President Assad Interview with La Repubblica Translated in Full

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, seen here on May 8, has said in an interview with La Repubblica that the United States has lost its influence in the Middle East peace process despite the hopes raised by President Barack Obama

Alix Van Buren interviewed President Assad for La Repubblica, Italy’s premier Newspaper. Here is the full translation in English.

Is a new Cold War looming?

“The Russians never believed the Cold War ended. Neither did we. It only changed shape. It has evolved with time. Russia is reasserting itself. And the Cold War is just a natural reaction to the attempt by America to dominate the world”.

Assad: “Vedo un nuovo Medio Oriente
Siria pronta a trattare sul Golan”
dai nostri inviati ANDREA BONANNI e ALIX VAN BUREN

“We cannot wait any longer,” says Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria. “President Obama’s America had raised expectations regarding a new Middle East policy. But now, the clock of history is striking a new hour. An agreement between the Middle Eastern powers is redesigning the regional order”. Sitting on a black leather sofa in his presidential study, Bashar al-Assad draws what he defines as the outlines of a new geopolitical scene.

He warns: “This is not a turnabout: we want good relations with Washington. Rather, it is about recognizing reality: the failure by America and Europe in solving the problems of the world, in our region.

“From this failure, there emerge necessarily other alternatives: namely, a new geostrategic map which aligns Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia, which are brought together by shared policies, interests, and infrastructure. One strategic region is taking shape which connects the five surrounding seas: the Mediterranean, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Arab Gulf and the Red Sea. That is to say: the center of the world”, he explains. And adds: “It is not about renouncing peace: if Israel will return the Golan, we cannot say no. But only a comprehensive agreement, which includes the Palestinians, will guarantee real peace. And peace, sooner or later, will come”.

Mister President, are you outlining a new strategic front as an alternative to a West the influence of which you see in decline?

“I draw a lesson from the mistakes of the past. America and Europe had said “We will solve the problems”. And we waited. Now, we don’t believe any longer in the role of other countries. If someone wants to help, welcome. But the solution is up to us. We must move ahead”.

If Israel were ready to sign a treaty with Syria would you accept? Or do you want an agreement expanded to the Arab world?

“That is an excellent question. Many officers in the West do not understand the difference. If Israel is ready to return the Golan, we can not say no to a peace treaty. However, only a comprehensive solution can guarantee true peace. An agreement limited to Syria and Israel will leave the Palestinian issue unresolved. Rather than peace, it will be a truce. With some five million Palestinian refugees scattered around the Arab world, tension will remain strong. There is popular solidarity with the Palestinians. They will keep fighting for their rights”.

Israel asks that you sever your relationship with Iran, in exchange for an agreement. Instead you are talking about new alliances with Tehran. Is that not a contradiction?

“First of all, let me clarify: peace is a matter that concerns only Syria and no one else. This is my land, my issue. Iran has nothing to do do with my negotiations, nor did it ever oppose them. Therefore, why should I distance myself from Tehran as long as it supports peace? Israel is perfectly aware of the conditions of an agreement. That is what they told Moratinos, the Spanish Foreign Minister”.

What did they tell him?

“Not longer than a few days ago, they said literally these words: “We know that peace with Syria will not happen without the return of the Golan, up to the very last centimeter”.

But isn’t it damaging, mister President, to be too uncompromising?

“Let’s put it this way: if someone stole something from you, would you want all of it back, or would you be satisfied by regaining only part of it? We can accept many compromises: on matters of security, on the relationship. But on the land, no: there is no compromising over the land”.

And what about America? Have you given up on hopes of regaining the Golan through an American mediation?

“America, now, has no influence, because it is doing nothing. However, it remains the only great power. If, and when, it will want to be part of the negotiations, it’s role will be decisive in the final stage, when a guarantee by the international community is needed”.

An initial phase of negotiations has already begun through the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, mediated by George Mitchell, the American Special Envoy. Don’t you regard that as an important step forward?

“Everybody knows that those talks will lead to nowhere. The Arabs know it, the Palestinians know it, even the Americans. In Washington, they say it behind closed doors: they do not trust this Israeli government, which can not make peace”.

In the meanwhile, what signals are you receiving from Obama’s White House?

“I would like to draw a distinction between President Obama, who has authority, and the United States as a State. The President has good intentions. The climate between us has definitely improved: the veto was lifted to our access to the World Trade Agreement. Sanctions were partially softened, though they were reconfirmed. Yet there are institutions such as Congress, lobbies, that weigh in our relationship sometimes in a positive way, other times in a negative way. And, in the end, it is results that matter”.

Yet America and Israel accuse you of having provided Scud missiles to Hezbollah, your Lebanese ally. Is it so?

“Of course not, it is not so. Does anyone believe in those accusations? No one, not even the Americans. It is propaganda by Israel, which hasn’t provided the slightest evidence. The point is that Israel has a problem of image. Its image was tarnished these past two years, by its treatment inflicted on Palestinians, by its military offensive and its embargo against Gaza, by its refusal to freeze settlements, or to adhere to American and Arab peace initiatives. The accusations hurled against us are meant to be a distraction to slow down the relations between America and Syria. In the meanwhile, we continue to work for peace. Sooner or later, it will come”.

What makes you so sure about it?

“Listen, it will not happen in the near future. Israel, right now, is not ready for an agreement. It can not do it. The Israeli society has moved too far to the right. It is a process that initiated back in 1967; then, it deepened with the rise to power, simultaneously, of the right in America and Israel: with Bush and Sharon.

Besides, there is the need for a true leader, one capable of leading the society. Not just an employee, whose only interest is to be re-elected every four years”.

Then, what is the reason for your optimism?

“It is because Israel has lost one of its most important deterrents. From the very beginning, it relied on military strength. They always repeated “it doesn’t matter if they don’t like me: It is important that they fear me”. Well, notwithstanding Israel’s military might, the Arabs don’t fear it any longer”.

Mister President, does the picture that you are depicting justify a re-evaluation of your strategic alignment with Washington?

“If you are talking about strategies, the fact is that America follows an empirical approach,  that of “trial and error”. I, instead, have a strategy, and it is led by our interests. My relationship with the United States must be seen through that lens”.

So what does your world look like, as seen through that lens?

“I see an epochal change not limited to the Middle East. Countries such as China and Brazil will no longer wait for America to assign them their roles. In our region, I see what many do not see or want to understand: the rise of new alliances inspired by shared interests; Policies, interests and infrastructures coincide. It is a new map, strengthened also by territorial contiguity. You will find regional and emerging powers [participating]”.

Which powers are you referring to?

“Syria, Iran, Turkey. But also Russia. These are all countries that are linking themselves to one another, even physically, through gas and oil pipelines, railways, roadways, systems for transporting electricity. One large perimeter links five seas: the Mediterranean, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Arab Gulf and the Red Sea. We are talking about the center of the world. From South to North and from East to West, any one who wants to move has to cross this region. That is why this region has been plagued by wars for thousands of years”.

Are you saying that now one must deal with a triple alliance: Syria, Iran, Turkey?

“Precisely. There must be a good relationship between us as neighbouring countries. That is the lesson we draw from history: what did 80 years of conflicts with Turkey bring us? They led to nothing. Instead, look at the results today. If it weren’t for this new relationship between Syria, Iran and Turkey, what situation would Iraq find itself in? What about the region more generally? It would be much worse than it is today – believe me”.

Yet one of the first moves undertaken by the front that you are describing, namely the diplomacy blitz by Turkey and Brazil regarding the Iranian nuclear program, raised skepticism in America and Europe. How do you explain that?

“I am skeptical about that skepticism. It raises the suspicion that the West is motivated by a different agenda, that it doesn’t want to solve this issue. The region is following these developments with anxiety because the measures that will be imposed on Iran will be imposed on others as well. You see, the future of energy is nuclear, besides the renewable sources. One day, I will have nuclear energy, at least to produce electricity. It is my right, guaranteed by the Non Proliferation Treaty”.

Iran today is regarded as a serious threat by the international community. And the harsh repression of its domestic opposition following last year’s elections hasn’t certainly changed that belief. Don’t you think that the alarm of the West is justified?

“Some accuse me of having struck an alliance with the devil. But it is not so. My alliance is with a country which is important in the region, and that is what matters. It is a neighbour. And one must have good relations with its neighbours, that is, if you want to solve a problem”.

But can one cooperate with a neighbour that denies the very existence of Israel, and keeps advocating its destruction?

“In politics, many things are said. But it is the actions that count. If Iran truly wanted the destruction of Israel, then why did it support our peace negotiations in 2008 with Israel, mediated by Turkey? Actually, the Iranians are more moderate than many want to see”.

What is Russia’s part in all of this? President Medvedev just came to Syria. It was the first visit by a Russian Head of State since the time of the Bolsheviks. Is there further news on the horizon?

“Medvedev’s visit will help you to understand the magnitude of the change. Everyone wants to play a role in this region. Russia too has its interests. If you follow its movements, you will understand the message. After his visit to Damascus, Medvedev went to Turkey, where he signed contracts for billions of dollars, he lifted visa requirements between the two countries. We did the same with Turkey”.

Yet Moscow will also deliver you new weapons, while America is providing Israel with a new anti-missiles system. Is a new Cold War looming?

“The Russians never believed the Cold War ended. Neither did we. It only changed shape. It has evolved with time. Russia is reasserting itself. And the Cold War is just a natural reaction to the attempt by America to dominate the world”.

Did you challenge America in Lebanon? Do you believe you won the Battle for Lebanon?

“The terms that you are using are not my own, nor do they correspond to my way of thinking. Other people talk about challenges and battles, only because Lebanon was divided in two camps: one used to support the United States, and the other one used to support the other option which is against Israel. We can only win if we have good relations with every Lebanese. As you see, it is not a war of influence between Syria and the United States”.

