The Doha Congress: Negotiating a Return of the Iraqi Baath Party?

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis

Although little noticed in the international media, Iraqi politics have been unusally stormy these past days, ever since it was revealed that Qatar would host a conference for ”Iraqi reconciliation.” With all involved well attuned to the dog-whistle rhetoric of Iraqi politics, this was universally understood to mean ”Sunni Arab Iraqi reconciliation.”

Much of the Shia press and political landscape in Iraq reacted with outrage. These voices grew even angrier as speculation intensified about who would attend. When the meetings began in Doha on September 2, Iraqi debate collapsed in a roaring pandemonium of threats and accusations against those Sunni politicians who had dared travel to Qatar.

While details remain scarce, it seems clear that the Doha Congress was directly backed by the Qatari government. This was quite enough to anger Iraqi Shia politicians, many of whom subscribe to the idea that no foreign state should ever be allowed to interfere in Iraqi politics unless it fulfills the stringent requirement of also having a four-letter name that begins with I-R-A. To make matters worse, the attendees weren’t just the usual mix of Gulf-friendly Sunni tribal figures, party leaders, and elected officials. This time, the meeting included a generous sprinkling of wanted fugitives and others with links to banned militant groups that have waged war on the Iraqi government for more than a decade.

According to the Qatar-funded newspaper al-Arabi al-Jadid, the three main factions invited were (1) elected Sunni Arab officials from Iraq, (2) people linked to the formerly powerful Islamist insurgent faction known as the Islamic Army, and (3) the Iraqi Baath Party. Which is probably where the real controversy starts.

Unrepentant Insurgents

Specifically, this is about the Baath Party wing led by Saddam Hussein’s former deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri—the “King of Clubs,” if you still recall that silly-but-effective American propaganda stunt from 2003. Having operated underground since 2003, he has repeatedly been declared dead, only to pop right back up like a murderous Jack-in-the-Box and continue the war. Most recently, he died in April 2015.

With the Baath Party having gone underground to turn itself into a guerrilla group in 2003, Douri is nowadays better known as the driving force behind the so called Naqshbandi Army, a Baathist front organization that has been killing Iraqi soldiers for years. The Naqshbandi Army was an active participant in the wave of violence that engulfed most of Iraq’s Sunni areas in 2014—a wave unleashed partly in response, it must be said, to years of sectarian discrimination and misrule by the Iran-backed Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. While the Baathists were never formally allied with the Islamic State, there certainly existed a measure of tacit cooperation against their common enemies—the governments of Iraq, Iran, the USA, the Kurdistan Regional Government, etc. Izzat al-Douri only broke ranks with the Islamic State after the latter had solidified control across Sunni Iraq and began purging, torturing, and killing all fellow travelers who would not submit to its ”caliphate”. At that point, the rather few remaining Naqshbandi/Baath fighters found themselves forced to adjust their rhetoric in search of international sponsorship. (Judging by their effusive praise for Qatar these days, they seem to have found it.)

Of course, any dealings with the Baath Party is a criminal offense in Iraq and this creates serious risks for Sunni officials interested in meeting its representatives. When it turned out that the Iraqi Speaker of Parliament and Muslim Brotherhood member Salim al-Jabbouri was going to be in Doha on September 2, all hell broke lose. Shia politicians of all stripes, but particularly some of the more unhinged sectarians close to Iran, unleashed a firestorm of condemnation. Claims of high treason were among the milder charges leveled at Jabbouri and his group.

Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki thundered that the Doha Congress was part of a plan to ”split Iraq along sectarian lines.” Maliki’s ally Khalaf Abdessamad—who is parliamentary whip of the Islamic Daawa Party, members of which have headed the Iraqi cabinet for ten years straight—fumed with loquacious rage: ”the enemies of Iraq are once again, with the support of the nursers of sedition and the funders of terror and extremism, organizing their meeting in Qatar, which has shown that it is an enemy of the Iraqi people.” He then demanded that all participants in the Doha Congress should be fired from their jobs and kicked out of parliament and said that the Islamic Daawa Party is canvassing parliamentarians to make that happen. (One claimed on September 3 that more than one hundred parliamentary signatures calling for the ouster of Jabbouri have already been gathered.)

Jabbouri and other politicians who were actually or allegedly en route to Qatar quickly began to backpedal, fumbling forth all manners of unlikely explanations for why they had found it so important to fly off on a quick jaunt to Doha on that particular date. Jabbouri’s group deplored that certain not-to-be-named irresponsible politicians were trying to confuse Iraqis about the purpose of their trip, which was simply to meet Qatar’s prime minister and talk about, um, uh, things. Jabbouri insisted that his group had not been in any meetings with other Iraqis while in the country.

