Syrian TV shows men ‘confessing’ to deadly bomb blast

Posted by Alex.

DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian state television on Thursday broadcast statements by men it said were Fatah al-Islam militants, in which they admitted carrying out a bomb attack in September that killed 17 people.

The men included Abdul Baqi al-Hussein, described as the head of security in Syria of Fatah al-Islam, who said the aim of the attack was to “harm the regime in Syria.”

confession on Syrian Television

confession on Syrian Television

The television programme also showed a photo of a man said to have been the suicide bomber in the September 27 attack in Damascus, naming him as Abu Aysha al-Saudi — ‘The Saudi’.

Last year, the army in Syria’s neighbour Lebanon fought a 15-week battle with the Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli that left 400 people dead, including 168 soldiers.

However, Fatah al-Islam chief Shaker al-Abssi managed to flee the camp and vowed revenge attacks against the Lebanese army. Before the deadly camp siege in Lebanon Abssi served a prison term in Syria for having links to Al-Qaeda.

On September 27, a car bomb exploded near a Shiite shrine in southern Damascus killing 17 people and wounding 14 others, in one of the deadliest attacks in Syria in a dozen years.

The car, packed with 200 kilos (440 pounds) of explosives, blew up near a security checkpoint on a road to Damascus international airport at an intersection leading to the Sayeda Zeinab neighbourhood.

All the victims were civilian passers-by.

Among those on the Thursday night broadcast was a woman Syrian television said was Wafa al-Abssi, daughter of the Fatah al-Islam chief.

The men who spoke in the programme said they had carried out a series of armed robberies to finance the September attack. They also said the car used in the bombing had been stolen from an Iraqi.

Sayeda Zeinab is popular among Shiites from Iran, Lebanon and Iraq who go there on pilgrimage to pray at the tomb of Zeinab, a grand-daughter of the Prophet Mohammed.

The blast was the worst to rock Syria since February when Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh was killed by a car bomb in Damascus.

Since May, Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli near the Syrian border has also been rocked by deadly sectarian violence between Sunni supporters of the government and their Damascus-backed rivals from the Alawite community.

More details in Arabic here.

Comments (75)


Thank you Alex for this posting.
This is another execlusive boradcasting by the Syrian media. They are just doing as the Saudis and Egyotians did when they suffered from similar events. It is time for Syria to show the World how terrorism is not new to Syria. The rest of the world learned/is still learning from Syria how to fight terrorism. The 80s is still an example when fighting brotherhood.

November 6th, 2008, 9:51 pm


Naji said:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You are amazing…!! It took you only minutes after you complained about my useless tease to get a proper comprehensive and useful post up on the breaking news…!! Do you now see why I don’t feel any pressure to do more than just tease…?! Thanks! 🙂

(I still say that Syrian TV “over-produced” the thing, though!)

November 6th, 2008, 10:44 pm


Alex said:


You are a true diplomat. Your education in the best British and Swiss schools shows.

But, since I could not see the original broadcast, I can not form an opinion. So I (and others here) still have to rely on your impressions!

Yalla .. t’faddal … 7kee

November 6th, 2008, 10:53 pm


Naji said:

Oh my… look what time it is… way past my bed-time… bonne nuit… 🙂

But, really, I didn’t catch the whole thing and my only impressions were what I said earlier about the thing being way over-produced and about the medium being the message around here, which makes the fully explicit accusations of Hariri/Saudi “the” news item in tonight’s broadcast…


(Not that I would doubt that the Saudi’s are the most likely culprits, btw)

November 6th, 2008, 11:06 pm


Naji said:

Anyway, the real juicy stuff tonight is in on American networks… apparently our sexy moose-mama Palin thought that South Africa is the southern part of a country named Africa…!!
And you thought that only Syria had such genius in public service…??! 🙂

November 6th, 2008, 11:36 pm


Alex said:


I agree … and ok fine, you don’t have to help : )

I watched about 10 minutes on LBC’s nightly news.

we will have to wait for Al-moustaqbal’s denial and for more from Syria.

The confessions did not include direct accusations to the Saudis .. they just showed the many Saudi passports and Absi’s daughter said that there wee many Saudi organizers among the Salafi groups who are giving them money:

وفاء العبسي : “هناك رسائل متبادلة بين تنظيم فتح الإسلام وتيار المستقبل والتنظيم حصل على اموال من التيارات السلفية ومنهم كثير من السعوديين المنظمين بينهم ابو رتاج وابو يوسف السعودي وكذلك من تيار المستقبل وبنوك تابعة لتيار المستقبل”.

وفاء العبسي : “سألت والدي عن العلاقة مع تيار المستقبل ومواصلة العلاقة معه. فاجابني نحن لسنا واثقين منهم ممكن ان تتبدل هذه العلاقة لمصلحة او لتيار سياسي”.

November 7th, 2008, 12:11 am


norman said:

I think that Syria should present the evidence to the US government and ask for help to clean northern Lebanon.

Syria airs car bomb ‘confessions’
Syrian state TV has shown what it says are confessions by 11 militants behind the car bomb attack in Damascus in September which left 17 people dead.

Among the 10 men and one woman shown was Abdul Baqi al-Hussein, described as being responsible for security for Fatah al-Islam, a Sunni Islamist group.

Fatah al-Islam fought the Lebanese army in a refugee camp in Tripoli last year.

The broadcast also showed a photo of a man said to have been the suicide bomber in the September attack.

Mr Hussein said the bomber was a Saudi man called Abou Aisha.

In the 27 September attack, a car packed with about 200kg (440lbs) of explosives blew up near a security complex on the road to the international airport to the south of the capital.

The blast was the deadliest single attack in Damascus since 1986, when a bombing blamed on Iraqi agents left 60 people dead. It was also the first car bombing since a senior Hezbollah commander, Imad Mughniyeh, was assassinated in Damascus in February.

Fugitive leader

In his purported confession, Mr Hussein said he and 10 other suspects had planned to attack Syrian security offices and foreign diplomats.

One of the other men in the broadcast said the fugitive leader of Fatah al-Islam, Sheikh Shaker al-Abssi, had made his way into Syria from Lebanon, but that he had not been heard from since July.

The woman shown among the group was identified as his daughter.

Fatah al-Islam, a Palestinian Islamist militant group based in Lebanon, came to prominence in May 2007 when it began fighting the Lebanese army from its stronghold in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp north of Tripoli.

More than 400 people, including civilians, died in clashes between the two sides before the Lebanese army took control of the camp on 2 September. Al-Abssi is believed to have escaped from the camp the day before.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/11/07 00:31:46 GMT


November 7th, 2008, 1:20 am


Alex said:

Denis Ross speaks about the Middle East to ALhayat today

He said he advised Obama during the campaign to consider engagement with Syria without illusions or preconditions.