Mister President, you received two visits by the Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad al Hariri. Did you discuss with him, in private, about the assassination of his father, the late Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri, of which you are accused?

“I am always a frank person. I told him, “You have to be frank with me, even if you believe that we did it, or that we were involved. Be frank about it”“.

And what was his reply?

“He came as a Prime Minister, and when dealing in his official role as a Prime Minister of Lebanon, the issue is no longer personal. It becomes a national issue. He has to express an official position. He has to wait for evidence (by the Special Tribunal)”.

And what is the verdict that you expect from the Special Tribunal?

“Our cooperation is our best defence, our means to prove that Syria is not involved. I am convinced that we are innocent”.

[End Interview]

See previous interviews with President Assad by Alix Van Buren: March 2005, Dec. 2006, March 2009,

News summary

Syria’s Assad says US has lost Mideast peace influence
AFP, 24 May 2010

The United States has lost its influence in the  Middle East peace process despite the hopes raised by President Barack  Obama, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published  Monday.

Assad was quoted as telling the Italian daily La Repubblica that  Washington “has no influence because they don’t do anything for peace.  But they remain the greatest power.”

“Obama raised hopes but we cannot wait any more,” he said, adding  that a “new era has been born” in the Middle East including an  understanding between its major powers that was reshaping the region.

He pointed to a similar phenomenon throughout the world, with  countries such as China and Brazil refusing to wait for the United  States to “hand out roles”.

Assad said there had been a realisation that the United States and  Europe had failed to resolve the problems of the Middle East, noting  that Russia was trying to rebuild its own role in the region.

On relations with Israel, the Syrian leader said that if Israel was  ready to return the Golan Heights to Syria “we would not be able to say  no to a peace treaty”.

But he added that any deal would have to include a complete solution  of the Palestinian issue and that he thought Israel was “not ready for  an accord at the moment”.

Washington Just Lost the Middle East in a Big Way
Sharmine Narwani Senior Associate, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University
Posted: May 24, 2010 03:21 PM

It’s official. There is no longer any serious “cost” for defying the United States in the global arena. Unable to win wars or deliver diplomatic coups – and struggling to maintain our economic equilibrium – Washington has lost the fundamental tools for global leadership. And no place does this impotence manifest more vividly than the modern Middle East.

Our pointless and protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will be the last time we will launch a major battle in the region. That massive show of flexing brawn over brain burst a global perception bubble about our intentions, capabilities and reason.

This credibility was compromised further with our irrational support of Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008/9 respectively. And by the double standards employed over Israel’s violations of international law and its illegal nuclear weapons stash – particularly when viewed against the backdrop of our startling rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear program.

But nothing highlights our irrelevance more than two recent developments:

1) The US’s inability today to convene even perfunctory peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, let alone push through a negotiated solution – and this after 19 years of a “US-sponsored” peace process.

2) The US’s inability to achieve a resolution with Iran over its nuclear program. The only breakthrough in this long-winded effort to tame Iran’s nuclear aspirations was struck by Turkey and Brazil last week.

In short, the US seems incapable of resolving even a traffic dispute in the Middle East. It is Qatar that stepped in to broker a deal between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government in 2008, and is knee deep in negotiating a solution to the conflict in Darfur. Syria helped gain the release of prisoners in Iran and Gaza. And now Turkey and Brazil have cajoled Iran into accepting an agreement that the US, France, England, Germany, Russia and China could not…..

The Iran Nuclear Fiasco
After pushing for the nuclear swap deal with Iran since last October, we did an about turn and scorned the very same “confidence building” measure we had touted while simultaneously accusing Iran of bad intentions and negotiations trickery.

And we openly sneered at the valiant effort of two important UN Security Council member states – one a NATO-member and the other the largest economy in our Latin American backyard – to troubleshoot on behalf of the global community. The very next day, we childishly chose to undermine this important breakthrough by announcing an agreement on UN Security Council draft sanctions against Iran.

The fact is that no-one other than England, France, Germany and Israel seems to want us to win this fight anymore. This is increasingly being viewed as a David vs Goliath standoff, with Iran as the David, and its nuclear energy program a sacrificial lamb that is meant to appease our substantial ego as the world’s remaining superpower.

Pundits and analysts are even starting to argue for making room for a nuclear Iran – all thanks to our unwavering scrutiny of this issue: here and here.

Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said in Tehran two days after the nuclear swap deal was struck: “India praises Iran for fighting for its interests… We are both developing nations and we should make use of each other’s capabilities and experiences in order to make progress.”

These so-called “Middle States” like Brazil, India and Turkey are regional economic and political hegemons with collective clout – certainly more so than the waning authority of our European partners who are dealing with weak economies and uninspired geopolitical thinking, much like our own. …..

U.S.-Syria Relations: Rollercoaster Diplomacy
By George Baghdadi for CBS
May 24, 2010 7:55 AM

This story was filed by CBS News’ George Baghdadi in Damascus. Click here to read more on Syria in “World Watch”.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be rightly baffled by Washington’s jumbled, somewhat indecisive approach to renewed engagement with his country.

One the one hand, the Obama administration has given some clear signals suggesting it wants better ties with the Arab state in the heart of the Middle East. On the other, the White House has made some moves which suggest exactly the opposite.

Washington’s ties with Damascus have been strained by Syria’s three-decade alliance with Iran and U.S. allegations of meddling in the affairs of Iraq, Syria’s neighbor to the east.

Syrian support for the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, have also proved a stumbling block. Both factions, considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. government, are seen in Syria – and the wider Arab world — as legitimate resistance movements and political parties.

Former President George W. Bush imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on Syria in May 2004.

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus has been without an ambassador since February 2005, when the Bush administration recalled Margaret Scobey in response to the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria’s foes in Lebanon accused Damascus of being behind the bombing, allegations Syria has repeatedly denied.

Since taking the oath, President Obama has cautiously sought to improve ties with Syria, and U.S. lawmakers have made a flurry of visits to Damascus.

Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal al-Mekdad, a leading figure in Syrian foreign policy, also visited Washington.

Sen. John Kerry wrapped up an undisclosed two-day trip to Damascus this weekend for talks with Assad to try and breathe some life into the stumbling peace process, “as part of his capacity as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” according to one U.S. Embassy official in Damascus.

The source refused to go into the specifics of the discussion.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem welcomed the visit, which was not made public earlier by the Syrian state-run media, and said Damascus would do whatever it could to help push peace in the Middle East.

The visit was another positive signals from the U.S.

Earlier this month, despite the sanctions, the U.S. government approved a plan to upgrade Western aircraft in Syria’s passenger jet fleet, which includes American-made Boeing 747 and French Airbus 320 jets — both of which require U.S. parts. That was another encouraging step.

Perhaps most symbolically, Obama nominated in February career diplomat Robert Ford to be America’s first ambassador to Syria in five years, though his appointment has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

However, hopes of rapprochement between the U.S. and Syria were dashed this month by a blunt charge from Mr. Obama himself.

“Syria still poses an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” said the U.S. leader as he renewed the sanctions for another year.

The statement suggests Syria has fallen from the pages of Mr. Obama’s good books and that the relationship with Washington may be coarser for some time.

The positive momentum took another hit later when Israel claimed Damascus was sending advanced weaponry to Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants — Scud missiles which could theoretically increase the group’s ability to strike targets anywhere inside the Jewish state.

Damascus has strongly denied the allegations and suggested Israel was searching for an excuse to start a new war in the region.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has also dismissed the accusations, comparing them to claims that Iraq had unconventional weapons before the American-led invasion in 2003. The U.N. has also refuted the charges.

However, 12 Republican senators, in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, claimed that Ford’s appointment would be a concession, even a reward. They suggested “prompt punitive” action against Syria instead.

It’s no secret what the Americans want from Syria, but it’s harder to guess what cards Assad might be prepared to put on the table.

Syrian officials say they will not make concessions for free. The West, they argue, should not expect much as Damascus will not break its alliance with Iran, nor will it abandon Hezbollah or Hamas before it hears an offer on a comprehensive peace deal between Arabs and Israelis.

“The West should realize that the region has changed and that the language, policies and approaches that it used to use before have become unacceptable,” Assad told French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who arrived in Damascus Saturday night.

“If the West wants to see stability and security in our region, it should start playing an effective role in curbing Israel and stopping its extremist and grave attitude,” added the Syrian leader.

Lebanese PM presses Obama on Mideast peace deal

WASHINGTON — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday told President Barack Obama that the “clock is ticking” on Mideast peace and that failure to reach an agreement will lead to more violence and extremism in the region.

On his first official White House visit as premier, Hariri said he told Obama during an Oval Office meeting that Lebanon is hopeful about his efforts to secure a lasting peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. The two sides recently began participating in indirect peace talks.

But the prime minister said he told Obama about a “pervasive frustration and skepticism” in the Muslim world regarding the issue and that the “clock is ticking … against all those who believe in a just peace.”……..

