Rumsfeld’s secret raids on Syria

Rumsfeld’s secret raids on Syria by Matthew Weaver, Guardian, Monday November 10 2008

Was the controversial US attack on Syria a sign that US troops are still marching to the secret orders of the former defence secretary

The US military has made several undisclosed attacks against Al-Qaida in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere under a secret order signed by the former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2004, according to the New York Times today.

It claims the order gave the US military broad authority to attack al-Qaida anywhere in the world, including countries not at war with the US.

Last month’s raid on Syria, in which eight people were killed, was cited as an example. The attack, which enraged the Syrians, was described as the first by the US on Syrian soil for years. But the New York Times claims there have been others raids into Syria under the so-called “Al Qaida Network Exord”, or executive order, as well as attacks in Pakistan.

The story, sourced to more than six unnamed officials, appears to back claims made by a former Bush administration official to Jonathan Freedland, who also said the US has made several raids on Syria, but Damascus has just kept quiet about it.

According to the New York Times, Rumsfeld’s order streamlined the approval process for such missions to take place. (But up to 12 raids were still vetoed by senior officials.)

Perhaps the order itself will be vetoed by Barack Obama under his bid to “unpick the most egregious acts of the Bush administration“. But given that, as Jonathan Steele wrote, Obama has refused to repudiate the so-called war on terror, maybe not.

Anti-U.S. sentiment grows in Syria after raid,” by Brooke Anderson, San Fran Chronicle

Abu Kamal, Syria — The U.S. incursion into Syria late last month put this eastern border town near Iraq on the world stage and many of its residents on edge.

Saoud Rak Khalif contemplates the site where his brother was killed during the U.S. strike on Oct. 26. (By Brooke Anderson / Special to The Chronicle)

Saoud Rak Khalif contemplates the site where his brother was killed during the U.S. strike on Oct. 26. (By Brooke Anderson / Special to The Chronicle)

“At the beginning of the war, we were scared. Then we got used to it. Now we’re scared again – and angry,” said Yusef Tara, who spoke to a reporter near the site of the Oct. 26 U.S. commando raid against an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq hideout that Damascus says killed eight civilians.

In this tightly controlled police state that had been trying to change its image and end years of global seclusion, protest groups are now allowed to stage anti-American rallies. And even though YouTube is banned, video footage of four U.S. helicopters carrying out the raid is making the rounds on cell phones.

The anti-American sentiment is in sharp contrast to months of toned-down rhetoric against the Bush administration as the two countries edged toward serious talks.

“This is the first time in Syrian-U.S. bilateral relations since 1945 (the year diplomatic relations were established) that the Americans attacked Syria,” said Sami Moubayed, a political analyst in Damascus, Syria’s capitol. “The raid makes it difficult for bilateral relations.”

[Landis Comment] Sami is, of course, correct that this is the first time that the US military “attacked” Syria. But, it is worth pointing out that it is hardly the first time that the US has used force to change things in Syria. During Syria’s independence era, Washington was involved in a number of coups that changed the course of Syrian politics. In 1949, the CIA supported two coups. The first – the Zaim coup – replaced Syria’s parliamentary democracy with a dictatorship that the US believed would sign a peace agreement with Israel, open a new Aramco pipeline crossing Syrian territory, help settle Palestinian refugees in the Euphrates region, and arrest members of the communist party.

In 1956, the US also supported a coup attempt designed by the British and Iraqis to overthrow Syria’s parliamentary system. The purpose in supplanting the democratic parliament, which had been restored in 1954, with a dictator was because Syria’s politicians were signing treaties with the USSR, the only country to sell Syria advanced military arms. According to Patrick Seale, the CIA helped train some 300 Alawite commandos belonging to the SSNP (Antoun Saade’s “Greater Syria” party) in the mountains of Lebanon to act as a militia – much like the Cuban refugees in Florida would later be trained by the CIA to overthrow Castro with disappointing results. The Syrian secret police rolled up the conspiracy and condemned many of Syria’s pro-Western politicians to death in absentia. Thus, the Americans helped drive Syria into the arms of Nasser and the UAR. Ironically, the SSNP, which the US cultivated and trained for much of the 1950s, ended up being a pro-Syrian party which now infuriates the US for pushing Syria’s agenda in Lebanon. It has retained much of its militant ways.

