Powell Says, “We got plenty” from Syria in Talks

Powell tells Newsweek in Blowup? America’s Hidden War With Iran: "We got plenty" from [Syria]. This is a reference to his trips to Syria in 2003 and 2004 as well as talks with Iranians. "I don't like the administration saying, 'Powell went, Armitage went … and [they] got nothing.' We got plenty," he says. "You can't negotiate when you tell the other side, 'Give us what a negotiation would produce before the negotiations start'."

Here is the passage from a must-read story on Iran, which explains how Washington has consistantly missed opportunities to help itself in Iraq. By being ideologically opposed to dealing with Iran, this administration has ensured that Iran moved right and refused help to the US. The same is true of Syria. Here is the Powell quote in full.

Powell, for one, thinks Bush simply wasn't prepared to deal with a regime he thought should not be in power. As secretary of State he met fierce resistance to any diplomatic overtures to Iran and its ally Syria. "My position in the remaining year and a half was that we ought to find ways to restart talks with Iran," he says of the end of his term. "But there was a reluctance on the part of the president to do that." The former secretary of State angrily rejects the administration's characterization of efforts by him and his top aides to deal with Tehran and Damascus as failures. "I don't like the administration saying, 'Powell went, Armitage went … and [they] got nothing.' We got plenty," he says. "You can't negotiate when you tell the other side, 'Give us what a negotiation would produce before the negotiations start'." (Thanks Ehsani for sending this along.)

Here is a second passage about Iran arming Iraqi militias. This appraisal probably fits Syria just as well as it fits Iran.

What's scant is hard evidence that the weapons are provided by the Iranian government, rather than arms dealers or rogue Revolutionary Guard elements. "Iranian lethal support for select groups of Iraqi Shia militants clearly intensifies the conflict in Iraq," says the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. But the most that can be said with certainty is that Tehran is failing to stop the traffic. The Iranians themselves admit they're not trying as hard as they could. "I can give you my word that we don't give IEDs to the Mahdi Army," says an Iranian intelligence official who asked not to be named because secrecy is his business. "But if you asked me if we could control our borders better if we wanted to, I would say: 'Yes, if we knew that the Americans would not use Iraq as a base to attack Iran'."

M.J. Rosenberg on Obama

For those who wondered if Sen. Obama would speak out on controversial issues, risking campaign funds, we have our answer.

Obama, on Sixty Minutes tonight, was asked if he would negotiate with Syria and Iran. His answer; "I would."

No saber rattling. No boilerplate rhetoric about how bad Ahmedenijad or Assad is. No BS.

He has thus differentiated himself from Edwards and Clinton on the biggest threat America faces (the threat of war with Iran).

For those who do not follow the politics of the Middle East closely, let me tell you that Obama's statement was courageous and will cost him with the DLC-Neocon wing of the Democratic party. But he did it anyway. He simply endorsed a position that is right for America, right for Israel, and right for the entire world.

Comments (58)


norman said:

Powel confirmed what Joshua said before ,Syria will not help the US without anything in return as Syria is not a charitable organization.Now we have to hope that the US understands that for the sakes of our troops in Iraq.

February 12th, 2007, 2:49 am

 

Alex said:

Ok, Bilal,

One of your main arguments against Bashar is that everyone believes that it is impossible to work with him and that he is a liar … etc.

Will today’s admission of Mr. Powell make you consider changing your perception a little bit at least? … afterall Chirac and others always refered to Powell’s alleged disappointment with Bashar to explain why they (France, the US, etc) did not see a point in dealing with the Syrians.

February 12th, 2007, 2:50 am

 

G said:

What, exactly, did Powell get? And no, Chirac didn’t refer to anything but his own experience. Another is Martin Indyk. The same has been said by other Europeans. So, Alex, I’m sorry but it seems not everyone is as smart as you.

February 12th, 2007, 3:09 am

 

norman said:

The US and France do not like Bashar because he will not be a puppet and will not deny his Arabic nature and abbandon the resistance ,It is that simple.

February 12th, 2007, 3:25 am

 

G said:

Wow, are you smart! Only nothing in your little stupid rant actually relates in anyway to the matter I raised! It simply evaded the question, with great stupidity I might added. Bravo Alex!

February 12th, 2007, 3:47 am

 
 

youngSyria said:

Alex,
you seam to have some loyel fans on this blog… you propagandist… 🙂

February 12th, 2007, 4:08 am

 

youngSyria said:

I don’t think Powell statements matters that much in terms of ME politics.. He couldn’t do much when he was in, I don’t think he can affect anything when he is out. I think its just for local electoral consumption .

February 12th, 2007, 4:16 am

 

Bilal Nawaf said:

Alex,
OK I will give it to you and I have changed my mind after this. From now on I will say about Bashar is that everyone believes that it is impossible to work with him and that he is a liar … etc. EXCEPT for Sec. Powell. Are you happy now? In case you don’t know but I am sure you do. When Hafez passed the presidency to Bashar he left him a huge wealth to spend. I mean by wealth: stability, power, & world position. Then Bashar started his decline and waisting this wealth from day one but he started going down faster when he extended Lohood mandate contrary to the will of 90% of the lebanese population if not ALL. The last time Powell met Bashar was before that so he does not know how bad he became. I do not need neither Powell or Chirac. I would beleive my eyes more than anything elase and I can see where we are now and where we were and that will tell all. Why don’t you do a comparision of how Syria was in Jan 97 & Jan 07. Once you do you will hate him more than I do.