Perhaps to defuse tension or to prod supposed partners into action, Qatar also let it be known that the conference had been coordinated with the office of the prime minister in Baghdad, Haider al-Abadi. This didn’t particularly help. Since the eruption of major popular protest in Iraq this summer, Abadi is locked in struggle with a number of other political currents, prime among them the pro-Iranian militia radicals and his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki. Once these groups spotted an opportunity to portray the prime minister as a Baathist-lover, they had all the more reason to ramp up their anti-Doha rhetoric. Whether out of compulsion or conviction, Abadi finally broke his silence to condemn the Doha Congress as a breach of Iraqi sovereignty.

Baathists, Gulf Ambassadors, and the United Nations

On September 5, the Baathist website Dhi Qarr issued a statement from Khodeir al-Morshidi, a (rare) Shia member of the Baath who has acted as its spokesperson. Morshidi explained that the party had indeed sent a formal delegation to ”brotherly Qatar in response to its generous invitation.”

Accounts in al-Arabi al-Jadid had been circumspect about the exact nature of the ”Gulf cover and international patronage” that enabled the conference, but the Baath Party—or Morshidi at any rate—emptied a bucketful of names on the table for all to see. By his account, the meeting was held as a discussion between two delegations, Iraqis and foreigners:

On the one hand, there was a delegation from the Baath Arab Socialist Party in Iraq along with a number of national Iraqi personalities who are opposed to the political process and the Iranian intervention and influence. On the other hand, there was the Qatari foreign minister and ambassadors of several states in the Gulf Cooperation Council—including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait—as well as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Iraq and his deputy.

True? Apparently. U.N. Special Representative Ján Kubiš was present in Doha at the right dates, hanging out with Iraqi Sunni leaders at

a significant meeting that took place on 2 September in the Qatari capital, Doha, between many different Iraqi Sunni groups. The meeting was opened by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Mr. Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah. Official representatives of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates were also in attendance.

To have a delegation from Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party sitting in a room with the Gulf States and the United Nations is progress to some Iraqis, but it is outrageous to others. When something like this was last tried, in Amman in 2014, Baghdad was livid with anger and the United States seemed similarly distressed.

Khodeir al-Morshidi claims the Baath now wants a non-sectarian Iraq and a multiparty democracy, but even if this represented a genuine change of heart—of course it doesn’t—most of Iraq’s Shia Arabs and Kurds would hardly be moved to embrace their former oppressor. In the 1980s and 1990s, Izzat al-Douri and Saddam’s other lieutenants slaughtered tens of thousands of Iraqis and the wounds of that era have never healed. The mass graves continue to be unearthed today, even as the Islamic State is busily digging new ones.

As if that’s not enough, Iranian state media is fanning the flames. Iran lost tens of thousands of its own citizens to Saddam Hussein’s army, missiles strikes, and nerve gas attacks during the 1980-1988 war. For Iran, it is also a straightforward national security issue, irrespective of painful memories and sectarian calculations: Tehran has worked hard to set up a pro-Iranian order in Baghdad since 2003. It is naturally unwilling to accept a resurgence of anti-Iranian forces with or without the Baathists, especially one backed by its arch-enemies on the Arabian Peninsula.

Insurgents vs. Politicians

But Iraqi and Iranian Shia outrage is just part of the story. The Doha Congress in fact sparked two different controversies, the other one among the Sunni attendees.

While many Iraqi Sunnis, such as Jabbouri, have accepted to work in post-2003 politics despite feeling that the system is rigged against them, others have refused to accept that the current government is in any way legitimate. For many of the rebels who are still fighting thirteen years after the American invasion, Sunnis who have allowed themselves to be elected to parliament are at best weak and corrupt but more likely traitors. This is exactly the problem that the Doha Congress was intended to overcome, or start overcoming, but it seems easier said than done.

Even as Jabbouri is at pains to deny meeting with any active insurgents in Doha, those insurgents are just as sensitive to the accusation of having met with him. Their constituency isn’t just Sunni Arabs in general: it is the hardliners who fight, fund, and favor armed struggle against the current political system, a system of which Jabbouri is a prominent member.

Thus, Khodeir al-Morshidi had no problem acknowledging that the Baath delegation met with Gulf Arab ambassadors (”in an atmosphere of brotherhood and mutual understanding,” etc) or the United Nations. But when it came to Jabbouri and others working in legal Iraqi politics, he reverted to the insult-laden rhetorical drone so dear to Baathists everywhere:

We must confirm, contrary to the malicious fabrications and calculated dissimulations put out by certain actors and media organizations, that the meeting was not attended by any of the participants in the political process or the Green Zone government, as they claim. The Party exempted itself from any [separate] meeting with those of them that happened to be present in brotherly Qatar at the time, and neither did the Party seek to attend any meeting with any representative or participant in the political process—those whom the people have rejected and for whose downfall it calls while asking for the trial of the corrupt, thieving, and treacherous among them.

