Syria blames Israeli bombs for uranium traces

Syria blames Israeli bombs for uranium traces
By ALBERT AJI – 2 hours ago

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s foreign minister suggested Wednesday that Israeli bombs may be the source of uranium traces that diplomats at the U.N. nuclear agency said were found at a suspected nuclear site.

Walid al-Moallem said the diplomatic leaks about the traces found at the site, which was targeted by Israeli warplanes in September 2007, were politically motivated and aimed at pressuring Syria.

“No one has ever asked himself what kind of Israeli bombs had hit the site, and what did they contain?” said al-Moallem, adding that the United States has used bombs containing depleted uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“These media leaks are a clear-cut signal that the purpose was to pressure Syria. This means that the subject is not technical but rather political,” al-Moallem said at a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry had no comment….

Cautionary Optimism
Oxford Business Group, 11 November 2008

Reforms to the Syrian economy, in particular the opening up of its financial sector, have led to an expansion of the base of local and foreign investments, the prime minister told a conference in Damascus.

Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Al Otari told the Syrian Banking and Investment Conference, held from October 31-November 2, that economic, legislative, financial and administrative reforms have opened up the banking sector, making it one of the primary forces for development in the Syrian economy.

While much progress has been made, further reforms are continuing, including more autonomy for the Central Bank of Syria, strengthening the regulatory and monitoring controls for the country’s banking system and providing the necessary infrastructure for the financial sector, the prime minister said…

Moment of Truth for Shiite Party Over Pact
The Associated Press

The fate of an agreement that would keep U.S. troops here for three more years rests with Iraq’s largest Shiite party, which must choose between its two main partners: the United States and Iran.

Most lawmakers are waiting for that party, the Supreme Islamic Iraq Council, to take a position on the agreement, which parliament must approve by the end of the year. Only then will smaller groups, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s own Shiite party, commit to the deal or oppose it.

For the moment, all the parties are off the hook. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Monday that the government is still not satisfied and wants more talks on specifics.

But once both the Iraqi and American governments declare a draft final, it will be the moment of truth for the Supreme Council…

“We are generally supportive of the agreement,” said a Supreme Council lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “But we are in a very tight spot. If we say yes, people will say we are traitors. And if we say no, they will say we are Iranian stooges.”

Another Supreme Council lawmaker, also speaking on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said, “It is stupid to make an enemy of America.”

“Yes, Iran is a friend and an ally. But the agreement is in the national interest and we will accept it even over Iran’s objections,” the lawmaker said….

Was the U.S. Right About Syria Nukes?
By Andrew Lee Butters
Time, 11 November 2008

Given the Bush Administration’s track record, no one ought to have been surprised when much of the Middle East raised a skeptical eyebrow in response to Washington’s claim that the Syrian site bombed by Israeli warplanes in September of 2007 was part of a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. …. It turns out, however, that the Bush Administration may well have been right about the Syrian site. Diplomats from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the press on Monday that the U.N.

The findings at the Syrian site have yet to be declared in any official IAEA documentation, but whatever the conclusion of the IAEA’s investigation, the deepening suspicions toward the Assad regime are coming at an increasingly complicated moment in relations between Damascus and Washington. Late last month, U.S. special forces launched a raid into eastern Syria targeting an alleged al-Qaeda weapons smuggler. In response, the Syrian government shut down an American school and cultural center in Damascus, and forced American Fulbright scholars based at Syrian institutions to leave the country. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that the most recent raid was simply one of dozens that had been conducted on Syrian territory by U.S. special forces under secret orders signed by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld…

Lebanon and Syria tussle over Islamist militants
By Ferry Biedermann
Financial Times, 11 November 2008

Lebanon and Syria have become embroiled in a bitter war of words that runs counter to their recent political rapprochement and centres on mutual accusations of support for militant Islamist groups.

Syrian television last week broadcast what it said were the confessions of members of the Lebanon-based Fatah al-Islam faction, admitting responsibility for a bomb attack in Damascus in September that killed 17. The Lebanese authorities yesterday said they had arrested five of the militants on suspicion of involvement “in terrorist acts”.

The controversy arises from televised claims by the militants that they had been financed by Lebanon’s anti-Syrian Future movement. The movement, led by Saad Hariri, son of murdered former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, is Lebanon’s main Sunni political party…

Damascus, meanwhile, has repeatedly accused Salafi groups of involvement in violence in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad has sent about 10,000 troops to the border in what Syria says is an attempt to contain them.

Syria and Lebanon on Monday agreed to examine the possibility of better border controls between the two countries. The Lebanese minister of interior, on a visit to Damascus, agreed with his Syrian counterpart on the establishment of a joint commission to set up the mechanisms for co-ordinating the policing of the border and co-operation in the fight against terrorism…

Comments (49)

norman said:
Britain in push to bring Syria in from the cold
Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, will travel to Damascus next Monday for the highest-level political talks between Britain and Syria since Tony Blair was publicly humiliated by the Syrian President in 2001.

Seizing back the initiative from France, which has led European efforts to end Syria’s diplomatic isolation, Mr Miliband said yesterday that he had accepted Syria’s invitation as a result of an “important change in approach” by Damascus. The Foreign Secretary said he recognised the “constructive” role Syria could play in reaching a comprehensive solution for the Middle East, at a time when the Syrians have engaged in indirect talks with Israel in Turkey.

He also pointed to Syria’s establishment of diplomatic relations with its neighbour Lebanon and its efforts to curtail foreign fighters and weapons into Iraq as signs of greater co-operation by Damascus.

But the visit is not expected to produce concrete agreements and will not focus on trade issues, according to Foreign Office sources.

The Syrian embassy said the visit had been scheduled in the light of the “positive and important regional role of Syria” and came at a time of “greatly improved bilateral ties” between Syria and Britain.

Although Britain hopes that Syria can be prised away from its embrace of Iran, which arms militant Islamic factions hostile to Israel in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the Government has dropped its insistence that Syria should end its support for Hamas and Hizbollah after Damascus rejected any “preconditions” to improving relations.

The Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moualem, stressed during a visit to London two weeks ago that Syria would continue to have “very good relations” with Iran.

It is not clear whether Mr Miliband will meet President Bashar al-Assad, although he has asked to see the Syrian leader, who trained as an ophthalmologist in London.