He proposed reviving the Arab peace initiative in order to move the peace process forward …

ويبرز ضمن التشكيلة الجديدة المحتملة اسم المبعوث السابق الى الشرق الأوسط دنيس روس الذي قدم استشارات عدة لأوباما في سياق الحملة. وأكد روس لـ «الحياة» أمس، ضرورة إحياء الديبلوماسية الأميركية في المنطقة و»الانخراط من دون أوهام أو أحكام مسبقة» مع سورية حول عملية السلام ومع إيران في الملف النووي.

روس الذي كان مبعوثاً الى المنطقة في ولايات الرئيس جورج بوش الأب (جمهوري) وبيل كلينتون (ديموقراطي) اعترف بـ «الإرث الصعب» للإدارة الحالية لجهة الأزمة الاقتصادية وحربي العراق وأفغانستان، والملف الإيراني. ووصف وروسيا بأنها «ازدادت حزماً وتصلباً» فيما برزت الصين كقوة اقتصادية ضخمة.
ورأي المبعوث الأميركي السابق ترابطاً وثيقاً للأزمات، مثل ترابط الوضع الأفغاني بالصورة في باكستان. وشدد على أهمية إعادة بناء استراتيجيات ديبلوماسية للإدارة المقبلة للتعامل مع أكثر من ملف أبرزها روسيا والعراق وايران وعملية السلام.

واشار روس الذي شارك منذ أسبوع في لقاء أوباما مع مستشاريه للأمن القومي وتتناقل أوساط سياسية احتمال تعيينه في منصب مسؤول ملفات الشرق الأوسط في البيت الأبيض، الى خطاب الرئيس الروسي ميدفيدف أول من أمس والذي حمل لهجة متشددة حيال واشنطن، ورأى انه «استكمال للخطاب الروسي الذي سمعناه طوال العام الماضي ولا يعتبره مفاجئاً، إذ لدى سيد الكرملين أكثر من جمهور لمخاطبته، فيما تقف روسيا اليوم، أمام سلسلة امتيازات ومجموعة هموم». واعتبر أن على واشنطن التركيز على وضع «استراتيجية شاملة في التعامل» مع موسكو تستعرض «مسائل ذات مصالح مشتركة وقضايا خلافية». وأكد ان الإدارة المقبلة ستبحث عن وسائل لـ «تغيير التصرف الروسي، لتعزيز التعاون بين البلدين في مكافحة الإرهاب ومعالجة الأزمة المالية ووقف انتشار الأسلحة للنووية». كما توقع علاقات دافئة مع فرنسا في ضوء زيارة كوشنير الى واشنطن.

ووضع روس عنوان «نهج الانخراط» للسياسة الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط وفي ملفات تتشعب بين عملية السلام والعراق والملف النووي الايراني، إذ «يفرض الارث الصعب» عبئاً على الادارة المقبلة التي يتعين عليها إتمام تحضيرات جمة لإعادة إطلاق جهد ديبلوماسي فاعل. وكرر أن أوباما سينسحب «بشكل مسؤول من العراق» وبعد استشارات مكثفة مع حلفاء واشنطن في المنطقة. وعن تأثير ذلك على نفوذ إيران، أجاب أن
«طهران قوّت نفوذها على رغم وجودنا في العراق».

وأوضح أن استعداد إدارة أوباما للتفاوض مع إيران، ستسبقه تحضيرات مكثفة لضمان فاعلية استراتيجية
كهذه وأن الوقت والآلية سيحددهما الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب. وعن المفاوضات السورية – الاسرائيلية بوساطة تركيا، رأى روس انها «مثيرة للاهتمام» خصوصاً لجهة الإعلان عنها أصلاً. وقال ان «فكرة الانخراط مع سورية تستحق» البحث، وصولاً الى الإجابة عن أسئلة عن «قدرة فصل المسار السوري – الإيراني». ورفض مقولة ان هذه استراتيجية تقوي «حزب الله»، بذلك ان الحزب في موقع «قوي» اليوم على رغم سياسة عزل سورية التي انتهجتها إدارة بوش. ورأى روس فرصاً حقيقية لإعادة تطوير ديبلوماسية فاعلة في المنطقة، وسلسلة خيارات منها إعادة إحياء المبادرة العربية للسلام وتفعيل الدور العربي وإعطائها إطاراً جديداً للتعامل مع التحديات الحالية.

November 7th, 2008, 1:51 am


norman said:

Denis Ross is not to be trusted , he blamed Syria for the collapse of the peace process between Syria and Israel even after Clinton blamed Barack for that collapse.He used to stay in the houses of the Israeli leaders not in hotels when he was in Israel, He is not an honest negotiator.

Syria should be careful .

November 7th, 2008, 2:12 am


Alex said:


I agree. Denis Ross is not trustworthy … he is not an honest broker at all. I would even say he is partially responsible for the failure of the Assad / Barak / Clinton phase of the Syrian Israeli negotiations.

He tried to help Barak get last minute concessions out of the dying Syrian president at the time.

But he is already in, apparently… he has been promoting himself publicly through a series of “interviews” with a number of known AIPAC journalists … and they always introduce him (before the interview part) as some kind of exceptional genius that Obama should absolutely pick as an adviser or envoy for the Middle East.

I also remember when he wrote in 2004 (or 2005?) that Bashar is eccentric … that his judgment is questionable.

Dennis made that claim because Bashar made a statement in 2003 warning that the Iraq war will be a huge disaster.

Dennis, at the time, thought that the war was manageable and winnable… and therefore Bashar’s reaction was not balanced.

November 7th, 2008, 2:29 am


norman said:


For all the above reasons that you so eloquently mentioned , Obama should look for new generation of American that can have a fresh look at the Israeli Arab conflict , these small steps that were taken previously only made the conflict like a chronic disease , Manageable but not curable , and that is what should change , we need new opinions and new Doctors with new ideas.

November 7th, 2008, 2:38 am


Alex said:

Here is part of what Dennis Ross proposed tree years ago:

In a document titled US POLICY TOWARDS A WEAK ASSAD, Ross wrote:

“Bashar al-Assad’s rule of Syria has been characterized by vacillation and a constant pattern of miscalculation. Whether his regime can survive its most profound error and the potential loss of its control of Lebanon remains to be seen. For now, U.S. policy, while emphasizing the need for full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 to withdraw all foreign forces from Lebanon, should avoid engaging with the Syrian leadership before its future becomes clearer. In the meantime, the United States should also engage with Syria’s neighbors in discrete contingency discussions to deal with the possible regional consequences of Syrian instability.”

November 7th, 2008, 2:38 am


Alex said:

And this is even better! (from the same article he published at the Washington Quarterly)

“When Bashar spoke about the situation in Iraq just prior to the war, his comments bordered on the hysterical. At one point, he
noted that a disaster on par with the creation of the state of Israel and the British betrayal of the Arabs after World War I would befall the Arab world if there was war in Iraq. After the war began, he declared that Arab friendship with the United States was “more fatal than its hostility.”6 Bashar’s
rhetoric has continued to remain incoherent and infused with a sense of conspiracy.

