Stocks Prices are Up – Peace is Down

The Damascus Stock Exchange traded shares worth over half a million SYP today for the first time. There were eight trades of 667 Shares valued at SYP 578,139 OR $12,500. 3 OF THE 4 companies traded rose by the limit of 2%.

Damascus Journal: Syria Finds Right Ingredients to Start a Stock Market From Scratch

“It’s a baby that will grow,” said Abdullah Dardari…. Some analysts have even suggested that Syria’s economic challenges will force it to make such a deal. But interviews with Syrian officials here make clear they do not see it that way.

“Syria, no matter how bad the economy, will not bargain,” Mr. Dardari said. “In the 1980s we used to have to queue for Kleenex, but we did not bargain.”

Mr. Dardari and others say the American sanctions have had only a minor effect on Syria, which has little direct trade with the United States. Europe is far more significant, and Syria is eagerly pursuing a trade agreement with the European Union that is likely to be signed this year. Trade with Turkey — perhaps Syria’s closest ally — is also growing, to almost $2 billion in 2008 from less than $500 million in 2004.

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Minister Dismisses Peace Effort

Assad: ‘Through war or peace we’ll free Golan’

Syria offers Israel chance to avoid war, PressTV

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Israeli policies encourage “resistance”, which only ensures that the day will come when Syria will free the Golan Heights “through peace or through war”.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 14:13:35 GMT
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says all Israeli governments have pursued hawkish policies only to give rise to the philosophy of resistance.

In an interview with the al-Sharq newspaper on Thursday, Assad said there is enough evidence to assume that Tel Aviv will never seek peace.

“All Israeli governments are the same: Ariel Sharon carried out a massacre in Palestine, and [Ehud] Barak aided the war in Gaza in that there is no difference between the right and the left in Israel,” he explained. “This enemy does not want peace.”

Assad described how normal citizens have grown tired of the sixty years of Israeli efforts to grab more land and occupy other territories.

“From the war of Palestine (in 1948) to the occupation of the Golan (in the Six Day War in 1967) people are becoming more hostile towards Israel. There may come a generation that is unwilling to talk peace,” he said.

His remarks are considered a reaction to a Thursday announcement by Israel’s new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman — who ruled out the possibility of Israel withdrawing from the Golan Heights.

“There is no cabinet resolution regarding negotiations with Syria, and we have already said that we will not agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights,” said Lieberman in an interview with Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

“Whoever thinks that he will achieve something by way of concessions – no, he will only invite more pressure and more wars. If you want peace, prepare for war,” he added.

Israel captured the Golan Heights following the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed the Syrian territory in 1981.

Under the auspices of Turkey, Israel and Syria last May launched peace talks aimed at reaching a comprehensive peace agreement.

Negotiations reached a stalemate in September after the resignation of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.

Syria then withdrew from the talks in protest at the latest Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip — in late December 2008 and January 2009 — where at least 1,330 Palestinians lost their lives to the three-week carnage.

“When a citizen loses hope – he will turn to the path of resistance, in one from or the other,” Assad reacted to the new Israeli stance.

“What is the alternative?” he asked. “The parallel route to the peace process is resistance. The Israeli will not come by his own will, so there is no alternative but for him to overcome fear.”

“There is no escaping the fact that the day will come when we will free the Golan, through peace or through war,” he explained.

Observer gives us these pronouncements of Avi Lieberman

  • In 1998, Lieberman called for the flooding of Egypt by bombing the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egyptian support for Yasser Arafat.
  • In 2001, as Minister of National Infrastructure, Lieberman proposed that the West Bank be divided into four cantons, with no central Palestinian government and no possibility for Palestinians to travel between the cantons.
  • In 2002, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Lieberman in a Cabinet meeting saying that the Palestinians should be given an ultimatum that “At 8am we’ll bomb all the commercial centers … at noon we’ll bomb their gas stations … at two we’ll bomb their banks …”
  • In 2003, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Lieberman called for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses to take them there.
  • In May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan that called for the transfer of Israeli territory with Palestinian populations to the Palestinian Authority. Likewise, Israel would annex the major Jewish settlement blocs on the Palestinian West Bank. If applied, his plan would strip roughly one-third of Israel’s Palestinian citizens of their citizenship. A “loyalty test” would be applied to those who desired to remain in Israel. This plan to trade territory with the Palestinian Authority is a revision of Lieberman’s earlier calls for the forcible transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel from their land. Lieberman stated in April 2002 that there was “nothing undemocratic about transfer.”
  • Also in May 2004, he said that 90 percent of Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens would “have to find a new Arab entity” in which to live beyond Israel’s borders. “They have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost,” he said.
  • In May 2006, Lieberman called for the killing of Arab members of Knesset who meet with members of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.’

Turkey and Armenia Pave Way for Historic Accords:Neighbors’ Bid to Open Border and Establish Ties Could Sideline Genocide Dispute, Improve Security for Fuel Pipeline to West. Turkey and Armenia could soon announce a deal aimed at reopening their border and restoring relations, according to diplomats, a move that could help stabilize a region that’s increasingly important as a transit route for oil and gas. The timing of the deal is being choreographed with the schedule of U.S. President Barack Obama, who visits Turkey next week, these people say.