The Blair government courted President Assad by dispatching secret envoys and government officials but the strategy did not always meet with success, as Mr Blair discovered at a press conference in Damascus in October 2001, a month after the twin towers attacks, when he was subjected to a humiliating lecture in which Mr Assad defended Palestinian suicide bombers. The following year Mr Assad was rewarded by a visit to Downing Street and tea with the Queen.

Mr Miliband said he had been pressing Syria for co-operation on counter-terrorism, Lebanon, Iraq and the Middle East peace process for the past 15 or 16 months. Both countries had expressed satisfaction at the results of the Syrian Foreign Minister’s visit to London on 27 October, the day after US special forces raided Syria, and now want to raise the relationship to “a greater degree of trust”, said a Foreign Office source.

British officials said that both the Bush administration and Israel were aware of Mr Miliband’s Syria plans.

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November 13th, 2008, 4:16 am


Qifa Nabki said:

Analysts says Fatah al-Islam ‘confessions’ aimed to bully Syria’s foes in Lebanon

Broadcast designed ‘to tarnish’ Hariri’s image during elections

By Michael Bluhm
Daily Star staff
Thursday, November 13, 2008


BEIRUT: Syria was trying to bully its antagonists in the March 14 coalition by airing on state television “confessions” of alleged Fatah al-Islam members last week linking the group to March 14’s Future Movement, a number of analysts told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

The suspects said in the broadcast that they had carried out a deadly car bombing in Damascus on September 27 and had received money from the Future Movement of parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri. Hariri, who has denied the allegations, asked Arab League chief Amr Moussa on Tuesday to form a fact-finding commission to look into the charges. Fatah al-Islam militants fought the Lebanese Armed Forces for more than three months last summer at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli.

The accusations leveled in the confessions found little traction among the analysts.

“First of all, confessions on Syrian television impress nobody,” said Hilal Khashan, chair of the department of political science and public administration at the American University of Beirut. “These confessions were obtained under duress.”

Members of the Hariri family had supported some Sunni Islamist groups in past years as a counterweight to Hizbullah, but they broke off contact with people close to Fatah al-Islam after militants tried to attack the Danish Consulate in Achrafieh in February 2006 in response to a Danish newspaper publishing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad, Khashan added.

Instead of demonstrating the complicity of Hariri’s Future Movement in terror attacks, the broadcast was more likely designed to tarnish Hariri and put pressure on him and his allies in the March 14 camp, said Paul Salem, head of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

Syria and Lebanon have recently established formal diplomatic relations, and Damascus might also be wielding the confessions as a tool to force Lebanese officials to give ground on the agendas put forth by their Syrian counterparts, said retired General Elias Hanna, who teaches political science at Notre Dame University.

In particular, Syria might be trying to push the Lebanese to sign off on the resurrection of joint security committees, a fixture during the Syrian military’s presence in Lebanon from 1976 until 2005, said Shafik Masri, professor of constitutional law. Lebanese Interior Minister Ziyad Baroud visited Damascus on Monday and agreed there only that Syrian proposals for security cooperation would require Cabinet approval. In any case, airing the confessions represented a clear breach of security and judicial protocol, Masri added.

“It bypassed all the proper channels of any legal process,” he said. “Any such case should be communicated between the two states, either between security officers or judicial officers. In principle, any judicial investigation should remain secret.”

Syria might also have been looking to weaken Hariri in the hotly anticipated general elections slated for next May here, Khashan said. Syria might see an opening to whittle away Hariri’s traditional electoral base in the North, after frequent unrest there following the Fatah al-Islam episode and Hariri’s uneven performance since assuming his father’s political mantle in 2005, Khashan added.

For Damascus to air claims that Sunni extremists were targeting Syria also demonstrates that any reconciliation between Syria and Saudi Arabia or Saudi allies in Lebanon was “far-fetched,” said Oussama Safa, executive director off the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. Relations between Syrian President Bashar Assad and Riyadh froze after the February 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father Rafik, the five-time former prime minister of Lebanon and a close ally of the Saudi leadership.

On the contrary, Syria might have been striving to “lash out” at the Saudis and expose them to an international audience as sponsors of Sunni terrorism, Salem said.

Syria has long sought a closer relationship with the US, and the confessions could serve to show the incoming US administration that Alawite-ruled Syria has, like the US, been the victim of Sunni terrorists, Salem added.

Syria remains in a close alliance with US arch-foe Iran, as well as with Hizbullah and Hamas, but Syria has for some time been inching its way out of diplomatic isolation by the West, Salem said. Syria has established diplomatic relations with Lebanon – which has not seen the political assassination of a March 14 figure since September 2007 – and is in indirect peace talks with Israel. French President Nicolas Sarkozy broke the diplomatic ice in July this year by inviting Assad to Paris for the Mediterranean Union’s founding summit.

The Syrians “are also angling to be seen differently,” Salem said. “They certainly want better relations with the US. I’m concerned that Syria and Iran might want to test the new administration – how strong is it?”

Syria is also facing possible political fallout from the UN tribunal investigating Hariri’s killing and a number of other attacks, but analysts differed on whether the confessions were also directed toward the tribunal.

On the one hand, the timing of the broadcast could help distract attention from the latest progress report – expected in a matter of weeks – by the UN investigation commission, Safa said. Later, the Syrians could whip out the confessions to offset any charges about Damascus’ culpability in Lebanon violence by saying Lebanese groups – and, in a supreme irony, the Hariri family – were behind terror attacks in Syria, Khashan said. At the very least, Damascus believes that it can negotiate over the tribunal, and the confessions might be a card to play in that bargaining, he added.

“They realize that the tribunal will be formed early in 2009, and they need to have some bargaining position against the tribunal,” Khashan said.

On the other hand, Salem said Assad knew the establishment of the tribunal could not be stopped, and while he might in the future have to cut deals to limit the repercussions of the tribunal’s verdicts, the confessions provide little ammunition for any such damage control.

“They know very well that while [the confessions] might be an interesting PR stunt, they’re not going to affect the tribunal in any way,” Salem said. “They’re quite aware that they can’t bargain vis-a-vis the tribunal, [but] they can soften the political effects.”

The broadcast of the confessions marks a change from the accommodating Syrian behavior during the past six to nine months, a period when Syria refrained from being outspoken on Lebanon and turned a responsible and moderate face toward the West, Salem said. Trotting out the confessions belongs to a previous, heavy-handed model of Syrian behavior toward Lebanon, and it might signal that while Damascus still badly wants engagement with the West, it can be tough with its smaller neighbor, he added.