In a speech he delivered to the Syrian parliament on March 5,
2005, after the assassination of Hariri and the resignation of the Lebanese government, he referred to the “assassination” of Arafat.7

The consistency of such public statements, rather than suggesting a calculated effort to establish himself as a radical to take advantage of growing anti-U.S. sentiment, instead points more to Bashar’s bizarre perception of reality.”

November 7th, 2008, 2:41 am


norman said:


Joshua , you and i had more foresight than Dennis Ross three years ago.

I think Joshua should be the special advisor for the president on Mideast affairs.

Anybody is learning and getting a hint about what is good for the US and the Mideast.

November 7th, 2008, 2:45 am


Alex said:


Joshua’s judgment, and his courage to not join ALL the analysts who predicted the end of Syria’s role in the Middle East in 2005, is unfortunately not going to earn him that job.

Its ok .. if AIPAC will feel more secure with Ross inside the Obama administration, then we won’t mind Joshua staying here for now.

November 7th, 2008, 2:54 am


norman said:

Print Back to story

After years of Bush, Arabs see hope in Obama
By LEE KEATH and HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press Writers Lee Keath And Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press Writers
Thu Nov 6, 4:33 pm ET

CAIRO, Egypt – An Arab news network blared U.S. election coverage in a Cairo hair salon, and the barbers and beauticians watched the images of Barack Obama’s victory in amazement. Then it cut to scenes from the latest Israeli-Palestinian violence and the funeral of Gaza fighters.

“Look, do you see that? That will end! It will get better!” blurted Ayman al-Sawi, caught up in the Obama enthusiasm.

Others in the shop sneered. All American presidents are the same: Pro-Israel, one man said. But al-Sawi stood his ground.

“It won’t be perfect, but Obama will be kinder,” insisted the owner of a nearby electronics shop, who was hanging out in the salon on a customer-less Wednesday morning. “Look, I know America will always put Israel first, I’m not naive … But at least with Obama, I feel he will throw us a bone.”

Almost despite themselves, many Arabs are daring to hope Obama will bring something new to the Middle East, where bitterness toward the U.S. is probably the highest in the world.

Part of the optimism is simple joy at the imminent end of the Bush administration. Few figures are more disliked among the Mideast public than President Bush.

Over past years, the bloodshed in Iraq, fears of war with Iran, abuse at Abu Ghraib and prisoners at Guantanamo convinced many that the United States was an anti-Arab, anti-Muslim bully. A feeling of despair and hopelessness became widespread and few believed U.S. policies would ever change.

Even before Obama’s victory, Arabs cautioned themselves to be realistic. The U.S. will always throw its weight around and will always back Israel, they say; Obama, even if he really does want a new approach on Iraq, Iran, the Palestinians and the war on terror, may not be able to implement it — and in any case he’ll be absorbed first with the U.S. economic crisis.

Still, to many Obama seems to spell something different — whether because of the color of his skin, his Muslim family ties — his Kenyan father was a Muslim — or simply his charisma.

Many believe he’s more sympathetic to the Palestinians, or that he’ll emphasize dialogue over what was seen as Bush’s more bellicose tone. Some watched the dramatic vote and wished they could see similar democratic change in Arab countries, ruled by authoritarian leaders who stay in power through rigged elections.

“When Obama won, I felt it was the return of the American dream,” Iman Bibars, an Egyptian women’s activist and writer who is often sharply critical of the United States, told The Associated Press. “I just cried through the whole thing, because it gave me hope that the good guy will win, in a world where good people don’t normally win.”

Abdelmonem Mahmoud, a prominent young activist with Egypt’s fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, says he’s “one of those who has fallen for the magic of Obama’s charisma.”

“He has created this mental state with the idea of change. Just the word has an effect,” Mahmoud said Thursday. “That’s the emotional side. On the rational side, I have my doubts.”

“I just hope he’ll have real (Israeli-Palestinian) negotiations, whatever they lead to,” he said. “Maybe people have big dreams for him that aren’t realistic. But it’s realistic to hope he’ll press for real negotiations.”

In Beirut, Sarah Haidar, an 18-year-old university student enveloped head-to-toe in an Islamic chador, said Obama’s win “gives some hope for a better future … It’s enough that he holds a positive view toward dialogue with Iran and Syria, which Bush considered evil.”

The Middle East poses some of the most monumental foreign policy challenges for an Obama administration. He has promised a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by 2011, a position that pleases many in the Arab world, though it also raises fears of renewed chaos after the Americans leave.

Also looming is the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program and its increasing influence across the Middle East. Obama has said he’s open to direct negotiations with Iran, a welcome change to many Arabs who feared a war could break out.

Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered his congratulations to Obama on Thursday — the first time an Iranian leader has offered such wishes to a U.S. president-elect since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In Israel, however, many fear Obama will make concessions that will open the way for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon, and some Arab governments are wary of anything that could allow rival Iran to strengthen its foothold in the region.

But heaviest on most Arabs’ minds is the question of how strongly Obama will push the peace process with Israel. The Bush administration put negotiations on the back burner for nearly seven years until a last-minute drive to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks. The negotiations have made little progress, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged Thursday that a peace deal by a year-end deadline is no longer possible.

Syria is also hoping for direct negotiations with Israel with U.S. mediation after months of indirect talks through Turkish intermediaries. Damascus also hopes for a thaw in relations with Washington, which have been bitter throughout the Bush administration.

Arab news networks have run blanket coverage of Obama’s win, with many analysts playing down expectations for dramatic shifts in U.S. policy. Also heavily covered was the history-in-the-making nature of Obama’s win: Al-Jazeera repeatedly aired a long report on African-Americans and the civil rights struggle, with images of Martin Luther King Jr.

In Sudan — another country with strong tensions with Washington — cell phone text message exchanges in Khartoum celebrated: “Congratulations to Africa” and “Congratulations for Obama. Change is possible.”

Even some Islamic militants were inspired. One prominent hard-line Kuwaiti cleric, Sheikh Hamed al-Ali, said in a Web statement that the Islamic world should “benefit from this example and request change also, and get rid of any regime that leads it with ignorance and injustice.”

At the Cairo hair salon, manager Mahmoud Hassan said he felt relief with Obama’s victory. “I see myself in him — like there is someone who looks like us, someone from Africa, who is the ruler of the world.

“If I met Obama, I would just tell him, ‘Please don’t let us down. Don’t let this hope fade away, and let us feel safe with you.'”

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November 7th, 2008, 4:00 am


jad said:

I didn’t watch the ‘melodrama’ you guys are talking about but from the story I read I give the terrorist story 0 on the scale of intelligence and I give our syrian secret service minus 10 for being so dump and not stopping them before they execute……
Can anybody explain to me why do we have some young men are willing to involve in such terrorist act against their own people instead of working to improve their family lives, most of those guys have children, don’t they have any kind of analytical brain to use? how can anybody with the lowest IQ in the world justify doing that? how can they been allured and brainwashed that easily?
What I’m also having trouble understanding is why do they use the word “Islam” while what they are doing is simply destroying every credibility of the real faith, why they do that? is that the mistake of the society? their families? financial issues? education system? the government? God? seriously what is wrong with those people?