[Correction] Bob Malley has not been asked to visit Egypt and Syria by Obama. A few days ago SC re-printed a story – “In First Mideast Policy Initiative, Obama Sends Adviser To Egypt, Syria,” By David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent, which was printed in the Bulletin, A Philadelphia paper. The story was completely false. This is the second invented story by the Bulletin that SC has reported on. Live and learn. David Bedein of the Bulletin has fabricated a story. Here is a note from one of Malley’s assistants.

A quick word to stress that the story about Rob Malley visiting Egypt and Syria to deliver a message from the president-elect are a pure fabrication. The “aides” quoted in the piece are equally fictional. I would greatly appreciate if you could post this to correct the record.

Syria’s Assad says Israel must prove it wants peace, Damascus AFP, 9 Nv. 2008

…”Peace for Israel is a tactical act and not a strategic choice,” Assad said in an address to a meeting of Arab lawmakers in Damascus.

“Israel must provide proof of its desire for peace because it is the Israelis who are occupying our land and aggressing our people,” he said, adding that Syria would never make any concessions to the Jewish state.

Indirect negotiations between the two neighbours — which technically remain in a state of war — were resumed in May under Turkish mediation but have been on hold since July.

The two sides held four rounds of discussions but a fifth round scheduled for October was postponed at Israel’s request amid political turmoil following the resignation of scandal-hit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Direct negotiations were frozen eight years ago after Israel baulked at Syrian demands for the return of the whole of the occupied Golan Heights, right down to the Sea of Galilee, its main water source.

“Up until now, Israel has been using the peace slogan for internal political purposes and world opinion believes these Israeli manoeuvres,” Assad said, calling on Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 war borders.

“Syria decided to resume the peace process… because we are committed to achieving a fair and comprehensive peace,” he said, but added that “Our rights cannot be the subject of compromise.”

Assad has said that the negotiations need “international patronage” chiefly from the United States, despite the chilly state of diplomatic relations between Damascus and Washington.

The Arab peace initiative cannot be an alternative to holding direct talks with the Palestinian Authority and Syria.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livnia  told Ynet just hours prior to her departure for Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to attend Sunday’s Quartet conference marking the one-year anniversary of the Annapolis peace summit. “We’ve seen some progress in the talks with the Palestinians (since Annapolis), but there are many more issues on the table,” the Kadima chairwoman said. “The process will continue, and I prefer to continue negotiating until we reach an agreement that coincides with Israel’s security interests.”

Israeli spies linked to murder of Hezbollah chief,

Two brothers seized in Lebanon are accused of a role in the death of a Hezbollah chiefUzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv Two brothers held in Lebanon as Israeli spies are linked to a team responsible for the assassination of a notorious terrorist leader, Lebanese security sources have claimed.

Ali Jarrah, 50, a Lebanese citizen, and his brother Youssef, from Marj in the Bekaa valley, were arrested last week by the Lebanese army, which charged them with espionage. A third suspect has also been held, sources close to the investigation said. All three face the death penalty.

The spy ring has been linked to the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a leading figure in Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite militia, who was killed in a bomb blast in Damascus in February. Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, blamed Israel for the attack and vowed to take revenge…..

… According to some reports, Jarrah was first picked up in the southern suburbs of Beirut by Hezbollah security men on July 7, after being suspected of having had a role in Mughniyeh’s assassination.

Hezbollah is said to have finally handed Jarrah to the Lebanese authorities after questioning him for nearly four months.

According to Lebanese security sources, the brothers are distantly related to Ziad Jarrah, one of the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001, killing everyone on board. Their families come from the same town in the Bekaa valley.

