Sharaa Statement of Syria’s Foreign Policy

Sharaa delivered a loaded speech a few days ago, criticizing Saudi Arabia's foreign policy for being in a state of paralysis because it could neither act independently of the US nor influence US policy positively. He lamented the disunity and "disintegration" in the Arab world, attacked Arab countries that are establishing diplomatic relations with Israel and are thus creating a "rift" in the Arab world, and criticized Saudi Arabia, which, he said, is refusing to maintain good relations with Syria. For an English translation read Memri's summary of Sharaa's speech here. It is an important statement of where Syria stands and how it sees the foreign policies of not just Saudi Arabia, but also the US, Israel, Lebanon, and Iran. (If Memri is blocked in Syria, let me know and I will post the entire thing in English.)

The Saudis responded with an anti-Syrian blast of their own yesterday, claiming that Syria is the country without a proper policy in the region. The question that seemed to be bandied about was whose fault it was that Syrian-Saudi relations were so bad. Sharaa said that Syria wanted good relations, but that Saudi Arabia prevented them. He pointed to the recent Iraq security meeting in Damascus to which the Saudis had refused to send even a low level deputy.

An anonymous Saudi responded as follows:

“The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has followed with great surprise the distasteful statements recently made by … Shara, which included numerous lies and fallacies aimed at harming us,” said the statement, quoting an unnamed official sourced and carried by the official Saudi Press Agency SPA late on Thursday.

“Talk about the paralysis of the kingdom’s Arab and Islamic role does not come from a rational and prudent person, as this role is well known to everyone … Perhaps Mr Shara had a slip of the tongue and meant by paralysis the policy he speaks for.”

"God willing, every Syrian and Saudi is keen on maintaining and strengthening this (Arab) brotherhood, despite the abominable voices and their owners who will vanish in the wind.”

This spat comes just as Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq is due to visit Damascus, where he will meet with top Syrian politicians. Saudi Arabia is not pleased with the Maliki government, which it accuses of being bad to Iraqi Sunnis and good to Iran and Shiites. Syria has complained about the same thing, but is nevertheless improving relations with Iraq. It hosted a security conference for Iraqis and neighbors a week ago. It cancelled an Iraqi opposition conference just before that.

Why is Syria engaged in this rapprochement right now?

Sami Moubayed has a very good article about Maliki's visit here. Even he seems a bit perplexed, as Maliki's government is not popular in Syria. Assad has given it a cold shoulder in the past. As Moubayed writes:

There are millions of Iraqis, mainly Sunnis, who do not trust either Maliki or the political system of the post-Saddam era. It is one thing for them when pro-American regimes recognize this government, but completely something else when this recognition comes from a credible neighbor like Syria; a country still seen in the eyes of millions as the only remaining champion of Arab nationalism and anti-Americanism.

Syria actually helped legitimize Maliki in the eyes of Iraqi skeptics. In March 2007, Syria attended a security meeting in Iraq, then followed up by attending the Sharm al-Sheikh summit in Egypt, which resulted in the much-publicized meeting between Moualem and Rice. The two officials discussed Iraq.  

I have long been doubtful that Syria would embrace US policy in Iraq by throwing its support behind Maliki's government. Here is why I think Syria is reversing its policy, even if only in part. It is only a guess. One is that Syria is indeed frightened by what Iraq might look like should Maliki's government collapse. It is anxious that greater chaos in Iraq will negatively impact Syria. Two is that Syria is using its pro-Iraq policy to break out of its diplomatic isolation, which is largely imposed by the US. Nevertheless, Sharaa was not kind to the US in his speech and all but dismissed US sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Abbas government in Palestine.

Syria has only recently begun to feel confident that it has won its battle against the US. It no longer sees destabilization by the US or economic strangulation as its number one foreign policy concern. It now feels reasonably confident that the US will begin pulling out of Iraq within a year, not only because the US military cannot sustain the numbers in Iraq, but because most presidential front runners in the US are talking about a US withdrawal, even if not immediately. This means that Syria, along with Iraq's other neighbors, will inherit the Iraq mess reasonably soon. It will also inherit the Maliki government for better or worse, if it hasn't collapse by then. Syria and Iran would probably prefer to inherit the Maliki government than any of its alternatives. I am not sure Saudi Arabia has made this calculation yet. In any event, Syria calculates that cooperating with the Maliki government even if it does collapse can no longer do it any harm.

Having a relatively weak Shiite coalition government in place in Iraq is better for Syria than chaos.

Saudi Arabia's position toward the Maliki government is unclear. Some Saudi officials have indicated that their government will support Sunni Iraqi militias against a Shiite led government that is pro-Iranian. Syria has indicated that it could pursue such a policy as well in the past. It has give asylum to Sunni opposition members and hosted Iraqi opposition group meetings. This common Saudi-Syrian policy of favoring Iraq's Sunnis led me to conjecture in the past that once the US pulled out of Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia would work toward elaborating a common pro-Sunni policy in Iraq. Saudi Arabia's refusal to send a delegate to the security conference in Damascus argues against this interpretation. Perhaps a reason for Sharaa's evident anger at SA's refusal is because Syria has been counting on a Saudi-Syrian rapprochement as the US prepares to withdraw from Iraq. Whether his outburst was motivated by differences over Lebanon, Iraq, or a combination of the two, I cannot say.

Syria has positioned itself between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Iraq. Iran and Syria do not see eye to eye on the future of Iraq. Sharaa, referring to Syria's relations with Iran, said that Iran's position on Iraq differs from that of Syria, which wants "a united, independent, and Arab" Iraq. But it has been silent on an Iraq controlled by Shiites. This is because Syria understands that Iraq will largely be controlled by Shiites in the future. Saudi Arabia does not seem to have entirely come to grips with this fact. Saudi Arabia's anti-Shiite policies, whether in Iraq or Lebanon present a major obstacle to improved Syrian-Saudi relations.

Here is Moubayed's summation of the history and reasons for improved relations between the two countries:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is scheduled to arrive in Damascus for a two-day visit on Monday. This will be his first visit to the Syrian capital – where he lived as a refugee in the 1990s during the Saddam Hussein years – since becoming prime minister in April 2006.

Maliki is due to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otari, Parliament Speaker Mahmud al-Abrash, Vice President Farouk al-Shara and Foreign

Minister Walid al-Moualem. They are to discuss security and the political situation in Iraq.

Syria, which was reluctant at first to welcome the Iraqi leader, finally approved his visit, stressing that talks must deal with reconciliation, fair and balanced political representation of the Sunnis, amending the de-Ba'athification laws and articles in the Iraqi constitution that deal with federalism – a concept that the Syrians curtly refuse.

These were not conditions, the Syrians stated, but points of discussion. Moualem was quoted saying that his country "looks for finer political, security and economic relations with Iraq". The US has not commented on the visit, but if it produces results, then this is good news for the Bush White House.

After visiting Tehran this month, Maliki was scrutinized by President George W Bush, who said: "My message to him is, when we catch you playing a non-constructive role [with the Iranians], there will be a price to pay." This was in reference to Maliki's statement that Iran is playing a "positive and constructive" role in "providing security and fighting terrorism in Iraq".

Syria started to reconcile with the Maliki regime in late 2006. This came shortly after British prime minister Tony Blair sent an envoy to Damascus, telling the Syrians that it was in the international community's best interest that Syria recognizes – and supports – Maliki and the political system in Iraq.

