Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has some answers. It would be nice to remind Nancy that with terrorists, there is always an excuse, always an enemy, always a disregard for human rights. But my instict tells me she doesn’t get it.

History will repeat as scheduled.

History would not repeat if GIVING CONDITIONS FOR THE NEED OF TERRORISM would be seen more dangerous and negative as terrorism in it self. “Terrorists” do not plant bombs in Israel for fun. There is a rational reason for that military strategy. Even the Akbars of the world can understand that there would be no terrorism in Israel if the differences would be settled. Israelis stopped using terrorism as a military strategy when they got the areas they wanted. Before that terrorism was widely used by the Jews. Claiming that Jews had not used terrorism in forming Israel is “anti-Semitic”.

By the way Akbar what are the human rights for Christians and Muslims in Israel and her occupied areas? Do you really in earnest claim that all under Israeli rule are equal and have same human rights?

Why are you Akbar so negative against peace efforts? Pelosi and other rational people try to solve the “Israel” problem. You should be glad that this problem of violence could be solved, if it is peace you want. As an American taxpayer you should also be happy that if Pelosi and others manage to save huge amounts of future taxes in help to Israel, by helping to end this long chapter in history. That would be a real tax reduction or would help to build walls around New Orleans instead of building walls with US money on occupied territories.

April 2nd, 2007, 9:35 am

 

Marion Delgado said:

“It involves escalating attacks on Syria’s human rights record, which is generally regarded as abysmal, as well as White House-approved support for Syrian bloggers and election monitors inside and outside the country to highlight the nation’s lack of freedom, the officials and others said.”

Since that kind of support is a usual US intelligence method for helping to fix weaker nation’s elections, it’s utterly the kiss of death. It happened in Cuba, it’s happened all through Latin America, it’s happened all through the MidEast.

Hence, it’s completely impossible at this late stage that the White House doesn’t know better. They’re deliberately labeling Syrian democracy activists and bloggers and so on as US stooges hoping the Syrians will crack down on THEM the way Cuba did on the journalists and bloggers who went to US-funded and US military and intelligence connected journalism seminars and hobnobbed with American Castro-haters before the enormous Cuban crackdown of a few years ago.

In Iran, the US was a little more devious, perhaps, alternating labeling the reform people “on our side” while at the same time saying publicly that no matter who was in power in Iran, the US was going to impose sanctions on Iran and in every way work against them for being evil. In essence, they created both ends of the Cuban situation in a very short time.

None of this reflects any interest in human rights or democracy, indeed, it’s an attempt to stamp out what little there is, wherever it is, and score points and create a figleaf of world concern to operate behind.

April 2nd, 2007, 10:18 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

The laugh of the day:

“Pelosi will convey a message to Syria from Olmert that Israel is interested in peace if Damascus stops supporting terrorism, an Israeli official said Sunday.”

We’re doomed.

SimoHurtta said:

“Even the Akbars of the world can understand that there would be no terrorism in Israel if the differences would be settled.”

SimHurtta, thank you for your wonderfully worded Myth. I couldn’t have stated it any better myself. Right out of the PA’s “Understanding Arafat 101” handbook.

The Akbars of the world understand that no despot leader can survive without using terrorism. Terrorism and Despotism go hand-in-hand. Just ask Professor Josh, he’s studied ME history extensively.

April 2nd, 2007, 11:25 am

 

ausamaa said:

When Democrates act SMARTER than Republicans

First signs say that something is changing.

Pelosi was so cordial and smart so as to not repeat the original Israeli version of the Olmert’s message which included the condition “that Syria ceases its support of Terrosists”!

And she was “very pleased” with Assad’s assurances! Not that she noted, or that she was informed, or heard, or welcomed, or satisfied. No; Very Pleased, no less. Maybe she has to retract or correct something once our cousins start blowing the whistle, but its enough for sarters:

” Our meeting with the president enabled us to communicate a message from Prime Minister Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks,” Pelosi told reporters in Damascus after talks with Assad.

Pelosi said Assad in turn assured her of his willingness to engage in peace talks with Israel.

“We were very pleased with the assurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process,” Pelosi said. “He’s ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel.”

Let us see what comes out afterwards.

April 4th, 2007, 3:38 pm

 

Al said:

Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Syria implicitly conveys the message that should bush and cheney (they don’t to be capitalized) be impeached, her administration would be more willing to go the diplomatic route in mideast affairs.

April 4th, 2007, 7:13 pm

 

Levant Watch BULLETIN No.182 - Levant News Hyperlinks at World Council For The Cedars Revolution said:

[…] Daily Star Damascus has constructed a fantasy around Pelosi’s visit SyriaComment Pelosi’s Trip to Damascus Pelosi Poised to Meet Syria’s Assad Speaker Tours Damascus as Bush Calls Such Visits Counterproductive’ Itzik: Pelosi’s trip to Syria could sway it to abandon ‘axis of evil’ Official: Israel asks U.S. speaker to tell Syria to stop backing terrorism; Pelosi meets families of seized soldiers. Helena Cobban Pelosi’s spring break in Syria Syria hails Pelosi trip to Damascus Syria hailed what it called the “courageous position” taken by Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, after President George W. Bush criticised the Democrat’s trip to Damascus US Democrat set for Syria talks Top US Democrat Nancy Pelosi arrives in Damascus for a visit criticised by the White House undermining US policy Defiant Pelosi to meet Assad despite Bush condemnation Jerusalem Post Pelosi shrugges off criticism of her planned trip to Syria Pelosi, Warmly Greeted in Syria, Is Criticized by White House Pelosi visits market, mosque in Syria Pelosi’s controversial Syria tour continues What’s going on in Syria? Washington Post Back to Baker-Hamilton By David Ignatius, The Baker-Hamilton report is the best framework for building a policy that is sustainable, in Washington and in Baghdad Syria back in the Arab fold By Claude Salhani MEMRI Mar 29 IA# 337 – Syrian Efforts to End Its Regional and International Isolation DEBKAfile: Arab summit ending in Riyadh strengthens radical Iran and Syria and recognizes Palestinian Hamas SyriaComment The Arab League Summit: Arabism is Back – Syria is In Jerusalem Post ‘Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah preparing for summer war’ Head of IDF intel. Gen. Yadlin says allies anticipate US strike against Iran; he adds that Haniyeh is threatening to order third intifada. Israel seeks to reassure Syria: No summer attack IDF preparing for possible Syrian strike on Golan Gov’t seeks to reassure Damascus there will be no attack this Turkey, Syria cement cooperation Turkey-Syria discusses energy, security […]

April 6th, 2007, 1:30 pm

 

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