February 12th, 2007, 5:48 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

Discussions mean you respect the other person opinion,but some commentators are harassing others,with mean intention,as it appeared by their words, it sure is disgusting,it is not right to say bad words, we all can call others bad names,but whoever does that he is loosing respect ,not winning points.

February 12th, 2007, 5:56 am

 

Alex said:

Dear Bilal,

please take into account three additional points

1) Bahsar’s replacement will also not have Hafez’s skills in playing the Middle East games, most likely.

2) Even Hafez was considered “a failure” if you took any snapshot throughout much of the eighties when the Reagan administration also tried to boycott Syria (with the help os America’s Arab allies again)

3) Who is doing great during the past 7 years if you don’t think Bashar is doing well? is Hosny doing anything good? where is Egypt lately? Is the new Jordanian King doing great? he is a gambling addict if you do not know. Is the Palestinian leadership doing well? no. Are the Lebanese doing well? no. Iraqi leaders? the Iranian president? you like his statements? … and Chirac? president Bush? … NO ONE IS DOING MUCH GOOD! why? all because of Bashar? .. no becasuse 9/11 and especially the way this American administration dealt with it in the Middel East has messed up everything! … they made everyone suspicious of his neighbors, and they created the “Axis of evil” and told Iran and Syria “just wait, you are next on our list after we succeed in Iraq” …

And they offered BAshar nothing in return for their long list of demands in 2004 … they know Syria is a proud country and it will never accept dictation. They wanted to push Syria away.

So while Bahsar certainly made a few mistakes, they were not the reason he was boycotted.

Anyway, who knowes mabe something more positive might be coming to the middle East.

Let’s wait and see.

February 12th, 2007, 6:21 am

 

Bilal Nawaf said:

Alex,

1) Yes here again I agree with you. Most probably Bahsar’s replacement will not be as good as Hafez but for sure he will not be as bad as Bashar as it could not get any worse.
2)I like it when you say “Even Hafez was considered “a failure”. That is an acceptance by you that Bashar is also “a failure”. Anyway you said that Reagan has “tried” to boycott Syria but he failed as we were not alone. We had considerable support from the Arab World and most of Europe. Today even Lebanon & KSA that were ALWAYS supportive of Syria are against us.
3) I told you earlier I do not care how the others are doing as I am Syrian and I care how my president is doing but despite this they are ALL doing better than Bashar. Some are doing a little better and most much better. You sound just like the Syrian regime when you are good as giving excuses why they are doing bad by blaming 9/11. Today the Syrian Regime would blame everything on Israel even maybe why the regime is so corrupt.
Bashar has no cards left in his hand to ask for anything. They are willing to give to Iran but not to Bashar, as for Bashar never accept dictation, here again you are wrong. Can you believe it that Bashar has asked Olmert to try him out to see how sincere he is about peace. Isn’t this begging Israel to talk to us? He is not ready for dictation only to save his job; he is willing to give up whatever it takes for that.

February 12th, 2007, 7:30 am

 

3antar said:

I think for once, someone tackled a very important aspect which everything seems to revolve on. The very last part of Bilal’s comment “… to save his job”
thats what its all about. its always been about securing the throne under any cost. This root cause can be applied to all political leaders in this conflict. not just Bashar and his backers.
All this talk about resistance for the cause and fighting for freedom is a bold face lie whether it being claimed by Bush or Bashar. wish people would keep this in mind and stop the romanticism. Alex suggested to consider if Bashar’s replacement could carry out better or worse job. I think this replacement option could turn out to be more of a nightmare to the ruling Alawite than one can imagine. Its not just Bashar whos trying to keep his job, the Alawites too are trying to keep their position. Can anyone imagine what could happen if a non-Alawite takes over?

February 12th, 2007, 9:27 am

 
 

Ammad said:

The problem with syria is that syrians enjoy too much of pride, they simply think they are great, on seventies they got chance to sign peace treaty with Israel, and they refused to sign, colin powell, offered to syrians what hardly any nation can refuse. Some might say that the problem is with Assad and not with the nation. Well this might be right analysis

February 12th, 2007, 10:37 am

 

3antar said:

Im glad Ammad finished off his comment the way he did.
Syrians are proud, sure, but who isnt, in the ME ? Aren’t you Ammad?
nationalism as at a high in the region and many Syrian people are no different. But thats not to say that equally, many aren’t. Not when your disaffected and struggling to put food on the table. The regime tries to portray and promote the proud image while down the line and for the past few decades the same regime has been dismantling any sense of pride attached to syrians. Fact is, recent generations of Syrians are seeking link to their identity and want to be proud and content with it. Just like everyone else. But it needs to come with prosperity.
I would like people not to confuse between Syrians and the Assad Regime. they are two separate entities.

February 12th, 2007, 10:49 am

 

Mo said:

Ammad,

you claim “[in the] seventies they got chance to sign peace treaty with Israel, and they refused to sign”

Well let me tell you that you are completely wrong. It never happened, and if you are referring to the proposal of Sadat on his trip to Damascus, then this was a political maneuver without serious effects. Just to be able to say later on: I didn’t behave on my own, I told you and YOU guys rejected it.. So YOU have to deal with the consequences alone! (pretty similar to the rhetoric of the summer war in Lebanon)
The whole peace deal was to pull Egypt out of the conflict, and of the “Palestinian Cause”.. A total breach with Pan-Arab, Nasser’s Egypt

(I suggest you read Kissinger on the issue.)

February 12th, 2007, 11:14 am

 

t_desco said:

Sorry if this is now old news, but I was trying to post it yesterday and all my attempts failed for some reason:

“MO,

I agree that a war with Iran would probably not be started “without direct justifiable reasons”:

US accuses Iran over Iraq bombs

The US military has accused the “highest levels” of Iran’s government of supplying increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs to Iraq’s insurgents.
BBC News

The script isn’t exactly new. We have seen it all before.