Syria had tried before – during the era of prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (Maliki's predecessor) – and invited him to Damascus, but the visit was vetoed by the US administration. The US, in 2003-06, had blamed the Syrians for all of the worries in Iraq, claiming that Syria was keeping lax security on the border and helping – or turning a blind eye to – insurgents crossing the border to fight the Americans. Syria repeatedly denied the charges.

By 2006, and after the Iraqi Study Group report in the US, it was clear to the US that the violence was not produced, nor supported by, the Syrians. Syria, however, could help control it. Blair's envoy had been to Washington DC and met with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who seconded the British approach towards Syria. Syria responded promptly. It sent Moualem to Baghdad, where he received a red carpet welcome from Maliki, and opened up an embassy in Iraq.

Just for the record, here is the Saudi part of Sharaa's speech which set off the most recent round of the Syrian-Saudi feud. Sharaa spells it out very bluntly … The Mecca agreement was done in Damascus but the Saudis asked Syria if it was OK if they could announce it in Mecca.

وقال، ردا على سؤال حول العلاقات السورية ـ السعودية، إن للمملكة «دورا مهما في المنطقة، وفي التضامن العربي والعلاقات العربية العربية، والعربية ـ الإسلامية»، مضيفا «هذا الدور الهام للسعودية شبه مشلول الآن بكل أسف، ولا اعرف الأسباب»، ولكن المعطيات تؤكد أن «هذا التقييم ليس بعيدا عن الواقع». وأعطى الشرع مثلين، الأول يتعلق باتفاق مكة بين حماس وفتح، الذي «تم إنجازه في دمشق حيث جرت اجتماعات غير معلنة بين القيادة السورية ورئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس وقيادة حماس، وفي مقدمتها السيد خالد مشعل». وأوضح انه تم الاتفاق بعد إنجاز الموضوع على أن يتم الإعلان عنه في السعودية بناء على رغبتهم، ووافقت سوريا وقال «تم الاتفاق على ضرورة العمل على رفع الحصار عن الشعب الفلسطيني وإخراج المسؤولين في حكومة حماس والمجلس التشريعي الأسرى في سجون إسرائيل» إلا أن أيا من هذا لم يحصل. وتساءل الشرع «لماذا لم يحصل هذا الأمر؟. إما أن الولايات المتحدة لم تستمع إلى حليفتها التقليدية في المنطقة، أي السعودية، أو أن السعودية ليست في وضع تستطيع عبره أن تتابع مستلزمات ومتطلبات هذا الاتفاق». وأشار الشرع إلى أن المثال الثاني هو عدم مشاركة الرياض في اجتماعات دول جوار العراق في دمشق الأسبوع الماضي. وقال «كان يمكن للسعودية أن تحضر عبر موظف بسيط في السفارة، ولو كان لديها بعض التحفظات، ولكن كان هناك تعمد أن يترك مقعدها شاغرا». وأضاف الشرع «نحن نرغب بعلاقات أخوية ممتازة وقوية واستراتيجية مع السعودية، لكننا لا نستطيع أن نفرض ذلك، لأن العلاقات بين الدول تحتاج إلى رغبة بين الجانبين»، معتبرا أن الخلل «في هذه العلاقة ليس من قبل سوريا، إذ ليس من المعقول أن يضحى بعلاقة تاريخية عمرها 36 سنة ولم يحصل خلالها أي سوء تفاهم».

The Saudis responded to Syria's claim that it had confected the PLO-Hamas cohabitation in these words: “Shara’s claim that the Mecca agreement … had been agreed in Damascus is an unforgivable insult to the Palestinian leaderships,” the Saudi statement said.

Addendum: (Sunday August 19, 2007) from AP:

DAMASCUS, Syria: Syria said Saturday that recent comments by the country's vice president reputedly criticizing Saudi Arabia were misreported, an attempt to quell growing tension over the remarks.

Saudi Arabia lashed out at Syria on Thursday after Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa reportedly said the kingdom — the Mideast's key Sunni power player — had become semi-paralyzed and was to blame for Palestinian infighting.

But Syria's official SANA news agency quoted an unnamed official Saturday as denying al-Sharaa criticized Saudi Arabia. Instead, he stressed his country's desire to heal the rift with Riyadh.

"The brotherhood between the Syrian and Saudi people is a real one that has withstood different crises … and Syria is aimed at reviving Arab solidarity and strengthening it to serve the national and pan-Arab interest," the official was quoted as saying.

Comments (75)

norman said:

Do you think that Syria cares if the Shia or Sunni are in charge of Iraq ? ,I think what Syria wants is an Arab Iraq , Everybody should know that the Iraqi Shia are Arabs .
I wonder if the Iraqi guests and their effect on the Syrian economy is making Syria more interested in stable Iraq than who leads the government there.

August 18th, 2007, 1:29 am


norman said:

At one time they asked president Assad if Syria is with the Arab position or the Iranian one , I believe he answered by asking ( Which Arab position).
SA is leading the surrender camp while Syria and Iran are leading the resistance camp and after last year Lebanon war the people in the Arab world and nation are with winners ( Syria, Iran, Hizballah and Hamas).

August 18th, 2007, 1:40 am


Innocent_Criminal said:

What a bunch of BS from both sides. If the Saudi’s believe Syria killed Hariri and are allying themselves with Iran then why should they expect the Saudis to keep a warm relationship. And on the other hand, if the Saudis continue to do Washington’s bidding in the region and try to become the sole regional arabic power broker in the region, why should they expect Syria to sit idle or even help?

August 18th, 2007, 2:08 am


Joshua said:

Norman, I think that you are right in your assessment that the Syrian government can live with whatever complexion the Iraqi government takes so long as it is Arab and unified. What exactly “Arab” means is worth a little consideration.

I think that one can see a little light between Iran’s and Syria’s concerns even as Sharaa stresses the common “strategic” agreement, as G points out.

Clearly, Iran will not put stress on Iraq taking an “Arab” stand on regional policies. It will prefer and Islamic-Shiite stand.

The meaning of these terms depends on where one stands and who one asks.

August 18th, 2007, 2:26 am


norman said:

Joshua, Iran seems to have more of an Arab stand than S A , their stand with Hamas and Hezbollah is more of an anti American and Israel stand than an Islamic Shia only stand.

August 18th, 2007, 2:41 am


Enlightened said:


Is Shara a Hawk in the Syrian government? The reason I ask this is whenever some disagreements are not solved or a rift widens Shara in evitably comes about with a hard line speach, there is a clear pattern to this over the last couple of years.

August 18th, 2007, 2:49 am


Alex said:

Shara is a Hawk. He established his hard line credentials at the Madrid conference when he dared stand up to Prime minister Shamir who tried to call the Arabs terrorists (Surprise!).

Since then, Shara always played this role. You can think of it as the role he inherited from Khaddam. Khaddam was never Mr. nice guy.

August 18th, 2007, 3:52 am


norman said:

Alex, Do you mean ,Bad cop, Good cop rule .?

August 18th, 2007, 3:57 am


Alex said:


Actually Syria has a much more elaborate version of the others’ bad cop/good cop.

Syria has all shades of moderate to hard line positions you can think of. You will only know how moderate they are when you are serious about reaching meaningful agreements with them.