November 7th, 2008, 5:30 am


Innocent_Criminal said:

The confessions are going to be criticized for being too convinient and hence cooked up by the government. a little of fateh al islam here and a bit of Saudi there and voila. I’m not saying its not possible, but it is certainly convinient from a Syrian government point of view

November 7th, 2008, 6:21 am


jad said:

The “shabab” already gone wild….Future TV is going to broadcast 27hrs a day of anti syrian program now…

November 7th, 2008, 8:18 am


Qifa Nabki said:

Why are all of you so cynical?

Syria’s elite anti-terrorism unit relentlessly pursued this murderous band of outlaws, using the most advanced surveillance and crime-fighting technology, and rapidly brought them to justice. The gang members, so grateful for being read their Miranda rights and afforded a fair trial, a clean cell, a public defender, and a free phone call, agreed to cooperate with the authorities and spill the beans on national television.

What’s so hard to believe?

November 7th, 2008, 9:38 am


Innocent_Criminal said:


November 7th, 2008, 9:49 am


alloushi said:

my question is: did they confess where did they spend the money? on their red nights out!!!And did they say they are sorry?

the best operation for Syrian Intl. for years; to be able to dismantle this group especially the part related to the woman. but where Absi now? may be he is the one arrested by the American in the Raid. What do you think all?

what they did on TV should be by itself an evidence that syria has nothing to do with Hariri murder as it needed a lot of expertise and training comapring it to the childish presentation we have seen….

November 7th, 2008, 10:52 am


Alia said:

The Syrian regime needs a marketing director- this is pathetic.

Some of us lived through times when “real terrorists” where taken into custody… most of them did not live to talk about “their operations” on TV or otherwise.

November 7th, 2008, 11:03 am


trustquest said:

All these years past on the terrorist imprisoned in Guantanamo, the US could not get a confession from the mouths of the prisoners, what a shame. Shouldn’t the US give a call to Bothania Shaaban to send couple of guys from the anti terrorist unit to the US to solve this problem? I think when she criticized the US earlier for their treatment of prisoners she meant their short coming from asking for help from Syria. I mean Arrar story is an exception. It took two months to uncover the terrorist cell and its conspiracy, I wonder when the older story for Maghnia and the high ranking officer killed this summer will be aired on Syrian TV.
BTW, anyone here think those criminals deserve fair trial? And it if they found innocent they should be rewarded compensation. May be not!, lets give it 14 more years or 25 more years to think on those lines!

November 7th, 2008, 2:04 pm


norman said:

Rahm Emanuel is for domestic policy push,

This is interesting and significant,

Help is on the way, Shai, Alex , rumyal, Jad , OTW ,QN IC and let us not forget Aussama and simo

In First Mideast Policy Initiative, Obama Sends Adviser To Egypt, Syria
By David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent

Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed that Presidential-elect Barack Obama has dispatched his senior foreign policy adviser Robert Malley to Egypt and Syria to outline the Democrat’s policy on the Middle East.

Mr. Malley, who served in the Clinton administration, relayed a pledge from Mr. Obama that the United States would seek to enhance relations with Cairo as well as reconcile differences with Damascus.

“The tenor of the messages was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests,” an aide to Mr. Malley said.

The aide said Obama plans to launch a U.S. diplomatic initiative toward Syria, regarded by the Bush administration as a leading supporter of the al-Qaida insurgency in Iraq. Mr. Obama, unlike President George W. Bush, has also 
supported Israeli peace negotiations with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr. Malley, his aides said, met both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and with Mr. Assad to explain Mr. Obama’s agenda for the Middle East.

These aides said that Mr. Obama told Mr. Mubarak that the United States would maintain military and civilian aid and sell advanced F-16 aircraft to Cairo. Egypt has not ordered F-16s in nearly a decade.

Mr. Malley, in his capacity as a senior advisor to President Clinton at the failed Camp David talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, incurred the wrath of many Israeli officials when he laid some of the blame for the failure of the Camp David talks on Israel.

David Bedein can be reached at

©The Bulletin 2008

November 7th, 2008, 2:28 pm


milli schmidt said:

..the mutual bum-kissing that goes on in this comment section is hilarious…or should I say disgusting. Pretty interesting how any critical voices are swiftly eliminated.

November 7th, 2008, 2:53 pm


محمد أحمد المالكي said:

to Insider,
I do not disagree with you about the first sentences in the post. However, to equate the 80s trouble with this is far fetched. In the 80s, both the Brotherhood military Taleea’ and the army special forces were to blame. Although you might agree with me that what the army did in Hama, massacre, rape, stealing, … was far more than what the brotherhood did. A whole city was destroyed to get rid of few hundred Taleea’.
How is the world learning from Syria how to fight terrorism?:
– Building prisons where humans are reduced to animals with torture as a daily meal and no reporting of such atrocities?. Done in Gitmo, and all arab counties.
– Mass killing for suspicion? done in Iraq and borders of Afghan/Pakistan.
– Detaining for no reason? done, Patriot Act, and all arab countries
It is amazing that you do not see anything wrong when the system kills 30K+ and detains as many and exile families, not including the missing ones; all for the sake of keeping the regime in power and all to fight less than 1000 militants.

November 7th, 2008, 3:18 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Why are all of you so cynical?


cc: Alex

Speak for yourself!;) I don’t think Alex is cynical! Alex?

Milli Schmidt,

You have a bad attitude. Please see QN for your re-education.

Shai, etc,

I read with interest about Obama’s pick for his Chief of Staff. My conclusion: he’ll throw Israel under the bus without blinking an eye. You’re in luck Shai!

Alia states:

Some of us lived through times when “real terrorists” where taken into custody…

You must be Israeli!;) The lines have blurred haven’t they?

November 7th, 2008, 3:18 pm


ausamaa said:

Let us wait and see what Abu Hussain have to say in his first press confrence as President Elect.

November 7th, 2008, 3:57 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

AP & Milli: maybe I am guilty of just a little cynicism after all… 🙂

November 7th, 2008, 4:36 pm


jad said:

From your comments and article it seems that if they were on Future TV it will be more convincing for you and you wouldn’t question the story, the bad part of that is that you wouldn’t have popcorn?
Would you prefer them to stay in Lebanon, and let your highly trained and smart security service to deal with them in more humane way and give them a fair trial!?

(Milli Schmidt, You have a bad attitude. Please see QN for your re-education.)
Shouldn’t you be a bit nicer to Schmidt? He might take you back to Germany.

Milli, I agree with AP, you need to work on your attitude and education.

محمد أحمد المالكي
Could you please educate us what is the difference between those terrorists and the lovely Taleea?

November 7th, 2008, 5:00 pm


norman said:

Behind the Syria TV ‘confessions’

By Natalia Antelava
BBC News, Beirut

It was an unusual hour of primetime television programming.

On Thursday night, Syrian state television showed a long montage of interviews with several men and woman – all alleged members of Fatah al-Islam, a militant group with links to al-Qaeda.