Once you have waved away the smoke puff of angry denials, what remains is the fact that a Baath Party delegation met with the Qatari leadership, which in turn met with Jabbouri, for the purpose of unifying Sunni ranks in Iraq. Whether or not they were ever in the same room is almost beside the point.

Both sides have very good reasons to downplay this. Morshidi and the Baath (assuming he truly speaks for the organization) do not want to give anyone the impression that they’re going soft or that they are about to extend any sort of legitimacy to the Iraqi government. Because of course they would never do that and, besides, they would want something in return.

For his part, Jabbouri is clearly in hot enough water as it is. If he and the Baath both emphasize that he never sat down with what Iraqi law says is a terrorist movement, it could well save him a trial or two in Baghdad. Not that he was going back home just yet. He had one more stop on his trip after non-attending the Doha Congress—and it was, intriguingly enough, Tehran.

Unifying Sunni Ranks

What this all seems to amount to is a regionally-backed attempt to unify all those Iraqi Sunni Arab forces that remain opposed to the Islamic State and get them to endorse a few common demands, thereby paving the way for reconciliation talks with Baghdad. The Doha Congress obviously enjoyed the backing of Qatar, but if these reports are anything to go by, other Gulf states states were also involved, as well as the United Nations. And if we believe that, we must assume that the Doha Congress—Baathists and all—enjoyed at least the tacit acceptance of the United States.

It makes perfect sense, in theory at least. The confusion, the defections, and the contradictory statements that poured out from the Doha Congress, and the virulent reaction from Shia politicians in Iraq, hints that it could perhaps have been a little better prepared, or a lot. But the idea of trying to cultivate some basic unity among Iraq’s Sunni leaders, up to and including those linked to non-Islamic State insurgent factions, is a sound one. Without unity you can wage neither war nor peace, as anyone watching the tragedy unfold in neighboring Syria will have noticed.

What is preventing the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq is ultimately not a lack of firepower, but rather the dizorganized nature of the coalition fighting the jihadis and—most of all—its inability to produce a Sunni Arab force that could challenge the Islamic State on its home turf. For the war on the Islamic State to succeed, other Iraqi Sunni rejectionists need to be cajoled back into the political game and Iraq’s Sunni Arab leadership as a whole must be empowered to draw opportunistic support away from the extremists. It need not be a very explicit or formal process and it must not involve either side publicly declaring defeat or bowing to the other, but it will involve painful compromises for all involved.

There are a number of problems with such an approach, of course, one being that Iraq’s Sunni leaders all seem to hate each other. But the ferocity of reactions in Baghdad show the other side of the problem. What prevents intra-Sunni reconciliation isn’t only the criminality of the Baath Party leadership or the intransigence of various Islamist guerrillas. It is also the blanket refusal of the Shia Islamist parties ruling Baghdad to countenance the rise of a Sunni Arab bloc that could challenge their hegemony—particularly one that includes ”terrorists.”

In the long run, that is a self-destructive attitude. It is true that Iraq’s official Sunni political groups are lamentably weak and divided—because Sunni elites were first smashed into submission by Saddam Hussein, then weakened and fractured by the United States, then pressured by Shia persecution, then undercut by the rise of the Islamic State. It is also true that those Sunni leaders who are closer to the militants and can sway communities on the ground will often be linked to the former regime or to radical sectarian groups. Some of them are soaked in blood, before and after the 2003 invasion. But this is also true: the Islamic State will not go away until there is a credible alternative for Iraqi Sunni Arabs to rally behind. And in producing that alternative, like it or not, this is what there is to work with.

The Iraqi Sunni leaders that can establish an Islamic State-free order in their own home towns will not be invented by Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad and they aren’t waiting in the wings in Washington, Doha, Riyadh, Amman, Erbil, or Tehran. They will need to come at least in part from the ranks of ex-insurgents and politicians now shunned and persecuted as outlaws for their Baathist, jihadi, or foreign ties—but this is precisely what the current Iraqi regime will not allow.

It is a hellishly difficult equation to solve, perhaps an unsolveable one, where all sides glory in their own victimhood and all are truly victims. But one step in the right direction is surely to try to address the disorganized state of Iraqi Sunni politics. Nothing can be achieved for as long as the Islamic State remains the only game in town for Sunnis in places like Mosul and Falluja, and even in places it hasn’t occupied yet. Overcoming the Baghdad government’s resistance to some form—any form—of compromise with Sunni rejectionists will almost certainly require the intervention of independent Shia leaders like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as well as the kingmaker in Iraqi Shia politics, Iran. But with the Islamic State lining up Shia civilians for video-taped slaughter week after week, and with proxy conflict still raging across the Persian Gulf and in Lebanon and Syria, hardliners are likely to keep the upper hand.