August 18th, 2007, 4:02 am


norman said:

مسؤول سوري يرد: البيان السعودي غير موضوعي ودمشق قبلة القرار القومي
الحريري يهاجم الشرع: نابغة الدبلوماسية السورية ونشاز وسقطات نظامه

بيروت ـ القدس العربي ـ من سعد الياس:
اعربت مصادر عربية دبلوماسية عن مخاوفها من تأثير الخلافات السورية ـ السعودية علي القضايا العربية، خاصة وان مواقف الدولتين اساسية في القضايا الاقليمية.
واشارت المصادر التي رفضت الكشف عن اسمها الي ان الهجمات المتبادلة العنيفة وصلت مستوي يصعب معه رأب الصدع ، خاصة وان الدولتين تعتبران نفسيهما الاهم في المنطقة، فالسعودية تعتبر اهم دولة عربية اسلامية لوجود الحرمين الشريفين باراضيها، ولما لها من ثقل بسبب ثرائها النفطي. اما سورية فتعتبر نفسها دوما قبلة الامة العربية وهي القرار القومي كما قال رئيس لجنة الشؤون العربية في مجلس الشعب السوري (البرلمان) سليمان حداد امس.
وجاءت تصريحات حداد ردا علي البيان السعودي الذي هاجم نائب الرئيس السوري فاروق الشرع، وقالت المصادر الدبلوماسية ان المنطقة ستشهد فرزا بمواقفها مما سيؤدي لصراعات جديدة، مضيفا ان المنطقة قد تشهد تحالفات واستقطابات جديدة . وقال حداد في مقابلة مع هيئة الإذاعة البريطانية (بي بي سي) الجمعة نحن نؤمن إيماناً كاملاً بالإنتقاد البناء لكننا لا نستطيع أن نضع البيان في الخانة التي وضعه فيها الاخوة السعوديون .
وفي بيان لاذع غير معتاد هاجمت السعودية الانتقادات التي وجهها الشرع الاربعاء. واستغرب البيان التصريحات النابية التي أدلي بها الشرع، و التي تضمنت الكثير من الاكاذيب والمغالطات التي تستهدف الاساءة الي المملكة . وقال البيان ان الحديث عن شلل دور المملكة العربي والاسلامي هو حديث لا يصدر عن انسان عاقل متزن .
وقال حداد ان الشرع قال في تصريحاته نحن لا نضحي بعلاقات مع السعودية عمرها 37 عاماً، فلماذا لا تذكر هذه النقطة؟ ، مشيراً الي ان الشلل الذي قصده الشرع في تصريحاته لا يقتصر علي السعودية وحدها بل موجود في الأمة العربية وكلها مشلولة في قراراتها، فلم نضع ذلك في خانة الإنتقاد، كما أن كلامه عن أن الإجتماعات التي جرت بين الاخوة الفلسطينيين بدأت في دمشق.. الخ، هو صحيح ولا يعني الإنتقاد ولا يعني الإنتقاص ولا بأي شكل من الأشكال .
واعتبر المسؤول السوري بأن الرد السعودي كان قاسياً وليس موضوعياً.. وله أسباب خلفية ، مشيراً إلي أن سياسة بلده ليست التصعيد .
واضاف حداد أن سورية هي دوماً قبلة الأمة العربية وهي القرار القومي.. وكل العالم العربي من محيطه إلي خليجه باستثناءات بسيطة جداً له علاقات مع إسرائيل إلا سورية .
وانعكس الصراع السوري ـ السعودي فورا علي لبنان حيث شن مقربون من دمشق الخميس أعنف حملة علي السعودية وسفيرها في بيروت. ويوم الجمعة ردّ المكتب الاعلامي لرئيس كتلة المستقبل النيابية النائب سعد الحريري مستغرباً انضمام جوقة اتباع النظام السوري في لبنان خلال الايام القليلة الماضية الي حملة نائب الرئيس السوري فاروق الشرع علي المملكة العربية السعودية واندفاع وسائل اعلام قوي 8 آذار في ابراز ما اوردته هذه الجوقة من اكاذيب وافتراءات بحق المملكة وقيادتها . وقال اننا اذ لا نستغرب من نابغة الديبلوماسية السورية ان يضيف كارثة جديدة الي سجل نظامه الحافل بالنشاز والسقطات الديبلوماسية، فاننا لا نفهم كيف يمكن للبنانيين ان يتآمروا علي مصالح بلدهم ومواطنيهم الي درجة التطاول علي المملكة العربية السعودية التي وقفت علي الدوام الي جانب لبنان وقضاياه ودعمت جميع اللبنانيين من دون اي تفرقة او تمييز في اصعب الاوقات واحلك الازمات التي مر بها لبنان .
واضاف مكتب الحريري في بيان له الجمعة ان اقتراب جلوس المحكمة الدولية للنظر في جريمة اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري يفقد من دون شك فاروق الشرع وجميع شركائه في نظام الجريمة والقتل والاستبداد في دمشق آخر ما تبقي لهم من اعصاب .
وختم: ان ضغط النظام السوري علي بعض الهوامش من اتباعه في لبنان من اجل ترداد هفوات فاروق الشرع وتكبيرها لن يمكنه من ان يخفي عن جميع اللبنانيين من كل المناطق والطوائف والمذاهب والانتماءات السياسية الدور الحيوي الذي لعبته المملكة العربية السعودية وما زالت تلعبه في مساعدة اللبنانيين علي تجاوز ازماتهم، وفعالية الديبلوماسية السعودية التي يمثلها سفير المملكة في لبنان في الوقوف الي جانب لبنان وقضيته المحقة في جميع المحافل العربية والاسلامية والدولية .


ارسل هذا الخبر الى صديق بالبريد الالكتروني
نسخة للطباعة

August 18th, 2007, 4:05 am


Enlightened said:


Yes I remember he brandished a photo of a young Yitzak Shamir who was wanted by the British authorities for his involvement in the death of British policemen!

August 18th, 2007, 4:30 am


Alex said:

I hope now I won’t be accused anymore of being paranoid about the Syrian Saudi relations. I have been sounding like an alarmist for over a year now.

These relations were bound to deteriorate .. it started when Hafez died and the Saudis felt they can make both Syria and Lebanon their client states… through their friends: Mr. Khaddam and the late Rafiq Hariri.

The only thing that will save the Middle East is to return to the old equilibrium between Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia… and for that to happen the Saudis need to start by lowering their expectations to be able to rach a compromise with Syria today. If Syria’s friends decide to make a move in Lebanon (and they can) Saudi Arabia will have no cards to play anymore.

The Syrians are not interested in total hegemony in Lebanon .. only in a friendly government there… a government that is freindly to Syria first, then to Saudi Arabia, Washington and France.

But for now, Egypt is asleep (until Gamal takes over), and the big battle in Lebanon is looming on the horizon… it is Syria vs. KSA and their freinds in Washington.

August 18th, 2007, 4:34 am


Alex said:

In other words: The Saudis (and the Americans) need to accept that Syria is a player, not a playground… regardless of who is in power, Hafez or Bashar.

Are we there yet?

No. It seems the Saudi Syrian ceasefire agreement that allowed the Saudis to have a “successful Arab summit” is not needed anymore.

The next Arab Summit is in Damascus (6 months from now)… by then the Saudis will have enough time to decide if their friends in Washington can help them subjugate the Syrians or not…. by then Israel will have to make up its mind if it is in its best interest to attack Syria or talk to Syria, and behind Israel and Saudi Arabia .. Washington will be making some serious decisions regarding Syria and the whole Middle East.