BTW, Juan Cole has a very good discussion of similar claims posted in an article by the NYT:

NYT Falls for Bogus Iran Weapons Charges
Completely Implausible Numbers are Thrown Around
Repeat of Judy Miller Scandal

Informed Comment

It would be nice to see the military build-up just as part of a “propaganda war” to win concessions from Iran, but where is the diplomacy? This administration isn’t even talking to Iran (or Syria, for that matter).”

February 12th, 2007, 11:34 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Professor Josh,

I’m not sure what you see in these articles. Why are they so newsworthy? Anyway, I agree with Youngsyria on this one:

“I don’t think Powell statements matters that much in terms of ME politics.. He couldn’t do much when he was in, I don’t think he can affect anything when he is out. I think its just for local electoral consumption.”

How about this article? Since most of the articles you paste on your website are heresay and speculation, perhaps this article is worthy of you and your forum’s scrutiny:

“Assad threatened to kill Nabih Berri, report says”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3363818,00.html

February 12th, 2007, 12:10 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

This may be a little off topic, but I thought the academics here would be interested (you know, “education” and all that jazz)…

Saudis Criticize Their School Curricula – Again
By: Y. Admon

http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA32507

February 12th, 2007, 12:22 pm

 

simohurtta said:

“I don’t think Powell statements matters that much in terms of ME politics.. He couldn’t do much when he was in, I don’t think he can affect anything when he is out. I think its just for local electoral consumption.”

Is Powell running in the elections?

Powell was the Foreign Secretary so what he has to say about the build up of the war and Middle East politics has much “weight” also outside USA.

Powell lost his professional reputation in the famous UN show of the WMD’s. This time American regime has learned from his faith. Nobody was willing with his “name” to present the evidence of Iran’s contribution to Iraq’s violence. Anonymous men presented the “evidence” in a non televised “performance”. If it would be real solid evidence there would hardly any reason why the defence or the foreign affairs secretary could not have presented the “evidence”. But telling lies in public can have serious future consequences, anonymous lies presented in closed sessions are more safe for the regime (but not for the world).

February 12th, 2007, 2:17 pm

 

Atassi said:

Arab diplomats seek contacts with prominent Jews: report
MK
332 words
12 February 2007
00:58
Agence France Presse
English
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007 All reproduction and presentation rights reserved.

WASHINGTON, Feb 12, 2007 (AFP) –

Saudi Arabia and other Arab states are making public overtures to Israel and American Jews in an effort to undercut Iran’s growing influence, contain violence in Iraq and Lebanon and push for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, USA Today reported Monday.

The newspaper said the high-profile gestures coincide with Saudi Arabia’s lead role last week in brokering a deal for a coalition Palestinian government.

Last month, Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s departing ambassador to the United States, attended a Washington reception sponsored by American Jewish organizations, the report said.

The event honored a State Department diplomat appointed to combat anti-Semitism.

The appearance of a Saudi diplomat is “unprecedented,” the paper quoted William Daroff, Washington office director for the United Jewish Communities, which organized the reception, as saying.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have stepped up contacts with Israel and pro-Israel Jewish groups in the United States, USA Today said.

The outreach has the Bush administration’s blessing: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said six Gulf states and Egypt, Jordan and Israel are a new alignment of moderates to oppose extremists backed by Iran and Syria, the paper noted.

Among other developments, Saudi national security adviser Bandar bin Sultan met privately with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jordan in September, said Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s former ambassador to Washington, the report said.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has invited a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, according to USA Today.

The conference is a strong supporter of Israel.

For his part, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres met the emir of Qatar in late January after taking part in a debate with Arab students there, the report said.

It was the highest-level Israeli meeting with the Gulf nation since 1996, when Peres visited as prime minister.

February 12th, 2007, 3:34 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Atassi –

I think you’re on to something. The growing Iranian threat isn’t just of concern to Israel, it is also a concern to Sunnis and those who are tired of the Iranian-sponsored violence.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3363991,00.html

February 12th, 2007, 4:56 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Professor Josh,

Who the heck is M. J. Rosenberg? His credentials don’t look so impressive to me.

http://www.tpmcafe.com/user/mjrosenberg

February 12th, 2007, 5:10 pm

 

Atassi said:

You are absolutely correct; I am on to something fair and balanced. A long waited and extremely missed “Peace and Prosperity” for Syria. And the Holy Golan.

February 12th, 2007, 6:14 pm

 

norman said:

Published: 31/12/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)

Syria poised to assert itself
By Seth Wikas, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post

Hafez Al Assad, the father of Syrian President Bashar Assad, established Syria’s primacy in the Levant and transformed a country ravaged by nearly 30 coups in 24 years into a country led by one leader for nearly 30. The elder Assad made sure that Syria manipulated events in the Middle East, and not the other way around. Seeking greater influence outside his borders, he succeeded in bringing Lebanon under his heel and made Syria a main patron of the Palestinian cause.

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

With Washington and Tel Aviv shutting their doors to dialogue, Assad is forging his own way ahead in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The US and Israel think Syria will be a regional “spoiler”, but neither country is offering enough or threatening enough to make Syria a “helper”.

Over the past few weeks, Syria has woken up to its two most pressing problems: the continuing deluge of Iraqi refugees and a dire economic crisis. Syria’s resources to deal with its 800,000 (and growing) Iraqi refugees are stretched to the breaking point, and this problem is more important for it to address than the international community’s wish that Syria stop the 150 foreign fighters who cross each month into Iraq from Syria’s eastern border.