Petraeus Says Israel Might Choose to Attack Iran

“..Mr Gates said he does not expect Israel – which believes the US estimate for when Iran could develop a nuclear weapon is too sanguine – to take military action this year. “I guess I would say I would be surprised…if they did act this year,” said Mr Gates…”

UN Hariri court seeks Beirut file

An international court in the Hague has asked Lebanon to hand over documents relating to the murder of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri.

The UN-backed tribunal also asked for a list of all suspects Lebanon is holding in connection with the 2005 killings.

The court has been set up to try those suspected of being behind the blast which killed Mr Hariri and 22 others.

The court’s Canadian prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, has until the end of April to ask the Lebanese authorities for suspects to be transferred to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.He has said he would submit an indictment when satisfied that he had sufficient evidence.

The requests bring the tribunal closer to asking Lebanon to hand over four of the suspects within weeks.

The ruling, issued on Monday but only just made public, asked the Lebanese judicial authorities to “defer to the tribunal’s competence” in the Hariri case, the AFP news agency reported.

It requested that Beirut “as soon as possible and at the latest within 14 days of receiving this order, refer to the prosecutor the results of the investigation and a copy of the court’s records regarding the Hariri case”.

Mr Hariri’s allies have accused Syria of involvement in his death, a charge Damascus denies.

Iraq Seeks F16 as Protection Against Iran and Syria

The commander of the Iraqi air force Anwar Ahmad, currently in Washington, said Iraq wants to buy a squadron of F16 fighter aircrafts of the type C/D Block 50/52, currently being assembled for Poland, Israel, Greece and Pakistan. Subject to Parliament’s approval, Iraq would like to eventually buy as many as 96 jets, and to have the first two jets flown by Iraqi pilots by 2012.

General Ahmad said that the jets are required to face the probable dangers from Iran in addition to dangers from Syria which has become “a gateway to terrorists” who seek to undermine the government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Comments (34)

Akbar Palace said:

Observer, Professor Josh,

Thank you for posting the past comments of the current Israeli FM.

They are very troubling. Fortunately it is mostly hot air and bluster.

BTW – How did the following events affect you?:

Assad awards convicted murderer Kuntar Syria’s highest medal

Hamas TV – Farfour’s Path of Martyrdom, Jihad

The Road From Damascus,9171,961424,00.html

Once again, I commend you on your “objectivity” and “balance”.

April 3rd, 2009, 11:32 am


Chris said:

Akbar Palace,

Something tells the peace studies professor Joshua Landis is far more interested in highlighting American and Israeli transgressions than crticizing the dictatorship in Syria.

He reminds me of David Lesch.

April 3rd, 2009, 12:14 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Cut Professor Josh some slack. Co-Directing “Peace Studies” is a tough job (especially in the case of Syria).

April 3rd, 2009, 1:22 pm


trustquest said:


In the fourth article below David Schenker writes in The Los Angeles Times:

Reports from Damascus say Syria’s leading dissident, Riad Seif, 62, is on his deathbed. He is in Adra prison as punishment for attending a meeting of pro-democracy groups in Damascus. Seif is the most respected member of Syria’s dwindling secular, democratic opposition to the iron-fisted rule of Assad and his Alawite clan. Syrian President Bashar Assad has prohibited him from seeking treatment abroad, a restriction Seif once called “a slow death sentence.”

As the Obama administration prepares to resume diplomatic engagement with Damascus, Seif’s plight is a poignant reminder of the abysmal state of human rights in Syria. During the George W. Bush era, the White House devoted at least rhetorical importance to the cause: Bush publicly mentioned Seif at least three times. It would be a mistake for Obama to sweep human rights under the rug.

Seif’s 21-year-old son, Iyad, has already died under “mysterious circumstances.”

April 3rd, 2009, 1:36 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Despite the list of “offensive” remarks by the “ultra-nationist”, “hard-line”, “ultra right-wing” Israeli FM, Professor Daniel Pipes tell us the “rest of the story” in the following article:

Imagine that, the “fascist” FM is actually a closet peace proponent.

Who knew?

FM Lieberman’s exact words:

April 3rd, 2009, 1:58 pm


Nour said:

Yes, all “Israeli” officials are peace proponents, especially when they peacefully kill and massacre Palestinian and Lebanese civilians.

April 3rd, 2009, 2:04 pm


Nour said:

The “convicted murderer” Samir Kuntar was convicted by an illegal, illegitimate occupation court that concocted a propaganda tale in order to demonize Kuntar and the Resistance.

April 3rd, 2009, 2:10 pm


Chris said:

Welcome to Syria Comment, where Samir Kuntar is defended, Israel is put in quotes, and the “scholar” host refrains from criticizing the Baathist dictatorship.

April 3rd, 2009, 3:15 pm


Chris said:


I went to your blog. I noticed that you use the word “our” a few times to refer to Syria. I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but Syrians are not able to read your blog. All blogspot sites are blocked in Syria. The baathist dictatorship’s control over the media also prevents people from using youtube and facebook, among other sites.