August 18th, 2007, 4:45 am


Enlightened said:


The vacuum left by Hafez death is not small, The Saudis and especially the Lebanese feel (and rightly) they have far more room to maneuver than when he was in charge.

I honestly feel that he died at least five years too early before Bashar took over, this would have been sufficient to purge(those against the succession) and consolidate his sons power base. How do you think Hafez would have handled the situation post 9/11 ? He was a master strategist and i personally dont think that the situation in the middle east would be as it is now! It would be far different.

August 18th, 2007, 4:58 am


why-discuss said:

The fight of influence in Iraq between the saudis and the iranians.

Malaki is overtly favored by Iran, and Iran has probably asked Syria to welcome him as to give him more legitimacy despite he’s been favored by the US. This move will make the US happy and the Saudis unhappy as they could see that the Shias are controlling more and more Iraq with the approval of the US.
Collin Powel said it in a interview on NPR, ultimately Iraq will be controlled by the Shias.
To counter that, the Saudis have been financing sunni opposition (and extremists) in Iraq but this support has iritated the US who has overtly critisized them. The Saudis are loosing their influences in the area to the advantage of the Iranians.
Farouk Shara attack on the Saudis is a clear message that if the Saudis want to have sunnis still in some kind of power in Iraq, they will need Syria’s intercession with Iran. Syria, ironically becomes the warrant of sunni power share in Iraq.
The hysteric reaction of the Saudi show Farouk Shara has touched a sensitive nerve. The Saudis can’t bear the idea that Iraq will become another “heretic” Shia controlled country. Yet they don’t seem to have much choices… They may try to court the Hamas, for fear of another ally to Iran emerging in the palestinians ranks. Farouk is right, the inertia of the Saudis is costing them their leadership in the area. Lebanon seems to be their only chance and even there the struggle of influences is tough.

August 18th, 2007, 5:25 am


Alex said:


Hafez started to change the last few years of his life … he was quite ill. While he maintained his 15 hours a day work schedule, he started to have less tolerance to conflicts. If he was alive and ill he would have probably stayed on the side the way Mubarak is doing these days … Mubarak is also cautious/old now… with the amount of uncertainty we have int he area, Mubarak decided that he does not have the energy to play.

While everyone is analyzing Michel Aoun vs. Amin Gemayel, Fatah vs. Hamas …the real story is the dramatic change in Arab regional power structures.

1) The disappearance of Iraq as “the strongest Arab country”
2) The temporarily (and it can only be temporary) diminished Egyptian role.
3) The introduction of Iran into the scene, and
4) The struggle over Syria…

August 18th, 2007, 5:26 am


norman said:

Hafiz was tested and tried during the Lebanese wars and the Gulf wars between Iraq and Iran and Iraq and Kuwait , he proved to be capable , After his death K S A and even Lebanon felt that they can push Bashar and Syria around , He proved during the last 7 years that he is as smart as his dad, he kept Syria out of wars and kept the Syrians safe with an improved economy , he is more popular in Syria than his dad and more popular in the Arab states than their leaders, I don’t know what not like about what he did for Syria , ( I sound like a Gov mouth peace don’t i ).

August 18th, 2007, 5:45 am


Innocent_Criminal said:

Unfortunately Norman, yes kinda of 😉 i just dont get the same impression as you do. i have not met a single non Syrian Arab that even likes Bashar yet alone prefers him over his/her leader. If you said Nasrallah than maybe, hell i even met a few Saddam fans but non that cared much about Bashar. And i also dont get the feeling that he is more popular than his father inside syria. I think he is more popular in certain economic and social areas for giving the Syrians a bit more room to breath. But Hafez’s fans idolized him, i dont think it’s the same situation with Bashar yet..

August 18th, 2007, 7:12 am


Bakri said:

when this regime will fall,we will see how much the syrians loved bashar.

August 18th, 2007, 8:28 am


Ghassan said:

If Hafez was still alive he would have killed another 40,000 syrians but this time it will not be only from Hama, it will be from every city in Syria!!! Long live dictators!!!

August 18th, 2007, 9:48 am


SimoHurtta said:

when this regime will fall,we will see how much the syrians loved bashar.

Depends much how the regime has been overthrown (and by whom) and when the love is measured. Iraqis seem now to miss Saddam. No because of the people loved the guy’s regime but because US replacement is far worse and completely incompetent to deliver basic services. One thing is most probable that Syrians do not want follow Iraq’s path to “democracy” with US political advisers (and tanks).

August 18th, 2007, 11:00 am


JimR said:

From the perspective of realpolitik, Bashshar & Co. appear to be playing their cards wisely. After appearing exposed and vulnerable just a few years ago (2003-05), they have managed to reassert Syria’s regional importance while avoiding major disasters. Even negative accomplishments are accomplishments sometimes; cf. the turmoil and political paralysis gripping Palestinians, Iraq, Lebanon. We don’t have to idolize or admire Bashshar to give him his due. (And I am speaking about politics, not about Justice, Morality, Peace, Love, and Understanding.)

August 18th, 2007, 11:54 am


Bakri said:

Simohurrta ,Syria is a muslim homogeneous country in its heart with some small minorities in some of its parts and they are well localised …and in Syrie we dont have people who are more loyal to Iran than their Nation ofcourse if we forget the alawite asadian regime.

90 % of the problems of Iraq resulted from the replacement of the iraqi national army by the the iranian badr brigades and other milicias from Iran.
We dont consider the syrian army or the baath party as enemies of the nation ,our relatives are member of both.

If a less homogeneous country than Syria like Turkey is capable so why not us ?

August 18th, 2007, 1:21 pm


Alex said:


You just described the Syria that YOU would like to see.

Bashar is leading the real Syria… situated in the real Middle East.

IC … as you said: “i have not met”

We have opinion polls that tell us that a large majority or Arabs in the “moderate Arab states” are squarely in the “non-moderate” camp… Bashar, being NOT an Iranian puppet, is actually one of the two leaders of that resistance camp.

As for Bashar personally .. we don’t know. I imagine that his ratings are on their way up. in 2005 the impression was that Bashar was a kid who thought he can challenge the US but instead his stubbornness will lead to the destruction of Damascus (just like Baghdad) when the Americans come to punish him.

Today it is quite different. The way Bashar is perceived outside Syria is still changing … the Saudi financed and owned media is doing its best to continue portraying him as an idiot and a thug. Events on the ground continue to show that he is “successful”, not an Iranian puppet, not a weak and over confident next-Saddam…

Again, John Simpson of the BBC said “Bashar is genuinely popular in Syria and the wider Middle East”

I imagine that those Arabs who still do not like him (but like his policies, according to the polls) fall in one of the following categories:

1) Bashar is a dictator just like the rest of the corrupt Arab dictators.

2) Bashar is not a real muslim. His father killed thousands of Muslims in Hama.

3) Bashar is a kid who took power from his father… he does not look like a real leader.

4) Bashar is a socialist Baathist who is missing the benefits that one’s country can get by being America’s friend. He is not developing Syria fast enough … compared to Dubai.

5) He is Syrian .. many Lebanese hate Syrians. Egyptians and Saudis compete with Syria for the leadership of the Arab world.