Syria’s Assad says US should withdraw from Iraq AFP

DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday called on the United States to pull its troops out of Iraq, saying they posed a threat to neighbouring states.

“The presence in Iraq of American forces of occupation is a permanent threat to neighbouring countries and an element of instability in the region,” Assad said in a speech to Arab parliamentarians in Damascus.

Assad also slammed a security accord being negotiated between Washington and Baghdad, saying it was “aimed at making Iraq a base for attacks on neighbouring nations.”

Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, former co-chairmen, 9/11 Commission in Washinton Post Op-ed

P resident Obama’s top priority must be to keep America safe. But to do so, he must break a promise he made to his supporters. During the campaign, he pledged an immediate, phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, which he said would be completed by mid-2010. Although conditions in Iraq have improved dramatically over the past year — thanks largely to the surge in U.S. troops that he opposed — stability is still fragile. If our enemies perceive any weakness, they will take advantage to attack us not only in Iraq but elsewhere.

Candidate Obama said that we must pull out of Iraq in order to engage fully in what he has called “the central front” in the war on terror, Afghanistan. But a defeat in Iraq would make victory in Afghanistan far less likely. The new president will find out soon enough that the only thing worse than breaking a campaign promise is keeping one that would endanger American lives.

Kurish groups decry the new Syrian law limiting land sales within 25 kilometers of the border. They see it as part of a larger effort to deprive Kurds of their civil and national rights which they say will backfire, causing ever greater social discontent in Syria. (That is the gist of the following article by An-Nidaa “The Clarion” or “The Call.”

السبت 8/11/2008

يستمر النهج الظالم من دون مبرر فيما يخص القضية الكردية في سوريا، ويتابع النظام ما درجت عليه الأنظمة المتعاقبة منذ الإحصاء الظالم في عام 1962 الذي جرّد ستين ألفاً من الأكراد من جنسيتهم، أصبحوا ثلاثمائة ألف اليوم بحكم التزايد السكاني الطبيعي. وزاد على ظلمه ظلماً بإصدار المرسوم 49 لعام 2008 مؤخراً.


لم تجد المشاكل الناتجة عن إحصاء عام 1962 حلاّ لها، رغم الوعود الكثيرة وغير الصادقة، بل العكس من ذلك، فقد تراكمت عليها وتفرعت منها مشاكل من نوعٍ آخر زادها الاستبداد السياسي توتراً وخطراً.


وآخر ذلك أن المرسوم 49 المذكور يمنع ” عمليات البيع والشراء والإيجار والاستثمار لأية أراضٍ أو عقارات بعمق  25 كم من الحدود السورية لأكثر من ثلاث سنوات، إلا بموافقة خاصة من وزير الداخلية”.

نقلت قناة الـ(B.B.C)

لإخبارية عن مصادر قولها إن السلطات السورية سلمت 18 مطلوبا من تنظيم “القاعدة كانوا محتجزين لديها إلى الشرطة العراقية في الأنبار.

الأمم المتحدة تطالب إسرائيل الانسحاب من الجولان وإلغاء قرار ضمه

وطالب القرار الذي صدر يوم الجمعة, وجاء تحت عنوان “الجولان السوري المحتل”, إسرائيل بـ”الإلغاء الفوري لقرارها بضم الجولان”, معتبرا “جميع التدابير والإجراءات التي اتخذتها وستتخذها (إسرائيل) بهدف تغيير طابع الجولان السوري المحتل ووضعه القانوني ملغية و باطلة وتشكل انتهاكاً صارخاً للقانون الدولي ولاتفاقية جنيف المتعلقة بحماية المدنيين في زمن الحرب”.

ودعت الأمم المتحدة من خلال قرارها “جميع الدول الأعضاء في الأمم المتحدة إلى عدم الاعتراف بأي من التدابير والإجراءات المخالفة للقانون الدولي التي اتخذتها إسرائيل في الجولان المحتل”.

