Syria’s President Says He Needs Iran’s Support

President Bashar al-Assad Spoke With ABC's Diane Sawyer About Criticisms Against Him

Feb. 6, 2007 — – Although Damascus is in many ways a modern city, ancient hatreds are flaring up within it, bleeding across borders from Iran to Israel to Lebanon.

Some say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to blame for the recent unrest in the region.

It's a charge that has been passed down to Assad from his father, Hafez al-Assad, the former president of Syria who Richard Nixon once said had a touch of genius playing three-D chess to keep Syria secure in the Middle East — tilting a little to America's enemies, then tilting a little back.

Now, Assad, 41, is at the center of a crisis that would challenge even his father.

In a few months, a U.N. tribunal is expected to accuse Syria, possibly even Assad's brother-in-law, and the chief of military intelligence of political assassination in Lebanon.

While Americans insist Assad pull away from a meddling and menacing Iran, Assad says Syria and Iran have been allies since his dad's presidency — for 25 years.

In an exclusive interview, Assad told ABC's Diane Sawyer that Syria needed Iran and that there was no evidence that Syria had a hand in the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister. He also spoke about human rights issues that had been brought against Syria.

Assad: So should I tell them, "You have to go away from me. I don't need your support," when the rest of the world is trying to isolate Syria? Of course not. We need the support of Iran. We need the support of every other country.

Sawyer: The United States is reportedly, next week, this week going to announce the documentation it has of Iranian military support for insurgents in Iraq. Do you believe this is happening?

Assad: We cannot say concretely what's happening there. But before the war in Iraq … they say there's WMD in Iraq. We didn't find any weapons of mass destruction. They said there's a link between Saddam and al Qaeda. It hasn't been proven yet. So why should we believe them?

Sawyer: A quick question about Lebanon. As you know the United Nations has a tribunal and they are investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and they have said they have forensic, they have financial, they have witness evidence that it leads to Syria.

Assad: Yeah.

Sawyer: If indeed, they have evidence and they present it, would you turn over to them, any Syrian official who is implicated?

Assad: I said that publicly, if anyone that could have been involved in such a crime is a traitor. So before turning him over, he will be tried under our laws and our constitution.

Sawyer: Before turning him over?

Assad: Of course in our tribunal, yes, because it's a matter of sovereignty.

Sawyer: Because you know the implication is they have evidence about your brother-in-law?

Assad: If they have any evidence, any concrete evidence, they have to show it off. We haven't had any such evidence. We only have accusations. No evidence at all.

Sawyer: And the report that PM Hariri came here, met with you, and I think the quote they gave, that the tribunal gave — "You said that you would break Lebanon over his head" — and he left so angry that he had to [take] blood pressure medication.

Assad: [I have] heard this story many times, but this is just a political accusation. We only heard these stories after the assassination. Why didn't we hear these stories before the assassination? [These are] only false pretenses.

Sawyer: You have said to Israel, "Call my bluff." Call my bluff. … What did you mean? What do they not know about what you're prepared to do?

Assad: The basics is the peace process, which depends on a land for peace. Are they willing to give back our land and withdraw completely? I asked for negotiations many times, especially the last few years and their Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert said we are not going to talk to Syria.

Sawyer: Of course the reason they say is Hamas. And that not only does the leader of Hamas live here, has a base here, but gets financial support and political support from you. When you hear that buses of children or marketplaces or restaurants have been bombed by members of Hamas … do you denounce it? Is it terrorism?

Assad: First of all, we are against violence in general. We don't believe in violence. But it's not enough to like or not or to dislike. The most important thing is to deal with the events. If we don't like it, it won't stop it. You have people who kill Israelis, but you have people that kill civilians, Palestinian civilians every day in the Palestinian territory.

Sawyer: But the Israelis say you can stop it and you can withdraw financial support and you can withdraw political support.

Assad: First of all, they don't have any financial support. Their base and their grass roots are in Palestine, they are not in Syria. There are only few, less than 10, in Syria.

Sawyer: Is there something new in the peace process?

Assad: No, nothing new, because as I said earlier this administration doesn't have the will, and it's really difficult to move on the peace track without the United States.

Sawyer: And chance Hamas will volunteer recognition of Israel's right to exist?

Assad: It's a matter of dialogue. If you want them to do so, to be involved in peace, you better talk to them. Convince them.

Sawyer: As I came here, human rights groups sent me the names of what they say are political prisoners and journalistic prisoners. People who [are] imprisoned and treated horribly just for writing, writing criticism of the government.

Assad: This is not true. We don't have such political prisoners. We have two kinds of prisoners. Either involved in terrorist attacks or breaking the law of Syria.

Sawyer: To the Americans that read the Human Rights Watch and that read the human rights reports.

Assad: Yeah, we don't say that we are perfect and whenever I talk about this issue I always say we are still at the very beginning. We still have a long way to go. Actually the democratic development has suffered from the serious setback recently especially after the war on Iraq. It's not only what you want to do. It's not only a matter of laws. You need the development of the society and you need the political atmosphere and you need the security.

Sawyer: But you were educated in England and you saw. … Press freedom, political freedom. Why not have complete democracy here? Why not have Western-style democracy in Syria?

Assad: Well, I was educated in Syria. I went to London when I was 27 years old. But again, the democracy is a tool to a better life, but it is a part of the political development. And the political development should be part of the society development. It needs time. You cannot develop society suddenly just like this.

The democracy in your country and in Europe is a result of long history. It didn't happen suddenly. So you can't talk about abrupt changes in our region. It's a matter of time, and it should go this way, but not according to Western standards — unless we change our customs and habits. So it's going to be democracy, but according to our standards.

Comments (147)

Bilal Nawaf said:

Why does he need Iran support for? To become even more at adds with the Whole Arab World or to protect him from the International Tribunal?
It is extremely ridiculous when Bashar says we do not have political prisoners. Whom is he trying to fool? The list will contain hundred of names and he does know this? What do we Syrian expect from such an ignorant leader?
I found the second part even worse than the first.

February 6th, 2007, 5:55 pm


Gibran said:

Assuming as Diane said the investigation accuses higher ups in Syria in the crimes of political assassinations in Lebanon, then the highest up is actually a criminal – Decisions in Syria are made in a very well known top to down chain of command procedure. Besides it is hard to believe that the highest up didn’t know about the ‘presumed’ plots of the lower downs, given the amount of time and planning spent in order to carry out the terrorist crime of the killing of Mr. Harriri and his companions.

How could a criminal hold trials and uphold justice? Come on Syrians! Are there no people left with any common sense in the whole of Syria? Who will stop this insanity? Twenty millions ruled by a foolish buffoon?!

February 6th, 2007, 6:22 pm


norman said:

when president Regan ran for president in 1980 and 1984 ,the Gay comunities supported him , he was asked about that and how does he feel as a consevetive to have the Gay comunity in his camp , He said they support our aggeda and we will take the support from anybody who agrees with us , So does Syria ,It will take the support from anybody who agrees with it’s stand on the Palestinian isue and the Golan Hights,
The brotherly Arab countrie ,the US and the EU should take a hint .

February 6th, 2007, 6:31 pm


Gibran said:

Mr. Norman,
I fail to see the similarity between the support of the gays to Mr. Reagan and the Syrian need to Iranian ‘tutelage’. I doubt that you can prove that Mr. Reagan went out purposely asking the gays for their support in his campaign. So, they simply offered unsolicited support. Syria is actively seeking Iranian support, colluding with them on many issues particularly terrorism, and entering willingly into so-called defense treaties. So where is that hint that you are alluding to? Or is this a case of obvious lack of common sense?

February 6th, 2007, 7:04 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Dear Gibran,
It seems like you are so well versed in the murder of Mr. Hariri that you have the whole fiasco figured out – including how Syria operates. Shouldn’t you be contacting the UN Commission with your findings – maybe they can end this circus sooner?

February 6th, 2007, 7:16 pm


Gibran said:

Does it bother you that I should be well versed in certain areas? Please clarify. Otherwise, relieve your nerves and back off.

February 6th, 2007, 7:36 pm


sam said:

Why blame Syria for getting help from Iran? It was isolated for peoples political agenda. The U.S. makes convient friends when nessessary like(Pakistan). Syria and Iran have been allies for a long time, no pressure will change that. It seems to me that this unity between the 2 is giving them respect, because they alone can dictate the outcome. Military and power of the purse is useless in the Mideast. Iran and Syria have the power of persuasion to all groups that oppose occupation forces i.e. U.S.-Israeli.

February 6th, 2007, 7:37 pm


norman said:

Gibran, Syria is under attack by the US , the EU and the brotherly Arab states ,for Syria to deffend itself she is looking for freinds ,Iran supports the Syrian position on the Palestinians and the Syrian Golan Hights ,so Iran is in the camp of the countries and organization that refuse to surrender at any cost ,Can you get this now ,Is that clear enough for you .

February 6th, 2007, 7:41 pm


Gibran said:

Allow me to let you know once again that you failed to make the argument. What your president said in the interview is a clear plea to surrender. He is the only one offering such surrender and he will do it just to have the US speak to him. You must be familiar with his recent gambit to have a deal with the Israelis. He offered almost everything just to get out of the corner. Believe me Norman he is desperate and will do anything to save his neck. Yalla my friend Syria’s fig leaf has been blown away and it will be very very hard for it not to stand up naked. Thanks of course to the foolishness of the buffoon.
What respect are they getting? and what outcome are they dictating SAM? Are you in a state of haluciantion?

February 6th, 2007, 7:56 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Dr. Landis,

The way I read it, the summary of this whole interview is as follows:

Bashar: I have an influence over some of those causing trouble in Iraq. However, I will only help reduce the violence if the U.S. decides to publicly engage me.

Set below is the answer from Washington thus far:

WASHINGTON (AP)–The U.S. on Tuesday criticized Syria as a negative force in
the Middle East and urged the country to do more to help stabilize Iraq.
In an interview earlier this week, Syrian President Bashar Assad said the
Bush administration doesn’t have the vision to bring peace to Iraq and that his
country could help calm the crisis if approached.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, responding to reporters’ questions
about Assad and Syria, said the U.S. has made “multiple attempts” to try to
engage Syria on efforts to stabilize the region, only to have Syria try to
“extract some public relations benefits” from the meetings.
“Syria continues to exert a negative influence in Lebanon,” McCormack said.
“They do not play a positive role in Iraq. They play a negative role in terms
of the Palestinians realizing their own state.”
He said Syria isn’t “the sole or majority cause of the issues in Iraq, but
they could play a more positive role. And they could do so without trying to
extract concessions from the United States. They should do it because they have
an interest in good, neighborly relations with Iraq.”

February 6th, 2007, 8:12 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

as a whole the interview was nice,but Diane Sawyer covered too many subjects,as for the political prisoners issue,I think some one(may be Josh) has to explain his answer,more likely we will hear more interviews,when Brammertz issues his report,this is going to be a very hot summer.

February 6th, 2007, 8:15 pm


Atassi said:

It’s every Syrian citizen duty to defends the homeland, we are obligated fend any harm directed at our people. Please keep in mind, this way of thinking is a Syrian built in feature. “Sorry this feature is not known to exist in many Lebanese”. So the bottom line, you will hear form many of us while you escalate your comments against the “Syrian”,
In the other hand, Please keep in mind many including “FP” are not a pro regime, But, surely will not tolerate any bad unfounded comments against Syria

February 6th, 2007, 8:16 pm


Gibran said:

Execuse me Atassi!
What homeland do you have in mind? The Golan is under occupation for 40 years! I haven’t seen a single Syrian taking up arms in an effort to liberate and fend the homeland!
The Lebanese on the other hand were the only people in the area to rise up and take up arms to liberate our land. and we did. We are waiting for you to do the same on your side and get off our backs.
So please come up with some coherent argument and spare me this bullshit about your so-called Syrian bottom line feature! Will you?

February 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Gibran, Lebanese rise up? You mean Hizbollah, right?

February 6th, 2007, 8:44 pm


Atassi said:

Syrians fought many wars against Israel, many lost their lives and my own uncle was one of the first Syrians to give his life in 1948 fighting the Zionist. Taking up arms in an effort to liberate and fend the homeland is not the smartest option with the current state of the Syrian army. Again, you don’t have “feature”  so you will not be able to comprehend it

February 6th, 2007, 8:49 pm


Gibran said:

No that is not completely right. Even so, it is still a clear contrast to your Syrian comrades complacency with regards to so-called Atassi’s Syrian unique feature of fending of homeland. So, instead of arguing about it, go and do somethimg about it, because otherwise you are dishononoring yourself as well as your country. I’m sure Atassi wouldn’t like that. Do you FP? Or it will be as they say if you lose shame you can do whatever you wish.

February 6th, 2007, 8:49 pm


Atassi said:

Some Lebanese Eye Ban on Political Talk
Associated Press Writer
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – Beirut store owners are trying a new way to lower the sectarian tensions that have erupted into street violence: Putting up signs banning any political talk in their shops.

It’s one of the ways Lebanese are coping with the standoff between pro- and anti-government camps.

“It’s better without politics,” reads the red and white sticker at the entrance of a pub on the restaurant- and bar-filled Gemayzeh Street in the Christian sector of Beirut.

At a posh gym across town, a sign reminds clients: “This is a place for sports so please refrain from expressing political opinions.” And on the dashboard of a taxi cab, yellow sticky notes try to ban talk of politics.

The signs, which began as scattered individual initiatives, have caught on, particularly after a political spat in the cafeteria of the Beirut Arab University on Jan. 25 turned into street riots that killed four people, the worst outbreak of sectarian violence since the 1975-90 civil war.

“I have customers from all religions and sects, I can’t afford to have them fight with each other,” said Oussama Mansour, a 31-year-old grocer in a Muslim neighborhood who put up a sign asking customers to “Please refrain from discussing politics and religion.”

He said he has had the sign in his shop since former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination two years ago, but recently added the word “religion” to it.

“You start talking with someone and they immediately want to know who and what are you: pro- or anti-government, Christian or Muslim, Sunni or Shiite. It’s become disgusting,” Mansour said.

Politics is a national pastime for Lebanese, and the country has long been a battleground where regional and international conflicts are played out. The topic inevitably arises when people meet, making for animated discussions.

But it has become explosive since the Hezbollah-led opposition launched its campaign of protests and sit-ins in Beirut on Dec. 1 seeking to topple the U.S.-backed government. Prime Minister Fuad Saniora has stood firm against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s demand for effective veto power in the Cabinet for it and its allies.

In Beirut’s religiously mixed Mazraa commercial district, almost every shop now has a sign banning all talk of politics.

“It’s not just for the customers; it’s a reminder for us, too,” said Ahmed Baasiri, a jewelry shop owner. He said businesses in the area made a collective decision last week to post the signs and take down political slogans and pictures of politicians.