“It seems to be a departure from the good-behavior pattern that they were very adamantly putting forth – they were gaining a lot of mileage from that,” Salem said. “Is Syria sort of baring its teeth a bit more? Does it sense weakness? It’s rather rough politics.”

November 13th, 2008, 5:35 am


offended said:

From the article posted by QN;

Hilal Khashan said : “These confessions were obtained under duress.”

I ALMOST laughed at that.

Because y’all know that everyone else in the world uses Kit Kats and lollypops to coax terrorists to confess out of their own accord.

I am reminded of what Jihad Makdisi said couple of days ago ( in the video Alex had posted); these people who fabricate evidence and groom witnesses (the likes of Hassam and Zuihar) are not eligible to question other people’s methods.

November 13th, 2008, 8:32 am


Qifa Nabki said:

Arab Delegation in Beirut to Discuss Hariri Proposal to Form Fact-Finding Committee

An Arab League delegation is due in Beirut soon to discuss a proposal by al-Mustaqbal Movement chief Saad Hariri for the intervention of the 22-member regional organization to look into “confessions” aired by Syria’s state television last week about alleged links between Fatah al-Islam and the parliamentary majority leader.

Hariri had called Arab League chief Amr Moussa asking him to form a “fact-finding Arab committee to investigate the testimonies,” a statement from his office said.

Assigning an Arab League fact-finding commission to look into Fatah al-Islam crimes would “block attempts by the Syrian regime to blame Lebanon for spreading terror, which is a game that only the Syrian regime excels in,” it said.

The statement accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime of “trying desperately to stretch its hands to control Lebanon’s national sovereignty. We are confident that it would fail.”

One of the suspects who appeared on Syrian TV identifying herself as Wafaa Abssi, daughter of Fatah al-Islam leader Shaker Abssi, claimed that al-Mustaqbal movement used to finance the group.

Al-Mustaqbal movement source had denied the “allegations and lies,” broadcast by the Syrian television, saying they “confirm the established relation between Syrian intelligence and Fatah al-Islam.”

The ruling March 14 coalition believed that the alleged testimonies pose a “serious development that aims at charging al-Mustaqbal movement with mere allegations.”

A Future Movement ranking official had said the international commission probing the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri would be asked to look into what the Syrian TV has screened.

Syrian television said the group was behind the Sept. 27 car bombing in southern Damascus that killed 17 people.

Syrian Assistant Justice Minister Najm al-Ahmad and MP Khaled Abboud also blamed al-Mustaqbal movement and March 14 forces for the Damascus blast.

Beirut, 13 Nov 08, 09:32

November 13th, 2008, 8:47 am


Qifa Nabki said:

I do hope that fact-finding committee doesn’t tarry in Beirut too long, enjoying the la7m mishweh and ripe persimmons… After all, the poor slobs they will seek to interview in Damascus may not last too long before committing suicide out of shame and misery.


November 13th, 2008, 8:51 am


CWW said:

So it was a nuclear site after all. I had a hard time believing it, but uranium at the site is pretty damning evidence… I love that they tried to blame the Israelis though, I got a good chuckle out of that.

November 13th, 2008, 8:59 am


offended said:

Yeah, will this fact finding mission look into the funding of Fatah Al Islam? Or perhaps the Saudis will be a little bit too embarrassed to allow anybody to trace the venues of their Jihadi Reyals?

November 13th, 2008, 9:01 am


qunfuz said:

Alex – About the poll. Could you add an option, like \’none of the above\’ or perhaps \’I don\’t believe America is a fit broker of Arab-Israeli peace whoever it appoints as envoy.\’

November 13th, 2008, 10:15 am


Alex said:


Thanks for reminding me to include a none of the above option in the future.

This poll can not be modified now, after 88 people already voted, but I should have though about it.

As for your second suggestion, I usually avoid wording a poll in a way that will influence participants’ answers.

Turkey proved that countries other than the United States CAN host peace talks. But I guess everyone still imagine the signing ceremonies of some future peace accord taking place only outside the white house.

What is your feeling about President Obama’s expected approach to mideast peace?

November 13th, 2008, 10:31 am


Akbar Palace said:

CCW said:

So it was a nuclear site after all. I had a hard time believing it, but uranium at the site is pretty damning evidence… I love that they tried to blame the Israelis though, I got a good chuckle out of that.


And from the beginning our resident Syrian spokepersons, Alex and Professor Josh said that this was all Israeli propaganda and misinformation.


November 13th, 2008, 12:29 pm


Alia said:


In your estimation why is the Syrian Regime attempting to drag al-Mustaqbal into another conflict, now that even HA is attempting to be involved in a national reconciliation?

Yes, collective suicide occured to me too

November 13th, 2008, 1:18 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Dear Alia

First of all, I don’t think that the national reconciliation in Lebanon is real. None of the issues that caused the crisis to begin with were solved at Doha. What took place at Doha was a successful initiative to bring Lebanon away from the brink of a civil war. What we have today in Lebanon is a temporary truce between the various parties, an agreement to keep the rhetoric to a minimum, to allow people to get on with their lives, and to begin planning for the all-important parliamentary elections in 2009.

However, not a single major issue has been reconciled. The status of the Lebanese resistance and its relationship to the army via a national defense strategy is even less clear today than it was back in 2005. The battle lines have not been erased whatsoever.

The Syrian leadership correctly recognizes that the 2009 elections in Lebanon will play a significant role in Syria’s own strategic position vis-a-vis Israel. A win by Hizbullah and its allies will effectively put to bed any discussion of the resistance’s weapons. In my opinion, the “confessions” were a publicity stunt engineered to tarnish Hariri’s image among Lebanon’s Sunnis.

Syria does not want to put all of its eggs in Hizbullah’s basket. One day in the near future, Syria may have to show some “tough love” towards Hizbullah and Lebanon’s Shi`a, if the Americans and Israelis put the Golan on the table according to the terms that Bashar would like. When that happens, if things do not change on the ground in Lebanon, Syria will not have a solid ally here. The FPM Christians have no enduring love for Syria, despite Aoun’s alliance with Hizbullah. The Frangieh Christians are a tiny minority. The Sunnis — Syria’s traditional allies in Lebanon — did the unthinkable and switched sides after the Hariri assassination. If Syria leaves the resistance camp, no matter how much ink is spilled defending the rights of the Palestinians, the Shi`a in Lebanon will not be convinced.