وصوت لصالح القرار 161 عضواً في الأمم المتحدة فيما امتنعت سبع دول بينها الولايات المتحدة عن التصويت وصوتت إسرائيل لوحدها ضده

Comments (21)

Alex said:

Now you can access all the recent comments in more than one way

1) “recent Posts” on the right column shows the most recent comment for each post

2) “recent comments” also on the right column, now shows the last 10 comments (instead of 5) and underneath it you can click on: “View more recent comments” which will take you to a new page with the most recent five comments for each post

Mr. Shai asked for these changes.

November 10th, 2008, 7:52 pm


Brad said:

As Mr. Steele observed, I feel confident Mr. Obama will continue to hunt terrorists, and I am certain he will ostracize evil governments like Syria and Iran who continue to support terrorists that are killing American lives. There is really only one option: the fight against terror and rogue regimes must go on

November 10th, 2008, 8:19 pm


Saghir said:


Define a rogue regime. Are you aware that Syria fought the “terrorists” long before you discovered that they exist?

November 10th, 2008, 9:32 pm


Friend in America said:

Saghir –
I agree the rest of us are forgetting history (and current events) when we think Syria has not suffered from various terrorist groups over the years. All of them were politically motivated. But it is risky to permit terrorists looking to commit terror outside Syria to have temporary or indefinite residence in Syria.
You comment #137 in the previous thread asserting that Syria needs power (I assume military power) before it can successfully negotiate with Israel and others deserves reconsideration. World history since 1945 contains numerous instances of negotiations by those lacking power that resulted in achieving their objectives. There are many on SC who can cite examples.
Military is not the only source of power. Multi national support is another. Persistence from a position of morality creates power that defies definition. I truly believe Syria would be a strong negotiator if it had the support of other mid east countries, but its policy towards them seems counter productive. There are strong moral reasons for several of its objectives but Syria is not consistent nor persistent, and fails to attract sufficient sympathy of others. Think what it could accomplish if it got off the military kick.
Power is the ability to change the behavior of others. Military domination is only one and that one is going out of favor (I know we could use the American experience in Iraq as a contra example, but I submit history will find it to be more of an anomaly than a trend setter. I sense there is an urge in most of the world for a change. As to the middle east that is very clear on SC. Military domination is “the same old same old.” There are some excellent minds here on SC and I will enjoy reading their comments on the elements of power, and occasionally participating.

November 10th, 2008, 11:11 pm


Saghir said:

Friend in America

My exact words were:

“Syria needs to get stronger militarily, economically and strategically”.

I did not say that military is “the only source of power”.

You said that “Syria would be a strong negotiator if it had the support of other mid east countries, but its policy towards them seems counter productive.”

Could it be that “their” policy towards Syria was counter productive?

As for the fact that Syria is not consistent nor persistent, and fails to attract sufficient sympathy of others, I could not agree more. Syria’s policy on the tactical level has been poor at best.

I still believe that Syria is still perceived to be too weak by its foes. It must get stronger on the three fronts that I mentioned plus having to upgrade its tactical approach when it comes to selling its case. Only then will she be taken more seriously at the peace negotiating table.

November 11th, 2008, 12:01 am


Antoun Issa said:


It’s still unclear the extent to which the US and the SSNP co-operated in the 1950s.

This is a point I have repeatedly pressed among the many SSNPers that I know, from the old “revolutionary” fighters of the 1950s, to militiamen in the Lebanese Civil War, to today’s current activists. All have vehemently denied any involvement with the CIA in the 1950s.

The same story recounted to me is as follows:

The CIA approached the SSNP to create a front against the growing Syrian Communist Party and the Arabist Baath.

The CIA, apparently, placed a condition on the SSNP to withdraw its call for the ‘total liberation of Palestine’.

The SSNP entertained the idea, but ultimately refused.

I still question this tale of events, particularly when one considers the following points:

– The SSNP shifted from a predominantly right-wing movement in the 1950s and 1960s to a left-wing movement after rapprochement with the Syrian Ba’ath in the late 1970s. Could the SSNP’s right leaning in the 1950s and 1960s be a result of co-operation with the US?