Kerry met with Mr Assad on Saturday to discuss bilateral and regional issues. One source told Ibrahim Hamidi of al-Hayyat that bilateral ties are “improving”

دمشق تؤكد لقاء الاسد وكيري : العلاقات الثنائية في تحس

لإثنين, 24 مايو 2010

دمشق – ابراهيم حميدي
أكدت مصادر سورية رفيعة المستوى لـ»الحياة» امس ان الرئيس بشار الاسد استقبل رئيس لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في مجلس الشيوخ الاميركي السناتور جون كيري يوم اول من امس، حيث جرى بحث العلاقات الثنائية والأوضاع في الشرق الاوسط.
وكان استقبل كيري السبت. وأوضحت المصادر السورية ان اللقاء، الذي حضره وزير الخارجية وليد المعلم والمستشارة السياسية والاعلامية في رئاسة الجمهورية الدكتورة بثينة شعبان كان «إيجابياً، وتمت خلاله مناقشة العلاقات الثنائية التي هي في تحسن» بين دمشق وواشنطن، اضافة الى «مناقشة الوضع الإقليمي في المنطقة».
واشار المعلم في مؤتمر صحافي عقده مساء امس مع نظيره الالماني غيدو فيسترفيللي بعد لقائه الرئيس الاسد الى البيان الذي صدر عن السفارة الاميركية في دمشق من ان محادثات كيري كانت «في اطار اعادة الحرارة الى الحوار السوري – الاميركي لبناء علاقة طبيعية ودفع جهود استئناف المفاوضات» السلمية. وزاد: «السناتور كيري رجل موضوعي ونتمنى لمهمته النجاح».
الى ذلك، قالت مصادر ديبلوماسية غربية لـ «الحياة» ان عضو لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في الكونغرس السناتور روبرت كوترت سيزور دمشق في 31 الشهر الجاري الجاري، قبل قيام وفد من الكونغرس يضم النواب براين بيرد ورالف هول ولنكولن ديفيد بزيارة مماثلة في الثالث من الشهر المقبل.
وتأتي زيارات اعضاء الكونغرس الاميركي بعد قرار الرئيس الاميركي باراك أوباما تمديد العقوبات الاقتصادية سنة اخرى ومساعي جماعات ضغط لعرقلة تعيين روبرت فورد سفيرا في دمشق. وكانت دمشق اعتبرت ان قرار تمديد العقوبات «ليس مفاجئا». كما اشارت صحف سورية الى ان ذلك تضمن «رسالة خاطئة» الى المنطقة وان تعيين السفير «شأن اميركي».
وكان وزير النقل يعرب بدر قال لـ»الحياة» ان شركة «ترانز تكنك» الخاصة حصلت على موافقة من الادارة الاميركية على تعمير محركات طائرتي «ايرباص» تابعين للخطوط الجوية السورية، بعد حصول شركة «السلام» السعودية على موافقة لتعمير طائرتي «بوينغ» 747 تابعين للخطوط السورية كانت خرجتا من الخدمة في 2008، علما ان واشنطن جمدت منح هذه الموافقات لفترة طويلة.

Spat over Iran may further strain relations between allies U.S., Turkey
By Janine Zacharia, Monday, May 24, 2010, Wash Post

Henri Barkey said, “For the Turks, [the Iran nuclear deal it proposed] might be a Pyrrhic victory.They look great in the Third World because they thumbed their nose at the United States. But they are really screwing up their relationship with the U.S.”….

Iran’s agreement to ship 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium out of the country was heralded in Turkey as a sign of Ankara’s diplomatic prowess. Turkey, which aims to keep tensions in the Middle East low and improve economic and diplomatic ties with Iran, also saw the deal as a way to avert a further confrontation with the West and as a preliminary step toward bringing Iran back to the negotiating table.

“People in Washington think we’re just trying to undermine the efforts of the U.S. and other allies at the U.N. Security Council, which is quite far from the truth. Actually, we know that this is not a solution to the overall problem. We have no such claim,” a Turkish official said. “What we are trying to do is to create a sort of a basis to attract the Iranians and bring them back to the table to discuss the overall nuclear issue.”

Still, U.S. officials said the deal fell short because Iran did not agree to freeze uranium enrichment and because it would still retain enough low-enriched uranium for a bomb if it decided to enrich the material to a higher level….

Comments (86)

norman said:

It is nice to see a smart man as president of Syria , long overdue ,

May 25th, 2010, 2:31 am


Husam said:

US-British-French hagemony over the M.E. has been replaced by Turkish-Russian alliance. Geopolitically they are closer and more connected to the region. It will be interesting to see what K.S.A and Gulf if/when they will start to maneuvering to change thier course.

News Flash – Released Documents Reveal: How Israel Offered to Sell South Africa Nuclear Weapons

Chris McGreal
London Guardian
May 24, 2010

Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.

The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.

The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of “ambiguity” in neither confirming nor denying their existence.

The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa’s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.

May 25th, 2010, 2:48 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Mr. Asad: “…Besides, there is the need for a true leader, one capable of leading the society. Not just an employee, whose only interest is to be re-elected every four years”.

So Bibi (not to say Obama) is an “employee”. Right. This employee works for ME. I employ him. If he delivers, I’ll let him continue to serve me. When he fails, he goes.

Mr. Asad: ““It is because Israel has lost one of its most important deterrents. From the very beginning, it relied on military strength. They always repeated “it doesn’t matter if they don’t like me: It is important that they fear me”. Well, notwithstanding Israel’s military might, the Arabs don’t fear it any longer”.

This “If they don’t like you, make them fear you” is taken from the book ‘The Prince’ by Niccolò Machiavelli.

(Chapter 17 XVII page 88 there)

No wonder Mr. Asad quotes from this book. This is a DIY book for a beginner dictator. It is about how to best keep your (the dictator’s) power, rather than what best do for your people.

The result: ‘The Prince’ rules over an impoverished / failed state, while the “employee” brings his people to a 30,000 US$ Per Capita.

May 25th, 2010, 3:26 am


almasri said:

I was looking for this interview all day today, and here it is at last thanks to SC and fully translated to English.

No doubt Hafiz was a visionary and a man of principle. Thankfully Bashar is continuing his dad’s mission.

Every Arab is now talking about the sacred right of return. It has become the most important prerequisite for solving problems in the area as one can easily conclude from the interview. Even little Hariri mentioned it in USA today. Furthermore, the Israeli enclave has become a paper tiger, and as Bashar said no one fears it since it always gets defeated whenever it attempts to expand. We should remember this important event on its 10th anniversary:

May 25th, 2010, 3:40 am


majedkhaldoun said:

There is no question that president Assad is outmaneuvering the other Arabic leaders,The world today is by alliance,and the one he chose is a good one.
The only way for Bashar to sever relations with Iran is by Bashar to control Iraq,this cake is cooked and ready for him,there will be obstacles,he should override them,it is more important than Lebanon,now.Greater Syria is our dream,it is our power,our pride.If he misses it he would be just like the other Arab leaders.

May 25th, 2010, 4:21 am


almasri said:

“The only way for Bashar to sever relations with Iran is by Bashar to control Iraq”

Why should Syria severe relation with Iran? It doesn’t make sense. Iran is a good ally. Both Syria and Iraq can be allied with Iran. The US is defeated there and its days are numbered. Even KSA and the gulf states should become friends with Iran and ditch the USA which has only proven to be interested in serving our zionist enemies. When did the Arabs change their old-age custom: the friend of my enemy is my enemy? They should go back and think the right way as they used to.

May 25th, 2010, 5:07 am


Amer said:

As a Syrian, I have personally never been a fan of the regime but I must admit that Bashar Al Assad is doing a great job working towards a realistic goal in our region.

The reason why I say realistic is because we can’t become what America expects to be which is a full fledged Western style democracy but we can become an economically progressive nation with good ties regionally and internationally. This is happening before our own eyes.

The problem with Israel will never be resolved because the second that Israel normalizes its relations with the Arab world they will dissapear demographically. I’m sure that they have nightmares of Arabs buying swathes of land in occupied Palestine along with other important assets there.

Lastly – the comment by Amir in Occupied Palestine…may I please remind you sir that you do not live in a democracy…the second that you say that you live a Jewish homeland you are disregarding the natives of the land along with other democracies which makes you either a dictatorship or a theocracy…you chose.

May 25th, 2010, 9:12 am


Joshua said:

Amer, Welcome.

President Assad is mapping out a strategy based on his five seas and norther alliance concepts, as you say. The real test is whether Syria can reform its economy enough to create growth rates high enough to pull Syria out of its difficulties and sustain the sort of Cold War Syria must fight to get back the Golan. Israel and the US are wagering that Syria will not succeed and will be forced to abandon its claim to the Golan because it is too weak and poor. We shall see. It is all about the economy.

May 25th, 2010, 11:56 am


norman said:

Looking at what is going on in Greece and soon Spain , and other EU nation , and looking at Syria that it has retired her last debt to Bulgaria, i believe , makes Syria in a very good position to expand it’s economy , they should just be careful not to borrow but use private capital and encourage expat to invest in Syria with special deals to expat Syrians ,it can use Syrian money to build infrastructure and put people to work and in the process devalue the Syrian pounds because of the spending and making Syrian products more competitive , Syria is on the right track ,

May 25th, 2010, 12:28 pm


Shai said:


Even if most Israelis and their leaders are hoping (or believe) that Syria could be forced to abandon its claim to the Golan, what makes you believe the United States is hoping for the same? Has it ever hinted at this?

From what I understand, U.S. claims against Syria involve Iraq and Lebanon. I can’t imagine any official is suggesting Syria give up on the Golan. If any indication of “U.S. official position”, the CIA World Factbook shows Syria with the Golan included in its territory, with “Israeli occupied” in parenthesis.

May 25th, 2010, 12:30 pm


Joshua said:

Dear Shai,

Perhaps I get ahead of myself, as you suggest, but I do not think so. The US official position is that it supports international law, which mandates the return of the Golan, just as it mandates the complete return of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. However, US presidents have been backing away from this clear understanding of the law for decades.

The only realistic way for the US to encourage Israeli realism and deal-making on the Golan would be to allow for a balance of power to form between Israel and its Arab opponents. The US does everything in its power to thwart this and to support Israel’s superiority, militarily, economically, and diplomatically.

It talks international law but acts to assist Israel’s takeover of Arab land.

That presents a dilemma for analysts like me. Do I say Washington’s policy is what it says it supports or what it actually does? Why do Washington diplomats and US lawmakers support Israel so vociferously if they disagree with its policies?