Syria is also keen on stabilising this border in order to restart the Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline. In the 1990s, oil discoveries in eastern Syria fuelled Syria’s economy, accounting for more than 50 per cent of exports.

From 2000 until the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Syria illegally imported discounted crude from Iraq for its domestic needs, while exporting its own oil on the international market. By 2009, Syria could become a net importer of oil. With oil production decreasing and an economy slow to reform, the country is headed for an economic crisis.

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

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

What is clear is that Syria still plays a dominant role in Palestinian politics. With Hamas leader Khaled Meshal ensconced in Damascus, Assad is a welcoming host, allowing his guest to be the main arbiter in the formation of any viable Palestinian government. Assad has indicated a willingness to conduct peace negotiations with Israel without preconditions, but the full return of the Golan Heights has been and always will be the price of Israeli-Syrian peace. At this point, such a return seems unlikely.

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

Assad’s father would be proud.

Seth Wikas is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Email this

February 12th, 2007, 6:56 pm

 

Alex said:

First, I like how Seth Wikas supports the “Bahsar is not a failure” argument… but of course many others did the same already.

I have some criticisms for this part:

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

If Syria is more of a client to Iran because of the “millions” Iran invested in Syria .. then Syria should be more of a client to Qatar, or Dubai who invested more in syria lately.

If Syria is a client to Iran in any way, then how could it be possible for Syria to support Iraqi Sunnis (among others) against Iran’s obvious wishes to mostly back the Shiite led governtment?

And lately in Lebanon, supposedly Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed on a solution but Syria refused it and therefore it got nowhere as we can see.

And finally, when the Iranian president called for a summit between the Syrain Iraqi and Iranian leaders to be held in Tehran, Iraq accepted the invitations but Bashar refused … so again, he publicly demonstrated his independence from Iran.

So, of course there is more coordination between the two countries, relations are closer now than before (they both need each other more, thanks to their new US neighbors) and that closer coordination brings with it more constrains on both sides (as they both commit to helping each other in moe detailed terms), but this popular perception that Syria is now nothing more than an Iranian cliet is another one of those Bashar character assassination tactics, next ot “Bashar is a total failure” and “Bashar is a liar” …

February 12th, 2007, 7:52 pm

 

Atassi said:

We are all aware that Iran and Syria are strategically sandwiching The US in Iraq, hoping to squeeze it out of Iraq. Before the mighty US turn against both regimes. Who is the client in this equation? I would NOT say Syria; I would say the new power hungry forces from within Iraq itself. They are hoping of becoming the new masters of the newly created order in Iraq. I mean it when I say new order. It may include more or less land, more or less “other sects”. It’s still an open game being played by very powerful states and extremely experienced and complex minds. It’s really unfortunate the Iraqi peoples being demonized and manipulated to become a Just a numbers in the world media, the Iraqi blood is priced so cheap these days, it’s being spent on the Iraqi cities street so extensively by the sheltered blinded forces.

February 12th, 2007, 9:04 pm

 

ugarit said:

Akbar Palace: “… The growing Iranian threat isn’t just of concern to Israel, it is also a concern to Sunnis and those who are tired of the Iranian-sponsored violence.”

Hmm! I wonder who made this more possible? The mental midget in the White House and his neocon puppeteers, that’s who.

Iranian-sponsored violence is trivial in comparison to what “Sunnis” have been doing to themselves and Iraq.

February 12th, 2007, 9:04 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ugarit said quite sarcastically:

“Hmm! I wonder who made this more possible? The mental midget in the White House and his neocon puppeteers, that’s who.”

Let me tell you what else the “mental midget” and his neocons cabal made possible:

1.) Kicked Saddam and his 2 esteemed sons and “mishpukha” out of power.

2.) Kicked the Taliban and their al-Queda friends out of power in Afghanistan.

3.) Convinced the Libyans to open their WMD program up for public viewing.

4.) Helped get our heroic Syrian regime out of Lebanon with pressure (granted the Lebanese did it out of love for their own country).

And here is what the “mental midget” and his neocon ministers DIDN’T do:

They didn’t send suicide bombers into Baghdad to kill innocent people. That is being done in Iraq and around the world by selfish and cowardly Arabs and Muslims, who, by being brainwashed by the most intolerant and selfish clerics, feel the need to kill innocent people for every gripe they have including someone who may have dated someone without their father’s permission.

Just my demented point-of-view.

February 12th, 2007, 11:09 pm

 

ugarit said:

“They didn’t send suicide bombers into Baghdad to kill innocent people.”

The mental midget did much more damage than the suicide bombers.

The mental midget facilitated the suicide bombers into Iraq. There was no such thing in Iraq prior to the mental midgets aggression.

You do know, I hope, that Bush is responsible for directly or indirectly killing nearly as many Iraqis that Saddam had killed in decades.

If he truley cared about Democracy and freedom and dignity he would be after Israel and Saudi Arabia for their apartheid regimes.

February 12th, 2007, 11:49 pm

 

ugarit said:

“The statements from Washington give the impression that the United States has been at war with Shiite militias for the past three-and-a-half years, while almost all the fighting has been with the Sunni insurgents. These are often led by highly trained former officers and men from Saddam Hussein’s elite military and intelligence units.

During the Iran-Iraq war between 1980 and 1988, the Iraqi leader, backed by the United States and the Soviet Union, was able to obtain training in advanced weapons for his forces.

The U.S. stance on the military capabilities of Iraqis today is the exact opposite of its position four years ago. Then, Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed Iraqis were technically advanced enough to produce long-range missiles and to be close to producing a nuclear device.