– The US have succeeded in bringing its puppets to seats of power across the Arab world, and have seldom requested that these Arab leaders relinquish their support for Palestine. The most notable case being Saddam Hussein.

But there are also other factors which could discredit the theory behind CIA-SSNP co-operation.

At the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War, the SSNP were unarmed and poorly trained to defend themselves against a Phalangist-Syrian attack. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, SSNP ‘revolutionaries’ in Lebanon constituted a small number of villagers with rifles. Hardly a sophisticated unit expected of a CIA-trained group. If the SSNP received training and support from the CIA in the 1950s, I doubt their 1961 coup attempt in Beirut would have failed.

During the 1980s, the SSNP turned to Libya for assistance, despite technically being on Assad’s side in the conflict. Qaddafi promised the SSNP training, arms and support if it adopted a pan-Arabist approach.

Assad Hardan (current SSNP president) and co. received training in Libya, but the co-operation was short lived after Syria courted the SSNP away from Qaddafi.

I’m sure CIA and SSNP co-operation did occur, but on a minimal level. All ties would have been severed shortly after. Israel’s Mossad is said to have played a key role in internal SSNP fighting and subsequent divisions in the late 1980s.

However, during the early decades of the Cold War, the SSNP would have been a likely candidate for the US. Its ideology was perhaps the closest to a Western model out of all Arab movements at the time.

Saadeh’s vision of a “Syrian nation” mirrored the nation-state model of the West. He called for a democratic, strictly secular government, but insisted on unions and labour rights. At the time, the only alternatives were pan-Arab Socialism, Communism or Islamism.

The SSNP have been playing Syria’s hand in Lebanon for expansion purposes. The SSNP has longed for a return to the political scene in Syria, and has spent the past 15 years pouring its efforts in expanding in Syria, whilst appeasing the Baath regime in Lebanon. It probably realised that Lebanon is a mess it can’t deal with. I believe today its Syria membership outnumbers its Lebanon base.

If Bashar al Assad enacts a few more reforms that will result in greater freedom in Syria, expect the SSNP to move its HQ from Beirut to Damascus.

It makes you wonder what role the SSNP is playing today, or what role it will play, in Syria-US relations.

November 11th, 2008, 12:15 am


Joshua said:

Thanks Antoun for this very interesting essay on the PPS. You should write something more substantial on this. It is much needed.

My bases for claiming the association of the US and PPS in the 1950s is the claim by Seale in his wonderful book, The Stuggle for Syria, which I wrote about above, and the many long records of converstation with Muhaiyri that are kept in the US archives of the period under Shishakli – 1949-1954. During the first part of Shishakli’s rule in Syria, it is clear that the Americans were hoping that Shishakli would make the PPS his main party, after all, Adib Shishakli had been a member in his youth.

Shishakli toyed with the idea but ended up creating his own party and keeping his distance from the PPS. Muhaiyri never became the central figure the American were hoping he would. All the same the long conversations he had with the Political officer at the US embassy during the 1950s are fascinating and demonstrate how the US saw the PPS to have real potential.

In the coup attempt of 1956, the US was expected by the British to recruit its allies – the PPS, exiled military figures, including Shishakli, and some notables – into the coup planning. The British had their notables, and the Iraqis had much support in the People’s Party in Aleppo. Of course, by 1956, the Malki Affair had already taken place and the PPS had largely been chased from the country by the Baathists.

Best, Joshua

November 11th, 2008, 12:37 am


Brad said:

Thanks for the question. I thought you’d never ask. The definition is very simple. Look at Syrian and Iranian regimes and you have a very good example of rogue regimes. As for your other observation – yes Syria creates terrorism and expects to get paid for its efforts of ostensibly ‘fighting’ its own creation. I’m very much aware of that.