Samia Omeirat, a 48-year-old shopper, thinks it’s a great idea.

“These days, the less you talk the better. It’s simply too dangerous. These signs should be put up everywhere,” she said.

Zuheir Shukur, president of the state-run Lebanese University, on Monday urged students to keep politics off campus.

“You can talk politics — in a decent way. More than this is forbidden,” he told prospective students during a campus tour.

Advertisements attacking politicians from opposing camps that are broadcast by privately owned TV stations have also fueled sectarian tensions, and even politicized Lebanese are saying enough is enough. Political disputes have caused trouble within households, leading many families to ban political discussions.

Charles Harb, a social psychology professor at the American University of Beirut, sees the ban on politics as a good way to try to avoid emotional reactions. But he also considers it a form of “avoidance” that does not necessarily help resolve conflict.

“But we have a very serious polarization in our society and, as in all kinds of society, you have people that do not want to be lumped in one group or another and these will want to create some sort of space for themselves,” he said.

One such effort is the newly established “March 11 grouping,” which claims to be trying to bridge the gap between the anti-Syria, pro-government camp known as March 14, and the pro-Syria, anti-government camp known as March 8. The names are derived from mass demonstrations that the factions held in 2005 after Hariri’s assassination.

March 11 is urging supporters of the two factions to meet halfway. Noura Zaayter, a group spokeswoman, said the group plans a series of “peaceful activities” beginning later this month aimed at encouraging moderation. But holding demonstrations is not a goal.
“The last thing we want to do is create a third street here,” Zaayter said.

February 6th, 2007, 9:28 pm


MSK said:

Dear Atassi,

I’m going to ask a “heretical” question: In 1948, did your uncle defend Syria against an aggression or did he participate in the invasion of a foreign territory in open breach of the very U.N. rules that Syria (like Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon) had signed on to when it co-founded the U.N. in 1945? (Jordan didn’t join the U.N. until 1955.)


February 6th, 2007, 9:47 pm


Alex said:

MSK, that was an evil question 🙂

You know that at time Syrias were still not far from the days when Syria meant the whole area … so even though the UN borders said one thing, Syrians were convinced there would be unity again one day soon… they did not try to invade Albania.

Champress says that those who voted online at ABC where overwhelmingly pro talking to Syria

2178 to 792

probably changed by now, if anyone wants to check the latest (I don’t know where to find it)

وكانت شبكة ABC قد أجرت استفتاءاً حول كون الحل للمشكلة العراقية يمر عبر سورية، حيث صوت 2178 مشاركاً بإيجابية مقابل 792 صوتوا سلباً، (الأرقام حتى ساعة إعداد هذا التقرير).

February 6th, 2007, 10:28 pm


EHSANI2 said:


Usually, I try to refrain from getting involved with arguments involving Syrians and Lebanese. Having read your earlier comment, I decided to break my own rule this time.

This is what you wrote:

“The Golan is under occupation for 40 years! I haven’t seen a single Syrian taking up arms in an effort to liberate and fend the homeland! The Lebanese on the other hand were the only people in the area to rise up and take up arms to liberate our land and we did. We are waiting for you to do the same on your side and get off our backs.”

The implicit, if not explicit, message of your charge is that the Lebanese are braver than the Syrians. You back your theory by explaining how the Lebanese were the only people in the area to rise up and take up arms to liberate their land. Ford Perfect asked you whether you are referring to Hezbollah. You said, “No this is not completely right”. It,therefore, makes sense to assume that you were instead referring to the way the Lebanese recently rose up against the Syrian army.

Please explain to me where was the bravery of the Lebanese for the past 30 years. Please explain to us how your country’s politicians acted like little children in the presence of Syrian leaders and army generals. The only reason you turned brave overnight is because the White House watched your backs after the Hariri murder. Indeed, had it not been for the Hariri assassination, your bravery would not have been able to surface out of your genetic DNA’S. It would have been as dormant as it was for the prior three decades.

I am not a supporter of the Moslem Brotherhood. In fact I am a strong opponent of their ideology. Yet, you cannot dismiss the many lives that they sacrificed in their attempt to topple this government. I would argue that they were braver than many of the Lebanese that you seem to be very fond of.

As for the Golan, to blame Syrian bravery for not liberating the land is preposterous. My father served his military service on the Golan. Surely, you cannot be suggesting that 20 million Syrians march with rocks and kitchen knives up to the border to liberate the land.

You can blame the policies of the governments all you want. You cannot, however, claim that because the Golan was never liberated, it stands to reason that the “citizens” of the country must then be cowards.

Please stop this nonsense.

February 6th, 2007, 10:31 pm


Gibran said:

With all due respect to the sudden appearance of your sense of national honor, I advise you to direct your comments to your countryman Atassi as he is the one most concerned about Syrian honor and bravery being the one who brought up the issue. It is like you knock on the door and you hear the answer.
As to refusing to fight with rocks (assuming these were the only tools available to your late father and now to you), I would suggest your regime begin by refraining from asking Hamas to do what you and your father refuse to do.
Furthermore, stop your nonsense of describing the Lebanese the way you did, because even your supposedly ‘great’ leader so-called Hafez would not have dared to use such language. In short buzz off.

February 6th, 2007, 10:39 pm


Atassi said:

Yes He did defend Syria \ Palestine against the aggression of the Zionist. We have no doubt about it. FYI, I would have done it too..

February 6th, 2007, 10:40 pm


Enlil said:

I have been following this site for some time and enjoy the free exchange of ideas and opinions. Although some heated debate is inevitable, given the sensitivity of the raised issues, it is really sad to engage in personal attacks or offensive rhetoric. This website offers a rare opportunity for open dialogue and objectivity – and I am thankful to Dr. Landis for that – so I urge all the contributors to keep the civility and quality of the debate. I think that the higher the quality of the content in this website, the more the credibility and the effect of the comments and the information shared by the writers. Something truly significant might emerge from this endeavor, so keep the good work.

February 6th, 2007, 10:48 pm


Ford Prefect said:

I am now sensing that Gibran is invoking real Lebanese democracy. Where would you like us to buzz off to, Gibran? Sabra and Shatila?

February 6th, 2007, 10:55 pm


Atassi said:

You are a nasty son of !!. I am absolutely sure you are not real Lebanese now. You are just an imposture ..

February 6th, 2007, 10:58 pm


EHSANI2 said:


How would you describe your country’s politicians at the height of Syria’s domination of your country?

How would you describe your so-called bravery during that time?

I was actually using a different word than Children first. You will be glad to learn that I toned it down rather significantly.

I think what you are doing is pointless and idiotic. You can blame the Syrian government all you want for their Lebanon policies. I do too.

But to attack all Syrians as cowards and to claim that all Lebanese are braver than all others in the region is nothing short of ridiculous.

February 6th, 2007, 11:00 pm


Ford Prefect said:

Well said. Let us also not forget that almost 10,000 Syrians gave their lives so that Lebanon remains what it is today. Left to their own devices, Lebanese warlords (sorry, today’s MPs and cabinet ministers) were ready to annihilate Lebanon to oblivion during the civil war. I am in fact happy that the many, many Lebanese are patriotic, rational, and lack the bigotry and hate displayed by some commentators here.

February 6th, 2007, 11:06 pm


MSK said:

Dear Atassi,

When was there a Zionist aggression against Syria in 1948? And where?


February 6th, 2007, 11:07 pm


Gibran said:

You can say whatever you wish. But you cannot put words into my mouth that I never said. Could you please quote me saying :”all Syrians as cowards and to claim that all Lebanese are braver than all others in the region.”?
So either you buzz off as I said or you’re not worth replying to. You know why? That’s when you become ridiculous.
Atassi: You deserve pity… no more.

February 6th, 2007, 11:13 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

توقيع اتفاق تشكيل المحكمة الدولية بين لبنان والامم المتحدة

February 6th, 2007, 11:35 pm


Bilal Nawaf said:


Which came first the chicken or the egg? Yes, Syria is under attack by the US, the EU and the brotherly Arab state but why? It is for the reason that Syria has sold itself to Iran. What do you expect from these countries? It is wrong to say that Syria and Iran are allies. They used to be allies during Hafez Alassad but now Syria is just a card of the many cards that Iran has. I am sure that this has not given Syria any respect. It has placed Syria in the center of danger. As we all know Syria does not have Iran’s resources. Look on what is going on now. During Hafez Alassad Syria was not the main player in Lebanon, it was almost the only player. Now we see Iran, KSA, France, USA, Arab League deciding on how to solve Lebanon issue and not a single consultation with Syria. If this is not something that Bashar should be kicked out of office for I do not know what else?
As I previously said Bashar want to tell the world that I am able to make all the chaos in the world if you do not talk to me. Look at this piece from CBS that will explain that. But at the same time the whole world knows that even that the Syrian Regime can create all the chaos but they cannot help to calm things down as NO ONE BELIEVE OR FOLLOW THEM ANYMORE.

February 7th, 2007, 1:32 am


majedkhaldoun said:

in 1967 Isreal attacked Egypt knowing that there is a pact between syria and egypt any attack on one country (egypt)is attack on the other(syria)
in 1982 while syrian troops were in Lebanon Isreal attacked Lebanon and atteacked Syrian troops, four years ago Isreali plane attacked area close to Damascus,that caused Bush to call Bashar Asad,intervene and cause Syria not to retaliate.
in 1957 Isreal attacked Syria during the night, that is the time when Syria first used the light bombs and caused several casualities suffered by isreali troops, Isreal attacked syria several times.

February 7th, 2007, 1:48 am


Gibran said:

I promise you to keep the same alias just so you would recognize immediately who will bust you off.

February 7th, 2007, 2:00 am


Gibran said:

The Tribunal is a reality. Its formation is a mere formality. Will Bashar prefer prosecution under Chapter 7 of the UN? It is up to him. He may still choose to be tried under Lebanese law if he wants. Who knows? But first will he discuss the Tribunal with Amr Moussa? Does he want to hear about it?

[…..] edited by blog admin – Come on man, grow up

توقيع معاهدة المحكمة

وفي نيويورك، دخلت المحكمة ذات الطابع الدولي ونظامها الأساسي مرحلة «المعاهدة» بعد توقيع وكيل الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة للشؤون القانونية، نيكولا ميشال، وثائق المحكمة. وستعاد المعاهدة الى لبنان لتدخل مرحلة الابرام في مجلس النواب قبل أن تدخل حيز التطبيق العملي.

وتجاهلت الأمانة العامة رسالة رئيس الجمهورية اللبنانية، اميل لحود، التي شكك فيها بشرعية الحكومة اللبنانية واجراءاتها بما في ذلك ما يتعلق بالمحكمة، واتخذ الأمين العام بان كي – مون قرار توقيع وثائق المحكمة بغض النظر عن رسالة رئيس الجمهورية.

وسُئل بان أمس عما إذا كان يدعم اللجوء الى الفصل السابع لميثاق الأمم المتحدة لغرض المحكمة الدولية، فاجاب: «هذا الأمر يعود الى مجلس الأمن ليناقش الموضوع». وعبر مجدداً عن أمله في ان «تتخذ الحكومة اللبنانية الاجراءات الضرورية لتتمكن من ابرام هذه العملية طبقاً للمتطلبات الدستورية».

وأكدت الناطقة باسم الأمين العام ميشيل مونتاس، ان بياناً سيصدر عن الدائرة القانونية للأمم المتحدة لاحقا من ينطوي على اعلان التوقيع الرسمي على وثائق المحكمة.

وكان مجلس الأمن الدولي صادق على الاتفاقية بين الدائرة القانونية ووزارة العدل اللبنانية والتي تم التوصل اليها في اعقاب مفاوضات دقيقة استمرت سنة تقريباً وتضمنت النظام الأساسي للمحكمة.

وحض السفير الاميركي اليخاندور وولف، أمس، على إبرام المعاهدة في لبنان «بأسرع وقت ممكن» واصفاً الوضع فيه بأنه «هش»، ومؤكداً: «اننا بكل تأكيد، نريد ان نشهد انشاء هذه المحكمة». وقال ان هذه المحكمة «يدعمها مجلس الأمن الدولي وحكومة لبنان المنتخبة».

وشدد السفير الاميركي على وضع الأمور في «تسلسلها المناسب» وذلك بانشاء المحكمة الدولية الآن، فيما يستمر التحقيق «لأنه من السذاجة ان يكون هناك لجنة تحقيق تقوم بعملها ولديها نتائج لنقلها الى الادعاء من دون اقامة محكمة للتعامل مع ذلك».

وحول امكان اللجوء الى الفصل السابع من الميثاق في حال عرقلة ابرام المعاهدة في مجلس النواب قال وولف: «هناك اقتراحات حول هذا الموضوع»، ولكن «نتابع المسألة بشكل وثيق ونريد رؤية الحكومة اللبنانية تقوم بكل ما في وسعها لانشاء هذه المحكمة بحسب عمليات دستورها». وتابع «سنعبر الجسر الآني اذا اضطررنا وبرزت ضرورة لذلك».

February 7th, 2007, 2:29 am


EHSANI2 said:

“I haven’t seen “A SINGLE SYRIAN” taking up arms in an effort to liberate and fend the homeland! The Lebanese on the other hand were the “ONLY” people in the area to rise up and take up arms to liberate our land and we did. We are waiting for you to do the same on your side and get off our backs.”

Dear Gibran,

These were your words. If I misrepresented them, then I stand corrected.

I am back to my rule of no petty arguing with others

February 7th, 2007, 2:43 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

I have watched the second part of the interview 3 times. I do not know if you have noticed. It is when Diane Sawyer asked him about PM Hariri famous meeting when he told him that he would break Lebanon over his head. If you look closely at Bashar’s eyes during his reply. He was blinking his eyes continuously which is a clear indication that he is lying. Please go over the interview and check it out.

February 7th, 2007, 2:54 am


Gibran said:

All right Mr. EHSANI. It may have been a misrepresentation or most likely a hasty misunderstanding on either side. So, I’ll do the same. Thanks

February 7th, 2007, 3:11 am


Akbar Palace said:

Diane Sawyer and Bashar Assad

Another in a long series of softball interviews between the Main Stream Media and a Middle East dictator.

A few months ago is was Mike Wallace and Ahmadinejad.

Anything the US media can do to give life to a despot and/or a terror supporter, and you can bet they’ll be there…

MSK asks Atassi:

“When was there a Zionist aggression against Syria in 1948? And where?”

Atassi replies:

“Zionist aggression of the settlers (Jews) against the Palestinians Righteous Victims was and still considered an attack on the Syrian peoples.”


The Syrians could give 2 figs about the Palestinians. They care about 2 things:

1.) Keeping Assad where he is.

2.) Getting back Holy Golan.