Syria wants to see some new faces in charge of Lebanon’s Sunnis. This is what the current troubles in Tripoli are all about. And this is what the primetime confessional special was about as well.

Smart politics, as usual, from Bashar.

November 13th, 2008, 2:01 pm


Nour said:


There still is no evidence that this was a nuclear site. Some diplomats leaked information about traces of uranium much to the chagrin of the IAEA itself because the investigation had not been completed. Traces of uranium can be found anywhere for a multiplicity of reasons. They don’t automatically lead to the conclusion that a nuclear plant existed where they were found. And yes, it is very possible that “Israel” dropped depleted uranium shells on the site it bombed over a year ago.

In any case, wasn’t the accusation that this was a plutonium reactor, and not a uranium one? This is all a bunch of nonsense aimed to desperately put more pressure on Syria as many western and US officials are unhappy about Syria breaking the isolation they have been working so hard to impose on it. Of course, if it were up to me, I would pull Syria out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuse to allow inspectors to inspect any Syrian site until “Israel” is forced to give up its own nuclear program.

November 13th, 2008, 2:01 pm


Off the Wall said:

It has been a while since the site was bombed. Had it been a nuclear reactor with fission material in it, parts of Syria and Iraq would have seen a wave of abnormal cancer incidents including the workers who were in charge of burying the material. I have not seen any reports to that effect. If the site was reactor and it was neare operation as Israel claimed it to be, this would add another war crime to israel ever expanding list.

Israel is more than likely to have used depleted uranium amunitions. It has acquired these weapons in august 2006 during the criminal war on lebanon,

However, it seems that Israel did not use these gifts during that war, as it has opted for carpet bombing using cluster bomb just towards the end of their crim. It seems that the IDF has calculated thet DU may cause major dammage to structure, but the lebanese tenacity would have overcome that and would have reconstructed their country fast. Cluster bombs on the other hand cuase much more casualties. Way to go IDF.

Since the evidence from UNEP seem to support Israel’s claime of not using DU in the war on lebanon, and there has been no other major act since then ecxept for the syrian site, an inventory of the US shipment is one of the way the IAEA can test the veracity of any israeli claim of not having used DU in that raid, and it would help point the source of contamination.

November 13th, 2008, 2:44 pm


Off the Wall said:


While the FPM chritians may not have enduring love towards Syria, the question is, do they have any other regional ally. I gather that their love to KSA is less enduring. Their alliance with Syria is not simply following their leader, it is a strong recognition that given the current geopolitical situation and the dirty play by KSA, Jordan, and Egypt, Syria seems to be the only possible ally for minority groups in the region. With Christians in Lebanon being on their way to becoming a minority, alliance with Syria becomes a strategic necessity, at least the way I see it now. Again, I may be way off the mark here, please correct me.

November 13th, 2008, 3:03 pm


AIG said:


Please get serious. Show me ANY Syrian government statistics from any year that gives cancer rates in different areas of Syria. The Syrian government is so weak at collecting and disseminating statistics that using this as any reliable indication is not responsible.

Furthermore, don’t you think that even if some workers died, that the Syrian government would suppress this info, as it suppresses most info coming out of Syria?

Now, let’s suppose Israel used depleted uranium both in Lebanon and in Syria. So what? What was found was ENRICHED uranium.

We are getting as close as possible to a smoking gun as can be expected in these situations. Of course the masters of “plausible deniability” will demand absolute proof and will believe their “truthful” dictator even over the Obama administration. What Mouallem is saying is so ridiculous, but people will believe him. Which always leads me to ask, why is it that when it pertains to things inside Syria the Syrians believe nothing their government says but regarding things outside Syria they believe everything?

November 13th, 2008, 3:11 pm


Nour said:

Funny how the same people who insisted that Iraq had WMD’s regardless of all of the evidence against such a conclusion now want to convince everyone that the Syrian nuclear program concoction should be believed by everyone. Moreover, most of these people come from countries who have put more WMD’s into use than anyone else and who possess some of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons. But then again hypocrisy knows no bounds with these people and they never let facts get in the way of their murderous agendas.

November 13th, 2008, 4:02 pm


Friend in America said:

It was a nuclear site. That was confirmed within 72 hours after the strike.
The inventive claim that the specks came from one of the Israeli bombs is a distraction, a cleaver one. Since Syria’s spokespersons imply the structure was not a nuclear site , there was no need to prevent the international press from confirming the site had no military significance, no need to destroy the building and clean the site, no need to place a cement slab over the cleared site, no need to restrict international inspectors, no need for Syria’s ambassador to the U.N. give 4 conflicting explanations in 10 days. Fellows, it is better that we spend our time on something else such as what sensible reason is there for a nuclear free Syria to prevent the international inspectors from giving Syria a clean bill?

November 13th, 2008, 4:05 pm


Off the Wall said:

Buzz off, your continuing denigration of syrian poeple is borderline racist. Here is a scientific abstract, written by a Syrian Doctor, that adresses your racist comment. Syria collect statistics, and there is a cancer registry in operation so lay off

Objective: There is no recent estimates of the incidence of cancer in Syria. The only and the first one was conducted in 1999. This study was set in Aleppo (population of 3.9 millions) to estimate the cancer pattern in 2004. Methods: Information about cancer was obtained from Aleppo Cancer Registry which collects data on all new diagnosed cases of cancer from all public hospitals (n=6) and pathology labs (n= 12) in the city. Since cancer is not a notifiable disease in Syria, registration is carried out by active data collection by the registry staff. Results: In 2004, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, there were an estimates of 1835 incident cases of cancer newly diagnosed (974 male and 861 female). The most common incident form of cancer in male was urinary bladder (13.7%) followed by lung cancer (11.1%) and prostate cancer (7.8%). In female the most common cancer was breast cancer (28.8%) followed by colo-rectal (7.4%) and overian cancer (6.2%). The main distinguished figure is the raise of stomach cancer in male (6%). In conclusion, the presented data shows that the number of new cases of cancer is still underestimate, this is due to lack of specialized cancer center or well-established cancer control program, so many cases either prefer to go to the capital (400 km far) to get diagnosis and treatment, or remain hidden cases and under-diagnosed. It calls for the importance of establishing good national cancer registry and high quality cancer control program.

November 13th, 2008, 4:06 pm


Saghir said:

What if the site was a full fledged conventional missile site?