Washington is now saying Iraqis are too backward to produce an effective roadside bomb and must seek Iranian help.

The White House may have decided that, in the runup to the 2008 presidential election, it would be to its political advantage in the U.S. to divert attention from its failure in Iraq by blaming Iran for being the hidden hand supporting its opponents.”

Source

February 12th, 2007, 11:54 pm

 
 

norman said:

I wonder if the plan that Syria and Iran have in Iraq is to let the Iraqies fight untill they get tired then seek the help of Syria and Iran to establish peace ,Isn’t that what took place in Lebanon when the Lebanese agreed to compromise after the war.

February 13th, 2007, 2:14 am

 

norman said:

Israel is getting close to seing the light,
أولمرت: العالم يعلم أن علينا التخلي عن الجولان في أي مفاوضات مع سوريا الاخبار السياسية

قال رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي إيهود أولمرت اليوم الاثنين “إن السلام مع سوريا يعني التخلي عن مرتفعات الجولان التي احتلتها إسرائيل في حرب الأيام الستة عام 1967 وضمتها في عام 1981”.

ونقلت صحيفة هآرتس الإسرائيلية على موقعها الإلكتروني عن أولمرت خلال حديثه أمام لجنة الشؤون الخارجية والدفاع التابعة للكنيست قوله “إن العالم برمته يعلم أنه يتعين علينا التخلي عن مرتفعات الجولان بكاملها في أي مفاوضات تجري في المستقبل مع سوريا، هذا إن جرت هذه المفاوضات”.

هذا وأبلغ أولمرت أعضاء اللجنة أنه “استنادا على وثائق محددة فإن الأشخاص الذين تناوبوا على منصب رئيس الوزراء من عام 1993 وحتى عام 2001 وهم إسحاق رابين ونتانياهو وايهود باراك أجروا مفاوضات مع سوريا، اتضح من خلالها إن أي اتفاق يتم التوصل إليه كان يتضمن انسحابا إسرائيليا كاملا من مرتفعات الجولان إلى حدود عام 1967” مؤكدا على معارضته إجراء مفاوضات مع دمشق “لأن سوريا مهتمة في المتاجرة بالسلام بدلا من إنجاز سلام حقيقي”.

February 13th, 2007, 2:26 am

 
 

t_desco said:

‘Nine killed’ in Lebanon blasts

At least nine people have been killed in explosions that hit two buses near the Lebanese capital, officials say.

Local reports said two blasts hit a road near the Christian village of Bikfaya, in the hills outside Beirut.

Pictures showed one bus destroyed, its roof blown off and seats torn apart, with pools of blood on the roadside.

The explosions come at a time of acute political tension in Lebanon, a day before the second anniversary of the killing of former PM Rafik Hariri.

Bikfaya is the ancestral home of the Gemayels, one of the most prominent Christian families in Lebanese politics.

Pierre Gemayel, a member of Lebanon’s anti-Syrian coalition government, was assassinated last November.
BBC News

Nayla Moawad has already blamed Syria.

February 13th, 2007, 8:24 am

 

Mo said:

T_desco,

I am not surprised, they needed a big event to be able to mobilize large masses tomorrow!
As long as powerless, innocent people are the victims, no one really cares.. Cheap politicization has started, manipulation continues
O Lebanon, you never change!

February 13th, 2007, 9:27 am

 

t_desco said:

I have to correct myself: she is blaming Syria and Iran (just now on Al-Jazeera Int.)…

February 13th, 2007, 9:46 am

 

youngSyria said:

“‘Nine killed’ in Lebanon blasts”
what a good timing…!!

February 13th, 2007, 9:56 am

 

Ford Prefect said:

Olmert is recognizng the inevitable:

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7006447724

February 13, 2007 6:04 a.m. EST

Ryan R. Jones – All Headline News Middle East Correspondent

Jerusalem (AHN) – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that Israel will have no choice but to part with the Golan Heights if it ever wants peace with neighboring Syria.

“The whole world knows that in any future negotiations, if they are renewed, we will have to give up on the entire Golan Heights,” Ha’aretz quoted Olmert as telling the committee.

The remarks came as part of a heated argument with committee member and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu.

Olmert charged that during his tenure as prime minister, Netanyahu had held negotiations with Syria based on the premise of ceding territory on the strategic plateau. Netanyahu denied that he had ever intended to comply with Syrian territorial demands.

At any rate, Olmert reiterated his opposition to renewing negotiations with Syria at this time, pointing out that Damascus is “interested in the industry of peace, rather than real peace.”

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. During the 19 years prior to that conflict, Syria used the plateau to perpetrate constant shelling and sniping attacks on Israelis living in the valleys below, and even tried to divert streams originating on the Golan that provide one-third of Israel’s water.

February 13th, 2007, 12:02 pm

 

3antar said:

Syria blamed? really? come on.

Glad to see Olmert facing the facts. He clearly prefers the devil he knows than the devil he doesn’t know. Golan is Bashar’s life line. He cannot sign a peace deal without it. Doing that would be too threatening and might bring an early end to his career. Would Israel really want a democratic Syria on its doorstep? True people want peace but the definition of peace here will be different on either side of the border. Bashar’s definition of peace is the return of the Golan. Thats it.
Regaining it is quite significant to the regime, in terms of what his Father has been working for, would give him credibility, and would silence brewing opposition to a certain extent. It would be sensationalized to such a great achievement that it would probably mark an additional public holiday in Syria. We all need an extra day off from work :).