Aron Lund
Editor of Syria in Crisis

Comments (33)

Ghufran said:

The GCC and Israel are in bed and that has been the case since 1990, they share a common enemy and has little interest in seeing stability and democracy in the region, Israel fears an end to its illegal occupation and the GCC fears an end to their family rule.
Israel bombs Syria while rebels attack the army, Israel made Palestinians a nation of refugees and the GCC sends money and weapons to terrorists which keep the war raging and the refugee problem growing but refuses to take refugees or helps in ending the war.
Strategically Israel has no better friends than the GCC and Islamist terrorists who are now destroying history in palmyra. Both zionists and Islamists despise historical monuments and history events that do not fit into their exclusionary ideology or feed their sick narrative.

September 5th, 2015, 8:58 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

The best friend of Israel is the Assad Alawi regime , a fact that was admitted by Makhloof , who said from the beginning the security of Israel is from the security of the Alawi Assad regime , this ,fact is. Hardly mentioned by someone here, the trash Alawi regime in Damascus is killing Syrians, which is much more than what Israel wants or can do, Israel is very happy of what Assad is doing, this Alawi regime in Damascus is more weicked and Evil and rotten than any terrorist organization, this should be smashed so there will be no return ever to such devilish regime.

Aron Lund
The patriotic Iraqees have no chance to return to power till the Syrian people clean Syria from this tyrant Assad, once Syria is liberated, as I said several times before, this Syrian Revolution is exportable, then Iraq is next, and yes Lebanon, we will keep no traitor in Shamبلاد الشام

September 5th, 2015, 9:42 pm


SimoHurtta said:

5. TARA said:


Please convey our gratitude to your prime minister for offering his own house to accept Syrian refugees. I started to look at some Euoropean countries in new light.

Well Tara it was the prime minister’s wife whose idea it was. The PM’s family members are very devoted religious Christians and very wealthy in Finnish standards (=have several homes around Finland).

The PM’s promise put little water on the flames which this stream of refugees has created here. But only for a while. There are simply to many coming of whom the clear majority seem to be young men. Now it is estimated, that this year to Finland will come over 30,000 refugees. The refugee centers are full and daily new are opened. Some are put in tents in lack of housing and the winter is coming. And Finnish winter will be a shock for the refugees. Three months of a couple of hours daylight and 6 months of real winter.

Finland simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to take care of such large uncontrolled foreign immigration. Even the amount of refugees in Finland is much smaller than it is in Sweden, Germany, Austria etc the reality is that we do not have ready infra of centers, translation aid, schools etc which is needed to offer the refugees a “change”. Also must be remembered that the unemployment here is high and the money needed for refugees is away of Finnish normal education and social welfare. It is understandable, that Finns are not very happy to what destroying Middle Eastern countries in the name of democracy in reality causes.

Finland took many Vietnamese refugees in the 80’s. They have adapted very well to Finnish society. The Kurd and Iraqis who came here, rather well. But the Somalis not very well, they have less will to adapt the local rules and habits.

Let’s imagine that Israel (and Saudis) attack Iran and turn much of Iran to radioactive wasteland by bombing Iran’s nuclear infra. Where would those millions of refugees that creates go? To Israel or SA? The reason for making an agreement with Iran was, that the Eurasian powers Germany, France, Britain, Russia, China, India, Japan and South Korea did see where these violent US lead regime changes lead. Europe and Asia can not cope with these much by USA artificially created Eurasian Völkerwanderungen. Surely the nations of Middle East have the right to democracy, but it is clear, that what we did see in Iraq, Syria, Somalia etc, where the administrative order and means to keep it was destroyed, is not the right way. What follows destroys the democracy in Europe.

September 6th, 2015, 4:39 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

Russia is sending one thousand soldier to Syria , sending six military jet, building housing for their soldiers, , in return England and France talking about starting air attack in Syria, these are major escalations, more blood shed in Syria,
Russia wants to help Assad, while Iran is anti Sunni,while U.S. Is pro Israel, they all has their own reason to kill Syrians

September 6th, 2015, 7:01 am


Observer said:

This article and the one I am adding here
both point to the very fact that the Sykes Picot borders were meant to keep the region eternally unstable. Read a Peace to end All Peace by Fromkin and you will understand that the current order is completely unsuitable for solving the problems of the region. If you add the following article on the average age of the population in each country from the CIA fact book you will also understand that the surge in population youth combined with global warming will lead to instability even if these states were stable to begin with ( which they are not ).
My original call for separation then followed by EU like federation of the region along two main principles: single judiciary system and single economic law system would have gone a long way establish peace and stability. This is because by having a single supranational judiciary and economy would rob the petty politicians of the means to remain locked in power struggles.