On the other hand, I noticed that for you Syria includes: Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Cyprus (a lot of non-Arabs for baathis state). Apparently you not only don’t recognize Israel’s independence, but you also don’t recognize the independence of Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Cyprus as well. This may be common in Syria. In any case, in those countries blogspot pages are accessible. This is because Syria is by far the most repressive state among those countries. So, in this case, the use of the word “our” might not be erroneous. As it is only the Syrians from the state that is commonly called Syria who cannot view blogspot pages, those other “Syrian” such as those living in Tel Aviv, can view your site. However, they might not know that you including them when you refer to Syria and use the word our.

In the end, don’t expect too much traffic on your site from people in Damascus. Canadians, perhaps.

April 3rd, 2009, 3:46 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

“Peace is Down” ? What Peace?

The peace of Walid Mu’alem, who said on AlJezeera that Israel has
to “return” the Golan + to withdraw to ’67 line + give more territories
+ “palestinian state” + (listen to this:) “right” of “return” to all
“palestinian” “refugees” … ( !!!@!!! )… !!!
Syria will give “peace” .. and some arrangements concerning water issues.

With “peace” like this I prefer war.

April 3rd, 2009, 5:33 pm


Nour said:


First of all, I don’t confine my terminology to that defined to us by western colonialists, so your words are basically meaningless to me. The Syrians are those people of the region that has been called by some “The Fertile Crescent.” We are all Syrians, and the artificial entities created by France and England on our land will never negate this reality.

Second, I believe in the true independence of all those entities you mentioned because I believe that independence, along with freedom and sovereignty, does not mean isolation and division, but rather means the true ability of a nation to act freely and independently in service of its own interests. This is not the case today in any of the entities you mentioned, which is why none are truly independent.

Third, whether or not blogspot sites are accessible in the Syrian Arab Republic is the least of my concerns. There are many things that the regime of the Syrian Arab Republic does which I completely oppose, and I have criticized and attacked their entire system on more than one occasion. I frankly believe that the whole system needs a complete overhaul and that Baathist rule in Syria has been tremendously destructive. However, I am not willing to cozy up to those who work for our destruction for the sake of spiting the Baathists. Nor am I willing to work to destabilize Syria for the sake of removing the Baathists from power without regard for what comes after. In any case, many of our people on the ground are working to improve conditions and bring real change to the Syrian Arab Republic. And there have been many changes that are palpable to many of us Syrians but which people like you don’t know and don’t care about.

Finally, I will always put “Israel” in quotes because I will never recognize the so-called “right” to establish an exclusively Jewish state on our land. And the fairy tale fabricated by illegal, illegitimate occupation forces against Samir Quntar is not something I am willing to continue to spread in service of the usurping entity, and I know this troubles you greatly. However, there are people like you on SC who go out of their way to defend “Israeli” massacres and rationalize “Israeli” crimes against civilians. So to make such a statement about SC is academically dishonest to say the least.

April 3rd, 2009, 8:17 pm


majid said:

President Obama displays extraoridnary respect to King of KSA. It is obvious to anyone with doubt who is the leading leader of the Middle East:

الصحافة الغربية انشغلت بتحليلها
انحناءة أوباما للعاهل السعودي تثير ريبة معارضيه من علاقته بالمسلمين

الرئيس الأمريكي قام بانحناءة “كاملة” للملك عبد الله

أثارت انحناءة الرئيس الأمريكي باراك أوباما للعاهل السعودي الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز عند لقاءه به على هامش قمة العشرين بلندن ضجة صحفية واسعة الجمعة 3-4-2009 في الصحف الأوربية، والتي تساءلت عن أسرار هذه الانحناءة غير التقليدية والتي لم يقم بها أوباما مع أي شخصية أخرى قابلها على هامش القمة بما في ذلك ملكة بريطانيا.

وفيما بدت الانحناءة محاولة بريئة من الرئيس الأمريكي لإظهار احترامه وتقديره للملك عبد الله في لقائهم الأول، كما هو واضح من الفيديو الذي تم بثه على يوتيوب وشاهده مئات الآلاف من الناس، إلا أن عشرات الصحف الأوروبية والأمريكية وغيرها قامت بتحليل ما حصل من زوايا متعددة.

وشن المحافظون اليمينيون في الولايات المتحدة حملة إعلامية على الرئيس أوباما بسبب طريقة التحية التي قدمها أوباما للملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز، وقال أحدهم على قناة تلفزيونية محلية بولاية نورث داكوتا الأمريكية: “لا مانع من إظهار الاحترام ولكنك لا تتصرف وكأنك الأقل مستوى، الرئيس بوش لم يكن ليفعل ذلك”. وقال معلق آخر بأن العرب يفهمون الانحناء بأنه استسلام وخضوع لمن ينحنى له، وهم الآن يفهمون ما فعله الرئيس أوباما بهذا الشكل. وقال آخر بأن هذا الأمر زيادة في التودد للعرب الذين كان يتودد لهم الرئيس بوش بأقل من ذلك وكنا نعترض على هذا التودد الذي لم يزد عن إمساكه بيد الملك.