Their testimonies were interrupted by sombre music laid over the pictures of the aftermath of the car bomb attack, which killed 17 people, mostly civilians, in Damascus in late September.

Speaking against the same black backdrop, the men admitted responsibility for the explosion, the aim of which, they said was to harm the Syrian government.

The relationship between Syria and Lebanon has improved, but it is still full of mistrust

One aspect of the “confessions” may be particularly damaging, and may have wider regional implications.
According to the televised testimonies, the explosives used in the attack were brought from northern Lebanon, where Fatah al-Islam, it is claimed, received financial support from the party of the country’s pro-Western Sunni leader Saad Hariri.

According to the Syrian television the man who carried out the attack came from Saudi Arabia.

The Syrian authorities gave no details on how they obtained these confessions, and it is not clear when and under what circumstances those who appeared on television were detained.


Mr Hariri’s supporters in Beirut have already labelled the broadcast as a “festival of lies” but analysts here believe that these testimonies will weaken the position of Saad Hariri and his party ahead of the crucial parliamentary election in the spring.

They are also likely to embarrass Mr Hariri’s allies in Saudi Arabia.

In 2005, Saad Hariri’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, died in a car bomb attack that many in Lebanon blamed on the Syrian government. Damascus has always denied any involvement.
The combination of public protest and international pressure sparked by Rafik Hariri’s death forced Syria to end its 30-year military presence in Lebanon.

The relationship between the neighbours has since improved, but it is still full of mistrust.

Lebanon’s anti-Syrian politicians have long blamed Damascus for being the force behind Fatah al-Islam and stirring trouble in Lebanon in an attempt to continue to exert political pressure on its smaller neighbour.

But Syrian officials say that Damascus bombing shows that Syria is the victim of terrorism and not its source.

US strike

Fatah al-Islam gained prominence in 2007, when the group’s militants fought a three month long battle against the Lebanese army in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon.

The uprising was put down, at a cost of almost 400 lives on both sides, however in the last few months there have been new attacks on the Lebanese army in the north of the country and Damascus has expressed concerns that northern Lebanon was becoming a source of extremism and a threat to Syria’s national security.

Damascus is especially eager to make this point in the aftermath of the US military attack which killed eight people in a Syrian village near the border with Iraq in October.

Washington, which has long accused Damascus of allowing militants to cross into Iraq, said the raid targeted an al-Qaeda operative.

Parting gift

The US attack came at the time of a new dialogue between Syria and Europe – something the Syrians are keen not to see derailed.

One Syrian official described the attack as a “goodbye present from President Bush” who was angry at Damascus because of its refusal to play by the rules that “Bush administration had been trying to set in the Middle East”.

“Once the new administration is in place in Washington things may change,” the official source said.

With Barak Obama’s election victory Syrian officials are hoping for a dramatic improvement in relations with Washington, which could in turn change the regional dynamic as well.

Damascus will try to use Thursday’s broadcast to show that it is on the “right” side of the so-called war against terrorism and that it is invested in being a constructive regional player.

But while the rhetoric may be changing the questions surrounding Thursday’s “confessions” are a reminder of the inflexible and secretive nature of the Syrian state.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/11/07 14:44:29 GMT


November 7th, 2008, 5:38 pm


Alex said:

wow … he better distance himself form his father, and Obama will need to start explaining how the former terrorist and current racist father did not produce a racist son that Obama chose as chief of staff for the President of the United States:

Here is what Emmanuel’s father told Maariv today:

“In an interview with Ma’ariv, Emanuel’s father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, said he was convinced that his son’s appointment would be good for Israel. “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel,” he was quoted as saying. “Why wouldn’t he be? … What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”

November 7th, 2008, 7:36 pm


Shai said:


Yeah, I saw that as well. I guess statements like that make AP happy, but Ma’ariv was also foolish to publish it, unless it intended to show his racist remarks for what they were (though I doubt it). But to be fair, Rahm Emanuel has been closely associated with the likes of Paul Simon, Bill Clinton, James Carville, and Barack Obama. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, unless statements he makes begin to sound like his father’s. I know a lot of people who disagree with their father… Let’s wait before we judge him already now.

AP, as usual, I have no idea what you’re trying to say (your bus-comment). Maybe it’s the language barrier… 🙂

November 7th, 2008, 7:50 pm


norman said:

As usual , we always end up in the back of the bus , let us remember that he called us all ARABS , not Syrians ,Lebanese Palestinians ,ETC ,,,

Can you all consider your selves Arabs as we are.

November 7th, 2008, 7:59 pm


Shai said:


You see, Alex has allowed your comment on this forum. I guess your critical voice wasn’t “swiftly eliminated” after all, eh?! 😉

November 7th, 2008, 8:02 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Obama was just asked how soon he will send low-level envoys to countries “like Iran and Syria”.

He kind of dodged it.

November 7th, 2008, 8:03 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Wow, that’s just awful.

November 7th, 2008, 8:07 pm


Shai said:


He hasn’t named his two daughters’ hard-earned puppy yet – how do you expect him to know who his envoys would be, when he’ll send them, where he’ll send, and what the heck they’ll talk about?… Let’s stop this insane bum-kissing… 🙂 (I just like that phrase, ever since Milli pointed it out).

November 7th, 2008, 8:09 pm


محمد أحمد المالكي said:

to Jad,
Re: Could you please educate us what is the difference between those terrorists and the lovely Taleea?
You are taking this out of context. This was in answer to insider when he mentioned that the Syrian regime had to battle terrorism in the 80s. That is not the case, as I mentioned, both sides were to blame. Although most of the blame rests with the government as the massacres and raping and theft was done by the special forces and a lot of people are still missing or imprisoned in the gitmo-like prisons.
Taleea is not lovely; neither is special forces that destroyed Hama.

November 7th, 2008, 8:11 pm


Qifa Nabki said:

Listening to Obama give his first press conference as President-Elect was a somewhat surreal experience.

I had forgotten what it was like to hear someone standing at that lectern sounding truly presidential. Actually, I’d forgotten what it was like to hear a U.S. president form complete sentences.

Obama has more seriousness, thoughtfulness, and substantiveness in his little finger than the buffoon we’ve had around for the past 8 yrs.

November 7th, 2008, 8:19 pm


norman said:

محمد أحمد المالكي

Can we look at the future and the things that needs to be corrected instead of going back and blaming this and that.

November 7th, 2008, 8:20 pm


Alex said:


Yes, Ma’ariv did not help Emanuel by publishing that statement that his father made.

But … most journalists are more interested in coming up with news-make stories than they are in helping their countrymen (like Emanuel)

Look … I understand Obama’s need to get AIPAC/Likud on his side, and it worked… if he did not, he would have lost those 3-5% of votes that put him on the top.

Akbar .. no conspiracy theory .. I was simply talking about 3-5% of votes that AIPAC can influne one way or another through its impressive network of friends.

I have no problem with his choice of a Jewish man to be his chief of staff.