August 18th, 2007, 2:37 pm


why-discuss said:

The arabic media lead by the Saudis and the US media have long tried to show that Bashar is ONLY a cruel dictator opressing its people and imprionning oppositions and museling the press. It is only natural that most arabs who read this press get that feeling about Bashar. The guy is low key, not particularly charismatic, please ask the iraqis refugee in Syria if they aren’t forever grateful to Bashar to have accepted more than 1 million of them while the US plans to accept 7,000 and that Saudi arabia has closed their borders to fellow sunnis arabs!
Bashar may be depicted by the press as a dictator but his gestures towards arabs who are threatened in their own country show that he is more than that. History will judge him.

August 18th, 2007, 4:27 pm


ausamaa said:


This is the only language they understand. They tried to TAME or DESTROY Syria and have FAILED. Time some one put them in their place. Time to break away completely with such prima donnas. Shun them, and they will come running back to you.

One here should remember how they treated Yassir Arafat. Abandoned him and threw him to the Israeli wolves after all the warm relationship they enjoyed for decades. With thier billions of dollarts and trillions of barrels of oil, they could have forced the Bush Admin to save Arafat. And they did not.

Could they be expected to be nicer to Syria????

The Syrian front has the Arab Street, the Will to Say No, and the Power to back its position. What do they have besides their insecure funds and uncertain alliances and their restless people? Their Media?

With such “half men”, speaking frankly and harshly and waving the stick is a language they will understand better than others. A language which will illicit faster and better responses. An example: watch how Mubarak has opted for the safer postion of keeping quite although Al Shar’a named him by name.

The Pope stands by the side that has more soldiers, it is said. At this time, Syria’s side is the one that have the heavier guns. And it is time to call things by their true names.

August 18th, 2007, 6:24 pm


Majhool said:


Truley, We are so blessed with Assad Jr. and with you of course. Syria’s economy thanks for both of you is now competing with france,sweeden, and many other advance nations. Things like elecricty shortage, corruption, unemployment all are things of the past. Syrians today enjoy Prosperity, freedom pf press, education, helth care. high tech jobs,we are truley lucky. I am going to book a flight and retuen to my homeland to enjoy these endless percks.


August 18th, 2007, 6:26 pm


Majhool said:


You seem to be agitating confessional hatred.. He killed tens of thousands of Syrians. Unlless you consider mulsims are not good enough to be syrians!!

August 18th, 2007, 6:32 pm


Alex said:

Majhool what are you talking about?!

Didn’t I say “His father killed thousands of Muslims in Hama”

Now please, please don’t get into the exact numbers game. “thousands” is usually used for anything from 3,000 to 100,000 … google the news coverage of any of Lebanon’s demonstrations which were about 200,000 … many reporters said “thousands demonstrated”.

August 18th, 2007, 7:15 pm


ausamaa said:

I those hectic times, are the Saudies loosing their nerves? Did they really believe that they represent a corner stone of the Middle East? On acount what exactly? Their petro dollars?

Well, maybe those petro dollars have become so ineffective and have been used in such a stupid, opportunistic and selfish manner, that they lost their “imagined” or “preceived” or “claimed” value.

Or is it that now after Iraq (the strong country) has been destroyed, the Saudies are focusing on destroying the last remaining Arab power; Syria?

August 18th, 2007, 7:29 pm


ausamaa said:

It seems that Jazeera is coming to Syria’s support. Good, at least a spark of light in the dark world of Saudi controllled Arab Main Stream Media.

August 18th, 2007, 7:38 pm


Majhool said:


Are you serious? . Saudis losing their nerves? what are you smoking? Suaids are doing much much better that the Syrians unless you think survival is by itself a victory or that we won in 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006, etc…

Enta kaman pathetic.

August 18th, 2007, 7:43 pm


Alex said:


I know you don’t like to admit it … but your heart beats fast when you hear good news for the Saudi king, and you get disappointed when you hear anything good for Syria .. becasue it would be “the regime scoring a point”

August 18th, 2007, 7:58 pm


Majhool said:


you say that opposition to our beloved leader argue that ” Bashar is not a real muslim. His father killed thousands of Muslims in Hama???

This is a simplistic and could be insluting to many (not me becasue nehna “menhebbak” hehe

The fact that his dad killed “thousands” of innocent lives does not deny him the title “True Muslim ” it is what it is, it makes him a son of a criminal.

You make it sound as if the the opposition are a bunch of haters fanatics, and stupid. That is not true anf a seriouse distortion of the truth.

August 18th, 2007, 7:58 pm


why-discuss said:


Saudi doing better?? yes, they are, they are sending their happy youth as martyrs to fight against the US , their ally, and Israel, their secret ally… and trying to spread in the whole arab world (and other moslem countries) the ‘modern’ version of wahhabism..
Yes, they are doing very well in keeping their women underdevelopped… they are doing excellent in their foreign policy with the success of the secession of Hamas and Fath, and the happy atmosphere of Lebanon. Right! they are doing great!

August 18th, 2007, 8:10 pm


Majhool said:


Yeah you are absolutly right ..see I am on Saudi payroll as you well know… I ride camels, and I totally love eating with my hands.

I see you are mixing syria with Assad and addopting Bush’s motto “either with us or against us” I guess that’s to be expected since you support the dectatorship system in syria..

Why Discuss,

I don’t think Syrians ( on this blog) means the Syrian People. it means the Syrian regime, in the same sens Saudis means the saudi goverment.and yes the Saudi regime whome i hate is doing much better thank you.

It’s really pathetic to see many equating the interests of the arab regimes with those of the people. we should all be against these rotten regimes.

August 18th, 2007, 8:31 pm


ausamaa said:

Majhool says:

“Suaids are doing much much better that the Syrians unless you think survival is …..”

Habibi, maybe SURVIVAL means AL Saud’s “managing” to remain in power for DECADES while stealing and blundering the frotunes of the Oil revenues of that area impovershing their people all along and playing the cat’s claw for their Masters.

Wanna open a discussion on the Pros and Cons of the AL Saud “regime”? Locally, Regionaly or internationally.

If I was you, I would steer away from any such discussions; you know the saying about the people with glass houses…!!!

August 18th, 2007, 9:17 pm


Nour said:


It seems you are confusing the issues. First, Syria improving economically and establishing its presence politically, does not mean that Syria is now at par with countries like Sweden. Even if you were to overthrow the regime today, how long do you think it would take before Syria reaches a stage of high advancement equal to that of European countries? This is not done overnight. However, you also cannot dismiss everything Syria has done or accomplished merely by comparing it to highly advanced, industrialized countries.

Second, it appears you are gaging success of a regime by the amount of money it possesses. Otherwise, how do you conclude that Saudi Arabia is doing better than Syria? I mean based on what criteria exactly? Their role is seen as nothing but that of a mere servant of the US in the region. They are unable to take an independent political stance as they fear a US backlash. It is most definitely one of the worst, most horrific regimes known to man; with more human rights abuses than any other country in the region and probably in the world. And since its inception, it has accomplished absolutely nothing and, other than a few paved roads and some nice malls, it has absolutely nothing to show for being the richest Arab country. Where are KSA’s educational and academic institutions (minus the wahhabi schools of course)? What has it achieved in terms of industrial or technological advancement? What has it accomplished militarily (its army was easily routed by Iraqi forces in ras el-khafjeh during the first US-Iraq war), other than needless overspending on US weapons which come with a string of conditions basically prohibiting the Saudis from using them?

You should keep an objective perspective of regional politics and developments, regardless of the degree of your hatred of the Syrian regime. While we all recognize that Syria is far from perfect, and continues to be plagued by corruption, a weak economy, unemployment, etc., we also must recognize when things are moved in the right direction as I believe President Bashar el-Assad has recently done.