At this stage accusing GCC Israel the US or the “Italians” as the joke goes is once again hurling insults at the people of the ME for whom we have not had anything but repeated comments of contempt and derision. This is the same tactic of dehumanizing the other so that you permit its slaughter.
The article about how the conflict will end is interesting in its lack of a clear scenario.

My final take on it is that in the presence of this vacuum created by the collapse of the Sykes Picot structures from Beirut to Baghdad you see the emergence of a cult like fanatical structure and this structure can only be defeated by Sunnis and none else as the minorities and the sects have reverted to relying on their basic identity as such and not as Syrian or Lebanese or Iraqi nationals. Therefore they cannot bring the Sunnis in if the structure is sect based.

Sunni leadership on the regional level is also fragmented and if the conflict in Yemen does not go the Saudi way we can see some major changes there as well. It is clear that the Saudi forces are not up to par and only the UAE troops seem to be professional enough to fight there. Hence, in that situation the Saudi family will rely on reviving more Jihadists than it is doing now and this spells a worsening Sunni Shia war.

One last thing, the current realignment of forces fighting each other has also shown a reversal to the Europeans war before the accord of Westphalia that fueled religious war whereby a Protestant king would fight on behalf of Protestants in another country when they were persecuted and vice versa and the papacy fueling this conflict as well.

It means the death of the nation state in the ME; a concept that was mortally wounded in 67 and never recovered even after 73 and 82 and 2000 2006 as religious forces took over. Iran likes that a lot as it can interfere with militia and is working hard to weaken any unifying army structure including the Syrian army.

Merkel if you read the population article has understood the need for young refugees.

September 6th, 2015, 9:15 am


ghufran said:

Israel has bought as much as three-quarters of its oil from Iraq in recent months, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The FT report, which cited shipping data, trading sources and satellite tanker tracking, said that the Israeli refineries and oil firms have imported more than 19 million barrels of Kurdish oil over the course of three months, from the beginning of May till August 11 of this year. This situation can only be sustained if Iraq remains in a state of war and de facto partition. It is obvious that Israel wants its neighbors to stay at war and continuous internal fighting, Arabs as usual are playing the role of useful idiots.
Israel is also stealing water and natural gas from Palestine and Lebanon and soon from Syria.

September 6th, 2015, 9:24 am


Passerby said:

Oil is a global commodity, Israel can buy it anywhere and so can anyone else. No one gives a damn about the oil in the mid-east, since fracking, there is a massive and ever growing surplus.

September 6th, 2015, 10:49 am


Passerby said:

Yeah, that one won’t get any votes, spoils everyone’s grand conspiracy stories.

Get used to it, the International Oil Cartel’s back is broken. I can buy a gallon of gas for a dollar and change. They can’t drive fracking out of business, the price will continue to go down. Saudi Arabia can only make ends meet by maxing out their production.

It’s a downward spiral, they can only maintain the revenue they are addicted to, by pumping twice as much oil, which lowers the price even more. And since fracking is near the customer, the Mid East has to sell their oil for less to compete.

And there are Chinese companies in the Mid East, but there are zero US companies. There is no such thing, it’s multinationals, owned by every citizens of every country on the planet. And they could care less about the US. They sure care about making a buck when they can, but the rest of the world, it doesn’t matter, fracking will take up any slack, including the entire production of the Middle East.


Looks to me like about 95% of those “refugees” flooding into Europe are young men with a sullen attitude. A hard trip for women and children or the old, I suppose. Millions flooding in it looks like, from the exact home bases of every terrorist on the planet, with no documentation. Decadent.

September 6th, 2015, 12:21 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Let’s imagine that Israel (and Saudis) attack Iran and turn much of Iran to radioactive wasteland by bombing Iran’s nuclear infra. Where would those millions of refugees that creates go?


You have quite an imagination. Nuclear reactors have been destroyed all around the world from Pennsylvania to Japan to Russia to Iraq and Syria and it NEVER created refugees. Anyone living near a destroyed reactor, moved internally to safety.

But I’d ur interested in refugees, talk to President Assad of Syria who created this mess.

September 6th, 2015, 1:39 pm


SimoHurtta said:

Akbar do not bee an idiot. Well you are. You have imagination, but no knowledge of anything.