وهاجم غاري باور المرشح الجمهوري الرئاسي السابق أوباما قائلا بأنه “يتودد للمسلمين بشكل مثير للريبة، وهذا بدأ مع حوار العربية الحصري، وشمل جهوده لتعيين مسلمين في البيت الأبيض، والآن هذه الانحناءة”

من جهة أخرى، دافعت خبيرة في الإتيكيت عن الرئيس أوباما قائلة في تصريح لجريدة “سيدني هيرالد مورنينج” الأسترالية: “الانحناء هي علامة احترام ولا تدل على أن الرئيس أوباما يعطي تعظيما للملك يجعله في مستوى أقل منه. لقد زرت السعودية من قبل ولبست العباءة وتصرفت بما تستدعيه التقاليد، وأنا أحيي الرئيس أوباما على هذه اللفتة المميزة”.

وهاجم إعلامي آخر المحافظين قائلا بأنهم يحاولون التقاط أي صغيرة أو كبيرة للهجوم على أوباما الذي حقق شعبية واسعة في أوروبا بسبب أريحيته وحرصه على بناء الصلات مع الجميع.

وكان الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز والرئيس أوباما قد ناقشا في اجتماعهما بلندن مساهمة السعودية في معالجة الأزمة الاقتصادية العالمية، والتعاون لمكافحة الإرهاب، كما ثمن أوباما مبادرة الملك عبد الله لحل مشكلة الشرق الأوسط وأكد دعمه لها

April 3rd, 2009, 11:08 pm


Nour said:

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

There’s a saying in Arabic that says: Why do they take the donkey to the wedding? To make him carry things.

That’s what Abdallah’s role is. Or you actually believe that Abdallah is truly admired and sought after at the G20 summit because of his vast knowledge in international economics?

April 4th, 2009, 1:21 pm


SimoHurtta said:

Noam Sheizaf, who works for Maariv, has translated portions of the interview of Ben Zion Netanyahu (PM’s father) in his blog Promised Land. The prime minister’s office tried to prevent this interview from being published. Lucky they did not succeed.

Part 1
Prof. Netanyahu: “The Jews and the Arabs are like two goats facing each other on a narrow bridge. One must jump to the river – but that involves a danger of death. The strong goat will make the weaker one jump… and I believe the Jewish power will prevail.”

Q: What does the Arab’s jump mean?

A: “That they won’t be able to face [anymore] the war with us, which will include withholding food from Arab cities, preventing education, terminating electrical power and more. They won’t be able to exist, and they will run away from here. But it all depends on the war, and whether we will win the battles with them.”

Q: I suppose you don’t believe in the peace process.

A: “I don’t see any signs that the Arabs want peace… we will face fierce attacks from the Arabs, and we must react firmly. If we don’t, they will go on and Jews will start leaving the country… we just handed them a strong blow in Gaza, and they still bargain with us over one hostage… if we gave them a blow that would really hurt them, they would have given us Gilad Shalit back.”

Q: Operation “cast Lead” was one of the worst blows we handed on a civilian population.

A: “That’s not enough. It’s possible that we should have hit harder.”

Q: You don’t like the Arabs, to say the least.

A: “The bible finds no worse image than this of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases.
The tendency towards conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetuate war.”

Q: Is there any hope of peace?

A: “Out of agreement? No. the other side might stay in peace if it understands that doing anything [else] will cause it enormous pain.

The two states solution doesn’t exist. There are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.”

Q: So what’s the solution?

A: “No solution but force… strong military rule. Any outbreak will bring upon the Arabs enormous suffering. We shouldn’t wait for a big mutiny to start, but rather act immediately with great force to prevent them from going on…

If it’s possible, we should conquer any disputed territory in the land of Israel. Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war. We should conquer Gaza, and parts of the Galil, and the Golan. This will bring upon us a bloody war, since war is difficult for us – we don’t have a lot of territory, while the Arabs have lots of space to retreat to. But that’s the only way to survive here.”

There is valuable experience [on this matter] we don’t pay notice to. I mean the Ottoman rule over the Arabs. The Turks ruled over the Arabs for 400 years, and there was peace and quiet everywhere. The Arabs hated the Ottomans, but every little thing they did brought mass killings and hanging in towns squares. They were hanging people in Damascus, and Izmir… every town had hanging posts in its center…the Arabs were so badly beaten, they didn’t dare revolt. Naturally, I don’t recommend the use of hangings as a show of force like the Turks did, I just want to show that the only thing that might move the Arabs from the rejectionist position is force.”

Part 2
On the peace process:

Prof. Netanyahu: “The problem with the Left is that it thinks that the war with the Arabs is like all the wars that nations around the world are conduction. These wars end with a compromise after one side wins or after both sides get tired from war and understand that victory is not possible. But in the Arabs’ case, their nature and character won’t allow any compromise. When they talk of compromise, it’s a way of deceiving. They want to make the other side stop doing its best efforts and fall into the trap of compromising. The Left helps them with that goal”

Q: If compromise replaces war, what is the damage?

A: “compromise is not realistic. It weakens our positions and brings us to a state of limpness, of false believes, of illusions. Every illusion is weakening.”