August 18th, 2007, 9:19 pm


Bakri said:

Alex ,as i said we will see after the moment this regime will fall if it had guenuine support or not .If you are so confident so why are u scared from change you should not.And then we will see what the bbc reports will be …My only hope is that all of them will remain in Syria and not to escape the popular masses who cherished them for decades.

August 18th, 2007, 11:11 pm


Alex said:


This is not relevant .. the regime is not going to fall any time soon. Life goes on … Syria can get much better even under authoritarian system.

Majhool … remember what I told you the last email I sent you? 🙂

August 18th, 2007, 11:34 pm


Bakri said:

Alex , i never said it will fall tommorow but it will sooner or later.

And my question still valid how will they face the syrian people when it will happen ?

or may be before that will they launch their chemical missiles on the syrian people ???and then it will takes a great weight off your minority complex mind.

One thing is sure Alex ,they are damned and they are aware of this .

Alex the authoritarian minority regime will only creat more and more hatred towards them ,because if you are candid and satisfied with the official propaganda this is your problem.But because of this world of lies created by the moukhabarati regime,people are less natural and honest you are aware that your future in syria will never be like the era before 1970 and i’m sorry to say that but people like you deserve it.And believe me that i’m the first to regret the pluralistic and cosmopolitan Syria of my ancestors.

August 19th, 2007, 12:02 am


Majhool said:


You claimed that I am gaging the success of a regime by the money it possesses, yet again you sighted improvmentes in the economy, basically setting money as a critirion. So be consistent..please. We can debate for hours wheather or not syria indeed is improving economically. It quite evident tht Syria is undergoing relative openness in the economy. However it remains mismanaged.

It was sarcasim that led me to compare Syria to Sweden and other countries. Reality is an according to the UNDP Syria falls behind even when compared to similar countries. For example education is comparable to that of Sudan, Muritania, and Yemen.

You are abs right that it will take ages to fix things, hence and here where i disagree with you (regiem sheerleaders) in that time is of an essence. and the baby step approach of Mr Assad is the wrong one.

Again, Nour in this Regional ploitics blog Syrians= Assad and Co. and Saudis= Saudi family. and since all what matters in this dirty game of regional poltics is to maintain Power and the stablity of regiems, I see the Saudis doing better.

Reasonable and rational poltics should not be defines as Pro-American VS Anti-American. it should be whatever make sense to advance the nation’s best interest. So enough romantizing politics.

Obviously you did not hear the horrific stroeis of Syrian Prisons, so I advice not to go into a comparsion as obviosuly both regiems are horrific.

By the way King Fahad University is one of the best in the region. not to compliment the Saudis, but just for you know not to throw overly simplistic comments.

The logical for Syrians is to bulid sustainable Strength one that could withstand the test of time and that is dependent on the mood swing of one guy and his wife.

As for hatered. I have non. I have a legitmate asspirations of an accountable governance, justice, and rule of law. unlike you I am not into the cult of worshiping leaders.

Hatered, starts becasue of people like you who support dictatorships. Let’s not forget that Assad Jr is the son of Hafez and did not come from vaccum. he kept the system as is. can you claim that Bashar is breaking systematically from that system? is he sharing power? did he lift emergency Laws? did torture stop in Syrian prisons? why our intellectuals in prisons? Why Makhlouf owns half of Syrian business? why is it that Syria is not capable of produing any worthy newpapers? do we have well known corrupt people in positions like the prim ministers? how come the best and the brightest in the middle class have no faith in the system and leave the country systematically? the list goes on and on.

Instead of protecting a corrupt system and blame this or that on the americans and the saudis, let’s look for the systemic issues that led us to where we are and try to fix those.


Of course i remember, but in public is different.

August 19th, 2007, 12:19 am


Majhool said:


Your idiotic comments really ammuze me..You assmue that critizing the Syrians (the regime) means indorsing the Saudis (the Royal family) anyways, be it stupid as it is, i would still would like to hear from you the accomplishement that the Assad Family brought to us Syrians.

Let;s start with Justice, Health Care, Education, Human rights, and economy.

Awaiting your responce.

August 19th, 2007, 12:28 am


Nour said:


Again, you seem to be venting rather than analyzing the situation objectively. You lump people as either “pro-regime” or “anti-regime”, which is an inaccurate grouping that does not fairly describe the position of most Syrians. I am not a “supporter” or “apologist” for the regime, and I definitely recognize the many problems that Syria suffers from. I want what is good for Syria, nothing more nothing less.

However, what is good for Syria is not necessarily the overthrow of the regime. I am not interested in regime change for the sake of regime change. I am only interested in steps and changes that benefit the Syrian people. Most Syrians have looked at the example of Iraq and have decided that they would much rather work to improve the country while maintaining a stable system, rather than collapsing the entire country into chaos.

Now, to be objective, I criticize the regime and the president for mistakes and misguided policies just like I give them credit for positive actions. Do I think that our problems have been solved? Absolutely not, and I am not crediting the regime with anything this farfetched. However, I have been cautiously optimistic with the direction in which Syria has been heading under President Bashar el-Assad. If this in your eyes makes me a “supporter of dictators” then I don’t know what to tell you.

With respect to your specific comments about education in Syria being comparable to Sudan or Yemen, I really don’t know where you came up with this comparison and on what basis you made such a conclusion. As for King Fahd University, please be realistic here. It is a laugher of a university and no serious academic would regard it as an advanced academic institution. But again, I understand that you are not pro-Saudi regime and I’m not interested in engaging in an endless debate about the cons of such a regime.

I am neither delusional nor blinded to reality. I most definitely agree that Syria suffers from a series of problems that need to be addressed. However, I am not an advocate of regime change at this point, as I believe it will only retard Syria’s progress. In addition, I am vehemently opposed to regime change imposed by foreign powers whose only objective would be to install a government that would do their bidding and advance their interest.

Here, I would like to clarify that, contrary to your implications, I do not measure the value of a policy based on its position vis-a-vis America. However, the United States has clearly pursued a policy of unconditional and unequivocal support for Israel and destruction and capitulation of our nation. As such, I do not look favorably upon those who support this American policy and actively work toward realizing it. This is not romanticization of anything, but rather a clear, unambiguous position against anything that harms our interest.

August 19th, 2007, 1:15 am


norman said:

Nour, Good job.

August 19th, 2007, 1:25 am


Bakri said:

Nour and who said you that the israelis have better alternative for Syria than a scared minority in power who see the syrian people as the absolute lethal threat ?Anyone who think that israel is working day and night to overthrow the mukhabarati regime in Syria doesnt not understand the middle east.One of the strongest reason that this regime has survived for so long it’is because the israeli good will and bashar knows that from his father ,in reality Israel is their pretext to exist.

