Taysir Raddawi of Planning Commission: Interview with Jihad Yaziji - Syria Comment

Taysir Raddawi of Planning Commission: Interview with Jihad Yaziji

Taysir Raddawi replaced Abdullah Dardari as the head of the State Planning Commission last year. Jihad Yaziji of the Syria Report interviewed him and has kindly allowed me to rip off the interview. (Subscribe to Syria Report: unsolicited advertisement) Syria Comment has been debating whether the positive IMF economic report is accurate and how high unemployment in Syria is. Raddawi answers these question with some straight talk. The IMF report was too positive and unemployment is much higher than the 10% reported by the Syrian Central Bureau of Statistics, he says.

Syria still far from social market economy – Raddawi
25 June 2007

Syria is still far from its target of a social market economy, says Taysir Raddawi, the head of the State Planning Commission. 

The Syrian Government says it wants to have a social market economy. How realistic is that? 
As such, the idea of a social market economy is excellent. Having a strong and dynamic market economy coupled with social justice and redistribution is the ideal solution. However, in order to redistribute wealth, you need first to have…wealth, i.e. economic surpluses. Syria is very far from reaching that stage. So I don’t really think we can talk of Syria being, yet, anywhere close to a social market economy. We now need significant growth, an efficient regulatory framework for business, less intervention from the State. 
.
However, the IMF has just released a preliminary report on the status of the Syrian economy, which is very positive. 
Indeed, it is very positive, maybe too much. There is no doubt that there has been economic growth last year and that the situation is improving. However, I doubt that the levels of GDP growth mentioned by our official statistics and by the IMF are as high as reported. Unfortunately, our statistical tools are very poor, as the IMF rightly pointed out, and it is really difficult to give an accurate estimate. However, my feeling from the activity on the ground is that growth is not as high as reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics. 
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What do you say then of the falling inflation and unemployment rates? 
It all has to do with how you calculate and what standards you use. According to the International Labour Organization standards, which count as unemployed only the persons that have worked less than one hour a week, unemployment is at 10 percent or lower. But if you were to consider that any person working for less than 2 days a week is unemployed, then the rate easily shoots up to twice that level.  
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The reform of the public sector remains an important issue in Syria. What directions should this reform take in your view? 
My only red line is that we cannot layoff anyone. Unemployment in the country is so high that you cannot afford to have more people without job. Apart from that I have no ideological precondition. There are too many companies that bring no added value and that are of no strategic value for the State. So, in my view, there are two main options for the reform of the public sector: Companies that are of a strategic nature or that generate profits must remain in the hands of the State. Companies that are losing and representing a drain on public finances as well as non strategic firms should be sold, partly, to their employees and to private capital. 
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Another key issue is that of public finances and subsidies. What are the options for Syria? 
Subsidies are costing a lot to the state and distort economic activity. So at one time they will need to be scrapped. However, this process can only be gradual and after we make sure we have a good social safety net. The World Bank has recently prepared a report suggesting that we increase the price at which we sell diesel, which is the most expensive subsidized item, by 150 percent (it currently sells at SYP 7.30 a litre) and that in compensation we pay every Syrian citizen an annual amount of SYP 1 700.00. That’s an option we are working on at the moment. 
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What is the path to growth for the Syrian economy then?We need  a strong and efficient market economy. We also have to support small and medium enterprises, in particular those that create a lot of jobs and bring significant technological added value. We can also think of setting-up Special Economic Zones, such as those in China, which were extremely successful.

Comments (58)


t_desco said:

Spanish Defense Minister: UNIFIL attack carried out by non-Lebanese terrorist cell with help from Lebanese jihadists

Alonso atribuye el atentado a una célula terrorista no libanesa, con apoyo yihadista

El ministro de Defensa, José Antonio Alonso, reveló hoy que el atentado contra las tropas españolas en Líbano fue perpetrado por una célula terrorista integrada por individuos no libaneses, apoyada por organizaciones yihadistas libanesas, según las primeras investigaciones del Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI).
EFE

“Sobre los autores del atentado, Alonso dijo que se apunta a terroristas no libaneses apoyados por elementos locales vinculados a organizaciones yihadistas.

Ese apoyo habría consistido, según la investigación, en la adquisición de explosivos y de documentación falsa para poder moverse por la zona bajo control del dispositivo UNIFIL, y posterior refugio, tras el atentado.”
Discapnet

July 2nd, 2007, 6:46 pm

 

Observer said:

The uprooting of corruption and the strengthening of the resistance of the regime to hegemony

In a previous post I argued for the necessity of uprooting of the regime in place simply because there are the following elements of a failed state that need addressing.( I am not asking for a coup or replacement of this or that leader; I am asking for the uprooting of the business as usual mentality that is no longer tenable )
Corruption: the judicial system is so corrupted that you can practically bribe any judge to rule in favor of the highest bidder in any case that comes across it. Therefore without an independent and impartial judiciary any economic and/or political reforms will remain extremely weak and non effective. For any investor this lack of transparency and impartiality is a major obstacle.
Education: likewise the system is riddled with favoritism and nepotism and cadres trained in the former Soviet Union states are now back and expecting to have secured positions. Many of the graduates lack basic skills and know how to participate in the modern economic world and many are minority driven and party members expecting huge rewards and monopoly over positions that they are not qualified to hold.
Health: the system is effectively a two tier system for the haves and the have not. The poor will have less than basic needs addressed from dilapidated and dangerous facilities to incompetent health care teams. The basic needs for clean water and safe clinics simply do not exist. The latest cancer center has no system for disposal of radioactive material as an example of corrupt and inoperable system of health care.
Crime: the foxes are guarding the chicken coops as the police and the various branches of the security services are sources of parasitic extortion of the population. Custom official fight and bribe their way to be deployed at this or that border crossing so they can fleece travelers. No wonder that petty crime and prostitution are increasing in the country.
Economic dislocation: all indicators point to the ever widening gap between the rich and the rest. The middle class that is the bulwark of any significant advancement is simply being destroyed. This will open the doors wide open for radicalism and crime. I have not even mentioned the transportation system, the taxation system, the local and national representation, the huge public sector, the pollution, the destruction of the ecosystem, the lack of planning, the water resources, and the huge young underemployement.

Regional politics: the regime is absolutely right in resisting the New Middle East plans that are being cooked in the US/UK for the following reasons:
They are nothing more than elements of making Israel the regional and only superpower
They are meant to inflict a final and strategic defeat of any local national movement.
They are meant to secure the strategic location and the resources of the region for a high standard of living in the West and the West only
They are meant to divide the region further into non viable entities.

In the absence of any credible opposition, the regime needs to understand that its salvation is the investment in the only real and important commodity it has: the people of the country and the region. They are the asset with which they can survive and they have no other asset for the elements of the failed state that I outlined above will make the most draconian police state collapse eventually. The resistance to hegemony should be used to reinforce and consolidate the efforts towards a civil society. The country desperately needs bureaucratic freedom and economic opportunity for it to survive. No amount of education will substitute for the incredible power of hope that comes with an environment that promotes free enterprise and the supremacy of the justice system. The party in power talked us to death about freedom, union, and socialism to the point that we have become immunized against any rhetoric coming from the government. The corruption is so endemic and pervasive that many in the country and the region know it by its unbelievable stories of bribes and deals.