February 7th, 2007, 3:17 am


norman said:

Alex , this the recent results , propably the Lebanese and the Israelies found the site.!.

ABC News’ Diane Sawyer sat down for a rare interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Iraq Study Group has listed Syria as one of the nations that should be brought to the bargaining table as a way to stop the violence in Iraq.

Do you believe Syria could help the United States in the war in Iraq?

Yes. It’s right next door. It could get the fighting factions to the bargaining table.
Maybe. Working with Syria and other regional neighbors is certainly worth a try.1,496
No. It’s sending support into Iraq for the insurgents, how could we trust Syria?1,037
Total Vote: 4,238

February 7th, 2007, 3:26 am


Alex said:

A question that I pose everytime Bashar speaks:

Why don’t we analyze and over analyze (mostly in a negative way) every single word or facial expression of Mubarak when he speaks? … and … Junblat?

Why do we rush to report a political answer like “we do not have political prisoners in Syria” when all politicians twist the truth in every single interview … even worse: why is it OK when Mubarak is not asked about his political prisoners who are ten times more than Bashar’s? yet some people got upset yesterday that Diane did not ask the tough questions!

How much attention did Junblat’s promise to kill the Syrian president get? … compare that to the attention that “Bashar must have ordered Hariri’s killing” got everywhere for the past 2 years

Then we have the contradictory resons to criticize him. Examples I read the past few weeks:

1) His father used to be an equal to the Iranians, Bashar is a toy robot under their control.

The Saudis and Iranians reached an agreement over Lebanon .. but Syria blocked it and destroyed chances for Lebanon to recover and be happy.

Those terrible Syrians! … but, shouldn’t Iran simply order them to accept the Iranian/Saudi agreement? aren’t they the masters of Syria since the weak Bashar is totally under their control?

2) Bashar (and “the Assads” in general) never wanted to solve the Golan issue because they are using it to justify their long term survival in power.

Yet, after the recent secret peace negotiations between Syria and Israel, the more popular updated version of this story became: “Bashar is so weak he is giving away the Golan .. he will do anything to stay in power”

February 7th, 2007, 3:37 am


Alex said:

Norman, I think Champress simply added the first two categories .. since both say “we should try talking to Syria”

But you still have a strong vote for talking to Syria … 3200 against 1000

February 7th, 2007, 3:40 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

I am sorry but I just cannot stop watching this interview. Have you noticed when he said in his own voice that the death of Bassel has changed the course of events that brought him to this position and that it was not meant to be that he will be his father successor. What kind of democracy is this? This is an insult for all Syrians as if they are just cows and only the Assads are good enough to lead Syria and all other 18 Millions are not good enough. I see this declaration exactly as officially changing the name to “Kingdom of Syria Alassad”. This prove what I always say that the only criteria Bashar has that entitle him to be the president of Syria is that he happen to be the elder brother of the late Bassel. This is an admission in his own voice.

February 7th, 2007, 3:50 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

The reason that we pay attention to what Bashar says and we do not comment about Mubarak lies is very simply because WE ARE SYRIANS and this Bashar unfortunately is holding our future and our kids future as well. Mubarak is not. So why should we care about what Mubarak says? Let the Egyptian worry about him..
I do not know about you but this guy who has proven he does not have any experience in running a country is controlling our destiny. Let him get a Sim City game and play with it and let him leave our country, life, destiny, and future alone in good hands.

February 7th, 2007, 4:12 am


EHSANI2 said:


Why do YOU think people have the kind of reactions that you described when they hear/read about Bashar?

February 7th, 2007, 4:19 am


AMIR said:

I read and follow syriacomment regularly.

Critisism is everyones entitlement but you sound like spoilt children upset that no one is listen to you except me on this website.

Facts like them or not. Mr Assad is here to stay. He is clever and the right man in this climate to rule syria. We have plenty of people with your chat here in syria. I challenge you to get involved and make suggestions or go one further and make a difference on the ground.

In fact many if his opinions and perspectives on the wider middle-eastern issues demonstrate alot more intellect than some of the tit-for-tat perspective some of you seem to enjoy exchanging in the safety of the this blog.

Bottom line : Get your thumbs out!!!!!!

February 7th, 2007, 4:48 am


Enlightened said:

Why do YOU think people have the kind of reactions that you described when they hear/read about Bashar?

Ehsani, Bashar and his political style/legitimacy/rule…….. etc polarises people, nations!!!!!!

I have SEEN, the interview and he is not a polished speaker or individual, if i were living in Syria, and a citizen, my first question as a citizen would be given the mess Syria is in under his stewardship,
Would I be confident and secure about my countries prospects, and Future under his direction?
The answer would be NO! His father despite all said against him and his rule was far more astute and formidable!

The Syria under Hafez el Assad had better prospects,time simply ran out for him. What would the situation be for Syria had Hafez concluded a peace with Israel like King Hussain of Jordan did?

Lo I wonder how many Syrian Nationals long for his rule? and whether the bitter divisions in Lebanon would have proceeded up to the point they are today? I was no fan of him but I am starting to think differently today!

February 7th, 2007, 4:52 am


Alex said:


obviously, in theory, you have every right to be upset at the fact our presidency is passed from father to son, and to the other son …

But instead of staring forever at one point in space and one point in time (Bashar, today) … let’s look at the whole area … today and throughout history.

MOST OF THE TIME (don’t come up with an exception of two please) most countries were ruled by the sons (or brothers) of the ex-ruler … or things change through a coup d’état.

So, again … why should I be furious that Bashar is one more example of the 90% rule?

Of course I want to see this habit changed … but not immediately. As I said, to me …we should start planning the process and we should insist on creating the necessary environmental conditions that will facilitate the change process (in the right direction), and we should then expect and demand nothing less that full effort from our leaders to reach our reform objectives.

I am not a risk taker and I do not want to get rid of this president who is the appointed son of his father … In today’s Middle East, this is suicide… like the one in Iraq .. or the potential ones in Lebanon and Palestine.


why? …. because the Americans, Saudis and the Hariri group own the English plus the Arab Media … so they managed to convince half the people (not all) that Bashar is exceptionally stupid, a big failure, exceptionally evil, exceptionally corrupt, exceptionally anti-democracy and reform.

This issue of his admitting he inherited the job .. what would please you Bilal? if he lied and said .. “I was elected with an amazing 95% majority”? … no matter what he says you will hate his answer… you hated it when he did NOT admit he has hundreds of political prisoners.

So back to Mubarak and all the Lebanese warlords/leaders who inherited their jobs from their respective fathers … we have a messed up SYSTEM in the middle east … it is a system with inputs, feedback loops, and internal characteristics … all of which are causing the continuation of the authoritarian rule, corruption, or violence symptoms … we need to analyze the system then fix it, not to analyze Bashar’s giggles and be fixated on our predetermined negative conclusions of his performance.

February 7th, 2007, 4:52 am


Gibran said:

Someone said:
“why? …. because the Americans, Saudis and the Hariri group own the English plus the Arab Media … so they managed to convince half the people (not all) that Bashar is exceptionally stupid, a big failure, exceptionally evil, exceptionally corrupt, exceptionally anti-democracy and reform.”
Oh no you don’t need to own wny media to make him look stupid. He is born stupid and will show himslef as such to any media owned by you guess who.

February 7th, 2007, 5:02 am


sam said:


It seems to me that you think you could do better.
under the past circumstances Bashar has been tested harder than any leader in the region. Not including sanctions, on a 3rd world economy, unlike Egypt, Jordan, and Israel that get billions of dollars of aid every year, he is holding his own. Him taking over was the best thing that happened to Syria. He was bringing change to Syria, he immediatley made internet available for starters, he ok political parties excluding MB. 9/11 changed the scene dramatically, adding to the 2nd intifada, and Sharon the Butcher. As for the Harriri assass, I still don’t see how Syria would benefit by killing him? There really is no motive. The Syrians needed him, he was their man in Leb. I’m an arab nationalist 1st and foremost,I want nothing more than have peace, it’s a shame that the other arab leaders don’t have Assad lion heart like Bashar. If this was the world series of poker, I ‘d bet Bashar would make the final table.

February 7th, 2007, 5:14 am


Alex said:

OK Gibran, I assume you are not impressed with his medical degree.

Any idea why most of the western interviewrs lke him a lot? Alix (from la republica), Charlie Rose (last year), Diane Sawyer (this week), the BBC’s john simpson …

Maybe they are all stupid. They need to consult an angry Lebanese to learn how to catch stupid Syrian leaders.

Or a Saudi journalist who keeps criticizing Bashar for not being democratically elected (like his king) …

February 7th, 2007, 5:14 am


sam said:

Alex, you should be doing stand up. I swear to God this is the 1st time I laughed today

February 7th, 2007, 5:19 am


sam said:

I wish T.E. Lawerance would have got lost in the desert, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

February 7th, 2007, 5:24 am


sam said:

Is that really you?

February 7th, 2007, 5:28 am


Gibran said:

At least half the people are convinced he is stupid according to you Mr. Alex. So where are the other half that think he is not. the ones you mentioned (assuming they think he is not stupid and not you asserting so) hardly add up to the other half. Come on how long you want to stay in your state of self delusion? And who told you I’m angry. Do not be so presumptuous because you immediately lose your argument. Actually, I am enjoying the whole debate. I see your idol slowly but surely getting dragged to the box where he will face his destiny as a convicted criminal terrorist.
SAM why do you hate Lawrence? He was instrumental in liberating you from the Ottoman yoke. Who will liberate you once more from the newly forming Iranian yoke now? That’s when the final laugh will become possible!

February 7th, 2007, 6:10 am


Omar said:

How do you know Daine Sawer like him, her facial expression looked as if she was talking to a mental person.
I am so shocked by you people, go read the comment about him in all the Arabic websites that are in the Middle-East (Mostly are Syrian) they know more about what Bashar is doing than you.
Look everyone, i’m Syrian and visiting my daughter in college. Just like in Syria, most of you here are cowards.
but the differences is that nobody in Syria is supporting Hasan Nasr Allah and the Iranians. They will do anything in their power to stop the Iranians for their hegemony.

February 7th, 2007, 6:33 am


annie said:

The Lebanese (???) Gibran :”SAM why do you hate Lawrence? He was instrumental in liberating you from the Ottoman yoke.”
…and delivering the region to Sykes-Picot
“Who will liberate you once more from the newly forming Iranian yoke now? That’s when the final laugh will become possible!”

Who will liberate us from the Zionist-American axis of evil ?

February 7th, 2007, 6:56 am


Alex said:

President Assad is going to Tehran in few days.

الأسد في طهران خلال أيام

كشف السفير الايراني في دمشق حسن اختري لـ”صدى البلد”، عن زيارة مرتقبة للرئيس بشار الاسد الى إيران خلال الايام القليلة المقبلة، وفيما لم يحدد بدقة موعد الزيارة الا انه اكد انها قائمة وستسبق زيارة رئيس الوزراء ناجي العطري المقررة في 15 الجاري.

Let me guess how Al-mustaqbal and al-syassah will analyze it:

His Iranian masters asked him to explain why he has American music on his iPod.

February 7th, 2007, 7:15 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

Are you really convinced of what you are saying? I would be extremely disappointed if you tell me yes. Are we (Syrians) losers who have to just accept the fact that Bassel died then Hafez died then Bashar is president? Why?
I and history does not agree with you that most countries were ruled by the sons (or brothers) of the ex-ruler. Who put this stupid and untrue idea in our heads? There are over 200 counties in the world today. Maybe less than 50 monarchies that transfer power as PER THEIR CONSTITUTION to their sons or brothers. There are over 150 remaining out of which only North Korea and no more than 5 other countries have transferred their powers to their sons. What is in common in these countries? Headed by a dictator, no government institutions, no freedom…
Between over 15 presidents in the Arab World NONE got power thru his dad except for our boy. Actually we set a precedent that we should all be disgraced of it. We became a joke in the Arabic street. Please and for the sake of the pride of the 18 millions Syrian do not try to find an excuse for such a crime against Syria and never repeat that Bashar is an example of the 90% rule. He is just an example of a lucky unfit person in the right place.
Why you do not want to see this habit changed immediately. I see that the propaganda the regime has exerted got into you. The regime is simply telling us the Syrian that you are not educated and civilized and accordingly you cannot handle democracy and you are not mature enough to decide your future. Therefore, we the Assad’s & family will take good care of you and rule you. We promise that we will start educating you how to handle democracy and only after you are well educated we will let you choose your destiny. But please Syrians you have to be patient with us. We cannot start educating you for now because you see what is going on around us. Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine… The time is not right to start educating you right now due to the danger around us. We promise you that when the time come Hafez the second (Bashar’s son) will start this education but we need you & your kids to pray from now that then the situation in the region would allow it as otherwise Bashar the second has to do it.
Isn’t this what exactly Bashar only excuse? Alex if you do not accept this it does not mean we are a risk taker but by accepting this it means we are losers and muttons. If you accept to be as such WE DO NOT ACCEPTS this. I am sorry for my language but I feel personally offended when some one tell me this is what happened and you have to accept this whether you like it or not. Well I do not like it and I will never accept it.
As for your answer to Ehsani I do not agree with you that the Americans, Saudis and the Hariri group managed to convince half the people (not all) that Bashar is exceptionally stupid, a big failure, exceptionally evil, exceptionally corrupt, exceptionally anti-democracy and reform… Actually himself has done this job beautifully and not to only half the people but to ALL except for a few losers and muttons that accept what they are instructed without thinking about it.
Do you think if a criminal admitted his crime this will put him off the hook? Regardless if he admitted he inherited the job this does not mean we have to accept it or that it will give him legitimacy. Please give me a break.

February 7th, 2007, 7:26 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

The only reason that Bashar is under pressure is that he has put himself in that position. Don’t you think that Hafez times were much harder than now but he had the experience and the team around him to manage our ways out of danger? Bashar is on his own without any experience. What do you expect? As for the Hariri crime I will tell you about the late Gibran Toueini interview that I saw. The reporter asked him the same question that is it possible that Syria has done it especially that we all know that Syria will loose from such an action. He replied that can anyone claim that it was not Syria who is totally behind the extension of the Lahoud mandate? We all know that this extension will hurt Syria and Bashar knows this very well. Anyway he has done it. This will prove further, as Toueni has said that Syria is working against its interest. Maybe Toueini was assassinated because of this interview which I remember very well. So it is yes that Syria is behind this crime as they were afraid that he is becoming too powerful to be controlled and he refused the way that Bashar & Rustum Ghazali were handling Lebanon. He had to go.

February 7th, 2007, 7:33 am


Alex said:


I meant to talk about the Arab world, not the whole world. 90% are dictators … I don’t care if they are Kings or presidents, sons of ex-leaders of not … the point I was trying to make and yo did not want to read is that a bad system is bigger and more complex to analyze then fix, than simply saying: “we have a bad president”

I think one problem is that you are selecting between Black and White … Bashar is not a brilliant angel and is not the most pathetic loser you want him to be.