November 11th, 2008, 2:38 am


Friend in America said:

Saghir –
Thank you for your comment. I think your last comment is most important. Perhaps Syria’s foes do regard Syria as too weak; it is not for me to say – I do not speak for any of its neighbors and I would not be surprised if that was their thinking. But all of us have yet to recognize there is strength in weakness. I can assure you the U.S. would have been out of Iraq 2 years ago if military strength caused its foes to fade away. Another example: here in the U.S. in late 2007 Hiliary Clinton’s advisors advised that she had the organization, the money and the support of key party leaders while Barak Obama was too weak, too inexperienced and too unknown to be a serious contender. I would not hire them as my advisors.
If at a Damascus meeting of advisors Syria’s “shortcomings” and Israel’s “strengths” were identified and quantified, the next question would be ‘how do we then effectively negotiate?’
Turning to the practical world, the indirect negotiations through Turkey, which was started by Syria’s initiative, held a lot of promise until there were a flurry of signals that the other side was not going to go further at that time. Reason: pending elections in U.S. and Israel, and some disinclination. Time will pass and those initiatives can be started again. I would not take the cessation of negotiations as an indication of failure. It was an indication that negotiations must wait while there are changes in administrations. I admit I am oversimplfying – There was disappintment from the firm words of non agreement, but Syria was on the right path when it initiated overtures and it can show leadership by continuing on that path. Continuing to show leadership on the peace initiative will give Syria ‘negotiating power.’ Some countries will follow quickly, others more slowly, but once a strong momentum builds up, it will be hard for the nay sayers to stop it.
Reading the 137 comments on the previous post leads me to believe the partcipants here on SC could frame a peace agreement. It might take a lot of cups of coffee but it could be done.
I wish to offer hope and encouragement. It amaises everyone when weakness become a strength.

November 11th, 2008, 3:08 am


jad said:

Brad and his comments fits exactly in a term I learned from a good friend, Offended. The term is a TROLL in this case Brad… enjoy.
Definition of a ‘troll’: An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response, or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion. Now here’s a picture of a troll:
Source: wikipedia.

November 11th, 2008, 3:12 am


norman said:


That sound like AIG.

November 11th, 2008, 3:31 am


Saghir said:

Dear Brad,

The terrorists that I was referring to were the Moslem Brothers who tried to take down the Syrian government in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I can assure you that Syria did not create them.

Now to your rogue state classification. On the face of it, it is hard to argue with you. The word is easy to use and the narrative is easy to understand and throw around.

The Syrian regime was fully aware that once the Iraq invasion was over, Damascus was next.

Let us suppose that you were in Bashar’s shoes, what would you have done?

November 11th, 2008, 3:50 am


Off the Wall said:

Thank you very much for the comment on the US efforts to “strengthen democracy” 🙂 in Syria in the late forties and throughout the fifties of the past century. It is always nice to have an accomplished historian on board. Granted the parliamentary system was not perfect, but it was not parliamentary nevertheless.

As for the retraction of the Malley story, i have to confess, there was a couple of issues in the story that sounded a little off the cuff. The most striking one was the claimed Syria’s insistence to replace KSA as the major point of contact for the US in the region. It was not very convincing, at least IMO. Other items sounded more believable. But that one sounded a little immature, which is not what we have come to observe from seasoned Syrian diplomats.

Do not worry about picking the story that ended up being wrong. As it turned out earlier today, the unnamed source in the McCain campaign who told FOX news about Palin’s Africa story also turned out to be fake. (Please do not be insulted by my using Fox news as an example herein).

November 11th, 2008, 4:09 am


Brad said:

Saghir Said “The Syrian regime was fully aware that once the Iraq invasion was over, Damascus was next.

Let us suppose that you were in Bashar’s shoes, what would you have done?”

Thanks again Saghir for proving my earlier post: Syria creates terrorism and expects compensation.

Regarding the 80s Muslim Brothers, you cannot expect to be taken seriously, at least not while the rogue regime of Syria is responsible for razing whole cities on its people.