One important element in this project is the definition of the identity of the state. The nation-state is the framework with which the bureaucracy functions however poorly if it does that. This identification of the state depends on the majority deciding and unfortunately for the regime, the minority in power would not allow that and in this other minorities are allied with it. All of the minorities of the Levant have worked diligently consciously and unconsciously to undermine any empowerment of the majority which happens to be Arab Sunni. This has been the case from Ottoman times and it is no accident that the intellectuals of the Arab revolt were not of the majority and the secular parties in the area are all staffed with minorities. This is a reflection of the failure of the Sunni majority and of the Ottoman Empire in its last days to revive into a universal concept that would embrace and accept the multitude just as it did after the reconquista in Spain and like the US is doing in absorbing diverse populations. Therefore, it is imperative that the country and the region opens a debate about identity and that the debate moves into the translation of the desires of the majority to be in a unified and borderless region. If as many minorities want the identity to center on the national identity i.e. Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian, then they cannot ask for special privilege for any other status and they will have to accept the dominance of the political scene by majority parties. If this were to happen, then religion would necessarily have to be separated from politics, a monumental task in view of the emergence of political Islam and Islamist parties as the only effective organizational parties at present. If the identity is to be based on the religious affiliation, then the task is no less monumental for the Sunnis as they will have to come to terms with defining the national identity and protecting the minorities from abuse of power.

I hope that my contribution will bring about a reasoned and measured response from everyone rather than the usual defense a outrance and that we look into the problems of the country and the region as being intrinsically linked to their artificial and post colonial divisions into failed and failing states.

July 2nd, 2007, 7:02 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Dr. Landis,

It is good to finally see a government official offer a reality check on the economy and its prospects. In a nutshell, the background is not good.

One thing that stuck out is his concept of privatization where the state is advised to keep the healthy and money making industries and sell the losing ones. What gives him the impression that private investors would want to buy what the government wants to sell? A lot of the companies that he seems to be referring to as candidates for sale are worthless. Indeed, the government may have to “pay” private investors to have them sold. If not private investors, he suggested that they be sold to the employees. Why would they want to buy a losing industry and how would they finance this purchase anyway?

The other thing that sticks out is this concept of “social market economy”. As he dances around the issue but never openly admits it, a market economy has no place for socialism in it and socialism has no place for free markets in their respective doctrines. Half pregnancy does not work. You either are or you are not. If you decide to embrace capitalism, either do it properly or don’t.

In the end, at least we did get an admission that the economic data and definitions are suspect at best.

July 2nd, 2007, 7:09 pm

 

MSK said:

Ehsani2,

the IMF itself pointed out in its report that the statistical basis on which it compiled the report is “in need of improvement”, to put it mildly. So for anyone with brains who read the report it was clear that the only things we could glean from it was “Syria’s economy is doing better than it used to”.

No IMF team can just file a report that says “Sorry, but we just couldn’t get any useful data & thus we can’t really make any statements about the Syrian economy.” They had to write SOMEthing & thus made the best out of the situation in which they found themselves, yet making sure to clearly point out that most (if not all) of the numbers aren’t really useable.

So I really wouldn’t fault the IMF people on this one.

I was just in Damascus & a well-informed observer said “out of the 20 Mio people in the country, 1 Mio are benefitting & profiting from the new economy, while the rest either stagnates or is doing worse than before.” We both agreed that the big challenge for the Syrian regime isn’t international pressure/politics, but to figure out how to have the majority of the people get a slice of the economic boom pie.

In other words – the Syrian regime better figure out a way to avoid becoming the next Egypt with its current infitah, since the Syrian people may not be as passive as the Egyptians seem to be.

–MSK*

July 2nd, 2007, 8:21 pm

 

Syrian said:

Ehsani,

Now you know that government run companies are badly managed but not necessarily worthless. These companies are money losers when they are badly run; private investors may find it well worth the investment (buy on the cheap) to get the companies, re-organize and turn them into lucrative operations. The minister’s mistake is in limiting the privitization to the losing industries. Just because a public company is profitable does not mean it cannot be made more profitable (efficient) when run by private enterprise.

MSK,

40% of working Syrians are employed by the public sector (shrinking pie) while the boom is taking place in the private sector (enlarging pie). If they want to get a bigger slice, they need to try and find a spot on the growing pie table. The people need to figure out a way of getting a slice of the economic boom (trade the certainty of a badly paying govenrment job with the uncertain higher possible income in the private sector).

July 2nd, 2007, 9:06 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

The other thing that sticks out is this concept of “social market economy”. As he dances around the issue but never openly admits it, a market economy has no place for socialism in it and socialism has no place for free markets in their respective doctrines. Half pregnancy does not work. You either are or you are not. If you decide to embrace capitalism, either do it properly or don’t.

Ehsani2 most of European economies are “social market economies” with a strong governmental social security system, state run health care (much cheaper and better performing as in USA) and basically free markets on many sectors. Until the last one, two decades also much of the core industry has in western European countries been state owned. Nobody can say that the Western European countries have performed economically badly. For example Sweden and Finland still get much dividends to pay the social security and other expenses from state owned companies. Not to mention Norway which has a huge state owned energy sector.

China, India and Russia have still huge blocks of their economy as state owned and no free market enthusiast can say that those economies are performing badly. Even Israel is no example of a free market economy. Half pregnancy seems to work excellently.

Actually completely free markets are an illusion. Countries control the markets with many ways. With bureaucratic barriers, laws, substitutes, tax reliefs, custom barriers, technical standard demands etc. Especially in USA and EU.

No doubt that free markets on many sectors have many benefits in activating the economy but putting the Busch doctrine “you are either on our side or against us” in use here with the economical development is somewhat naive. The world is full of mixed economical systems and there are no completely free market economies.

July 2nd, 2007, 9:17 pm

 

EHSANI2 said:

Dear SimoHurtta,

Long time no economic discussion!

Of course most economies are mixed. That applies to the U.S. too.
There is one undeniable fact, however. Every economy that tilted towards more free market has ended rewarding its people with higher standards of living. At a minimum, the result has always been a bigger pie to go around. Syria’s problem, as the minister pointed out, is that the pie is too minuscule. 30 years of Socialism has made sure of that.

Dear MSK,

Upon my return from Syria last summer, I wrote and posted an article precisely about the 19 versus 1 million faces of Syria. I would like to think that you friend read it and agreed with its theme (perhaps a little presumptuous on my part).

Dear Syrian,

There is no doubt that some of the state industries are worth more than zero. I think that even if the government actually has to pay to get rid of them, it is a worthwhile endeavor.

The costs and price of having adopted socialism for this long will have to be paid sooner or later. The country cannot escape the reality that its economic policies have been misplaced for decades. The state needs to craft innovative and bold initiatives to tackle the privatization issue and the inevitable displacement of many of its employees. Waiting and hoping that the problem will somehow go away does not strike me as an option.

July 3rd, 2007, 12:00 am

 

tony said:

Mate reading your articles like reading one of the regime crap
Do you have any shame ?
Honestly what is happening to you ? wake up and stop treating us as idiots

July 3rd, 2007, 5:14 am

 

t_desco said:

Salafi Group behind U.N. Bomb Attack in South

A Salafi extremist group on Tuesday was reportedly behind the June 24 bomb attack that left six U.N. peacekeepers serving with the Spanish forces killed in south Lebanon.

The daily As Safir, citing European intelligence sources, said a Salafi group “implemented” the attack on the Spanish contingent of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

As Safir said the Salafi ring had infiltrated into the deep south from an area outside south of the Litani river to carry out its attack.

It said, however, that the group was likely assisted by “local members during the surveillance and preparation operation” way ahead of the assault.