Q: What is your position regarding Syria? There are those who claim that Netanyahu will try to advance there.

A: “I would not return the Golan Hight. We conquered the Golan because the Arabs were shooting from these mountains and killing our farmers across the Jordan River. And anyway, you don’t give back land that was conquered in war, and for which we spilled our blood. It should be clear that parts of the Land of Israel that will fall into our hands – we will defend our right to hold them until all generations end. You don’t return land, just like you don’t return people.”

Regarding the Arab citizens of Israel:

“We don’t have a real partnership with them. The Arab citizens’ goal is to destroy us. They don’t deny that they want to destroy us. Except for a small minority who is willing to live with us under certain agreements because of the economical benefits they receive, the vast majority of the Israeli Arabs would chose to exterminate us if they had the option to do so. Because of our power they can’t say this, so they keep quiet and concentrate in their daily life.

I think we should speak to the Israeli Arabs in the language they understand and admire – the language of force. If we act with strength on any crime they act, they will understand we show no forgiveness. Had we used this language from the start, they would have been more careful.

I am talking about strength that is based on justice. They should know that we will keep a just attitude towards them, but a tough one. You don’t kill or hurt people or deny their right to make a living just like that. In the villages that we rule, we need to grant them all the rights – infrastructure, and transportation and education… but they have to give things in return. If the teachers are inciting the students, we should close the schools and expel the teachers… we should keep their rights, but also ours.”

April 4th, 2009, 2:17 pm


majid said:

NOUR is still day dreaming about Cyprus being part of Syria for over a century. She thinks she can comment on those who are regarded by all the world as key world leaders. You love donkeys so muc, don’t you?. Is that why you’re keen on getting Cyprus. Cypriot donkeys are the best, aren’t they?. As if you don’t have enough where you are!!!

April 4th, 2009, 4:10 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

If to link between SimoHurtta’s comment about prof. Netaniyahu,
and the delusional NOUR:

Let me ask NOUR:
Where was your greater Syria (Cyprus inc.) during the 400 years of Ottoman empire?
Why didn’t you try to establish it then ?
You wasted 400 years for nothing.

April 4th, 2009, 6:02 pm


Chris said:

If Nour can erase Israel from her map and widen Syria to include Cyprus and Iraq, then I can do the same.

There are few things I love more than camping on the beach in Baja California, Mexico. So, I’m going to erase the border between where I’m from, California, and absorb Baja California into the U.S. Abracadabra… Done. Let’s call if Greater California. Now I hope the U.S. border patrol are notified of my decision and will cease their illegal activity.

April 4th, 2009, 6:23 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I am critical of the rule in Syria, but when I go to syria,I never felt that Syria but a free country,and I felt completely safe,,on the other hand,Israel, killed Gaza people,and have more than six thousand palastinian prisoner in jail,acused falsely.
This is to show that Syria is not most repressive country, as some zionists try to say, but it is Israel who is the most repressive.
Allof palastine,from the sea to the river is part of greater Syria.

April 4th, 2009, 6:54 pm


Nour said:


Why didn’t you try to create your “Greater Israel” during the thousands of years that “Israel” never existed? It seems you wasted all those thousands of years.


I’m not widening or narrowing Syria. Syria is a historical and sociological fact. That the western colonialists wanted to impose a new status quo on us is of no concern to me. I merely advocate for what is in the best interst of my people and I couldn’t care less what westerners believe Syria should look like. I know you believe that we “backwards” people should always sumbit to western demands and succumb to their wishes, which is why you have no problem with westerners creating new maps for the region, but I hate to break it to you that history neither began nor will end with western hegemony. Our national unity is an inevitable occurrence, irrespective of how much that bothers you.

April 4th, 2009, 7:11 pm


norman said:

Thank you for the info above , They confirm that peace with Israel is going to be very difficult to reach.

Nour ,

I admire your insistence on Greater Syria, I just do not know why you do not consider the Arab nation as the American nation , so how do you define the American nation , not one blood , they do not even speak the same language , their history is full of conflicts and blood during the civil war and other wars , I do not see the Kurds claiming to be anything but American so do the other ethnic groups , why can not we consider Greater Syria as New England few states but part of the American nation , they are definitely not the same as the people of Tennessee ,

I think the Arab nation is composed of the people who live in the Arab land from mountains between Iraq and Iran to the Atlantic ocean and the Mountains between Syria and Turkey and the Syrian Sea (( Mediterranean )) sea and the African Sahara ,, all people in that land deserve to be equal with same obligations and preveliges.

April 4th, 2009, 8:10 pm


Nour said:


Before we decide on whether Syria is a nation or whether the Arab World as a whole constitutes a nation we have to define what a nation is based on clear sociological and scientific standards. I don’t have time in this post to go over the entire process of nation formation, but to summarize, Saadeh, in his book “The Genesis of Nations”, defined a nation as a group of people on a particular geographic territory which, as a result of interaction and intermixing between each other as well as interaction with the land on which they live, and through a process of evolution, develops characteristics that differentiate it from other groups. The basis of nation formation according to Saadeh, therefore, is continuous interaction on a well-defined geographic territory. As we can clearly see, the Syrian homeland, called “the Fertile Crescent” by some, is in fact such a geographic territory, and historically, all groups that have lived on this territory have continuously engaged in interaction that has produced a single socio-economic life-cycle across the homeland.