As for the chicken and egg ..or causality, or what I called feedback loops in the system … you also need to be open minded when you analyze them .. you can’t always analyze themin a way that leads to the one and only conclusion that suits your convictions: Bashar is bad.

Life is never this black and white.

February 7th, 2007, 8:02 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

I am sorry to say that No not 90% are dictators but much less but for sure Bashar is on top of the list by far. None had power thru his Dad unless the constituition allow it except for him.
Yes I agree that Bashar is not a brilliant angel so why keep him? There are more than 2 Millions better prepared Syrians. Why him?????????
I am not saying Bashar is bad. His actions has just put us in a “bad” situation. I will let you figure it out.
You did not reply to the introduction of democratizaion as per Bashar way. Do you agree with me that this is what is happening?

February 7th, 2007, 9:16 am


Mo said:

All commentators,

a bit of history on the 1948-war Syrian involvement in Palestine. Syria, and other Arab countries, sent troops into Palestine after an official request from the Arab League, which also appointed the commander-in-chief of the Arab Liberation Army. Syrians did not intervene for the causes mentioned in some posts above.

From Wiki:

On 13 May, the Arab League met and agreed to send regular troops into Palestine when the Mandate expired. Abdullah of Transjordan was named as the commander-in-chief of the Arab armies, but the various Arab armies remained largely uncoordinated throughout the war.(…)

Over the next few days, approximately 1,000 Lebanese, 5,000 Syrian, 5,000 Iraqi, 10,000 Egyptian troops invaded the newly-established state. Four thousand Transjordanian troops invaded the Corpus Separatum region encompassing Jerusalem and its environs, as well as areas designated as part of the Arab state by the UN partition plan. They were aided by corps of volunteers from Saudi Arabia, Libya and Yemen. (just to remind some that Lebanese troops took part as well)

The same happened when Syria sent troops into Lebanon: first after an official request from the Lebanese gvt, and later approved by the Arab League. Note that the Syrian gvt has long been very much aware of International Law and its implications.

I repeat it again, refer to history and reliable sources before writing-I will be polite-unconstructive ideas that do not add value to the discussion, and build on racist, to say the least, ideas and allegations.

February 7th, 2007, 9:30 am


MSK said:

Dear MO,

The Arab members of the UN at the time did not accept the UN partician decision of the UN General Assembly. There was, at the time, no Palestinian gov’t that could’ve requested Arab League troops (contrary to Lebanon in ’76). The Arab League was in no position, legally speaking, to request any troops into Palestine as it did not have any authority in or over Palestine.

Defending the territory given to Arab Palestinians by the member states of the UN against any aggression from the outside (i.e. Jewish/Israeli forces) was one thing, openly brushing aside the UN GA decision and invading the territory given to the Jewish Palestinians was a breach of the UN Charta.

Syrian forces attacked Jewish/Israeli forces and positions and villages in the territory that the UN partician plan had given to the Jews, thereby effectively invading a foreign country.

Dear Atassi,

thank you for your answers to my questions. May I ask you what your position is on the UN? Do you think that its decisions and resolutions are valid, are constituting international law? Would you say that, if the Arab states didn’t accept the UN partition of the Palestine Mandate territory in ’47 then they effectively did the same thing as when Israel doesn’t accept UN SC Res. 242?


February 7th, 2007, 10:35 am


Mo said:

MSK, you insist on neither reading history nor understanding it. You continue to amaze me. 3 points:

1. The UN GA, back then, voted 33 for, 13 against, 10 abstaining. Note that a very large number of countries back then were still colonized, esp. in Africa, technically non-existent.
Guess what, the countries in favor were: (source)
Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Belarus, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, South Africa, Ukraine, United States, USSR, Uruguay, Venezuela.
A group of small islands, colonial powers (both ancient & modern), the 2 superpowers, and a number of S. American countries.
Costa Rican & Iceland voting for the fate of the Palestinian people.. Like Bahrain voting that the US should be equally divided along ethnic groups! Ahmadinejad kind of logic!

2. “A breach of the UN Charta”!! Are you serious??? Didn’t you know that all votes by the UN GA are non-binding resolutions. And the one for dividing Palestine was a facts-finding committee’s recommendation! Tell me how many recent UN GA resolutions against Israel have been issued? And which has been implemented!!

3. Israel unilaterally proclaimed its “independence” over much more land than the 1947 partition plan anticipated. Technically speaking, Israel also rejected the UN GA plan. So what UN resolutions are you talking about?

Therefore, any decision by the Arab League demanding Arab troops to enter Palestine was legally justified, at least much more than Israel’s actions.

MSK, I already asked you to read history and formulate a valid case before writing such nonsense. Please do!

February 7th, 2007, 11:30 am


EHSANI2 said:

In case Bashar did not have enough on his plate.

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) — Syria has helped the Lebanese
Hezbollah organization to rearm with new Russian-made anti-tank
missiles since the group’s military confrontation with Israel six
months ago, Ma’ariv reported, without citing anyone.
The shipments, which replace Coronet anti-tank missiles that
caused heavy troop losses for Israel after it invaded southern
Lebanon in July, are a violation of United Nations Security
Council resolutions, the newspaper said. Hezbollah, which
operates as a Shiite Muslim political party in Lebanon, is
classified by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
About 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis were killed in the
conflict, which was sparked by Hezbollah’s kidnapping of two
soldiers in a raid into Israel and ended with an Aug. 14 cease-
fire agreement.

February 7th, 2007, 12:25 pm


youngSyria said:

UN my a$$……….we are gangsters!!

February 7th, 2007, 12:44 pm


MSK said:

Dear MO,

The UN partition plan was done with the votes (for, against, abstained) by the countries who were then member states, incl. Syria, Egypt, Lebanon.

Those were the rules at the time and those are still the rules.

Palestine was a mandate territory and thus the UN GA had sovereignty over it. They could’ve painted it orange if they’d wanted to …

Israel declared itself to be a state the night when the British forces withdrew. It made no claims on any territory – in order to not to “miss out” on any possibly expansion beyond the Partition Resolution – but its leadership had already accepted the UN partition vote. (Yes, it was a tactical move & they’d planned/hoped to extend their control over all of Palestine.)

But I was not talking about what the Israelis did or didn’t do. I was talking with Atassi about the Syrian military engagement in the 1948 War. You can keep on saying “but what the Israelis did was even worse” & you might be right but that doesn’t take anything away from the argument I had with Atassi.

The Arab League had no jurisdiction/sovereignty over Palestine. The UN did. And the Arab members of the UN had signed on to that, including the mandate status of Palestine, when they co-founded the UN.

Syria, in 1948, invaded a foreign territory when its troops moved from the Golan westward.

(Since you’ll keep bringing up Israeli/Western non-compliance with UN resolutions: Yes, that’s wrong. Israel, just like any other member state, has to comply with UN resolutions. Period. I never said anything to the contrary.)


February 7th, 2007, 12:59 pm


SSNP said:

Far too much to read with opinions going back and forth.
But here is my nuggets of wisdom regardless.
I think that interviewer had vacant questions and the answers she got were straight forward text book answers. Hardly challenging and Bashar seemed to have anticipated the content of the questions. What you needed was someone like Jeremy Paxman (BBC jounalist) who is known for spit-roasting his guests regardless of their position. non of that polite, back stroking rubbish.

on the subject of Lebanon which we keep going back to. I think all in all, Bashar has done a relatively decent balls-squeezing job compared to his father. Lets face it everyone. Lebanon never have and never will have the kind sovereignty it seeks. If its not Syria, then its deemed to be Israel. This country cannot exsit without direct foreign influence. Its too small, and week to exert political or financial significance. I think most Lebanese (i hope for their sake) accept the reality, apart from perhaps the Maronites (who are only a minority) who perhaps would rather have Israeli troops marching up their streets. why? I have no idea. perhaps because the feel they are genetically connected.
The one thing that amazes me most is the way “some” lebanese bark at the wrong tree every time they get bombed back to the stone age by the IDF. I guess it turns some people on in east Beirut. It never fails. Their self-denial makes it hilarious. its got to be the Syrians fault, surely. everything has to be…

i said it once and will say it again. Lebanon cannot exist with complete autonomy. It has to co-exist and accept the political and military dominance of its neighbors bond its relationship with them via treaties and mutual respect. Either that or give up Sovereignty all together and join one of its neighboring countries. This unfortunate reality will infuriate many. so what. Just remember the historical facts of this tiny state, how its got carved up, where from and why.

February 7th, 2007, 2:04 pm


Gibran said:

Knowing where you come from – Syrian Socialist Nationalis Party, a Chapter of German Socialist Nationalist Party commonly known as Nazism – we will never be infuriated by your remarks with regards to Lebanon! It is the only country which prevents your great Syrian Reich from ever materializing! It is the anathema to your ‘great’ enterprise! Isn’t it? How do you feel about the arrests of your fellow Syrian Nationalists by Lebanese authorities and the impending banning of your ‘political’ abomination? Do you still have any offices operating in Lebanon? Or have they all been torched?

February 7th, 2007, 3:19 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Questions regarding sovereignty of nations do not get decided based on size. Just because Lebanon is a tiny country does not mean that it cannot be sovereign.

The current political discourse between Syria and Lebanon is inflaming a feeling of national superiority. I think that this is regrettable.

Syrians must face up to the fact that mistakes were made during the past 30 years of involvement in Lebanon. We cannot dismiss the concerns and the ill feelings that many Lebanese experienced during this period. This is not to say that Lebanon did not make its own mistakes. A country with such a weak central authority cannot provide its citizens the national security that they seem to aspire to gain.

While Lebanon’s unique characteristics make it an easy target for foreign interference, its relationship with Syria is particularly problematic. This is due to the fact that many Syrians (including those in the leadership) do not fully respect Lebanon’s sovereignty as an independent nation. Indeed, a rather significant majority still sees Lebanon as part of Syria.

This writer does not agree. Lebanon is a sovereign country with its own political and cultural identity, which is appreciably different than present day Syria.

February 7th, 2007, 3:33 pm


Gibran said:

Thanks EHSANI. With more Syrians coming forward with such courage we may have hope to become decent neighbors.

February 7th, 2007, 3:36 pm


SSNP said:

you? who are you? the fanatic minority of lebanon?
the unfortunate deranged few who actually believe they can trance their gene back 3 thousand years?
did it ever occur to you that maybe just maybe nick names are used on this blog randomly with no or little significance to the identity of the person commenting?
why dont you address the key issues and blunt comments i made rather than cheaply avoiding them.

fellow SSNP… offices operating? i liked that. you actually think im a member? you made me laugh. you’re much easier to wind up than i thought. How can anyone take you seriously is beyond me. You actually think that no one here knows who the SSNP are, and what they stand for? how old are you? isn’t there an age requirement on this blog?

Let see… you call your self Gibran because …. dont tell me please.

February 7th, 2007, 3:39 pm


Gibran said:

After all Riyad El-Solh was such a great man. And he did it just before dawn for you to mourn for ever!

February 7th, 2007, 4:02 pm


SSNP is now Syrian Communist Party said:

your answer is somewhat balanced and i appreciate it for what it is. Its just the bias argument that some people like to post on here implying the national superiority from a different perspective.
you said “This is not to say that Lebanon did not make its own mistakes.”

Sure syrian made mistakes, I’m the first to admit that. but the problem is that you get “some” misinformed lebanese coming here and preaching wrong doing on the part of syrians alone. Then passing the blame on to the syrian people themselves. But then their aim isnt for a constructive argument , but simply to deny their mistakes and blame someone else. I dont have a problem with any national identity, but take pleasure in highlighting unpleasant possible perspectives to ones who ask for it.

and Gibran, dont hide behind EHSANI2. he managed to address the issue in a civilized manner. Unlike you. you were enraged because i spoke the only language you understand. Just wanted to highlight whose objective in his argument and who isnt. Then again. Then again, perhaps you and EHSANI2 are the same person. 😉

February 7th, 2007, 4:04 pm


SSNP is now Syrian Communist Party said:


you said lebanon has its own political identity. sure.. as chaotic as it may be in the present. Granted.

But cultural identity? Are you either syrian or lebanese?
Culture cannot be defined by politically drawn borders, especially when they are only 50 or 60 years old. I have to disagree with you at this junction I’m afraid.

February 7th, 2007, 4:17 pm


MSK said:

Dear S.S.N.P.I.N.S.C.P.,

this discussion is too interesting to stay out of.

I have a question for you: What, in your opinion, are the markers of Syrian cultural identity, i.e. what do Syrians (&, according to you also Lebanese) have that non-Syrians don’t?

While on that note, what are the geographical boundaries of Syrian identity?


February 7th, 2007, 4:35 pm


SSNP-SCP said:


its not a question of what syrians have that non-syrians dont have.
my point is syrian, lebanese (people in general) in terms of culture share a lot in common. Many Syrians and Lebanese i know of would testify to that. And I’m sure many who want to distance themselves due to political and/or racial values would argue that.
But historically culturaly, both people share more than most people imagine. And to top it all, on a larger scale, Syrians and Lebanese share numerous cultural aspects with palastenians, Jordanians, Iraqis to a certain degree… a prime examples are language, religions, traditions, and so on.
But we can go forever here and i dont want to divert from the issue at hand. There is an apartheid mentality born out of ultra nationalist and at times racist sentiment. I advocate the closeness of people in that region, but am confronted with many that insist on highlighting the differences to cause friction. The result, keeping the “masses” suppressed and weak. Marx would have used the word “appendages to bourgeoisie means”. But being a rotten Marxist myself, i wont! 🙂

Oh, and one last point, geographical boundaries of Syriandom extends as far as anyone who wants to join. There is a form to fill out that needs to be certified, signed and stamped by a number of ministries of course.

February 7th, 2007, 4:55 pm


Akbar Palace said:

SSNP said:

“Lebanon cannot exist with complete autonomy.”

Only in the minds of thugs, terrorists, and Syrian presidents.

February 7th, 2007, 5:10 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Dr. Landis,

It is now common knowledge that Iraq is in the midst of uncontrollable violence. It is often tempting to blame the U.S. for what we see on our television screens on an almost daily basis. While one cannot disagree with American culpability when it comes to the violence, it is important to remember that this country was not exactly Norway or Switzerland prior to the arrival of the foreign armies. I have recently been reading an interesting article by one of Russia’s leading historians/journalists. I will not bore you with the details but I thought that the following quotes were interesting anecdotes supporting my point:

“A Soviet diplomat who worked in Iraq recalled watching the murder of Gen. Abdul Kari Kassem, one of Saddam’s predecessors, on Baghdad television: “An unmasked soldier approached him, took out a knife from his belt, and started cutting the former leader’s mouth up to his ears. Having done this, the soldier grabbed the general’s jaws, opened them wider and started spitting into his mouth. “They also showed what was done to the former government’s ministers: They were tied to a tank by their feet and drawn along a stone paved road until their heads and bodies became a mess of blood and guts,” the former Soviet diplomat said.