As Safir said the report coincided with indications by Spain’s Defense Minister Jose Antonio Alonzo that the attack on UNIFIL was carried out by “non-Lebanese terrorists.”

It quoted the European intelligence sources as saying that the Lebanese army, in collaboration with UNIFIL, thwarted, not too long ago, an attempt to attack a German warship off the Lebanese coast.

The sources said that “precise monitoring” by the Lebanese army had also led to the discovery of a terrorist group that was undertaking scuba diving training with professionals.

As Safir said Lebanese security sources declined to comment on the report.
Naharnet; As-Safir

LAF, UNIFIL detain terrorists planning naval attack

The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and UNIFIL arrested a group of terrorists planning a naval attack on a German vessel, As-Safir, a Lebanese daily, was quoted by Israel Radio Tuesday.

According to the report, the detainees were training in the shore near the country’s northern border, across from the Naher el Bared refugee camp.
Jerusalem Post

Also interesting:

Découverte d’une cellule d’entraînement d’Algériens pour le compte du GSPC en Syrie et au Liban

La section de lutte anti-terroriste au niveau de la Direction Générale de la Sûreté Nationale, DGSN, a arrêté quatre personnes activant dans ce qui est appelé le « réseau iraquien ». L’opération a réussie grâce à la mise sur écoute des appels téléphoniques que ces personnes ont eu l’habitude d’effectuer avec des algériens, des syriens et des libanais, chargés de l’entraînement des combattants afin de les affecter aux fronts du combat en Irak ou aux fiefs du groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat, GSPC, en Algérie.

Selon les mêmes sources, la section de la lutte anti-terroriste de la DGSN a découvert, grâce à la mise sur écoute des appels téléphoniques des membres du réseau en question, que deux ressortissants syriens ainsi q’un libanais vivant à Beyrouth on été chargés de l’accueil des volontaires afin de les entraîner aux techniques de combat et des explosifs en Irak, avant d’être affectés au Djihad en Irak ou aux fiefs d’El Qaida au Maghreb Islamique.
El Khabar

July 3rd, 2007, 10:23 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Observer cuts and pastes:

Regional politics: the regime is absolutely right in resisting the New Middle East plans that are being cooked in the US/UK for the following reasons:
They are nothing more than elements of making Israel the regional and only superpower
They are meant to inflict a final and strategic defeat of any local national movement.
They are meant to secure the strategic location and the resources of the region for a high standard of living in the West and the West only
They are meant to divide the region further into non viable entities.

Israel already is and has been the “regional superpower”. Whatever that means. I suppose, because the nations of the region are either too busy wasting their national resources:

1.) trying to destroy Israel

2.) funding terrorism

3.) or purchasing gold faucets

The rest of the paragraph above can be translated into english in one small sentence:

Israel’s survival means no Arab country can prosper. Which we all know (or should know) is a “crock”. The best way for the Arab world to prosper is fairly easy to understand:

1.) Democratize

2.) Stop supporting terrorism

July 3rd, 2007, 11:16 am

 

ugarit said:

EHSANI2 said: “Every economy that tilted towards more free market has ended rewarding its people with higher standards of living.”

That’s only true if the social market remains a major factor in the economy.

I’m glad to see that you’ve begun to moderate your views on “free” markets. 🙂

July 3rd, 2007, 1:15 pm

 

manhal said:

Ehsani2,
I think it is unfair to look at the economic situation in Syria in isolation of the many social and political factors. I agree with you that the government should have an honest look at the current state owned enterprises. However, it is not that easy. A bigger issue for us Syrians and to the Syrian government is how to handle 50% of job-hungry population. I am talking about Syrian women. You would be shocked to realize that a large number of government employees are females. This is also especially true for older employees. The government is stuck with a social problem. What to do with new and aging female population in a society where most businesses does not offer honest, steady, and worthwhile employment or career opportunities to Syrian females of ALL AGES. It is the government that offered a solution to this social issue. It is called government employment. The government has offered this safety net to this disadvantaged part of our society. Our limited-interpretation-of-Shariaa, civil code, social, and cultural thinking are great barriers to finding a real solution to this problem. In other societies most lawmakers, who happened to be men, created wonderful systems and solutions to protect and compensate for such unfairness and inequality. For example, a woman can inherit fully and automatically from her husband. A married woman cannot end up with nothing in case of a divorce,…

July 3rd, 2007, 1:20 pm

 

Observer said:

Mr. Akbar Palace
Israel’s legitimacy

The basis for the establishment of the state of Israel rest on several supposed legal foundations that in my opinion are all dubious at best and outright illegal at worst.
The Balfour declaration offered the land of Palestine to the Jewish people provided that no harm be done to the inhabitants and was done by a third party, namely Great Britain, that in the first place did not own the land.
The League of Nations established the mandate system to allow for the Ottoman provinces to accede to full independence and as a transition period to that goal. The mandate system was based on the choice of the populations to choose the mandate power and the majority of the people in Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon chose the United States as the mandate power as President Wilson championed the right of self determination of people and the US had no colonial baggage in the region. The desires of the population were ignored as France and Britain forced their control on the region.
The establishment of the UN was then considered the basis of the creation of the state of Israel. The UN charter forbids the dismantling of or the division of countries without the consent of the people. The division of Palestine gave 51% of the land to less than 20% of the population and in a geographic way that would not make the Palestinian section non viable. It was an illegal decision based on the charter itself and on the inequity of the distribution itself.
The biblical basis for the granting of the land to the Jewish people is nothing more than a theocratic mandate to control the land in the name of a religious-ethnic exclusive group. The Zionist movement moved from a liberation action into a colonial and oppressive regimen whereby an apartheid state exists today in Palestine.
In its present organization, policy establishment, military, economic, and political actions, Israel has acted and continues to act as a rogue state. One simple example of this action is forbidding Lebanon from exploiting the waters of the Litani River after it withdrew in 2000 and the continued refusal to give the maps of the land mines that prevent farmers from making a living. The establishment of the state in its ethnic and religious exclusive form is a racist and an illegal action. It is not even in the best of Jewish traditions to be so racist as to exclude the others from being considered as victims but to continue to reserve the right to call any critique or resistance to this illegal status as oppression of the Jewish people. This is the ultimate perversion of the memory of the Holocaust.

The references that would be important to read in this regard are
1. Cattan Henry Israel Palestine and International Law
2. Pape Ilan Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
3. Carter Jimmy Palestine Peace not Apartheid
4. Shleim Avi The Iron Wall

July 3rd, 2007, 3:04 pm

 

Innocent_Criminal said:

Observer,

Are you seriously considering arguing with this guy? seriously????

July 3rd, 2007, 4:18 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Observer,

Thanks, but no thanks.

I stopped reading your post after your very first phrase: “Israel’s legitimacy”. Israel is REAL;0)

July 3rd, 2007, 4:23 pm

 

someone said:

Since the current post is talking about economy, there is a strong rumor saying that the subsidizing of fuel is going to be lifted soon, if this is true and they are really going through it(the have been contemplating this idea for a long time now) it will have a tremendous effect. The joke is that they will make the current government take the blame and make it resign.
If they are really going through this, it will shake the country to its core, and it will not end with the resignation of the Government.
As Ehsani once said, there is a price to be paid for this long so called socialist stability, the bill is piling up and sooner or later the whole country must pay.
By the way guys listen to this, the other day I was reading the Wall Street journal and I stumbled upon a review of a book called
”taking Refuge in Dangerous Passions, Every day Jihad” by Bernard Rougier, the piece was methodical didn’t attack Syria in a direct way, and it was a good piece. as I was finishing the review I discovered that it was written by no other than the good old Michel Young. What struck me most is the notion that Arab journalist (well, let us say journalist who write or speak in the Arab media) like Young and the good old Abdul Bari atwan use an extreme, obnoxious, all most uncompromising language when they talk to their fellow Arabs, but the moment they speak in the western media, they make a 180 degree turn, meaning, that they use more subtle words and are less confrontational, so can any one explain this?