February 13th, 2007, 12:58 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ugarit said:

“The mental midget facilitated the suicide bombers into Iraq. There was no such thing in Iraq prior to the mental midgets aggression.”

I see. So prior to Bush, there were no innocent people being killed. Moreover Bush is “facilitating” suicide bombers in Iraq. He’s arming them with semtex? He’s paying for their materials? He’s lifting their swords to decapitate their victims?

Ugarit, thank you for the fine example of Arab denial. The murderers and suicide bombers have one thing in common: they’re all Arab and Muslim. They aren’t Joos.

“You do know, I hope, that Bush is responsible for directly or indirectly killing nearly as many Iraqis that Saddam had killed in decades.”

Iraqi Death Count (an anti-war website dedicated to counting the dead in Iraq due to the war there), shows a good estimate to the number of civilian casualties. They are FAR LESS than the number of deaths Saddam caused by stifling his opposition and and quelling unrest. The 300,000 found in mass graves are just one indication.

“If he truley cared about Democracy and freedom and dignity he would be after Israel and Saudi Arabia for their apartheid regimes.”

Just FYI and Jimmah Carter’s, there is no “Apartheid Regime” in Israel. “Apartheid” is a nicely loaded word to hit the Zionist Hoodlums over the head with, but it would NOT pertain to any reality, definition, or otherwise. Keep trying…

February 13th, 2007, 1:02 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

“Lebanon bus blasts kill at least three, wound 20”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070213/ts_nm/lebanon_blasts_dc_6

I see Syrian “foreign policy” is still alive and kicking. I was beginning to wonder about Bashar’s peace proposals.

Hey, this news may actually cause the academics and others on this forum to call Syria a “Terrorist State”, and their “rage” and “anger” may boil over to such a point where they may ask their clerics and leaders to call for an end to Islamic/Arab terror.

But I doubt it. It’s Israel and George Bush’s fault;)

February 13th, 2007, 1:11 pm

 

3antar said:

erm… Islamic Arab terror? You think the syrian regime is Islamic? are you deluded enough to think that Al-Baath would prioritize arabism over its continual rule? this is as stupid as linking Saddam to Al-Qaida. Some people on this blog continue to over-simplify the regions politics it terms of black and white, good and evil (as bush likes to put it). I suppose its the only way they can digest whats going on.

So Syria has already been found guilty? fantastic. Investigations seem to get more efficient with time, or perhaps there is no need for it all together. why not when there are people orgasmically looking for news like that to say “see, i told ya”

its never Israel’s or Georgy’s fault. they’re as innocent as the puppy in that toilet-paper commercial. Syria with no doubt is the perpetrator, no i insist. Syrians themselves, and im not talking about the regime here. How dare they go out and commemorate the death of Hariri. its an abomination. we’ll cunningly bomb a bus a day before and no one will ever suspect. we will show those so and so 🙂

February 13th, 2007, 1:36 pm

 

3antar said:

AP, I think you will enjoy this:

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/191

so much in common, its uncanny. Perhaps Bashar isnt such a bad guy after all.

February 13th, 2007, 2:02 pm

 

3antar said:

This gets better… so SSNP members were on those buses.

قتلى و23 جريحاً حصيلة الامن اللبناني لضحايا انفجاري بكفيا

الاخبار السياسية

علي قانصوه :عدد من الضحايا ينتمون للحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي

وقع إنفجاران صباح اليوم في حافلتي ميني باص تقلان مدنيين كانتا تسيران على طريق عين علق في بلدة بكفيا بالمتن الشمالي من جبل لبنان .

وفيما قالت مصادر الامن اللبناني “إن عدد القتلى في الانفجارين هما ثلاثة فقط و23 جريحاً قال مصدر أمني لبناني في وقت سابق “إن الانفجارين ووفق معلومات أولية أديا الى وقوع اثنا عشر قتيلا وعشرة جرحى ويرجح تصاعد عدد القتلى نتيجة الاصابات الخطيرة في صفوف الجرحى في وقت تواصل عناصر الصليب الاحمر والدفاع المدني عمليات اخلاء الضحايا “.
وقال وزير الداخلية اللبناني حسن السبع ” إن الانفجارين نجما عن عبوتين ناسفتين زرعتا في الحافلتين “.
وأوضح السبع في اتصال مع اذاعة “صوت لبنان”، إنه وحسب المعلومات الاولية فإن حافلتي الميني باص عائدتان للنقل العام وكانت تقل الركاب من المنطقة بأتجاه أعمالهم وأشغالهم مضيفاً ..أعتقد وكما أفدت ان الانفجارين وقعا داخل الباصين .. ولا استطيع أن أعطي أية تفاصيل أخرى .
وتابع السبع “إن مجلس الأمن المركزي اللبناني سيعقد اجتماعاً له اليوم في وزارة الداخلية للبحث في الاجراءات المتخذة لإحياء ذكرى إغتيال الحريري الثانية إضافة الى الانفجارين اللذين وقعا اليوم واتخاذ الاجراءات والقرارات المناسبة.
وفي التفاصيل فإن الانفجار الاول وقع عند التاسعة والربع في البلدة قرب دير الناصرة في ميني باص لصاحبه شادي صليبا من بتغرين كان مكتظا بالركاب 26 راكبا، وبعد 7 دقائق دوى انفجار في ميني باص آخر24 راكب كان وراءه لصاحبه ميلاد الجميل من جوار الحور.
وقد أصيب السائق صليبا بجروح في حين نجا الجميل الذي كان ترجل من حافلته مع بعض الركاب للاطلاع على ما حصل وأسفر الانفجاران عن تضرر عدد كبير من السيارات.
وافيد أن العبوة الاولى زرعت في مؤخرة الباص الاول والثانية زرعت في مقدمة الباص الثاني .
من جهته قال علي قانصوه رئيس الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي في تصريح لتلفزيون نيو تي في “إن عددا من الضحايا ينتمون الى الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي مضيفاً ان المسؤولية تقع على عاتق الاجهزة الامنية في كشف الجهة التي إرتكبت هذه الجريمة “.
وفي تفاصيل الانفجارين وبحسب مصادر صحفية فإن إحدى الحافلتين انفجرت عند التاسعة والربع صباحاً حيث خرج الركاب في الحافلة الاخرى لنجدة ركاب الحافلة الاولى ما أدى الى تخفيف عدد ضحايا الانفجار في الحافلة الثانية التي انفجرت بعيد سبع دقائق من الانفجار الاول والتي كانت تبعد مئة متر عن الأخرى .
وتقوم في هذه الاثناء عناصر من الجيش اللبناني بتوسيع الطوق الامني حول مكان الانفجار وباشرت برفع الادلة الجنائية .
وبلدة بكفيا هي معقل الرئيس الاعلى لحزب الكتائب اللبنانية أمين الجميل الذي أنهى قبل يومين زيارة الى واشنطن التقى خلالها عدداً من المسؤولين في الادارة الاميركية وعلى رأسهم الرئيس الاميركي جورج بوش ونائبه ديك تشيني.
ويأتي الانفجار قبل يوم واحد من إحياء لبنان للذكرى الثانية لاغتيال رفيق الحريري رئيس وزراء لبنان الاسبق وسط تحركات واتصالات بين المعارضة والسلطة لتمرير الذكرى دون تطورات أمنية بسبب استمرار اعتصام المعارضة في ساحتي رياض الصلح والشهداء حيث ضريح الحريري .