When Saddam’s Baath Party came to power, public executions were staged in the
streets of Baghdad. With shouts of joy, multi-thousand crowds passed by the
gallows with swinging corpses. Several thousand people were hanged, having been
subjected to medieval tortures at the National Guards’ special investigation agency.”

February 7th, 2007, 5:16 pm


Atassi said:

Dear MSK,
Just for your own information, my uncle was NOT part of the saver Arab Army; He was part of city volunteers, motivated believer, the man was youthful, “ RICH” and very patriotic, sold his business, bought weapons and headed to the Bissan valley in Palestine, He gave his life in the Afolla battle. He is buried in Palestine.

February 7th, 2007, 5:25 pm


ausamaa said:

ابن جورج حاوي ينشق عن مجموعة الحريري ويعلن رفضه المتاجرة بدم ابيه

أعلن رافي مادايان، نجل الأمين العام الأسبق للحزب الشيوعي اللبناني الراحل جورج حاوي الذي قضى في جريمة اغتيال، انشقاقه عن لقاء قوى “14 آذار” وذلك في خطوة ذات دلالة سياسية بارزة، ووجه إليها وإلى قياداتها وخصوصاً من كان في صفوف حركة “اليسار اللبناني” ولا سيما رئيس “اللقاء الديمقراطي” النائب وليد جنبلاط، وانتقد عمل الرئيس السابق للجنة التحقيق الدولية في قضية اغتيال رئيس الوزراء الأسبق رفيق الحريري القاضي ديتليف ميليس، ورسم علامات استفهام كبيرة حول صدقية مسار التحقيق اللبناني والدولي في قضية اغتيال الحريري، وطلب “تحرير” دم والده من مخطط الفتنة المذهبية الطائفية. وقال انه يتخوف من لعبة يجري العمل عليها لحرف عمل التحقيق عن أهدافه، وتسييسه لتحقيق مصالح سياسية، وليس للكشف عن حقيقة من اغتال الحريري

وطالب مادايان في المقابل بتشكيل هيئة قضائية عربية منبثقة عن جامعة الدول العربية، وبرئاسة السعودية، تقوم بدور التنسيق مع السلطات اللبنانية ومجلس الأمن الدولي لمتابعة التحقيقات، في جميع عمليات الاغتيال السابقة، وتحرير عمل التحقيق من سلبيات التدخل الأمريكي، ولعبة “مصالح الأمم”، وقال إن الادارة الأمريكية “تجر لبنان إلى أن يكون مختبراً جديداً لسياستها، وتعمل على تحويله إلى “عراق جديد

وشن مادايان هجوماً عنيفاً على قوى “14 آذار”، وأعلن في مؤتمر صحافي أمس في بيروت عن تأسيس نواة لتنظيم سياسي جديد يدعى شبيبة جورج حاوي، سوف يعلن عنها في 16 مارس/ آذار المقبل، بالتوافق مع ذكرى اغتيال الزعيم كمال جنبلاط. ووجه انتقادات لاذعة للحكومة اللبنانية، وبرنامجها الاقتصادي الذي طرحته في مؤتمر “باريس 3” وهاجمه بقسوة، واعتبره من وصفات البنك الدولي وصندوق النقد الدولي، وأوضح انه من مناصري الحركة الوطنية، واليسار التاريخي، و”14 آذار” الحقيقية، ودعا الى انتفاضة على الواقع القائم، لاستعادة أحلام شباب انتفاضة الاستقلال من سلطة الوصاية الجديدة

وقال مادايان ان “قوى 14 آذار” الحالية تضع لبنان تحت سلطة وصاية أجنبية جديدة، بعد خروج الجيش السوري منه، ولا تملك برنامجاً سياسياً اصلاحياً لتغيير الواقع السياسي المترهل القائم” وانتقد النائب وليد جنبلاط، والنائب عن حركة “اليسار الديمقراطي” التي انشقت سابقاً عن الحزب الشيوعي الياس عطاالله، وسمى الأخير “الوكيل عن اليسار”، وطاولت انتقاداته وزير الدفاع الياس المر، وتساءل: لمصلحة من يقوم بعضهم بتبييض صفحة هؤلاء، وبين ذاكرة اللبنانيين؟

February 7th, 2007, 6:25 pm


MSK said:


would you mind being a tad bit more specific as to just what makes a Syrian a Syrian, culturally speaking?

Dear Atassi,

thank you for your further comment. Btw, my point was entirely focused on the political-legal aspect. I didn’t make any value judgements.


February 7th, 2007, 7:43 pm


Atassi said:

Is working in a high gear for his Boss’s… would it be nice if done the some work for his own country?
Lebanon’s pro-Syrian president describes planned Cabinet meeting as unconstitutional
Associated Press Writer
424 words
7 February 2007
Associated Press Newswires
(c) 2007. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – Paralyzed by tensions between rival political factions, Lebanon’s Cabinet prepares to hold its first meeting in a month. But President Emile Lahoud said on Wednesday that the gathering called by Prime Minister Fuad Saniora would be unconstitutional.

Besides clearing a backlog of issues, the Cabinet meeting is expected to vote on ratifying a plan to establish an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Anticipating Thursday’s Cabinet gathering, Lahoud cast doubts on the legitimacy of any decisions coming out of that meeting.

“Any decisions and measures taken by the Cabinet would be unconstitutional,” Lahoud said in a written statement, charging the “Cabinet has lost all prerequisites of authority and, consequently, is not qualified to exercise executive power.”

Last week, Saniora sent a signed copy of the agreement for creating the court to the United Nations. U.N. Undersecretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel signed the agreement in New York and returned it to Lebanon for ratification.

Pro-Syrian Lahoud has said that the Western-backed Saniora violated the constitution by sending the agreement to the U.N. for approval.

The tribunal has become a major point of contention in Lebanon’s power struggle between Saniora’s anti-Syrian government, which supports the creation of the U.N.-backed court, and pro-Syrian factions, including the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

The tribunal would have a mandate to try suspects in the Feb. 14, 2005, assassination of Hariri who was killed along with 22 other people in a massive truck bomb explosion in downtown Beirut. Many Lebanese suspect Syria was behind the attack, but Syria has vehemently denied involvement.

Lahoud bases his claims that the Cabinet is unconstitutional on its lack of Shiite members following the resignation in November of all five after Saniora refused to grant Hezbollah and its allies representation in the government that would give them effective veto power.

The Hezbollah-led opposition has held an open-ended protest since Dec. 1 in a bid to topple Saniora’s government

Saniora claims the loyalty of just enough Cabinet members to ratify the tribunal.

Final ratification requires a vote by Parliament, where Saniora’s allies hold a slim majority. But Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Hezbollah ally, has not responded to government calls for him to convene the legislature, where it would be brought to vote for the agreement to take effect.

February 7th, 2007, 8:44 pm


qunfuz said:

MSK – on the political-legal aspect you are quite correct, but I would like to make a value judgment. The Arabs were quite right to fight for Palestine in 48. It is tragic that governments such as the Jordanian collaborated with the Zionists, and that other forces were so badly organised. Avi Schlaim tells the story well. Anyway, what is missing from your argument is not legality but lawfulness, if you follow the distinction. You write ‘Palestine was a mandate territory and thus the UN GA had sovereignty over it.’ Legally, yes. In terms of lawfulness, however, sovereignty over Palestine lay with the Palestinian people.

February 7th, 2007, 9:12 pm


sam said:

A true Syrian is one that knows his identity, and knows it’s true borders. I wrote earlier:

I wish T.E. Lawerance would have got lost in the desert, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

The reason being, it would have stayed in Turkish repressors, instead of western rule. But most of all it carved the true borders of Syria. I to this day do not recognize the names Lebenon, Jordan, Israel. Just Beirut, Amman, Quids, they are mere cities of our beloved Syria.

February 7th, 2007, 10:29 pm


sam said:


February 7th, 2007, 10:31 pm


Gibran said:

I suggest you go to Turkey and live under Turkish rule. You will not be welcome in Beirut or anywhere in Lebanon. I also advise you never to venture to come to Lebanon for your own sake. I’m sure the Jordanians would offer you the same advise. So, you have a choice: be content with your current Syrian borders, or else you will run into deep troubles first with your own self (due to your own greed) and then with your neighbors who do not share your concept of a subjective definition of so-called Syrian identity and geography.

February 7th, 2007, 10:40 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Qunfuz whines:

“The Arabs were quite right to fight for Palestine in 48. It is tragic that governments such as the Jordanian collaborated with the Zionists, and that other forces were so badly organised.”

Was it also “tragic” that Jordan and Eygpt didn’t create a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza when they had the opportunity (from -48 to -67)?

Perhaps the Zionists aren’t the only party you need to blame.

February 8th, 2007, 12:29 am


ugarit said:

MSK asked: ‘I’m going to ask a “heretical” question: In 1948, did your uncle defend Syria against an aggression or did he participate in the invasion of a foreign territory in open breach of the very U.N. rules that Syria (like Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon) had signed on to when it co-founded the U.N. in 1945? (Jordan didn’t join the U.N. until 1955.)’

Let’s not forget that Zionist militias began ethnic cleansing in Palestine PRIOR to Syria’s attack. Syria was defending Palestinians against ethnic cleansing by Zionists.

February 8th, 2007, 12:30 am


Akbar Palace said:

Looks like the Lebanese are getting itchy:

“The army said troops operating in Israeli territory along the frontier came under fire, and that the source of the shooting was apparently Lebanese troops nearby. When the attackers refused to quit firing, the Israeli troops opened fire at them, the army said.”

Oh well, at least Nasrallah has no plan for Sunni conversions.

February 8th, 2007, 12:33 am


Akbar Palace said:

“Let’s not forget that Zionist militias began ethnic cleansing in Palestine PRIOR to Syria’s attack.”

Let’s not forget, the Palestinians began “ethnic cleansing” back in 1929, and the Arabs rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

Yes friends, you can’t win against the peace-loving Arabs.

February 8th, 2007, 12:38 am


Gibran said:

I think Israel should respect the blue line and refrain from crossing it. The article you linked clearly states the buldozer crossed the blue line. There should be some mechanism to coordinate mutual concerns along this line. Hope the incident will trigger the creation of such coordination.

February 8th, 2007, 12:49 am


Gibran said:

The following analysis, courtesy of Tony Badran, will surely interest many bloggers on this blogspot. I am sure Dr. Landis will have nothing but praise to its great authenticity and academic merits:

La La Landis

It’s always very amusing to watch regime advocates trying to present pure propaganda as objective analysis, even when it’s so incoherent, paradoxical and twisted that the end-result comes out looking like a pathetically confused pretzel.

The latest spiel that the Syrian regime is trying to sell, and that people, like Joshua Landis, are trying to spin on their behalf, is the notion that talking to Syria about Iraq is so “crucial.” When the ISG study came out, and in the run-up to it, all regime cheerleaders (the Moubayeds, the Kabalans, the Shoueibis), Landis included, were toasting themselves in self-congratulatory glee that now the US will “crawl” (or in Landis’ words, “creep”) to Damascus to accept Bashar’s terms for its formal surrender. But the US didn’t do so, sticking instead to its position.

That was then, when these “analysts” (spokesmen for the regime) were saying things like: “We will just wait and wait. They will eventually come back to Syria.” Now you have Imad Moustapha making up all kind of funny claims about Syria’s supernatural powers and abilities!

As always, Moustapha is merely regurgitating the memo from his boss, who, having realized that the US didn’t fall for his terrorist blackmail, gave the hapless Diane Sawyer an interview she’s been coveting for years. In that pathetic interview (typical Assad interview), he made hilarious claims like Syria is the “main player”(!) in Iraq, and that all parties trust it! I couldn’t help but laugh.

Having failed to break his isolation and gain concessions on Lebanon, Assad needs to pump himself to comical levels (Imad Moustapha levels!), when even the most enthusiastic of “engagers” hardly view Syria as “key” or a “main player” in Iraq! In fact, most agree that Syria’s influence inside Iraq is marginal at best.

I mean, not even a credulous observer would entertain this nonsense, as even the credulous observer has seen how much of a player Assad is with that disastrous embarrassment of a meeting between Meshaal and Abbas, that showed Syria’s true status: a spoiler that is good at killing, but not a serious player able to deliver anything of value.

Everyone knows this, including the Europeans, who, as I’ve written before, and as Walid Choucair put it in al-Hayat, quoting European diplomats, “once the envoys of these [European] nations actually talk to the Syrians they end up reaching the conclusion France reached [that talking to the Syrians makes them feel cocky and think they can persist with their rejected policies] and they return greatly disappointed with Damascus.”

What about the Arab states? Well, they are actually telling Western states not to talk to Syria, and Saudi Arabia is now intentionally bypassing Syria on Lebanon. Mustapha al-Ani, a Dubai-based expert on Arab affairs, says Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt may have pressed Bush not to talk to Syria, which they blame for the growing power of Iran in the Arab world.

“There is a widespread feeling in the region that no concessions should be made to Syria,” said al-Ani. “Many Arab states see Syria’s ties with Iran to be harmful to their interests.”

What about the Iraqis, who supposedly “all trust” Assad?! Listen to Sami al-Askari. But what about the Sunnis, or even the Iraqi Baathists, whom Syria presents itself as their reference and patron (a hilarious notion, of course). Here’s a hint: In an interview with a Chronicle correspondent in Iraq, a former division general of the Republican Guard, Saddam Hussein’s most elite military corps, dismissed the widespread assumption that Syria’s tribal links to the Sunni-led insurgents would give it leverage.

“We still remember how Syria sided with Iran during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, when they closed the Iraqi oil pipeline passing through its territory and provided Iran with ground-to-ground missiles to attack Baghdad,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

People from the Izzat al-Duri faction of the Baath Party, the people Syria is supposed to be able to “bring to the table,” attacked the Syrian regime for trying to create its own splinter leadership of the Iraqi Baath party (like they did with Arafat and the PLO in the 80s) made of nobodies, that they would try to use as a selling point. The Duri faction labeled the Syrian regime “the natural ally of the Safavid regime in Tehran,” in reference to its status as Iran’s client. So it seems, pace Bashar, that nobody in Iraq trusts Syria, just like none of the Arab regional players trust it, just like none of the European players trust it, etc. Syria is the farthest possible from being “the main player” in Iraq.