November 13th, 2008, 4:07 pm


Alia said:


YOu are hopeless….There is a national cancer registry and more.

PACT mission to Syria
20 July 2007

PACT was approached by the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission (AECS) to perform a technical visit on the preparation of a national cancer control strategy. Although PACT currently focuses on its six model demonstration sites, it agreed to this mission since it appears that time is ripe in Syria to advocate for cancer control – one of the overall aims of PACT.

The PACT team included Ms Maria Stella de Sabata, PACT Cancer Control Specialist, and Prof Hussein Khaled, Dean, NCI Cairo University, who was delegated by WHO-EMRO.

The team met with HE Dr Maher Al-Hussami, Minister of Health, and Deputy Ministers of Higher Education Dr Abdul Munir Najm and Dr Maher Kabakibi. Additionally, meetings with the National Committee for Developing Cancer Therapy in Syria and NGOs such as the Syrian Cancer Society and Syrian society for breast disease, as well as site visits to Al Bairouni hospital, Al Cham hospital, the national cancer registry and WHO country office were carried out during the mission.

Although the cancer registry reported 12 000 cancer cases in 2005, it estimates the real cancer incidence at around 18 000 cases per year. The 3 most common cancers reported by the registry are among men: lung, gastrointestinal system and genital system; among women: breast, gastrointestinal system and genital system.

With currently only one fully operational comprehensive cancer center, Al Bairouni hospital, serving the country’s population of about 18 million people, and only 60 specialised physicians, Syria is in great need of addressing its cancer problem in a systematic way.

PACT congratulates the Syrian Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Higher Education and the Atomic Energy Commission on their agreement to form a national cancer control Steering Committee, which will be responsible for drafting a national strategy and establishing priorities for an action plan.

PACT’s support to Syria in its initial stage of planning for cancer control will include the identification of experts according to specific requests formulated by the country; the identification of training possibilities; expert advice on equipment and maintenance issues; the identification of specific training manuals and guidelines in requested areas; and facilitating contacts with PACT partners and other international agencies, according to specific areas of expertise required.

November 13th, 2008, 4:20 pm


Off the Wall said:

The abstract i posted above acknowledges that it is difficult to collect complete staitistics. But comapaigns to correct that are underway. The doctor who wrote the abstract acknowledges that and is in fact arguing for the establishment of control and better monitoring. In all, I find this abstract to be another blow to AIG’s borderline racist and constant efforts to portray Syria as a country where nothing gets done. In fact almost all indicators point to the opposite direction. Things are getting done, the government is functioning, despite of the successfull attempts by your AIPAC friends to start a crime against humanity by blockading syria. We all acknowledge that it can and should be much much better and that democracy will help. But take my word for it, if you think that we will let you continuously tarnish the image of our poeple, and their abilities, you are dead wrong.

Many of us would not be where we are if Syria was as bad as you try to portray my beloved country of origin. I am sick and tired of your snide remarks, which are not smart, nor intelligent.

November 13th, 2008, 4:27 pm


Alia said:


Thanks so much- this is very helpful to me.

November 13th, 2008, 4:28 pm


Off the Wall said:

Thank you Alia, you bring an important prospective. I would also like to hear Norman’s suggestions on ways to improve and assist these porgrams. On my side, I am as far from health science as it can be, but I can do statistics, and have been exposed, in the course of my studies to a couple of metods used in empidemeological studies 🙂

November 13th, 2008, 4:38 pm


Alia said:


You are welcome. This was a really important step, this is the website for PACT…

November 13th, 2008, 4:43 pm


Jad said:

Dear OTW,

(Regardless of the stupid and repeated comments we are reading almost 20 times daily for the last two weeks by the Troll and Co.)

I agree with you that the Christian Lebanese are in a different position today, they are truly looking for a support to get back to the political life and be looked at as a major player instead of an echo of other Lebanese group. And Aoun is doing just that.

I’ll write you later about your excellent point you mentioned couple days ago that we Syrians should write something more important about how to improve our country instead of getting involved in a useless comments with a Troll!

Dear Alia,
If you watch or read the news (TV and Newspaper) in Lebanon for the last couple months, you will see that many parties not only pro-Syrian ones are blaming Hariri and his ‘Shabab’ of supporting all the radical groups, long way before the confession we saw on the Syrian TV that QN insist is was false.
For me it doesn’t change anything about the reality that Almoustaqubal is playing a sectarian war with the aid of KSA, Why didn’t they deny the American reports when they talked about the same issue of Hariri supporting the radical and salafit group last year?
What I don’t understand is why some people are being apologists knowing that supporting such group won’t be in their own interests?

November 13th, 2008, 5:00 pm


why-discuss said:

The interview looks like a direct reply to all the false witnesses Hariri and his allies have used, through Mehlis, to accuse publicly Syria of his father’s murder.
By calling the Arab league, Hariri is showing his impotence in replying seriously. If the ‘slobs’ find that the Al Mostakbal were responsible or the Syrians are lying, does Hariri seriously believe they would express it? Unless he is planning to deal with them as he did with Mehlis.
Will Hariri take the risk of having Houssam Houssam investigated too?

November 13th, 2008, 5:08 pm


Alia said:

Jad and why discuss,

This is way over my head. I have not looked closely at Lebanese politics for a while. I only know what false testimonies on T.V. look like and that was one as far as I am concerned…

I would like to put QN’s explanation together with your comments and some reading material and try to understand more in the next few days.

November 13th, 2008, 5:14 pm


Off the Wall said:

Dear Alia
Thanks, For additional information on other diseases with monthly statistics, please see the Syrian Ministry of Health website. It seems that there are very positive development in collecting data and information, and inrcreased emphasis on reporting and data collection in Syria, funny enough, these started in 2001.

Dear Jad
I am in full support of all poeple everywhere to have political presense irrespective of their numbers (minority or majority). Hariri Jr. is a rich amature, and he has no clue about the geopolitical situation around him and of the astuteness of his adversaries. Junblat, althougy higly unstable, is much more capable of reading and responding to realities around him. Of all, i find Auon and Nasrallah to be the most deliberate and steady poeple in current lebanese leadership. They are proactive not reactive. Again, when It comes to Lebanon, I would place very low confidence level on my own remarks.

I will waite for your comment on ways to help our Syria eagerly. Let us go for that.