The general Arab World, however, does not constitute a distinct and well-defined geographic territory, as it is a long and meandered area stretching across two continents which only shares a common language and religion due to the Arab conquests that reached all areas of this region. It is not a contiguous territory that allowed for natural interaction between the peoples that lived in its different locations, and thus has never constituted a single life-cycle across it.

However, we do recognize that all people in the Arab World do share a common history, certain common cultural characteristics, and certain common interests. Therefore, the SSNP has made it part of its aim the endeavor to create an Arab Front that would act as a barrier against foreign threats that target the region as a whole. If this leads to the creation of a single political entity across the Arab World eventually, we have no problem with that, as long as we understand that we are a distinct nation and that such an undertaking serves the interest of our nation. However, expending much of the nation’s energy into what Saadeh termed “illusory Arabism,” which is the idea that there is a single Arab nation from the ocean to the gulf, is a tremendous waste with no return. This is because the reality is that a member of the Fulani tribe in Mauritania does not have any national links to the Syrian from Damascus.

April 4th, 2009, 8:56 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


Greater Israel DID exist ( TWICE ): first there was the greater
Jewish state of David and Salomon kingdom. Second Jewish state
(even greater) existed under the Hashmonite kingdom.
Israel is the 3rd independent Jewish political entity in Holy-Land,
and probably not the last.!

Syria, on the other hand, never was. Hmmm…sorry, it was.
It was a Roman protectorate, and was given it’s name (Siria) by the Roman

The only country in our (at odds) region, that has a name which derived
from it’s own culture and history, is Israel.
All the rest ( Masr, Lubnan, Urdun, Suria, Arabia ), beside the fact
that their names are foreign Arabic , are indeed first to be found
in our Jewish Bible, that was edited and sealed some 1100 years
before the first Muslim was born in the dusty wastelands of Arabia.

April 4th, 2009, 9:26 pm


majid said:

Who are the SSNP’s? And how many do they count? few hundreds???
Who is Saadeh? And who is his mentor? Adolf Hitler??? That’s a real ‘honor’ to quote him!!!

Civilzed people are grateful to whoever condemned him to death. Unfortunately for him he didn’t live up to the same standards as his mentor and burnt himself.

April 4th, 2009, 9:29 pm


norman said:

Nour ,

Probably the tribe of Mauritania do not have enough contact with people of Syria , That could be because of lack of transportation , but i still think that they have more feeling for the people of Syria than the the people in Pakistan , we can say the same thing about the people of wacko / Texas and the people from New Hamsher, They are different but they are still part of the American nation , about the stretch of the land , Alaska and Hawaii are far from the mainland , They are still part of the American nation , and Nour , Islam came from Arabia not the Arabs , Islam spread in many parts of the world , like Turkey , Pakistan , Iran , India and Indonesia and others , they do not speak Arabic and they do not consider themselves Arabs while most people who live in the Arab world as i defined do and the is a major difference.

Yes the people of the Fertile crescent are more alike then so are the people of New England in the US ,

We do not see New Englanders calling for their own nation.

If the Mexican , Cubans Italians , German Oriental of all kinds , Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, , Kurds ((Wasp ))and all others can call themselves an American Nation , Then the people of the Arab world are a lot more entitled to have an Arab Nation,

Don’t you think?.

April 5th, 2009, 1:12 am


norman said:

New Currency bills in Syria,

ميالة : المصرف المركزي يستعد لطباعة اوراق نقدية جديدة

قال حاكم مصرف سورية المركزي أديب ميالة في حديث صحفي أن المصرف يستعد لطباعة وطرح أوراق نقدية جديدة بكافة فئاتها بشكل جديد حيث ستحمل على وجهها الخلفي “حضارة وتاريخ سورية وعلى الوجه الأمامي التطور والانفتاح”.


April 5th, 2009, 1:26 am


SimoHurtta said:

Greater Israel DID exist ( TWICE ): first there was the greater
Jewish state of David and Salomon kingdom. Second Jewish state
(even greater) existed under the Hashmonite kingdom.
Israel is the 3rd independent Jewish political entity in Holy-Land,
and probably not the last.

Hmmmmm Kingdom of Israel (David and Salomon) lasted from c. 1050 BCE until c. 930 BCE = 120 years.

Hmmm Hasmonean Kingdom of Israel (140–37 BCE) was actually mostly under Roman rule. Only 25 years after Maccabbee Revolt (167 BCE) there was Jewish independence.

Not a very convincing achievement Amir in Tel Aviv, a couple of hundred years of independence during 3000 years. You must have had terrible foreign “ministers” also in the past millenniums.

April 5th, 2009, 1:28 am


Nour said:


The kingdoms you mentioned existed for a couple hundred years total within a history of the region that spans almost 10,000 years. And they always existed as alien entities in continuous war against the indigenous inhabitants of the land. Moreover, they encompassed a very small area and never stretched anywhere near the whole of present-day Palestine.