President Clinton had almost nothing but Jews next to him .. it was weird at the time …

Madeleine Albright: State Department

William Cohen: Defense secretary

Samuel Berger: Chief of Staff

Aaron David Miller: Advisor

Denis Ross… in charge of Syria negotiations

Martin Indyk … advisor

But it did not matter much, since the result was still a relatively (not completely) balanced position on the Arab Israeli conflict.

ADM was a very decent man, Samuel Berger was very decent too.

Albright and Cohen were not too bad …

But Denis Ross was sneaky (and he is positioning himself now again for Mideast Envoy), Martin Indyk was the author of the double containment policy (Iraq and Iran) that contributed to the current mess in the Middle East .. also trying to position himself for a role.

Frankly .. most American Jews were wonderful people who deserved to be assigned to top posts.

Robert Malley for example, an American Jew … Obama’s friend at Harvard Law (both got their PhD.’s at the same time), Malley is one of the most constructive and intelligent people Obama can appoint to his Middle East policy team.

But some are simply Likud/AIPAC types, not too preoccupied with what’s optimal for the Untied States.

Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk are such examples.

Emanuel? … not looking good so far, He looks like, sounds like, and acts like a Likud politician.

But we’ll see. I will trust Obama’s judgment for now. I have no opinion yet.

By the way Shai … the fact Emanuel worked for Clinton before is not going to be reassuring. Remember that Cheney worked for George Bush the father … but when he became the number 2 (number1?) man he .. changed.

November 7th, 2008, 8:27 pm


jad said:

‘raping’??? where did you get that news from? your imaginations?

November 7th, 2008, 8:28 pm


Alia said:


I may have not been clear, I am with you here. I want nothing more than to see this apointment in a positive or at worst a neutral light. That he speaks Hebrew and spends his vacation in Israel is nothing that would concern me. I, like many others, more or less reluctantly, are placing hope in a U.S. administration and do not want to feel disappointed at all. Although, if you read Nader’s article or the detailed al-Jazeera dossier you would realize that our hopes are based on our own projections on Obama and not on anything that he actually did…His few words about dealing with “enemies’ do not justify all the hope that he has generated. I personally found him quite inscrutable over all, but he is a gifted orator .

Emmanuel senior sounds like he may be suffering from a dementing process…to be so disinhibited. But then are all racist demented? I am not qualified to make this judgment.


I know you were speaking to Insider. I just want to say, we, Syrians, do not have to be on the worst lists. I am tired of this, I do not want the Syrians to be recipients of prisoners in extraordinary rendition. This is my country and I am sick and tired of the horror that has been visited upon us.


Please do not imitate the non-Arabs. We Arabs do not speak like this to one another even when we are angry. [No negative comments from the gallery on this either].

You can tell it has been a grueling week- I do not want one day to wish that Bush and Cheney were still here.

November 7th, 2008, 8:35 pm


Shai said:


I hear you. So let’s at least give Obama the benefit of the doubt. He is, after all, the next “boss”. He can listen to advisers, and envoys, and chiefs, and indians, but in the end, it’s his decision. And from the little I’ve seen of him over the past 21 months, I like how he thinks.


I agree, we don’t know too much about Obama. But let’s recall that less than 60 hours ago, John McCain and Sarah Palin were still viable options for leading the United States over the next 4 years…! Thank god, someone that seems and sounds a hell of a lot smarter, won. Let us hope he is up to the task, though clearly it is perhaps the toughest state he is getting as President, from almost every angle possible.

November 7th, 2008, 8:37 pm


Shai said:


I wish Israelis gave 1/2 the amount of respect to Muslims that you give to Jews.

November 7th, 2008, 8:49 pm


Qifa Nabki said:


The problem with the Rahmbo pick is that it has the potential to create a great deal of mistrust towards Obama, in the Middle East.

I know that’s the least of Obama’s concerns, but from our perspective, it’s unfortunate. People will argue that AIPAC has gotten its hooks into Obama via his single most important advisor.

I personally like the idea of a bad cop who can knock heads together and get things done (like Leo McGarry, or Josh Lyman on the West Wing — Emanuel was reportedly the inspiration for the latter character). I just hope he’s not a zealot.

November 7th, 2008, 8:59 pm


محمد أحمد المالكي said:

to Norman,
Re: Can we look at the future and the things that needs to be corrected instead of going back and blaming this and that.
I do not like anything more than that. What started this whole thing is that “Insider” made the statement that “The rest of the world learned/is still learning from Syria how to fight terrorism. The 80s is still an example when fighting brotherhood.” and I disagreed with him totally about this. The government response in the 80s was total punishment to the whole town of Hama and other towns where you were guilty because you are related to someone that “might be” in the Ikhwan. I was not glorifying Ikhwan, I am condemning both sides here.
I am past this issue, and I do not think Syria and Syrians can improve their lives if they do not get past older issues.

November 7th, 2008, 9:08 pm


Shai said:


Yes, I hope so too. But remember, he no longer “owes” AIPAC or the Likud anything. I’ll assume he chose Emanuel more for his skills, than for his possible pro-Israel stance. And like Alex mentioned, this would not be the first administration the Arab world deals with, that contains Jews in high level posts. Obama just finished his first press conference. But before the conference, he met with 17 advisers on the economic crisis, including Warren Buffett. Obama is a serious guy, and I have a suspicion it won’t take much beyond January 20 for all of us to start seeing this.

If Ahmedinejad can send him a congratulatory letter, the Arab world can allow him the benefit of the doubt, for just a little while, before adopting any level of mistrust. Believe me, a lot of Israelis are fearful right now… afraid that “Hussein” will sell us down the river. Let’s give Obama a fair chance, I think he deserves it. Paranoia should not be the default state of any of us… 🙂

November 7th, 2008, 9:13 pm


norman said:

The appointment of Emanuel as chief of staff is more to pass his domestic policy than foreign policy which is our interest , he is to push the Democrat and the Republican to pass his plans ,

I would be very concern if Dennis Ross or Martin Indyk become involved in forign policy especially the Mideast .

I will take all the Jews that the US can produce if they are like Shai or Rumyal.

My most worry is if the Neocon find a way to become Democrat now and interfere in forign policy , That what we should worry about.

November 8th, 2008, 12:22 am


Friend in America said:

My opinion is you guys are too hopeful about Emanuel. He has been one of AIPAC’s point persons in Congress. Better to assume his father knows his son better than we do until we learn otherwise. It is time to write letters to the editors of the major U.S. newspapers expressing concern of a mid-east citizen who had thought “time for change” extended to the Arab countries in the mid east. Those letters will be read. A journalist will write you a story. Obama may keep his selection but you can force him and Rahm to disclose their position on the mid east conflict. Good luck.

November 8th, 2008, 2:03 am


Akbar Palace said:

wow … he better distance himself form his father


I can’t disagree with you in your disgust of Emmanuel’s father.

Shai said:

I guess statements like that make AP happy…


I guess you don’t know me very well.

Shai states:

I wish Israelis gave 1/2 the amount of respect to Muslims that you give to Jews.