November 13th, 2008, 5:19 pm


AIG said:

Alia and OTW,
What I wrote:
“Show me ANY Syrian government statistics from any year that gives cancer rates in different areas of Syria.”

First, breath easy and count to ten. This is a criticism of the Syrian GOVERNMENT and not the Syrian people. Why do you get offended when the Syrian government is criticized? You can criticize the Israeli government as much as you want, I will not be offended. Heck, I think Olmert is a crook and his policies are idiotic. So your racism accusation is completely in the wrong direction.

Second, I am actually right as you admit. So again, what are you angry about? You advanced an argument that regional cancer incidents in Syria should be examined and I told you there was not such statistics. I am right and yet you still get angry. In fact, what Alia posted is proof that the little statistics there are about cancer are WAY off the mark. Which doesn’t surprise me because I have tried looking for reliable statistics from Syria in several areas and have not been able to find them. Regimes that are not accountable and a failure, do not make it easy for people to see their shortcomings and do not collect reliable statistics.

Third, why do you see any criticism of the Syrian government as an intent to start a war on Syria??? Seriously, what is wrong with you? How many times do I have to say that I would not waste the life of one Israeli (or American if I were American) in order to pursue regime change in Syria?

Fourth, of course things get done in Syria. Things get done everywhere. But Syria is a world laggard in most areas, not because of its people, but because of its GOVERNMENT. Take North Korea and South Korea. Same people, different government, totally different results. That is also the valid comparison between Israel and Syria. On both sides of the border the people are just as smart and just as ethical. The ONLY difference in the results is the GOVERNMENT. But you know that.

Bottom line, you are directing your anger at the wrong direction. Why are you angry at me and not at your government???

November 13th, 2008, 6:38 pm


AIG said:

Alia and OTW,
Here is a little challenge for you and for any other Syrian:
What are the statistics about HIV carriers and people with AIDS in Syria?

This is what I got from wikipedia, I do not know how relaible it is:
“The first reported cases of infection were in 1987, and the government has done little to prevent its spreading. The government opened a testing center during the 1990s, but did not report statistics on HIV infection until 2006, when it reported that 377 out of 4 million people who had taken blood tests tested positive for HIV. Non-governmental organizations, however, estimate that there are truly at least five times that many.”

So not only is the government not really collecting statistics, it is also fabricating them according to this source.

What do you think, is this true or not? It probably is but I would be happy to stand corrected.

Unless you get the wrong impression my point is simple. You will not be able to solve your problems in the Arab world until you committ yourself to look the truth in the face no matter how unpleasant it is. How can you make good decisions without good data about your real status? How can you discuss the data and how to move forward without freedom of speech? That is all I am saying, I am not saying let’s attack Syria.

And you need to overcome this fear of discussing your problems in public or getting angry at anyone who does. That way, you are playing right into the hands of the dictators. So what if the statistics and truthful discussion initially sheds a bad light on the Arab world? That is a small price to pay for finally being able to move forward.

November 13th, 2008, 7:05 pm


Off the Wall said:


Syrian government rely on Syrian Civil Servants to run the country, who are Syrian Poeple. And many of these civil servants are hard working syrian patriots. Some are corrupt, but that is a problem in almost all developing countries.

So far the only positive and constructive thing you have said about improving democracy in syria is your request and demand for releasing political prisoners, which is a demand of all commentators on this site. Now, since the Syrian “regime” is now collecting data iniating the development of registries, working with WHO to get to that point, and not stopping the Syrian Cancer society from collecting data in local centers such as in Aleppo, should’nt that mean that they concerned about governing and improving the lives of the syrian poeple despite the risk of bringing accountability. This is something you refuse to see, and will continue to refuse seeing no matter what they do. I see that as being no different from the bankrput elements within the Syrian opposition, who can not provide any real recommendation for grass root apporach towards improving Syria’s odds in the 21 century other than empty slogans. But this has been the mantra of the neocon, dismiss the Syrian government completely, and make their job in improving the lives of Syrians so damn hard by preventing them from acquiring modern technologies, and by blocking any attempt they try to establish trade that will improving their infrastructure, open up markets, and bring new industries to the country. You and your neocon friends, while protesting Makhlouf, are making him the only viable financier in Syria. Good job.

On the other side stand NGOs, and UN organizations, who are trying very hard to help. The hard, deligent, and dedicated work of any UN civil servant, be it WHO, UNEP or UNESCO is a zillion times more productive and helpful than your or my pontification.

November 13th, 2008, 7:15 pm


jad said:

“First, breath easy and count to ten. This is a criticism of the Syrian GOVERNMENT and not the Syrian people” you are such a liar, you just wrote this sentence “….The reason for that is very simple. It is not that they do not care. I sincerely believe they do. The problem is that they are cowards and are afraid of the Syrian regime.”

Spare us of your repeated, unrelated and endless comments for today, you are arguing on health issue with a Doctor not one of your uneducated business friends, your comments sounds dump.
Do you have some kind of disorder that you can’t shut up and listen for one day?

November 13th, 2008, 7:21 pm


Off the Wall said:

On the HIV issue, you only see the government and fail to recognize that even in the US, the government is not the only collector of information and data. However, Syria suffers what many other countries suffer, and that is the need for educational campagains, which is the most important part of HIV work and of volentary sharing of information. If the government coerced reporting, you will cry foul and blame them for being dictatorial.

Neeldess to say, since you are seeing only what you want to see, and since you do not know arabic and therefore are incapable of seeing things on the ground let me enlighten you. The Syrian government is discussing the problem of lack of reporting in HIV cases. Labs are not foreced to report to the registry but poeple are encouraged to do so. Since Sex in general, and homosexuality more specifcally continue to be taboo in public discource, Syrian writers and artists, enlisted by the government are finding very creative ways to bring up the HIV issue and the need to register. Recently, an episode of a very popular syrian TV series focussed sollely on this issue. The medium for HIV infection was very smartly chosen to be the use of unclean tatooing tools, and by that ensure that poeple are not offended by the episode and turned a way from it. But the whole theme of the episode was less on the mechanism of HIV acquisition and more on the need to register and report volentarily. Again, what is different between you and me is that you ask me to discuss the problem openly, well I am, but unlike you, I am willing to give anyone, who is attempting to help, the credit for what they do. Even if they are the Syrian “regime”.

November 13th, 2008, 7:34 pm


AIG said:

Are the neocons REALLY more responsible for the situation in Syria than the Syrian government? The Asads have been in power 40 years and in that time what they have done with the country is very little.