May 25th, 2010, 12:43 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Al Masri
For Syria to unite with Iraq is a dream and will never become reality,US will never allow this,so alliance with Iran will continue,and I fully support it

The five seas alliance must mean the inclusion of Egypt and Saudia Arabia
Turkey Iran Syria Alliance is lopsided,Syria is a small country with weak economy and small population,Syrian budget is 9 billions compare to Tuekey and Iran ,each with budget of 270 billions each the only way to ballance this alliance is for Syria to unite wih other Arabic country

May 25th, 2010, 12:51 pm


norman said:


like you do not know ,

It is AIPAC ,

May 25th, 2010, 12:58 pm


Ghat Albird said:

Good questions and excellent to the point answers by the President of Syria.

A cursory review of the past five decades added to the zionist controlled policies during the GWB years and at present still adhered to by Obama is the main cause of the hopefully irreversible changes in the Middle East.

America’s loss of influence in the Middle East specifically is due entirely to its own negligence in not following Thomas Jefferson’s dicta on foreign relations.

” I am for free commerce with all nations, political connections with none….. And I am not for linking ourselves by…. treaties with …others”

May 25th, 2010, 1:34 pm


why-discuss said:

Amir in tel aviv

“Besides, there is the need for a true leader, one capable of leading the society. Not just an employee, whose only interest is to be re-elected every four years”.

When Israel’s so-called leaders have to regularly face the police for sexual harrassment or corruption charges, then not only they are “employees” but they are bad “employees”
I think you should clean up your yard before talking about other arab leaders. But maybe there would be no one left to lead your so-called democracy you are so proud of, except some hallucinated elderly.

May 25th, 2010, 2:26 pm


Akbar Palace said:

The US official position is that it supports international law, which mandates the return of the Golan, just as it mandates the complete return of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Professor Josh,

What international law “mandates the return of the Golan”?

May 25th, 2010, 2:38 pm


Ghat Albird said:

AKBAR PALACE asks a cutesy question.

IMO. The answer would be the same law Israel used to occupy it in the first place.

May 25th, 2010, 3:44 pm


Nas said:

Amir in Tel Aviv,

I can quote the prince too:

Another excellent expedient is to send colonies into one or two places, so that these may become, as it were, the keys of the Province; for you must either do this, or else keep up a numerous force of men-at-arms and foot soldiers. A Prince need not spend much on colonies. He can send them out and support them at little or no charge to himself, and the only persons to whom he gives offence are those whom he deprives of their fields and houses to bestow them on the new inhabitants. Those who are thus injured form but a small part of the community, and remaining scattered and poor can never become dangerous.

Chapter III, page 10

Does that ring a bell? It’s exactly what Israel is doing with the settlements. So it seems the “beacon of democracy in the Middle East” takes its policy straight out of “a DIY book for a beginner dictator.” What a surprise!

May 25th, 2010, 4:06 pm


almasri said:

“The five seas alliance must mean the inclusion of Egypt and Saudia Arabia
Turkey Iran Syria Alliance is lopsided,Syria is a small country with weak economy and small population”


And that’s why the alien enclave in the middle must be removed. Then Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon would become part of Syria. In this case Syria will not be small anymore and maybe Iraq would then join in.

There can be no solution except through the return of the land to its owners. This is what the Arabs have been saying all along since 1947. But America was and still is hijacked by the zionists. I feel sorry for Obama. He just came in too late when America got bankrupt and there is not much else he can do except what the zionists dictate. America was doomed the moment Truman recognized the zionist enclave – blame the Adams family for that.

May 25th, 2010, 4:36 pm


Innocent Criminal said:

I have to say this is one the best interviews conducted by the Syrian President. The policy, strategy and arguments are valid, eloquent and convincing. the challenge lies in the deeds and steps that need to be takento accomplish these goals is far less clear in the eyes of regime.

May 25th, 2010, 5:25 pm


Shai said:


The U.S. doesn’t really know what Israel’s “policies” are because, as I see it, even Israel doesn’t know them! Is it Israeli policy to settle the Golan, and never agree to withdraw? I don’t know. I would argue facts may demonstrate quite the opposite. How else can you explain that a mere 20,000 Jews have settled in this beautiful part of the region (which has been annexed by Israel), while more than 500,000 have settled the West Bank, which Israel doesn’t even consider a part of Israel (de jure, not de facto). How can you explain that at least 3 or 4 different prime ministers, including one Benjamin Netanyahu, have sent Syria clear indications of a readiness to “talk business”? In at least 2 of these cases, the U.S. wasn’t even involved.

As for Israeli “policy” regarding settlements in the West Bank, it is well known that the Left in Israel has built and approved more settlements over the decades than the Right. The Right (and Center) have removed more settlers by force than the Left. Have given back control of major Palestinian towns and cities than the Left. And, recently, have agreed to put a temporary freeze on building in E. Jerusalem, something no Israeli government has ever agreed to do, as far as I’m aware. So what IS Israel’s policy? It’s not clear to me, and I’m not sure it is clear to Israeli governments. That’s part of the problem. There’s no clear policy. No well-defined goals.

In the recent election campaign, Kadima’s Tzipi Livni attempted to ridicule the Likud by claiming it was the only party that ran “with an agenda that spoke of what it (the Likud) WASN’T going to do, rather than what it was…” It provided no agenda, no policy. And it won.

As for the U.S., I’m not sure I agree that it would ever be in its best interest to allow for a balance-of-power between Israel and the Arab world. I say this, in particular, if it means this “balance” would come through the formation of an alliance that is deemed dangerous or unfriendly by the U.S. Even if the U.S. believed the Israeli-Syrian conflict over the Golan could be more easily resolved if Syria was stronger, how could we realistically expect the U.S. to even turn a blind-eye to its close ties to Iran and to Hezbollah? The U.S. has its own “history” with both of these parties, and does not need Israel’s pushing to be concerned.

It is awfully tempting, when you’re the world’s only super-power, to want and expect to bring everyone onto your side. To form a “you’re either with us, or against us” philosophy. Can you really see a U.S. president, liberal democrat or conservative republican, telling the U.S. public “well, it’s more complicated than that…”? To go up against Congress and show support or understanding for Syria’s indirect war with Israel, via proxies? It is far less complicated to simply expect Syria to join “The West”, than it is to empathize with its “Eastern Alliances”.

I really don’t think we can deduce that because the U.S. is critical of Syria, it necessarily accepts Israeli policy in the region. At the risk of sounding unpopular, I’m sure the U.S. has its own interests vis-a-vis Syria, that are independent of Israel. Of course, Norman is also right (as are many SC commentators), when saying that the Jewish lobby is very strong. But Obama doesn’t need AIPAC to tell him that Syria’s alleged relationship with Al Qaeda might be “problematic”. Or that its delivery of strategic weapons to the hands of Hezbollah might shift the balance of power in the region. Even if Israel did not exist, the U.S. would be concerned.

May 25th, 2010, 7:12 pm


Akbar Palace said:


And if Israel didn’t exist, there would be no Palestinian State.

May 25th, 2010, 7:34 pm


Shai said:


I don’t see a reason to think that. The territory west of the Jordan River, called Palestine, existed before 1948, and there’s every reason to believe it would have achieved statehood with the eventual departure of the British. In the case of Dubai, for instance, it didn’t happen in 1948, it happened in 1971.

If Israel didn’t exist, something else would have. Most likely, a single state with a Muslim majority, called Palestine.

May 25th, 2010, 8:08 pm


almasri said:

The Arabs have wasted enough time on America and the West and it is time to move on. I do not believe that the Arabs should worry or care about the petty politics of enemies seeking to steal Arab lands. Their blindness is a clear symptom of differences on how to divide the stollen booty no more and no less. This is normal and it usually happens among the members of a band of thieves. I don’t think it is even in Arabs’ interests anymore to seek to understand who really governs America. We know for a fact that, without exception, all US Presidents since Adams are ardent supporters of zionism and therefore they are a waste of time to deal with. Let America go down the tube as the casualty of its blind support of zionism.

The world is changing. The Arabs must actively participate in shaping a new world order that best serves their interests and above all to ensure the return of all the Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their homes in Palestine. Bashar has a very clear vision to bring that about. It is time to put an end to land theft.

May 25th, 2010, 8:13 pm


Ghat Albird said:

And another young Arab Miss.

MISS FRANCE 2010 , Syrian, studying law at Caen University!!!,

Malika Minas
D’origine Syrienne
Âge 22 ans

May 25th, 2010, 9:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

What Ifs: a Zionist Perspective

Shai states:

I don’t see a reason to think that. The territory west of the Jordan River, called Palestine, existed before 1948, and there’s every reason to believe it would have achieved statehood with the eventual departure of the British. In the case of Dubai, for instance, it didn’t happen in 1948, it happened in 1971.


The Kingdom of Jordan claimed the whole West Bank from 1950 to 1988.

Have the 20 million Kurds won their independence?

So there is EVERY reason to believe it would have remained so if Israel never existed. After all, when was there an independent country called Palestine?

Furthermore, Gaza was part of Egypt prior to 1967, not Palestine, and I doubt Syria would sit by idly, if a Palestine “tried” to take hold if Israel lost the ’48 war. Syria’s difficulty recognizing an independent LEBANON is hard enough for them let alone the “Zionist Entity”. There were no indications the Palestinians challenged the Arab “occupiers” pre-’67 or pre-’48 for that matter.

But because Israel is an independent Jewish State based on liberal democracy (and the Arab street is intolerant of Jews) the situation is vastly different. The destruction of Israel is suddenly a “jihad” that is worn around the neck of every “true-blue” Arab and every pro-Baathist American academic.

If Israel didn’t exist, something else would have. Most likely, a single state with a Muslim majority, called Palestine.

If Israel didn’t exist, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt would be larger and the Jew-Free Arab world would live happily-ever-after. And the word “occupation” would just mean somebody’s job.