سيريانيوز

http://www.syria-news.com/readnews.php?sy_seq=48149

February 13th, 2007, 2:21 pm

 

John Kilian said:

Colin Powell’s State Department never planned for a reconstruction plan in Iraq minus the security that was to be provided by co-opting the existing Iraqi army. The war plan included a pledge to Powell and the Pentagon by the White House to employ these forces. This, paired with a diplomatic approach to Syria and Iran would have made the transition to a democratic Iraq much more likely.

When Bremer sent the Iraqi forces packing, along with all the arms they could get their hands on, he directly contravened the agreement between the White House and the war planners in the State Department, i.e. Powell himself, and the Pentagon.

These tragic miscalculations all stem from a decision making process that fails to take in good advice in good faith. The ideologues have brought ruin with their simplistic doctrinal approach to foreign policy. The US has stooped to the level of our rivals by relying on shrill cries for reasoned engagement.

Senator Obama offers an intelligent approach that includes the willingness to entertain differences of opinion in good faith. The way Bush promised Powell this and that and then changed on a dime once the troops were in Iraq is the symptom of a leader who can not be trusted to honor commitments when they are counter to his preferences. I hope regime change in Washington in 2009 can lead to diplomatic solutions to diminish the flurry of conflict in the region.
Getting to 2009 will depend a great deal on Iran relenting on the nuclear issue. If anyone thinks Bush is going to leave office with Iran poised to present a nuclear threat they have not picked up on the fact that the basic strategy of this administration is that they would rather fight than switch.

February 13th, 2007, 3:02 pm

 

ausamaa said:

And…,,,, we have seen how successful this Administration has been in implementing its strategies!!!

February 13th, 2007, 3:08 pm

 

simohurtta said:

Akbar said to the question what is the Palestine Israel “recognizes” in the previous post.

Once the sides agree (again) on mutual recognition, I suppose the negotiations return somewhere where they left off, when Arafat came within a few inches of signing the final peace agreement at Camp David 2000. I wouldn’t dare to say what they would agree to, but I would say they came close to an agreement when Arafat decided conflict was more important to him than peace for his people and for his Israeli neighbors.

Peres says that Israel wants more than a formal regognizion. According to government sources, however, Olmert is refusing to discuss three major elements of any final-status agreement – Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem and an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines – because he believes that raising any of these issues would doom the talks to failure.

What is then Olmert ready to talk? What does Israel leave for Palestinians? These “guys” must be nuts. First they (Israelis) speak about how peaceful they are, then they put new preconditions after every step Palestinians manage to take, knowing perfectly well that there is Palestinian leader who can give Jerusalem and more land from that what is left. 50 years more of occupation is that what Israel wants?

February 13th, 2007, 4:00 pm

 

Gibran said:

Thanks 3antar for the Daniel Pipes article link. The conclusion of the article clearly reinforces the belief shared by major faiths: The devil’s rise will be spectacular and so will be his demise. I don’t believe any amount of taqqiyya (dissimilution) will save him this time.

February 13th, 2007, 4:16 pm

 

Atassi said:

Ford Prefect
Welcome back. We missed your excellent writing and analyses..

February 13th, 2007, 4:23 pm

 

ugarit said:

Akbar Palace said:

AP quotes me “The mental midget facilitated the suicide bombers into Iraq. There was no such thing in Iraq prior to the mental midgets aggression.”

AP says: “I see. So prior to Bush, there were no innocent people being killed.”

I say> I said no such thing. Of course there were innocent people dying.

AP says> “Moreover Bush is “facilitating” suicide bombers in Iraq. He’s arming them with semtex? He’s paying for their materials? He’s lifting their swords to decapitate their victims?”