Not a single operating nuclear power station has been bombed to pieces. The Iraqi Osirak minireactor was not ready so there was environmental catastrophe. Have you any understanding what Chernobyl caused? We have marks of it still in Finnish nature.
Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities
Page 90

• Highest level of environmental damage is caused by a strike on the Reactor, Spent Fuel Storage and the Reprocessing Plants.
• Actinides and Fission products are highly radioactive elements resulting from the fission process in the Reactor. Iodine-131, Stontium-90, Cesium-137 and Plutonium-239, have all been identified as the most damaging to human health.
• Attacking the Bushehr Nuclear Reactor would release contamination in the form of radionuclides into the air.
• Most definitely Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will be heavily affected by the radionuclides.
• Any strike on the Bushehr Nuclear Reactor will cause the immediate death of thousands of people living in or adjacent to the site, and thousands of subsequent cancer deaths or even up to hundreds of thousands depending on the population density along the contamination plume.

After such event not a single Jew around the world will dare to say “I like Israel” or admitting to be a Jew.

Akbar what if Dimona is bombed? Then there is no Israel for 500,000 years. And where do your extraordinary odd brothers and sisters in religion move? “Internally” to USA and Europe. I do not think so.

September 6th, 2015, 6:07 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Not a single operating nuclear power station has been bombed to pieces. The Iraqi Osirak minireactor was not ready so there was environmental catastrophe.


Whether a reactor has been bombed to pieces or not, they do not become nuclear bombs. They melt down and the surrounding area becomes raioactive, similar to the meltdowns occurred in the US, Russia and Japan.

With Iran threatening Israel, the GOI may destroy Iranian nuclear sites. I can’t predict if this will happen or not. You can rest assured Israel will do what it needs to to protect herself. No apology needed.

BTW, Israel has bombed 2 nuclear reactors in Iran and Syria. Nothing happened except Israel earned more respect. I expect the same would happen if Israel disabled Iranian nuke sites.

September 6th, 2015, 7:32 pm


Tara said:


Look at the right under feed!!!

Syria comment running out of news it needs to demonize the revolution and is publishing reports from Aug 2012. Perhaps thinking that people would just read the header.

Whether this is an honest mistake that the poster did not read the body of the article but ran to punish it or it is a PAID willfull oversight , it is poor form to say the least.

September 6th, 2015, 7:41 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

There is no limit to Syrian government lies, now they claim that Jumblatt is behind Balous assassination , ,and through Jabhat Al Nusra
اذا لم تستح فافعل ما شءت

September 6th, 2015, 9:11 pm


Passerby said:

Since the Mid-East oil being worthless and of no interest any more bummed everyone out, let’s try this for some positive votes…

Donald Trump has given us the easy solution to ISIS. Whoever removes them, gets to keep enough oil currently under their control to pay for it, including showering money on any disabled veterans and families. And a nice profit.

(Visions of smoke, coming out of ears, spittle forming on mouths…)

Needless to say, the US should give everyone on the planet first shot at it. Maybe no one is interested at the moment, but eventually someone will get the job done, (hopefully where mercy is still an option), and that will make it easier, since there would be a nice profit.

The first new constructive idea in years, the man’s a genius.


Can’t wait for his plan for Assad.

My guess is all things are possible if you know how to cut a deal with Putin. Does Russia actually care about Assad? Of course not, if they still have influence there and don’t look like they’ve abandoned him. But Russia cares a lot about the Ukraine, and we would like to make the Ukraine problem go away.

Lots of room for a deal there. And all those Russians flooding Syria would be a big help in easing Assad out, one way or the other.

Yeah, right, but more constructive ideas than you guys are coming up with.

September 6th, 2015, 11:56 pm


Alan said:

Dear moderator! For a second time ask you, please remove blach hole from my path!!!!

September 7th, 2015, 12:20 am


Alan said:

Thank you

September 7th, 2015, 12:21 am


Mina said:

i am sure some here will manage to blame Asad for that too

The U.S.-trained commander of Tajikistan’s elite police force has defected to Islamic State, he said in a YouTube video…

that was in May.

September 7th, 2015, 3:20 am


Syrialover said:

The truth about the Holy Warriors Part 1.

Article: Idlib town residents demand Jabhat a-Nusra leave

Residents of a town in the southern Idlib countryside took to the streets against Jabhat a-Nusra on Tuesday, calling for the fall of the group’s leader after partisans arrested the sheikhs of a local mosque earlier in the day, accusing them of practicing mystical Islam.

“The sheikhs resented Nusra’s practices in the town, so Nusra fabricated this charge that they are Sufis,” Abu Fawz al-Sayyed, a resident of the town of Khan Sheikhoun told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

“Nusra’s administration is a failure,” said al-Sayyed, adding that they have 600 members working in the small town’s administration “when they only need 50.”

Videos taken at the protest show dozens of protestors marching through the streets of Khan Sheikhoun chanting “the people want the fall of Golani,” Nusra’s leader, and calling for the group’s departure from the town.

“They don’t have any administrative experience, so they resort to these harsh religious decrees,” al-Sayyed said.