Enter Landis and his latest hilarious post on Syria and Iraq. He starts off by essentially suggesting that Assad’s bid for “controlled destabilization” in Iraq may have backfired as a result of the refugee problem (regardless of the validity of the claim, I’m just following Landis’ own distorted logic) and the fact that the US didn’t bite and beg Syria for “help”:

Syria can see that there is no future course but to hope that the American surge can help the Iraqi government to survive. After all, with Washington committed to this course and refusing to bring either Iran or Syria into regional discussions on Iraq, there is very little choice. To undermine the present Iraqi government will only ensure that more Iraqi refugees come streaming into Syria.

But then this only validates the Bush administration’s line that if indeed it is in Syria’s interest to do something, and to support the Iraqi government, they will do it on their own without the US having to “give them” something for it. We don’t have to “talk” to them or fall into their trap, giving them the impression that they now have a green light in Lebanon, which is how they would inevitably interpret it.

However, Landis can’t admit that. So, instead he puts on his imaginary “Assad PR representative” hat and dishes out this hilarious conclusion:

Syria’s recent policy shift toward Iraq underlines how futile and self-destructive Washington’s policy of excluding Syria has become. US prospects of stabilizing the situation in Iraq are not good, but without cooperating from Syria, they are surely worse than they have to be. Syria shares many of Washington’s objectives in Iraq – not all, to be sure, but enough to make cooperation the only wise policy.

Wait, what!? If anything, it shows that US policy was right on, and instead of having to “crawl” to Damascus, it is Damascus now that has to adjust, without being paid the blackmail it thought it would impose on the US (much to Landis’ chagrin, I’m sure).

In a way, the following pathetic, confused, and rather sinister statement from an earlier post of his, somewhat sums up the paradox:

For the time being Washington is winning the game of chicken the [sic] it has played with Syria over Iraq. Syria hoped it could use the Iraq card to break Washington’s isolation policy. Washington used the card right back, insisting that if Syria encouraged the Iraqi resistance, Damascus would inevitably pay the higher price because lawlessness, fundamentalism and sectarianism would wash into Syria. Syrian officials are undoubtedly telling themselves that by improving relations with the American backed Iraqi government, Syria will ultimately make it easier for Malaki [sic] and the Shiite government to turn against America.

Of course now, given how the Maliki government hardly sees Assad’s actions as “improving relations,” Assad’s self-proclaimed imaginary PR rep. explains it thusly:

[T]he fact that Asad was willing to meet with Dhari at all has become a source of irritation for the Iraqi government.

The meeting points out that even if Damascus is in the midst of a major policy change toward relations with Iraq, it will not put all its eggs in the Maliki basket.

Having read the former quote you might now be scratching your head in bewilderment. Confused doesn’t even begin to describe it: Syria is moving closer to the Maliki government; Syria is moving at odds with the government!

That’s what happens when your posts are little more than attempts to whitewash Assad’s subversive murderous policies, and to present an unreliable thug as a “player.”

Update: Ammar Abdulhamid comments on the same point:

On the other hand, with regard to one of those other unchallenged yet equally ludicrous assertions, namely that Syria is “the main player” in stabilizing Iraq, well, if Syria is indeed such a player in Iraq, and if the Top Lion of Syria indeed fears the domino effect of “the chaos” and “the instability,” as he put it, why aren’t the Assads already doing something about stabilizing the situation in Iraq? Why are they waiting to be approached by the US for talks over Iraq? Are they really afraid of “the chaos” or are they afraid of the American troops? Or they simply unable to do anything about the situation in Iraq, but would like very much for the US to believe that they could, so they could carve a deal for themselves?

February 8th, 2007, 2:35 am


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace said “Yes friends, you can’t win against the peace-loving Arabs.”

No one claimed that arabs are peace-loving. There are no groups that are peace or hate loving, period.

This just shows how biggoted you are. That’s the difference between civil humans and zionist supremecists.

February 8th, 2007, 3:05 am


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace said: “The Arabs rejected the 1947 UN partition plan”

Israel rejected nearly every other UN resolution after that one. I wonder why?

The 1947 UN resolution required arm twisting by the West especially by the United States to pass.

Most of the world knew that it was completely unjust. European colonialist jews were given over 70% of the land while these Europeans only owned 9% of the land and were only 30% of the population. No group on the planet would have accepted this colonialy motivated resolution.

I recommend that you read The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine which was written by an Israeli historian

February 8th, 2007, 3:19 am


Akbar Palace said:

Gibran said:

I think Israel should respect the blue line and refrain from crossing it. The article you linked clearly states the buldozer crossed the blue line. There should be some mechanism to coordinate mutual concerns along this line. Hope the incident will trigger the creation of such coordination.”

The article also mentioned:

“The bulldozers crossed the heavily guarded border fence but remained inside Israeli territory, which extends north of the fence in that area, the army said.

Gibran also said:

“Hope the incident will trigger the creation of such coordination.”

I hope so too. Unfortunately, UNIFIL and the Lebanese army (per UNSC 1701) aren’t doing the job they were supposed to do. Especially if Hezbollah is planting bombs in Israel.

Let’s give the Baathist Boy Wonder a big round of applause. BTW – The Tony Badran article is, of course, right on.

Ugarit said:

“Israel rejected nearly every other UN resolution after that one. I wonder why?’

What UN resolution? “Zionism = Racism”? Duh!

That the members of the Arab League can do nothing to help the Palestinians except to hit Israel over the head in the UN was a huge waste of time and energy. And it only prolongs the conflict (which is what “leaders” like Assad want).

“The 1947 UN resolution required arm twisting by the West especially by the United States to pass.”

OK. The Arabs didn’t want to compromise in ’47? Then war is what they got. And when the Arabs HAD the terrortories from ’48 – ’67, what did the Palestinians get? NOTHING.

“Most of the world knew that it was completely unjust.”

Maybe YOUR part of the world; not mine.

“European colonialist jews were given over 70% of the land while these Europeans only owned 9% of the land and were only 30% of the population. No group on the planet would have accepted this colonialy motivated resolution.”

OK. Don’t accept it. Assad, Hamas and Hezbollah certainly haven’t. Meanwhile, “European colonialist Jews” are still the minority in the State of Israel. The majority are from North Africa and the Middle East.

“I wonder why”?

February 8th, 2007, 12:12 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Ugarit –

If you care to read books by Ilan Pappe, you are welcome to do so. When, the War of Independence began in April/May of 1948, the Haggana was able to repel several Arab armies. About 6000 Israelis died or about 1% of the population at the time. A number of Arab towns were uprooted, and a number of Arabs fled. And many Arabs stayed where they were. Anyway, a 20% Arab population is not “ethnic cleansing” in my dictionary. Although most Arab countries are now “Jew-free” for obvious reasons.

Anyway, Ilan Pappe is one of a handful of academics who preaches about Israel’s destruction right inside an Israeli University. Gee, I wonder if Syria has such a person at a Syrian University?

Of course, Israelis think Pappe is a “kook” and “nutcase”, but because Israel is a democracy with freedom of speech, he’s allowed to teach and say anything he wants. So, yes, I think that freedom is good, and I’m proud the Jewish community is Israel can handle it.

February 8th, 2007, 12:29 pm


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace:

You need to read The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine so you can improve your knowledge base.

February 8th, 2007, 12:31 pm


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace: “If you care to read books by Ilan Pappe, you are welcome to do so. When, the War of Independence began in April/May of 1948, the Haggana was able to repel several Arab armies.”

So! BTW, Israeli forces outnumbered all Arab forces combined in arms and men.

February 8th, 2007, 12:33 pm


SSNP-SCP said:

“I suggest you go to Turkey and live under Turkish rule. You will not be welcome in Beirut or anywhere in Lebanon. I also advise you never to venture to come to Lebanon for your own sake.” – Gibran

wow man, didnt know you represented the lebanese government or people. Are you some sort of ambassador or little warlord… wait perhaps you are Geagea himself. surely its possible for a random individual to express freedom of speach in the only arab democracy in the middle east if they chose to. or am i confusing Lebanon with the Utopian Israel?

so the Lebanese army exchanged fire with Israel? i bet somehow somewhere the fault and blame will precipitate on to syria. Mid East politics is just far too predictable. One good outcome i guess is that it enriches our sense of sarcasm.
Bottom line, fakhar yeta2esh ba3do.

And for Akbar P.
It was “tragic” that Jordan and Egypt didn’t create a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza when they had the opportunity (from -48 to -67). But somehow, i seriously doubt zionists terrorist would stand idle waiting for such opportunity to be taken. wouldn’t you say? or are they humanists enough to care?
For your benefit,yes, Zionists aren’t the only party you need to blame. zionism is cancer. i bet i put a smile on your face now. gives you something to chew on.

February 8th, 2007, 12:40 pm


SSNP-SCP said:

so lets back track for a min there.
how is it that “A number of Arab towns were uprooted, and a number of Arabs fled.” not a matter of concern and brushed against to imply as a means to an end? isn’t this very statement the source of the problem?
and 20% isn’t considered ethnic cleansing in your book? who cares what value your book or opinion hold when it comes to wiping out 20% of a population excluding the uprooting process which probably consisted over 1.5 million? your hear broken over 1% of 600,000? well, in my book, your 1% is negligent and it ought to have been 20% just for equal measures. Tragic really.

February 8th, 2007, 1:05 pm


Sami D said:

US blocking Syria-Israel peace treaty The Golan, it seems, is to be used by the US via Israel, to extract concessions from Syria to help the ailing US hegemony in the region. (As an aside, this is also an indication that Israel and its lobby have influence but not control of US policy, that Israel is a tool of US dominance in the region — if this was in doubt.)

February 8th, 2007, 2:20 pm


Saladin said:

The US and Israel
The Real Failed States


Growing references by the US and Israel to the Muslim Middle East as a collection of failed states are part of the propaganda campaign to strip legitimacy from Muslim states and set them up for attack. These accusations spring from the hubris of many Israelis, who see themselves as “God’s Chosen People,” a guarantee of immunity instead of a call to responsibility, and many Americans, who regard their country as “a city upon a hill” that is “the light of the world.” But do the US and Israel fit the profile of successful states, or are they failed states themselves?

A compelling case can be made that the US and Israel are failed states. Israel allegedly is a democracy, but it is controlled by a minority of Zionist zealots who commit atrocities against Palestinians in order to provoke terrorist acts that are then used to perpetuate the right-wing’s hold on political power. Israel has perfected blowback as a tool of political control. The Israeli state relies entirely on coercion and has no diplomacy. It stands isolated in the world except for the US, which sustains Israel’s existence with money, military weapons, and the US veto in the United Nations.

Israel survives on life support from the US. A state that cannot exist without outside support is a failed state.

What about the United States? The US is an even greater failure. Its existence is not dependent on life support from outside. The US has failed in another way. Not only has the state failed, but the society as well.

The past six years have seen the rise of dictatorial power in the executive and the collapse of the separation of powers mandated by the US Constitution. The president has declared himself to be “The Decider.” The power to decide includes the meaning and intent of laws passed by Congress and whether the laws apply to the executive. President Bush has openly acknowledged that he disobeyed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and unlawfully spied on Americans without warrants. Bush and his Attorney General could not make it more clear that their position is that Bush is above the law.

It is also Bush’s position that he is above the Constitution. Bush and his Attorney General maintain that as commander-in-chief in “the war on terror,” the executive has the power to decide the applicability of civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution. The US Department of Justice (sic) has taken the position that this decision is an executive decision alone beyond the authority of the judiciary and the legislature.

An enfeebled and eviscerated Congress has acquiesced in the growth of executive power, even legislating unconstitutional executive powers into law. The Decider has grabbed the power to arrest people on accusation alone and to detain them indefinitely without charges or evidence. He has obtained the right to torture those whom he arrests. The Geneva Conventions do not apply to the US president, declares the Regime. Bush has obtained the right to commit people to death in military tribunals on the basis of hearsay and secret evidence alone. The Bush Regime has succeeded in moving the American state off the basis on which the Founding Fathers set it.

The Bush Regime led the American people to war in Iraq based entirely on lies and deception. This is a known and undisputed fact. Congress has done nothing whatsoever about this monstrous crime and impeachable offense.

Under the Nuremberg standard, unprovoked aggression is a war crime. The US established this standard. Bush has violated it with impunity.

Bush and his Attorney General assert Bush’s power to attack Iran independently of a Congressional declaration of war or any form of congressional approval. Bush claims that his power to attack Iran is merely an extension of his present power to conduct war in Iraq, a power seized on the basis of lies and deception. Congress has taken no action to disabuse Bush of his presumption.

Bush’s preparations for attacking Iran are highly visible. The entire world can see the preparations and expects the attack. Congress is mute in the face of a catastrophic widening of a war to which a large majority of the American people are now opposed.

In national elections three months ago the American people used democracy in an unsuccessful attempt to restrain the Bush Regime from its warmongering ways by defeating the Republican Party and giving control of both houses of Congress to Democrats.

Instead of acting, the Democrats have postured.

Indeed, some have joined Bush in his warmongering. Hillary Clinton, regarded as the frontrunner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, recently declared at an affair hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading instigator of war with Iran, that Iran is a danger to the US and a great threat to Israel.

Hillary’s claims are preposterous. Israel has large numbers of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Iran has none. Iran has no ability to harm the US and would have no motive except for the Bush Regime’s gratuitous provocations. A state in which a leading contender for the presidential nomination can make utterly absurd claims and suffer no consequence is a failed state.

The United States is a failed state, because in the US it is not possible for leadership to emerge. Politics is controlled by powerful interest groups, such as AIPAC, the military-industrial complex, transnational corporations, and “security” agencies that are accumulating vast amounts of unaccountable power. The American people spoke in November and it means nothing whatsoever.

The people are enfeebled because the media no longer has independence. The US media serves as propagandist for the state. It cannot be otherwise in a highly concentrated media run not by journalists but by advertising executives protecting stock values that derive from federal broadcast licenses granted by the state.

Like the three monkeys, Congress sees no evil, the media speaks no evil, and the people hear no evil. In the US “news” consists of the government’s propaganda. “News” in America is exactly like the “news” in George Orwell’s 1984.

The US is a failed state, because it is not true to any of the principles upon which it was established. All over the world today, America is seen as a rogue state, a hegemonic evil, and as the greatest threat to peace and stability. In its new identify, America is the total opposite of the Founding Fathers intention. There is no greater failure than that.

Academics differentiate between failed states and rogue states. The US and Israel meet both criteria. The US and Israel lead the world in aggressive military actions and in killings of civilian populations. Both countries meet the main indicators of failed states as published in Foreign Policy’s 2005 Failed States Index.

The leading indicators of failed states are inequality (not merely poverty), “criminalization or delegitimization of the state, which occurs when state institutions are regarded as corrupt, illegal, or ineffective,” and “demographic factors, especially population pressures stemming from refugees” and “internally displaced populations.”