July 3rd, 2007, 6:09 pm

 

ausamaa said:

I_C,

Come to think about it, arguing with AP is actually better than arguing with some others. AP does not use offensive language despite his momentous task of defending the ultimate offensive and mind-insulting of all concept. AP arguments seems to “reminde” some people of who the enemy is. He forces a realty check upon many many commentators and unite them in a way as he lumps all Ayrabs from the Adventurous to the Moderate to the Paid Agent together. He is amusing when he tries to fish in muddy waters. Sometimes he sounds like a ciggarret advertisment that says: Believe us, we swear we do not kill as many people as cluster-bombs do. And finally, if AP gets near a clearly loosing argument, AP just skips over the whole issue rather than trying to argue it to death; he just dissappears and then re-appers out of nowhere later when the issue has been forgotten.

And just above he just scored a point by reminding us : “Israel is real”. He forgot to add: “Soo is cancer, war and occupation”.

July 3rd, 2007, 6:17 pm

 

Observer said:

I like that you stopped reading and then you will stop commenting.

July 3rd, 2007, 7:15 pm

 

Majhool said:

Observer

Thanks for your post. I agree with most of it.

Without accountability and legitimacy the government will fall into hegemony eventually leading to collapse (near or far) taking the society down with it.

I believe the window is still open for the Syrian regime to expand its legitimacy and enhance its accountability. However, my feeling is that they are not heading in the direction. What is being done so far is merely minute adjustments to ensure sustainability of the regime: Basically “treating” cancer with pain killers rather than real medication. I was in Montreal the other day and I was shocked to hear of so many “regime people” working on immigration to Canada (exist strategy); a similar situation is taking place in Dubai.

Basically justice will not be served even when collapse takes place. People must demand accountability and legitimacy NOW.

We are in need for viable, credible, focused, non partisan, community funded umbrella Organization” that will champion this effort. My feeling (sorry for the lack of hard data) is that there is no such thing. And that the government tricked public service enthusiasts into joining political (non-licensed) political entities to justify future arrests.

July 3rd, 2007, 10:44 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Akbar Palace said:

Observer,

Thanks, but no thanks.

I stopped reading your post after your very first phrase: “Israel’s legitimacy”. Israel is REAL;0)

Well Akbar you are like President Bush (junior). Also he doesn’t like to read what is against his beliefs. The world is simpler with your and his attitude.

Also the President of Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein seems not like reading. He said that Jerusalem not holy to Muslims and added that Palestinians have never been a real people because there was never an actual country called Palestine. Somebody could ask Klein weren’t the Jews not real people before 1948, because there was no country named Israel. Funny men those shaved extremists, aren’t they Akbar?

July 3rd, 2007, 11:04 pm

 

Alex said:

My friend Majhool,

How do you define “this effort”, and what will motivate that neutral “umbrella organization” that will fund it? .. will they really agree on a mission that goes into details? … of course not. How will they solve their disagreements? will they have structure? or will they shout at each other?

Will it be different from “an opposition party”? will it have a head?

But I agree with your hopes in generals although the “NOW” part is not natural. Countries and large systems change slowly, not “NOW” … except when force is applied.

Here is an interesting discussion about the old, compared to the new systems of government for Syria. It is the new discussion topic at the Syrian Think Tank. Looking back at president Shukri al-Quwatli

I hope you, and my friend Bakri, will find it useful. Four excellent writers participated in the discussion.

July 3rd, 2007, 11:29 pm

 

Majhool said:

Alex

The Umbrella organization could have a very specific mission statement, and extremely defined: rules, disclaimers, individual and collective (organization level) legal responsibilities. Theoretically one get a 100 brilliant lawyers and do exactly that. The goal is to provide a legitimate framework to be able to function without being subjected the manipulation of law exercised by the government today.

The umbrella organization could support a number other organizations on a project basis (as apposed to political agenda). For example, they can support a group dedicated to enhancing freedom of press (be it with money or be it with personnel) on a project level without endorsing that organization.

Basically, the “umbrella organization” would run like a corporate. It will endorse projects but not people and hence it will not be responsible if some guy working for them with was too enthusiastic and broke the law.

As for leadership, as it’s the case elsewhere, few people will have to draft the charter. Recruit notable civil personalities (without political affiliation, or business interest) that have the respect of the entire society. Generate a list of projects for the next 5 years that everyone would commit to, and have a future (let’s say every 5 years) window for a charter change to allow for a more democratic leadership of the organization. As for funding it will be donation + government money only. If you raise awareness to the importance of this effort via TV ads and promotional work you will probably generate enough support and interest.

Accepting the current level of legitimacy and accountability of this government is not an option. I don’t promote violent change and I definably would not want to recruit people to a cause and a course of action if that will eventually lead them to prison. The only way is to have a focused, lawful, non partisan campaign that will bring the current government in line with people’s expectations.

July 4th, 2007, 1:02 am

 

Bakri said:

Alex,i did read them and you have my respect and gratitude for your excellent site.Thanks

July 4th, 2007, 3:30 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

I like that you stopped reading and then you will stop commenting.

Observer,

Sorry, I haven’t stopped reading nor will I stop commenting. I do this as a public service. I don’t charge a penny.;)

I only stop reading posts that bore me. You know, Israel’s legitimacy, Lebanon’s legitimacy, the oppressed Palestinians, the poor misunderstood freedom fighters, etc, etc.

Just like the doctor jihadists in Great Britain this past week and the 9-11 “martyrs”, the mythology of the “oppressed” killers has dwindled fast (in the West anyway). The excuses ran out.

Anyway, if there is anyone here who wants to replace those poor misunderstood doctors, feel free to email me. I have the applications right here.

July 4th, 2007, 5:30 am

 

ausamaa said:

AP

“I do this as a public service”

My, my, the Public is surely well-served by your “facts”! Beats FOX Neooos and the US ARMY spoksperson in Baghdad!!

July 4th, 2007, 6:47 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

My, my, the Public is surely well-served by your “facts”!

Ausamaa, the Public is only well-seerved by my “facts” if they are open-minded enough to listen to them objectively.

Beats FOX Neooos and the US ARMY spoksperson in Baghdad!!

Beats “Baghdad Bob” too;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Saeed_al-Sahhaf

Anyway, I propose we create a page on this website dedicated to the Holy Mujahadeen who have sacrificed so much in the quest to liberate Arabs from the infidels, and keep peace-loving leaders like Ahmadinejad and Assad in power.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article2023024.ece

July 4th, 2007, 1:42 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

I do this as a public service. I don’t charge a penny.;)

Akbar do you really think in earnest that somebody would pay for you for your comments? I know that Jews are good businessmen but normally they have something to sell. Your kindergarten level comments and non sense propaganda aren’t worth a penny. Actually if your movement would be clever they would replace you with a more competent “Akbar”.

The difference between Baghdad Bob and you is that Baghdad Bob changed less the truth than you normally do. What is equal is between you two is that everybody knows/knew that you lie.