September 7th, 2015, 5:15 am


Syrialover said:

The truth about the Holy Warriors Part 2

Islamic State Will Be Defeated –
The black-flagged barbarians scatter like rabbits when the Kurdish Peshmerga attack.


Interesting description of how ISIS pseudo-warriors fall apart in a real fight.

It also describes their scorched earth policy when they are forced to flee an area. Sounds suspiciously similar to Assad’s.

September 7th, 2015, 5:24 am


SimoHurtta said:

11. AKBAR PALACE said:

Not a single operating nuclear power station has been bombed to pieces. The Iraqi Osirak minireactor was not ready so there was environmental catastrophe.


Whether a reactor has been bombed to pieces or not, they do not become nuclear bombs. They melt down and the surrounding area becomes raioactive, similar to the meltdowns occurred in the US, Russia and Japan.

With Iran threatening Israel, the GOI may destroy Iranian nuclear sites. I can’t predict if this will happen or not. You can rest assured Israel will do what it needs to to protect herself. No apology needed.

BTW, Israel has bombed 2 nuclear reactors in Iran and Syria. Nothing happened except Israel earned more respect. I expect the same would happen if Israel disabled Iranian nuke sites.

Akbar the lightwater mini reactor in Iraq, which Israel bombed, was still in building phase run France and guarded by IAEA. There was no nuclear fuel. The Syrian mystery building, if it was a nuclear reactor, which I doubt, was also in building phase. No nuclear fuel. Bombing these two building sites was as environment polluting as was bombing UN schools in Gaza. Israel earned only internal respect among Jews who believed to that hilarious Israeli war propaganda. All states condemned the attack against Iraq, against a unfinished research reactor which never could have been used for making material for bombs.

The difference with Busher is that it is large, it is operating and full of nuclear fuel. Have you any idea Akbar why they build such massive shields around the reactors? What if the shield is bombed to pieces? Hmmmm

Akbar read sometimes a book or two instead of watching only those your kosher Jewish Superman comics. King David did not rule the world or even a big state. He was a little village chief. Like Vitalstatistix in Asterix, though without that magic drink.

Nobody claims that a functioning nuclear power station becomes a nuclear bomb when it is bombed. It will be a Chernobyl power two or three. Bushehr nuclear power station is on the shore of Persian Gulf and near it is a town of 200,000 inhabitants. Chernobyl had effects in halve of Europe. Also here in Finland we could not pick and eat for several years wild berries and mushrooms because some radioactive shit fell with the rain after the meltdown. And from Finland is a couple of thousand kilometres to Ukraine where it happened. Bombing a nuclear power station is not the same as more or less controlled accident in USA or a Hollywood movie.

What is Dimona, how it was created and what is predicted if Dimona is bombed or if there is a serious uncontrolled accident. Dimona’s reactor is a old outdated dangerous pure plutonium producing factory. Plutonium for what?
Israel’s Nuclear Weapons – Federation of American Scientists

September 7th, 2015, 6:38 am


Observer said:

No comment but on this UN report.

In the meantime there is complete blackout on the internet and phone services to Soueida and the last oil field fell to IS.

The dollar is up to 328 today and rising. Hollande is flying to Lebanon to keep the refugees there but not to Turkey. This is what happens when a safe zone is not supported. Turkey opens the doors to Europe. In the meantime the latest fight in Yemen has actually stiffened the resolve to do away with all of Iranian stooges there. Sistani is not happy with Suleimani and Zarif is defending Assad.

The war is certainly going to go on for a few more years.

September 7th, 2015, 8:23 am


Akbar Palace said:

Juan Cole has suddenly found other topics to discuss other than the Zio Entity. This may tarnish his reputation.

September 7th, 2015, 11:51 am


Akbar Palace said:

See Sim,

Not everyone hates Israel. Maybe you know why that is.

“But I really love Israel, and the investment in the island is the best compliment I could get as a mayor.”,7340,L-4697871,00.html

September 7th, 2015, 12:35 pm


Syrialover said:

OK can we get back to some real talk about real subjects?

Why doesn’t this appear next to every media story and tweet about the newly-discovered Syrian refugees “fleeing from ISIS”.

Article: Syrian Coalition: Get Assad out of Syria Instead of Taking More Refugees

Vice President Mustafa Osso said that “the EU governments’ increasing their quota of Syrian refugees play into the hands of the Assad regime seeking to displace as many Syrians as possible and change the demography of Syria. Instead of emptying Syria of its people, Syrians demand that Assad and his gang are forced out of Syria.”

Osso criticizes France attributing the refugee crisis to ISIS and its ignoring the real cause of terrorism, which is the Assad regime and its allied sectarian militias.