Regardless of the origin of the name “Syria”, which, contrary to your inaccurate contention, was not given by the Romans, the people of this land always formed a single socio-economic unity. The name Syria was later derived from Assyria, but it is really a side issue to the main idea, which is that the people of this region form a single nation, and have done so for thousands of years. The name of France, for example, was derived from the Franks, who were one of the later groups to enter the French composite and were of Germanic origin.

In addition, the Syrian nation reached its highest political maturity under the Syrian Seleucid State, which encompassed all of Natural Syria, including Cyprus.

As for the names of our landmarks they were all given by our people and preceded the Jewish bible by thousands of years. In fact, everything in the Jewish bible was taken from us. Your very language is based on Aramaic. Our people have been on this land for thousands of years and they will continue to be there for thousands more. However, the days of your artificial, unnatural state of “Israel” are numbered just as they were for your previous Jewish states on our land.

April 5th, 2009, 1:31 am


Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Amir ya Efendi and “Nour”,

There is no archeological corroboration for the existence of the unified kingdom of David and Solomon, it is likely a myth that was created around the time of the second temple (around 500BC), when Jews returned to Palestine from Babylon and Persia, to establish a Persian client state. The myth was invented to create a rallying sense of national pride and in order to claim more land in the fertile north of the country for their new kingdom.

Jewish identity and the bible were created in Persia by the exiled Judean elite and the historiography was recruited to paint a glorious Jewish past. In practice, all archeological findings show that Judea and Israel were never united and moreover before the Babylonian exile they were indistinguishable culturally from the rest of the Canaanite cultures in the region.

Anyway Amir, let’s assume for a second that this kingdom existed and was jolly awesome, what kind of inheritance do you purport to have received from it and based on what science or political theory? It seems to me that the only thing we have inherited straight from our imagined ancestors is the ability to lay preferential claim to the land, as you do here.

April 5th, 2009, 1:13 pm


Shai said:


Then to what do we have claim, if anything? What, in fact, are the requirements for “having a claim”? Can there be such a thing as “preferential claim”, and what determines it?

April 5th, 2009, 3:15 pm


Chris said:


You wrote:
“I am critical of the rule in Syria, but when I go to syria,I never felt that Syria but a free country,and I felt completely safe,,on the other hand,Israel, killed Gaza people,and have more than six thousand palastinian prisoner in jail,acused falsely.”

It’s great that you felt free the last time you were in Syria. Perhaps after a longer stay you will get to know people better and once they feel comfortable with you they will tell you a little bit about what the dictatorship is like. When I was living in Syria, friends of mine told me about their experiences in prison, the gory details of what the security agencies did to them. More important than my anecdotes though, are the numerous reports by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Freedom House that detail at length what the regime in Damascus is doing its own people. Syria is the most repressive state in the region.

Your comparison of Israel to Syria plays right in the hands of the dictator. He doesn’t want you to criticize his policies, so it is convenient for him to distract you with stories of Gaza. As long as you are outraged at what is going on in Gaza you will have little opportunity to be outraged at the dictatorship. There is great coverage of regional events in Syria. Israel and the Palestinian territories are on the front pages of Damascus newspapers every day. Of course, what is happening in Gaza has little to do with the level of political liberty in Syria, which is zero.


“I’m not widening or narrowing Syria. Syria is a historical and sociological fact. ”

I know your Syria (which includes Iraq and Cyrus) is a fact, in the same way that Greater California is fact.

While these Greater Syria aspiration are anthropologically interesting. All of this talk can be quite dangerous, after all border disputes are a major cause of war. Is there a country in the Middle East that doesn’t have a border dispute with at least one of its neighbors?

A Harvard Phd and a former professor at the University of Chicago has published a book called, “Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition.” Parts of it can be read via google.

April 5th, 2009, 6:34 pm


Akbar Palace said:

There is no archeological corroboration for the existence of the unified kingdom of David and Solomon, it is likely a myth that was created around the time of the second temple (around 500BC), when Jews returned to Palestine from Babylon and Persia, to establish a Persian client state.

Yossi, Shai,

The only things necessary to have a unique nation or “people” is a common language or culture, and the will of the people for independence.

What’s your excuse?;)

Hag Sameach/Happy Passover!


If there was a “second” temple, when was the “first”?;)

April 5th, 2009, 7:09 pm


Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:

Then to what do we have claim, if anything? What, in fact, are the requirements for “having a claim”? Can there be such a thing as “preferential claim”, and what determines it?


There are no requirements to making a claim. Any individual or group can make claims. The question is who is the audience for the claim and how convincing the claim sounds to that audience.

So when you ask what kind of claim “we” can raise, we need to determine what “we” we’re talking about and whom we’re trying to convince with our claims. I suppose “we” could be “the Jews” or “people who live in Israel” or “Jews who live in Israel” or maybe “people who were born in Israel and their immediate relatives” etc.

For example some people say that the land of Israel belongs to Jews and Jews only, because god said so, and that would be extremely convincing to millions of Christian evangelicals and religious Jews. However the audience of greatest importance is the “international community” i.e., the intelligentsia in Europe and North America. To this audience, arguments involving a supernatural god preferring a certain group of people seem, unfortunately, quite infantile.