August 19th, 2007, 1:25 am


Observer said:

First and foremost there is an old Damascene proverb that goes like this:” He who has a shard under his skin is bothered when it is touched”. I think the angry Saudi response is telling that the truth hit the mark in Mr. Shraa’s statement. It was a very smart move. He did not accuse Saudi Arabia of outright malevolence but of paralysis. He seemed to be wanting to give the KSA a way to come out of its total dependence on the US policy in the region.
The KSA is not concerned so much with the Shia ruling in Iraq. The shia in Iraq do not rule Iraq right now, they barely are able to rule the southern provinces. The KSA is deathly afraid of two things: the loss of US protection and the replacement of the US by Iran as the local guarantor of stability and security.
The KSA has boxed itself into a corner: for years it undermined any project of Arab unity while at the same time allowing the most rigid interpretation of Sunni Islam to flourish. Now that the Arab world finds itself in total disarray after decades of infighting, the KSA has a colossal task to try to revive it. It cannot use the Islamist card for it will be outflanked by both militant Shia Iran and HA as well as by Salafist Jihadists. My reading of Mr. Attwan and Mr. Avnery tell me that all this talk in Israel that they do not want to have war with Syria and that there are no threats from Syria is intended to throw sand in the face of the Arabs. War is coming not because Olmert-Barak want it but because the US wants it. It has not recovered from the loss in last year’s war with HA. The US does not want cooperation from Syria but total subservience just like Jordan and Egypt.
Finally to all the honorable members that comment on this blog, I do not believe that personal issues are at stake here. No body gives a hoot about Mr. Hariri and who killed him. The game is to use the murder to score points and advance one’s agenda.
I will finish by another old Damascene proverb: ” Among the wandering nomads there is no honor and no shame “.

August 19th, 2007, 2:22 am


Bakri said:

Observer ,the shias are 10 % in the arabian middle east and their power is exagerated by the media …in case of a open and general shia sunni war in the region ,the shias of lebanon will be defeated in few days .In iraq the problem is other and shias are leaving iraq in big number as the other iraqis(and specially the educated people amongst them)….and if they leave their country so it means that there is something wrong in south iraq .the hard equation in the middle east are not the regimes ,not the minorities but the arab sunni people who are the silent masses .

August 19th, 2007, 2:34 am


norman said:

Bakri, It is amazing that you think that numbers have anything to do with winning or losing , Israel is about 6 Million people and able to stand to how many Sunni Arabs , you tell me . what matters is the resolve of the combatants and for that the Shias have that resolve while the Sunni do not.

August 19th, 2007, 2:52 am


Bakri said:

Norman do u think that the small million of shia lebanese backed by the alawite minority will be capable to face the 100 millions of people in the region ?Because the hatred towards shias is increasing fast thanks to the iranian policy in Iraq dont thinks for the next 3 or 5 years but in the middle long run.Hezballah as it is now has no future,if they want to be accepted in the region they should stop their loyalty to hostile regimes,before 1982 most of hezballah members collaborated with the israeli forces ,this is the problem with the minorities.
in fact ,if with both american and iranian support and the killing of more than 600 000 iraqis they are not able to dominate Iraq it means what it means.

August 19th, 2007, 2:59 am


norman said:

Bakri , most of the killing in Iraq is done by your fellow Sunnis ( Al qaeda) , most the millions in the region are with Syria and Hezbollah not with the defeatist The Saudis , Jordanians and Egyptians.

August 19th, 2007, 3:17 am


Bakri said:

Norman,why did you forget Iran ?Dont forget the song ,Syria,Iran and Hezballah.should i add the middle eastern christians in that equation ?

August 19th, 2007, 3:22 am


Majhool said:


No one is venting here, I am actually listening great Bossa-Nova music and sipping beer and munching on “fosto2”..tfadalli. It’s kind of sad that if one seeks improvement it’s assumed that one is venting!!!

You also assmumed somehow, that I am pro regime change “American style” let me assure you that I am not. In fact i would rather Bashar ( President Dr. Bashar el- Assad el mufadda tez3ali) to remain the president for the end of his term and even for an additional one if he does the right things.

I belief that uncoditional support is counter productive and needs to be replaced with conditional support. Simply put, we have to keep rehashing the fact that they suck and that they need to do better. I call that accountablity.

THe lack of accountablity is something that indeed upsets my peace. I do analyze the situation objectively and no matter how i spin it i always come to the conclusion that the only viable solution is to creat an acountable system in Syria.rebuild faith in the system and get everyone to help out. I see that lacking today. Also, you base all your assumptions that somehow the intentions of the regime are indeed good and in-line with people’s interest. I believe that need to be verified.

Power will always be abused if not checked. and if you could please point out an objective mechanisim to do so then i will be greatful.

If the label a supporter of a dictator bothers you, then kindly provide me with your definition of a dictator and point out to me how Assad is not one then i will accept it.

My definition is that if you support a system that puts the country’s intellectuals in prison, and intentionally keeps emergency laws in the country for 40+ years only to stay in power then you are indeed a dictator lover.

August 19th, 2007, 3:42 am


Majhool said:

There is a lot of Sunni Bashing in this site (Norman & Ausamma). this is disturbing coming out od Pro-Syrian Regime commentators. Syria’s Majoriy is sunni. makes one you wonder how representative the “regime” is. Alex, I say this agitates confessional tensions and should not be published.

Alex, bisharafak, could you you please recommend a word to use instead of “regime” I am tired of using it however it cannot be “goverment” since goverment autocrats have no real power and they are not the ones in question. Thanks..

August 19th, 2007, 3:51 am


norman said:

Bakri , Add Hamas.

August 19th, 2007, 4:00 am


norman said:

Majhool , Nobody against the Sunni or any other group , You and Bakri seem to look at everything as Sunni VS everybody else except the US , Apparently you like what it is doing to the Palestinians , stop dividing the Syrian between Sunni and Shaia and Christians and others and start addressing your complains and your solutions ,Corruption in Syria not limited to the Shaia , Christians but involves Sunni too ,Most known one is Khadam , the problem is lack of accountability and that come from a single party System that needs to change but first political maturity needs to take hold where the advancement of the country is more important than ones self interest.

August 19th, 2007, 4:14 am


Bakri said:

Norman ,again this the problem with the people suffering from the minority complex of course not all the christians are like that ,you are very changeable and not honnest with your compatriots.if you were a palestinian christian you would be anti hamas for sure.

August 19th, 2007, 4:21 am


Majhool said:

Norman, I am going to ingnore your meaningless and false accusations plus let me assure you that khaddam (yet another thug) does not represent the sunni community in any way shape way or form and let me reminde you that Khaddam is a mere product of the Assad system.

I am going to welcome your acknowledgment that the problem is the lack of accountablity , the one party system, and let me add also the police state style governing.

We differ in that I believe the regime fights in all ways possible any opportunity for the society to develope that poltical maturnace that you seek. they imprison the intellectuals ( are they also not mature?) denies civil socity organaizations from being effective and does not allow for leaderships to emerge unless it’s crroupt and loyal.

They seek for the status quo to remain in effect. basically either the police state or ubrupt chaos.

How about if they start lifting emergency laws gradually, let’s say one muhafaza at a time to ensure that judicial/police could fill the vaccum? if one can demonstrate to me that we are actively seeking this goal then I am all on board.

August 19th, 2007, 4:36 am


Alex said:

So I came back home after listening to lots of Bossa Nova, like my friend Majhool.

Majhool: where is the insult in what I said? … some people agree with Bashar’s support of Hamas and Iraqi Sunnis and Hizbollah, but they hate him anyway … because he is an Alawite and becasue he is the son of Hafez Asaad. Is this wrong?

I did not say that ALL those who dislike Bashar are from this type. I started my list (of types) with those who dislike Bashar because he leads an authoritarian regime.

I know you would love to believe that ALL those who hate Bashar are democracy lovers who are secular, open minded, future democrats .. but the fact is, they are not ALL from this type.