Once again, Shai shows his ignorance as if he knows ALL Israelis.

All I know is that Shai probably can’t find a tenth of anti-Arab articles in the hebrew press as he can find anti-semitic articles in the government-owned Arab press.


November 8th, 2008, 4:06 am


jad said:

AP, (All I know is that Shai probably can’t find a tenth of anti-Arab articles in the hebrew press as he can find anti-semitic articles in the government-owned Arab press.)
You are nothing but a liar, where is the anti-Semitic sentence you find in the Syrian Alwatan newspaper article that you are writing about (
You either point it out on here immediately or shut your foul hole up and apologize to everybody SEMITIC on the forum, which includes the Arabs as well.

November 8th, 2008, 4:46 am


jad said:

This is the part AP is reffering to,

Syrian Daily: “We Hereby Declare Obama the 44th President [Before It’s Official]… Even If It Might Be Considered Irresponsible Journalism”

In its headline, the Syrian daily Al-Watan named Obama president even before the official results were announced. The editorial that accompanied the headline explained: “We wanted to declare Obama president… as a show of solidarity with millions of Americans, Arabs, and colleagues in the world media who [all] yearn for ‘change’ in U.S. foreign policy. They are all betting on Obama – who has been waving the slogan [of change]… in hope that he will be different not only in the color of his skin, but also in his view regarding Washington’s policy towards the world…

“Some claim that if Obama wins he will be no better than Bush, if not worse… They may be right, since it is well known that no American president has ever stood on the side of the Arabs – rather, they have all stood on the side of Israel…

“Yesterday was undoubtedly a long, exhausting, and historic day by any standard. The American people [voted] with a vigor not seen in any [previous] U.S. presidential election, in a bid to make history and change the ugly face of the U.S.

“Out of respect for them and for everyone who voted for change, and out for respect for the souls of the Syrian, Iraqi, and Arab martyrs, we hereby declare Obama the 44th president of the U.S., even if it might be considered irresponsible journalism. We are sure that our readers will forgive us if we turn out to be wrong – [a possibility] for which we do not hope.”

November 8th, 2008, 4:50 am


AIG said:


For your enjoyment:

If you need more examples, let me know.
The Arab media is quite prejudiced against Jews (that is what antisemitic means). “Antisemitic” is just like the word “dogma”. You cannot break it up into “dog” and “ma” to figure out its meaning.

November 8th, 2008, 5:58 am


jad said:

Are we as Arab responsible in anyway of the anti-Semitic movement in Europe that lead to the Holocaust? What is the word “Semitic” means? How about me calling you an anti-Semitic instead of anti-Arab for a change?

Regarding the link you send me; you should ask your government and yourself, who is responsible to get that image in the media like that? We can exchange millions of pic on here showing how low we both think of each others but what is the point of that?

My comment to AP was specifically about his ridiculous comment and the ‘prove’ link he send, forgetting that he is on a Syrian forum full of Semitic people who doesn’t necessary have any hate feeling toward Judaism as a faith. He shouldn’t mix things and he should be more aware of what he writes.

November 8th, 2008, 7:05 am


Akbar Palace said:


cc: Shai, AIG

When Shai makes the comment: I wish Israelis gave 1/2 the amount of respect to Muslims that you give to Jews., he is implying Israelis are intolerant.

In reality, Israelis are far more tolerant than Arabs, not judging from my own personal experience, but by judging from their media, their political leadership, and their organizations on the ground.

Apparently, these types of sweeping statements from Shai (which I find here on a regular basis) are false when compared to the facts.

Now if we’re talking about “respect”, there is much Israelis could improve upon. However, Israelis (like Shai – sorry Shai you just aren’t that special Habib) have done MUCH in this area that Shai always seems to forget about (see link below):

If there were 1/2 the amount of Arab peace groups as Israeli peace groups, I would be impressed.

It’s all about “change” habibi;)

November 8th, 2008, 1:10 pm


Shai said:

Akbar Person,

I was giving Alex a compliment, based on his very detailed and quite pro-Jewish comment regarding Jewish cabinet members in previous U.S. administrations. I’m not used to hearing such comments, and I certainly have never seen them in our Israeli press. If you have, please be kind enough to point even one out to us. When I said I wished “1/2 of Israelis gave that much respect…”, I was being extremely generous to us Israelis. I wish just ONE Israeli would give such credit to Arab leaders, to Arab parliament members, to Arab diplomats, etc.

But you are right, I don’t know ALL Israelis. At the risk of being wrong, I’ll dare say I know a few more than you, AP…

November 8th, 2008, 1:12 pm


Shai said:

Akbar Palace said: “In reality, Israelis are far more tolerant than Arabs”

Akbar, what planet do you live on? Is this what they taught you in Sunday school? Is this what FOX news taught you? Did O’Reilly whisper this nonsense in your ear? Tolerance, is not exactly Israelis’ “best” known characteristic.

But in some respects you are right. For instance, our Israeli society has tolerated our Occupation of Palestine for over 40 years. We are indeed very tolerant sometimes… The kind of tolerance a people should be proud of, wouldn’t you say?

Yalla, try to come up with some better ones…

November 8th, 2008, 1:21 pm


AIG said:

Let’s examine the facts.
1) The Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries. They are on average richer and much better educated.
2) There is an Arab on the Israeli supreme court.
3) There are Arabs in the Knesset and government and they speak their minds
4) Any racist remarks are immediately attacked by the Israeli press
5) The Jews were basically kicked out of all Arab countries. The number of Jews in Syria has gone down from about 50,000 in 48 to less than 50 now. Is that because of tolerance?
6) The Jews in Arab countries cannot speak their mind and have no rights
7) Antisemitic cartoons, articles and books are tolerated and noone complains against them. In fact in Syria antisemitic books were published by the highest ranking people.
8 ) No synagouge was allowed to be built in any Arab country in the last 50 years. Countless mosques have been built in Israel.

So you can paint any picture that you want but you will be wrong. Do we have room to improve in Israel? Certainly. Are we about 100 times more tolerant than Arab countries? Absolutely.

November 8th, 2008, 3:56 pm


why-discuss said:

Akbar Palace
“Israelis are far more tolerant than Arabs”

From what we see of the Israelis, many seem guilt-stricken and they thrive to look tolerant but deep inside the majority of Israelis act as racist and hypocrites. Otherwise they would have to accept that historically they have acted as thieves and they are continuing in their crime. The rest of the Israelis appear confused by the conflicting situation they have to live in. The whole environment of Israel appears psychologically unhealthy and violent and is certainly not a role modele of ‘democracy’ arabs should emulate.
See Israeli films: “The Lemon Trees” and “Waltz with Bashir” , it says it all.