Another claim that “the Jews” can have to Israel is that we are the biological descendents of the original inhabitants of this land and through personal biological lineages we have inherited the same tracts of land that our biological ancestors owned, but this is also quite weak because we can’t prove it really, for a good reason that it’s probably not true. And even if it were true, it doesn’t say much because it would mean all sorts of funny things such as the Germanic people having a similar claim to India, Turks to Mongolia, Gypsies to Rajasthan etc..

Another claim that we “the Jews” can have to Israel is that the land features prominently in our collective culture and psyche. This, as a fact, is obviously true, but it’s not clear what kind of right it gives us over the land. Historically the crusaders were motivated by similar feelings and so are evangelicals today, yet somehow our longings are “genuine” while they are “nut cases”.

Finally another claim that we “the Jews” can make is that, bluntly, we are so annoying as a minority, that the world is better off creating a special country for us so they don’t have to see us every day. This was the main thrust behind the European support for the Zionist project. However, it doesn’t sound too convincing anymore… at least not in public discourse where Jews are ostensibly welcome again in Europe, as equals, although I’m sure many Europeans support Israel for this exact reason, so that we don’t “pollute” their countries any more. But regardless how attractive this argument is or was to Europeans it is nothing less than infuriating to the Arabs who were selected to receive us on their lands without their cooperation.

So to summarize so far I fail to see a convincing argument for Western intelligentsia on why “the Jews have a claim to Israel”.

Now we can move to define “we” as Jews from Arab countries and we can say that there was population transfer were “we” were kicked out of the Arab countries and the Palestinians were kicked out of Israel and into those same Arab countries. We have exchanged our respective rights in the process. Thus “we” (==Arab Jews) have a right to live in this land and to self determination and it is our will as the righteous owners of the land to let others Jews in and keep others out. Not very egalitarian policy the one “we” have selected, but it’s our business and it doesn’t come at the expense of others, as the others have gotten “our” former rights in Arab counties for their relinquishing of rights in Israel. This may be just a little bit convincing, had it been an honest portrayal of reality but, as you know, both the Palestinians and the Arab Jews were peons in this game and not the ones setting policy. The Ashkenazi Jews did not come to Israel by invitation from the Arab Jews but the other way around.

I think that the way to look at the situation in a manner that will make sense to wide audiences is to relate the Zionist experience to other colonialist experiences that, over the years, have reached a state of relative acceptance by all strata of the society, both native and descendents of settlers, e.g., the USA. We need to define “we” as “current and recently dispossessed residents of the land” and let this “we” share the country equitably.

By the way, most Israelis I spoke to over the last few days don’t make any historic claim to the land. They simply note that they control it and they wish the situation to stay this way, regardless of any sense of “right” or “justice”. The mask of pseudo-intellectual reasoning has been dropped. Now it’s just a struggle to maintain a particular lifestyle and quality of life which could well be threatened if we hit the RESET button on the definition of a new “we” I have outlined above. Many of the people I talked to do not fear sharing the land with Arabs per-se, they are afraid that their country will become lawless or a corrupt dictatorship if they let go of the reins. The behavior of many of the Arab residents in the North of Israel can be characterized as “personal mini Intifadas” where they break the law routinely with theft, reckless driving, littering and sabotaging public facilities. This behavior may have originally came from a need to protest and avenge against the Zionist but it has been destructive to the cause of co-existence and since now the Jews that once believed in co-existence (many people I talked to) are now just tired of Arabs and want to be as separate from them as possible.

April 5th, 2009, 7:37 pm


Yossi (AKA Rumyal) said:


The Jews of the world do not have a shared culture or language more than the Catholics of the world do. Nothing precludes the Catholics though from deciding tomorrow that they are actually a nation, that they need to conquer the Middle East and revive Latin as a spoken language and start celebrating a few new holidays marking the liberation of the Middle East from the hands of the Muslim infidels.

The “first temple” is the temple that reportedly existed in Jerusalem before the Babilonian exile, in the domain of the Judean kingdom, that did exist, but was never unified with the Israeli kingdom, which was destructed centuries earlier by the Assyrians. Also it is likely that the sacrifices that were raised there were not all dedicated to YHWH but to a wider pantheon of Canaanite gods.

April 5th, 2009, 7:48 pm


Shai said:


I also don’t think most Israelis are ready for a “Reset” of the new “we”. But I do think that most here still have some kind of innate feeling of having a “right” to this land, that goes beyond simply having won it though battle, or even via God’s promise to the Jews. It’s as if most do not see another option (i.e. that we do not have a legitimate “sole claim” to this land) as even a part of the set of options.

Yes, many here would use the example of the U.S., and perhaps the native Indian population that had to pay the price. The land was “up for grabs”, and a bunch of Puritans took it. Though I wonder what the U.S. would look like today, if it was the size of New Jersey, while the rest of the surrounding territory consisted of sovereign Indian states, including Canada and Mexico…

April 5th, 2009, 8:03 pm


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