Bakri, I like how you are not trying to be too politically correct anymore… just a little bit.

So let me remove the remaining thin polish from your recent comments and then reply to your rough warning:

You are basically saying that you can’t wait to see the day when the Sunnis will take over Syria so that those Christians who sided so publicly with the Alawites (the other insignificant minority) because they were scared from a potentially extreme Sunni majority rule, will pay the price for their choices.

You know, Syrian Christians do not have any piece of the pie under Bashar’s leadership .. Hafez used to have some influential Christian advisors .. now there is no one.

Do we care? .. not really. Syrian Christians are overwhelmingly pro Bashar (not necessarily the regime)

This is a time when the whole Middle East can possibly blow up in your face (I am in Canada)… Syrian Christians are concerned with regional stability and with the way Muslims in the area are becoming more susceptible to Saudi Wahabi influence or to Iranian religious extremism.

Let me explain to you our “minority complex” … we believe in the separation of state and religion … anything else in the Middle East will lead to conflicts… We don’t want Syria to end up another Saudi Arabia or Iran.

The authoritarian regime we have today is light years ahead of you in that respect. Your politically correct statements of respecting minorities (from few months ago) morphed into threats to those of us who have “minority complex”

Last month Bilal (another polite “majority” democracy lover) ended up writing “let them go to hell … and they WILL go to hell” .. that was in reference to those who were drinking wine in a restaurant near the Umayyad mosque.

One last important point: your types are not really the majority … I believe that a majority of Syrian Sunnis is much more tolerant. You come from a 15% to 25% extremist minority … some of you know exactly what you stand for and you proudly announce it publicly .. others (like you and Bilal) like to believe that you are civilized and westernized and open minded… you are not.

If you think that you are a majority, it is because only the angry ones (like you) are vocal… The satisfied ones are not interested in politics … they are either watching Nanci Ajram or busy earning their living.

August 19th, 2007, 5:53 am


Bakri said:

The satisfied ones are not interested in politics … they are either watching Nanci Ajram or busy earning their living

Yes Alex this is an another proof that show the enemity towards the syrian culture which is basicaly Sunni muslim and Middle eastern christian that add more validity to what i said above that’s why the alawite regime is working hard to promote this kind of culture amongst the syrians and is trying to propagate shia’ism with the help of the iranian regime amonsgt the poor isolated shawaya of northern badia.But dont be happy with it ,because the most dangerous people for you are the reverted ,be sure that they will not be nancy’s or haifa’s fans for long time in their lives.

asad is not eternal ,we the people are.

August 19th, 2007, 6:12 am


Alex said:


There will always be people busy earning their living, and there will always be people who prefer to download the latest sexy pop star mp3 instead of spending Saturday night discussing politics … we can’t blame everything on the regime.

Anyway, here is the latest headline:

مصدر مسؤول يعرب عن أسفه لما جاء فى بيان المصدر المسؤول فى حكومة المملكة العربية السعودية بشأن تصريحات منسوبة للسيد الشرع

And with that clarity, we can all leave it to “them” to communicate.

August 19th, 2007, 6:25 am


Bakri said:

Alex ,this is the kind of moslems you like ,depraved weak corrupted ….say it clearly…..à la Tlass

This show the level of your hatred towards Islam in general ….and as you know ,we are the most tolerant muslim in the world and you are fearing us….Alex you have no future in Syria ..

August 19th, 2007, 6:30 am


Alex said:


I have no future in Syria, you are right. I am in Canada.

The Muslims I like? … how about our friend here Ford Prefect? … Rime Allaf? Murhaf Jouejati? Bashar Assad? Imad Moustapha?

I like them all.

August 19th, 2007, 6:37 am


Alex said:

Arab officials tell Israel that Syria is not planning to attack
By Amos Harel, Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents

Two friendly Arab countries have told Israel that Syria is not planning to attack in the coming months. The messages were relayed by senior-level officials and are based in part on talks with the officials’ Syrian counterparts.

This is part of a broader effort by moderate Arab states to contain the tension emerging between Jerusalem and Damascus.

Meanwhile, Syria has received 10 batteries of advanced anti-aircraft missiles, Russian sources say. This is the first in a series of shipments that are to include 36 such batteries.

The anti-aircraft missiles are part of a $900 million arms deal, Moscow’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Friday, citing Russian military industry sources.

August 19th, 2007, 6:37 am


Bakri said:

Alex,dont pollute these names with bashar’s name ,it does blotch.

August 19th, 2007, 6:45 am


Bakri said:

Alex but this not your fault,you are not free to say openly what you think because they know your true name ,the best you can is to play the tightrope walker.
In my opinion , the architect of an intelligent project as Creative Syria cant be so easy going.

Your case is understandable and personnaly i have nothing against you.

August 19th, 2007, 7:03 am


Alex said:


They also know Rime Allaf’s name. She is now enjoying her summer vacation in Syria. She wrote some of the harshest criticism of the regime and of Bashar personally.

August 19th, 2007, 7:22 am


Bakri said:

Alex ,it is unpredictable with this regime ,we are all potential targets,you know what in the end was the destiny of brave syrians of inside …for example michel kilo and friends.

August 19th, 2007, 7:39 am


Bakri said:

Dear Alex,

Some mistakes in mideastimage old aleppo’s gallery.

The pics above show Sheikh Abu Bakr Tkiyeh , and not Al Firdous Madrassa

August 19th, 2007, 10:47 am


Bakri said:

The beautiful complex with copolas (sufi zawya of the kilani sheikhs ,palaces and with norias)see it in the first page of mideastimage ,the alawites militias of hafez ans rifaat killed nearly 300 of Kilani familly members ,the palaces ,the zawya and the norias and all the district were razed to ground in 1982.

Another beautiful view of the kilani quarter taken by the french jesuit Joseph Delore in 1925 from the citadel of Hama.

August 19th, 2007, 11:11 am


Alex said:

Thanks Bakri. You are right at least with the second photos I listed as al Fardos Madrasa. It is indeed the Sheikh Abu Bakr Tkieh. You might be right for the first photo too.

As for Hama … yes, it is sad that we lost many wonderful people and places.

But we need to learn the right lesson and move on … even Geagea and Jumblatt (not the wisest people) are now allies after each killed over 10,000 of the other’s people. I’m sure we can do better.

August 19th, 2007, 4:52 pm


Majhool said:

I read sunnis-christians-alawite quite a lot here and it botheres me.

These are big religious communities and unless an overwhilming majority are in support of a leader/homogeneous political position for example Shia and alwaite communities in Lebanon/Syria respectively we should not lump the entire community to bunch of extremists. This particually the case among Christians and Sunnis they don’t adhere to one kind of politics and it would be a grave mistake to tie them all Qayda, Bashar lovers, etc..

Also let’s try to add the word community before suuni, alwite, etc..


August 19th, 2007, 5:17 pm


Alex said:


Fine but ..

مشان الله خلصلنا المقالة المنتظرة

: )

August 19th, 2007, 5:23 pm


Majhool said:

will be ready in 3 hours..

August 19th, 2007, 5:30 pm


Bakri said:

Bro i’m sure both are Sheikh Abu Bakr,in al Fardous Madrassa the minaret is build above the iwan and the building is homogeneous and symmetric.And in the picture look at the windows ,it’s clearly ottoman architecture…al Fardous is Ayyoubi.

August 20th, 2007, 10:43 am


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