All economic indicators show that income and wealth inequality is rapidly increasing in the US. The growth in inequality is the result of the state’s policy that favors shareholders and corporate executives at the expense of American workers.

The income differences between Israelis and ghettoized Palestinians are huge.

Trials and investigations of leading political figures in the US and Israel are an ongoing occurrence. Currently, the former chief-of-staff of the vice president of the US is on trial for lying to the FBI in an attempt to obstruct an investigation into the Bush Regime’s illegal disclosure of an undercover CIA operative. The accused claims he is the fall guy for higher ups.

In Israel the president of the country is accused of rape and faces indictment.

Both the US and Israel routinely ignore international law and are accused of committing war crimes by human rights organizations. The US Congress stands revealed as totally ineffective and unwilling to constrain the executive. The American people have learned that they cannot change the government’s policies through elections. By fomenting the demise of the civil liberties that they are sworn to uphold, President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales have delegitimized the American state, turning it into an instrument of oppression.

Israel’s policies in the West Bank have displaced a million Palestinians, forcing them to be refugees from their own land. Jordan is filled with Palestinian refugees, and Palestinian existence in the West Bank is being increasingly confined to ghettos cut off from farm land, schools, medical care and from other Palestinians. President Jimmy Carter has described Israeli-occupied Palestine as “apartheid.”

For decades in the face of public opposition the US government has encouraged massive legal and illegal immigration of diverse peoples whose failure to assimilate is balkanizing the US population. Economic refugees from Mexico are changing the culture and allegiance of entire sections of the American southwest, and racial animosities are on the rise.

In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky defined one characteristic of a failed state as a “democratic deficit, that is, a substantial gap between public policy and public opinion.” We see this gap in Bush’s decision to escalate the war in Iraq despite the opposition of 70% of the American public. What does democracy mean if elected leaders ignore public opinion?

Another characteristic of failed states is the failure to protect their own citizens. Israel’s aggressive policies against Palestinians provoke terror attacks on Israeli citizens. These attacks are then used to justify more oppression of Palestinians, which leads to more terror. Bush’s military aggression in the MIddle East is the main cause of any terror threats that Americans now face.

Another characteristic of a failed state is the departure of citizens. Many Israelis, seeing no future for Israel in the government’s hostility to Arabs, are leaving Israel. Among Israelis themselves, the legitimacy of the Israeli state is so endangered that the Knesset has just passed a law to revoke the citizenship of “unpatriotic” Israelis.

In the US a large percentage of the population has lost confidence in the government’s veracity. Polls show that 40% of Americans do not believe the government’s story that the 9/11 attacks were the work of Arab terrorists. Many believe the attack was a “false flag” operation carried out by elements in the Bush Regime in order to create public acceptance for its planned invasions in the Middle East.

A state that cannot tolerate moral conscience in its soldiers is a failed state. The failure of the American state can be seen it its prosecution of Lt. Ehren Watada. Watada comes from a family with a military heritage. His response to the 9/11 attack was to join the military. Diagnosed with asthma, he failed his physical, but persevered and ended up with an officer’s commission.

Watada’s problem is that he can recognize a war crime even when it is committed by a might-makes-right state. The Abu Ghraib prison tortures and the evidence that Bush deceived Americans about weapons of mass destruction caused Watada to realize that he was on the wrong side of the Nuremberg Principles, the UN Charter, and the US military code, which says American soldiers have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders. He signed up to serve his country, not to kill people for illegal and immoral reasons.

Watada refused to deploy to Iraq. He is being tried for refusing deployment and for suggesting that President Bush deceived Americans.

By now every attentive American knows that Bush deceived them, and our greatest patriots have said so. Watada is on trial for suggesting what everyone knows to be true. He is not being tried for veracity. He is being tried for speaking the truth.

Failure to deploy is a more understandable charge. There is no army if soldiers do not follow orders. However, as the US established at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, following orders is not an excuse for participating in war crimes. At the Nazi war crimes trials, it was the US that insisted that soldiers were responsible for using judgment about the legality of their orders.

That is what Lt. Watada did. His trial will not broach the subject of whether his judgment was correct. The evidence against him will merely be that he did not deploy.

By trying Lt. Watada the US government is insisting that American troops are not responsible for judging the legality of their orders, only for following them. The standard applied to WW II Germans is too high to be applied to Americans.

In a draft army Watada’s refusal to accept illegal orders could be used by conscripted cannon fodder to derail the state’s intended aggression. However, in a voluntary army in which soldiers seek to serve, permitting Lt. Watada to have his conscience does not imperil the command structure. Others less thoughtful and less aware will carry forth the state’s enterprise.

The case against Israel and the US does not preclude some Muslim states from also meeting the criteria for failure. However, Iraq, an artificial creation of Western colonial powers, was driven into failure and civil war by American aggression. Iran, a nation with a 5,000 year history, is certainly not a failed state. The main failed states in the Middle East are those that are US puppets. They represent American hegemony, not the interests of their people.

What the US and Israel are attempting to do is to turn the entire Muslim Middle East into failed states, that is, into puppet regimes. By extending their hegemony in the Middle East, the US and Israel hope to prolong their own failed existence.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

February 8th, 2007, 2:44 pm


Bilal Nawaf said:

I would like to congratulate Gibran for the excellent piece of analysis he put on: February 8th, 2007, 2:35 am
It is absolutely true and shows the true position that Bashar is in.
Thanks Gibran

February 8th, 2007, 4:38 pm


Saladin said:

7aka badri

February 8th, 2007, 4:46 pm


Gibran said:

Let’s examine the logic of the article you copied. The failed states are: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel because they all need the US for various reasons. The US is a failed state for choosing to fail to live up to certain ideals. Besides it may also need some other states to carry out certain policies- granted.
On the other hand Syria immediately becomes a failed state by the same logic! Bashar needs Iran to survive (see title of current Landis article!). Iran is a failed state because it cannot acquire nuclear weapons without having consent from all the failed states on the other side of the equation. It is also an economic failure and currently going through a process of strategic reassessment to avoid catastrophic meltdown – a reassessment which may include among other things sacrificing its Syrian burden as no dividends are coming forth from carrying such baggage – Hamas is slipping away from Syrian control. So, there will be no pay back to Iran as a self declared ‘champion’ of the Palestinians. Hezbollah failed to deliver on its orders to carry out a coup d’etat. So there is no pay back to Iran that will serve its nuclear agenda because of the loss of the retaliatory launch pad (Lebanon) against Israel. Iraq front on the other hand seems to be an area of conflicting goals for the ‘Savavid allies’!

So who failed who in this mess?

February 8th, 2007, 6:04 pm


Atassi said:

Good one Gibran, But I still don’t like your attitude!!!

February 8th, 2007, 6:21 pm


Gibran said:

No hard feelings on my part. I don’t usually keep a grudge.

February 8th, 2007, 6:54 pm


Atassi said:

What will be the implication if the US kept on tightens the screw and applying more pressure on the Syrian regime? What would be the outcome if the regime starts to fall apart with an accelerated and uncontrolled manner? We all aware the Syrian political institutions are relevant to the current statuesque only, the civil societies are none existence and the intellectual middleclass are in a reborn again state; would the Syrian Armed forces be the ideal player to hold the country together form the disintegrating? To what extent would the Syrian arm forces be able lessen the mayhem “if it happened”.
Finally, my intended question? What holds modern Syria together? Would it be economic and good life side? The Syrian citizen’s democratic way of life? The rich culture of the educated class or the common ignorance and diversity of the lesser educated and demoralized mass?
Will the growing strife between the have and the have-nots of the proletariat contribute to the fall of the society?

February 8th, 2007, 7:17 pm


EHSANI2 said:


What holds Syria together?


February 8th, 2007, 7:50 pm


Atassi said:

What WILL hold syria together?
Please read this one too..
Bashar will never change a thing peacefully!!

February 8th, 2007, 7:58 pm


Gibran said:

Who served the Palestinians?
Who really cares about their tragedy?
Who planted the seeds of discord among them?
And who acted to bring back harmony?
“Act. For your deeds shall be witnessed by Him as well as by the creation.”

Time will be the judge!!!

Palestinians seal power-share pact

MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Rival Palestinian leaders signed an agreement in principle on a power-sharing government Thursday in Saudi-brokered talks in Mecca.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of the mainstream Fatah movement, and Khaled Meshaal, leader of the militant Hamas group, signed the accord at a ceremony hosted by Saudi King Abdullah in a palace overlooking the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine.

The deal sets out the principles of the coalition government, including a promise that it will “respect” previous peace deals with Israel, delegates said. It also divvies up Cabinet posts in the new government.

Announcing the agreement at the ceremony, Abbas aide Nabil Amr read a letter in which Abbas designated Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of Hamas, to draw up the new government according to the formula agreed on in the talks within five weeks.

Abbas said the deal would “satisfy our people … and bring us to the shores of peace … This initiative has been crowned with success.”

Meshaal said the accord “will unify our ranks. There is a commitment and unity. We will preserve this partnership.”

Before the ceremony, a Hamas delegate said the deal set the outlines of the new government’s political platform, including a provision by which the factions — including Hamas — would “respect” previous peace deals between the Palestinians and Israel. The delegate spoke on condition of anonymity because he was giving the information before the formal announcement.

They will also be based on a document drawn up last summer by Hamas and Fatah activists jailed in Israeli prisons. That document calls for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War.

In drawing up the new government, Hamas is to propose an independent candidate to hold the crucial post of interior minister, who would control the Palestinian security forces. Abbas would then approve the candidate. The Interior Ministry post was one of the main obstacles to the deal, with each side loathe to see it in the hands of the other.

February 8th, 2007, 8:31 pm



sure Girbran, allow me to simplify the significance of posting this article for you as oppose to the relevant content.
the article, or I for that matter, never claimed that Syria or Iran don’t qualify as failed states. After all, i was merely linking a perspective that deserves recognition. Personally, I believe Syria and all the arab states have failed collectively as potential success stories ever since the foreign occupation post Ottoman rule which further lead to Zionist state creation by force (which continues to exist that way). Sure there is wrong doing on all parties. la tiz3al, such as the unjustified Syrian manipulation of Lebanon. But the aim of this article was to balance the monotone argument and guilt trips you repeatedly post, brother. My point is, no side has the right to preach what’s right or wrong, up hold values over others, and claiming to be fighting for “freedom” at this point in time. Everyone is part of the problem and the solution. Corruption is widespread, not just within the Syrian borders believe it or not.

Once you corner and alienate the underdog, you’ll immediately manifest a sense of retaliation and discontent. Whether its the Lebanese being pressured by the Syrians, or the Syrians by the Americans. At which point, one has to grab every opportunity they have and play the cards available. Perhaps Syria is failing at black mailing the US. Maybe not. but you cannot tell me that the US is not up to its knees with s*** in Iraq. Unless you consider that a success story. and if that’s the case, then vietnam must’ve been a walk in the park. By presenting fanatic attitude, you will only matters and meet your equal counterparts. Catch my drift brother?

February 8th, 2007, 8:37 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

do you mean that Bashar will not sacrifice Asef if he was accused of murdering Hariri?

February 8th, 2007, 8:38 pm


sam said:


Me saying Turkish rule is perfered, was me being sarcastic. But the more I think about it, i would take turkish rule over israeli any day of the week. As for going to Beirut or Amman I don’t want to breath the same air as those quouny. One day they will cry blood for betraying their big brother.

February 8th, 2007, 10:27 pm


Bilal Nawaf said:


That is why we should prepare & encourage opposition figures to take over for a transition period. They will definitely do a better job for Syria.

February 8th, 2007, 10:28 pm


EHSANI2 said:

Rice authorized the charge d’affaires in Damascus to hold talks with Syria about Iraqi refugees fleeing their country.


Bashar will NOT sacrifice Asef. I view Bashar/Maher/Asef/Bushra as one entity who I usually refer to as the “leadership”. During the interview with Diane Sawyer, I thought that Bashar repeated that were a Syrian to be charged with the crime, he would try him in Syria FIRST. He said this was a matter of “sovereignty”. It would be interesting to see how a person like Asef would be tried in Syria should he be indicted by the tribunal.


As you know, there were persistent rumors that article 8 was going to be amended or even abolished. I had my own personal doubts. Your link shows that my doubts were more than warranted.

The idea that the Baath party is the leader of both the state and society is an abomination.

Bashar now tells us that it is important to keep article 8 because it is one of the “fixed tenets of our people and its national unity”.

As for laws concerning the new political parties, it was decided that it was better to proceed “slowly”. What a joke!

This whole setup is an insult to our intelligence. Every 7 years, this sham gets to be played out in front of us all. Time and again, life goes on and the Syrian people wake up to a new seven year term that their President won with their near unanimous support.

Let us recap how this amazing system of government works:

Since the Baath party is the sole leader of both the government and society, the President must be a Baathist (the spirit of article 8).

The regional command of the party sends the name of its candidate to the Parliament for the office of the President (Bashar in this case of course).

The head of Parliament then contact the candidate and informs him of such and during between the head of the majlis and the candidate, it learns that the latter is willing to serve should be he elected.

Once this is done, the majlis runs a nationwide referendum asking the voting age population to vote yes or no to this candidate.

Once over 51% of the votes are counted as yes, the candidate is informed of the results.
If less than 50% of the people vote yes, the regional command of the Baath will be asked to offer the name of another candidate before a new referendum is carried out.

Qualified non -Baathists need not apply. It does not matter how great their potential to lead it is. Article 8 thinks that as Non-Baathists they will harm the “national unity”

Should our Christian brothers and sisters be interested in the job, they face another formidable hurdle. The constitution explicitly states that they do not have the right to lead this country. In order to do, they need to both convert AND join the Baath party before they can get a shot at the job one day. I wonder how the Moslem Brothers and the opposition view this matter. I am sure that they see no problem in effectively classifying the non-Muslims amongst us as third class citizens.

February 9th, 2007, 12:26 am


norman said:

The Baath party and the Syrian gov continue to fear interference by the US in the coming parlamantary elections , that seems to have been established recently when it was announced that the Us is trying to influance the Syrian election. how can we blame them .

February 9th, 2007, 1:48 am


norman said:

this is interesting about the relation between the US and Israel / Olmert.

February 9th, 2007, 2:02 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

Have you read 4 days ago what Habbash has said? He claimed that very shortly Law 8 will be canceled where it says that the Baath Party is the leader of Syria. People were encouraged because they know how close Habbash is to Bashar and that he had some insider information that was asked to leak to the press. Then today Bashar says the contrary that the Baath Party will maintain its position. This is Bashar and this is how he got Syria into such a bad position.