November 8th, 2008, 4:55 pm


Shai said:


I love your “Arab-Israelis have more rights” argument. And I keep giving you the example of the British envoy pointing racism to his Alabama counterpart in the early 1900’s, and the latter responding “But fact is that Blacks in Alabama make 10 times as much as they do in Liberia!…” An Arab-Israeli family might prefer living in a predominantly Jewish, but also racist, society, because it can at least send its kids to Haifa university (those 1/1000 who can make it). But like my friend Mahmoud from Taibeh tells me, “when you keep being treated like a dog, eventually you start thinking you’re a dog”. Tolerance there too? Yeah, on the Arab-Israelis’ part, but not forever. Even the most conservative Israelis wouldn’t claim to be “tolerant”. You’ve obviously been away from Israel for a while. Not that our society has been more tolerant in the past. It hasn’t. The comparison test doesn’t impress me. What we have to do, has nothing to do with what our neighbors have to do. This is something you obviously fail to understand.

November 8th, 2008, 5:14 pm


jad said:

(Let’s examine the facts.)

(1) The Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries. They are on average richer and much better educated.)
The last time I checked (1min ago) the 3 millions Palestinians living under the Israeli (your) occupation are 70% unemployed, they are uneducated not to mention your soldier harassing the kids going to school on daily bases, hungry, extremely poor, and are treated like dogs, I wont call that having more rights, spare us from this repeated ‘fact’.

(2) There is an Arab on the Israeli supreme court.)
With 20% of Arab population INSIDE Israel, you’d better have one otherwise you are not a country.

(3) There are Arabs in the Knesset and government and they speak their minds)
The same comments as above not to mention Azmi Bshara living in an exile for speaking his mind

(4) Any racist remarks are immediately attacked by the Israeli press)
They are published but not attacked; did anybody attack the racist remark of Rahim’s father yet? Nobody will

(5) The Jews were basically kicked out of all Arab countries. The number of Jews in Syria has gone down from about 50,000 in 48 to less than 50 now. Is that because of tolerance?)
It wasn’t because of tolerance it was an American&Israeli order for them to leave; tolerance has nothing to do with Syrian loosing their Syrian Jewish community in the mid 90. Did you ask yourself why those 50 Syrian Jews didn’t leave the country if they are that bad treated as you imply?

(6) The Jews in Arab countries cannot speak their mind and have no rights)
I can talk about Syria; there was a Jewish MP representative in the parliament, the only rights they didn’t have is serving in the military and the 5years civil service in the government. As I said before, we did envy them for that.

(7) Antisemitic cartoons, articles and books are tolerated and noone complains against them. In fact in Syria antisemitic books were published by the highest ranking people.)
You always mixing Anti-Semitic and Anti-Zionist. Is every Jewish person in the word a Zionist? Is every German is a Nazi?

(8) No synagouge was allowed to be built in any Arab country in the last 50 years. Countless mosques have been built in Israel.)
In Damascus There is one beautiful, small, well maintained, and old Synagogue but with 50 Syrian Jews left in the country is there a need for Syria to build a new Synagogue?

(Are we about 100 times more tolerant than Arab countries? Absolutely.) No AIG you are not 100 times more tolerant than Arabs,

November 8th, 2008, 5:24 pm


AIG said:

The question was which society is more tolerant. I think the facts speak for themselves. Of course Israel has room to improve.


Keep sticking your head in the sand. The Arab societies are the most intolerant in the world and by far less tolerant than the Israeli one.

November 8th, 2008, 5:41 pm


jad said:

I’m not sure what part of my reply indicate that “I’m sticking my head in the sand” I was trying to reply to every point you raise and explain to you the real fact adn I think that I was very tolerant. on the other hand, Your reply is totally intolerant, don’t you think? and I’m a Syrian and you are an Israeli.

To make it easy for you, Arabs and Israelis are the same “thing” with different flavor.

November 8th, 2008, 5:52 pm


Shai said:


No, the question you answered was what you wanted to answer, not what anyone asked. And, it is completely irrelevant. Who cares how much better earnings the blacks in Alabama had over their brethren in Liberia? And who cares how much more “tolerant” America was in the 1900’s over a nation like, say, Sudan. What matters, is that America was racist in the 1900’s, and Israeli society is quite racist today, in the early 21st century. By treating our Arab-Israeli citizens as 2nd-class citizens, and by continuing to subjugate and suffocate another 3 million Arabs, in their territory, not even ours, we are not exactly helping the Arab world “love” us more, are we? So do we first wait to see greater tolerance for Arabs within Arab countries? Why? What does one have anything to do with the other?

November 8th, 2008, 6:04 pm


offended said:

So all the fun was taking place here today? alas, i missed it.

AIG, there are 200 different nationalities living in the united arab emirates, if the local arab population wasn’t at least fairly tolerant (and indeed, hospitable), they wouldn’t have stayed this long.

November 8th, 2008, 6:07 pm


Shai said:


Do you think when I come over for ahwe and argilleh, we’ll have enough time to see those 200 nationalities? 🙂 (maybe better not). Btw, any real estate left for sale on Palm Islands?

November 8th, 2008, 6:11 pm


offended said:

It’s a sad fact that while Arab Gulf states are pumping huge sums of money through the global financial system, racism toward Arabs is taken very lightly all over the world.

November 8th, 2008, 6:11 pm


offended said:

Shai, wallah with your friendliness and fairness I am prepared to go talk to the shiekh to suspend the ‘no entry for israeli citizens’ rule just for you to get in : ).

There are always properties on sale. But the market is almost saturated.

November 8th, 2008, 6:19 pm


jad said:

Hi Offended,
Even the Canadians are getting a bit racist toward Arab Gulf states in their Comedy shows lately… that going to be the latest trend in the media you think?

November 8th, 2008, 6:21 pm


offended said:

Hello Jad,
You might disagree with me, but I really don’t mind racism and stereotypes in comedy shows. IMHO it somehow ease tensions. I used to joke with a friend and tell him: “you can call me a sand nigger as long as you don’t treat me like a slave”

But a statement made by the father of the chief of staff of the white house is indicative, it’s PURE HATE. there’s no chance this guy could have said it out of ignorance. Imagine a different scenarior where God forbids a Syrian gets chosen for chief of a staff and his father back in syria makes such comment about jews, HELL WILL BREAK LOOSE my friend. This is what pisses me off the most. Hypocricy and double standards.

November 8th, 2008, 6:30 pm


Shai said:


There’s no doubt his father’s statement was completely racist. I would have given Rahm Emanuel the benefit of the doubt (as I hinted in earlier comments), but would expect at the very least some clear condemnation of his father’s comment, and immediately, not 5 weeks later, when Obama reminds Rahm that there are some 1 billion Muslims in this world that he cannot ignore, and another few billion who reject racism outright. I’m actually glad Ma’ariv published his comment (I think it was first to do so, in Hebrew), and that it caused waves of coverage thereafter. Let Obama see firsthand just how sensitive his choices and his actions will have to be during his term in office.

November 8th, 2008, 6:54 pm


Jad said:

Dear Offended, I agree with you about being flexible when it comes to stereotype things, and you are right, it does ease the tension, I misunderstood your point, I thought you were talking about the general media not about the father’s comments.
what’s happening to the American media, they are somehow paralyzed of even condem such thing by anybody. That is sad.

November 8th, 2008, 7:08 pm


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