May 25th, 2010, 9:59 pm


almasri said:

Israel is founded on evil racism and apartheid and is spreading hatred throughout the Middle East and Africa which were known to be the most tolerant places on earth before the zionists came,,0

May 25th, 2010, 11:31 pm


why-discuss said:

Israel’s Complicity in Apartheid Crimes Undermines Its Attack on Goldstone
To rubbish the former judge’s report on Gaza, Israel has dredged up his record in South Africa – while forgetting its own

by Gary Younge

On 5 January 2009 the Israeli army rounded up around 65 Palestinians (including 11 women and 11 children under the age of 14) in Gaza, several of whom were waving white flags. After handcuffing the men and stripping them to their underwear, the soldiers marched their captives 2km north to al-Atatra and ordered them to climb into three pits, each three metres high and surrounded by barbed wire. The prisoners were forced to sit in stress positions, leaning forward with their heads down, and prohibited from talking to one another. On their first day they were denied food and water. On the second and third, each was given a sip of water and a single olive. On the fourth day the women and children were released and the men were transferred to military barracks.

It was just one of the stories to emerge from the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict conducted by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone. The report accused Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes and “possibly” crimes against humanity. But in a conflict that saw 10 Israeli soldiers and three civilians killed compared with about 1,400 Gazans, Goldstone was particularly scathing about Israel’s “deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population” – which he said amounted to “collective punishment”.

The Israeli government and the pro-Israel lobbies concentrated their displeasure not on the substance of Goldstone’s report but the essence of his identity. Branded a “self-hating Jew”, he was effectively barred from his grandson’s bar mitzvah after the South African Zionist Federation threatened to picket it. The prominent US constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz has described Goldstone as a “despicable human being”, “an evil, evil man”, “a traitor to the Jewish people” and the UN’s “token court Jew”.

Then this month came “revelations” from an Israeli newspaper that, as a judge under the apartheid regime, Goldstone sentenced black people to death. This, according to Israel’s government, discredits not only Goldstone but everything he discovered about Gaza and, by association, international criticism of the occupation. “Such a person should not be allowed to lecture a democratic state defending itself against terrorists, who are not subject to the criteria of international moral norms,” argued the Knesset Speaker, Reuven Rivlin.

“Although he was involved in clear racist activity, he had no problem writing such a report,” said the chairman of the Knesset’s state control committee, Yoel Hasson, who called Goldstone a hypocrite. Not to be outdone, Dershowitz (a strident advocate of torture) has now likened Goldstone to the Nazi geneticist Josef Mengele.

This crude one-downmanship in identity politics has no winners and many losers. Facts about racism in the past cannot excuse realities about racism in the present. Playing off the legacy of South Africa’s townships against the plight of the captives of al-Atatra seeks not to alleviate the suffering of either group but in effect to dismiss them. But for all the hyperbole and absurdity, there are important principles at stake about who can claim moral authority, on what basis, and to what end.

Let’s start with the most obvious. This is a cynical ploy by the Israeli government to divert attention from the findings of the UN report. Government officials have almost said as much. A foreign ministry official described the investigation by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth as “explosive PR material”. Hasson claims: “Had [the Israeli foreign ministry discovered this earlier], it would have greatly helped us in our activity against the report.” But the report is about Gaza, not Goldstone. Having lost control of the message, Israel is now trying to shoot the messenger.

That Israel would try to do so on the backs of black South Africans is a laughable indication of its desperation. For if Goldstone was complicit in apartheid’s crimes, then Israel was far more so. Israel was South Africa’s principal and most dependable arms dealer. As we learn elsewhere in the Guardian today, it even offered to sell the South African regime nuclear weapons.

“Throughout the 70s and 80s Israel had a deep, intimate and lucrative relationship with South Africa,” explains Sasha Polakow-Suransky, author of The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa. “Israel’s arms supplies helped to prolong the apartheid regime’s rule and to survive international sanctions.” No criticism of Goldstone’s complicity from representatives of the Israeli state can be taken seriously that does not acknowledge and condemn Israel’s even greater support of the self-same system.

But just because the Israeli government wants to change the subject doesn’t mean that we have to. Goldstone’s apartheid record matters. For the left to claim it doesn’t, simply because he came up with a conclusion about Gaza that they agree with, would also be cynical. Appointed senior counsel in 1976, the year of the Soweto uprising, Goldstone rose through the South African judiciary during one of apartheid’s most vicious periods. While in power he ordered the execution of two black South Africans and turned down the appeals of many others.

“A historian who finds excuses for such conduct by references to the supposed spirit of the times or by omission or by silence,” wrote the late Trinidadian intellectual CLR James in The Black Jacobins, “shows thereby that his account of events is not to be trusted.”

Goldstone’s claim that faced with a “moral dilemma” he thought “it was better to fight from inside than not at all”, is inadequate. Not only did he uphold apartheid laws, he enforced them. This is not a question of 20:20 hindsight: many in a similar position at that time chose a more principled stand. Both morally and professionally he had other options, and he is compromised by not having taken them.

But his record did not end with apartheid. While he may not have led the drive to a non-racial democracy, he followed it eagerly. When the system started to collapse, he fully embraced change. Nelson Mandela asked him to chair the commission into public violence primarily because he was trusted by both sides. As such, he was an archetypical transitional figure. After that he went on to produce respected reports into the ethnic conflicts in Rwanda and Yugoslavia. So while his credibility as a human rights advocate might be diminished, it is by no means destroyed.

Finally, there is the insidious role that Israel has attempted to play as ideological gatekeeper for acceptable political behaviour among Jews. The attempt to tarnish any criticism of Israel, regardless of its merits, as unjust is untenable; to castigate them as un-Jewish is deplorable. “What saddens me today is that any Jew who speaks out with an independent voice, especially with the conduct of the state of Israel, is regarded as a self-hating Jew,” says retired South African constitutional court justice Albie Sachs, who is also Jewish. “Why should someone be made to choose between being a Jew and having a conscience?”
© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited

May 26th, 2010, 12:44 am


almasri said:

Turkey sent a threat to Israel few days ago warning it not to intercept boats heading to Gaza carrying provisions. Otherwise, Turkey will make Israel pay a heavy price:

It is reported that the supply boats are accompanied by an unknown number of military helicopters intended to face off with the Israeli navy just in case.

On the other hand Sayyid Nasrallah of Hezbollah (the victor in several wars against the zionist entity) issued a clear and concise warning today saying that his Resistance has the means to destroy and sink all the navy boats (military and commercial) heading to Israel from the Mediterranean within couple hours if Israel commits any foolish acts. He also said that he is still working on Israeli ships sailing in the Red sea.

May 26th, 2010, 3:32 am


majedkhaldoun said:

A.P. said;
(and the Arab street is intolerant of Jews)
Akpar you are back to your deceiving habit,it is getting to be silly and stupid,you are bent on lying,when are you going to learn the differnce between good jews and the evil zionist that you are
Israel was founded as an enemy,jews lived among us as equal

May 26th, 2010, 4:34 am


Innocent Criminal said:

Akbar & Shai,

Your arguments on arab statehoods and whether Palestine would’ve existed or not is completely irrelevent IMHO. Especially Akbar’s speculation on whether Egypt would have taken Gaza or Syria try to claim Bilad Al Sham countries under it’s rule. The lines drawn that seperate Jordan, Syria, Lebanon etc. are completely arbitrary drawn up by colonial powers. If the nations these powers left after their departure resorted to aggression and conflict to redraw their regions future so be it. I am not saying the Middle East should’ve turned out much differently but at least it was the regions people’s prerogative to make that change and it would’ve been a natural human behavior in civilization building. What is completely unnatural however is the creation of a nation from scratch, importing most of its citizens with no genetic relation to that particular region based on what a book compiled a couple of thousand years ago states.

May 26th, 2010, 5:44 am


Amer said:

Thanks for the welcome Joshua, I’ve been reading your blogg for a few years now but was always hesistant to participate.

I think that we are living in very interesting times in terms of the shift of balances in the Middle East. I think that the regime in Syria is playing very intelligently on the new realities both regionally and internationally.

I am convinced that the most intelligent move that Bashar did since assuming power was fixing relations with Turkey. In Turkey, Syria today has a internationally respected and powerful mouthpiece who defends it at every opportunity.

What I am very interested to see however is whether Turkey would come to Syria’s aid in case a war does break out in the inevitable near future. Stay tuned…

May 26th, 2010, 6:18 am


Shai said:

Dear IC,

I agree with you – the speculation of a Palestine without Israel is irrelevant. I made the theoretical comment based on Akbar’s suggestion that a Palestine would not have existed which, in my mind, hints at a delegitimization of either a state for the Palestinian people, or even of the Palestinians as a nation.

But at the same token, suggesting that the creation of Israel is unnatural is also irrelevant. Some, many in fact, still believe that the argument of Israel’s legitimacy is worthwhile. That serious parties out there will consider it. I think it’s a waste of time. Even if theoretically the United Nations was willing to engage in such a discussion, Israel itself would never put itself “up for sale”. No Jew whose grandparents came from Poland, or Morocco, will pick up and go back. The only relevant discussion, as I see it, is whether Israel will become a single state together with the 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, or whether there will two separate states. The direction we’re heading in ever since 1967, is the former.

May 26th, 2010, 8:14 am


Akbar Palace said:

Guilty Criminal

Innocent Criminal opines:

What is completely unnatural however is the creation of a nation from scratch, importing most of its citizens with no genetic relation to that particular region based on what a book compiled a couple of thousand years ago states.

I think YOU are “completely unnatural”q:op.

There is no “natural” law that demands there be a “genetic relation” to a “particular region” (only in your warped mind perhaps).

If a group of people want to immigrate to a particular country for whatever reason (anti-semitism, war, a “book”, or Arab racism), that is their perogative.