Anyway, I propose we create a page on this website dedicated to the Holy Mujahadeen…

Why would you Akbar as an Jew like to create a Jihadist website? To feed false information to the west? Well quite many already believe that your “club” is running quite many of of those sites. Holding the terror threat alive and in the focus is the only thing how Israel can continue to keep the West Bank (and the nukes).

Israeli peace build in reality. Settlers from the West Bank outpost of Adei Ad uprooted 300 of Mukbal’s trees and replanted some of them decoratively along the entrance to the outpost. Mubai said that Israeli security forces may have been involved in the uprooting of his trees. Hmmmm and they wonder what gives fuel to the Jihadists…

July 4th, 2007, 2:36 pm

 

ausamaa said:

AP said:

“the Public is only well-served by my “facts” if they are open-minded enough to listen to them objectively”

AP, take my advise and close shop immediately. Based on “revelations” by the international Public Opinion, it seems that either this International Public Opinion is not “open-minded” enough to buy your facts, or is so “objective” that they bought into it for decades then came to the conclusion that they should discount such Israeili oriented “facts” lock, stock and barrel.

But again, keep trying if you wish, hope springs eternal, I believe! (look at Olmert, who the hell thought he will manage to be around until now? He screwed the whole of Israel and stayed at his job, poor Katsave screwed a couple of girls and lost his)!.

In full honesty, and BS aside, you are barking up the wrong tree around here and it is a waste of energy if not a back-firing thing. Well, maybe it does add some spice to this blog..but…it is already very spiced-up here!

July 4th, 2007, 4:04 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Hmmmm and they wonder what gives fuel to the Jihadists…

SimoHurtta,

I’ll be glad to tell you what “gives fuel to the Jihadists”. Certainly not a uprooted olive grove. I wonder if this Palestinian man will now opt to self-combust?

After they interview the Jihadists who tried to blow up a British nightclub and airport, I doubt it was because of an uprooted olive grove and the legal wranglings thereof (the Palestinian in question is being represented by “Yesh Din”, an Israeli organization which represents Arabs/Palestinians who claim to be harrassed).

I’m willing to bet they have been brainwashed by the jihadist clerics that have infested the Muslim world and get so much airtime in the Arab and Muslim media.

Of course, a final settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis would do a lot to identify their respective borders (which are still in dispute), but, I guess, that’s asking for too much. Refugees and armed conflict seem to be the best medicine long term.
If there isn’t “martyrdom”, who can the Arabs point their fingers at?

July 4th, 2007, 4:49 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

it is both … religious and other extremists from Israel are surely not helping calm the frustrated Arabs, are they?

July 4th, 2007, 7:24 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

it is both … religious and other extremists from Israel are surely not helping calm the frustrated Arabs, are they?

Hi Alex,

You are right. Partly. Agreeing with you, I will repeat your words verbatim: Some “religious and other extemeists from Israel are surely not helping calm the frustrated Arabs…”.

Perhaps these frustrated Arabs can be calmed by the moderation of the Israeli media (Ha’aretz, Yediot, and Ma’ariv), the scores of pro-human rights organizations that are financed by the New Israel Fund and other Jewish and Israeli liberal institutions.

Yet, I have no indication (from your You Tube link) what crime is/was committed when an immature religious fanatic cusses at a videographer. No one was blown up, no one was stabbed, or shot, and no homemade missile was fired.

I have my own ideas about “calming” “frustrated” Arabs, and I believe very little of it has to do with uprooted olive trees and cussing Jewish fanantics (as unacceptable as those actions are).

BTW – Do pro-Hamas supporters on this website “frustrate” you Alex?

July 4th, 2007, 10:37 pm

 

trustquest said:

AP,
I have a question to understand your flow of thoughts regarding occupation:
If the Jews are in the Palestinians position, occupied by the Palestinians, do you think they will do the same, blowing themselves up? What are your thoughts on this theory?

July 5th, 2007, 12:40 am

 

majedkhaldoun said:

I wonder if Josh can tell us about water and elicricity in Damascus,I hear that they cut them for 12 hours a day.

Bramertz was in Damascus for four hours, who did he meet ?

July 5th, 2007, 4:43 am

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

I wish it was simply this immature settler. IT is the ideas he is fed by his parents and their neighbors. And it is the honestly that comes out when one is totally drunk like he was.

The combination in Israel where you have religious backup for your often self-centered actions (it is our right) in addition to the over-confident feeling that you get when you remember how your IDF performed in 1967 or how your IAF downed 90 Syrian MIGs in 1982, then knowing that no matter how much you ignore international UN resolutions the United States will cover up for you … all the above makes many in Israel share a similar (maybe not as obnoxious) attitude with this drunken teenage settler in the video.

Haaretz is good for making some Syrian called Alex hopeful that it is possible to reach a peaceful settlement with Israel. But Haaretz can not help those Palestinians who have to interact with the typical Israeli settler types.

Do “pro Hammas” supporters frustrate me? …. “no”

Why? … For now, compared to Israel, Hamas can not do a small fraction of the Damage that Israel does when they both act selfishly or foolishly or fanatically. I would worry about them only if and when they get one day to be too powerful

Hamas is half the Palestinian people … you can not ignore them. You need to work hard to make them less popular …. Half their popularity is a gift from Israel and its wonderful actions, the other half is due to other factors not under your control. At least do your part.

July 5th, 2007, 6:27 am

 

ausamaa said:

The above post is titled “Taysir Raddawi of Planning Commission: Interview with Jihad Yaziji”, however, out of 34 comments so far, only 8 comentators paid srious attention to the subject matter, others -myself icluded- went off on a tangent to argue and counter argue mostely irrelevant and unrelated topics which we have beaten to death decades ago.

What a shame? or what a waste of other serious people’s time!

I will try to do my part from now on. The site I believe is meant to increase understanding of Syrian Affairs and promote a serious debate about its options and direction, not to bash or un-bash Syria. Let us try not to mess it up….shall we?

July 5th, 2007, 9:06 am

 

Atassi said:

Just in case you missed Mr. Young latest article
=========================================
Some common sense from Javier Solana

Michael Young
5 July 2007
Beirut — After the attack against a Spanish patrol two Sundays ago, Spain’s military began cooperating with Hizbullah in the investigation to determine who had killed its soldiers. This was based on an odd belief that the party is keen to safeguard the United Nations force. On Monday, the Defense Ministry in Madrid announced that the bombing was carried out by a “terrorist cell composed of non-Lebanese,” with some newspapers describing them as Salafists. Spain’s prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero, known to his countrymen as “Bambi,” hinted that Syria might even be brought in to help uncover the truth about what had happened.

Then on Monday, another Spaniard, the European Union’s chief foreign policy official, Javier Solana, came to the rescue with some common sense. In an important statement, Solana declared that “[w]hat happened in Gaza cannot be seen separately from what happened in Lebanon.” He noted that there “are new groups in the Palestinian camps, and the fact that UNIFIL has been attacked for the first time cannot be taken separately.” The car-bomb attack against the Spanish contingent was provoked by “forces we don’t know,” but Solana also underlined that it “would be naive not to see this as part of a global approach.”

Solana’s most revealing statement pointed a finger at Iran and Syria, when he unmistakably suggested that the “forces we don’t know” could have been run out of Tehran and Damascus: “Somebody I know well – Ali Larijani – has said ‘we are supporting Hamas’… All this is connected. It didn’t happen by accident or miracle, it was probably planned … It would be difficult to understand without seeing other important regional players behind it,” he added, referring to “other forces” in Iran and Syria.