I say> You need to look up what facilitate means. It means “to make easier or less difficult”. Bush has clearly made it far easier for the carnage to start by any side. There were no suicide bombers in Iraq prior to the US aggression. There were now American soldiers dying by Iraqi IEDs.

AP quotes Ugarit: “You do know, I hope, that Bush is responsible for directly or indirectly killing nearly as many Iraqis that Saddam had killed in decades.”

AP says: “Iraqi Death Count (an anti-war website dedicated to counting the dead in Iraq due to the war there), shows a good estimate to the number of civilian casualties. They are FAR LESS than the number of deaths Saddam caused by stifling his opposition and and quelling unrest. The 300,000 found in mass graves are just one indication.”

I say> It’s interesting that you quote that one and not the more reliable source. I’ll leave that as homework for you to find. Let me know if you need help with that. Oh by the way the US has facilitated a refugee problem of about 2 million Iraqis. Good job America. Bravo for your humanity and kindness.

AP quotes me: “If he truely cared about Democracy and freedom and dignity he would be after Israel and Saudi Arabia for their apartheid regimes.”

AP claims: Just FYI and Jimmah Carter’s, there is no “Apartheid Regime” in Israel. “Apartheid” is a nicely loaded word to hit the Zionist Hoodlums over the head with, but it would NOT pertain to any reality, definition, or otherwise. Keep trying…

I say> It is loaded with reality and facts. Even anti-South African Apartheid activists say Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza is an apartheid system.

February 13th, 2007, 4:34 pm

 

norman said:

Israel does not want a negotiated peace with the Palestinians ,Israel wants the Palestinian to axcept the peace that it likes : the Palestinians stay in the cities while Israel controls the roads around the cities and between them in adition to the farm land ,the Palestinians will provide cheap labor for Israel ,the Palestinian authority will be the jailer for these Palestinians.I wonder if the Israelies will axcept the same deal .

February 13th, 2007, 4:58 pm

 

ausamaa said:

You know guys,I have been watching the news intensively during the last four, say five, years, as I am sure all of you have, and as of lately I have really become encouraged that something good may come out this mess which Mr. Bush has got himself and the world into. That good thing is an awakening of the American people. I beleive the Iraq war and its aftershocks. The frustration that engulfed all of us. The fall of the legendary myths people held about invincible superpowers and mini-superpowers. The growing realization that row force, used in Iraq, against Taliban, or against Lebanon or in the West Bank and Gaza, can acheive nothing on its own, or by its own. The American public seems to be in fury. So, to a lesser degree, is the Israeli public. They have been cheated and misled, I beleive they realise. And they want to change. The neo-cons have overdone it, it seems. And nobody is buying anymore. And, I think people are afraid now of what their leaders may do. They realise that those leaders have gotten them in a very bad spot. And that the worse is yet to come.They are afraid of Bush really going for it against Iran. And when people are afraid of what their leaders might do, that is when they force the leaders to stop doing what they are doing in their name. And the leaders, Mr. Bush especially, seem to be feeling those fears. And he may be sensing that things are getting out of his hands. What with Russia and China And maybe, just maybe, realising that staying the course is not a choice. You can sense such hesitation in the way the Administration is handling North Korea. And you can sense it in their allowing the Saudi King broker a deal between Hamas and Fateh. And you can sense it in the reduced itchiness to go to war against Iran. Yes, the threats and the bravado is still there, but I think the worse is behind us. You can sense it in American politicians’, and American military men, public remarks about the Israeli lobby and about Israel. A sense of realism. Victory can be intoxicating,and misleading. But not being able to achieve it can be frustrating, and it also can send you sole-searching. And that is where mainstream America is right now. Which is something new to us who have been watching America, and what America is and how America looks through its media for decades. And now, things look different. A lot. You can tune in to NBC and sense a whole nation refusing what is done in its name. And wanting to change. And maybe, that change is good for us as well. Maybe it is good for Arabs who want change and want peace and democracy; but who can not achieve it on their own. Definitly not when they are faced with row military power. Yes. For some reason I feel that change is coming. Not where President Bush wanted it to happen, but from where President Bush stands. And I think that is the key to any meaningfull overall change. Many of us may have given up on President Bush, I know. But not many can give up on the American people. The post September 11 American people. I hope I am right. A bit of realism arising from total chaos – where we exactly are- is not too much to hope for. Or is it, yet?

February 13th, 2007, 5:17 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Ausamma makes a prediction:

“You can tune in to NBC and sense a whole nation refusing what is done in its name. And wanting to change….But not many can give up on the American people. The post September 11 American people. I hope I am right.”

Ausamma –

Would you like to make a wager as to who the next US President will be? Republican or Democrat?

As far as “change” is concerned, I’ll wager a “moderate” amount of baksheesh that our next president will be a Republican. I hope this is the change you’re looking for. If Lebanon is any indication, we aren’t quite “post 9-11” yet…

Norman’s 2 cents:

“Israel does not want a negotiated peace with the Palestinians ,Israel wants the Palestinian to axcept the peace that it likes…”

Actually the parties DID negotiate peace and came a lot closer to an agreement than you care to admit…

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

February 13th, 2007, 5:34 pm

 

majedkhaldoun said:

“but I think the worse is behind us”,I hope so, but I happen to believe the opposite,the source of evil in the arab world is still there,and the arab leaders still the same,nothing changed

February 13th, 2007, 5:46 pm

 

3antar said:

I think Norman was implying that what was labeled as negotiation wasn’t and came close but failed because it was a peace imposed rather than negotiated. so yeah, your right. came close, not close enough for those reasons though. ts ts ts

February 13th, 2007, 5:58 pm

 

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