Migrations of people and nation-building are as “natural” as the United States of America, most European states, and the Arab migrations to North Africa and Southern Europe.

May 26th, 2010, 10:50 am


Akbar Palace said:

Syria Comment’s Most Famous Claim to Fame NewZ

How many times can you say “Apartheid”?

It seems as though Syria Comment wins that award; so far I count 12 just on this web page…

More news from the Apartheid State…(whoops, that’s 13…),7340,L-3894434,00.html

PS – Now that I think about it, just like every US state has a “nickname” (e.g. “The Garden State”, “The Old Line State”, “The Empire State’), we now have Israel’s nickname…I should print them up and sell’em…

May 26th, 2010, 11:14 am


why-discuss said:


Building label is a very effective way to influence people in their perceptions, Israel knows that well:
Palestinian resistance = terrorism repeated at nausea by your leaders and printed in the western media.
If the label Israel= Apartheid state is used and repeated the same way, the true nature of your unhealthy “democracy” will become an accepted fact.

May 26th, 2010, 12:26 pm


Innocent Criminal said:


I wasn’t arguing whether Israel exists or not, because it does whether one likes it or not. And i agree that the only relevent discussion related to existance is the form which Israel can develop into. but that wasn’t really what being discussed by you and AP


I have no idea why I or anyone else for that matter keeps wasting their time with you.

May 26th, 2010, 1:42 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“Genetic” Crimes Against Humanity NewZ

I have no idea why I or anyone else for that matter keeps wasting their time with you.

Innocent Criminal,

My guess is because I really don’t care if Israel’s “citizens with no genetic relation to that particular region” are still living and breathing in the Middle East, and I welcome that, as opposed to you and the majority of the Baathist supporters on this website.

May 26th, 2010, 2:08 pm


Ghat Albird said:

One boat in the flottila is named after Rachel Corrie who was crushed to death by an Israeli in 2003.

Another instance in the non-racist actions of the worlds only democracy. Not to mention the threats that the IDF will undertake actions to stop the flotilla from reaching Gaza under their new logo “the IOF”. Little Ehud has threatened to sink all the boats as a sign of Israel’s intentions to pursue talks with PLO without interruptions on the “road to peace” without any interruptions from Ireland, Turkey etc,.

“Today, once again, we alone are right and the whole world is wrong. The Arabs, the Russians, the Africans, even the Vatican”, so states Dr. Fischer, national vice president of the Zionist Organization of America.

Is it any wonder that almost all the comedians come from New York City.

May 26th, 2010, 2:38 pm


Majhool said:

This is a a very good interview. I have always argued that Golan, given the imbalance of power with Israel, is not something Israel is willing to give up. I agree with Joushua’s about the need for growth in economy for the Assad strategic vision to work. However i am very skeptical given the lack of any political reforms, transparency, and rule of law. We are not China and we cannot succeed unless we create a substantial and sustainable trust in Syria, its society, government, and economy.

May 26th, 2010, 2:51 pm


almasri said:

“I wasn’t arguing whether Israel exists or not, because it does whether one likes it or not. And i agree that the only relevent discussion related to existance is the form which Israel can develop into”


The Arabs gain nothing by suggesting ways on how an illegal entity should or should not develop. Even though this entity came into existence by unlawful means, it does not mean it should continue to exist. This is part of the spirit of Resistance. The Arabs must never lose sight of their sacred goal which is the return of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their homes in Palestine.

May 26th, 2010, 3:53 pm


Ghat Albird said:


WE are not China and we cannot succeed unless we create a substantial and sustainable trust in Syria, its society, government, and economy.

Who is WE Mjahool? And which “rule of law” are you specifically referencing?

WE create s substantial and sustainable trust in Syria? Again who is WE?

IF you are a Syrian living in Syria you write in terms usually used by the “other” side.

May 26th, 2010, 3:58 pm


ziad said:

President Assad on Charlie Rose show tomorrow night (PBS)

May 26th, 2010, 6:32 pm


Ghat Albird said:

43. ZIAD

THANKS for the heads – up about Charlie Rose.

May 26th, 2010, 8:19 pm


ziad said:

I forgot to mention that is an old one.

May 26th, 2010, 9:39 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Tomorrow’s Freak Show on PBS NewZ

Questions Charlie Rose WONT ask President-for Life, Bashar Assad:

1.) What is more important to you, getting the Golan back along with support from the West, and a chance to improve economically, or continued relations with Iran?

2.) What did your father mean when he told the Palestinians in 1976:

“You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Do not forget one thing: there is no Palestinian people, no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria! You are an integral part of the Syrian people and Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the real representatives of the Palestinian people.”

3.) Why don’t you allow freedom of speech in your country?

4.) Do you have independent media in Syria that is NOT censored?

5.) In the Syrian government-owned daily, Teshreen, columnist Muhammad Sadeq Al-Husseini said:

“Everything is nearly at a standstill, suspended and postponed, until the solution of this complex problem, whose real name is the existence of this cancerous growth [known as] ‘Israel’… Today, the Arab nation has all the tools necessary for its loyal sons to carry out this surgical procedure. The West, headed by the U.S., is left with only two choices: Either it performs this surgical procedure by laser, if it wishes – that is, without a wound, by dismantling this military camp or aircraft carrier [called Israel] that is squatting on the Arab and Muslim [land] – or we Arabs and Muslims will be forced to carry out this surgical procedure using the means at our disposal, which enable us to do this, because this [situation] cannot be tolerated any longer…”

Do you agree with this columnist, and why do you permit anti-semitism in your government-controlled newspaper?

May 27th, 2010, 12:21 am


norman said:

The Middle East in May 2010

Prof. Barry Rubin – 5/26/2010

Why am I writing so much about U.S. policy and less about developments within the region itself lately? Because in a real sense not that much is happening right now in the region. A colleague remarked to me today that the world’s political weather is set by the U.S. president. This seems very true right now.

Recently, there was a bit of a war scare regarding the Israel-Lebanon border. Yet there was never any chance of a shooting conflict. Syria and Hizballah don’t want one at present. They are too busy taking over Lebanon and are holding their fire for the possibility in future of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

There’s also a lot of noise about Israel-Palestinian Authority indirect negotiations. But nothing is happening or going to happen there either. The closer you get to the two sides–and the further from the discussion in the Western media and capitals–the more obvious is that reality.

Regarding Israeli politics, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is solid. The Kadima-led opposition is very quiet and not making any strong points. Netanyahu’s government is going to continue for quite a while.

Nor have there been any big changes in the internal stability of Arabic-speaking countries, though we are all waiting for the coming transition in Egypt. Turkey’s regime continues to march it in the direction of greater Islamism, though the outside world seems to take little notice. Lebanon’s “progress” in the direction of Syria-Iran control is clearer. And it is now clear that the Iranian regime has defeated the opposition for the forseeable future, which probably means a bundle of years.

At the moment, then, the main battle is being fought over the region’s head, so to speak, regarding Iran’s nuclear program. That involves U.S. policy and the question of sanctions. The foundation for the future–and it might be a very weak one–is being laid down in these maneuvers. For the failure to establish strong sanctions indicates that it is unlikely U.S. policy will be able to build a strong containment strategy in the era when Iran does have these weapons.

If you’ve been following my writings, you understand that doesn’t mean Tehran will fire off nuclear-armed missiles, just that Tehran will try to gain hegemony in the Middle East. It won’t succeed but it will make progress in that direction.

In the longer term, I’m reaching two conclusions. First, we should be devoting our research to what the region would look like when Iran has nuclear weapons. Second, I don’t believe that Israel is going to attack Iran, and my conclusion is that this is a correct decision. I’ll be talking more about these points in the coming days.

Prof. Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Interdisciplinary university. His new book is The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan).
You can buy his latest book The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict on here.

May 27th, 2010, 1:54 am


Ghat Albird said:

Questions Charlie Rose wont ask Boom Boom Bibi.

1. Whats more important to you the billions you get from America or to have a bar bouncer as foreign minister?

2. What made you leave your job as a furniture salesman in Philadelphia and become a politiican in Israel? And by the way do you have any remorse for inciting the murder of Yitzhak Rabin?

3. As some one who has been in politics for many years. Did you accompany Shimon Perez to the meeting with South Africa’s Botha as a salesman in selling Israeli nuclear bombs to SA?

4. With the billions the US gives you Israel every year you have managed to build miles and miles of 10′ to 15′ tall concrete walls along the roads and byways of Israel? Are these walls to keep the Palestenians out or the Israelis in?

5. According to news reports Israel has a multi million dollar operation where it produces “fake” passports for sale? Is this one way to make more foreigners Israeli citizens?

6. Do you think the State of Israel has a future surrounded by well financed and well armed neighbors who just do not understand why you hate them so much?

7. And do you feel as a chosen people you have the right to reciprocate that hatred?

May 27th, 2010, 2:01 am


Majhool said:


By we, i am refering to us syrians.

May 27th, 2010, 2:21 am


Innocent Criminal said:


I don’t particularly agree with your point of view. I think a peaceful solution and reconciliation is the best option available for all parties. What the White Afrikaans did to the Native Blacks in South Africa is just as bad if not in some cases worse than what the Israelis did to the Palestinians. And yet Mandela’s vision and leadership prevented the revenge mentality that many blacks had (and rightly so), to take over and drag the country into a destructive civil war.

If tomorrow through some miraculous means the Arabs gain strategic and military superiority over the Israelis. I am convinced that ‘annihilating’ or ‘deporting’ them would be the wrong thing to do and the Arabs would lose much more from it than gain. Israel has become a part of this region’s fabric. The only question is how and when will they learn that their actions so far are not only detrimental to their neighbors but also their own citizen’s future.