The Israeli Cancer registry was established in 1960. 48 years ago. Before the six day war so the Golan is not an excuse. So now you are going to tell me the Syrian government is doing a good job because it is doing something 48 years after a neighboring country started doing it???

So again, why are you more angry at me than at your government? Why aren’t you willing to put the blame where it should be put? Why are you accusing people outside Syria when the blame lies fully within??? Give the government credit for the little it has done, but be objective in assessing that it has done VERY little relative to other countries.

November 13th, 2008, 7:37 pm


jad said:

(Are the neocons REALLY more responsible for the situation in Syria than the Syrian government? )
What that suppose to mean when OTW answered you in a very scientific way.

Dear Alex, could you please check, I think AIG already finished his 6 comments for the day. PLEASE make him stop, it’s disturbing.

November 13th, 2008, 7:42 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Dear OTW

The Christians are already a minority in Lebanon. In 25 years, they will probably represent only about 15% of the population. However, this does not mean that they are feeling the urgency to find a regional sponsor. The Lebanese Christians are far too fractious to think along these lines. In any case, I would personally prefer to see them identify less as “Christians” and more as “Lebanese”, thereby relinquishing the need to search for an ally to protect them from their co-nationalists.

Dear Why-Discuss,

I don’t understand your argument. First you say that Hariri is calling for an Arab investigation because he is too impotent to respond properly (what would that entail?) Then you say that the Arabs would not implicate Hariri even if they found him to be responsible. So how does this make Hariri impotent? If he can manipulate the Arab League, that seems rather powerful, not impotent.

In my personal opinion, as I wrote to Alex recently, with respect to Fatah al-Islam, who really knows? Like Rafiq al-Hariri, we will probably never know. This is my guess: it was a very loose group that was probably getting money from different sources. Nahr al-Bared, like ALL the Palestinian camps, was basically run by Syrian mukhabarat. A friend of mine worked in the camps in Lebanon told me that while the Palestinians did not exactly like the Lebanese, they hated the Syrians, because it was their mukhabarat guys who basically ran the camps and kept the various militant groups in line.

I doubt that things changed much in the camps even after the Syrian army left Lebanon. Especially in the North, I’m sure that Syria still had the most influence in places like Nahr al-Bared. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that a group like Fatah al-Islam could have gotten started without Syria knowing about it. Furthermore, the fact that al-Absi was released from prison in Syria and found his way into Tripoli where he assumed leadership of the group suggests that the Syrians had to know where he was. They could have easily rounded him up in Nahr al-Bared if they wanted to; their informants would have told them about the emergence of this new group, no question about it. They probably knew about it, and preferred to let it grow, and maybe even facilitated the arrival of more fighters… knowing that they might be a source of instability in Lebanon, if needed.

In the meantime, the group was probably receiving money from Hariri or KSA, or both. I kind of doubt that they were being built up as a militia to fight Hizbullah. I don’t think that either Hariri or KSA would be so naive as to think the Hizb could be defeated by a few hundred jihadis. Much more likely is that they were receiving money so as NOT to act, like Jund al-Sham in Saida getting money from Bahia al-Hariri to keep them quiet. Or just to keep them as allies of M14, and not to start some other kind of Sunni movement in the north that would challenge Hariri’s authority.

So, in other words, it’s a big mess. Everybody may have had their fingers in the Fatah al-Islam pie. In the end, everyone got burned.

November 13th, 2008, 7:51 pm


Off the Wall said:

No they are not, have you ever read my comment on the dire situation. I for one, am not one to deny the Israeli accomplishments, and the fact that Israel, as a government works very hard for its “Jewish” citizens. At the same time, I am arguing that Syria and the Syrian government are doing better now than before, and despite the difference in time and the inheritence. They are trying to catch up and while they may be autocratic, they are not as bad to their own poeple as you try to portray them in order to justify the continuing occupation and to deny the syrian poeple thier land. I am seeing from the Syrian government, especially in the past few years an uncharacteristic openness on several fronts. Here is another article for you on HIV, which tells me that the Syrian government is not afraid to report on HIV:

Seroepidemiology of HCV-HIV co-infection in Syria.

Adwan ZS; International Conference on AIDS (15th : 2004 : Bangkok, Thailand).

Int Conf AIDS. 2004 Jul 11-16; 15: abstract no. B10182.

Damascus, Swaida, Syrian Arab Republic

Introduction: Hepatitis C virus (HCV), recognized since 1989, is a major health problem worldwide. Infection with hepatitis C virus is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease. Syria is a developing country with low prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. HCV -HIV coinfection remains a frequent cause of morbidity in developed countries.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of HCV infection in a cohort of HIV tunisian patients, and to assess risk factors of HCV infection in a developing country

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in the department of infectious diseases of Damascus hospital in Syria between January 1, 1997 and December 20, 2002. All the patients who are positive for HIV were tested for HCV antibody by ELISA (3rd generation) and RIBA. Age, sexsocioeconomic status, HIV transmission category and most recent CD4 count were collected. Results: A total of 225 patients were reported. Of these, 186 were enrolled in the study. The mean age was 35 years. 80 patients (43%) have antibodies against HCV. 77 patients (96,3%) were male; among these patients, 67 (83,7%) were intravenous drug users. Sexual transmission of HIV is seen in 9 patients (11,3%) and hemophilia was present in 4 patients (5%). Diagnosis of coinfection was made in 42,5% in patients at CDC stage C disease ; 50 patients (63,3 %) had AIDS. 40 patients (50%) are still followed and were under HAART. 20 patients (25%) died, and no informations are available for 20 patients. Conclusion: In our experience, the prevalence of HCV in HIV infected patients is high. Since HAART is now available in our country, patients with coinfection should also be considered for HCV treatment in developing countries.

November 13th, 2008, 8:00 pm


Alia said:


Sorry I do not have the time to respond to all your finely tuned answers. The UNDP ( United Nations Development Programme) has an ongoing regional initiative on the HIV/AIDS issue, which includes several Arab countries, under the acronym OFID- check them out if you have a burning desire to inform yourself on the subject. The Ministry of Health is supportive and working with the UNDP on grappling with the issue.


you want to help AIG? Help him get out of the morasses of futility and do not sink right in with him. If you have nothing to do, go to JCC and swim a couple of laps it is better for your health :))

November 13th, 2008, 8:06 pm


AIG said:

“are trying to catch up and while they may be autocratic, they are not as bad to their own poeple as you try to portray them in order to justify the continuing occupation and to deny the syrian poeple thier land.”