Perhaps Bambi will now think twice about Syrian participation in the investigation of the attack against UNIFIL. And if he doesn’t, he should examine an extraordinary document published by the French daily Le Monde last Saturday: the minutes of a meeting between Syrian President Bashar Assad and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 24 at the presidential palace in Damascus. The article mostly flew under the radar of the Lebanese media, although its key passage had been leaked to An-Nahar in April and was never denied by the Syrians. The version in Le Monde largely confirmed the An-Nahar account, and it merits being quoted extensively. The language of the exchange was not specified.

In their discussion of Lebanon, Ban told Assad that Syria had “an important role” to play to end Lebanese divisions. The secretary general also called on Syria to support the Hariri tribunal, which had not yet been established under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Assad responded: “In Lebanon, divisions and confessionalism have been deeply anchored for more than 300 years. Lebanese society is very fragile. [The country’s] most peaceful years were when Syrian forces were present. From 1976 to 2005 Lebanon was stable, whereas now there is great instability.”

The Syrian president then issued what Ban could plainly see was a threat: “[This instability] will worsen if the special [Hariri] tribunal is established. Particularly if it is established under Chapter VII. This might easily cause a conflict that would degenerate into civil war, provoking divisions between Sunnis and Shiites from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea … This would have serious consequences beyond Lebanon.”

Not to be outdone by his boss, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem was highly critical of the US ambassador in Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman. The document quotes Moallem as saying to Ban: “Feltman should leave [Lebanon]; I’m prepared to pay for his vacation to Hawaii.” That statement, too, could be interpreted as a threat. As a finale, Assad told the secretary general as they were about to part: “We’re in the eye of the cyclone. You will, therefore, need to stay in contact with us.”

The minutes were intentionally leaked by the UN, and the timing was no coincidence. An educated guess would suggest the leak took place after the rocket attack against northern Israel in June, and the subsequent killing of the peacekeepers. The point was, evidently, to affirm what Solana did in his statement on Monday: that Syria is destabilizing Lebanon and the region in order to negotiate with the UN and the international community from a position of strength.

The exchange also proved that Assad, though he has denied Syrian involvement in Rafik Hariri’s assassination, was very worried about the tribunal. And if there were any doubts about whether the Syrian leader wants to send his forces back in to Lebanon, his reference to Lebanese stability during the years of Syrian rule (even if the country was actually a mess between 1976 and 1990) surely dissipated them. Assad was blunt: If you want stability to return to the country then Syria must return to the country.

Repeated enough times, this kind of language will lose Assad even his most gullible friends in Europe. The cult of “engagement” of Syria is being battered by the fact that most European powers are realizing, to their dismay, that Damascus will not accept any of the quid pro quos that engagement requires. Instead, what they are all hearing, from Brussels to Berlin, is the Syrian language of the gun. Not even the most boneless of European officials could long sustain a discussion with Assad that is based on sundry warnings and intimidation, the practical impact of which is to terminate Lebanon’s independence. And that a foreign minister should have exposed himself so recklessly in the presence of a UN delegation by assailing an ambassador in Beirut showed how dangerously belligerent and insular the mood in Damascus is becoming.

The implications of Solana’s statements are clear. We are caught in a process of perhaps irresolvable confrontation – with Iran, Syria, and their allies in Hizbullah and Hamas on the one side; and the UN, the United States, Europe, the Arab states, and their allies on the other. Few Europeans relish being in so monolithic a standoff, and they are right. But unless something gives, unless Iran redefines its relationship with the West and the Arabs on the nuclear issue and its policies in the Middle East, stalemate will persist. Then we will see who has stronger knees: an international community that cannot afford to be browbeaten, or a Syria and Iran that must sooner or later prove they can build better than they can destroy.

July 5th, 2007, 2:21 pm

 

Alex said:

Solana’s spokesperson later denied he accused Iran or Syria of being behind what happened in Lebanon

سولانا ينفي ما نقلته رويتر عن اتهاماته لايران وسوريا
2007-07-05

نفت المتحدثة باسم الممثل الاعلى للسياسة الخارجية في الاتحاد الاوروبي كريستينا غالاش ما نقلته وكالتا رويتر والشرق الاوسط عن تصريح لخافيير سولانا ذكر فيه ان ايران وسوريا تقفان وراء ما يجري في لبنان وفلسطين. وقالت غالاش لوكالة الانباء الايرانية (إرنا) ان ما نسبته الوكالتان عن سولانا هو تفسير خاطئ لما قاله وان الناس تُخرج الجُمل عن سياقها. وان سولانا لم يُجر اي ربط بين ما يجري في لبنان وغزة.

July 5th, 2007, 7:37 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Young is becoming more and more ridiculous and dangerous. Why the hell Iran (shia) and Syria (alawite) would want to help Salafists(extremist sunnis) who are a threat to them and are helped by the Saudis and the Hariri, as everyone knows. Is Young trying to cover up the lebanese/ sunni responsibilities in this new outbreak of sunni violence by accusing the ‘usual suspects”. Maybe Solana meant Saudi arabia who seems to have lots of its citizens enrolled in Fath al Islam, salafists and Al Qaeda groups. Young is expert in putting words into the mouth of political figures to only serve his purpose.

July 5th, 2007, 8:42 pm

 

ugarit said:

I also find it interesting how Michael Young used a Reuter’s story without confirmation. Any respectable journalist would have called Solana’s office to confirm what Solana allegedly said and meant. Young is simply an agitprop.

July 5th, 2007, 9:26 pm

 

Atassi said:

why-discuss
Syria is NOT (alawite) .. Alawites are part of the SYRIA as do Christian, Sunnis, and the other 17 sects and religions mosaic structure of the county … You are spreading the wrong information now !!

July 5th, 2007, 9:34 pm

 

Thomas said:

“Young is becoming more and more ridiculous and dangerous.”

Dear why discuss:

How is it that Young is ridiculous and dangerous? Has he proposed the erradication of all Syrians or Persians? Please explain with your superior intellect what makes Young “ridiculous”. I love Baathist circle talk. Also, please operationalize your notion of “dangerousness” in terms of cause and effect. Perhaps you can contribute to our understanding of the philosophy of science from Bashar’s new and unique perspective. Perhaps Young is “dangerous” in the same way that the Hiriri tribunal is “dangerous” to Syrian political interests.

July 5th, 2007, 10:40 pm

 

ugarit said:

Thomas:

No one has proposed the eradication of any peoples! So your question is not answerable.

July 5th, 2007, 10:53 pm

 

why-discuss said:

THOMAS
UGARIT said: ” Young is simply an agitprop.” I agree, Young keeps throwing his biased theories without verifying their justifications. In this way he is dangerous as he is a journalist and his theories influence wrongly the readers and encourage hatred (I just read that syrian students and workers are returning in masses to Syria probably because of the hatred people like Young are spreading). If he is the least honest he will write in the newspaper to withdraw what he wrote based on innacurate informations. Would he?

Ridiculous: Because he is hammering us day and night by using distorted declarations that the mothers of all evil are Iran and Syria and he neglects the role of the sunni extremists (allegedly financed by sunni millionaires) who are sneaking in Lebanon ( from the airport too as they are welcomed Saudis and other “friendly arabs”) and like termits are destroying it. He is becoming boringly repetitive and narrow minded… He beats Jumblatt in that!
ATASSI: I never meant to say that the population of Syria is alawite, but the majority of the political ruling class in Syria is Alawite, and I guess they are the ones dictating the foreign policies.