May 27th, 2010, 9:37 am


Akbar Palace said:

BB responds to the questions Charlie Rose will not ask him:

1. Whats more important to you the billions you get from America or to have a bar bouncer as foreign minister?

After Avigdor Lieberman served in the Artillery Corps of the Israel Defense Forces, receiving the rank of Corporal, he completed a BA in International Relations and Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Avigdor Lieberman is well qualified to be Foreign Minister of Israel. As a free country, individuals who want to serve their country can come from anywhere including the Arab communities.

The billions of dollars the State of Israel receives from the US must be spent within the US, and the GOI is grateful for that. The aid is also symbolic of the close relationship between our two countries. And the GOI is happy to share the military information and data with the US from the advanced weapon systems that is bought with this money.

2. What made you leave your job as a furniture salesman in Philadelphia and become a politiican in Israel? And by the way do you have any remorse for inciting the murder of Yitzhak Rabin?

What made me leave my brief career as a furniture company’s chief marketing officer, was to form the Jonathan Netanyahu anti-Terror Institute. Although is left the army with the rank of captain and received an a B.S. degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a M.S. degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1977, I wanted to study political science at Harvard University and MIT. Minister Moshe Arens, appointed me to be his Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., a position I held from 1982 until 1984.

Between 1984 and 1988, I served as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. In Israel, one does need to be born into the “political class” to achieve high government office.

No one “incited the murder of Yitzhak Rabin”. People were vocal about his policies, but no one I’m aware of incited his murder.

Yigal Amir murdered Yitzhak Rabin and will spend the rest of his life in jail because of it. Actually, the Arab media incites for more murder and war than anyone else I’m aware of.

3. As some one who has been in politics for many years. Did you accompany Shimon Perez to the meeting with South Africa’s Botha as a salesman in selling Israeli nuclear bombs to SA?


4. With the billions the US gives you Israel every year you have managed to build miles and miles of 10′ to 15′ tall concrete walls along the roads and byways of Israel? Are these walls to keep the Palestenians out or the Israelis in?

Walls have been built to prevent infiltration of terrorists into Israel. These walls have successfully reduced the death and carnage associated with these terrorist attacks.

5. According to news reports Israel has a multi million dollar operation where it produces “fake” passports for sale? Is this one way to make more foreigners Israeli citizens?

Which “news reports” are you referring to?

6. Do you think the State of Israel has a future surrounded by well financed and well armed neighbors who just do not understand why you hate them so much?

Israel’s future is bright. Immigration continues, the population and the economy is increasing. Israel doesn’t hate anybody. We recognize all states in the region including the Palestinians. We wish the same was true for some of the other countries in the neighborhood.

7. And do you feel as a chosen people you have the right to reciprocate that hatred?

I do not feel we are a “chosen people”. I feel we are people with a similar religion and heritage. What hatred are you talking about?

May 27th, 2010, 11:10 am


Akbar Palace said:

“Apartheid State” NewsZ

It is well known that Israeli Arabs are well represented in the Israeli government and that free speech reigns free in Israel. Here’s what one Israeli has to say about MK Ahmad Tibi:

For example, Salman Masalha, a cultural researcher, poet and translator, wrote in Ha’aretz:

It must be said loud and clear: Not only are such trips by Arab representatives to kowtow before Arab despots an insult to the intelligence, they also harm the just struggle of this country’s Arab minority. Just by going to such places and saying what they say there, they are deepening mainstream Israeli society’s rejection of the Arabs – the rejection against which they have been fighting a just fight for years. By not resisting the temptation to accept the invitations of Arab dictators, whoever they happen to be, they become tools of those dictators…

Delegations like these reveal the civil, political and national immaturity of this country’s Arab leadership. They point up the chronic emotional, social and political abandonment suffered by Arab citizens and their leaders.

This trip to Libya has exposed the wretchedness of the people who claim to represent and lead Israeli Arab society. Arab citizens deserve a better type of leadership – one that is serious and mature.

May 27th, 2010, 11:37 am


majedkhaldoun said:

IC said
Israel has become a part of this region’s fabric
I hope you meant Jews not Israel,This was said once about the crusaders,the state of crusaders is gone but christians stay.
Israel is and always will be a hostile state and enemy of the arabic state,it is behind most evil in the middle east.

AP denied hatred,he is a deceiver, what would he call killing palastinians ,or laying seige to Gaza preventing people to build their houses that Israel destroyed,what would he call taking people properties in Quds and west bank evicting the palastinians,not allowing the refugee to come back,he is lying lying lying.
A.P.said Israel future is bright. actually Israel with its militaristic and hostile attitude, not willing to achieve peace will ends up destroying their state of Israel thru war after war

May 27th, 2010, 11:57 am


Akbar Palace said:

I hope you meant Jews not Israel


You are a prime example of Arab intolerance. Innocent Criminal with his “genetic” theories is another such example of Arab intolerance.

The Jewish People want independence and freedom, and now they have it. No different than any other nation.

May 27th, 2010, 1:21 pm


why-discuss said:

AP said

“The Jewish People want independence and freedom and now they have it”
This is why more then half of them prefer to live in the United States and Europe!

May 27th, 2010, 1:59 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“Why-Discuss”, the perfect website handle


Thank you for posting another example of Arab intolerance of Jews and Israel.

What percentage of Jews is Israel supposed to have? Is there a rule?

The numbers you linked to are 4 years old. From the CIA World Factbook, the number of Jews in Israel has increased to about 5.6 million, and the number of Jews in the US stands around 5.3 million. More Jews live in Israel now than in the US. But I leave it to you to determine if that ratio is “acceptable”;)

May 27th, 2010, 2:38 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“Apartheid State” NewZ

Israeli-Arab MK Hanin Zoabi is helping the HAMAS government in Gaza to break the bloackade so they can easily import more weapons to attack Israel.

I wonder what MK Zoabi has done to help Israelis from Sderot and other areas of Israel who have suffered from Arab missile attacks?

Anyway, that “Apartheid State” is surely a lot more free than the surrounding police-states so critical of Israel…

May 27th, 2010, 2:48 pm


almasri said:

Innocent Criminal @51,

You have the right to disagree. Majed @54 has very valid point.

I also disagree with your premise about what should happen when the Arabs gain the upper hand. When that happens, there should be no hestitation on the part of the Arabs to put an end to this illegal entity and bring the Palestinian refugees and their descendants back to their homes. It is a simple case of justice served.

May 27th, 2010, 3:10 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“Illegal Entitiy” NewZ

The attmepts to imperil Israel continue…

May 27th, 2010, 4:03 pm


why-discuss said:

“Being prepared to invade Syria, of whom the authors write, “Really, there is only one question to ask about Syria: Why have we put up with it as long as we have?”

One of the recommendations of the Israeli-americans neo-cons

“An End to Evil” by David Frum and Richard Perle
Undaunted by the Iraq debacle, uber-hawks David Frum and Richard Perle air their fevered wet dream of a national-security superstate that slaps down uppity Muslims, bombs North Korea, slices and dices civil liberties and scatters the Palestinians like birdseed.

May 27th, 2010, 5:20 pm


why-discuss said:


You are answering yourself a question no one would ever ask about a real state.
It is up to you to convince yourself about what is the acceptable ratio (non Israelis Jews vs Israeli Jews?) to justify the existence of a “Jewish” state.
In addition there is another ratio you should become worried about: Arab-israelis vs jewish-Israelis

Keep up the high spirit and your illusions!

May 27th, 2010, 5:32 pm


almasri said:


Time for David Frum and Richard Perle to lick wounds. Economy is bearing down heavily on new US National Defense Strategy to be unvieled today or tomorrow,

America’s war on Islam has ended, Obama will soon declare.

Who will now fight the wars against the Muslims on behalf of the illegal zionist entity? Anyone interested in holding the banner?

May 27th, 2010, 5:47 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

To the attention of the Machiavellian Mr. Asad:

Mir Hussein Mousavi:

“these days following the enforced suppression, the importance of political parties and organizations is being felt more than before”

“Today superstitions are being used for organized political and economic corruption”

Listen to this:
“A true Shia is always and everyday awaiting the return of Imam Mehdi but also at the same time plans for the next thousand years”

And this:
“Today the charity-type economy and arbitrary actions have created immense chaos in developing rational processes”.

May 27th, 2010, 6:55 pm


Ghat Albird said:

The Puppeteer and the Puppet.

Democrats worried about their jobs.

The niceties of America’s often straight-laced political discourse generally preclude the use of a phrase as provocative as this: Jewish revenge. One of the virtues of the Israeli press, however, is that it can be refreshingly blunt.

“Officials in the Democratic Party are afraid that the Jews will take revenge in the midterm elections, which is the reason for the vigorous courting of Israel,” reports Yedioth Ahronoth today. Some of the courting the paper refers to just came from White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, whose recent trip to Israel was ostensibly a family affair — he was there to attend his son’s Bar Mitzvah — but it turned out that he also had important and very public business to take care of: a kiss-and-make-up session with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Didi Remez provides an English translation of the Hebrew report:

According to reports that reached Jerusalem, it is no coincidence that Obama and his staff have suddenly begun to speak warmly about Israel, to compliment it for the good will gestures it extended to the Palestinians and mainly to admit that they had erred by treating Israel unfairly in Obama’s first year. It appears that the Obama administration’s attack on Netanyahu after the publication of the tender to build 1,6000 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo backfired.

Information that was received by Israeli sources would seem to indicate that the principal reason for the change in approach to Israel is pressure from Democrat lawmakers who are running for election and are finding themselves hard put to enlist Jewish donors to their campaigns. There is a great deal of anger at Obama within the Jewish community and disappointment over his policy toward Israel. Officials in the Democratic Party are afraid that the Jews will take revenge in the midterm elections, which is the reason for the vigorous courting of Israel. In other words, the fear is that the Jewish vote will gravitate away from Democratic candidates to Republicans.