He reaffirms that “the real makers of peace in Syria are the Syrian people in all their cultural, ethnic and religious components. The Assad regime cannot be a partner in any peace process as it has been murdering Syrians with chemical weapons, Scud missiles and barrel bombs. Its policies have led to the rise of ISIS, Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas and many other sectarian militias.”

Osso’s remarks came as response to statements by French President Francois Hollande who has said today that his country will accept 24,000 Syrian refugees in the next two years, offering to host an international conference in Paris on the refugee crisis in Europe.

Meanwhile, a statement issued on behalf of 100 human rights activists attributing the refugee crisis to the Assad regime’s atrocities against Syrians, including the use of indiscriminate weapons such as barrel bombs and chemical weapons. The statement stresses that the Assad regime is responsible for the displacement of over four million Syrians outside Syria in addition to around six million people displaced inside Syria.

The statement added that the “international community has so far failed to even issue a clear condemnation of these grave violations, nor did it propose any viable solutions capable of providing protection for civilians in Syria, particularly the Assad regime’s aerial attacks on residential areas. (Source: Syrian Coalition)

September 7th, 2015, 5:15 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Unfortunately, Syria is another glaring example of the weakness and indifference of the UN. The UNSC permanent members of China and Russia, allowed Assad to survive.

Why? Because China and Russia are totalitarian regimes as well.

So Assad succeeded just by surviving. The US under a Republican president, would have fired an air-to-ground missile between the eyes of that muderous doctor years ago, because the US believes in supporting freedom movements. We’ll have to wait and hope for a conservative and strong US president.

Meanwhile, the lesson learned in all of this, again, is that a country”s security is THEE most important function of the government.

September 7th, 2015, 5:25 pm


Observer said:

No AP the most important function of the government here is to defend and uphold the constitution with separation of powers and the bill of rights to insure the survival of liberty and dignity

September 7th, 2015, 5:32 pm


Syrialover said:

If you read around, you finally find it.

The main rationale for western coalition bombing of ISIS in Syria is not to give Assad relief or even to rescue Syrians, but to weaken and disable ISIS power havens in Syria so they will be easier to fight in Iraq.

And the Americans of course aren’t buying Putin’s version of Russia’s ramped up military presence in Syria “to help fight ISIS”. They are playing along until they decide what to do about it.

Quote: “Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the US would “welcome the opportunities for others to join the fight”. However, Mr Cook said “the Assad regime cannot be a partner against the terrorism that it has both curated and then failed to confront effectively”.” (

Sorry Putin, that’s what the world actually thinks.

And western intelligence services are also well aware of this:

Article: “Russia Is Sending Jihadis to Join ISIS”

Even as Washington touts its counterterrorism partnerships with Moscow, evidence points to Putin’s intelligence service practically helping the Islamic State.

September 7th, 2015, 5:43 pm


Syrialover said:


Forget the UN. It’s the fickle, short-attention span, confused western media and public that is enabling Syria to be burned into extinction.

If all those earnest-faced sympathizers around the world holding candles over the death of one child outside Syria put a couple of dollars into helping the millions of Syrians rotting in refugee camps then we would see what “caring” actually means.

It’s hard not to feel furious about the saturation attention being given to this when tens of thousands of children in Syria have been (and continue to be) murdered by airstrikes, barrel bombs, snipers, gas and starvation sieges, hundreds of thousands disabled and millions made homeless.

September 7th, 2015, 6:02 pm


Syrialover said:

How can I help?

If like me you are getting emotional queries about “how to help Syrian children”, you should direct them to the highly respected Karam Foundation (

It has “smart aid” projects run by some wonderful Syrians helping refugee children in Turkey and inside Syria.

Suggest to people they go through this organisation to sponsor a Syrian refugee child out of forced labor and back to school.

September 7th, 2015, 7:56 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

و الله لنأخذ بالثار منك يا خاين بشار
الشعب واحد واحد من عندنا و للمعرة
الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام
الاسد يسرح الجنود الدروز من الحرس الجمهوري
I always said Druze are good people , and they will come around, earlier I said you make mistake you lose,
Fellow Christians should learn from what happened to their co patriots Druze
God bless Sheikh Waheed Balous soul

September 8th, 2015, 7:36 pm


Paserby said:

The anti-Assad folks didn’t want to cut a deal. They were in the cat-bird seat. Victory was at hand.

Victory is not at hand, just death. Russian arms and soldiers flowing in, Iran about to get $150,000,000,000.

Not enough death yet they haven’t had their fill. You can see why the UN mediators all quit. And it’ll get a lot worse before it gets better.


All those young men flowing into Europe, probably 95% young men. Man, are they letting a viper into their house. Smart Arabs refusing to let them in, weak stupid Europeans.

September 9th, 2015, 6:07 am


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