JAD believes he proved himself by displaying his own image. Very funny cutie JAD but very much off topic.

November 11th, 2008, 4:46 am


jad said:

Ya “Troll”, you come here accuse us of being terrorists and from a rouge regime, why don’t you write your meaningless, irrelevant and extremely stupid comments on a racist site with people who might enjoy reading your BS, you will be more welcome over there. Here you are called a ‘troll’ as a complement and out of courtesy.
Don’t let the doorknob hit your a** on the way out!

FYI, the 4.193 (to date) american soldiers killed in Iraq, along with close to one million civilian iraqis as well as the 4 millions refugee are your own US administration war crime that it shall be held accountable for.

November 11th, 2008, 6:08 am


Shai said:


I join JAD’s recommendations, in case your intentions truly are subversive on this forum. At the very least, when someone asks you for clarification, try to give an answer other than:

“The definition is very simple. Look at Syrian and Iranian regimes and you have a very good example of rogue regimes.”

You claim they are rogue, but you don’t define rogue. It’s like me saying you’re a genius, but when you ask me to define “genius”, I say: “The definition is very simple. Look at yourself and you have a very good example of a genius.” See what I mean? It sounds like I’m saying something, but I’m not. 😉

November 11th, 2008, 6:56 am


od said:

Your quote from Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton in the Washington Post is incorrect…you took the quote from Fox News commentator Linda Chavez which was below theirs. Hence the dubious neocon talking points.

Kean and Hamilton wrote:

The highest priority for the Obama presidency must be securing nuclear weapons and materials to prevent them from falling into dangerous hands. The likelihood of nuclear terrorism might be low, but its impact would be devastating. Obama must make it a firm goal to secure all fissile materials before the end of his first term. If terrorists cannot gain access to weapons-grade material, they cannot build a nuclear device. Achieving this goal will require close cooperation and trade-offs with not only Russia but dozens of countries, but we can imagine no threat more dire.

The threat is bigger than terrorism: More nuclear-armed states means more risks to peace and stability. Obama will need to successfully conclude the six-party talks to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and start a direct dialogue with Iran. We can help by making deeper nuclear arms reductions, ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and fulfilling the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — steps that would have a powerful, positive effect.

— Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, former co-chairmen, 9/11 Commission

November 11th, 2008, 9:05 am


Antoun Issa said:


I’m hoping to write something quite lengthy and succinct on the SSNP’s history, but it won’t be for a while.

I’m planning a lengthy trip to Lebanon and Syria next summer, where I hope to utilise my SSNP contacts to extract some accurate facts about its history.

Who knows it may even turn into a book. English literature on this old and active party is quite rare.

I’ll keep you posted nonetheless.

November 11th, 2008, 10:49 am


BRAD said:

JAD says (in broken English) that I accused him of being terrorist. Could it be JAD is a member of a terrorist rogue Syrian regime? Oops, I forgot he is a very cutie primate that the regime keeps in a cage for a purpose.

Wow, Shai I’m overwhelmed by your genius and your peace loving BS.

November 11th, 2008, 3:48 pm


Shai said:

Brad, I warmly and sincerely suggest you go through the SC Rules –

November 11th, 2008, 6:01 pm


norman said:


Iraq, Syria to increase security cooperation

2008-11-12 15:29:02 –

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – Iraq says it will increase border security cooperation with Syria as the two countries seek to overcome tension caused by a recent U.S. commando raid inside Syrian territory launched from Iraq.
Visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says after a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad that the two sides have tried to «overcome» the crisis that followed last month’s attack.
U.S. officials say the raid targeted a top al-Qaida in Iraq figure. Syria has asked for proof and said the attack killed eight civilians.
Zebari said Wednesday the attack stressed the need for «further security coordination.
Syria’s official news agency says Assad reiterated his wish to strengthen ties with Iraq on all fronts.

Press release:
Kontaktinformation: e-mail

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November 12th, 2008, 3:05 pm


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