The report concludes by saying that the Obama administration is afraid of another clash with Netanyahu when the settlement “freeze” expires in September. “The hope is that Obama will be able to persuade Netanyahu to extend the construction freeze by means of a friendly request and thereby avoid a damaging confrontation.” Right!

The brief lull in West Bank colonization construction operations was surely timed to expire exactly when Obama could effectively be bound and gagged by the Israel lobby, right before the elections.

When ministers in the Israeli government triumphantly break ground on new settlement projects this fall, we shouldn’t expect to hear even a squeak of disapproval come out of Washington.


May 27th, 2010, 7:10 pm


Ghat Albird said:

The following is an excerpt from a souce that suggests its closelu following the progress of :The Freedom Flottilla”, to wards Gaza. He writes, ” Israeli Navy has launched an undetermined number of gunboats to confront a flotilla of approximately 9 international ships carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza strip.”

” Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak has given orders to board the ships by force if necessary and to take the approximately 750 humanitarian volunteers as prisoners.”

” The group of aid ships named “The Freedom Flotilla” is carrying approximately 10,000 tons of aid which consists of cement, iron, generators, prefabricated homes, construction materials, medical equipment and educational supplies.

” The ships originated in Turkey, Ireland, England, Greece Italy and Cyprus. The ships were scheduled to arrive in Gaza between May 26-28. Three of the aid ships have the backing of the Turkish government and are flying the country’s flag.”

” These three ships departed Turkey on Saturday during a send off ceremony with thousands of supporters. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog had requested that Israel allow them to reach Gaza and if Israel does “pirate” the ships, it could spark the entire Arabic and Muslim world to attack the criminal Zionist state.”

” To add to the explosiveness of the situation, a group of hard core Zionist criminal settlers have vowed to organize a flotilla of their own to meet the “The Freedom Flotilla” on the high seas. If these Zionists become physically confrontational, the Israeli Navy may use it as an excuse to fire upon the “The Freedom Flotilla.”

May 27th, 2010, 10:13 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Why-Discuss’s Definition of a “Real State”

You are answering yourself a question no one would ever ask about a real state.


I’m not at all surprised you can’t answer a simple question. Your comment about the number of Jews living is Israel is a red-herring. More Palestinians live outside Palestine, so? More Irish live outside of Ireland, so?

Israel is MORE of a “real state” than Syria unless you judge a “real state” by the number of their own citizens murdered by the government, the lack of democracy, the lack of participation in electing government officials, and by the horrible standard of living and economy.

May 28th, 2010, 12:17 am


qunfuz said:

if the northern alliance really gets going the arab states will be pulled into its zone of influence.

there’s a lot wrong in syria, but we are fortunate to have a president of real intelligence and understanding.

May 28th, 2010, 1:31 am


almasri said:

The Northern Alliance may get going without Russia which seems to be an odd candidate interested only in opportunism.

It is best to limit this alliance to Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Pakistan and then pull the other Arab States and Afghanistan out of American orbit.

May 28th, 2010, 1:46 am


ziad said:

Tonight president Assad, tomorrow Khaled Meshal on Charlie Rose.

May 28th, 2010, 1:47 am


Alex said:

I totally agree Qunfuz. This is not ike the other alliances which were always formed by outsiders (America or England usually). The “moderate Arabs’ will have a hard time criticizing the Northers Alliance.

And I also obviously agree about President Assad. His interviews are reflecting the depth of his philosophical foundation and his maturity which is sadly unmatched in the Middle East.

His new interview tonight with charlie Rose will not disappoint.

May 28th, 2010, 1:48 am


why-discuss said:


Th first criterium of a ‘real state’ is that it has internationally recognized borders.
Let Israel get recognized borders than you may talk about a state.
“horrible standard of living” ? when did you last visited Syria? Or maybe you are confusing with the Gaza Ghetto under Israel’s siege.

May 28th, 2010, 2:34 am


norman said:

Hey Alex and Qunfuz ,

Do you think that President Assad being a Doctor has something to do with his achievements , ? LOL , I think it has,

May 28th, 2010, 2:42 am


Alex said:

Of course Dr. Norman.

May 28th, 2010, 5:10 am


qunfuz said:

al-Masri – Of course Russia is opportunist. Alliances are about opportunities, about realpolitic.As for bringing Pakistan in to the alliance, are you serious? Pakistan is in the american sphere of influence.

May 28th, 2010, 11:10 am


Akbar Palace said:

Why Discuss: Excuse Maker Extraordinaire

Let Israel get recognized borders than you may talk about a state.


You mean the pre-’67 borders that led to the Six Day War and excluded any Palestinian State?

Why were all the neighboring states at war with Israel when the Israeli border was “recognized” and there was no “occupation”?

May 28th, 2010, 12:00 pm


Ghat Albird said:

After reading the inane questions by Charlie Rose and the studied and rational responses by Presodent Assad one can only come to the conclusion that the cultural aspects of the Arab is still to be understood especially by the zionist influenced press in the USA.

An either or approach seems quite appropriate for any Arab/Muslim leader in granting interviews. The first would be a demand that the one asking be required to have at least an elemantary acquaintance with the history and people of the country/state/region or area. The second would be a demand that an equal and parallel number of questions be asked of as in this case the President/Prime Minister of Israel.

The third would entail that questions be submitted in writing ahead of the interview and that the person being interviewed have the right to delete questions that he/she feels are idiotic.

Charlie Rose’s questions were mostly accusatory and demanding all in an
atmosphere of a policeman interrogating a suspect. Other US tv reporters manifest the same approaches whenever they are accorded interviews by officials in the Middle East and Asia.

By Mr. Assad hinting subtly at the ignorances of the US. One can surmise one of two things. That the US administrations are either ignorant or as has been claimed
controlled by an elite/group.

May 28th, 2010, 1:54 pm


almasri said:


Russia is opportunistic in the sense that it still wants the best of both worlds. It will negotiate with the US over Poland for example as we saw last year and give back in Iran or elsewhere. It will continue to do so as long as it is treated as a second rate power by the US.

Yes, I’m serious about Pakistan. I foresee the end of the so-called American dominance in the Middle East and that is the only rationale for believing in the possibility of pulling out the Arab states from the American orbit. Getting Pakistan into the allinace would entice the Gulf States to follow.

In fact this Northern Alliance is not new. It was proposed in the 50s of the last century under different names such as CENTO, Baghdad Pact and even the Northern tier (so close to the current name). Its purpose was to contain the soviet union. Its member states were the same as I mentioned except Syria which was in the Soviet orbit. It failed for many reasons: Arab-Israeli conflict, Arab nationalism, Turkish invasion of Cyprus, fall of king-rule in Iraq etc…

There is no need to create alliances that may revive the bipolar world from which the rest of the world, particularly the Arabs, have suffered tremendously. The new alliance must create new dynamics in the world in order to replace the old order. Having Russia play both sides reduces the other states into a similar client-state role as we have seen during the cold war.

If Bashar wants Russia because Syria needs a counterweight to the US, then he is looking in the wrong place. It is time to think beyond bipolar worlds.

May 28th, 2010, 2:41 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Wading through yet another arab conspiracy theory NewZ


Are you “controlled by an elite/group”?

Is Charlie Rose “controlled by an elite/group”?

All TV interviews have the quality of a “policeman interrogating a suspect”. Assad shouldn’t be treated any differently than any other guest on his show.

That is what we call a “free press”.

Perhaps Bashar Assad should have similar shows aired on Syrian national TV.

May 28th, 2010, 2:45 pm


US hegemony in Middle East is ending | Chris Phillips | Asia News said:

[…] gained currency in some quarters for the wrong reasons. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad himself told La Repubblica last week that “Russia is reasserting itself. And the cold war is just a natural reaction to […]

May 31st, 2010, 9:22 am


US hegemony in Middle East is ending | Chris Phillips | Middle East News said:

[…] gained currency in some quarters for the wrong reasons. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad himself told La Repubblica last week that “Russia is reasserting itself. And the cold war is just a natural reaction to […]

May 31st, 2010, 10:37 am


US hegemony in Middle East is ending « Christopher Phillips said:

[…] gained currency in some quarters for the wrong reasons. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad himself told La Repubblica last week that “Russia is reasserting itself. And the cold war is just a natural reaction to […]

May 31st, 2010, 10:54 am


US hegemony in Middle East is ending « VOLVBILIS said:

[…] gained currency in some quarters for the wrong reasons. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad himself told La Repubblica last week that “Russia is reasserting itself. And the cold war is just a natural reaction to […]

June 1st, 2010, 11:48 am


US hegemony in Middle East is ending said:

[…] gained currency in some quarters for the wrong reasons. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad himself told La Repubblica last week that “Russia is reasserting itself. And the cold war is just a natural reaction to […]

June 2nd, 2010, 10:52 am


Syria Comment » Archives » Western Press Misled – Who Shot the Nine Soldiers in Banyas? Not Syrian Security Forces said:

[…] * Alix Van Buren, a veteran reporter for la Repubblica, Italy’s leading newspaper, is in Damascus and sends the following report about he possible role of armed Khaddam agitators in Banyas. Josh, the picture is extremely confusing and it is often impossible to confirm data on the web. The absence of most foreign media here in Syria adds to that murky picture. What I can contribute about the question of “foreign meddling” is the following. These are direct quotes from leading and respected opposition members: […]

April 13th, 2011, 8:07 pm


A propos des troubles en Syrie « Mounadil al Djazaïri said:

[…] Alix van Buren, un journaliste chevronné de la Repubblica, le plus grand journal italien, se trouve à Damas et m’envoie les infos suivantes sur le possible rôle d’agitateurs armés de Khaddam à Banias. […]

April 17th, 2011, 9:11 am


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