July 5th, 2007, 11:14 pm

 

ugarit said:

WHY-DISCUSS said: “(I just read that syrian students and workers are returning in masses to Syria probably because of the hatred people like Young are spreading).”

The Syrian government had recommended that they leave Lebanon while the situation is manageable.

July 6th, 2007, 12:07 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

trustquest said:

AP, I have a question to understand your flow of thoughts regarding occupation:

If the Jews are in the Palestinians position, occupied by the Palestinians, do you think they will do the same, blowing themselves up? What are your thoughts on this theory?

Truthquest,

I think you’ve asked a fair question, and I have an answer for you if you are interested.

No, I do not think Jews would “do the same” such as “blowing themselves up”. Judging from history, Jews either fought their enemy or ran from them, making a better life somewhere else.

What do you think?

Alex said:

Akbar,

I wish it was simply this immature settler. IT is the ideas he is fed by his parents and their neighbors. And it is the honestly that comes out when one is totally drunk like he was.

Alex,

I will continue to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s see, you’re concerned about a racist settler boy who cusses.

Fine.

So tell me why shouldn’t I be concerned with a racist government with a racist manifesto that is firing missiles into Israel?

The combination in Israel where you have religious backup for your often self-centered actions (it is our right) in addition to the over-confident feeling that you get when you remember how your IDF performed in 1967 or how your IAF downed 90 Syrian MIGs in 1982, then knowing that no matter how much you ignore international UN resolutions the United States will cover up for you … all the above makes many in Israel share a similar (maybe not as obnoxious) attitude with this drunken teenage settler in the video.

1967, 1982, 2006, etc. deserve no apology. This is history and this is war. And Israel is still at war with both the PA, Lebanon, and Syria and a few other non-neighboring countries whose governments vow to destroy our state.

As far as the “drunken teenage settler” (that is obviously causing you distress), please accept my apology for his actions. I hope you know he is NOT the typical Israeli.

Haaretz is good for making some Syrian called Alex hopeful that it is possible to reach a peaceful settlement with Israel. But Haaretz can not help those Palestinians who have to interact with the typical Israeli settler types.

Good, I am glad some Israeli newspapers (non-government controlled) make you hopeful. What newspapers in the Middle East should make the Israelis hopeful?

Yes, the Palestinians, due to their location and the present situation, seem to only interact with thuggish settlers and the IDF. Granted, not a good situation. Of course, there are lots of peaceful “settlers” (i.e. outside the “Green Line”) who wouldn’t hurt a fly and would never think to do so.

Do “pro Hammas” supporters frustrate me? …. “no”

Why? … For now, compared to Israel, Hamas can not do a small fraction of the Damage that Israel does when they both act selfishly or foolishly or fanatically. I would worry about them only if and when they get one day to be too powerful.

I see. So a racist Israel “settler” boy “concerns” you. But a racist Islamic government who fires missiles into Israel does not. And this racist Islamic government who fires missiles into Israel shouldn’t concern us until it becomes more “powerful” (I guess only you know when they will become “too powerful”).

Alex,

I don’t know about you and the participants here, but I must say you’ve defined quite a big double-standard.

This is why when I see Dr. Landis’ description: Co-director, Centre of Peace Studies University of Oklahoma, I do have to pinch myself into reality.

Hamas is half the Palestinian people … you can not ignore them.

Really? Everyone else does. And frankly, I don’t care if they are 100% of the Palestinian people. They can be ignored as long as they remain an anti-semitic government dedicated to my people’s destruction. Hamas and Peace are currently incompatible.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Hamas_Covenant

You need to work hard to make them less popular ….

I think they’re doing quite a good job of this already. However, while they are losing almost all of their international support, it is no surprise that people like you cling to the hopes and aspirations of racist Islamic fundamentalists.

Half their popularity is a gift from Israel and its wonderful actions, the other half is due to other factors not under your control. At least do your part.

This may not be mathematically possible, but I’m guessing another “half” of their popularity is do to the Arab government-controlled media and the jihadist clerics they promote.

Thomas asks:

How is it that Young is ridiculous and dangerous?

Young is “dangerous” because there is very little freedom of speech in Arab countries. Therefore, this is why these autocratic, weak and unstable Arab governments are so sensitive to any dissention. If there was any Arab government confident of their leadership, people could speak their mind without any fear of retribution. But alas, this is not yet to be.

Moreover, Arab “intellectuals” like Alex are more concerned with the individual freedom of speech of spoiled Jewish boys than the whole racist, pro-jihadist society he apologizes for.

Wake Up World!

July 6th, 2007, 2:32 am

 

why-discuss said:

Akbar said: “Young is “dangerous” because there is very little freedom of speech in Arab countries. Therefore, this is why these autocratic, weak and unstable Arab governments are so sensitive to any dissention. If there was any Arab government confident of their leadership, people could speak their mind without any fear of retribution. But alas, this is not yet to be.”

Young is no dissension, he is mainstream, this is why he is dangerous..
The US media are free!! How naive!
They are most of them financed by powerful and wealthy private organizations following defined agenda and operating very careful selection and deformation of news. Free speech is a figure of style, nothing else!

Akbar said about palestinians supporting Hamas: Really? Everyone else does. And frankly, I don’t care if they are 100% of the Palestinian people. They can be ignored as long as they remain an anti-semitic government dedicated to my people’s destruction. Hamas and Peace are currently incompatible.
We care because they are human beings unless for you a human being has only to agree to have his land stolen, his basic rights denied and be despised by people like you without resisting!

July 6th, 2007, 4:14 am

 

why-discuss said:

L’Orient-le jour: …. Damas a décidé, « pour raison de sécurité », de rapatrier les étudiants syriens inscrits dans les universités libanaises pour l’année 2007-2008.
…Nous entendons parler de quelque chose qui risque de se passer autour du 15 juillet, que les autorités syriennes ont demandé à leurs ressortissants de quitter le Liban avant cette date ; mais rien ne nous a été confirmé »,

On 15 July, Brammertz will present his report, is there any connection with the preventive measures the Syrian Government is taking by asking its citizens to leave Lebanon before that date?

July 6th, 2007, 4:53 am

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

I knew I will disappoint you with my statement above. But I beg to differ with your conclusion … there was no double standard at all.

If you remember (or look above) I linked the settler video ONLY to demonstrate to you that there are two main reasons why we have occasional violence from some Palestinians. You mentioned the Jihadist influence (and I agreed) and I added the settler’s example of the worst that can come from Israel and that continues to convert many Good Palestinian boys and girls into hopeless bitter and angry souls.

I did not deny the fault of the Arabs, I just tried to remind you that there is another major cause.

THEN you asked more about how I feel about Hamas.

Again, why am I not very worried about Hamas? .. because in the short run, Hamas is not the one causing most of the casualties .. it is the United States in Iraq and Israel in Lebanon and Palestine.

Hamas, perhaps thanks to Syrian influence, moved in the right direction in its positions on peace … compare their position today to that few years ago. This is encouraging. I do not look at a snapshot of things, I look at trends .. the Hamas trend is generally encouraging.

But Israel … I don’t know how to not worry … excitement for the prospects of “an accidental war” with Syria this summer … continuing to give silly excuses for not starting peace negotiations … opinion polls that show a majority of Israeli people not wanting to return the Golan…

Back to Hamas .. in the long run, the expiry date for their acceptance of Israel is far enough in the future that makes it irrelevant … by then everything will change … Hamas will support what the vast majority of Palestinians will support … Israel’s wisdom (one day) WILL be enough to take care of extreme parties on the other side… it will start a number of good changes in the Arab world that will lead to what we all hope to see… not immediately but gradually.