February 9th, 2007, 4:42 am


Bilal Nawaf said:

Please read the comments on Syria News:
That is good as normally Syria news does not publish any comments that are not suportive of the regime. I hope that they will keep this and they will not be blocked by the authorities if they are not blocked already.

February 9th, 2007, 6:30 am


SSNP-SCP said:

Saladin, far too mellow and liberal for my liking. A bit hippyish in my opinion. If anything, Syria brought the lebanese civil war to an end. Assad I waited tactically till all sides bashed each other to exhaustion and went in for the kill. end of story. no need to apologize for anything. It was like a circus in Lebanon in the 80s. And whats this “Brother” business?
spare me the cheese.

i wish people would stop brown nosing each other. thats to you Bilal.

February 9th, 2007, 8:47 am


3antar said:

Dear Bilal,
agree, i’m a regular reader of Syria News myself as it tends to stand out from all syrian news sites in terms of freedom of expression and the way people in syria are able to comment on through it expressing their opinion. Something at least, no?

found this today:

“Iraqi insurgents offer peace in return for US concessions

For the first time, Sunni insurgents disclose their conditions for ceasefire in Iraq “

February 9th, 2007, 8:54 am


Akbar Palace said:

Responding to the deniers and the finger-pointers:

Ugarit said:

“BTW, Israeli forces outnumbered all Arab forces combined in arms and men.”

Even if that were true, Ugarit, so what?? Anyway, countering your propaganda, I found this:

“The Yishuv’s total strength was around 35,000 with 15,000 to 18,000 fighters and a garrison force of roughly 20,000.[24] Despite these numbers, Haganah was extremely short of arms, all of which had to be smuggled into the country or manufactured in secret workshops.”

In line with the academics here, SSNP said:

“For your benefit,yes, Zionists aren’t the only party you need to blame. zionism is cancer.”

Strangely, most Israeli-Arabs would disagree. It’s pretty clear they’d rather be Israeli citizens than Palestinian citizens. Of course you know my opinion, Arab terrorism is the REAL cancer.

From Paul Craig Roberts article:

“What the US and Israel are attempting to do is to turn the entire Muslim Middle East into failed states, that is, into puppet regimes.”

Oh, yes, all the backwardness in the Middle East is someone else’s fault. You have all kinds of demonstrations against cartoons, but not a single demostration against muslims killing muslims.

Saladin adds his anti-Israel opinions of course:

“Personally, I believe Syria and all the arab states have failed collectively as potential success stories ever since the foreign occupation post Ottoman rule which further lead to Zionist state creation by force (which continues to exist that way).”

Syria and all the Arab states have failed? Really? Perhaps instead of focusing the blame on Zionism, you and your friends do something about your own homes.

Despite what the self-purported academics on this page may say, the “Zionist State” (aka “Israel”, a term rarely used by Arab intellectuals and terrorists) Israel was created by Jews who wanted independence, and the fact that Israel can still defend herself does not mean she solely exists by force. Israel shows the “failed” Arab states what can be accomplished by hard work, rule of law, and tolerance.

Tell that to Osama.

Sam said:

“But the more I think about it, i would take turkish rule over israeli any day of the week.”

Yes. Being ruled by Jews just seems so unnatural…

February 9th, 2007, 12:22 pm


ugarit said:

“Cakewalks, Forgeries and Smoking Guns
The Salvador Option in Beirut


“The only prospect that holds hope for us is the carving up of Syria… It is our task to prepare for that prospect. All else is a purposeless waste of time.”

Zionist militant Zeév Jabotinsky, From “We and Turkey” in Di Tribune, November 30, 1915

“We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Muslim regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan, and Syria will fall to us.”

David Ben-Gurion, From “Ben-Gurion, A Biography” by Michael Ben-Zohar, May 1948

“It is obvious that the above military assumptions, and the whole plan too, depend also on the Arabs continuing to be even more divided than they are now, and on the lack of any truly mass movement among them… Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking Iraq up into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon… Syria will fall apart.”

Oded Yinon, 1982. From “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East”

“Regime change is, of course, our goal both in Lebanon and Syria. We wrote long ago that there are three ways to achieve it- the dictator chooses to change; he falls before his own unhappy people; or if he poses a threat to the outside, the outside takes him out…”

-Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), From strategy paper #474 “Priorities in Lebanon & Syria”, March 2, 2005

From mission statement to mission accomplished, the cakewalks continue. But from Baghdad to Beirut, the forgery looks the same…..”


February 9th, 2007, 12:25 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Professor Josh,

Perhaps you can start a new thread like “Arab governments that support terrorism”?

What do you think?

Columnist Hassan Haydar: Iran Spreads a ‘Culture of Death’

February 9th, 2007, 12:42 pm


SSNP-SCP said:

Akbar P,
“Israel was created by Jews who wanted independence, and the fact that Israel can still defend herself does not mean she solely exists by force. Israel shows the “failed” Arab states what can be accomplished by hard work, rule of law, and tolerance.” and “Strangely, most Israeli-Arabs would disagree. It’s pretty clear they’d rather be Israeli citizens than Palestinian citizens.” ???
before you start spraying your ultra-zionist, arab-phobic propaganda, please answer this,

was Israel really created by Jews alone, without any British assistance what so ever? can Israel really defend it self without US support and aid? Can it really? Hard work? what hard work? spare me the rhetorics. tolerance? sure, the wall is the symbol of tolerance I bet.

Before accusing everyone as finger-pointers, just stop and consider what your doing.

Independence from what? Was Israel occupied or something? I thought it was “created” as most academics would testify.

Also, to do something about our homes will directly lead us to doing something about you. You cant seem to get it. The US is at the peek of their power and its struggling to bring a country like Iraq into submission. Eventually, the American empire will decline. what will israel do? whats the long term plan here sunshine? we have all the time in the world and we dont need technology to resolve our differences when that time comes. From now till then, we’ll just keep making each others lives a living hell. agreed?

February 9th, 2007, 12:58 pm


simohurtta said:

Strangely, most Israeli-Arabs would disagree. It’s pretty clear they’d rather be Israeli citizens than Palestinian citizens. Of course you know my opinion, Arab terrorism is the REAL cancer.

Well if you had to choose between being an Israeli third grade citizen or a citizen of a nation which has no country and is “tortured” constantly by IDF which would you choose? Most of Israeli Arabs, Christian and Muslim, would certainly favour the option of a Palestine with Jews and Arabs.

What is your opinion of Israeli terrorism, past and present? Hardly any difference between the results if the terrorist act is done by a Jew or Arab. The Stern Gang, Irgun, the New York dancing moving men and art students etc. are heroes to you. Why can’t Palestinians think the same of their terrorists and resistance men?

Despite what the self-purported academics on this page may say, the “Zionist State” (aka “Israel”, a term rarely used by Arab intellectuals and terrorists) Israel was created by Jews who wanted independence, and the fact that Israel can still defend herself does not mean she solely exists by force. Israel shows the “failed” Arab states what can be accomplished by hard work, rule of law, and tolerance.

Israelis call their state also a Zionist state and a Jewish state. Are they also “terrorists”? Israel is no example to anybody, regardless of their religion or ethnic origin. The country is a miserable example of an over militant, apartheid society and so an example what all countries should avoid.

What wonders me, why do you Akbar not move to you “dreamland” – the Zionist state. I understand those Syrians who live abroad partly because of the political situation in their country, but not those extreme, militant and racist Jews like you who are living abroad and who demand more “bloodshed” and are spreading their extreme views.

If you Akbar really think that your nationalistic, racist ûbermensch comments benefit Israel’s and Jews’ cause, you are completely wrong. You only manage to turn more people (Arabs, Europeans and Americans) more against the present days Israel. The days are long gone when Israel had on image of a weak country with courage. Now the image is what we see in practice on Temple Mountain and that picture is PR man’s nightmare.

February 9th, 2007, 2:41 pm


ugarit said:

I wish Akbar Palace would just say what’s really on his mind.

I suspect that he believes that Jewish actions can never be wrong relative to Arabs and Arabs cannot be right with respect to Jews and that Jews have more rights than Arabs. I may be wrong but AP implies this be throwing around the word “terrorism” at will. AP reminds me of white supremicists types who simply cannot accept that they can be wrong or that their philosophy, Zionism, is simply abhorent.

February 9th, 2007, 2:57 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

the arab people must demand from their goverments to block passage of oil to Isreal, just like Isreal is blocking money from getting to the palastinians

February 9th, 2007, 3:00 pm


Atassi said:

This sham referendum mucking around will not end as long as the Syrian peoples fears and the dark shadows of the security forces persist over the Syrian daily life. This silly behaviors against the Syrian peoples is a treason of trust Committed by the Baathists.

February 9th, 2007, 3:15 pm


3antar said:

i had no idea this Sawyer lady went into such length. Some PR. Is it that easy to hire an ABC journalist?

February 9th, 2007, 4:30 pm


Bilal Nawaf said:

Dear 3antar,

But normally Syria News does not publish any unfavourable comment to the regime. Even on this article I sent a comment that they did not publish. I only said “Where is Habbash that claimed 4 days earlier otherwise”
Otherwise they will be cut off

February 9th, 2007, 4:50 pm


Akbar Palace said:

More adjectives to live by…

Ugarit said:

“AP reminds me of white supremicists types who simply cannot accept that they can be wrong or that their philosophy, Zionism, is simply abhorent.”

Of course Zionism is abhorent. It’s the only government that works in the ME (and it isn’t Arab).

Anyway the Israeli “white supremicist” government just elected an Arab to the cabinet along with the other existing (5) arab MKs. This “supremicist” thing has really gone too far!

From the anti-Arab Wikipedia:

“Arab Israelis have been elected to every Knesset, and currently hold 12 of its 120 seats. Two Arabs have served as full government ministers: Salah Tarif, a Druze, served as a Minister Without Portfolio for ten months in 2001[71]; and Raleb Majadele was appointed as minister without portfolio on 28th January 2007[72][73].”

February 9th, 2007, 5:41 pm


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace:

You don’t seem to understand that Israel has millions of Palestinians under occupation. Those millions are not citizens of Israel. The millions of non-citizens are treated terribly even by dictatorial standards.

Are you aware of this?

February 9th, 2007, 5:59 pm


Akbar Palace said:

“You don’t seem to understand that Israel has millions of Palestinians under occupation.”

Ugarit –

I understand perfectly, and so do most people who haven’t been brainwashed by the Arab media. When the Palestinians are ready to stop terrorizing Israel, they can start negotiating a mutually agreed upon border.

It’s really the only way.

February 9th, 2007, 6:32 pm



Akbar P,
those mighty crazy Palestinians will only stop terrorizing Israel when Israel stop suffocating their economy and livelihood, and allow the refugees to return home, and halt illegal settlements. only then will they stop terrorizing poor little little Israel.
otherwise, you’ll have to take it and lump it.

so Israel is the only govt that works in Israel? Your president is facing rape charges and abuse of power. how very civilized.,,1997011,00.html

of course we mustn’t forget the hero of them all :

your ilk isn’t exactly setting a good example are they? perhaps you should do some house cleaning before pointing fingers.

February 9th, 2007, 7:59 pm


ugarit said:

Akbar Palace

I notice that you didn’t object to my assessment of your real opinion:

“I suspect that he [you, Akbar Palace] believes that Jewish actions can never be wrong relative to Arabs and Arabs cannot be right with respect to Jews and that Jews have more rights than Arabs.”

I don’t think you understand. “When the Palestinians are ready to stop terrorizing Israel”. Ready to stop or just stop?

So every single Palestinian needs to be ready to stop “terrorizing” Israel? In other words, one violent act in retaliation and millions of Palestinians are punished? I think I would rather live in Syria than live under Israeli occupation. Again I am talking about the millions of Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel and who are under Israeli apartheid.

February 9th, 2007, 8:01 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Saladin said:

“Your president is facing rape charges and abuse of power. how very civilized.”


Now, let’s see, if he were a MURDERER and TERRORIST SUPPORTER of a typical Arab country, who, in that case, would bring charges against him?

Thanks for the compliment.

February 9th, 2007, 9:02 pm


qunfuz said:

my latest posting at is called In Defence of Iran.

February 9th, 2007, 9:03 pm



“who, in that case, would bring charges against him?”- Akbar P.
based on the current system in syria, no one. everyone here knows that. unless your life line decides to send troops to topple the regime and turn syria into iraq.

but you’re avoiding the main issue here, again.
what grounds do you have when your Israel is just as corrupt and infested, if not more.
You have no values to preach and thats clear. It must be frustrating for you. especially when you find Israel gets so much bad press.

Ugarit, its clear that this guy’s only come back is to point out the obvious and miss out on the bad smell coming from home.

February 9th, 2007, 9:40 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

those who accuse freedom fighter,and occupation resistants,of being terrorist,are evil people

February 9th, 2007, 10:21 pm


Rasha said:

Here are two letters – one by Tony Lapham, former CIA general counsel, another by Jay Rockefeller, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman. Their content seems to confirm Trish Schuh’s conclusions in her highly convincing exposure of the American-Israeli involvement in Hariri assassination.

I have sent the copies of the letters to several officials, but have got no response. Obviously, the American-Israeli version is hushed up.

So it’s up to you to judge who was behind the plot.

May 23rd, 2007, 8:42 am


Leaflesseve said:

SSNP said:

“Lebanon cannot exist with complete autonomy.”

That’s exactly the problem. Syrians can’t ACCEPT that Lebanon doesn’t belong to them anymore.
Yet ANOTHER thing they have in common with Israeli occupiers.

(I’m half Syrian by the way, but i’de rather die before defending the Syrian regime, not only because of what they did to Lebanon, but also for what they did to Syria.)

And stop with the MACHO talk about who is braver. Everyone is brave once there life is threatened… But the difference is: Lebanese lives are already threatened by Syria & Israel. If you are a Syrian, your life will only be threatened IF you are brave. If you are brave, you will have to fight the enemy within… which is much tougher… It’s easy fighting enemies outside your walls.

It’s so insecure of you guys to defend the Asad regime. No one is questioning your LOYALTY to Syria, so why all the “DEFENSIVE” talk. YOU CAN DEFEND SYRIA without defending the dictatorship. You CAN be patriotic without attacking the Lebanese that want JUSTICE. If you are incapable of balancing these 2 thoughts in your head, that doesn’t mean others cant.
The least thing you can do is find a way to become good neighbors to a country that only brought you good and you only brought it misery. And please stop saying we have to WAIT for an investigation. That’s exactly like saying: Let’s wait for investigation to see if Israeli soldiers REALLY killed… WHOEVER. You don’t need a damn investigation. The Syrian regime has ADMITTED to killing other Lebanese politicians… why WOULDN’T they kill Hariri, Twaini and the rest???

So maybe u should rephrase: Lebanon cannot exist if the Asad regime is still in power.

October 23rd, 2007, 8:47 am


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