Where have I ever done that? My position has always has been that since Syria lost the Golan in a war in which it was the aggressor and since the Israeli Knesset formaly annexed it, the Golan is Israeli. There is no need for any additional justification. I did add that I personally would be happy to give the Golan to a democratic Syria as a gesture of goodwill, not because the Golan belongs to Syria. It doesn’t. It belongs to Israel but I think it is an important Israeli interest that democracy should be rewarded and strengthened in the Arab world.

As for the things you are posting about HIV, let me tell you a joke.
A rapist enters the bedroom of a couple, draws a circle on the ground, grabs the husband and puts him in the circle and then tells him “if you leave the circle I will kill you!”. Then, he proceeds to rape the wife three times. After he leaves the wife asks the husband “Why didn’t you do anything?”, he answers “What do you mean I didn’t anything, I jumped out of the circle three times!”.

How much longer will you be comforted by the government telling you it has “jumped out of the circle three times”. Yes, it is doing something, I agree. But do you really believe it is nearly enough and that no radical change is needed? (from within, I am not calling for attacking Syria just to make clear)

November 13th, 2008, 8:33 pm


jad said:

“Where have I ever done that? “

“If it were not pathetic it would be quite funny. Jihad, first treat your own people better than you would treat cattle and then only start expecting people to take you seriously.”

Is that enough for you to stop lying that you NEVER wrote something while you just wrote the same idea couple days ago??
You even called Jihad, (A murderer and a thief with education is still a murderer and a thief.) just because he represent the Syrian government.

November 13th, 2008, 9:48 pm


norman said:

QN said,

(( The Christians are already a minority in Lebanon. In 25 years, they will probably represent only about 15% of the population. However, this does not mean that they are feeling the urgency to find a regional sponsor. The Lebanese Christians are far too fractious to think along these lines.))


I think you should say that they too mature to vote for their religion instead of the issues that Lebanon face , everybody else should be as good as the Christians of Lebanon , they are more patriotic than anybody else.

Lebanon needs small districts with decentralization and free movement and anti discrimination laws , That is the only way to build future Lebanon.

November 13th, 2008, 10:54 pm


Off the Wall said:

Agree with Norman

Also I stand corrected on ADC, they are still effective. The link kindly provided by Findalaawy is broken. I am attempting to provide the link to politico page again

From ADC Story

In the phone call, Congressman Emanuel said, “From the fullness of my heart, I personally apologize on behalf of my family and me. These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family.” During the phone call, Emanuel added, it is unacceptable to make remarks such as these against any ethnic or religious group.

New York Times Story

Please follow ADC recommendation and thank Rahm for his heartfelt appology. And let us move on.

November 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm


norman said:


i think they should leave the old man alone , most Jews are very sensitive to discrimination ( not counting aig and AP ), They are more supportive of the Arabs in the US than others, ( Personal experience ).

November 14th, 2008, 12:06 am


gk said:

If the uranium is from the israeli ammunition, Syria should open the site and let the inspectors dig it to verify that there is no radiation!!! The more Syria closes the site for reporters and inspectors, the more the whole world is suspicious.

November 14th, 2008, 1:27 am


why-discuss said:


“First you say that Hariri is calling for an Arab investigation because he is too impotent to respond properly (what would that entail?)”
We all know very well that the Arab league is useless and will usually come to no conclusion. Hariri knows that very well too. If he calls them for help and not sue legally Syria for diffamation, it is because either he thinks he could either buy the ‘slobs’ and indict Syria or at least just show that he is so powerful that the arab league responded. A legal diffamation process could turn against him if he is guilty, this is why I think he is showing confusion and impotence.
Did he get the Saudi support on his outrage? I have not seen much in the Saudi newspaper, was there any?
Your analysis of Nahr Al bared sounds like a John le Carre best sellers. I guess CIA and Mossad have a lot to learn from the brilliant syrian mokhabarat

November 14th, 2008, 4:09 am


Alex said:

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State?

By Al Kamen and Philip Rucker

There’s increasing chatter in political circles that the Obama camp is not overly happy with the usual suspects for secretary of state these days and that the field might be expanding somewhat beyond Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and maybe former Democratic senator Sam Nunn of Georgia.

There’s talk, indeed, that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) may now be under consideration for the post. Her office referred any questions to the Obama transition; Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to comment.

November 14th, 2008, 4:21 am


Qifa Nabki said:

Your analysis of Nahr Al bared sounds like a John le Carre best sellers. I guess CIA and Mossad have a lot to learn from the brilliant syrian mokhabarat

Why-Discuss habibi,

You have to make a choice. Either:

1) The Syrian mukhabarat is a cunning, well-entrenched, effective intelligence network that has eyes and ears in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and other places around the region, a fact which makes Syria among the most astute strategic players in the Middle East.

2) The Syrian mukhabarat is a bumbling squad of mustachioed nincompoops that couldn’t tell Shaker al-Absi from Santa Claus.

Which is it? Please consider your response very carefully, because a great deal hangs in the balance. If you choose #2 (as you imply from your response above), then we will have to conclude that all of the promises about Syrian intelligence sharing with the United States following a peace deal with Israel aren’t worth an onion skin. If the Syrian mukhabarat have nothing to offer the CIA and the Mossad in the way of intelligence, then Bashar’s promises are empty.

I personally am more inclined to believe option #1. Syria did not rule Lebanon for fifteen years by the light of Hafez’s eyes. In this neighborhood, you survive on the strength of your security service, and Syria’s is formidable. Now, if I was a young Syrian president in danger of losing a vital strategic interest (Lebanon) to regional and international adversaries, you can bet I would not spare a single resource to frustrate that ambition.

This reminds me of a recent joke:

Abu l-`Abed: I’m so sick of all the intelligence services in Lebanon.

Abu Steif: Me too.

Abu l-`Abed: I mean, we have all of them. CIA, Mossad, MI6, NSA, FBI, KGB, MSW…

Abu Steif: MSW? Which one is that?

Abu l-`Abed: Mukhabarat Souriya Wlaaaaaaaah


November 14th, 2008, 8:04 am


annie said:

At the Doha summit very good speech by Bashar.
Interpretation into English was better on Press TV.

January 16th, 2009, 12:50 pm


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