July 6th, 2007, 7:03 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Akbar says that the drunken settler boy is an one-time incident. Sadly it its not so, there are thousands of them. Google Video has literally hundreds of equal videos where drunken bearded and less bearded Jewish terrorists (as Akbar likes to say from the opposite side) harass and beat Palestinians, Israelis and international observers.

Some examples:
one
two
three
four

Even I had seen some of these kind of videos before, watching several of them in a row made me extremely angry. Not even the famous Jewish intellectual Akbar can’t justify his peoples way of behaviour. It is obvious that the settlers teach their children to act like this and use them in trying to destroy the Palestinians. It raises the question who is the worst terrorist in Middle East. Tony Blair should take a Google Video tour before starting his new job.

No, I do not think Jews would “do the same” such as “blowing themselves up”. Judging from history, Jews either fought their enemy or ran from them, making a better life somewhere else.

Well Akbar what is the difference in leaving a hidden bomb in a hotel etc or entering a hotel etc with a suicide bomb belt. I can’t see any difference. The result is the same, innocent get killed. The difference is that the Jewish terrorist can perform his act several times, the suicide bomber only once.

July 6th, 2007, 7:08 am

 

trustquest said:

AP,
Thank you for your response. What I was aiming from my question is find out who has more attachment to the land. It is very obvious to me from your answer that Palestinians have more attachment since they are willing blow themselves up and not leave when defeated. Humans used different way to defend their places and their existence from invaders and occupiers.
I have one more questions to you: How long this state of affairs between Arab, Palestinians and Jews will last, how do you read the future in the area? do you see any way out? If things do not go as the Jewish state hope what their other strategy, what do expect to evolve in the next 25 years?

July 6th, 2007, 12:54 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Truthquest said,

Thank you for your response. What I was aiming from my question is find out who has more attachment to the land. It is very obvious to me from your answer that Palestinians have more attachment since they are willing blow themselves up and not leave when defeated. Humans used different way to defend their places and their existence from invaders and occupiers.

I wasn’t sure what you were “aiming” for with your previous question.

Now that you have clarified your question, (i.e. “who has more attachment to the land”), I would be glad to respond.

I’ve heard the usual statements that Israelis love life and jihadist Muslims love death etc, etc, including statements about Palestinians being “more attached to the land”.

All I can say in response to all of this is that both the Palestinians and the Jews are very attached to the land, and neither will walk away from it. I find it useless and even silly to try and quantify who is more “attached to the land”. You, of course, are free to believe in whatever you wish.

And “since they are willing blow themselves up”, why doesn’t Haniyeh blow himself up? Or Abbas or Nasrallah or bin Laden (who are in hiding for some strange reason) or every Palestinian over the age of 75?

Those that blow themselves up (9-11, Britain, etc) as far as I’m concerned, are usually the most brainwashed. Not like you guys here;)

I have one more questions to you: How long this state of affairs between Arab, Palestinians and Jews will last, how do you read the future in the area?

As I’ve stated many times before, I am optimistic. Already we have Palestinians and Israeli meeting together on and off for the past 15 years. The world is modernizing. The Arab world is coming around, learning, interacting on the internet, and coming to the realization that it is possible to live with Jews and Christians and still live as Muslims. There is nothing to fear.

do you see any way out?

Time. Continued pressure on those countries that still employ terrorism and threaten other countries.

If things do not go as the Jewish state hope what their other strategy, what do expect to evolve in the next 25 years?

The Jewish state has already met and exceeded any Jew’s expectations. I expect Israeli Arabs to participate more in Israeli society and set an example for co-existence like they are now.

Would you be interested in a good investment? If so, I would be happy to sell you some Israel Bonds;)

http://www.israelbonds.com/

July 6th, 2007, 4:45 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Akbar said: The Jewish state has already met and exceeded any Jew’s expectations
The country is plagued with sexual scandals at the highest level of its politicians, general insatisfaction with the continuous state of wars and the recent defeat, worried about the demographic future of the Jewish people, still relying on the generous subsidies of the US, having 10,000 palestinians in jail, decried by all Human Rights groups for abuse in the Occupied territories, dismissive of multiple UN Security Resolutions asking for withdrawal etc… If I was a Jew, I would have expected much more from a people who in the history showed high moral standards, high education standards, and has produced the most brilliant intellectual, scientific and artistic personnalities… Not anymore. I would be very disapointed by the outcome of this promising Jewish state.

July 6th, 2007, 6:16 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Why-Discuss said:

If I was a Jew, I would have expected much more from a people who in the history showed high moral standards, high education standards, and has produced the most brilliant intellectual, scientific and artistic personnalities… Not anymore.

Maybe that’s why you are not a Jew.

Jews continue to show high moral standards, high education standards, and also still produce the most brilliant intellectual, scientific and artistic personalities.

But you have to remember, Jews are human just like you and me, and believe it or not, they aren’t as perfect as, say, the Arabs are;)

Especially the highly moral Islamic jihadist murderers.

http://www.advocatesforisrael.org/Famous.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_Israel

July 6th, 2007, 10:52 pm

 

why-discuss said:

Akbar: Wikipedia: “Israeli science is particularly well known for its military technology, from simple submachine guns like the Uzi, ranging to advanced anti-ballistic defense systems”

That shows were the jewish creativity is focusing on…How sad, where are the jewish artists, philosophers, writers, musicians? They are all in the USA, I guess, where they can mix and get inpirations in contacts with other religions and cultures without being on the defensive.. A Jewish state as well as an Islamic state can only be claustrophobic.

July 7th, 2007, 6:56 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Why-Discuss said,

…where are the jewish artists, philosophers, writers, musicians?

Right in front of your eyes. Just open them.

http://www.israelartguide.co.il/

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Israeli-Writers/lm/1NIFVHXF2L0RW

http://www.amazon.com/Great-Israeli-Writers/lm/1NIFVHXF2L0RW

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Israel (are you kidding?)

Why-Discuss,

Where are the Arab anti-jihadists?

July 7th, 2007, 8:45 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

If the Saudis can learn (after 20 years), I guess anyone can…

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abd Al-Aziz to Saudi Preachers: Saudis Who Go to Iraq Are Used for Suicide Bombings

The Saudis are brought [to Iraq] in order to carry out bombings. Either they strap on explosives belts and blow up in public places, or else they drive a car, crash into some place, and blow it up. Who are the ones who die? Are they senior officials? Are they soldiers in any army? No. The ones who die are innocent men, women, and children. Would you be pleased if your sons became tools of murder? This is the reality. Moreover, those who escape being killed come back here with deviant ideas, and they try to implement them in our society. Hence, security activity is insufficient if it is not accompanied by ideological activity. This is a virus in the body of this nation, and if we do not kill this virus, if we do not reach, diagnose, and kill it – it will remain. The men of the security agencies amputate a decaying organ in this body, but who should fight this deviant ideology, if not clerics and sheiks like you? I refer especially to the preachers and imams of the mosques.

http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=1496

July 8th, 2007, 2:23 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Akbar will there be in future Israeli intellectuals when a third of the Jewish youth attend to Haredi schools? Will the proportion of “Taleban Jews” grow?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/879423.html

July 8th, 2007, 1:06 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

SimoHurtta,

When the Jewish Haredi begin to fly airplanes into skyscrapers and cars into airports, then I’d be concerned.

Meantime, I’d rather discuss actual problems, not your warped imagination about “Taleban Jews”.

July 10th, 2007, 5:42 am

 

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